Late Conversion of a Priest of the Church of Rome

Abbé Miel
1854 The Catholic Layman  
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more » ... out Early Journal Content at http://about.jstor.org/participate--jstor/individuals/early-journal--content. JSTOR is a digital library of academic journals, books, and primary source objects. JSTOR helps people discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content through a powerful research and teaching platform, and preserves this content for future generations. JSTOR is part of ITHAKA, a not--for--profit organization that also includes Ithaka S+R and Portico. For more information about JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org. 185. THE CATHOLIC LAYMAN. fle into the hands of all young priests the moment they we ordained, and after they promise, on bended knees, that they will not preach or teach anything contrary to truth, and not contained in the volume of inspiration. How preposterous is it in the Church of Rome after imposing such obligations, to put such incredible fables into the hands of her ministers 1 What morality can be expected from the members of a Church which forops such indigestible food down the throats of her priesthood, and requires them to believe, or, at least, to profess, things so self-evidently incredible and absurd ? After having finished my academical course of study, and left the college, I considered it would add not a little to the future dignity of my character to travel. Accordingly, I set off for Paris, and, as my family was much more respectable and opulent than those from whom the students were usually selected. I had ample means given me for my journey. After my arrival in that city, I had time enough to consider how weak it would be to continue to read a book which I could not disguise from myself was nothing but a mass of turgid homilies, unintelligible hymns, and incredible falsehoods. I then came to the resolution of adding one volume more to the small family library of the hotel I was staying in, in the Rue de St. Honor6-Fontaine's and Florian's fables. I placed my book of fables with them, without possessing the style ormorality of either. After having thus disposed of my Breviary, I bought a copy of the New Testament, out of which I read a chapter every day, and feared no divine displeasure in consequence of the change. In the dark ages, when those miraculous powers existed in the minds of cloistered monks, rather than in the persons to whom the suspention of the natural law was attributed, those legendary tales were fabricated, without evidence or facts, justifiable alone on the Jesuit principle, " that the end justifies the means, and that all pious frauds are allowable to promote the glory of God." As I had learned the French language grammatically in the college, I had not much difficulty in speaking it fluently after a stay of six months in that city, where I bad repeated opportunities of witnessing the gorgeous display of natural and artificial garlands of flowers, with clouds of incense tha: obscured the churches, notwithstanding the brilliant light of the wax candles so uselessly wasted in the sunshine of a Paris meridian. Young as I was, it struck me very forcibly that these spectacles, these theatrical performances, were calculated more to affect the senses than to inspire a spirit of piety or improve the heart, and that all true devo. tion was lost in the representation; it appeared also to nme to be a device of the Church of Rome to engage the senses, in order to prevent the mind from investigating the subject of most cardinal importance in this pompoas display. During my stay in Paris, I visited the public libraries, and the various public buildings with which that great city abounds. The Royal Institutes, the Hotel Dieu, built by Madame Neckar, the Hotel des'Invalides, and the Palaceof the Tuilleries, commenced by that wicked woman, Catherine de Medicis, who, actuated by the same infernal principle, '"the end justifies the means," caused the death of so many thousands of French Protestants in the streets of Paris, on the Feast of St. Bartholomew, in 1572. The gallery of the Louvre, and the royal gardens, designed by Andrew Lenostre, were the next objects to captivate my attention, and I must to say, that for conception of design and grandeur of effect, nothing in England, not even the Paxton Gardens at Chatsworth, could, in my opinion, be compared to them. During my stay of six months in Paris, I lhad frequent opportunities of speaking to the priests on various subjects. But, whenever I spoke on the religion of Rome, they invariably shrugged up their shoulders, and, with a forbidding grimace, said that the Church was infallible, that the Church ordered everything as it then stood, and that nothing remained for them but to obey. On one occasion, I said to one of them, named Huluttk, as you are at this side of the Alps, and have nothing to fear from the tribunal of the Inqusition, would you not test all things, according to the advice of St. Paul? I would, said he, but my bread depends upon my present belief, and I will not forfeit it fitr any other. However, as you are a British subject, and I hare nothing to fear from you, I shall be happy to discuss the subject ol'infidllibility with you thib yeveLing in the sacristy of the church to whilch I belong. I accordingly went, and began by saying, that from tihe days of St. Augustine, every Roman bishep had reversed, not only the dec sious of his predecessors, but his own; and that thiese reversals had exercised a decided influence, not only on the Church itself, but on the purity of her doctrine. I showed hilin thatu Plagius, Theodoretus, Arius, Athanasius, Origen, Paul of Sanosata, and many others, had bean condemned and acquitted by general councils, with the approbation of the Popes. sit not also a matter of history, that those very books that were once to be found in the 'lndex Expurgatorius," became afterwards school-books in the colleges of Rome; and as this is an age of proof, I shall point out sotne of them to your notice. The history of Natalis Alexander, the writings of
doi:10.2307/30065117 fatcat:3qfdqor6lrezzadam4wnwclyiq