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Atheism -- And Jesuit Duplicity

JESUITIC: designing; crafty; as, a Jesuitical trick."
-Webster's New International Dictionary


IN keeping with its unctuous character, the Catholic journal "America" features, in its end-of-the-year number, a blatherskite article denouncing atheism in the United States for its alleged intolerance. The author entitles his screed "The Cult Of the Atheists Follows the Nazi Pattern" and accuses freethinkers of being interested "in neither freedom nor thought, but only in the destruction of religious worship. Intolerance, not liberty, is their goal."


And lest anyone suppose that this diatribe in "America" is written by a whippersnapper hack, we are assured by the editors that the author is a distinguished Catholic scholar: none other, in fact, than the high-school teacher Brendan Byrne, Chairman of the History and Civics Department, John Adams High School, Ozone Park, N. Y. As a historian, Mr. Byrne proceeds to tell us exactly what ails atheists.


"Like other bigoted sects," says he, "the religion baiters readily draw recruits from the ranks of the frustrated and maladjusted . . . Of vocational misfits, neurotics, depressives and paranoiacs, the anti-God movement has more than its share."


Who are the "misfits" in life? They are those who are saturated with superstition, slobber their piety, froth their fanaticism, fight evolution, and attack science with their medieval doctrines. Worse than the vocationally maladjusted are the shanty mentalities, who, from one age to another, have gagged liberty of thought and blackjacked every man who reasons for himself. They are those who have stifled critical opinion and drooled their inanities in the face of progress. In brief, they are those who have been dog-whipped and cowed by the Church and kept in ignorance by its priests.


All Catholics do not have gold telephones (like the pope), nor live luxuriously like cardinals, nor even at regularly like an ordinary priest. Some live in squalor and in slums. Those who help pay the freight of the Church may be anything from scrub-women to tenderloin slatterns, from dope-peddlers to Bowery bums. Misfits, never-weres, and never-will-bes can be found in any Catholic church; hoodlums and stick-up men would rather knock you down than offend a saint. Some notorious gangsters and police-wanted thugs are avowed Catholics. Many of the Pope's faithful are already in jail. In fact, Catholics furnish a higher per-centage of our criminal inmates, in proportion to their number, than any other religious sect. Yet Mr. Byrne is troubled over the activities of atheism in America.


Among the 17,000 criminals examined by Dr. Wooton of Harvard, Irishmen furnished 23 percent of those with alcoholic psychosis; Irish-Americans furnished 13.2 per cent. There were probably more Catholics than atheists among these mental derelicts. If Mr. Byrne is looking for anti-social material, he can find it within his own ranks.


Priest-ridden Ireland exemplifies Catholic penury and misery on a large scale. In his "Foot-loose in the British Isles," the well-known globe-trotter Harry A. Franck writes:


"Dublin's slums are reputed the worst, the most dangerous to meandering sight-seers, of any in Europe. But certainly they did not look it, though they are cruelly overcrowded, with whole families living in single rooms . . . Miserable, dark, stenchy places; yet the girls do not seem to take to the streets. There is next to no professional immorality, they say, in Dublin, which wiped out its red-light district some years back and turned the houses over to nuns. The Irish Free State claims the lowest illegitimate birth-rate in Europe; and birth-control is hardly known even by name to the masses. Yet the social problem of Ireland, one of its rare non-Catholic officials confided, is infanticide. For the inexperienced and decent girl who slips is inclined to leave her baby on a dung-heap rather than face the fulminations of the Church."


No affluence here, merely the bedraggle dregs of a Catholic city, wanting in knowledge denied them by the Church.


As for "paranoia," what pope hasn't had a touch of the disease? The delusion of grandeur of papal "infallibility," of "talking for God" and of handing out grandiose bulls, is on a par with that of the padded-cell victim who believes he is Napoleon. Where is there to be found more strait-jacket lunacy than at the Vatican itself ? Atheists can match their lunatic fringe any day against the overwhelming neurotics in the Church--and lose by a landslide.


Even the assumed founder of Christianity, if he ever lived, was mentally unbalanced, "There can no longer be a doubt," wrote Dr.William Hirsch, the well-known psychiatrist, "that Jesus was a paranoiac. He presents as typical a case of this disease as can be imagined." Delusions of grandeur are distinctly manifested in the gospel Jesus.


Says the Encyclopaedia Britannica in its article on paranoia "The sphere of religion affords an endless field for the ambitious paranoiacs, and some of them may even aspire to divine authority, but as a rule the true paranoiac does not lose touch with earth. The more extravagant delusions of persons who call themselves by divine names and assume omnipotent attributes are usually found in patients who have passed through acute attacks of insanity such as mania or dementia praecox and are mentally enfeebled."


