Графични страници
PDF файл

soul, when dead, in the pains of hell fire. Among a superstitious people, such a sentence must unavoidably affect the property and even the life of the person subjected to it, so that the tendency of popish excoinmunication is to destroy men's lives.

This will appear farther from the following fact of still more recent occurrence :-It was a case, tried a few years ago, before the Hon. Mr. Justice Day, and a special jury, at the Cork assizes. A baker of the name of Donovan brought an action against the Rev. Mr. O'Brien, vicar general to Dr. Coppinger, titular bishop of Cork, and Roman Catholic parish priest of Clonakilty. The damages were laid at 5001. It appeared on the trial, that a subscription had been set on foot by the priest, for the purpose of building a Roman Catholic chapel. Donovan was ordered to pay, as his affixed quota, the sum of 16s. 3d., which he accordingly did. He was afterwards called upon to pay 9s., this sum he likewise paid: but observed, that he was very poor, and that he could not atford it. A third demand was made of hím, by the priest, of 16s., which Donovan refused to comply with. On Donovan's going to mass, the following Sunday, he was asked by the priest, whether he would pay the 16s. or not? He answered, that he was not able. The priest rejoined, 'I will settle you.' Terrified at this observation, Donovan sent, by his wife, 16s. to the house of the priest, who refused then to take less than two guineas. On the following Sunday, the priest cursed from the altar all those who had not paid their demands towards building the chapel. Donovan went, on next holiday, to mass, and was formally excommunicated, and the people denounced as cursed and contaminated, if they should deal or hold any communication with him. This threat was so effectual, that no one of the country people would sell a sod of turf to Donovan to heat his oven; and he could not even sell, in his own name, such flour or stock as lay on his hands. Reduced almost to despair, the baker went, in a white sheet, to the chapel, as a voluntary penance, and asked pardon of God and the priest for his disobedience; and was there, by the priest, desired to attend him to his house, where he again demanded from him the two guineas, which Donovan assured him he could not possibly make up. The excommunication was, therefore, continued in full force against him, and he was consequently obliged to shut up his house. The above facts were incontrovertibly proved by two unwilling witnesses. The jury, after a very able charge from the learned judge, found a verdict for the plaintiff of 501. damages.”

Many of my readers will recollect having read the above in the public papers about four years ago; and I believe it is as authentic as any reported law case which we find in the newspapers. It shows the cruel and vengeful spirit of the popish religion, which grinds the faces of the poor, and would wring the very blood from their veins. It shows also in what way the spiritual authority of the priests is used for the destruction of men's lives, or, which tends to the same thing, depriving them of their means of subsistence.

Candour, however, requires me to say, that the editor of the Orthodox Journal endeavours to palliate, and almost to deny the fact, though it must have been proved in open court. He says, “I was well convinced that the whole of the account was a complete tissue of falsebood, except the fact that such a case was tried.” I believe he knows

Vol. I.--24

also the other fact, that the priest was convicted by a verdict of a jury, and ordained to pay 501., in name of damages. He gives a long letter from Mr. O'Brien, addressed to the editor of the Times, and complains grievously of the partiality of that gentleman, for declining to publish it in his paper; though it would certainly be hard upon editors, if they were obliged to print all that convicted persons might please to write against the juries who convicted them.

But, from the priest's own showing, I am convinced that the facts were proved against him. He admits that money was levied of the people to build his chapel; the better sort were expected to pay a guinea; the second three crowns, which is 16s. 3d. Irish; and the third class, half a guinea : from the poor, he says, nothing was expected. He maintains, indeed, that the payment was voluntary; but I know the same thing is pleaded on behalf of the priest in Glasgow, while I can prove that, in some cases at least, it was so much otherwise, that he made application to masters to retain in their own hands, for the use of his chapel, part of the wages of servants, which he thought they would not pay voluntarily. O'Brien admits, that, after the chapel was erected, considerable debts remained to be liquidated; that he had threatened with an ecclesiastical censure, those who did not pay their quota : that “Donovan was the only one who contumaciously resisted the regulations of the subscribers, and the authority of his pastor. The congregation witnessed his audacity, and resented it by withdrawing themselves, in some measure, from his communion." He rests his defence partly on the bad character of one of the witnesses, who, he says, was suborned to swear that he had excommunicated the baker, and every one that should deal with him; but there was another witness against whom he states no objection. In short, his whole letter is a piece of downright popish shuffling, and can have no weight with any impartial man, in opposition to the verdict of a jury. He says, the deluded woman, on whose testimony this decision was founded, died soon after, a deplorable victim of remorse and despair; but he knows that the decision was not founded on her testimony alone; and he does not deny the fact, that the poor man was utterly ruined in his business, by means of an ecclesiastical censure, threatened or inflicted by him. Now, this was the only fact with which the jury had to do,-a fact which was clearly proved, and which, notwithstanding all his quibbling, the priest does not deny.

