The Priest, the Woman and the Confessional


A former priest warns of the dangers of the confessional


Auricular Confession Destroys all the Sacred Ties of Marriage and Human Society

WOULD the banker allow his priest to open, when alone, the safe of his bank, manipulate and examine his papers, and pry into the most secret details of his banking business

No! surely not.

How is it then, that the same banker allows that priest to open the heart of his wife, manipulate her soul, and pry into the sacred chambers of her most intimate and secret thoughts?

Are not the heart, the soul, the purity, and the self-respect of his wife as great and precious treasures as the safe of his bank! Are not the risks and dangers of temptations, imprudences, indiscretions, much greater and more irreparable in the second, than in the first case?

Would the jeweler or goldsmith allow his priest to come, when he pleases, and handle the rich articles of his stores, ransack the desk where the money is deposited, and play with it as he pleases?

No! surely not.

But are not the heart, the soul, and the purity of his dear wife and daughter a thousandfold more valuable than his precious stones, or silver and gold wares? Are not the dangers of temptation and indiscretions, on the part of the priest, more formidable and irresistible in the second, than in the first of these cases?

Would the livery man allow his priest to take his most valuable and unmanageable horses, when he wishes, and drive alone, without any other consideration and security than the discretion of his priest?

No! surely not.

That livery man knows that he would soon be ruined if he were to do so. Whatever may be his confidence in the discretion, honesty, and prudence of his priest, he will never push his confidence so far as to give him the unreserved control of the noble and fiery animals which are the glory of his stables and the support of his family.

How then, can the same man trust the entire, absolute management of his wife and dear daughters to the control of that one, to whom he would not entrust his horses? Are not his wife and daughters as precious to him as those horses? Is there not greater danger of indiscretions, mismanagement, irreparable and fatal errors on the part of the priest, dealing alone with his wife and daughters, than when driving horses? No human act of folly, moral depravity, and want of common sense can equal the permission given by a man to his wife to go and confess to the priest.

That day, he abdicates the loyal -- I had almost said divine -- dignity of husband; for it is from God that he holds it; his crown is forever lost, his sceptre broken!

What would you do to any one mean enough to peep or listen through the key-hole of your door in order to hear or see anything that was said or done within? Would you show so little self-respect as to tolerate such indiscretion? Would you not rather take a whip or a cane, and drive away the villain? Would you not even expose your life to free yourself from his impudent curiosity?

But what is the confessional if not the key-hole of your house and of your very chamber, through which the priest can hear and see your most secret words and actions; nay, more, know your most intimate thoughts and aspirations.

Are you worthy of the Name of men when you submit yourselves to such sly and insulting inquisition? Do you deserve the name of men, who consent to put up with such ignoble affront and humiliation?

"The husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the Head of the Church." "Therefore, as the Church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything " -- (Eph. v). If these solemn words are the true oracles of divine wisdom, is not the husband divinely appointed the only adviser, counsellor, help of his wife, just as Christ is the only adviser, counsellor, and help of His Church?

If the Apostle was not an impostor when he said that the wife is to her husband what the body is to the head, and that the husband is to his wife what the head is to the body -- is not the husband appointed by God to be the light, the guide of his wife? Is it not his duty, as well as his privilege and glory, to console her in her afflictions, strengthen her in her hours of weakness, keep her up when she is in danger of fainting, and encourage her when she is on the rough and uphill ways of life?

If Christ has not come to deceive the world through his Apostle, must not the wife go to her husband for advice? Ought she not to expect from him, and him alone, after God, the light she wants and the consolation she is in need of? Is it not to her husband, and to him alone, after God, she ought to look to in her days of trial for help? Is it not under his leadership alone she must fight the battle of life and conquer? Is not this mutual and daily sharing of the anxieties of life, this constant shouldering on the battle-field, and this reciprocal and mutual protection and help renewed at every hour of the day, which form, under the eyes and by the mercy of God, the holiest and the purest charms of the married life? Is it not that unreserved confidence in each other which binds together those golden links of Christian love that make them happy in the very midst of the trials of life? Is it not through this mutual confidence alone that they are one as God wants them to be one? Is it not in this unity of thoughts, fears and hopes, joys and love, which come from God, that they can cheerfully cross the thorny valley, and safely reach the Promised land?

The Gospel says that the husband is to his wife what Christ is to His Church! Is it not, then, a most sacrilegious iniquity for a wife to look to another rather than to her own husband for such advice, wisdom, strength, and life, as he is entitled, qualified, and ready to afford? As no other man has the right to her love, so no other man has any right to her absolute confidence. As she becomes an adulteress the day that she gives her body to another man, is she any the less an adulteress the day that she gives her confidence and trusts her soul to a stranger? The adultery of the heart and soul is not less criminal than the adultery of the body; and every time the wife goes to the feet of the priest to confess, does she not become guilty of that iniquity ?

