The American. (Omaha, Nebraska) 1891-1899, October 30, 1896, Image 1

Below is the OCR text representation for this newspapers page. It is also available as plain text as well as XML.

"AMERICA FOR AMERICANS" We bold that-all men ere Americans who Swear Allegiance to the United States without a mental rwwmatioa.
Number 44
Volume VI.
R. A. Williams Describes
Them in His Book "Mex
ico and Its Religion,"
Which Was Published by Harper k
Brother ef Sew York In 1855
Rome's Work Contrasted With
That of the Quakers,
Ha WW, Harper Brother. New York, pub
IlaHi.d a boot by R. A. Wltaon, "ftled
"Meilco and It KellKiou," from which we
extract the following chapter:
The monkish orders of Mexico have
remained unchanged from the time of
their first establishment We have
seen that they have fallen off Im
mensely In numbers, but have increased
immensely In the termina
tion of those internal controversies be
tween the Spanish-born and Creoles,
and by enfranchisement from state con
trol. Not only are they now all native
born, but the Meztlzos seem to be the
predominant race in the priesthood.
The priesthood is not now so inviting
an employment as it was before the
suppression of the Inquisition. Mir
acles 'have ceased to be a profitable
speculation, while the revenue once
paldito the monks has been followed by
Ill-suppressed contempt. The employ
ment K)nce monopolized by the Span
' lards being now thrown open to general
competition, there is less willingness to
submit, to the despotism which ever
reigns in religious houses than there
was in the time of the vice-kings. Hard
fare,cruel.r,treatrcent and public con
tempt, have diminished the candidates
for monastic orders, until the old pro
verb, "He Ithat cannot do better, let
him turn monk," is not unknown in
Mexico. With the Increase of liberty,
the number of nuns has diminished , as
violence can no longer be used in get
ting a girl into a convent. For all
these reasons the number of the ro
ligjs has rapidly diminished, while
the wealth and efficiency of the church
has increased.
Having spoken of the bishops, the
lords spiritual of Mexico, and the con
trolling influence they exereHe over a
feeble government, vre come'n?vt to
the second class of spiritual masters of
the country the I t ads of orders, the
provincials and the heads of religious
houses. These two classes of digni
taries are usually elected for their
known severity of discipline, either by
the procurement of the bishop, or
through fanaticism of the monks or
nuns, who, having volurtarily made
themselves convicts and prisoners for
life, now undertake to add to their self
afflicted mortification by choosing for
their head a superior the most hateful
of their number. The novice is taught
that the greatest favoi with Heaven is
to be obtained by implicit obedience
under most trying circumstances, and
the more cruel the despotism they un
murmuringly submit to, the greater
will be the accumulation of good works.
But cursed to the lowest depths of pur
gatory is that recluse who dares to
murmur even In his inmost thoughts;
and if he so far forgets his duty as to
murmur ialoud, then all the powers of
the church are broughtto crush his in
We have thus followed spiritual des
potism through its various stages, from
the pope to the bishops, from the
bishops to the provincials of religious
orders, and then down to the superiors
of a community of half a dozen monks
or nuns, by whom immorality is par
donable, but who regard disobedience
or insubordination in the slightest par
ticular "like the sin of witchcraft and
idolatry." Such is the perfect organ
ization of-the papacy in all its parts,
which, acting as one great secret, po
litical, social and religious association,
labors continually to concentrate the
riches of the nations at Rome as a com
mon centre.
There is a peculiar feature in the
Catholic church'in Mexico unknown to
other Catholic Jcountrles; it is the pre
ponderance of the regular clergy
(monks) oyer the secular clergy. This
is owing to Cortez, who wrote to Em
peror Charles V. to send him regulars,
for the conversion of the Indians, in
stead of seculars, assigning as a reason
' for this request "that the latter dis
play extravagant luxury, leave great
wealth to their natural children and
give great scandal to the newly-converted
Indians." Hence more than one
half of the Mexican clergy are monks,
and wear the cowl; for at the time of
the census of 1793, as we have seen,
there were in the city of Mexico 1646
monks, besides lay-brothers, against
650 secular priests, while in the fifteen
convents for nuns there were 923 of
these female monks.
The reader has already become quite
LINCOLN, Neb., Nov. 1, 1894.
