Tag Archives: anti-catholic

Angels and Demons: anti-Catholic falsehoods, errors, and idiocy

I found this post over at  Danny’s  “no loss for words”  blog.   Well worth reading…..

Dan Brown is a fraud: A list of errors in Angels and Demons

And here’s an electronic booklet by Catholic author  Mark Shea which you can download:


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 “Boettner List”: Fact or Fiction?

The following was originally posted at Christian Forums in 2004 by Wayne A. Ariss and is posted here with the original copyright conditions.

Note: anyone is free to reproduce the following material in any form, as long as the author [Wayne A. Ariss] is given full credit for the material reproduced.

God bless all here.


(Copyright 2003 by Wayne A. Ariss; all rights reserved.)

In the years since the Internet became a worldwide communications tool, many types of “bulletin board” have become popular. These are a type of forum where a topic is introduced, and others may “post” replies to the topic by typing their thoughts into the bulletin board’s online system, and clicking on the “reply to topic” button on their computer screen. Their reply will then appear below the previous post, often with highlighted quotations from preceding posts, and the discussion will progress, sometimes with dozens of people joining in.

Some of these bulletin boards, naturally, are Christian discussion boards, where Christians and others can discuss topics such as theology, eschatology, doctrine, current events, and so on, from various Christian perspectives. Inevitably, the old dichotomies bewteen Catholics and Protestants will make their appearance in these discussions, and the doctrinal positions from both sides will be endlessly debated. On boards of a generic Christian nature, or on boards that are of a primarily Protestant makeup, Catholics and Catholic doctrine will often take quite a pounding from non-Catholics—but I can attest from personal experience that the major differences have little to do with what Catholics actually teach and believe, but misunderstandings, misrepresentations, and old canards which sometimes go all the way back to the 16th century.

Having spent years now discussing topics on these Internet bulletin boards, I have seen various claims and charges leveled at the Catholic Church, somtimes over and over again. One of the most common sources for this material consists of a familiar “laundry list” of charges against Catholicism, which I have seen posted literally dozens of times—either in part or in whole—usually verbatim, and tossed out as “proof” of the errors of Catholicism. Although the author of this list is not often identified, anyone familiar with the material will immediately recognize it as the work of one of the 20th century’s premier anti-Catholic screedists, Loraine Boettner.

Boettner was born in Missouri in 1901, and graduated with a Master’s degree in Theology from Princeton Theological Seminary in 1929. He held a variety of teaching positions around the country, and was an eminent and well-respected Reformed theologian; he died in 1990. Boettner wrote several books, including The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination, Studies in Theology, The Millennium, Immortality, and A Harmony of the Gospels. Unfortunately, what he seems to be the most remembered for was his 1962 book Roman Catholicism, published by the Reformed and Presbyterian Publishing Company of Philipsburg, New Jersey.

On pages 7, 8, and 9 of Roman Catholicism, Boettner included a “list” of claims against the Catholic Church—the very same “list” that is repeatedly posted, verbatim, on the Internet by those who disagree with Catholicism and who wish to point out its “errors”. Subtitled “Some Roman Catholic Heresies and Inventions, and the dates of their adoption over a period of 1650 years”, the grouping contains 44 items running from 300 AD to 1950 AD, with the addition of one item from 1965 in subsequent printings. Thus we have the source of the infamous “Boettner List”, as it is sometimes known.

For each item, Boettner first spells out the “heresy” or “invention” he claims the Church concocted, which is then followed by the date when it supposedly appeared. My purpose in this treatise is to refute each one of the items on Boettner’s list, both by correcting Boettner when he misrepresents the material in his item, and by providing primary source documents—or of materials which quote the primary source documents—that give the actual date of the practice in question, and thereby illustrating that the practices Boettner condemns actually existed in the Church much earlier than he claims. They were not “invented” at very late dates—indeed, many of them existed from the Patristic Era, or at least much earlier than Boettner would have us believe.

This is not meant to be an all-encompassing treatise, nor is it meant to be a deep scholarly endeavor. It is merely meant to highlight the wild inaccuracies in Boettner’s chronology, and let the reader decide for him or herself whether a man who manages to miss the mark so many times has any credibility in other areas as well. I do not present this as a condemnation of Boettner, or of his Reformed theological works or viewpoints; I am concerned with Roman Catholicism alone, and the claims which he makes against the Catholic Church which he provides early on in the book. Whatever the merits of his other works may be, I hope to show that in Roman Catholicism, Boettner truly has little to say with any factual credibility.

I have employed a variety of sources, making heavy use of the old Catholic Encyclopedia; but not all of my sources are Catholic, and all of the works I have used contain further cites from other works in which the material may be found. It remains only for the reader to locate the references I have provided to corroborate my sources and to do his own research to prove, or attempt to disprove, my findings.



1. Prayers for the dead, began about….300 AD.

The first Scriptural mention of prayers for the dead occurs in the Deuterocanonical book of 2 Maccabees, chapter 12, verses 39 through 46, in which Judas Maccabeus and his men pray for their fallen comrades, that God may forgive the sins of the dead men. 2 Maccabees was written sometime after 124 BC [1], which makes Boettner’s date more than 400 years off.

Examples of Christians offering supplication for the dead are found in grave scripts such as the Epitaph of Abercius, the Bishop of Hierapolis, written in 180 AD. On this grave marker, Abercius asks all who may read his marker to pray for him [2].

Other examples can be found in the works of the Christian apologist Tertullian, who lived approximately from 155 AD to 250 AD. In his work The Crown (211 AD), Tertullian mentions Christians offering sacrifices for the dead on the anniversary of their deaths [3], and makes a similar reference in his work Monogamy (213 AD), where he mentions widows offering prayers and sacrifices for their deceased husbands [4].

In even the very latest of these two examples, Boettner is still nearly a hundred years off.

[1] Introduction notes to the book of 2 Maccabees, New American Bible. New York: Catholic Book Publishing Company, 1969; pg 546.

[2] William Jurgens, The Faith of the Early Fathers, Volume 1. Collegeville, MN: The Liturgical Press, 1970, pg 78.

[3] Jurgens, pg 151.

[4] Jurgens, pg 158.



2. Making the sign of the cross….300.

Again we go back to Tertullian’s The Crown of 211 AD: “In all the occupations of our daily lives, we furrow our foreheads with the Sign” [5]. This makes Boettner’s date 89 years off.

[5] Jurgens, pg 151.



3. Wax candles, about….320.

The extant Roman record of the execution of Cyprian of Carthage (Acta Proconsularia) indicates that his funeral included the use of candles and torches; this occured in September of 258, more than 60 years before Boettner’s date [6].

[6] Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, “Candles”. New York: Encyclopedia Press, Inc., 1907; pg 246.

Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, “Cyprian of Carthage”, pg 588.

Patrick Hamell, Handbook of Patrology. New York: Alba House, 1968; pg 75.



4. Veneration of angels and saints, and use of images….375.

The veneration (or respect) paid to angels can be found in the First Apology of Justin Martyr (148 AD). In Chapter VI, he states that “the host of the other good angels who follow and are made like to Him…we worship and adore” [7].

Likewise, Athenagoras of Athens wrote in Chapter X of the Supplication For the Christians (c.177 AD): “Nor is our teaching in what relates to the divine nature confined to these points [the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit]; but we recognize also a multitude of angels and ministers” [8]. It will be noted in both these examples that Boettner is off by approximately 200 years.

The earliest reference to veneration of the saints can be found in The Martyrdom of Polycarp, a document dating from around 155 AD: “Christ we adore, because He is the Son of God. To the martyrs, on the other hand, we offer the love which is due to disciples and ministers of the Lord, on account of their unsurpassable devotion to their King and Lord” [9]. This again makes Boettner’s date 200 years off.

