Category Archives: Anti-Catholic Forgeries

The True Story of Barbara Ubryk



Published by the Catholic Truth Society of London in 1915.

About three years ago I wrote for the Catholic Truth Society a slight examination of one or two of the slanderous charges against convents which, in the furtherance of their campaign for the persecution of Catholics, the Protestant Alliance people so industriously circulate. 1
Among these slanderous charges was one relating to the strange story of Barbara Ubryk. This story was sprung upon the world in 1869, when it was so worked by the Masonic press that in the first instance it not unnaturally caused many excellent persons to lose their heads. But when the judicial inquiry to which it led had ascertained the true facts, it became apparent that the accused nuns, so far from having indulged in an almost fiendish cruelty, had been passing through a perfect martyrdom of patient and compassionate endurance. The Protestant Alliance people, however, according to their wont, in their many accounts of Barbara Ubryk suppress all mention of these..

1 Calumnies against Convents, by the Rev. Sydney F. Smith, S.J. (Catholic Truth Society, id.). By the phrase ” Protestant Alliance people ” it is intended to denote the class of bigots who gather
round the Protestant Alliance and similar societies. Some such designation seems required, for it  would be grossly unfair to the Protestants of England to connect their name in any way with the
half-crazy, half-dishonest fictions which the Protestant Alliance people circulate.

…later stages in the history of the discovery. They confine themselves to the task of disseminating widely, with the additional embellishment of purely imaginary pictures, the hideous version of the Vienna Free Press (of July 23, 1869), a paper notorious for its anti-Catholic and indeed anti-Christian bias. Calumnies against Convents met this misrepresentation by supplying the suppressed portion of the history, and it is a consolation to know that the exposure has been of some use. If it has likewise stirred up the Rev. Lancelot Holland — a gentleman whom the Protestant Alliance is proud to have on its managing committee — to write in highly seasoned language a species of reply, 1 (1 Walled-up Nuns, pp. 162-183,)  this too is cause for satisfaction, enabling one, as it does, to expose still more effectually the kind of evidence on which these people rely. As the primary object of the present tract is not so much to furnish more exhaustive particulars of the Barbara Ubryk case as to show up the methods of these anti-Catholic bigots, it will be best in the first place to transcribe the section from Calumnies against Convents, and then to examine the mode in which Mr. Lancelot Holland deals with it.

” In one of the Monthly Letters of the Protestant Alliance entitled Convents may be found the following : —

On Tuesday, the 20th instant (i.e., July 20, 1869), an anonymous notice, apparently written by a female hand, reached the Criminal Court at Cracow, to the effect that, in the Convent of the Carmelite barefooted nuns, one of the order, named Barbara Ubryk, had been forcibly kept in close confinement in a dark cell for a long number of years. The Vice-President of the Criminal Court, Ritter von Antoniewicz, immediately laid this information before a judge of inquiry, who, in company with the public prosecutor, repaired to the Bishop von Galecki, with the request to permit them to enter the convent. [The Bishop declared he would grant the request as Papal Delegate], and subdelegated the Papal prelate Spital, a very intelligent and worthy priest. . . ,, The convent was first entered by Father Spital, followed by the members of the judicial commission, to whom the portress attempted to refuse admittance, and she allowed their entrance only when Dr. Gebhardt, with the confirmation on the part of Father Spital, referred to the permission he had received from the Bishop. The judge then informed the portress that he had come to sec and speak to Nun Barbara Ubryk, which information made a terrible impression upon the portress. . . . The commission thereupon went to the upper corridor, followed by the nuns, one of whom showed the judge the cell of Sister Barbara. The cell, which was situated at the extreme end of the corridor, between the pantry, close to the dung-hole, had a walled-up window and a double wooden door, in which there was a movable grating, through which, very probably, food was handed in. Through a very small open window niche some rays of light could now and then penetrate into this dismal dungeon. The cell, seven paces long by six paces wide, was opened, but it is almost impossible to describe the view this piece of inquisition of the nineteenth century presented. In a dark, infected hole adjoining the sewer sat, or rather cowered, on a heap of straw, an entirely naked, totally neglected, half-insane woman, who, at the unaccustomed view of light, the outer world, and human beings, folded her hands, and pitifully implored : ‘ I am hungry, have pity on me ; give me meat and I shall be obedient.”
This hole, for it could hardly be called a chamber, besides containing all kinds of dirt and filth, and a dish of rotten potatoes, was deficient of the slightest decent accommodation. There was nothing
— no stove, no bed, no table, no chair — it was neither warmed by a fire nor by the rays of the sun. This den the inhuman sisters who call themselves women, spiritual wives, the brides of heaven, had selected as a habitation for one of their own sex, and kept her therein in close confinement for twenty-one years— since 1848. For twenty-one years the grey sisters daily passed this cell, and not one of them ever thought of taking compassion on this poor outcast prisoner. . . . The judge instantly ordered the nun to be clothed, and went himself for Bishop Galecki.”

Here the narrative (which is an extract through the Morning Post from the Vienna Free Press of July 23, 1869) breaks off in the pamphlet before us, but in the Free Press it goes on to say that the Bishop on arriving was horrified like the rest, and cried out to the nuns, 1 You are furies, not women!”

This ghastly story was repeated by the journals of nearly every country at the time, and was received on every side with ‘ a chorus of indignation. ‘ Those, however, who understood’ the methods by which the Masonic Governments on the Continent were in the habit of arousing a popular feeling in favour of the measures they were projecting against the Church, asked themselves what sort of Ministry were at the head of affairs in Austria, and what projects they had in contemplation. Nor were their suspicions allayed when they learnt that Herr Giskra, the Masonic Minister for Home Affairs, was bent on the suppression of the religious orders and the confiscation of their goods. A convent scandal like this was the very thing for him, and many circumstances pointed to the conclusion that it had been got up designedly. The anonymous letter, in a feigned female hand, proved to have been written by a retired Government employe (Civilta Cattolica, vii. p. 737). At once, on the affair becoming public, a mob gathered in the streets, broke the windows of the convent, and tried to force an entrance into it ; from the convent it passed on to the Jesuit College (only just opened in the town, and clearly not responsible for Barbara’s twenty years’ detention), invaded it, drove out the inmates, and murdered the aged Rector ; it attacked also and destroyed several other convents and monasteries, raging in this manner for three days before the authorities found it convenient to stop its course (Times, August 2nd). It was likewise suggestive of prearrangement that — whereas the discovery was made on July 21st, Barbara was removed to the asylum on the 22nd, and the prioress and sub-prioress of the convent were taken to prison on the 25th — Herr Giskra, without awaiting the result of the trial, proceeded at once to utilize the opportunity. On the 29th he wrote to the Governor of Lemberg, asking if there could be any possible reason why he should not at once proceed to withhold the annual pension on which the convent depended for its subsistence, and even suppress the convent altogether (Morning Post, August 7th). Also, on the 27th, the municipality of Vienna, a body in full sympathy with the aims of the Minister, met together, and petitioned him for the instant suppression of the enclosed orders and the expulsion of the Jesuits (Civilta Cattolica, viii. p. 240). Various other municipalities throughout the country met at once in a similar manner to frame similar petitions. Why this indecent haste, save because all had been arranged beforehand, and they were anxious to use the opportunity before it was destroyed by the detection of the fraud ?

“After indulging in excited telegrams for a few days the Austrian correspondents of the English* papers suddenly lost interest in the subject. It did not seem to occur to them that English readers might wish to hear the result of the trial of the incriminated nuns, and for this reason we must seek elsewhere for this very important information. This is unfortunate, as we have endeavoured wherever possible to refer for our proofs to non-Catholic authorities ; still, it would be outrageous to refuse credence to respectable Catholic witnesses when they pledge their good faith for facts of a public character, nor do we anticipate that it will be denied them by any
save the hopelessly credulous people who gather round the Protestant Alliance. We shall rely, therefore, on accounts given of the further proceedings by the Tablet and the Civilta Cattolica, each of which journals took pains to obtain information from persons living at the time at Cracow, whose trustworthiness they guaranteed. Unfortunately we are unable to refer to the Univers (of Paris), which took a leading part in ascertaining the details of the history.

“When, then, the two nuns had been a month in prison, the preliminary proceedings against them were instituted, the result being that they were declared ”guilty of the objective, not the subjective, offence of overtly violating the rights of personal freedom, and were adjudged to stand a special trial accordingly ‘ (Tablet, August 21, 1877): that is, in English, it was judged that they had unwittingly been guilty of a legal offence in locking the door on a mad woman without having first gone through the legal formalities. Surely a ridiculous mouse out of the labouring mountain ! After this comparative acquittal they could not of course be detained in prison, and on August 28th they were allowed to return home. In its Cronaca for February 1 the Civilta tells us what the final result was.

Slowly and incompletely but still in some degree justice has been rendered to the innocent Carmelites of Cracow. Ever since August 28th, after more than a month of most cruel imprisonment, the Prioress, Sister Myia Wenzyk, and the Sub-prioress, Sister Teresa Kosierkiewicz, were reconducted to their monastery and restored to liberty ; but the process against them was by a piece of craft left suspended without a definite sentence being passed, probably because either they desired to avoid the shame of having, by recognizing the manifest innocence of these persecuted ladies, to acknowledge at once the iniquity that had been perpetrated, or, which is worse, because they wished to let the fruits of their calumny grow to maturity, and accomplish the projected abolition of the religious orders and confiscation of their goods. But this manoeuvred delay could not last for ever, and the conscience of the judicial authorities was opposed to it. Hence Giskra and his fellow conspirators had to put up with the passing of a verdict in good form to the effect that Barbara Ubryk had in no way been shown to have undergone any cruelty to which her madness could be imputed, and that throughout it she had been treated as well as possible according to the only method consistent with her deplorable stale, and had received every attention which the most tender Christian charity could inspire.

“What, then, is the true version of the facts which, since it extorted this verdict of complete acquittal, must have differed widely from the horrible version to which the Vienna Free Press gave publicity? The answer is given by a Polish correspondent of the Tablet, for whose accuracy it vouches, and whose communication appeared in its columns on August 21, 1869. On account of its length we will not transcribe this document, but give instead the Tablet’s shorter summary of its contents.

We undertook to lay before our readers such additional information as we might be able to obtain. We now do so, and the details which will be found in another column may be relied upon as accurate. In the first place, the whole accusation respecting the punishment of Barbara Ubryk for an offence against her vows falls to the ground. It is a case of simple madness and the treatment of a lunatic. Secondly, with regard to the accusation of inhumanity, it is proved that she was fed more abundantly than the other inhabitants of the convent, and that her health and appearance confirms the statement. Also that she exhibits no trace of personal ill-usage.

Thirdly, that the absence of clothes and of a proper bed and other chamber furniture was owing to the fact that she invariably destroyed all the articles with which she was repeatedly supplied. Since the removal to the hospital it has been equally impossible to prevent her from destroying her clothes without the use of the strait waistcoat, which has been accordingly employed. Fourthly, that her cell was kept as clean as was possible consistently with her habits. Fifthly, that about half the window was walled up to prevent her being visible to the passers-by, and causing grievous scandal. Sixthly, that the cell itself, instead of being a dungeon, was in all respects similar to those inhabited by the other sisters. Seventhly, that her insanity was known to her relatives. The Bishop has therefore very properly retracted the expressions which he used with respect to the religious, who can reasonably be accused of nothing but a certain want of prudence in not getting rid of so terrible a patient by consigning her to a lunatic asylum.

” On the authority of another Cracow correspondent the Tablet (ibid.) learns that the state of Barbara Ubryk had been well known to many others besides her relations. At the trial of the nuns it was deposed by a witness who had been sacristan to the nuns for thirty years that, when she first went mad, numerous physicians paid her professional visits, and that the two administrators of the diocese previous to Bishop von Galecki, who had quite recently succeeded, knew well about it, having received frequent applications from the sisters for leave to send her away to an asylum — applications which had been refused on the ground that it was the duty of the nuns to take care of a mad sister, not send her to a lunatic asylum.”

Such is the account given in Calumnies against Convents. Now let us see what Mr. Holland has to say to it. The daily papers, not finding the further stages of the history to be of sufficient interest, and therefore passing them over in silence, in the Catholic Truth Society’s tract, as the above transcript shows, I had been compelled to seek information as to these further stages from Catholic papers only ; but I had ventured to hope that their authority would be accepted by all sensible readers (see above, p. 5). Mr. Holland, being what he is naturally objects to this anticipation, but forgets that I had not been so rash as to expect credence from the ” hopelessly credulous people who gather round the Protestant Alliance.” He feels himself, however, to be now in the possession of evidence against me so conclusive that he can say confidently, perhaps over-confidently, ” I give him [that is, the writer of the C.T.S. tract] my word for it that, if I do not convince him, I will convince nearly every reader of this book [his Walled-up Nuns] who has not made the Pope a present of his reason, that the
authorities which he gives are worthless” (ibid., p. 172). I, too, am now in the possession of further evidence, and it enables me to anticipate that I shall be able to convince every reader who has not made the Protestant Alliance a present of his reason that Mr. Holland’s new authorities are not only false, but, it is to be feared, fraudulent. Here, then, is matter for a comparison.

Mr. Holland’s convincing authority purports to be the report of ” the Commission appointed by the Austrian Government to investigate the frightful discovery,” a Commission which, he tells us, “consisted of the most respected citizens of Cracow — the Bishop himself taking

part in the inquiry — all being Roman Catholics.” Mr. Holland’s account reads as though it were a condensation of this report, and it has sentences and passages interspersed which, being placed within quotation marks, one naturally takes to be the very words of the Commissioners. On the faith of authority apparently so good he gives us the evidence of Johannes Egriek, a woodcutter, and of Sister Mary, one of the nuns, of whom the latter owned to be the writer and the former the bearer of the anonymous letter which first called public attention to the scandal. On the faith of the same authority he further gives us a long and elaborate deposition from Barbara herself — detailing immoral proposals made to her and cruelties inflicted on her for repelling them — which purports to have been made and signed by her in the presence of the ” presiding Judge of the Court of Correction, Austria” ; and he likewise gives ” the decision of the Commissioners ” with their signatures appended — a decision which treats the charges against the nun and the confessor as fully established, and recommends the condign punishment of the Mother Superior.

If all this were really certified by a judicial commission duly appointed by the Austrian authorities, no doubt it would be evidence of great weight. What, however, is the case?

To readers who might wish to inquire further into the character of so important a document, the sole reference granted is to ” the American edition of the True Story of Barbara Ubryk, C.J. Thynne, London” (see Walled- up Nuns, p. 183); and this American edition on being consulted is found, although headed ” The Convent Horror — a Sworn Statement ” (possibly a misprint for ” foresworn statement “), to be nothing better than a romance absolutely unsupported by any reference whatever. Yet it is from this romance that Mr. Holland’s entire account is derived, and from it, not from any authentic document, in spite of his express declaration to the contrary, that his quotations within inverted commas are extracted.

That this American account is not supported by any reference, and that it has not the character of evidence taken before a judicial commission, can be seen at once on inspection of its text ; that although purporting to be a ” sworn statement ” it is in reality pure fiction, shall now be shown. I have before me (Doc. I.) a brochure entitled Barbara Ubryk, published at Cracow by the firm of Ladislaus Jaworski whilst the judicial proceedings were still pending; (Doc. II.) a copy — legally authenticated before the notary Stephan Muskowski under dates January 25 and 27, 1896 — of “the Report of the Proceedings in the Cracow High Court of Justice for Criminal Cases— here the Prosecutor General versus Mary Wezyk, Theresa Kozierkiewicz, and Mary Xavera Jozaf, in the affair of the nun Barbara Ubryk, March 8, 1870”; (Doc. III.) a copy of the entry in the Hospital
Register made on the day (July 23, 1869) when Barbara was first brought there ; (Doc. IV.) a certificate of her death which took place on April 29, 189 1. I have before me also a French tract entitled Guerre mix Convents, published at Paris in 1869, contemporaneously with the events at Cracow, and written, as its name (“War against
the Convents “) implies, by an anti-Christian writer (M. Cayla), with whose sentiments Mr. Holland will doubtless find himself in the fullest sympathy ; some extracts from well-known German papers ; and some notes of inquiries kindly made for me by a friend who visited Cracow last year. With the help of these materials let us endeavour to test the account which Mr. Holland’s American friend calls ” a sworn statement,” and which Mr. Holland himself elevates to the higher dignity of a report -of  “the Commission appointed by the Austrian Government.”

1. As to Barbara’s alleged ” Deposition before the presiding judge Kironski.” — Barbara was removed from the convent to the Hospital of the Holy Ghost on July 23, 1869, and even Mr. Holland does not deny that she was then mad. But he tells us that ” with care and kind treatment she soon improved both mentally and physically, insomuch that on the 16th August (sic), shortly after her release, she was able to give the particulars of her experience, which she signed herself before Kironski, the presiding judge of the Court of Correction” (ibid., p. 170). The American authority (p. 28) even goes so far as to give the text of Kironski’s attestation : ” The foregoing statement has been duly and legally made to affirmation by the nun, Barbara Ubryk, of the Carmellite (sic) Convent, as being in every whit true. Done before me officially this sixteenth day of August, eighteen hundred and sixty-nine, a.d., Kironski, presiding judge of the Court of Correction, Austria.”

Such is the allegation, but what are the facts ? The friend who made inquiries for me at the Cracow Hospital spoke with a doctor who had seen and the nurse who had attended Barbara from the first. Both report that she never ceased to be mad, and was therefore never in a state to make any deposition at all, much less to write the long and elaborate composition with which she is credited. And this statement of the doctor and the nurse is confirmed (a) by the anti-religious M. Cayla (p. 93), who says: ” Since July 23rd Barbara Ubryk has been at
the Hospital. By assiduous care it has been possible to save for some time the debris of this poor body . . . but her reason has been extinguished for ever in the darkness of her prison. . . . She will always remain mad” (“elle est folle a tout jamais “). The doctor’s and nurse’s statement is confirmed also by (b) the Austrian correspondent of the anti-Catholic Allgcmeine Zeitung (November 25, 1869), which says, “There is no longer any hope that the mad nun, Barbara Ubryk, can ever recover her reason sufficiently to give evidence ; ” and (c) by the
decision of the Cracow Court of Justice (the Court of First Instance) of November 25, 1869, which, as quoted by the Report of the High Court, March 8, 1870, (Doc. II.) says that, “According to the final report of the doctors appointed to make a thorough examination of Barbara Ubryk, now confined in the lunatic asylum, the woman’s reason and mental faculties are utterly disordered ; she is passing into a state of idiotcy, her disease is incurable, and is of many years’ standing.”

