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THE SUBJECT CONTINUED.
CASE OF THE REV. JAMES LANIGAN,
THAT PAPISTS HOLD
IT LAWFUL TO FALSIFY AND DECEIVE, PROVED BY REFERENCE TO THE HISTORY AND WELL KNOWN CHARACTER OF THE JESUITS. EXTRACTS FROM THEIR SECRET INSTRUCTIONS." NOTICE OF THE CATHOLIC VINDICATOR,
SATURDAY, January 30th, 1819. BEFORE I leave the subject of not keeping faith, I shall produce one document more. It is one of modern date; and it shows clearly, that, when Papists have the candour to speak their minds plainly, they hold the very same sentiments which were held by their fathers four hundred years ago. A Romish clergyman in Ireland, I believe a bishop, had promised to subscribe certain addresses, with respect to the concession of the veto. Having refused to perform his promise, and being publicly accused of breach of faith, he published the following, in vindication of himself
. See Liberator's letter to an English nobleman, 1817, page 302.
"An advertisement appeared in the Leinster Journal, of last Saturday, signed George Bryan, in which I am charged with the breach of a solemn promise. A public attack of this kind, necessarily calls on any man to justify his conduct, if in his power. A plain narrative of the facts as they happened, and an explanation of the motives on which I acted, will complete this justification, I hope, in the eyes of any impartial man.
" 1st, I acknowledge that I promised, to some gentlemen of the committee, that I would sign these addresses, when some lines, to which I objected, would be expunged; but I utterly deny having made any solemn promise, if by a solemn promise, Mr. Bryan means any thing more than a serious promise; for nothing, in actions, expressions, or writing, was superadded to the verbal declaration I made of signing the addresses, when corrected. The nature of the case did not at all require a solemn promise; and the gentleman who presented the addresses to me, had too much sagacity and judgment to alarm my suspicions, by such a proposal; for the consequence would probably be, a rejection of the addresses on the spot.
“2dly, Some days elapsed, before the corrected addresses were again brought to me to be signed. In this interval, many of the clergy and laity of this city came to me, and remonstrated against my signing these addresses. They urged, that these addresses were calculated to pass an indirect censure on the proceedings of the prelates in Dublin, and to diminish the respect due to their late resolutions; that they were preparatory steps to the concession of a veto to the government, in the nomination of the Catholic prelates of Ireland; and that a general dislike and disapprobation of these addresses prevailed, among the great majority of the priests and Catholic laity of the city. When I ascertained this last fact, I resolved not to sign the addresses, and was, at the same time, persuaded that I was guilty of no sin or crime, by such refusal.
“ I am convinced, that a serious, sincere, and voluntary promise, binds a man who makes it, under the pain of sin, to fulfil it. But I am likewise convinced, that the obligation, arising from a promise, ceases, in the following cases :
" 1st, If a man promises a thing impossible. For no one can be bound to do a thing impossible to be done.
2dly, If a man promises to do any thing sinful or unlawful. For no promise, though confirmed by an oath, can bind a man to commit sin.
3dly, When a person, in whose favour a promise is made, releases the promiser from the promise he has made.
" 4thly, When a man promises a thing pernicious or useless to the person in whose favour the promise is made.
" 5thly, When before the promise is fulfilled, the circumstances become so changed, that the person promising, had he foreseen these circumstances, would never have made the promise.
“ On this I rest my justification. For had I foreseen, or known, that my signing these addresses would produce suchalarm and consternation, such dislike and disapprobation, as I afterwards found they would, in the minds of the great majority of the Catholic priests and laity of this city, I would, by no means, have consented to sign them.—St. Thomas saith, “ That a man is not guilty of an untruth, in such a case; because, when he promised, he intended to perform his promise: nor is he unfaithful to his promise, because the circumstances are changed.' This is not only the opinion of St. Thomas, but is also the opinion of all the theologians and canonists I ever saw or read.
James LANIGAN. "Kilkenny, Nov. 8, 1808."
I expect to be favoured with the unanimous thanks of my readers, for making them acquainted with this precious specimen of popish morality. Here it is plainly admitted, that a man may give a promise, and a serious promise too, and yet lawfully break it, if it was not a solemn promise. And allowing it to be a promise ever so solemn, serious, sincere, and voluntary, there are yet five cases in which he is not bound to keep it.