In the Church of Rome, through the confessional, the priest is much more the husband of the wife than the man to whom she was wedded at the foot of the altar. The priest has the best part of the wife. He has the marrow, when the husband has the bones. He has the juice of the orange, the husband has the rind. He has the soul and the heart, the husband has the skeleton. He has the honey, the husband has the wax cell. He has the succulent oyster, the husband has the dry shell. As much as the soul is higher than the body, so much are the power and privileges of the priest higher than the power and privileges of the husband in the mind of the penitent wife. As the husband is the lord of the body which he feeds, so the priest is the lord of the soul and the heart, which he also feeds. The wife, then, has two lords and masters, whom she must love, respect and obey. Will she not give the best part of her love, respect, and submission to the one who, in her mind, is as much above the other as the heavens are above the earth? But as she cannot serve two masters together, will not the master who prepares and fits her for an eternal life of glory, certainly be the object of her constant, real, and most ardent love, gratitude, and respect, when the worldly and sinful man to whom she is married, will have only the appearance and the crumbs of those sentiments? Will she not naturally, instinctively serve, love, respect, and obey, as lord and master, the godly man, whose yoke is so light, so holy, so divine, rather than the carnal man, whose human imperfections are to her a source of daily trial and suffering?

In the Church of Rome, the thoughts and desires, the secret joys and fears of the soul, the very life of the wife, are sealed things to the husband. He has no right to look into the sanctuary of her heart; he has no remedy to apply to the soul; he has no mission from God to advise her in the dark hours of her anxieties; he has no balm to apply to the bleeding wounds, so often received in the daily battles of life; he must remain a perfect stranger in his own house.

The wife, expecting nothing from her husband, has no revelation to make to him, no favor to ask, no debt of gratitude to pay. Nay, she shuts all the avenues of her soul, all the doors and windows of her heart, against her husband. The priest, and the priest alone, has a, right to her entire confidence; to him, and him alone, she will go and reveal all her secrets, show all her wounds; to him, and him alone, she will turn her mind, her heart and soul, in the hour of trouble and anxiety; from him, and him, alone, she will ask and expect the light and consolation she wants. Every day, more and more, her husband will become a stranger to her, if he does not become a real nuisance, and an obstacle to her happiness and peace.

Yes, through the confessional, an unfathomable abyss has been dug by the Church of Rome, between the heart of the wife and the heart of the husband. Their bodies may be very near each other, but their souls, their real affections and their confidence are at greater distance than the north is from the south pole of the earth. The confessor is the master, the ruler, the king of the soul; the husband, as the graveyard-keeper, must be satisfied with the carcass!

The husband has the permission to look on the outside of the palace; he is allowed to rest his head on the cold marble of the outdoor steps; but the confessor triumphantly walks into the mysterious starry rooms, examines at leisure their numberless and unspeakable wonders; and, alone, he is allowed to rest his head on the soft pillows of the unbounded confidence, respect, and love of the wife.

In the Church of Rome, if the husband ask a favor from his wife, nine times in ten she will inquire from her father confessor whether or not she can grant him his request; and the poor husband will have to wait patiently for the permission of the master, or the rebuke of the lord, according to the answer of the oracle which had to be consulted! If he gets impatient under the yoke, and murmurs, the wife will, soon, go to the feet of her confessor, to tell him how she has the misfortune to be united to a most unreasonable man, and how she has to suffer from him! She reveals to her "dear father" how she is unhappy under such a yoke, and how her life would be an insupportable burden, had she not the privilege and happiness of coming often to his feet, to lay down her sorrows, hear his sympathetic words, and get his so affectionate and paternal advice! She tells him, with tears of gratitude, that it is only when by his side, and at his feet, she finds rest to her weary soul, balm to her bleeding heart, and peace to her troubled conscience.

When she comes from the confessional, her ears are long filled as with a heavenly music: the honored words of her confessor ring for many days in her heart: she feels it lonesome to be separated from him: his image is constantly before her mind, and the souvenir of his amiabilities is one of her most pleasant thoughts. There is nothing which she likes so much as to speak of his good qualities, his patience, his piety, his charity; she longs for the day when she will again go to confess and pass a few hours by the side of that angelic man, in opening to him all the secrets of her heart, and in revealing all her ennuis. She tells him how she regrets that she cannot come oftener to see him, and receive the benefits of his charitable counsels; she does not even conceal from him how often, in her dreams, she feels too happy to be with him! More and more every day the gap between her and her husband widens. More and more each day she regrets that she has not the happiness to be the wife of such a holy man as her confessor! Oh! if it were possible! But then, she blushes or smiles, and sings a song.

Then again, I ask, Who is the true lord, ruler, and master in that house? For whom does that heart beat and live?

Thus it is that that stupendous imposture, the dogma of auricular confession, does completely destroy all the links, the joys the responsibilities, and divine privileges of the married life, and transforms it into a life of perpetual, though disguised, adultery. It becomes utterly impossible, in the Church of Rome, that the husband should be one with his wife, and that the wife should be one with her husband: a "monstrous being" has been put between them both, called the confessor. Born in the darkest ages of the world, that being has received from hell his mission to destroy and contaminate the purest joys of the married life, to enslave the wife, to outrage the husband, and to damn the world!

The more auricular confession is practiced, the more the laws of public and private morality are trampled under foot. The husband wants his wife to be his -- he does not, and could not, consent to share his authority over her with anybody: he wants to be the only man who will have her confidence and her heart, as well as her respect and love. And so, the very moment that he anticipates the dark shadow of the confessor coming between him and the woman of his choice, he prefers to shrink from entering into the sacred bond; the holy joys of home and family lose their divine attraction; he prefers the cold life of an ignominious celibacy to the humiliation and opprobium of the questionable privileges of an uncertain paternity.

