The Fruits Of Romanism
The Catholic Church Does Far More Harm Than Good
Edited by E. Haldeman-Julius
The Black International No. 19
- Chapter I – Progress In Catholic And Non-Catholic Countries
- Chapter II – The Black International Always In The Rear
- Chapter III – The Wicked World Educates The Church
- Chapter IV – The Contrast Of Russia And Priest-Ruled Countries
- Chapter V – The Monstrous Attempt To Restore The Middle Ages
Throughout these ten booklets, in which I have shown that the Church of Rome is the natural ally of the German, Japanese, and Italians, I have asked the reader to see it as primarily a vast economic corporation, the Black International, fighting for survival, in an age in which educated people despise its doctrines and all informed people loathe its methods. Whether any, or how many, of this monstrous regiment of cardinals and bishops, priests and monks, sincerely believe the medieval sophistication of ancient Greek and oriental superstitions which they profess is here entirely irrelevant. We are studying the Church as an institution because we are trying to understand its action throughout the world.
It admits that it seeks wealth and power but insists that this is only in order that it may more effectively promote what it calls the spiritual and eternal interests of men. With that pretext also we are not concerned. The apologist will hardly expect us to admit that it entered into an alliance with (in this order) Italy, Japan, and Germany because it believed they would help it to look after the soul’s of men. Such a plea would raise a broad grin from Cologne to Tokyo. Those nations sought wealth and power; so did the Bleak International. They meant to secure and protect this wealth and power by a regime of bloody tyranny; and the Black International, which has for 800 years relied upon that method, needed it more urgently than ever. The bandits wanted the international influence of the Vatican to help to dupe the world about their designs; and they promised it a very large share of the spoils of victory by annihilating its critic’s and recovering its lost provinces for it.
After what we have seen that is as obvious as the Empire State Building. Men of the Munich mentality as regards the Church of Rome petulantly exclaim that it is a monstrous charge. Yes: and the war and the Pope’s share in it, the debasement of France by priest- ridden traitors, and the horrors of the Spanish and Portuguese hell are a monstrous reality. If these narrow-minded folk who think themselves so superior to prejudice were to look facts in the face they Would see that we accuse the Church of doing only what it has done over and over again since the Albiginsian Massacre and the founding of the Inquisition 700 years ago. They would find that the Roman Black International is not the only spiritual army that has prostituted itself for gold in our time.
In 1937 there was a Parliament of Religions at Calcutta. The report of the proceedings in two fat volumes makes a materialist like myself blush. Representatives of all the world’s religions and sects joined enthusiastically in the good work, and the speeches glitter like Woolworth jewelry with nice phrases about the spiritual and the Ideal, the sins of men and the wickedness of the world, the lofty morality by which these folk are going to save the race. As you will remember, the Japs had by this time completely enslaved and debauched Manchuria and the north of China and they were openly gathering for their next orgy of brutality. And not a single one of these Asiatic word-spinners of the hundred beautiful religions said one single word about it. One foreigner, a British professor, ventured to say ten very mild words about it.
If you want to know why, though of course nobody did at the time, it was not simply because people who live on these shining heights find it difficult to see the common earth. It was mainly because the Black International or Japanese Buddhism was doing in Asia just what the Roman priests were doing in Europe and America. We must not offend our Buddhist fellow-citizens.
Some of my readers will remember that in 1937, while these spiritual folk were having their jamboree in Calcutta and the world-press was following their beneficent work with admiration. I published, through Haldeman-Julius, a booklet with the title Imperialistic Japan and its Aims. I described how by that time the. criminal plot of the Japs was so far from being secret that scores of patriotic societies, some with millions of member’s, publicly boasted of it and gloated over realistic pictures and panoramas exhibited in the stores of the cities, of the destruction of the American fleet. I gave the evidence that the Buddhist priests and monks, 150,000 strong, had been bought by the government and the capitalists and were conducting an intensive campaign all over South Asia to create a Fifth Column for the “Japanese Liberator’s.” They had been bought in cash, just as the Vatican had been bought by Mussolini, and, like the Vatican, they looked for even greater profit when the job was done.
They earned their pay. Not only did they work up the Japanese people to a fanatical enthusiasm for the plan of making themselves rich by exploiting a third of the world but they created nests of traitors from French Indo-China to the Persian Gulf. There were 10.000 Buddhist quislings in Rangoon alone and there were others in key-positions all over Burma. Ceylon teems with them. For ten years the work has proceeded under a very thin disguise of Buddhist concern for the spiritual interests of men. Yet in a Parliament of Religions held at Chicago in 1939 America had been emphatically warned that these Buddhist priests had already grown fat on imperialist gold.
While disreputable atheists and materialists like Haldeman- Julius and McCabe, who told the world the truth, were very properly ignored by all respectable folk these spiritual gasbags, who blinded it to the realities of life, where loaded with laurels and dollars. It is nice, and so profitable, to be profound and spiritual!
However. Immense as is the work which I bring to a close with this booklet I have no space to enlarge, upon even so important a side-issue as the corruption of Buddhism (which was quite willing in every age to entertain a business proposition) by the fine imperialist’s of Japan. It is enough that “our two great religions” have made a mockery of every compliment, that every long-haired idealist in America had lavished upon them. They have prostituted themselves to the Butchers Union, while atheistic Russia, upon which most of these idealists have poured abuse for the last twenty years, has won a splendid tribute from a disillusioned world. But I have still an important point to make in regard to the Church of Rome to complete the explanation of its behavior.
In his recent work, ‘You Can’t Be Too Careful,’ H. G. Wells says: “The most evil thing in the world today is the Roman Catholic Church.” It is also one of the most respected things in the world today, especially in America. But there is no mystery about the respect, the power, even the adulation which it enjoys. It commands about 10,000,000 votes, nicely bunched together for the most part in certain states and at the disposal of the priests. It has $4,000,000,000 invested, an income of about $1,000,000,000 and an army of about quarter of a million paid agents of one kind or other. It has a very large press and radio-service. It has about 5,000,000 auxiliary troops, open fanatics and secret intriguers, sworn to promote “the welfare of the Church.” It has immense opportunities of rewarding loyalty, from a Papal Knighthood to a job as janitor. It has a control of editors, politicians, writers, libraries, cinemas, radio programs, owners of halls and theaters, professors, booksellers, even the police, the public school’s, parole-boards, the mails, etc. It has . . . But maybe that will do. What we had better ask is what excuse is made for themselves by the politicians, professors, and others who chant the praises of “the venerable Church.”
You know it. They reply that the Church does good — oh, an enormous amount of good: so much, in fact, that it is one of the foundations of the state. In a recent book (Mission to Moscow), which the pious Mr. Gollancz spreads in England, Ambassador Davies, discussing the vices and virtues of Russia, says that with all its faults it must not be classed with Germany and Italy, as a totalitarian state. Phew! Are there still folk who talk like that? However, what Mr. Davies mean’s is that the Russian state is, and the Nazi state is not, “based upon the altruistic principles of the Christian religion.” If that is true of Russia — if you will pardon the supposition — how far more true it must be of the American civilization with its 100,000 parsons and its more brilliant exhibition of those principles. And of the Churches which render this inestimable service the Church of Rome is immeasurably the greatest: the Church that regards all the others with contemptuous tolerance and pronounces them rebellious and ineffective offshoots of the age-old Church on which the sun never sets.
In western stories, of which I am fond, I often read in descriptions of cow-town of the “false front” of the bank. the saloon, and the store. The phrase fits the Roman Church In America, for it is, to Americans, the false front of the international Papal Church. That is why so many Americans hesitate in face of the most conclusive evidence to admit the charge we bring against the Black International. Why, they say, this is the Church that first raised the banner of religious freedom on American soil: the Church that gave even Europe the idea of democracies: the Church that periodically provides the whole world, in Papal encyclicals, with a guidance on problems of the hour which the press reproduces in letters of gold: the Church that gathers 350,000,000 happy and virtuous folk, without distinction of class, color, or odor, under its White mantle: the Church that promotes culture and exerts an inflexible moral rule over the nations.
That is the false front. In these 20 booklets I have taken you behind it and shown you the real Church of Rome. Its apologists lie outrageously about it. They lie about its political and ethical principles, its history and its law, its numbers and its quality, its plots and its open action. They dare not allow the press today to let the world know the truth about the social condition and the action of the Church in a score of countries from Bolivia to Japan. I have proved all this.
In my long literary career I have written books in strange conditions — in the smoking rooms and Marconi cabins of liners, in crowded apartments-houses or on the sunny beach, in the bed-rooms of hotels of all grades — but I never before wrote, as I have written these 300,000 words, on a battlefield. The National Library, in which I delve for material, is charred and battered and almost deserted and the books for which I call come to me sometimes disfigured by fire or water or fail, and evermore fail, to come… But you can guess all that. I say that in spite of all this these twenty booklets are from beginning to end just statements of fact, on incontestable evidence, and they prove that the Catholic Church is, if not “the most evil thing in the world,” certainly the most treacherous and mendacious.