Dear Sir: 1 am a candidate for the United States Senate; You will find
on the back of this letter the platform upon which I stand, and you already know
of the position taken by me in Congress upon public questions. If you desire my
election, put an " X" after my name on the ballot and then vote for members
of the legislature who favor my election. Until we can secure the
election of Senators by a direct vote of the people, you can only secure your choice
for Senator by sending men to the legislature who will vote as you desire.
Yours truly,
Printed on the back of this letter was the Democratic platform, which contained this plank:
We believe in the right of every individual to worship God according to the dictates
of his own conscience, and we condemn as un-American and contrary to the spirit of our
institutions, any attempt to apply a religious test to the citizen or to the official. We
appeal to all Democrats who have been led into political hostility c tn ambers of any
church to remember the principles of religious liberty promulgates . .. -h: ias Jefferson,
and defended by the party which he organized.
U J. Smyth, the Bomanist and attorney for the Jesuits, was on the committee that drafted that platform on
which Mr Bryan said lie would stand. Smyth also read it to the convention, and the rest of the red-necked Irish who
were in the convention yelled themselves hoarse in approval of the "anti-A. I. A. plank." Mr. Bryan's paper inter
sperses iU report of a reading of that part of the platform with cheers," "applause," and " cheers " at the end.
C. J. Smvth, according to Mr. Bryan's qwu par, then introduced the following resolution: "We fully
indorse the course' of Hon. W. J. Bryan in Congress.' .. ' ' 1 '
At Ireland for Approving
of the Republican
ie Sending Special Infractions U
Martimlli fur His 1'vlltkal
familiar with the Franciscan
and their vows of poverty and self-mortification,
ar.d tbeir skill at playing for
gold ounces. They have pretty weu
maintained that reputation since the
time of Friar Thomas Gage. But there
are some honorable exceptions to this
rule, though few and far between. We
have already noticed how they were
favored by Cortez, and the result has
been that they are the richest fra
ternity in the republic. Thce holy
men of the Angelic Order of St. Francis
have lately discovered a new source of
wealth In renting their large central
court to a Frenchman, who occupies it
with the best garden of plants In Mex
ico: and as the convent occupies nearly
a whole tquare int. the central part of
the city, they have pierced the convent
walk and rented out shops upon the
business streets, while the soldiers of
Santa Anna occupy the vacact cloisters
of the convent. lathis "happy family,"
with all the immense wealth of the
establishment, the donados, and those
monks who are so Jpoor as to have no
friends, find but a miserable subsist
Of the Dominicans I have already
spoken in connection .with the Inquisi
tion. In their yard Is the flag-stone
which was used bylthemln offering hu
man sacrifice before the revolution.
There it is kept as a relic and symbol of
the power once enjoyed by the church.
There is yet a lingering hope that
there may be restored to these brethren
the power of roasting alive human
beings. In speaking of depravity of
morals, it is hard to say which of the
fraternities has reached the lowest
level, though common'consent concedes
the palm to the Dominicans.
The name of the'lCarmelites carries
us back to the time of the Crusades,
but they are better known in Mexico as
the proprietors of the Desterto, which
Thomas Gage so touchingly describes.
Their habitual practice of self-denial
and mortification, in appearance, while
rioting on the luxuries thatdevoees
lavished upon them, has not been for
gotten. These holy brothers had a
hand in the Inquisition as well as the
Dominicans. They were a set of scamps
set to watch the purity of other men's
lives, while they themselves lived a
life of habitual profligacy. The ruins
of their old convent, the Deswrlo, is
still one of the most attractive spots
about the city. k the traveler wan
ders among its ruined walls, he will
find in the subterraneous cells ring
bolts fastened in the walls, where pour
prisoners for their faith endured some
thing more than self-mortification.
The monks of Santiago, San Augus
tin and the Capuchins, have all fine
convents, and are rlcn; but the monks
of Saint James are the most Inveterate
The monks of San Fernando er joy an
enviable reputation compared with the
spotted sheep I have just been consider
ing. They are late comers, and have
not learned all the ways of wickedness
of the older orders. Next come the
"Brethren of the Profession," of whom
it is pleasant to speak, after fcftying so
many hard things of their neighbors.