Insofar as images go, both Exodus 25:18 and Numbers 21:8 mention images being constructed at God’s command. Boettner apparently gets his date of 375 AD from Basil the Great, who writes in his treatise The Holy Spirit from that same year that honor paid to an image is honor paid to God Himself [10]. Basil appears to be merely offering a definition of the use of images, however, since images go as far back as the late 2nd century; archaeological discoveries have revealed paintings on the walls of Roman catacombs depicting Christ, the saints, and scenes from Scripture, which gradually developed into frescoes, then mosaics, and finally bas-relief and statues [11]. Eusebius, who lived from 263 to 340 AD, described a statue he had personally seen, depicting Christ healing the woman of Caesarea Philippi (History of the Church, VII, xviii; 300-325 AD). All of these examples place Boettner anywhere from 50 to 200 years off the mark.

[7] http://www.ccel.org/fathers/2/

[8] ibid.

[9] Maxwell Staniforth, Early Christian Writings. New York: Penguin Books, 1968; pg 131.

Ludwig Ott, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma. Rockford, IL: TAN Books, 1960; pp 318-319.

[10] Jurgens, The Faith of the Early Fathers. Volume 2, pg 18.

[11] Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, “Catacombs”, pp 422-424.

Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 7, “Images”, pp 665-668.



5. The Mass, as a daily celebration….394.

The Mass, in the earliest years of the Church, appears to have been celebrated on Sunday only, but it was gradually extended to a daily celebration by the time of Augustine (d.430 AD). This, however, was by no means universal, being confined to specific geographical areas until the end of the 500’s AD. In some places, priests began to celebrate mutiple daily Masses, until Pope Alexander II (d.1073) decreed that priests should content themselves with one or at the most two Masses, one being a requiem Mass, and then only if necessary [12]. What remains unclear is why Boettner felt this to be something sinister, to be labeled a heresy or an invention.

[12] Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 2; “Bination”, pp 568-569.



6. Beginning of the exaltation of Mary, the term “Mother of God” first applied to her by the Council of Ephesus….431.

The Third Ecumenical Council, held at Ephesus in 431 AD, did indeed declare that Mary was the Mother of God. However, Mary bore this title long before Ephesus; Ignatius of Antioch states in his Epistle to the Ephesians (110 AD): “For our God, Jesus Christ, was conceived by Mary in accord with God’s plan” [13]. Irenaeus of Lyons writes in Against Heresies (180-199 AD), “The Virgin Mary…being obediant to His word, received from an angel the glad tidings that she would bear God” [14]. Finally Ephraim the Syrian (d.373 AD) composed a hymn with the words “This Virgin became a Mother while preserving her virginity….and the handmaid and work of His wisdom became the Mother of God” [15]. In these three examples, Boettner is off by 321 years, 232 years, and 58 years, respectively.

[13] Jurgens, Vol. 1. pg 18.

[14] ibid., pg 101.

[15] ibid., pg 312.



7. Priests began to dress differently than laymen….500.

Boettner here is half right. In the 6th century the manner of dress between clergy and laity was different; however, it wasn’t the clergy that changed and began dressing differently, it was the laity.

In the early years of the Church, clergy dressed no differently from the people around them, and indeed, priests were chastised for dressing in any manner that brought attention to themselves (letter of Pope Celestine to the bishops of Gaul, 428 AD; Council of Gangra, 340 AD). This seems to have remained the case up until the 500’s AD.

By then, the Western Roman Empire had collapsed, and the influx of northern Germanic tribesmen that came into Italy had begun to mix with the native Roman population. The clergy retained the common manner of dress that Romans had always worn—the long tunic and a toga or cloak; the laypeople, however, began to quickly adopt the style of dress of the Germans, being a short tunic, breeches, and a mantle.

A local council in Portugal in 572 and another in Germany in 742 mention clerical attire, but only insofar that clerics should be seemly attired and decently covered. The first actual indication of specific clerical dress comes in 875 AD, when Pope John VIII instructs the Archbishops of York and Canterbury to make sure that their clergy was wearing specific ecclesiastical attire. Universal enactments regarding clerical attire came in 1215, 1589, 1624, and finally 1725, when Pope Benedict XIII decreed that a cleric wearing lay garments was an infraction of the most serious order [16]. Boettner is thus off by a margin of 375 years in the earliest example.

[16] Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 4; “Costume, Clerical”. pp 419-420.



8. Extreme Unction….526.

Extreme Unction (or the Anointing of the Sick) is mentioned in the Epistle of James, 5:13-15, written sometime between 60 and 100 AD. In light of this fact, how Boettner came up with the idea that the Catholic Church “invented” it in 526 AD is a total mystery.



9. The doctrine of Purgatory, established by Gregory I….593.

The concept of sins being remitted after death is found in the Deuterocanonical book of 2 Maccabees, 12:38-46, which was probably written about 124 BC. This in itself makes Boettner more than 700 years off the mark, but the Catholic concept of Purgatory still pre-dates Boettner’s claim by hundreds of years; for further examples, see #1 of this list under “Prayers for the dead”.



10. Latin language, used in prayer and worship, imposed by Gregory I….600.

Latin was, of course, the language of the ruling culture in Western Europe at the time of Christianity’s inception, being the Roman Empire. As early as 180 AD, the Acts of the Scillitan Martyrs mentions that the Gospels and Epistles of Paul had been translated into Latin, and pagan Romans such as Arnobius dismissed such translations as being of a trivial, common, and vulgar form of Latin [17].

The de facto “official” language of the Church appears to have been Greek up until the 3rd century, when official Papal documents began appearing in Latin. This was probably due to the overwhelming majority of Christians being located in the eastern, or Greek-speaking, half of the Empire. Paul, for example, in the 16th chapter of Romans, greets more than twenty people by name, and only six of the names are Latin, the remainder being Greek. However, Latin began to slowly gain more usage, especially in the Roman provinces of Africa, and moving northward. By the 4th century, Jerome had translated the Scriptures into Latin, and the liturgy was being celebrated almost exclusively in Latin in the western parts of the Empire [18].

Although there is no exact date when Latin took precedence in the western Church, virtually all authorities agree that it was during the period from the early 3rd to late 4th centuries. That, along with the lack of evidence of a definitive decree from Gregory I stipulating the use of Latin in his liturgical reforms after 590, places Boettner in a chronological error of several hundred years.

[17] Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 9; “Latin, Ecclesiastical”, pg 20.

[18] Peter Stravinskas, Our Sunday Visitor’s Catholic Encyclopedia; “Latin”. Huntington, IN: OSV Publishing, Inc., 1991, pp 575-576.



11. Prayers directed to Mary, dead saints and angels, about….600.

The most complete ancient prayer which was addressed to Mary asked for her intercession in times of difficulty and danger; entitled Sub Tuum Praesidium, or “Under Your Protection”, it dates from approximately 250 AD, making Boettner’s date approximately 350 years off [19]. Besides this, Marian devotions flourished after the Council of Ephesus in 431 AD, nearly 200 years before Boettner’s date [20].

For prayers directed to saints and angels, see Number 4 above.

[19] Mark Miravalle, Introduction to Mary. Santa Barbara, CA: Queenship Publishing Co., 1993, pg 27.

[20] ibid., pg 28.



12. Title of Pope, or universal bishop, given to Boniface III by emperor Phocas….607.

Boettner apparently wishes to give the impression that the office of Pope was invented by the Byzantine Emperor Phocas in 607, and conferred upon Boniface. The actual facts are not so simplistic.

To begin with, the title of the Bishop of Rome—Pontifex Maximus—is a term meaning “bridge-builder”, which the Popes inherited from governmental functionaries of the pagan Romans. “Pope” is merely a derivation of a Latin word meaning “father”; and use of that term for various clerics is also found in both the Orthodox and Coptic churches.

