Joseph McCabe

                       THE POPE'S EUNUCHS

     A few years ago I had occasion to refer in one of my books to
the male soprani of the papal chapel at Rome. These castrated
males, sexually mutilated, as every priest and every Italian knew,
for soprani in the choir of the Sistine Chapel, were the amusement
of Rome when it developed a large degree of skepticism but a grave
scandal to the American and British Catholics who began to arrive
about the middle of the last century. One of the vices which the
Spaniards had brought to Italy in the 16th century along with the
Borgia family and the Spanish Roman Emperors was the falsetto
singer. There were artists who could sing falsetto with
distinction, but as the opera gained in popularity in Italy the
practice began of emasculating boys with good voices and retaining
them as male soprani or, as the Italians, with their usual lack of
Christian reticence about sex called them, the castrati. They were
in every opera in the 18th century, but foreign visitors were never
reconciled to them. The famous English weekly,. The Spectator,
wrote about "the shrill celestial whine of eunuchs," and by the end
of the 18th century they began to fade out of the opera-house.

     But, as the word "celestial" indicates, they were found also
in the choir of all churches that were proud of their music,
particularly in the chapel of the Vatican Palace. the Sistine
Chapel, one of the greatest shrines of art as well as of virtue and
piety in Rome. And the church, clung to their eunuchs when public
opinion almost drove them out of opera. The plea seems to have been
that there was some indelicacy, or risk of it, in having females in
the church choir, so the priests chose to ignore the rather
indelicate nature of the operation of emasculation. The fact was as
well known as the celibacy of the clergy. Grovels standard
"Dictionary of Music and Musicians" (1927) says in a section titled

     "Eunuchs were in vogue as singers until comparatively recent
times; they were employed in the choirs of Rome."

     So Macmillan's and all other leading dictionaries of music,
and English and American visitors to Rome before 1870 who wrote
books rarely failed to mention, with smirks of humor or frowns of 

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piety, how the beautiful music of the papal choir was due in large
part to manufactured soprani. In the later years of the last
century I talked with elderly men who had, out of curiosity, dined
or lunched with these quaint servants of God.

     An American reader wrote me that a Catholic friend, who had
doubtless, as is usual, consulted his pastor, indignantly denied
the statement. It was one of the usual "lies of Freethinkers." For
an easily accessible authority, reliable on such a point, I
referred him to the Encyclopedia Britannica. In all editions to
1928 the article "Eunuchs," after discussing the barbaric African
custom of making eunuchs for the harem, said:

     "Even more vile, as being practiced by a civilized European
nation, was the Italian practice of castrating boys to prevent the
natural development of the voice, in order to train them as adult
soprano singers, such as might formerly be found in the Sistine
Chapel. Though such mutilation is a crime punishable with severity,
the supply of soprani never failed as long as these musical powers
were in demand in high quarters. Driven long ago from the Italian
stage by public opinion they remained the musical glory and the
moral shame of the papal choir till the accession of Pope Leo XII,
one of whose first acts was to get rid of them."

     My correspondent replied, to my astonishment, that there was
no such passage in the Britannica, and I began the investigation of
which I give the results in the present little book. I found at
once that in the 14th edition, which was published in 1929, the
passage had been scandalously mutilated, the facts about church
choirs suppressed, and the reader given an entirely false
impression of the work of Leo XII. In this new edition the whole of
the above passage is cut out and this replaces it:

     "The Italian practice of castrating boys in order to train
them as adult soprano singers ended with the accession of Pope Leo

     The reader is thus given to understand that the zealous Pope
found the shameless practice lingering in the opera-houses and
forbade it. The fact, in particular, that the Church of Rome had
until the year 1878 not only permitted this gross mutilation but
required it for the purpose of its most sacred chapel -- that Pope
Pius IX, the first Pope to be declared infallible by the Church,
the only modern Pope for whom the first official stage of
canonization was demanded, sat solemnly on his throne in the
Sistine Chapel for 20 years listening to "the shrill celestial
whine of eunuchs" --  were deliberately suppressed. Those facts are
so glaringly inconsistent with the claims of Catholic writers in
America that the suppression was clearly due to clerical influence,
and I looked for the method in which it had been applied.

     The Encyclopedia is, as its name implies, an ancient British
institution inspired by the great French Encyclopedia of the 18th
century. As the American reading public increased it served both
countries, and by 1920 the special needs of American readers and
the great development of science and technics made it necessary to
prepare an entirely recast edition. It now had an American as well
as a British staff and publishing house. and it was dedicated to 

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King George and President Hoover. The last trace of the idealism of
its earlier publishers disappeared. What bargains were secretly
made to secure a large circulation we do not know but when the work
was completed in 1928 the Westminster Catholic Federation which
corresponds to the Catholic Welfare organization in America, made
this boast in its annual report:

     "The revision of the Encyclopedia Britannica was undertaken
with a view to eliminate matter which was objectionable from a
Catholic point of view and to insert what was accurate and
unbiased. The whole of the 28 volumes were examined, objectionable
parts noted, and the reasons for their deletion or amendment given.
There is every reason to hope that the new edition of the
Britannica will he found very much more accurate and impartial than
its predecessors."

     This blazing Indiscretion seems to have struck sparks in the
publishing offices in London and New York -- later reprints of this
emasculated edition have the imprint of "The University of
Chicago," which seems to have taken over the responsibility -- for
on August 9, 1929, a singular public notice appeared in what is
called the Agony Column of the London Times. I should explain to
American readers that the first page of this famous paper is given
up to advertisements and public and private notices and the two
central columns are so much used by separated and broken-hearted
lovers ("Ethel. Where are you? I suffer agony for you. Your adoring
George," etc.) and ladies who have lost their pets or are in need
of money etc., that many frivolous folk take the paper for the
humor of those two columns. One of the longest notices that ever
appeared in it was that of August 9., It rung:

     "Westminster Catholic Federation (in large type). On behalf of
the Westminster Catholic Federation we desire to state that it has
been brought to our attention that the wording of the second
paragraph of the report of the Vigilance Sub-Committee of the
Federation, (page 18 of the Federation's 21st Annual Report)
concerning the forthcoming edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica
has apparently given rise to a misunderstanding. We therefore wish
to make it clear that it was far from our intention in the above-
mentioned report to suggest that the Federation has exercised any
influence whatever upon the editing of the Encyclopedia. Such a
suggestion would be devoid of any vestige of foundation. The facts
are that the Federation offered to the Editor of the Encyclopedia
its assistance in checking statements of fact appearing in articles
in the previous edition dealing with the Catholic Church in its
historical, doctrinal, or theological aspects. This offer was
accepted, and the Federation was thus enabled to draw attention to
certain errors of date and other facts regarding the teaching and
discipline of the Catholic Church. Beyond this the Federation has
had no hand whatever in the preparation or editing of articles for
the new edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica on whatever subject,
and any suggestions to the contrary is, as we have said, without
the slightest foundation.

          A.J., London, W.C.2."

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     I have italiziced (BOLD) the essential part of this singular
message so that the reader will bear in mind that Catholic
authorities gave the public their solemn assurance that they had
requested -- demanded might be a better word -- only alterations of
wrong dates and statements about the teaching and discipline of the

     Penitence is a familiar and beautiful practice in the Catholic
world but we common folk like to have truth even in penitence. The
example I have already given of the suppression of material facts
and a natural comment on them in regard to eunuch singers and the
entirely false impression conveyed by the sentences which Catholics
supplied gives the lie at once to this apology. Undisputed facts
which are strictly relevant to an examination of Catholic claims
have been suppressed. They have nothing to do with dates or the
teaching and discipline of the Church. It is an axiom of Catholic
moral theology that suppression of the truth is a suggestion of
untruth," and the substituted passage goes beyond this. I propose
to show that this introduction of a, painfully familiar Catholic
policy has been carried right through the Encyclopedia. Naturally
the immense majority of its articles do not in any way relate to
the church, and I do not claim that I have compared every short
notice or every sentence in longer articles, in the 11th and 14th
editions of the Britannica. Even these short unsigned notices,
referring to such matters as popes and saints, have often been
falsified, and I give a few examples. But I am mainly concerned
with important alterations. There are still passages in the
Encyclopedia which the Catholic clergy do not like. Writers who are
still alive may have objected to the adulteration of their work, or
the facts may be too notorious for the editors to permit
interference. But I give here a mass of evidence of the corrupt use
of the great power which the Catholic Church now has: a warning of
what the public may expect now that that Church has, through its
wealth and numbers, secured this pernicious influence on
publications, the press, the radio, and to an increasing extent on
education and even the cinema.


     It will be useful to give first the outcome of a somewhat
cursory survey, page by page, of the first few volumes of the
Encyclopedia. More important -- in their bearing on the Church --
articles in later volumes commonly have the initial X at the close,
which seems to be the cloak of the Catholic adulterator. This will
enable any reader to compare for himself passages in the 11th and
the 14th editions, but the conspirator shows his hand even in large
numbers of short unsigned, especially biographical, notices. It is,
of course, understood that the work had to be considerably
abbreviated to accommodate new developments of science and life, in
the 14th edition, but when you find that the curtailing consists in
suppressing an unpleasant judgment or a fact about a Pope while
unimportant statements of fact are untouched, and when you find the
life of a saintly man or the flattering appreciation of his work
little affected while the life or work of a heretic is sacrificed,
you have a just suspicion.

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     An example is encountered early in the first volume in the
short notices of the Popes Adrian I and Adrian II. Adrian was the
Pope of Charlemagne's time, and every historian knows that the
emperor came, as he shows in his letters, to despise the Pope and
to defy him on a point of doctrine; 'for at that time the use and
veneration of statues in the churches was made a doctrinal issue
between East and West. The notice of Adrian in the older edition of
the Encyclopedia was one of those inexpert paragraphs by some man
who knew nothing about the importance of the quarrel, but a
priestly hand has untruthfully inserted in the new edition:

     "The friendly relations between Pope and Emperor were not
disturbed by the difference which arose between them on the
question of the veneration of images."

     Here, instead of abbreviating, the editor gratuitously inserts
new matter, and it is untruthful. The Pope, whose safety depended
upon the favor of Charlemagne, said little, it is true, but at a
time when "the veneration of images" -- as historians persist in
calling statues. -- was the greatest issue in the Church,
Charlemagne put his own name to a book in which Roman practice and
theory were denounced as sinful, the whole Gallician Church was got
to support him, and the timid protests of the Pope were
contemptuously ignored.

     The touch in the notice of Pope Adrian II has just as little
to do with dates and discipline and is just the suppression of a
fact which the Church does not like. The real interest of the Pope
is that he presided over the Church in the latter part of the 9th
century, the time when it was sinking into its deepest degradation.
The appalling coarseness of life is seen in the fact that the
Pope's daughter was abducted by the son of a bishop and brother of
a leading cardinal, and when the Pope got the Emperor to send
troops, he murdered them. The notice of the Pope in the 11th
edition adds that "his (the noble abductor) reputation suffered but
a momentary eclipse," which is perfectly true, for the abducting
family were high both in church and nobility and the Romans in
large part supported them. But the sentence has been cut out of the
new edition. Little touches of that sort, not always condensing the
text but always -- and generally untruthfully -- in the interest of
the Church occur repeatedly.

     Such articles as "Agnosticism" and "Atheism". did not concern
the Catholic Church in particular and were left to more honest but
hardly less bigoted clerical writers. I need say of them only that
they reflect the cloudy ideas of some theologian and tell the
reader no more about the situation in these matters today than if
they had been written by a Hindu swami. A different procedure is
found when we come to "Alban." The old notice. said that he is
usually styled "the proto-martyr of Britain," and added "but it is
impossible to determine with certainty whether he ever existed, as
no mention of him occurs till the middle of the 6th century"; which
is correct. But these zealots for correctness of dates and
discipline have, in the new edition, turned him into an
indisputably real saint and martyr. He is now "the first martyr of
Britain" and all hints of dispute about his historicity are cut

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     We pass to "Albertos Magnus" -- why an Encyclopedia in English
should not say Albert the Great is not explained; possibly the
epithet is less offensive to the eye in Latin -- and this article
is condensed (as the whole new editions had to be) in a peculiarly
clerical manner. The original writer had never properly informed
the reader that Albert was so much indebted to Aristotle for his
"science" that he was known to Catholic contemporaries as "the Ape
of Aristotle" and that he was apt to be so inaccurate that he
described Plato (Who lived a century before the Stoic school was
founded) as a Stoic. These things are sacrificed in the sacred
cause of abbreviation but new compliments, such as that Bacon
called Albert "the most noted of Christian philosophers" are
inserted to fill the gaps.

     The article "Albigensians" is one in which a modern student
would most surely expect a modern encyclopedia to replace the
conventional old article by one in line with our historical
knowledge. Instead of this we get a page article reduced to half a
page, and this is done chiefly by cutting out 25 lines in which the
older writer had honestly explained that the Pope turned the brutal
Knights of France upon the Albigensians only when 20 years
preaching failed to make the least impression on them and 10 lines
showing what "vast inquests" of the Inquisition were still needed
after years of slaughter by the Pope's savage "crusaders." We
therefore recognize the anointed hand of the abbreviator. And it is
clear that the editor or sub-editor cheated the public of a most
important truth by entrusting this article to Catholic "correctors
of dates and discipline." We now fully realize the importance from
the angle of the history of civilization of this brilliant but
anti-Christian little civilization in the South of France (close to
Arab Spain) and what Europe lost. Of the brutality of the massacre
and the Pope's dishonesty in engineering it the reader is, of
course, given no idea, though these are found in the Pope's extant

     Even such articles as that on "Alembert" -- the famous French
skeptic and scientist D'Alembert -- seem to have been handed over
to the clerical shearer, for the proper appreciation of his
character and ability and his work against the Jesuits are the
chief material that has been abbreviated, but we turn with more
interest to the "Alexander" Popes. I need not say, that anybody who
expects an up-to-date account of the great Alexandrian schools of
science and of the splendor of life under the early Ptolemies will
be deeply disappointed, but it is chiefly the name of Pope
Alexander VI which here catches the eye,

     Catholics long ago abandoned their attempts to whitewash the
historical figure of that amazingly erotic and unscrupulous
Spaniard and especially after the work of the Catholic historian
Dr. L. Pastor it is impossible to suggest outside the Sunday School
that there has been any libelling of this Pope. What the clerical
retouchers have mainly done is to remove sentences in which the
older writer correctly, though only casually and incidentally, let
the reader know that such a Pope was possible only because the
Church was then extraordinarily corrupt. He admitted, for instance,
that Alexander bad been notoriously corrupt for years, as a
cardinal, when he was elected Pope:

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     "Although ecclesiastical corruption was then at its height his
riotous mode of life called down upon him a very severe reprimand
from Pope Plus II."

     This is cut out, of course, though we still have the letter in
which the Pope -- himself a rake in his early years, by the way --
describes the cardinal's scandalous life. Cut out also (for
abbreviation) is this passage:

     "A characteristic instance of the corruption of the papal
court is the fact that Borgia's daughter Lucrezia lived with his
mistress Giulia, who bore him a daughter, Laura, in 1492 (the year
of his consecration as Pope)."

     In short, while it would have elicited the scorn of historians
to attempt to suppress all mention of Alexander's mistresses and
children the article of the 11th edition, which was correct as far
as it went, is so manipulated that the reader has no idea that the
Cardinal was brazen in his conduct at the actual time of his
election and entertained his mistress, who was painted on one of
the walls of the Vatican Palace as the Virgin Mary, and his
children in the "sacred Palace"; and that this was due to the
general sordid corruption of the Church. Sexual looseness was the
least pernicious of Borgia's vices, but where the old article
noticed that his foreign policy was inspired only by concern to
enrich his children and "for this object he was ready to commit any
crime and to plunge all Italy into war," this Catholic stickler for
accuracy has cut it out.

     Soon after Alexander we come to Antonelli. This man was
Cardinal Secretary of State to Pope Gregory XVI and Pope Pius IX,
who is counted a saint by American Catholics. He was the son of a
poor wood-cutter and he died a millionaire: he left $20,000,000 --
leaving a bastard daughter, a countess to fight greedy relatives
for it. He had refused to take priestly orders because he wanted
freedom. His greed, looseness and complete indifference to the vile
condition of the Papal States were known to everybody. In the 11th
edition we read of him:

     "At Antonelli's death the Vatican finances were found to be in
disorder, with a deficit of, 45,000,000 lire. His personal fortune,
accumulated during office, was considerable and was bequeathed
almost entirely to his family. . . . His activity was directed
almost exclusively to the struggle between the Papacy and the
Italian Risorgimento, the history of which is comprehensible only
when the influence exercised by his unscrupulous grasping and
sinister personality is fully taken into account."

     The last part of this now reads "Is comprehensible only when
his unscrupulous influence is fully taken into account." Apart from
the one word "unscrupulous" the reader is totally misled as to his

     The article on Aquinas was already written favorably to the
Church and only a few light touches were needed.. But the eagle eye
caught. a sentence, perfectly accurate but offensive to Catholics,
in the short notice of the noblest figure of the 12th century,
Arnold of Biresoi &. It said:

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     "At the request of the Pope he was seized by order of the
Emperor ... and hanged."

     Out goes the reference to the Pope, who had tried for years to
catch Arnold before he acted on a perjured passport from the
Emperor; and no idea is given of the remarkable position of the
premature democrat in the history of European thought.

