I just came across this book in pdf version and as I read through it, it was very sobering to realize two things – how depraved we are and given opportunity how much devastation and pain we are able to cause. Secondly, how depraved we are especially in the sexual dimension of our lives. All the while this should be one of the most sacred, intimate and deep moments in our lives when we are contemplating to bring another being into existence.
Here are just a few thoughts from the book. You can read the rest in the pdf. The Priest the Woman and the Confessional.
THERE are two women who ought to be constant objects of the compassion of the disciples of Christ, and for whom daily prayers ought to be offered at the mercy-seat —the Brahmin woman, who, deceived by her priests, burns herself on the corpse of her husband to appease the wrath of her wooden gods; and the Roman Catholic woman, who, not less deceived by her priests, suffers a torture far more cruel and ignominious in the confessional-box, to appease the wrath of her wafer-god.
For I do not exaggerate when I say, that for many noble-hearted, well-educated, high-minded women, to be forced to unveil their hearts before the eyes of a man, to open to him all the most secret recesses of their souls, all the most sacred mysteries of their single or married life, to allow him to put to them questions which the most depraved woman would never consent to hear from her vilest seducer, is often more horrible and intolerable than to be tied on burning coals.
Everywhere woman feels that there are things which ought never to be told, as there are things which ought never to be done, in the presence of the God of holiness. She understands that, to recite the history of certain sins, even of thought, is not less shameful and criminal than to do them; she hears the voice of God whispering into her ears, “Is it not enough that thou hast been guilty once, when alone in My presence, without adding to thine iniquity by allowing that man to know what should never have been revealed to him? Do you not feel that you make that man your accomplice, the very moment that you throw into his heart and soul the mire of your iniquities? He is as weak as you are, he is not less a sinner than yourself; what has tempted you will tempt him; what has made you weak will make him weak; what has polluted you will pollute him; what has thrown you down into the dust, will throw him into the dust. Is it not enough that My eyes had to look upon your iniquities? must My ears, to-day, listen to your impure conversation with that man? Were that man as holy as My prophet David, may he not fall before the unchaste unveiling of the new Bathsheba? Were he as strong as Samson, may he not find in you his tempting Delilah? Were he as generous as Peter, may he not become a traitor at the maid-servant’s voice?”
In the beginning of my priesthood, I was not a little surprised and embarrassed to see a very accomplished and beautiful young lady, whom I used to meet almost every week at her father’s house, entering the box of my confessional. She had been used to confess to another young priest of my acquaintance, and she was always looked upon as one of the most pious girls of the city. Though she had disguised herself as much as possible, in order that I might not know her, I felt sure that I was not mistaken—she was the amiable Mary.
After much effort, she said: “Dear Father, I hope you do not know me, and that you will never try to know me. I am a desperately great sinner. Oh! I fear that I am lost! But if there is still a hope for me to be saved, for God’s sake, do not rebuke me! Before I begin my confession, allow me to ask you not to pollute my ears by questions which our confessors are in the habit of putting to their female penitents; I have already been destroyed by those questions. Before I was seventeen years old, God knows that His angels are not more pure than I was; but the chaplain of the Nunnery where my parents had sent me for my education, though approaching old age, put to me, in the confessional, a question which at first I did not understand, but, unfortunately, he had put the same questions to one of my young class-mates, who made fun of them in my presence, and explained them to me; for she understood them too well. This first unchaste conversation of my life plunged my thoughts into a sea of iniquity, till then absolutely unknown to me; temptations of the most humiliating character assailed me for a week, day and night; after which, sins which I would blot out with my blood, if it were possible, overwhelmed my soul as with a deluge. But the joys of the sinner are short. Struck with terror at the thought of the judgments of God, after a few weeks of the most deplorable life, I determined to give up my sins and reconcile myself to God. Covered with shame, and trembling from head to foot, I went to confess to my old confessor, whom I respected as a saint and cherished as a father. It seems to me that, with sincere tears of repentance, I confessed to him the greatest part of my sins, though I concealed one of them, through shame, and respect for my spiritual guide. But I did not conceal from him that the strange questions he had put to me at my last confession, were, with the natural corruption of my heart, the principal cause of my destruction.
