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withont note or comment by children, must be peculiarly obnoxious to a church which denies, even to adults, the right of unaided private interpretation of the sacred volume in articles of religious belief."
The officers and friends of the society at the same time contended that it was never in higher favour than in 1825, when the cominissioners of inquiry reported thus adversely to their success; and that if parliament would not interfere, nor withhold its grants, the society would outlive all opposition. They attributed the want of confidence among
the Catholics very much to the circumstance, that many of the schools connected with the Kildare-street Society were at the same time receiving aid from other societies, which were professedly Protestant and proselyting.
Mr. Donelan (to whom we have before referred as one of the Roman Catholic inspectors of the Kildare-st. Society's schools) expressed to the commissioners his conviction that the object of the Roman Catholic clergy was to overturn their system, and to prove to the commissioners that it was totally inefficient for the circumstances of Ireland. And he testified that in many instances, six or seven of which were well authenticated, so evident was their opposition, that “ the clergy (to compel parents to withdraw their children) had refused to give them absolution, or to church the women after childbirth, or to administer the consolations of religion to them at the hour of death.” The refusal extended to both parents; and if the children still remained at the schools they had recourse to the only remaining method of deterring them, viz. CURSING, which the people suppose will bring down the vengeance of heaven in every respect, or as the vulgar expression is that they will have neither “ luck nor grace.” What they object to, is "the use of the Testament;" and it was his opinion that the opposition would prevail ; that the peasantry would never be induced to break the bond which unites them to their clergy. He said he “ had seen all the influence of the landlord come into open collision with the parish priest, and that his experience had been that the power of the latter was generally paramount.”
Another inspector, Mr. Griffith, stated to the commissioners that he had heard from the people, in many cases, that the priests had announced their determination not to administer the sacraments to them, nor to visit them when dying, unless they would withdraw their children from the schools,
and he adds, “ I have known instances where it has been put to the proof, and they have actually refused the sacrament.'
Dr. Doyle, a Roman Catholic bishop, stated to the commissioners the case of a school under the patronage of a noble lady, where the New Testament was used, and which was attended by the children of her ladyship’s gate-keeper. He was warned by the priest to withdraw his children; but rather than incur her ladyship’s displeasure, and lose his place, he suffered one of his children to attend, in consequence of which he and his wife were refused the sacraments.
A third inspector, Mr. Daly, thought the authority of the clergy was adequate to keep the children out of the schools, but that their objection was not so much to their reading the Testament, as to their reading it without note or comment."
Dr. Murray, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Dublin, declared to the commissioners that “the objection of their clergy was to the reading of the Testament without note or comment, let the school be under whatever society it might.” He thought “ the Kildare-street Society's plan less dangerous where the patron is a Catholic, and the school is under the superintendence of a Catholic clergyman who will deem it his duty to select the passages to be read, &c.; but he most decidedly opposed the principle that the scriptures should be read by children, in order that they may become acquainted with the principles of the Christian religion; in other words, that each child, on inspecting the sacred volume, should select such principles of religious faith and practice as he may think he can there discover ; and that by private judgment, with an almost total absence of culture of mind, and before his reason has arrived at maturity. That this child is, in this state, to make out his religious belief and practice from the sacred volume, is a principle which we conceive to be erroneous; and as long as that principle is affirmed by the Kildare-street Society, so long we must endeavour to oppose its influence."
The conclusion from these premises is sufficiently obvious. The principles of religious faith and duty are not to be drawn from the Bible without assistance; and that assistance is exclusively in the hands of the Roman Catholic church, and is to be obtained only through the legitimat authorities of that church. This is the doctrine ; the Roman Catholics have a right to hold it, and to suffer martyrdom
for it. As Protestants, however, we deny and utterly renounce it, and the difference between us is radical and unsusceptible of compromise.
“ But,” said the commissioners to his grace the archbishop, “ you do not object to the Testament being read by persons of mature years and education ?"
“Of course not,” replied his lordship; “ all the bishops of Ireland have publicly recommended to the faithful to read the scriptures, but to read them in those dispositions of prayer and of obedience to the authority of the church which we think necessary, that they may be read with profit."
In other words, the Roman Catholic bishops do not object to Roman Catholics of mature years and education reading the Testament issued under Roman Catholic authority, and with Roman Catholic notes and comments. 6 Our principles," said the archbishop, "are those of St. Paul. We wish to give to children milk and not strong meat. We give them, therefore, in the form of the Roman Catholic) catechism, the first principles of the religion of Christ,* and
There is no way of illustrating the force of these terms so satisfactorily as by transferring to our pages a spoonful of this milk, or a few passages from a catechism now before us, of which the following is the title: “A catechism; or a short abridgement of Christian doctrine; revised by the Right Rev. Dr. Kendrick, and approved for the use of the diocese of Philadelphia. Published by E. Cummiskey, 130 South Sixth-street, 1839.” This is clearly an orthodox imprint.