Here are four independent sources of evidence, one Catholic (the nursing sister and possibly the doctor), two rabidly anti-Catholic (M. Cayla of Paris and the Allgemeine Zeitung of Berlin), and one judicial (the Report of the Court of First Instance, in November, 1869, confirmed by the Court of Appeal, in March, 1870). All concur in testifying to facts which prove that Barbara Ubryk could not possibly have made the alleged deposition either on August 16, 1869, or on any other date previous or subsequent. And, indeed, this fact is notorious, and can be ascertained independently by any one who will take the trouble to inquire at the Cracow Hospital of St. Lazarus, to which, on the closing of the Hospital of the Holy Ghost, Barbara was not long afterwards transferred,


To evidence so conclusive it seems superfluous to add more, but for completeness’ sake it may be well to pointvout that the so-called deposition makes Barbara allege (a) that she was born in 1827 and took her vows in 1846 (“after the death of my father in 1843, at which time I was sixteen years old . . . and [I assumed] the veil and vows of a Carmelite nun in 1846”), whereas the Register of Deaths of the parish of St. Nicholas, Cracow (Doc. IV.), enters her as having died on April 29,
1891, aged seventy-two; and the Report of the Court of First Instance, as quoted and confirmed by the High Court (Doc. II.), says, “after her noviciate she made her solemn vows in the Order [of Mount Carmel] on March 12, 1841, being then twenty-three years of age” ; (b) the so-called deposition makes her allege that she went straight from Vienna to the Cracow convent in consequence of a disappointment in love (Amer. Edit. p. 10), whereas the aforesaid report states that “symptoms of mental aberration were observed in Barbara Ubryk already in 1838, when she entered the Convent of the Visitation at Warsaw, the said symptoms manifesting themselves three months after she took the veil,” and that ” in consequence she was dismissed from that convent,” and in ” 1839 came to Cracow and entered the Convent of the Reformed Carmelites in the Wesola Street ” ; (c) the ” deposition ” likewise makes her allege that a certain Father Calenski was the cause of her immurement and persecution, whereas no person of that name had at any time anything whatever to do with her case (see below). In view of all this evidence is it excessive to say that Mr. Holland and his nameless American friend (who for aught we know may be himself under another guise) must share between them the responsibility of having attempted to pass off as genuine a palpably spurious document containing the grossest charges against others, and this with the express object of exciting prejudice and persecution against the peaceful priests, nuns, and other Catholics of English-speaking countries ?

2. As to the alleged ” decision of the Commissioners ” • (Walled-up Nuns, pp. 176, 177). This
is given by the American edition of Barbara Ubryk (p. 58), thus :—

We, the duly appointed Commissioners in the case of the nun, Barbara Ubryk, lately an inmate of the Carmelite Convent of Cracow, having fully examined all the witnesses in the matter, do hereby render the following decision, to wit — that the said Barbara Ubryk has been for twenty-one years unlawfully imprisoned in a loathsome underground dungeon of the Carmelite Convent and most cruelly and barbarously oppressed and maltreated by Mother Josepha, the Abbess thereof, and Father Calenski, the confessor thereof. We also find that the said Barbara Ubryk was not of
unsound mind, and therefore that it was entirely unnecessary to deprive her of her liberty.

We recommend, that as Father Calenski has, by suicide, placed himself beyond reach of the law, an example should be made of the surviving partner of his wickedness, Mother Josepha, as a wholesome warning to others in like positions of trust, that such deeds cannot and shall not go unpunished.


Mg*W (Louis Breverrich, J. P. Heilingski.

Commissioners of Examination.

Now in this alleged decision (to pass over the palpable fact that it is not a bit like the report of a commission of inquiry) there are at least seven mis-statements — a plain proof that it is spurious.

(a) The signatures, in spite of the ostentatious word ” signed,” have every appearance of being made-up names. The only Commission which was appointed in connection with the case was the Commission of Inquiry deputed, after the manner of foreign judicial procedure, to collect the evidence and prepare the case for trial. First on this Commission was the Judge of Inquiry, Dr.
Gebhardt, as is mentioned by the Polish tract (Doc. I.), by the Reveil, as quoted by M. Cayla (p. 60), and even by the Vienna Free Press (July 23, 1869), as quoted by the Monthly Letter of the Protestant Alliance (see above, p. 3). Dr. Gebhardt’s name must therefore have stood

1 Of this “decision” Mr. Holland gives from the words “that the said Barbara ” to the end.

first among the signatures to any genuine report of the Commission, whereas in Mr. Holland’s document it does not appear at all. Also second among the signatures to the genuine report of the Commission would have been the name of the Imperial Procurator, which M. Cayla (p. 52), quoting from the Agence Haras, gives as Kinsizski, but which, as I have ascertained by private inquiry at Cracow, was Kendzierski. This name likewise is wanting in Mr. Holland’s document, thereby revealing its spuriousncss.

(b) The confessor’s name is given wrong. It was not Calenski, but Piatkewicz, as is testified by — (1) The Polish tract, Doc. I. (” the terrified nuns and their chaplain, Piatkiewicz “) ; (2) the Agence Havas (“the confessor, Piantkewicz, an old priest, dared to say that the episcopal authority knew of the case, on which . . . the bishop immediately suspended the confessor and the superior,” ibid.) ; the Wiener Zeitung, as quoted by the Volks 11 ml Schutzen Zeitung, of Innspruck, for July 30,
1869 (“the bishop suspended the chaplain and confessor who was present, the Carmelite Father Pietkewicz “). There was indeed a Father Louis Zielinski, who had at a former time been confessor to the nuns (see Doc. II.). But the genuine report of the Commission of Inquiry would have given his name accurately, and would not have made the mistake of representing him as the actual confessor, or have spoken of him as a suicide, seeing that he gave valuable evidence before the Land Court, which treated him as a trustworthy witness (see below, p. 21).

(c) Father Piatkewicz, in fact, so far from committing suicide, lived on till 1881, when he died, after a long illness, at the ripe age of seventy-five, in the Carmelite monastery of Czarna. This has been ascertained for me from the Directory (Sdniindisiiius) of the diocese of Cracow. Moreover, this Father Piatkewicz, after a short interval, occasioned apparently by the outbreak, seems to have resumed his duties as confessor to the Wesola Street nuns.

(d) The cell was not, as stated in this spurious decision, ” an underground dungeon,” but was at the
end of a gallery on the first floor, and was the last of a series of cells occupied by other nuns. This is stated—
(i) By the report of the Court (“The Commission . . . was shown by the Superior of the convent a cell
situated on the first floor of the building at the end of a corridor”); (2) by the Vienna Free Press, quoted by the Protestant Alliance Monthly Letter (“The Commission therefore went to the upper corridor, followed by the nuns, one of whom showed the judge the cell of Sister Barbara ; the cell, which was situated at the extreme end of the corridor . . .” See above, p. 3) ;
(3) by Doc. I., i.e., the Polish tract (“Her cell was the last of a suite of cells “).

(e) It is not very conceivable that the Commission of Inquiry should have reported Barbara as ” not of unsound mind,” for had it done so the subsequent report of the Court would not have neglected to mention so important a fact, whilst referring to several witnesses as having established the origin, duration, and virulence of her madness.

A bond fide decision of the Commission of Inquiry could never have contained so many and such glaring misstatements. It is proved, therefore, that this alleged decision is a pure work of imagination and, since it is put forth as historically true, of fraud.

3. As to the testimonies of Johannes Egriek and Sister Mary, which Mr. Holland and his American
authority profess to have derived from the report of the Commission of Inquiry. These are the two witnesses stated to have been the means of delivering Barbara from her persecutors, the one by sending, the other by bearing, the anonymous letters to the Court. Egriek’s alleged evidence is confined to this one point, but Sister Mary’s, together with that of a supposed former servant in the convent, by name Gabrilla Hansung — which Mr. Holland passes over but his American authority gives — tells us a tragic story of cruelties inflicted on Barbara during the twenty-one years of her captivity. In fact, it is on these witnesses, as added to the bogus deposition of Barbara
herself, that the case against the nuns is made to rest. What, then, about them ?

There can be no doubt that they, too, are bogus witnesses. For — (a) Both “Sister Mary” and “Gabrilla” represent Father Calenski as figuring largely in the history — in fact, as having been the demon of the plot —whereas it has already been shown that Calenski was not the name of the confessor whom these writers have in view, and the previous confessor, Zielinski, was, as has
been said, treated as a witness of good repute by the two Courts of Justice.

(b) ” Sister Mary ” and ” Gabrilla” both say that the place of incarceration was an underground cellar, and ” Sister Mary ” further assures us that it was not till ten years after Barbara was immured in it that the nuns knew where she was (“We did not know where she was.” Amer. Edit., p. 48), whereas, since her cell was at the end of a corridor in which they were themselves living,
they must have all known she was in it, from her shrieks if from nothing else. For Adalbert Jarom, one of the gardeners who gave evidence before the Court, which the Court mentions and cites with approval, ” deposed ” (says Uoc. II.) “that whenever he was at work in the garden or in the corridor he heard Barbara’s shrieks ” (see also below, on p. 20, Dr. Wroblewski’s confirmatory evidence on this point), (c) If ” Sister Mary ” and ” Gabrilla ” had really given the evidence ascribed to them, the report of the Court could not have passed it over in silence, and yet it has not one single word of
reference to anything of the kind.

Such, then, is the character of the evidence, on the ground of which Mr. Holland felt confident of “convincing nearly every reader who has not made the Pope a present of his reason.” Whether this effect has actually been produced on the minds of any sensible: persons who have read so far into this present tract they are themselves the judges. I feel, however, so confident that the effect produced upon them has been very different, that I will in their name invite Mr. Holland henceforth to stand down as a discredited witness.

But further, whilst Mr. Holland’s story is thus discredited, the account given in Calumnies against Convents, on the faith mainly of certain correspondents of two Catholic papers, the Tablet and the Civilta Cattolica, is fully justified by the evidence derivable from the above-mentioned authentic sources of evidence. This must now be shown, though, for reasons of space, very briefly.

4. As to the acquittal of the Nuns. It seems that the prosecution set on foot against them never got so far as the trial stage at all, the evidence by which it was supported having broken down in the preliminary stages. In England, as we all know, the first stage of such a prosecution is before the magistrate, who, if he deems the evidence devoid of even prima facie sufficiency, dismisses the case forthwith. In conformity with the Austrian procedure, which in this respect resembles the French, the evidence collected by the Commission of Inquiry was first laid before the Land Court, to whose judges at that stage it belonged to decide the question of prima facie sufficiency. This Court decided on November 25, 1869, that the evidence was not sufficient to justify a prosecution ; that the nuns had indeed performed an action which. was in itself criminal by locking the door upon a free person, but that they had not acted with criminal intent, or shown cruelty or want of proper consideration for Barbara, or, in fact, done anything save what they could hardly have avoided doing ; that the charge against them must therefore be dismissed, and
they themselves at once set at liberty. This much is expressly stated in Doc. II., and it agrees completely with what was said in Calumnies against Convents, whilst at the same time supplementing it. Thus the Tablet correspondent for August 21, 1869, was cited in the C.T.S. tract as reporting that the nuns were declared (that is before that date) guilty of the objective, not the subjective, offence of overtly violating the rights of personal freedom, and were adjudged to stand a special trial accordingly. This, which coincides exactly with the information sent by its Cracow correspondent to the Bavarian Yolk’s mid Schiitzen Zeitung, and printed m its issue of August 9th, must refer to the conclusion reached by the Committee of Inquiry. As this Commission was only a Commission of Inquiry, it would have felt obliged on arriving at such a decision to send the case on to the Land Court, but it cannot have taken a very unfavourable view of the conduct of the nuns, or it would not have released them. from prison on August 28th (see Tablet, loc. cit., and the independent witness of the Bavarian paper for August 30th). The case having thus passed under the purview of the Land Court, was adjudged on November 25th in the manner above described. In other words, the Land Court entirely endorsed the opinion favourable to the nuns of Dr.Gebhardt and his committee. This much is certified — (1) By the terms of the decree of the High Court, to be cited presently: (2) by M. Cayla, who (p. 91) has to report, much to his disgust, that ” the Land Court has ordered the discontinuance of the prosecution against Marie Apolonie Wezyk, Therese Kozierkiewicz, and Xavier Joseph, charged with the [species of] public violence against Barbara Ubryk, foreseen by the Law § 63 of the Criminal Code. . . . The decree [of the Court] is motived by the complete absence of any ground of accusation {manque absolu du chef d’accusa-
tion). By the same decree the Court recognizes that in the conduct of the sisters of the Carmelite convent there has been no criminal act. The Imperial Procurator, Nalepa, demanded that the Court should draw up a charge against the above-mentioned accused.” In this last sentence M. Cayla is not as correct as in the pre- ceding part of the paragraph. What the Imperial Procurator did was to avail himself of his right, and appeal from the Land Court to the High Court, asking the
latter to do what the former declined to do — treat the evidence in hand as sufficient to justify sending the case on for trial, and hence draw up the charge.

The result of this appeal made by the Imperial Piocurator was a further judicial testimony to the
innocence of the nuns. On March 8, 1870, the High Court confirmed the judgment of the Land Court in every particular. It is the report of this judgment of the High Court of which Doc. II. is a legalized copy. It begins : “In a report of December 13, 1869, No. 22065, in the appeal presented by the Imperial Procurator, and referring to the criminal prosecution against Mary Wesyk,
Theresa Kosierkiewicz, and Mary Xavera Josaf, charged with the crime of public violence.” It goes on to say that “the Imperial Royal Higher Court of Justice, approving the  decree of the Cracow Court of Justice of November 25, 1869, . . . which decided that the prosecution of the above-named three persons for violence committed against the life and security of Barbara Ubryk must be abandoned;’ orders that certain fees be paid to the advocates and doctors, and also that copies
of the decree of November 25, 1869, be delivered to the said defendants, with a Specification of the Motives by which the judgment of this lower Court was determined — all this being required by certain paragraphs of the Statute Book of the Empire.

Thus we have the entire innocence of the nuns judicially established, and the Motives just mentioned, which are appended to the legalized copy before me, furnish us with a still more conspicuous vindication of their character.

From these Motives we learn that Barbara had previously been in another convent, and had been dismissed because signs of mental derangement appeared. By 1839, when she joined the Carmelites, these symptoms had ceased, and the Carmelites do not seem even to have known of their previous existence. In this second convent she kept her health and gave satisfaction to every one till 1845. “Her behaviour then became extraordinary. She would put out the lights in the choir, throw about the breviaries, dance and sing worldly songs, until one day, escaping or running away from the choir, she locked herself up in a cell and refused to open the door. When it was at length forced open, she was found entirely naked, gesticulating most unbecomingly”  (Report of High Court). She had, in fact, contracted that well-known but most distressing species of madness called erotomania. The witnesses whose testimony the Court deemed sufficient to establish these initial facts, as likewise their sequel during the twenty-one years of Barbara’s madness whilst in the convent, were several of the nuns and two convent workmen — the sacristan, Casimir Gregorczyk, and the gardener, Adalbert Jarom. These two men likewise testified that as soon as her madness broke out in the manner described, no less than three doctors were called in to see Jier — Dr. Sawiczewski, Dr. Wroblewski, and another not named — and that for a
time “these visited her daily and sometimes twice a day.” Of these doctors, Dr. Sawiczewski was dead in 1869, as perhaps was the unnamed third doctor, of whom no more is said in the report. But Dr. Wroblewski came forward himself as a witness, and confirmed what had been said by the two workmen. He stated that she was un- doubtedly incurably and dangerously mad when he was
first called in, and that he had warned the nuns to take care lest she should kill either herself or others ; he did not remember, the time being so long ago, having recommended the walling-up of her cell window, but he imagined that they had followed in this the advice of Dr. Sawiczewski, who was their ordinary attendant. Still when some of the nuns deposed to their distinct recollection that Dr. Wroblewski had concurred with Dr. Sawiczewski in recommending this step, the Court, as it tells us in express words, judged their recollection to be more trustworthy than Dr. Wroblewski’s. Dr. Wroblewski, besides his testimony before the Court, wrote a letter to the
Tygodnik Katolicki, dated September 3, 1869, which is preserved for us in the Polish tract (Doc. I.). In this he says : ” Barbara was no victim of conventual or monastic persecution, for she was neither hidden away nor walled in. She was known to every one who wished to come near her, known to all the inmates of the convent, to priests, to other convents, and to many laymen.” It was proved also, hy production of the original correspondence, that the nuns had, as far back
as 1852, communicated with their superiors at Rome and begged for leave to have Barbara transferred either to a hospital or to the care of her relations 3 and that this leave having been refused, on the ground that a sick nun should not be cast out among strangers but nursed by her own religious sisters, they had regularly reported her state to the Carmelite fathers, who were their superiors at Cracow, and to the pre-decessors of Bishop Galecki. Moreover, Father Zielinski,
the former confessor, whose name appears to have suggested the Calenski of Mr. Holland’s legend, “shows” (says the report), ” by his sworn deposition, that the case of the insane Barbara was known even to Counsellor Vukasovich, the political Director of the government of Cracow, at that time a free city (and therefore before1846), he himself having requested that Barbara might be transferred to a hospital at the Government expense.” All this shows that there was no attempt whatever at concealment from those who by their office and posi- tion were entitled to know, and whose knowledge would be the most effectual safeguard against such persecution as has been imputed. At any rate, it fully satisfied the two Courts, which say : “It is proved that the case of the insane Barbara Ubryk was known to both the civil and the ecclesiastical authorities ; that they knew her to be in confinement in the convent in Wesola Street, in Cracow ; and that neither the civil authorities nor the ecclesiastical considered it necessary to order anything to be done for the disposal of the patient or gave any advice to the nuns during the twenty-one years ” — so that the nuns might reasonably suppose they were doing the best that could be done.

In the next place the report of the Court fully confirms what was said in Calumnies against Convents as to the manner in which Barbara was treated during the period of her detention. The cell, it says, ” was seven paces long and five broad,” not therefore so excessively small, and besides of the same size and character as those of the other nuns. The furniture, too, which was in it when she was first put there, was similar to that in the other cells — in particular there was a bed with proper bedding, and a stove — nor was the window closed up. But Barbara destroyed everything — tore up the bed-clothes, pulled the stove to pieces, and used the pieces as missiles to throw at the heads of her visitors. For very safety’s sake, therefore, it was necessary to remove all her furniture, as for decency’s sake it was necessary partially to wall up and partially to board up the window. One would be glad not to refer to the loathsome habits of the afflicted woman, which drove the nuns at last to the well-meant if ill-advised expedient of making a direct communication between her cell and the closet pipe, in the hopes that she might be induced to use it. On the other hand, from the report of the Court and from the Polish tract (Doc. I.) we learn that the nuns,
though they found it impossible to keep the cell always clean, were indefatigable in cleansing it from time to time, and that when the paroxysms were over for the while (for these were periodical, not continuous), they at once made things straight, reclothed their unfortunate sister, and visited her regularly in parties of twos and threes. Indeed, that these interludes of tranquillity
rather than the times of paroxysm predominated, seems proved by the state in which she was found on transfer to the hospital. Dr. Wroblewski (in his letter to the Tygodnik Katolicki) remarks well : ” She could not have been neglected, ill-fed, deprived of light and clothing for the period of twenty-one years, since she lost neither sight nor hearing, nor was covered with skin eruption- and abscesses, nor-had poisoned blood — in fact, showed none of the signs and symptoms inseparable from long neglect of attention to the needs of the body.”-

Still further evidence in defence of the nuns might be adduced did space permit, but Dr. Spital’s letter to the Dutch Maasbode, written in August, 1869 (Doc. I.), cannot be entirely passed over. Dr. Spital was present as the Bishop’s representative at the “discovery” of Barbara, and the purport of his letter to the Maasbode was to retract the unfavourable judgment he had at first passed, and to testify to the innocence of the nuns. ” I am ashamed now,” he writes, ” of my short-sighted credulity, and I deplore its consequences. . . . The nuns were accused of concealment, and hence suspected of criminality ; but they have now been completely exonerated, proofs being to hand that, ten years ago, they sought advice in Rome and elsewhere, but were instructed to regard their misfortune with resignation —  which they had to do in the end. The present Vicar- Apostolic, however, had no knowledge of the case, and I had only entered on my office six months ago. The Imperial Court of Justice has opened a strict inquiry into the matter, and will certainly not shield any one from justice or from the public if guilt should be brought home to him, but up to the present the only witnesses that have come forward testify in favour of the nuns. Even the public, which at first was so filled with indignation, even the physicians and lawyers, yea, and the Jews themselves, now speak aloud in praise of the nuns, whom they have come to recognize, not as guilty persons, but as fearfully afflicted sufferers.”

