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but millions of souls, as the following fact will sufficiently show.
The people of Rome are not so dull and stupid as the priests desire to have them. The secret police in the confessional, the paid spies in the public establishments, and the multitude of gens d’arms can terrify them, but can not enchain their minds, nor fetter their intellects. Satires against the canons of the Pantheon, pasquinades against the Pope, and publicly ridiculing the monks, were the order of the day. If the Inquisition would have attempted to imprison all the violators of the priestly laws, they might as well have made a roof over the whole city, and written upon the doors of it: “Carcer Romanorum," the prison of the Romans. But soon, they found a remedy to divert the minds of the people, and draw their attention to some other object, though not less absurd and heathenish than the above; but that is immaterial only if it serves to accomplish the desired object.
A great rumor was sounded abroad: “ that in a certain church, situated in the parish of the Madonna di Monte, an image of the Virgin Mary had opened its eyes.” The story originated in the following manner. An old, but pious woman
praying fervently to that image, and looking steadily at it, she observed, that the image was moving its eyes toward her; she immediately informed the father confessor of it, who approached the altar to ascertain the truth of the miracle, and he saw it also, so clear, that there remained no doubt, whatever, that the image did open its eyes, and moved them about in all directions.
The reader must know, that the church where that miraculous image was to be found, is situated in the darkest corner of the city, where the lowest populace are crowded together. It lies in the valley between the two mounts, Quirinum and Janiculum. It was not difficult to make them swallow any absurdity, which they are ready to defend with their blood. The mass of people who assembled in that section of the city was im
Day and night the church was crowded. I saw it, when hundreds of sick folks were carried upon couches into the church; one of them particularly attracted my attention; he was a tall, consumptive man, more like a skeleton than a living being, supported by two friends. As soon as he was placed in the middle of the church, all the people cried as with one voice: “ Abbiate fede! abbiate fede!” have faith! have faith! and the
skeleton left the shoulders of his friends, who supported him, and advanced with a firm step 10wards the altar, where he sunk exhausted 10 the ground. The shouts, “ have faith in the mercy of the holy Virgin! rise, walk! be not discouraged! and similar expressions were heard, but all was useless. It was not difficult, as I stated before to make people like these believe every absurdity. One thing was worthy of notice, that no respectable and enlightened person, saw the miracle, not even all the priests, but they said: “ That men of bad dispositions, or the sceptic, or those who had not sincerely confessed, or had no faith, could not see it. “I have been one of those, whom the Virgin Mary would not look at, though I was anxious to see the miraculous movements of the eyes of the painted picture. Every movement of the Virgin Mary's eyes had its signification. From the pulpit, like sounds of thunder in a dark night, the most frightful events were predicted. “ Prodigium canit, et tristes denunciat iras.” Pestilence, famine and destruction were the indications of the moving of the eyes. Penance ! penance! was the watchword of the priests and monks, as the only panacea for the great evil; I asked myself, what is the difference between heathen Rome and Papal Rome? The first used intrigues to purify the community of perjurers'; the second uses it to establish a lie. Heathen Rome had its temple of Apollo in which the oracle of Delphis prophesied. Papal Rome has its images which fortell future events.
BEATIFICATION OF A FRANCISCAN
Like children who must be amused and delighted in the daily change of play things, so Romanists are entertained by their priests, by a daily change of new amusements. I say amusements, for the papal worship is nothing but that. We read in history that before the fall of heathen Rome, one could easier find a god than a man in the streets. In papal Rome, there are more saints than inhabitants, and their number is daily aug. menting.
Scarcely had the frolic of the moving of the eyes of the image ceased, when another ecclesiastical entertainment was produced. The Franciscans had a friar who had been living among them a hundred years ago, and who at that time,
performed a great number of miracles. His order, begged the sum of one hundred thousand dollars, to have their brother friar beatified, which his holiness Leo XII. granted after having received this sum as a fee. At the same time we must do justice to the friars; they were very careful not to collect the money in the papal state, but in Spain where the friar was born.
A beatification is not a daily nor even an annual occurrence because it is very expensive. Protestants must not think that saints grow like mushrooms after a rainy season, no! they níust be at least a hundred years old. They must not think that a saint is some upstart or pauper; by no means; he must be able to pay the minimum fee of a hundred thousand dollars, before he receives permission to be a saint. Being therefore such a rare occurrence, it is no wonder that young and old, rich and poor turned out to witness the exhibition.
The day on which the beatification was to take place, the Pope descended from the Vatican into the church of St. Peter's, followed by the whole sacred college, in great pomp and magnificence ; nothing was spared which was calculated to impress the senses of the immense multitude. The