While Men Slept
"Historians pointed out that not until the Administration of Lyndon B. Johnson it would have been politically possible for the head of the Roman Catholic Church to appear in the United States. They say the 1960 election of John F. Kennedy, a Catholic, broke that barrier, but that the Vatican itself would have discouraged a meeting in America between the Pope and President." (U.S. News and World Report, October 18, P. 85.)
The recent visit of the Pontiff to both the United Nations and America is one worthy of much consideration and thought, being the first of its kind. To some the historic event was a marvelous and awesome occurrence and one that was performed in a most precise manner. One responsible magazine, U. S. News and World Report, Sept. 11, 1965, reported that one million dollars was the cost of New York police protection in overtime alone and in the words of the same particular article, "that was only the beginning." Caution seemed to have been the word of the day as security teams checked and rechecked every building along the proposed motorcade route. Those "Undesirables" with a virulent anti-Catholicism record were watched closely during the two-day period and special areas for pickets protesting the arrival of the Papacy were roped off. To others, however, the appearance of Paul VI was a tragic happening filled with fear and disgust, but now that it has become history one is made to wonder where the end of such Pontiff visits will be. Shall the next "Peace Session," with its concomitant Catholic dogma such as anti-birth control, appear before Congress?
But why even the appearance of a religious body before civil government? The Word of God has established a clear and distinct line between church and state (Rom. 13: 7, Matt. 22:21) and even our own Constitution recognizes these boundaries: "Congress shall make no laws respecting an establishment of religion . . ." The practice of a religio-political union is quite understandable, though, as far as Rome is concerned.
"Nor can we hope for happier results either for religion or for the civil government from the wishes of those who desire for the Church to be separated from the State, and the concord between the secular and ecclesiastical authority be dissolved. It is clear that these men . . . yearn for a shameless liberty" (Great Encyclical Letters, 125).
In an attempt to be charitable one might grant that the visit of Paul VI was under the banner of peace, but Catholic prestige, which cannot be overlooked, also played a major role.
" . . . Paul VI is clearly seeking for the same kind of recognition and broader audience that secular leaders seek with their own state visits." (U. S. News and World Report, Sept. 11, 1965.)
The review of October 18, 1965 went on to report Paul VI held Mass in the Yankee Stadium before 90,000 worshippers and in all fairness I must say the writer did not name the object of worship which probably was not a mistake as the disciples of Rome pay homage to both God and Papacy.
" . . . complete submission and obedience of will to the Church and to the Roman Pontiff as to God Himself" (Great Encyclical Letters, 193). "We hold upon this earth the place of God Almighty." (Ibid., 304).
Indisputably then, the middle wall of partition that did separate church and state is slowly deteriorating once again. In the public school system of today the doctrine of Catholicism many times appears quite favorably in textbooks.
"Once, the people of England, Scotland, and Wales belonged to the Catholic Church, just as all Christians did" (Jones, Stephen B. and Murphy, Marion Fisher, New York; Rand McNally & Co. P. 104).
The doors of challenge are of course continually held open to any statement of such a nature as "All Christians did" belong to the Catholic Church.
Just recently even President Johnson saw fit in his "War on Poverty" to allow financial assistance to be given to certain students of private schools and to provide certain facilities (such as buses) for such institutions. Financial assistance given to church organizationsno, indeed! Such would be unconstitutional! Brother Luther Blackmon in a recent article on the subject had an excellent parallel to draw: "This is like saying to an alcoholic, 'I cannot give you money to buy whiskey, it would violate my conscience, I am going to pay your grocery bill and you can spend your grocery money for liquor."'
The claim has been made by the Vatican and her followers that poverty and need by the Roman Church qualify them to receive such aid. The argument runs as this: "Need of religious or private institutions (especially Roman Catholic) rules over Constitutional Law and Bible Edict." Sound familiar? With a minor change of wording many of my brethren would affirm such a proposition. How swift and short are the roads to Rome and eternal Hell! However, here, two main essential factors are lacking: (1) That poverty of such institutions vetoes constitutional right and Bible teaching and (2) Such want exists within the Catholic Church. The following article is taken from the Houston Post, April 4, 1965; it concerns the financial status of the religious body under discussion:
"The most conservative estimate that it is reasonable to make establishes the Vatican . . . as far and away the greatest share-holder with a portfolio of quoted securities the world over, totaling the equivalent of $5,600,000,000. The Vatican, therefore, is an international power of formidable size with realizable assets roughly equal to say, the official gold and foreign exchange reserves of France itself."
The forthcoming lengthy quotation is taken from the La Aurora, a magazine printed by the Italian Baptist Publishing House of Pennsylvania; the speaker is purported to be the Catholic Patrick O'Brien of Rochester, New York; the time of its delivery was reputed to be shortly after Truman's election. At the present I cannot say that official stamping of the Catholic Church, Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur, were applied, but neither can evidence be produced, to my knowledge, of disapproval by the Catholic hierarchy, and since silence is sometimes construed to imply consent, I feel quite free to present the speech in which the unbiased mind can view the true image of Popery. Some mistakes were evident in my source material; I have changed nothing.
"We, the Hierarchy of the Holy Roman Catholic Church, expect all loyal children of the Church to assist the President with all our strength to see that individuals comprising the U. S. Supreme Court shall obey the President's injunctions and if necessary we shall change, amend, or blot out the present Constitution so that the President may enforce his, or rather our, humanitarian program and all phases of human rights as laid down by our saintly Popes and the Holy Mother Church.
"The cross was planted on our shores by a staunch Roman Catholic. This land belongs to us by every right. Long enough we have compromised on every important question. Now we demand what is really ours and we are going to have it. We will support our President in every way to obtain it, peacefully, honestly, if we may. If necessary we are ready to fight and die for it.
"We want cabinet members children of the Holy Mother Church holding important positions in the entire structure of our government.
"We control America and do not propose to stop until America or Americans are genuinely Roman Catholics and remain so, God help us."
Matthew the thirteenth chapter relates the Parable of the Tares, a portion of which declares, "While men slept, the enemy came . . ." Edmund Burke made a highly significant statement along these same lines when he said, "All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing." Shall this be the epitaph on the tombstone of once free America and on us as Christians?
TRUTH MAGAZINE X: 10, pp. 19-20 July 1966