Here, then, this tract must end, but in concluding one may be permitted to express agreement with Mr. Holland at least to this extent, that, in view of the injurious charges against convents which he and other Protestant

Alliance people are so constantly bringing, some fresh legislation in reference to convents is imperatively needed. Not indeed that there is any need of a law subjecting them to State inspection, for the existing laws are  strong enough to put down any convent cruelties or infringements of personal liberty, so soon as Mr. Holland or his friends can show to the police officers prima facie evidence of their existence. But there is need of such a remodelling of the law of libel as shall enable the innocent and peaceful inhabitants of English convents to protect themselves against slanderers cowardly enough to attack them, not openly and by name, but covertly under the guise of charges against other convents in distant lands. It ought to be possible for the nuns, without undue expense, to bring such persons into Court, and there -say to them: ” It is us you are seeking to injure by your loathsome stories ; you shall therefore at least demonstrate their truth by evidence satisfactory to an English Court of Justice, or else you shall expiate your cruel offence either in prison or in the lunatic asylum.”

[The Documents designated I., II., III., IV., with an English translation, are kept at the office of the Catholic Truth Society, 21 Westminster Bridge Road.] .


The Protestant Platform

 An insight into the activities of anti-Catholic fraudsters in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The following was first published by the Catholic Truth Society in 1915.

THE PROTESTANT PLATFORM  (Catholic Truth Society, London, 1915)

by  G. Elliott Anstruther,  Organizing Secretary, C.T.S.


Prefaratory Note

The following twenty examples give us a view of the Protestant platform under what is perhaps the
most widely advertised and vaunted of its aspects — the recruits from Rome. Here are a score of men and women who have either made public use of their apostasy or else have laid false claim to the notoriety of apostates. The collection is a mixed one in several respects : what links these people together into an unenviable unity is the common purpose they have achieved in attacking the Catholic Church on the ground of personal experience. How far such attacks are worthy of credence by sensible folk is best estimated by considering the careers and characters of the majority of these lecturers. It would be unjust, of course, to measure the best among them by standards applicable only to the worst. What the reader must do, in order to be quite fair, is to let the graver offenders draw whatever mitigating leaven can be supplied by the others, and then strike an average. That average will supply the moral quality of the “ex-Romanist” as Protestant lecturer — and what an average it is !

 G. E. A.


1. Giovanni Achilli

Mention of Achilli’s name takes us back to the year 1850, a year in which Protestant prejudice throughout England was excited by the “No Popery” agitation which followed the restoration of the Catholic hierarchy. In May of that year a meeting of the Evangelical Alliance, at Birmingham, was addressed by one Dr. Achilli, minister of an Italian Protestant church in London, an apostate who had been a friar at Viterbo. His moral character was thoroughly bad ; he had been a profligate, deprived of his lectureship for grave misconduct and suspended from all priestly offices, and he was described by the Neapolitan police as “known for habitual incontinency.” Achilli’s immoralities were alluded to by Dr. Newman in a lecture to the Brothers of the Little Oratory at Birmingham, in October 185 1, and as a result the ex-priest brought an action for
libel against the future Cardinal, which was heard in the Queen’s Bench in the following year. The
evidence as to Achilli’s character was such that it would be conclusive to any modern jury ; but those were the days of strong anti-Catholic bias, with which even the judge (Lord Campbell) showed himself to be affected, and a verdict was returned against Newman. The Times, in a strong leading article, protested against this miscarriage of justice, and the Morning Chronicle took Lord Campbell severely to task. On appeal the verdict was quashed, and offerings from every part of the country flowed in to defray the costs on the Catholic side. Newman’s exposure of Achilli was timely and thorough, and resulted in discrediting the latter with all respectable Protestants.


2. Brother Ansgar

Among the accessions to the Protestant lecture platform within the past few years is a native of Denmark named Ericksen, an apostate who was for a time a member of the community of Marist
Brothers at Dumfries. Needless to say, he was taken up by the Protestant Alliance after his “conversion,”  and addressed meetings under the auspices of that body. His lectures included the customary charges — drunkenness, cruelty, etc. — which Catholics have by now grown accustomed to from lecturers of this stamp ; and he continued, as a Protestant lecturer, to wear an imitation of the Marist habit, to which, of course, he was no longer entitled. Ericksen (or Brother Ansgar, to give him his name in religion) was dealt with severely in a local Catholic magazine at Barnet, which resulted in his bringing an action for libel against the editor, Father Spink. To the  great surprise not only of Catholics but of other people as well, the jury returned a verdict for the plaintiff, awarding him damages. There was no surprise, however, when on appeal the verdict was quashed by three judges, and the trial set aside. Nor need we be surprised at the further fact that
Ansgar took no steps to have a new trial moved for within the time allowed by law, but abandoned further proceedings against the priest. His charges with regard to the Marist congregation have continued, so it may be useful to have the above particulars on record.

3. Pastor Chiniquy

There are doubtless many Protestants who still believe the charges brought against the Catholic
Church by the late Pastor Chiniquy in his Fifty Years in the Church of Rome. But a man does not
remain associated for half a century with a communion which he afterwards discovers to have been full of corruption, without laying himself open to the charge of either telling lies or having been singularly complacent of evil ! As a matter of fact, the volume in question, published in 1885, introduces charges which find no place in Chiniquy’s earlier work, Why I Left the Church of Rome ; while if we go further back to his autobiography, published by the Religious Tract Society in 1861, we there find his conversion to Protestantism stated as solely due to doctrinal considerations. It was not until he had been many years out of the Church that Chiniquy tickled the anti-Catholic palate with the more serious charges which give his Fifty Years its special spice. An examination of this book by Father Sydney Smith, S.J. (Pastor Chiniquy, C.T. S. , id.) reveals its manifold inconsistencies and manifest libels. Of Chiniquy himself, as Father Smith shows, the evidence of letters and other documents relates a history that is by no means commendable. His uncle, a M. Dionne, had reason to doubt of him as early as 1825, when he ceased paying for Chiniquy’s education and forbade him his house. In September 1851, eighteen years after his ordination, Bishop Bourget of Montreal had occasion to withdraw all priestly powers from him, in connection with a charge affecting his morality. Chiniquy wrote to the Bishop in the following month, saying: “I shall go and hide the disgrace of my position in the obscurest and least known corner of the United States.” He went to America, but not into obscurity. Readmitted to priestly duty, he worked until 1856, when Bishop O’Regan suspended and afterwards excommunicated him on further charges of immorality. Details of these events, leading up to Chiniquy’s apostasy in 1858, are given in the C.T.S. pamphlet, together with the text of letters from the ex-priest himself, and other persons, which effectually repel the statements in Fifty Years in the Church of Rome.

4. “The Rev. T. H. Clifford, B.D.”

This adventurer, an ex-soldier who posed as a Wesleyan minister, lectured for the Scottish Protestant Association at Ayr, N.B. , where he carried on evangelistic meetings in the High Street and on the Low Green. We give him the name by which he called himself at that time, but it is not clear what his name really is. Clifford’s police record is a bad one. In 1904, under the name of Smith, he received three months’ imprisonment, with hard labour, for fraud in London. He had pretended in the City to be a paralytic cripple, but went nimbly home to the suburbs each evening, after his business day was done, living well on the charity he received. Later, he was imprisoned for six months for falsely representing himself to be an undergraduate of Trinity College and a nephew of the Rev. Dr. Clifford. His wife secured a separation order in 1907, with
maintenance ; on two occasions Clifford went to prison for failing to pay this. He afterwards proceeded to Scotland with a woman named Ethel Brown, with whom he went through a bigamous
form of marriage. In 1909 he was giving anti-Catholic lectures at Ayr, for the Association mentioned above ; but after a time he left that body, pretended that he was a clergyman, and
started the Free Gardeners’ Hall Mission. On August 27, 1 9 10, he was arrested on charges of
falsely celebrating marriages and contravening the Registration of Births Act by causing false entries to be made in the birth register (in connection with his irregular life with Ethel Brown). In
sentencing Clifford to eighteen months’ imprisonment with hard labour, the Sheriff said the case
was one of the worst he had recollected. Details of the trial are to be found in the Ayrshire Post
for October 14, 19 10.

5. Ellen Golding

Among the Protestant pamphlets issued by Mr. Kensit is one on ‘ ‘ Convent Life, by Sister Mary
Raymond.” Although there is no mention of the fact, the story related is really that put forward by
the late Miss Ellen Golding some years ago, after she had left the convent of La Sainte Union at
Highgate, London. Her story, in brief, is that she was attracted to the Catholic Church by the glamour of its music and its ceremonies, that she entered theOrder of the Sainte Union, and that her subsequent disillusion as to the virtues of the conventual life included the knowledge that poison was administered to the nuns in their food, from which deaths had taken place in various convents in France to which she was from time to time attached. She had been in the Order about twenty-five years when, in August 1891, she made up her mind to leave. Her vows were only annual ones ; she could have left the Order with full regularity and sanction in the month
following ; but instead of doing this she wrote a secret letter to a Protestant solicitor, who went to
the convent and brought her away, after a “scene.” The story got into the papers, and within a comparatively short time Miss Golding was secured for the Protestant platform. A visit to Bournemouth proved her undoing, as she was there taken in hand by a local priest, Father Cooney, S.J., and closely cross-examined, a professional shorthand writer being present to take down the questions and answers. The effect of the Catholic action was so entirely to discredit the “Rescued Nun” that after a short time her campaign was brought to an end. The full story, with many important details for which there is no space here, will be found in the C.T. S. pamphlet Ellen Golding, the ” Rescued Nun,” by the Rev. S. F. Smith, S.J. (id.).
6. William Jefferys

Calumnies against convents and monasteries are among the things that age cannot wither nor
custom stale. It is getting on for seventy years since an impostor named William Jefferys produced his Narrative of Six Years’ Captivity and Suffering at the hands of the monks at Mount St. Bernard’s Abbey, Leicestershire, and although the story was publicly knocked on the head, and its author sent to gaol for three months as a rogue and a vagabond, the Vanguard, a Protestant paper largely subsidized by the Hope Trust, reprinted it as recently as 1913, — for which the editor was forced to make an apology. Jefferys’s lying “Narrative” so excited the neighbourhood of the Abbey in 1849 that threats were made to burn down the monastery. As a matter of fact, he had never been in the monastery, except to enjoy its hospitality as a guest. The Prior called for a magisterial inquiry into the charges, so that the case might be fully investigated. This was done, and the wretched Jefferys, after vainly endeavouring, on the spot, to locate the scenes of his sufferings, completely broke down, threw himself on his knees before the Superior, and confessed that the whole story was false. Although the community forgave him, the Protestants whom he had duped, including the printer of the Narrative, were not so lenient ; Jefferys was taken to Wednesbury and lodged in prison, and received his sentence at the Handsworth Petty Sessions. A full summary of the facts of the case is supplied by James Britten, K. S. G. , in the C.T. S. pamphlet on An “Escaped Monk” (id.).


7. Sarah McCormack, the “White Nun”

“Now, Sarah, I want you to study these books, and you must get things out of them for to-night.”
The speaker was one Evans, ” General ” of a Salvation Army in Scotland with which the organization  founded by General Booth had nothing to do and must not be confounded. The books were those of Maria Monk and Edith O’Gorman (see pp. 11, 16). ” Sarah ” was Sarah McCormack, a Glasgow servant-girl, who under Evans’s direction was to read up these narratives and pose as an “escaped nun ” from the convent at Lanark, a place in which she had never set foot, as she afterwards confessed. This was in 1894. The lecturing career of the ” White Nun,” as she was called, came to an end after brief visits to Leith and Edinburgh ; the police arrested her on a charge of “falsehood, fraud, and wilful imposition,” and she received seven days’ imprisonment.
 Evans, charged with abetting, got off on the Scottish verdict of “not proven” — a lucky escape,
for, as the prosecutor said in Court, though the girl was foolish and wicked, the man charged with her was worse ; he was a direct participator in the fraud. It turned out that Evans had taken the proceeds of the lectures, giving his dupe ten shillings a week and finding her in material for her revelations. A full account of the M’Cormack case was given in the Glasgoiv Observer for March and April 1894 ; a summary of it, from which this note has been written, will be found in a useful pamphlet on The Ttuth about Convents, by James Britten, K.S. G.
(C.T.S., id.).


8. “Pastor” McDonald

Several towns in Scotland — Motherwell, Campbeltown, and Hawick among them — have been lectured to by “Pastor” James McDonald, also known as “the Kilwinning Martyr.”  This man started a Protestant Guild at Hawick, the members of which were drawn from sympathizers with his campaign. The Scottish field, however, proved less fruitful than he had hoped, so in November 1913 McDonald purchased a ticket for New Zealand. The Protestant Guild subscribed a testimonial; but their interest and also the Pastor’s movements were diverted when the police arrested him on the charge of deserting his family. McDonald pleaded not guilty, but on advice withdrew that plea and admitted the offence. The Sheriff said it was sad that a man should go about
working in the name of religion and forget the primary Christian duty of maintaining his wife and children ; he emphasized this view by fining the Kilwinning Martyr five pounds, or thirty days’
imprisonment (Glasgow Herald, November 26, 191 3). Two Protestant ministers at Hawick, the
Rev. W. A. Ashby and the Rev. W. J. Ainslie, had previously (November 13) issued a leaflet to
the public in which various unpleasant things are said about the “Pastor,” who, it was stated, “is
absolutely unworthy of support in any self-respecting community. . . . The sooner he is gone the
better it will be for Hawick, and every good cause in it.” In February 1914 McDonald was in Edinburgh, where he was sentenced to ten days’ imprisonment at the City Police Court for having
obtained board and lodging without paying or intending to pay for them. The following May
found him again at Hawick, where he was fined for attempting to enter a public-house while under
the influence of drink.


9. Maria Monk

Who has not heard of the Awful Disclosures of Maria Monk! The book came out about eighty
years ago, and continued for several generations to be a staple of Protestant literature ; this is no
longer the case, as respectable Protestants will have nothing to do with it, and for the most part it is stocked by purveyors of pornographic books and pictures, although it has still a certain vogue with anti-Catholic firebrands of the baser sort. Maria Monk’s story related to events which she alleged had taken place in the Hotel Dieu Convent at Montreal. Cruelty, immorality, murder — all were included in the indictment. From the first her statements were disbelieved by the authorities, and it was not long before a complete investigation, by Protestants themselves, demonstrated the utter falsity of the narrative. A Protestant gentleman of New York, Colonel W. L. Stone, accompanied by others, went to Montreal and probed the matter to the bottom ; the visitors examined ever)’ part of the convent, and tested ever)- detail advanced by Maria Monk, and the Colonel’s signed verdict was that ” Maria Monk is an arrant impostor, and her book, in all its essential features, a tissue of calumnies. A Mr. John Ostell, an architect, proved that an alleged plan of the convent, printed with the Disclosures, could by no possibility be true. Protestant ministers, magistrates, and others visited the Hotel Dieu and vindicated it by letters and affidavits. As a matter of fact, Maria Monk was a girl of bad character, who so far from having been a nun was instead an inmate of the Magdalen Asylum for fallen women, from which institution she drew the characters introduced into the Disclosures. Her end was as follows : in 1849 she was arrested for stealing from a paramour, and sent to prison, where she died. See The True History of Maria Monk (C. T. S. , id. ).

10. Margaret Mary Moult

In February 1909 the English Press gave wide publicity to an “escape” from the well-known Benedictine convent at East Bergholt, Suffolk; The facts of the case, separated from its fictions,
related to a Miss Margaret Moult, in religion Dame Maurus, who made a secret departure from the
convent and was for a brief period an ‘ ‘ escaped nun ” lecturer on the Protestant platform. It is due to her to say that her narrative, both on the platform and in a book which appeared in her name, was happily free from the kind of suggestions and innuendoes that one so often finds in attacks on the conventual life ; and as Miss Moult has since married and given up lecturing, it might seem a charitable duty to omit all reference to her case. But this cannot be done, first of all because the omission would be misunderstood as a desire to suppress unpleasant facts, and next because her book is still in circulation. All that need be said here, however, is that an investigation of the matter was undertaken by three local gentlemen of position, all of them non-Catholics : Mr. Thomas Robertson, a magistrate, Mr. W. S. Calvert, Lord of the Manor, and the Rev. E. A. Ley, Vicar of Manningtree. These gentlemen visited the convent without any previous intimation: “We were allowed,” they reported, “to converse freely with any of the nuns apart from the presence of the Superiors, and were struck with the expressions of contentment and happiness used by all whom we addressed in talking of their daily life.” The report concludes: “In fine, after a lengthened investigation we could find no foundation for the charges made in the book published under the title of The Escaped Nun.” Those who desire a full statement of the case are referred to the C. T. S. pamphlet by Father Sydney Smith, S.J., on The Escaped Nun from East Bergholt ( 1 d. ).


11. Minnie Murphy

Minnie Murphy is not an important person, but her case, besides the fact that it is a fairly recent
one, supplies a typical instance of the readiness with which a certain section of the English Press will lay hold of any “escaped nun” story, however wildly improbable, and give it currency without
either suspicion or inquiry. On May 25, 191 2, the Sheffield Independent printed a startling story, with no less startling headlines: “Save ME FROM this Prison ! Dramatic Story on Convent Life.
Sheffield Plot. Escaped Nun who Slept in HER COFFIN.”
It appeared that “a bright-eyed, bonny girl, of frank, open countenance,” had spoken in a train about her intention of entering a convent.
” A shrewd little woman ” tried to dissuade her, and gave the girl her visiting-card. So much for the
prologue ; the story opens with the receipt of a letter by the shrewd little woman aforesaid : ” Will
you try to get me from this prison of misery,” it ran, “or Ishall die.” Posing as the girl’s aunt,
the benefactress went to the address, St. Vincent’s Home, Ancoats, Manchester, and took Minnie away. Speedily a narrative was forthcoming, of scourgings, and drudgery, and a dark punishment cell, and sleeping in one’s own coffin — a story palpably absurd ; yet it was accepted without question, without any investigation, by the editor of the Independent, and was copied into the Weekly Dispatch in London, and, needless to say, also into the Protestant Press. Exposure was not long in coming. Dean Dolan of Sheffield showed the impossibility of the details given, and the Sheffield Telegraph, a rival organ, made first-hand inquiries at Ancoats, by which the whole story collapsed like a house of cards. Minnie Murphy herself fled from her Protestant friends, leaving a note behind her in which she confessed to having deceived them. The truth was that she had never been in a convent at all. At the home at Ancoats she was a laundry girl ; her previous history
included residence in two Catholic institutions in Dublin, and work, as a servant, in a home at Preston. For the full story, see Minnie Murphy’s Mendacities (C. T. S. , id.).


