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almost every important town.* Look and see how many of our statesmen, judges, and other officials are Roman Catholics. Peruse history, amongst others, Motley's Rise and Fall of the Dutch Republic, and see what our fathers suffered from the hands of Christ's religion of love (?). Awake, I say, Women of England, to the insidious march of Popery in our loved and free country, and doubly awake to its counterpart, Ritualism, “The Half-way House to Rome!!" Well may Rome feel easy in England. The
* A Jesuits' college was founded in 1794-5 at Stonyhurst, whose scholars numbered 200 to 300. There is, or was, another at or near Durham, as well as the celebrated one at Maynooth, and now the one near Guildford. These four alone would give about 1,000 persons instructed in Jesuitical doctrines, and what of all the others? In the Daily Chronicle of October 5th, 1891, are a few statistics. The increase of the Catholic population of South London since 1881 amounts, according to the Bishop of Southwark's estimate, to at least 22,000 persons, and it is estimated thereby that the Catholic population of South London reaches a total of 200,000 souls. The Bishop says there has been an immense increase of power and work in South London in the past six or seven years ; new schools, additions to present ones, new churches, additions to the clergy, and “a great and striking increase of intelligence and interest amongst the laity.” And in a report given by the same paper, October 19th, 1891, of the reopening of the Church of the Sacred Heart, the Rev. Luke Rivington said, in the course of his sermon, "he did not say that England was returning to the Catholic faith, but he had the authority of a clergyman, who from his high position had knowledge on the subject, that never before had those outside their communion been looking more ardently or more sympathetically towards the Catholic Church for deliverance from the evils of society. This gentleman, let it be noted, was, before his conversion to Romanism, a member of the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament, and also a member of the Bombay Branch of the English Church Union in 1886. Whither are the Ritualists leading us? For these are their great organs and propagators of their doctrines. The secession of such as this reverend gentleman is not quite consistent with the following Ritualistic teaching : “No one of any reputation as a theologian or student of ecclesiastical history ever thinks, nowadays, of seceding from the Church of England to join the Roman communion. A few devout Anglo-Catholics of a weak, sensitive spirit sometimes secede, dismayed by the conduct of some irreverent clergyman of the Church Association type, or shocked by some Episcopal denunciation of Catholic truth.' “ The assertion that “from every Ritualistic congregation in London there is a continual stream of converts drifting towards Rome' is simply a statement for the silly to believe.”—Hints to Penitents, by a Priest, p. 283. A few months ago another English Church Union clergyman seceded, but the name has escaped me. Within the last
English Church Union (of which the writer was an associate), the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament, and the Society of the Holy Cross (in truth, the English society of Jesuits), and the infamous confessional (through which I have passed), and the priests who advocate such a degrading ordeal, are doing her work well in reducing English men and women, but more especially the latter, to the level of priest-ridden creatures, bereft of the mind their God has given them, and with neither honest, open self-respect, nor will, nor energy to think, act, or speak for themselves. Just put your common sense to work and your woman's wit. If persons choose to believe in transubstantiation, vestments, lights, and the like, though we don't agree with them, what does it matter? they alone are answerable for their own soul; but as to the Confessional, it is quite a different matter. First, the priest knows the woman likes him by choosing to come to him; then, having obtained access to her inmost thoughts (for she must confess without reservation, even to her thoughts, and “the greater the shame here, the greater the glory hereafter”), he is enabled to know all about her family affairs, whether she has a pleasant united home with her father, if a spinster; if married, whether she loves her husband, and he her, even to their most private relations ;* whether he is of the same faith, and thus can be also held in bondage; whether her children are likely to fall under his (the priest's) hands, and to obtain this desideratum family quarrels are frequently engendered. In a word, the priest becomes, by this act of confession alone, the Inquisitor and probable mischiefmaker of every family in which one or more of the members come to him for confession.
The doctrine that one's confession is made to God in the presence of His priest, a poor sinful creature like his penitent, sounds very fine; but unfortunately the teaching of the
month or two we have an open attempt to approach the Pope by the Anglican Priests and even Bishops, for the purpose of being united to the Roman Catholic Head. How can they reconcile this with their oath of allegiance to their Queen while thus acknowledging another temporal Sovereign?
* See the questions for self-examination, Part II., Chapter I., pp. 49, 50; Chapter II., p. 63 ; Chapter III., pp. 88-9.
Ritualist as contained in books is converse, viz., that one should regard the priest as God's delegate and representative; but so long as the priest wears a human form, so long will the human eye choose the material rather than the spiritual—a fact recognised by the Ritualists, who advocate the outward forms of ceremony as a means of spiritual grace. There is no doubt whatever the tone and even the words of Ritualistic manuals clearly intimate that the Confessor and Spiritual Father is to be considered and obeyed as God, and before the father and mother whom God, without question, has given; for without His ordering no child can be born into the world.
