The Serpent around the Capitol of Washington

It is idle to dream of the purity of men who are accustomed to mouth words full of vile suggestions. As a man thinketh, so is he.” This had been theory. When the lecture entitled :


was delivered in one of our great cities, a storm of opposition was raised by Rome. The lecture was called ” foul-mouthed” by leading Roman Catholics, and the nuns were spoken of as immaculate and above suspicion. A lady who had been ten years in one of the nunneries of the town, came to a subsequent lecture, and sent a friend to the platform of the crowded hall, who said : “I am authorized by a lady now in this audience, a member of a Congregational church” giving her name, and the locality where she resided ” to say, that she has been ten years in a a convent in this city, and for eight years wore the black veil as a nun ; and she declares that all that has been said, charging incontinency upon priests and nuns, is true, but that the half has not been told.” That was much. This that follows is more. A gentleman occupying a distinguished position in the Christian world, brought the following statement. It seemed incredible, and was not used until it had been attested on oath. With feelings bordering on horror, it was read word for word ; and if after reading this, that is faithfully copied, and the chapter preceding, there are those who claim that Romanism is worthy of regard, should they not be classed with those who gladly “believe a lie that they may be damned ” ?

A young man of seventeen years is walking the deck of an excursion steamer. Two men, dressed as priests, are on the deck. One of them bows to the young man. he returns the salutation. Where upon one of the priests steps up and says : “I am glad, my son, to note your reverence for the fathers of your church.” I said : ” My custom is “to treat with respect any professed teacher of Christian Faith.” He asked me to sit down beside him, and He enquired my name, age, occupation, parentage,, purpose in life, etc. ; and on my telling him that I expected to study law, he gave me much sound and wholesome advice. Finally he asked me if I knew him. I said: “No.” He said he was His Grace the Archbishop of Toronto ; and that the priest who as with him was Father . I expressed my due recognition of the honor of a conversation with His Grace ; whereupon he said, he had taken quite an interest in me, and would like to grant me an absolution for my past sins, if I would confess them to him ; and that he had no doubt he could get the key of the Captain s stateroom for the purpose. I replied that it would be useless, because I had no faith in the efficacy of any such pardoning. He asked me to take off my hat and pray with him ; and the three of us removed our hats, and he offered up a very earnest, brief prayer there upon the deck the place where we were sitting being quite secluded, and we remained sitting during the prayer. After the prayer, he continued talking to me for an hour, giving me excellent advice on my life and habits, especially warning me against the gratification of sensual passions, either by self-abuse or harlotry.

From the steamboat they pass to a parlor-car ; and there, the door being locked, the youth was asked to make himself comfortable on a couch at the side of the Archbishop. He then led the conversation into special lines. For example, he asked me : “If in school I had not often had my passion aroused by the legs of the girls being visible below their short dresses, and if I had not known boys who were seated across the aisle from the girls to deliberately drop pencils or books on the floor, so that, when picking them up, they might look under the skirts of the nearest girl.” This is surprising language for an Archbishop to address to a youth of seventeen. It is but the prelude to the nastiness that follows. This was one of the illustrations upon which he built skilful and forcible arguments against the Protestant public school question.

As a further illustration this time on the line of the open Bible he referred to Luke 2:23 : “Every male that openeth the womb, shall be called holy to the Lord ; ” and he said that he knew of hundreds of instances where young men had twisted that passage into an excuse for immoral connection. And upon this, and other illustrations of a like nature, he erected what he thought an impregnable barrier against the free use of the Bible, apart from priestly guidance.

The Archbishop having attempted to awaken distrust in the mind of the youth in regard to the most pertinent and solid grounds of Protestantism, very quickly developed ” a careful, elaborate and attractive description of the Roman Catholic Church, its universality, the grandeur of its history, its glorious ritual, its magnificent conquests in the past, the sanctity of a priest’s life, the unequaled advantages for study which it offered, the high positions which faithful energy could achieve within its bounds, and particularly did he dilate on the opportunities which there were given for a complete education, a finished course of knowledge.”

He dazzled me with a glorious view of Catholic scholarship, claiming that all truth lay within the reach of a priest, while the wonderful statement which he made of their communion with God seemed to clothe them with a halo of divinity. They were said to be above truth, because they were the companions of God, who was the Author of truth.