12. Titus Oates

In point of time Titus Oates, going back as he does to the seventeenth century, heads the list of
the various anti-Catholics who are pilloried in this pamphlet. His character is aptly expressed in the first three words of the notice about him in the Dictionary of National Biography : ” Oates, Titus, perjurer ” ; it is a qualification making him the father-in-kind of many who have come after him. This scoundrel belongs to English history, and is so well and unenviably known that his inclusion here is more for the sake of suitability than of necessity. Oates contrived to get admitted to orders in the Established Church, but soon gave signs of his later vocation by bringing a trumped-up charge against a schoolmaster, the failure of which led to his being thrown into prison. He escaped and joined the Navy as a chaplain, from which office he was expelled. It was about 1677 that Oates began his campaign of calumny against Catholics. Pretending to be reconciled as a Catholic himself, he was actually received into the college at Valladolid, but after a
few months was ignominiously expelled. Later on he fabricated his story of a ” Popish plot,” on the
strength of which — sustained by the perjured testimony of a second scoundrel named Bedloc —
wholesale arrests were made and innocent men, one after another, put to death. Oates was well paid and lodged by the Government, and feted and fed, until the tide of his fortunes turned in 1681. Popular credulity was now largely exhausted as to the supposed plot, but not until between thirty and forty Catholics had been judicially murdered, among them the Venerable Oliver Plunket. Titus Oates fell from his pinnacle, and when James II came to the throne he was tried for perjury, and ordered to be imprisoned and whipped. Financial and other relief came to him with the Orange regime but he remained hopelessly discredited until his death in 1705 — ” a most consummate cheat, blasphemer,vicious, perjured, impudent, and saucy, foul-mouth’d
 wretch ” (Roger North).


13. Edith O’Gorman

One of the very few survivors in the ex-nun business, Mrs. O’Gorman Auffray, the ” Escaped Nun,” is still ( 1915 ) prepared in her old age to tell English Protestant audiences about her sufferings, her escape, and her subsequent persecution by Catholics. It is an old story — how she joined the
Sisters of Charity in New Jersey, witnessed various cruelties to children who were under the Sisters’ care, was annoyed and almost drugged by a priest, fled from the convent, went through divers adventures, and finally received the light of Protestant conviction. Her statement, frequently made, that Catholics have not attempted any reply to her charges, no longer holds good: there is a C.T.S. pamphlet, Edith O’Gorman and her Book ( id. ), which sufficiently refutes Mrs. Auffray’s story out of her own mouth ; for it compares very closely two editions of her narrative, divided by an interval of thirty years, and exposes flaws which are vital. For example, the story of the alleged escape is differently related, in the two editions, in regard both to the place and circumstances : in one edition (1871) the “escape” takes the very mild form of leaving a school-house in the city of Newark, New Jersey ; while in the later version (1901) the scene is shifted to the convent at Jersey City, where she “softly unlocked the doors and gates” and so
departed. She is proved to have kept up communication with, and written in defence of, the priest
who comes into her story, and it is shown that the text of letters and newspaper reports has been
altered to suit the purposes of the book. Edith O’Gorman’s charges, tested in this way, break down
in every important particular.


14. Ex-Priest Roche

Described by Truth (December 8, 1909) as “an utterly unprincipled scoundrel,” ex-priest Roche
supplies one of a number of instances where moral unworthiness has proved to be no bar to the anti-Catholic lecture platform. The Lanarkshire Protestant Crusade and Evangelical Mission of Scotland engaged Roche among its lecturers some years ago ; an inquiry beforehand, in the proper quarter, would have elicited the following facts about him. Roche was for several years attached to the Catholic mission at Selkirk, where his conduct gave rise to continual scandals : he was intemperate, and a lady who passed as his sister had in reality been married to him many years previously. On one occasion he exhibited a tradesman’s bill with a stamped receipt at foot ; the tradesman repudiated the signature as a forgery, and the handwriting was clearly that of
Roche himself. Deprived of his priestly office in 1906, Roche left Selkirk and went to Edinburgh,
leaving behind him various unpaid debts, among them his liquor bills. On June 10 of that year he
was admitted to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, suffering from acute alcoholism, and remained there for ten days. Subsequently he took to writing begging-letters. Utterly unscrupulous, he offered to say mass in return for help, well knowing that his deprivation made him no longer capable of doing so ; and while appealing to the Superior of a Catholic convent for assistance, he was actually appearing in public and denouncing the Catholic Faith. The editor of Truth says, referring again to Roche as ” a dissolute hypocrite,” that ” if these are the sort of champions on whom Protestantism depends, the cause is truly in a parlous state.”


15. ” Ex-Priest Ruthvem “

The above is the name assumed by Michael Riordan, an apostate who came to England from the
United States about 1899, an d began to deliver the customary lectures, a compound of invention and indecency, which one looks for, and gets, in men of this class. The Catholic Truth Society secured his American record, which supplied the reason why ” Ruthven ” should prefer to try the English Protestant field. The testimony against him was largely that of Presbyterian newspapers and clergymen. Riordan had been expelled from the Paptist Church as a fraud ; he had been in gaol for misappropriation of funds, which he had been collecting in the name of the Rev. Dr. Paton, the well-known missionary, who described the affair in his autobiography and supported it on oath at the trial of a libel action brought by Riordan against Father De Bom, the priest at Shanklin, Isle of Wight. Besides the C.T. S., Truth took the matter up, and printed a number of exposures of Riordan’s past. It was in 1 90 1 that the libel action against Father De Bom took place, which resulted in a verdict for the defendant on one count and for the plaintiff on another. When, in the course of the proceedings,  extracts from Riordan’s lectures were read, Mr. Justice Ridley ordered all women and boys out of court. The Judge’s summing-up (since printed by the C.T.S. as a pamphlet, The Judge and the Ex-Priest) is one of the most scathing pronouncements regarding anti-Catholic lectures of this kind that have ever issued from the Bench. That Riordan left hotel bills unpaid, and was charged with using threats with a revolver, are among the records of
his minor offences.


16. Margaret Shepherd

Among the many impostors who have posed as convent victims it would not be easy to find an
example at once so fraudulent and so depraved as the late Margaret L. Shepherd, anti-Catholic lecturer, writer, and creator of a Protestant women’s society in America. She was never a nun : her only association with the conventual life was derived from institutions, under the care of nuns, for
incorrigible girls or fallen women. She was for a time at Arno’s Vale Convent, Bristol, not as a nun but among the penitent prostitutes whom that community looks after. In many respects Margaret Shepherd is to be classed with Maria Monk, — certainly she was no better, and on the whole was rather worse. Her entire life, almost from childhood, was one of criminality and deceit. She passed under various names. As “Miss Douglas” she was arrested for forging Lord Archibald Douglas’s name. At Bodmin, Cornwall, and in London, she was imprisoned at different times on criminal charges, in the names of Parkyn and Edgerton. At another time she was ” Margaret Herbert,” and claimed relationship to Lady Herbert. It was after she ran away from Arno’s Vale that Margaret Shepherd began her career of imposture and deception against the Church. She was befriended by the Salvation Army, and went to America under its auspices ;there she betrayed the trust reposed in her, and subsequently Florence Booth wrote: “I have no doubt at all but this woman is a fraud.” She deceived the late Mr. W. T. Stead, whose disillusion found expression in the advice to an
inquirer about her : ” The less you have to do with the lady you mention the better it will be for your peace of mind and the security of the contents of your pockets.” Mrs. Shepherd supported her vile lectures with obscene books, on account of which the authorities at Brooklyn issued a warrant against her in 1901. She victimized people right and left, among them several Nonconformist clergymen, who wrote letters warning the public of her true character. She died in 1903, leaving behind her about as bad a record as it is possible for this sort of person to accumulate.


17. Pastor Silva

In the spring of 19 14 the Protestant lecture platform in England received another recruit in the personof ” Pastor Silva,” an Italian apostate priest whose alleged story has been circulated by the Waldensian Church Mission Society under the title of “Father Frederick.” This man is an ex-Capuchin friar, who apostatized and married and was afterwards connected with a Waldensian mission near Genoa. The story of his conversion to Protestantism is a variant of the well-worn legend of Luther’s discovery of a Bible. Pastor Silva also discovered one among “prohibited and dangerous” works in the library of the friary at Bergamo, to which his appointment as librarian had given him access ; he took it to his cell, read it, and was “converted” as the result ! At a meeting held in St. Paul’s Church Room, South Kensington, on April 30, 1914, Pastor Silva was tackled by Mr. A. Hilliard Atteridge, the Secretary of ‘the C.T. S. Catholic Defence Sub-committee. Mr. Atteridge was able to demonstrate the falsity of the Pastor’s statement by reading extracts from the Capuchin Rule itself, in which the reading and study of Holy Scripture is specially enjoined. Pastor Silva’s rejoinder was that such a rule belonged to the thirteenth century, and was now obsolete ; but his shot failed signally to hit the mark, for the edition from which Mr. Atteridge
read was issued in 1905. This single instance will serve to show the character and worthlessness of
this ex-priest’s statements ; other particulars will be found in Catholic Book Notes for August 1914
(p. 289).

18. The Slatterys

In 1897-98 an ex-priest named Joseph Slattery, accompanied by Mrs. Slattery, a sham nun, were giving anti-Catholic lectures in various parts of England, particularly in the north. The Slatterys, like Ruthven (see p. 18), were an American importation ; they came to this country bearing “the highest testimonials from well-known gentlemen in America, ” and were launched upon the English public by the Protestant Alliance. It was not long before Catholics over here were in possession of the facts, mainly due to a pamphlet issued by the C.T. S. of America. Joseph Slattery was a priest of the Dublin archdiocese who gave way to drink. He had been warned by Cardinal McCabe and Archbishop Walsh, but to no good end, and the Archbishop was obliged to give him up. Slattery left Ireland, and was next heard of as a student for the Baptist ministry at Hamilton, New York, where he posed as having abandoned the priesthood from “conscientious scruples.” Exposure of the truth led to his expulsion, and he* then went to the Baptists at Philadelphia, but there also he was expelled. He and the woman took to the lecture platform in America before coming to England and Scotland. At Edinburgh they were prosecuted for selling “an indecent and obscene book,” for publishing which Slattery had been imprisoned at Pittsburg. His ” testimonials,” when examined, are found to be either bogus or worthless. As to Mrs. Slattery, who lectured, and produced a book, as an “ex-nun,” it need only be said that her whole story is a string of fictions, as to her convent life and all connected with it. See The Slatterys, by James Britten, K.S.G. (C.T.S.,  id.), for a complete exposure of this couple.


19. Theodore Von Huskn

It was in the summer of 1912 that this person first came under notice as an anti-Catholic lecturer.
Under the auspices of Mr. Kensit’s crusade he was introduced to audiences at Paddington as an ex-
priest ; in support of this claim Von Husen put forward various particulars, e.g. the date of his
ordination, and that he was known at Cologne Cathedral and Archbishop’s House, Westminster.
Inquiry at both places elicited, as was expected, the reply in each case that nothing whatever was
known there about him. At one time he would pose as an ex-Jesuit, at another as an ex-Franciscan. The details he gave of his life would make him a sub-deacon when less than fourteen years of age, and a priest before he was eighteen. Challenged at one of his meetings as to the words of consecration, he hazarded ” Corpus Christum meum factum tuum ” ! )  1.  Von Husen fell into the hands of the police in September 19 13, and in the following month was convicted at the Central Criminal Court and sentenced to gaol for three months for indecent conduct, the jury finding him guilty without leaving the box. At the hearing various facts about him transpired. He had been married twenty years previously. For two years he had worked in London as a painter and decorator, changing into semi-clerical garb in the evenings and thus becoming “Father Von Husen” of the Protestant lecture platform. Mr. A. Hilliard Atteridge, who had already exposed Von Husen at a public meeting, has done so in fuller detail in the C.T. S. pamphlet entitled The Record of an Impostor (id.).
Note 1 The chairman on this occasion was the notorious “Ex-Monk” Widdows (see below).


20. Francis George Widdows

” Ex-Monk Widdows,” as he likes to call himself, is another of the “Pastors” of the anti-Catholic
platform ; he has filled that office at the Martin Luther Church at Hackney, London, but his spiritual ministry has been interrupted by enforced retirement — in other words, Widdows has more than once been imprisoned for a serious offence, and at present (191 5) is serving yet another sentence. This man, whose name is properly Nobbs, was never a Catholic. He is not an ex-monk ; his only association with a religious community is in the fact that he was befriended by the late Father Ignatius, the Anglican monk, then at Norwich, afterwards at Llanthony. In 1888 Widdows was tried at the Central Criminal Court and sentenced to ten years’ penal servitude ; it transpired at the trial that he had been previously convicted of indecency in 1875, at Toronto, and imprisoned for five months. 1 The autobiographical details which this ex-convict supplies, in proof of his claim to be also an ex-Franciscan, make interesting reading. He states that he was taken by a Capuchin priest to France, entered a Franciscan novitiate in Paris, and took his vows at
Lyons in 1869, afterwards going to Rome. But according to the Daily Telegraph for February 18,
1869, Widdows was at that time in London, and not only in London but also in the dock at Marylebone Police Court, charged as a result of a quarrel with a man named Hughes, the two of them being partners in a general shop. Truth (June 4, 1896) says that “the most rabid Protestant, unless lie is destitute of all sense of decency and self-respect, should be ashamed to give his countenance and support to a lecturer of Widdows’ character and antecedents. ” Note 1 In 1902 he was again found guilty, in London, of an indecent offence, and sentenced to two years’ hard labour.


The Forgeries of Robert Ware – part 2 of 2

4 A Forged False Miracle.
The ” ill bird,” Robert Ware, was not satisfied unless he could foul his own nest. We have seen some of his calumnies against English priests ; I will now expose a too successful attempt to throw dirt on the priests and religious of the City of Dublin-too successful, I say, because some of it has been left sticking on them to this day. The following story I copy verbatim from the fifth chapter of his book, called “The Hunting of the Romish Fox,” published in Dublin in 1683 :

“Queen Elizabeth sent over into Ireland Thomas Fitzwalters, Earl of Sussex, anno 1559, Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland, who landed at Dalkie upon the 16th August the same year. At his reception in the cathedral church of Christchurch, in Dublin, Mr. Nichol Dardy sang the Litany in the English tongue, this being the first beginning of Reformation in our Queen’s reign there since King Edward’s reign, all reformity being expulsed upon that hopeful prince’s death.

“This alteration stirrred up the malignity of several of the Romish clergy then lurking and wandering in that city, so that a Pia Fraus was contrived, purposely to calunmiate and vilify her Majesty’s endeavours for the reformation of the Protestant Church of England. There was one Richard Leigh, who had been formerly of the priory of the cathedral, who at this time undertook to work this intended fraud or pretended miracle. The better to contrive this his purpose, he prepared a sponge, and the night before the Sunday following, her Majesty’s Viceroy being to come to that cathedral with his attendance, this Romish impostor placed the same in a bowl of blood to soak up the same. Early in the morning Richard Leigh came, and, watching his opportunity, brought a stool with him to stand on, and in that cathedral there being an image of marble of Christ, standing with a reed in His hand, the crown of thorns carved on His head, he placed the sponge over the image’s head, within an hollow of the crown. The sponge being swollen and heavy with the blood that it soaked, began to yield forth the same, which ran through the crevices of the crown of thorns, and truckled (sic) down the face of this image. The people did not perceive the same at the first ; but whilst her Majesty’s Viceroy was at Service, together with the Archbishop of that diocese, Doctor Hugh Curwin by name, and the rest of that Privy Council, this impostor, with his associates, cried one to another, ‘Behold, our Saviour’s image sweats blood.’ Several of the common people wondering at it, fell down with their beads in their hands, and prayed to the image. This report caused a number of people to gather together to behold this miracle, this impostor all the time saying : ‘How can He choose but sweat blood whilst heresy is now come into His Church ?’

“The news hereof disturbed the Lord of Sussex, the Archbishop, and the rest of her Majesty’s Privy Council of that realm, so that they hastened out of the choir fearing some harm. When they came out they beheld several people upon their knees, thumping of their breasts, crying out, ‘Mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.’ Christopher Sedgrave, one of the aldermen, and mayor of that City, although he had been at the English Service, drew forth his beads and prayed with others before this image. Hugh, Archbishop of Dublin, being displeased at this change, caused a form to be brought out of the choir, and then had the sexton of that cathedral to stand thereon, and search and wash the image to see if it would bleed afresh. The sexton, standing upon the form, and perceiving the sponge within the hollow of the image’s head, cried out, ‘Here’s the cheat!’ which, being brought down, was shown unto the idolators, who were much ashamed, and some of them cursed Father Leigh and three or four others who had been the connivers of the cheat.

“The punishment that the Archbishop inflicted on these impostors was to stand upon a table with their legs and hands tied for three Sundays, with the crime written upon paper and pinned to their breasts. Afterwards they were imprisoned and so banished the realm.

“The Sunday following, Hugh, Archbishop of Dublin, preached before her Majesty’s Lieutenant and that Council, and before these impostors, who were placed on a table before the pulpit, choosing this text, ‘And therefore God shall send them strong delusions, that they should believe a lie’ (2 Thes. ii. 11). This text falling out so pat, and these impostors standing in the view of the spectators, converted and reformed above a hundred persons of that City, who vowed they would never hear Mass any more.

“The Archbishop of Dublin wrote this relation, and to this effect, to his brother Archbishop of Canterbury, Matthew Parker, who was at this time very joyful at the reception hereof, by reason that the clergy were at this present debating whether, the images should stand in the churches or no, the Queen herself being indifferent whether to have -images or to destroy them. This letter being shown unto her Majesty, wrought on her to consent for throwing of images out of the churches, together with those texts of Scripture as the Archbishop of Canterbury and other divines gave her for the demolishing of them.

“Upon the 10th September, anno 1559, Hugh, Archbishop of Dublin, caused this image to be taken down, although he had caused the same to be set up at his coming into that see, being formerly pulled down by his predecessor, George Brown, which the said Hugh specifies in his letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury.”

Strype, in his “Life of Parker”,(Vol. i. p. 90) has given the same story, in the same words, though with several inversions in the order of the narrative. He makes a marginal reference to “Cecil’s Memorials in Hunting of the Romish Fox”, p. 85; and Robert Ware, in the heading of the chapter v., says, “Taken out of the Lord Cecil’s Memorials.” The Protestant Bishop Mant, after quoting the story in full, is content to say, “Such is the account of this monstrous imposition given by Strype”, as if Strype’s authority dispensed him from inquiring into the nature or existence of the mysterious Cecil’s Memorials, from which the story was professedly derived. The editors of Parker’s Correspondence, Mr. Bruce and the Rev. J. Perowne, copy the fable from the “Hunting of the Romish Fox,” apparently without misgiving, but with regret that the original documents have not been discovered. ( Parker Corresp., p. 95. Ed. Parker Soc.) Lastly, even Mr. Bagwell has been content to give the “Story of the Bleeding Christ” on the sole authority of Strype. After relating the discovery of the sponge, he writes “The Protestants were triumphant, the Roman party confounded, and Curwin’s orders to have the statue broken up were obeyed without demur. Parker made good use of this occurrence to persuade the Queen to have images removed from all the churches. The exposure of so gross a fraud may have contributed to secure outward conformity in Dublin; but among the Irish-speaking people in the country it was perhaps scarcely heard of.” (Ireland under the Tudors, ii. 354. )

Now, I would ask Mr. Bagwell this question : By whom was this bleeding Christ ever heard of, whether Irish or English-speaking, before Robert Ware? Who amongst all the writers of history, English or Irish, has one word about this gross and public fraud until it appeared in the “Hunting of the Romish Fox” in 1683 ? Or what confirmation of it has been found, after sorting and searching every manuscript preserved in the State archives of England and Ireland, or the muniment rooms of English or Irish nobles ? Robert professes to derive it from his father’s collections; yet Sir James Ware has not alluded to it in his account of the Archbishops of Dublin. Could he have omitted such a matter had he known of it, or could he have been ignorant of it had it really happened ? The matter regards England as well as Ireland; for the letter of Curwin was addressed to Parker, and was by him shown to the Queen, according to the story. Why, then, is it not in Parker’s Manuscripts in Cambridge ? Parker carefully preserved his correspondence, and the originals still exist. Or, again, why is there no mention in Foxe or in Camden of the receipt of this important letter, and its influence on Elizabeth’s mind ?

