Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

inhabit the most cultivated regions of the earth. It is but too well known that it is the want of preaching the gospel, and inculcating its evangelical principles, in imitation of the maxims taught by Christ, by example and word, that make Roman Catholics so stupid and lukewarm in their duty to God and their neighbour: and when they see their instructers give a bad example themselves, in the violation of the principles that bind and link society together, what wonder that they, the lower orders, should be led out of the path, and commit the excesses we see daily by woeful experience, which too frequently brings them to condign punishment ? And all this, owing to their clergy keeping them in ignorance, with the oppression, extortion, and the tyranny of their curses and excommunications; which are always ready, even on the most insignificant and trivial occasions." Page 38.

Let it be remembered that this account of the character and conduct of the popish priests in Ireland is given by one of themselves, and one who knows them well. The following shows how much some of the Papists in Ireland are opposed to the instruction of the people; and with what a jealous eye they regard the operation of the Hibernian society, whose object it is to teach the Irish io read:

“ His lordship, (Bishop Waldron,) in opposition to the London Hibernian society, said, he would establish Catholic schools in the two parishes, and appoint schoolmasters for that purpose, with salaries of twenty pounds per annum. Full of this expectation, John Tympany (who had a wife and a house full of very helpless children, and was in possession of twenty guineas a year by teaching one of the charity schools established for the benefit of the poor) was deprived of the means of supporting his wife and helpless family. Relying on the veracity of his lordship’s word of honour, he was drawn from his allegiance to the society, and lost a year's salary of twenty guineas. This poor man now has no alternative but that of going to beg! It is true the bishop gave him a black suit of clothes, and so transformed him from Shane-bane to Shane-dough. The poor man was known by the name of Shane-bane, which signifies White John. Shane-dough is Black John, into which he was transformed by wearing the bishop's black suit of second-hand clothes; which stands the poor man in twenty guineas, but reduces him to the extremity of going to beg! He is indeed an honest, well-meaning man, who knows the Irish language well, and whose instructions to the Irish youth would be of

great utility. I have seen very few who know the Irish better.” Page 42.

This man, it seems, was seduced by the bishop, under false promises, to give up the service of the Hibernian society; and was reduced to poverty, because it was the desire of his lordship that his people should not learn to read his own language. The following give a farther developement of the manner in which religious matters are at this day conducted by the Romish clergy in Ireland:

· Dr. Waldron, on his arrival to his diocess of Killala, to prove his firmness in discharge of his apostolic mission, assembled all his clergy, and preached the necessity of holding fast the principles of the most ancient religion from the time of Christ and his apostles, down to the present epoch; that, to hold fast to it, and not be turned about with every wind of doctrine, it would be necessary to begin and fix the bishop on a permanent footing: that this could only be done by

paying in to him all the money collected by all and each of his clergy, since the decease of the Right Rev. Dr. Bellew, to his commence. ment of assuming the reins of his episcopal government. By giving him this money, extorted from the poor without pity or remorse, to be employed in defraying the exorbitant expenses, indispensably (he said) annexed to the bringing the archbishop of Dublin to Tuam, in order to impose hands on Dr. Waldron, and also to defray that of assembling troops to keep peace in Tuam during the august ceremony of consecration, the gift would become laudable! it would be a most pious work of charity to dignify the episcopal character, by the oppression of many, and the extortion from several, who had not perhaps salt to eat with their potatoes! That no one may be at a loss to know, where this extortion lies,—it is the bishop's exacting half-a-guinea, instead of half-a-crown, for the dispensation of banns,-making, at a very moderate average, of this merchantable commodity, from five to six hundred pounds a year, by allowing from twenty to forty marriages in each parish. Formerly, the dispensation of banns was but half-acrown: now it is a half-guinea; having no right, authority, or law, for this augmentation Baptism is raised from an English shilling to an English half-crown: legacy, on every corpse, from an English crown to ten shillings; which, if the priest does not get immediately, he will take away the pot, the wheel, or the blanket. I have known a certain priest, where the above furniture was wanting, to take the hens from the roost! This legacy they must get, (though they were sure the miserable individual who survives, had not a bit to put in his mouth that night,) or some article proportionable in value. The distribution of the holy oils is raised. The priests are allowed to get, and force a large measure of oats annually from the poorest creature in the parish; the poorest widow not excepted! This collection the priest is allowed to make, provided that, of the collected oats, he sends a sack to the bishop annually.” Pages 42, 43.

