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A Bigoted Archbishop
by [?]

All the fools are not confined to any one political party or religious cult. As a rule the Catholic clergy, while ultra-dogmatic, are thoroughly decent. While standing up stiffly for all the claims of their creed, they treat their Protestant neighbors with courteous toleration. There are exceptions to most rules, hence it does not infallibly follow that a man is a gentleman because he is a priest of the Church of Rome. The unworthy are usually discovered and weeded out, but their dismissal does not entirely repair the damage done by criminal or foolish utterance. It is seldom indeed that the Mother-Church permits a small-bore bigot or brainless blatherskite to rise to the dignity of an archbishop, but one such has evidently escaped her watchful eye. Archbishop Cleary, of Kingston, Can., recently distinguished himself by an ebullition of unchristian bile that will long be used as an excuse for the existence of the A.P.A. His utterances were a disgrace to his office. They were beneath the dignity of the humblest neophite of the Church of Rome. They remind one of the old Puritanical tongue-borers and witch- burners. They suggest the Star Chamber of England and the Inquisition of Spain. The brutality staggers the brain and chills the blood. They compel those who have ever felt kindly towards Catholicism to pause and consider. Although the voice of the Vatican is strangely at variance with the astounding mandate of the Archbishop, the latter has been pounced upon and exploited by the “Apes” as an official utterance of the Pope. It appears that a Catholic young lady officiated as bridesmaid for a friend who was married in a Protestant church and according to the rites of that religion. Therefore his reverence proceeded to have a cataleptoid convulsion and cut fantastic capers before high heaven. It was entirely within his sacerdotal province to administer a reprimand. He could, without transcending the proprieties have advised the Catholics of his diocese to refrain from officiating at Protestant marriages in future. He did neither the one nor the other, but proceeded to issue a mandate which, reduced to the last analysis, means simply that a marriage not consummated by the Catholic church is no marriage at all, but simply concubinage born of lust and wickedly sanctioned by human law. He forbade Catholics, under pain of his dire displeasure, even witnessing Protestant marriages or attending as mere spectators at Protestant funerals. Archbishop Cleary has flagrantly insulted every non-Catholic wife in the world. He cast the baleful bar-sinister on the escutcheon of every child born of non-Catholic parents. With all due respect to his holy office, Archbishop Cleary is one ass. He is a brute who should be taken out and bastinadoed. Of course due allowance must be made for the fact that he is a Canuck. Canada is but half-civilized. It is still “loil” to old England, the strumpet of nations, the governmental harlot of history. It continues to take its manners and customs from the old country. It is to the Queen’s apron strings like an idiot’s scalp to the belt of an Apache squaw. Whenever John Bull whistles it comes a running like a half-grown spaniel at the call of a stable-boy. It has never mustered up sufficient sense and sand to set up for itself. It is the red bandana upon which Britannia blows her protrusive bugle. It is the cuspidore into which she voids her royal rheum. We could not expect much even from a Catholic archbishop in such a country. In fact, the Canadian Catholics, like the Canadian Protestants, are so narrow between the eyes that they can look through a key-hole with both eyes at once. Their heads are small and ill-furnished. The winters are so long that the sap cannot rise to the top–it stops at the belly-band and there coagulates. Canadians of any faith are scarce so broad in the religious beam as Texas Baptists, who believe that unless a man be treated to a sanctified plunge- bath by some acephalous shouter he is headed direct for hell. Still it is something of a shock to hear even a Canadian archbishop branding four-fifths of the people of this world as bastards. It makes one ashamed of the genus homo to hear him forbidding Catholics attending the funerals of their Protestant friends. One cannot help asking, What of marriage and motherhood during the long ages before St. Peter became Pope? Was Eve a concubine and Sara a slut? Has Archbishop Cleary an hundred generations of harlotry behind him? I am seeking no controversy with Catholicism. With its peculiar ideas of marriage and divorce I have nothing at present to do. I am simply tying a few bow-knots in the ears of an ass. I deny, however, that it is within the power of any church to add to the sanctity of a marriage ceremony. Marriage is nothing more or less than formal notification to the world that a man and woman have already become husband and wife. It matters not how this announcement is made, so long as due respect is shown the established customs of the country, so long as it is generally accepted as sufficient. “What God hath put together, let no man put asunder,” cried the Archbishop as he contemplates the possible annulment of a non-Catholic marriage contract. What God hath put together no man CAN put asunder. Even the almighty hand of death cannot break that sacred bond. But how does God join people together?–how does he make a man and woman husband and wife? Is it by the mumbled formula of priests or magistrates? If so, then is a MARIAGE DE CONVENIANCE AS SACRED as the mating of Cupid and Psyche. Then is the union of a snub-nosed American parvenu with an idiotic European “nobleman” whom she has bought with her daddy’s dollars as holy in the sight of heaven as that of old Isaac’s son with Laban’s beauteous daughter. God joins man and woman together only with the golden links of love. When they are joined thus they are bone of one bone and flesh of one flesh. Were they alone in the world no marriage ceremony would be needful; but being a portion of society they must obtain its sanction. When they are joined together by church or state and love is lacking the union is not of heaven, but of hell. The woman is no true wife, but a kept mistress, and every child born unto her is a bastard. She has sold herself, and the priest or preacher who knowingly sets the seal of his approval upon her sin becomes an accomplice in a subterbrutish crime. But neither church nor state can read a woman’s heart–all it can do is to announce to the world, “This woman elects to be that man’s wife.” There’s naught more sacrosanct in the act of church or state in so far as the marriage ceremony is concerned than in the newspaper notice of its consummation. A few years ago a young and cultured woman, a woman beautiful as the dawn and with a suggestion of the Madonna in her fair young face, was persuaded by an ambitious mother to marry an old Silenus whom the political ocean in its madness had scooped out of the ooze and thrown among the stars. Three children have been born to her, and if current report may be credited, all are semi-idiots. Her gross husband is so repulsive to her that her babies are conceived as in some devil’s dream and brought forth in despair. Thank heaven this ill-mated couple are not Catholics. But had they been: does Archbishop Cleary mean to tell me that all the power of the Church of Rome could have rendered their union holy? It is quite likely that Archbishop Cleary will not have to wait very long for a letter from Rome. When it comes I opine that it will contain a friendly tip from the Pope not to talk too much. His Holiness is a man of great good sense, and it will naturally occur to him that while reasonable church discipline is desirable it may be enforced without flagrantly insulting the millions of very worthy people who decline to accept his dogma.