France, Spain, and many other Roman Catholic countries, thus witness the multitude of those bachelors increasing every year. The number of families and births, in consequence, is fast decreasing in their midst; and, if God does not perform a miracle to stop these nations in their downward course, it is easy to calculate the day when they will owe their existence to the tolerance and pity of the mighty Protestant nations which surround them.

Why is it that the Irish Roman Catholic people are so irreparably degraded and clothed in rags? Why is it that that people, whom God has endowed with so many noble qualities, seem to be so deprived of intelligence and self respect that they glory in their own shame? Why is it that their land has been for centuries the land of bloody riots and cowardly murders? The principal cause is the enslaving of the Irish women, by means of the confessional. Every one knows that the spiritual slavery and degradation of the Irish woman has no bounds. After she, in turn, has enslaved and degraded her husband and her sons. Ireland will be an object of pity; she will be poor, miserable, riotous, bloodthirsty, degraded, so long as she rejects Christ, to be ruled by the father confessor, planted in every parish by the Pope.

Who has not been amazed and saddened by the downfall of France? How is it that her once so mighty armies have melted away, that her brave sons have so easily been conquered and disarmed? How is it that France, fallen powerless at the feet of her enemies, has frightened the world by the spectacle of the incredible, bloody, and savage follies of the Commune? Do not look for the causes of the downfall, humiliation, and untold miseries of France anywhere else than the confessional. For centuries has not that great country obstinately rejected Christ? Has she not slaughtered or sent into exile her noblest children, who wanted to follow the Gospel? Has she not given her fair daughters into the bands of the confessors, who have defiled and degraded them? How could woman, in France, teach her husband and sons to love liberty, and die for it, when she was herself a miserable, an abject slave? How could she form her husband and sons to the manly virtues of heroes, when her own mind was defiled and her heart corrupted by the Priest?

The French woman had unconditionally surrendered the noble and fair citadel of her heart, intelligence, and womanly self-respect into the hands of her confessor long before her sons surrendered their swords to the Germans at Sedan and Paris. The first unconditional surrender had brought the second.

The complete moral destruction of woman by the confessor in France has been a long work. It has required centuries to bow down, break, and enslave the noble daughters of France. Yes; but those who know France, know that that destruction is now as complete as it is deplorable. The downfall of woman in France, and her supreme degradation through the confessional, is now un fait accompli, which nobody can deny; the highest intellects have seen and confessed it. One of the most profound thinkers of that unfortunate country, Michelet, has depicted that supreme and irretrievable degradation in a most eloquent book, "The Priest, The Woman, The Family;" and not a voice has been raised to deny or refute what he has said. Those who have any knowledge of history and philosophy know very well that the moral degradation of the woman is soon followed everywhere by the moral degradation of the nation, and the moral degradation of the nation is very soon followed by ruin and overthrow.

The French nation had been formed by God to be a race of giants. They were chivalrous and brave; they had bright intelligences, stout hearts, strong arms and a mighty sword. But as the hardest granite rock yields and breaks under the drop of water which incessantly falls upon it, so that great nation had to break and to fall into pieces under, not the drop, but the rivers of impure waters which, for centuries, have incessantly flowed in upon it from the pestilential fountain of the confessional. "Righteousness exalteth a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people." (Proverbs xiv.)

In the sudden changes and revolutions of these latter days, France is also sharing; and the Church of Rome has received a blow there, which, though perhaps only temporary in its character, will help to awaken the people to the corruption and fraud of the priesthood.

Why is it that Spain is so miserable, so weak, so poor, so foolishly and cruelly tearing her own bosom, and reddening her fair valleys with the blood of her own children? The principal, if not the only, cause of the downfall of that great nation is the confessional. There, also, the confessor has defiled, degraded, enslaved women, and women in turn have defiled and degraded their husbands and sons. Women have sown broadcast over their country the seeds of that slavery, of that want of Christian honesty, justice, and self-respect with which they had themselves been first imbued in the confessional. But when you see, without a single exception, the nations whose women drink the impure and poisonous waters, which flow from the confessional, sinking down so rapidly, do you not wonder how fast the neighboring nations, who have destroyed those dens of impurity, prostitution, and abject slavery, are rising up? What a marvellous contrast is before our eyes? On one side, the nations who allow the women to be degraded and enslaved at the feet of her confessor -- France, Spain, Romish Ireland, Mexico, &c., &c. -- are, there, fallen into the dust, bleeding, struggling, powerless, like the sparrow whose entrails are devoured by the vulture.

On the other side, see how the nations whose women go to wash their robes in the blood of the Lamb, are soaring up, as on eagle wings, in the highest regions of progress, peace, and liberty!