Tertullian, writing in his treatise Modesty (written in 220 AD), cites a quote from “a pontiff—sovereign, of course—that is, a bishop of bishops” [21]. This places use and understanding of the term 387 years before Boettner’s claim. Two other instances of the term in the definition of a patriarch are found applied to the Bishop of Carthage in 250 AD [22], and to the Bishop of Alexandria in 320 AD [23]. However, the Bishop of Rome was always held to be Head of the entire Church, (as attested to by Ignatius, Hermas, Dionysius, Hegesippus, Irenaeus, Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria, Cyprian, and others).

Shortly before Boniface III was elected, a dispute had arisen about the way that Cyriacus, the Patriarch of Constantinople, was using the term “ecumenical patriarch”; the manner in which Cyriacus was employing the title seemed to minimize the proper office of the Pope as universal head of the Church.

Once Boniface had been elected Pope, Emperor Phocas issued a decree—aimed directly at Cyriacus—which stipulated that the See of Rome was the head see of all the churches, and that the title “Universal Bishop” belonged only to the Bishop of Rome [24]. There was imperial precedent for this action, since Emperor Justinian (527-565 AD) had issued a similar acknowledgement some eighty years before [25].

The wrangling over jurisdiction between Rome and Constantinople would continue for another 400 years, and would eventually contribute to the final East-West schism in 1054 AD; but the examples provided here more than dispose of Boettner’s claim that the title of Pope was “invented” by the Byzantine Emperor in 607 AD. [

21] Jurgens, Vol. 1, pg 159.

[22] ibid., pg 227.

[23] ibid., pg 277.

[24] Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 2; “Boniface III”. pg 600.

J.N.D. Kelly, The Oxford Dictionary of Popes. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, pg 68.

[25] ibid.



13. Kissing the pope’s foot, began with pope Constantine….709.

This is a practice which was absorbed from the Roman emperors; Roman court officials kissed the Emperor’s foot as a sign of respect for the head of the Empire. In like manner, kissing the foot of the Pope is a sign of respect for the head of the Christian Church, not the man himself—or, as Pope Innocent III described it, it is an act of “reverence due to the Supreme Pontiff as the Vicar of Him Whose feet were kissed by the woman who was a sinner”.

Boettner is incorrect to say that the practice began with Pope Constantine, since there is at least one earlier extant example of Emperor Justin kissing the foot of Pope John I (523-526 AD) some 180 years before [26].

[26] Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 8; “Kiss”, pg 665.



14. Temporal power of the popes, conferred by Pepin, king of the Franks….750.

During the years 741 through 747, the Frankish kingdoms that had been the domain of Charles Martel were in a state of rapid change and upheaval. By 750, Pepin the Short was in a position to take charge of the kingdom and establish stability. However, having been educated by Christian monks, and being well acquainted with St. Boniface, Pepin sought advice from Pope Zacharias as to whether he should take charge of the kingdom or not.

Pope Zacharias replied that since Pepin held de facto power over the Franks, it was better, indeed, that he should take charge of the kingdom. This confirmation disposed of the last Merovingian claimant to the throne (Childeric III), and Pepin was crowned king and anointed as such (by Boniface, acting as the Pope’s representative) the next year as Soissons [27].

In light of this examination of Frankish history, it can be seen that Boettner essentially has his facts reversed: Pepin didn’t confer temporal power on the Pope; rather, the Pope confirmed the temporal power of Pepin.

[27] Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 11; “Pepin the Short”, pp 662-663.

Kelly, pg 90.



15. Worship of the cross, images and relics, authorized in….786.

Boettner appears to get this date from the 2nd Council of Nicaea, even though he is off by one year (the council actually took place in 787). The council stipulated that the Cross should receive an “adoration of honor” [28}. However, the veneration of the Cross is mentioned as far back as 380 AD, in documents such as the Peregrinatio Etheriae, making Boettner’s claim 400 years off the mark [29].

Veneration of the relics of saints is mentioned much earlier than Boettner’s claim; The Martyrdom of St. Polycarp, written in 155 AD, mentions that the bones of Polycarp, “more precious than costly gems and finer than gold”, were carefully gathered up after his execution, and put “in a suitable place” [30].

For more on veneration of images, see Number 4 above.

[28] Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 4; “Cross”, pg 524.

[29] ibid., pg 530.

[30] Jurgens, Vol. 1, pg 31.



16. Holy water, mixed with a pinch of salt and blessed by a priest….850.

The Apostolic Constitutions, a document dating back to the 5th century, attributes the use of holy water to the Apostle St. Matthew; likewise, two more ancient documents called the Pontifical of Serapion of Thmuis and the Testamentum Domini contain liturgical formulas for the blessing of both oil and water at Mass.

The Council of Constantinople in 691 AD makes mention of the blessing of holy water at each church at the beginning of each lunar month. In any event, Boettner is off by anywhere from 400 to 159 years, depending on the source cited [31].

[31] Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 7; “Holy Water”, pp 432-433.



17. Worship of St. Joseph….890.

All Catholic saints are “worshipped”, of course, but only in the sense of dulia, or veneration, and not latria, the actual worship given only to God. In the case of St. Joseph, he was venerated by the Copts as early as the start of the 300’s AD; and an oratory was dedicated to him in a basilica erected by St. Helena around the same general time [32]. The apocryphal work The History of Joseph was widespread in the East from the 4th to the 7th centuries, although his cult was not widespread in the West until the 15th century, when his feast was introduced into the Roman calendar in 1479 [33].

In either event, Boettner has missed the mark by a margin of approximately 600 years in both directions.

[32] Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 8, “Joseph”; pg 505.

[33] John J. Delaney, Dictionary of Saints. New York: Doubleday, 1980, pg 330.



18. College of Cardinals established….927.

At the Council of Rome, held in 499 AD, Pope Symmachus divided the City into various parochial units, each under the control of a priest known as a cardinale. Pope John VIII published a constitution between 873 and 882 which specifically mentions these cardinal priests, or presbyteri cardinales [34]. The office gradually developed into what we now have, meaning the body of higher clerics who meet to elect the next Pontiff upon the death of the reigning Pope; the actual term collegium comes into general use after 1150 AD [35]. The College of Cardinals was never so much an establishment as it was a development; but in any case, Boettner has again erred by anywhere from 200 to 500 years in either direction.

[34] Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, “Cardinal”, pg 333.

[35] ibid., pg 340.



19. Baptism of bells, instituted by pope John XIII….965.

The phrase “baptism” of bells has been in use for hundreds of years, but it was a “pop” usage, which was never instituted by the Church. The actual practice involved the blessing of the bell and application of holy water, the same way that the Church blesses any object which is devoted to the service of God, i.e., an altar, a church, sacred vessels, vestments, vehicles, etc. In no way is the blessing of a bell (or any other object) the same thing as the Sacrament of Baptism, in which a new child of Christ is washed clean of original sin.

The blessing of bells is mentioned in documents dating at least as far back as Egbert, Archbishop of York, in the mid-700’s AD; thus we see that Boettner is about 200 years off [36].

[36] Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, “Bells”, pp 420-421.



20. Canonization of dead saints, first by pope John XV….995.

Since veneration of Christian martyrs is mentioned by Eusebius, Augustine, Cyprian, and Cyril of Alexandria (see also Number 4 above), not to mention the religious celebration of the day of St. Polycarp’s martyrdom (155 AD), the veneration of saints has been around since the earliest days of the Church. Usually the bishop of a specific diocese would promulgate the veneration of a local martyr; when this veneration was confirmed by the Pope, it then became universal [37].

The specific instance mentioned by Boettner here, however, was the canonization of St. Ulrich, the Bishop of Augsburg (890-973). Pope John XV announced the canonization—much in the same way that any local bishop might—at a synod held at the Lateran Palace on 31 January 993, and also published the same in a bull to the German and French bishops dated 3 February [38].