Besides his history of the Irish bishops, which includes those of Elizabeth’s reign, Sir James Ware wrote a volume of Annals, which he brought down only to the death of Queen Mary; but Robert made a continuation in English, which was printed in 1705, after his death, and in this he did not venture to insert the story of the bleeding Christ. Why? Perhaps when he prepared that continuation he had not yet invented the story, or more probably there is another reason. Ware’s continuation is substantially a reproduction of the “Loftus Annals.” Sir Dudley Loftus, grandson (or grand-nephew) of Adam Loftus, Elizabeth’s Archbishop of Dublin, was a contemporary of Robert Ware. He made large collections relative to Irish history. These are still unpublished, but the original manuscript is in the Marsh Library in Dhblin. It has been carefully examined with a view to the present paper, and I can declare not only that there is not a word relating to this false miracle, but that, so far as its statements can be relied on, they give proof that the story of Robert Ware is a pure fabrication. I say, so far as the statements are trustworthy, merely because the Loftus Manuscript is not a contemporary document. It seems, however, to have been drawn up from good sources, and in this part of it at least is in harmony with facts otherwise known. Now the Loftus Manuscript merely says : “The Service in English ceased to be read publicly from the deatli of Edward VI. until the second coming over of the Earl of Süssex; but then, when he received the sword at Christ Church, Sir Nicolas Dardy sang the Litany in English.” This is all. But I ask again: The writer from whom Loftus drew his information about the English Litany, was he likely to chronicle the snap of the pistol, so to say, and omit the discharge of the cannon?. The introduction of a translated Litany was an event to be handed down, but the bleeding Christ, the three weeks’ public penance of the impostors, the Archbishop’s Sermon, the conversion of a hundred citizens of Dublin from Mass to- it is not said what- these were things to be passed over, and only to be learned at last by the discovery in Sir James Ware’s papers of a copy of a hitherto unsuspected “Memorial of Cecil,” telling of a letter to Parker which has perished, and which he never seems to have mentioned except to the Queen.

And, once again, if we examine the story as we have it from Ware’s pen (the only known source, since Strype merely copies Ware), is there any intrinsic or extrinsic probability about it? In August 1559, he represents “the Romish clergy ” as “lurking and wandering in that city.” They were then in full possession of benefice and office ; as yet not one had been deposed, nor had Parliament been summoned to bring about in Ireland the change of religion that was taking place in England. From what then were the priests lurking? As regards the dramatis personae, Christopher Sedgrave, the mayor’s name, was easy to ascertain, and Nicolas Dardy was found in Loftus. But who was Leigh? We are told that Richard Leigh, or Father Leigh, as Ware afterwards calls him, had been “formerly of the priory of the cathedral.” Now in the charter changing the prior and regular canons of Holy Trinity (since called Christ Church) into a dean and secular canons, a full list is given of the community; but Richard Leigh’s name is not among them.(See 2oth Report of the Deputy Keeper of the Pablic Records in Ireland, p. 116). I may leave to the judgment of the reader whether it is probable that impostors would have adopted a trick so easy to discover as that of placing a sponge within the crown of thorns ; and also whether the way to make blood flow is to allow it to coagulate all night in a sponge, and then put the sponge on a piece of cold marble. On the whole, “the strong delusion to believe a lie” seems to me not to have prevailed among the Dublin Catholics of 1559, but among the Protestants of England and Ireland ever since the year 1683.

A few years ago the cathedral of Christ Church was “restored”, in an architectural sense. At a vast expense the whitewash and other accumulated vandalisms of three centuries of Irish Protestantism were removed. On this occasion a splendid volume was published, in which the architecture was explained and illustrated by Mr. Street, and very naturally an historical Sketch of the cathedral was prefixed. This was from the pen of the Rev. Edward Seymour, precentor of -Christ Church. What a golden opportunity for removing historical rubbish and restoring truth! But no, the old story is repeated, with even a few fresh daubs from Mr. Seymour’s brush. He tells us that, in accordance with Queen Elizabeth’s injunctions, the English litany was used at the installation of the Lord Deputy “instead of the Latin Mass.” These last words are Mr. Seymour’s own gloss. In Elizabeth’s instructions to Sussex, which may be seen in Shirley’s Original Letters, there is no question of omitting Mass. Great men or officials are merely exhorted to adopt the reformed rites in their own homes. We do not know what Litany was used, probably the Litany of the Saints in the English and curtailed form approved by Henry VIII. But in any case there was no abolition of Mass. Mass may not have been said on the occasion of the Lord Deputy’s receiving the sword; but it would certainly have been said on the following Sunday when the cheat is supposed to have been got up. Mr. Seymour then continues : “Upon this the opponents of the reformed worship resorted to the following means (narrated by Strype in his ‘Life of Archbishop Parker’) to cast discredit on the English service, and prevent its introduction into Ireland.” He then gives the story. How much better both for himself and for truth would it have been had Mr. Seymour written “The opponents of Catholic worship, Ware and Strype and their followers, resorted to a most unworthy forgery to cast discredit on the priests and people of Dublin.” Is it useless to hope that some day candour and love of historic truth will prevail over party spirit and readiness to believe evil?

5. Forged prophecies.
The forged prophecies that I have met with are all malicious. Like the popular Protestant interpretations of Divine prophecies, they are intended to support the view of the preternatural iniquity of hated political or religious adversaries, by the fact that this iniquity was deemed worthy of being the subject of Divine intimations years or centuries before. I will give a few examples.

I. A BRITISH PROPHET.-Among the papers of Sir James Ware, which are the depositories of Robert Ware’s inventions, is a page which I cannot indeed prove to be his, but if not his it is that of a kindred genius. I suspect it to be Robert’s own because of the coincidence that it professes to be drawn from the Rochester Registers, the apocryphal source of the story of Thomas Heath. It is scarcely necessary to remind the reader that it has been a favourite theory with Anglicans that they represent at least the spirit of the ancient British Church, and that the British Church knew nothing of Roman supremacy. The Collectanea Hibernica, (Now Addit. MSS. 4762) at fol. 124, states that the prophecy has been taken from “the register belonging to Rochester, and translated out of the Saxon character by John Gavende, sometime chaplain to the said Bishop, being named Edmund Gest, A.D. 1564.”I need not give the full rigmarole of this prophecy. It is enough to say that Gnatus, a British prophet, meets St. Augustine, and upbraids him with calling the Bishop of Rome Vicar of Christ; he foretells the pride and usurpation and idolatry that in future ages will come from Rome, and their final downfall under a “Judith who will one day arise;” by Judith being of course meant the valiant and beautiful Elizabeth, with a hint that the Pope is the proud and intoxicated Holofernes.

II. ARCHBISHOP USSHER.-The gift of prophecy was not confined to the ancient British Church. It fell also an the prelates of the Protestant Church of Ireland. Dr. Maut tells us that when the Queen and her Council in England held back the hands of Adam Loftus, Archbishop of Dublin, from enforcing the penal laws regarding religion in 1601, “the spirit of Ussher [then a young man] was stirred within him by this new condition of things. He feared that the allowance of the free exercise of the Papist religion by public authority would tend to the disturbance of the government both in Church and State. He was deeply sensible both of the offensiveness of its idolatrous practices in the sight of’ God, and of its intolerant and persecuting action, which made it so dangerous and pestilential to man.” So he preached a sermon before the Lord-Lieutenant and his Council, in which he proved by a text from Ezekiel that, after forty years, retribution would fall on Ireland. “This application of the prophecy,” writes Dr. Maut, “was made in 1601, and in 1641 broke out that rebellion, which was consummated in the massacre of many thousands of its Protestant inhabitants by these whose idolatrous religion was now connived at. The foreboding, in general, may have been no more than the result of judicious conjecture and foresight, actuated by an intimate knowledge of the true character of the Romish religion; the coincidence of time may have been a fortuitous circumstance; but it can hardly excite surprise that many of these who were apprised of the prediction, and who witnessed its accomplishment, regarded it as an effusion of inspiration.” (History, i. 339.)

There is one difficulty in this matter which Dr. Mant does not clear up. It is, that the massacre was not the result of toleration but of persecution. In 1626 twelve Protestant Irish bishops, led on by Ussber, made the following formal judgment: “The religion of the Papists is superstitious and idolatrous; their faith and doctrine erroneous and heretical ; their Church, in respect of both, apostatical. To give them therefore a toleration, or to consent that they may freely exercise their religion and profess , their faith and doctrine, is a grievous sin.” (Mant, p. 423) And the lay authorities, who got into wealth and power by the most shameless fraud and spoliation, were but too ready to conform their practice to this religious theory. They had scruples about toleration, if unscrupulous in everything else. “The new men”, says Mr. Walpole, “were all of strong Protestant tendencies. Accordingly we find a regular harassing of the Roman Catholics by the Castle authorities, the Oath of Supremacy being constantly required, and the Act of Uniformity steadily enforced, to the exclusion from public offices and professions and the systematic impoverishment of these who refused the one or disobeyed the other.” History of the Kingdom of Ireland, p. 111). Mr. Walpole has headed the chapter in which he recounts these things, “Sowing the wind again.” But if religious persecution was harassing, the wholesale confiscations of the “plantation” of Ulster drove the people to madness, and Mr. Goldwin Smith, a writer in no way favourable to Catholics, in describing the massacre of 1641, writes: “It presents an appalling but perfectly credible picture of the vengeance which a people brutalised by oppression wreaks, in the moment of its brief triumph, on the oppressor.”. (Irish History and Irish Character, p. 108.) He then goes on to say that “as soon as the diabolical struggle had begun, the English and Scotch colonists perhaps exceeded the Irish in atrocity,” of which he gives some specimens, and concludes: “Such is the effect of ascendancy on the character of the ascendant party.” Thus, then, what Dr. Ussher and Dr. Mant represent as the Divine punishment of the grievous sin of toleration, history records as the natural result of persecution and oppression. Dr. Mant says that during the long period of toleration “for several years a deep plot was laid for a general rebellion and massacre of the English and Protestant inhabitants by Papist priests and Jesuits of the Continent, in conjunction with those of Ireland.” Mr. Goldwin Smith, on the contrary, says: “This outbreak of savage vengeance seems to have been unpremeditated and opposed to the policy of the leaders; “and Mr. Walpole writes: “Some of the Irish priests and Jesuits were especially conspicuous for acts of Christian mercy, hiding the terrified supplicants under the altar-cloths, and striving to stop the bloodshed at the risk of their own lives.” (History of the Kingdom of Ireland, p. 234)

Robert Ware was one of those who had heard of Ussher’s sermon. He improved the opportunity. In 1680 he printed a pamphlet of eight pages on the prophetic spirit of Ussher, (It is in the British Museum Press mark 117, d.33) which he issued again in 1687, with the boast that no one had ventured to deny the authority of his documents. (Reprinted in Harleian Miscel. vii. 540.) The substance of Ussher’s utterances is that evil days were coming .for Protestants by the hands of the Papists, “and that the then Pope should be the chief instrument in it.” This bit of history is peculiar to Ware. To us all this may appear trivial and tedious. But let it be remembered that, in 1680, when Ware’s pamphlet appeared, rewards viere publicly offered by the Government to witnesses from Ireland who would come forward and give evidence in confirmation of the story of Oates, that a general massacre of Protestants was in preparation. Let it be also remembered that Archbishop Plunkett was being accused of a conspiracy to raise 70,000 men for that purpose. Though Ware did not come forward as a witness, and only dabbled in history, yet it was history of this kind that perverted the minds of both juries and judges, and made Chief Justice Scroggs say, in delivering his sentence against the venerable Archbisbop, that “his religion was ten times worse than all the heathenish superstitions, the most dishonourable and derogatory to God and to His glory of all religions whatsoever, for it undertakes to dispense wich God’s laws, and to pardon the breach of them.”

III. ARCHBISHOP BROWNE.-The prognostications of Gnatus and Ussher are vague and unsatisfactory compared with the predictions of Archbishop Browne. “Saul among the prophets” caused bewilderment to the Israelites, but what was that phenomenon to Browne among the prophets? The tool of Henry VIII in all dirty work, he was the very last man to whom a Divine communication could have been supposed to be made, unless it were like Balaam or Caiphas, to foretell a calamity impending over himself or his own people. Robert Ware seems, however, to have given his heart to this man as the founder of Protestantism in Ireland. In 1681• he printed a pamphlet with the following title: “Historical Collections of the Church of Ireland during the Reign of King Henry VIII., Edward VI., and Queen Mary, wherein are several material passages, omitted by other historians, concerning the manner how that kingdom was first converted to the Protestant religion, &c., set forth in the life of George Browne, some time Archbishop of Dublin.” (Reprinted in Harleian Miscel., v, 595) As usual these revelations, unknown to former historians, are supposed to be derived from the papers of Sir James. The pamphlet was embodied in the English translation of Sir James Ware’s Annals in 1705, and called the Life of Archbishop Browne. From this bundle of forgeries, for such it is, is derived the Story of Cole and his pack of cards that I have already related. (See supra, p. 217.) Many of the speeches and letters of Browne given by Cox and Mant and Dr. Ball have no other origin or authority.

In this pamphlet occurs the marvellous prophecy of Henry’s Archbishop. It is part of a sermon preached on the first Sunday after Easter in 1551. His text was, “Open mine eyes, that I may see the wonders of Thy law.” First he sees wonderful things about images, then more wonders still about false prophets, and at last, in the full burst of inspiration, he cries “There are a new fraternity of late sprung up, who call themselves Jesuits, which will deceive many, who are much after the Scribe and Pharisee manner; . . . these will turn themselves into several forms, with the heathen an heathenist, with atheists an atheist, with the Jews a Jew, with the reformers a reformade, professedly to know your intentions, your minds, your hearts and your inclinations, and thereby bring you at last to be like a fool that said in his heart there is no God. These shall spread over the world, shall be admitted into the councils of princes, and they never the wiser; charming of them, yea making your princes reveal their hearts and the secrets therein unto them, and yet they not perceive it .. . y et in the end, God, to justify His law, shall suddenly cut off this society, even by the hands of these who have most succoured them and made use of them. So that at the end they shall become odious to all nations, they shall be worse than Jews, having no resting-place on earth ; and then shall a Jew have more favour than a Jesuit.”

This has been praised as a very remarkable sermon, and so indeed it would be had it been preached in 1551 as pretended. For at that time St. Ignatius was still alive, and not one Jesuit had ever been seen by Browne or bis auditors. Two Jesuits had indeed been for a few weeks in Ireland, in 1541, but as they had lived in concealment, their visit had probably never been heard of by Browne. Robert Ware says that his father got this sermon from Anthony Marsh, late Bishop of Meath, but as Sir James gives no hint of it in his notice of Browne, we may easily know what was its real origin. Its object was to give support to the murders being perpetrated, about the time of its publication, on so many innocent and excellent Catholics, Jesuits, and others.

IV. ST. LASERIANUS.-Robert Ware thought it a most cunning device to make his enemy, the Catholic Church, predict her own downfall, and to do this he hit on the egregious plan of invoking papal authority for his concoction. In the same Life of Browne he says that in 1538 a Franciscan friar, named Thady Birne, was apprehended in Ireland and cast into prison, where he committed suicide, and that amongst his papers was found the following letter, addressed to the great chieftain of the north, Shane O’Neil:

“My son O’Neil,-Thou and thy fathers are all along faithful to the Mother Church of Rome. His Holiness Paul, now Pope, and the council of the holy fathers there, have lately found out a prophecy there remaining of one St. Laserianus, an Irish Bishop of Cashel, wherein he saith that the Mother Church of Rome falleth, when in Ireland the Catholic faith is overcome. Therefore, for the glory of the Mother Church , the honour of St. Peter and your own secureness, suppress heresy and his Holiness’s enemies, &c. -EPISCOPUS METENSIS. Rome, April 28, 1538.”
It seems almost incredible that this idiotic effusion should really have been supposed to have emanated from the Holy See; yet such is the fact, and it is accepted without any misgiving by Cox, Mant, and others. Even Mr. Goldwin Smith writes: “In the time of Henry VIII. a prophecy went abroad that the Catholic Church would fall when Ireland ceased to be Catholic.” (Essay an Irish History, p. 94.) He is wrong. We may hope that Ireland will remain faithful to the end; but the promise about the gates of hell is made to the see of St. Peter, not to the Church of St. Patrick, and the Thady Birne prophecy is of Protestant, not Catholic origin, and came from the forge of Robert Ware in the time of Charles II., not from Pope Paul III in the time of Henry, much less from St. Laserian of Cashel, a saint not known to history or to Irish hagiology. (St. Laserian of Leigblin is well known.) I will not delay further on this than to ask the reader to note the phrase, “the mother Church; ” for this phrase may be called the private mark of Robert Ware. He puts it in every document, whether supposed to emanate from Popes or Jesuits, to have been composed in Latin or in English.

6. Forged Dispensations and Indulgences.
Sir Richard Cox, and after him Bishop Mant, give a tremendous form of oath, prescribed, they say, by Pope Paul III. in 1538, to be taken by all Irishmen. It is too long to quote fully. I give come specimens :-“I, A. B., do vow and swear to maintain, help, and assist the just laws, liberties, and rights of the Mother Church of Rome. I eount all acts made, or to be made, by heretical powers of no force, or to be practised or obeyed by myself, or any other son of the Mother Church of Rome. I do further declare him or her, father or mother, brother or sister, son or daughter, husband or wife, uncle or aunt, nephew or niece, and all others, nearest or dearest relations, friend or acquaintance whatsoever, accursed, that either do or shall hold, for time to come, any ecclesiastical or civil, above the authority of the Mother Church; or that do or shall obey, for the time to come, any of the Mother Church’s opposers or enemies; so God, the Blessed Virgin, St. Peter, St. Paul, and the Holy Evangelists help,” &c. I need scarcely say that this is not to be found in the Roman Bullarium, nor did Cox or Mant condescend to look for it there. It is taken from Robert Ware’s “Life of Archbishop Browne,” and comes from a pretended letter from Browne to Cromwell, not found in any other collections, one of those documents so curiously known to Ware in 1681, and never seen before or since. I have already remarked the phrase Mother Church of Rome, by which Ware’s documents may be recognised. It occurred three times in the short letter to O’Neil. It occurs four times in this oath. We shall see it again and again.