If legislators could once understand the respect and protection they owe to women, they would soon, by stringent laws, prohibit auricular confession as contrary to good morals and the welfare of society; for, though the advocates of auricular confession have succeeded, to a certain extent, in blinding the public, and in concealing the abominations of the system under a lying mantle of holiness and religion, it is nothing else than a school of impurity. I say more than that. After twenty-five years of hearing the confessions of the common people and of the highest classes of society, of the laymen and the priests, of the grand vicars and bishops and the nuns; I conscientiously say before the world, that the immorality of the confessional is of a more dangerous and degrading nature than that which we attribute to the social evil of our great cities. The injury caused to the intelligence and to the soul in the confessional, as a general rule, is of a more dangerous nature and more irremediable, because it is neither suspected nor understood by its victims,

The unfortunate woman who lives an immoral life knows her profound misery; she often blushes and weeps over her degradation; she hears, from every side, voices which call her out of those ways of perdition. Almost at every hour of day and night, the cry of her conscience warns her against the desolation and suffering of an eternity passed far away from the regions of holiness, light, and life. All those things are often so many means of grace, in the hands of our merciful God, to awaken the mind, and to save the guilty soul. But in the confessional the poison is administered under the name of a pure and refreshing water; the deadly blow is inflicted by a sword so well oiled that the wound is not felt; the vilest and most impure notions and thoughts, in the form of questions and answers, are presented and accepted as the bread of life! All the notions of modesty, purity, and womanly self-respect and delicacy, are set aside and forgotten to propitiate the god of Rome. In the confessional the woman is told, and she believes, that there is no sin for her in hearing things which would make the vilest blush -- no sin to say things which would make the most desperate villain on the streets of London to stagger -- no sin to converse with her confessor on matters so filthy that, if attempted in civil life, would forever exclude the perpetrator from the society of the virtuous.

Yes, the soul and the intelligence defiled and destroyed in the confessional are often hopelessly defiled and destroyed. They are sinking into a complete, an irretrievable perdition; for, not knowing the guilt, they will not cry for mercy -- not suspecting the fatal disease that is being fostered, they will not call for the true Physician. It was, evidently, when thinking of the unspeakable ruin of the souls of men through the wickedness culminating in the Pope's confessors, that the Son of God said: -- "If the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch." To every woman, with very few exceptions, coming out from the feet of her confessor, the children of light may say: -- "I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, but thou art dead -- (Revelations iii.).

Nobody has yet been, nor ever will be able to answer the few following lines, which I addressed some years ago to the Rev. Mr. Bruyere, Roman Catholic Vicar-General of London, Canada:

"With a blush on my face, and regret in my heart, I confess, before God and man, that I have been like you, and with you, through the confessional, plunged for twenty-five years in that bottomless sea of iniquity, in which the blind priests of Rome have to swim day and night.

" I had to learn by heart, like you, the infamous questions which the Church of Rome forces every priest to learn. I had to put those impure, immoral questions to old and young females, who were confessing their sins to me. These questions -- you know it -- are of such a nature that no prostitute would dare to put them to another. Those questions, and the answers they elicit, are so debasing that no man in London -- you know it -- except a priest of Rome, is sufficiently lost to every sense of shame, as to put them to any woman.

"Yes, I was bound, in conscience, as you are bound to-day, to put into the ears, the mind, the imagination, the memory, the heart and soul of females, questions of such a nature, the direct and immediate tendency of which -- you know it well -- is to fill the minds and the hearts of both priests and female penitents with thoughts, phantoms, and temptations of such a degrading nature, that I do not know any words adequate to express them. Pagan antiquity has never seen any institution more polluting than the confessional. I know nothing more corrupting than the law which forces a female to tell her thoughts, desires, and most secret feelings and actions to an unmarried priest. The confessional is a school of perdition. You may deny that before the Protestants; but you cannot deny it before me. My dear Mr. Bruyere, if you call me a degraded man, because I have lived twenty-five years in the atmosphere of the confessional, you are right. I was a degraded man, just as yourself and all the priests are to-day, in spite of your denegations. If you call me a degraded man because my soul, my mind, and my heart were, as your own are to-day, plunged into the deep waters of iniquity which flow from the confessional, I confess, 'Guilty!' I was degraded and polluted by the confessional, just as you and all the priests of Rome are.

"It has required the whole blood of the great Victim, who died on Calvary for sinners, to purify me; and I pray that, through the same blood, you may be purified also."

If the legislators knew the respect and protection they owe to women -- I repeat it-they would, by the most stringent laws, prohibit auricular confession as a crime against society.

Not long ago, a printer in England was sent to jail and severely punished for having published in English the questions put by the priest to the women in the confessional; and the sentence was equitable, for all who will read those questions will conclude that no girl or woman who brings her mind into contact with the contents of that book can escape from moral death. But what are the priests of Rome doing in the confessional? Do they not pass the greatest part of their time in questioning females, old and young, and hearing their answers, on those very matters? If it were a crime, punishable by law, to present those questions in a book, is it not a crime far more punishable by law to present those very things to married and unmarried women through the auricular confession!

I ask it from every man of common sense. What is the difference between a woman or a girl learning those things in a book, or learning them from the lips of a man? Will not those impure, demoralizing suggestions sink more deeply into their minds, and impress themselves more forcibly in their memory, when told to them by a man of authority speaking in the name of Almighty God, than when read in a book which has no authority?

I say to the legislators of Europe and America, "Read for yourselves those horrible, unmentionable things;" and remember that the Pope has more than 100,000 priests whose principal work is, to put those very things into the intelligence and memory of the women whom they entrap into their snares. Let us suppose that each priest hears the confessions of only five female penitents every day (though we know that the daily average is ten): it gives the awful number of 500,000 women whom the priests of Rome have the legal right to pollute and destroy each day of the year!

