Catholic Miracles and Spiritualistic Phenomena

Among Christians there is nothing but dissension. Their various churches represent every degree of religious belief, from the omnivorous credulity of blind faith to a condescending and high-toned deference to the Deity which thinly masks an evident conviction of their own deific wisdom. All these sects believe more or less in the immortality of the soul. Some admit the intercourse between

the two worlds as a fact; some entertain the opinion as a sentiment; some positively deny it; and only a few maintain an attitude of attention and expectancy.

Impatient of restraint, longing for the return of the dark ages, the Romish Church frowns at the diabolical manifestations, and indicates what she would do to their champions had she but the power of old. Were it not for the self-evident fact that she herself is placed by science on trial, and that she is handcuffed, she would be ready at a moment's notice to repeat in the nineteenth century the revolting scenes of former days. As to the Protestant clergy, so furious is their common hatred toward spiritualism, that as a secular paper very truly remarks: "They seem willing to undermine the public faith in all the spiritual phenomena of the past, as recorded in the Bible, if they can only see the pestilent modern heresy stabbed to the heart."*

Summoning back the long-forgotten memories of the Mosaic laws, the Romish Church claims the monopoly of miracles, and of the right to sit in judgment over them, as being the sole heir thereto by direct inheritance. The Old Testament, exiled by Colenso, his predecessors and contemporaries, is recalled from its banishment. The prophets, whom his Holiness the Pope condescends at last to place, if not on the same level with himself, at least at a less

* "Boston Sunday Herald," November 5, 1876.

respectful distance,+ are dusted and cleaned. The memory of all the diabolical abracadabra is evoked anew. The blasphemous horrors perpetrated by Paganism, its phallic worship, thaumaturgical wonders wrought by Satan, human sacrifices, incantations, witchcraft, magic, and sorcery are recalled and Demonism is confronted with spiritualism for mutual recognition and identification. our modern demonologists conveniently overlook a few insignificant details, among which is the undeniable presence of heathen phallicism in the Christian symbols. A strong spiritual element of this worship may be easily demonstrated in the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mother of God; and a physical element equally proved in the fetish-worship of the holy limbs of Sts. Cosmo and Damiano, at Isernia, near Naples; a successful traffic in which ex-voto in wax was carried on by the clergy, annually, until barely a half century ago. J

We find it rather unwise on the part of Catholic writers to pour out their vials of wrath in such sentences as these: "In a multitude of pagodas, the phallic stone, ever and always f See the self-glorification of the present Pope in the work entitled, "Speeches of Pope Pius IX." by Don Pascale de Franciscis; and the famous pamphlet of that name by the Rt. Hon. W. E. Gladstone. The latter quotes from the work named the following sentence pronounced by the Pope: "My wish is that all governments should know that I am speaking in this strain. . . . And I have the right to speak, even more than Nathan the prophet to David the king, and a great deal more than St. Ambrose had to Theodosius "I!

J See King's "Gnostics," and other works.

assuming, like the Grecian batylos, the brutally indecent form of the lingham . . . the Maha Deva."* Before casting slurs on a symbol whose profound metaphysical meaning is too much for the modern champions of that religion of sensualism par excellence, Roman Catholicism, to grasp, they are in duty bound to destroy their oldest churches, and change the form of the cupolas of their own temples. The Mahody of Elephanta, the Round Tower of Bhangulpore, the minarets of Islam — either rounded or pointed — are the originals of the Campanile column of San Marco, at Venice, of the Rochester Cathedral, and of the modern Duomo of Milan. All of these steeples, turrets, domes, and Christian temples, are the reproductions of the primitive idea of the lithos, the upright phallus. "The western tower of St. Paul's Cathedral, London," says the author of The Rosicrucians, "is one of the double lithoi placed always in front of every temple, Christian as well as heathen."t Moreover, in all Christian Churches, "particularly in Protestant churches, where they figure most conspicuously, the two tables of stone of the Mosaic Dispensation are placed over the altar, side by side, as a united stone, the tops of which are rounded.. . . The right stone is masculine, the left feminine." Therefore neither Catholics nor Protestants have a right to talk of the "indecent forms" of heathen monuments so long as they ornament their own churches with the symbols of the Lingham and Yoni, and even write the laws of their God upon them.

* Des Mousseaux, "La Magie au XIXme Siècle," chap. i. f Hargrave Jennings, "The Rosicrucians," pp. 228-241.

Another detail not redounding very particularly to the honor of the Christian clergy might be recalled in the word Inquisition. The torrents of human blood shed by this Christian institution, and the number of its human sacrifices, are unparalleled in the annals of Paganism. Another still more prominent feature in which the clergy surpassed their masters, the "heathen," is sorcery. Certainly in no Pagan temple was black magic, in its real and true sense, more practiced than in the Vatican. While strongly supporting exorcism as an important source of revenue, they neglected magic as little as the ancient heathen. It is easy to prove that the sortilegium, or sorcery, was widely practiced among the clergy and monks so late as the last century, and is practiced occasionally even now.