“At Christmas and Easter, it is the rule with every parish priest, on Sunday, to publish his weekly stations through the villages; on Monday, for example, at such a man's house, all the villagers are to attend, men, women, married and unmarried. Should, however, any one absent himself, this day, for the want of money, or any other cause, however legitimate, the priest sends the vestments to his house, the following day, as a punishment upon the miserable man. The poor individual is then obliged, should he pawn his blanket, to prepare a dinner for the priest,—with tea and sugar, bread, beef, mutton, fowl, hay, and oats, and plenty of whiskey; although it may be for the want of a shilling to pay the priest's dues that the unfortunate wretch absented himself the day before, which he could not pay at the periodical season of the priest's dues!!!

“On Tuesday, the same at some other man's house, in some other village; and so on, until all the confessions are heard in all the parishes of this diocess. Easter comes on, and the same line of conduct is observed by the priest as at Christmas.

" At a moderate average, one or two guineas in bread, tea, and sugar, beef, mutton, fowl, and whiskey, hay, and oats, will not defray the expense of the priest, who has a right to invite all his friends to the feast! Any one who wishes to be exempt from these heavy charges,

must be on the alert, and very cautious to send butter, eggs, chickens; in a word, he must ingratiate himself well by means of these little perquisites into the priest's favour, a little before the return of these periodical seasons of Christmas and Easter.

“Now, before these confessions begin, the priests tell them it is intended to do penance for their sins, which is best done by fasting and prayer; but which is quite opposite to the grand feast that the priest not only expects, but must necessarily have, though he was sure the miserable creature should go and beg the next day. I leave the world to judge what kind of petiance this is ! Some priests will not drink whiskey; they must have rum, brandy, or wine, by which they get basely drunk, before they leave the poor man's house; and, in return for his civilities, they insult him with the most gross and ignominious language.

The good usage which the priest has got, and the extravagant expenses which he has occasioned, are no protection to the poor man against abuse and insult. I have known a priest (Mr. M— at Backs) to charge the man of the house for a bottle of wine, when he did not, on these occasions, get it to drink, though the man had a bottle of rum for him. In Templeboy parish, through vengeance and an old grudge, a certain priest, Mr. B-, went to a poor widow's house to hear confessions. This poor widow had but a small cock of hay for the use of a little heifer. The hay she sold to be able to procure a dinner for the priest. Her means did not allow her to buy any whiskey. The priest told her, she owed him half-a-crown for confessions. This half-crown she retained off the price of the hay, to pay the priest. Accordingly, when dinner was served up, she said to the priest, I have no spirits for you, nor any means to get it, but this halfcrown you say I owe you, and which I retained off the price of my little cock of hay; will you take it in lieu of the debt, or shall I send it for spirits ? The priest took the half-crown, put it in his pocket, drank water at that dinner, and replied, he might soon have a call to some other place where he would get enough to drink.

“I could make up a volume, were I to recapitulate all the abuses of this nature I know; but, for brevity's sake, I omit them for the present. Every head of a family must pay an English shilling at Christmas and Easter, and every woman a hank of yarn: the unmarried sixpence halfpenny. No exceptions of widows, orphans, servants, male or female; and, if any remittance is made, it is to the rich. It is made to those who are not real objects of charity.

Innumerable are the examples of extortions that I could detail.” Pages 44, 45.

Mr. Bourke proceeds to state some shameful abuses in the manner of hearing confession, which the priests, in that diocess, are in the habit of hearing in private rooms, instead of doing so in the church as the law requires. He says, indeed, in his preface, “that the lives of the Roman Catholic clergy, at this day, in Ireland, as well as on the continent, are not much more correct than those of the clergy at the time of the reformation, when Luther inveighed against them, is a melancholy truth, which cannot be denied.” When the editor of the Orthodox Journal spoke of spotless purity of the character of the Irish priests, (See Chap. XV. page 143,) I suspected there was something

wrong; but I did not know they were so bad as is here represented by one of themselves :

“ The mistresses and children of reverend gentlemen can be shown, whenever they may choose to put it to the trial. Many inducements occur to me, to mention their names, but I restrain myself for a more seasonable opportunity. They themselves know that I can prove this assertion incontestably." Page 45. “ They have the care of souls, and, like the blind leading the blind, they will both inevitably fall into the ditch. These are they of whom I can enumerate eleven, (nearly one half of the number in the diocess) who, with uncontrollable dominion, tyrannize over the imbecility and weakness of their poor adherents; and whom the bishop is said to hold in great esteem, and high honour for his own private views. Is not this the strongest reason, motive, and incentive, to make them, with so much obstinacy, resist the veto, for fear that, in any respect whatever, their clerical dominion should suffer the smallest diminution.” Page 46.

CHAPTER XXIV.

