40 Myths About the Catholic Church–The Jesuits were responsible for the Civil War

This one is just weird.   I have to admit that I’d never heard it before today.  I stumbled onto it while researching for another post.  It’s just so bizarre that I had to share it with you.

Yes, there actually are people who think it was the Jesuits who convinced Confederacy to go to war.  Here’s an alleged Lincoln quote:

“This war would never have been possible without the sinister influence of the Jesuits. We owe it to Popery that we now see our land reddened with the blood of her noblest sons. Though there were great differences of opinion between the South and North, on the question of slavery, neither Jeff Davis nor any one of the leading men of the Confederacy would have dared to attack the North, had they not relied on the promise of the Jesuits, that, under the mask of Democracy, the money and the arms of the Roman Catholics, even the arms of France, were at their disposal if they would attack us.”

I actually found this quote on more than one web site.  The problem is that Lincoln never said it.  This made-up statement from Honest Abe was actually created many years after his death by the Know-Nothings, an anti-Catholic group active in the 19th century, and spread by the anti-Catholic media.

Here’s an actual quote from Lincoln on August 24, 1855:

I am not a Know-Nothing. That is certain. How could I be? How can any one who abhors the oppression of negroes, be in favor of degrading classes of white people? Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we began by declaring that “all men are created equal.” We now practically read it “all men are created equal, except negroes.” When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read “all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and catholics.” When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty—to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocracy.

So the Great Emancipator would rather live in Russia than in a country that discriminates against Catholics.  His real words definitely don’t reflect the attitudes of the Know-Nothings.

The Know-Nothing party did its thing back in the 1800s.  “That’s history”, you say.    Why worry about it in the 21st Century?  Because some of this nonsense persists, even today.  There’s an outfit called Remnant of God who blame the Jesuits for “civil wars, world wars, revolutions, rebellions, terrorism, assassinations, political, social and all kinds of turmoils or chaos.”

They claim that the Jesuits detonated the Atomic bomb over Hiroshima and sunk the Titanic.  According to these geniuses, “The Roman Catholic Church is a mere continuation of the Roman Empire…..and the Jesuit Order is the old Roman Empire Pretorian guard” which was the pattern for the Nazi SS.   They go on to explain how the Jesuits started World Wars I and II.

There are a lot of fringe groups out there who blame the Catholic Church for everything from acne to athlete’s foot.  Most normal people, Catholic or not, don’t take these people seriously but there are just enough of them to give you pause.  Clearly the Remnants of God are just haters.  Their web site is primitive and poorly put together.  Their sources are very questionable.  But there are still some people who are going to take them seriously.  (Honey Boo Boo, anyone?)

On the other hand, the so-called Lincoln quote sounds good.  It does sound like something Abe would have said, especially to a casual observer.  It was supposedly said by someone who’s been dead for a long time and it’s difficult to prove that something wasn’t said.  All we can do is look at his other words and conclude that this just isn’t something he would have said.

It’s the real loonies who say things like “the Jesuits bombed Hiroshima” that make you realize just how twisted these things really are.  The good news is that we have the facts on our side.  When someone repeats something as stupid as Catholics are responsible for World War II, all we can do is laugh.

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Monday of the First Week of Advent

francis xavierOn this first weekday of Advent we remember Saint Francis, Xavier.  How appropriate!  Advent is a time of preparation for the coming of the Lord.  Francis Xavier, one of the founders of the Jesuit order was a Spanish missionary who spread the Word of God throughout Asia.  He visited IndiaJapanBorneo, the Moluccas, and other areas that had not yet been visited by Christian missionaries.   Having been to Asia myself, I can’t imagine what a monumental task his work must have been, trying to convey such an important message without being able to speak the native languages.

But aren’t we all called to spread the good news?  Our vocation may not call us to foreign lands, but doesn’t it seem like sometimes, when we want to share Jesus’ message, we might as well be speaking in a foreign tongue?  When we speak concepts like charity, and love of neighbor, faith, hope, and joy, it seems like we can’t communicate the message because the listeners just don’t understand the words.

Here, at the beginning of this prayerful and joyful season, let’s pray to Saint Francis, asking him to help us in our efforts to evangelize others.

 

Saint Francis Xavier, pray for us!