In his “Foxes and Firebrands” (Part ii. p. 23 ) Ware says that “an indulgence was granted by Paul III. for to kill any that followed Luther’s opinion, a thousand years’ pardon for his sins, besides the honour to be enrolled by the name of Rome’s faithful soldier.” To the same Pope he attributes other grants too obscene to be transcribed. Again: “This Pope Paul, by his Bull entered at Paris (!) runs Englished thus: – ‘Whereas we find the heretics now concord in the administration of the Sacrament of the Body of Jesus, we grant full remission of sins to those our sons of our Nother Church that shall stop or hinder their union among heretics.”‘ (Ibid. p.24) This is quoted by Dean Goode as an authentic document. Robert Ware gives the following information regarding the Council of Trent, which is certainly supplemental to all that has been recorded by Pallavicini or Le Plat, or even by Sarpi. Those authors tell us that the Council, after a long interruption, reassembled for the eleventh session on May 1, 1551, and that even then, as only thirteen bishops had come, it was prorogued to September. But Ware says that “In the year 155o the Jesuits of Paris their opinion was to the Council of Trent that the Pope and the Council were above all that is called God, and of greater force than the Scripture was; for which opinion one Veratus returned this Society thanks from the Council that their acts and the Pope’s were beyond the law, the prophets, and the Scriptures.”

Perhaps the reader may ask impatiently why I transcribe stuff like this. I do so because it is necessary to show what sort of a man was Robert Ware. All his documents are not so palpably absurd, and we have seen that some of them have been accepted by Mr. Bagwell, Dr. Ball, and one of them by Mr. Gardiner. It is, therefore, necessary to examine the veracity or authority of the man an whose voucher their authenticity rests.

Ware then continues “The messenger between the Council of Trent and the Jesuits of Paris was Ludovich de Freake, formerly a priest in England, who brougbt wich him up to Paris, from the Council, several kinds of indulgences and instructions for the Society to undertake and grant and teach.” They are to make use of the confessions of the people to ascertain their sentiments, “to make memorandums of things doubtful or suspicious, and to give the See of Rome intelligence that the Mother Churchmight be informed and all evil prevented.” They are to associate with heretics, and to disguise their profession; and ” ye may, with leave of any three of the society, be permitted to wear what dress you think convenient; and any of you thus dispensed may go with the heretics to any of their heretical meetings. If you own yourselves clergymen, then to preach, but with caution, till ye be well acquainted wich those heretics ye converse with, and then by degrees add to your doctrine by ceremonies or otherwise, as you find them inclinable.” They are authorised to dispense with clever laymen also to feign heresy; and “in case they scruple in taking of oaths, you are to assure them that they are to be kept no longer than the Mother Church sees it convenient. Or if they scruple to swear on the Evangelists, you are to say unto them that the translation on which they swear his Holiness hath annulled, and therefore it is become heretical and all one as upon an ordinary story-book. You are also dispensed with to marry after their manner, and then ye safely may make answer that heretical marriage is no marriage, for your dispensation mollifies it so, that at the worst it is but a venial sin and may be forgiven. You are not to preach all after one method, but to observe the place wherein you come. If Lutheranism be prevalent, then preach Calvinism; if Calvinism, then Lutheranism; if in England, then either of these, or John Huss’s opinions, Anabaptism, or any that are contrary to the Holy See of Rome, by which your function will not be suspected, and yet you may still act in the interest of the Mother Church, there being, as the Council are agreed on, no better way to demolish that Church of heresy than by mixtures of doctrines, and by adding of ceremonies more than be at present permitted. Some of you who undertook to be of this sort of heretical episcopal society, bring it as near to the Mother Church as you can; for then the Lutheran party, the Calvinist, the Anabaptist, and other heretics, will be averse thereunto, and thereby make that Episcopal heresy odious to all these, and be a means to reduce all in time to the Mother Church. . . . Dated the fourth Ide of November, 1551 Beneventum.”.”

All this was, of course, intended by Ware to cast odium on the Protestant dissenters, as well as on what were then called the Arminian clergy of the Church of England, as if they were Jesuits in disguise. Dean Goode, who swallows it all, prints it with copious italics and small and,large capitals, as if it were a most important revelation as to the character of the Ritualistic clergy of today. He did not reflect that it would equally prove that he himself was a designing knave with a Roman dispensation. It would probably be useless to tell men who do not see the intrinsic folly of such documents that they are refuted by external evidence also. However, I will mention a few facts. i. The mysterious Word “Beneventum” is explained by Ware, in a marginal note, to mean that Casa, Bishop of Beneventum, was the spokesman or secretary of the Council of Trent. He drags in his name because of an infamous forgery which in the seventeenth century had been attached to him. But Casa never sat in the Council of Trent; and between May 1551 , and April 1552, was Apostolic Nuncio in Venice (See Migne’s Pallavieini, iii. 100). ii. No such Jesuit as Ludovic Freake is known in any history but that of Ware. In a marginal note of one of his manuscripts (Addit., 4785, fol. 27 b.) he says that Ludovic was cousin german of Edward Freak, Protestant Bishop of Rochester. (There was an Edmund Freke, Bishop of Rochester, in 1572, afterwards of Norwich and Worcester. Ware has a curious partiality for Rochester.) He is fond of instituting these relationships. The Jesuit Heath is brother of Archbishop Heath, and John Warham, who translates an imaginary bull of St. Pius V., is nephew to Archbishop Warham (Ibid. fol. 29.). iii. There viere no Jesuits in Paris at this period. iv. All the above, and much more, is supposed to be related by Samuel Mason, a converted Jesuit, who made his public retractation in Christ Church, Dublin, on June 6, 1566, and then wrote out a Statement for the Lord Deputy, Sir Henry Sidney, which Ware pretends to have been preserved by John Garvey, then Dean of Christ Church, and afterwards Primate. It is needless to say that the name of Samuel Mason is not to be found in Jesuit records; but the whole story of him and his doings is written in Addit. MSS. 4791, f01. 31-34, and printed in “Foxes and Firebrands,” part ii., 15-35, though of course the original record of Garvey is lost. The same may be said of the history of another illustrious convert to Protestantism, Philip Corwin, a Franciscan friar, nephew of Archbishop Corwin (!), whose Story, related by Garvey, was once in Ussher’s papers, and then in Sir James Ware’s, and was printed by Robert in 1681. On the strength of these imaginary compositions, Wood has ranked Garvey, who was educated at Oxford, among the writers of that University !

Ware has also a long and circumstantial story of a converted Carmelite friar named Malachy Malone, who, in the presence of the Lord Deputy, Sir John Perrot, in 1584, entering into St. Stephen’s Church, Galway, cried out, “I have sinned against God and the Queen;” then, taking off his friar’s weeds, he said: “Away with these cloaks of sins. I will clothe myself with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” This man, like Mason, has wonderful tales of dispensations for false oaths and false preaching, for the sake of the Mother Church. Malone quotes a Bull of St. Pius V., “willing and authorising the wise and learned to devise all manner of devices to be devised, to abate, assuage, and confound those heresies . . . . by which means heretics may either speedily perish by God’s wrath or continue in eternal difference to the reproach of Jew, Turk, heathen, nay to the devils themselves. Given at Rome the 6th Ide of May. Primo Pontif, PIUS QUINTUS.” Malone’s story, including this Bull, was sent by the Irish Council to the Queen and the English Council. So says Robert Ware. (Addit. MSS. 4791, fol. 27-30. Foxes and Firebrands, p. 35.)

It is curious how these lies of Ware keep turning up. In the volume for 1887 of the Associated Architectural Societies, is a paper called a List of Popish Recusants for Bedfordshire, by Mr. G. A. Blaydes. To this has been added a short preface by Mr. F. A. Blaydes, F.S.A. Though the list belongs to the middle of the 17th century, it gave the writer an opportunity to display his erudition regarding a former period. He writes as follows: “That some steps were necessary to preserve order in the realm is evident an referring to the history of the period. There is also in the British Museum-Addit. MSS. 4784- a paper which throws considerable light on the’ attitude of the Romanist party towards the Queen and Church of this country. It may not be amiss if I here quote one of these articles, the fifth of this document, as showing the animus of the Roman court towards this country, and the absolute necessity of taking stringent steps to counteract it.” The article is as follows: By a committee sitting in Rome in 1564, consisting of these cardinals, two archbisliops, six bishops, and six Jesuits, “it was granted not only indulgence and pardon to the party that should assault her Grace [Queen Elizabeth] either private or in publick ; or to any cooke, brewer, baker, physician, vintner, grocer, chirurgion, or any other calling whatsoever, that should or did make her away out of this world, a pardon, but an absolute remission of sins to the heirs of that party’s family sprung from him, and a perpetual annuity to them for ever; and the said heir to be never beholding to any of the fathers for pardon, be they of what order soever, unless it pleased himself, and to be one of these privy-Council whosoever reigned successively.”

Now, it is certainly no inconsiderable triumph of Robert Ware that he, and such as he, should have so bewitched the educated mind of this country, that a man with capacity to read a MS. should have no capacity to detect or even to suspect its authenticity from the plainest intrinsic evidence; or that a man, reading such a document as the above, should consider it so natural and plausible as to go no further in his researches to discover whether the document could be proved authentic from any other source, and whether it would be admitted or contested by Catholics. The account which the document gives of itself is this- that it forms one of a series of iniquities which a spy of Queen Elizabeth, named E. Dennum, discovered by means of “the silver key,” in Italy, in 1564, and which he communicated to the Privy Council ; that the original “was kept private in her Majesty’s secret closet amongst other papers of secrecy, at that time not to be published,”but that Lord Cecil (Burghley) had made a memorial of it, which came in the next century into the hands of John King, dean of Tuam, from whom it was copied by Sir James Ware among his papers. The reader by this time knows what to think of this pedigree, and will not be surprised to learn that all this is printed in “Foxes and Firebrands.” (Part ii. 49-58 ) He will not be surprised to hear that “the Mother Church” occurs five times in this document, or that it contains a license to priests of all religious orders to act as Protestant ministers.

I will give number four: “It was afterwards debated how it should be ordered, in case any of the heretical ministry of England should become as they who had these licenses. It was then answered by the Bishop of Metz that they desired no more than separation amongst the heretics of England, and by so doing, in case any animosity be amongst them, the Church established by the heretic Queen, there would be the less to oppose “the Mother Church” of Rome whenever opportunity served.” Number six gives a dispensation to Catholics in England to take any office, “ecclesiastical, military, or civil, and to take such oaths as shall be imposed upon them, provided that the said oaths be taken with a reserve for to serve “the Mother Church” of Rome whenever opportunity serveth, and thereby in so doing the Act in Council was passed it was no sin but meritorious until occasion served to the contrary.”

Mr. Blaydes read all this in the British Museum document ; and believing that it “threw considerable light on the attitude of the Romanists” and on history generally, he felt himself bound to take a note of it for future use. In the same spirit I cull two more specimens of Robert Ware’s code of Catholic indulgences. They are taken from his “Hunting of the Romish Fox.” In chapter i. he says that Paul III. granted a dispensation to Gardiner, Ponet, (it would not matter in Ware’s theory that Ponet or Poynet is well known to have been an ultra-Protestant in Edward VI.’s reign) and Bonner, in the time of Henry VIII., to take the oath of royal supremacy, and to grant dispensations to others to do the same, in order the better to suppress heresy. To get this dispensation these crafty bishops sent to Rome a rough draft of the famous Six Articles, saying: “As Catholics be burnt for denying supremacy, so shall heretics be burned for denying these.” “Paul liked of this project, and his cardinals approved thereof, as appeared by some papers which Matthew Parker, the Archbishop of Canterbury, seized on for her Majesty’s use, then belonging to the bishoprics of London and Winchester, anno 1559.” These documents have of course by some means got separated from the rest of Parker’s papers, and so are lost. Fortunately Sir Henry Sidney took a copy (also lost), from which Ussher took another (lost, alas !), from which Sir James Ware took another, which it was reserved to his son to See, and thus make known to the world.

In chapter ix. of the same book Ware gives the oath taken by the missionary priests educated in the seminaries in the time of Elizabeth.

“I (A.B.) do acknowledge the ecclesiastical and political power of his Holiness, and the Mother Church of Rome as the chief head and matron (sic) above all pretended Churches throughout the whole earth; and that my zeal shall be for St. Peter and his successors as the founder of the true and ancient Catholic faith, against all heretical kings, princes, states, or powers repugnant unto the same. And although I (A.B.) may pretend, in case of persecution or otherwise, to be heretically disposed, yet in soul and conseience I shall help, aid, and succour the Mother Church of Rome, as the true, ancient, and apostolic Church. I further do declare not to act or contrive any matter or thing prejudicial unto her, or her sacred orders, doctrines, tenets, or commands, without the leave of her supreme power, or its authority, under her appointed, or to be appointed. And when so permitted, then to act or further her interest more than my own earthly gain or pleasure,” &c.
Mr. Froude would seemingly have no dilficulty in accepting the genuineness of this oath ; for he has thus written of the year 1559 : “The vast majority of the clergy, unambitious of self-sacrifice, or, it may be, acting under secret instructions and wich a dispensation for perjury when hard pressed, abjured the Pope.” (History of Elizabeth, i. S8.) Literary courtesy can have no place with regard to words like these. They contain an infamous caltimny, which is all the more inexcusable in that the bishops, who are supposed to have granted the dispensation, all, wich one exception, suffered deposition and most of them imprisonment, rather than accept the oath of supremacy.


As a final note, the infamous “Jesuit Oath”, forged by Robert Ware (see Catholic Encyclopedia: Imposters) has been thoroughly refuted by Steve Haws’ Examining Protestantism forum.
Click on the link at   to read the findings.

The Forgeries of Robert Ware – part 1 of 2

Chapter VII of Rev. T.E. BRIDGETT’s 1890 book
dealing with the Forgeries of
Robert Ware
Part 1: A Forger and his Method

Part 2: The Forger’s Work yet Lives

Part 3: Some Test Cases

Part 4: A Forged False Miracle

Part 5: Forged Prophecies

Part 6: Forged Dispensations and Indulgences

Return to Anti-Catholic Forgeries index

There are six other sections in this chapter on Robert Ware, with the headings “Priests in Masquerade, “Attitude of Nonconformists”, “The Catholic Bishops and Queen Elizabeth”, “Two Episcopal Plots”, “A Royal Correspondence” and “A Last Example and Summary”. These are not yet available online.

I. A Forger and his Method

Just as the plague infected London during the seventeenth century, so was forgery during that time an epidemic throughout England and Ireland. The great plague of 1666 was but the climax of a series of outbursts of virulent disease; and the revelations of Titus Oates and his compeers, in 1678 and the following years, were only the most notable and atrocious of a series of frauds perpetrated on religious credulity. Some of there have been either long ago or more recently refuted and exploded. No on probably believes now in Tonge and Oates, Dangerfield and Bedloe. Mr. John Gough Nichols, in the Camden Miscellany for 1852, in his account of a true discovery at Clerkenwell in 1628 of a Jesuit’s house and its very innocent contents, laid bare the forgery of a letter full of tricks and treasons, stratagems and wars, which wa spublished as if it had been part of the spoil of the pursuivants. I am not going to rewrite the history of the Clerkenwell discovery nor of the Titus Oate sPlot. The forgeries on which, in this essay, I shall be principally engaged have not, so far a sI can learn, met with the attention they deserve, not indeed for their importance or plausibility, but for the success they have obtained.

I refer to the forgeries of Robert Ware, begun in 1678 contemporaneously with the revelations of Titus Oates, and continued for some years. Ware did not appear as an accuser or a witness in a court of justice; his forgeries in books and pamphlets were not directed against living men; yet by his historical lies he helped to win credit for the monstrous stories of the “Popish Plot,” as being in harmony with former events and past discoveries; and there are several of his baseless fabrics repeated in the publications, even of the last few years, by writers to whom the name of Robert Ware is almost or entirely unknown. For the success of Ware’s forgeries during two centuries is mostly due to their adoption by the historian Strype. I do not accuse Strype of wilful deception as I do Ware; but he was blindly credulous, while, at the same time, like many propagators of malevolent gossip, he made no scruple to give a character of authenticity to his tales by quoting, as if they had been seen by himself, authorities which he took on trust from his own deceivers.

I must first explain the method adopted by Ware, and in which lay the secret of his success. In their subject matter nearly all his forgeries are, to the last degree, absurd and incredible, many of them are obscene and atrocious, and it is a sad revelation of the state of the Protestant mind in England that they were so greedily received, and are still accepted, by so many. In addition to the wish to believe evil of Catholics, which was the principal cause of their success, there were three tricks used by Ware which helped to gain credit for his tales. First, he traded on the name of his illustrious father, Sir James Ware, the well-known Irish antiquarian and annalist. Robert Ware, Gentleman, as he calls himself on the title-pages of his books, was the second son of Sir James, who died in 1666. Sir James had been a great collector of old documents, and left numerous volumes of transcripts, containing, howbever, many blank pages. Robert Ware always professed to draw from his father’s collections, and Sir James had acquired the reputation of being learned and judicious. In the second place, Robert Ware made a parade of the high sources from which his father, according to his story, had received the various items, as Sir Robert Cotton, Archbishop Ussher, and “memorials” preserved by them, but written by men illustrious in history, as Sir William Cecil; the Secretary of State of Queen Elizabeth, or Lord Sussex and Sir Henry Sidney, Lord Deputies in Ireland. Lastly, Robert Ware’s narratives, or the memorials which he pretends to quote, are full of minute details of places, persons, and dates. A “lie with a circumstance” is easy to concoct, and with many carries great weight. Fortunately these very devices, so successful with those who are too 1azy to push inquiries, give us the means of proving the forgery. Were the documents really collected or guaranteed by Sir James Ware? Did they really emanate from the sources indicated? Are the circumstances, the dates, the namms in harmony with certain and uncontested history? Can the narratives be confirmed from any other source? These are fair and necessary tests for stories, all of which are full of bitterness and malice. The modern critic too often prefers to sift and scatter to the winds pious legends and poetical fancies. Few imitate Mr. Nichols in eliminating lies which have served the purpose of party strife or religious bigotry.

My answer, then, to the first of these questions is as follows : Sir James Ware had, I am convinced, no knowledge whatever of the many documents published by his son Robert. Many of them are certainly to be found now in the books which contain the father’s collections ; but a careful examination of several of these volumes has convinced me that the papers quoted by the son are in a handwriting quite different frone the genuine transcripts of the father, and of a later date. Handwriting underwent a notable change in the latter half of the seventeenth century. Sir James Ware, as I have said, died in 1666, and his papers are in an antique hand, that which he acquired in early life, or have been written for him by others in a contemporary handwriting. Now, the later writing occurs here and there in different volumes, just where there was room to insert new matter. These entries are generally followed by empty pages, but in no case have I found any of the older handwriting following one of the snspicious extracts on the same page. The collections of Sir James Ware, which fill many volumes, were formerly known as the Clarendon Manuscripts (not to be confounded with the Clarendon State Papers). They were purchased by the second Earl of Clarendon when Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland in 1686. (Though this collection is called Clarendon an the binding, it will prevent ambignity if I in future allude to it as Collectanea Hibernica, a name also given to it.) Between 1666 and 1686 Robert Ware had plenty of opportunity of laying his cuckoo eggs in these nests. The papers afterwards became the property of the Duke of Chandos, and, when sold by auction in 1746, some were bought by Dr. Rawlinson, and are now in Oxford, the remainder were purchased by Dean Milles of Exeter, and were by him given to the British Museum. They are now among the Additional Manuscripts. It will be easy to understand from these facts that some later writers, who knew nothing of Robert Ware, have quoted from the manuscripts, while others, who knew nothing of the manuscripts, have quoted from Robert’s printed books.