He spoke to me very kindly, encouraged me to fight against my bad inclinations, and, at first, gave me very kind and good advice. But when I thought he had finished speaking, and as I was preparing to leave the confessional-box, he put to me two new questions of such a polluting character that, I fear neither the blood of Christ, nor all the fires of hell will ever be able to blot them out from my memory. Those questions have achieved my ruin; they have stuck to my mind like two deadly arrows; they are day and night before my imagination; they fill my very arteries and veins with a deadly poison.
“In fact, when I had told him everything without a blush, he began to interrogate me, and God knows what corrupting things fell from his lips into my poor criminal heart! Every one of his questions was thrilling my nerves, and filling me with the most shameful sensations. After an hour of this criminal tete-a-tete with my old confessor (for it was nothing else but a criminal tete- a-tete), I perceived that he was as depraved as I was myself. With some half-covered words, he made a criminal proposition, which I accepted with covered words also; and during more than a year, we have lived together on the most sinful intimacy. Though he was much older than I, I loved him in the most foolish way. When the course of my convent instruction was finished, my parents called me back to their home. I was really glad of that change of residence, for I was beginning to be tired of my criminal life. My hope was that, under the direction of a better confessor, I should reconcile myself to God and begin a Christian life.
“Unfortunately for me, my new confessor, who was very young, began also his interrogations. He soon fell in love with me, and I loved him in a most criminal way. I have done with him things which I hope you will never request me to reveal to you, for they are too monstrous to be repeated, even in the confessional, by a woman to a man.
“I do not say these things to take away the responsibility of my iniquities with this young confessor, from my shoulders, for I think I have been more criminal than he was. It is my firm conviction that he was a good and holy priest before he knew me; but the questions he put to me, and the answers I had to give him, melted his heart—I know it—just as boiling lead would melt the ice on which it flows.
The very same day, I went to my own confessor, the Rev. Mr. Baillargeon, then curate of Quebec, and afterwards Archbishop of Canada. I told him the singular and unusual request she had made, that I should never put to her any of those questions suggested by the theologians, to insure the integrity of the confession. I did not conceal from him that I was much inclined to grant her that favor; for I repeated what I had already several times told him, that I was supremely disgusted with the infamous and polluting questions which the theologians forced us to put to our female penitents. I told him frankly that several old and young priests had already come to confess to me; and that, with the exception of two, they had told me that they could not put those questions and hear the answers they elicited, without falling into the most damnable sins.
My confessor seemed to be much perplexed about what he should answer. “He asked me to come the next day, that he might review some of his theological books, in the interval. The next day, I took down in writing his answer, which I find in my old manuscripts, and I give it here in all its sad crudity:— “Such cases of the destruction of female virtue by the questions of the confessors is an unavoidable evil. It cannot be helped; for such questions are absolutely necessary in the greater part of the cases with which we have to deal. Men generally confess their sins with so much sincerity that there is seldom any need for questioning them, except when they are very ignorant. But St. Liguori, as well as our personal observation, tells us that the greatest part of girls and women, through a false and criminal shame, very seldom confess the sins they commit against purity. It requires the utmost charity in the confessors to prevent those unfortunate slaves of their secret passions from making sacrilegious confessions and communions. With the greatest prudence and zeal he must question them on those matters, beginning with the smallest sins, and going, little by little, as much as possible by imperceptible degrees, to the most criminal actions. As it seems evident that the penitent referred to in your questions of yesterday, is unwilling to make a full and detailed confession of all her iniquities, you cannot promise to absolve her without assuring yourself by wise and prudent questions, that she has confessed everything.
At nine A.M. the next day, I was by the bed of our dear sick Mary. I cannot sufficiently tell the joy I felt, when the doctor and the whole family said to me, “She is much better; the rest of last night has wrought a marvellous change indeed.”
