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Wednesday, September 20, 2017
Date Posted:

Gregory to Boniface
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Rome Unchanging
True Papal Church
The Mass

Condition And Prospects Of Popery

Written in 1886 by Dr John Campbell
Dr. John Campbell

THE heaviest blow ever received by Popery, was the English Reformation, from its thorough and complete nature, as compared with most corresponding events on the Continent, and from the peculiar character of the British people. But the full extent of the discomfiture was not seen till two hundred years afterwards, which revealed the place to which, in Providence, England was to be elevated among the nations of the earth; more especially has this been apparent in the course of the last sixty or seventy years.

Always great as a maritime, during that period, she has become alike great as a military, power. But the loss to Rome mainly consisted in the marvellous and unparalleled increase of the numbers, wealth, and social greatness of England, from which she has become so influential in the affairs of the world-considerations which in the eye of Rome added tenfold to her importance.

But her chief value in the esteem of the Vatican, as a sphere of Papal action, latterly, is the fact of her being to such an extent, a mother of colonies, each, in the end, destined to be a powerful nation, largely partaking of her own secular and exalted qualities. On these grounds, England is the richest object of conquest that Rome ever aspired to gain; the great globe itself could furnish nothing comparable to it; the Indies, with all their shining treasures, and teeming millions, are but a small portion of her dower.

This, however, is only one, and that by no means the most important, view of the subject. England is the stronghold of Protestantism; in no other land, as we have seen, was the Reformation from Popery so complete, and the separation from Rome so thorough. The Churches of England and of Scotland were the most essentially Protestant institutions of the sort in Europe. Whatever imperfections may attach to some portion of the Rubric of the English Church, her glorious Articles, her admirable Homilies, and her Constitution, are thoroughly Protestant; and as part and parcel of the Constitution of the country, she has, for ages, justly been considered the chief bulwark of the Protestant cause, a magnificent monument of the great Reformation, and an appalling spectacle to the Man of Sin.

But even this, however great, is not all that renders the conversion of England an object of incalculable importance to Rome. England is the home of a numerous brood of Protestant communities, every hour rising into importance, from numbers, intelligence, wealth, and organization Nonconformists, Dissenters, Methodists-all the subjects of an intense and inveterate aversion to Rome. On these and other grounds, the recovery of England was the great object of desire and labour to the Vatican. To accomplish this would have been, in effect, to accomplish everything, by laying the foundation for the rapid conquest of the whole world. Such was its own view and its own convictions, as from various authentic sources has been repeatedly proved.

For thirty years last past, appearances have been such as greatly to encourage Rome in her expectation. In the excitement of these hopes, a place of great distinction was assigned to Ireland; from an utter disregard of all considerations of prudence in the article of marriage, that country became, to an extent never previously known among the nations of Europe, a great seed-bed of the human race.

The Papal portion of the population multiplied with unexampled rapidity, while their poverty was such as to divest their wretched homes of all charm, and to prepare them for emigration to any part of the globe, since, whatever their fate, it could not fail to be an improvement upon the condition in which they were born. They began, and have continued to pour their living floods both into England, and into every colony of the empire, thus everywhere diluting the waters of British Protestantism, and laying the foundation of Papal influence. From this source alone, great hopes are justly entertained both at home and abroad, and it now becomes an especial study how the matter may best be conducted, so as to advance the objects of the Papacy.

In conjunction with this circumstance, during the same period, the powers that be have smiled upon Popery; the ancient spirit of Protestantism in the country seemed, in a great measure, to have died out. From the hour of Catholic Emancipation, so called, Popery has appeared to be visited as by the power of a genial spring; it is everywhere lifting up its head; we see it, on the judgment-seat, in the senate, and even in the cabinet of the country. Nor have the symptoms of revival been partial; the path to rank, wealth, and promotion has been ever opening; the Polish Seminary of Maynooth, which had before obtained a small annual grant, has now received endowments more than imperial, in the form of a solemn enactment, taking it out of the annual list of senatorial benefactions, while in the British Colonies, the Popish clergy are not only in many parts endowed, but distinguished by special marks of Government favour.

In the meantime, the subject of the endowment of the Popish Clergy in Ireland has once and again been a matter of reference, and incipient discussion in the Imperial Parliament; and as a further token of the disposition of statesmen, steps were taken at one period, after a separation of three hundred years, to restore diplomatic relations with the Court of Rome, but, for the present, that danger and disgrace have been averted.

While all this was going on in the nation, appearances were not less hopeful in the English Church. The noble Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, which had so long been the glory of the realm, and ages bygone the impregnable citadel of

Protestantism, began to show strong symptoms of relenting. Men of eminence opened their mouths in the face of the land, to denounce the Reformation. By conversation, by lectures, in the pulpit, and through the press, they advocated principles essentially Popish; and at length, one after another, they began to separate themselves and return to the bosom of Rome!