From the first of these cases, we learn, that, if a man should give his promissory note, binding himself to pay a hundred pounds, by a certain day, if he finds it impossible to raise the money, he is freed from his obligation. " The obligation arising from the promise ceases," and the debt is cancelled. I admit, that no promise, or oath, can bind a man to do what is sinful; but I maintain, at the same time, that no man ought ever to make such a promise. With Papists, however, this is a light matter; they can promise and swear any thing, and get a dispensation, like the kings and queens of France, to break such oaths as they cannot profitably keep. Promises to heretics are considered sinful, and, therefore, it is not lawful to keep them. On this principle the emperor was moved to put John Huss to death, and we find the principle approved and defended by a dignified priest in Ireland, as lately as 1808.
The fifth case releases a man from the obligation of his promise, on a change of circumstances. Thus, if I order from Dublin a quantity of linen, and promise to accept my correspondent's bill for the amouni, if the linen trade in Glasgow should become dull before my goods arrive, I am freed from the obligation of my promise,—the circumstances are changed; and because I intended to fulfil my promise, when I made it, I am guilty of no untruth, though I should now break it.
This is the opinion of St. Thomas, who is of almost equal authority, in the church of Rome, with St. Peter, and at least equal to St. Paul. And it is not the opinion of that divine only, but the opinion of all the theologians and canonists that were ever seen or read by the Rev. JAMES LANIGAN.
How different is this from the morality of the Bible? The righteous man stands to his engagement, though it should be to his own hurt or disadvantage. Psalm xv. 4.
The church that admits the principle of breaking faith with heretics, or with others, on any occasion, or on any account, teaches that it is lawful to falsify and deceive. And to fix this charge on the church of Rome, nothing more is necessary than to adduce the principles and practices of the Jesuits. I have not seen any bull of the pope, by which he authorized this body to deceive the world, by means of cun. ning and falsehood, as he authorized the kings and queens of France to break an oath which they could not profitably keep; but I see, by the history of the Jesuits, that they acted as if they had had such authority; and that, instead of incurring the displeasure of the holy father on that account, they became his distinguished favourites. Their principles and conduct are justly chargeable upon the church of Rome, during the period in which they existed as an organized body; for they were never condemned by any council of the church, or by any pope, till they became such an insufferable nuisance, in every country in Europe, popish as well as Protestant, that the order was suppressed by Pope Clement XIV., who, for his many good qualities, has been called the Protestant pope.
Still, however, the Jesuits are the favourites of the holy see. The present pope has restored the order: and popish writers, such as the EDITOR of the ORTHODOX JOURNAL, labour to recommend them to the world, as examples of every thing that is great, and noble, and useful, in Christianity. But if, as I hope to show, their main instrument, in carrying on their operations, was falsehood, it will follow, that the church which contains, approves, and commends such an order, holds it lawful to falsify and deceive.
By the kindness of a friend, at a distance, I am favoured with a copy of Secreta Monita Societatis Jesu; or the Secret Instruction of the Jesuits, in the original Latin, with an English translation. This work was not intended ever to meet the eye of Protestants; and it was meant for only such members of their own society as could be fully depended upon. “ John Schipper, a bookseller, at Amsterdam, bought one of them at Antwerp, among other books, and afterwards reprinted it. The Jesuits, being informed that he had purchased this book, demanded it back from him; but he had then sent it to Holland. One of the society, who lived at Amsterdam, hearing it said soon after to (by) a Catholic bookseller, by name Van Eyk, that Schipper was printing a book, which concerned the Jesuits, replied, that if it was only the rules of the society, he would not be under any concern; but desired he would inform himself what it was. Being told by the bookseller, that it was the Secret Instructions of the society, the good father, shrugging up his shoulders, and knitting his brow, said, that he saw no remedy but denying that this piece came from the society. The reverend fathers, however, thought it more advisable to purchase the whole edition, which they soon after did, some few copies except. ed; from one of these it was afterwards reprinted, with this account prefixed; which is said to be taken from two Roman Catholics, men of credit.” Adv. to the reader.
The preface to the work itself inculcates, “that the greatest care imaginable must be taken, that these instructions do not fall into the hands of strangers, for fear, out of envy to our order, they should give them a sinister interpretation; but if this (which God forbid) should happen, let it be positively denied that these are the principles of the society, and such denial be confirmed by those of our members, which we are sure know nothing of them; by this means, and by confronting these with our public instructions, printed or written, our credibility will be established beyond opposition. Let the superiors also carefully and warily inquire, whether discovery has been made of these instructions, by any of our members to strangers; and let none transcribe, or suffer them to be transcribed, either for himself, or others, without the consent of the general or provincial: and if any one be suspected of incapacity to keep such important secrets, acquaint him not of your suspicion, but dismiss him.”