With a really angelic smile she extended her hand towards me, that I might press it in mine; and she said, “I thought, last evening, that the dear Saviour would take me to Him, but He wants me, dear father, to give you a little more trouble; however, be patient, it cannot be long before the solemn hour of the appeal will ring. Will you please read me the history of the suffering and death of the beloved Saviour, which you read me the other day? It does me so much good to see how He has loved me, such a miserable sinner.”
There was a calm and a solemnity in her words which struck me singularly, as well as all those who were there.
After I had finished reading, she exclaimed, “He has loved me so much that He died for my sins!” And she shut her eyes as if to meditate in silence, but there was a stream of big tears rolling down her checks.
I knelt down by her bed, with her family, to pray; but I could not utter a single word. The idea that this dear child was there, dying from the cruel fanaticism of my theologians and my own cowardice in obeying them, was as a mill-stone to my neck. It was killing me.
After we had silently prayed and wept by her bedside, she requested her mother to leave her alone with me.
When I saw myself alone, under the irresistible impression that this was her last day, I fell on my knees again, and with tears of the most sincere compassion for her soul, I requested her to shake off her shame and to obey our holy Church, which requires every one to confess their sins if they want to be forgiven.
She calmly, but with an air of dignity which no human words can express, said, “Is it true that, after the sin of Adam and Eve, God Himself made coats and skins; and clothed them, that they might not see each other’s nakedness?”
“Yes,” I said, this is what the Holy Scriptures tell us.”
“Well, then, how is it possible that our confessors dare to take away from as that holy, divine coat of modesty and self respect? Has not Almighty God Himself made, with His own hands, that coat of womanly modesty and self-respect, that we might not be to you and to ourselves, a cause of shame and sin?”
I was really stunned by the beauty, simplicity, and sublimity of that comparison. I remained absolutely mute and confounded. Though it was demolishing all the traditions and doctrines of my Church, and pulverizing all my holy doctors and theologians, that noble answer found such an echo in my soul, that it seemed to me a sacrilege to try to touch it with my finger.
After a short time of silence, she continued, “Twice I have been destroyed by priests in the confessional. They took away from me that divine coat of modesty and self-respect which God gives to every human being who comes into this world, and twice, I have become for those very priests a deep pit of perdition, into which they have fallen, and where, I fear, they are forever lost! My merciful heavenly Father has given me back that coat of skins, that nuptial robe of modesty, self-respect, and holiness, which had been taken away from me. He cannot allow you or any other man, to tear again and spoil that vestment which is the work of His hands.”
These words had exhausted her; it was evident to me that she wanted some rest. I left her alone, but I was absolutely beside myself. Filled with admiration for the sublime lessons which I had received from the lips of that regenerated daughter of Eve, who, it was evident, was soon to fly away from us, I felt a supreme disgust for myself, my theologians, and—shall I say it? yes, I felt in that solemn hour a supreme disgust for my Church, which was so cruelly defiling me, and all her priests in the confessional-box. I felt, in that hour, a supreme horror for that auricular confession, which is so often a pit of perdition and supreme misery for the confessor and penitent. I went out and walked two hours on the Plains of Abraham, to breathe the pure and refreshing air of the mountain. There, alone, I sat on a stone, on the very spot where Wolfe and Montcalm had fought and died; and I wept to my heart’s content, on my irreparable degradation, and the degradation of so many priests through the confessional.
At four o’clock in the afternoon I went back again to the house of my dear dying Mary. The mother took me apart, and very politely said, “My dear Mr. Chiniquy, do you not think it is time that our dear child should receive the last sacraments? She seemed to be much better this morning, and we were full of hope; but she is now rapidly sinking. Please lose no time in giving her the holy viaticum and the extreme unction.”
I said, “Yes, madam: let me pass a few minutes alone with our poor dear child, that I may prepare her for the last sacraments.”