Speaking of Roman Catholic relics, Joseph McCabe remarks:


"There seems to have been enough milk of the Virgin -- some of it was still exhibited in Spanish churches in the nineteenth century -- preserved in Europe to feed a few calves. There was hair enough to make a mattress. There were sufficient pieces of 'the true cross' to make a boat. There were teeth of Christ enough to outfit a dentist (one monastery, at Charroux, had the complete set). There were so many sets of baby-linen of the infant Jesus, in Italy, France, and Spain, that one could have opened a shop with them. One of the great churches in Rome had Christ's manger-cradle. Seven churches had his authentic umbilical cord, and a number of churches had his.foreskin (removed at circumcision and kept as a souvenir by Mary). One church had the miraculous imprint of his little bottom on a stone on which he sat. . . . One church had Aaron's rod. Six churches had the six heads cut off John the Baptist.... Every one of these things was, remember, in its origin, a cynical, blasphemous swindle; and Rome was the great trading center. All the wriggling of all the G. K. Chestertons and all the Jesuits and Paulists in America will not obscure that. Each of those objects was at first launched upon the world with deliberate mendacity." (The Dark Ages, p. 55.)


As evidenced by his writings, Mr. Byrne has as little knowledge of the freethought movement in America as a stuffed grouse. His ideas concerning it are on the expected level of what he is compelled to say about it as a Catholic; freethought is as much of an iniquity to him as eating meat on Friday or denying the efficacy of a St. Christopher medal. As a Catholic he is not allowed to think for himself; he must say only what his religion requires -- or suffer the consequences. And how can he know anything about freethought works, when he is prohibited from reading any and all books which criticize his Church! As a slave of the Vatican, he is bound to remain ignorant of their contents. He can only rail against them with the blind fury of a Catholic.


There are some things which even a high-school historian should learn before he assumes to teach. He should know that this country was founded by freethinkers, not by priests; that Paine, Jefferson, Franklin, Adams, and Washington rejected his theology, and that, according to our treaty with Tripoli, "The Government of the United States is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion." It is the purpose of American freethinkers to keep it that way, in spite of Catholic treacheries and papal intrigue.


How well John Adams (for whom Mr. Byrne's high school is named) knew the Roman Catholic Church. He loathed popery and its political machinations, and denounced priestcraft with the vigor of a trooper. He foresaw that everyone who stood for complete liberty of thought and separation of church and state would be vilified by the Church. "The denunciations of the priesthood," said he, "are fulminated against every advocate for a complete freedom of religion."


In the eyes of Catholics, "bigotry" consists in opposing Church teachings or anything in the Catholic program. Question the dogmas of the Church, or insist that priests and theological students should no longer be exempt from military service and that Church property should pay its fair proportion of taxes to the state, and you are "intolerant." Ridicule the idea that a certain man in Italy rules by "divine right" and you are a "bigot." The Church, in Catholic opinion, is above all criticism. Oppose its claims and you are "intolerant.''


"Organized atheism" in America does not accept the authority of any foreign potentate. Catholics do; their religion teaches them to believe that the pope must be acknowledged as the sole guide in faith and morals. Catholicism must rule, even when its doctrines conflict with the laws of the State.


Every Catholic is taught to believe that the pope is "infallible" and was appointed by God to rule the earth. The right to govern does not cone from the consent of the governed, but by the will of the Church. Oppose these ideas and you are a "bigot" and "intolerant." Catholic behavior is nearer to the "Nazi pattern" of dictatorship than to anything else. Like Hitler, the pope demands unquestioned obedience and abject submission on the part of his subjects.


If the Catholic Church had its way in America, there would be no tolerance of heretics under the Papal Dictatorship. What better evidence for this does one want than the fulmination of the popes?


In 1864, Pope Plus IX issued his famous Syllabus of Errors, in which he condemned certain propositions upheld by the modern world. In his exhortation to the faithful, he included the following condemnations : --


XV. It is not true that "every man is free to embrace and profess that religion which, guided by the light of reason, he shall consider true."
XXIV. It is not true that "the [Roman] Church has not the power of using force, nor has she army temporal power, direct or indirect."
XLII. It is not true that "in the case of conflicting laws enacted by the two powers, the civil law prevails."
LV. It is not true that the [Roman] Church ought to be separated from the State, and the State from the [Roman] Church."
LXXX.. It is not true that "the Roman Pontiff can, and ought to reconcile himself, and come to terms with progress, liberalism and modern civilization."


