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EPITAPH ON A FAITHFUL DOG,
By the Author of IAVE, ANIMALS SOULS, OR, HAVE MEN
NON É PM inimesi
A VICTIM only to the lapse of age,
in Printed and Published by R. CARLILE, 62, Fleet Street All Correspon
dences for “ The Republican," to be left at the place of publieation.
No. 24. Vol. 14.] LONDON, Friday, Dec. 22, 1826. [Price 6d.
ARGUMENTS PROVING THAT THE ROMISH RELIGION RUINS ALL THOSE STATES WHERE IT
IS THE ESTABLISHED RELIGION.
Abridged from a Work translated from the French, and first pub
lished in 1698.'
It is intended by the following 18 arguments to prove, that the Roman Catholic Religion causes an annual loss of above 200,000,000 of livres (£8,333,333. 6s. 8d.) to France alone, and an equally large sum to other Popish States in proportion.*
ARTICLE, 1.- Cheats of the Clergy. Thirty years ago (1668) this article alone amounted to upwards of £3,000,000 sterling, the items of which are as follows:
1. Masses. These are said both for the dead and for the liy. ing. For the dead, to deliver their souls, not from Hell, but from a place which they call Purgatory. They are also said for the living, to expiate their souls from sins daily committed. In these the sinners themselves assist, but still they pay largely for them. This is the clergy's greatest traffic, and it contributes much to retain the several European Monarchs under the Papal yoke, by means of the multitudes of priests and monks which are harboured in their several kingdoms. These are so many armies, who sup: port the Pope's authority over the souls, bodies, and property of both Kings and people. There are churches where above 50 or 100 such masses are said every day upon a great number of _altars, which raises subsistence for a great number of priests and monks, and did formerly maintain a greater number.
The reader must bear in mind, that this sum was applicable to the state of France upwards of 100 years before the Revolution, consequently. the abuses here stated must have been greatly aggravated many years previous to that event.
Printed and Published by R. Carlile, 62, Fleet-street.
It is here proper to be observed, that, to the end they may entertain the greater number of them, at the same time they recommend the mass as the principal part of divine worship, and to oblige the people to frequent the masses every day, the priests are strictly forbidden to say above two per diem, except in some privileged places, as in Picardy and Arras, because the parishes there are poor and small : which makes it plain that they have no essential reason why a priest may not say divers masses in one day, but that the Court of Rome was resolved to maintain as many of her pensioners, or life-guard men, at the charge of others, as she could. The Parliament of Paris hath regulated their pay at twelve-pence per mass; and in divers provinces they have not above five-pence or six-pence a-piece; which is as good, at least, as the pay of horse and foot, though they be more useful, and their calling more dangerous.
Abundance of masses are said for the cure of diseases, both in men and women, children, beasts, and birds, as hogs, dogs, geese, &c.; as also for a happy journey, safe return of a ship, a happy marriage ; as also for mere trifles, as for the finding again of a lost ring, fork, spoon, &c.: nay, even for success in an assassination, or plot against a Prince or Minister ; also for success in murders, robberies, &c.
In order to increase their revenue derived from the saying of masses, the priests have introduced a custom of playing at dice and cards for masses and prayers, that is, he who loses, pays the priest, who does really, next morning, (as he pretends) sacrifice Jesus Christ for the expiation of the sinner's crimes, how heinous soever they may be. In the time of Pope Leo X. the preachers of indulgences played for the pardon of the sins of towns and cities in Germany. They also get money by these masses another way; which is, that those who assist at them do many times put money into the box, which all falls to the share of the priests.
Sometimes it happens that a dying person orders 100, 1,000, 6,000, nay, 10,000, masses to be said for the repose of his soul after his death, for which his heirs pay through the nose. There are vey few Roman Catholics, who are not guilty of this weakness at their death; but, if some of those who understand better,
despise these fooleries, their friends who are not so well· informed, are sure to have masses said for them, and pay the priests for their pains: nay, the very poorest of them always take care to have soine masses said.
Besides this, there is every year an anniversary, as they call it, for most people who have left any estate behind them, or whose friends are well to pass : that is to say, a mass suug for the soul of the deceased, by a great number of priests, sometimes 50 or 100 together; who must all of them be splendidly treated afterwards, where they usually fuddle themselves, and each of them must have a piece of money besides.
It is, then, upon the account of the great profit which the mass brings to the clergy, that they have made it one of the most essential parts of their worship.