     More amusing is the manipulation of the notice of "Arthur" of
Britain. In the 11th edition he is frankly presented to the reader
as a myth, as the popular conception of him certainly is. All that
we can say with any confidence is that there seems to have been a
sort of captain named Arthur in the ragged military service of one
of the half-civilized and wholly brutal British "kings" after the
departure of the Romans. In this new compendium of modern
scholarship (now sponsored by the University of Chicago) Arthur has
been converted into an undisputed and highly respectable reality;
a "King of Britain" who led his Christian armies against the pagan
Anglo-Saxons. And this is done on the authority of a monk who wrote
two and a half centuries later! There is no proof that this fine
achievement is due to the Catholic Federation, but just as
detectives look for the trade-mark of a particular burglar when a
bank has been robbed....

     "Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria" becomes, by the same
process "Athanasius the Great, saint, and bishop of Alexandria,"
and so important to us moderns that, in spite of the needs of space
for new thought, the long article (by a cleric), is lengthened in
the new edition. The short article on Atheism, which follows
closely upon it, is, as I said, quite worthless. A British royal
chaplain writes on it as if it were a point in dispute in some
Pacific Island, instead of a burning question of our time. He seems
to have been totally unaware of, or indifferent to, the fact that
a few years earlier the majority of American scientists had (in
Leuba) declared themselves Atheists, and that in the seven years
before he wrote his article tens of millions of folk, from Annam
across Europe to Chile, had abandoned the churches to embrace
Atheism. Naturally a learned staff which announces in the preface
to the Encyclopedia that it considers that the wicked
materialistic, philosophy of the 19th century has been slain by the
new science thinks such things beneath its notice.

     Early in the B's we get the same light touches of the clerical
brush. The long and appreciative article on the great jurist and
Atheist Jeremy Bentham -- that he was an outspoken Atheist is, of
course, not stated -- one of the most powerful idealists of the
post-Napoleonic period, is mercilessly cut, while the old notices
of the insignificant Pope Benedicts remain. At least, I notice only
one cut. It is said in the old article that "Benedict IX, perhaps
the vilest man who ever wore the tiara -- his almost immediate
successor spoke of his "rapes, murders, and other unspeakable acts"
-- appears to have died impenitent." That is cut out. It saves so
much space.

     A long article is inserted in the new edition on "Birth
Control": a subject that had no article in the old edition. This
consists of the findings of a series of conferences on the subject 

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mostly overshadowed by church influence. These fill several pages
while the elementary grounds for seeing the necessity of it -- the
rapid multiplication of population in modern times -- are barely
noticed. A section on the religious attitude is written by the Rev.
Sir James Marchant, a parson of the Church of England who is
fanatically Catholic in sex-matters. It begins with the plump
untruth that "it's now recognized that the objections on religious
grounds to birth control must be fully heard," and it consists
mainly of a sort of sermon by the Cardinal Archbishop of
Westminster, whose views are "shared by many other religious
communities." We should like to hear of one which as a body has
condemned birth control. Then the mysterious X appears at last with
a tendentious summary of the whole article -- against birth
control. Strange stuff for a modern encyclopedia.

     Even the article on Bismarck is retouched, mainly in the
section which describes his great struggle with the Catholics of
Germany, and the article "Body and Mind" is as modern as the
Athanasian Creed. No evidence appears that this new article, so
profoundly important in view of the advanced condition of American
psychology -- four manuals out of five refuse to admit "mind" --
was written by a Catholic, so I will be content to say that it is
an affront to American science. Later appears another new article
"Bolshevism." But there was, naturally, no article with that title
in the 11th edition so that the Catholic censor knew nothing about
it until it appeared in print. Its accuracy and coldness must have
pained him. It is written by Professor Laski.

     I say the Catholic censor but there was obviously team-work on
both sides of the Atlantic, though Gildea is the only sophist
mentioned on the American side. And the next item to catch the
clerical eye and raise the clerical blood-pressure was the fair
article on "Giordano Bruno," in the 11th edition. You can almost
see the fury with which the three columns are reduced to less than
a column in the 14th edition, and this is done by cutting out about
100 lines of sober appreciation of the great ex-monk and scholar's
ability and character. Cutting out flowers is not enough. A new
paragraph informs the innocent reader:

     "Apart from his disdainful, boasting nature and his attack on
contemporary Christianity, the chief causes of Bruno's down-fall
were his rejection of the Aristotelic astronomy for the Copernican
... and his pantheistic tendencies."

     The undisputed truth is that he was burned alive by the
Papacy, which came to a corrupt agreement with the Venetians in
order to get hold of him and satisfy its bitter hatred of the

     "Buddha and Buddhism"' are mangled In the new edition in the
most extraordinary fashion. Twelve pages of sound, useful matter
are cut down to three; as if Buddhism had meantime died in the East
and ceased to be of any interest to westerners. Between the
publication of the two editions of the Encyclopedia a good deal has
been written on the creed of Buddha, and it is quite generally
agreed by experts on the religion or on India that he was an 

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Atheist. Not a single word is said about the question, and the
reader is left at the mercy of every pamphleteer who talks about
the "religious genius" of the man.

     More definitely and recognizably Catholic is the tampering
with the notice of St. Catherine. There are two saints of that
name, Catherine of Alexandria and Catherine of Siena, and the 11th
edition rightly said:

     "Of the former history has nothing to tell ... that St.
Catherine actually existed there is no evidence to disprove, and it
is possible that some of the elements in her legend are due to
confusion with the story of Hypatia."

     This was moderate enough. We do not have to "disprove" the
existence of martyrs, and the supposed evidence in favor of her
historicity is now rejected even by some Catholic experts on
martyrs, while the details are often comical and the general idea
is certainly based upon Hypatia. Yet in this severely-examined and
up-to-date compendium of knowledge we find the first sentence of
the above changed to: Of St. Catherine of Alexandria history has
little to tell." The rest is cut out and, we are brazenly told that
"her actual existence is generally admitted." The article on
Catherine of Siena was already inaccurately favorable to Catholic
claims in the 11th edition, so it is allowed to stand. The
masterful Siennese nun had nothing like the political influence
ascribed to her, and it was not she but the threats of the Romans
that brought the Popes back from Avignon to Rome.

     In the article "Church history," to which in the new edition,
the ominous X is appended, there are just slight changes here and
there in the generally orthodox article. The treatment is as far
removed from modern thought as Alaska is from Florida. It is much
the same with the string of Popes who had the name Clement, The
reader is still not told that many historians refuse to admit
"Clement I" as the first of the Popes -- he is completely ignored
in the Letter of the Romans to the Corinthians of the year 96 A.D.
and many of the other Clements, who were notoriously of
disreputable character, are discreetly retouched, though the
earlier notices let them off lightly. Clement V, a Plrench
adventurer, who sold himself to the French King on vile conditions
in order to get the, Papacy, has the words "in pursuance of the
King's wish he summoned the Council of Vienna" (to hold a trial of
the monstrous vices of his predecessor and the still more
scandalous vices of the Knights Templer, as we shall see) changed
to: "Fearing that the state would proceed independently against the
alleged heresies he summoned the Council of Vienna"; which is one
sort of abbreviation and leaves the reader entirely ignorant of the
character of the Pope. Clement VI, a notoriously sensuous and
dissipated man, is left in his Catholic robes. Of Clement VII the
earlier edition said: "Though free from the grosser vices of his
predecessors he was a man of narrow outlook and interests." The
whole of this is cut out, suppressing both his vices and those of
his predecessors. Clement XIV is said to have suppressed the
Jesuits only because he thought it necessary for the peace of the
Church. This is a familiar Jesuit claim and an audacious lie. In
the bull of condemnation Clement endorses all the charges against 
the Jesuits

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     The article "Conclave" sounds like one that was ripe for the
shearer, but even in the 11th edition it was written by a priest.
And it had a Jesuit touch that the censor is careful not to
correct. As the leading authority it names a Catholic work which,
in any case, few have any chance to consult, while it does not
mention the standard history of Papal Conclaves, that of Petrucelli
della Gattina (four volumes of amazing disclosures), of which there
is now an English version (V. Petrie's "Triple Crown," 1935). But
of little tricks of this kind, especially in pressing "Sound"
authorities upon the reader and concealing from him that there are
good critical works that he ought to read, there is so much that it
would be tiresome to trace it all. We will consider larger matters.

                      THE TAMING OF HISTORY

     The short and worthless note under "Chivalry" in the old
Encyclopedia would in any new edition that frankly aimed to give
the reorder summaries of modern knowledge have been replaced by
some account of the present general agreement of historians that
the alleged Age of Chivalry (110-1400 A.D.) is sheer myth. No
leading historical expert on France, Germany, England, Italy, or
Spain during that period recognizes it. They all describe such a
generally sordid character in the class of knights and nobles,
particularly in what are considered by romantic writers the
specific virtues of chivalry -- chastity and the zeal for Justice
-- that the student of general history feels justified in
concluding that, on our modern idea of chivalry, this was precisely
the most unchivalrous section of civilized history. Of this truth
not, a syllable is given, not even a hint that the myth is
questioned. So editors, moral essayists and preachers, who take
their history from the Encyclopedia, continue to shame our age with
reminders of the glorious virtues of the later Middle Ages,
However, we will return to this when we come to "Knighthood" and
"Troubadours" where we shall find a little more satisfaction.

     The article on "Confucius" in the 11th edition was written by
a Protestant missionary, Dr. Legge, and he was not only a fine
scholar of Chinese but a singularly honest type of missionary. In
the 14th edition his excellent five pages are cut to three. One
recognizes the need for abbreviation, though when one finds a four-
page article on Falconry, which is really rather rare today, 16
pages on football, etc., one feels that the work of condensing
might have been done differently. However in the case of a great
Atheist like Confucius an Encyclopedia that would please the clergy
must not pay too many compliments, and the Catholic X, who probably
knows as little about Chinese as about biochemistry valiantly cuts
the work of the expert to three pages, adding his X to Legge's
initials at the foot. One illustration of the way in which it is
done will suffice. Confucius so notoriously rejected belief in gods
and spirits that Legge's statement of this has to remain. But there
is one point on which Christians hold out desperately, Legge told
the truth about it, and X cuts it out.

     It is whether Confucius anticipated Christ by many centuries
in formulating the Golden Rule, or, to meet the better-informed
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form. As nothing is more common, and probably has been since the
Stone Age, than to hear folk say, "Do as you would be done by," or
some such phrase, which is the Golden rule in fireside English, the
fuss about it is amusing. However, the champions of Christ's unique
moral genius will have it that Confucius gave it only in the
negative form. "What you do not like when done to yourself do not
do to others." As the Christian decalogue consists almost entirely
of negations, that is not bad. But in the 11th edition Legge goes
on to explain that when a disciple asked the master if it could be
expressed in a word he used a compound Chinese word which means "As
Heart" (or Reciprocity), and Legge says that he conceived the, rule
in its most positive and most comprehensive form. The Rev. Mr. X
suppresses this to save space and Inserts this pointless sentence:

     "It has been said that he only gave the rule in a negative
form to give force to a positive statement."

     So the preacher end pamphleteer continue to inform folk on the
authority of J. Logge in the Encyclopedia Britannica that Confucius
knew the Golden Rule only in the inferior negative form.

     There was no need to let X loose with his little hatchet upon
the article "Constantine." It was, like "Charlemagne," "Justinian,"
and most such articles already subservient to piety and an outrage
on historical truth. Constantine's character is falsified by
suppressing facts. For instance, in profane (and ancient Roman)
history you will read that Constantine was driven from Rome by the
scorn of the Romans because he had had his wife and his son
murdered, probably in a fit of jealousy. Here his quitting Rome and
founding Constantinople is represented as a matter of high strategy
and a core for the interests of religion. Not a hint about the
"execution" of his wife, bastard son, and nephew. The Romans
compared him to Nero.

     In 20 pages on "Crime" we do not get any statistical
information whatever about the relation of crime to religious
education, which after all is of some interest to our age, so,
skipping a few minor matters, we come to "Crusades." Again the
article in the old Encyclopedia was so devout and misleading that
X could not improve upon it. It admits that Europe had become
rather boorish owing to the barbaric invasions but claims that it
did provide the Church with the grand force of knight-hood to use
against the wicked Moslem:

     "The institution of chivalry represents such a clerical
consecration, for ideal ends and noble purposes, of the martial
impulses which the Church had endeavored to cheek....

     And so on. A lie in every syllable. The knights of Europe
were, with rare exceptions, erotic brutes -- their ladies as bad --
as all authoritative historians describe them. The Pope -- his
words are preserved -- dangled the loot of the highly civilized
East before their eyes in summoning the first Crusade; and the
story, almost from beginning to end, is a mixture of superstition,
greed, and savagery. The only faint reference to the modern
debunking of the traditional fairy tale is:

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     "When all is said the Crusades remain a wonderful and
perpetually astonishing act in the great drama of human life."

     Even a cleric must be 150 years old and ignorant of history to
write honestly like this article.

     Pope "Saint" Damasus I retains his nimbus in the new great
Encyclopedia though he is now known to have been an unscrupulous
Spanish adventurer and, as contemporary priests said, "tickler of
matrons' ears." A few remarks that were made in the short article
in the 11th edition about the incredible massacres at his election
and the impeachment of him later (for adultery) in the civil court
are cut out. But while "Damasus" is abbreviated thus by cutting out
references to his misdeeds, the article "Darwin," is shortened by
suppressing whole paragraphs of Professor Poulton's fine
appreciation of his character and work and the world-honors he
received. "David" is in this modern encyclopedia treated as much
more important than Darwin, and, while even theologians now often
reject him as a myth or a dim shapeless figure, almost the whole
biblical account of him is given as history.

     But I have overlooked the short article on the "Dark Age,"
which is nauseous. There was no article in the 11th edition on it,
so an obscure professor at a third-rate British University has been
commissioned to write one. The phrase was, he says, "formerly used
to cover the whole period between the end of the classical
civilization and the revival of learning in the 15th century."
Bunk. No historian extended it beyond the end of the 11th century.
In short, he copies certain American professors of history who
cater to Catholics and who give no evidence that they can even read
medieval literature. The period is only dark "owing to the
insufficiency of the historical evidence" yet "great intellectual
work was done in unfavorable conditions." No on except an expert 
today reads any book written between 420 and 1100 A.D.; and if that
doesn't mean a Dark Age we wonder what the word means. The writer
does not even know that it was "the Father of Catholic History,"
Cardinal Baronius, who coined the phrase.

     Even worse, from the historical angle, is the article
"Democracy." It is said that "there was no room" for the idea of
democracy in the Dark Age," but "Christianity with its doctrine of
brotherhood and its sense of love and pity had brought into being
an idea unknown to the pagan world, the idea of man's inherent
dignity and importance." We resent this dumping of the sermons of
priests into a modern encyclopedia, but it is even worse when the
emancipation of the serfs and the granting of charters to cities
are traced to that source. The purely economic causes of those
developments are treated in every modern manual. What is worse, the
writer conceals, or does not know, that when the democratic
aspiration did at length appear in Italy the Papacy fought it
truculently for two centuries. I find only one scrap of virtue in
the article. American Catholics had not yet invented the myth that
Jefferson got the idea of democracy from the Jesuit Suarez, so it
makes no appearance here, but the writer, not anticipating it,

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     "The revolt of the colonies was not, strictly speaking,
inspired by a belief in democracy though it resulted in the 
establishment of a republic,"

     How many times have I pointed that out against the Jesuits!

     The article "Education" is another beautiful piece of work --
from the Catholic angle. The historical part of it was written for
the earlier edition by a strictly orthodox Christian schoolmaster,
Welton, and was a sheer travesty of the history of education as it
is now written in all manuals, yet the article in the new edition
is signed "X and C.B." (Cloudsley Brereton, a British inspector of
schools with not the least authority but with the virtue of faith).
In point of fact it is Welton's original article a little condensed
but little altered. They could not well have made it worse from the
historical point of view. The abridgment has cleared away most of
the few good points about Roman education, because any reference to
the system of universal free schooling in Roman days clashes with
the clerical slogan, which is the theme of this article, that the
new religion "gave the world schools." "It was," says the writer,
"into this decaying civilization that Christianity brought new
life." Although only a few catholic schools are mentioned the
reader is given the impression that the new religion inspired a
great growth of schools in an illiterate world. The undisputed
truth is that by 350 A.D., before Christianity was established by
force, there were free primary and secondary schools everywhere,
and by 450 A.D. they had all perished: that in 350 the majority of
the workers was literate, and by 450 -- and for centuries afterward
-- probably not 1 percent of them could read. Of course it is all
put down to the barbarians. "Most of the public schools
disappeared, and such light of learning as there was kept burning
in the monasteries and was confined to priests and monks." The
monks were, as I have repeatedly shown from Christian writers from
Augustine to Benedict, mostly an idle, loose, and vagrant class,
and the few regular houses later established were interested only
in religious education. Pope Gregory I forbade the clergy to open
secular schools.

     The article proceeds on these totally false lines through the
whole of the Middle Ages. The work of Charlemagne, which is now
acknowledged to have been paltry and to have perished at his death,
is grossly misrepresented, and the fact that he was inspired in
what educational zeal he had by the school-system of the anti-Papal
Lombards is concealed. Not a word is said about the Lombard system.
It is almost as bad in explaining why at last -- six centuries
after the Papacy took over the Roman rule -- schools did begin to
spread. There is just one line of reference to the Spanish-Arabs
who inspired it by their restoration of the Roman system of free
general education. Not a word is said about the fact that in Arab-
Spain there were millions of books, finely written on paper and
bound, while no abbey in Europe had more than a few hundred
parchments. The origin of the universities is similarly
misrepresented, It is all covered by this monstrous statement:

     "On the whole it may be concluded that in medieval times the
provision of higher instruction was adequate to the demand and that
relatively to the culture of the time the mass of the people were 
by no means sunk in brutish ignorance."