That the Confessional is a means of sin and impurity cannot be denied, and men who preach this doctrine are known to have been guilty with the female portion of their flock, to whom they represent themselves as good shepherds. It is the old story of “Don't do as I do, but do as I tell you !” that is, bow down in reverence to us priests* and
*“ To obey the directions of the clergy, even though they themselves (which God forbid) live not up to their own rule, remembering our Lord's command, “What they say, do; but what they do, do ye not, Churchman's Guide to Faith and Piety, p. 18. To show how the Ritualist perverts (or rather St. Benedict, from whose rule the above is taken in the Churchman's Guide), the actual passage is quoted, so that the reader may observe it is not of the Apostles (the spiritual ancestors of the present clergy), but to them and of the Pharisees that He spoke, and the command issued in the 9th verse appears to show how completely they disregard the “ will of their superior” themselves in teaching their penitents to address them as “Father” (see Form of Confession, p. 7). “Then spake Jesus to the multitude and to his disciples, saying, The Scribes and Pharisees sit in Moses' seat : All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do ; but do ye not after their works ; for they say and do not. For they bind heavy burdens grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders : (such as confession, for instance)" but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. But all their works they do to be seen of men : they make broad their phylacteries and enlarge the borders of their garments,” (wear gorgeous vestments), "and love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues,” (prominently standing before the high altar), “and greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi” (Father Benedict, for instance, and to be curtsied to by all the ladies and girls).
“ But be not ye called Rabbi : for one is your Master, even Christ, and ye are all brethren.” (Well said, Atheist and Theosophist, art not thou nearer
obey us implicitly, and under seal of secrecy* and absolution, you and I may do what we like!
If we are not to think and act for ourselves, for what purpose has God given us a mind? Why has He told us to work out our own salvation without a word of reference to a priest save the great High Priest, even Jesus Christ ?
Let us read our Bibles, Women of England; let us look around at the marvels of our great God in the woods, the fields, rivers, bird life, and insect life (to which last all have access even in towns), the great and ever wonderful sea, the glorious sunrises and sunsets, even when curtailed by chimney-pots, and adore for ourselves our Creator, His loving, gentle Son, our great High Priest, the great Physician of our souls ;and lastly, let us open our hearts and consciences to the Holy Spirit, being sure that He will speak and guide us if only we will listen. Throw down the challenge to them, Women! Tell them when they can heal as their predecessors, the Apostles, when they can bid the sea leave its appointed place, when they can, by virtue of their integrity, purity, and the power they pretend to receive from God, work miracles, then, and then only, will we believe they have power to forgive sins.
As our American sisters not only preached a crusade against drink but won the victory, so, Women of England, let us arise from lethargy, and, choosing the pure faith of
Christ than those who profess to receive divine power to forgive sins ? At any rate, thou obeyest God in thy simple teaching of universal brotherhood). “And call no man father upon the earth : for one is your Father which is in heaven.” (Matt. xxiii. 1-9.)
* This is always strenuously insisted on, and one is given to understand that damnation is one's fate if confession is revealed. That it is flippantly discussed by society ladies over five o'clock tea the writer knows, as well as the respective merits of the various “ dear Fathers.”
† If priest, therefore, we must have for our salvation, the Divine must surely precede the human and sinful, and therefore having the higher, we need not the latter at all.
So that again we need not the poor human priest to set up as able to cure our spiritual diseases.
& Christ has promised us this. Why, then, should we seek to rely on human guidance? In all these cases would not the priest tell us plainly, had he no ulterior object, “My child, daughter, or son, listen to thy conscience with prayer : God and His Holy Spirit will guide thee !"
our fathers when, with the blue sky above and the moors and fields around, they adopted the words “Where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them,”* let us show both the Romanist and Ritualistic priest their baleful presence is not wanted in our English families; that we intend in future to obey God's command, “Enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret ; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly,” and “your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask Him.”+ Therefore Scripture clearly shows we need not priestly intercession, no "begging thee, my Ghostly Father, to pray to the Lord our God for me," or any such phrases. Let us absent ourselves from their services and ministrations, and let us, above all, cast off the degrading slavery of confessing to a man when our God is willing to hear us direct. Let us remember it is through the frailties of us easily satisfied weak women, with our loving dependent nature craving for consolation and support, that they rely to forward the interest of their tenets, and through us to enslave our husbands, fathers, brothers, and children. Have we forgotten how to suffer and die for those we love ? and shall we women lend ourselves to a vile, base and insinuating priesthood as a means of enslaving our cherished ones? Would a wife sell the partner of her life, her more than self, to worse than slavery? (for the thoughts of the slave are free, but Confession deprives one of even that liberty). Would a sister be active in consigning a loved brother to despotism? or, and above all, would a mother be a party to transferring her children, her sons, her daughters, in the blush of maidenly modesty, to a bondage worse than death ? No! there is not a true English woman of pure and refined mind who would not die before she assisted in such an act, and yet in ignorance, beguiled by a true devil in human form, she brings her innocent ones or induces them to pander to a priestly desire for power over both mind and body. Read, Women, then, for yourselves. Do not be, as the writer was, induced out of
* St. Matt. xviii. 20. † St. Matt. vi. 6, 8.
| English Catholics' Vade Mecum, p. 35.