His portraiture of the Pope was dazzling. He was the monarch of emperors ; his subjects were numbered by hundreds of millions. He was infallible, and the authorized representation of the Godhead on earth ; and his treasures, whether viewed financially in gold and silver and precious stones, or spiritually in the worship given to him by his subjects in any light, his treasures were infinite ; and this, he said, was possible to me, though, of course, not probable. But he pointed out to me, that in the lawful struggle for ascendancy in the Catholic Church, my ambition could be satiated to its fullest fruition, and the greatest glory of my proudest desires could be more than satisfied; while even if I never became more than a common priest, my power and influence would be far greater than that of the highest judge in the land ; and all these glorious possibilities would be laid open to me then and there, if I would but humbly and penitently become a convert to the truth. I could go straight to Toronto with him, and within twenty-four hours could be safely under the fold of the only and everlasting church of God.

The triune oath required of me, he said, was very simple. Poverty, chastity, and obedience were then described ; and so skilfully was the web laid that he thought my entanglement was complete.

It was at this juncture that I expressed my fear that, with my passionate nature, I could not keep pure the second vow, and that I had a great dislike to any pursuit in life that would quench the lire of my passion. This, I candidly stated to him, was a most serious obstacle ; whereupon he gave me the following explanation of the vow, stating that it followed and was intimately connected with the first vow, and could be only thoroughly understood in that light; and that “when these two vows were properly understood, it was quite consistent with them that the priest and the nun should mutually gratify the sensual desires of the other.”


(1) All priests and nuns must take the vow of poverty. (2) This vow means, the yielding to the service of the church of God, not only your property, but your body and your mind ; that is to say, your affections and your very thoughts. (3) Therefore, you, as a person, no longer exist; both priest and nun are an inherent part of the church. (4) Hence, physical coition between the two was no more sin than the contact of the opposite organs of an hemaphrodite, or the mingling of the various robes of priest and nun it was simply the contact of various parts of the one organization.


(1) The Church was the bride of Christ. (2) The priest was the representative or local vicar of Christ. (3) It followed, that every nun, by her marriage with the Church, became a part of the body of Christ s bride. (4) Hence, physical connection between priest and nun is not only the privilege, but becomes the duty, of those connected with the church.


(1) The Word of God, and especially the epistles of Paul, particularly insist and teach, that every believer in Christ, becomes an organ in the body of Christ. (2) Hence, all members of the true Church of Christ become equal members of the one body. (3) Hence, as stated by Paul, in 1 Cor. 12:21

, ” The head cannot say lo the feet, I have no need of thee.” So neither can the priest or nun. (4) Hence, it follows again, as laid down by Paul in the same chapter, “that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care one for another.” (5) Hence, he concluded, that the coition of priest and nun for mutual comfort, was as natural as the chafing together of the right and left hand in cold weather. The Archbishop was ably seconded in the matter by Father , whose role appeared to be the inserting of complimentary remarks concerning the Archbishop, and extolling his wisdom, learning, zeal, etc.

After this came the suggestion that the young man should leave gun and rod in the passenger coach, and drop his hat out of the window ; which would lead his parents to believe that he had fallen from the train; while the non-discovery of his body would always remain with them as a hope that he was not dead and might ultimately return; while he was to proceed with the Archbishop to the city, where, after being admitted into the Catholic Church, he would be provided with a first-class passage to Rome, and a recommendation to an eminent official there ; from which time onward, all the scholarships of Christendom would be within his grasp, while the only limits to his towering ambition would be the energy and ability which he should display to entitle him to it, and the fullest gratification of all natural desires could be accomplished in a manner perfectly consistent with a holy and sanctified life, the service of Christ and his fellow-men, with the certain guarantee, of eternal life. Such was the Archbishop s scheme. If anything more devilish can be devised, it proves great capacity in that line. The youth was earnestly persuaded not to reject the truth. See him ! He is in the car without a friend. The Archbishop and priest are his keepers. All knelt together in prayer. The prelate prayed for his conversion. A few minutes might have sealed his doom ; when, in the mercy of God, the locomotive s shrill whistle blew for his home station. That sudden shriek brought him back suddenly to reality and decision. One thought of home, of mother, of Bible and Christ, and the temptation was gone. Thanking the Archbishop for his kindness, he sprung to the door, turned the key, retired from the car, and in a moment was upon the platform saved from popery and hell !