Legislators of the so-called Christian and civilized nations! I ask it again from you, Where is your consistency, your justice, your love of public morality, when you punish so severely the man who has printed the questions put to the woman in the confessional, while you honor and let free, and often pay the men whose public and private life is spent in spreading the very same moral poison in a much more efficacious, scandalous, and shameful way, under the mask of religion !

The confessional is in the hands of the devil, what West Point is to the United States, and Woolwich is to great Britain, a training of the army to fight and conquer the enemy. It is in the confessional that 500,000 women every day, and 182,000,000 every year, are trained by the Pope in the art of fighting against God, by destroying themselves and the whole world, through every imaginable kind of impurity and filthiness.

Once more, I request the legislators, the husbands, and the fathers in Europe, as well as in America and Australia, to read in Dens, Liguori, Debreyne, in every theological book of Rome, what their wives and their daughters have to learn in the confessional.

In order to screen themselves, the priests of Rome have recourse to the following miserable subterfuge: -- "Is not the physician forced," they say, "to perform certain delicate operations on women? Do you complain of this? No! you let the physician alone; you do not abuse them in their arduous and conscientious duties. Why, then, should you insult the physician of the soul, the confessor, in the accomplishment of his holy, though delicate duties?"

I answer, first, The art and science of the physician are approved and praised in many parts of the Scriptures. But the art and science of the confessor are nowhere to be found in the holy records. Auricular confession is nothing else than a most stupendous imposture. The filthy and impure questions of the confessor, with the polluting answers they elicit, were put among the most diabolical and forbidden actions by God Himself, the day that the Spirit of Truth, Holiness, and Life wrote the imperishable words -- "Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth." (Eph. iv. 29.)

Secondly, The physician is not bound by a solemn oath to remain ignorant of the things which it will be his duty to examine and cure. But the priest of Rome is bound, by the most ridiculous and impious oath of celibacy, to remain ignorant of the very things which are the daily objects of his inquiries, observation, and thoughts! The priest of Rome has sworn never to taste of the fruits with which he feeds his imagination, his memory, his heart, and his soul day and night! The physician is honest in the performance of his duties; but the priest of Rome becomes, in fact, a perjured man, every time be enters the confessional-box.

Thirdly, If a lady has a little sore on her small finger, and is obliged to go to the physician for a remedy, she has only to show her little finger, allow the plaster or ointment to be applied, and all is finished. The physician never -- no never -- says to that lady, "It is my duty to suspect that you have many other parts of your body which are sick; I am bound in conscience, under pain of death, to examine you from head to foot, in order to save your precious life from those secret diseases, which may kill you if they are not cured just now. Several of those diseases are of such a nature that you never dared perhaps to examine them with the attention they deserve, and you are hardly conscious of them. I know, madam, that this is a very painful and delicate thing for both you and me, that I should be forced to make that thorough examination of your person; however, there is no help; I am in duty bound to do it. But you have nothing to fear. I am a holy man, who have made a vow of celibacy. We are alone; neither your husband nor your father will ever know the secret infirmities I may find in you: they will never even suspect the perfect investigation I will make, and they will, forever, be ignorant of the remedy I will apply."

Has any physician ever been authorized to speak or act in this way with any of his female patients?

No, -- never! never!

But this is just the way the spiritual physician, by whom the devil enslaves and corrupts women, acts. When the fair, honest, and timid spiritual patient has come to her confessor, to show him the little sore she has on the small finger of her soul, the confessor is bound in conscience to suspect that she has other sores -- secret, shameful sores! Yes, he is bound, nine times out of ten; and he is always allowed to suppose that she does not dare to reveal them! Then he is advised by the Church to induce her to let him search every corner of the heart, and of the soul, and to inquire about all kinds of contaminations, impurities, secret, shameful, and unspeakable matters! The young priest is drilled in the diabolical art of going into the most sacred recesses of the soul and the heart, almost in spite of his penitents. I could bring hundreds of theologians as witnesses to the truth of what I here say: but it is enough just now to cite three: --

"Lest the confessor should indolently hesitate in tracing out the circumstances of any sin, let him have the following versicle of circumstances in readiness:

"Quis, quid, ubi, quibus auxiliis, cur, quomodo, quando. Who, which, where, with whom, why, how, when." (Dens, Vol. 6, p. 123. Liguori, vol. 2, p. 464.)

The celebrated book of the Priests, "The Mirror of the Clergy," page 357, says:

" Oportet ut Confessor solet cognoscere quid quid debet judicare. Deligens igitur inquisitor et subtillis investigator sapienter, quasi astute, interrogat a peccatore quod ignorat, vel verecundia volit occultare."

"It is necessary that the confessor should know everything on which he has to exercise his judgment. Let him then, with wisdom and subtility, interrogate the sinners on the sins which they may ignore, or conceal through shame."