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     "Brutish" is, of course, part of the trick. Read it simply as
a denial that the mass of the people were totally illiterate and
then ask your-self how it is that, even after all the work, of the
Jesuits and the Protestants, still by the middle of the 18th
century between 80 and 90 percent of the people of Europe were
illiterate. The writer is so reckless in clerical myths that he
even says that the Age of Chivalry greatly helped:

     "The education of chivalry aimed at fitting the noble youth to
be a worthy knight, a just and wise master, and a prudent manager
of an estate."

     You might just as well pretend that Cinderella is a true
account of certain events in the Middle Ages. The whole long
article which is signed X is an outrage when it is presented to the
20th century. The falsehood is carried on over the Reformation
period and into the supposed account of the real beginning of
education of the people in the 18th century.

     I should have to write another encyclopedia if I proposed to
analyze the hundreds of articles in the Britannica which are, like
this, just tissues of clerical false claims, It might be said that,
like the religious literature in which these myths still flourish,
the Encyclopedia has to cater to the religious public. That plea is
in itself based upon an anachronism and on untruth. There is
abundant evidence that today the majority of the reading public,
whatever they think about God, do not accept the Christian
religion. In Britain and France the clergy frankly acknowledge
this, and it is concealed only by sophistry in America. But I am
not suggesting that an Encyclopedia that professes to have been
rewritten to bring it into harmony with modern life and thought
ought to exclude religious writers. I say only that when they are
entrusted with articles which are wholly or in part historical they
must conform to modern historical teaching. These articles, judged
not by atheistic but by ordinary historical works, are tissues of
untruth; and a good deal of this untruth, the part which chiefly
concerns me here, has been inserted in the new edition by the
Catholic "revisers" who lurk behind the signature X.

     As this mark X is in the new edition added to the initials of
Mark Pattison at the foot of the article "Erasmus" we look for
adulterations. As, however, the original article softened the
heresies of the great Dutch humanist there is not much change. Just
a few little touches make him less important and nearer to
orthodoxy, and passages reflecting on the foul state of the Church
at the time are excised. With the subject "Evolution," on the other
hand, no modern editor would dare to allow a Catholic writer to
insert his fantastic views in a publication that professes to be
up-to-date in science. But a place is found for reaction. The
British, Professor Lloyd Morgan is commissioned to write for the
new edition a special article on the evolution of the mind, and it
is based upon the eccentric theory of "emergent evolution" worked
out by him in support of religion, which was dying when he wrote
the article and is now quite dead in the scientific world. Next is
added a section on ethics and evolution by Sir Arthur Thompson, a
Unitarian whose peculiar twists of the facts of science to suit his
mysticism have no place whatever outside religious literature.

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     The article "Galilee" would be examined eagerly by most
critics for evidence of this clerical "reviser." But even in the
11th edition the article was written by a Catholic astronomer, Miss
Agnes Clerke, and X seems to have been given the task of cutting
her five pages down to two (while 16 are devoted to football), that
gives him opportunities. He leaves untouched the statement that at
the first condemnation Galileo was ordered to write no more on the
subject and "he promised to obey"; which is seriously disputed and
rests on poor evidence. Both Catholic writers refuse to insert the
actual sentence of condemnation, which pledged the Roman Church to
the position that it is "formal heresy" to say that the earth
travels round the sun. When he comes to the second condemnation X
suppresses Miss Clerke's hint that Galileo had ridiculed the Pope
in his Dialogue, which was the main motive of the Pope's vindictive
action, and attributes the procedure to Galileo's supposed breaking
of his promise. He saves a precious line by cutting out Miss
Clerke's perfectly true statement that he was detained in the
palace of the Inquisition. In short, it is now a sound Catholic
version of the condemnation of Galileo from first to last, and it
does not warn the reader or take into account in the least the fact
that since Miss Clerke wrote her article Favar has secured and
published (in Italian) new and most important documents on the
case, and they have made the character and conduct of the Pope more
contemptible than ever.

     The fine eight-page article on Gibbon by the learned Professor
Bury in the earlier edition could not expect to escape. Space must
be saved; though one would hardly realize this when one finds 60
pages devoted to Geometry, which no one ever learns from an
encyclopedia. The reviser condenses the six and a half pages of
Gibbon's life and character to one page and then sublimely adds his
X to Bury's initials as the joint authors of the article. You can
guess how much of Gibbon's greatness is left.

     On the other hand the notice of Pope "St." Gregory I, the Pope
who forbade the opening of schools and made the Papacy the richest
landowner and slave-owner in Europe by persuading the rich that the
end of the world was at hand and they had better pass on their
property to the church, remains as fragrant as ever in the new
edition. So does the account of Gregory VII (Hildebrand), the
fanatic who violently imposed celibacy upon the clergy (impelling
mobs to attack them and their wives), who put the crown on Papal
Fascism, who used forgeries and started Wars in the interest of the
Church, who hired the savage Normans to fall upon the Romans (who
then drove him into exile), etc. Naturally, the modern reader must
not know these things.

     The article "Guilds" in the 11th edition; by Dr Gross, is the
source of the monstrous Catholic claim that the Church inspired
these medieval corporations of the workers. It is preserved in all
its untruthfulness in the new edition. After a short and disdainful
notice of various profane theories of the origin of the Guilds he

     "No. theory of origin can be satisfactory which ignores the
influence of the Christian Church."

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     It was, as usual, the sublime and unique Christian doctrine of
the brotherhood of man: yet this had been the cardinal principle of
Stoicism and Epicureanism 300 years B.C. The statement is, in the
mouth of an expert on the Guilds, breath-taking in its audacity.
The documents preserved in the Migne (Catholic) collection show
clearly that the Guilds were pagan in origin -- they were most
probably relies of the old Roman trade unions -- and that the
Church fought them truculently for 100 years after their appearance
in Germany. Gross shows that he has read these documents. He says
that the Guilds were suspected of political conspiracy and opposed
on that ground. On the contrary they were denounced as pagan orgies
(suppers, like those of the Roman unions, at which priests got
drunk and behaved improperly.) X, of course, leaves this pious
creed in all its purity.

     Haeckel, like Gibbon, gets his distinction reduced in the grim
need of curtailing the old articles: a need which looks peculiar
when, a few pages later, General Smuts is invited to contribute a
four-page article on his ridiculous "Philosophy" (Holism), which
has never been taken seriously. But it favors religion and -- not
to put too fine a point on it -- Smuts rendered high political
service to Britain. However while space is so precious the reviser
of the Encyclopedia finds it necessary to add this to the decimated
article on Haeckel: "Although Haeckel occupies no serious position
in the history of philosophy there can be no doubt that he was very
widely read in his own day and that he is very typical of the
school of extreme evolutionary thought."

     The last three words give the writer away. It is only the
Catholic writer who makes a distinction between schools of
"evolutionary thought." As to his having been widely read, no
scientific work since Darwin's "Origin" had anything like the
circulation of Haeckells "Riddle." It sold millions of copies in
more than 20 languages. And a serious modern writer on Haeckel
would have pointed out that while he despised philosophers and
never claimed to be one, he remarkably anticipated modern thought
in insisting that matter and energy are just two aspects of one
reality. Of this fundamental doctrine of his the writer says not a

     Even the article "Heresy" of the old edition, though certainly
not written by a heretic, suffers the usual discriminating process
of curtailment. The writer had said:

     "As long as the Christian Church was itself persecuted by the
pagan empire it advocated freedom of conscience . . . but almost
immediately after Christianity was adopted as the religion of the
Roman Empire the persecution of men for religious opinions began."

     That of course is cut out. Then a long list of Catholic
persecutions in the Middle Ages is cut out and replaced by this
grossly misleading sentence:

     "The heresies of the Middle Ages were not matters of doctrine
merely (however important) but were symptoms of spiritual movements
common to the people of many lands and in one way or other
threatening the power of the Roman Catholic system."

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     An article on the subject which frankly aimed at providing
facts for modern folk would have at least mentioned the death-
sentence for heresy, which is obstinately kept in force in Catholic
Canon Law today. Not a word about it, though on this subject of
penalizing religious opinions it is the question most frequently
asked today.

     The article "Hospitals" gives us a choice specimen of the art
of X-ing. It consist of two parts, history and modern practice. To
the historical section, which it is of considerable interest to the
Catholic propagandist to misrepresent, X does not append his mark,
but he puts it to the section on modern practice, of which he knows
nothing. Was this due to an editorial or typographical error?
Listen. The old article properly gave a gummary account of the
ample provision for the sick in many pre-christian civilizations,
especially the Roman, and added:

     "In Christian days no establishments were founded for the
relief of the sick till the time of Constantine."

     He might have added that even then they were few and were
merely intended to keep the Christian sick away from the pagan
temples of Aesculapius which were the chief Roman hospitals. All
this is cut but and replaced by the totally misleading or totally
false statement:

     "But although hospitals cannot be claimed as a direct result
of Christianity no doubt it tended to instill humanist views, and
as civilization grew men and women of many races came to realize
that the treatment of disease in buildings set apart exclusively
for the care of the sick were in fact a necessity in urban

     We have several good and by no means anti-Christian histories
of hospitals today. They show a fine record in India under the
Buddhists King Asoka and a creditable record for the Greek-Roman 
world in imperialist days. They show also that the Christian record
the period of confusion after the fall of Roman Empire but from 450
to the 18th century is miserable; and thus in an encyclopedia that
advertises that it is rewritten in order to ensure confidence that
the reader is getting what is generally agreed upon by the experts
in each department, writers are permitted to take the reader even
farther away from the truth than -- in articles of this kind --
they were earlier in the century. A score of articles like this
which are supposed to prove by historical facts the nature of the
Christian social inspiration and social record are cheap and
untruthful religious propaganda.

     Even in the short notice of Hypatia the clerical surgeon has
used his knife. Short as it was, we shall be told that it had to be
curtailed (though the editor spares eight pages for Icelandic
literature) but the omissions are significant. The earlier article
rightly said that she was a "mathematician and philosopher," and
contemporaries speak of her works on mathematics not philosophy.
Yet even the word "mathematician," which does not take up much
space does give us a better idea of the solid character of Hypatia,
is cut out. The earlier writer says that she was "barbarously 

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murdered by the Nitrian monks and the fanatical Christian mob,"
that the Caesareum to which her body was dragged was "then a
Christian church" and that the remains of the aged scholar (as she
was) were burned piecemeal. All the phrases I have italicized
(BOLD) are carefully cut out, as is also the whole of the following

     "Most prominent among the actual perpetrators of the crime was
Peter the Reader (cleric), but there seems little reason to doubt
the complicity of Cyril (the archbishop)."

     So the "correction of dates" and curtailing some articles to
admit new matter" just happen to take a form which greatly reduces
the guilt of the Christian Church in the foulest crime of the age;
for the greatest lady in the whole Greek world at the time was
stripped in the street and her flesh cut from her bones with broken
pottery by monks and people directly inflamed against her by the
archbishop. This is the sort of thing for which the University of
Chicago now stands sponsor.

     In the note on "Idealism," which is colorless, I notice that
the improvers of the old Britannica have recommended a work by "J.
Royce"; a point which must rather annoy the professors since Josiah
Royce is one of the most distinguished philosophers America has yet
produced. More important is the great saving of space in reducing
the size of the article "Illegitimacy." In face of the drivel that
Catholic apologists talk about influence of their church on sexual
conduct we have been accustomed to point out, amongst other things,
that bastards are far more common in countries where the Roman and
Greek churches are, or were until recent years, more powerful. In
the old Britannica the article gave a wealth of statistics,
particularly about Ireland, to help the student on this point. Out
they have all gone -- to find more space, of course, for cricket
and football. "Illiteracy" is just as little seriously informing
for the inquirer who wants to know whether it is true that the
church is the Great Educator.

     The article on "Immortality" was much too pious in the old
edition of the Encyclopedia to need any "improvement." It stands,
like a hundred other articles, as a monument of what respectable
folk thought in Victorian days. It was out of date even in 1911.
Since then the belief in immortality is almost dead in philosophy,
and the teaching of psychology today emphatically excludes it. Even
theologians doubt it or at least widely admit that attempts to
prove it are futile. Of this state of modern thought the article
gives no more idea than it does of Existentialism.

     Similarly, the article "Infallibility" in the old edition was
written by a Catholic and needed no "correction of dates." But it
was better not to let the reader know that it was written by a
Catholic, so away go his initials, The article "Infanticide" would
be considered by many more important than archery and croquet and
other genteel sports of our grandmothers, because it is one of the
familiar claims of the apologist that while the ancient Romans were
appallingly callous on the subject the new religion brought the
world a new sense of the importance of even a newborn babe's life.
The old edition was certainly defective in its account of the 

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practice in ancient Rome but even the little it said has been cut
out. An inquirer into the subject will not get one single ray of
light on Roman practice from the new article; and it is candidly
signed X.

                      POPES AND INQUISITORS

     Then we come to the long string of Popes who adopted the name
"Innocent" when they donned the white robes of "the Vicar of
Christ." We know little about some of them, but others are so well
known, and there is so little dispute about their character, that
the name is a mockery. All that the Catholic editor could do in
such cases was to make a few of those neat little cuts with his
scissors that at least make the record seem grayish instead of
black. For instance, under "Innocent III" the old article spoke
about the "horrible massacre" of the Albigensians which he ordered.
The word "horrible" has been cut out; it was, no doubt, too strong
an expression for the fact that only a few hundred thousand men,
women, and children were savagely massacred because they would not
bow to Rome. No one doubts the religious sincerity and strict
personal conduct of Innocent III, but this article does not give
the reader the least inkling of the perfidy, dishonesty, and
cruelty into which his fanaticism led him.

     It is different with Innocent VIII, an elderly roue who got
the papacy in the fight of the factions and immensely promoted the
debauchery of Rome and the Vatican. The old article said,
moderately enough:

     "His youth, spent at the Neapolitan court, was far from
blameless, and it is far from certain that he was married to the
mother of his numerous family."

     As he was credited by public opinion with only 16 children the
censor must have thought this excessive, so cut out the whole
passage. Naturally he cut out also the later passage: His curia was
notoriously corrupt, and he himself openly practiced nepotism in
favoring his children, concerning whom the epitaph is quoted: "He
guiltily begot six sons and as many daughters, so that Rome has the
right to call him Father." Thus he gave to his undeserving son
Franceschetto several towns near Rome and married him to the
daughter of Larenzo de Medici (the greatest prince of Italy).

     All this is cut out of the new edition of the Encyclopedia,
which was to appeal to all by its accuracy. There is not the least
doubt in history that the Pope had children, that his son
Francheschietto was one of the vilest and most dissipated young men
of Rome, and that Innocent was aware that the Papal Court was
sinking deeper and deeper into corruption. The notice of the Pope
in this edition is a calculated deception of the reader.

     It is almost as bad with the notice of Pope Innocent X; and
the deception here is the more wicked because Innocent X ruled
after what Catholic apologists call the Counter-Reformation, which
is supposed to have purified the papacy and the church. The notice
in the old edition at least gave a hint of his character by saying:

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     Throughout his pontificate he was completely dominated by his
sister-in-law Donna Olimpia Maidaechini (a woman of masculine
spirit). There is no reason to credit the scandalous reports of an
Illicit attachment. Nevertheless the influence of Donna Olimpia was
baneful, and she made herself thoroughly detested by her inordinate
ambition and rapacity.

     This was a mild and inadequate expression of the notorious
historical fact that for 10 years this vile woman openly sold --
clerics, even bishops, queuing at the door of her palace -- every
ecclesiastical office in the Power of the papacy; and it suppresses
entirely the scandal of the Pope's "nephews," The license granted
her was so enormous that folk had every reason to assume that She
had been Innocent's mistress. Yet in the new edition of the
Encyclopedia the main part of the moderate passage I quoted from
the older edition is cut out. An incorrect date, no doubt. Each
such notice of a Pope to the middle of the 17th century is thus
doctored, to protect the modern Catholic myth of a Counter-

     We come a few pages later to "Inquisition," and here you will
expect that X has surpassed himself. Not a bit of it. He has
changed little -- because the article even in the old edition was
written by a French Catholic, Alphandery. X has just touched it up
a little and put his mark at the end of it. It is as scandalous a
piece of deception of the public, since it is not stated and cannot
now easily be verified that Alphandery was a Catholic, as for the
Encyclopedia Americana to have got Japanese propagandists to write
the long section in it on Japan. It opens with a show of flooring
at once the critics of the Inquisition. They are supposed to say it
began in the 12th century, whereas it goes back to the early
church, even to Paul. This is throwing dust in the eyes of the
reader. "Inquisition" does not mean persecution or prosecution for
heresy but "searching out" heresy, and it was the Popes of the
early 13th century who created the elaborately organized detective
as well as penal force which we specifically call the Inquisition.