This is the first time that a Pope solemnly canonized a saint, so Boettner is half right; however, it is not the first instance of a saint being recognized as officially canonized, as we have seen, although this is clearly what Boettner meant to imply. The striking part is that even when Boettner is partially correct, he still can’t seem to get his dates right, since he states this event took place in 995, when it was actually 993, making him two years off the mark.

[37] Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, “Beatification and Canonization”, pp 364-365.

[38] ibid., Vol. 8, “John XV”, pg 428.



21. Fasting on Fridays and during Lent….998.

Fasting on Fridays is mentioned as far back as the Didache (140 AD) [39], thus rendering Boettner more than 800 years off the mark. As for the Lenten fast, Athanasius, writing in his Festal Letters of 331 AD, stated that the faithful should fast for 40 days during Lent [40]. This makes Boettner 667 years off the mark. Canon 69 of the Apostolic Canons, which pre-date 341 AD, admonishes bishops, clergy, and laity to fast during Lent; Canon 56 of the Trullan Synod of 692 AD contains similar regulations [41]. Here Boettner is anywhere from 657 years to 306 years off.

[39] Maxwell Staniforth (trans.), Early Christian Writings. Harmondsworth, UK: Penguin Books, 1968, pg 194.

[40] Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 9, “Lent”, pg 152.

[41] ibid., Vol. 5, “Fast”, pg 791.



22. The Mass, developed gradually as a sacrifice, attendance made obligatory in the 11th century.

The Didache, written somewhere around 140 AD, mentions that Christians should assemble on the Lord’s Day for the Eucharist, but that they should confess their sins beforehand, so that their “sacrifice may be a pure one” [42]; this sacrificial language is echoed layer by both Ignatius and Irenaeus. Thus, Boettner’s “gradual development” occured, rather precipitously, within 50 years of the death of the Apostle John, and not over a course of ten centuries as he implies.

As for obligatory attendance at Mass, the Council of Elvira in 300 AD decreed temporary excommunication as a corrective measure for anyone who missed Mass three weeks in a row [43], 700 years before Boettner’s date.

[42] Staniforth, Early Christian Writings, pg 197.

[43] Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 14, “Sunday”, pg 335.



23. Celibacy of the priesthood, decreed by pope Gregory VII (Hildebrand)….1079.

Celibacy, of course, is mentioned as an ideal by St. Paul in 1 Corinthians 7, although not as a mandatory injunction. Several early Fathers, including Tertullian, Origen, Eusebius, and Epiphanius appear to have viewed the practice favorably as well; but it was the local Council of Elvira in Spain (295-302 AD) where celibacy was first imposed on bishops, priests, and deacons. The practice was held as the ideal for clergy, but was adopted—or imposed—piecemeal in various locations until it was decreed Church-wide for all clergy by the 1st Lateran Council in 1123 [44]. Boettner is thus off by 700 years in the first instance and 40 years in the second.

In the case of Gregory VII, he did indeed seek to strengthen the practice of clerical celibacy, but it was in two Lenten synods in 1074 and 1075, not in 1079 as Boettner asserts [45]. The second of these synods forbade married priests from saying Mass and laypeople from attending Masses celebrated by married priests [46]. Boettner is thus still off the mark by a margin of four to five years.

[44] Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, “Celibacy”, pp 483-486.

[45] Kelly, Oxford Dictionary of Popes, pg 155.

[46] Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, pg 486.



24. The Rosary, mechanical praying with beads, invented by Peter the Hermit….1090.

The Rosary had a long and slow development, going back to knots tied in cords and holes drilled in pieces of wood, both dating from the 300’s AD. The current prayer, and system of a crucifix and 59 beads, appears to be the result of the devotion as it was practiced in the 12th century; in this state of evolution, it was popularized by St. Dominic Guzman (1170-1221) and later by Alan de Rupe, around 1470 [47].

Peter the Hermit was one of the popular promoters of the 1st Crusade. Along with Walter the Penniless, he helped organize volunteers for the Crusade in 1096, and died in 1115, but there is no body of evidence indicating that he “invented” the Rosary devotion as it is presently known [48].

[47] Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 13, “Rosary”, pp 184-186.

Matthew Bunson, Encyclopedia of Catholic History. Huntington, IN: Our Sunday Visitor Publishing, 1995; “Rosary”, pg 733.

[48] Bunson, pp 653-654.



25. The Inquisition, instituted by the Council of Verona….1184.

Although there were both ecclesiastical and secular investigative bodies and tribunals which dealt with various heresies throughout the first 1200 years of Christian history [49], the actual first Papal Inquisition was established by Gregory IX in 1233 to investigate the Waldensian and Albigensian heresies; this was under the auspices of the Pope, as distinguished from episcopal bodies under the control of diocesan bishops [50].

Boettner is off by nearly 50 years for the establishment of the Papal Inquisition, and he is likewise inaccurate in calling the convocation at Verona in 1184 a “council”; more properly, it was a synod, and while severe measures were pronounced against the Cathari, Waldensians, and Arnoldists, the synod was a cooperative measure between Pope Lucius III and Emperor Frederick I, rather than an established Inquisition of later years [51].

[49] Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 8, “Inquisition”, pp 26-30.

[50] Stravinskas, OSV’s Catholic Encyclopedia, “Inquisition”, pg 512.

Kelly, Dictionary of Popes, pg 190.

[51] Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 9, “Lucius III”, pg 412.



26. Sale of Indulgences….1190.

Indulgences, or the remission (through the ministry of the Church) of temporal punishment due for forgiven sins, was bestowed upon the Apostles by Christ in John 20:23, and was thereafter mentioned by Tertullian (Ad Martyres, c.200 AD), St. Cyprian (Letter to His Clergy, 250 AD), and St. Basil (Letter to Amphilochius), 374 AD), as well as the Councils of Ancyra (314 AD), Laodicea (320 AD), Nicaea (325 AD), and Arles (320 AD) [52]. The abuse of indulgences has popped up from time to time throughout Church history, and has been condemned by the Church. The English Council of Clovesho in 747 AD sternly rebuked those who tried to hire penitents to perform austerities for them by means of proxy, with the indulgence thus gained supposedly going to the client of the penitent [53].

Boettner neglects to specify where he gets his date of 1190, which he apparently pulls out of the air at random; even later in his own book (pages 262-267) he blithely skips over this specific date. He is, however, in the general ballpark—the 12th century was about the time that indulgence “sales” gained popularity. Pope Urban II granted a plenary indulgence to all particpants of the 1st Crusade (1095), and after this, “sales” came into prominence, the monies thus gained being used for such projects as building churches, roads, and bridges, care for the poor and the ill, or education of the young. William of Auvergne, the Bishop of Paris (1228-1249) justified these actions as acts of Christian charity [54].

[52] Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 7, “Indulgences”, pg 785.

[53] ibid., pg 786.

[54] H.R. Loyn, editor, The Middle Ages: A Concise Encyclopedia. London: Thames and Hudson, Ltd., 1989; pg 179.



27. Transubstantiation, proclaimed by pope Innocent III….1215.

As a concept, transubstantiation can be traced back at least to Tertullian, who states “He took bread, offered it to His disciples and made it into His body by saying, ‘This is My body'” (Against Marcion 212 AD); likewise Cyril of Jerusalem says “Once at Cana in Galilee by a mere nod He changed water into wine; should it now be incredible that He changes wine into blood?” (Catechetical Lectures [Mystagogic], 350 AD) [55].

As a term, transubstantiation was first used by the theologians Magister Roland about 1150, Stephen of Tournai about 1160, and Peter Comestor about 1170 [56]; this terminology was then used by the 1st Lateran Council in 1215, which is apparently where Boettner got his date from. As can be seen, however, Boettner is off by anywhere from 865 to 1003 years in the first instance, and anywhere from 45 to 65 years in the second.

[55] Ott, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, pp 381-382.