Perhaps, at some future period, I may treat my readers with the whole of these secret instructions, which would not occupy above three or four numbers of my work. They exhibit such a system of deceit and falsehood, that I know no word sufficiently strong to express their true character, but that of Jesuitism. At present I shall give only a specimen, extracted from chapters vi. and vii.
“Of the proper method for inducing rich widows to be liberal to our society. I. For the managing of this affair, let such members only be chosen as are advanced in age, of a lively complexion, and agreeable conversation; let these frequently visit such widows, and the minute they begin to show any affection towards our order, then is the time to lay before them the good works and merits of the society: if they seem kindly to give ear to this, and begin to visit our churches, we must, by all means, take care to provide them confessors, by whom they may be well admonished, especially to a constant perseverance in a state of widowhood, and this, by enumerating, and praising the advantages and felicity of a single life; and let them pawn their faiths, and themselves too, as a security, that a firm continuance, in such a pious resolution, will infallibly purchase an eternal merit, and prove a most effectual means of escaping the otherwise certain pains of purgatory.
"IV. Care must be taken to remove such servants, particularly, as do not keep a good understanding with the society; but let this be done by little and little; and when we have managed so to work them out, let such be recommended as already are, or willingly would become our creatures; thus shall we dive into every secret, and have a finger in every affair transacted in the family.
“ V. The confessor must manage his matters so, that the widow may have such faith in him as not to do the least thing without his advice, and his only; which he may occasionally insinuate to be the only basis of her spiritual edification.
" VI. She must be advised to the frequent use and celebration of the sacraments, but especially that of penance, because in that she
freely makes a discovery of her most secret thoughts, and every temptation.
“VIII. Discourses must be made to her concerning the advantages of a state of widowhood, the inconveniences of wedlock, especially when it is repeated, and the dangers to which mankind expose themselves by it; but above all, such as more particularly affect her.
" IX. It will be proper, every now and then, cunningly to propose to her some match; but such a one, be sure, as you know she has an aversion to: and if it be thought she has a kindness for any one, let his vices and failings be represented to her in a proper light, that she may abhor the thoughts of altering her condition with any person whatsoever.
“X. When, therefore, it is manifest that she is well disposed to continue a widow, it will then be time to recommend to her a spiritual life, but not a recluse one, the inconveniences of which must be magnified to her; but such a one as Paula's or Eustochius', &c., and let the confessor, having as soon as possible prevailed with her to make a vow of chastity, for two or three years at least, take due care to oppose all tendencies to a second marriage; and then, all conversation with men, and diversions, even with her near relations and kinsfolks, must be forbid her, under pretence of entering into a stricter union with God. As for the ecclesiastics, who either visit the widow, or receive visits from her, if they all cannot be worked out, yet let none be admitted, but what are either recommended by some of our society, or are dependants upon them.
" XI. When we have thus far gained our point, the widow must be, by little and little, excited to the performance of good works, especially those of charity; which, however, she must by no means be suffered to do, without the direction of her ghostly father, since it is of the last importance to her soul, that her talent be laid out, with a prospect of obtaining spiritual interest; and since charity, ill-applied, often proves the cause and incitement to sins, which effaces the merit and reward that might otherwise attend it.”
By such a course of persevering cunning and deceit, the society of Jesuits have, no doubt, gained over many rich widows, to be subservient to their purpose. The title of the seventh chapter is, How such widows are to be secured, and in what manner their effects are to be disposed of." They must let “no week pass, in which they do not, of their own accord, lay somewhat apart, out of their abundance, for the honour of Christ, the blessed virgin, or their patron saint; and let them dispose of it, in relief of the poor, or in beautifying of churches : till they are entirely stripped of their superfluous stores, and unnecessary riches.”—“ If they have made a vow of chastity, let them, according to our custom, renew it twice a year; and let the day wherein this is done, be set apart for innocent recreations, with the members of our society.”—“Let them be frequently visited, and entertained, in an agreeable manner, with spiritual stories, and also diverted with pleasant discourses, according to their particular humours and inclinations.”—“ They must not be treated with too much severity, in confession, lest we make them morose, and ill-tempered: unless their favour be so far engaged by others, that there is danger of