This is part II of Jeremiah J. Crowley’s book, “Romanism, A Menace to the Nation” which is the previous post on this site.
As Jeremiah Crowley previously stated in part I, part II was written when he was still loyal to the Pope. The author hoped the Pope would take notice of the allegations put forth in his letter which you can read on this page, and do something to correct them. It was to no avail. This led to Jeremiah Crowley ultimately leaving the Roman Catholic Church altogether.
PREFACE TO FIFTH EDITION OF PART II.
As a Catholic priest and an American citizen, I beg you, reader, to do me the favor to read this preface carefully.
I am engaged in a crusade, not against the Church, but against Catholic clerical corruption and un-Americanism. In this crusade I face the most powerful aggregation of wealth and influence on earth.
Persecution is the only reply my opponents make to my book. They are putting forth their utmost efforts to crush me. Bookdealers and canvassers are intimidated; the secular press is muzzled, and the Catholic people are threatened with eternal damnation if they read it. Within the past few months the manager of the Sherman House, a prominent Chicago hotel at which I had resided for four years, was visited by prominent Catholic politicians and office-holders in this city, and was so intimidated by these emissaries of the Roman Catholic hierarchy that notice was given me to leave the hotel, and the boast is made by my clerical enemies that they will drive me out of the city and finally force me to leave the country. Under this pressure I have been compelled to provide myself a private home, but will not leave the city.
My crusade is no ephemeral effort. Its scope is bounded by no narrow limits. It is here to stay as long as God permits me to live. Its objectives are the wide ramifications of an ecclesiastical corruption which is destroying the sheep for whom Christ died, and undermining the foundations of free government.
Catholic ecclesiastical corruption ramparts itself in the ignorance of the people and fattens on their credulity; it gathers strength from the apathy of its opposers. There is but one weapon that will destroy its power, and that weapon is TRUTH. There is but one way in which this weapon can be wielded successfully, and that way is PUBLICITY. Catholic ecclesiastical corruption can not withstand the universal, uncompromising, unceasing publicity of truth.
I feel that in this crusade I shall have the sincere wishes for success of every enlightened citizen, be he found in the United States or in any foreign country. It is a movement large enough to appall the stoutest heart, but my trust is in God, He lives! He reigns! Strong in my faith in Him, I gladly consecrate to this herculean task my time, my means, my honor and my life.
If I am to succeed, however, I must have something more than kind wishes. I MUST HAVE MONEY! My opponents have wealth which runs into the millions. I CAN NOT GET NEEDED PUBLICITY FOR THE TRUTH WITHOUT MONEY. How am I to get money? The sale of a few million copies of my book would yield enough to secure a publicity of truth which will shake the Catholic world as with an earthquake. It will also enable me to print and circulate information that will compel Catholics to read and think and act. Of course my expenses will be large. If each of my well-wishers would be the means of selling but twenty of my books, I would secure a mighty prestige and an immense capital for my crusade against Catholic clerical corruption.
While this crusade is pre-eminently an affair of Catholics, nevertheless I feel that it is not improper to accept sympathy and aid from other Christian people who value religious freedom and have at heart the interest of free government. I, therefore, submit that public-spirited citizens, whether lay or clerical, Catholic or non-Catholic, may serve the cause of Christian truth and real patriotism by aiding in the circulation of my book.
I may seem to be asking much of lovers of purity, truth and justice, but if these were the days of Savonarola I am confident that that heroic monk of Florence would find those to whom I appeal among his most ardent supporters. Although a lesser light, I too know what it means to put life in jeopardy, and my cause is not less important than was his their help would have been freely given to him; why should I not hope that it will be given to me?
I shall be pleased to hear from you and shall be thankful for any suggestions and co-operation with which you may favor me.
It will be noticed that this edition is on a much larger scale than the first. An Appendix has been added, giving an account of the school situation in Canada. After the issue of the first edition I happened to be visiting Canada, and, to my amazement, found the parochial school, though called by another name, flourishing there with great vigor. I proceeded to inquire into matters, traveling for that purpose extensively throughout the provinces of Ontario and Quebec, and meeting some of the most prominent public men from all parts of Canada. My amazement was increased on seeing how the public school system of Canada was going down before the religious school; and I felt that here was an object-lesson to my fellow-citizens by which they might profit. I thought, at the same time, that a word of warning should be given the Canadian people of their danger.
As it may be of interest to my readers to learn that I sent a copy of the first edition of my book to Pius X., in fulfillment of the promise contained in the Introductory Chapter, I now give a copy of a letter which I sent to His Holiness, but of ^vhich the Holy Father has taken no notice in any way, shape or manner, the wicked coterie which was able to keep Pope Leo XIII. silent evidently being able to keep Pope Pius X. inactive.
CHICAGO, Illinois, U. S. A.,
April 29, 1905.
To His Holiness, Pope Phis X.,
MAY IT PLEASE YOUR HOLINESS:
I humbly beg to inform Your Holiness that on December 27, 1904, I published a book entitled “The Parochial School, A Curse to the Church, A Menace to the Nation,” and on its twenty-seventh page I stated that I would send to Your Holiness one of the first copies of it. I now fulfill that promise by this day sending to Your Holiness by registered mail, under triplicate cover, an autograph copy from the first edition.
