in the Church of Rome
by Charles Chiniquy
Nothing can exceed the care with which Roman Catholic priests prepare children for their first communion. Two and three months are set apart every year for that purpose. All that time the children between ten and twelve years of age are obliged to go to Church almost every day, not only to learn by heart their catechism, but to hear the explanations of all its teachings.
The priest who instructed us was the Rev. Mr. Morin, whom I have already mentioned. He was exceedingly kind to children, and we respected and loved him sincerely. His instructions to us were somewhat long; but we liked to hear him, for he always had some new and interesting stories to give us.
The catechism taught as a preparation for our first communion was the foundation of the idolatries and superstitions which the Church of Rome gives as the religion of Christ. It is by means of that catechetical instruction that she obtains for the Pope and his representatives that profound respect, I might say adoration, which is the secret of her power and influence. With this catechism Rome corrupts the most sacred truths of the Gospel. It is there that Jesus is removed from the hearts for which He paid so great a price, and that Mary is put in His place. But the great iniquity of substituting Mary for Jesus is so skilfully concealed, it is given with colours so poetic and beautiful, and so well adapted to captivate human nature, that it is almost impossible for a poor child to escape the snare.
One day the priest said to me, "Stand up, my child, in order to answer the many important questions which I have to ask you."
I stood up.
"My child," he said, "when you had been guilty of some fault at home who was the first to punish you your father or your mother?"
After a few moments of hesitation I answered, "My father."
"You have answered correctly, my child," said the priest. "As a matter of fact, the father is almost always more impatient with his children, and more ready to punish them, than the mother."
"Now, my child, tell us who punished you most severely your father or your mother?"
"My father," I said, without hesitation.
"Still true, my child. The superior goodness of a kind mother is perceived even in the act of correction. Her blows are lighter than those of the father. Further, when you had deserved to be chastised, did not one sometimes come between you and your father's rod, taking it away from him and pacifying him?"
"Yes," I said; "mother did that very often, and saved me from severe punishment more than once."
"That is so, my child, not only for you, but for all your companions here. Have not your good mothers, my children, often saved you from your father's corrections even when you deserved it? Answer me."
"Yes, sir," they all answered.
"One question more. When your father was coming to whip you, did you not throw yourself into the arms of some one to escape?" "Yes, sir; when guilty of something, more than once, I threw myself into my mother's arms as soon as I saw my father coming to whip me. She begged pardon for me, and pleaded so well that I often escaped punishment."
"You have answered well," said the priest. Then turning to the children, he continued:
"You have a Father and a Mother in heaven, dear children. Your Father is Jesus, and your Mother is Mary. Do not forget that a mother's heart is always more tender and more prone to mercy than that of a father.
"Often you offend your Father by your sins; you make Him angry against you. What takes place in heaven then? Your Father in heaven takes His rod to punish you. He threatens to crush you down with His roaring thunder; He opens the gates of hell to cast you into it, and you would have been damned long ago had it not been for the loving Mother whom you have in heaven, who has disarmed your angry and irritated Father. When Jesus would punish you as you deserve, the good Virgin Mary hastens to Him and pacifies Him. She places herself between Him and you, and prevents Him from smiting you. She speaks in your favour, she asks for your pardon and she obtains it.
"Also, as young Chiniquy has told you, he often threw himself into the arms of his mother to escape punishment. She took his part, and pleaded so well that his father yielded and put away the rod. Thus, my children, when your conscience tells you that you are guilty, that Jesus is angry against you and that you have good reason to fear hell, hasten to Mary! Throw yourselves into the arms of that good mother; have recourse to her sovereign power over Jesus, and be assured that you will be saved through her!"
It is thus that the Pope and the priests of Rome have entirely disfigured and changed the holy religion of the Gospel! In the Church of Rome it is not Jesus, but Mary, who represents the infinite love and mercy of God for the sinner. The sinner is not advised or directed to place his hope in Jesus, but in Mary, for his escape from deserved chastisement! It is not Jesus, but Mary, who saves the sinner! Jesus is always bent on punishing sinners; Mary is always merciful to them!
The Church of Rome has thus fallen into idolatry: she rather trusts in Mary than in Jesus. She constantly invites sinners to turn their thoughts, their hopes, their affections, not to Jesus, but to Mary!
By means of that impious doctrine Rome deceives the intellects, seduces the hearts, and destroys the souls of the young for ever. Under the pretext of honouring the Virgin Mary, she insults her by outraging and misrepresenting her adorable Son.
Rome has brought back the idolatry of old paganism under a new name. She has replaced upon her altars the Jupiter Tonans of the Greeks and Romans, only she places upon his shoulders the mantle and she writes on the forehead of her idol the name of Jesus, in order the better to deceive the world!
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