     It next scores by remarking that the early Fathers did not
favor Punitive measures. How on earth could they have dreamed of
them under Roman law and when they were an illicit sect themselves.
It says that there was little persecution for heresy from the 6th
to the 12th century, the Dark Age; which amuses us when we recall
that 99 and a fraction percent of the population of Europe were
illiterate and so densely ignorant that folk could not tell one
doctrine from another and just attended Sunday services in Latin.
Then we get the germs of the cowardly and debased modern Catholic
apology: that the church was always reluctant to persecute but the
zeal of the peoples and princes of Europe forced its hand. Of
course, both writers make much of the famous persecution decree of
Frederick II -- the great heretic who appealed to the other kings
to abolish the Papacy -- but are careful not to mention the savage
action of the papacy which dictated it or the fact that Frederick
never applied the law. Torture the gentle church particularly
disliked and only borrowed it from secular law: in which the church
had enforced it for centuries for clerical offenses like blasphemy.
They both say: "We must accept the conclusion Of H. C. Lea and
Vancandard that comparatively few people suffered at the stake in 

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the medieval Inquisition." That is a total perversion of Lea's
words -- he refers to the first half of the Middle Ages when there
was no Inquisition -- and they grossly mislead the reader by
coupling Vacandard's name with his. Canon Vacandard was one of the
most reckless of the French apologists.

     But I cannot go phrase by phrase through this Catholic
rubbish. In spite of all its sophistry and suppressions it leaves
the Inquisition the most scandalous quasi-judicial procedure that
ever disgraced civilization, yet it is not the full truth. It is
true that it does not tell the lie that American apologists now do
-- that the Roman Inquisition never executed men -- and it does not
even mention, much less challenge, the definite figure of 341,042
victims of the Spanish Inquisition which Llorente, secretary of the
Inquisition, canon of the church, and Knight of the Caroline order,
compiled from its archives. Its sophistry gets it so muddled in
regard to this important question of the spanish Inquisition that
it first says the people regarded heresy as "a national scourge"
and the Inquisition as "a powerful and indispensable agent of
public protection," and then tells how the greed of the Inquisition
"rapidly paralyzed commerce and industry." It does not tell how
while Spain was still Catholic the fierce anger of the people
destroyed the Inquisition.

     This book would become another encyclopedia if I were to
analyze in this way all the articles, especially on religious
matters, that are in this new edition of the Britannica foisted on
the reader as the common teaching of our historians, philosophers
or sociologists, nor can I stop at every little specimen of the
zeal of the group or phalanx of writers who mask themselves with an
X. Even the article "Ionia" has suffered from their clumsy
treatment. In a fine page in the last edition Dr. Hogarth summed

     "Ionia has laid the world under its debt not only by giving
birth to a long series of distinguished men of letters and science
but by originating the schools of art which prepared the way for
the brilliant artistic development of Athens in the 5th century."

     This and the best evidence for it are cut out, but X does not
put his crooked mark here. He appends it to the next section, which
is on the geology of the Ionian Isles! In my own historical Works,
I have laid great stress on the significance of Ionia and I have
found my readers puzzled. They will not get much help from this
mutilated article.

     The historical section of the article "Italy" -- a country
which is described as 97.12 percent Catholics even now that
Communists and Socialists dominate it -- ought to have been
revised, not in a Catholic sense, for it was far too lenient to the
papacy, but to harmonize with the modern teaching of history.
Instead of this being done X is allowed to add a gushing section on
the beautiful accord of the Pope and Mussolini, the "unexampled
scenes of enthusiasm" in Rome when the infamous compact was signed,
and the joy of "300,000,000 Catholics" through-out the world, This
in face of the notorious fact that the Fascists themselves bitterly
attacked Mussolini for signing the Treaty and all that has happened

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since. The Chicago professors might ask Professor Salvemini what he
thinks of it. The total impression given to any reader who ploughs
through the history of Italy in this article from the time of
Charlemagne onward is, as far as the relations of the Italians with
the Popes are concerned, false; but I doubt if anybody ever does
read these historical articles in encyclopedias from beginning to


     The article "Society of Jesus" -- even the title has been
altered from "Jesuits," a word which does not smell so sweet --
ought to have been a happy hunting ground for this Catholic
corrector of false dates, but from the older editions of the
Britannica it had already in the 11th edition been rewritten by a
Jesuit. There are, however, or used to be, Jesuits and Jesuits,
and the Father Taunton who initials the article assured me that
in private he went far, but one did not look for that in his
professional work. His article, endorsed and relieved of any
leaning to candor, is still just one of those religious tracts
that the Encyclopedia offers the reader instead of seriously
informing and neutral articles on controverted points. It is a
travesty of the real history of the Society, a touching fairy-
tale, mostly based upon what the Jesuit professes to be. Taunton,
however, did let himself go to this extent:

     "Two startling and undisputed facts meet the student who
pursues the history of the Society, The first is the universal
suspicion and hostility it has incurred -- not merely from the
Protestants whose avowed foe it has been, nor yet from the
enemies of all clericalism and dogma but from every Catholic
state and nation in the world. Its chief enemies have been those
of the household of the Roman Catholic faith."

     For this original article gives abundant evidence. The
clause I outline disappears in the sacred cause of abridgment and
Father Taunton's too candid words become:

     "The most remarkable fact in the Society's history is the
suspicion and hostility it has incurred within the household of
the Roman Catholic faith."

     Much of this, he explains, is due to the superior virtues of
the Jesuits and the dishonesty of their critics. He even ventures
to include the austere and most virtuous Pascal in a group of
critics who are described as "not scrupulous in their
quotations." He cuts out the serious criticism of Jesuit
education (in the old article) in order to protect the fiction,
which modern Jesuits have spread, that they were great educators.

     But the most deliberate perversion of the truth is seen in
the account of what happened in the 18th century. It is a
commonplace of history how the Catholic kings of France, Spain,
and Portugal, stung by revelations of the greed, hypocrisy, and
intrigues of the Jesuits, suppressed the Society in their
dominions and appealed to the Pope to suppress it altogether,
which he did in 1775. We might allow that in the new edition it 

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was necessary to abridge the account of the crimes of the Jesuits
on which the monarch and the Popes acted but these clerical
champions of accuracy in the new edition of the Encyclopedia have
gone far beyond this. Taunton had said:

     "The apologists of the Society allege that no motive
influenced the Pope save the love of peace at any price and that
he did not believe in the culpability of the Jesuits. The
categorical charges made in the document (the Pope's bull) rebut
this plea."

      Taunton gave enough of the Pope's words -- I give a fuller
account in my large "Candid History of the Jesuits" (which is, of
course, not mentioned in the bibliography) -- to prove this. It
is all cut out, and the reader is just given the modern thumping
lie of the Jesuits that the Pope expressed no opinion on the
charges against them. And lest any reader or critic should be
able to say that that is just the opinion of a Catholic writer,
Taunton's initials have been suppressed and in this case X has
not given the mark of the crook. I should like to ask the
professors of the University of Chicago what they think of that.

     The articles "Jesus" and "Jews" I do not propose to
desecrate by analysis. They are orthodox and venerable with age.
They tell the reader what all theologians but a few rebels
thought half a century or more ago. Whether it is for that sort
of thing that you consult a modern encyclopedia.... Well, please
yourself. It is the same with the notice of Joan of Are. In the
old encyclopedia my friend Professor Shotwell, of Columbia, had a
fair article on Joan. It was not quite up to date, but it was
mildly critical. Now that Joan is turned into a saint, as part of
the political deal of the Vatican and the French government, and
in spite of the dire need to abridge the old edition, Shotwell's
sober one and a half page notice is replaced by a three and a
half page sermon by a French Catholic. Not a word about modern
military opinion of her -- whether she had any ability at all or
was just a superstitious tonic in a jaded military world -- and
not a word about the new research of Miss Murray and others into
the real nature of witchcraft and their conclusion that Joan was
probably a member of the witch cult.

     Then come the "John" Popes and prodigious feats of juggling.
They had to be brought down to the customary level of grossly
untruthful treatment of saints, martyrs, popes, and other sacred
things in this "modern" work of reference. Of the character of
most of the Johns we know nothing, but three or four of them were
so notoriously vicious and otherwise devoid of interest that
their portraits had to be touched up considerably. John X was
decidedly one of them. Even the old article, admitting discreetly
that he "attracted the attention" of a leading lady of the Roman
nobility, allowed that "she got him elected Pope" in direct
opposition to a decree of council (which X cuts out). But old and
new editions introduce John XI as son of Marozia and reputed son
of (Pope Sergius III." This is covering up the most infamous
period of the depravity of the Papacy (or any other religious
authority in the world) not with a veil but with painted boards.
The period was what the Father of Catholic History, Cardinal 

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Baronius, following the few clerical writers of the period, calls
"The Rule of the Whores"; and I am not here giving a vulgar
rendering of the Latin. The period stinks amazingly even in
Cardinal Baronius. The two chief whores who ruled the Papacy for
30 or 40 years were Theodore. and her daughter Marozia (as fierce
and lustful a cat as you will meet even in the history of the
Middle Ages). Two Popes at least were lovers of these women and
one was -- not reputed to be but certainly was -- the bastard of
Marozia and Pope Sergius and was put on the papal throne by
Marozia's orders.

     Another son of Marozia's ruled Rome and the papacy for 20
years after the period that is strictly called "The Rule of the
Whores" and he put his own son, John XII, on the papal throne.
There may have been a few Popes as licentious as this young man
was -- I would not be quite of it -- but certainly not one worse.
He, says the contemporary Bishop Liutprand, turned the papal
palace into "a brothel" and an inn. He seduced his father's
mistress and his own sisters and raped pilgrims, he castrated the
single cardinal who criticized him. . . . There was nothing he
did not do during the 10 years of his pontificate, yet the feeble
reference to his scandalous private life in the 11th edition is
cut out in the fourteenth, leaving him one of the Holy Fathers.

     It is useless to go into every detail and is enough to say
that in the case of the next scandalous John (XXIII) the work of
the reviser is as foul as ever. He lived and ruled at the height
of the Italian Renaissance (1410-15), and he was a monster of
crime in comparison with the notorious Alexander VI. Neither the
writer in the 11th edition (a French Catholic) nor the one in the
14th (anonymous) tells the undisputed fact that he was notorious
for vice and corruption before he became Pope. In fact neither
hints at irregularities before he was condemned by the Council of
Constance. The older writer then candidly acknowledged that the
Council (300 prelates) endorsed 54 charges against him and that
three cardinals he paid to undertake his defense refused to do
so. "Enough charges," he said, "of immorality, tyranny, ambition
and simony were found proved to justify the severest judgment."
As a matter of fact the indictment, which may be read in any
Latin History of the Councils, was a complete Inventory of crimes
and sins. One sentence includes "murder, sacrilege, adultery,
rape, spoliation and theft." And this precious "rectifier" of
errors in the new edition cuts out the whole of this. He just
states that the Pope was suspended but the sentence was irregular
in canon law!

     Passing on our way to the Leos we note a point here and
there that need not detain us. "Jubilee year" is described as an
institution of piety and not a word said about the greed and
corruption of the Pope who established it and why. Julius II has
had the character-sketch in the old edition, though written by a
Catholic, touched up and trimmed until the reader, who may have
read something in regular history about the Pope's children, his
heavy drinking and swearing, and his unscrupulousness, will be
surprised to find how great and virtuous a Pope he was. The
greatest nobles of Rome at the time assure us that he was a
sodomist. "Juvenile Offenders" is a title that ought to meet many

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searching and varied queries in our time. It completely fails.
Not a word about religion. Not a single statistic. Then we come
to the article "Knighthood and Chivalry," to which we were
referred in the short note Chivalry."

     I have made considerable research on this point in medieval
history and have pointed out repeatedly that the belief that
there was an Age of Chivalry (about 1100 to 1400) is one of the
Crudest and emptiest of all the historical myths with which
Catholic writers adorn their Middle Ages. No expert on the period
fails to say the opposite. But in the case of this article I
gather that the learned writer of it in the 11th edition, Dr.
Coulton, who died in 1947, would not tolerate any monkey tricks
with his work. He was not a master of the literature of the
subject but he does say:

     "Such historical evidence as we possess, when carefully
scrutinized, is enough to dispel the illusion that there was any
period of the Middle Ages in which the unselfish championship of
God and the Ladies was anything but a rare exception."

     Dr. Coulton has paid too narrow an attention to the faire-
tale itself. On the broad question of the character of the
princes, lords, knights, and ladies of the period, particularly
in regard to sex, cruelty, dishonesty, and injustice, we have
mounds. of evidence, and it consistently shows that this was one
of the least chivalrous and most immoral periods in history.

     In the long list of the Leo Popes I need notice only the
important article on Leo X, the man who opposed Luther. Here,
however, X had not much to do, The article in the 11th edition
was by Carlton Hayes, the Catholic professor at Columbia. It
falsely said that modern research has given us a "fairer and more
honest opinion of Leo X." He was "dignified": the Pope who
enjoyed nothing more than grossly indecent comedies, largely
written by his favorite cardinal, in the sacred palace and
banquets at which gluttony was a joke and the most vulgar
adventurers were richly rewarded. He "fasted" -- at the doctor's
orders, for his body was gross. With a show of liberality it
admits that he was "worldly," "devoid of moral earnestness or
deep religious feeling," "treacherous and deceptive" (which is
explained away as the common policy of princes at the time). No,
X did not find many "dates" to correct in this Catholic
sophistication, but the man who wants truth in his encyclopedia
will. Not the least idea is given of the monstrous corruption of
the papal court under Leo: not a hint that it was so commonly
believed in Rome that he was a sodomist that both his friends and
authorized Biographer Bishop Giovio and the great contemporary
historian Guiccardini notice it and, contrary to the statement of
the Catholic historian Pastor, seem to believe it.

     The article "Libraries" is the next on which X employs his
subtle art. I have explained, I think, that X is not one
encyclopedic Catholic writer who does all this marvelous work.
The explanation given of the X in the first volume of the 14th
edition is that it is "the initial used for anonymous writers";
just as the lady whose sins are not to be disclosed in the court 

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is called by the police Mlle X. In all earlier encyclopedias
anonymous writers, who do the great body of the hack-work of the
encyclopedia, did not need any monogram. But, of course, this was
a special arrangement with the Catholic body. It assumes that
Committees of Catholics on both sides of the Atlantic were
appointed to scrutinize all articles bearing upon Catholic myths
and to cut out and modify, no matter on what authority it rested,
any statement that the Catholic clergy do not like. Whether any
other sort of anonymous critics were allowed to do similar work
and wear the mask I do not know. I have not noticed an X anywhere
except where truth has been slain or mutilated by a Catholic

     You may wonder why an innocent article on Libraries should
excite the suspicions of the Catholic Knights Errant, but the
history of libraries, like the history of literature or education
generally, is even more dangerous from the Catholic viewpoint
than an amorous story or picture. It tells how the Greeks and
Romans had splendid libraries (and literature and schools); how
during the Christian Middle Ages libraries (and schools and books
of interest) were few and paltry to the 12th century; how in the
meantime the Arabs and Persians again had magnificent libraries
(and schools and literature) and in the course of two or three
centuries succeeded in stimulating sluggish Christian countries
to have a few decent libraries. This is real history and of deep
sociological significance. But it is the kind of history
Catholics hate as they hate science. So the historical part of
the article is mercilessly but selectively cut.

     A point, for instance, on which an inquirer is still apt to
consult an  encyclopedia is as to the fate of the greatest
library of the ancient world, that of Alexandria. Said the
article in the 1911 edition:

     "In 389 or 391 an edict of Theodosius ordered the
destruction of the Serapeum, and the books were pillaged by the

     This is cut out, and we have to be content with a vague
admission that the stupid story that "the Library survived to be
destroyed by the Arabs can hardly be supported." The older writer
said that the transfer of imperial powers from Rome to
Constantinople was "a serious blow to literature." This truth
also is cut out. He said that "during the Middle Ages knowledge
was no longer pursued for its own value, but became subsidiary to
religious and theological teaching." Monstrous. Out it goes.

     Loisy, the great French scholar, had a couple of pages in
the 11th edition. He was then still a Catholic. He is cut to a
paragraph in the 14th edition. The fame of his scholarship had
grown but he had openly quit the Church. When you see 20 pages
devoted to logic, in which few folk take any interest today, you
wonder whether the need of abridgement was really so drastic, but
the pruning shears (and the signature X) appear again in the
article "Lollards," who were deadly enemies of the church. It is
the same with the Lombards. Instead of the short account of their

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great importance in the restoration of civilization in Europe
being expanded, as modern interest requires, it is cut down, as
the interest of the papacy demands.

     "Lourdes" would seem to give X a great opportunity but the
old article had only a few lines on the shrine of Lourdes. They
are neatly strengthened. The older writer generously noted that
it was "believed by the Roman Catholic world" that the Virgin
revealed herself here. This becomes stronger. Lourdes has become
famous since the visions of Bernadette Soubirons and their
authentication by a commission of inquiry appointed by the bishop
of Tarbes. As if no serious person doubted them. But you are
referred to Catholic literature for details of the epic story of
the growth and the miracles: a tissue of fabrications.

     The article "Martyrs" was in the old edition an edifying
Christian, sermonette, and it remains. Here in a modern and
candid encyclopedia, we should have had a useful Recount of the
mass of historical work that has been done on the martyrs, even
by Catholic scholars like the Jesuit Delehaye and Professor
Ehrhard, in the last 50 years. More ancient martyrs have been
martyred with the axe of historical truth than the early
Christians manufactured in 200 years.

