Asa H. (Asa Hollister) Craig.

Christian persecutions : being a historical expostion of the principal Catholic events from the Christian era to the present time written from an unprejudiced standpoint online

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Principal Catholic Events

From the Christian Era to the Present Time.

Written from (in Unprejudiced Standpoint.







Nihil Obstat

Simon Lebl, D.D.,

Censor Libroram


►J< Fredericus Xaverius,

Archiepiscopus Milwauchiensis


Entered according to an Act of Congress in the year 1899, hy


In the Office of tlie Librarian of Congress, at Washington. D. C.

Copyright transferred to The M. H. Wiltzius Co.,


/ 1^^




(iu^rthrouj of Jntokr^anc^, ligotr^i) and Jignopn^e





The following Authors have been consulted, upon which
the historic facts in this volume are based. For these favors
I most cheerfully extend my thanks.

Rollins' Ancient History. Two volumes.
Meyers' Ancient History.
Myers' Mediaeval and Modern History.
Russell's Modern Europe. Two volumes.
Ridpath's History of the World.
Guizot's History of France.

Parsons' Studies in Church History. Five volumes.
Brueck's History of the Catholic Church. Two volumes.
Deharbe's History of Religion.
Library of Controversy. Four volumes.
Cardinal Gibbons' Faith of Our Fathers.
m The Jesuits, by Paul F^val.

Miss Kirkland's History of France.

Martin Luther, by Jacobs.

Encyclopedia Britannica.

Macaulay's History of England.

Alzog's Universal Church History. Three volumes.

A. H. Craig.



CHAPTER I. My Confession 15

II. Early Heresies 23

III. Persbcution 31

IV. Retrospect 36

V. The Tyrant Nero 42

VI. Early Christian Martyrs 57

The Conversion of Constantine 67

Julian, The Apostate 72

VII. The Crusades 76

VIII. The Crusades— Continued 89

The Second Crusade 93

The Third Crusade 95

The Fourth Crusade 98

The Children's Crusade 98

IX. The Reformation 104

X. Origin of the Reformation 113

XI. Martin Luther 119

XII. Martin Luther — Continued 137

XIII. John Calvin and Ulric Zwingli 150

Ulric Zwingli 152

John Calvin 162

XIV. Summary of the Reformation 168

XV. The Thirty Years' War 172

XVI. The Huguenots 181

XVII. The Spanish Inquisition 199

XVIII. The French Revolution 220

XIX. Napoleon Bonaparte 234

XX. Napoleon Bonaparte— Continued , 244

XXI, Origin of the English Church 254
















Heirs of Henry VIII 262

Edward VI 262

Queen Mary 267

Heirs of Henry VIII— Continued 285

Queen Elizabeth...; 285

Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots 293

Irish Persecution 306

Irish Persecution — Continued 324

Cromwell in Ireland 324

William of Orange 329

Origin of the Greek Church 338

The Bible 354

The Temporal Powers of the Popes 371

The Temporal Powers of the Popes— Con-
tinued 385

Infallibility of the Popes 398

The Virgin Mary 412

Sisters of Charity 430

The Jesuits 448

Confession 462

The Sacrifice of the Mass 485


N presentiog chis volume to the public the author has but
one Idea to adrance and but one object to attain, and
that, to destroy intolerance, bigotry and ignorance.

By Intoleration'we mean, not a prohibition of rights
and opinions, but the religious inconsistency and prejudice that
exists in the political and social life of individuals. It is the in-
toleration of the mind, the heart, the conscience.

By Bigotry, — 'that obstinate and unreasoning condition in which
an individual views his own belief and opinions, and opposes with
narrow-minded intolerance the beliefs of others. It is a ihated
opposition, without reason or commion sense.

By Ignorance, — ^that pitiable condition whidh listens to fanati-
cism, believes assertions, and analyzes nothing. It is the father of
intoleratlon, bigotry, and srui>erstition. It Is the foundation of
religious persecution, of idolatry, and of heresy. It breeds con-
fusion, oppression, and persecution.