[56] ibid., pg 379.



28. Auricular confession of sins to a priest instead of to God, instituted by pope Innocent III, in Lateran Council….1215.

Cyprian of Carthage, in The Lapsed (251 AD) speaks of penitents “making confession of their crime”, and of “having their conscience purged in the ceremony and at the hand of the priest” [57]. Likewise, Ambrose, in Penance (387-390 AD) writes “Christ granted [the power of penance] to the Apostles and from the Apostles it has been transmitted to the office of priests” [58]. From this, it can be seen that Innocent III certainly did not “institute” the practice of auricular confession to a priest; in fact, it existed 964 years before Boettner’s claim.

[57] Jurgens, Vol. 1, pg 218.

[58] Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 11, “Penance”, pg 620.



29. Adoration of the wafer (Host), decreed by pope Honorius III….1220.

The implication here, of course, is that Catholics worship a piece of bread. Catholics do not worship bread, they worship Jesus Christ, Whose flesh and blood the bread has become. The fact that Christians considered the bread and wine to be transformed into the flesh and blood of Christ can be found as far back as Ignatius of Antioch, who wrote in his Epistle to the Romans (110 AD), “I have no taste for corruptible food nor for the pleasures of this life. I desire the Bread of God, which is the Flesh of Jesus Christ…and for drink I desire His Blood” [59].

As for the practice of perpetual adoration of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament, the first recorded instance took place in 1226, although the practice did not become widespread until the 15th century [60]. From these examples it seems that Boettner erred more than 1000 years one way and about 200 years the other way.

[59] Jurgens, Vol. 1, pg 22.

[60] Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 1, “Adoration”, pg 153.



30. Bible forbidden to laymen, placed on the Index of Forbidden books by the Council of Valencia….1229.

The Index of Forbidden Books was a gradual development. The first general listing of proscribed books was under Pope Paul III in 1542. The Inquisition had an expanded list by 1559, which was intended to be world-wide, and was also the first list to bear the title “Index”. The “Index Tridentinus” was issued by the Council of Trent in 1564, and in 1571, Pope Pius V established a specific Congregation of the Index, which remained in effect until 1917 [61]. Since the earliest date for the formation of the Index is 1542, it would be rather difficult to place the Bible (or any other book, for that matter) on it in 1229, which is more than 300 years before the Index existed. This is Boettner’s first blunder.

The 1962 edition of Boettner’s tome opines that this proscription of the Bible took place at the Council of Valencia; however, as Karl Keating points out, there has never been a Catholic church council held in Valencia, Spain—neither local, regional, nor ecumenical. This is Boettner’s second blunder [62]. Keating likewise explains that even if there had been a council in Valencia, it couldn’t have been held in 1229, since in 1229, Valencia was under the control of the Muslims, who were extremely unlikely to allow a Christian church council to be held in their territory; a quick check of any encyclopedia or historical atlas will bear this out [63]. This is Boettner’s third blunder, and as may be seen, his chronology has completely missed the mark along with both his history and his geography.

[61] Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, “Censorship of Books”, pg 521.

Stravinskas, OSV’s Catholic Encyclopedia, “Index of Forbidden Books”, pg 507.

[62] Karl Keating, Catholicism and Fundamentalism. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1988; pg 45.

[63] The Columbia-Viking Desk Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, “Valencia”. New York: Viking Press, 1953; pg 1310.

Hammond Illustrated Family Atlas, Vol. 2; Map, “Europe, c.1200 AD”. Glen Cove, NY: Bobley Publishing Corporation, 1969; pg H-15.



31. The Scapular, invented by Simon Stock, and English monk….1251.

Boettner finally has something right. The brown scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel is, according to pious tradition, based on a vision had by Simon Stock in Cambridge, England, on July 16, 1251. In the vision, the Virgin Mary gave Simon a scapular, with the explanation that it was a “badge of her confraternity” [64].

Scapulars have always been associated with “third orders”, in which laypeoiple affiliate themselves with one religious order or another, pledging themselves to live good Christian lives; so what Boettner found so awful about this remains a mystery.

However, Simon Stock’s vision falls into the category of “private revelation”, which means that even when approved by the Church, it is not a required belief of any Catholic by any means, remaining entirely the option of the individual believer. The so-called “scapular promise” given to Simon Stock is likewise nothing more than private revelation, and is certainly not a doctrine, much less a dogma, of the Church.

[64] Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 13, “Scapular”, pg 511.



32. Cup forbidden to the people at communion by Council of Constance….1414.

Instances of Holy Communion under the auspices of bread alone can be found as far back as the Council of Laodicea in the 4th century and the 2nd Council of Trullo in the 7th, both of which specified Communion under the species of bread alone during all fast days in Lent; this makes Boettner about 1000 years off in the earliest example [65]. After this, the gradual removal of the Sacred Blood from laypeople was introduced, apparently for a variety of reasons; one of them was the Church’s desire to reinforce the Church’s authority against heretics and the Reformers, who rejected the idea that Communion could be recieved under only one species. This idea they enforced on their own, apart from the authority of the Church [66]. Another reason was to prevent spillage of the Sacred Blood, and another was to abolish the practice of self-communication by means of intinction [67].

Constance did indeed impose restricting the Sacred Blood from laymen (not in 1414 as Boettner asserts, but a year later in 1415, at the 13th session of the council), but this was a reiteration of previous rulings, including the councils above, the monastic rule of Columbanus (in which the Blood was restricted from novices), and the Council of Lambeth in 1281. It was by no means a new, novel introduction [68].

[65] Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, “Communion”, pg 177.

[66] ibid., pg 175.

[67] ibid., pg 178.

[68] ibid., pp 177-178.



33. Purgatory proclaimed as a dogma by the Council of Florence….1439.

As was mentioned in #1 and #9 of this list, the concept of Purgatory pre-dates the Catholic Church, and the doctrine has been around since the 2nd century; the assembled bishops at Florence merely defined the existing doctrine; they did not invent it.



34. The doctrine of the seven sacraments affirmed….1439.

Seven sacraments are mentioned by Peter Lombard (who died in 1164) in the fourth Book of Sentences; seven are likewise numbered by Otto of Bamberg in 1139; the Council of London in 1237; and the Council of Lyons in 1274, all of which pre-date Florence [69]. Boettner is thus off by 300 years in his claim of when the seven sacraments were affirmed.

[69] Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 13, “Sacraments”, pp 299-300.

35. The Ave Maria (part of the last half was completed 50 years later and approved by pope Sixtus V at the end of the 16th century)….1508.

If Boettner is asserting that the “Hail Mary” prayer was invented in 1508, that is nonsense, since the first part of the Hail Mary is found in Scripture; Luke 1:28 finds Gabriel saluting Mary with “Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you”, followed by Luke 1:42, in which Elizabeth continues, “Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb”. The prayer remained thus until the 15th century, when the words “Jesus Christ, amen” came into common usage.

The prayer as we now know it first appears in the “Calendar of Shepherds“, which was published in France in 1493; a book written by Girolamo Savonarola in 1495 also contains the entire prayer as we know it, minus the word “us” [70]. Thus, Boettner is off by 15 years for the “first half” of his chronology for the end of the prayer, and by 65 years for the “second half”.

[70] Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 7, “Hail Mary”, pp 111-112.



36. Jesuit order founded by Loyola….1534.

Ignatius Loyola did indeed found the Society of Jesus in 1534, although the Society did not receive Papal approbation until 1540. Why Boettner seems to feel that the Jesuit Order (as opposed to the Benedictines, Dominicans, Passionists, Franciscans, etc., whom he never mentions) is a “heresy” or an “invention” is puzzling, especially in light of the fact that his own Calvinist denomination did not exist prior to 1536.