The poor unprotected girl is, thus, thrown into the power of the priest, soul and body, to be examined on all the sins she may ignore, or which, through shame, she may conceal! On what a boundless sea of depravity the poor fragile bark is launched by the priest! On what bottomless abysses of impurities she will have to pass and travel, in company with the priest alone, before he will have interrogated her on all the sins she may ignore, or which she may have concealed through shame!! Who can tell the sentiments of surprise, shame, and distress, of a timid, honest, young girl, when, for the first time, she is initiated, through those questions, to infamies which are ignored even in houses of prostitution!!!

But such is the practice, the sacred duty of the spiritual physician. "Let him (the priest confessor), with wisdom and subtlety, interrogate the sinners on the sins they may ignore or conceal through shame."

And there are more than 100,000 men, not only allowed, but petted, and often paid by so-called Protestant, Christian, and civilised governments to do that under the name of the God of the Gospel!

Fourthly, I answer to the sophism of the priest: When the physician has any delicate and dangerous operation to perform on a female patient, he is never alone; the husband, or the father, the mother, the sister, or some friends of the patient are there, whose scrutinising eyes and attentive ears make it impossible for the physician to say or do any improper thing.

But when the poor, deluded spiritual patient comes to be treated by her so-called spiritual physician, and shows him her disease, is she not alone -- shamefully alone -- with him? Where are the protecting ears of the husband, the father, the mother, the sisters, or the friends? Where is the barrier interposed between this sinful, weak, tempted, and often depraved man and his victim?

Would the priest so freely ask this and that from a married woman, if he knew that her husband could hear him? No, surely not! for he is well aware that the enraged husband would blow out the brains of the villian who, under the sacrilegious pretext of purifying the soul of his wife, is filling her breast with every kind of pollution and infamy.

Fifthly, When the physician performs a delicate operation on one of his female patients, the operation is usually accompanied with pain, cries, and often with bloodshed. The sympathetic and honest physician suffers almost as much pain as his patient; those cries, acute pains, tortures, and bleeding wounds make it morally impossible that the physician should be tempted to any improper thing.

But the sight of the spiritual wounds of that fair penitent! Is the poor depraved human heart really sorry to see and examine them? Oh, no! it is just the contrary.

The dear Saviour weeps over those wounds; the angels are distressed at the sight. Yes! But the deceitful and corrupt heart of man! is it not rather apt to be pleased at the sight of wounds which are so much like the ones he has himself so often been pleased to receive from the hand of the enemy?

Was the heart of David pained and horror-struck at the sight of the fair Bath-sheba, when, imprudently, and too freely, exposed in her bath? Was not that holy prophet smitten, and brought down to the dust, by that guilty look? Was not the mighty giant, Samson, undone by the charms of Delilah? Was not the wise Solomon ensnared and befooled in the midst of the women by whom he was surrounded?

Who will believe that the bachelors of the Pope are made of stronger metal than the Davids, the Samsons, and the Solomons? Where is the man who has so completely lost his common sense as to believe that the priests of Rome are stronger than Samson, holier than David, wiser than Solomon? Who will believe that confessors will stand up on their feet amidst the storms which prostrate in the dust those giants of the armies of the Lord? To suppose that, in the generality of cases, the confessor can resist the temptations by which he is daily surrounded in the confessional, that he will constantly refuse the golden opportunities, which offer themselves to him, to satisfy the almost irresistible propensities of his fallen human nature, is neither wisdom nor charity; it is simply folly.

I do not say that all the confessors and their female penitents fall into the same degree of abject degradation; thanks be to God, I have known several, who nobly fought their battles, and conquered on that field of so many shameful defeats. But these are the exceptions. It is just as when the fire has ravaged one of our grand forests of America -- how sad it is to see the numberless noble trees fallen under the devouring element! But, here and there, the traveler is not a little amazed and pleased, to find some which have proudly stood the fiery trial, without being consumed.

Was not the world at large struck with terror, when they heard of the fire which, a few years ago, reduced the great city of Chicago to ashes! But those who have visited that doomed city, and seen the desolating ruins of her 16,000 houses, had to stand in silent admiration before a few, which, in the very midst of an ocean of fire, had escaped untouched by the destructive element.

It is a fact, that owing to a most marvellous protection of God, some privileged souls, here and there, do escape the fatal destruction which overtakes so many others in the confessional.

The confessional is like the spider's web. How many too unsuspecting flies find death, when seeking rest on the beautiful framework of their deceitful enemy! How few escape! and this only after a most desperate struggle. See how the perfidious spider looks harmless in his retired, dark corner; how motionless he is; how patiently he waits for his opportunity! But look how quickly he surrounds his victim with his silky, delicate, and imperceptible links! how mercilessly he sucks its blood and destroys its life!

What remains of the imprudent fly, after she has been entrapped into the nets of her foe? Nothing but a skeleton. So it is with your fair wife, your precious daughter; nine times out of ten, nothing but a moral skeleton returns to you, after the Pope's black spider has been allowed to suck the very blood of her heart and soul. Let those who would be tempted to think that I exaggerate, read the following extracts from the memoirs of the Venerable Scipio de Ricci, Roman Catholic Bishop of Pistoia and Prato, in Italy. They were published by the Roman Catholic Italian Government, to show to the world that some measures had to be taken, by the civil and ecclesiastical authorities, to prevent the nation from being entirely swept away by the deluge of corruption flowing from the confessional, even among the most perfect of Rome's followers, the monks and the nuns. The priests have never dared to deny a single iota of these terrible revelations. On page 115 we read the following letter from sister Flavia Peraccini, Prioress of St. Catharine, to Dr. Thomas Camparina, Rector of the Episcopal Seminary of Pistoia:

"In compliance with the request which you made me this day, I hasten to say something, but I know not how.