I should not have troubled my readers with this defence which the priest makes for himself, had I not thought it but fair, since I was giving the story, to give also the fact that a vindication had been attempted. Besides, the style and manner of this defence afforded another evidence that there can be no dependance upon a popish representation of any fact, not even with regard to what takes place in our own times, much less with regard to any fact of ancient history. The above trial is stated by the priest to have taken place as far back as 1805; and, for any thing I know, this part of his statement is true.



SATURDAY, December 19th, 1818. I am afraid that Amicus VERITATIS will think that I have lost sight of him altogether; and perhaps he will think that I consider the remaining parts of his letters unanswerable, seeing I have taken so little notice of them in my three last numbers. He may keep himself easy on that score. I have no intention of slurring over any part of the controversy; and I shall pay all due respect to the subjects which he has brought into view in my own time, and in my own way.

His charge against the church of Scotland on the matter of indul. gences, has led me to digress farther than I at first intended, on the subject of church discipline in general, and excommunication in particular. In the course of this digression, I stated some strong facts with regard to excommunication in Ireland, even in the present day, and as I have fallen upon some more matter relative to clerical management, and the oppression of our fellow-subjects in the sister island, I shall lay it before my readers before I proceed to any thing else.

The Reverend Charles Bourke, a Romish priest in Ireland, has lately published a pamphlet, entitled, “Popish Episcopal Tyranny exposed," which makes such an exposure as I did not expect to see in the present day. Mr. Bourke, it seems, had some how fallen under the displeasure of his bishop, the Right Reverend Doctor Waldron of Killala; and his lordship, without rhyme or reason, so far as appears, proceeded to deprive, depose, and excommunicate the unhappy priest, notwithstanding the following strong testimonies on his behalf.

Copy of a memorial that accompanied a letter from Mr. Bourke to his LORDSHIP, dated May 12th, 1815. " To the Right Reverend Doctor Waldron. The memorial of the clergy of this diocess of Killala, humbly exposes to your lordship, that we, the under-mentioned parish priests and dignitaries of this diocess, do express our sorrowful feelings for the Rev. Charles Bourke being deprived of all ecclesiastical jurisdiction in the diocess, and from the exercise of any ecclesiastical function, by your lordship. These sorrowful sentiments press the harder on us, as we know him to be a good priest; and a virtuous, amiable, moral, learned one. We hope from your lordship's goodness, that you will be pleased to revoke the verbal sentence of suspension you passed on him; or at least give him leave to say mass; or, in fine, his exeat for some other diocess. The different flocks, or parishes, that he attended, speak highly in his behalf; and the gen. ilemen of the country, the most respectable, give him a fair character.

(Signed) JAMES HARAN, Castleconor ; Dan. M'NAMARA, Easky; Joux BURNE, Templeboy; JOHN KELLY, Drumard; WILLIAM KEL LY, Screen; Thomas MAGEE, Ardagh; Pat. FLANEGAN, Kilbride; Thomas MONELLY, Dunfeeny; JAMES Kılboy, Muigaunagh; JOHN MAGEE, Lackin.”

Copy of a Memorial of the Parishioners of the Parish of Kilbelfad,

to the Right Reverend Doctor Waldron. “We the under-mentioned parishioners of the parish of Kilbelfad, unanimously complained of the want of the administration of the sacraments, neglect of duty, oppression and extortion of the Rev. Francis Mangan; who, after many applications, permitted several to die without the extreme unction, and others without baptism. It was a common practice with him, to charge, even the poorest person, the price of a bottle of wine, when he called on duty. He kept a chaplain, who charged tenpence to each family; and, after he collected his oats himself, the chaplain made a second collection. This done, he used to discharge the chaplain, and bring in a third to make his collection also. There was no use in expostulations: his WHIP was the only law for our conduct; and God only knows how we felt his severity! We made repeated complaints to Doctor Bellew, and latterly to the Rev. James Haran, who sent us the Rev. Charles Bourke, the only clergyman who gave us any spiritual consolation these fifteen years back.–We hope, in your lordship's goodness, that you will keep Mr. Mangan from us; and that your lordship will continue Mr. Bourke to us, for he is an exemplary good priest, who feeds his flock in the sweetest pastures. And, as in duty bound, we will ever pray," &c. Page 8.

