The second charge comes from the Puritan. “Catholicism is not holy enough to be the Church of Jesus Christ; for see how terribly easy she is to those who outrage and crucify Him afresh! Perhaps it may not be true after all, as we used to think, that the Catholic priest actually gives leave to his penitents to commit sin; but the extraordinary ease with which absolution is given comes very nearly to the same thing. So far from this Church having elevated the human race, she has actually lowered its standards by her attitude towards those of her children who disobey God’s Laws.
“And consider what some of these children of hers have been! Are there any criminals in history so monumental as Catholic criminals? Have any men ever fallen so low as, let us say, the Borgia family of the Middle Ages, as Gilles de Rais and a score of others, as men and women who were perhaps in their faith ‘good Catholics’ enough, yet in their lives a mere disgrace to humanity? Look at the Latin countries with their passionate records of crime, at the sexual immorality of France or Spain; the turbulence and thriftlessness of Ireland, the ignorant brutality of Catholic England. Are there any other denominations of Christendom that exhibit such deplorable specimens as the runaway nuns, the apostate priests, the vicious Popes of Catholicism? How is it that tales are told of the iniquities of Catholicism such as are told of no other of the sects of Christendom? Allow for all the exaggeration you like, all the prejudice of historians, all the spitefulness of enemies, yet there surely remains sufficient Catholic criminality to show that at the best the Church is no better than any other religious body, and at the worst, infinitely worse. The Catholic Church, then, is not holy enough to be the Church of Jesus Christ.”
II. When we turn to the Gospels we find that these two charges are, as a matter of fact, precisely among those which were brought against our Divine Lord.