From the first establishment of Christianity to the present
day it has been one constant struggle against unbelief, against
opposition, and against persecution. In the past there is a wonder-
ful history of the sufferings, the trials, and the steadfastness of
those who have been faithful to God, to Christ, and to his Holy
Word. To write these histories is beyond the power of man.
Hundreds of volumes have been issued and yet we have recorded
only a part of the great work of Christianity, and the awful afflic-
tions it has borne. But not once in all those two thousand years
has the faith in Christ been lost or broken. While it has ap-
parently met reverses, yet not once was there a defeat. These

(2) 9

10 Preface.

reverses were only God's means of purifying the Church, of win-
nowing the chaff from the wheat, of casting out the dross, the
millstones, and all the acoumulations of unworthiness.

Before the Reformation it was idolatrous persecution of Chris-
tianity. Since that event it has been Christian against Christian,
with the Pope and the Church of Rome as the great central figure,
against which arose this opposition. The Whole force of the
Reformation was to crush the power of the Catholic Church and
its great head, the Pope. In return, the Church has sought to main-
tain its supremacy, to extend its influence, and to establish its
worship in all the nations of the earth. The warfare between
these contending forces has been one of bitter hatred, and a
history of deadly persecution.

In this short volume it is impossible to give more than a
general exposition of events; but I trust a sufficient explanation
is herein given to demonstrate the fact that virtue is not recorded,
alone, on one side and persecution on the other, but that the
fanatic zeal of all classes of men was just as intolerant, just as unrea-
sonable, and just as unchristian on one side as on the other.

As we read history from an unprejudiced standpoint, we find
that were we to recite the events which have transpired since the
days of Martin Luther and John Calvin, and place this narrative
before a Protesiant jury, the members of which had never read
history, not one could distinguish those perpetrated by the Catholics
from those committed by the Protestants; and should selections be
made by this imaginary jury, it is the author's opinion that, as
prejudice lies with the jury against the Catholics, they would
select the Reform atrocities as instituted by the Church of Rome.

But we must bear in mind that the oonditions that existed in
those days were far different from those that exist at the present
time. Then religion was the great central thought of action.
If you were a Protestant it was heresy to be a Catholic, and if
you were a Catholic it was heresy to be a Protestant; and as heresy

Preface. 11

was a sin against the law, then by law it must be punished.
Christians were ignorant of the divine teachings of Christ, who
taught love, charity, and obedience. They were raised under the
discipline of force, and force must be the means of converting men
to the true worship of G-od. If men failed to observe the law of
religion then there must be ajpplied the force of what we now call
oppression and persecution, and when it was a bold declai"a;tion
of heresy we find that it was regarded as a higher crime than
treason. Men then looked upon treason as a crime against the
State, but heresy as treason against God and his Holy Word, and
as God was the greatest of all authority, so must heresy be the
greart:est of all crimes. If we examine this question under the
conditions then existing, we find a standard far different from
the standard of to-day.

It is here we make the great mistake in our understanding. We
try to believe that, because things existed then, they may exist
now, when in reality it is an impossibility. Times change, govern-
ments change, educations change, and when we arrive at a new
period we must throw off the old coat of the past and assume the
new realities of the present. But, my friends, there are some who
do not seem to know that we are living in the nineteenth century.
They imagine that it is still the reign of John Calvin, Henry VIII,
Elizabeth, Oliver Cromwell, William of Orange, or even the Spanish
Inquisition! They do not realize that we have outgaown those old
feudal tyrannies, and in the smallness of their vision see the future
only as it is reflected by the past.

If you analyze the past, do so with all the surroundings that
then occurred ; and when you analyze the present, do so
with wha;t exists now, and not with what belongs to the
recollections of a dead and historic past. If you cannot believe
as a Catholic, then believe as your own conscience shall dictate,
but remember that wherever you go, or whatever you do, your aim
should be to drop those old prejudices and those old persecutions.

12 Preface.

In this enlightened age we cannot afford to question a man
because of his religion, or because of the religion of his ancestors,
but to recognize him for Ms worth to government, to education, to
society, and to Christianity. The only difference that exists between
our religious denominations, outside of religious belief, is prejudice
— not a prejudice that exists by the acts of to-day, but from condi-
tions which existed ages ago. It is a prejudice more in the line of
superstition than of any reality. It is a prejudice handed down
from parent to child and from preacher to preacher. As the people
have been taught to be prejudiced, and appear to ignore present con-
ditions, we feel more like pitying their mental condition rather than
censuring what to them seems a reality.