They etacd so high as men of character
and learning, that I am tempted to tell
their story on hearsay, for want of bet
ter authority. They were once Jesuits,
but when the royal cebula of Carlos III.
came for their expulsion, these fathers
had sustained so gcod a character for
charity and usefulness that they
were allowed to return, on condition of
renouncing the name and peculiarities
of that order. I am Inclined to believe
this strange story to be substantially
true, for clearly they are of the Jesuits,
and yet they are not Jesuits. The repu
tation which they enjoyed in 1767 they
still retain, and not only command the
respect of all classes of society in Mex
ico, but their chapel is the fashionable
church of the city, where genteel peo
ple resort to say their prayers.
"The Brethren of the Holy Places of
Jerusalem"--the Hleronomite monks,
are not numerous, and are known in
the market as lenders of money, with
the Interest of which they support
themselves and "the poor saints of
Jerusalem;" that is, a portion of those
lazy, greasy, fighting Latin monks at
Jerusalem, that have been one of the
cauBes of the present war in Europe.
"The Hospitalers of Saint John'
(fWnos) are better known for their ex
ploits in the time of the Crusades than
for anything they have done in Mexico.
It would be a thrice-told tale to re
peat the story of the Jesuits; the world
knows that too well already. The de
tails of their proceedings In Mexico
till the time of their expulsion have
been too often written by their enemies.
Their great prosperity and their great
wpallh made them the envy of the
other orders, as corrupt and depraved
as themselves, but not so dangerous,
because they had reached that point at
which depravity cesses to contaminate.
Dirty, greasy monks could not endure
an order that wore the garb of gentle
men, and wore in favor with the aris
tocracy, while they themselves were
despised. This envy was all powerful
with them, and led, for a time, to the
laying aside of theirown private bicker
ings, and uniting In the crusade against
the common enemy, the Jesuits, and
acting in harmony with the political
The church has always made much
of the nuns. It has ever been the cus
tom of the priesthood to endeavor to
throw a veil of romance over the very
unromantic way of life followed by fe
males who have shut themselves up for
life In a place hardly equal to a second
class state prison. Woman has an im
portant plane which God has assigned
her in the world; but wben she separ
ates herself from the family circle and
elbows her way to the rostrum where,
with a semi-masculine attire and with
a voice not intended for oratory, she
harangues a tittering crowd upon the
rights of women to perform the duties
of men, or goes to the opposite extreme
and shuts herself up within high stone
walls to avoid the society of the other
sex, she equally sins against her own
nature, and not only brings misery
upon herself, but inflicts upon society
the evils of a pernicious example, and
furnishes a theme for all kinds of
Proud families who have portionless
daughters; relatives who desire to get
rid of heirs to coveted estates; convents
In want of funds or endowments, or a
pretty victim for the public entertain
ment on taking the veil; friends who
have unmarrigeable women on their
hands, and romantic young misses, am
bltious of playing the queen for a day
at the cost of being a prisoner for life,
have all contributed to populate the
fifteen nunneries of the city of Mexico.
In the flourishing times of the Inquisi
tion, this business of Inveighing choice
victims Into convents was more profit'
ble, for then murmurings could be
crushed into silenoa, and parent
dreade d to oppose the wretched pimps
of superstition who came to Inveigle
their daughters Into convents
The (Junker prison of Philadelphia
is a paradise compared with such a
place as this. If the reader has ever
placed Ms eye at the keeper's eye-hole
In that prison, he must have seen In
many a cell a cheerful face, and tho ap-
pearanea of as much comfort as is com
patible wl h an imprisoned condition;
for ministering angels have been thero
mothers in Israel, who have torn
themselves from their domestic duties
for a little to minister consolation to
the very criminals in prisons; and now
that the pripon door has separated the
poor wretch forever from society,
whose laws have been outraged, she,
by her kindness and teaching, has led
the convict to look to Heaven with a
hope of forgiveness, and dally to pray
for those he has injured, while he reads
In the Holy Book which she gave him,
that a repenting thief accompanied the
Son of God to Paradise.