When alone with her, I again fell on my knees, and, amidst torrents of tears, I said, ‘ Dear sister, it is my desire to give you the holy viaticum and the extreme unction; but tell me, how can I dare to do a thing so solemn against all the prohibitions of our Holy Church? How can I give you the holy communion without first giving you absolution? and how can I give you absolution when you earnestly persist in telling me that you have many sins which you will never declare either to me or any other confessor?
” You know that I cherish and respect you as if you were an angel sent to me from heaven. You told me the other day, that you blessed the day that you first saw and knew me. I say the same thing. I bless the day that I have known you; I bless every hour that I have spent by your bed of suffering; I bless every tear which I have shed with you on your sins and on my own; I bless every hour we have passed together in looking to the wounds of our beloved, dying Saviour; I bless you for having forgiven me your death! for I know it, and I confess it in the presence of God, I have killed you, dear sister. But now I prefer a thousand times to die than to say to you a word which would pain you in any way, or trouble the peace of your soul. Please, my dear sister, tell me what I can and must do for you in this solemn hour.”
Calmly, and with a smile of joy such as I had never seen before, nor seen since, she said, “I thank and bless you, dear father, for the parable of the Prodigal Son, on which you preached a month ago. You have brought me to the feet of the dear Saviour; there I have found a peace and a joy surpassing anything the human heart can feel; I have thrown myself into the arms of my Heavenly Father, and I know He has mercifully accepted and forgiven His poor prodigal child! Oh, I see the angels with their golden harps around the throne of the Lamb! Do you not hear the celestial harmony of their songs? I go—I go to join them in my Father’s house. I SHALL NOT BE LOST!”
I am now more than seventy-one years old, and in a short time I shall be in my grave. I shall have to give an account of what I now say. Well, it is in the presence of my great Judge, with my tomb before my eyes, that I declare to the world that very few—yes, very few—priests escape from falling into the pit of the most horrible moral depravity the world has ever known, through the confession of females.
I do not say this because I have any had feelings against those priests; God knows that I have none. The only feelings I have are of supreme compassion and pity. I do not reveal these awful things to make the world believe that the priests of Rome are a worse set of men than the rest of the innumerable fallen children of Adam; no; I do not entertain any such views; for everything considered, and weighed in the balance of religion, charity and common sense—I think that the priests of Rome are far from being worse than any other set of men who would be thrown into the same temptations, dangers, and unavoidable occasions of sin.
For instance, let us take lawyers, merchants, or farmers, and, preventing them from living with their lawful wives, let us surround each of them from morning to night, by ten, twenty, and sometimes more, beautiful women and tempting girls, who would speak to them of things which would pulverize a rock of Scotch granite, and you will see how many of those lawyers, merchants, or farmers would come out of that terrible moral battlefield without being mortally wounded.
The cause of the supreme—I dare say incredible, though unsuspected—immorality of the priests of Rome is a very evident and logical one. By the diabolical power of the Pope, the priest is put out of the ways which God has offered to the generality of men to be honest, upright and holy.* And after the Pope has deprived them of the grand, holy, and Divine (in this sense that it comes directly from God) remedy which God has given to man against his own concupiscence—holy marriage, they are placed unprotected and unguarded in the most perilous, difficult, and irresistible moral dangers which human ingenuity or depravity can conceive. Those unmarried men are forced, from morning to night, to be in the midst of beautiful girls, and tempting, charming women, who have to tell them things which would melt the hardest steel. How can you expect that they will cease to be men, and become stronger than angels?
* “To avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.” (I Cor., vii. 2.)
Not only are the priests of Rome deprived by the devil of the only remedy which God has given to help them to withstand, but in the confessional they have the greatest facility which can possibly be imagined for satisfying all the bad propensities of fallen human nature. In the confessional they know those who are strong, and they also know those who are weak among the females by whom they are surrounded; they know who would resist any attempt from the enemy; and they know who are ready—nay, who are longing after the deceitful charms of sin. If they still retain the fallen nature of man, what a terrible hour for them? what frightful battles inside the poor heart? what superhuman effort and strength would be required to come out a conqueror from that battlefield, where a David and a Samson have fallen mortally wounded’?