As individuals, we are prone to listen to what we hear or read,
rather than ask ourselves: Is this true? Can these things exist?
Is this judgment based upon present conditions, or is it based
upon what once existed? If we depend wholly upon what fanatics
explain, then we remain in the same intolerant condition as they,
but if we depend upon what really exists, wtiat we see, what is in
accordance with reason, then we outgrow prejudice and inconsist-
ency, and meet all forms of Christianity upon the same level of
equal rights and justice.

Again I say, this volume is not written in the interest of any
creed,, but in the interest of facts as they have existed, and as they
exist to-day. It is written to dispel these three enemies of Chris-
tianity — Intoleration, Bigotry, and Ignorance, and while I am not a
member of any churcih, and have never received the blessings of
baptism, yet I will do all within my power to hasiten the day when
perseoution shall cease, and the grand trutlhs of God will be known
to all men. Therefore I will say to my Protestant friends, study
these questions from a real desire for knowledge, cast off your preju-
dices, and be guided by what is in existence to-day. If you do this,
when you analyze the foundation of religion, and of faith, you can
clasp the hand of your Catholic friend, and see in him, as he sees
in you, the desires of a true Christian.

Preface. 13

I may not succeed in convincing you that these conditions, as
herein described, do actually exist, yet I trust you will not cast this
book aside as unworthy a careful study. If I have made a single
statement which seems to you as inconsistent, as a fallacy, or as a
misstatement, it is my earnest desire that you look to the historic
facts concerning it. While I believe the records of history will sus-
tain my position, yet it is your duty to convince yourself, as 1 have
done. I do not ask that you shall become a Catholic, or a Protestant,
but that you shall seek the truth, and in seeking, you will not for-
get the duties of a true Christian.

^ ^ /V • lohc^^

Mukwonago, Wis.,
December 25, 1898.



AS I review the pages of this book I cannot understand
how I could have conceived the idea of writing this
short history of some of the trials and persecutions of the
Catholic Church. I know of no reason why this subject
should have suggested itself to me. Up to this time I had not
discussed it with individuals, as I felt there was a history I
did not care to disclose. I frankly admit I carried a prejudice,
not from anything I had ever seen, but from the teachings of
those who professed to have made it a study. I had never
stopped to consider whether bare assertions were facts or not.
I had 'had no inclination to investigate, and while I paid very
little attention to the wild expressions of intoleration, yet it
unconsciously left an impression that somewhere in the misty
past the Catholic Church was not what it ought to have been.
And why should I not feel this impression? I took no
Cafholic literature; I asked no Catholic advice; and what I
learned was from a source calculated to prejudice and not
to enlighten me on the facts. The teaching was one-sided
in all its details, without contradiction, and as I now find it,
without confirmation. It was largely the invention of imag-
ination, and I dare say many of those teachers honestly believed
in their own statements. But if they will do as I have done,
reject the writings of extremists, they will find a condition and
causes different from what they now see.


16 Christian Persecutions.

So I say to my readers and to the world, drop assertions
made to foment feeling, or analyze them on the basis of your
own investigation. Do not let others assume that they know
the history of the past, the present, and the future. Accept
the present as you see it, analyze the past as it existed, and
you need have no care for the future.

But I will return to the causes which led me to think,
to read, and to write: The thought came to me one night
when, during one of my wakeful hours, I lay thinking of
almost everything conceivable. I thought of life, of death, of
immortality, and of God. In these thoughts I asked myself,
What is God? What is the Church of Christ? Who are the
true teachers of the Bible and of God? Here we have a
legion of churches — are they all the true expositors of im-
mortality? When did they come into existence? Are not
churches and creeds made by men? What was the Reforma-
tion? How did the Reformation affect the Catholic Church?
What is the Catholic Church anyway? What is its mission?
Is it a church of persecution, and of intolerance? What was
it in the early years of Christianity? What was it in the
Dark Ages? In the sixteenth century? In the days of
Napoleon Bonaparte? What is it to-day? These thoughts
led me to think of investigation, of reading, and of inquiry.