It may seem that I have reserved to the last the question which will seem to many the most important: the question what the Church is worth to the world on a balance of services and disservices. But I have been replying to that question all through. Many folk say that they do not care what the Church did in the 4th Century, or the 13th or the 16th; and there is so much blood and dirt on the pages of medieval history that Catholics often encourage that feeling, or they would at least like you to believe that the services they claim — usually by a gross perversion of history — to have rendered were due to a noble spirit which is ever fresh in the Church, while those immense splotches of blood, those vast areas of servile squalor, and those equally vast areas of priestly and monastic corruption were just temporary and local foulings of the garments of the Church in the mud of a wicked world. If you fancy that that childish stuff is really not written today dip into any Catholic book that deals with these matters.
We might leave the past of the Church in its smelly historical tomb if Catholic apologists would let us, but they will not. They lie heroically about its history, and it is vital to an understanding of the Black International that we should know that its writer’s lie habitually. In this connection their lies take the shape of claiming that the Church rendered massive services to civilization, and it is largely on the ground of these fictitious services that they demand consideration today.
Moreover, the Church boasts, and on the whole justly, that it never changes. It is a strange boast in a world that decidedly grows in wisdom and sheds innumerable errors as it advances, but it does at all events justify us in judging what the Church does today by what it did in the Middle Ages, when it was perfectly free to carry out its principles. When modern Popes are stung into indiscretion they use just the same language as medieval Popes did, as we found Plus XI doing in his open letter to Cardinal Gasparri in 1929. The Canon Law, which is kept in a dead language so that priests alone can read it, makes the same monstrous claim of a power over life and death as the medieval Popes made. The bestiality which the Pope encourages in Spain and Portugal today is the same as Popes encouraged a century ago in the whole of Southern Europe and in all Europe during the Middle Ages.
No, it is folly to ask us to let dead Popes bury their dead. This work, however, is concerned with the Church today, and there is so much to be said about it that I have to avoid history or confine my short excursions into it within the strict needs of my present task. So to the question whether the Church has done good in the past and the race is indebted to it I just say bluntly that practically every claim it makes is fictitious, as I have exhaustively shown in earlier works, and on balance we must say that it has retarded the advance of European civilization by many centuries.
I must say a little more than this in regard to what I call the modern period. I believe that when scholarship and literature are again free, when the disgraceful power over them of the Black International is broken, historians will date the beginning of the modern age from the outbreak of the French Revolution, The broad ideal of a just life was then clearly formulated. The revolutionary armies carried it, with their symbolic tricolor, as far as the southernmost tips of Italy, Spain, and Portugal and Napoleon’s, armies bore the ensign of at least a liberal civilization to the bounds of Europe. Naples and Madrid were for a time more advanced than London. Latin America throbbed with a new passion.
From that age to ours the outstanding event of history has been the long-drawn battle for those ideals, and Rome has throughout been on the side of our enemies. Ever since the bloody shambles it countenanced, if it did not inspire, in Naples in 1794 the Black International has allied itself with every power, however corrupt and brutal it was, that took the field against those who were fighting for the elementary rights of man, for freedom and democracy. What has happened in the last ten years is simply that the Vatican, which had been compelled for half a century to profess in democratic countries that it was reconciled with the new age — in America alone the Black International has the effrontery to claim that the Church is the actual source of modern ideals — became convinced that it had found more powerful allies than ever in the fight against liberalism, and the war which began in 1798 and in one country or other (especially Spain) has been almost continuously maintained, has entered upon a new and terrible phase.
That is the key-idea that you must keep clearly in mind if you want to understand the relation of the Roman Church to the world- war. It is an idea of crucial importance in estimating the world- situation but no journalistic oracle in the United States dare say it, while what we may call the literary and ethical oracles who, discuss the more profound aspects of the situation will put forward any fantastic theory, from the growth of materialism to the diversion of the Gulf Stream, rather than risk offending Catholics and injuring their own prestige and circulation, by telling the plain truth. That this is the plain truth I have shown, as regard’s the last ten years, in these 20 books and for the earlier phase in larger works, The True Story of the Roman Catholic Church and The A peal to Reason Library.
A third work would be of very considerable use to the modern reader, especially in America, where, apart from the one or two brushes with Britain, the historical development has encouraged a real cultural isolation from Europe as fir as our present theme is concerned. An American writer who visited me some years ago confirmed me in my suspicion that there is no good and adequate work available on the mighty struggle in Europe in the 19th Century against the clerical-royalist-capitalist attempts to kill what survived of the best ideals of the French Revolution. For that matter there is today no work published in England, for it would have to tell the ghastly truth about the Church, and in both countries the Black International uses its new power, not merely to exclude the truth from literature and education but to see that false versions of the story of man from 1789 onward are imposed everywhere. In the absence of such a work I can but reiterate that from 1794 (in France and Italy) until its present alliance with Fascism (in Spain and Poland, for instance) the Church has allied itself with brutal oppressors and enemies of freedom, as I have abundantly proved in earlier works, and sum up the evidence given in this series of booklets in regard to the last ten years.
It is useful to take a broad view before we look at the situation more closely. The alleged service of the Roman Church in promoting civilization can be very soundly tested from this broad viewpoint. Just glance at the leading countries of the world and note in each case what we — the great majority of men and women in the best-educated countries — would assign as the grade of its civilization and what proportion of the people the Roman Church claims to control; and to allow for the present appalling confusion or violent distortion of conditions we will survey the world as it was in 1939 and regard only countries where the Roman Church is substantially represented.
Granting that total wealth or size is not of itself a criterion of civilization there would be general agreement to name these ten countries as having attained the highest rank: the United States, Great Britain, Russia, France, Switzerland, Holland, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Argentina. In none of these countries does the Roman Church command the allegiance, of more than one- sixth of the population except Holland. where its members and political representatives are one-third of the whole — still not enough to have Influence on the general character — and Argentina, where, however, the constructive class is (or was until 1935) mainly skeptical (and probably still is). Argentina is, in any case, the one, power whose place in this list would be disputed.
There would be general agreement to put these countries at the lower end of the scale; Poland, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Eire, Brazil, and most of the smaller South American Republics. In these the Church claims the great majority of the people and certainly as regards the constructive forces they are Catholic countries. They are all Fascist, as none of the above ten are, but, for the moment I am looking at what by general agreement would be called their grade of civilization. The place of Hungary might be disputed, but it is only little more than half Catholic and its dictator is not a Catholic. Czecho-Slovakia as a whole was in the highest class, but events have shown that the progressive qualities were in non- Catholic Bohemia, and that Catholic Slovakia is at the level of Poland. I have omitted Mexico, which on the ground of recent accomplishment (reduction of crime and illiteracy, social legislation, etc.) I should be disposed to put in the first class, because its place would be warmly disputed. But one thing is not open to dispute: whatever progress has been made in the last 20 years was due to an anti-Catholic body of statesmen and supporters. Germany must be left out of account unless we go back to pre-Nazi days, but even then Catholic’s were a one-fourth minority and they are In large part responsible for the triumph of Nazism and ruin of the country. In Belgium the forces are about equal, and the grade of civilization corresponds.
You will see the full significance of this if you recall that, as I said, all these countries entered upon the great race, as we may call it, of the last 150 year’s with much the same equipment of ideals. The Revolutionary and the Napoleonic armies, beating a path for French literature, made those ideals familiar from Portugal to Sweden, and Latin America was awakened from one end to the other by the echoes of the struggle. Even Ireland had quite a notable body of Deists and humanitarians (Robert Emmet, Wolfe Tone, and many others) amongst its educated men in the last years of the 18th Century. It has none today or not one who dare open his lips, and the country remains, with all its political and religious pride, poor, squalid, ignorant, and of inferior general character. in other words, every country in which the influence of the Papacy was paramount failed to advance in the path that was indicated by those new ideals of civilization which we all regard as sound. But the countries in which Rome had no such influence or where, as in France, it lost its power, joined the predominantly Protestant countries in advancing to the higher rank. That is the first reply, and it is perfectly sound from the sociologleal angle, to the claim that the Roman Church promotes civilization.
In this general survey I have repeatedly referred to the ideals of freedom and democracy. For most of us these are partial expressions of the modern spirit, the demand for justice, which, in alliance with the advance of science, has lifted the ten countries I named to the highest rank. The attempt of Catholic writers in various countries to represent them as mere political claims, or even as a liberalism, that the world has tried and found wanting, are mere excuses to cover the Vatican’s alliance with Fascism or the Fascist Encyclical of the Pope Quadragesimo Anno. It must be understood, however, that I have not assigned these 20 nations their place in the scale of civilization on that test. If one proposed to do this it would be simple and accurate to say that all Catholic countries are now Fascist and all democratic countries are non-Catholic. But it is more convincing if we apply a broader test of civilization.