37. Tradition declared of equal authority with the Bible by the Council of Trent….1545.

None other than the Apostle Paul warned about the importance of Tradition, or the oral teachings of the Apostles (1 Corinthians 11:2, 2 Thessalonians 3:6); and he equated Tradition with written Scripture (2 Thessalonians 2:15). Trent re-confirmed the authority and equality of Apostolic Tradition with Scripture in the face of the Reformation, which denied the inspiration and authority of Tradition—along with every doctrine it contained which the Reformers disagreed with. The view of the early Christians, however, is borne out in texts such as these:

“What if the Apostles had not in fact left writings to us? Would it not be necessary to follow the order of tradition, which was handed down to those to whom they entrusted the churches?” (Irenaeus of Lyons; Against Heresies, 3,4,1; 180 AD) [71].

“The teaching of the Church has indeed been handed down through an order of succession from the Apostles, and remains in the churches even to the present time. That alone is to be believed as the truth which is in no way at variance with ecclesiastical and apostolic tradition.” (Origen; Fundamental Doctrines, 1, Preface, 2; 220 AD) [72].

“Of the dogmas and kerygmas preserved in the Church, some we possess from written teaching and others we receive from the tradition of the Apostles, handed on to us in mystery. In respect to piety both are of the same force.” (Basil the Great; The Holy Spirit, 27,66; 375 AD) [73].

“It is needful also to make use of Tradition; for not everything can be gotten from Sacred Scripture. The holy Apostles handed down some things in the Scriptures, other things in Tradition.” (Epiphanius of Salamis; Against All Heresies, 61,6; 374 AD) [74].

These examples could be multiplied, but these few more than suffice to render Boettner’s idea that Trent “added” Tradition to the Church’s Deposit totally null; he again off by 1,365 years in the case of Irenaeus, and 1,171 years in the case of Epiphanius.

[71] Jurgens, Vol. 1, pg 91.

[72] ibid., pg 190.

[73] Jurgens, Vol. 2, pp 18-19.

[74] ibid., pg 73.



38. Apocryphal books added to the Bible by the Council of Trent….1546.

Canon 36 from the Council of Hippo (October 8, 393) lists the following Old Testament books:

“Sunt autem canonicae Scripturae: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numeri, Deuteronominum, Iesu Nave (Joshua), Iudicum (Judges), Ruth, Regnorum libri quator (1 & 2 Samuel and 1 & 2 Kings), Paralipomenon libri duo (1 & 2 Chronicles), Iob, Psalterium Davidicum, Salomonis libri quinque (Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, Wisdom, Sirach), Duodecim libri prophetarum (the twelve minor prophets—Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi). Esaias, Ieremias (comprising the books of Jeremiah, Lamentations, and Baruch), Daniel, Ezechiel, Tobias, Iudith, Hester, Hesdrae libri duo (Ezra and Nehemiah), Machabaeorum libri duo” [75].

(Bolding mine [Wayne Ariss] for emphasis of the disputed books.)

Likewise, Augustine in (2,8,13; 397 AD), lists the following:

“The whole canon of the Scriptures…is contained in these books: the five of Moses, namely, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy; and one book of Jesus Nave (Joshua), one of Judges; one little book is called Ruth…the the four of Kingdoms (1 & 2 Samuel, 1 & 2 Kings); and the two of Paralipomenon (1 & 2 Chronicles)…Job and Tobias and Esther and Judith and the two books of Maccabees; and the two of Esdras (Ezra and Nehemiah)…the Psalms of David…Proverbs, Canticle of Canticles, and Ecclesiastes…Wisdom…Ecclesiasticus (Sirach)…the individual books of the twelve (minor) prophets…Isaias, Jeremias (including both Lamentations and Baruch), Daniel, and Ezechiel. With these fourty-four books the authority of the Old Testament is concluded” [76].

(Bolding mine [Wayne Ariss] for emphasis of the disputed books.)

Again, these examples could be multiplied by examining the texts of the Decree of Damasus (382 AD), the 3rd and 4th Councils of Carthage (397 AD and 418 AD), and the Council of Florence in 1441 AD. Since the extant texts of these documents include the seven Deuterocanonical books within their lists of canonical Scriptures, it remains a mystery as to how the Council of Trent could have added them to the Bible (1,164 years later, in the earliest example) as Boettner claims.

[75] Mario Romero, Unabridged Christianity. Goleta, CA: Queenship Publishing Company, 1999; pg 16.

[76] Jurgens, Vol. 3, pg 53.



39. Creed of pope Pius IV imposed as the official creed….1560.

There are three creeds used in the Catholic Church: the Apostle’s Creed, dating at least as far back as Tertullian; the Nicene Creed, formulated at the Council of Nicaea in 325 AD; and the Athanasian Creed, dating from the 4th century. The “Creed of Pius IV” however, was not a creed, but a profession of adherence to Catholic doctrine that all ecclesiastical office holders had to swear allegiance to. Contained in Pius’ bull Injunctum nobis, issued November 13, 1565 (not 1560 as Boettner erroneously claims), it contained a long list of doctrines, such as belief in seven sacraments, purgatory, the sacrifice of the Mass, obedience to the Roman Pontiff, acceptance of the Holy Scriptures, and so on, that any candidate for an office in the Church had to proclaim his belief in and adherence to [77]. As such, Boettner’s implication that Pius IV “invented a new creed” is baseless.

[77] Bunson, Encyclopedia of Catholic History, “Pius IV, Creed of”, pp 667-668.



40. Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary, proclaimed by pope Pius IX….1854.

The Immaculate Conception of Mary (meaning the doctrine that she was conceived free from stain of original sin) goes back at least to St. Ephraim of Nisbis, who wrote in 370 AD that Mary was “immune from all stain…no spot…nor any taint” could be found in her [78]. Various other Patristic Fathers also described Mary in like terms—St. Ambrose said she was “free from all stain of sin”; Severus of Antioch said she was “pure from all taint”; Sophronius of Jerusalem called her “pre-purified”; Andrew of Crete called her the “pure and Immaculate Virgin”; and Theognastes of Constantinople said she was “conceived by a sanctifying action” [79].

Pius IX officially defined this existing doctrine and declared it to be a dogma in his bull Ineffabilis Deus in 1854 [80]—but as with many things Boettner misinterprets, Pius did not invent the Immaculate Conception; it existed as a concept more than 1400 years before 1854.

[78] Mark Miravalle, Introduction to Mary. Santa Barbara, CA: Queenship Publishing Company, 1993; pg 40.

[79] ibid., pg 40.

[80] ibid., pg 41.



41. Syllabus of Errors, proclaimed by pope Pius IX, and ratified by the Vatican Council; condemned freedom of religion, conscience, speech, press, and scientific discoveries which are disapproved by the Roman Church; asserted the pope’s temporal authority over all civil rulers….1864.

The Syllabus of Pius IX ignited a firestorm when it was issued in 1864—condemned by Germany’s Bismarck and Italy’s Victor Emmanuel, forbidden to be published in Russia and France. Many saw it as the Pope’s declaration of war against the modern state [81].

However, Pius’ document is merely a list of viewpoints which, insofar as Catholic teaching is concerned, are erroneous. Among them are the contention that there is no God (#1); that the existance of Jesus Christ is a myth (#7); that all religions are equally legitimate (#16); that the Church has no right to possess property (#26); that bishops may not publish letters to their congregations without the permission of the state (#28); that the state may intrude on the governance of the Church, up to and including the specification of how the sacraments may be administered (#44); that the Church has no right to establish schools; that even seminaries must be subject to the state (#46 and 47); and that the state has the right not only to appoint and depose bishops, but to prevent them from communicating with the Vatican (#49 and 51) [82].