I have no reason whatever to think that the manuscripts were ever examined by Strype or Collier, who first gave currency to some of Ware’s myths. The first and second parts of Burnet’s “History of the Reformation” were printed before Ware’s pamphlets had got about ; consequently Burnet says nothing of the fables of Ware. But on the margin of one document, beginning, “Luther’s writing spreading abroad” (Addit. MSS. 4797, fol. 131-olim 193.) are these words : “Anno 1679, April the 6th, lett Henry, Bishop of Meath; take copy hereof to send to Dr. Burnet.” This of course cannot be Sir James Ware’s writing, since he was long ago dead ; yet it is quite similar to the entry at the head of the document, which affects to be Sir James’s : “Ex Bib. Cottnens. I got this memoir on the 6th Oct., 1657.” Now Burnet, in a sermon before the House of Commons, January 31, 1688-9, thus spoke : “I myself have seen the letters of the chief bishops of that time, from which it appears that the Queen’s stiffness in maintaining some ceremonies flowed not from their counsels, but from the practices of some disguised Papists.” As he has given nowhere in his history any proof of the existence of disguised Papists influencing State measures, I can only suppose that he had been afterwards deluded by communications like the above. It matters, however, not much whether my theory of the entries among Sir James Ware’s collections be true or not, be accepted or rejected. In any case the documents are spurious, which is the all-important matter. But I would not willingly believe that Sir James is responsible for them, since he nowhere used them, though he had occasion to do so in more than one of his printed works, had he known of them.

2. The Forger’s Work yet Lives.
I am not engaged in slaying the dead. Ware’s inventions are manifold, and some of our latest, and in many respects best, books of history are tainted by his slime. Thus Mr. Gardiner, in his “History of England in the time of Charles I.” has occasion to mention the Clerkenwell discovery, alluded to above. He writes as follows :-“As there was nothing treasonable in the papers, some clever scoundrel thought fit to forge a letter from one of the community, in which it was told how the Jesuits had a plot on hand for keeping alive the quarrel between Buckingham and the House of Commons ; and this forged letter was widely circulated.” (Vol. vi. 238 ) Mr. Gardiner in his note refers to Mr. Nichols, with whom he is so far in perfect agreement. But there is a further document, wich regard to the authenticity of which they differ, though neither of them seems to be aware of its origin. This is “A letter from some of the Lords of the Privy Council in England to the Lord Falkland, Lord Deputy of Ireland.” It communicates the news of the Clerkenwell discovery, and encloses a copy of that Jesuit’s letter which Mr. Nichols and Mr. Gardiner both denounce as a forgery. But in addition to this the letter says “The Jesuits be not only a subtil Society, but also an audacious sort of people, fearing no punishment, no, not the halter itself;” and then mentions a proposal of the Duke of Buckingham that they should be shamefully mutilated. As this proposal early in the eighteenth century was seriously discussed in a printed treatice, (reprinted in Harleian Miscellany) and was in 1723 actually embodied in a bill which passed both Houses of the Irish Parliament, and was only prevented becoming law by its rejection in the English Council owing, it is said, to the influence of Cardinal Fleury with Walpole, it is of some historical importance to know on whom the infamy rests of the first conception of this devilry. Mr. Gardiner says : “I incline to think the letter genuine ;” and as regards this clause of it adds : “The letter is very characteristic of Buckingham’s offhand way of treating serious matters.” To Mr. Nichols’ objection that the letter is dated March 2nd, whereas the Clerkenwell discovery only took place on the 15th, he replies : “This would be worth attending to if we had the original. But the hasty copy which is all we have may easily have substituted the 2nd for the 22nd March.” Now, the hasty copy of which Mr. Gardiner writes, and which Mr. Nichols printed, is to be found in the 44th volume of the Collectanea Hibernica. (Now Addition 4791, fol. 38 ) It is also printed in the second part of Robert Ware’s ” Foxes and Firebrands.” (At p. 125, the pretended Jesuit’s letter being at p. 118 ) From what has been already said, and from what I shall prove beyond question of the fabrication of other documents printed in this book, and written in the Collectanea Hibernica, no reasonable doubt can exist that what Robert Ware was the first to print Robert Ware had been the first to conceive. The forged Jesuit’s letter is not his. It had been printed in 1643, and in circulation, as it would seem, long before; (Mr. Nichols makes it almost certain that it was the work of Sir John Maynard, and that it was intended to clear the Duke of Buckingham, by representing him as hated by the Jesuits.) but by pretending that it was sent to Lord Falkland by the English Council Ware gave it an appearance of genuineness and authenticity. That he made a blunder in dating this pretended letter of the Council is quite characteristic. Similar blunders in dates will be found in many of his forgeries, as I shall show. Were Mr. Gardiner’s conjecture true, that tbe original was dated on the 22nd, it would follow that the Jesuit’s letter had been forged immediately, and had been foisted on the Council; whereas Mr. Nichols proves that the Government knew nothing of such a letter. I conclude, then, that we may absolve the Duke of Buckingham from the infamy attributed to him, and throw it upon its inventor, Robert Ware. The force of this conclusion depends on cumulative evidence not yet given. My present point, however, is the necessity of sifting thoroughly this man and his work.

Another proof that Robert Ware’s inventions are still living and in vigorous life, after two hundred years of mischief-working, may be seen from another specimen. In the Harleian Miscellany (Vol. v. p. 594) is a reprint of a pamphlet of twenty pages, which was first printed in London in 1681. It is called “Historical Collections of the Church of Ireland during the Reign of King Henry VIII., Edward VI., and Queen Mary, wherein are several material passages omitted by historians,” &c. The pamphlet has no name of author, but from internal evidence, which I shall explain by-and-by, on reading it I at once perceived that it was from the pen of Robert Ware, Gent. I afterwards found that, under the title of “Life of Archbishop Browne,” it was printed in Robert’s edition of his father’s Annals (Anno 1705). The new revelations profess to be drawn from Sir James Ware’s papers, and mostly refer to the famous George Browne, first Protestant Archbishop of Dublin. These I reserve for the present.

There is also in this pamphlet a story of a Dr. Cole having been sent to Ireland with a commission from Queen Mary to bring about a massacre of Protestants ; how, having reached Chester, he mentioned his mission, and showed his commission to a gentleman in the presence of a Protestant servant girl who had a brother in Ireland. The maid stole the commission out of Dr. Cole’s bag, putting in its place a pack of cards with the knave of clubs uppermost, but wrapped it in the old cover. Dr. Cole, unsuspecting the theft, landed in Dublin on October 7, 1558, and pretended his commission to Lord Fitzwalter, Earl of Sussex, the Lord Deputy, who, an opening the cover, burst into laughter, and said to the discomfited ecclesiastic, “Go and get another commission, and in the meantime wo will shufe the cards.” Dr. Cole, of course, found Queen Mary dead or dying on his return to London, and so the massacre of Irish Protestants was providentially averted, and by the shufliing of the cards Protestantism got the upper hand. Queen Elizabeth gave the servant girl a life pension of 40 pounds per annum.

The author of this precious story says that it is from the Earl of Cork’s memorial and Ussher’s manuscripts, copied by Sir James Ware, and wonders that it is not related by Foxe in his Acts and Monuments.

Does such a story deserve refutation? Well, if so, it might be enough to say, with the author himself, that it had been “omitted by historians ” until 1681. Unfortunately, since then it has been reproduced by historians. It will be found in Sir Richard Cox’s Hibernia Anglicana, published in 1689, and in Bishop Mant’s History of the Church of Ireland, published in 1840. Mant gives it on the authority of Cox ; and Cox, though professing to derive it from the anonymous pamphlet, ( When Cox wrote, Ware had not yet fathered his offspring. He waited to See its fortunes.) gives it with confidence, “because the author quotes the most reverend and learned Primate Ussher, and the memorials of the most noble and industrious Richard, Earl of Cork.” Thus Sir Richard Cox’s notion of evidence was to accept an anonymous author’s reference to unknown MSS. as proof of an incredible story. Yet this credulous lawyer and historian became Lord Chancellor of Ireland.

This is not all. In 1885, Mr. Bagwell published his “Ireland under the Tudors”, a work of considerable research. He gives the story of Cole which he had found in Ware’s life of Browne, but with the following introduction : “It rests on the testimony of Henry Ussher, one of the fathers of Trinity College, afterwards Archbishop of Armagh, and was repeated by his more famous nephew James Ussher, and by other public men of repute. In the absence of anything to rebut it, such evidence can hardly be rejected.” ( Vol i. 413.)

Another writer, and one who as Lord Chancellor of Ireland was accustomed to sift evidence,and has acquired the reputation of impartiality, the Right Hon. Dr. Ball, in his “Reformed Church of Ireland,” published in 1886, repeats the tale once more. He tells us that “Ware refers to Boyle, the celebrated Earl of Cork, and Primates Henry and James Ussher, as authorities for this story ; ” ( Appendix K.) and on the strength, not of these authorities, but of the reference to them, he writes : “There is no doubt that a story to this effect was in the next reign (Elizabeth’s) current.” (p. 45.) Lastly, that ” the circumstantiality with which the story has been told ” by Robert Ware, tends to confirm its credibility.

Are these the reflections of scientific historians and shrewd lawyers ? Who would not think that Primate Henry Ussher’s testimony to the story about Cole was to be found in one record, and Primate James Ussher’s in another, and the Earl of Cork’s in a third, and those of the “other public men of repute” in various books or MSS. ? Who would imagine that the whole of this testimony resolves itself into the statement of Robert Ware? As soon should I have expected a saying of Sarah Gamp to be corroborated by the authority of the respectable Mrs. Harris, her oft-quoted yet mythic friend, or the circumstantiality of her gossip adduced in support of its truth.

Mr. Bagwell says that a tale wich so many vouchers must be received, “in the absence of anything to rebut it.” I do not find that he has sought for any rebutting or confirming evidence, except the fact that two years previously Cardinal Pole was thinking of a legatine visitation of Ireland. Against this I may set the following rebutting evidence. There is no mention in any English or Irish State document of Dr. Cole’s mission ; and the name of the recipient of Elizabeth’s bounty-either her maiden or married name, for both are given by Ware to add plausibility to the story-will be sought in vain in the Calendars. Yet mere trifles are there recorded. There is an entry of a warrant 1( On May 24, 1561, Dom. Eliz. xvii. 10. font> to deliver eighteen yards of crimson velvet to the Earl of Sussex, due to him as chief “sewer” at the coronation of Elizabeth, but of Elizabeth’s bounty to the maid-servant not a word. Mr. Bagwell tells how Elizabeth was so parsimonious that she would only authorise her Lord Deputy to spend 1500 pounds a month on the whole government of Ireland, and urged him if possible to reduce the expense to £1000; ( History, ii. 5.) yet she will give £4o a year for life to a maid-servant! ( A sum equal to £400 of our present money.[c. 1890].)

These are merely negative arguments. But had Sir Richard Cox, or Bishop Mant, or Mr. Bagwell, or Dr. Ball, considered this matter with even a small part of that attention that they certainly would have given to the refutation of anything favourable to the Catholic Church, they would easily have discovered that the meeting of Lord Sussex and Dr. Cole was impossible. According to Ware, the meeting took place an October 7th, 1558, in Dublin. Now, it is easy to prove an alibi as regards the Earl of Sussex, and it shows the reckless impudence of Robert Ware (as well as the carelessness of those who quote him) that this proof should be in his own father’s Annals. Sir James states explicitly that the Lord Deputy left Dublin in the middle of September, and only returned to Dublin on the 18th of November. This statement is borne out by the Irish Calendars of State Papers. On September 14th Lord Sussex started on an expedition to devastate the coast of Scotland. He returned to Ireland, but not to Dublin, on October 5th. He writes on, that day that he is about to engage in some exploits against the Scotch” in these quarters,”i.e., in the north, for he refers to the Scotchmen settled in the north of Ireland, followers of O’Donnel and O’Neil. ( Irish Cal. ii. 69 71, 75; and On the Scotch in Ireland, Bagwell ii. 7.) We may therefore bid farewell to the Story of Dr. Cole, but not without the saddening reflection that, had it not been anti-Catholic in its nature, it would long ago have been classed among fables by every popular manual of Irish history.

3. Some Test Cases.
Robert Ware was tbe author of several books which appeared with his name, and of some anonymous pamphlets. He tells us that, “about the year 1678 he set forth in print the examinations of Faithful Commin and Thomas Heath.” This pamphlet was reprinted, with reflections of his own, by a Dr. Henry Nalson, with the title “Foxes and Firebrands.” According to Ware, both Commin and Heath, the one a Dominican and the other a Jesuit, were acting perfidiously as Protestant preachers, for the purpose of inventing heresies, causing divisions, weakening and overthrowing the Church of England, and so bringing back Popery. Nalson, therefore, in allusion to the story of Samson, calls Catholic priests foxes, who have the firebrand sects attached to their tails, in order to bring devastation into the fields of the Protestant religion as established by the State. Ware was so pleased with this title, that he republished Nalson’s book in 1682, adding a second part. In 1683 he published “The Hunting of the Romish Fox and the Quenching of Sectarian Firebrands”, and in 1689 the third part of “Foxes and Firebrands.” Of these, and of his other productions, I shall give an account later on. I confine myself here to tbe first part of ” Foxes and Firebrands.”

Dr. Henry Nalson says : ” I will begin with a remarkable narrative of a Dominican friar, being an extract out of the Memorials of the Lord Cecil, an eminent statesman in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, from whose papers it was transmitted to the Rev. Bishop Ussher, sometime Lord Primate of Ireland. The papers of the Lord Primate coming to the hands of Sir James Ware, late one of her Majesty’s Privy Council in Ireland, his son, Robert Ware, Esq., has obliged the public by a communication of them.” Here then are three weighty names introduced, Lord Cecil, by whom is doubtless meant Lord Burghley, formerly Sir William Cecil, Ussher, and Sir James Ware. But the strength of a chain is that of its weakest link, and neither Nalson nor others after him took the precaution to test the trustworthiness of Robert Ware. After this introduction follows a dialogue extending through many pages, between a Protestant fanatical preacher named Faithful Commin and Matthew Parker, Archbishop of Canterbury. The examination takes place before the Council and in the presence of Queen Elizabeth, who now and then asks a question or makes a remark. It turns out that Commin is really a Dominican friar. He is put back for further examination, but manages to escape to the Continent. He goes to Rome and is imprisoned by St. Pius V., who hears that he has often preached against the Pope. But Commin writes to his Holiness that he has something important to communicate ; and here I will give a page in the exact words of this book :-

“As soon as the Pope saw him, he said, ‘Sir, I have heard how you set forth me and my predecessors among your heretics of England, by reviling my person, and railing at my Church;’ to whom Commin replied : ‘I confess my lips have uttered that which my heart never thought, but your Holiness little thinks I have done you a most considerable service, notwithstanding I have spoken so much against you.’ To whom the Pope returned, ‘How, in the name of Jesus, Mary, and of all His Saints, hast thou done so ?’ ‘Sir,’ said Commin, ‘I preached against set forms of prayer, and I called the English prayers English Mass, and have persuaded several to pray spiritually and extempore. And this hath so much taken with the people, that the Church of England [service] is become as odious to that sort of people, whom I instructed, as Mass is to the Church of England, and this will be a stumbling-block to that Church while it is a Church.’ Upon which the Pope commended him, and gave him a reward of 2,000 ducats for his good service.” ( Foxes and Firebrands, part i. p. 27.) Let the reader bear in mind that all this is not a bit of modern Irish burlesque, but a part of Lord Cecil’s Memorial; and that Lord Cecil professes to derive it from a report made to the Council by a merchant named Baker. The great English statesman thus concludes his narrative: “The Queen sent over to her agent beyond the sea, if possible to have Commin taken and sent over to England; but the thing taking air, and it being the common discourse how the Pope had rewarded this impostor, some of his friends gave him advertisement of his danger, which made him quit the Low Countries and seek a safe retreat in the Romish territories.”

I owe it to myself to say that, if I have investigated the truth of these and similar stories, it has not been for my own satisfaction ; and I have only been convinced of its necessity by the strange credulity in these matters of which I have already given examples. As regards Faithful Commin, the story is accepted by Strype, though he had no other authority than Ware. ( Strype’s Annals, i. 342, and his Life of Parker, i. 485.) It was also given as an illustration of “Rome’s Tactics”, as lately as 1867, by William Goode, Dean of Ripon, though he writes not only D.D., but F.S.A. after his name, and he gravely informs us that Ware derived it from Lord Burghley’s papers.’ (Strype’s Rome’s Tactics, p. 16.) Dean Goode and Strype knew only the printed version in “Foxes and Firebrands”, but to give Ware fair play, I will state that the same story occurs verbatim in the Collectanea Hibernica, ( Addit. MSS. 4783 (Codex Clarendon, xv.) where it thus concludes: “This being a coppy of Ld Cissell’s memorandums of ffaithfull Commin. Many other memorandums in the same booke, worth the printing, which booke was amongst A.Bpp Usher’s Manuscripts before his Death.” This is intended to pass as a note by Sir James Ware, but it is in a later writing, and at the end of the volume, where several blank pages remained. I ask, then, what has become of these manuscripts of Ussher ? Their existence rests entirely on this and similar notes. I ask again, how it is that a story like the above, of so public a nature, was never chronicled or alluded to before the publication of Robert Ware’s pamphlet ? The name, too, of Faithful Commin is utterly unknown in Dominican annals, and occurs in no State paper of the period.

To give plausibility to his tale, Ware introduced names, dates, and many petty circumstances. These enable us to put him to the test. He says that the first examination of Faithful Commin took place on Monday, April 5, 1567. Commin’s friends, after his first examination, gave bonds that he should appear an April 12, “but the Spanish Ambassador being that day to have his private audience of the Queen,” Commin was put off to the 13th. Now April 5, 1567, was not Monday but Saturday. This, it may be said, merely proves a slip somewhere, and I allow that such an error would not overthrow a document otherwise well proved. But in this case we have a far better means of ascertaining the truth than the mere examination of a date. The Privy Council Registers and Minute Books still exist, where each meeting is recorded, and the subject which was treated. A careful examination has been made of these books. From this it appears that the first meeting of the Council in April 1567 was on the 7th, the next on the 16th. Neither in these nor in any other meetings in April is these any question of Faithful Commin or of any similar matter. Hence the whole story of the examinations of Commin by the Council is a fiction, and the memorial of Lord Burghley a forgery, not derived from Ussher, not copied by Sir James Ware, but the creation of the crazy yet cunning brain of his unworthy son.

