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302 FIGURE OF THE CONTEST OF GOOD AND EVIL.
copied from Airy Schaeffer's "Temptation," symbolizes to the eye the substance of its contents in presenting the great contest of good and evil which still proceeds in the world, and of which the final issue is predicted and guaranteed by the divine heroism of "the Son of God" and "the Son of Man."
AM I A PERSON OR AM I POWER?-THE CRUCIAL TEST.
In the course of my autobiographical narratives I have laid before you, my diligent pupil, various considerations which conspire to prove that I am not a person, but a power. Before I set my foot on the ladder down which I am about to descend to the level of my fellow-men, I have asked myself whether there is any actual test of my impersonality so clear as to satisfy the least easily persuaded persons. I will lay one before you.
Were I a person, I should have access to the minds of men as men, that is all men indifferently. But there is a class of men whose minds are barred against me. Yet these men are not better than their neighbours. Vice, then, does not depend on my personality. Men may be vicious and not be seduced by me. But if vice is in one case independent of me, it must be so in all. It follows, that vice as such is independent of me. Whence then is it? Vice exists-whence but from vicious hearts? In other words, there is in human nature a proneness to moral evil, which, considered on the wide area of humankind, may be called a power. That power I am. In order to establish this position, I must exhibit the exception to which I have referred. The Roman Catholic clergy transmute what they call a "child of the devil" into a "child of God" by the sacrament of baptism, and by other sacra
MY POWER FOR EVIL IS INTRINSIC,
303 ments secure that child, as holy in the eyes of Mother Church, an entrance into paradise. And even should the personal devil intrude upon their own domain, they possess means to drive him out in the efficacy of their exorcising power. This exorcism, open to all on certain sacerdotally enjoined conditions, is actually in the hands of the priests themselves, who, of course, are accordingly free from my personal influence. And yet, while actually unpolluted by me, they nevertheless are polluted. By what? I being excluded, by themselves. There is no alternative. But if they are vicious, though exempt from my control, other men are the same, for man is man under every clime and in every garb. It follows, that sacerdotal misconduct eliminates the devil and drives him out of the world of realities.
My crucial test, then, will be complete when I have shewn two things-first, that the priests of Rome are doubly guarded, being guarded by their sacraments and guarded by their power of exorcism. The first charm drives out Satan and keeps him at a distance through life; the second is an exceptional remedy against a possible disaster. Should Satan make his way into a priest, he is banished by exorcism. Their sacraments are too well known to be gone into in detail. Exorcism I shall describe. And moreover I shall say something of the morals of the Roman clergy thus guarded and preserved from Satanic depravation.
The Ordination of an Exorcist.
The Bishop's Address.
"O, dearest son, thou art to be ordained to the office of an Exorcist, and must be taught what thou undertakest. It is the function of an Exorcist to expel the demons, and to say to the people that he who does not communicate, gives place to them. Receive power, then, of laying hands on those who are possessed; and by the imposition of thy hands, by the grace of the Holy Spirit, and by the words of the exorcism, unclean spirits are expelled from the bodies of the possessed. Study therefore that, as thou expellest the devils from the
FOR IT IS EXERCISED IN ROMAN PRIESTS.
304 bodies of others, thou mayest cast out all uncleanness and sin from thy mind and body, lest thou fall a victim to him whom thou drivest from others by thy ministry. Learn by thy office to command the vices, lest the enemy may have any part in thy character. For then wilt thou rule over other demons when thou hast first overcome all their wickedness in thyself: which may God by his Spirit grant thee to perform.
"Receive, then, and possess the power of laying hands on demoniacs, whether baptized or catechumens.”
"Holy Lord, Father Almighty, Eternal God, condescend to bless this thy servant in the office of the Exorcists; that, by the imposition of his hands and the words of his mouth, he may possess the power and authority of coercing unclean spirits, so as that, being built up in the grace of healing and in celestial strength, he may become an approved physician in thy Church. We ask it by our Lord Jesus Christ thy Son, who lives and reigns with thee in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God throughout all ages. Amen."*
That the power thus communicated inheres in the priest so long as it is not formally taken away by the episcopal authority by which it is given, appears in
The Form for degrading an Exorcist.