In the study of history, did I consider the story of the his-
torian infallible? Are not historians liable to err? Is it not a
common error of mankind to believe what we read or hear
when we are in a condition to become favorably prejudiced?
Are we not full of prejudices? Do we not transmit these prin-
ciples to our children? When we listen to the minister in the

My Confession. 17

pulpit preaching on Catholic infidelity to mankind, are we
not listening to a prejudiced illustration of his thoughts and
his story? Did he interpret the causes in the true Hght of
Christianity? Or was it to build up his own faith at the
expense of others? Is it a part of his stock in trade, and
must he advertise his goods by crying down the goods of
his neighbor? Is there any selfish interest in his mode of
operation? Is your Catholic neighbor any different from any
other neighbor? Is he different in the next town, in the next
State? Is he different anywhere on God's earth? If he is
proven by companionship as a true friend, an obliging neigh-
bor, and a patriotic citizen, has he not then been misrepre-

While I know that some of my dearest friends are Catho-
lics, and I know and feel their love and devotion, am I not
prejudiced when I think evil of those who are abroad? Is
this a just judgment? Have I a right to be prejudiced be-
cause of the teachings of others? Am I to be unreasonable
and inconsistent when my surroundings prove the opposite?
Is history true? Isn't it true that two men, or twenty men,
may write history and fail to agree except in the bare fact
of an incident? Are not facts and causes two distinct ele-
ments in the exposition of history? If history is written by
a fanatic, are not his causes based upon fanaticism? If written
by a faction, is it not in the interest of that faction? Does
it not make a vast difference how we view a subject, how our
feelings run in the controversy? If we look through a red
glass is not tlie vision red? If through any other color, or
controlled by any faction or prejudice, is not the result exactly
in line with the cause of inspiration?

18 Christian Persecutions.

Have I a right to listen to others and not ask myself
through what glass is the speaker looking? Then, in sum-
ming up all those prejudices, am I not unjust in harboring
thoughts of unworthiness? And now, to speak in plain lan-
guage, are not the Protestant Churches arrayed against the
Catholic wholly on the hnes of prejudice? And is it not
fair for me to suppose that this opposition is due, in some
small degree at least, to a stock in trade?

Isn't preaching a profession, and do not all men apply
their abilities in the advancement of themselves in their pro-
fessions? How many ministers look for a call except to bet-
ter their condition? Is preaching, as now conducted, for
humanity or for self?

These are dreadful questions to ask, but is there not some
truth in them? Then, as we view this whole line of opposi-
tion, of prejudice to the Catholic Church, is it not persecu-
tion? Not such persecution as in the days of Nero, or of
the sophistry of Voltaire, of Paine, or of Ingersoll, but of
that of one form of Christianity against another? In this
respect, is not this Church persecuted by all the other

As these thoughts came to me I resolved to read, not
through the eyes of others, but through my own eyes. I
purchased books and literature. I called up the history of
encyclopedias. I borrowed books, and in my research I
resolved to take facts, and, as far as possible, to reject the
prejudices of others, I laid aside the most enthused Catho-
lic writers as having their glasses too highly colored. I
sought for causes, because I wanted to satisfy myself, to
satisfy my own mind, and not the mind of others.

My Confession. 19

I read Robert G. Ingersoll in order to gather the sub-
stance of his teachings. I took ancient history; the history of
the Apostles; the Dark Ages; the life of Martin Luther; the
history of France; the history of the Huguenots; tJlie history of
England; the history of Henry the VIII; the history of the
Catholic Church; the life of Pope Leo XIII, and many mag-
azines and papers. Some books I threw away and would not
read. They were too full of malignant vituperation to be of
any service to me. These books only served to more con-
clusively impress me with my convictions that I had been
looking through colored glasses.

Once I might have believed these assertions, but now I
had gone beyond this field of extravagance. I could see the
venom, the sting, the old animosity, and the old prejudice.
I had no time to read such trash, and I threw them away as
not suited to my purpose. They only confirmed my first sus-
picion of stock in trade; now, however, they were shop-worn,
dirty, out of style, and not worth an examination. The world
was grov/ing to a more intelligent, more reasonable, and
more tolerant condition. The old superstitions, vagaries, and
prejudices must bid good-bye to the new lessons of true
inspiration, true benevolence, and true Christianity.

