Upton Sinclair: The Profits of Religion

Book Three - The Church of the Servant-Girls

Temporal Power

What this means is, that here in our American democracy the Catholic Church is a rebel; a prisoner of war who bides his time, watching for the moment to rise in revolt, and meantime making no secret of his intentions. The pious Leo XIII, addressing all true believers in America, instructed them as to their attitude in captivity:

The Church amongst you, unopposed by the Constitution and government of your nation, fettered by no hostile legislation, protected against violence by the common laws and the impartiality of the tribunals, is free to live and act without hindrance. Yet, through all this is true, it would be very erroneous to draw the conclusion that in America is to be sought the type of the most desirable status of the church, or that it would be universally lawful or expedient for state and church to be, as in America, dissevered and divorced. The fact that Catholicity with you is in good condition, nay, is even enjoying a prosperous growth, is by all means to be attributed to the fecundity with which God has endowed His Church. ... But she would bring forth more abundant fruits if, in addition to liberty, she enjoyed the favor of the laws and patronage of the public authority.

Accordingly, here is Father Phelan of St. Louis, addressing his flock in the "Western Watchman," June 27, 1913:

Tell us we are Catholics first and Americans or Englishmen afterwards; of course we are. Tell us, in the conflict between the church and the civil government we take the side of the church; of course we do. Why, if the government of the United States were at war with the church, we would say, tomorrow, To hell with the government of the United States; and if the church and all the governments of the world were at war, we would say, To hell with all the governments of the world. ... Why is it that in this country, where we have only seven percent of the population, the Catholic Church is so much feared? She is loved by all her children and feared by everybody. Why is it that the Pope has such tremendous power? Why, the Pope is the ruler of the world. All the emperors, all the kings, all the princes, all the presidents of the world, are as these altar boys of mine. The Pope is the ruler of the world.

You recall what I said at the outset about Power; the ability to control the lives of other men, to give laws and moral codes, to shape fashions and tastes, to be revered and regarded. Here is a man swollen to bursting with this Power. Dressed in his holy robes, with his holy incense in his nostrils, and the faces of the faithful gazing up at him awe-stricken, hear him proclaim:

The Church gives no bonds for her good behavior. She is the judge of her own rights and duties, and of the rights and duties of the state.

And lest you think that an extreme example of ultramontanist arrogance, listen to the Boston "Pilot," April 6, 1912, speaking for Cardinal O'Connell, whose official organ it is:

It must be borne in mind that even though Cardinals Farley, O'Connell and Gibbons are at heart patriotic Americans and members of an American hierarchy, yet they are as cardinals foreign princes of the blood, to whom the United States, as one of the great powers of the world, is under an obligation to concede the same honors that they receive abroad.

Thus, were Cardinal Farley to visit an American man-of- war, he would be entitled to the salutes and to naval honors reserved for a foreign royal personage, and at any official entertainment at Washington the Cardinal will outrank not merely every cabinet officer, the speaker of the house and the vice-president, but also the foreign ambassadors, coming immediately next to the chief magistrate himself.

Incidentally, it may be mentioned that when a royal personage not of sovereign rank visits New York it is his duty to make the first call on Cardinal Farley.

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