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their virtue. The above details should be sufficient to compel every father of a family to abhor the confessional, as obnoxious to morality. If decency would allow it, I could write a volume, of which I have had personal experience, and of what I have been informed by others, who had the same melancholy experience. One instance I will relate, though with great reluctance, but being of a character, which can be related without grossly offending the ears of my readers, I will mention it.
In the family where I boarded in Florence, was a young lady, about seventeen years of age. Her parents gave her a good, but above all, a religious education, One day the mother told her daughter to prepare to go with her to-morrow to confess and to commune.
The mother unfortunately, feeling unwell the next morning, the young lady had to go by herself; when she returned, her eyes showed that she had wept, and her countenance indicated that something unusual had happened. The mother, as a matter of course, inquired the cause, but she wept bitterly, and said she was ashamed to tell it. Then the mother insisted; so the daughter told her that the parish priest to whom she constantly confessed, asked
her questions this time which she could not repeat without a blush. She, however, repeated some of them, which were of the most licentious and corrupting tendency, which were better suited to the lowest sink of debauchery than the confessional. Then he gave her some instructions, which decency forbids me to repeat; gave her absolution, and told her before she communed, she must come into his house, which was contiguoas to the church; the unsuspecting young creature did as the father confessor told her. The rest, the reader can imagine. The parents furious, would immediately have gone to the arch-bishop, and laid before him the complaint; but I advised them to let it be as it was, because they would injure the character of their daughter more than the priest. All the punishment he would have received, is a suspension for a month or two, and then be placed in another parish, or even remain where he is. With such brutal acts, the history of the confessional is full.
If I could lead my readers on the 17th of January to the church of St. Antoin in Rome, I am convinced, they would not know whether they should laugh at the ridiculous religious performances, or weep over the heathenish practices
of the church of Rome. He would see a priest in his sacerdotal garments, with a stole over his neck; a brush in the right hand, and sprinkling the mules, asses and horses, with holy water, and praying for them and with them, and blessing them in order to be preserved the whole year from sickness and death, famine and danger for the sake and merits of the holy Antony. All this is a grotesque scene, so grotesque that no American can have any idea of it, and heathen priests would never have thought of it. Add to that, the great mass of people, the kickings of the mules, the meetings of the lovers, the neighings of the horses, the melodious voices of the asses, the shoutings of the multitude, and mockings of the protestants, who reside in Rome, and you have a spectacle, which would be new, entirely new, not only for American Protestants, but for the heathen themselves, and must be abominable in the eye
of God. The reason why cows, calves and oxen are excluded from the privilege of being sprinkled with holy water, and receiving the pray ers of the priest, and the protection of St. Antony, I never inquired; and why these gentlen men, viz. the horses, asses and mules, are so highly distinguished among all the quadrupeds, I
can not say ; perhaps those who are more versed in the canons of the councils, will be able to give the reader light on that subject. But enough ; the subject is too serious; it is a religious exer cise, practiced by the priests of Rome, in the socalled metropolis of the christian world, sanctioned by the self styled infallible head of the church of Rome. All we can say is: “Ichabod, thy glory is departed.” The priests of heathen Rome would be ashamed of such a religious display in the nineteenth century.
THE OPENING OF THE EYES OF THE
In Rome there is preserved a gigantic mask of the face of a man, in the church of Sta. Maria in Cosmodin, according to the declaration of the most scientific antiquaries, it is called, “ La bocca della verita,” the mouth of truth. In heathen Rome, when a man swore, he was obliged to put his right hand into the mouth of that gigantic mask; if what he swore was true he could with
draw his hand; if false, his hand was bitten off by that' monstrous mouth. There is no doubt, that the priests had some cutting machine in the inside, or some person hidden in it, who performed the operation, and cut off the hand of the perjurer. Papal Rome is worse, it is inore intriguing and far more cruel than the heathen priests; it cuts off not only one hand,
The church of Santa Maria in Cosmodin, stands in the Forum Boarium. It received this epithet Cosmodin, from its having been overcharged with ornaments when Adrian rebuilt it in the year 728. This edifice stands on the ruins of the ancient temple of Pudicitia Patricia, or Chastity. Plebeians were excluded from this temple. On account of this fact Virginia, the wife of Volumnius, erected the temple of Pudicitia Plebeia, at her own home. She was herself of noble birth, but had to adopt the station of her husband, who was a Plebeian. The pavement is of beautiful porphyry, and the high altar of red Egyptian granite; the columns of the interior are of antique marble. There is a discrepancy of opinion among the antiquarians, with regard to the use of the ugly mask of marble, which stands in the porch. Some say. “ It served as the mouth of an ancient fountain. Others suppose, that oracles issued from this mouth, therefore it is called : " La bocca della verita," (the mouth of truth.) But it is generally supposed that it represents Jupiter, and that persons put their hands in the mouth of it when they made oath in court, and that the mouth closed upon all perjured persons. There is a common saying in Rome, “ that women never put their hands into it, for it was sure to close.” That is no compliment to the ancient Roman ladies,