We are not what we were centuries ago, or even in the
past generation. The days of bodily persecution are over,
and soton tihe days of bigotry will follow the long line of
jealousies, misrepresentations and abuse. We are entering
a field of intelligence where we are having a broader thought,
a grander elevation of faith, and a nobler manhood.
The day of estabiishing new creeds and new isms will now


20 Christian Persecutions.

close, and the grand thought of Refonners will be, not how
much can be torn down, but how much can be built up,
how nuich can be united, how we can better work together,
and how cement the religious desires of all men.

The evil of the world is united and travels the same broad
road to destruction. Sometimes it seems to me as though it
was growing stronger and stronger each year, while Chris-
tianity has been quarrelling over who shall save the wicked,
relieve distress, and preach the true doctrine of repentance.
But as years go by there will be a gradual strengthening of
the bonds of union in the great cause of Christ and the gospel
of truth. It is even whispered now that the Episcopal Church
of England is leaning to its old rival, the Church of Rome,
and it is not impossible that the powerful Greek Church of
Russia may yet return to its first love. And so we may say
of every new creed and ism, tiliere is a change of sentiment
going on contmually. Although almost imperceptible at times,
yet it is approaching the time when we are coming nearer
and nearer to a perfect union, when the hatred and animosi-
ties shall cease, and when the dread suspicion of intolerance
shall be no more. -

As I now stand I see the Catholic Church as I never saw
it before. I see that in all its trials and persecutions it comes
out stronger and stronger in its discipline, and stronger in its
bond of union.

I read Martin Luther and see that if the Church had
adopted his ninety-five theses, then John Calvin, Ulrich
Zwingli, and other reformers would have demanded a recog-
nition of their ideas, and there would have been no Church,

My Confession. 21

only a confusion of individual ideas and individual theology.
Had the Church yielded to Henry the VHI, there would
have been a compromise in crime, and by its permission of
sin it would have gone down in disgrace and ruin. Individ-
uals may err, sin, and fall, but because of this we have no
right to condemn others, or to condemn the church that seeks
to build them up, to sustain them in their weakness, and to
bring them to repentance.

In all the trials which have existed, and all the persecu-
tions that have been hurled against the Catholic Church, not
one has struck a fatal blow. While the Church may have
staggered in its adversity, yet in the dawn of its recovery,
the sun of Christianity has shone brighter, its rays have been
purer, and its influence more lasting.

And now, if by these efforts I may be the means of
eliminating some of the old prejudices which still cradle their
thoughts in the minds of men, then good will result to all.

We ought to be broad enough to throw aside the incon-
sistencies of to-day and accept the results as they are, and
not what may have been told us in ages past. It matters
not what may have been the objects and desires of the
Churches hundreds of years ago. Those conditions cannot
exist at tihe present. What may have been required then is
not required now. The world was not broad then — it was
narrow and contracted; but we are now grown beyond tliie
ignorance of petty jealousies, and. ought to know and feel
that prejudice and bigotry must sooner or later be consigned
to the past. With freedom of speech, of press, and of religion,
there is no longer an excuse for misrepresentation, intoler-
ance, and persecution.

22 Christian Persecutions.

With this statement of the condition of what has been
and what ought to be, and my carefully-arranged narrative of
the facts of history drawn upon the basis of honest inquiry,
and not from the side of a partisan or fanatic, I most ear-
nestly dedicate this book. May its pages be the means of
producing thought, independent of what others may say, or
have said. May we all think, and feel, and talk from the
standpoint of to-day, and may its influence assist in elevat-
ing mankind, uniting the influences of good, and thus advanc-
ing the cause of true Christianity.



|\ yi ARTYRDOM is the fiery ordeal throiig-h which the
* '^ * power of God in Christianity is gloriously made mani-

Online LibraryAsa H. (Asa Hollister) CraigChristian persecutions : being a historical expostion of the principal Catholic events from the Christian era to the present time written from an unprejudiced standpoint → online text (page 1 of 33)