by Joseph McCabe

                     GIRARD  -- : --  KANSAS

                          ****     ****

     I    The Hell-Ethic and Modern Psychology ................. 1

    II    Orimitive Superstitions About Sex .................... 7

   III    Saints and Other Holy Men ........................... 13

    IV    Why Priests Do Not Marry ............................ 19

     V    Melodrama About the World, the Flesh, and the Devil.. 24

                          ****     ****

                            Chapter I


     It is not long since we were all laughing at a crazy film
titled "Hellzapoppin." Probably the most sedate amongst us really
enjoyed the overture -- or ought we to call it the Sacred Prelude?
-- giving us an up-to-date picture of the hectic life in the
underworld. My mind, when I saw it, recalled a little old 14th-
century church in a rural part of England where one can still see
on the wall, in a remarkable state of preservation, an immense
fresco of life on the earth and beneath it which pious hands had
painted on it nearly 600 years ago; and believe me, Hollywood might
have taken the lower part of the fresco as the model for the
prelude to "Hellzapoppin." But if you had smiled at the picture in
the 14th Century, as we do today, you would have been dispatched to
your destination prematurely.

     No other equal stretch of human history has seen such
revolutionary changes as the last 600 years. From the cross-bow to
the machine-gun and the aerial torpedo: from the galleon to the
latest battleship with 16-inch guns: from daubs on the wall, lit by

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tallow-candles, to superb talking picture's in technicolor: from
villages to cities of 8,000,000 folk with 50-story buildings: from
crabbed manuscripts to princely free libraries and news flashed
from continent to continent in the time it takes you to cross a
street. ... But the richest and most powerful Church in America
still gathers folk, in dazzling New York or nerve-racking Chicago
or aristocratic Washington, to hear the preacher tell about the
legions of devils that hunger for their souls and the vast lakes of
fire underground into which they may slip at any moment.

     Come, Mr. McCabe, some of you will say, it is nearly half a
century since you left the Church of Rome and in that swift-moving
half-century it has doubtless changed considerably. If you think
so, ask a child from a Catholic school, any school, whether or no
they still teach it that it walks through life with an invisible
"guardian angel" on its right side and an invisible devil with a
quite peculiar rage to lead it astray on the other: whether they do
not teach it, as a living dogma of its religion, that the boy of
eight who has called another by one of the lurid names they so
easily pick up, or the pretty golden-haired girl of eight who has
permitted one of those little liberties that children do, will not,
if killed in a street-accident on the way home, go to a hell of
eternal fire and torturing devils. Open a Catholic hymn-book and
see how these Catholic folk with whom you drink beer and crack
jokes still sing on Sundays -- and very lustily -- how "hell is
raging for my soul" and dab themselves with holy water to keep the
devils away. Read any book you like about Catholic doctrine today,
and you will find that the dogma of eternal torment, to which all
over the age of seven are liable, is as binding as it was in days
of the Council of Trent or is in any chapel in Kentucky or Georgia,
and that the belief in devils -- swarms of them -- is as fresh and
childlike as it was in ancient Babylon in the days of Hammurabi
4,000 years ago.

     Naturally a preacher in one of those city-churches to which
the artists and literary men, who lend their names to the Church,
go, knows which dogmas to emphasize and which to keep in the
shadow, but let him or one of his artistic followers put in print
that Rome has abandoned the doctrines of hell and out he will go on
his neck. During my final years in the Church, in the last decade
of the last century, we took great pride in the fact that one
fairly well known British scientist, Prof. St. George Mivart, was
"one of us." When I quit the Church he sought me and, for his own
intellectual credit, be said, told me how he despised the most
fundamental dogmas and promised me that he would speak out. He
opened with an article in which he rejected the dogma of hell. And
he was at once excommunicated and was driven to death by the fury
of the Black International that erupted; though my professor of
theology, Father D. Fleming, one of the most learned priests in
London, and my professor of philosophy, Msgr. (later Cardinal)
Mercier, had told me and him that they agreed with him.

     If any one of those few professors of science who today call
themselves Catholics dared similarly to repudiate the belief in an
eternal hell in a published writing he would have the same
experience. I have just been reading an American Catholic work, 'A
Call to Catholic Action,' in which a score of priest's who are at 

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the head of the modern movement in the Church give two volumes of
up-to-date advice to the laity, especially to those who are urging
their faith upon the notice of America. What is their bugle-call?
Or what is the fight to which they call the laity? They tell us
that it is primarily "a fight against Satan, the world, and the
flesh." That takes you back inexorably to the drowsy atmosphere of
that little 14th-century church in the heart of rural Britain. Nay,
if you know social history, it takes you back to the dark-skinned
curly-locked folk in long woolen tunics who confessed their sin's
to the priests and sought to dodge the innumerable devils in the
courtyard round the pyramid-temple of Marduk in ancient Babylon.

     I wish a few folk at Hollywood would read some of the essays
or sermons in this 'Call to Catholic Action.' They are cursing --
and half America curses with them -- the servility which they have
to show to a Catholic censor: a gentleman who acts in the interest
of his Church but assures them that it is only because "the public
does not really want this kind of thing, you know." Yet here are
the leaders of Catholic Action warning their followers that the
American movies are the chief agency of the devil. Here is a
celibate (we hope) monk with the sound American name of Father
Schmiedeler who describes what a hell city life is in America. It
appears that the good monk thinks that life in small towns and
villages is more virtuous. ... Anyhow here is his description of
the city:

          As matters stand at present even the most, shielded, the
     best of homes, can hardly expect to escape the contaminating
     ting even into the innermost recesses of the family sanctuary,
     influence of the moral contagion that surrounds them. By means
     of the press and radio, the movie-hall and the dance-hall, the
     lecture-room, and platform, our communities are being infested
     with a poison of immorality that is gradually penetrating all.

     Of all these devices of Satan the movies, he says, are "the
worst offenders," and there has been "a growing stench for the past
several decades" from them. The monk seems to have been more
fortunate in his choice of pictures than I have been, for it is a
very long time since I saw films that correspond to his description
of, presumably, what he saw.

     This particular campaign of the Black International inspires
many reflections, and I will enlarge on two of them in this
chapter. The first is that many will ask me whether the clergy and
spinsters of other Churches are not in this respect as bad as the
clergy-spinsters of the Church of Rome. On the face of it, yes, and
we must not forget this. But there are material differences. The
Baptists claim to number 8,000,000, the Catholics 20,000,000. The
Baptists are thickest in Texas, Georgia, North and South Carolina,
Alabama, and Virginia: the Catholics in New York, Pennsylvania,
Massachusetts, Illinois, and New Jersey, half the total body being
in these five states. Baptists may bully authorities in Dayton but
not in Boston, Chicago, New York, Detroit, Washington, Baltimore,
and San Francisco.

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     And this broad difference in psychology between Fundamentalist
and Catholic hellism, as we may call it, entails a very
considerable difference between the rival clerical bodies.
Skepticism amongst preachers of hell in Georgia and Alabama is
uncommon, but it is so widespread in the Papist Black International
that one may seriously doubt if one preacher in three really
believes in hell and the devil or honestly shudders at the thought
of the world and the flesh. Certainly the overwhelming majority of
the Fundamentalist preachers of hell believe that the New Testament
is the Word of God, and the Gospels and Paul very clearly teach the
dogma of eternal punishment. The Roman clergy on the other hand, no
matter what proportion of them you regard as sincere, have mainly
a professional interest in the belief. It is not only the chief
source of their power over the ignorant but one of the principal
sources of their vast profit.

     It puzzles folk when I say that relatively few Catholics fear
hell, but if you reflect on the general geniality, if not gaiety,
of a Catholic district or country (Eire, etc.) you realize that
this must be true. The Catholic system is based upon an escapist
psychology. Like the priests of ancient Egypt, who taught the
people that the journey to the garden of Osiris after death was
beset by monstrous perils and hordes of demons but they could sell
you charms for post-mortem use which defeated the devils, Catholic
priests neutralize the effect which their grim doctrine ought to
have upon the emotions by assuring the people that they have the
power to save even the most hardened sinner from the penalty. Most
Egyptologists believe that the common folk of Egypt -- nine-tenths
of the nation -- were not promised immortality, which had hitherto
been reserved for kings and nobles, until about B.C. 1400. No one
professes to find any change in the light morals of the Egyptian
workers and middle class when this idea that they had a risky
chance of an eternal bliss was extended to them, and the late Prof.
Breasted used to say this was because the post-mortem risk was
practically abolished by the priests, through their sale of charms
land spells, in the same breath in which they gave the people the
glorious promise of immortality, of which they do not seem to have
taken any serious notice.

     It is much the same in Catholic theology. For a hundred years
or more the first Christian communities were very solemn little
groups of folk who really thought a lot about sin and hell. Then
the Roman Popes, particularly the blackguardly Papal adventurer
"St." Callistus I (207-22), discovered that they could absolve from
any sin of any size or hue if you confessed it to a priest, and
Roman Christian life -- I am quoting one of them -- became more
picturesque and highly colored. Catholic censors would certainly
not permit Hollywood to screen it. The faithful did not directly
pay for absolution, but there was rich indirect payment in the fact
that, as we positively know, the membership of the Church rapidly
increased threefold or more, and there were large numbers of light-
living but wealthy Roman ladies amongst the converts.

