Upton Sinclair: The Profits of Religion

Book Three - The Church of the Servant-Girls

Priests and Police

And how is it in our national capital, the palladium of our liberties? As a means of demonstrating the power of the church and the subservience of our politicians, the Catholics have invented what they call the "Cardinal's Day Mass": An elaborate procession of high ecclesiastics, dressed in gorgeous robes and jewels, through the streets of Washington, accompanied by a small army of policemen, paid by non-Catholic taxpayers. The Cardinal seats himself upon a throne, and our political rulers make obeisance before him. On Sunday, January 14, 1917, there were present at this political mass the following personages: Four cabinet members and their wives; the speaker of the House; a large group of senators and representatives; a general of the army and his wife; an admiral of the navy and his wife; the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and his wife, and another Justice of the Supreme court and his wife.

And understand that the church makes no secret of its purpose in conducting such public exhibitions. Here is the pious Pope Leo XIII again, in his Encyclical of Nov. 1, 1885:

All Catholics must make themselves felt as active elements in daily political life in the countries where they live. They must penetrate, wherever possible, in the administration of civil affairs; must constantly exert the utmost vigilance and energy to prevent the usages of liberty from going beyond the limits fixed by God's law. All Catholics should do all in their power to cause the constitutions of states and legislation to be modeled on the principles of the true Church.

And following these instructions, the Catholics are organized for political work. There are the various Catholic Societies, such as the Knights of Columbus, secret, oath-bound organizations, the military arm of the Papal Power. These societies boast some three million members, and control not less than that many votes. The one thing that you can be certain about these votes is that on every public question, of whatever nature, they will be cast on the side of ignorance and reaction. Thus, it was the influence of the Catholic Societies which put upon our national statute books the infamous law providing five years imprisonment and $5,000 fine for the sending through the mail of information about the prevention of conception. It is their influence which keeps upon the statute books of New York state the infamous law which permits divorce only for infidelity, and makes it "collusion" if both parties desire the divorce. It is these societies which, in every city and town in America, are pushing and plotting to get Catholics upon library boards so that the public may not have a chance to read scientific books; to get Catholics into the public schools and on school-boards, so that children may not hear about Galilee, Bruno, and Ferrer; to have Catholics in control of police and on magistrates benches, so that priests who are caught in brothels may not be exposed or punished.

You are shocked at this, you think it a vulgar jest, perhaps; but during a period of "vice raids" in New York I was told by a captain of police, himself a Catholic, that it was a common thing for them to get priests in their net. "Of course," the official added, good-naturedly, "we let them slip out." I understand that he had to do that; for the Pope, in his "Motu Proprio" decree, has forbidden Catholics to bring a priest into court for any civil crime whatsoever; he has forbidden Catholic policemen to arrest, Catholic judges to try, and Catholic law- makers to make laws affecting any priest of the Church of Rome. And of course we know, upon the authority of a cardinal, that the Pope is "the sole, last, supreme judge of what is right and wrong." He has held that position for a thousand years and more; and wherever you consult the police records throughout the thousand years, you find the same entries concerning Catholic ecclesiastics. I turn to Riley's "Illustrations of London Life from Original Documents," and I find in the year 1385 a certain chaplain, whose name is considerately suppressed, had a breviary stolen from him by a loose woman, because he has not given her any money, either on that night or the one previous. In 1320 John de Sloghtre, a priest, is put in the tower "for being found wandering about the city against the peace," and Richard Heyring, a priest, is indicted in the ward of Farringdon and in the ward of Crepelgate "as being a bruiser and nightwalker." That this has been going on for 600 years is due, not to any special corruption of the Catholic heart, but to the practice of clerical celibacy, which is contrary to nature, a transgression of fundamental instinct. It should be noted that the purpose of this transgression, which pretends to be spiritual, is really economic; it was the means whereby the church machine built up its power through the Middle Ages. The priests had children then, as they have them today; but these children not being recognized, the church machine remained the sole heir of the property of its clergy.

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