The Catholic apologist would define the service of his Church by saying (first and chiefly) that it defends the family, that it trains all people whom it can influence in general moral character, that it preaches and insists upon justice, individual and social, and that it is zealous for education and philanthropy. And since, he would say, the family is, according to very many if not most sociologists, the foundation of the state, the particular zeal and rigorous measures of his Church, which distinguish it in an age of growing laxity, must especially recommend it to the statesman and the social student.
Piffle, as usual. The Roman Church has three distinctive features in its teaching about the family. First, it insist that its priests, monks, and nuns shall not marry and shall not have any recognizable families; and since the implication of this is that sexual commerce has some sort of taint even where it is licensed one does not see how we can speak here of the Church guarding this particular foundation of the state. Secondly, it alone amongst the Churches — in fact, it shares this distinction only with a few groups of the lowest savages on earth — forbids divorce; and since this harsh restriction of human rights has either, as in Catholic countries, to be alleviated by the general use of mistresses or brothels, or it amounts to a positive deterrent from marriage, we again fail to perceive any service, and no statesman of any of the leading civilizations has any respect for the Church’s teaching on this point. The law of divorce which now exists in every civilization except those of lower grade that are subject to the Pope is based upon the collective recognition of social experience and upon a mature adjustment of the rights of the individual and the needs of the state. The Catholic opposition to it professes to be based upon some words of an ancient Jewish prophet of which we have two contradictory versions in the records and which other Christian Churches, of equal scholarship and greater sincerity, find compatible with divorce. It is in any case really based, as I showed, on the fierce determination of the Popes of the early Middle Age’s to get complete control of life. On such frivolous and anti-social grounds does this particularly strident claim of the Church to render human service rest; and our contempt deepens when we find the Church playing fast and loose with its “indissoluble marriage” when its own interest or profit is involved, as I showed in my analysis of the clauses of the Canon Law and the practice of the Papal Courts.
Thirdly, the Black International boasts that it renders a unique service to the state because it is the only Church or institution that condemns, and very fiercely condemns birth control. The Black International is as usual, out of date. For the last ten years it has shared that distinction with the criminal leaders of the Italian, Japanese, and German people. They wanted soldiers and the excuse of over-population to cover their imperialist greed. The Black International wanted more contributors to its treasury and, as priests have admitted, to beat rival Churches by outbreeding them. The clerical opposition to birth control is, in fact, such an obvious piece of priestcraft and has so little foundation even in their own weird and wonderful theology that they confess (as I quoted), the Catholic laity in America are to an alarming extent ignoring their sulphuric orders and restricting their families: which makes their “social” argument look rather anaemic.
The apologists have recently been encouraged by the appearance of a new school of opponents of birth control whose leaders and statements are not religious. These professors and their learned lady friends recognize that the old opposition was based upon a demand for as many soldiers as possible and that the industrial and professional markets are, in normal times and in capitalist countries, already overcrowded. They say that the really sound scientific plea is that the birth rate is so far falling out of balance with the death rate that there will soon be a debilitating preponderance of old folk over young. They do not take into account the fact that science and common sense are steadily raising what we may call the vitality-period of men and women. I could write caustic pages on my own recent experience in being rejected (as one in senile decay) from all departments of the British national effort by men whose laziness, short hours, and easygoing methods are notorious, But I have space only for one point. France has practiced birth control for more than half a century almost as much as America or Britain does today. But it was not old men who let France down. It was a few Catholic old men, who were pushed into office by these priests who are so concerned about the vitality of civilization, Catholic adventurers like Laval and Bonnet, and younger statesmen who were seduced by Catholic mistresses.
In short, all this rhetoric about Catholic marriage and the social welfare is hypocritical claptrap, and every statesman and social student knows it. Every state finds in time its equilibrium on grounds of experience in sex-matters. Sex-laws and restrictions that are based upon ancient philosophic’s or religions, ultimately upon more ancient taboos and superstitions, merely distract attention and hamper the social activity. Apologists for them have to repeat outdated and thoroughly exposed statements about the ruin of older civilizations by vice. Five year’s ago most folk would have said that the two most vigorous nations were the German and the American, and both enjoyed an advanced degree of sexual freedom. Today we should say that Russia and America are the most vigorous nations. But according to the priests the American people are only restrained from a monstrous parade of sex, in their books, pictures, and theaters, by the severe paternal cheek of the clergy, while Russia has always had a liberal divorce law and for quarter of a century has denied that marriage is a sacrament and birth control a sin.
For reasons — reasons of self-interest — which I discussed in an earlier book Catholic apologists have always put this sex and marriage-business in the forefront of their statement of claims. It more or less excises the absurd official virginity of their priests, monks and nuns: It evokes a golden echo in the hearts of rich widows and spinsters: and it really does mark a distinction between the Church and “the world.” In theory, that is to say. And not only is the theory itself an antiquated ethic rehabilitated for priestly purposes, so that those who profess to lead civilization are far in the rear of modern thought, but in practice Catholics are no more “moral” than other folk. I leave it to my readers’ knowledge of American life what the situation is in America, saying only that I have a very extensive familiarity with the best American fiction of a realist character and that I have made extensive inquiries during the two years (at intervals) I have spent in America. But for “Catholic countries” you may take as typical the pleasant exaggeration which Byron wrote when he saw a statue of the Virgin Mary in a Portuguese city: “Well do I ween the only virgin there.” He had probably made inquiries.
Apologists obstinately insist that Irish girls are remarkably chaste,” though I have for 30 years given proof and bitter complaints of English Catholics (including leading priests) that the Irish girls are sent to Britain to drop their burdens and keep down the record of illegitimate births in Eire. A New York attorney writes me, or wrote me 30 years ago when I took up the question, that the same complaint was made in the New England States. Sanger says in his History of Prostitution (1919 edition) that on personal interrogation of 2,000 New York prostitutes he found that 977 (706 of whom had been born in Ireland) had had Catholic parents, and had been brought up as Catholics. The Catholic Times (May 31, 1924) quoted Canon Hughes, one of the highest Catholic authorities, saying that 60 percent of the prostitutes of Liverpool — one of the most Catholic and most vicious cities in England — were Irish and only 30 percent English. Ten years later another Catholic expert, Mrs. Ellison, stated in a book that the situation is the same in the cities of London, Glasgow, and Newcastle (big centers of Irish immigration). A leaflet on the subject issued by the Protestant Truth Society (British) gives a mass of Catholic testimony and replies to the charge that illegitimacy is 3.4 percent in Protestant Ulster and (for the above reasons) only 0.7 in Catholic Connaught that it was at the time 9.30 in Belgium, 14.89 in Austria, 15.67 in Bavaria, and 50.00 in Guatemala. Since emigration was checked the Irish have not boasted so much. I quoted an editorial in the Irish Times (June 12, 1937) describing a disgraceful official record of sex-crimes in County Clare which is in Connaught!
This chastity-talk is not only outdated from the ethical and sociological angle but it supported by a remarkable variety of untruths. And if it is suggested that the real service of the Church lies in promoting morals or character in the broader sense the reply to just as devastating. This plea is just a relic of the old and purely rhetorical assertion that a religious basis is required for sound conduct. The sufficient reply is that, I have repeatedly shown, the general level of character in the leading civilizations has risen in the same proportion as Church influence has decayed. For the moment we are not concerned about cause and effect. The fact is enough. As my friend Mr. E.S.P. Haynes, a distinguished London attorney, has written — and he is approvingly quoted by Julian Huxley in his Religion Without Revelation (P. 52): “If morality did really depend on other worldly sanctions, the religious changes of the last fifty years would by now have dissolved society at large.” What has happened is much the same as with the old superstition that it is unlucky to pass under a ladder. People now see that a good reason for not doing it is that the man who does not keep clear of a ladder raised against a building is apt to get drips of paint or bricks dropped on him. In the same way they discover that sound moral law is a sanitation- regulation of the social life.
The irony of paying attention to the Romanist version of the old apologetic, which is the noisiest of them all, is that the Papal Church promotes sound character even less than the other Christian Churches. Middle-class folk, to which class most writers belong, argue on these matters in the most slovenly fashion. Their acquaintance with Catholics is confined to their class, and in this they meet many Catholic men and women of admirable character. So, they lazily conclude, Catholicism molds character. Middle-class men who are not puritans have insisted to me — two of them were attorneys — that they find Catholic girls easier to persuade or less in need of persuasion than other girls. But let us remember, the nature of the Church as I analyzed it. Of the 100,000,000 or so adult subjects of the Pope at least 80,000,000 have not the least resemblance to the middle-class American or British Catholic. Half of them are imperfectly civilized Latin Americans (with Cuba and the Philippines) and most of the remainder are illiterate or poor and ignorant Spaniards, Italians, Portuguese, Slovaks, etc.