In the meantime the cities, towns, villages, and hamlets of the land, gradually put on strange appearances. The effect of the lessons, which had been delivered at the Universities, began to be seen in the parish. Pulpits; and in this way Popery in the bud was being extensively manifested, and to encourage the hopes of Rome neither in the higher places of the Church, nor in those of the State, was there more than a very feeble and hesitating manifestation of disapproval. It never rose to remonstrance or reproof. At the same time the work of conversion went on in the upper classes, where the effect was increased by respectability, and wealth, and the influence thence arising.

Such was the aspect of England. The spring had come and the summer was far advanced, and the field to the human eye seemed white unto harvest. All things thus prepared, the hour appeared to have arrived for the Pope to step into England as into another Promised Land, and there to clothe himself with the riches, power, and glory, of what he correctly denominated "the flourishing kingdom of England." It only remained to hoist his standard and take full possession of the British Empire, and this he proceeded to do by the establishment of his hierarchy. The tide was now at the flood, and the heart of Rome was beating high with expectation of seizing the richest prize that ever dazzled the eye of conqueror. But this was not done without protest.

A minister of the Crown, Lord John Russell, was induced to write a letter of extraordinary character, so extraordinary, indeed, that it startled the nation. The composing and publication of such a manifesto was viewed in the light of a special providence. The mind of the religious portion of the community was lashed into a tempest, and a spirit of Protestantism evoked, such as excited the astonishment not only of Rome, but of every reflecting Protestant in the realm. The Minister said: -

"There is an assumption of power in all the documents which have come from Rome-a pretension to supremacy over the realm of England, and a claim to sole and undivided sway, which is inconsistent with the Queen's supremacy, with the rights of our bishops and clergy, and with the spiritual independence of the nation, as asserted even in Roman Catholic times.

"I confess, however, that my alarm is not equal to my indignation.

"Even if it shall appear that the ministers and servants of the Pope in this country have not transgressed the law, I feel persuaded that we are strong enough to repel any outward attacks. The liberty of Protestantism has been enjoyed too long in England to allow of any successful attempt to impose a foreign yoke upon our minds anal consciences. No foreign prince or potentate will be permitted to fasten his fetters upon a nation, which has so long and so nobly vindicated its right to freedom of opinion, civil, political, and religious.

"There is a danger, however, which alarms me much more than any aggression of a foreign sovereign.

"Clergymen of our own church, who have subscribed the Thirty-nine Articles, and acknowledged in explicit terms the Queen's supremacy, have been the most forward in leading their flocks, ` step by step, to the very verge of the precipice.' The honour paid to saints, the claim of infallibility for the church, the superstitious use of the sign of the cross, the muttering of the liturgy so as to disguise the language in which it is written, the recommendation of auricular confession, and the administration of penance and absolution-all these things are pointed out by clergymen of the Church of England as worthy of adoption.

"I have little hope that the propounders and framers of these innovations will desist from their insidious course. But I rely with confidence on the people of England, and I will not bate a jot of heart or hope so long as the glorious principles and the immortal martyrs of the Reformation shall be held in reverence by the great mass of a nation, which looks with contempt on the mummeries of superstition, and with scorn at the laborious endeavours which are now making to confine the intellect, and enslave the soul."

In the meantime the Bishop of London issued an impressive and explicit manifesto on the subject, and was followed in the same style, with a still more marked development of Protestant evangelical sentiment, by the amiable Archbishop of Canterbury. There was, in the meanwhile, a strange conjunction of events of another class, and of a nature exceedingly adapted to illustrate the genius and the spirit of Popery-events so appropriate and so opportune as to strike observers with the conviction that they were part of the great system of means which was being employed by the Most High to awaken the Protestants of Great Britain to a sense of their danger, and thus to prompt them to preserve the principles of their common faith. This, by reaching the courts of law, acquired a prominence, which was necessary to their proper effect on the public mind.

The general question of Papal aggression was in due course brought before the Imperial Parliament, where, notwithstanding a considerable variety of sentiment among individuals, not remarkable for either their piety or their Protestantism, there was yet a vast amount of unanimity with respect to the Pope; and to crown the whole there has been, and there still is, a most significant movement going forward on the part of the laymen of the Established Church which promises, at a future day, to be productive of good and great results.

But the hopes thus cherished have not been realized; we regret to say, that the prospects of Rome are only too bright. The eyes of the nation are not yet opened, and her mighty heart cannot be said to be stirred within her; she sees not her danger, and is at no pains to put on her strength to avert it. The career of the Romish church has, after all, received no check. Her hierarchal project has-not. been overthrown. The measure carried in Parliament was so much make-believe. The Popish bishops laugh it to scorn, and pursue their course as if it had no existence.