Anathematizing every manifestation of occult nature outside the precincts of the Church, the clergy — notwithstanding proofs to the contrary — call it "the work of Satan," "the snares of the fallen angels," who "rush in and out from the bottomless pit," mentioned by John in his kabalistic Revelation, "from whence arises a smoke as the smoke of a great furnace." "Intoxicated by its fumes, around this pit are daily gathering millions of Spiritualists, to worship at 'the Abyss of Baal.'"X

More than ever arrogant, stubborn, and despotic, now that she has been nearly upset by modern research, not daring to interfere with the powerful champions of science, the Latin

Church revenges herself upon the unpopular phenomena. A despot without a victim, is a word void of sense; a power which neglects to assert itself through outward, well-calculated effects, risks being doubted in the end. The Church has no intention to fall into the oblivion of the ancient myths, or to suffer her authority to be too closely questioned. Hence she pursues, as well as the times permit, her traditional policy. Lamenting the enforced extinction of her ally, the Holy Inquisition, she makes a virtue of necessity. The only victims now within reach are the Spiritists of France. Recent events have shown that the meek spouse of Christ never disdains to retaliate on helpless victims.

Having successfully performed her part of Deus-ex-Machina from behind the French Bench, which has not scrupled to disgrace itself for her, the Church of Rome sets to work and shows in the year 1876 what she can do. From the whirling tables and dancing pencils of profane Spiritualism, the Christian world is warned to turn to the divine "miracles" of Lourdes. Meanwhile, the ecclesiastical authorities utilize their time in arranging for other more easy triumphs, calculated to scare the superstitious out of their senses. So, acting under orders, the clergy hurl dramatic, if not very impressive anathemas from every Catholic diocese; threaten right and left; excommunicate and curse. Perceiving, finally, that her thunderbolts directed even against crowned heads fall about as harmlessly as the Jupiterean lightnings of Offenbach's Calchas, Rome turns about in powerless fury against the victimized proteges of the Emperor of Russia —

the unfortunate Bulgarians and Servians. Undisturbed by evidence and sarcasm, unbaffled by proof, "the lamb of the Vatican" impartially divides his wrath between the liberals of Italy, "the impious whose breath has the stench of the sepulchre,"* the "schismatic Russian Sarmates," and the heretics and spiritualists, "who worship at the bottomless pit where the great Dragon lies in wait."

Mr. Gladstone went to the trouble of making a catalogue of what he terms the "flowers of speech," disseminated through these Papal discourses. Let us cull a few of the chosen terms used by this vicegerent of Him who said that, "whosoever shall say Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell-fire." They are selected from authentic discourses. Those who oppose the Pope are "wolves, Pharisees, thieves, liars, hypocrites, dropsical children of Satan, sons of perdition, of sin, and corruption, satellites of Satan in human flesh, monsters of hell, demons incarnate, stinking corpses, men issued from the pits of hell, traitors and Judases led by the spirit of hell; children of the deepest pits of hell," etc., etc.; the whole piously collected and published by Don Pasquale di Franciscis, whom Gladstone has, with perfect propriety, termed, "an accomplished professor of flunkeyism in things spiritual."+

Since his Holiness the Pope has such a rich vocabulary of

* Don Pasquale di Franciscis, "Discorsi del Sommo Pontefice Pio IX.," Part i., p. 340.

f "Speeches of Pius IX," p. 14. Am. Edition.

invectives at his command, why wonder that the Bishop of Toulouse did not scruple to utter the most undignified falsehoods about the Protestants and Spiritualists of America — people doubly odious to a Catholic — in his address to his diocese: "Nothing," he remarks, "is more common in an era of unbelief than to see a false revelation substitute itself for the true one, and minds neglect the teachings of the Holy Church, to devote themselves to the study of divination and the occult sciences." With a fine episcopal contempt for statistics, and strangely confounding in his memory the audiences of the revivalists, Moody and Sankey, and the patrons of darkened seance-rooms, he utters the unwarranted and fallacious assertion that "it has been proven that Spiritualism, in the United States, has caused one-sixth of all the cases of suicide and insanity." He says that it is not possible that the spirits "teach either an exact science, because they are lying demons, or a useful science, because the character of the word of Satan, like Satan himself, is sterile." He warns his dear collaborateurs, that "the writings in favor of Spiritualism are under the ban"; and he advises them to let it be known that "to frequent spiritual circles with the intention of accepting the doctrine, is to apostatize from the Holy Church, and assume the risk of excommunication"; finally, says he, "Publish the fact that the teaching of no spirit should prevail against that of the pulpit of Peter, which is the teaching of the Spirit of God Himself"!!

Aware of the many false teachings attributed by the Roman Church to the Creator, we prefer disbelieving the latter assertion. The famous Catholic theologian, Tillemont, assures us in his work that "all the illustrious Pagans are condemned to the eternal torments of hell, because they lived before the time of Jesus, and, therefore, could not be benefited by the redemption"!! He also assures us that the Virgin Mary personally testified to this truth over her own signature in a letter to a saint. Therefore, this is also a revelation — "the Spirit of God Himself" teaching such charitable doctrines.