The general level of character in a nation is an elusive factor but it is fairly determined, if we make allowances for police-conditions, by the volume of crime. Criminal behavior in the extreme form of unsocial conduct, and the number of criminals is a good indication of the amount of unsocial conduct generally. If, therefore, we find, as we do, that Catholic countries are more criminal than non-Catholic, and that as a mixed country a quite disproportionate number of the criminals are Catholics, we must conclude that the Church is no more effective in inspiring sound social behavior than in securing the chastity about which it talks so much.
I have given a few statistics in book No. 13. As Catholics are apt to contest this I may add a few more. In No. 23 of his Questions and Answer (p. 87) Haldeman-Julius gives, from a book by a Catholic prison chaplain (Fr. Leo Kalmer, Crime and Religion) a most damning series of figures. The priest ascertained from his colleagues the percentage of Catholics in 36 American penitentiaries and the result extends to the whole of America the truth disclosed in the figure’s I gave for Sing Sing (48.50 percent in Joliet, 46.92 in San Quentin, 57.31 in Auburn, 63.64 in Wethersfield, etc.). Analysis by the Rev. L.B. Lehmann brings out the fact that in 28 states, in which Catholics are 17 percent of the population, they are 33 percent of the criminals. The whole article in Haldeman-Julius’ book should be read.
The only other mixed states for which exact comparative figures are available are the Commonwealth of Australia and the Dominion of New Zealand. In the case of Australia the figures are particularly interesting because the Roman Church has as much power there as in America and is just as blatant in its claims. It is 36 years since I first reproduced the full figures relating to crime and Catholicism in that country, and I have brought them up to date every few years. They are as damning as those of America, yet Catholics continue to claim in the most brazen manner that they guard the foundations of the state by promoting character.
The Queensland State Schools Defense Fund issued a leaflet quoting the figures from the official publications. This showed that in Victoria in 1936 the Catholic prisoners numbered 2,164, whereas since the Catholics are only 18 percent of the population, their ought to have been only 754 Catholic prisoners if their moral quality was equal to that of non-Catholics. In New South Wales they had 454 prisoners instead of the 145 to which their percentage of the population entitled them. In Queensland the disproportion was the same. In the Commonwealth Catholics, mostly Irish, had three times the number of criminals they ought to have had if they were as good as and no better than their neighbors. As Catholics in Queensland had just published a new demand for the preferential treatment of their schools, the Protestants retorted humorously that they ought themselves to receive preferential treatment in the matter of taxation because they maintain extra police and jails to look after Catholic criminals.
In 1937 Archbishop Mannix, the bitter muddle-headed Irishman who in his very Christian hatred of England used all the influence of the Church to induce Australian’s to confine themselves to their pleasures and dollar-making while Britain fought and suffered for ideals — until the hideous face of the Japs appeared on the horizon and Australia cried frantically to America and Britain for help — made one of his usual attacks on the public schools of Australia. They were demoralizing even Catholic boys. He said this in Melbourne (Victoria). Shortly afterward’s the Report of the Victorian Children’s Courts for 1937 was published. Of 973 child delinquents it appeared that 582, or 37.4 percent were Roman Catholics; and Catholics are only 18 percent of the population of Melbourne.
That is typical of the value, of these loudly-shouted claims of Catholic apologists. They know that none of the papers will test the claims by statistical or historical facts, and that letters to the press which do this will be suppressed as “offensive to Catholics.” The Protestant Watchman of New South Wales in 1941. published, an analysis of the space given in the four daily papers of Sydney to Catholic and Protestant affair’s respectively. In a period of three months the Roman Catholics got 491 inches, the Church of England 280 (if we count out a large photo with the queen in it), and the Methodists and Presbyterians 186. Is Sydney a Catholic city? Far from it. The Roman Church controls only 17 percent of the population: the Church of England 40 percent: the Methodist and Presbyterians 14 percent. But the arms of the Black Octopus are everywhere, strangling freedom and truth, from the office of the cabinet minister or the trade union to the editorial office and the public libraries.
Most countries do not now publish the figures of the religious professions of criminals, and full figures of crime in Catholic and non-Catholic countries are not so easily obtained as one would suppose. Few sociologists or criminologists omit to mention the Church, and prominently, amongst the agencies which make for social sanity and stability, but, though it will be understood that my acquaintance with such literature is not complete, I do not know one of them who dares to follow this up by examining the statistics of crime and the profession’s of criminals or the religious status of the various countries.
The article “Homicide” in the Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences has a little merit in this connection. It quotes Ferri’s table showing the reduction of it in recent times in five of the leading European countries by giving the percentage per 100,000 of the population:
Germany 1.0 in 1865-85 and 0.6 in 1906-10 France 2.4 in 1827-31 and 1.4 in 1911-15 England 8.1 in 1856-60 and 0.7 in 1906-10 Spain 9.4 in 1881-85 and 5.2 in 1911-15 Italy 12.2 in 1871-75 and 4.1 in 1911-15
Italy, remember, was despotically ruled by the Papacy until 1870 and had an appalling record of crime to reduce. I may add that crime doubled in a few years after the Fascists usurped power in it and was not reduced when the Vatican made its corrupt bargain to share the control. Spain and Italy were both predominantly Catholic in the last century when they had such a high record of the gravest crime, and the modern sociologist scorns the excuse of “the hot blood of the south.” I question the figure for Germany, as there was no “Germany” only a number of separate states — until 1871. Bodis (in Mulhall’s Dictionary of Statistics) gives this percentage of trials for murder in 1876-84: United Kingdom 12, Germany 14, France (still mainly Catholic) 23, Spain 105, Hungary 107, Italy 134. Add these to the figures I gave in No. 13, and you get such a reply to the claim that Romanism promotes a high standard of character that you wonder that any apologist has the effrontery to make it.
But all Catholics make it, and very emphatically, because it is the only excuse they can provide for the politicians, professors, and writers whom, in one way or other, they get to praise the Church and denounce critics. If this claim is so decisively disproved by the only exact test we can apply — the volume of crime in Catholic lands and the proportion of criminals in mixed lands — so decisively that no sociologist in America thinks it prudent to discuss the matter, where must we look for even a plausible bit of color for it? The language of Papal encyclicals and the gorgeous comments of apologists on them suggest that there might be more sincerity in the claim that the Church is more effective in inspiring social justice. We will defer the examination of this to the next chapter, but the reader will be prepared to smile. Social justice in Italy, Vichy France, Spain, Portugal, and Brazil as compared with America, Britain, Russia, Denmark, Sweden, or Switzerland! It sounds like a bad joke.
But what other test can we apply? Is the great ‘service of the Church that it provided, or moved the authorities to provide, free education for the children of the workers? See the table of steatitic of illiteracy which I gave in No. 13 (p. 21). They are more damning than the statistics of crime or illegitimacy. Our search for these massive social services of the Church begins to remind us of that naughty definition of metaphysics — looking in a dark room for a black cat that isn’t there. Let us, in order to be quite just to our Catholic fellow-citizens, approach the subject in a different way.
This ghastly war and the Fascist-Catholic conspiracy that led to it interrupted an unsteady and unequal but very real and Substantial advance of civilization in Europe and America. If my readers are not tired of my giving proof of that, I am. I have routed the Lippmanns and Spenglers who Strangely persuaded so many to doubt it. I have riddled the sophistry of the novelty-monger and pseudo-idealists who ranted that in our race to get ahead we had created a monster of the Frankenstein order or had let the cultivation of our intelligence outrun our cultivation of character. The revelation of the share of “our two historic religions” in drenching the planet with mud and blood ought to make these prophets of the spiritual feel small, but I notice in the American press that they are as cocky as ever, and our Joads in Britain orate at Empire Pageants. These people have nearly a monopoly of the after-the-war planning which absorbs all our finer spirits just now. They would return to just that distracting activity of theirs under cover of which Japs and Germans shifted the attention of the world from the real evils that menaced it.