     In the article "Materialism" you know what to expect. In
this and most other encyclopedias Romanists write on Catholic
matters, Methodists on Methodists matters and so on, but, of
course, on such subjects as Agnosticism, Atheism, Materialism,
Naturalism, etc., we must entrust the work to ignorant and
bigoted critics. So we still read how "naive materialism" is due
to "the natural difficulty which persons who have had no
philosophical training experience in observing and appreciating
the importance of the immaterial facts of consciousness." Some
reverend gentleman has been drawing upon his sermons for copy.
Not a single word about the evidence provided by Professor Leuba
and others that, on their own profession, more than 70 percent of
the scientific men of America are "naive materialists." With a
fatuousness that makes us groan the clerical reviser adds to the
short article:

     "Largely through the influence of Bergson, Alexander, and
Lloyd Morgan contemporary science is turning away from
materialism and reaching toward the recognition of other than
mechanical factors in the phenomena, even the physical phenomena,
of Nature."

     The encyclopedia Might just as well say that under the
influence of Gandhi, the Grand Lama, and the Mufti of Jerusalem,
military men are now turning away from thoughts of war.

     X comes on the scene again in the article on the Medici. Any
truthful account of this famous Florentine family must show us
the greatest paradox -- if you care to call it paradox -- of the
Middle Ages; a wonderful art, superficial refinement, and pursuit
of culture covering an abyss of corruption. The older writer was
honest enough to tell a little of the background, and X generally
cuts it out. The great Lorenzo is disinfected, and he strikes out
such passages as this, referring to Cosmo III:

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     "Cosmos hypocritical zeal for religion compelled his
subjects to multiply services and processions that greatly
infringed upon their working hours. He wasted enormous sums in
pensioning converts -- even those from other countries -- and in
giving rich endowments to sanctuaries."

     Lorenzo's 20 lines of vices are "abridged" into two, and so

     "Medicine" ought, like "Libraries," "Hospitals" and a score
of other articles, to show in its historical part the appalling
blank in the civilized record. It did this to some extent in the
earlier edition, so the account of Greek-Roman and Arab-Persian
progress is abridged so that the blank from 500 to 1500 is not so
painful to the eye.

     "Mithraism" might seem an innocent and remote subject but
the modern inquirer will want to know whether or no it is true
that it made more progress than Christianity in the Roman world
and whether it had a superior morality. The fine article by
Professor Grant Showerman in the 11th edition fairly answered
these questions. He said that by the middle of the 3rd century
"it looked like becoming the universal religion" (which is cut
out). He said that it appealed to the Romans by its strongly
democratic note and its high ethic. Here his account is cut to
pieces, and we now learn that it made progress by boasting of an
esoteric wisdom and compromising with paganism. The substance of
Showerman's article is kept but his initials are deleted. Perhaps
he demanded that. Of course, nothing is said about the material
borrowings of Christianity from Mithraism or how Christianity
destroyed its rival by violence.

     It appears that X (or one of him) is also an expert on
Mohammed. He has reduced an authoritative 12-page article to
three and perhaps some will think that he has shorn the prophets
glory. Moses on the other hand passes into the new edition as
"one of the greatest figures in history." You may have heard that
even theologians and liberal Jews are wondering how much
historical knowledge we have of such a person "Beyond question,"
says this more accurate new edition, "Moses must be regarded as
the founder alike of Israel's nationality and of Israel's
religion." These X's are great at settling disputed points.

     The article, "Monasticism," is a grand opportunity for
telling a large amount of picturesque truth. But, alas even the
editor of the 11th edition had the quaint idea that it ought to
be written by a monk. The result is that X did not find a word to
alter. We have the old article in all its fragrance -- and
mendacity. It tells us as much about the new history of the
monastic bodies in Europe as  a history of Hitlerism by a Fascist
would tell of events in Europe. Whether or no an encyclopedia is
a book in which you expect the truth, the whole truth, and
nothing but the truth.... There are probably simple folk who do.

     "Mozart" does not sound of theological interest, but since
his Requiem or "mass for the dead" is said to be "one of the
finest of religious compositions" and is a prime favorite in 

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Catholic ritual it is important to the church that the public
should not learn that he was an apostle and an anti-clerical
Freemason who, in the familiar phraseology of the cleric, died
and was buried like a dog. The article in the old edition did not
toll the whole truth about this, but its misleading of the public
was not strong enough for the reviser so it is made a little more
misleading. It is well known in what circumstances Mozart began
to compose his Requiem. A stranger approached him and offered to
pay him to write it, and, as Mozart was ailing, the story runs
that he nervously saw in the offer a warning of his death. If he
did so at any time he must have soon learned that (as it proved)
it was a rich amateur (Count Walsegg) who was really hiring his
genius, but the "reviser" of the article has actually changed the
text from "Mozart worked at it unremittingly, hoping to make it
his greatest work" to "Mozart put his greatest music into it and
became more and more convinced that he was writing it for his own
death." After this you would expect a lovely death in the arms of
his holy mother the church, but the clerical reviser cuts out in
the new edition what the expert writer of the article said. It

     "His funeral was a disgrace to the court, the public,
society itself ... his body was buried in a pauper's grave."

     But the initials of the writer, Sid D. T. Tovey, are kept at
the foot of his mutilated article. This story of a mysterious
visitor who gave Mozart the idea that he was being supernaturally
warned of his approaching death has recently inspired an eloquent
article in the pious Reader's Digest. Naturally readers who turn
for verification of it to the great Encyclopedia will be fully
encouraged. The fact is, as the "corrector" probably knew well,
Mozart refused to send for a priest when he became dangerously
ill and when his wife secretly sent for one the man refused to
attend so notorious a heretic. It might be instructive to the
inquirer into religious inspiration in art to know that one of
the most beautiful pieces of church music was composed by a man
who emphatically rejected Christianity, but it would be
inconsistent with so much that is said in the Britannica, so the
fact is suppressed.

     Nietzsche you would almost expect to find banished
altogether from so pious an encyclopedia, but we have here one of
the little mysteries of its compilation. In spite of the grim
need for abridgment the one-column article in the 11th edition
has been replaced by a two-page appreciation of the great skeptic
by his devout follower, Dr. A. Levy. One might quarrel with it
here and there but let us not be meticulous.

                    HOW HISTORY IS RE-WRITTEN

     There must have been a good deal of maneuvering in the
subterranean vaults in which the new edition of the Britannica
was being forged when the time came for doing an article on the
papacy. In the 11th edition the lengthy treatment of the subject
was entrusted to a number of well-known Catholic writers who were
understood to be what were then called "liberal Catholics." The
first section, covering the early centuries and the Dark Age (to 

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1100), was written by Mgr. Duchesne and the next by Professor
Luchaire, both said in private clerical circles (to which I once
belonged) to be modernists. Duchesne was an arch-trimmer, and he
writes the first 1,000 years of the history of the papacy in such
fashion that X finds nothing to correct. I do not know to what
extent there are folk who fancy that by reading such an article
they learn the historical truth, but the fact is that this long
article on the papacy is a travesty of history and a sheer
Catholic tract; and any sub-editor ought to have known what to
expect. It is utterly impossible for any Catholic writer to tell
facts, much less the whole of the facts, on such subjects. How
could he, for instance, tell that few historians outside the
church admit that there is any serious evidence that Peter was
ever in Rome. Duchesne placidly observes that it is "now but
little disputed," because a few American historians who play up
to Rome take an indulgent view of the so-called evidence. I have
proved from the most solid Christian document of the time that
the Roman Christians of the 1st century did not believe it.

     So the narrative continues on the usual and most untruthful
Catholic lines. All the other churches looked up to the Roman and
did not question the universal authority of its bishop; which is
the direct opposite of the truth, for I have shown in detail that
every assertion of Roman authority over the other churches to the
6th century (when the other churches had either disappeared or
formed the separate Greek Church) was indignantly, often
contemptuously, spurned. There is, of course, not the slightest
hint of the demoralization of the church from about 150 onward.
It is a body of virtuous folk braving its persecutors. And its
immense enrichment after the Conversion of Constantine is
explained audaciously by saying that the pagan emperors had
deprived the church of its wealth and Constantine just restored
it! Naturally there is not a word about the dozen persecuting
decrees, even with a death-sentence, which the bishops got from
the Christian emperors and so crushed every religious rival,

     This fairy-tale, which it is disgusting to find in a serious
encyclopedia, is sustained throughout the entire 30-page article,
but I have not space here to go much into detail. There was no
Dark Age for the church, though the "barbarian invasions," the
usual scapegoat, are admitted to have caused some irregularities.
There is not the least recognition of the need to explain why the
worst degradation of the papacy, from 890 to 1050 began four
centuries after the invasions and deepened for 100 years. The
attainment of the Temporal Power is explained without a word
about the Donation of Constantine, which Catholic historians
admit to have been a forgery, and the development of the
monstrous pretensions of the Popes to power is explained by an
argument as ingenious as it is false. Innocent III was
"compelled" -- I have shown from his own letters that he
deliberately and fraudulently engineered it -- to sanction,
though he tried to check, the persecution of the Albigensians.
Then the corruption of Europe by the Renaissance "infected" the
good church to some extent, but there is no proof, for instance,
of the fearful charges against John XXIII. No; they were merely
examined and endorsed by a Council of 29 cardinals, 33
archbishops, 150 bishops, 134 abbots, and 100 doctors of law and 

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divinity. The second two-century period of deep papal degradation
is passed over with the admission that there was one pope,
Alexander VI, of abandoned morals.

     X then takes up the story and you may bet that it does not
lose in piety. This is how he writes history. At the French
Revolution "the Pope fought against the Terror when the worship
of reason was proclaimed." There, of course, never was a "worship
of reason" in France, and the Feast of Reason and Liberty in
Notre Dame was not official, and it was after the official
proclamation of the Worship of the Supreme Being that the Terror
followed. So on to 1929. This is, as I said, a blatant Catholic
tract from beginning to end, and it closes with the usual list of
popes all of whom to the year 530 -- including such rogues as
Victor, Callistus, and Damasus -- are described as "Saints." Some
of them are fictitious, the majority of quite unknown character,
and half the remainder poor specimens.

     Catholics might well boast of their service to their church
in getting permission to correct a few dates and other trifling
errors in the earlier Britannica. Their converts, if educated at
all, are generally of the type who would look for truth in an
encyclopedia. Perhaps one ought not to complain if the editor of
an encyclopedia invites a Christian Scientist to tell the aims
and belief of Christian Science, Moslem to tell the tenants of
Islam, and so on, but to allow Catholic propagandists not merely
to explain what the Church's doctrines are but to write 30 pages
of historical mendacity and misrepresentation because. ... Well,
you may guess for yourself what the agreement between the
contracting parties was. Where the Chicago professors come in I
don't know.

     Presently we come to the article "Pasteur," and of course,
that famous scientist must be claimed as a Catholic, though I
have proved a score of times that he quit the church early in his
career, publicly avowed his Agnostic creed, and died Without any
recognition of the church. There was a fine article on him in the
earlier edition by Sir Henry Roscoe, which concluded:

     "Rich in years and honors, but simple-minded and as
affectionate as a child, this great benefactor to his species
passed quietly away."

in the new edition this becomes:

     "Rich in years and in honors, this simple and devout
Catholic, this great human benefactor. ..."

     And there is no X to warn the reader that an anointed hand
has altered the article. That happens in hundreds of cases.

     Psychical research was still considered by many in the first
decade of this century to be at least not a waste of time, so
three pages were devoted to it in the 11th edition. In the third
decade of the century few took any serious notice of its
futilities, yet. in spite of the tremendous need for abridgment,
the three-page article is replaced by a five-page article by an 

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enthusiast for the nonsense. The article "Psychology" is, of
course, entirely useless to any inquirer who wants to know, as
most thoughtful folk do want to know, what the modern science
makes of the old idea of mind. You gather that the mind is still
as solidly established as the Pope. With great boldness (it seems
to think) the new article alters the definition of psychology
from the science of the mind to "the study of the mind or of
mental phenomena." At the time (1929) there was hardly a manual
published in America that did not define it as "the science of
behavior" and reject the reality of mind. But the new article
does not give you the least idea of the revolution. Two
reactionary professors just grind out five pages of the old
academic verbiage. it is like a barrel-organ in Broadway.

     "Preaching" is a short article which few folk will ever
consult, but there is here a point of high social interest. When
good people read about the way in which the church kept men in
the ways of virtue during the Middle Ages -- one of the most
vicious of historical periods -- they imagine devout priests
preaching the gospel to them every Sunday. It is all a myth, of
course. The faithful just spent half an hour to an hour in church
on Sunday morning while the priest raced through the liturgy of
the mass, in Latin, which quite commonly he did not understand
himself. The friars of the later Middle Ages created quite a
sensation when they began to preach sermons. But does our E. B.
tells the reader this? Look up the, orthodox short article.

     "Rationalism" is a companion article to "Agnosticism"
"Naturalism," and a score of other articles. It is just a moldy
piece of academic verbiage. It tells you how once there were bold
thinkers like Hume and Kant who thought that truth was to be
learned by the use of reason not intuition, but of the mental
attitude which 99 men out of 100 call Rationalism today, of its
great growth in the 19th century and the reasons for this, it
does not say a word.

     The Reformation is still a subject of high popular interest
in countries where the population is divided into Catholics and
Protestants, and we may regret that the fine 20-page article by
Professor Coulton in the 11th edition is reduced to nine pages in
the 14th. We do not forget the imperious need for abridgment
though when we notice that 36 pages are spared for Pottery and
Porcelain, that Physical Research gets more room than ever, and
so on, we are a little puzzled. And, as usual, the abridgment
happens to cut out bits that. Catholics do not like. In both
editions the article has the initials of Professor Coulton, a
learned liberal Protestant expert on the Middle Ages who wrote
with discretion and reserve; that is to say, he said far less
about the share of the appalling general corruption of the Church
in causing the Reformation and far more about political
conditions than a quite candid historian would today. However, as
Coulton was still alive and active in 1929 I imagine that he
saved his article from the Catholic chopping block.

     The article "Relies" also is written by so lenient a
Protestant writer that it is little altered. The reader will not
get from it the faintest idea of the appalling fraud in the 

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manufacture of relies in the early and the medieval church, the
gross traffic in bogus articles, and the exploitation of the

     On the important subject of the Renaissance one may
congratulate the editors on having carried into the 14th edition
the splendid article by J. A. Symonds. They could hardly venture
to do otherwise, for Symonds is incomparably the highest
authority and best writer on the subject in the English language.
But the cloven hoof appears here and there. We get the ridiculous
contention of certain second-rate American professors that it is
misleading to speak of "the Renaissance," meaning that Christian
Europe had been asleep until the 13th century. There had been a
"Carolingian Renaissance" in the 9th century, an "Ottoman
Renaissance" in the 10th. and so on. Unfortunately it was
precisely after these "rebirths" that Europe, especially Italy,
sank to the lowest depth. To call these claims "new historical
research" is bunk. They are symptoms of the demoralizing growth
of Catholic influence in America. What is really new is the
research into the causes of the rebirth of Europe after about
1050, which has shown the great debt of the Christian world to
the Arabs and Jews. Preserved Smith seems here to do the X-ing
and he not only is too pious to tell the truth about the
influence of the Albigensians and the wicked Spanish Arabs but he
appends to Symonds' fine article a rather incoherent page
comparing the Renaissance and the Reformation as "emancipations."

     But the Catholics expand gloriously when we come next to the
article "The Roman Catholic Church." In the older edition the
introductory part was by the old-fashioned historian Alison
Phillips, and he is now replaced by a short -- well, say fragment
of a sermon -- by no less a person than Cardinal Bourne (assuring
us in effect, that as the Roman Church alone was founded by
Christ we need not pay any attention to other churches) and a
technical account of the structure of the church by a theologian.
But the 10 pages of history, now written by a priest, that follow
are just the same undisguised propaganda with a sublime
indifference to the facts as non-Catholic historians tell them,
You have here, in fact, the clotted cream of Catholic
controversial literature. served up in an encyclopedia that
promises you an objective statement of modern culture and
scholarship. There are few statements of fact in it that have not
been torn to shreds years ago,

     You have the old story of the Christian body surviving 10
persecutions by the pagans. We thought that it had been agreed by
this time that there were only two general persecutions in 250
years, but this new encyclopedia accounts says that there were 10
or actually there was one long struggle. How even Catholic
scholars have shown that only a hundred or two of the many
thousands of martyrs claimed have survived scrutiny, how the
bishops of the time describe the enormous body of the faithful
abjuring the faith -- Catholics claim 10,000,000 Christians in
the time of Dioclettan and can't prove 100 martyrs -- and so on,
is, of course, not mentioned. The growth of the church's power,
spiritual and temporal, is described in the usual Catholic
manner. Even in the Dark Age -- a phrase that does not soil this 

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article, of course -- the Roman Church was "the most vigorous
influence for civilization in Western Europe" -- its own theory
it took six or seven centuries to civilize it -- and if it seems
to turn its spiritual power into political repeatedly it was
compelled to do this because the secular princes wanted to
"control the souls of men." I should be inclined to call that the
high-water mark of Catholic rhetoric. We are given to understand
that during these centuries (500 to 1300), apart from a little
disorder caused by the barbarian invaders, the church kept the
world (and its clergy, monks, and nuns) virtuous -- that is one
of the tallest myths in history -- but "the pagan Renaissance"
and "the general decadence of morals" which this caused unhappily
did penetrate the armor of the church's virtue a little. it seems
that even many of the Popes themselves were too affected by the
general materialism." A grave work of reference offers us that as
a summary of the historical fact that, to say nothing of the
barbarism of the Dark Age and the license of the 12th and 13th
centuries, the papacy itself was so low in tone from 1300 to 1670
that the few popes who made a serious effort to reform the church
-- and that in regard to sex almost alone -- reigned,
collectively, only about 20 years out of the 350 and the general
level of conduct in Europe was infamous. And it is equally false
to say that the church purged itself by a Counter-Reformation
which began before and independently of its Protestant critics.
The Reformation began in 1517, and the Vatican and Rome were, as
the contemporary Cardinal Sachetti describes, appallingly corrupt
to 1670. This is public instruction in history up to date, and
now under the aegis of the University of Chicago.