     Yet, since death does not always wait for you to summon a
priest to absolve you, hell remained rather a tough proposition in
the mind of many, and was a stumbling block to the cultured; and,
above all, it was not as profitable as one could wish. The priests 

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therefore took up a theory of a few rationalizing theologians: the
theory of purgatory. These theologians, who were heretics while
they lived, felt that there must be two furnaces in the cosmic
basement: one for the more terrible sinners, such as the man who
thrashed a priest he found with his wife or the man who died
without asking the priest's ministrations, and one for lighter
offenders and those who had substantially liquidated the debt by
confession. One was eternal and in the other you burned only for a
time. How could you be sure of a ticket for Furnace No. 2 instead
of No. 1? Practically every Catholic believes that he is booked at
least for this. Here the clergy opened a vein of gold in the hard
rock of dogma. Absolution got you clear of "the fire that is never
extinguished," and they invented a dozen ways of evading or very
considerably reducing your stay in "the flames of Purgatory." And
nearly all of them -- indulgences, alms, relies, pilgrimages, etc.
-- cost money.

     That is the big difference between the Catholic hell-scheme
and the Protestant. I have nothing to do here with the question
whether one is more reasonable, or less nauseous, than the other.
I am concerned only with the psychological question of influence on
behavior and with the enormous power which the Catholic scheme
gives to the clergy. The latter point is obvious. One of the many
features -- besides chronic war, pestilence, poor and monotonous
food for nine-tenths of the people, ruthless exploitation by the
nobles, etc. -- which made life in the Age of Faith so "jolly," as
the late G.K. Chesterton used to say, was that now and again, when
a king refused to heed the crack of the ecclesiastical whip, the
Pope would put an interdict on the kingdom. Living under Nazi or
Jap invaders today is pleasant in comparison. The whole scheme of
salvation was suspended. The Pope locked up the keys of purgatory
as well as heaven in his safe, leaving the gates of hell wide open.

     However, we are here more interested in the psychological
aspect. Those finer-natured non-Catholic writers who give so much
pleasure to the clergy explain Catholic life, in the Middle Ages or
today, on Catholic theory. It must have been happy and virtuous. It
is so much easier, as well as more conducive to good will, to
explain life in that way. Unfortunately I, being cursed with a
Materialist, and Atheist creed, have to make laborious research
into facts and tell the truth; which is that life in the Middle
Ages was generally foul, is generally foul in Catholic countries
today, and in the Catholic section of American life is painfully
rich in criminals.

     The working of the hell-ethic explains this. Modern psychology
is precisely a study of conduct or behavior and in one branch it
examines the motive as shaping forces of conduct. They are all
lodged in the organism from without. You must, it is true, make
some allowance for hereditary bodily equipment. Some females have
richer glands of a certain kind in their ovaries and pituitaries.
just as they may have better stomachs or stronger hearts than
others, and these are destined by nature to be our scarlet sinners.
The Vestal Virgin type, on the other hand. ... But I will leave
that to a later chapter. The point is that Catholic conduct is
shaped by environmental influences just like any other, and this
persistent influence of the hell-and-devil motif from infancy 

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onward, in school and church and Catholic literature, is morbid.
The hell-ethic never did produce nice types of character. "Saints"
are not people who were so very, very good because they feared
hell. And nowadays it is worse education than ever. The boy or girl
has been taught for year's to take it mighty seriously, and then he
or she goes to see "Hellzapoppin" and hears nine-tenths of the
audience roar with laughter. I am not very familiar with jail-
circles, though have corresponded with criminals in San Quentin,
but I believe that the large Catholic population in Sing Sing or
Joliet is not conspicuously depressed by thought of hell and the

     Let no one be tempted to conclude from all this that the
Catholic Church today does not really require the same belief in
hell and the devil as a colored preacher in Georgia does. Make no
mistake about it. The Church insists on it as an Article of Faith
-- a doctrine automatically endorsed by every man who calls himself
a Catholic -- as it did in the days of Torquemada. Look up the
article on it in the most authoritative exposition of Catholic
teaching, the 'Catholic Encyclopedia.' The article "Hell" is
written by a Dutch Jesuit -- did no American priest care to have
the honor? -- and is meticulously accurate.

     Hell as a place of eternal torment is, he says, a fundamental
Catholic doctrine. It is "a definite place, but where it is we do
not know." The learned professor agrees with "theologians
generally" that it is "really within the earth." This preposterous
rubbish was written and printed in the most costly enterprise of
the American Church in the year 1910 when physicists had come to
fairly definite conclusions about the colossal concentration of
metal in the center of the earth. However, I hasten to add, in case
you are thinking of becoming a Catholic, that the Church does not
dogmatically say where hell is, merely that it is a place, not a
state or a figure of speech. So far, says the Jesuit in this
princely publication of the American Church, the doctrine of hell,
leaving out for the moment the question of its eternity and apart,
of course, from these disreputable Atheists, "has never yet [19101
met any opposition worthy of mention." Yes, I assure you I cleaned
my glasses specially to read it again. Dean Farrer, the greatest
preacher of the Church of England, denied it in the pulpit of St.
Paul's Cathedral in 1878, and the rejection has spread so far in
his Church and the sister Church in America that at the Lambert
Conference of 1930 the combined British and American bishops
virtually cut it out of the catechism. We will say nothing about
the Unitarians, Congregationalists, and a large part of the
Methodists. Not worth mentioning -- by a Catholic writing for

     This dogma, that men are punished in some place after death,
can, says our authoritative guide, "be demonstrated by the light of
pure reason." You will have to read the lengthy proofs yourself. I
am a man of delicate stomach. That the punishment is eternal is an
obligatory dogma, but this also can be defended by pure reason, or
by Catholic logic, which is the only perfect logic in the modern
world. But that the instrument of torture is material fire is not
an Article of Faith. It is merely the teaching of "the greater
number of theologians." It is also the conviction of the writer of 

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the article, and since he was selected by the editor of the work as
more authoritative than any American priest could be, it is the
version of Catholic doctrine recommended to America by this most
costly enterprise of the hierarchy. The great and so modern Thomas
Aquinas showed long ago, the Jesuit reminds us, that the Catholic
need not feel any difficulty at all about how a material fire can
burn pure (disembodied) spirits. With God all things are possible.
... No, I am not being flippant, That is the, argument. But the
Church, you may be relieved to know, has never dogmatically
declared that the form of torture is fire. Those choice bits of the
missionary preacher on hell are just illustrations of what "the
greater numbers of theologians" teach.

     I still remember one such gem; and it is not a reminiscence of
boyhood. but part of an address to the monks of my monastery -- I
was then about 26 and a professor -- delivered with great solemnity
by the learned Fr. David Fleming who, he later let me know, did not
believe in hell. The burning, he said, was so intense that if there
were a ladder of infinite length reaching up from the pit and every
rung was a razor but there was a cup-full of water at the top the
damned would jostle each other in their eagerness to mount it. The
Catholic is not compelled to believe in the fire but "he is
compelled to believe that these disembodied souls or "pure spirits"
are punished for all eternity by some variety of "sensory torture"
(paena memus). So if you prefer to think of a combination of
intense thirst, toothache. sciatica, racks, thumbscrews, etc.,
instead of fire, go to it. The Chinese have nothing on theme Roman
interpreters of what they call "God's holy purposes." Historians
give as the choicest piece of cruelty in one of the most cruel
periods of civilized history -- in Papal Italy during the "best"
part of the later Middle Ages -- that two nobles invented a system
of torture which crowded the maximum possible of pain in forty days
(in honor of Lent) without killing the patient. Only forty days!
The theologian spine it out to eternity.

                           Chapter II


     I am devoting a later book in this series to a candid
examination of what the Catholic, under priestly hypnotism, calls
"our Holy Faith" and believes to be so unique and beautiful a body
of doctrine that his Church is fully entitled to boast of being
"intolerant" and to claim the right to burn apostates. I had,
however, to glance at this exquisite specimen of the Holy Faith as
a basis for the present booklet. Let me complete it by glancing at
another doctrine, and we will better understand the Church's
attitude to the world.

     The escape from this unpleasant region in the center of the
globe is technically called "salvation" and the failure to escape
it "damnation"; and from the respect with which the latter word is
always breathed by your neighbors you will gather how the horrid
possibility weighs upon the mind of the race. Now it is a very
trite expression of Catholic literature that the Church is "the Ark
of Salvation" -- an allusion, of course, to the ancient Sumerian
folk-story of the Ut-Napishtim and the Deluge -- and the question 

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is often discussed whether Catholics hold that "outside the Church
there is no salvation." I am not going to be dragged aside on every
page to discuss the beauty or, as you prefer, the puerility of
these doctrines. We are concerned here with the power they give to
the Black International and their influence in the general Catholic

     In the Calvert Handbook which, you will remember, is sponsored
by Dr. Nicholas Murray Butler and other high academic authorities,
this is the theme of the first article, and it is one of the most
dishonest of the bunch. The Church, it insists, certainly does not
say that outside of it there is no salvation. In proof of this the
writer quotes the muddle-headed Plus IX (no reference given, but
clearly over 70 years ago) saying solemnly:

          We must all hold as certain that ignorance of the true
     religion when it is invincible, excuses from all fault in the
     sight of the Lord.