The world was making a very creditable progress on most lines of a real advance of civilization, though it was checked by the interests of wealth and religion, until the privileged folk and their politicians were duped into thinking that the Black and Tang (or yellows) were merely accumulating power in order to annihilate the Reds. This progress became appreciable about 1870, when the United States settled down after the Civil War and Europe triumphed, in most countries, over the vicious clerical-royalist reaction that had followed the fall of Napoleon. Briefly, the period characterized not merely by an advance of from 1870 to 1914 was characterized, not merely by an advance of applied science which more than doubled the wealth-reducing capacity of a nation but by the employment of a very large part of the new wealth to create systems of universal free education, an immense multiplication of free libraries, the establishment in most countries of fully democratic political regimes and the enfranchisement of women, factory-legislation, schemes of old-age pensions and health and unemployment insurance, sanitation, re- housing, and other measures which doubled the average expectation of life, a considerable growth of temperance (or temperateness), and great reduction of crime, the doubling (generally) of real wages, the enormous improvement of hospitals and services for the distressed, and the spread of an anti-war sentiment.
Some say that that is a materialistic conception of progress. Most men and women in 1914 would have said that they did not care a damn what you called it but that — if they read a candid account of life before 1870 — the world, in spite of its lingering defects, was a very much better place to live in. But let me again, in passing, point out the humbug of this “spirit” and “matter” business.
I have just been reading, dreary as the occupation was, one of those numerous recent works on the beauty of modern high-brow Buddhism and how it will save the world. Out of the mush of Verbiage I picked the general statement that the Supreme aim of Buddhism is “the extinction of suffering.” Funny. That is exactly the supreme aim of atheists and materialists. I pointed out years ago that progress is not to be judged by some misty goal in the clouds but by the success of a nation in reducing suffering. And while a certain number of people in every generation can be persuaded to lessen the risk of suffering for themselves by despising the wicked world and its wine, women, and song, and retiring to a semi-nudist colony to contemplate their navels — which seems to be Buddhism — it seems to us atheists and materialists far better to remove or reduce as much as possible the sources of suffering (disease, poverty, war, ignorance, etc.) for millions of people.
Talking of our navel-contemplators, I fancy you will find a little irrelevance well worth inserting here. I do not know whether you ever came across a priceless book published nine years ago by Professor T. O’Conroy. It ought to have been reprinted in 1938 and scattered by the million over America, at the time, when the Japs were spending millions a year in lying propaganda. O’Conroy lived in Japan, teaching in one of the leading universities, for 15 years. He married an aristocratic Japanese lady and was more intimately admitted to Japanese life than any other white man. And in 1933 he wrote this scalding indictment of the nation, showing that for corruption, cruelty, and unscrupulousness the Japs could not be beaten. Buddhism, he shows, fully shared this corruption, though it was at that time — the government had not yet invited it to prostitute itself to the national greed — a fat, indolent, and useless body. But what I want to quote is an illustration of its corruption which he gives (pp. 87-8) and which, sensational as it is, like the similar revelation in German monasteries, I have not seen reproduced or referred to since in American literature or journalism.
A few mile’s from Tokyo was a large and rich monastery of what was understood to be the very strictest sect of Buddhist monks. They were so holy that they closed their doors against the wicked world and wanted to be alone. But in their extensive grounds there was a home for feeble-minded women, tended by the good monks, and a rumor spread in Tokyo that numbers of these unfortunates were just unwanted wives whose husbands paid the monks to take them over. A Tokyo paper organized a raid in 1928, and though the police at once suppressed it, published an amazing story. The Buddhist monastery was a colony of sadists, just as the German Franciscan friars were found to be colonies of sodomists. When the raiders burst in they found the monk-keepers gambling and squabbling with blood-splotched paper money, while the women, half mad or half dead, lay about, mutilated, exhausted, fouled with the monks’ excrements. Women were chained even in the temple, and rape, sexual mutilation, and ignominy were but a few of the foul performances that took place.” And this is the second greatest “spiritual” religion of our time: the religion over which our idealists and scorners of materialism go into ecstasies!
Like the monasteries in the Catholic provinces of Germany and the more Catholic republics of South and Central America and the Philippines, these Buddhist monasteries — O’Conroy says that decent Buddhist priests told him that 60 to 80 percent of their body were corrupt — illustrate what is always likely to happen in medieval conditions; that is to say, wherever the monastery is surrounded by a drowsy or drugged population of believers free from the taint of heresy. It was the normal condition of Catholic monasteries throughout the Middle Ages, and it lingered, as in Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Spanish America, and the Philippines, wherever this parasitic Catholic atmosphere lingered. This is the first broad proof that the Church was taught sense and virtue by what it calls the wicked world or the materialistic age.
An examination of the progress and the causes of social reform in each country would clinch this proof, but obviously a satisfactory treatment of that subject would require a large volume; and, as it is one of those inquiries that the Church does not like, no historian or sociologist has taken it up and there is no work to recommend to the reader. I have, as some readers will know, not only given a large amount of material for the study in previous works but have written one in which enough of the evidence is condensed to satisfy any candid inquirer (How Freethinkers Made Notable Contributions to Civilization, Haldeman-Julius Co. 1938). In this work I examined the record of progress, particularly during the last 100 years, in respect of the struggle for freedom, education, social and political rights, the emancipation of woman, philanthropy, and general improvement, and I showed that, while in those days religious folk, though by no means so lenient to Catholics as they now are, at least thought them an immeasurably larger and more respectable body than freethinkers, yet fully one half the pioneers in all reforms were freethinker’s and none were Catholics.
You wonder what Catholic apologists, loudly claiming that the Church leads in progress and civilization, say to that. The answer is: Nothing, as far as I can discover. I have several times quoted a very popular apologetic work, published under the patronage of heads and professors of several American universities, entitled The Calvert Handbook of Catholic Facts. It ought to say “of Catholic Rhetoric” or “Catholic Lies.” It makes the usual generalized claims but, as the Church must have exerted this mighty influence on progress and civilization through definite individuals, the leaders of chief workers in reform-movements, I look for the names of these — and find none. There is a lot about Catholic relatives of Presidents, rich Catholic men of business, Catholic diplomatists, Catholic judges, and so on, but for every Catholic named as a worker in reform-movements I will undertake to name a hundred skeptics.
There is in the book an article on Catholics who contributed to American civilization in particular or civilization in general. It names Sobieski, whose monument is Poland, Ferdinand and Isabella, whose monument is Spain, and the discoveries of America, who would have gone to the stake if they had not professed Romanism. That covers the later Middle Ages. Then we have a Father White, who is said to have set up the first printing press (from England) in America, another who was great at shorthand in its infancy, another who invented a balloon; and another who (getting the idea from England) built the first railroad in America. Two or three are credited with naval and military distinction, and there is the usual bunch of great Catholic scientists (Pasteur, Fabre, etc.) most of whom were skeptics. There are the men who wrote “Maryland” and “The Conquered Banner,” the architect of the White House, the man who sold the estate for it, and the man who planned the city of Washington (a “majestic plan”). There you have the sweepings of three centuries, from Europe as well as America. They do not represent a small body of Quakers or still smaller body (at that time) of freethinkers but the biggest religion in the world.
Did anybody ever say that no Catholic ever won any sort of distinction, even in shorthand, ballooning, or writing songs? We are familiar with Catholics writing any sort of tripe for their own hypnotized people, but this sort of thing is written for non- Catholic Americans and has the patronage of Nicholas Murray Butler and the President of the Carnegie Institute of Technology. The great work for civilization was achieved from 1870 onward. How many of these illustrious Catholics fall in that period? Only the balloonist as far as I can see. We may admit that gas and hot air are entitled to clerical respect, but what the Catholic apologist, claims is the inspiration of our progress in education, the reduction of social service. How many of crime, and poverty, and suffering these brilliant men figure in those fields? Not one.
Let us try another way. As the Jesuits are supposed to have inspired Jefferson and Adams, who loathed Jesuits and their creed as much as Haldeman-Julius does, perhaps it will be claimed that it was the subtly compelling influence of Papal encyclicals that permeated the world and somehow fired large bodies of men and women (mostly skeptics) to devote their lives to ridding the world of its medieval evils and miseries. This would be very singular when we reflect that of those who are supposed to be the closest readers of the encyclopedias, the priests, not one — unless you want me to count Father Coughlin — figures in the long list of reform- leaders, and not one Catholic layman is found in any list of, say, the hundred leading social workers of the 19th Century. The influence of religion on leader’s of reform is one of those studies which our sociologists carefully avoid, though most of them give religion a high-place in the list of inspirational agencies, but I have made the research elsewhere, and the grotesque scratchings in the byways of history of the Calvert Handbook confirm me. The Papal encyclicals moved the world to great deeds and through atheists and Quakers! Really, apologists ought not to advertise so blatantly what they think of Catholic intelligence.
But what are these grand encyclicals (or “to the whole world”) letters of the Popes on social matters. Even a Catholic would beg me not to go too far back, so let us begin about the beginning of the modern progressive period. Pius IX (of “Blessed Memory,” the Catholic writer always adds, though Italians who knew him have written some funny things about him) opened the series in 1864 with the encyclical Quanta cura and the Syllabus. Your apologists now never mention it. He, having still at that time the reactionary French emperor to protect him against the wicked Italians, scorched the whole reform-movement with the choicest Papal invectives. He put “liberalism,” which we now call pink tea, on a level with Satanism, which is several notches lower than rape.