"Of those who are gone out of the world, I shall say nothing. Of those who are still alive and have very little decency of conduct, there are many, among whom there is an ex-provincial named Father Dr. Ballendi, Calvi, Zoratti, Bigliaci, Guidi, Miglieti, Verde, Bianchi, Ducci, Seraphini, Bolla, Nera di Luca, Quaretti, &c. But wherefore any more? With the exception of three or four, all those whom I have ever known, alive or dead, are of the same character; they have all the same maxims and the same conduct.

"They are on more intimate terms with the nuns than if they were married to them! I repeat it, it would require a great deal of time to tell half of what I know. It is the custom now, when they come to visit and hear the confession of a sick sister, to sup with the nuns, sing, dance, play, and sleep in the convent. It is a maxim of theirs that God has forbidden hatred, but not love; and that man is made for woman and woman for man.

"I say that they can deceive the innocent and the most prudent and circumspect, and that it would be a miracle to converse with them and not fall!"

Page 117. -- "The priests are the husbands of the nuns, and the lay brothers of the lay sisters. In the chamber of one of the nuns I have mentioned, a man was one day found; he fled away, but, soon after, they gave him to us as our confessor extraordinary.

"How many bishops are there in the Papal States who have come to the knowledge of those disorders, have held examinations and visitations, and yet never could remedy it, because the monks, our confessors, tell us that those are excommunicated who reveal what passes in the Order!

"Poor creatures! they think they are leaving the world to escape dangers, and they only meet with greater ones. Our fathers and mothers have given us a good education, and here we have to unlearn and forget what they have taught us."

Page 188. -- "Do not suppose that this is the case in our convent alone. It is just the same at St. Lucia, Prato, Pisa, Perugia, &c. I have known things that would astonish you. Everywhere it is the same. Yes, everywhere the same disorders, the same abuses prevail. I say, and I repeat it, let the superiors suspect as they may, they do not know the smallest part of the enormous wickedness that goes on between the monks and the nuns whom they confess. Every monk who passed by on his way to the chapter, entreated a sick sister to confess to him, and -- !"

Page 119. -- "With respect to Father Buzachini, I say that he acted just as the others, sitting up late in the nunnery, diverting himself, and letting the usual disorders go on. There were several nuns who had love affairs on his account. His own principal mistress was Odaldi, of St. Lucia, who used to send him continual treats. He was also in love with the daughter of our factor, of whom they were very jealous here. He ruined also poor Cancellieri, who was sextoness. The monks are all alike with their penitents.

"Some years ago, the nuns of St. Vincent, in consequence of the extraordinary passion they had for their father confessors Lupi and Borghiani, were divided into two parties, one calling themselves Le Lupe, the other Le Borghiani.

"He who made the greatest noise was Donati. I believe he is now at Rome. Father Brandi, too, was also in great vogue. I think he is now Prior of St. Gemignani. At St. Vincent, which passes for a very holy retreat, they have also their lovers -- -."

My pen refuses to reproduce several things which the nuns of Italy have published against their father confessors. But this is enough to show to the most incredulous that the confession is nothing else but a school of perdition, even among those who make a profession to live in the highest regions of Roman Catholic holiness -- the monks and the nuns.

Now, from Italy let us go to America and see again the working of auricular confession, not between the holy (?) nuns and monks of Rome, but among the humblest classes of country women and priests. Great is the number of parishes where women have been destroyed by their confessors, but I will speak only of one.

When curate of Beauport, I was called by the Rev. Mr. Proulx, curate of St. Antoine, to preach a retreat (a revival) with the Rev. Mr. Aubry, to his parishioners, and eight or ten other priests were also invited to come and help us to hear the confessions.

The very first day, after preaching and passing five or six hours in the confessional, the hospitable curate gave us a supper before going to bed. But it was evident that a kind of uneasiness pervaded the whole company of the father confessors. For my own part I could hardly raise my eyes to look at my neighbor; and, when I wanted to speak a word, it seemed that my tongue was not free as usual; even my throat was as if it were choked: the articulation of the sounds was imperfect. It was evidently the same with the rest of the priests. Instead, then, of the noisy and cheerful conversations of the other meals, there were only a few insignificant words exchanged with a half-suppressed tone.

