(Author's note: This article was sent to the Houston Post during the 1960 presidential race. Some of what I said was published, but all my documentations were deleted. You see this is what Catholic Popes and other high church men have said.)
I have read with interest the articles pro and con on the controversial subject of Mr. Kennedy's religion. But those which are directed against religious bigotry miss the point. There are likely a few people who are prejudiced against the Catholic Church as a religion, but the overwhelming majority of those who will oppose Mr. Kennedy because he is a Catholic, are not doing so because of the religious nature of his church, but because of the political aspects of it.
That the Hierarchy has always been, and is now, opposed to the religious freedom expressed in article one of our constitution, is subject to abundant proof, even from the writing of the Popes. This I presume, will not be denied by any informed Catholic.
Following is a sample of this proof:
"From what has been said it follows that it is quite unlawful to demand, to defend or to grant unconditional freedom of thought, of speech, of writing or of worship, as if these were so many rights given by nature to man" (Great Encyclical Letter of Pope Leo XIII, 161).
"Hence, from all that we have hitherto said, my beloved son, it is clear that we cannot approve the opinions which some comprise under the head of Americanism" (452).
This is also found in a book titled The Church Speaks To The Modern World, p. 80, published in 1954 by Doubleday. Again from the same Pope Leo XIII:
"Catholics cannot be too careful in defending themselves against such a separation. In fact, to wish that the state should separate itself from the church would be to wish,. by a logical sequence, that the church be reduced to the liberty of living according to the law common to all citizens. It is true that in certain countries this state of affairs exists" (Leo XIII, G.E.L., 262).
"The Roman Catholic Church, convinced through its divine prerogatives of being the only true church, must demand the right of freedom for herself alone, because such a right can only be possessed by truth, never by error. . . as to other religions, the church. . . will require that by legitimate means they shall not be allowed to propagate false doctrines. Consequently in a state where the majority of the people are Catholic, the church will require that legal existence be denied to error. . ." (Civilita Catolica, April, 1948.)
This country which was predominantly Protestant opens wide her doors to the Catholic Church to preach her doctrine unrestrained. Now if she will open the doors of those countries where she holds sway and allow all Protestants the same freedom which Catholics have here, we will have some faith in the claims that are being made that the Roman Catholic Hierarchy is not un-American in her view of religious freedom.
Truth Magazine XXI: 20, p. 314