- In the morning.–When you are dressed, kneel down and say the following prayers: ...? O holy virgin, I put myself under thy protection, and bez the help of thy prayers. O my good angel, be thou also my protector, and pray to God for me, that I may do his will in all things.” p. 2.
The angelical salutation. “ Hail Mary! full of grace, &c. Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death." p. 2.
The confiteor. “I confess to Almighty God, to blessed Mary, ever virgin, to blessed Michael, the archangel, to blessed St. John the Baptist, to the holy apostles St. Peter and St. Paul, and to all the saints, that I have sinned, &c. Therefore I beseech thee, blessed Mary, ever virgin, &c., to pray to the Lord our God for me.” p. 7.
At night. “ Kneel down and say the following prayer : I believe, and hold for certain, all thou hast revealed to thy holy church,” &c. p. 9.
Q. How shall we know with certainty what God has taught?
as they grow up in (Roman Catholic) faith, we give them the strong meat of the gospel to digest."
Q. What is the Catholic church?
A. Yes, the bishop of Rome, who is the successor of St. Peter, and commonly called the Pope. pp. 21, 22.
Q. Can the church err in what she teaches ?
A. Because Christ has promised that the gates of hell shall not prevail against his church, and that the Holy Ghost shall teach her all truth, and he himself will abide with her forever. p. 23.
Q. Are the souls in purgatory helped by our prayers ?
A. When they die in less sins, which we call venial, or when they have not satisfied the justice of God for former transgressions.
Q. To whom has Christ given power to forgive sins ?
A. To the apostles and their successors, the bishops and priests of the church. p. 24.
Q. Are we bound to obey the commandments of the church ?
A. Yes; because Christ has said to the pastors of his church he that hears you hears me, and he that despises you despises me.
Q. Why does the church command us to fast?
A. It is a releasing of temporal punishment, which often remains due to sin, after the guilt has been remitted by the sacrament of penance.
Q. What is extreme unction?
Q. Is it not bread and wine which is first put upon the altar for the celebration of the mass ?
A. Yes, it is always bread and wine till the priest pronounces the words of consecration during the mass.
Q. What happens by these words ?
A. The bread is changed into the body of Jesus Christ, and the wine into his blood.
Q. Do you believe this firmly?
A. Yes, and as firmly as if I saw it with my eyes; because Jesus Christ has said it.
Q. Does any thing remain of the bread and wine after consecration ?
Q. Does he who receives but one part of the host, or but one form, receive Jesus Christ whole and entire ?
A. Yes; because Jesus Christ is whole under each form and each part of the form.
Dr. Doyle also informed the commissioners, that if a parent should continue to send his children to a school, from which he had been warned by the priest to withdraw them, it would be a sin that he must abandon, or be denied absolution; nor could he receive any sacrament, “except that of matrimony, which, being a civil contract as well as a religious rite, is sometimes solemnized when we are not certain that the party is not in a state of sin," and that in these views the Roman Catholic clergy, as a body, fully concurred.
We have extended these extracts considerably, that our readers might understand the importance that is attached by the Roman Catholic church to the mere reading of the scriptures, unless under specific restrictions. The evidence satisfied the commissioners that such reading could not be insisted upon without a violation of the discipline and principles of the Roman Catholic church. And they were satisfied, moreover, that the use of the scriptures in the Kildarestreet Society's schools, was frequently a matter of mere form; that notwithstanding their professed neutrality, catechisms were taught as freely, in many of their schools, as in any others, merely by the fiction of treating the appointed hours as if they were not school-hours, (the restriction upon catechetical instruction being confined by the rules to schoolhours;”) and that in the selection of masters and mistresses, though nominally uninfluenced by religious considerations, they uniformly appointed Roman Catholic teachers to schools, of which the Roman Catholic clergy were patrons, and Protestant teachers to those of which the Protestant clergy were patrons. And as to the supplementary education, which was supposed to be furnished out of schoolhours and under appropriate ecclesiastical sanction, (and which all admitted to be indispensable,) it was very insufficiently provided.
When it was found that some change in the system was inevitable, the Roman Catholic bishops, in the first place, required, as a sine qua non of their concurrence in any national scheme, “that the master of each school in which the majority of the pupils profess the Roman Catholic faith
Q. Is there any thing under the form of bread but the body of Jesus Christ?
A. There is also there his blood, his soul, his divinity ; in short, the whole person of Jesus Christ.
Q. And under the form of wine ?