Modern Rulers Walk The Road To Canossa


     One more example of a later date may be of interest. For centuries France had been under the controlling power of the Papacy, and in the Revolutionary period she attempted to shake off the shackles. But, the fetters were so strong and the chains so heavy, that she found herself unable to do so, till finally the Association Law of 1901 and the Separation Law of 1905 granted religious liberty to all denominations alike. Rome, however, does not want liberty, but sole control, and so her thunderbolts were hurled against the "injustice" of France, till the impression was created that Rome was fighting for "liberty." It is the same old story. The Papacy always feels oppressed where it is not given a free hand to control. F. T. Morton (member of the Massachusetts bar) says:     

     "It is not in defence of religious liberty the pope is attacking the French republic, but because the republic has placed all religious bodies alike under the regime of religious liberty, equality, and toleration, and this he calls the law of oppression." - "The Roman Catholic Church and Its Relation to the Federal Government," p. 110. Boston: 1909. See also "Papal Attack on France," in the Nineteenth Century Magazine, April, 1909, and "Papal Aggression in France," in Fortnightly Review, October, 1906.     

     In a Catholic booklet, Rev. J. T. Roche, LL. D., says of the French law:

"Three hundred million dollars' worth of property has been swept away by a single legal enactment, because the French laity did not have an influential, efficient, and vigorous press to protest against this colossal injustice. The Cardinal Archbishop of France a few weeks ago made the statement, that if one tenth of the money put into churches and religious institutions, had been expended on their Catholic press, this property would never have been confiscated. This utterance has been well borne out by the results already achieved in Germany. That country today has over two hundred Catholic daily papers, and a great number of weekly and monthly periodicals. It has a great lay society, the Volksverein, which devotes its energies to the up building of the press. . . . From end to end of the country, the people are kept in touch with what is going on in governmental

as well as church circles. There is unity of thought and action. . . . It has become a universally accepted axiom amongst us, that the church in any country is no stronger or weaker than its official press." - "The Catholic Paper," pp. 9, 10; printed by "Catholic Register and Canadian Extension." Toronto, Can.: 1910.   

     Attorney F. T. Morton quotes the following from newspaper clippings concerning a mass meeting of nearly 8,000 Catholics, held in Brooklyn, N. Y., Feb. 3, 1907, to protest against the Separation Law of France: "Even Bismarck had to pass on his way to a metaphorical Canossa." - "The Roman Catholic Church," p. 114, Boston: 1909.    

The Roman Catholic weekly, The Tablet, of London, March 21, 1914, pp. 440, 441, has an article on "French Catholics and the General Elections," which we wish we had space to copy in full, as it shows the way leaders in the Roman church instruct her people, and marshal them in mass in times of elections. We quote:   

     "Catholics have had their duty in this matter long ago placed before them by the Pope: to unite together under their Bishops on the platform of religion.' . . 

     "' Catholics above all things' was to be their motto.   

"The only purpose was to form a vast association of Catholic citizens to act together for ends which he summed up as follows: - 'What we want is religious peace (1) by the revision of the laws which have attacked our liberties, and (2) by an understanding between the State and the Head of the Catholic Church.'   

     "In accordance with these principles it was determined to constitute at once a Committee to multiply organizations which would group Catholics together for this work, and that action should be taken as far as possible in the forthcoming electoral struggle.   

     "The call to united action thus sounded finds a strong re-enforcement in the pastorals of the Bishops. Thus Cardinal Andrieu, Archbishop of Bordeaux, has reminded his flock that they should use their votes, and that in doing so they are bound in conscience to vote only for those candidates who shall have promised to respect the rights of God and the Church. 'Those,' declares His Eminence, 'who decline to make this promise are undeserving of your confidence, and if, from fear or from self interest, you vote for them, you make yourselves responsible before God and men for the harm that may be done by their sectarianism to our religion and to our country.'   

     "Cardinal Dubillard, Archbishop of Chambery, has written in the same sense. Even still stronger is the note struck in a Joint Pastoral issued by the six Bishops of the Province of Bourges. They open by declaring that with the elections in view it is their right and their duty to speak about them to their people, who are under an obligation, not only to vote, but to vote right. 'To vote is not an indifferent, because it is a political, act, for politics cannot escape from Christian morality or claim independence seeing that conscience is binding in public as well as in private life.' . . .   

     "Catholics have gone to the ballot as individuals, disunited and without a program. This time they should unite on behalf of the interests of religion. Now more than ever before united action is necessary sub vexillo Christi. . . . The Bishops proceed to lay down the line of conduct to be followed by Catholic electors: to refuse to vote for all candidates who shall take their stand on the laws described as secular and intangible; to vote unhesitatingly and without arriere pensee [mental reservation] for every Catholic candidate - Republican, Royalist, or Imperialist - because he is a Catholic, and determined above all to defend and demand the rights of God and of the Church; to vote for those Liberal candidates who give a satisfactory pledge to support the Catholic claims. From this it will be seen that the laymen's movement is in full accord with the directions of the Bishops." - Pp. 440, 441.   

     Now, m the Roman Catholic Church rests one of its main propositions on the fact that it is the same the world over, and never changes, and seeing that it is governed in every

country by the same rules of the Roman Curia, with the pope at its head, we know that the same regulations apply to the United States as to the Republic of France. As an illustration of this fact we find that, when the Poles of Milwaukee, Wis., in their city election of 1912, voted the Socialist ticket, the Roman Catholic paper, Western Watchman, of April 11, 1912, commented thus: "We are sorry for the Poles. It is a shame that their clergy have them not under better control." - Quoted in "Protestant Magazine," December, 1913, p. 568. When Mr. T. J. Carey of Palestine, Texas, in a letter to Archbishop John Bonzano, the Papal Delegate, of Washington, D. C., dated June 10, 1912, asked: "Must I as a Catholic surrender my political freedom to the Church?" the Archbishop answered in a letter dated June 16, 1912: "You should submit to the decisions of the Church even at the cost of sacrificing political principles." - Frontispiece in "Protestant Magazine," August, 1913. Many other incidents could be cited if space permitted.   

