If anyone wants to hear an eloquent oration. let him go where the Roman Catholic priest is preaching on the divine institution of auricular confession. There is no subject, perhaps, on which the priests display so much zeal and earnestness, and of which they speak so often. For this institution is really the corner-stone of their stupendous power it is the secret of their almost irresistible influence. Let the people open their eyes today to the truth, and understand that auricular confession is one of the most stupendous impostures which Satan has invented to corrupt and enslave the world; let the people desert the confessional-box today, and tomorrow Romanism will fall into dust. The priests understand this very well; hence their constant efforts to deceive the people on that question. To attain their object, they have recourse to the most egregious falsehoods; the Scriptures are misrepresented; the Holy Fathers are brought to say the very contrary of what they have ever thought written; and the most extraordinary miracles and stories are invented. But two of the arguments to which they have more often recourse are the great and perpetual miracles which God makes to keep the purity of the confessional undefiled, and its secrets marvelously sealed. They make the people believe that the vow of perpetual chastity changes their nature, turns them into angels, and puts them above the co mmon frailties of the fallen children of Adam.
Bravely, and with a brazen face, when they are interrogated on that subject, they say that they have special graces to remain pure and undefiled in the midst of the greatest dangers, that the Virgin Mary, to whom they are consecrated, is their powerful advocate to obtain from her Son that superhuman virtue of chastity; that which would be a cause of sure perdition to common men is without peril and danger for a true Son of Mary and, with amazing stupidity, the people consent to be duped, blinded, and deceived by those fooleries.
But here, let the world learn the truth as it is, from one who knows perfectly everything inside and outside the walls of that modern Babylon. Though many, I know, will disbelieve me and say, "We hope you are mistaken; it is impossible that the priests of Rome mould turn out to be such impostors they may be mistaken; they may believe and repeat things which are not true, but they are honest; they cannot be such impudent deceivers."
Yes; though I know that many will hardly believe me, I must tell the truth.
Those very men, who, when speaking to the people in such glowing terms of the marvelous way they are kept pure, in the midst of the dangers which surround them, honestly blush-and often weep-when they speak to each other (when they are sure that nobody, except priests, hear them). They deplore their own moral degradation with the utmost sincerity and honesty; they ask from God and men pardon for their unspeakable depravity.
I have here in my hands-and under my eyes-one of their most remarkable secret books, written (or at least approved) by one of their greatest and best bishops and cardinals, the Cardinal de Bonald, Archbishop of Lyons.
The book is written for the use of priests alone. Its title is, in French, "Examen de Conscience des Pretres." At page 34 we read :-
"Have I left certain: persons to make the declarations of their sins in such a way that the imagination, once taken and impressed by pictures and representations, could be dragged into a long course of temptations and grievous sins? The priests do not pay sufficient attention to the continual temptations caused by the hearing of confessions. The soul is gradually enfeebled in such a way that, at the end, the virtue of chastity is for ever lost."
Here is the address of a priest to other priests, when he suspects that nobody but his co-sinner brethren hear him. Here is the honest language of truth.
In the presence of God those priests acknowledge that they have not a sufficient fear of those Constant (what a word-what an acknowledgment-constant I) temptations, and they honestly confess that these temptations come from the hearing of the confession of so many scandalous sins. Here the priests honestly acknowledge that these constant temptations, at the end, destroy forever in them the holy virtue of purity.*
Ah ! would to God that all the honest girls and women whom the devil entraps into the snares of auricular confession could hear the cries of distress of those poor priests whom they have tempted forever. Would to God that they could see the torrents of tears shed by so many priests, because, from the hearing of confessions, they had forever lost the virtue of purity! They would understand that the confessional is a snare, a pit of perdition, a Sodom for the priest; they would be struck with horror and shame at the idea of the continual, shameful, dishonest, degrading temptations by which their confessor is tormented day and night-they would blush on account of the shameful sins which their confessors have committed-they would weep over the irreparable loss of their purity-they would promise before God and men that the confessional. box should never see them any more-they would prefer to be burned alive, if any sentiment of honesty and charity remained in them, rather than consent to be a cause of constant temptations and damnable sin, to that man.
Would that respectable lady go any more to confess to that man if, after her confession, she could hear him lamenting the continual, shameful temptations which assail him day and night, and the damning sins which he had committed on account of what she had confessed to him? No! a thousand times, no!
Would that honest father allow his beloved daughter to go any more to that man to confess, if he could hear his cries of distress, and see his tears flowing, because the hearing of those confessions is the source of constant shameful temptations and degrading iniquities?
Oh! would to God that the honest Romanists all over the world-for there are millions, who, though deluded, are honest-could see what is going on in the heart and the imagination of the poor confessor when he is, there, surrounded by attractive women and tempting girls, speaking to him from morning to night on things which a man cannot hear without falling! Then that modern but grand imposture, called the Sacrament of Penance, would soon be ended.
But here, again, who will not lament the consequence! of the total perversity of our human nature? Those very same priests, who when alone, in the presence of God, speak so plainly of the constant temptations by which they are assailed, and who so sincerely weep over the irreparable loss of their virtue of purity, when they think that nobody hears them, will yet, in public with a brazen face, deny those temptations. They will indignantly rebuke you as a slanderer if you say anything to lead them to suppose that you fear for their purity, when they hear the confession of girls or married women!
There is not a single one of the Roman Catholic authors, who have written on that subject for the priests, who has not deplored their innumerable and degrading sins against purity, on account of the auricular confession; but those very men will be the first to try to prove the very contrary when they write books for the people. I have no words to tell what was my surprise when, for the first time, I saw that this strange duplicity seemed to be one of the fundamental stones of my Church.