     One of the arch-sophists of the American regiment of
propagandists, Mgr. Peter Guilday, is permitted to tell the
situation of the church in the world today. It is enough to
repeat what he says about America. He says that in 1920 there
were 22,233,254 Catholics in America so there were probably about
25,000,000 (the Catholic Directory claimed only 20,000,000) in
1928. The same church authorities give these enormously
conflicting figures, yet notice how definite they are to the last
unit. Naturally he does not explain that, unlike any other
church, the Catholic Church includes in its figures even the
millions who have quit it. On such positive inquiries as we have
it seems that there can hardly be much more than 15,000,000 real
Catholics in America; but it would not do to let Washington know

     After this I need not comment on the article "Rome," meaning
the city of Rome. The sketch of its history during the Dark Age
and the later Middle Ages is on a line with what I have just
described. Compared with the great work of Gregoravius, the
world-authority on the city, this account is like a Theosophist's
sketch of the life of Mme. Blgvatsky. "Russia" must have tempted
the ghostly censors, but the editor of the Encyclopedia got
Durant to do it, and we miss the clerical touch. "Skepticism" is
another subject on which, you would think, a Catholic would like
to write but the article was already so innocuous and misleading
that it was left in all the glory of its Victorian verbiage. The
poor man who has to depend upon encyclopedias for his information
will gather that Skepticism was, like Rationalism, a malady of
the philosophical world in the last century but that it has died 
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     Under "Schools" there was in the 11th edition a (fine
12-page history of schools in Europe from Greek-Roman days
onward. After what we saw about he articles "Education" and
"Libraries" you will be prepared for a burnt offering. The whole
essay, with its excellent account of the Roman system of free
schools for all, and discreet insinuation of the blank illiteracy
and schoollessness of the Dark Age, and some account of the Arab-
Persian achievement, goes by the board. Certainly it was
important to provide large new space for modern school systems,
but an informed and honest pedagogist could have told the
historic truth and introduced the results of recent research into
the Spanish Arab-Schools in a page or so. But it would have been
deadly to the claim that Christianity "gave the world schools" or
that the Roman Church cared the toss of a cent about the
education of the children of the workers until secular states
started our modern systems.

     In passing we note how neatly the Encyclopedia does a little
white-washing of the church in the Dark Age in its article
"Salvester II." We do not question that he was "the most
accomplished scholar of his age" -- in Christendom, the writer
ought to have added. He is not to be mentioned in the same breath
as Avicenna (Ibn Sind), the great Persian scholar of the same
age, and could not hold a candle to scores, if not hundreds, of
other contemporary Persian and Arab writers. But what the article
and Catholic writers generally carefully conceal is that he got
his learning from the Arabs -- his chief biographer proves that
he actually studied in Cordova (and had a gay time there) -- and
that he was forced by the German Emperor upon the reluctant and
half-barbarous Romans, and they probably poisoned him off in four
years. He was a great collector of books (manuscripts), but,
say's this article ingenuously "it is noteworthy, that he never
writes for a copy of one of the Christian Fathers." Read his life
by the expert and you will smile.

     "Slavery" is an article upon which a critic would joyously
pounce if he did not know anything about the Irish professor
Ingram, who wrote the long and fairly good articles in the 11th
edition. Ingram was a Positivist and he let the church off
lightly, as Positivists always do; and at the same time let the
public down heavily. But even Ingram's dissertation was a little
too strong, so X was let loose upon it. and he adds his mark to
Ingram's initials as joint author. You know why the subject is
important from the clerical angle. The myth that Christianity
"broke the fetters of the slave" is so strongly established,
though it has not an atom of foundation, that even the late H, G.
Wells included it as a historical fact in the first edition -- he
promptly cut it out when I told him how wrong he was -- of his
"Outline of History." Neither St. Paul nor any Christian Father
nor any Pope or great Christian leader, and certainly no Church
Council, condemned slavery until modern times when the wicked
"world" was busy extinguishing it. Even the article in the
"Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics" makes this clear. It still
existed in Europe, though economic conditions had greatly
restricted it, when, under the blessing of the Spanish Church, it
expanded again into the horrible chapter of African slavery. The
proper treatment of Ingram's article would have been to let the 

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reader understand this more clearly, to take into account the
large amount of scholarly work which has in regent years greatly
modified the old idea of slavery in Rome in the first three
centuries of the present era, and to explain how economic causes
changed slavery to serfdom and then, in most of Europe,
emancipated the serfs. Instead of this X has been permitted to do
a little of his usual tampering with the truth.

     "Solomon" has a page and a half of the old credulous
glorification, in spite of all the progress of biblical science.
If this and similar articles which were solemnly read by our
grandmothers but are now confined to the seminaries of the more
backward churches, such as the Catholic, had been cut down to so
many explanatory short paragraphs, the editor might have found
room for a couple of useful pages on Social Progress, thought the
subject deserves as much space as football or cricket: and at
least a couple (instead of the scanty and outdated treatment of
the subject under "Psychology") of pages summarizing the results
of the important new science of Social Psychology.

     The historical section of the article "Spain" ought to have
been almost entirely rewritten. It was written in the days when
historians had not quite recovered from the Catholic legend that
the Arabs had taken over the beautiful Christian country in the
8th century and held an eccentric rule over it until the valiant
Spaniards overthrew them and made the country glorious and
virtuous once more. For 100 years we have known the truth, and
since this article was written liberal Spanish professors --
Ballesteros, Ribera. Cordera, etc. -- working on the Arabic
manuscripts which have been hidden in Catholic libraries for
centuries so that the orthodox myth should not be exposed, have
shown the real grandeur of the Arab (as opposed to the later
Moorish) civilization. The churches of the Christian monarchs
themselves and the remarkable sexual looseness of the Spanish
clergy and people in all ages have been established, the
appalling ruin of the country after 100 years of Castellan rule
has become a platitude of history, and even the Cambridge History
tells the awful story of the Bourbon dynasty in the 19th century
and, in conjunction with the church, its savage war on
liberalism. It Is impossible to understand modern Spain unless
you know these things. The Encyclopedia does not tell them. It
completely misleads the innocent reader and supplies as
"authority" an untruthful religious propagandist

     The article on Spiritualism was entrusted to Sir Oliver
Lodge, a man who had betrayed his childlike credulity and
unfitness for such a task in his "Raymond" and other works. There
are six pages on "Spirits" and they will doubtless have a use for
experts in distillation (who ought to know all about it), but on
the subject of "Spirit," which is one of the most confused words
in the modern vocabulary, there is not even a paragraph. Writers,
preachers, and politicians talk every day about "spiritual
realities," and we may surely assume that a large number out of
their tens of millions of readers and hearers would like to know
precisely what they mean. From a wide experience I may say that
most of them do not know themselves. One American professor gives
us seven different definitions of the word Spirit. Yet editors 

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who spare many pages for whelks or wall-papers give no assistance
here. Naturally the British (High Tory) journalist, Garvin, who
was the original editor of the 14th edition, knew no more about
these things than Henry Ford or Herbert Hoover did. What the
editor whose name appears on the latest printing of it, Walter
Just, knows I can't say, as his name is not in "Who's Who in
America." But there must have been a regiment of sectional
editors, and this is their idea of giving the general public
clear ideas and authenticated facts to enable them to form sound

     The article "Stoicism" is not much less misleading. There is
so much extant literature of Stoicism -- Epictetus, Seneca,
Marcus Aurelius, etc. -- that it was in modern times impossible
to misrepresent it as the philosophy of Epicures is
misrepresented (the early Christians having conveniently burned
the whole of his 200 books). So pious folk swung to the opposite
extreme. It was a religion founded by an austere puritan named
Zeno and was too high and impractical for the people. The article
in the Britannica runs on these lines. The author puts out of all
proportion the small and temporary religious wing of the
movement, and misrepresents the character of Zeno, who, his Greek
biographer tells us, used to go with a youth or a young woman
occasionally to show that he had no prejudices of that sort. He
fails entirely to make clear that the central doctrine of the
Stoics, the Brotherhood of Man, was a practical social maxim
borrowed from the gay-living Lydians, and that it was a blend of
this with the same central doctrine of Epicures that worked as an
inspiring social influence in the Greek Roman world for five
centuries; and that of the so-called Stoic emperors only Marcus
Aurelius, who let down the Empire, was a Stoic.


     An article on Surgery is scarcely the place in which you
would look for clerical trickery, and X has not ventured to
couple his name with that of the distinguished expert who writes
the article in the 11th edition. But his work has in the 14th
edition been deprived of an essential value. I do not know many
who consult such articles as anatomy, physiology, surgery. and
medicine in an encyclopedia. They are too technical for the
general public, while students have to seek their information in
more serious works. But the historical introduction which the
Britannica used to prefix to its, essays on the more important
branches of science and on such subjects as education, slavery,
philanthropy, etc., were useful to a wide public. Reading the
articles in the 14th edition, one would at first think that the
editors had never healed that anybody disputed the claim that the
churches created modern civilization, The truth is, of course,
that the historical introductions to articles on the various
elements of our civilization in the old Britannica made a mockery
of the clerical claims and painfully exposed the barbarism of the
Dark Age and the scientific sterility of the later Middle Ages.
In those days the clerical bodies had not the economic and
business organization that they now have, and they had to be
content that they were allowed to write the articles on religious
subjects, that articles dealing with philosophy, psychology, and 

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ethics were entrusted to men of the old spiritual school, and
that the general historical sections were carried on from the
less critical days of the last century. Now even the scientific
parts must be revised. Those introductions which brought out too
prominently the cultural blank of ages in which the church was
supreme must be abbreviated by cutting out significant details,
falsified, or abolished.

     In this case the excellent four-page introduction on the
historical development of surgery has disappeared. It had shown
that, while there was appreciable progress in the science in
Greece and Alexandria, this was lost in the general barbarism
after Europe became Christian.

     "For the 500 years following the work of Paulus of Aegina
(the last distinguished Greek surgeon) there is nothing to record
but the names of a few practitioners of the court and of
imitators and compilers.... The 14th and 15th centuries are
almost without interest for surgical history."

     The writer admitted, however, that the Arabs and Persians
had resumed the work of the Greeks, and, though they were
occasionally hampered by the religious ban on dissection, they
carried the science forward once more. In point of fact this
article ought here to have been strengthened, for in some
respects the Arabs advanced far beyond the Greeks. But all this
is as distasteful to our modern clerical corporations as statues
without fig-leaves, so the whole section has been cut out. We
fully recognize that a great deal more space was needed for
modern surgery but there are hundreds of articles of far less
importance to the modern mind that could have been relegated to
the 19th. century trash-basket.

     The next article that attracts the critical eye is
"Syllabus," the account of a miserable blunder that the papacy
committed in 1864 in condemning a long series of propositions (on
liberalism, toleration, freedom of conscience, etc.) most of
which are now platitudes even to the Republican or Conservative
mind. If Catholic writers in America did not now pretend that
their church had always accepted these principles of social
morals and public life, if they did not lie about the nature of
their Syllabus, no one would complain if this egregious blunder
of the rustic-minded Pope Pius IX were reduced to a short
paragraph, provided it was truthful. The article in the 11th
edition was written by a French priest but it did give the reader
some idea of the monstrosity of the condemnation. It has been
abbreviated -- by cutting out all details that conflict with the
modern Catholic-American version of the Syllabus.

     We cannot grumble because the lengthy article on the
Templars by a distinguished historian of the last century, Alisen
Philips, has been cut from eight pages to five, but when we see
that X has added his unsavory mark to Philips initials as joint
author of the article in the 14th edition our suspicions are
aroused. Few of the general public now have the dimmest idea, at
least in America -- in London and Paris a whole area still bears
their name (the Temple) who these Knights Templars, or Knights of

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the Temple of Solomon, were, but their shameful story is an
important part of our moral indictment of the Church in the
Middle Ages, and the Catholic apologist not only misrepresents it
but quotes them as a grand example of the inspiration of his
faith. This small society of monastic knights was formed in
Jerusalem about the year 1120 precisely because the Crusaders who
had settled in Palestine were comprehensively and appallingly
corrupt; so corrupt that only eight out of the whole body of
knights were willing to adopt the stricter life. Pious folk, as
usual, showered wealth upon the new monks -- the "brutal pious,
simple-minded men," as Professor Langolis calls them -- and by
the end of the century they were a rich and corrupt body all over
Europe. In 1309 the Pope was compelled, by his deal for the tiara
with the French king, to put them on trial for corruption, and a
great trial by the leading lawyers of France, four cardinals
appointed by the Pope, and a number of French prelates was held
at Paris.

     X improves Philips' article by first distracting attention
from the fact (which even Philips did not accentuate) that the
trial of the Templars was one of the conditions on which the Pope
got the French king to secure the papal throne for him, and then
cutting out the worst charges that were made against the
Templars. They were accused of not only a general practice of
sodomy, which (as recent trials in Germany showed) is a normal
vice of celibate religious bodies, but of compelling members of
the Order to practice it. At initiation, it was said, each had to
kiss the Grand Prior's nude rear, spit on the crucifix, and
worship an effigy of the devil. Suppressing these charges
certainly cheats the reader, who is given to understand that
their immense wealth just led the monk-knights into familiar
irregularities. The mere fact that priests brought these foul
charges against one of the best known orders of monks in the
beautiful 13th century, before the "pagan Renaissance" tainted
Europe (as these revisers say in a previous article), and that
they were proved to the satisfaction of a group of cardinals,
archbishops, and great lawyers is a social phenomena. So the
charges are cut out.

     Under a series of horrible tortures (including torture of
the genitals) most of the monk-knights, including the Grand
Master and his chief assistants, admitted the charges. The
tortures used are another appalling reflection on the age and its
courts, so these, though well known in history, are not described
in detail, but the reader is invited to regard confessions made
under torture as worthless. What would you think of a body of
monks and knights (of the Age of Chivalry) who, to escape
torture, would confess that they practiced, and their whole body
had practiced for decades, the most degrading vices, besides
wholesale drunkenness and other evils, and that they had
sacrificed children to the devil in their nocturnal orgies. As to
the impossible nature of the charges, remember that the witches,
who had begun to spread over Europe, did almost the same things,
except that they healthily detested sodomy and did not sacrifice
children or virgins.

     However, we cannot go further into the matter here.

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     Historians have always been divided as to their guilt --
mainly because they have inadequate ideas of the character of the
time -- but X has blurred the mild and insufficient account of
the trial that Philips gave and he has -- I would almost say the
insolence -- to say in the end that the Order of the Templars had
"deepened and given a religious sanction to the idea of the
chivalrous man and so opened up to a class of people who for
centuries to come were to exercise influence in spheres of
activity the beneficent effects of which are still recognizable
in the world." The Age of Chivalry, we have seen, is a sorry
myth, but to speak of the Templars as one of its ornaments.... it
stinks. He adds that they also "checked the advance of Islam in
the East and in Spain." The last check on the advance of the
Moslem in the East had been over nearly a century earlier and
they had made no attempt to advance in Spain for two centuries
before the Order of the Templars was founded.

     The articles "Theism" and "Theology" were, of course, so
thoroughly sound from the clerical point of view in the 11th
edition that there was no call for revision. In the article on
Theism the space is mainly occupied with a long account of the
old-fashioned proofs of the existence of God: Cosmological,
Teleological, Ontological, Ethical and from Religious Experience.
I do not know how many folk are saved from Atheism every year by
studying these evidences in an encyclopedia, but I think it is a
pity the Catholic censor was not let loose here. Not that he
would have criticized the arguments. They are venerable relies of
his own Thomas Aquinas. But as Fulton Sheen says in his "Religion
Without God," "the Catholic Church practically stands alone today
in insisting on the power of reason to prove God." A blatant
exaggeration, like most of what Sheen says, but wouldn't it have
been proper to warn readers that, as William James said of these
arguments, for educated folk "they do but gather dust in our
libraries." See the different article "Theism" in the
Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics.

     But X comes upon the scene once more "Thirty Years War," the
account of the long and bloody struggle of Protestantism for
existence in the 17th century. In face of the elementary fact
that the Catholic powers, led by the fanatical Spanish Emperor,
were entirely on one side -- except France, which Cardinal
Richelieu who defied the Papacy, kept out -- and the Protestant
powers on the other, it would be ludicrous to deny this most
devastating struggle in Europe between the 5th and the 20th
century the title, of a religious war, but Catholic writers try
to magnify such political elements as it had and to conceal from
the reader the debasement of character which it caused and the
way in which it set back the progress of civilization in Europe
more than 100 years. Here X uses his pen and his blue pencil
freely and then gaily adds his mark -- it used to be the mark of
folk who could not write their names -- to the initials of the
original writer, Atkinson, as joint author.

