CHAPTER V. ARCHBISHOP QUIGLEY COWED BY A FEARLESS WOMAN.
On the 1 5th of June, 1903, Archbishop Quigley, of Chicago, had an interview with a lady by appointment to hear her complaints about certain bad priests. He met her, holding in his hand a bundle of papers which included an affidavit she had made against “Rev. No. 23, A Debauchee” Rev. C. P. Foster, Rector, Sacred Heart parish, Joliet, Illinois. He looked savagely at her, seated himself at the table, laid the papers to one side and commenced to pound the table with his fists.
“Don’t you know,” he cried, “that it is excommunication for a lay person to make affidavit against a priest?”
“Why, no,” she said, “I do not.”
“Well,” he said, “I tell you it is,” and His Grace kept pounding the table.
The lady, not at all terrified, drew her chair up to the table, and began to beat time with her hands upon it, saying: “Archbishop, I did not come here to be bullied; I came by appointment to tell you certain things about your bad priests, and I am going to tell them to you! If you persist in pounding the table and yelling, I will pound the table too and scream! You shall listen to me, and you had better be a gentleman!”
The Archbishop subsided gracefully, and the good woman told him her tale of truth, made up of experiences with the Catholic priesthood of the Archdiocese of Chicago running through a period of thirty years.
She said: “Don’t think, Your Grace, that the Catholic people are to be scared by threats of excommunication; we have become too wise for that; the so-called excommunication of Father Crowley opened our eyes.”
He said, “Did Father Crowley get you to make this affidavit ?”
She said: “He did not; but so far as Father Crowley is concerned, I say, God bless Father Crowley! he is a credit to our Church, and the Catholic people are proud of him! he is not like a great many others of your clergy here; for instance, he is not like Leyden!” [See “Rev. No. 22, A Seductionist.”]
“O my God,” said the Archbishop, throwing up his hands, “don’t mention his name; I’ve Leyden on the brain!”
“Very well, then, Your Grace, I will put some more of them on your brain!” and the brave woman called the attention of her Archbishop to certain sinning priests by name.
The Archbishop said, “Oh, that is ancient history! give me something modern!”
She said: “Is it ancient history when priests are getting drunk in this city every day, misconducting themselves in every shape and form and going under assumed names dressed as laymen?”
“Well,” he said, “you may think things are bad here, but they are worse elsewhere; they are worse in Buffalo and many times worse in New York.”
She said: “If that is so, that is no justification for our putting up with bad priests in Chicago; we Catholic women have actually built the Catholic churches here, and we are entitled to protection.”
He said: “It is the bounden duty of good Catholics to cover up the guilt of their clergy, just as it is their duty to hide the guilt of their parents!”
She said: “What? do you tell me that if my parents got drunk every day and were dragged out of disreputable places, having their faces battered and heads broken so they needed surgical care, and taken to police stations and kept there several days and every one knowing it, it would be my duty to try to make people believe that my parents were saints?”
“Yes, it is,” he said. “You can’t make me believe that,” she answered. She said: “Don’t you know, Archbishop, that there are bad priests here?”
“Well, yes,” he said, counting upon his fingers, “there are five six seven bad priests!”
She said: “You have been here but three months and you have found out seven; when you have been here six months you will probably find out that there are seventy-seven, and more.”
She then asked him how he could reconcile his unkind and unjust treatment of Father Crowley with his treatment of those seven bad priests, leaving them in the enjoyment of their rich parishes with full power to offer up the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, to hear confessions, and to have the care of souls.
He said: “Well, we must all admit that Father Crowley is a good priest, morally and otherwise, but he has given scandal by exposing the guilt of his brother priests.”
She said: “I am positive he has not, because we knew all about those priests before ever Father Crowley came here; to my knowledge a few of the good priests, for many years back, tried to stop priestly misconduct in this archdiocese, but they failed, and nothing was done until Father Crowley joined them in their efforts.”
He said: “Well, I personally have nothing against Father Crowley! I am ready and willing to give him the very best parish in the archdiocese; his case is now in the hands of the Papal Delegate [Archbishop Falconio], and if the Papal Delegate writes me to appoint Father Crowley to the Holy Name Cathedral, I will do it with as little hesitation as if he were my own brother!”
He then complimented her upon her courage, saying, “You are the nerviest woman I have ever met in my life!”
She said: “I am speaking for at least one thousand Roman Catholic women, and when I come here again I will be speaking for at least five thousand.”
The Archbishop, with great gallantry, opened the door for her, and he bade her good-day with a cordial clasp of the hand. This lady was one of the best workers in the Catholic Church in Chicago, having labored day and night in its interests, spending her strength and her means without limit. She has especially endeared herself to the poor and to the suffering.
- CHAPTER I. WHY I WITHDREW FROM ROMANISM.
- CHAPTER II. CELIBACY AND CONFESSIONAL.
- CHAPTER III. ROME, RUM, RUIN.
- CHAPTER IV. THE CONFESSION OF A ‘CONVERT’ TO ROMANISM.
- CHAPTER V. ARCHBISHOP QUIGLEY COWED BY A FEARLESS WOMAN.
- CHAPTER VI. NEW ‘GET-RICH-QUICK’ SCHEMES.
- CHAPTER VII. THE POPES AND THE BIBLE.
- CHAPTER VIII. PAPAL DESPOTISM.
- CHAPTER IX. ROME THE MOTHER AND MISTRESS OF CRIME.
- CHAPTER X. CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS A JEW.
- CHAPTER XI ROME EVER AND EVERYWHERE THE SAME.
- CHAPTER XII. ROME AND AMERICA.
- CHAPTER XIII. ROMANIZING NON-CATHOLIC COUNTRIES.