Does such a statement throw any light upon the conduct of priests? Is it strange that men thus taught so often fall? ” Oh,” said a young priest to Blanco White, with tears in his eyes, after having for four or five years discharged the duties of his station, ” God only knows what I have suffered during this time ! And if I have fallen, it is not with out fighting. Had I been allowed to choose a wife as it is the law of God, who destines man to marriage, whatever our rules teach to the contrary, I should have been the happiest man in the world ; I should be a good, a holy priest ; while now, I am oh, I am ashamed of myself!” This is really the sad history of all their falls ; for, let us be just, no men are tempted like priests. Their passions are often necessarily aroused. The demon of bad thoughts takes possession of them. Their ministry drives them into such relations with women, into whose most secret thoughts they are obliged to enter, that their virtue receives many shocks. Admit that in the beginning they try to be faithful. They nutter, fall, reform again, go on, fall again, and at length, to finish this horrible struggle, abandon faith, and sink into Atheism ; because of the impossibility of reconciling their faith with conduct so vile, and yet so common to the class. If the statement of the Archbishop contains the truth, what a horrid light it sheds upon the conduct of priests !

A gray-haired mother who had fled from Rome to Christ, came and said : “My granddaughter is being wooed and won by Father . She spoke as if the priest was a lover, and not a minister. “Can priests win hearts? Is that their vocation?”

“They were nominally for the church; but really for themselves,” was the sad reply. They had read “Why Priests Should Wed,” and were startled by its terrible revelations. The young lady accompanied her grandmother to the house of God. Beautiful in face and form, attractive in manner, soft-toned in speech, she seemed fitted to make some man a good wife, and to become the centre of a pleasant home. She had determined to become a nun. The cloister was not in her thought, nor was religion. She was in love with the priest, and thought of passing into the cloister that she might have him, so soon as she became a spiritual sister. Then came Gavazzi’s words of warning to the nun. He said: “The Jesuits, too, have nuns. For almost every order of monks there is a corresponding order of nuns. If monks are useless and dangerous, what are nuns ? They are very gentle-speaking ladies, very delicate ladies; but, are they Scriptural ? No ! Christ never instituted nuns ! He came alike to men and women, and all the human race. Among his followers were humble and devout women, Mary Magdalen and Martha and others, to whom he spoke of things eternal ; but did he ever say to any of them : I wish you to become a nun ? Never ! He said : Come and follow me ; but never, Go to a cloister ! {Gavazzi’s Lectures, pp. 87} And yet nuns swarm in Washington. They ride in carriages ; they walk in procession ; they fatten at the public crib, and are treated by Congressmen as if they were worthy of supreme regard. Their names we need not give, nor describe the great establishment. Do parents understand, in the light of the Archbishop s statement, the character, standing, and habits of these “Sisters” so-called, who with the gratification of every passionate desire are promised eternal life?

It is time the iniquitous character of these institutions were made known. If nuns are what the Archbishop describes them, the mistresses of priests, let it be known, Do parents consider the terrible meaning of the conduct of a priest when he makes love to a girl and obtains her consent to abandon home and friends, and immure herself in a convent, and become in her full maturity, in her ripe beauty, the slavish subject of the priest ? In “Why Priests Should Wed,” the warnings of Wm. Hogan and Maria Monk are given, but the words of the Archbishop, and the argument by which the position is maintained, throw light upon this subject. As educators, nuns are failures. They live under the influence of their father-confessors,

These are generally Jesuits, or Jesuitically educated ; the nun will impart to her pupil the same education she receives from her spiritual director, a poor, bigoted, contemptible, anti- American education. This is the education given by those nunned and cloistered teachers, the willing subject of the priests, and who by example, if not by word, make a protension to virtue a play, if not a by-word and a sham.

Beware for your homes. Nuns are to be found not only in monasteries, but abroad ; they travel in disguise, like Jesuits. They enter homes as servants ; and though often deemed a great blessing in a Protestant family, they are at times just the reverse. They know how to peep through the keyhole, and carry all information they can obtain to the father-confessor. Would you have in your families an adroit, consummate spy? Take a servant educated by nuns, and your wish is gratified. It is beginning to be fashionable to think that hospitals and asylums are sure to be well cared for if given into the charge of Sisters of Charity. Before they were introduced, hospitals and schools were well attended ; and were they now extinct, American institutions would be well cared for ; while what good they do is more than outweighed by the unmitigated evil of the general aim and tendency of monastic institutions.

Continue to chapter 13

Contents of Washington in the Lap of Rome



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