Then came the great encyclical-writer Leo XIII. He was as fond of writing encyclicals as Churchill is of writing speeches. Two of them are still gorgeously praised — and falsely interpreted — In American Catholic literature. But just keep your eye on the dates and the historical background. Leo won the tiara in 1878, when the reform-movement was full on in Europe. America he knew only as a raw outpost of civilization — I suspect he knew it mostly from Dickens’s Letters and Martin Chuzzlewit — and he had many a brush with its bishops, but he did follow social and political movements in Europe. Yet it was not until thirteen years after his accession that he issued the first encyclical which the most ingenious apologist can call socially inspiring. He had not been silent. In 1878 he had issued an encyclical cursing Socialism root and branch. Next year he had imposed the medieval “philosophy of Aquinas on the Catholic world. In the following year he had thundered at the world, which was reforming its marriage-laws, that divorce was a mortal sin (except in the ingenious form in which rich Catholics can get it from Rome). In 1881 he pointed out, apropos of the assassination of the Tsar, that these appalling outrages were due to the decay of religion (not, of course, to the bestiality of the Tsarist regime), and in 1884 he put Freemasonry Under the ban. In 1885 he issued the Immortale Dei, which Ryan still applauds as a fine democratic appeal; and I have shown that it is nothing of the kind. In 1888 he savagely attacked the claim of religious freedom and liberty of discussion. It was not until 1891, when he saw Socialism gaining ground rapidly at the expense of the Church, that he issued the one encyclical, Rerum novarum, which Catholics claim to give a lead in social reform; and the only “revolutionary” sentence in it was the statement that the workers must have a living wage. (which he refused to define), which had been a platitude of liberal literature for half a century. And in his last beautiful messages to the world he retracted this and died sputtering the most reactionary sentiments.
I pass on the next two Popes. Ryan does not quote them. They were stuffy and ill-informed reactionaries all their lives. And in 1931 the late Pope, or the present Pope writing in his name issue the Fascist encyclical Quadragesimo anno which the British and American hierarchies dare not translate into English! It opened the blatantly Fascist, conspiratorial, warmongering career of his “holiness” Pius XII.
Need I point the moral? The Papacy was throughout the whole period the enemy of progress of the rights of the people. It was just compelled for a time to temporize because it looked even to these owlish Italians priests as if democracy had won its war and the world was adopting the liberalism in social matters which the Popes scorned. Yet even when concessions had to be made to check the leakage of millions of workers from the Church they took only the feeble form of saying that if the French people really insisted on having a republic they might, provided it kept the Catholic Church established by law and that capitalists must grant their workers a “just wage,” which it was left to them to determine.
What do I mean then, you will ask, by saying that the wicked world educated the Church? The Popes apparently, never were educated in sound views of social ethics. What I mean is that in America, Britain, France, Germany, and Italy a social-democratic movement (without the capital letters) spread in the Catholic world after 1900. Quite bold books appeared, and there were “social experts” and all sorts of novelties. What was the inspiration? Evidently it did not come from the Papacy. Had local hierarchies and their Ryans and Williams a finer appreciation of the implications of the faith than the Holy-Ghost-inspired Pope’s and all the great theological geniuses of the Middle Ages?
Enough of this nonsense. The plain truth is that after leaving it to non-Catholics for a century, when the work was heart-breaking and the penalty often death or jail, to break the paths of social and humanitarian reform, the local Black International in some countries concluded that in the interest of the Church they must join in the work. It was a death-bed repentance. But the patient recovered. That is to say, the Black International, which for a time had despaired of life on the old lines of privilege and autocracy, saw a new hope in the rise of Fascism and became convinced that it was going to conquer the world. So the death-bed confession of sin was torn up in Rome and in all countries that passed under the pirate-flag, and it is only in one or two countries like America and Britain, where democracy may survive and may even regain the world, where in any case Catholics are a minority and must behave like the Japanese in California or Oregon, that one still hears how freedom and democracy are grand old Catholic ideas conveyed to a wicked and despairing world by the august, and fearless, and un-compromising encyclicals of the Popes.
While the services rendered by the Church to civilization are as hard to find as the black cat in a dark room, the services it rendered to the repulsive forces which have attempted to wreck civilization are as plain as the peaks of the Rockies. The alliances contracted by the Vatican with Italy, Japan, and Germany are events of recent history like the New Deal or the Atlantic Charter. The dates and terms of the agreements are public property. But one service requires special consideration: the organization of the entire resources of the Church to engender hatred of Communism in general and of Russia in particular.
This service began, explicitly as far as the documents I have seen tell us, in 1936, though the Vatican had begun its furious attack upon Communism and even, in effect, its appeal for a crusade against it, much earlier. From 1919 to 1924 the Pope was, we saw, straining, every nerve to get on friendly terms with Soviet Russia so as to bring under his control the Orthodox Church when its leaders were scattered. The Russians repeatedly detected the Catholic clergy in treachery and in 1924 closed the country against missionaries from Rome. So in December of that year Pius XI, who had hitherto in great charity kept in check his hatred of Communism, attacked it in his Consistorial Allocution (December 18) and called the attention of all “heads of “governments” to the danger of it. He, in fact, coupled Socialism with Communism as equally dangerous. In 1931 he, we saw, ordered all Catholic states (in encyclical Quadragesimo anno) to adopt the Fascist state and sternly forbade Catholics to take up either Socialism or Communism. He said that Communism had brought “massacres and ruin upon Eastern Europe.” This attack on Russia seems to have been taken up or fostered by his representatives everywhere, as on December 30, 1932, the British Daily Worker said that “the clergy of all creeds and denominations are, with religion as their pretext following the lead of the Pope in his call for a crusade against the U.S.S.R.”
The direct and more pointed attack began, however, in 1936, shortly after the outbreak of Franco’s rebellion in Spain. We must remember that Italy and Germany were not at that time open allies of Franco, and America and Britain had not declared their attitude to what everybody still called a rebellion. But there was no reserve at Rome. In a blistering and most untruthful attack on Communism, which he represented as the aggressor in Spain, the Pope spoke of it as a force that was attempting to subvert established order of every kind from Russia to China, from Mexico to South America.” From this year onward he appealed repeatedly for “the extinction” of Bolshevism in Spain, Mexico, and Russia, and, as we saw, “he holy cry for blood was taken up in the Catholic section of every country.
When the Czecho-Slovakian crisis, which might be called the first stage of the world-war, arose in 1938 the service that the Vatican and its Black International in every country had already rendered the imperialist thugs by this propaganda was apparent. Joint action at once by Britain, France, and Russia would have strangled Hitlerism in its cradle and put a cheek to the ambitions of Japan. But Britain was under obligation only to support France, and France was persuaded by its Catholic politicians and military leaders, the present Vichy crowd, that Russia could not be trusted to keep its word: in reality, that active partnership with so disreputable a power and helping it to cheek the strength of Germany must not be undertaken by France. As late as 1940 British generals of the stuffy Tory type were saying: “We may have to ally our selves with Russia, but God forgive us.” That contemptuous attitude the Black International fed in every country for ten years, to the very great profit of the bandits.
We admit the double root of this hatred of Russia, or the capitalist and the Catholic roots, but we have to recognize this difference: that the capitalists, who make no pretence of moral principle, are honest opponents of a dangerous rival system, whereas the priests, who profess to be the moral saviors of a wicked world lie about their motives and by their action run the risk of bringing upon civilization precisely that ruin which they untruthfully accused the Communists of contemplating. The Pope’s outburst in 1936 which I quoted in an earlier book and which was clearly written by the present Pope as Secretary of State, was a tissue of untruthful charges. Instead of trying to “subvert established order of every kind” by “an un-parallel confusion of forces so savage and cruel as to have been thought utterly incompatible” — whatever the last phrase may mean — Russia had by 1936, as the whole world knew, wrought a miracle of the creation of order out of chaos. In 1923, as a result of the European War, the Civil War, and the great famine, Russia had been reduced to a condition of disorder and misery which had not been seen in Europe since the end of the Thirty Years War (1648). The restoration began in earnest a few years later, and by 1936 the most respected writer of Britain and America reported, with a few reserves, that the Soviet government had, especially in regard to the reduction of crime and the establishment of social order, won a remarkable victory.