We have also read with great advantage the topographical descriptions of Hell and Purgatory in the celebrated treatise under that name by a Jesuit, the Cardinal Bellarmin. A critic found that the author, who gives the description from a divine vision with which he was favored, "appears to possess all the knowledge of a land-measurer" about the secret tracts and formidable divisions of the 'bottomless pit." Justin Martyr having actually committed to paper the heretical thought that after all Socrates might not be altogether fixed in hell, his Benedictine editor criticises this too benevolent father very severely. Whoever doubts the Christian charity of the Church of Rome in this direction is invited to peruse the Censure of the Sorbonne, on Marmontel's Belisarius. The odium theologicum blazes in it on the dark sky of orthodox theology like an aurora borealis — the precursor of God's wrath, according to the teaching of certain medieval divines.

We have attempted in the first part of this work to show, by historical examples, how completely men of science have deserved the stinging sarcasm of the late Professor de Morgan, who remarked of them that "they wear the priest's cast-off garb, dyed to escape detection." The Christian clergy are, in like manner, attired in the cast-off garb of the heathen priesthood; acting diametrically in opposition to their God's moral precepts, but nevertheless, sitting in judgment over the whole world.

When dying on the cross, the martyred Man of Sorrows forgave his enemies. His last words were a prayer in their behalf. He taught his disciples to curse not, but to bless, even their foes. But the heirs of St. Peter, the self-constituted representatives on earth of that same meek Jesus, unhesitatingly curse whoever resists their despotic will. Besides, was not the "Son" long since crowded by them into the background? They make their obeisance only to the Dowager Mother, for — according to their teaching — again through "the direct Spirit of God," she alone acts as a mediatrix. The Ecumenical Council of 1870 embodied the teaching into a dogma, to disbelieve which is to be doomed forever to the 'bottomless pit.' The work of Don Pasquale di Franciscis is positive on that point, for he tells us that, as the Queen of Heaven owes to the present Pope "the finest gem in her coronet," since he has conferred on her the unexpected honor of becoming suddenly immaculate, there is nothing she cannot obtain from her Son for "her Church."*

Some years ago, certain travellers saw in Barri, Italy, a

* Vide "Speeches of Pope Pius IX.," by Don Pasq. di Franciscis; Gladstone's pamphlet on this book; Draper's "Conflict between Religion and Science," and others.

statue of the Madonna, arrayed in a flounced pink skirt over a swelling crinoline! Pious pilgrims who may be anxious to examine the regulation wardrobe of their God's mother may do so by going to Southern Italy, Spain, and Catholic North and South America. The Madonna of Barri must still be there — between two vineyards and a locanda (gin-shop). When last seen, a half-successful attempt had been made to clothe the infant Jesus; they had covered his legs with a pair of dirty, scollop-edged pantaloons. An English traveller having presented the "Mediatrix" with a green silk parasol, the grateful population of the contadini, accompanied by the village-priest, went in procession to the spot. They managed to stick the sunshade, opened, between the infant's back and the arm of the Virgin which embraced him. The scene and ceremony were both solemn and highly refreshing to our religious feelings. For there stood the image of the goddess in its niche, surrounded with a row of ever-burning lamps, the flames of which, flickering in the breeze, infect God's pure air with an offensive smell of olive oil. The Mother and Son truly represent the two most conspicuous idols of Monotheistic Christianity!

For a companion to the idol of the poor contadini of Barri, go to the rich city of Rio Janeiro. In the Church of the Duomo del Candelaria, in a long hall running along one side of the church, there might be seen, a few years ago, another Madonna. Along the walls of the hall there is a line of saints, each standing on a contribution-box, which thus forms a fit pedestal. In the centre of this line, under a gorgeously rich canopy of blue silk, is exhibited the Virgin Mary leaning on the arm of Christ. "Our Lady" is arrayed in a very décolleté blue satin dress with short sleeves, showing, to great advantage, a snow-white, exquisitely-moulded neck, shoulders, and arms. The skirt equally of blue satin with an overskirt of rich lace and gauze puffs, is as short as that of a ballet-dancer; hardly reaching the knee, it exhibits a pair of finely-shaped legs covered with flesh colored silk tights, and blue satin French boots with very high red heels! The blonde hair of this "Mother of God" is arranged in the latest fashion, with a voluminous chignon and curls. As she leans on her Son's arm, her face is lovingly turned toward her Only-Begotten, whose dress and attitude are equally worthy of admiration. Christ wears an evening dress-coat, with swallow-tail, black trousers, and low cut white vest; varnished boots, and white kid gloves, over one of which sparkles a rich diamond ring, worth many thousands we must suppose — a precious Brazilian jewel. Above this body of a modern Portuguese dandy, is a head with the hair parted in the middle; a sad and solemn face, and eyes whose patient look seems to reflect all the bitterness of this last insult flung at the majesty of the Crucified.*

* The fact is given to us by an eye-witness who has visited the church several times; a Roman Catholic, who felt perfectly horrified, as he expressed it.

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