As a reason for the publication of my book in addition to the reasons enumerated in it, I beg to inform Your Holiness that the illustrious predecessor of Your Holiness, Pope Leo XIII., and His advisers at the Vatican, never paid the slightest attention to any of the protests, charges and appeals which were filed at Rome during the controversy that arose in the Archdiocese of Chicago over the elevation of Rev. P. J. Muldoon of this city to the Episcopate. More than a score of prominent pastors and priests opposed his elevation on the most serious grounds. During this controversy over one hundred documents were sent to Rome by the friends of purity, truth and justice; but the Church authorities there remained as silent as the Sphinx. This course of the Vatican convinced me that the clerical and episcopal enemies, at home and abroad, of a reformation in the American priesthood, had formed a coterie which was influential enough, either to keep the documents from the Head of the Church, or to induce Him to ignore them. Since the accession of Your Holiness to the Pontifical Throne, the same course of silence has been pursued. In view of these facts, I could see no other way to circumvent the iniquitous coterie than to resort to publicity. I humbly assure Your Holiness that I was greatly emboldened to adopt this method by the fearless and encouraging words which Your Holiness addressed to the eminent historian of Holy Church, Dr. Ludwig Pastor, “The truth is not to be feared.”
Your Holiness will observe that my book deals with the parochial school as it is, and that it is in fact an expose of that institution; that it contains an appalling account of priestly graft, immorality and sacrilege, a part of which account is taken from the history of Dr. Pastor and another part of which consists of the details of the crimes and rascalities of twentyseven American ecclesiastics; that it shows that the Catholic Church in America has lost over thirty million adherents; that it discusses the existence of Apaism, and shows that among its causes are the Parochial School, the demand for the restoration of the Temporal Power of the Papacy, the insistence upon having a Papal Nuncio at Washington, and the blatant boasting of American prelates, and that for a conclusive proof of the existence of Apaism it cites the fact that no political party in this country dare nominate a Catholic for the Presidency or Vice-Presidency of the United States; that it pleads for the control of the temporalities of the Church to be placed in the hands of the laity; and that it champions the Public School on the ground that it is an absolutely necessary institution, and shows that it guarantees freedom of speech, freedom of conscience and the freedom of the press.
I humbly assure Your Holiness that my book is a truthful presentation of the facts therein stated, and that it is far less severe than the materials in my hands warrant. I humbly assure Your Holiness that only the profound conviction that a resort to publicity was the sole course left open to me by which to circumvent the powerful coterie of iniquitous priests and prelates, and thereby to save from destruction the Catholic Church in America, could have induced me to publish my book. In what I have done I am glad to assure Your Holiness that I have the comforting consciousness of the approval of Almighty God. In fact, during the preparation of my book I sought daily the aid of Holy Grace.
I humbly assure Your Holiness that I issued my book with the fervent prayer that it would lead to the emancipation of the Catholic people from the domination of drunken, avaricious and immoral priests and prelates; and that it would deliver the Church from the adoption and pursuit of policies which are antagonistic to fundamental Americanisms. That my book will ultimately achieve these results, I confidently believe.
I am pleased to inform Your Holiness that my book is being circulated in ever-increasing quantities in the United States, Canada and Europe. If my unpretentious publication could but have the patronage of Your Holiness, how vastly enhanced would be its reformatory influence! Most humbly I beseech Your Holiness to grant to it the Apostolic blessing.
I beg to inform Your Holiness that I am hoping to be able to publish ere long translations of my book in the various countries of Europe. When my arrangements are completed for the publication of the Italian edition of it, I shall humbly beg the high honor of dedicating it to Your Holiness.
I humbly call the attention of Your Holiness to the fact that the readers of my book are adversely criticising the ecclesiastical authorities for ignoring the grave charges contained in it. They say that if my book were an arraignment ot the clergy of any Protestant sect by one of its own clergymen, the officials of that sect would call the author to account before the eyes of the world, and that they would say to him, “Give the names of these clerical sinners and prove your charges, or we will forthwith expel you from our communion.” They say that such a course would be pursued in any secret order, such as the Masonic fraternity, or even in a labor union. I most humbly suggest to Your Holiness that the method outlined by my readers is the policy of conscious integrity everywhere.
I humbly submit to Your Holiness that to treat with silence the grave charges contained in my book is tantamount to a confession of fear that they are no idle tales, but that I have the proof to support them. I humbly assure Your Holiness that I would welcome an opportunity, open to the eyes of the world, to exhibit the proof which I have, proof which shows conclusively that drunken and licentious priests and prelates are ministering at our Altars and in the Confessional, proof that shows beyond a question that in the name of religion the shepherds of the flocks are robbing the devoted Catholic people.
It is with great sadness that I inform Your Holiness that since the publication of my book additional proof of priestly and episcopal depravity has been daily accumulating in my hands. It includes names, offenses, places and dates. It is minute in its details and appalling in its nastiness. Clerical and episcopal hypocrisy, licentiousness, drunkenness and avarice are the manifestations of an ulcer which is consuming the vitals of the Catholic Church in America. This ulcer should be removed by heroic measures. May the Great Head of the Church aid His Vicar to apply the necessary remedies!
That the reign of Your Holiness may be numbered among the most illustrious Pontificates in the annals of the Church, is the prayer of
Your humble servant in Christ,
JEREMIAH J. CROWLEY,
A Priest of the Archdiocese of Chicago.
I deem it important at this point to direct the attention of the public to the fact that I am a priest in good standing of the Archdiocese of Chicago, as will be seen by referring to the documents set forth on page 256 of this book.
Priests and Prelates accuse me covertly of making false accusations: I now state that if my opponents can disprove the charges in my book, I will hand over to them all the plates of my book, and I will agree to stop its publication forever. Since these accusations were published nearly two years have elapsed, and the Church officials have not arraigned me, nor taken any step looking to the disproof of my accusations.
Non vale sed salve! (Latin for “But not farewell”)
J. J. C.
CHICAGO, NOVEMBER, 1906.