     Marvelous. In plain English, if any person never heard of the
Catholic Church or its teaching the Lord will not damn him for not
being a Catholic. The writer's ingenious twist of this into a
statement that it covers Protestants who know the Church well and
loathe it need not be examined. Turn to the more authoritative
Catholic Encyclopedia, and you will find that the spokesman
selected to tell America what the Church really holds, not an
anonymous journalist but the Rev. Prof. Pohle (article
"Toleration"), not only admits that it is sound Catholic doctrine
that "outside the Church there is no salvation" but proves the
justice of it with all the rigor of ideal Catholic logic. Here I
had better give the full passage:

          If by conceding a convenient right of option or a falsely
     understood freedom of faith she [the Church] were to leave
     everyone at liberty to accept or reject her dogmas, her
     constitution, and her sacraments, as the existing differences
     of religions compel the modern State to do, she would not only
     fail in her divine mission but would end her life in voluntary
     suicide. As the true God can tolerate no strange gods, the
     true Church of Christ can tolerate no strange Churches beside
     herself. ... A strictly logical consequence of this
     incontestably fundamental idea is the ecclesiastical dogma,
     that outside the Church there is no salvation ... this
     proposition is necessarily and indissolubly connected with the
     above-mentioned principle of the exclusive legitimacy of truth
     and with the whole ethical commandment of love for the truth
     (XIV, 766).

     Then are all the rest of the world apart from the 180,000,000
Catholics damned? Bless you, the Church does not say anything so
horrid; he adds, you see, the Church does not damn anybody. That is
God's business. How is that for logic?

     It is this kind of logic that gives the Black International
all its arrogance and intolerance and the faithful their weird
belief that their faith is uniquely holy and beautiful. It is this
that explains their melodramatic defiance of the modern world. I 

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am, you will remember, in this second series of booklets explaining
that the Church of Rome is, contrary to what its apologists
commonly say in America, of such a nature that it inevitably
grasped at the invitation to ally itself with Germany, Italy, and
Japan. Some very ingenious pages, in the style of your literary
oracles, could be written on the psychological affinity of the
Black International and the Axis. Men who, in the name of the
Almighty, preach weekly that he and they calmly contemplate about
a million mortals a week passing into the eternal fires (or other
torments) would not worry as much as the rest of us if their high
aims had to be attained by a little temporary suffering like that
of the British in Singapore or the Poles in Warsaw. However I am
not a literary man and prefer to tell the truth, which is that
heaven knows how few of the priests really believe in hell.

     And in this it defies the modern world as flatly as it defies
modern thought and sentiment with its crude medieval dogmas. It
does not talk much about the devil except in the Catholic school
and church. Outsiders are apt to be so rude as to laugh. But the
world and the flesh! My word, we are a wicked lot. Some of the
sermons in that 'Call to Catholic Action' from which I quoted make
me feel quite uncomfortable. I roam in thought over this metropolis
of 8,000,000 folk which I know pretty intimately, since I have
lived and wandered in all sorts of odd corners of it for 60 years,
and I feel that I must be more myopic than I thought. I have not
seen a drunken man or a fight (such as you see daily in Catholic
Eire) for years and have very rarely seen any approach to the
indecency that was a joke on the streets in the Ages of Faith.

     To be brief and practical, behind all this sulfurated hydrogen
emitted by the clergy is their professional preoccupation with sex.
We shall see presently why I say "professional" and how incongruous
it is in a body of religious ministers which is, taking one country
with another, the most "immoral" in the world. Let us first
consider it in itself: which is not as easy as at first sight you
might imagine.

     The priests exhort their followers to marry early and beget as
many children as they possibly can. No holds barred. In America
they have to say this holds good even if you (if not a Catholic)
got your license from a civic official instead of a priest. In
Scotland it applies if two young folk have married without priest
or registrar. They dare not say in America that it does not apply
if men or women were divorced and married again. What if it was a
Reno divorce? A Yucatan divorce? The dividing line wavers and grows
thin. Yet if you are the wrong side of that line you get poured
upon you the dregs of the moralist's dictionary. He thinks public
corruption regrettable and the exploitation of the helpless poor
just too bad; but a sex-act on the wrong side of the line is foul,
obscene, swinish, loathsome, revolting, etc., etc. The novelist who
speaks lightly of it has a mind like a sewer, a cesspool, or a sty.
Those pictures in which you see the dainty, fascinating, glamorous
ladies of Hollywood, who seem to bring a current of fresh air into
your jaded mind once or twice a week, really (Father Schmiedeler
assures you) exhale a "growing stench."

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     And it is not a question of a snare subtly set here and there
by the invisible devils. Modern American literature and art are one
comprehensive conspiracy to bring upon a poor Catholic girl the
fate that is worse than death. In this 'Call to Catholic Action'
one writer who is styled "His Excellency the Most Rev. Joseph
Schrembs" -- he must be very important but I do not know why --
says apropos of films, that the Church found itself "confronted
with a gigantic industry that was disseminating the doctrines of
pagan morality." He hints that he and others marshalled the pure
maids of his Church in a Legion of Decency and they used their box-
office power to change all that, but on another page of the same
book Fr. Schmiedeler says that the "stench" increases year by year.
Another priest similarly describes practically the whole of
American fiction.

     By the way, I had overlooked this precious piece of Catholic
literature when (in No. 13) I described the cultural poverty of the
Church in America. The Jesuit Daly here admits and explains it. He
says that "the cultured world is not a fertile ground for Catholic
seed," and the reason is "its immorality." That is not ingenious.
It's tripe. Whatever you think of the morals of cultured folk the
reason why Catholicism, with its hell and devils, stinks in their
nostrils is because they are cultured. However, the next writer in
this important Catholic book relieves the gloom. There has been a
great Catholic literary revival in the last ten years. As its
greatest writers he names C. Dawson, C. Hollis, Fr. Darcy, Fr. R.
Knox, K. Adam, J. Maritain, and Sigrid Undset! Apparently he still
could not find one, even on his liberal scale, in America. He had
to sweep all Europe to get these seven second -- or third-raters

     What occurs to one at once on reading these interminable
Catholic dirges is that the Church does really seem to be up
against the world. If American art and literature are so
demoralizing although this wealthy and powerful clerical
organization has been fighting them for more than ten years, what
would they be if there had not been this check on them? Do they or
do they not reflect American life and sentiment? But let us be
serious. Artists give America what it wants -- what the
overwhelming majority of people want. Suspend your League of
Decency and Holy Family and all the other censorships for five
years and see how the public like a freer art and literature.

     In other words, it is a tyranny of a small minority, for even
the great majority of Catholics would still, if they were not
bullied, flock to the cinema if it were just left to ordinary
police-regulation and the recognized civil law. And it is self-
interested tyranny. As I write, Laval is announced to have taken
over power in France from the senile Petain, the man who pledged
his honor that he would never surrender, and he gathers a group of
traitors to France about him. The Press froths with indignation and
vituperation of Laval in particular. But no paper ever mentions
that Laval is a fanatical supporter of the Church and the whole
malodorous group of traitors are Catholics. None of our foreign
correspondents notices that the Black International, which is so
portentously serious about the stretch of leg an actress may show
on the screen, has from the start discreetly protected and is even
very silent about this poisonous swamp of corruption and real 

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foulness in France. It would not pay the Church to attack a
foulness that brings suffering upon tens of millions and seems to
all free men diabolical; but it does pay to attack leg-shows and

     However, I am always for the kindly and charitable view when
it is possible, so let us suppose that the whole Black
International in America is profoundly sincere when it says that it
finds the sight of that charming little actress -- -- in her undies
on the screen a far more terrible thing than the treachery of
Vichy, the shooting of "hostages," or the systematic raping of
women everywhere by Japanese soldiers and officers. Surely it would
follow only that the clergy must have a moral standard that defies
modern civilization. You may even cut out the comparison and regard
in itself this professed horror of bare legs and jokes about sex.
It is, as the Catholic language about the world and the flesh
implies, a defiance of our age, an insult alike to our intelligence
and our social idealism. It is, when it is sincere, just as much an
outcome of ignorance as is a child's fear of a dragon-fly or an old
colored woman's fear of "haunts."

     There are two main roots of the anti-sex attitude, and both
thrive only on ignorance. The Catholic is, like the Protestant,
bound to appeal to the bible, but the modern mind wants to know how
it got into the bible. It is a fundamental idea of the Pauline
Epistles rather than the Gospels. Indeed, it is, comparatively to
other moral ideas, so infrequently stressed in the Gospels that in
recent year's certain Christian ministers have publicly claimed
that Jesus taught no obligation of chastity. That is, in the mouth
of one who sees a biographical value in the Gospels, an
exaggeration. In fact if we regard Jesus as an Essenian monk who
became convinced that the end of the world was near and went about
warning folk, it is inevitable that he should include chastity
among the major virtues, because the Essenians had, and they had
had the sentiment for more than a century before the beginning of
the present era, so great an aversion to sex that they never

     In any case this dark view of sex was widely spread in the
ancient world before it appeared in the early Christian documents.
Many of my readers will know that I have in earlier works (History
of Morals, etc.) made extensive research into the development of
the feeling and shown that, as is not disputed, it was embodied in
religion's in ancient Egypt (Serapeans, Isisites, etc.), Syria and
Judaea (Essenians, Therapeuts), Babylonia (Esmun, Ishtar), Persia
(Zarathustra), Asia Minor (Diana of Ephesus), and Greece
(Pythagoras, Plato, etc.) centuries before the beginning of the
Christian Era. This vast region had earlier been the great area of
the cult of the Mother-Earth goddess which was intensely phallic
and conducive to what the puritan calls orgies of vice. Upon this
phallic cult broke a religion which represented God as the creator
of light, spirit, and purity (or cleanliness) and therefore
ascribed darkness, matter (the flesh), and the sexual life to a
great evil and tempter of men. As far as we know at present this
antithesis of creative God and creative devil of spirit and flesh, 

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first appeared amongst the Persian and cognate tribes on the hills
overlooking Mesopotamia, and the influence of this Zorastrian 
religion on the whole area (Egypt, Judaea, Greece, etc.) when the
Persians conquered it is not disputed.

     We need not, therefore, go further back and ask what
superstitions of life below the level of civilization -- for
instance, the idea, not uncommon at this level, that there is
something "unclean" as taboo about a woman on account of her
menstruation, etc. -- were gathered up in the Persian theory. It is
enough that the entire world of theologians, philosophers and
moralists as well as ordinary folks now rejects this notion that an
evil spirit created the flesh. And we certainly need not examine
the way in which the early Fathers, maintaining against the Persian
heretics that God had created all things, interpreted an old
Babylonian story which the Jews had inserted in Geneses to mean
that God had made even the flesh pure (in some mysterious sense)
and put a curse on sex only when "man ate the forbidden fruit!"

     So the chief reason why Jesus and Paul, like so many
philosophers (Pythagorean's, Stoics of the religious wing,
Platonists, etc.) and theologies (Essenian, Serapean, Mithranist,
Manichaen, etc.) of the time came to frown upon sex, as a necessary
evil from which the superior person would shrink, is quite
worthless. The second reason, which is rather a pretext invented by
modern theologians and moralists, to cover the weakness of the
original source is just as worthless. It is the socio-historical
argument that sexual license .has led, through enervation, to the,
fall of great civilization's in the past and therefore a religion
which cheeks and combats "vice" is a most valuable auxiliary of the
State. I have elsewhere shown that this is entirely false. No
responsible modern historian tracing the fall of Egypt, Babylon,
Athens, or Rome gives any color to that rhetorical claim. Rome, for
instance, was much more "virtuous" in the 4th Century, just before
its fall, than in the last century of the old era, when it was
entering upon its greatest phase.

     The rottenness of these roots of the old anti-sex attitude is
now so widely recognized that the non-Christian moralists of the
19th Century, who dreaded the argument of the apologist that they
could not sustain the virtue of chastity, fell back upon "the moral
sense" or a man's intuition of natural law. Many moralists are
still in this stage, and "the common moral sense of mankind" is a
pleasant mouthful for the political orator and the editorial
writer. Modern psychology is a science with many conflicting
schools but in none of them is a "moral sense" included in our
mental equipment, and all but a few lingering mystics reject the
very idea of intuition. All men's ideas and attitudes are built-in,
and most professors of the science of ethics today explain moral
ideas on these lines. The only moral law is a law or ideal of
conduct based upon the requirements of social welfare and progress,
and therefore most of the things which the Catholic preacher
denounces as supremely immoral do not come under the moral law at

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     I have had here to confine myself to two or three paragraphs
on a vast subject on which I  have written volumes, but it will 
give a sufficient idea of the ground on which we stand when we say
that this Catholic rhetoric about the world and the flesh is an
appeal to the ignorant, an insolent libel, a chorus of dervishes
which might be amusing if political interests did not give them so
much power. Greater freedom in thinking and speaking about sex
means a new strength, not a new weakness. We have done with the
amiable hypocrisies of our predecessors, whose shows blushed one
night over the fate that is worse than death and the tragedy of Our
Nell and the next night revelled in exhibition's that the modern
police would not permit.

     The very fact that the new attitude is so general -- that in
the words of these preachers (which I quoted), the contamination is
universal -- shows that most men and women, who in earlier
generations transgressed a law which they recognized, now
consciously perceive that there is no such law. The general public
know nothing, of course, of the wide research and close reasoning
on which the new ethic is based; just as the majority of church-
folk know nothing of the logic and reasoning by which priests make
ethical and theological mountains out of the Gospel molehills. But
in the freer atmosphere they use their common sense on the hell-
and-devil view of human nature, and large numbers of them now read
a literature which confirms their common-sense conclusions.
Theologians assailing statesmen with appeals to suppress this
literature are in exactly the same position as the medieval monks
who forced rulers to burn heretics. If it were not for the
political power which the masses of their more ignorant followers
afford them, we should merely have to expose their ignorance and
the real dynamo of their activity.

                           Chapter III

                    SAINTS AND OTHER HOLY MEN

     I have in various works expressed the opinion that a time will
come when the Black International will abandon their campaign
against the world of the flesh and discover that their medieval
Church gave the world a splendid lead in what D'Annunzio called a
"magnificent sensuality" and glorification of the flesh. It would
be but one more revolution in the sacristy. Less than 100 years ago
-- let us say in 1850 -- the Black International in every Catholic
country thundered against democracy. Even in America they had not
yet learned that Paine, Franklin, Jefferson, and Adams had been
suckled at the spiritual breasts of Thomas Aquinas. They were, as
in England, completely indifferent to social questions. But
wherever they had power, from Peru to Italy, and the political
issue was stormily debated, they were intimately leagued with the
brutal forces which had for the second (and, as they thought, last)
time drowned the democrats in their own blood. By the end of the
century they were all democrats, and in America they made the
remarkable discovery, of which priests in other countries do not
yet seem to have heard, that the Church itself had mothered the
democratic ideal. Today, in all Catholic countries, they are again
solidly anti-democratic. Tomorrow ...

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     If, as we are all convinced, Russia win's this titanic
struggle and is not defrauded by Britain and America of the
legitimate fruit of victory, the chief voice in the settlement of
Europe, the Church of Rome may find itself compelled to make some
remarkable adjustments in its struggle to retain its wealth and
power. At the moment it hopes, as I have explained in earlier
number's, to maintain its position, the improved position as
compared with what it was from 1920 to 1930, even if the Axis-
Vatican combination is defeated. The whole weight of the Church
will be thrown into the demand that President Roosevelt shall have
a decisive voice in the post-war settlement, and the "Catholic
point of view," which Washington is now so prone to consult, will
be that, as religious influence offers the best security against a
recurrence of lawlessness the Church shall be strengthened in its
new position in Catholic countries (including France and Belgium)
and shall have new rights, in the name of religious freedom, in
Germany and Russia. You may think that a piece of incredible
insolence after the share that the Vatican has had in protecting
the designs of the Axis, but look out for it.

     If, on the other hand, the realistic Russian spirit is
consulted in the settlement, and France, Belgium, Spain, Italy,
Hungary, etc., are allowed to deal with their traitors and
Churches, the Black International will confront the gravest crisis
in its history. It has, in its struggle for survival, changed many
times in the last 30 years, but only superficially or by purely
local adaptations to different conditions. While from 1900 to 1914
the American bishops and priests were, as part of their forward
movement, boisterously assuring the public that the Church was
broad-minded and tolerant and a good neighbor to other Churches,
Rome itself three times (as I told) officially published, in Latin,
its medieval Canon Law with all its superbly intolerant and
truculent claims. When, from 1920 to 1940, these American priests
and bishops were putting forward their extraordinary proofs of the
Church's affinity with the modern ideals of freedom and democracy
the Vatican was working on the anti-democratic line which
culminated in its alliance with the Axis powers. The Church had not
changed a single principle. It still boasted that, while all other
Churches shed old dogmas and gave new liberties, it was still
Immutable Rome.

     That it must sooner or later change or perish will be doubted
only by a man who despairs of the issue of the present conflict and
imagines that the world may be returning to a new Dark Age, but it
will seem to many quixotic to suggest that it might drop its
furious campaign against the world, the flesh, and the devil. We
must remember that the first dogmas to be jettisoned by a Church in
time of danger are those which most affront the moral sentiment,
and it is humorous to reflect that while the doctrine of hell did
not disturb the minds of even educated persons during the long ages
of faith it is highly repugnant in this age which the preachers
describe as almost devoid of moral sense. Less than 100 years ago
that doctrine was just as vital in the teaching of the Church of
England and its American offshoot as it now is in the Church of
Rome. Today it is at the most optional and was very clearly
recommended for rejection at the Lambeth Conference; and there was
no exodus from the Church. And if it be said that it is a long step

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from rejecting belief in hell and the devil to rejecting the sexual
taboo, consider what happened at the Conference of the American
Protestant Episcopal Church in 1922, the speeches at which are
published in a volume with the title 'The Influence of the Church
on Modem Problems.'

     The problem set for the first sitting was: "What are our young
people seeking in their apparent revolt from the moral standards of
an earlier day?" The word "apparent" may seem very ecclesiastical,
though the first two speakers supported it. The third and last was
a clergyman of some distinction who certainly knew Christian youth,
and he must have made their hair stand on end. Morals means
customs, he said cheerfully, and the moral code is to a large
extent conventional or customary. The young see this and want "a
rationale of morals"; and, he added, they are "having considerable
difficulty in finding one." There is a legitimate "new ethic," and
in the light of it "ours is for the most part an irreligious but
moral generation." The Church in educating them had made too much
fuss about their bodies, and we must "revaluate our moral
standards." For this, he said, we find encouragement in the
Gospels. Jesus was "quite out of sympathy with the current legalism
in regard to impurity." (Is it necessary to remind you that the
usual clerical plea is that Jesus went beyond all contemporaries in
the severity of his sex-teaching?) Did he not eat with sinners and
make a pal of Mary Magdalene? His "sole recorded utterance about
impurity" was that a man who looked with desire at a pretty girl
committed adultery, and by this he meant to "reduce to absurdity
the violent treatment of tactual impurity." (Nice phrase, that). In
short, the speaker said, "I find no evidence in Jesus's teaching of
any special value put by him on chastity as a thing in itself" or
any "merely negative virtues, All we need do is to induce the young
not to "fill their lives with carnal indulgences" by teaching them
alternatives. "Our decency is deadly dull" and they want "jollier
ways." So let us join the young in burying Mrs. Grundy "with
rejoicing" and not "keep trundling about her increasingly
unpleasant corpse,"

     Thus (pp. 22-28) spoke the much respected President of St.
Stephen's College, Dr. B.I. Bell. No earthquake followed, as far as
I can discover Bell was not decapitated or sent to a concentration-
camp. The bishops of the Protestant Episcopal Church turned instead
upon my old friend W. Montgomery Brown and expelled him from their
midst for saying that the only redemption the world needed was from
poverty and war.

     Which reminds me of a fact that will amuse most of my readers.
All those learned books which Brown flung at the heads of his
episcopal judges from 1930 to 1936, including the two books for
children and the famous address to the Parliament of Religions in
1933, were written by me. I was, secretly, Bill's "literary
secretary." As long as he was a good Atheist and Materialist I did
not mind how many ecclesiastical titles he bought. It was, he often
told me, all to be revealed in his will and a trust established to
enable me to carry on the good work in my own name. But Bill was
too idealistic to control money, and he died owing me a lot and
leaving me without documents to secure it. In spite of his
sentimental desire to keep an ecclesiastical status, which he never

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attempted to explain to me though he relied on me in his fight for
ten years, Bill was a man of splendid character, fearless and
incorruptible, passionately eager for justice to the workers,
defective only in that his complete sense of honor made him too
trustful of others. I have in my long tramps through life met a
hundred such men and women and known hundreds of others from their
books and letters, and they all belonged essentially to that
"world" which Rome shudderingly defies and calumniates.

     In other words, it is not only in its largely hypocritical
stress on sexual purity but in its general standard of character
that the Church defies modern thought and life. This is inevitable.
The requirements of the Black International are ruinous to the kind
of character, the straight, realistic, uncompromising character,
that the modern world esteems and requires. I suppose that Michael
Williams would be urged upon us by American Catholics as a fine
type of lay personality not perverted by the needs of the clerical
profession, yet I find his chief book, 'Catholicism and the Modern
Mind' (1928) a dreary tissue of sophistry and looseness in
statements of fact.

     He tell's As a fact the story of Benedict XV and Mussolini.
The Catholic legend is that during the last war, when the Papacy
handled a fund for relieving the relatives of soldiers, the Pope
one day noticed that the name of Signora Mussolini and her family
was struck off the list. He was told that the lady's son -- now the
great Duce -- was an enemy of the Church, but he insisted that the
name be put back, and Mussolini, hearing of the occurrence, was
deeply moved and got "a new view of the Catholic Church." I do not
know whether Catholic editors generally imagine that Popes have
leisure to scrutinize lists of obscure villagers far away from
Rome, and I very much doubt if Mussolini would admit that his
family depended on charity, but if Williams does not know that
Mussolini continued for two years after the war -- until he got a
rich bribe -- to attack the Vatican bitterly and opprobriously he
is strangely ill-informed for a man in his position. He includes in
the book a most generous eulogy of Bryan just after his death.
Williams was reporting the trial in Dayton, and it is difficult to
believe that he was not aware that, as Clarence Darrow told me,
Bryan brought about his death by gluttony and had for years been
notorious for gluttonous practices such as provoking a vomit to
make room for more. It is not much better to find Williams solemnly
endorsing the claim that Aquinas, Bellarmine, and Suarez inspired
the modem ideals of freedom and democracy, and that the Catholics
of Maryland taught America religious tolerance. It is a platitude
of American history that the Catholics were in a minority in
Maryland and used their power to get toleration for themselves.
Williams endorses falsehoods and fallacies as glibly as any Jesuit.

     On the other hand take Laval. In the last few days I have read
a score of British and American characterizations of this repulsive
adventurer. All agree that apart from the worst of The German and
Italian leaders, he is the most sordid type of man thrown up to the
surface in this churning up of the mud of European life, but not a
single one of the writers mentions that he is a Catholic and in
good odor at the Vatican. No one recalls as I did in No. 7 (First
Series, p. 26), that on June 9, 1935, Laval, wearing the decoration

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of the Papal Order of Pius IX, visited the pole in the Vatican,
bearing rich presents, and presented his daughter, to whom, as a
good Catholic, the Pope gave a gold and coral rosary. To the
Vatican he was the most esteemed Catholic in France, and he became
a cordial friend of the present Pope. The Papal newspaper, the
Osservatore, gave a glowing account -- you may read an abridged
translation of it in Keesing -- of the Pious interview, and a
member of British and American papers, not foreseeing the ghastly
future and ignoring the evil reputation that Laval already had in
France, reported it with respect.

     I cannot ascertain the opinions of every man in this bunch of
Vichy traitors to civilization who have fouled the honor of France
but in the days when the Allies still had a pathetic trust that
they would resist Hitler the papers ingenuously told how Petain,
Weygand, and other leaders are devout Catholics. It is a Catholic
group, combining docility to the Vatican with private greed for
wealth and power of the most sordid type. But the press would
rather leave the whole miserable business inexplicable than offend
Catholics by telling the truth about it. Once more the influence of
the Black International has the public fooled even on vital
questions of the hour. And, as we have seen, it is not a question
of France only. Catholics -- Leopold of Belgium and the ministers
who cling to him, Franco and his cut-throats in Spain, Salazar in
Portugal, Tizzo in Slovakia, Henlein in Sudetenland, Seyss-Inquart
in Austria and Holland, De Valera in Eire, etc. -- head the list of
the men who have betrayed humanity in its gravest crisis, just as
the Atheists of Russia head the list of those who sacrifice and die
for it. How have your leading Catholics, cleric and lay, in America
stood in this real struggle of good and evil? How do they still
stand in Quebec? I can assure you that in Great Britain not a
single Catholic, cleric or lay, stood out in the ranks of the
fighters for civilization.

     It is a mockery to find the Church of Rome boasting of its
richness in "saints" when, at a time of supreme need of character
and virility, it pushes into positions of power only muddle-headed
weaklings like Leopold and Petain or an unscrupulous blackguard
like Laval. From Cape Cod to San Diego the Black International is
bemusing its children, of all ages, with a legend of the peculiar
"holiness" of their Church. No other religion in the world, they
say, can show such a list of men and women of fine character. I
illustrated the grossly fraudulent nature of this list by a few
words on the "Holy Fathers" in the first booklet of this series,
and have shown elsewhere (Little Blue Book, 1107) that saints and
martyrs were fabricated by the thousands for the first half of the
story of the Roman Church. But what standard of character for the
modern world is there in the overwhelming majority of those who
were really historical? They were just men and women who took
seriously the theory that for every pleasure you sacrificed during
a few decades of life you won a hundred times as much during a
whole eternity. That is not character. It is trade. Yet so poor is
the real moral influence of the Church that it hardly persuades any
of its followers in modern times to attain that degree of
commercial logic. The one or two men and women who today are.
selected (out of hundreds of millions) every year or so for
canonization are really chosen for diplomatic reasons -- to please 
particular countries -- and to bring a modest shower of gold, to
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     Where, moreover, Catholics do make strained efforts to rise,
toward the level of these "saints" they generally succeed in
contracting the vices -- hard intolerance and pious
unscrupulousness -- of the fanatical saints rather than the virtues
of the more human. They are apt to be sour, cruel, unjust,
slanderous, and convinced that the end, if it is the good of the
Church, justifies the means. They lose the sense of citizenship
whenever the clergy urge them to use their voting power in the
interest of the Church. Everybody will know Catholics who have not
these vices. No one pretends that all of them are puritans and
bigots of the sourer type. But would you say that the geniality and
Straightforwardness of the Catholics you admire is a result of
their faith and the sourness and intolerance of others is not a
result of Catholic teaching? Would you say that this dally
literature of theirs which describes the whole non-catholic world
as a contamination, this literature which describes critics of the
Church as dishonest and malignant, has no ill effect on their
general character?

     The medieval character of their ethics gives them a rigidity
of mind that very largely unfits them for that censorship of other
people's lives which they always claim. Take their matter of
chastity, celibate or married, which they almost make identical
with "morals." I referred on an earlier page to the importance of
the sex hormones, the secretions of sex and some other ductless
glands, which differ in different individuals just as the
secretions of the liver or the pancreas do and cause the varieties
which we call "strong passions" or "coldness" and every stage
between the two extremes. But no Catholic moralist ever takes this
elementary truth of physiology into account. Then have a wooden
theory that everybody has a "free will," and the nymphomaniac is
just a "vile woman" who will not control her passions while the
spinster or nun who shrinks from men because she has none or a very
feeble amount of the sexual hormones in her veins is a very
superior or virtuous woman. It is, the Catholic thinks, cynical,
materialistic, degrading to say such things. Scientific works which
prove and explain them ought to be suppressed.

     If it were not for the suffocating influence which the Black
International has won over the press, literature, radio, schools,
etc., what they call the "world" would laugh in their faces. They
belong, like our astrologers and palmists, to the Middle Ages; at
least their theories do, for there was far more sexual freedom in
practice in the Middle Ages than there is today. How long the world
will tolerate these dervishes dictating the dresses of girls on the
stage or screen -- and probably sneaking in with scarves over their
collars to see the pictures they could not suppress -- is a matter
of astonishment to us older men. We want neighbors who are genial,
truthful, straightforward. We want public men who are virile,
strictly honest, broad-minded. We do not care two pins about their
amorous adventures. We live in a world in which for various reasons
a very large body of women will never marry; we are passing into a
world of mourning in which millions of girls and women of every
country will not be able to marry. To forbid them normal life
because some 2,500 years ago somebody started the idea that the
devil made the flesh and Paul made a religion of it is as cruel as
it is unintelligent. And to say that we folk who have patiently 

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traced this ancient ethic to its roots and severely checked its
action in history are to be counted a danger to civilization, while
these priests who nearly, succeeded in selling civilization for
thirty pieces of silver are to be considered its custodians, is
simply ludicrous. In a sense all this fury about the world reminds
us of Don Quixote tilting at windmills, but the Black International
is not a crack-brained knight with a simple-minded Servant. It is
an International army of, in one costume or other, a million men
and women, and the horror that grips the world is in part its

                           Chapter IV

                    WHY PRIESTS DO NOT MARRY

     The vow of chastity of priests, monks, and nuns is one of the
most absurd complications into which this attempt to govern modern
life by an ancient superstition leads the Roman Church. Both in the
age when, in the early Church, the Fathers decided that celibacy
was the ideal life for the clergy and in the age (the 11th Century)
when a brood of fanatics finally imposed it upon the clergy the
reason alleged for it was simple. There was something, not exactly
revolting (if you were married) but certainly very indelicate and
contaminating, in all sexual intercourse. A really holy person must
abstain from it. It was not true that, as the heretics said, the
devil had made the body, yet there certainly was something unclean
about its reproductive department, and in a rigmarole of doctrinal
reasoning the Fathers connected it once more with the devil by
saying that God had created the body clean but Adam had brought
about a mysterious change by yielding to the tempter.

     It is quite impossible for priests to give this explanation to
their men and women followers today. In moral theology casuists try
to work out just what, of a sexual nature, is forbidden even to
married folk. It is an amusing chapter but I dare not give
illustrations. These chapters of Catholic moral theology on sex
would, if he could read them, make an Irish policeman's hair stand
on end. Practically, sodomy apart, married Catholics have a free
run. Herodotus says that the ancient Babylonians, whom modern
Catholics regard as so very wicked, compelled a married pair after
intercourse to get up and, in modern language, say their prayers.
Your Irish, Polish, and Italian married folk on the contrary. ...
No. I must give it up. But believe me that they are not told any
longer that there is anything in any way repellent about the sex-
organs or intercourse once you have the priestly license. At the
most there is sometimes an attempt to represent that the voluntary
virgin is in some sense superior on account of her sacrifice; but
girls are, I understand, rather skeptical about claims of voluntary

     The reasons which the Church gives today for keeping its
clergy in this unnatural condition are not taken very seriously. It
wants them to be free from the entanglements and burdens of married
life so that they may devote themselves strictly to their arduous
duties; which is not very convincing when we reflect that men who
work 40 to 50 hours a week very much prefer to have the
entanglement of marriage whereas the average priest scarcely hits
ten or fifteen hours a week of not very exacting work. A more 

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serious reason is military discipline. Clerical authorities have a
more effective control of what we may call the private soldiers of
the Black International army if they have no families: but that is
not the kind of reason that they can give to the laity or the world
at large. Catholic women, in fact, do not want any reason, and, as
there are twice as, many women as men in the only congregations
that expect any reasons for anything from the Church -- those with
more money and more education -- it is not expedient to say
anything about celibacy. You never hear a sermon on it. The women
would not have the fluttering regard for their priests which they
have if there were a wife looking on or in the background, and they
could hardly avoid an uneasy feeling at times that their
picturesque confessions might not in spite of the "seal of
confession," slip out at night when the married priest sipped his
final highball at night by the fire with his wife. Experience gives
women a rather cynical view of things one hears "in confidence."

     None of these reasons, in any case, explains the celibacy of
monks, nuns, and religious brothers, and for this there is no
serious reason except the historic plea that virginity is superior
to non-virginity because there is something animal and low about
sex-indulgence even with a license. You might roundly say that the
Church will not abandon the celibacy of its priests, monks, and
nuns, though in all ages many sincere bishops have urged it to do
so, because this is an important part of the uniqueness amongst
religious bodies of which it is so proud. No other Church, except
the corrupted Buddhism of Eastern Asia, can get hordes of men and
women to make the great sacrifice. That is true, but there is
uniqueness in vice as well as virtue, in stupidity as well as
wisdom, and the Church can only boast of the voluntary virginity of
its vast clerical and monastic army if abstention from sex-
indulgence gives a man or woman a superior moral condition.

     So we come back always to the original root of all this morbid
glorification of virginity and dark view of sex. The early Church
was, as everybody knows, cradled in a mighty struggle of those who
called themselves orthodox Christians and those whom they called
Gnostic heretics. This cradle, as I call it, was the line of cities
round the eastern end of the Mediterranean -- Judaea had really
little to do with the origin of Christianity as a new religion --
and the whole region was steeped in the new ascetic mysticism which
Persian influence had engendered, Egyptians, Jews, Syrians, and
Greeks as well as Persians all having different versions of it.
Common to almost all of them was the belief that the devil had
created matter, and that the quintessence of its diabolism, so to
say, was found in the organs of generation. There are modern
writers who hold that what came to be called Christianity was at
first just a local variation of this widespread Gnosticism. It
seems to me more probable that the Gnosties fastened upon the story
of Jesus which was then spreading and represented him as a splendid
confirmation of their creed (already a century or two old); a
Demigod or semi-God sent by the Father of Light and Spirit to lead
men in the fight against the world, the flesh, and the devil.

     However that may be, not even Catholics dispute that it was a
general tenet of the Gnostic leaders that the flesh, especially in
its sex-part -- one often wonders whether the nearness of the Sex 
organ to the excretory organs had not a lot to do with the odium it

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incurred amongst these mystics -- was so thoroughly evil that even
a marriage-license did not remove the unpleasantness, The Catholic
leaders or Fathers retorted that God created man, body and soul,
and, though the body was fouled by the sin of Adam and Eve, God
provided for the continuation of the race by instituting marriage
for the less holy crowd who could not live up to the strain of
virginity. As this is not in the least disputed I need not quote.
Contemporary Greeks of inquiring mind must have had a pleasant time
watching these rival Christians cracking each other's skulls as
they did, over the question. All the more influential of the early
Fathers -- Irenaeus, Polycarp, Athenagoras, Clement, etc. -- took
this view that marriage (Athenagoras called it "a specious
adultery") was just a concession to weaklings and that sex stank in
the nostrils of holy people. The most learned Christian of the age,
Origen, nicknamed Chaleenteros ("Brass-Guts"), castrated himself to
get rid of the beastly obsession.

     The Roman Church, as I have earlier explained, humanized its
attitude when it found that the Romans continued to despise the
obscure little conventicle across the river. Irenaeus, who tells us
all about the Gnostics, says that they held that. "marriage and
generation are from Satan" and "marriage is corruption and
fornication." This did not suit the ladies of Rome -- the men of
higher class never had anything to do with the Church until they
were compelled by law -- and the Popes made marriage easier for
them than Roman law did and in addition promised them absolution
from all their adulteries and abortions (the contemporary Bishop
Hippolytus tells us). But the great leaders of the Church even in
the west, the men, whose writings were to rule the belief of the
Middle Ages, persisted in the disdain of sex. Tertullian poured
fierce scorn on the Popes for apostitizina from the true Christian
doctrine. Jerome talked to his school of virgin-pupils as if sex
were very much more unpleasant than defalcation -- he uses a much
broader word than that -- and Augustine in his later years went to
weird extremes. In his treatise 'On Conjugal Love' (never
translated, of course) he says that the sex-pleasure is evil and
must not be desired or enjoyed as such even by married folk. They
just dispassionately have, to keep the race going. Even Solomon and
the Hebrew patriarchs did not seek pleasure, he says, but had so
many wives from a pure sense of duty. And since the maintenance of
the race is now assured, superior men and women, will cut out sex
altogether. He even goes so far as to admit that on this view of
marriage a man who finds his wife barren may take a concubine in
addition (e. XV): an opinion never mentioned by Christian writers
on Augustine. He was so obsessed with this view of marriage and sex
-- if it were not in Augustine a modern Catholic writer would call
it soulless, mechanical, and materialistic -- that he wrote book
after book (On Holy Virginity, On the Blessedness of Widowhood, On
Marriage and Concupiscence, etc.) to enforce it.

     It is agreed that Augustine's works were the Bible of the
Middle Ages, but the phrase is very misleading. Not one of the
laity in a hundred thousand ever read them or took the least notice
of his theory; and probably not one priest or monk in ten thousand
shared his contempt of sex. As far as we have any positive
indications of general behavior there never was another lengthy
period with such sexual freedom -- in the first part (to about 

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1050) such sheer animalism -- as the eleven or twelve centuries
that followed the triumph of the Roman Church. The only practical
issue of the teaching of the Fathers was that bishops who sincerely
shared it tried to get marriage forbidden to the priests; and in so
far as they were successful they brought upon the world a flood of
vice of a new type -- sex-indulgence not merely without license but
in spite of solemn vows to avoid It. In earlier works (History of
the Roman Church, History of Morals, etc.) I have shown that Lea's
History of Sacerdotal Celibacy gives much material, but there is
more in French works like Chavard's 'Le celibat, le pretree et la
femme' (1894).

     On the other hand the story of the development of the law or
custom of sacerdotal celibacy is, as usual, falsely told by
Catholic writers; one of whom seems to have got the job of writing
the article on it in the new and painfully pro-Catholic
Encyclopedia Americana. The best generally available article is
that in the Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics. Attempts to impose
the law were local, rare, and soon obliterated. The 'Decretum
Gratiani,' the basic document of Canon Law, names ten Popes of the
first few centuries who were sons of bishops and says that there
were "a great number of others" (Chavard). The St. Patrick of whom
Irish priests talk so much, was the son of a Roman deacon who was
the son of a priest. The great Council of Nicaea turned down the
proposal to pass a law of celibacy, and it is merely misleading to
quote a provincial council that passed a law once in a century for
its own region. By the year 1000, Prof. Crogs moderately says,
priests were still commonly married and where they were forbidden
there was "more or less flagrant concubinage" and other evils.
Bishops, of course, made money out of the situation by making a
priest pay for permission to have a woman in his house. Cornelius
Agrippa tells us that a bishop of the 11th Century levied a
concubine-tax on 11,000 priests. When it was pointed out to him
that they did not all want concubines he said: "Let them pay
whether they want one or not -- then they can please themselves."

     There is nothing in the history of religion remotely like the
general license of Catholic priests, monks, and nuns from the 4th
Century to the 16th. In Catholic circles all this is called "a few
irregularities, and the faithful are uplifted with a charming
account of the way in which their unique Church inspired millions
to forswear the most intense pleasure in life (on the promise of
1,000 percent interest in the next life) while no other branch of
the Christian Church could inspire any. It certainly was unique --
in a consecrated vice which makes the practice of the sacred
prostitute's of ancient religions look white in comparison. But for
all that I must refer to my larger books.

     With these 800 years of clerical and monastic vice before
their eyes -- for although history was then rudimentary, every
saint whom they read, from Jerome, Augustine, and Benedict onward,
testified to it -- the monks who captured the Papacy in the 12th
Century met out to impose a universal law of chastity. Some day,
when professors are permitted to write in freedom, one of them may
write a very interesting work on the influence of men and women
with feeble or no sexual hormones on the development of moral
idealism. Some years ago a well-known British Catholic apologist 

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hinted, writing for Catholics, that I had descended to some vague
but awful depth which he had not expected even of me. What had I
done? Merely suggested that Hildebrand, Damiani, and Anselmo of
Lucca, the monks of the Papal Court who led the fight against the
marriage of priests, were probably impotent: a condition which, if
they enjoyed it, would have filled them with pride. Anyhow it did
not lower their fighting qualities. The language which Cardinal
Damiani uses in his extant sermons provide an outfit for a New York
stevedore. They led imperial troops and, the scum of the Italian
cities (to whom they promised the loot of married priests' houses)
and after years of struggle imposed celibacy on all priests and
monks (some of whom were still married).

     There followed four centuries of worse vice than ever, as a
very high proportion of the clergy had hitherto been married. The
state of Christendom was such that several Church Councils
seriously considered the question of revoking the law -- see
Coulter's excellent article in the Encyclopedia Britannica -- but
Rome never abandons a policy that it considers to its advantage
because it causes vice or suffering. At the Council of Trent, when
half of Europe was now full of heretics scornfully describing the
corruption of the Church, another attempt was made to revoke the
law. Bishops representing the Emperor described in the darkest
colors the state of the Church and demanded the marriage of priests
and the suppression of monastic bodies. Rome, still corrupt,
opposed the reform, and Trent turned what had hitherto been only a
matter of discipline into a dogma. It pronounced "anathema" on any
who should ever again oppose celibacy. In recent times, in spite of
this, bodies of priests in various countries have raised the
question again. A French priest, Jules Claraz, gives an account of
these in his Manage des pretress and his book was at once put on
the Index. Catholics were to be protected in their illusion that
their priests joyously and loyally sustain the vow.

     Naturally large numbers of Catholics, especially men, have
their doubts. A friend of mine visiting relatives in the Rhine
Province while the trials of monks for sodomy were revealing to
Germany the amazing corruption of the Church asked several who
lived near the infected monasteries what they thought of the
revelation. "We always had some suspicion of it" they said. But
again the Black International took every precaution to keep the
truth about their "holy men" out of the press. Haldeman-Julius was
the one publisher in Britain or America who let me tell that truth,
Five years after the first series of trials, in which 250 monks
(religious brothers) were brought up in the courts of Catholic
cities and put through ordinary legal procedure that the Catholics
of the provinces fully respected, a widely-read novel on German
life said that the Nazis brought against the monks foul charges "In
support of which they had never adduced any evidence." By that time
thousands of witnesses had been examined in the open courts of
Catholic Bonn, Cologne, Coblentz, and Munich -- not in Nazi courts
-- and several thousand priests and monks who had taken the vow of
virginity were in jail for sodomy or corruption of the. young
Catholics pleaded that the proportion of priests was small.
Naturally, simple fornication is not an offense in German law and
no priest was arrested for it.

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     I have in an earlier number given ground to believe that the
majority of priests today violate their vow. In Catholic countries
this notoriously is the situation. See the picture of Catholic life
by a man who lives in a solidly Catholic country which I quoted in
No. 14 of this series. Here I speak of America, and on the basis of
conversations with ex-priests in America. What else would any
sensible man expect? Recruits for the priesthood are usually
secured at the age of 13 to 15. They have, as a rule, the habits of
youths at that age, but a renunciation of marriage is still to them
a vague and not intimidating prospect. Its irksome features are
outweighed by what they have been taught to regard as the high
prestige of the priest's position. They are for the most part sons
of working-class or lower middle-class parents, preferably of
Italian, Polish, Irish, or German blood, and to them ordination
means elevation to a social rank of which, unless they became
priests, they have no hope.

     I am not here generalizing from a personal experience, though
my parents belonged to the lower middle-class. But I was not
sexually developed until I was 26, and the successive vows of
chastity I ruled off as candidate for the monastery and the
priesthood, meant nothing to me. Such freaks as I are rare, but,
though the overwhelming majority of candidates are sexually mature
at the first vows, they are too young to realize what the life-
sacrifice means and are dazed by the prospect of the easy,
comfortable, and privileged lift of the priest. A Catholic would
explain to you that Rome is always willing to consider a request
for an annulment of the vow in its first form. Yes, Rome, not the
local bishop. It is made more intimidating by this need to appeal
to the Vatican; and, especially, it requires a moral courage that
very few youths and girls possess to cone back to a Catholic home
and friends, after taking the vow of a cleric or a nun, and meet
the almost contemptuous glances from all sides and the bitter
disappointment of one's family.

     Certainly this celibacy of the clergy is unique to the Roman
Church. No other would tolerate an institution that is so cruel to
the loyal, so productive of hypocrisy in the disloyal. It is part
of the hard, calculating, unscrupulous attitude of a body of men
who believe that the end justifies the mean's. It makes the Roman
Church a fit ally for the Axis powers.

                            Chapter V


                          AND THE DEVIL

     It seems at first sight an amazing thing to suggest that a
Church which boasts that it has more hundreds of millions of
members in this age of science, than any other religion in the
world should embody in its teachings, indeed force upon our
attention, ideas which were elucabrated by shaggy dervishes
speculating on life on the Persian hills 2,500 or more years ago.
It becomes bewildering when we find this Church in one breath
defying the world in which (or on which) it lives as something
alien and contaminating and in the next breath boasting that its 

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principles are in perfect harmony with those of the most advanced
democracy of the age. I have explained a good deal of the paradox.
The American apologist says that what his Church agree's with, what
it has in fact itself inspired, is the fundamental American
principle of freedom and democracy, and what it defies and attacks
is its godlessness (as a state) and its paganism in art and morals.
But when you press these very logical professors for definitions
you find them quoting Papal declarations that "freedom" must be
understood in the "Catholic sense," which means a galling tyranny,
and democracy means, in a Catholic mouth and in the Papal
Encyclical of 1931, the kind of rule we see in Italy, Spain,
Portugal, and Vichy France. As to those apologists who add that in
religious toleration we have another point of agreement or of
American learning from Catholicism, I have quoted their most
authoritative writers brazenly admitting that the Church is and
must be "intolerant" and could have quoted as many more as you
wish. But as I gave the text of the Church Law, officially
published in Rome, on the complete refusal of the rights to other
Churches, the dogmatic rejection of the right of "freedom of
conscience" (or to follow your reasoned convictions in regard to
religion), and the "right and duty" of the Church to put seceders
from its ranks to death, there is no need to say more.

     Every attempt of these apologists to clear their Church of a
charge of hard and selfish arrogance in these respects brings us
back to the original paradox: the Church is defying the modern
world on the grounds of ancient Asiatic superstitions. It is a
sheer lie that its principles are in harmony with the principles
and ideals of America; it is a hypocritical pretense that the
Church contributes so effectively to the social welfare that on
this ground alone it deserves the very privileged and insolent
position it has usurped in the country. When the apologists are
writing for Catholics they betray themselves. The whole of the
arrogance, insolence, intrigue, unscrupulousness, deception, and
ambition for wealth and power of the Church, of which in these
books we have seen so much, are ingenuously explained on the ground
that the supreme consideration in men's affairs is eternal
salvation, that the Roman Church is the only appointed Ark of
Salvation,. and that in all its usurpations and claims it is
performing this work by fighting the devil, the world, and the
flesh. And this means that it builds upon a theory which in its
root takes us back to a semi-civilized small nation (the Persians
before Cyrus) whose ideas the Greeks and Romans despised. It defies
all our science, all our common sense, all our hard-won liberties
in the name of this wild vagary of the imagination in an age of
profound ignorance. Let me give two further illustrations from
current Catholic literature.

     The first is from a piece of British literature but it is so
important from the Catholic viewpoint that it is worth considering.
As one part of their attempt to force their way into the cultural
swim, British Catholics began some years ago to hold a Summer
School under the shadow of the venerable University of Cambridge.
In the holiday sessions of 1931 the subject was human nature, and
the papers read are published with the title Man (1932). The big
guns were trundled along from all the chief Catholic colleges in 

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England, so you are not reading vapid and irresponsible jibes at
modern thought like W.D. Nutting's 'How Firm A Foundation?' (1939).
Yet the whole book is a flat defiance of modern scholarship in the
name of ancient superstitions as served up in Geneses.

     Dr. T.E. Flynn deals with the evolution of man. He shows that
all Catholics are compelled to believe that the whole human race
descends from Adam and that Eve was made out of Adam. You may be
relieved to know that the Church does not insist on the rib, and
that, while it does insist that God made Adam out of earth or dust
or something, it is not obligatory to believe that, as it is put,
God shaped Adam out of a lump of clay and breathed life into it;
but the evolution, even of the body, is out of the question for a
Catholic (p. 160). Others of the learned Catholic professors agreed
and carried on the story through the Garden of Eden, the Fall,
Original Sin, and Redemption. The dogmas based upon this ancient
Asiatic series of folk-stories are, the writers say, binding upon
every Catholic today just as they were formulated by the Council of

     The second book, 'The Two Kingdoms' (1931), is a series of
essays by six well-known British priests with -- note this -- a
very cordial letter of introduction by the late Cardinal Bourne,
assuring you that it is quite sound Catholicism. The "two kingdoms"
are, of course, the Kingdom (or City) of God and the Kingdom of
Man, as expounded in Augustine's 'City of God,' the centenary of
whose death has inspired the volume. And the burden of it is that
the Catholic holds fast to that dreary gospel of Augustine's senile
years. What the authors do not seem to know is that they are
holding fast, not merely to ideas put forward by an old man in the
days when Roman culture was in complete decay but the ideas,
slightly Christianized, of the Persian Avesta.

     Our world, it seems, is gathering round two poles,
"Catholicism and Antichrist." If that does not raise a laugh see
your doctor. The world of the blackguards of Vichy, Italy, Spain,
Hungary, and Slovakia to "Catholicism," the pole of light and
virtue; at the pole of darkness and vice, Antichrist, you have
their opponents. Naturally, the priest-writers do not see this. The
world, they say, has been comprehensively debauched by the
Freemasons. In proof of this they offer us forged documents like
Father Coughlin's 'Protocols,' and you learn how these agents of
the devil write to each other. "It is a corruption en masse that we
have undertaken ... the corruption which ought, one day, to enable
us to put the Church in her tomb" (p. 118). This horrible plot of
Blum, Azana, Reynaud, etc. is carried out by "the debauching of
popular intelligence by manipulated news, lying catch words, and
sordid pleasures" (chiefly the cinema). All this is a preparation
for the reign of Antichrist and the end of the world. The writers
-- remember, not a bunch of Georgia Baptists "or Nevada Adventists
but Catholic priests of authority -- have carefully studied
'Revelation,' the Jewish-Gnostic boiling hash of Persian ideals and
hatred of Romans. They see the "signs of the second coming of
Christ multiplying." Hitler? Japan? No, no; this was in 1931. "In
the mind of the Church Antichrist, the final Antichrist, will be a
man, and we may well conclude that he will be the representative of
a great world-movement of universal peace and material prosperity" 

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(194). Queer dress for an Antichrist. For a moment I had a wild
idea that they meant either me or Huldeman-Julius, but the next
page disillusioned me. The end is to be preceded -- see the Good
Book -- by the spread of a universal false religion, and here is
the cream of it:

          Is it an improbable conjecture that humanistic
     philosophy, biology, psychology, and sociology, with the aid
     of false history and the deceptive marvels of Spiritism, may
     supply this, and then Antichrist as the necessary concrete
     object of worship? (195).

     Nuts, you say: turn to something serious. But I have already
explained that these priests are important enough and their ideas
are sound enough from the Catholic angle to get a warm letter of
introduction from Cardinal Bourne, head of the Roman Church in
England and considered one of its leading scholars.

     The Greeks had a word for this thing. But make no mistake
about it. This is, apart from the hints that the end of the world
is near, just the ordinary Catholic attitude. The Antichrist idea
would probably today be put in reserve. It is sound Catholic
doctrine that some time or other, instead of this nonsense that
astronomers talk about a failure of the sun in 200,000,000 years or
so, the world will be all corrupted and the poor Church hard
pressed, and then Christ will come from the clouds and knock
Antichrist into a cocked hat. But from the Catholic angle the world
has mightily improved in the last ten years, and the evil reign has
been put off for, perhaps -- if we trust Adolf's intuition -- a
thousand years. Catholic power and its blessings -- joy, peace and
prosperity -- spread from land to land (Italy, Spain -- but you
know the list), and when Hitler has wiped the floor of Europe with
the Russians and Japan has cleared Americans and British out of
Asia the Pope will get the reward of his alliance.

     Seriously, this melodramatic stuff is Catholicism. The system
of ideas and practices as a whole we will examine in the next book,
but one of the most important factors in the Church's remarkable
hold on some 100,000,000 folk (omitting children and savages) is
the world, the flesh, and the devil -- though the three-in-one
means a legion of devils that multiplies by spontaneous as the race
multiplies -- are out for their immortal souls, and the Church
alone can effectively foil them. Hence the morbid emphasis on sex.
Ahriman -- in good Christian, Satan -- may not have created the
flesh but he has sort of monopolized or annexed it. He invented the
motion-picture and the photo-electric cell, he inspired touch-
dances and strip-teases and those glossy pictures you see in the
advertisement columns, until the chaste and austere Knights of
Columbus and knaves of Tammany rushed to the rescue of American
civilization. He was getting advertisements of his literature into
respectable American papers until the Holy Family and the Children
of Mary and the League of Kindergarten Pupils were used to send the
editors letters reminding them that this is a free country and
there are more ways than one of knocking an editor on the head.

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     It is a topsy-turvy world. Catholics number, as I showed,
about 180,000,000, if you include children and illiterates on the 
fringe of civilization. In countries that we consider fully
civilized and organized they are about one-twentieth of the
population. They turn upon the 1920's with an insolence, an air of
superiority, like that of a duchess amongst her maids; and this air
of superiority is based upon a belief in devils and in
uncleanliness of sex that belongs essentially to an age of profound
ignorance. Catholic Action, remember, is not based upon the smooth
approaches of Catholic politicians when they seek office or
influence, or on the tactical affability of Jesuits in dealing with
non-Catholic, or on the spontaneous neighborliness of Catholic men
and women of the less fanatical type. It is based upon the teaching
and attitude of the Church as I have quoted them from the most
authoritative sources. It is in virtue of these doctrines that
Catholics are reconciled to see their Black International drag them
into alliance with all that is vilest and most dangerous in modern

     Yet in America and Britain the nine-tenths or nineteen-
twentieths of the nation that are described in Catholic literature
as a debauched generation, a contamination and danger to the
virtuous Catholic family, load the Church with eulogies and
privileges. Upton Sinclair had the amusing impertinence to say,
when Haldeman-Julius invited him to reply to me, that he refused to
have anything to do with us because we did not rely upon "facts" as
he did! What has he done in regard to the massive volume of ugly
facts which I have given in these books? He illustrates his meaning
by quoting the instance of telepathy -- on which, by the way, I
spent months of research and wrote many pages before, apparently,
he ever heard of it -- and seems to invite us to bury ourselves in
a mound of tricky claims about this triviality while the Black
International gathers such wealth and power that it helps to flood
the world with misery and hopes to paralyze freedom in America. It
has already won such a position that the literature in which it
argues in favor of these weird ideas of the Dancing Dervishes of
old times is treated with deep respect by the press and libraries,
while literature in which we warn the world of the facts is
deliberately isolated from the public and treated as disreputable.
If statesmen, writers. editors, and professors really think that
they can maintain the solidity of their civilization by sacrificing
all their professed respect for reality and justice in one
important field and asserting it in others, by flattering what they
know to be untruth and closing their eyes to social poison, we do
not wonder that the fortunes of the race are so dangerously
menaced. It was by taking advantage of just such an attitude in
Britain, and France that the Axis powers gathered their formidable

                          ****     ****

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