The Rev. Mr. Proulx (the curate) at first looked as if he were partaking also of that singular, though general, despondent feeling. During the first part of the lunch he hardly said a word ; but, at last, raising his head, and turning his honest face towards us, in his usual gentlemanly, and cheerful manner, he said: --

"Dear friends, I see that you are all under the influence of the most painful feelings. There is a burden on you that you can neither shake off nor bear as you wish. I know the cause of your trouble, and I hope you will not find fault with me, if I help you to recover from that disagreeable mental condition. You have heard, in the confessional, the history of many great sins; but I know that this is not what troubles you. You are all old enough in the confessional to know the miseries of poor human nature. Without any more preliminaries, I will come to the subject. It is no more a secret in this place, that one of the priests who has preceded me, has been very unfortunate, weak, and guilty with the greatest part of the married women whom he has confessed. Not more than one in ten has escaped him. I would not mention this fact had I got it only from the confessional, but I know it well from other sources, and I can speak of it freely, without breaking the secret seal of the confessional. Now, what troubles you is that, probably, when a great number of those women have confessed to you what they had done with their confessor, you have not asked them how long it was since they had sinned with him; and in spite of yourselves, you think that I am the guilty man. This does, naturally, embarrass you, when you are in my presence, and at my table. But please ask them, when they come again to confess, how many months or years have passed away since their last love affair with a confessor; and you will see that you may suppose that you are in the house of an honest man. You may look me in the face, and have no fear to address me as if I were still worthy of your esteem; for, thanks be to God, I am not the guilty priest who has ruined and destroyed so many souls here."

The curate had hardly pronounced the last word, when a general "We thank you, for you have taken away a mountain from our shoulders," fell from almost every lip.

"It is a fact that, notwithstanding the good opinion we had of you," said several, "we were in fear that you had missed the right track, and fallen down with your fair penitents, into the ditch."

I felt much relieved; for I was one of those who, in spite of myself, had my secret fears about the honesty of our host. When, very early the next morning, I had begun to hear the confessions, one of those unfortunate victims of the confessor's depravity came to me, and in the midst of many tears and sobs, she told me, with great details, what I repeat here in a few lines:

"I was only nine years old when my first confessor began to do very criminal things with me, every time I was at his feet confessing my sins. At first, I was ashamed and much disgusted; but soon after, I became so depraved that I was looking eagerly for every opportunity of meeting him, either in his own house, or in the church, in the vestry, and many times, in his own garden, when it was dark at night. That priest did not remain very long; he was removed, to my great regret, to another place, where he died. He was succeeded by another one, who seemed at first to be a very holy man. I made to him a general confession with, it seems to me, a sincere desire to give up forever, that sinful life; but I fear that my confessions became a cause of sin to that good priest; for, not long after my confession was finished, he declared to me, in the confessional, his love, with such passionate words, that he soon brought me down again into my former criminal habits with him. This lasted six years, when my parents removed to this place. I was very glad for it, for I hoped that, being away from him, I should not be any more a cause of sin to him, and that I might begin a better life. But the fourth time that I went to confess to my new confessor, he invited me to go to his room, where we did things so disgusting together, that I do not know how to confess them. It was two days before my marriage, and the only child I have had is the fruit of that sinful hour. After my marriage, I continued the same criminal life with my confessor. He was the friend of my husband; we had many opportunities of meeting each other, not only when I was going to confess, but when my husband was absent and my child was at school. It was evident to me that several other women were as miserable and criminal as I was myself. This sinful intercourse with my confessor went on, till God Almighty stopped it with a real thunderbolt. My dear only daughter had gone to confess, and received the holy communion. As she came back from church much later than I expected, I inquired the reason which had kept her so long. She then threw herself into my arms, and, with convulsive cries said, -- 'Dear mother, do not ask me to go to confess any more -- Oh! if you could know what my confessor asked me when I was at his feet! and if you could know what he has done with me, and he has forced me to do with him, when he had me alone in his parlor!'

"My poor child could not speak any longer; she fainted in my arms.

"As soon as she recovered, without losing a minute, I dressed myself, and, full of an inexpressible rage, I directed my steps towards the parsonage. But before leaving my house, I had concealed under my shawl a sharp butcher's knife, to stab and kill the villain who had destroyed my dearly beloved child. Fortunately for that priest, God changed my mind before I entered his room: my words to him were few and sharp.

"'You are a monster!' I said to him. 'Not satisfied to have destroyed me, you want to destroy my own dear child, which is yours also! Shame upon you! I had come with this knife, to put an end to your infamies; but so short a punishment would be too mild a one for such a monster. I want you to live, that you may bear upon your head the curse of the too unsuspecting and unguarded friends whom you have so cruelly deceived and betrayed. I want you to live with the consciousness that you are known by me and many others, as one of the most infamous monsters who has ever defiled this world. But know that if you are not away from this place before the end of this week, I will reveal everything to my husband; and you may be sure that he will not let you live twenty-four hours longer; for he sincerely thinks your daughter is his; he will be the avenger of her honor! I go to denounce you, this very day, to the bishop, that he may take you away from this parish, which you have so shamelessly polluted.'

"The priest threw himself at my feet, and, with tears, asked my pardon, imploring me not to denounce him to the bishop, and promising that he would change his life and begin to live as a good priest. But I remained inexorable. I went to the bishop, and warned his lordship of the sad consequences which would follow, if he kept that curate any longer in this place, as he seemed inclined to do. But before the eight days had expired, he was put at the head of another parish, not very far away from here."

The reader will, perhaps, like to know what has become of this priest.

He remained at the head of that most beautiful parish of Beaumont, as curate, where, I know it for a fact, he continued to destroy his penitents, till a few years before he died, with the reputation of a good priest, an amiable man, and a holy confessor! For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: . . . .

And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming:

Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan, with all power and signs and lying wonders.

And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:

That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2 Thess. 2:7-12)

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