It is simply an act of supreme stupidity on the part of the Protestant, as well as Catholic public, to suppose or suspect, or hope that the generality of the priests can stand such a trial.
The pages of the history of Rome herself are filled with unanswerable proofs that the great generality of the confessors fall. If it were not so, the miracle of Joshua, stopping the march of the sun and the moon, would be childish play compared with the miracle which would stop and reverse all the laws of our common fallen nature in the hearts of the 100,000 Roman Catholic confessors of the Church of Rome. Were I attempting to prove, by public facts, what I know of the horrible depravity caused by the confessional-box among the priests of France, Canada, Spain, Italy, and England, I should have to write many big volumes in folio. For brevity’s sake, I will speak only of Italy. I take that country, because, being under the very eyes of their infallible and most holy (?) pontiff, being in the land of daily miracles of painted Madonnas, who weep and turn their eyes left and right, up and down, in a most marvellous way, being in the land of miraculous medals and heavenly spiritual favors, constantly flowing from the chair of St. Peter, the confessors in Italy, seeing every year the miraculous melting of the blood of St. January having in their midst the hair of the Virgin Mary, and a part of her shirt, are in the best possible circumstances to be strong, faithful and holy. Well, let us hear the testimony of an eye-witness, a contemporary, and an unimpeachable witness about the way the confessors deal with the penitent females in the holy, apostolical, infallible (?) Church of Rome…
IF anyone wants to hear an eloquent oration, let him go where the Roman Catholic priest is preaching on the divine institution of auricular confession. There is no subject, perhaps, on which the priests display so much zeal and earnestness, and of which they speak so often. For this institution is really the corner-stone of their stupendous power; it is the secret of their almost irresistible influence. Let the people open their eyes, to-day, to the truth, and understand that auricular confession is one of the most stupendous impostures which Satan has invented, to corrupt and enslave the world; let the people desert the confessional-box to- day, and to-morrow Romanism will fall into the dust. The priests understand this very well; hence their constant efforts to deceive the people on that question. To attain their object, they have recourse to the most egregious falsehoods; the Scriptures are misrepresented; the holy Fathers are brought to say the very contrary of what they have ever thought or written; and the most extraordinary miracles and stories are invented. But two of the arguments to which they have more often recourse, are the great and perpetual miracles which God makes to keep the purity of the confessional undefiled, and its secrets marvellously sealed. They make the people believe that the vow of perpetual chastity changes their nature, turns them into angels, and puts them above the common frailties of the fallen children of Adam.
Bravely, and with a brazen face, when they are interrogated on that subject, they say that they have special graces to remain pure and undefiled in the midst of the greatest dangers; that the Virgin Mary, to whom they are consecrated, is their powerful advocate to obtain from her Son that superhuman virtue of chastity; that what would be a cause of sure perdition to common men, is without peril and danger for a true Son of Mary; and, with amazing stupidity, the people consent to be duped, blinded, and deceived by those fooleries.
But here, let the world learn the truth as it is, from one who knows perfectly everything inside and outside the walls of that Modern Babylon. Though many, I know, will disbelieve me and say, “We hope you are mistaken; it is impossible that the priests of Rome should turn out to be such impostors; they may be mistaken; they may believe and repeat things which are not true, but they are honest; they cannot be such impudent deceivers.”
Yes; though I know that many will hardly believe me, I must tell the truth.
Those very men, who, when speaking to the people in such glowing terms of the marvellous way they are kept pure, in the midst of the dangers which surround them, honestly blush—and often weep—when they speak to each other (when they are sure that nobody, except priests, hear them). They deplore their own moral degradation with the utmost sincerity and honesty; they ask from God and men, pardon for their unspeakable depravity.
If this reading resonates with you, vibrates some of your cords in your own heart, being either a male or female, keep reading the pdf.