Another pope, Leo XIII, refers to "that fatal principle of the separation of Church and State," and, in his Encyclical Letter "Immortale Dei," condemns religious liberty:


"To wish the [Roman] Church to be subject to the civil power in the exercise of her duty is great folly and a sheer injustice . . . It is not lawful for the State. . . to hold in equal favor different kinds of religion."


So much for Catholic "toleration" -- and papal insolence. If "organized atheism" in America were guilty of advocating such un-American and seditious doctrines as these, it would not be functioning today under a charter from the State. The American Association for the Advancement of Atheism is committed to the democratic principles embodied in the American Constitution and condemned by the Catholic Church. It is the Vatican itself which follows the "Nazi pattern" of trying to impose a world sovereignty on other states.


Francis X. Talbot, editor-in-chief of "America," is a member of the Jesuit order. Certainly he must know that the word "Jesuit" carries a bad connotation throughout the world. The Society of Jesus has been kicked out of nearly every country in which it has operated. 'Guilty, time and again, of political plotting and intrigue; it has marked itself as an insidious society. It once became so out of bounds, in dealing with the Vatican, that it was suppressed by the pope.


Jesuits, says the Encyclopaedia, Britannica, "had their share, direct or indirect, in the embroiling of states, in concocting conspiracies and in kindling wars.'' And the same authority adds: "They were also responsible by their theoretical teachings in theological schools, where cases were considered and treated in the abstract for not a few assassinations of the enemies of the cause,"


Yet it is a Jesuit journal which.sets about to tell us how dangerous the atheists are. Masking itself as a friend of free institutions, as a lover of democracy and of our American ways of life, it whimpers about "intolerance" with the oily gush of injured innocence.


"Look at the purveyors of hate in America," says Mr. Byrne, "and you will see no more bigoted a group than that of organized atheism . . . For the most part, their propaganda machine obsequiously hews to the pattern laid down by ... Adolph Hitler."


That, coming from a Catholic, is hardly a bright observation, in view of the war. Right now, Catholic Italy (the land of the Pope) is fighting on the side of the Nazis; its propaganda machine "hews to the pattern" laid down by Hitler himself. How can this be if the Pope has anything to say in guiding the behavior of Catholic Italy? The Vatican has never condemned those Catholics who are now upholding the Nazi pattern of brutality and intolerance.


Strange that what is so obvious to others should have escaped the scrutiny of Mr. Byrne, namely, that Catholic countries are the lowest in the scale of culture, that beggars swarm and illiteracy flourishes where the Church holds sway and that ignorance, poverty, misery, degeneracy, and moral corruption are greatest where Catholicism holds power. Barring India, where can one find a more dismal picture of human degradation than in priest-infested countries?


Where has there ever been a worse Jew-baiter than the Roman Catholic Church? Under Catholic tyranny, Jews have been butchered, and robbed, and exiled on a larger scale, and with greater ferocity, than under the Nazi regime. The record of the Church is one of unbridled brutality and ghastly viciousness toward those who have denied Christ. 'The rabble-rousing Coughlin did his best to fan the flames -- and remains a priest. Yet Mr. Byrne is greatly alarmed that atheists "divide" Jews and Catholics. "It would be, of course, sheer folly for Jews, Protestants and Catholics," say he, "to swallow the atheists' bait. In the face of the common menace, the forces of religion cannot afford to dissipate their strength by petty bickerings."


Though atheists reject Judaism, as they reject Catholicism, as a crass superstition, their repudiation of Jewish doctrines is something else than stooping to the pious scoundrelism and bludgeoning methods of Mr. Byrne's Church. They rely on argument, not tyranny, for the furtherance of their ideas. It would be "sheer folly" for any Jew to be taken in by the silly ruse that the Catholic Church is tolerant. History shows otherwise. The Church despises the Jew as anti-Christ and as an enemy of the faith, and would subject him to any indignity if it could regain its power. "Jews," said Pope Paul IV, in 1555, "may only engage in the work of street-sweepers and rag-pickers, and may not produce merchants nor trade in things necessary for human use." (Bull, Rom. Pont., Vol. VI, p. 499.)


Does any one doubt this? Turn to Catholic authority itself and learn the fate of the Jew under Catholic "tolerance."


Jews, says the Catholic Encyclopaedia (article "Infidel"'), "were ordinarily restricted to certain definite quarters of the towns into which they were admitted and had to wear a dress by which they might be recognized. Modern legislation has given the Jews the same rights as other citizens and the intercourse between them and Catholics in civil life is no longer governed by ecclesiastical law." In a word, it was civil law, not the law of the Church, that gave Jews their freedom in civil life.