Dr. Nalson, when going on to relate the second story that he has borrowed from Robert Ware, says that he does so, “that in the mouths of two witnesses Tuth may be justified.” He forgot that two false witnesses were brought to testify against Him who was Truth itself. The story of Thomas Heath, as given in “Foxes and Firebrands,” is too long to transcribe here. ( It is also in Addit. MSS. 4789 (Codes Clarendon, 42), fo1. 36.) I can merely give its outline. Thomas Heath was, according to Ware, a brother of Nicholas Heath, the deposed Archbishop of York. He had gone to Rochester, where his brother had been formerly bishop, and obtained leave to preach in the cathedral on April 21, 1568. While preaching, he let drop a letter in the pulpit, which was found by the sexton and given to the bishop, Dr. Guest. It was a letter addressed to Thomas Finn, and written by Samuel Malt, Superior of the English Jesuits in Madrid. The Letter encloses some Protestant collections, or tracts, as we should call them, for Finn, alias Heath, to distribute : “These mixtures with your own will not only a little puzzle the understandings of the auditors, but make yourself famous. We suppose your wants are not considerable at present, by what we have heard, how your flock do admire you every day more and more.” This letter and the suspicious nature of Heath’s sermon, which was an spiritual or extempore prayer as opposed to liturgies, caused him to be arrested and examined by the bisbop. He acknowledged that he had once been a Jesuit, but he had forsaken them and their tenets, and was even labouring to purify the new Church of England, and “to take off all smack of ceremonies that in the least do tend to the Romish faith.” But his lodgings in the Queen’s Arms in Rochester were searched. “In one of his boots were found his beads and a licence from the fraternity of Jesuits, and a bull dated the first of Pius Quintus to preach what doctrine that Society pleased for the dividing of Protestants. In his trunk were several books for denying baptism to infants.” “After this,” says Mr. Robert Ware, “Heath was remanded to prison, and for three days brought to the market-place at Rochester, where he stood by the high cross wich a paper before his breast, in which were written his crimes. Then he was pilloried, and on the last day his ears were cut off, his nose slit, and his forehead branded wich the Letter P, and he was condemned to endure perpetual imprisonment. But it lasted not long, for a few months after he died suddenly, not without the suspicion of having poisoned himself.”

Ware knew his contemporaries so well, and how easily they would accept any anti-popish story without inquiry, that he boldly stated : “The following narrative [of Heath] is a true copy taken out of the Registry of the Episcopal See of Rochester, in that book which begins Anno 2 and 3 Phil.-et-Mar. and continued to 15 Eliz.” Luckily the registers of Rochester for the year 1568 are not lost, and I have the testimony of two Protestant gentlemen, who have made a special search to test this story, that they contain not one word about the matter, but merely the ordinary records of Epscopal administration. I can also add that the names of these two Jesuits, Thomas Heath and his provincial, Samuel Malt, are unknown in the records of the Society, ( See Foley’s Records, Series I. 209) and will be sought for in vain in the Indices of State Papers.

Dean Goode, after copying this story from “Foxes and Firebrands”, calmly states : “The whole account is taken from the Episcopal Registry of Rochester. ( Rome’s Tactics, p. 17, note. ) Thus, while he is engaged in making a long and furious attack on the Catholic Church for forgery and dishonesty, he repeats these silly tales without taking the trouble to verify the reference given or to test any one of the names or circumstances or dates that are introduced. ( The whole pamphlet of 100 pages is filled with spurious matter of the same kind, in great part taken from Ware or Ware’s copiers. ) Strype and others had adopted the same easy plan of calumniating before him.

Pope John XII (955-964) and his “toasting the devil”

On a handful of anti-Catholic websites, one sometimes sees a descripton of the 10th century Pope John XII (955-64) as follows:

“Pope John XII was a violent man. He was a true debauchee and incestuous satanist, so lustful that people of his day said that he turned the Lateran Palace into a brothel. He drank toasts to the devil. When gambling he invoked pagan gods and goddesses. He was killed by a jealous husband while in the act of committing adultery with the man’s wife.”

What is the truth about Pope John XII?

Pope John XII who became pope on 16 December 955, and died on 14 May, 964, was one of the worst popes of the past 2000 years. He was elected at his deceased father’s wishes, in 955 at the age of about eighteen (maybe sixteen), and lived a dissolute life for the next nine years until he died, apparently from a paralytic stroke of some kind. During this period the papacy was certainly at the lowest ebb in its history. John XII is described by Warren Carroll in his book “The Building of Christendom”(Christendom Press, Front Royal, VA, 1987) page 416 (quoting Horace K.Mann’s “The Lives of the Popes in the Middle Ages”, V, 229-230, 241-245 (London, 1902-1931), 19 vols.) as ‘”bold and brash as a pagan”, addicted to hunting, hawking and gambling, and often immorrally involved with women.’

But should we believe the particular anti-Catholic allegation of “toasting the devil”?

Not that it matters to the truth of the Catholic Faith, but for the sake of justice we should seek to find the truth in this matter.

And the truth is, in spite of all his notoriety, there are no valid grounds for believing John XII was a satanist. The only evidence for his “toasting the devil” is from a notorious opponent of the pope, Liutprand (or Liudprand), Bishop of Cremona, (c. 920 – c. 972), who was also an important historian and diplomat whose records supply us with a useful history of the 10th century), who, by the way, was also a noted gossip. Liutprand’s chronicles were a major source for the historian Msr. Louis Duchesne (1843-1922), who, in his “Les premiers temps de l’etat pontifical” (3rd. ed., 1911, p.335) reports that “men told how, in the feasting at the Lateran, the pope used to drink to the health of the devil.” I cite the original French below:

“Le jeune pape ne se plaisait guère aux chants et rites de l’Eglise, ses nuits et ses jours se passaient avec des femmes et des jeunes hommes à partager les plaisirs de la chasse et de la table, débauches payées par le trésor de l’Eglise alimenté par la simonie. La cruauté complètait l’orgie; on crevait des yeux, on châtrait des dignitaires Il arrivait au pape dans les festins du Latran de boire à la santé du Diable. “

Duchesne’s principal work, “Histoire ancienne de l’Eglise” was placed on the Index of Forbidden Books in 1912.

The English of Liutprand’s quote is cited in Philip Hughes‘ “History of the Church” Vol. II, p.195 (Sheed & Ward (London), 1935). Hughes does note, however, the unreliable nature of some of Liutprand’s work, and in regard to Duchesne’s research, says that

“one of the principal witnesses against the pope is Liutprand of Cremona, not only an enemy and a strong partisan of the pope’s political adversaries, but, surely, one of the classic gossips of all time” (ibid.)

In addition, a council of 963 met to condemn the actions of Pope John XII. From the Catholic Encyclopedia: John XII we read:

“On 6 November a synod composed of fifty Italian and German bishops was convened in St. Peter’s; John was accused of sacrilege, simony, perjury, murder, adultery, and incest, and was summoned in writing to defend himself.”

There is no mention of satanism in the list of charges, nor of “drinking to the health of the devil” at the Lateran or anywhere else.

Given the fact that the above-mentioned council of 963 had every opportunity to bring the charge of satanism agains the pope if it were true, indicates that there is no truth in the rumour. Similarly, the only evidence we do have is from Liutprand of Cremona, who was a known enemy of the pope and a notorious gossip.

We mentioned above that Liutprand was “one of the principal witnesses against the pope is Liutprand of Cremona, not only an enemy and a strong partisan of the pope’s political adversaries, but, surely, one of the classic gossips of all time” (Hughes, ibid.). There are other sources, too, which show Liutprand to be a less than unbiased commentator.

Here is what the Catholic Encyclopedia entry on Liutprand, Bishop of Cremona, has to say

“Liutprand was often entrusted with important commissions, e. g., in 963 when he was sent as ambassador to John XII at the beginning of the quarrel between the pope and the emperor, owing to the former’s alliance with Berenger’s son Adelbert. Liutprand also took part in the assembly of bishops at Rome, 6 November, 963, which deposed John XII. Liutprand describes from his point of view these events of 960-64, and sides entirely with the emperor, condemning the Romans very harshly. After the death of the antipope, Leo VIII (965), Liutprand again went to Rome with Bishop Otgar of Speyer, as the emperor’s envoy, to conduct the election of a new pope, on which occasion John XIII was chosen. Liutprand’s writings are a very important historical source for the tenth century; he is ever a strong partisan and is frequently unfair towards his adversaries.”

The Catholic Encyclopedia article Pope John XII (referred to above) also refers to “a rumour recorded by Liutprand, and thus little to be relied on”.


It is remarkable to note that even as great a sinner as Pope John XII was the victim of slander. It is clear the Evil One hates the papacy so much he will cause slander to be brought upon even the least worthy occupant of the throne of Peter.

As a footnote it should be mentioned, for anyne who may be scandalized by John XII actual sins, it must be noted that whatever about John XII’s personal failings, and they were notorious, he never taught false doctrine. This is in keeping with the promise of Christ in Matthew 16:18. “the gates of hell shal not prevail”. Surely the episode of John XII is a remarkable proof for the divine institution and protection of the papacy!

The truth about the anti-Catholic charge of “Lord God the Pope”

Introduction to the allegation

The anti-Catholic charge usually reads as follows:


“In the “Extravagantes” of Pope John XXII (Cum. Inter, title 14, chapter 4, “Ad Callem Sexti Decretalium”, Column 140, Paris, 1685), Roman Canon Law says that it is heresy to deny the power of “Our Lord God the Pope.” In an Antwerp edition of the Extravagantes, the words occur in column 153.”

The work in question, the “Extravagantes of Pope John XXII) was actually written by a canonist, Zenzelinus de Cassanis, in the early 14th century. But did he really write the words “Lord God the Pope”?

Who was Zenzelinus de Cassanis?

From the Traugott Bautz Kirchenlexicon we read:


Zenzelinus de Cassanis, Canonist, papal chaplain, died 1334 in Avignon. Until 1317 he held position of Professor of Canon Law in Montpellier. Of his readings we have only a few glosses. His influential works strengthened the legal foundations of the papacy against conciliar tendencies. He rose to the position of papal chaplain and “Auditor Sacri Palatii”.(Original German at the above site: “ZENZELINUS de Cassanis (Gaucelinus, Genselinus, Jesselinus u.ä. de Cassagnes), Kanonist, päpstlicher Kaplan, + 1334 in Avignon. – Z. wirkte bis 1317 als Professor des kanonischen Rechts in Montpellier. Von seinen Vorlesungen sind nur wenige Glossen erhalten. Sein einflußreiches Wirken stärkte die rechtlichen Grundlagen des Papsttums gegen konziliare Tendenzen. Z. stieg zum päpstlichen Kaplan und Auditor Sacri Palatii auf.”)


What did Zenzelinus really do as a glossarist?

From the Catholic Encyclopedia: Glosses, Glossaries, Glossarists we read:

“The “Extravagantes” of John XXII were glossed as early as 1325, by Zenzelin (Zenzelinus) de Cassanis. (See also CORPUS JURIS CANONICI; DECRETALS, PAPAL.)”

Regarding glosses in general, according to the same source:

“A gloss (Gk. glossa, Lat. glossa, tongue, speech) is an interpretation or explanation of isolated words. To gloss is to interpret or explain a text by taking up its words one after another. A glossary is therefore a collection of words about which observations and notes have been gathered, and a glossarist is one who thus explains or illustrates given texts. In Canon law, glosses are short elucidations attached to the important words in the juridical texts which make up the collections of the “Corpus Juris Canonici” (q.v.). But the term gloss is also given to the ensemble of such notes in any entire collection, e. g. the Gloss of the “Decretum” of Gratian, of the “Liber Sextus”, etc. The Glossarists are those canonists who lived during the classic period of Canon law, from the twelfth to the fifteenth century, though many left works other than glosses.”

From the Catholic Encyclopedia: Papal Decretals we read that it “was customary to add to the manuscript copies [of canonical collections] textual explanations written between the lines (glossa interlinearis) and on the margin of the page (glossa marginalis). Explanations of the subject-matter were also added.”

So we can see that glosses were simly commentaries on canon law, and had no binding force or doctrinal infallibility behind them. The glossarists were legal commentators, not popes, and their views should not be treated as certain.


Back to the anti-Catholic charge

The particular gloss in question here is the Extravagantes of Zenzelius de Cassanis. (While there was also another gloss, called the “Extravagantes communes”, this is not important to our discussion). From the Catholic Encyclpedia: Extravagantes we read

“In 1325 Zenselinus de Cassanis added a gloss to twenty constitutions of Pope John XXII, and named this collection “Viginti Extravagantes pap Joannis XXII”. The others were known as “Extravagantes communes”, a title given to the collection by Jean Chappuis in the Paris edition of the “Corpus Juris” (1499-1505). He adopted the systematic order of the official collections of canon law”

In 1500 Jean Chappuis, a French lawyer, collated and arranged all the collections of the last two centuries (including the Extravagantes) in the Corpus juris canonici. The publishers in Paris were Udalric Gering and Berthold Rembolt (see; see also

The reader will note that Zenzelius had died in 1334, over 160 years before the first Parisian collection. (Also of note is the fact that it is not this edition that is charged with containing the words “Lord God the Pope” but a much later edition, from 1685).

Remember: the anti-Catholic charge is that this gloss of Zenzelinus referred to the Pope as “Lord God the Pope.”

So let’s look at the original “Extravagantes.”

This is found, complete *without* the interpolated text, at the Vatican Library. The exact library reference is as follows:


Gencelinus de Cassanis, Glossa ordinaria in Extravagantes Iohannis XXII
Ms.: BAV, Vat. lat. 1397, ff. 133ra-171rb.
Bibl. & Mss.: Tarrant, Jesselin de Cassagnes, 57-s.Further information on this work can be found in the following work:

Jacqueline Tarrant “The life and works of Jesselin de Cassagnes”, p.37
in “”Bulletin of Medieval Canon Law NS 9” (1979)
published by the Stephan Kuttner Institute of Medieval Canon Law (


What we find here is that the words “Lord God the Pope ” do not appear in the original housed in the Vatican Library.

So, what have we found? The statement “Lord God the Pope”, allegedly occurs in a Parisian version as late as 1685 (in other words, over 350 year after the original was written in 1325). Even if the words *do* appear in this edition, we can say the following:

  • i) The interpolated (possibly forged?)statement does not appear in the original, but only in copies dated many years (in the case of the Paris edition, over 350 years (1325 till 1685) after the original was written. 
  • ii) As glosses of their very nature deal with commentaries on canon law, they are unrelated to doctrine or doctrinal pronouncements and are not issued by the pope. Hence this inserted text could not be used (even if present in the original) as proof the pope was teaching falsehood. 
  • iii) The insertion of a forger of these words at a later date do not in any way affect the truth of the divine institution of the papacy, any more than insertion of words into a copy of the Bible changes the Bible’s authenticity. 
  • iv) The statement of one Father A. Pereira (see below) is invalid for the same reason mentioned in iii)




A good summing-up of this issue can be found on Catholic apologist Phil Porvaznik’s site :

“an examination of the original manuscript of Zenzelinus, preserved in the Vatican Library, failed to reveal the words attributed to him; and it has been definitely proved that the reference to God is an interpolation in later copies of his commentary.” (emphasis mine)

Although there is no way of knowing if the interpolation of these words was the work of a deliberate forger or a printing error, in any case the copied document was never used as a doctrinal source, something some anti-Catholics would like to believe.

With this in mind, we can safely lay to rest the anti-Catholic charges concerning the “Extravagantes” of Pope John XXII.

Final note

Some anti-Catholic websites mention a quotation from a Father A. Pereira: “It is quite certain that Popes have never approved or rejected this title ‘Lord God the Pope,’ for the passage in the gloss referred to appears in the edition of the Canon Law published in Rome in 1580 by Gregory XIII.”

Disregarding the fact that a) the Canon Law edition of Pope Gregory XIII was published in 1582, and not 1580, as the quote suggests, and b) that the author has been unable to find any information about the said Father Pereira, or even to verify his priestly status, what are we to make of his assertion?

It is important to point out that the gloss itself does not appear in this canon law edition; all the priest says is that the passage in the gloss referred to (in other words, the pasage that is referred to in the gloss) appears in the Canon Law edition.


So the logic goes as follows: if someone were to write a falsehood in relation to another written work anywhere, how does that affect the truth or othewise of the referenced written work itself itself?

Yet this is what we are expected to believe here. Father A. Pereira, whoever he is ( I have been unable to trace him) has not spoken logically here. He has said that the passage which the gloss refers to is in the Canon Law edition, so the gloss itself (even if it were a copy with the faked addition ) must be approved! Of course, the validity of one work is not dependent on references to it from a secondary source, and is not invalidated by falsehoods in such references.



By way of confirmation, the following update was received recently from Mr. Marno Retief in regard to the original manuscripts of Zenzelinus de Cassanis at the Vatican Library.

Vatican Library, Reference Service. “Re: Fwd: Verifying Information.” E-mail to Marno Retief. 2 June 2004.

‘It is, of course, a huge mistake. With much pain and time we found the passage you are quoting in the original manuscripts (Vaticanus latinus 2583, f. 258 v; Vat. lat. 1404, f. 22 r, both from 14th century), and in both it is clearly said “Dominum nostrum Papam”. The wrong formulation, “Dominum Deum nostrum Papam”, we found in an edition of the end of the 16th century, but these old editions cannot be philologically trusted. The original manuscripts have the correct version, and there is no word “Deum” in that sentence.’

Comments from Mr Marno Retief (who requested the information about the original manuscripts from Vatican Library)

‘In Zenzelinus de Cassanis’ original manuscripts (reference: Vaticanus latinus 2583, f. 258 v, and Vaticanus latinus 1404, f. 22 r, both from the 14th century) the word ‘Deum’ does NOT occur in the passage that anti-Catholics so often love to cite.”I am glad and thankful Vatican Library Reference Service so graciously assisted in finding out this information. The staff at the Vatican Library Reference Service was kind enough to go and look at the original 14th century manuscripts, and, as you know by now, they read ‘Dominum nostrum Papam’ and NOT ‘Dominum Deum nostrum Papam’. Zenzelinus de Cassanis has been vindicated. For those anti-Catholics who are interested, there is an excellent article by Prof. Franz Gillman on how the erroneous phrase came to print in some of the later publications: Franz Gillmann, “Dominus Deus noster Papa”? (in: Archiv f. Kathol. Kirchenrecht 95, 1915, 266-282).’

– Comments taken from e-mail correspondence with Sean Hyland, 2 and 3 June 2004

Update June 2004

Expose of the Charlotte Wells forgery. Part 2: email correspondence

publishers' claim
publishers’ claim

Bible Tabernacle Books, which publishes Charlotte Keckler’s story, makes the above assertion in its online version. 

So, what do these supposed verifiers of her story have to say? It gets interesting. (The addresses have been removed for privacy reasons).

First, TF Tenney:

letter from TF Tenney

letter from TF Tenney

Note that last part: “no one successfully refuted her testimony, though many tried.” This is a classic case of attempting to defend a ludicrous story by shifting the burden of proof. TF Tenney, listed as a supposed “verifier” of her story by Bible Tabernacle Books, has nothing to say.

So, on to the next “verifier”. I then tried to contact Paul Price of New Life Tabernacle church. This is the email I sent to Mike Miles:

leter to Mike Miles

leter to Mike Miles

I received an answer from one Bob James. Here is an extract from two mails he sent me:


Bob James' 1st email

Bob James' 1st email

Second email:

Bob James' 2nd email

Bob James' 2nd email


Once again, a sect which was supposedly able to “verify” Charlotte Keckler’s story can do nothing more than claim “We dont [sic] need to prove a thing.” But when you go about spreading slander, you’d better be able to prove it.

For the sake of completeness, I enclose an email from Mike Blume. Mike Blume was a close frined of Nilah Rutledge, who supposedly acompanied Charlotte on her travels:

Email from Mike Blume

Email from Mike Blume