Everywhere the ministers of the gospel, both in and out of the Establishments, seemed to have been awakened to a sense of their duty, and to the perils of their common Protestantism. The Press, too, was aroused to a conviction of its duty; and - both in the way of regular authorship, and through periodical organs, it put forth its tremendous power in repelling the common enemy. Still he patiently laboured on, till now his strength is more than trebled.

But what of the Continent, and of other lands? There, we think, there are grounds for some slender hope. There is France, which throughout many ages was, as prophecy had pointed out, the right arm of Papal power. Popery is not there, it is true, overthrown; but still it is only in -a limited sense to be viewed as the established religion of the country. It is under the complete control of the government, and certainly the loss it sustained by the subversion of the monarchy of Louis Phillippe and the expulsion of the royal family is very great, and the priests feel it to be so.

The part performed by the Republican armies at Rome in restoring the Pope and suppressing infant liberty-even that, great and mournful as was the deed, is but a poor compensation for the loss sustained in the exile of the queen of the French, for many years the guardian angel of the Romish priesthood in this country, and more especially during the latter period of her husband's reign. We consider, therefore, that the hold of Popery in France has been exceedingly loosened, and a great step has been gained towards its ultimate destruction; more especially is this the case with the enlarged religious liberty of the land under the empire, which, although still defective, is a mighty improvement upon the state of things in the days of the monarchy. Napoleon III. knows the Vatican, and despises it.

Then as to Austria and Prussia, by no means is the position of the Popedom improved there; on the contrary, although in both cases the thrones of the sovereigns have been maintained; and the priesthood has not been wrenched from its original position, yet there have been implanted in the popular mind opinions which are exceedingly adverse to the permanent reign of Papal absolutism, and which will in the end overturn the Vatican.

In the smaller states of Germany, those that were visited by revolutionary tempests, the same causes to a considerable extent, an extent proportionate to the numbers of the population, have been followed by the same effects. In a word, throughout the Continent we conceive the revolutions of 1848-9 have most materially contributed to loosen the hold of the Vatican upon the nations, and to hasten the day for which all godly men are looking and longing.

The last and greatest triumph is in Italy. There the temporal power of the Pope is well-nigh destroyed, the monasteries are being uprooted, and liberty, both civil and religious, is established; Bibles are sold in the streets, the press is free, and the gospel is preached without let or hindrance. Are not these tokens that the end is approaching?

Then, with respect to America, it is an ascertained fact, that there every effort is being made by the priesthood, and the States-more especially the elder States-begin to be alarmed, and serious fears are entertained for the consequences of the policy which the Vatican is pursuing. It has recently appeared, on good authority, that they are making it a special study how to distribute little colonies of Catholics in all the new territories, with a view to anticipate population, and get the start of the Protestants, and to pollute the waters of the truth at the fountain.

These circumstances have much, very much, to do with the emigration which is going on in Ireland. It is now clear that it is not mere want of bread that is prompting this continued stream of emigration. The priests deem Ireland safe; it is all their own. The object, therefore, of the priesthood is, in conjunction with the Vatican, and in concurrence with the hierarchy of Ireland, as much as may be, to draw off the waters of this mighty lake of the Papacy to fill the new reservoirs being everywhere created across the Atlantic.

Dr. Brownlee, of New York, in his masterly work on Popery in America, remarks on this subject thus:

"No great pains have been taken to conceal the facts in this matter. We have every evidence but the open confession of the conspirators. Some of the prime movers have made striking avowals. Bishop England, in a circular published in Ireland, shows that there is an organized system of means in operation to throw in upon us immense bodies of Popish emigrants. And in his late address, issued after his return from Europe, he states that `France and Germany aid the Roman Catholic missions in America.' `The Leopoldine Institution continues to feel an interest in our concerns,' adds he. `Rome has this year contributed to our extraordinary expenses. Even the Holy Father aids us from his private purse.'

"Charles X., when on the throne of France, gave frank utterance to his cordial co-operation with Austria. ` To educate and convert America,' said his minister, in his published report, p. 89, `independent of its purely spiritual design, IS OF GREAT


America begins to feel the power of Popery in matters political. Dr. Brownlee remarks: -

"The Papists, we have seen, are duly organized by the Jesuits. Our unbounded freedom granted to all sects, gives dangerous facilities to foreign tacticians, who chose to operate on us, under the mask of Holy Religion. This sect has an admirable capacity for stratagem. One word from Vienna moves the Pope; his Holiness' rescript moves the Archbishop of Baltimore; his circular, in his turn, moves each bishop here in twenty-four hours; and each bishop rules the priests, and the priests the people, absolutely and promptly, as does any captain his battalion of soldiers.