Here, with great simplicity, we are told in what manner some priests rule over, and oppress the poor people in Ireland. Let it be remembered, this is the testimony of the parishioners, in a memorial to their bishop. I suppose they did not expect it was to appear in print; and that it was destined to grace the pages of " THE PROTESTANT.” Had they thought of this, perhaps the fear of the Rev. Mr. Mangan's whip would have deterred them from speaking so plainly.

It seems his “illustriouslordship did not like to have so good a priest within his jurisdiction. He accuses him of several immoralities, particularly of drunkenness, but he does not trouble himself with evidence; and Mr. Bourke seems very triumphantly to repel the charge; and he more than insinuates, that the bishop's dislike to him, ‘arose from his not being a man who could be content with things as they are; and wink at gross negligence and immorality on the part of his clerical brethren. He appealed to the pope against the sentence of his diocesan; and there, I suppose, the appeal lies to this day, for he is too poor to go to Rome to prosecute his cause; and the bishop has refused to answer the appeal, or give the reasons of his conduct, till he receive an extract from Rome.

Bourke very feelingly describes the effect of the excommunication upon himself. His ghostly father, that is, the bishop, meant, he says, " to kill his son, both temporally and spiritually; temporally, so far as he has endeavoured to starve him to death by means of a major excommunication; and this excommunication was to be read in all the chapels of the diocess, by each priest to his respective flock;—that no means of support, consolation, or sustenance should be left him, but to die like a dog in a ditch, if the priest or man, on whom the attack was made, should be so weak as to become the dupe of such ill-timed fulminations.

“By a major excommunication, one is deprived of all the goods of the church, and even of Christian burial, of assisting at mass, or divine service, or office of any kind, at the prayers of the church!! It deprives a man of receiving the sacraments, of the functions of holy orders, of all ecclesiastical jurisdiction, and of all the suffrages of the church; in such manner that those who have incurred the censure, have no part in the affairs of the church, unless they may have a legitimate excuse. For a greater clearing of this matter, I will reduce to five classes, the goods of which a man is deprived by a major excommunication. They are contained in this verse:

Os, orare, vale, communio, mensa negatur. “ The word Os, signifies that the faithful should not speak to an excommunicated person. Orare, that they should not pray in his company. Vale, that they should not bid him the time of day, nor show him any mark of civility or respect. Communio, shows that they should not live in the same house, nor under the same roof, negotiate, work, nor have any intercourse with him. Mensa negatur, signifies, that the faithful should not eat, or drink, or sleep, with an excommunicated person. When denounced, all the faithful are forbidden, under pain of a minor excommunication, to commune, in

any respect, with an excommunicated person; but before this denunciation, the faithful may commune with them, and give them what is not forbidden in the divine, or natural law.

“ By the above we see, that, after the denunciation, the faithful are obliged to avoid the excommunicated person, under pain of incurring a minor excommunication; which, even they do not incur, if any of the five following reasons may be alleged to excuse them :

Utile, lex, humile, res ignorata, necesse." Mr. Bourke illustrates these five reasons at length. The substance of them is ;-that a person, by intercourse with one excommunicated, does not incur minor excommunication, if he can plead manifest utility; the marriage relation; the connexion of children, or domestics ; ignorance of the case; or urgent necessity.

“ Though the above motives," says he, excuse the excommunicated person as well as the faithful, from a major excommunication, or from incurring a minor excommunication; yet few there are who know it, except those who have had a long course of theological studies. Besides, the clergy never explain to their flocks the reasons that excuse from a major excommunication; it is not their interest to do it. They only instil into them, that by an excommunication they are on the brink of destruction, and just ready to fall into the fiery furnace of hell!! This they do to keep them in, and to spread the veil of ignorance over their eyes, in order that they may be subject to themselves; and to themselves alone, upon all occasions !!! .." Many, besides, of the clergy never had a regular course of studies, and therefore are insufficient to instruct, or do away the cloud of ignorance that hangs over the poor. In this manner, the poor (God help them) are kept in the dark; and this is the interest of their clergy, who tyrannize over them more than the Indian chiefs do over the savages who

« ПредишнаНапред »