With its record of brutality and intolerance, the Roman Catholic Church is the last institution in the world to prate about injustice, yet here is a Catholic journal called "America" ranting against "bigotry" and "intolerance" as if it had never heard of the Holy Inquisition. The godly assassins and thumb-screw gang of degenerates that ran things for the papacy during the days of its ascendancy, are still heroes in the eyes of the Church; the Catholic Encyclopaedia still brags that the Spanish Inquisition was more of a church than a civil tribunal:


"At the head of the Inquisition, known as the Holy Office, stood the Grand Inquisitor, nominated by the king and confirmed by the pope . . . the predominant ecclesiastical nature of the institution can hardly be doubted. The Holy See sanctioned the institution . . . Joseph de Maistre introduced the thesis that the Spanish Inquisition was mostly a civil tribunal; formerly, however, theologians never questioned its ecclesiastical nature."


If atheists (who, according to Mr. Byrne, "squirt poison with perfect impunity" and are "the purveyors of hate in America") were governed by Catholic standards of "tolerance," they could hardly surpass the Roman Catholic Church, which burned Bruno at the stake and tortured heretics in the dungeons of the Inquisition. Under Torquemada alone, who ruled for 18 years, over 9,000 victims were burned alive. Mr. Byrne's Church averaged better than one burning a day.


Mr. Byrne, with typical Catholic distortion, refers to "an unfrocked priest, one Lehmann.'" Those of us who know Mr. Lehmann personally, know he was not "unfrocked" by the Church; he left it of his own accord because he could no longer endure its idiotic teachings. As an ex-priest, he is now engaged in "unfrocking" the Church -- and enraging the Catholics. They hate him as they hate everyone who exposes their doctrines.


Among the "professional religion-baiters" denounced by Mr. Byrne are Rupert Hughes, Harry Elmer Barnes, Joseph Wheless, Joseph Lewis, and William J. Fielding. These soldiers of freedom, "high priests of the anti-God cult in the United States," merit the distinction; nothing could be more annoying to them than to be taken for Catholics. Think of being told what books they must not read and what side of a subject they must not examine. Only a Catholic scholar would boast of studying under that kind of "tolerance," Yet Mr. Byrne, living under the Catholic Gestapo, is troubled over the "Nazi pattern" of tyranny. In what way does the dictatorship of Hitler differ from that of the Pope? And how can a Catholic historian do justice to his professional calling if he is not permitted to examine all sides of a subject? And how can a public school teacher expect to know what he is talking about if he is restricted in his reading? The Catholic Index of prohibited books brands every Catholic "scholar" as an intellectual serf.


On the Catholic Index are books by Francis Bacon, Balzac and Bruno; by Erasmus Darwin, Alexander Dumas, and John W. Draper; by Anatole France and Edward Gibbon; by David Hume, Kant, and Locke; by John Stuart Mill and St. George Mivart; by Renan, Zola and Voltaire. None of these books may be read by Mr. Byrne. Says the Jesuit writer, Francis S. Betten in his "The Roman Index of Forbidden Books," "The Index Laws are binding upon all Catholics of whatever station and condition, with the sole exception of cardinals, bishops, and other dignitaries holding positions similar to that of the bishops."


Lastly, by what standard of ethics can a Catholic like Mr. Byrne teach in an American public school, when public schools are condemned by the Catholic Church, and Catholic parents are exhorted to keep their children away from these dens of iniquity? Perhaps only a Jesuit journal can answer the question by pointing to the example of Loyola, that anything goes so long as it is expedient or justifies the end. To Loyola, the hierarchy was supreme; he could adjust himself to any course of conduct, to any expediency, to any twist of mentality, if he upheld the Church. "The white that I see," said Loyola, "I would believe to be black, if the Hierarchical Church were so to rule it." Perhaps the public school in which Mr. Byrne teaches is not quite so black to him as his Church makes out; he sees it black only when he turns his gaze in the direction of the Church.


Independent thinking can form no part of Mr. Byrne's life. He is hog-tied to the Roman Catholic Church, with the whip-hand of the Vatican hovering over him. Always he is faced with the threat of what heresy means. "Apostasy and heresy," says the Catholic Encyclopaedia, "are, as criminal rebellions against God, far more serious crimes than high treason, murder or adultery." What Mr. Byrne writes about those who think for themselves is governed by the dictates of his church, not by any independent judgment of his own. Groveling in the dust, he can only pay slave homage to the bombastic institution against which the atheists of America level their sneers and jeers.

Friends and Colleagues