ANSWER TO AMICUS VERITATIS. HIS APPEAL TO THE BRITISH CONSTI

TUTION, AND THE OATH OF ALLEGIANCE TAKEN BY PAPISTS, IRRELEVANT. THE OATH APPOINTED BY KING JAMES RECITED. REMARKS OF PASCHENIUS UPON IT. OATH PRESCRIBED BY KING WILLIAM. THAT NOW TAKEN. THESE INSTRUMENTS DO NOT AFFECT THE DOCTRINE OF INDULGENCES. IF THEY DID PAPISTS COULD EVADE THEM. AN INDULGENCE GRANTED BY CLEMENT VI. TO KING AND QUEEN OF FRANCE, AND THEIR SUCCESSORS.

SATURDAY, December 26th, 1818. I RETURN now to the letter of AMICUS VERITATIS, who writes as follows: (See Part I. page 33.) “But, sir, I will not content myself with barely stating the doctrine of the Catholic church. I will go farther. I shall recall to your recollection, that Catholics abjure, as antichristian, those principles imputed to them by your correspondent, especially with regard to a liberty of committing sin, or that the pope is infallible. That I may be found correct, I shall refer to Act 33, Geo. III. cap. 44. This is a document which is approved by the pope and all the Catholic bishops in the three kingdoms; it is also received and accredited by the British goverment, as containing the principles of Catholics. Here, then, I take my stand; and now again boldly repeat, that it never was the doctrine of the Catholic church, that a pope or a bishop could grant an indulgence to commit sin. With what a face of effrontery can your correspondent come forward and declare to the public, that such are the principles of a body of men who have been celebrated for every Christian virtue; and who publicly abjure, upon their most solemn oaths, the abominable principles imputed to them.”

One should imagine, from the above strong assertions, that the statute referred to contained a very ample exposition of the Romish faith, “especially with regard to the liberty of committing sin,” and the infallibility of the pope; that the principles of the Romish church were fixed by an act of the British legislature; and that "never" any

Vol. I.-25

thing was a doctrine of the church of Rome but what is contained in the Act 33, Geo. III. cap. 44. Now, it will perhaps surprise some of my readers to be informed of the simple truth, with regard to this matter :—the act does not contain a word about indulgence to commit sin, or the infallibility of the pope; and as little does it declare, concerning any point whatever, that it never was a "doctrine of the Catholic church." In short, as an answer to what I had written on the subject of indulgences, and the pope's infallibility, Amicus VERITATIS might as well have referred to the Alcoran of Mahomet.

If I had accused my popish neighbours of disloyalty to King George III., or of maintaining that faith is not to be kept with heretics; or that they believed the pope could release them from their oaths of allegiance; then, so far as an act of parliament, and their own solemn oaths, could refute such accusations, they should have been refuted. But these were not the subjects of which I had been treating, and which Amicus VERITATIS was professing to answer. I did, indeed, say (Part I. p. 14) “ that the pope claimed and exercised the power of dispensing with the law of God, and granting permission to commit sin.” I say so still; and the act of parliament says nothing to the contrary. I said further, in the same sentence," he professed to relieve individuals and whole nations from the obligation of an oath,” and I say so still; notwithstanding the act of parliament, which does not say a word about what the pope professed to do, but merely ordains that Papists in this country who wish the benefit of that act, must swear that they do not allow the pope to have such power over them. In short, the act prescribes an oath of allegiance, expressed in very strong language; but

, instead of defining the principles of the Romish church, it expressly repeals an act of King William, in which the leading principles of popery were expressed, and Papists, under certain pains, were required upon oath to renounce them. With regard to the matter of not keeping faith with heretics, though Papists in this country choose to disavow it on their solemn oaths, there is perhaps no peculiar doctrine of the Romish church which rests upon higher authority, as I hope to show in my next number; and these who disavow this doctrine, and yet adhere to the church of Rome, only contradict themselves.

I intend, in this number, to give the form of the oath which Papists are now by law required to take; but, for the information of such of my readers as have not access to many books on the subject, I shall give the forms which were prescribed by law, in former times. The following is “The oath of allegiance appointed by King James I. of England.” It is said to have been drawn up with great care by the king himself; and it seems to have furnished a model for all that have followed. “It was (says the author of Free Thoughts, p. 234) such a favourite measure of his, that he laboured mightily, with his royal pen, to promote its success; thinking the Gordian knot so fast tied, that no wit of man could loose it, and that if Roman Catholics could be once caught herein, they must be for ever tied firmly to his throne."

“I, A. B., do truly and sincerely acknowledge, profess, testify, and declare in my conscience, before God and the world, that our Sovereigne Lord King James is lawful and rightful king in this realme, and of all other his majesty's dominions, and countreyes, and that the

« ПредишнаНапред »