Apologists in America had generally, to be less wild than the Pope in their indictment of Russia, but they were reckless enough. The old lies about the massacre of priests and the persecution of religion flourished in Catholic literature from year to year; in fact, there is good ground to believe that the official representatives of America demanded assurances on the latter point when they began to negotiate with Russia about military aid. The conspiracies in which some of the leading Bolsheviks were involved were eagerly snapped up as proof that the country was ruled by a murderous bureaucracy, whereas we now have the weighty assurance of Duranty (with a reserve in one case) and Ambassador Davies that the men were certainly guilty. Davies himself repeats a perennial libel in saying that the Russians are lamentably inefficient as compared with the Americans and the British. He has had the cruel experience of seeing his book appear, with this reproach, just at the time when the world had proof before it daily of the relative efficiency of the British and the Russian military machine.
There are two plain reasons for the sacred fury of the Church against Russia, and the first is entirely discreditable. It is because the attack upon Russia brought the Black International into line with wealth and privilege in accordance with its old and unwavering tradition. For an attack upon the Communist political system the Church has no ground whatever since it declares that it never interferes in politics. And when it plans its attack on economic ground’s it recognizes that it can make no distinction between Communism and Socialism, since the degree of socialization is not a matter of moral principle. But its claim that any moral principle at all is involved is ludicrous. Ryan is very eloquent on the moral right of private ownership: he is, in fact so sure of it that he says a Socialist government would be a violation of moral law, and Catholic Americans would be justified in rebelling against it. Piffle. A people has a right to choose its economic form just as well as its political regime. The apologists who talk like this are simply saying to the world’s capitalists: The Church of Rome is your friend so help to protect it from further decay.
The second and stronger reason is the tremendous loss which the spread of Communism had inflicted upon the Roman Church. I gave the facts in the first book. The press and most writers conceal them and leave the fierce hostility of Rome to Russia not very intelligible and cover up the vast amount of harm that the Vatican did by spreading it’s hatred over the world, yet Rome itself is much more ready to admit this motive than to talk about its support of the capitalist system. It, of course, does not speak of losses. With its usual complete indifference to truthfulness it invites the world to unite against Russia because it “attacks religion.” All criticism of the Catholic Church or telling the people the truth about its history and its aims is “an attack” but criticism by the Church of other Churches or philosophies is, however acrid and untruthful it may be, just a kindly warning to the world of the dangers that surround it.
We may readily admit that for many years the Soviet government gave every assistance to the voluntary organization that opened the eyes of the people, but this official cooperation had ceased at the time when the Vatican was shrieking about attacks on religion, and in the other countries (Italy, France, Germany, Spain, and Spanish America, etc.) in which the advance of Socialism and Communism detached tens of million# from the Roman Church there was certainly no official encouragement of the movement. The mechanism of propaganda was a substitution of facts for lies, of knowledge for ignorance. The policy of the Church when the Fascist reaction began in each country sufficiently proves this. It closed the schools, suppressed freedom of discussion, and strangled literature; and it filled the jails with the men and women who had been most prominent in exposing the clergy, and it had, and continues to have, thousands of them labelled Communists and shot.
We talk about the blindness of men in the red haze of war, but the third year of this most terrible of all war’s has been, to the intense mortification of the Black International, a year of illumination. Self-interest has, of course, helped the British and Americans to surmount the prejudices that have been pumped into them by press, pulpit, literature, and the cinema for 20 years, but it will hardly be questioned that the magnificent conduct of the Russian people has been the main fact that opened the eyes of folk to their great qualities and the soundness of their system. Right until the hordes of Nazi tanks, set free by the absence of any opposition on the western front, were within a few hours run of Leningrad and Moscow, Britons and Americans were whispering that of course the Russian people would not fight with real devotion and the requisite energy for a government that usurped power, treated them despotically and mercilessly, and robbed them of their previous religion. Novels, the class-books of so many millions, still circulated in which the Commissars and leading officials were represented as sadistic monsters who lived on champagne, caviar, and Christian virgins.
History has rarely seen such a revulsion of sentiment, such a triumph over two decades of priestly and aristocratic slander, as has happened in the last six months. Conservative leaders now speak in public about “our noble Russian ally,” and deputies from Russia, who only six months ago were admitted at the back doors, so to speak, are received with royal hands. And it is only in the last few months that the press or most of it — many papers still crab at Russia and frown on the popular enthusiasm — has supported the change of heart. In England most of the cinemas still treat Russia as a power which it would be indecent to obtrude upon the notice of a Christian people. Bands at Anglo-Russian functions are forbidden to play the Communist national anthem, and rich if small organizations continue to publish the old libels. But, the facts have for the vast majority of people swept away the long-standing prejudices as the first warm rains of spring wash away the snows.
The next step will be for the public to reflect how it has been systematically duped over a long series of years. The share of the Black International in this has been so conducted that most people are unaware of it, but the truth slowly emerges and Rome shudders. The Pope, we saw, already puts out rumors that in his intimate circle he, from the first, drew a sharp distinction between what he blamed in Russia, which was virtuous on the wrong grounds, and what he blamed in Germany and Italy. But no one has read a line in which he gave a straight moral condemnation of the Fascists and the Nazis — he never blamed more than their interference with the Church and the attempt to annihilate Catholic Poland — whereas the Catholic authorities themselves translated and circularized the vicious, vitriolic speech on the Communists of Spain, Mexico, and Russia, which he delivered on September 14, 1936, (The Spanish Terror).
Into whatever contortion the Black International is driven in the next few years the world is confronted today by a situation which sets in a glorious light all that the Pope cursed and casts a shade of ignominy and cowardice upon all that he blessed. Russia shines, and even China wins honor and admiration: the two chief countries in which the Pope had seen the activity of the devil: Spain, the Land which his shining Catholic crusaders were going to deliver from bondage and misery, is a country of spectral forms and general mourning, a land in which innocent men face the firing- squad daily, while the priests wax fatter, and the Catholic “nobles” and politicians do actually carouse in Madrid as the Bolshevik leaders were represented by the Pope’s agents as doing in Moscow.
Portugal, we saw on the authority of a writer whom American Catholics had imprudently recommended as veracious, is a country in which priest-ridden jailers use the vilest tortures that were used in the ages of faith: in which decades of Liberal work for the education and elevation of the people have been trodden under foot, and the dictators are richly rewarded by Rome because they declare that they are ruling Portugal on the lines of the Pope’s beautiful (but untranslated) encyclical.
Italy, dragged at the heels of Hitler’s bumping chariot, is in so pitiful a condition that it wins the sympathy of its democratic enemies. From his own Vatican windows the Pope looks out upon a people that in a very high proportion curses the man whom the Vatican, by a sordid bargain, confirmed in his usurped power. London, the bombed and ravaged city, is gay with confidence, well fed, richly entertained at nights, reflecting the summer sun on the faces of its citizens. Rome is beggared and dejected, despised and bullied by the men who invited it to share the conquest of the world.
Vichy France is sullen and simmering. The myth that it was somehow ruled against its will by a posse of Jews, Atheists, and Freemasons and would, under such men of piety as Laval and Petain, flock cheerfully to the churches, is exploded. From Normandy to Savoy people sigh for deliverance from the regime of Catholicism and dishonor, rusticity and penury, which has been forced upon them. The French people have provided most of the $10,000,000,000 worth of loot that the blond beasts, whom the Black International persuaded the French to admit, have dragged in French cars on French petrol into Germany. Never since its earliest history has proud France fallen so low as it is today, and it shudders to think that it may not have reached the end of its humiliating surrender. No people in the world today respects France — except priest- ridden Quebec.
Belgium lies under an almost impenetrable cloud, earning its dry bread only by working for the master whom it has for quarter of a century hated more than any other on earth. Austria has perished. It is again the despised southern fringe of the German Reich. The Croats, who were persuaded by their priests to betray their country, fight the men to whom they betrayed it because they were the Pope’s allies. The Slovaks who were similarly persuaded to complete the ruin of the country in which they had, enjoyed freedom and social welfare now melt away on the battlefield of Russia. Latin America, the huge conglomeration of states which at the wave of Pacelli’s white hand declared itself Catholic, once more, is rent and bewildered. The Pope’s allies, the people find, had plotted to ruin them and now hang about their shares with murderous intent. And Germany and Japan, on whose success the Pope had gambled the whole security of his Church, seem to have reached the peak of their victories and have begun the decline that leads to the pit in which the fully developed strength of America, Russia, and Britain is bound to bury them.
The treacherous irruption by night of Japan into the war has transformed it into the phenomenon which has been forecast, with heavy foreboding, for 20 years — a world-war. Almost the entire civilized world is now involved in it. A few powers — Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, and Argentina — are genuinely neutral, but, however clearly we may understand the difficulties of their position, no one regards it as an honorable distinction. The rest of the civilized world is divided into countries which live under the most hated emblems the world has seen for many centuries — the Swastika and the Rising Sun (for Italy writhes under the former of these) — and countries which are sworn to bring them down to the dust.
