Conspiracy Nation -- Vol. 9 Num. 75

("Quid coniuratio est?")


In response to an item in CN 9.74 regarding the possibility of a 19th-century alliance between the Pope and European monarchs, CN reader Michael Hoffman II writes:

Catholic theology denies the Divine Right of Kings for both Catholic and Protestant monarchs. The most distinguished Catholic political writer in this field (who may have influenced the American Founders), was the 17th century Jesuit scholar, Cardinal Robert Bellarmine, who debated the "Divine Right" proponent, the Protestant King James I of England. (Luther also upheld the doctrine).

The Catholic Church had always put limits on monarchs. James and later Louis XIV of France, identified themselves with God and the state. