Bible Studies

03-1895 General Conference Sermon by A.T. Jones

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    Our lesson tonight will be the study of the papacy, as it was last night on the image of the papacy. I would say,  now as then, all that I am doing at present is setting before you the evidence, stating the case; the arguments will come more fully after we see what is to be built upon them. The statements I shall read tonight will all be from Catholic authorities--Catholic speeches and Catholic papers.

First I shall read from some of the Catholic speeches in the Catholic Congress in Chicago in 1893, printed in the Chicago Herald of September 5, 6, and 7. They are simply parallel statements with those that were brought forth in the previous lesson from the other side, or rather from the other part of the same side, and by putting these together, as we did those others together and having the two lessons, it will be easy enough for you to mark the parallels, almost word for word you will find in some of them, and they are identical in principle and in purpose.

I will first read from an address delivered to the Catholic Congress at Chicago September 4 on the "Influence of Catholic Citizens," by Walter George Smith, as published in the Chicago Herald of September 5, 1893.

The church and the state, as corporations or external governing bodies, are indeed separate in their spheres, and the church does not absorb the state, nor does the state the church, but both are from God, and both work to the same ends, and when each is rightly understood, there is no antithesis or antagonism between them. Men serve God in serving the state as directly as in serving the church. He who dies on the battlefield, fighting for his country, ranks with him who dies at the stake for his faith. Civic virtues are themselves religious virtues, or, at least, virtues without which there are no religious virtues, since no man who loves not his brother, does or can love God.

That is in the same line, you will remember, with the statement of last night, that "Nearer, My God, to Thee" and "Star Spangled Banner" are "both Christian hymns" to one that understands this thing. You can see that this makes the government wholly religious, equally with the church.

Another statement from the same speech:

The church [what he means is the Catholic church] in all ages has been the most democratic of all organizations;  the church alone has taught the true theory of the fraternity and equality of all men before God, and to her precepts must mankind look for the foundation of their measures of relief from present dangers.

What he refers to is the present danger in social affairs, labor against capital, and the controversies at present rife in the United States.

Another statement from the same paper from a speech by Edgar H. Gans entitled, "The Catholic Church in America," is published in the Chicago Herald of September 5, 1893. Speaking of the spirit of liberty as exemplified in the United States and gathering the statement concerning this spirit of liberty from a quotation from Webster,  the speaker says:

The Catholic church welcomes this bright and beautiful spirit and takes it to her bosom, for she is its foster mother. With tender devotion has she nourished it through the ages. Time and again has she rescued it from the bold and impious hands of despots, whether they be kings, emperors, or a popular majority enthroned. Within the church of God is the only true sovereign and the source of all power. The sovereignty of the people comes from him as a sacred trust, and they must use this trust for the common weal.

We shall find presently from the pope's encyclical that he, in the place of God, is the guardian and the source of this sovereignty. We now read the closing statement of this same speech of Mr. Gans'. The statement is identical with one which we read last night:

We have among us our prophets of Israel, divinely commissioned, as were the holy men of old, to guide,  instruct, ennoble, and elevate the nation; and the American people will have achieved their highest glory when they seek the words of wisdom and truth from their lips--when they voluntarily submit to the gentle ministrations of the priests and the bishops of the holy Catholic church.

These statements need no comment. Your recollection of the statement we read last night will be clear enough to make the connection.

We now read from a speech by Bishop John A. Waterson, of Columbus, in the Catholic Congress, and published in the Chicago Herald, November 6. His speech is upon Leo and Satolli, and he says this, speaking of Leo:

By his personal dignity and goodness, the practical wisdom of his teachings and the firmness of his acts, he is giving the world to understand that the pope is a great thing in the world and for the world. [Loud cheers.] And intellects heretofore rebellious are accustoming themselves to think that, if society is to be saved from a condition worse in some respects than that of pagan times, it is from the Vatican the savior is to come. [Renewed cheering.]

Another statement in the Herald of September 7 is by Katherine E. Conway. Her paper was entitled, "Making America Catholic," and she said this:

Your mission is to make America Catholic. This was Archbishop Ireland's greeting to the assembled delegates at the Catholic Centenary Congress in Baltimore four years ago. And this was the charge with which he sent them back to their homes. Patriotic and religious enthusiasm were at flood tide, and all hearts were willing to respond like the first Crusaders to the call of Peter the Hermit, "God will it."

These addresses show that the aim and work of the papacy are precisely what those are of which we read last night.

Now I turn to some other statements made last fall in connection with the then coming encyclical of the pope. A letter from Rome dated October 14, 1894, printed in the Catholic Standard of November 3, 1894, has this:

The United States of America, it can be said without exaggeration, is the chief thought of Leo XIII in the government of the Roman and universal Catholic church.

I would like to comment a little upon this as we go along. Why is it that Leo thinks so constantly of the United States? Oh, it is concerning the government of the Roman and universal Catholic church. Then what he proposes to use the United States for is for some purpose in the government of the Catholic church throughout the world.

He is one of the choice intellects of the Old World who are watching the starry flag of Washington rise to the zenith of the heavens. A few days ago, on receiving an eminent American, Leo XIII said to him, "But the United States are the future; we think of them incessantly." The inattentive politician, the superficial observer, in Europe as in America, is astonished at this persistent sympathy for the American people and care for its general interests. But those who know the ardent soul of the pope, restless for what is good, eager for all that is great and fruitful; the philosopher who sweeps over the whole intellectual, social, and religious horizon; the statesman who judges matters by the light of central and governing ideas, these all read in the heart of the holy father the motives for his unbending resolutions and his devotion to American ideas. This ever-ready sympathy has its base in the fundamental interests of the holy see.

Now the fundamental ideas of the holy see are the ideas upon which the whole structure rests, and this sympathy for America has its base in these fundamental ideas concerning the interests of the holy see of "the Roman and universal church."

This ever-ready sympathy has its base in the fundamental interest of the holy see, in a peculiar conception of the part to be played, and the position to be held by the Church and papacy in the times to come.

This is explained more fully presently that the papacy is watching the times to come with an all absorbing interest. She proposes to prepare herself in every way to meet the things that are to arise, as she says, in the times to come; and she proposes to use the United States by which, and through which, to clothe herself and prepare herself to meet successfully these things that are to arise in the times to come. So I will read further upon that same point now:

The interest is the necessity in which Rome finds she is, to direct her general course according to the signs of the times and the transformations on the agitated surface of the world. The peculiar conception is the deep-rooted feeling that the Church of Europe must renew its instruments and its method of adapting unchanging principles to changeable surroundings and new conditions. . . . In this evolution the Church, in the eyes of the Pope, has a mission to fill. To fulfill this mission she must adapt herself to the changes which have come about the action of universal forces. State Church, official Catholicism, privileges, legal and close relations between two powers, connection of the clergy with a political party, feudal ecclesiastical organizations, all the external framework of the Church must be transformed, renewed, perhaps be done away with entirely. That is the central dominating thought which marks the whole latter half of the present pontificate from the time of the incident of the Knights of Labor and encyclical Rerum Novarum to that of the encyclical to the French people. In the first half of his reign Leo XIII had pacified, appeased, healed. He had been the pope of peace and rest. After sealing that charter he became the pope of action. But how can this new type of ecclesiastic be created?

Where can he get the clergy, the form of ecclesiastic through which this scheme can be carried out and be made successful for Europe and for the world? Because Europe has to be rejuvenated, remodeled, re-enlivened. Where is she going to get the model upon which to remold Europe?

From whom shall he be copied? What civilization, what country, what philosophy will provide him? Would it not be hazardous to create him at one stroke? Would it not be better to join forces with a nation which has a type in part, where, at least, it exists in the rough? Would it not be enough to mark the outlines boldly to finish it and make use of it? This type is the American type; it is American democracy, with liberty, with common law, a full and exuberant life, without restraining bonds, and without a historic bureaucracy.

The foundation of all endorsements of Sunday laws in all the courts is "the common law." Common law is the direct descendant of canon law. When the papacy was the state and the state was subject to the rules of the papacy, canon law was then what common law is now. And the states which profess to have been separated from the papacy still build up religious observances upon "the common law." And now that the whole judicial structure of the United States is built in support of Sunday, upon common law, the papacy steps in and is glad to find a model so ready made to her hand upon which she can remodel her ecclesiastical forms for Europe and all the world.

Another thing; I will read that sentence over:

This type is the American type; it is American democracy, with liberty, with common law, a full and exuberant life, without restraining bonds, and without a historic bureaucracy.

The papacy is very impatient of any restraining bonds; in fact, it wants none at all. And the one grand discovery Leo XIII has made, which no pope before him ever made, is that turn which is taken now all the time by Leo and from him by those who are managing affairs in this country--the turn that is taken upon the clause of the Constitution of the United States: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." Leo has made the discovery that the papacy can be pushed upon this country in every possible way and by every possible means and that congress is prohibited from ever legislating in any way to stop it. That is a discovery that he made that none before him made and that is how it is that he of late can so fully endorse the United States Constitution.

We all know of course that that was intended to be the expression of the American people always, that religion should have no place in governmental affairs and no connection whatever with it. But the papacy is never satisfied without taking possession of everything in the government and running it in the interests of the church and Leo XIII has found out that this can all be done under the cover of that constitutional statement which was intended to prevent such a thing forever.

Thus the papacy in plain violation of the Constitution will crowd herself upon the government and then hold up that clause as a barrier against anything that any would do to stop it. And every one that speaks against this working of the papacy, behold! He "is violating the Constitution of the United States" in spirit, because the constitution says that nothing shall ever be done in respect to any religion or the establishment of it. When a citizen of the United States would rise up and protest against the papacy and all this that is against the letter and the spirit of the constitution, behold! He does not appreciate "the liberty of the constitution. We are lovers of liberty; we are defenders of the constitution; we are glad that America has such a symbol of liberty" as that.  Indeed they are.

That is why Pope Leo XIII turns all his soul, full of ideality, to what is improperly called his American policy. It should be rightly called his Catholic universal policy.

What, then, is his policy in the United States? It is universal policy. That which is done in the United States by the papacy is done with the idea of influencing all the world and bringing all the world into line with the papal ideas, and to build all once more upon the basic and fundamental principles thereof.

It is in this perspective, wide as a great world, and lasting as a whole epoch, that the coming American encyclical must be viewed. To make the delegation [of Satolli] independent and sovereign [which he does] with a supreme ecclesiastical tribunal.

And that means a great deal more than many people have dreamed of yet; for Satolli has already set forth the doctrine that the clergy in the United States are not subject to civil jurisdiction. That means indeed a supreme ecclesiastical tribunal.

To support Monsignor Satolli and make his mission permanent and successful, to point out the means of increasing influence and liberty, to continue the policy of moderation and adaptability, which has brought peace to the nation, to deal, in a word, with all the important questions of the day and to fix for good the ecclesiastical type--the model of life, which Leo XIII wishes, little by little, to bring within the reach of the weakening peoples of the old world--that is the sublime inspiration of the encyclical to the Americans.

Now this statement with reference to his watching the signs of the times, this recasting of the papacy, even undoing, if necessary, the establishments and the forms that have been in successful use for ages--all this in view of what the papacy is to do in the times to come--reminds me of the Jews' translation of Daniel 8:23. Where the Authorized Version says, "In the latter time of their kingdom, when transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance and understanding dark sentences shall stand up." The Jews' translation says, "A king with an impudent face and understanding deep schemes." I want to know, then, if that does not point out the papacy as we are reading it right here tonight from these documents? "A king of impudent face and understanding deep schemes."

Bishop Keane, on his return from his visit to Rome last October, says in an interview published in the Catholic Standard of October 13, 1894, upon the same subject:

Bishop Keane talked very freely about his recent trip abroad and especially about the great interest the pope takes in America and the affairs both temporal and spiritual of this country. The pope believed the political welfare or properly the temporal welfare, of the world to be guided by God equally with the spiritual welfare. It is his policy to conciliate the two as much as possible. In carrying out his purpose the pope wishes to adapt the church as much as possible to the existing conditions which characterize the world at present and to provide for those which characterize its future. The world he likens to the man, in that the church represents the soul and the state the body. A man would be foolish to cultivate the soul and pay no attention to the body and likewise the church cannot afford not to take cognizance of the conditions surrounding it. As the body of the man grows, his soul develops; and as the age of the world advances, the conditions surrounding the church are subject to equal changes. Consequently it is the purpose of the pope to keep the temporal power and the spiritual power from conflicting.

The pope then still holds his claim to be God's agent in the conducting of these affairs. He sets up what he declares to be God's will respecting the church and respecting the temporal and spiritual powers and then he is the one who, for God, is to manipulate them and say how they are to go on together; he is the one who is to keep them from conflicting.

The pope recognizes the fact that democracy is the coming state, and as such the most prominent exponents today are France and America. Consequently he regards these countries with a great deal of interest. This is especially true of the United States, where the pope believes the stronghold of Catholicism of the future lies.

Now turn to the words of the pope in his encyclical as published in the Catholic Standard of February 2, 1895.  This encyclical needs to be read over several times before its real purpose is caught, therefore I have read these statements that preceded it, that you may catch the quicker what is said there upon this subject. Several points are discussed in it, but only what is said on this subject is what we shall now read. After addressing, "Venerable brethren, health and apostolic benediction," he says:

We have now resolved to speak to you separately, trusting that we shall be, God willing, of some assistance to the Catholic cause among you. To this we apply ourselves with the utmost zeal and care, because we highly esteem and love exceedingly the young and vigorous American nation in which we plainly discern latent forces for the advancement alike of civilization and Christianity.

Speaking of the landing of Columbus, he says:

Like as the ark of Noah, surmounting the overflowing waters, bore the seed of Israel together with the remnants of the human race, even thus did the barks launched by Columbus upon the ocean carry into regions beyond the seas as well germs of mighty states as the principles of the Catholic religion.

Speaking further of the landing of Columbus:

Now, perchance, did the fact which we now recall take place without some design of Divine Providence.  Precisely at the epoch when the American colonies, having, with Catholic aid, achieved liberty and independence, coalesced into a constitutional republic, the ecclesiastical hierarchy was happily established among you.

That is to say, just when liberty and independence were gained and this nation started, the ecclesiastical hierarchy of the Catholic church was also started in this country. The two things belong to the same time; that is what he is pointing out.

Another point upon that is thus made:

And at the very time when the popular suffrage placed the great Washington at the helm of the republic, the first bishop was set by apostolic authority over the American church.

These expressions are not put in there without a purpose. The papacy intends that the Catholic church shall be recognized as the American church henceforth. Again I read:

The well-known friendship and familiar intercourse which subsisted between these two men seems to be an evidence that the United States ought to be enjoined in concord and amity with the Catholic church.

In another passage, after stating what the bishops did in their synods and by their decrees, he says:

Thanks are due to the equity of the laws which obtain in America and to the customs of the well-ordered republic, for the church among you, unopposed by the constitution.

The constitution as it reads was made for the direct purpose of opposing Rome and to save the country from the domination of Rome. Those who made the constitution and the history of the time in which it was made, said this:

It is impossible for the magistrate to adjudge the right of preference among the various sects that profess the Christian faith without erecting a claim to infallibility which would lead us back to the church of Rome.

So to keep the people of the country from the domination of the church of Rome, they said in the constitution,  the government must never have anything to do with religion. But Leo has discovered that that lack of opposition in the constitution is the church's best hold, her greatest opportunity.

For the church among you, unopposed by the constitution and government of your nation, fettered by no hostile legislation, protected against violence by the common laws and the impartiality of the tribunals is free to live and act without hindrance.

And she is acting without hindrance. Now I am not saying that the constitution should be in such shape that Congress could legislate against the papacy. Not at all. The surest safeguard against the papacy is the constitution as it is, but under the circumstances she is making that the surest means to the dominance of the papacy. Leo continues:

Yet, though all this is true, it would be very erroneous to draw the conclusion that in America is to be sought the type of the most desirable status of the church or that it would be universally lawful or expedient for state and church to be, as in America, dissevered and divorced.

Although the church has prospered under this constitution and has here the finest chance and prospect of any place on the earth, that is not to be taken as evidence that it is better to have the church and the state separate.  Oh, no, because before he gets done with this paragraph, he teaches that they shall be joined. Here are his words:

The fact that Catholicity with you is in good condition, nay, is even enjoying a prosperous growth, is by all means to be attributed to the fecundity with which God has endowed His church, in virtue of which, unless men or circumstances interfere, she spontaneously expands and propagates herself, but she would bring forth more abundant fruits if, in addition to liberty, she enjoyed the favor of the laws and the patronage of the public authority.

It is not enough that she shall be free and unmolested; she must be favored and supported before she is satisfied, and although the constitution leaves her totally unfettered, that is not enough. And although she prospers under it, that is not enough. Nothing can satisfy but that she shall be supported and favored by the laws and the public authority.

Now as to the establishment of the apostolic delegation, that is, the position of Satolli, hear his words upon that.  They are full of meaning, too:

By this action, as we have elsewhere intimated, we have wished, first of all, to certify that in our judgment and affections, America occupies the same place and rights as other states, be they ever so mighty and imperial.

By the establishment of Satolli's position here, he proposes, and says by that, that America today, the United States, occupies the same place, and has the same rights as other states, however mighty and imperial they may be--as Austria, Spain, France--any of them, even as is said in this dispatch which appeared in the Lansing,  Michigan, Republican of September 24, 1894.

The papal rescript elevates the United States to the rank as a Catholic nation. Heretofore this country has stood before the church as a "missionary" country. It had no more recognition officially at Rome than had China. . . .  By the new rescript [and by this encyclical also] the country is freed from the propaganda and is declared to be a Catholic country.

Yes, "a Catholic country," as much so as any other state, "be it ever so mighty or imperial!"

In addition to this we had in mind to draw more closely the bonds of duty and friendship which connect you and so many thousands of Catholics with the Apostolic See. In fact, the mass of the Catholics understood how salutary our action was destined to be; they saw, moreover, that it accorded with the usage and policy of the apostolic see. For it has been, from earliest antiquity, the custom of the Roman pontiffs in the exercise of the divinely-bestowed gift of the primacy in the administration of the church of Christ, to send forth legates to Christian nations and peoples.

To whom do the pontiffs send legates? To missionary countries? No. To Protestant countries or peoples? No.  To heathen countries or peoples and nations? No. to "Christian nations and peoples." How did the papacy find out that this was "a Christian nation" to which she could send a legate? Why, the Supreme Court of the United States said it "is a Christian nation." And no sooner had it done so than the legacy was commissioned and the delegation was sent and established here permanently.

Legates. . . . who, supplying his [the pope's] place, may correct errors, make the rough ways plain, and administer to the people confided to their care increased means of salvation. . . . His authority will possess no slight weight for preserving in the multitude a submissive spirit.

Then telling what he will do with the bishops and how he will help them and preserve their administration and diocesan affairs, it says this is all done that all "may work together with combined energies to promote the glory of the American church and the general welfare."

It is difficult to estimate the good results which will flow from the concord of the bishops. Our own people will receive edification, and the force of example will have its effect on those without who will be persuaded by this argument alone that the divine apostolate has passed by inheritance to the ranks of the Catholic Episcopate.

Another consideration claims our earnest attention. All intelligent men are agreed and we ourselves have with pleasure intimated it above, that America seems destined for greater things.

You see he is watching America for these greater things in view of "the times to come."

Now it is our wish that the Catholic church should not only share in but help to bring about this prospective greatness. We deem it right and proper that she should by availing herself of the opportunities daily presented to her, keep equal step with the Republic in the march of improvement, at the same time striving to the utmost, by her virtue and her institutions, to aid in the rapid growth of the States. Now she will attain both these objects the more easily and abundantly, in proportion to the degree in which the future shall find her constitution perfected.  [That is, the church's constitution.] But what is the meaning of the legation [that is, Satolli's position] of which we are speaking? or what its ultimate aim, except to bring it about that the constitution of the church shall be strengthened, her discipline better fortified?

There is the whole situation laid out. The church sees herself in need of a new formation, a new molding of machinery and of the framework by which she carries forward her work and imposes her doctrines and dogmas upon the peoples of the earth. The United States is leading the nations, and she joins herself to this in view of the times to come and by reclothing herself, remodeling herself, intends to use this nation as the chief agent in her schemes. Here is a most forcible figure of this in the letter from Rome before quoted from the Catholic Standard of November 3, 1894:

Now to the mind of Leo XIII so receptive to the broad and fruitful ideas of Cardinal Gibbons, of Monsignors Ireland and Keane, Europe is going through the process of casting off its slough.

Europe here relates to the papacy as the chief of all and she proposes to cast off her slough, as the snake casts off its skin, and applying the argument and allowing the papacy to speak for herself, it is a very appropriate figure, because the Scripture says that she is actuated by that "old serpent." It is correct, and she casts off her old rough, worn skin and is coming out in such a new skin, so beautiful and so rosy that thousands of Protestants think it is another thing altogether, but God says it is the same old serpent, whether it be in the same old skin or not. It is the same old serpent in her new skin, working the same way for the same purposes for bringing the nations under her hand and she now proposes to do it, and will do it.

I must read a few more statements and make a few more comments. I read from the Catholic Standard of November 3, 1894, as follows:

There is an awakening, a metamorphosis, uneasiness and hope. The tradition is that in ancient Rome there were such strange expectations while the tragedy on Golgotha was being enacted and even now mysterious voices may be heard announcing that Great Pan is dead. What new order will arise? Will humanity be once more its own dupe? and will the old evils appear again under new names to people the world once more with false gods? Who knows?

The idea is suggested there that nobody knows what the answer will be. Now he tells:

What we do know is that a world is in its death agony.

Is it not time that Seventh-day Adventists knew that thing full well too? The papacy knows that the world is in its death agony. do you know that? If you know it, is it not your place to tell it to the world, as well as it is the place of the papacy to tell it to the world? What has God given us this message for all these years but that we may show that the world is in its death agony and that we may tell the people so, that they may turn to the Author of life and be saved when the agony brings the last result? The papacy knows this, and she is acting in view of it. I will now read the rest of the sentence:

What we do know is that a world is in its death agony, and that we are entering upon the night which must inevitably precede the dawn.

Of course we are. "Watchman, what of the night? Watchman, what of the night? The watchman said. The morning cometh, and also the night."

Continuing I read: "In this evolution, the church, in the eyes of the pope, has a mission to fill."

This is in view of the times to come. What is she looking for? A world in its death agony. All nations uneasy,  society racked, everything going to pieces as it is. The papacy sees all that is going on and expects it to go on until the finish, and out of the agony and the tearing to pieces that comes with it, she expects to exalt herself once more to the supremacy over the nations, as she did of old. And she is going to do it; we know that. The Scriptures point that out.

She sees precisely what we see. We see the world in its death agony. We see society racking itself to pieces. We see thrones trembling. She sees that too, and she proposes to exalt herself upon what comes through all this at the end. We see that coming. We know she is going to do it, for her triumph comes out of this death agony. She gains new life herself and then glorifies herself upon it, living deliciously. . . .saying in her heart, I sit a queen and am no widow and shall see no sorrow. Therefore shall her plagues come in one day. Death and mourning and famine. And she shall be utterly burned with fire, for strong is the God who judgeth her.

Are we not, then, in the very whirl of events that brings that thing before the whirl shall stop? We are in it; the whirl is going on. What are we here for but to tell the people that the world is in its death agony and to call upon them to flee to Him who is the life of all?

Has not the papacy had experience in just that thing? Has not the papacy seen, practically, the world once in its death agony? The Roman Empire was the world; all civilization was embraced within its limits, was under its control. She saw the Roman Empire go to pieces; she saw universal anarchy there. As the world then stood and then was, she saw the world once in its death agony, and out of that death agony of the world she exalted herself to the supremacy that she had in the Dark Ages and wrought the mischief that cursed the world so long.  She sees the same elements working again--the same movements again going on among the nations, and she congratulates herself. "We did it once. Once I rose upon the ruins of that thing. I will do it again. That demonstrated to the world in that day that I was superior to all earthly things. This will demonstrate to the world in this day--large as it is--'I am, and there is none else beside me.' I shall be a lady forever. 'I sit a queen and am no widow and shall see no sorrow.'"

That is her tone. That is what she is watching for, and God has opened this up to us in the prophecies that are before us and he wants us to call to all the people that the world is in its death agony. She raised herself upon the ruins of the death agony of the Roman world, and after the pattern of her old experience, she proposes to do the like thing now. She will succeed; that is certain. And it is likewise certain that her success will be her certain ruin, and therefore, "Come out of her my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins and that ye receive not of her plagues."