     Certainly it was necessary and desirable to cut down the
dreary eight-page chronicle of battles and movements of armies,
but the main improvement should have been to make clearer from
recent literature the share of the Vatican and the Jesuits in 

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bringing about the war and the attitude of Richelieu toward the
papacy. X, of course, does the opposite.

     Atkinson says in the original article, for instance:

     "The war arose in Bohemia, where the magnate, roused; by the
systematic evasion of the guarantees to Protestants, refused to
elect the Archduke Ferdinand to the vacant throne."

     This is a mild expression of the fact that the Jesuits had
got their pupil Ferdinand to break his oath to the Protestants,
but X changes it to:

     "The war arose in Bohemia, where the, Protestant magnates
refused to elect Ferdinand of Austria to the vacant throne."

     The Jesuits, who haunted the Catholic camps, are never
mentioned, the Vatican rarely. Richelieu's defiance of the Pope
is concealed. The terrific degradation of character -- one
Catholic army of 34,000 men had 127,000 women camp-followers --
and the destruction, especially of the old Bohemian civilization
-- its population of 3,000,000 was reduced to 780,000 -- are
concealed from the reader, while he gets five pages of miserable
battles and outrages (like the burning of Magdeberg with its
people in their homes) that may have served as an inspiration to

     No candid article on the Thirty Years War would be complete
today without an account of the behavior of Pope Urban VIII, who
in the article on him is simply charged with "nepotism." It was a
nepotism, the Catholic princes then said, and many modern
Catholic historians admit, that lost the Catholic powers the war.
For decades the Popes had stored a vast quantity of gold in the
Castle of Saint Angello in anticipation of this war on the
Protestants. The Vatican and the Jesuits were as determined to
wipe out European Protestantism in blood as some are now eager to
extinguish Communism. In the closing years of the war the
Catholic generals called for this fund and said that with it they
could secure victory. But the Pope had distributed most of it,
and ultimately distributed all of it, amongst his miserable
relatives. The famous historian L von Rank estimates the sum at,
in modern values, more than $500,000,000. Recent Catholic
histories of the Popes -- Hayward's and Seppelt and Loffler's --
admit the facts. Naturally X does not say a word about them, and
Atkinson apparently did not know them.

     On Toleration there is no article, so we are spared the
contortions of the Catholic writer who proves, as easily as we
prove the wickedness of theft, that in a Catholic country no
tolerance must be extended to other sects, but in all countries
where Catholics are in the minority they are entitled to full
toleration, if not privileges. You may have read the bland words
of Mgr, Ryan, the great moral, philosopher of the American
Catholic Church, on the subject: "Error has not the same rights
as truth." Whether the X bunch did not think it advisable to give
their views on toleration or the editors did not think it
advisable to publish them is one of the little secrets of this 

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conspiracy. Certainly those members of the public who are
interested in such questions would find an up-to-date article on
religious freedom, which after all is fairly widely discussed in
our time, more useful than a thousand articles or notices which
linger in the Britannica from Victorian days.

     The article on Torquemada, the famous Spanish Inquisitor, in
the 11th edition was written by the Jesuit Father Taunton, and
although he was, as I have earlier noted, more liberal than a
good Jesuit ought to be, Catholics had little fault to find with
the article. But his judgment on the character of the fanatic,
which is the only point of interest about him to us moderns, was
repugnant to the Catholic revisers of the 14th edition. Taunton
had said:

     "The name of Torqubmada stands for all that is intolerant
and narrow, despotic and cruel. He was no real statesman or
minister of the Gospel but a blind fanatic who failed to see that
faith, which is a gift of God, cannot be imposed on any
conscience by force."

     This is the general verdict of historians, but the new
Britannica must not give the general verdict of historians when
it is distasteful to Catholics. So the paragraph is cut out.
Again, while Father Taunton -- once more in agreement with our
historians -- says that Torquemada burned 10,000 victims of the
Inquisition in 18 years the reviser inserts "but modern research
reduces the list of those burned to 2,000." As no signature is
subjoined while Taunton's initials are suppressed, the reader is
given to understand that this correction of Llorente's figures is
given on the authority of the Britannica. As a matter of fact,
what the writer means is that one or two Catholic priests like
Father Gams have been juggling with the figures so as to bring
down enormously Llorente's figure of the total victims of the
Spanish Inquisition. Their work is ridiculous. Llorente was not
only for years in high clerical dignity and esteem in Spain, but,
as its secretary, he had the archives of the Inquisition and
copied from them. But this is one of the new tricks of Catholic
writers. Saying that "recent research" or "recent authorities"
have corrected some statement about their church they give a few
names of priests, knowing that the reader never heard of them and
suppressing the "Rev." or "Father." A priest can become an expert
on a section of history as well as any man but he will never tell
the whole truth about it and he will strain or twist the facts at
any time in the interest of his church.

     The next article I select for examination reminds us that
the Catholic group of twisters that operates under the banner X
-- the straight, not the crooked, cross -- are not the only pious
folk who have been allowed or summoned to revise the Britannica
from a peculiar angle. It is the artable "Torture." The long and
generally sound article in the 11th edition had to be abridged in
the 14th edition and Professor O. W. Keeton, now Professor of
International Law at London University, was entrusted with the
work; doubtless to the annoyance of the X group.

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     For any attempt to whitewash the Middle Ages is up against
the notorious fact that cruelty and torture, both judicial and
extra-judicial, prescribed in codes of law or practiced by
individual rulers (of states or cities) or owners of serfs,
knights, and even 'ladies,' were more common and more horrible,
especially in what is called the brighter (later) part of the
Middle Ages (to the 18th century) than in any other period of
civilized history except, perhaps, in Chine, and in certain ages
in Persia. This was not made plain enough even in the older
article by Professor Williams. He almost confined himself to a
study of the prescription of torture in codes of law, But he did
give the reader such warnings as:

     "Thus far the law. In practice all the ingenuity of cruelty
was exercised to find out new modes of torment."

     Elsewhere he warns that where torture was not prescribed in
the law it "certainly existed in fact." Keeton, who uses
Williams' article with few additions, emits these warnings and
just deals with law. The title of the article is "Torture" not
"Torture in Law Codes," and it is the terrific, horrible daily
use of torture that rebukes the church.

     The truth is that Keeton is a pious member of the Church of
England, and he is no more willing than X to admit that
Christianity kept the world at a low level of civilization. He
makes the general remark that the nations of Europe borrowed the
practice from ancient Rome -- as if a man could excuse his crimes
by pleading that he simply copied them from a civilization which
he professed to regard as pagan and vicious -- and he darkens the
case against the Romans. Even when he reproduced Williams' list
of Roman opponents of torture he has to put St. Augustine on a
common level with Cicero, Seneca, and Ulpian. But Williams had
given Augustine's words. He said that evidence given under
torture was unreliable but he "regarded it as excused by its
necessity." Keeton omits this and falsely says that Augustine
"condemned it." When he goes on to name modern critics -- he
cannot name a single one between the 5th century and the 16th --
he does not seem to know that six out of the eight he names were
notorious Skeptics and the other two were regarded as Skeptics.
He can find only one Christian who condemned the bestiality and
he (Augustine) did not condemn it. He does worse than this. The
old article began its section on the Church. It said:

     "As far as it could the Church adopted Roman Law. The Church
generally secured the almost entire immunity of the clergy, at
any rate of the higher ranks, from torture by civil tribunals but
where laymen were concerned all persons were equal. In many
instances Councils of the Church pronounced against it; e.g., in
a synod at Rome in 384."

     The learned professor of international law -- when you want
accuracy, of course, you have to get a professor -- turns this

     "The Church, although adopting a good deal of Roman law, was
at first definitely opposed to torture."

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     All that he gives in support of this is the "synod at Rome
in 384." And there was no such synod: see Bishop Hefele's
"History of the Councils." What there was in 384 was a small
synod at Bordeaux, on the very fringe of the Empire, and even
there only one bishop censored the torture of heretics. In
France, said the old article, "torture does not seem to have
existed as a recognized practice before the 13th century." Keeton
cuts out the italicized words. As a matter of fact chronicles of
the Dark Age (Glaber in the 10th century, etc.) tell of an
appalling volume of torture (castration, boiling oil, etc.) in
France centuries earlier. in the case of England Keeton contrives
to give the reader the idea that torture was much less, but any
full English history shows that in the 12th century, for
instance, England groaned with daily torture as foul as the
Chinese. The whole article is scandalously misleading.

     "Trent, the Council of" is an article in regard to which a
conscientious Catholic reviser must take great care that the full
truth is not told. The article in the 11th edition is by a
liberal Protestant ecclesiastical historian and although it did
not contain errors and was not calculated to inflame Catholics,
it did not bring out the points which any truthful dissertation
on the subject must emphasize today. Too many of these professors
imagine that it is their business in such article's to give a dry
and accurate string of dates and movements, ignoring the lessons
for our own time. The Catholic apologist wants the modern reader
to regard the Council of Trent as the chief item in the Counter-
Reformation or the Church's own work of purifying itself of
abuses quite independently of the pressure of the Reformers.
This, though now a commonplace of American Catholic literature,
is a monstrous distortion of the facts, and as far as Trent is
concerned, the article, even if it gave only the main facts,
shows it.

     The Council was forced upon Rome by the German Emperor who
threatened to bring his army to Italy, and was meant primarily to
cleanse the whole church of the comprehensive corruption which
the German prelates freely described in early sittings of the
Council. For years Rome refused to summon it and then decided to
make the Council formulate a standard of doctrine by which it
could judge and eventually (in the Thirty Years War) wipe out the
heresy. Several abortive attempts were made to open the Council,
as the Emperor saw (he said) that the Pope (brother of the girl-
mistress of Pope Alexander VI) was bent only on "the suppression
of heresy." In the middle of the struggle this Pope, Paul III,
died and, as if to show that the papal court was determined to
protect its gay life, the cardinals elected an even worse man,
Julius III; a man whose gluttony, heavy drinking, gambling, and
delight in obscene comedies are admitted by the Catholic
historian Pastor while the Romans of the time seriously charged
him with sodomy (while he was Pope) with a disreputable Italian
boy whom he made a cardinal. But the Germans intimidated him, and
he had to summon the Council. Mirbt's article in the 11th edition
mildly (concealing the Pope's low character) said:

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     "Pope Julius II, former Legate Del Monte, could not elide
the necessity of convening the Council again, though personally 
he took no greater interest in the scheme than his predecessor in
office, and caused it to resume its labors."

     Even this temperate expression of the truth is too much for
our Catholic corrector of dates and other trifles. He alters it

     Pope Julius III, the former Legate Del Monte, caused the
Council to resume its labors."

     With a few touches of that sort he turns Mirbt's half-truth
into a travesty of history. It was not until Julius died that the
Vatican got a Pope with a zeal for chastity (and a furious
temper, a love of strong wine and long banquets, and a shameful
nepotist). He lasted four years, and his successor was a man of
the old vicious type, so that, as Pastor admits, "the evil
elements immediately awakened once more into activity." This was
half a century after the beginning of the Reformation and, if
Catholic writers were correct, the Counter Reformation. But I
must here be brief. The Council closed in 1583, and the Papacy
was still in a degraded condition a century later. Yet the
revised article on the Council of Trent makes it appear a zealous
and successful effort of virtuous Popes to purify the church.

     The article "Tribonian" may seem negligible from our present
angle but it has an interest. Amongst the feats of Christianity
in the early part of the Dark Age we invariably find the
Justinian Code, or the code of law compiled, it is said, by the
Emperor Justinian. As Justinian, who married a common prostitute,
thought about little above the level of the games of the
Hippodrome, this seems incongruous, but it is well known to
historians and jurists that the code was compiled by his great
lawyer Tribonian. The interest is that, as Dean Milman shows,
Tribonian was not a Christian but the last of the great pagan
jurists. In the 11th edition this was at least hinted. In the
14th the whole discussion of his creed and half the appreciation
of his work disappear.

     "Ultramontanism" also is doctored in the new edition. Mirbt
had given a perfectly fair account of this extreme version of the
claims of the papacy. Until the last century -- in fact, until
1870 -- there was far more resentment of the papal claims in the
national branches of the church than there is today, and they
used the word ultramontane as a term rather of contempt for the
extreme propapalists. The article has been considerably modified
to conceal from the reader this earlier attitude of defiance of
the Pope on the part of large numbers of Catholics.

     "Utilitarianism" is, since the social theory of morality is
hardly noticed in the reactionary article "Ethics," the section
in which the reader ought to be informed on the conception of
morals in which is the alternative to the Christian conception.
And it is today a matter of primary importance that this
information should be provided in an encyclopedia. When 70
percent of American scientists, sociologists, philosophers and 

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historians admit and allow the fact to be published that they
have no belief in God and therefore no allegiance to the
Christian or theistic code of morals -- when there is plain
evidence that this is the attitude of 70 percent of the better-
educated public and that at least half of the general public come
under no Christian influence (in advanced countries where
statistics are not so loose at least 60 to 70 percent) -- an
account of the purely humanist or social conception of moral law,
as it is now elaborated in most manuals of the science of ethics,
is far more important than the lives of hundreds of half-mythical
saints or monarchs and accounts of a thousand objects or ideas in
which few are now interested. It is the more urgent because,
owing to the clerical domination in our time of the press, the
radio, and education, our people are confronted daily with the
dogmatic assertion that the Christian conception of morality is
the only effective version and that when it is rejected the
social order disintegrates.

     From every point of view a thorough and practical statement
of the social theory, supported by ample statistics showing the
relation of crime and other disasters to the degree of religious
instruction in a state, is one of the essential requirements of a
modern popular education. Instead, if our sociologists and
pedagogists were as courageous as they are skilful, they would
insist upon the incorporation of that code of conduct in the
school-lessons, whatever other ideas of behavior religious folk
liked to have their children taught in sectarian schools. The
dual standard of conduct today is not one law for the male and
one for the woman but the confusion in ideas of the code of all
conduct: yet the new edition of the Britannica sins worse than
the old, which had a good article by Sturt on the evolution of
what used to be called the Utilitarian theory in philosophy. This
old word is now misleading and too academic. The article is
retained on the same grounds as "Skepticism" "Naturalism," etc.,
written by clerics or philosophers of the last century. The
encyclopedia is careful to adjust itself to every change in
industry or art but it pleases the reactionary by ignoring as
negligible the corresponding changes in social and political
matters, which are far more important.

     On the other hand it can find plenty of space for a new,
lengthy, and gorgeously flattering article on the Vatican by a
Roman prelate; an article which talks, for instance, about the
tomb of St. Peter as smoothly as if no one questioned its
genuineness, whereas it would be difficult to name a non-Catholic
historian who admits it. Certainly one expects in a modern
encyclopedia an account of both the magnificent Vatican
architecture and the structure and functions of the complex Roman
court (curia) of today. But even this is not truthful when it
comes from a Catholic pen. There ought to be a section, on some
such lines an George Seldes's work, at least on the volume and
sources of the Vatican's income and modern policy.

     As to the article on the Vatican Council (1870) which
follows it is a temperate objective account by Mirbt adroitly
touched up and made misleading by X. It Is important to know two
things about this Council. Its chief work was that for the first 

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time in the history of the Roman Church it declared the pope
personally infallible by no means in all his utterances
(encyclicals, etc.) but when he claims to use, his gifts of
infallible guidance. The important point to the modern mind is
that there was a massive opposition of the bishops present to
accepting such a dogma, and it was only by the use of bribery and
intrigue and after long days of heated quarrelling -- I have
heard the description from men who were present -- that the
Vatican won its way. The second point is that the papal triumph
was rather like the painted scenery of a theater. The papal
theologians had before them the long list of all the doctrinal
blunders that Popes have made since the 4th century and had to
frame the definition in such terms as to exclude these blunders.
The world has seethed with problems as it never did before, and
simple-minded Catholics have crowed over Protestants that they
have "a living infallible guide"; but he has never opened his
infallible lips. He has just blundered on with fallible and
reactionary encyclicals as Popes have done since the French
Revolution. Naturally all suspicion of these things has been
eliminated from the article.

     Modern-minded inquirers might have expected articles on the
Virgin Birth and Vitalism, but a candid discussion of the former
would have exposed the gulf that is opening on the subject in the
theological world itself, and an article on the latter would
either have been too boldly untruthful or it would have betrayed
how materialistic science has become. In an earlier comment I
noted that these "revisers" tell the reader in one article that
under the influence of Bergson, Lloyd Morgan, Sir Arthur
Thompson. and similar men science has become less materialistic.
These men were Vitalists, claiming that there is something more
than matter and physical and chemical energies in living things.
They were a clique of scientific, men or philosophers who allowed
religious views to color their science and had no influence on
others. Vitalism is dead. Thousands of thoughtful Americans would
like to know why, while physicists like Millikan and Compton are
always ready to stand lip for the faith, hardly one distinguished
biologist can be persuaded to support them. A truthful article on
Vitalism would have given the answer.

     The article on Voltaire in the 11th edition was a five-page
essay by Professor Saintsbury, a paramount and critical
authority, yet, although no one can pretend that recent research
has added to or modified our knowledge, the Vatican detectives
were let loose upon it. Some writer who suppresses his name used
Saintsbury's material and falsified his conclusions. He
suppresses such details as the fact that Voltaire built a church
for the pious folk among whom he lived. He inserts these things
in Saintsbury's estimate of Voltaire's character:

     "He was inordinately vain and totally unscrupulous in
gaining money and in attacking an enemy, or in protecting himself
when he was threatened with danger."