     Let no one, therefore, claim that the Catholic Church is not active in politics. As a sequel to this Catholic Action in France, we read in the Minneapolis Journal, December 7, 1920, in the report of a sermon by Dr. P. B. Donally, O. M. I. (Catholic) of London, England, preached at the Pro-Cathedral in Minneapolis, the following significant words:      

     "'The Church, Christ's Masterpiece.' . . . Amid the universal crash of nations, thrones, and doctrines, she is the one moral force that remains standing.   

     "Protestant England sends its ambassador to the Pope of Rome. Lutheran Germany, through her representative at the Vatican, seeks light and counsel from the Vicar of Christ. And the infidel government of France has walked the road to Canossa."     

     We have seen the reason why the Republic of "France has walked the road to Canossa"; namely, through the activities of Catholic bishops, and their organizations, in elections. As sure as that same power is operating in other countries, they too will walk the road to Canossa. What a delight it seems for the leaders of the Roman church to look back to the grand scene at Canossa, and see a mighty king standing with bare feet in snow and cold for three days, begging the pope to allow him to rule his own country. This is the Roman ideal, it appears. We could continue this subject by relating Rome's fight against government officials of Spain, Mexico, etc., bringing its activities in politics up to date, but space forbids. To sum up: Rome is unchanged in principle, and will do today what it did in the Middle Ages, whenever opportunity offers itself.   

     The World War gave the Papacy a new hold on the nations of Europe. Mr. Michael Williams, an eminent Catholic editor, says: "Before the World War . . . there were few national representatives at the Vatican." But now "a spiritual movement such as the world has not seen since the Crusades or the conquest of the Roman Empire by the earlier members of the same church [has taken place]. In that movement the laity are participating in close cooperation with the ecclesiastical leaders." - "Current History Magazine," Aug., 1926. And what a change has taken place! {1943 CE, FAFA 270.1} 

"A total of thirty-one countries now maintain official diplomatic relations with the Vatican. . . . To this number it is expected here both France and the United States will be added.... 

     "As a consequence the Vatican is today in diplomatic relations not only with all of the great Catholic countries of the world and most of the Protestant nations, but it has succeeded in entering into semi-official relations with several of the great nations with other religions, such as Turkey, Japan, and China." - By mail from Rome, printed in Minneapolis "Tribune," April 10,1921.   

     Such pressure was brought to bear on the smaller nations not having diplomatic relations with the Vatican, that Latvia felt the need of having a "pull" there too. "The papal authorities agreed to extend their recognition to Latvia and to make Riga the seat of a Roman Catholic archbishop, provided the government of Latvia would turn over to the archbishop the Cathedral of Riga. Though the cathedral had been in the continuous

possession of the Lutherans for more than three hundred years, the government accepted the condition of the Vatican." - Bishop Edgar Blake, in New York "Christian Advocate," Sept. 23, 1926.   

     Now the Vatican is strongly urging the United States to begin diplomatic relations with the Holy See. We read in a New York Herald-Tribune - Minneapolis Journal cable for April 15, 1934:   

     "Rome, April 14. - The 'preparation' by President Franklin D. Roosevelt of a favorable public opinion now appears to be considered at the Vatican . . . of a resumption of diplomatic relations between the United States and the Holy See. . . . The Roosevelt administration has progressed from a merely friendly attitude to a definite willingness to dispatch a minister to the Holy See as soon as the American public - and especially Congress - can be put into the frame of mind to accept the step.   

     "The frequent and amiable contacts of the President and Archbishop Cicognani, Apostolic Delegate to Washington, are said to have done much to prepare the ground, but at the Vatican the greatest hope is pinned to the clear-cut assurance which Postmaster General James A. Farley gave the Pope when he was received last August." - Minneapolis "Journal," April 15,1934.   

     What this diplomatic relation will cost this country in concessions to the Vatican, time alone will tell. We venture to say that it will be of a different nature from that of Latvia, and infinitely greater in its consequences! But Protestants seem to be so fast asleep that they do not even dream of danger. Dr. Samuel Hanson Cox says:

"Our greatest national dangers arise from our lamentable apathy; as this arises mainly from our ignorance. While men slept, says our Saviour, the enemy sowed tares. And if 'the price of liberty is eternal vigilance it ill becomes the heirs of such a boon, from such ancestors as ours, to lose or even to peril the freedom which was purchased by them at the cost of blood. 

     Nor will any thing like indifference suit the occasion. America expects every citizen, as Christ every Christian, to do his duty. And to omit this on any pretence is criminal. It is suiting and serving the enemy. It is servility and subserviency to the common foe. Sleep on, says Rome, and we will have you! We need do nothing, but only omit to do our duty, and we act for him; and our ruined posterity may remember only to accuse us, only to execrate our memories. Shall we then be indifferent, and so abet the interests of Antichrist? What could we do more truly to favor the worst adversary of this most noble and desirable nation? " - "The History of the Popes to A. D. 1758," Archibald Bower, Esq., with Introduction by Rev. Samuel Hanson Cox, D. D., p. xi of Introduction. Philadelphia: 1844. 

1943 CE, FAFA 265-272