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By Rev. Dr. Beecher.

This work has just issued from the press. The Catholic question, which is an interesting and very important one to the people of this country, is taken up and discussed with much ability and candor. The following extracts we select from the Boston Courier.

To the question of an objector, "Are not the Catholics sincere? why not, then, let them alone" the author replies-

That they are sincere in their faith there can be no doubt. But what the republican tendency of their faith is, depends on what they believe, and not on the simple fact they they do believe it. If they believe in the rights and duties of universal education, of free inquiry, of reading and understanding the Bible, and in the liberty and equality of all religious denominations, and that they are we are accountable only to GOD and the laws of the land, it is well. But if they believe that the pope and the church are infallible,- that his ecclesiastical jurisdiction is universal,- that he and the priests have the power of eternal life or death, in the bestowment or refusal of pardon as they obey them,- that no man may read the Bible without the permission of the priesthood, or understand it as they interpret,- and that every Catholic is bound to believe implicitly as the church believes, and that all non-Catholics are heretics, and heresy a capital offence, and the extermination of heretics by force duty, then the more anti-republican the elements of their faith are, the more terrific is their sincerity, which on the peril of their soul would make them the instruments of a foreign policy in overturning our institutions for the establishment of those of their own church.

To another question, "Have not the Catholics just as good a right to their religion as other denominations have to theirs?" we find the following answer:-

I have said so. I only admit their equal rights, but insist upon them; and am prepared to defend their rights as I am those of my own and other protestant denominations.The Catholics have a perfect right to proselyte the nation to their faith if they are able to do it. But I too have the right of preventing it if I am able. They have a right freely to propagate their opinions and arguments; and I too have a right to apprise the nation of their political bearings on our republican institutions. They have a right to test the tendencies of protestantism by an appeal to history; and I, by an appeal to history, have a right to illustrate the coincidence between the political doctrines and the practice of the Catholic church and to show that always they have been hostile to civil and religious liberty. The Catholics claim and exercise the liberty of animadverting on the doctrines and doings of Protestants, and we do not complain of it.- and why do they or their friends complain that we in turn should animadvert on the political maxims and doings of the Catholic church? Must the Catholics have all the liberty- their own and ours too? Can they not endure the reaction of free inquiry? Must we lay our hand on our mouth in their presence, and stop the press? Let them count the cost and such as cannot bear the scrutiny of free inquiry return where there is none; for though we would kindly accommodate them in all practicable ways, we cannot surrender our rights for their accommodation.

Dr. Beecher undertakes to show that, in the Catholic institutions for education, there is a design to subvert the religion of the Protestant children, notwithstanding promises and representations to the contrary, and in support of his argument, quotes from the rules and regulations of various seminaries; from the letters of agents and missionaries, and other public documents; and emphatically asks:-

And now in view of these disclosures, let me ask, can a Protestant professor of religion, covenant to train up his children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, and then deliver them over to a Catholic education, and not violate his vow? and can patriots swear to be faithful to the constitution of the United States, and commit the education of their republican children to Catholic schools and seminaries, and do no violence to their oath? Can Jesuits and nuns, educated in Europe, and sustained by the patronage of Catholic powers in arduous conflict for the destruction of liberty, be safely trusted to form the mind and opinions of the young hopes of this great nation?- Is it not treason to commit the formation of republican children to such influences?

It is time to awake out of sleep on the subject, and that the sanction of a correct, concentrated, all-powerful public sentiment should stamp infatuation and shame upon it. Nothing fills the Catholics with such amazement and high hopes as the simple hearted credulity and recklessness of Protestants, in committing their children to their forming hand; and nothing certainly can be more wonderful or fatal in its influence on our republican institutions.

(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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Lyman Beecher (1775-1863) was a prominent Presbyterian minister and president of Lane Theological Seminary in Cincinnati, Ohio, at the time he delivered the lecture this article excerpts. He was an outspoken opponent of religious diversity--even within the Protestant community-- and in this lecture speaks out against the Catholic Church. In the 19th century, many Protestants felt that Catholics were a threat to society because they gave allegiance to the pope and church over the laws of the land. Beecher claims that the Catholic Church has always been hostile to civil and religious liberty. The Greenfield Gazette and Franklin Herald was the newspaper in Greenfield, Massachusetts, from June 26, 1827 to June 27, 1837. It changed its name to the Gazette & Mercury.


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"A Plea for the West" article from the Greenfield Gazette and Franklin Herald newspaper

publisher   Greenfield Gazette and Franklin Herald
author   Reverend Lyman Beecher (1775-1863)
date   Aug 18, 1835
location   Greenfield, Massachusetts
height   20.0"
width   4.0"
process/materials   printed paper, ink
item type   Periodicals/Newspaper
accession #   #L05.096

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See Also...

"Roman Catholic Provincial Council" article from the Greenfield Gazette and Franklin Herald newspaper

"Bible of the Papists" article from the Greenfield Gazette and Franklin Herald

"Roman Catholics" article from the Greenfield Gazette and Franklin Herald newspaper

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