Apart from Latin America, which is, as I said, distracted between its Papal assurances and the discovery of the perfidy and brutality of the Pope’s allies, all Catholic countries fall in the first category. Their national flags where they still have any, are, if not deeply stained with dishonor, generally regarded with contempt or a pity that is tinged with disdain. There can be few more miserable statesmen in the world than Eugene Pacelli, or His Holiness Pius XII. Ten years ago he pledged his Church to a belief in the ultimate victory of Germany, Italy, and Japan. In the ruin of all liberal, as well as Socialist and Communist, ideals which they would effect no strong voice would be raised in protest, against his alliance with a bestial greed that sought to attain its end’s by brutality almost without precedent in history. His gauleiter and his gestapo would, as always, loyally support the Vatican policy. The end justifies the means. As to the mass of the faithful, when did any large body of them ever rebel when Pope and Black International were united in their policy? And in the glorious extension of the power and wealth of the Church, the annihilation of its deadliest enemies, which the Pope anticipated from the victory of Swastika and the Rising Sun few Catholics would be in a critical mood.
In the second stage of the war, when the Germans, finding nearly all Europe in their power and confident of Subduing the remainder, began to disclose their real sentiments about Italy — which the Vatican ought to have learned from Mein Kampf 20 years ago — and proposed to share the world with Japan only, the Pope had a new dream. It suited the interests of the Vatican just as well as it was to the interest of Germany that Southern Europe should have its industries destroyed. Big industries mean clotted urban populations, free discussion, freethought, birth control, and so on. The Vatican had seen that painful development in France, Belgium, Italy, and Czecho-Slovakia. The Black International was ready to join in the plot to de-industrialize those countries and let Germany glow rich by a monopoly of industry, in Europe. Petain, with the priests at his elbow, openly mumbles it, in his senile honesty, and has within the last month closed down a thousand industries in France. Leopold of Belgium and his Catholic satellites, Franco, and Salazar cheerfully send their skilled workers to Germany or to the Russian shambles. Hitler would allow a Catholic League of Southern Europe, and through Spain and Portugal the 100,000,000 folk of Latin America would be drawn into it. Hitler promised the Subjection to the Vatican of all branches of the Greek and Oriental Churches. Japan promised a monopoly of Christian missions (if thoroughly Japanized) in the Far East. . .
That these were the plans on which the Vatican worked I showed on Catholic admissions and by the plain testimony of facts in the first ten booklets. Already the vast field of Catholic triumph is a scorched earth. The Pope is ill, silent, desperately watching the last critical phases of a conflict that, unless it be won speedily by the Axis, will inexorably be lost. From those windows of the Vatican Palace which look out upon the world he sees only one flag waving above the ruins unsullied: the Hammer and Sickle. Britain has won respect by the courage and endurance of her people but, after a series of retreats that are rare in British history, has still to, and doubtless will, redeem the honor of its flag. There is a stain on the Stars and Stripes that has yet to be removed. Russia. has made no large blunders but has met the initial impact of an irresistible force and the loss of vast fertile provinces and great industries and has begun its recovery with a devotion, energy, and self-sacrifice that have torn the Pope’s libels to tatter’s. Bring on your stage today representative figures of all the Pope’s peoples — the pale and ragged Italian, the gaunt Spaniard, the illiterate and poverty-stricken Portuguese, the shame-faced Belgian or Vichy Frenchman, the hesitating Latin American — and at the end of the file bring on a Bolshevik, and listen to the judgment of the audience. What the Pope cursed the world blesses: what he blessed the world curses. The Pope has lost.
But, aside from the fact that in America the Black International is powerful enough to hide this truth from the mass of people, remember that the Pope has lost dozens of times before, yet he has today more subjects than ever, immeasurably greater wealth, and a new power in non-Catholic countries.
A week ago a powerful British air-fleet bombed Cologne. I had wondered how long it would be before this was done. Here was one of the most vital and most vulnerable bottle-necks in Europe. Through it passed practically all the war-supplies from Holland, Belgium, and Northern France. Thoroughly smash the railway through the city, where it approaches the Rhine, and the great bridges, and you deal Germany a terrific blow. But — I once spent five or six weeks in Cologne — the cathedral is close to the railway and the bridges. It was unhurt, and who will believe that the vital part of the railway and the bridge which carries it over the river, which are only a few hundred yards from the cathedral, were properly treated if no bomb strayed across the square? I hear that, at the prayer of British Catholics, our airman were told to run no risk of touching the cathedral.
Why was Rome never bombed? There were times when this was within our power, and it might have had a very considerable influence on our fortunes in the Mediterranean area. H.G. Wells asked me the other day if I knew why it was not done. I do not know. These things are not put on paper, and if they were the paper would never see the light. But there is a grapevine, and the message went along it that through Roosevelt American Catholics threatened things, and there were Black International threats in parts of the British Empire, if we bombed Rome. Mussolini probably patted his Papal friend on the back.
However these things may be, remember that Rome has many times in history seemed to be doomed because of its Papal alliances with brutality, but it recovered. About 850 years ago the Romans themselves drove one of the strongest of the Popes into exile for such an alliance. In 1527 Catholic armies wrecked Rome as Goths and Vandals had never done. Early in the 19th Century, a contemporary tells us, Napoleon’s generals, entering Italy and carrying off the Pope, decided that this was to be the end of the Papacy; and not many years later Macaulay made his foolish prediction that there would still be a Papacy when visitors from New Zealand came to see the ruins of London.
I dislike prediction’s, and indeed I have accomplished the work which I set out to do in this series of books. I proved to the hilt the indictment I brought against the Black International, and I have now shown that the Church of Rome is of such a nature, so dangerous in its structure and so feeble in its intellectual appeal, that it is bound to look for such allies in every age. A third line of evidence is found in Papal history, especially during the last century and a half. Violence has always — I do not know if this was in the protocols given by Jesus to Peter — been the policy on which the Black International relied. The Popes merely kept the weapon tucked under their cassocks during the few decades between the death of feudal tyranny and the birth of totalitarian tyranny. The leopard does not change its spots, but it may have them white-washed.
Nevertheless I may conclude with a glance at the future. This German-Japanese horror shall and will perish. As I write there is still time for a serious setback to Britain, Russia, or America, or all three. I have never been tempted to underrate the ability of the men who, behind the miserable tinfoil Siegfried and his greedy, friends, direct the German effort or the cunning and lean energy of the Japanese. If this serious advance of the Axis does not occur in the next few weeks we may breathe freely. Within, two further months the retreat will begin. The end, this year (if Britain opens a second front) or next, is certain.
What will Rome do? Remember first that comparatively few people know the story of its guilt. A few American papers have at intervals reported Vatican events which suggested it. The vast majority of the leading papers, both in America and Britain, never gave any news which gave their readers an inkling of the truth. Fortunately, much had been reported — the compact with Mussolini, the Concordat with Hitler, the enthusiastic support of Franco, the diplomatic arrangement with Japan, and so on — before the bestiality of Fascism had revealed itself, and such facts as that the only voluntary “crusaders” against Russia are from Catholic countries and the unconverted isolationists of America play up strongly to the Catholic minority, give us a basis in the Public mind for a proper education.
It is therefore probable that there will not be the general outcry against Rome that a man who has read the full evidence would. expect. No other writer of influence has the courage and honesty to warn the public, as Wells does, that instead of having been reconciled with the modern spirit the Church of Rome is as dangerous an enemy of civilization as ever. One thing only would cause the Church the deepest alarm: if the victory of democracy were to put Communism and Socialism back in the places they occupied years ago. Will this happen?
It depends very largely upon America. When the war is over the isolationists will be amongst the loudest to demand that America shall have a leading voice in the settlement of Europe and China. Every sensible man will welcome the aid of America in such a restoration of Europe that, instead of sowing the dragon’s teeth as we did at Versailles at the close of the last war, we have every guarantee that is humanly possible of a lasting peace. But the terms of settlement that have been so far announced are ominously vague, and we know only too well what “stability” means on the lips of these folk.
You will find, when the time comes, that the Vatican will make a brazen attempt to secure a voice as one of the great stabilizing forces. You will find Catholics everywhere combining with the reactionaries who want to plan the new Europe. They will want Leopold restored, men like Bonnet put in power in France Franco firmly established in Spain and Salazar in Portugal, the royal family propped on the throne of Italy, and so on. By hook or crook they will try to get Russia, which will have won the war in Europe, excluded from the settlement. They will insist that religion be “strengthened,” knowing that Romanism,, Buddhism, and Islam have worked on the side of our enemies, and that Communism be taken at the Pope’s valuation. If the present generation tolerates these things and does not insist on the guilt of every party being stamped upon the mind of the world they will deserve their future. The struggle for the rights of man which has reddened Europe with blood for a century and a half will enter upon a new phase.