A careful reading of the Syllabus does not reveal a condemnation of freedom of religion or conscience, but rather an assertion that Catholics have the right to freedom of religion and conscience free from interference by the secular state. There appears to be little or no mention of freedom of speech or press, outside of condemning the viewpoint that the state has the right to interfere in the communication of individual Catholics, both lay and clerical, with the Holy See. There is likewise no specific condemnation by the Pope concerning scientific discoveries, as Boettner asserts; but rather a refutation of the wholesale idea that the Church “impedes the true progress of science” (#12). Further, far from asserting the Pope’s rights over temporal rulers, the Syllabus repeatedly asserts the right of the Pope to be free from the interference of the secular state in matters pertaining to the governance of the Church.

In short, Boettner created a monster of his own imagination in what he perceives the Syllabus to contain, while conveniently ignoring the stipulations upheld by Pius IX that call for the protection of not only the individual rights of Catholics, but of all Christians—the same rights which would prove to be especially important in the century which followed the issuance of the Syllabus—a century which saw the flourishing of atheism, Communism, Nazism, and secular humanism.

[81] , Vol. 14; “Syllabus”, pg 368.

[82] http://www.papalencyclicals.net/Pius09/p9syll.htm.



42. Infallibility of the pope in matters of faith and morals, proclaimed by the Vatican Council….1870.

The concept of Papal infallibility has been around for a long time. The letter of Pope Clement I to the church in Corinth in approximately 80 AD issues instructions to that church, and Clement makes it clear that he is to be obeyed [83]; likewise, Irenaeus in Against Heresies (180 AD) states that all churches must conform to the church of Rome and be in agreement with it [84]. Augustine, in Against the Pelagians (420 AD) quotes a letter from Pope Innocent I, and declares, “Rome’s reply has come; the matter is closed” [85].

As a last example, Peter Chrysologus, the Archbishop of Ravenna, wrote to Eutyches in 449 AD, “We exhort you in every respect, honorable brother, to heed obediently what has been written by the Most Blessed Pope of the City of Rome; for Blessed Peter, who lives and presides in his own see, provides the truth of faith to those who seek it. For we, by reason of our pursuit of peace and faith, cannot try causes on the faith without the consent of the Bishop of the City of Rome” [86]. These examples more than suffice to show that the 1st Vatican Council merely defined the doctrine of Papal infallibility; as a concept it pre-dated the council by nearly 1800 years, and was not “invented” in 1870, despite what Boettner tries to imply.

[83] Jurgens, Vol. 1, pg 12.

[84] ibid., pg 90.

[85] ibid., Vol. 3, pg 142.

[86] ibid., pg 268.



43. Public schools condemned by pope Pius XI….1930.

Boettner is apparently referring to a document issued by the Catechetical Office of the Holy See on January 12, 1935 (not 1930, as he stipulates), entitled “Provido Sane Consilio: On Better Care for Catechetical Teaching“. The document nowhere condemns public schools, but merely insists on the right of Catholic students in public schools to receive proper catchetical instruction from the Church, as a safeguard against academic instruction hostile to the Catholic Faith.

For example, #12 of the document states that “in some nations, the very right of the Church to direct the Christian education of children is called into question or even denied by reason of political policy”; #15 states that this interference is exacerbated by “the fact that ravening wolves have come into the world, not sparing the flock; likewise, pseudo-teachers given to atheism and the new paganism have made their appearance, giving expression to clever falsehoods and sheer nonsense by writings and by other means cunningly attempting to destroy the Catholic belief in God, in Jesus Christ, and in the divine work of the Church” [87].

Clearly the purpose of the Pope, as evidenced by the issuance of this instructional letter, is not the condemnation of public schools, but a concern that Catholic students, whatever their educational disposition, are allowed access to proper religious instruction under the legitimate supervision of the Church—a right that was being denied even then in countries like Nazi Germany. Boettner has not only misinterpreted the purpose of the letter, but he is also off by five years concerning the date of its issuance.

[87] http://www.ewtn.com/library/CURIA/CATTEACH.HTM.



44. Assumption of the Virgin Mary (bodily ascention into heaven shortly after her death), proclaimed by pope Pius XII…..1950.

As with the cases of the Immaculate Conception and Papal infallibility, Boettner tries to give the impression that the Assumption of Mary is something that the Vatican “invented” in recent years. While the Assumption was admittedly a gradual development within the belief of the Church, the fact is that the concept pre-dates its definition by better than 1300 years.

The first explicit reference to this doctrine is from Gregory of Tours (d.593), who states in his letter Libri miraculorum that Mary’s body was borne to heaven after her death; other references come from Germain of Constantinople, Andrew of Crete, and John Damascene, who mentions in his Second Homily on the Dormition of Mary (c.745 AD) that three days after Mary’s death, her coffin was opened, to reveal empty grave wrappings, but no trace of her body [88]. Although all of these references date from the 8th century, liturgical feasts in honor of the Assumption began to appear in Christian churches in Syria and Egypt during the 6th century; in Gaul in the 7th century; in Rome by the 8th century; and were universally celebrated by the whole of East and West by the 13th century [89].

[88] Romero, pg 282.

[89] Miravalle, pp 52-53.



45. Mary proclaimed Mother of the Church, by pope Paul VI…..1965.

This was an addendum to Boettner’s original book, as the first publication date for Roman Catholicism was 1962; however, Boettner remains off in his dates, since the proclamation of Mary as Mother of the Church was issued by Pope Paul VI not in 1965, but on November 21, 1964: “Therefore, for the glory of the Blessed Virgin and our consolation, we declare most holy Mary Mother of the Church, that is of the whole Christian people” [90].

As with most of the other items in Boettner’s list, the subject of Mary’s title as Mother of the Church in neither anything new nor terribly controversial; the earliest reference to Mary as “Virgin Mother of the Church” can be found in a work by Berengaud of Treves (d.1125) in which he says “By the Woman (Revelation 12:1), we may understand Blessed Mary, for she is Mother of the Church for having engendered the one who is head of the Church” [91]. Rupert of Deutz (d.1135) in his Canticum Canticorum refers to Mary as the “Mother of Churches”; and Denis the Carthusian (d.1471) refers to Mary as “Mother of the whole Church” [92].

Further references to Mary under this title can be found in the writings of St. Antoninus of Florence, St. Lawrence, St. Peter Canasius, Matthias Scheeben, and St. John Bosco. As can be clearly seen, Mary was being referred to as “Mother of the Church” 840 years before Boettner’s implication that Pope Paul VI “invented” the title.

[90] Cathechism of the Catholic Church, 2nd Edition. Washington, D.C.: United States Catholic Conference/Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1997; pg 251.

[91] Leon Suprenant, Jr., “Mary, Mother of the Church”. Catholics United For the Faith, http://www.cuf.org/member/motherofthechurch.pdf.

[92] ibid.

The forty-five “heresies and inventions” that Loraine Boettner lists at the beginning of Roman Catholicism did, indeed, develop over the course of Church history; but as we have seen, none of them are “heretical”; and neither were they “invented” at some point in time—and Boettner is a dismal failure at pinning down the correct dates of the development of these doctrines. As I stated at the beginning, I will leave it up to the individual reader to decide for themselves whether a man who is so grossly erroneous in the fixing of simple historical dates (leaving aside all of his other errors) can be trusted to to be correct in instructing his readers whether a Catholic doctrine is a heresy, and invention, or not.

Perhaps Karl Keating put it best in his assessment of Boettner’s magnum opus: “No effort is made to give sources for his charges, and little effort is made to say what the significance of the ‘inventions’ might be. That task is left to innuendo. What Boettner implies is that any belief or practice not found in the pages of the New Testamant in plain words must be spurious and must have been instituted for some nefarious purpose” [93].

I believe that Boettner himself had a “nefarious purpose” in creating the infamous “list” on pages 7, 8, and 9 of his book: to discredit, malign, and denegrate the Catholic Church, at all costs—even if he had to prefabricate the charges against her. The sad thing is that so many good and sincere Christians, Protestant and Catholic alike, have been taken in by his falshoods. With God’s kindness and grace, perhaps those who read this paper of mine will be helped to see that the only “inventions” to be found in Boettner’s book are the ones he concocted and wrote down himself.