     Saintsbury, who was no blind admirer of Voltaire had said:

     "His characteristic is for the most part an almost 
superhuman cleverness."

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     Now we read:

     "His great fault was an inveterate superficiality."

     It is a mean article, preserving the general appearance of
the impartiality of a great literary critic and inserting little
touches, hare and there to spoil it. As Noyes's book is the only
addition to the bibliography one wonders.... But it is one of the
few articles of that length in the Encyclopedia that is not
signed. Saintsbury had been less generous than the famous liberal
and learned cleric Dr. Jowett, who says in one of his letters:
"Voltaire has done more good than all the Fathers of the Church
put together." It was not in the interest of accuracy that the
anonymous reviser used his pen.

     There is no need here to search every short article that
touches religion in the Encyclopedia for "correction of dates and
other trifles., Running cursorily over the remaining volume I am
chiefly interested in the omissions. I look for some notice of
recent psychological research on what is still called "Will" and
I do not find a word except on the legal document known as a Will
or Testament. We hear folk still all round us talking about
strong will and weak will, good will and bad will, the will to
believe, and so on, but the very word is dropping out of manuals
of psychology, and specific research in American psychological
laboratories has reported that there is no such thing as will in
mans make-up. We could chose a hundred short articles to omit in
order to give a little space for these important changes in
psychology. But doubtless it would have encouraged the
Materialists, who are damned from the preface of the work onward.

     But let me say one good word for the Encyclopedia before I
come to the end of my list. Only a week ago I read a new novel,
by a Catholic writer, who takes himself seriously. It was based
upon the author's firm -- in fact impudent and, vituperative as
far as the rest of us are concerned -- belief that witches exist
today and worship a devil who is as real as Senator Vandenburg or
Mr. Molotov. In fact, the pompous idiot clearly believes that
beautiful but naughty young ladies still fly through the air by
night on brooms! I think he makes his virtuous heroine estimate
the speed at about 30 miles an hour. Here, I reflected, is a man
who takes his facts and views about religion from purified
Encyclopedia, and I turned to the article "Witchcraft."

     To my astonishment I found that the article in the 14th
edition is by Margaret Murray, whose learned and admirable work
on witchcraft ought to have made a final sweep of these medieval
ideas. Of course, there were witches, millions of them in every
century after the 14th, of all ages. from babies dedicated by
their mothers and beautiful young girls to the aged (who seem to
have been the less numerous), of both sexes, of every social rank
and often of high clerical rank. Of course, they believed that
they were worshipping a real devil (the Spirit) and were sexually
promiscuous in their nocturnal meetings, which ended in orgies.
There were no broomsticks, werewolves, or magical powers. The
local organizer was generally dressed in a goat's skin (and often
horns) and had probably a stone or bone or wooden phalli to meet 

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demands on him. Of course, there was a lot of crookedness. But
the "witches" were genuine folk, who, finding themselves in a
world in which hundreds of thousands of "holy persons" grew fat
by preaching a religion of chastity and self torture while in
practice they smiled upon and shared a general license, preferred
a frank cult of the Spirit that blesses human nature and its
impulses. Miss Murray was not granted space enough to explain
this fully, or hers would have been one of the most interesting
articles in the new encyclopedia. But we like the unexpected
breath of realism as far as it goes.

     Unfortunately, we soon find that this does not mean that the
editors were converted or had a jet of adrenal energy in the 23rd
hour. In the article "Woman" we again detect the hand of the
reactionary. We recognize that the great development of woman's
activities in modern times required a large amount of new space,
and that since the editors were determined for some reason to
keep to something like the proportions of the old encyclopedia a
good deal of abridgment was required. But, as happens in scores
of cases of these articles the abridgement has meant the
suppression of a vast amount of material which the Catholic
clergy did not like. No sensible man will regard that as mere

     Since the reconstruction of the Britannica in 1911 two
things happened in this connection. One was the development of
new feminist activities and organizations for which, we
recognize, new space had to be found. The other was a development
of a political sense which led to a vast amount of anti-
clericalism amongst the women. since the beginning of the last
century a small minority of women have pointed out that the
historical record of woman's position and refusal of her rights
reflected bitterly on the Christian churches, especially the
Roman, and their claim that "Christianity was always the great
friend of woman" (and of the child, the sick, the slave, the
worker, etc.). This claim was, as usual, a flagrant defiance of
the facts. In the great old civilizations, Egypt and Babylonia,
woman's right to equality was recognized. In the Greek-Roman
civilization, which began with profound injustice to her, she had
fairly won her rights before the end came. But the establishment
of Christianity thrust her back into the category of inferiority
and she suffered 14 centuries of gross injustice; and the
champions of her rights from the time of the French Revolution
onward, both in America and Europe, were for the far greater part
Skeptics, and the clergy opposed them until their cause showed
promise of victory in the present century,

     The article "Woman" in the 11th edition had an historical
introduction which, though by no means feminist, gave a
considerable knowledge of these facts. It has entirely
disappeared from the 14th edition instead of being strengthened
from the large new literature that has appeared since 1914.
Exigencies of space, yes. We know it. But as in the case of
dozens of others articles the clergy wanted these historical
sketches buried.


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     We might say the same about the workers, but even in the
oldedition the editors had not dared to give a sketch of, or a
summary of, the facts about the position of the workers in the
Greek-Roman world in imperial days and then in the Christian
world from the 5th century to the 10th. That would smack of
radicalism. A large new literature has since appeared; and
certainly here no one will plead that there is a lack of public
interest. But in this connection we understand the feeling of the
editors. Any candid account today of the privileged position of
the workers in imperial Rome and their awful position during the
14 Christian centuries that followed would bring a shower of
familiar missiles (Reds, Bolsheviks, Atheistic Communists,
Crypto-Communists, etc.). We grant it: But the other side must
grant what obviously follows. They have to suppress a large and
pertinent body of truth in works of public instruction at the
bidding of vested interests, clerical and other, and leave the
reactionaries free to disseminate untruth.

     It is the same with the final article I select, "World-War
II." The time will come when truths that are still whispered in
military and political circles will be broadcast, and this
article will be charged with suppressing or obscuring facts which
are of great importance for a sound judgment on the conduct of
the war, particularly in regard to the criminal neglect to make
such preparation for it as might have so far intimidated the
Nazis, Fascists, and Japanese that they would not have made the
venture. But what concerns me here is the complete and severe
suppression of any reference to the share of religion and the
churches in inspiring and supporting the war or confirming the
scandalous period of sloth that preceded it.

     Three things are today certain. The Vatican and its national
branches are red to the shoulders with the blood that was shed.
From the outbreak of Franco's rebellion -- the curtain-raiser of
the war -- and the trouble in Czecho-Slovakia to the year when
Russia turned the tide against the Germans and an Allied victory
seemed at least probable the Roman Church, in its own interest,
acted in the closest cooperation with the thugs. One can quote
even Catholic writers (Teeling, etc.) for that, The second is
that the Japanese religion, Shinto and Buddhism alike, were
similarly, in fact openly, working with the blood-drunk Japanese
leaders. This was emphasized at a World Congress of Religions in
Chicago several years before the war broke out. Thirdly, the
Protestant churches in America enfeebled the warning against
Japan, in the interest of their missions, the Lutheran Church in
Germany bowed servilely to the Nazis except when Hitler
interfered with its doctrines, and the British churches were
equally guilty in the prewar period. This attitude of the
organized religions was of vital use to the aggressors. But we
couldn't tell that, the editors of the Encyclopedia will protest.
And that is just one of the grounds of these criticisms. The
Encyclopedia Britannica does not tell the reader facts and truths
if the clergy do no like them, and that covers a considerable
territory in regard to history, science, and contemporary life.
The 14th edition not only does not tell them but suppresses them
if earlier editions told them, and even allows untruths to be

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                       POISONING THE WELLS

     By a curious coincidence -- so odd that the reader may be a
little skeptical but I give my word for it -- on the very day on
which I write this page I get a letter from an American
correspondent who treasures his Encyclopedia Britannica and
avails himself of a recent offer of the publishers to send free
replies to any questions it may inspire. I gather that he gets
these replies from the University of Chicago. It is always a
graceless and painful thing to distrust any man's faith in
academic human nature but when my friend reads this little book I
wonder if he will retain his confidence in all its robustness.

     The professors will doubtless reply at once that I seem to
expect an encyclopedia which is written for the service of the
general public to include Rationalist opinions or at least to
allow its writers to make positive statements on controversial
matters, which is a sin against the ideal of educational
publications. To the first of these complaints I would reply that
Rationalism is now the attitude of a much larger proportion of
the reading public than Christian belief is, yet in a thousand
signed articles or short notices in the Britannica Christian
writers are permitted to express their peculiar opinions and
convictions freely, it would hardly be an outrage to expect the
editors to allow Rationalists to provide the accounts of
Rationalism, Skepticism, Naturalism, Atheism, Agnosticism and
scores of similar articles which bear upon their position. But
that they have not done so but have invariably hired hostile
theologians to mangle these subjects is the smallest and least
important criticism that I have here expressed. Of course, I do
not expect them to act differently. Rationalism is unorganized
and has no influence on the circulation of large and expensive
works that are mainly destined for reference libraries. But is
there any harm in drawing the attention of the public who use the
books to that fact?

     Well at least, they will say, McCabe expects to find the
views which Rationalists take on controverted subjects embodied
in the work. Again I do nothing of the kind. I might plead once
more that as the majority of the serious reading public are no
longer Christians they have the same right to have the critical
view of a particular issue brought to the notice of Christian
readers as these have to have their views forced upon the
Rationalist. Has the capital invested in the Encyclopedia
Britannica been provided by the Sacred Congregation for
Propagating the Faith, the Catholic Welfare body, the Knights of
Columbus -- somehow my mind asks a question or two at this point
-- the British Catholic Truth Society or Westminster Federation.
the Episcopal Church, the Methodists, or the Baptists? The
earlier editions of the Britannica were published in days when
the immense majority of those who consulted the book were
Christians. It chooses to act today as if there had been no
change. We, of course, know why. The cost of producing such a
work and the profit on it have mainly to be secured from public
or college or other institutional libraries, and these are to an
enormous extent, especially in America, subject to a clerical
censorship. I am too faithful a realist to make the welkin ring 

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with my complaints because the publishers recognized this
situation. Or am I churlish because I draw the attention of the
public to the fact that this situation has an influence on the
contents of the book.

     I would not even embark upon these considerations only that
I know from 50 years experience that what I do say will be
ignored or misrepresented and the public will be distracted from
my real criticisms by triumphant refutations, rich in irony and
rhetoric, of something that I did not say.

     The candid reader hardly needs me to re-state the chief
grounds of my analysis of the work. The main idea is stated
plainly in the introductory pages. I had occasion a few years ago
to take up the matter. I have myself little need to look for my
information, except perhaps a date occasionally, in
encyclopedias, and when I do I generally collate the British,
American, French, German, Italian, and Spanish, all of which are
equally available to me. But I had, as I said, assured a
correspondent that he would find proof of the castrated singers
of Roman churches even in the Britannica, and this led to my
discovery that the 14th edition differed materially in article
after article from the 11th. (The 12th, 13th, 15th, and 16th are
not "editions" in the proper sense but reprints). And pursuing
this inquiry I discovered that the editors of the 14th edition
had come to some remarkable secret arrangement with the Catholic
Church. I say "secret" because, as I showed, the Westminster
Catholic Federation with which the compact was made, though
American priests assisted in the work, was compelled to make a
public and humiliating disavowal of what it had claimed.
Otherwise, the public would never have heard that there had been
any arrangement.

     For the first time I have now had the leisure to make an
extensive though not complete comparison of the two editions, and
the reader has seen that the second statement of the Westminster
Federation -- that they had simply altered dates and technical
points about their church -- is false. Any person familiar with
these matters will assume that the bargain really was that if
they were permitted to scratch out everything in the 11th edition
that was, in the familiar phrase, "offensive to Catholics," they
would recommend even nuns to admit it into their libraries
(possibly with the anatomical and some other plates cut out) and
would not oppose it in the public libraries. I doubt if it was
part of the bargain that they could insert new matter that was
"agreeable to Catholics," except such things as the cardinal's
sermonette on the sin of birth control and the Roman prelate's
publicity of the Vatican (and the genuine tomb of St. Peter).

     However, as we have seen, pious zeal cannot be content with
mere excisions. Give a priest an inch and he will take an ell of
a lot. He does not learn casuistry for nothing. Under cover of
the need of abbreviation he has deleted whole paragraphs, even
columns of facts which were offensive to him because they flatly
contradicted what he said or wrote, and then, possibly fearing
that he had cut out too much, he inserted sentences or paragraphs
which "put the Catholic point of view." He has taken phrases or 

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paragraphs of the original writers of the articles and, while
retaining their initials, he has repeatedly turned them inside
out or has said that "recent research" (the gymnastic of some
other Catholic apologist) has corrected his statements.

     And I say that for an encyclopedia to allow this and not
candidly explain it to the public but even try to prevent the
Catholics disclosing it is a piece of deception. The writers who
did the work had not the decency -- or were they forbidden? -- to
give their names, as other contributors do. It is therefore
possible that the plea may be urged that various groups of folk
were engaged in the work of correcting errors in the 11th edition
and it was thought best to lump all these little men together as
Mlle. X. We are, however, intrigued by the fact that all these
alterations, suppressions, and additions that I have examined
uniformly serve the interests of Catholic propaganda and are
generally characterized by the familiar chief feature of that
propaganda -- untruthfulness.

     Possibly the plea will be made that most of these are cases
of historical statements, and that the Catholic has a right to
object to the inclusion of any statement upon which historians
are not agreed. I have pointed out one fallacy here. When the
Catholic objects that "historians" dispute a point he generally
means that it is disputed by historians of his own church: the
men who say that Peter was buried at Rome and Torquemada burned
only 2,000 heretics, that the Dark Age was bright with culture
and virtue and the Age of Chivalry and the Crusaders irradiated
the entire world, that the church was just tainted a little by a
wicked world at one time but it soon purified itself by a
Counter-Reformation, that there was horrible butchery at the
French, Russian and Spanish Revolutions, that the Christian
church abolished slavery and gave the world schools, hospitals,
democracy, art, and science, and a thousand other fantastic
things. If encyclopedias propose to embody these self-interested
antics of Catholic propagandists the public ought to know it. In
this little work I let them know it. Just the sort of thing an
Atheist would do, yon may reflect.

     In not a single one of these criticisms have I complained
that a majority-view of historians or scientists or other experts
has been given to the public without reserve, though it is
considered proper in serious works of history or science to add
that there is a dissentient majority-view. My complaint has been
throughout that even the majority-view of historians has been
suppressed or modified and the evidence for them cut out where
the Catholic clergy do not like that particular view to reach the
public because it conflicts with what they say; and that in
scores of cases statements which are peculiar to Catholic writers
and opposed to even the majority-opinion of experts have been
allowed to be inserted as ordinary knowledge. I have given a
hundred instances of this many of them grossly fraudulent and
impudent. In short, the 14th edition of the Britannica has been
used for the purpose of Catholic propaganda.

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     I do not in the least say that it is the only work of public
reference that has been so used. The new Encyclopedia Americana 
betrays a lamentable degree of Catholic influence, and even the
more scholarly Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics has curried
favor with Catholics by entrusting a number of important articles
("Inquisition," etc.) to Catholic writers, with the usual
disastrous results; while manuals of European, especially
medieval, history by some American professors strain or suppress
evidence scandalously to suit Catholic authorities. I have here
merely given the definite evidence in one field that the Catholic
Church uses its enormous wealth and voting power to poison the
wells of truth and to conceal from the public the facts of
history which make a mockery of the fantastic claims it advances

     Beyond this I have given many examples of the outdated
character of a monstrous amount of stuff in the Encyclopedia that
ought to have been displaced (instead of sound historical
sketches) to make room for new matter. That is a natural vice of
an old encyclopedia; or so we should be inclined to say if new
encyclopedias did not, in order to get the patronage of
reactionary institutions, imitate them. Who wants in a modern
encyclopedia the mass of stuff about saints and martyrs, which
are to a great extent pure fiction and rarely honest, about
ancient kings, queens, and statesmen about whom the sketches lie
glibly or are loaded with dates and events of no use to us, about
a thousand points of theology and ritual which ought to be
confined to a religious encyclopedia. It is not alone in regard
to the Catholic Church that our works of reference are so full of
calculated untruths and outdated obsequiousness. Although, as I
said, the section of the public that ever consults one of these
large works -- 60 to 70 percent never do -- is predominantly non-
Christian we do not expect the full truth, especially in regard
to history, in them. The domination of the economic corporations
of the clergy is too complete to permit that. I have a small
Rationalist Encyclopedia presently appearing in London which I
wrote six or seven years ago. It Will show how different the
truth, gathered from the works of experts, is from the stuff one
reads in encyclopedia-articles on matters affecting one's
philosophy of life; though I fear it will be issued in two
expensive volumes, instead of the cheap fortnightly parts (as
originally intended) of my larger American publications, and my
labor will be virtually wasted; for the clergy will see that
public libraries do not get it. It is a lamentable situation, for
from the religious field this modern manipulation of truth
extends to many others. I hope this short investigation will help
to open the eyes of the American public to its new mental

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