After the Book of Exorcisms has been taken from the culprit, the degrading bishop uses these words:
"We remove from thee the power of laying hands on possessed persons, and of expelling demons from their bodies, the function of exorcising being wholly interdicted to thee."
Over priests, then, it is clear I have no power except by their own permission. Consequently you here possess a decisive argument whether or not I am a person, or the creation of men's own fond imaginations. As I, the cause of all evil,
* Pontificale Romanum Summorum Pontificum jussu Editum. Mechlineæ, 1855.
IMMORALITIES CONNECTED WITH PAPAL PRIESTS 305
have no independent power over priests, priests are of course free from my baneful influence. In other words, they are "holiness to the Lord." What, however, has fact to say to this conclusion? The conclusion is contradicted by history in the most emphatical manner. Hence it follows that sacerdotal wickedness springs from the man, and not the devil. In other words, every priest, having the power to expel me, may have, and many of them have actually, another devil in their own vitiated nature.
Observances of the darkest kind wound their sluggish and pestiferous way through the Christian Church during many centuries on toward the revival of letters. Civil as well as ecclesiastical legislation strove, and strove mostly in vain, to arrest the black flood. How, indeed, could the Church act with effect when, by upholding me, it perpetuated the foul source whence the polluting waters came? A monk or a nun who had been guilty of self-pollution threw the blame on me or some of my imps, and, having relieved himself or herself in conscience, easily paid the light penalties imposed by the father confessor or the Penitentiary of the Church.
Indeed, there exist volumes* which, coming down from the sixth to the later centuries, and containing the nicely graduated penalties for misdeeds committed by ordinary or sacerdotal disciples, shew how terribly criminal the times were and how fearfully corrupt was the Church. The vilest deeds I must pass unmentioned.
I proceed to quote from the source just referred to, and in particular from a Penitentiary of the 9th century, entitled Pænitentiale Pseudo-Theodori, Chapter iii.
"On Fornication by the Clergy.
"1. Bishops, priests, deacons, committing fornication, in virtue of the canon shall lose their rank and do penance, according to episcopal judgment, yet they may take the com
* Die Bussordungen der Abendländischen Kirche, von Dr. F. W. H. Wasserschleben. 1 vol. 8vo. Halle, 1851.
AS SET FORTH IN OFFICIAL DOCUMENTS. munion. 2. Bishops, priests, deacons, monks, sub-deacons, and other clergy, together with all such as are dedicated to God, imitating fornication, shall, if clerks, do penance for v years, ii on bread and water; deacons and monks, viii years, iv on bread and water; priests, x years on bread and water; bishops, xii years, vii on bread and water. In the same way nuns shall do penance if they voluntarily imitate fornication with such persons. 3. But if, which God forbid, bishops, priests, deacons, monks, sub-deacons, and other clergy, beget sons with nuns, then the penance must be augmented thus clerks shall do penance for vi years, iii on bread and water; sub-deacons, viii years, iv on bread and water; deacons and monks, for x years, v on bread and water; priests, xii years, vii on bread and water; bishops, xv years, viii on bread and water. After the same manner the nuns must do penance. But if they die during their punishment, they must do penance as long as they live. 4. Whatever bishops, priests, deacons, monks, sub-deacons and other clergy commit adultery with other men's wives, let them do penance -clerks, v years on bread and water; deacons and monks, vii years, iv on bread and water; priests, x years, v on bread and water. If, however, they procreate children, then the penance must be augmented as is above laid down. 5. If any clerk who has a wife and lies with her after his reception of the honour of priesthood, let him know that he commits adultery, and let him do penance according to the scale already given. 6. A priest or deacon, if he marries another man's wife, is to be deposed in the conscience of the people. But if he commits adultery with her, he shall be cast out of the Church and do penance among laymen as long as he lives. 7. Bishops, priests, deacons, monks, sub-deacons, and other clergy, imitating fornication with lay women, that is with widows or girls, shall do penance, clerks for iv years, i on bread and water; sub-deacons, v years, iii on bread and water; priests, viii, iv on bread and water; bishops, x, v on bread and water. In the same way those females shall do