The Cross and the Shamrock eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 188 pages of information about The Cross and the Shamrock.

CHAPTER XII.

MASS IN A SHANTY.

There was great bustle and preparation in the valley of R——­ Creek, on Ascension Thursday.  Hired men were up at three o’clock that morning to do “chores,” and hired girls were busy the night before in arranging the household, so that the female bosses of the several farm-houses would be able to find all things in order.  Many and violent also were the arguments that passed between Catholic servants and their heretical masters and mistresses, on one hand to ignore, and on the other to assert, the right to worship according to one’s conscience.  Yes, to their shame be it told, the Protestant sects in America, as they do in all countries where they have sway or are tolerated, practically deny that article of the federal constitution that guarantees the right to every citizen to worship God according to the dictates of conscience or individual judgment.  With the word liberty ever on their lips, like the lion’s skin on the ass, to deceive, the sects, great and small, from the Church of England down, down, down to the Mormons or Transcendentalists, through the grades of Presbyterian, Methodist, Baptist, all play the tyrant in their own way.  All act the despot, and would exercise spiritual tyranny, if in their power.  For proof of this, the history of the “Blue Laws” in the land of the Pilgrims is only to be consulted on this side of the Atlantic; and at the other side, modern as well as by-gone records show, that, wherever Protestantism had the power, there the few were oppressed by the many.  Every sovereign, from Elizabeth down to Victoria, acted the tyrant over the Catholics; and in Sweden, Denmark, Prussia, and the Protestant Swiss cantons, persecution is now a part of the laws of these several states.  Persecution is not sanctioned by the laws of the United States, if we except the prescriptive code of New Hampshire, which comes under that genus; but if it be not legalized, we are not to thank Protestantism for that.  Wherever it has sway in the family, in the town council, or the assembly, there the cloven foot of intolerance and persecution is seen from under the sanctimonious gown it puts on.  Indeed, although the compulsion of the conscience is not enforced by State laws, it is attempted, as far as practicable, where its effects are more galling, and its existence more intolerable,—­namely, in the family at home, or in the camp or barrack abroad.  Catholic servants are not only denied the right to attend their duties in many families, but actually forced to hear the disgusting ranting or ludicrous prayer of any impostor who may take on himself the office of preacher.  And Catholic soldiers are punished by fine and severe corporal chastisements for refusing to attend the service of an heretical chaplain.  And no senator, zealous for liberty, raises his voice on behalf of the Catholic soldier, and of the Catholic servant

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The Cross and the Shamrock from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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