THOSE religious denominations which profess to protest against popery on account of the persecuting spirit of the papists have culled from the history of papal persecution the bitterest features of religious intolerance, and are now ready to wage a war of extermination against them, as though the same intolerent spirit in professed Protestants were more excusable than in the Catholics. Now, in the turning about of the tables, the once ferocious and persecuting Catholics are pleading for the perpetuity of the free and liberal institutions of our republican government; for the enjoyment of the rights of conscience, which we had supposed were secured to all classes of American citizens by our constitution; for liberty, in a boasted land of freedom, to worship God according to the dictates of their own consciences, and to educate their children without subjecting them to the corrupting influence of an opposite sectarian bias. The cause of christianity and republicanism is now plead with thrilling eloquence in our country by the papists, at the expense of blood and treasure, while the cause of oppression, anarchy, hierarchy, and intolerance, is supported by Protestant combinations, self-styled evangelical. (What a burlesque on the term!) Did Christ or his evangelists burn down the temples of the Jews or Pagans? Did he or they strive to establish their cause by incendiary appeals to the vilest passions of the most depraved? Did he or they lead on the ruthless mob to butcher down their opponents, and drench the earth with human blood? This designation, truly evangelical, is about as appropriately applied to the Protestants of the nineteenth century as was that of his Holiness to the pope at a former period.
Will not this state of things have a much greater tendency to augment the strength and numbers of the Catholics in our country than to carry out the designs of the persecutors? Can the common sense of the community fail to see that the spirit manifested by the Catholics during the late excitements at Philadelphia and New York is far preferable to that manifested by their oppressors. Read a few of the inflammatory articles in any of the popular religions journals, especially the “Baptist Record,” of Philadelphia, and contrast them with such as the following, from the Catholic Bishop of Philadelphia, and then decide in which part may be traced the most legible traits of the man of sin.
From the Public Ledger, of Philadelphia, in time of the late riots:
To THE CATHOLICS OF THE CITY AND COUNTY OF PHILADELPHIA. The melancholy riot of yesterday, which has resulted in the death of several of our fellow-beings, calls for our deep sorrow. It becomes all who have had any share in this tragical scene to humble themselves before God, and to sympathize deeply and seriously with those whose relatives and friends have fallen. I earnestly conjure all to avoid all occasion of excitement, and to shun all public places of assembly, and to do nothing that in any way can exasperate. Follow peace with all men, and charity, without which no man shall see God.
Bishop of Philadelphia.
Philadelphia, May 7, 1844.
New Vernon, N.Y.,
July 1, 1844
Elder Gilbert Beebe
Editorials Volume 2
Pages 451 – 452