[93] Keating, Catholicism and Fundamentalism, pg 47.


Bridgewater, William, editor; The Columbia-Viking Desk Encyclopedia, Vol. 2. New York: Viking Press, 1953.

Bunson, Matthew; Our Sunday Visitor’s Encyclopedia of Catholic History. Huntington, IN: Our Sunday Visitor Publishing Division, 1995.

Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2nd Edition. Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1997. Washington, D.C.: United States Catholic Conference, Inc., 1997.

Delaney, John; Dictionary of Saints. New York: Doubleday, 1980.

Hamell, Patrick; Handbook of Patrology. New York: Alba House, 1968.

Hammond Illustrated Family Atlas, Vol. 2. Glen Cove, NY: Bobley Publishing Corporation, 1969.

Herbermann, Charles, et al; The Catholic Encyclopedia, Vols. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 11, 13, 14. New York: The Encyclopedia Press, Inc., 1907.




Jurgens, William; The Faith of the Early Fathers, Vols. 1, 2, 3. Collegeville, MN: The Liturgical Press, 1970, 1979.

Keating, Karl; Catholicism and Fundamentalism. San Fransisco: Ignatius Press, 1988.

Kelly, J.N.D.; The Oxford Dictionary of Popes. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 1986.

Loyn, H.R., editor; The Middle Ages—A Concise Encyclopedia. London: Thames and Hudson, Ltd., 1989.

Miravalle, Mark; Introduction to Mary. Santa Barbara, CA: Queenship Publishing Company, 1993.

New American Bible, St. Joseph Edition. New York: Catholic Publishing Company, 1970, 1992.

Ott, Ludwig; Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma. Rockford, IL: TAN Publishers, Inc., 1974.

Romero, Mario; Unabridged Christianity. Goleta, CA: Queenship Publishing Company, 1999.

Staniforth, Maxwell, translator; Early Christian Writings. Harmondsworth, Middlesex, UK: Penguin Books, Ltd., 1968.

Stravinskas, Peter; Our Sunday Visitor’s Catholic Encyclopedia. Huntington, IN: Our Sunday Visitor Publishing Division, 1991.

Suprenant, Leon; “Mary, Mother of the Church”. Catholics United For the Faith, http://www.cuf.org/member/motherofthechurch.pdf.

Williamson, G.A., translator; Eusebius: The History of the Church. Harmondsworth, Middlesex, UK: Pengiun Books, Ltd., 1965.

Why do some anti-Catholic groups say that Constantine was the first pope and that he founded the Catholic Church at the Council of Nicaea in 325 A.D.?

This question has to be dealt with on two levels. First, we show that in actual fact there was a long line of popes to the time of Constantine, so how can Constantine be the first pope? Secondly we must look at the reasons these charges are made in the first place: what did Constantine do or appear to do that makes Protestants think he was the founder of the Catholic Church? (Answer: he called the First Council of Niceae in 325 AD).

The answer to why some Protestants say Constantine was the first pope is: because of an appalling ignorance of history. In actual fact, St. Sylvester was the pope at the time of Constantine’s rise to power in Rome. Pope St. Sylvester was also the pope when the Council of Nicaea was convened in 325 AD. Though Constantine called the council, it was Pope St. Sylvester’s legates, Vitus (some sources say his name was Victor) and Vincent, who ratified it in his name. The Council was attended by 318 bishops of the Catholic Church, which would be sort of tricky if Constantine himself had started the Catholic Church that year.

(The main activities of the Council were to define the Divinity of Christ, and His consubstantiality with the Father, settling the date of Easter, preparation of a list of canons, formulation of the Nicene Creed, and drafting of a letter to the Egyptian bishops to deal with the Meletian Schism.)

What confuses those who think Constantine was the first pope is the fact that Constantine was the first emperor to legitimize Christianity and made it the state religion, this coming after three hundred years during which the Catholic Church was sporadically persecuted by various Roman emperors, (such as Diocletian). This, plus the fact that Constantine ordered the First Council of Niceae to be convened , to deal with the Arian heresy, though he himself did not ratify the council, and of course could not with any validity do so.

According to anti-Catholic “historians” who tell us Constantine was the first pope, the story then goes, invariably, that the Catholic Church now was able to openly assimilate pagan customs and myths form the residual pagan religion of Rome, and so you often hear the nonsense claims that the Catholic Church is full of paganism, from these same people who bring you the “Constantine was the first pope” nonsense!

So when discussing this question of Constantine being the first pope (or not), it is not really sufficient to point out the historical line of the popes to that date. These opponents of Catholic claims must be shown that there is nothing „pagan“ about the Catholic Church. I have in the past recommended the book “The Babylon Connection?” by the Protestant Ralph Woodrow. Mr. Woodrow had previously written a book entitled “Babylon Mystery Religion” in which he made the “Catholicism is pagan” charges which you often hear from the “Constantine was the first pope” brigade. In his earlier book, Woodrow had relied heavily on the work of 19th century Alexander Hislop entitled “The Two Babylons”. Later Mr. Woodrow discovered that in fact Hislop’s research was seroiusly flawed and could not in any way be taken seriously. As a result, and to his credit, Woodrow published “The Babylon Connection?” which refutes his earlier work and shows that there is NO connection between Catholicism and the paganism of ancient Rome, Greece or Babylon.

Returning to the historical line of Bishops prior to 325 AD, I include a couple of quotes from the early Church, referring to the primacy of the See of Rome, dating from before 325 AD, to demonstrate that the idea of Constantine being the first pope is totally unsupportable. In actual fact there are countless quotes which can be provided to prove the primacy of Rome.

“But since it would be too long to eumerate in such a volume as this the successions of all the Churches, we shall confound all those who, in whatever manner, whether throuh self-satisfaction or vainglory, or through blindness and wicked opinion, assemble other than where it is proper, by pointing out here the successions of the bishops of the greatest and most ancient Church known to all, founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious Apostles, Peter and Paul, that Church which has the tradition and the faith which comes down to us after having been announced to men by the Apostles. For with this Church, because of its superior origin, all Churches must agree, that is, all the faithful in the whole world; and it is in her that the faithful everywhere have maintained the Apostolic tradition.” Saint Irenaneus, Against Heresies (AD 180-199), 3,3,2.

“With a false bishop appointed for themselves by heretics, they dare even to set sail and carry letters from schismatics and blasphemers to the chair of Peter and to the principal Church, in which sacerdotal unity has its source; nor did they take thought that these are Romans, whose faith was praised by the preaching Apostle, and among whom it is not possible for perfidy to have entrance.” St. Cyprian of Carthage, Letter to Cornelius of Rome, AD 252.

Other well-known instances include Pope St. Clement’s intervention with the Church of Corinth at the end of the first century (circa 80 AD), and Pope St. Victor’s 2nd century excommunication of the Quartodecimans in regard to the dispute on the date of Easter.

If you want to look up a couple of books on the subject of the primacy of the Roman See in the early Church, I suggest “Jesus, Peter and the Keys” by Butler, Dahlgren and Hess, and “Upon This Rock” by Stephen Ray. Also William A. Jurgens’ “Faith of the Early Fathers” is a must-have.

So to conclude, there is overwhelming evidence that the primacy of Rome was recognized for the earliest times. Attempts to make the Emperor Constantine the first pope, simply because he called the Council of Niceae (which wasn’t even the first general council of the Church, this being the Council of Jesusalem in 30 AD, cf. the Book of Acts, chapter. 15) or that he made Christianity the state religion of the Roman empire, are historically ludicrous.

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   http://pub28.ezboard.com/fexaminingprotestantismfrm21.showMessagetopicID=11.topic   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.