Let us turn from such an unpoetica 1
scene as this, which that cheerful
prison presents, to the convent of Santa
Teresa, the most celebrated of all the
ten or fifteen nunneries now in opera
tion about the city of Mexico. In a
cold, damp, comfortless cell, kneeling
upon the pavement, we may see a dell
cate woman mechanically repeating
her daily Imposed penance of Latin
prayers, before the image of a favorite
saint and a basin of holy water. This
self-regulating, automaton praying ma
chine, a she counts off the number of
allotted prayers by the number of beads
upon her rosary, beats into her bosom
the sharp edge of an iron cross that
rests within her shirt of sacking cloth,
until, nature and her task exhausted,
she throws herself down upon a wooden
bed, so ingeniously arranged as to make
sleep Impossible. This poor victim of
self-inflicted dally torture, half crazed
from Insufficient food, and sleep, and
clothing, has endured all this misery
to accumulate a stock of good works for
the use of less meritorious sinners, be
tides the amount necessary to carry
herself to Heaven; for penance, and
not repentance, is this poor pagan's
password for salvation.
The old Quakeress is not a fashiona
ble saint, for she never dreamed of this
CBtiau4 Flftk p
Although the church is not in poll
tics, according to the claim i of the
leaders and promlnont priests, the fol
lowing telegrams announce that the
pope Is vexed because one of his arch
bishops ban expressed views not In ac
cord and harmony with the majority,
and bis dispatching to this country
special instructions for the guidanoe
of the Catholic clergy, and naturally,
by inference, to be dictated to the lay
members in the present political cam
paign. The following is the text of
the telegrams as they appeared in the
New York dally papers:
Honk, Oct. 19. The popo has pri
vately expressed his disapproval of the
aotlon of Archbishop Ireland la a let
ter which he is sending to Cardinal
As Is usual with the Vatican, there
is no official pronouncement In the mat
ter, but the views of his holiness will
reach the ears of the person tor whom
they are Intended.
It is learned at the Vatican that the
pope is sending special instructions to
Archbishop Martlnelll, the newly ap
pointed apoxtollo delegate to the
United States, in regard to the attitude
of the Catholic clergy of America In
the present political campaign. . , ,
Washington, Oct. 19. "No spocla
Instructions have boon received from
the pope or Archbishop Martlnelll re
garding the attitude of the clergy In
the present campaign," said Dr.
Uooker, the delegate's secretary, to
day. "The report Is based upon an
article in the London last woek.
I do not eay that such Instruction have
not been prepared, and they may boon
tho way here tow In the malls. If so,
they would probably reach the lega
tion about the lint of this month, too
late to have any effect In this cam
paign. I do think that Rome is
particularly bothered about lh atti
tude of the clergy in this respect. If
It' had bean, Instructions would have
been sent earlier. I do not see that
the clergy are taking any particularly
active interest In political matters.
Archbishop Ireland has expret-Hed his
views, hut only a a private citlzon of
Minnesota, and not In any official ca
pacity. They fire simply worth r
much as tho oplnloau of any other man,
who knows as much ab ut the subject,
no more and no leas. I do not say that
tho pope bolleves as I do about tho
clergy taking part In American poll-
tcs, for his views havo not been re
ceived here up to datei,
Could Not be Conquered.
It will bo remembered that up to
datj every detachment of troops leav
ing Spain to light the Cubans has been
"blessed" by the papal hierarchy even
Weyler's body-guard receiving that
very doubtful benefit. As in all his
toric cases, the blessing has proved to
be a curse.
Says a dispatch to the New York
Madrid, September 3. An open-air
mans was celebrated on the promenade
at San Sebastian to day, In tho pres
ence of the soldiers about to depart for
Cuba and the Philippine Islands to re
inforce the Spanish troops there. The
mass was attended by the royal family,
the king wearing the uniform of a cadet
of the infantry school.
Toe Bishop of Vitoria preached to
the troops, to whom he 6aid that the
Spanish flag, surmounted by the cross,
could not be conquered. Speaking on
behalf of the king, the bishop expressed
his majesty's regret that he was unable
to lead his gallant soldiers to victory.
Later the papal benediction was be
stowed upon the soldiers, who kneeled
to receive the blessing of his holiness.
Premier Canovas, in the course of an
interview had with him to-day, de
clared that the troubles in the Philip
pine Islands and Porto Rico were the
results of the efforts of Cuban filibuster
ing agents to harass the Spanish gov
ernment. Spain, the premier said,
would deal Inexorably with the con
spirator should disturbances occur in
Porto Rico.
Sickness Among Children
Is prevalent at all seasons of the year,
but can be avoided largely when they
are properly eared for. Infant Utoith
is the title of a valuable pamphlet ac
cessible to all who will send address to
the N. Y. Ctmdonaed MDt Co., N. Y
Cltyl '