2. Fruternities. The invention of their fraternities, or brotherhoods, is another grand method by which they pillage the people, whom they persuade that whoever enters into the order shall have a share in the merits of the same; nor do they admit them with: out a considerable present at first, which they oblige them to repeat from time to time. Sometimes there are people of quality, of both sexes --nay, even generals of armies, who become so weak, as to desire to die in the habit of these rascally monks, who impose upon them so far as to make them believe that they cannot fail of being saved, and of going directly to Paradise, without touching at purgatory, provided they die in the habit of their order. Many considerable persons in the courts of justice, and abundance of others, are guilty of this weakness, as well as silly women : whence it comes to pass that they serve the order into which they have entered with all their might; and it may be justly said, that they divide the kingdom into divers factions, who are in a continual conspiracy against God, and the king, and their neighbours; for, as these different orders subsist and enrich themselves merely by the idolatry, superstition, and ignorance of the people, they foment it as much as they can, and engage in the interests and designs of the Court of Rome, to favour the same against the King and the State; and every one of these orders hate and despise one another, both out of a principle of envy, and because they know one another at bottom; and then their devotionists, who are joined to their fraternities, espouse all their passions, quarrels, and interests.
These monks do likewise persuade abundance of silly women of quality, and others, to enter their very sucking infants into their fraternities, insomuch, that sometimes we shall see these poor little creatures muffled up in a monk's hood and cassock, by which the order lose nothing.
3. Indulgencies.- Another method made use of by the ecclesiastics, to catch the wealth and substance of the people, is their indulgencies, which they obtain of the Pope from time to time, for some churches or monasteries, which whosoever visits during such a number of days, shall infallibly receive a pardon of all their sins, provided they give bountifully to the said church or monastery; for that is always to be understood.
4, Relics.--Another of their baits to fish for the people's money is, the holy relics, as they call them, in their churches, monasteries, and convents: and, when the people's devotion grows cold for the old relics, they never fail of bringing new shrines, or boxes full of fresh ones : and ordinarily they say they come from holy Rome. It is well enough known that oftentimes these relics are pieces of pasteboard fashioned like bones ; sometimes they
are the real bones of an human creature, and sometimes of beasts, as it hath been often proved: the priests and monks making it a matter of diversion to insult the foolish credulity of the people in this impudent manner, and yet, at the same time, make them pay for seeing and touching all those relics.
5. Miracles.-- There are also miracles to be performed from time to time, when the priests and monks please, by the statues, images, or bones of some dead man or woman, under the name of relics or shrines of some saints, as they call bones and boxes in which they keep them. These miracles are of great advantage to the clergy, for by this means they bring abundance of offerings to their churches and chapels.
6. Legacies, -There are moreover legacies, dirges, and donatives, whether they be voluntary by persons whom they have seduced or suborned, or altogether false, which the priests or monks forge, in order to despoil whole families; whereof the world has bad millions of examples; some such happen every day,
7, Auricular Confession.-Auricular confession is one of their most gainful inventions, by which they shear their dock four times in a year. There are few people who do not at such times give them a piece of money, especially those who are guilty of great crimes ; and thereupon they receive absolution, provided that, together with this, they do some little troublesome thing, which the priests impose upon them under the notion of penance, the better to colour that infamous traffic, and to make the people believe that it is not for the money they absolve them; for that would appear odious even to the most dissolute wretch. The Pope and his clergy make great use of this confession, to dive into the secrets of princes and grandees, and of people in general, that so they may make their own use of it, and take measures lo pry into the greatest secrets of men and women, which gives the ecclesiastics an opportunity to debauch the female sex, or to squeeze money out of them.
8. Burials.—There is another thing very gainful to the Romish clergy, and that is burials; not only in that they sell the ground at a dear rate in their churches and convents, and that they make a great deal of profit by masses for the dead, but they get also a great deal of money for the singing of a multitude of the priestly herd at ordinary interments, where there is commonly a great number, who have each of them a piece of money and a good treat, at which they are sure to fuddle themselves. They sing in the streets, like so many priests of Bacchus. things which neither the people nor the greatest part of themselves understand, , and which occasions a great charge to the friends of the deceased, who frequently have not a bit of bread left after they have paid for the funeral, and the masses that are be said afterwards for the deceased. Sometime ago it was a complaint at Paris, that