Upton Sinclair: The Profits of Religion

Book Three - The Church of the Servant-Girls

Das Centrum

In order to see clearly the ultimate purpose of this Unholy Alliance, this union of Superstition and the Merchants' and Manufacturers' Association, we have to go to Europe, where the arrangement has been working for a thousand years. In Europe today we see the whole world in conflict with a band of criminals who have been able to master the minds and lives of a hundred million highly civilized people. As I write, the Junker aristocracy is at bay, but there comes a Holy Father to its rescue, with the cross of Jesus up-lifted, and a series of pleas of mercy, written in Vienna, edited in Berlin, and sent out from Rome. The Holy Father loves all mankind with a tender and touching love; his heart bleeds at the sight of bloodshed and suffering, and he pleads the sacred cause of peace and earth and good will toward men. -

But what was the Holy Father doing through the 43 years that the Potsdam gang were preparing for their assault on the world? How was the Holy Father manifesting his love of peace and good- will? He is, you understand, the "sole, last, supreme judge of what is right and wrong," and his followers obey him with the utmost promptness and devotion - they express themselves as "prostrate at his feet." And when the masters of Prussia came to him and said: "Give us the power to turn this nation into the world's greatest military empire" - what did the Roman Church answer? Did it speak boldly for the gentle Jesus, and the cause of peace on earth and good-will towards men? No, it did not. To Bismarck in Germany it said, precisely as it said to Mark Hanna in America: "Give us honors and prestige; give us power over the minds of the young, so that we may plunder the poor and build our cathedrals and feed fat our greed; and in return we will furnish you with votes, so that you may rule the state and do what you will."

You think there is exaggeration in that statement? Why, we know the very names of the prelates with whom the master-cynic of the Jukerthum made his "deal." He had tried the method of the Kultur-kampf, and had failed; but before he repealed the anti- Catholic laws, he made sure that the Church had learned its lesson, and would never-more oppose the Prussian ruling caste. We know how this bargain was carried out; we have the records of the 'Centrum,' the Catholic party of Germany, whose hundred deputies were the solid rock upon which the military regime of Prussia was erected. Not a battle-ship nor a Zeppelin was built for which the Black Terror did not vote the funds; not a school-child was beaten in Posen or Alsace that the New Inquisition did not shout its "Hoch!" The writer sat in the visitors, gallery of the Reichstag when the Socialists were protesting against the torturing of miserable Herreros in Africa, and he heard the deputies of the Holy Father's Political Party screaming their rage like jaguars in a jungle night. All over Europe the Catholic Church organized fake labor unions, the "yellows," as they were called, to scab upon the workers and undermine the revolutionary movement. The Holy Father himself issued precise instructions for the management of these agencies of betrayal. Hear the most pious and benevolent Leo XIII:

"They must pay special and principal attention to piety and morality, and their internal discipline must be directed precisely by these considerations; otherwise they entirely lose their special character, and come to be very little better than those societies which take no account of Religion at all."

It is so hard, you see, to keep a man 'thinking about piety and morality while he is starving! I am quoting from the Encyclical Letter on "The Condition of Labor," issued in 1891, and, addressed "to our Venerable Brethren, all Patriarchs Primates, Archbishops and Bishops of the Catholic World in Grace and Communion with the Apostolic See." The purpose of the letter is "to refute false teaching," and the substance of its message is:

This great labor question cannot be solved except by assuming as a principle that private property must be held Sacred and inviolable.

And again, the purpose of churches proclaimed in language as frank as any used in the present book:

The chief thing to be secured is the safe-guarding, by legal enactment and policy, of private property. Most of all it is essential in these times of covetous greed, to keep the multitude within the line of duty; for if all may justly strive to benefit their condition, yet neither justice nor the common good allows any one to seize that which belongs to another, or, under the pretext of futile and ridiculous equality, to lay hands on other peoples, fortunes.

And this, you understand, in lands where rapine and conquest, class-tyranny and priestly domination have been the custom since the dawn of history; in which no property-right can possibly trace back to any other basis than force. In Austria, for example - Austria, the leader and guardian of the Holy Alliance - Austria, which had no Reformation, no Revolution, no Kultur-kampf - Austria, in which the income of the Catholic Primate is $625,000 a year! In other words, Austria is still to a large extent a "Priestly Empire;" and it was Austria which began the war - began it in a religious quarrel, with a Slav people which does not acknowledge the Holy Father as the ruler of the world, but persists in adhering to the Eastern Church. So of course today when Austria is learning the bitter lesson that they who draw the sword shall perish by the sword, the heart of the Holy Father is wrung with grief, and he sends out these eloquent peace-notes, written in Vienna and edited in Berlin. And at the same time his private chaplain is convicted and sentenced to prison for life as Austria's Master-Spy in Rome!

It is a curious thing to observe - the natural instinct which, all over the world, draws Superstition and Exploitation together. This war, which is hailed as a war against autocracy, might almost as accurately be described as a war against the clerical system. Wherever in the world you find the Papal power strong, there you find sympathy with the Prussian infamy and there you find German intrigue. In Spain, for example; in Ireland and Quebec, and many priests were shot at the outset, and Cardinal Mercier denounces the Germans; but you notice that he pleads in vain with the Vatican, which stands firm by its beloved Austria, and against the godless kingdom of Italy. The Kaiser allows the hope of restoration of the temporal power at the peace settlement; and meantime the law forbidding the presence of the Jesuits in Germany has been repealed, and all over the world the propagandists of this order are working for the Kaiser. Sir Roger Casement was raised a Catholic, and so also "Jim" Larkin, the Irish labor-leader who is touring America denouncing the Allies. The Catholic Bishop of Melbourne opposed and beat conscription in Austria, and it was Catholic propaganda of treachery among the ignorant peasant-soldiers from Sicily which caused the breaking of the Italian line at Tolmino. So deeply has this instinct that, in the fall of 1917 while the Socialist party in New York was campaigning for immediate peace, the Catholic Irish suddenly forgot their ancient horrors. The Catholic "Freeman's Journal" published nine articles favoring Socialism in a single issue; while even "The Tablet," the diocesan paper, began to discover that the Socialists were not such bad fellows after all. The same "Tablet" which a few years ago allowed Father Belford to declare that Socialists were mad dogs who should be "stopped with a bullet"!

P.S. The reader will be interested to know that for the statements on a previous page, Upton Sinclair was described as a "scoundrel" by a former prime minister of the Austrian Empire, and brought suit against the gentleman, and after a court trial was awarded damages of 500,000 crown - about $7 in American money.

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