"And it is a fact, that they avail themselves of all these facilities. The Roman Catholics, as a religious sect, move in a body in politics. Everybody sees it in all our cities. Their bishops have been heard to boast how many votes they can bring to the polls. It is no uncommon thing for the priest, after mass, to name the candidate from the altar, whom he commands his flock to support at the polls. I have in my possession a letter signed by two eminent citizens of Monroe County, Michigan, setting forth that this was the practice of the priests there, and that tickets were prepared by the Papists, of some particular colour, so that each voter might be duly watched by the priests' spies at the polls.

"Now, does every American citizen see that these tools, manufactured by popery-these men of ‘the mob spirit’-have actually begun their operations against us? What an appalling increase of crime, turbulence, pauperism, and brutal mobs every year! Look around you, and behold! What are the elements of these mobs on the railroads in Maryland and New York? Foreign Papists! Who caused the mobs of Philadelphia? Foreign Papists! Who caused the mobs at our elections? Foreign Papists! Who caused the mob and riot at the Broadway Hall, to put down free discussion? Foreign Papists! Who caused the unjustifiable riot of Charleston? The proud and impudent defiance given forth to public sentiment by vicious foreign Papists, from their den of pollution! Who dared ridicule our laws and government with this taunt, that `This system of government may be very fine in theory, very fit for imitation on the part of those who seek the power of the mob, in contradistinction to justice and the public interest; but this republic is not of a nature to invite the reflecting part of the world, and shows at least that it has faults. A public officer, in England, who would publicly avow a fear of executing his duty, and carrying into effect the law of the realm, ought to be, and would be, thrust from his office by public opinion. This one fact is condemnation of THE SYSTEM OF AMERICAN INSTITUTIONS, CONFIRMED LATELY BY NUMEROUS OTHER PROOFS!' Who uttered this outrageous and treasonable insult on our American institutions? One of the Pope's subjects, the editor of the Cincinnati Catholic Telegraph! Who holds it in his power to let loose mobs onus at his will? ` I told him,' said the Lady Superior on her oath, I that Bishop Fenwick's influence over 10,000 brave Irishmen might lead to the destruction of his property, and that of others!' Who controlled the mobs of Maryland by a word, when the civil power was really not able to do it? The priest, a subject of a foreign power! Who has dared to enact civil laws, and impose them on Indians, in our land? This clique of foreign Papists. ‘On the 5th of August, 1832,’ says Baraga, in his letters to his masters in Austria, ‘the R. C. bishop called in the chiefs of the Ottawas, and made known to them some civil laws which he had made for them. The Indians received them with pleasure, and promised solemnly to obey them. The Romish missionary and chiefs administer these laws.’ Who insulted a senator of Ohio, for refusing to uncover his head before a Romish bishop, vociferating, ‘Hats off! the bishop is coming?’ A mob of foreign Papists at Cincinnati! Who have their dungeon cells under their cathedrals, in which they claim, as inquisitors of their own diocese, to imprison free men in our republic? Foreign popish bishops! And the facts respecting a man being so confined and scourged, in the cells at Baltimore, until he recanted, have been published, and not to this day contradicted! Who compel their pupils to kneel in the dust before lordly priests; and to kiss the floor, and the feet of their lady superiors? The foreign Papists do it daily in their seminaries, to crush the spirits of free republicans! Who are in the habit of uttering ferocious threats ‘to assassinate and burn up’ those Protestants who successfully oppose Romanism? The foreign Papists! I have in my possession the evidence of no less than six such inhuman threatenings against myself. Who are in the habit of bullying and insulting native Americans, and loudly boasting that in a short time the Catholics will have the power, and that the effectual plans are now in full operation to give them the complete victory over the Yankees? Foreign Papists, even of the poorest and most ignorant classes; and who, therefore, can have learned these things only from their spiritual guides!

Then, as to Polynesia, some years back the ground for fear was considerable, and but for the subversion of the French monarchy, it is probable these fears would have proved but too well founded. As it is, possession has been taken of several islands, and much mischief has been done to the work of Christian missions; but the conduct of the French has been such in Tahiti, and in the other islands, and the people have been so thoroughly prepared by the Protestant missionary, that the prospects of Rome are, perhaps, nowhere darker than in those islands. There is no likelihood of advance beyond what has been already made, which amounts to very little. The French possess the island, they dictate the terms of residence alike to the English missionaries and the natives, but religiously they possess no power whatever. The recent outrage in Lifu has been disowned by the Government of France, and the Emperor, under his own hand, has given an assurance to the societies of England, that their missions shall not be molested.

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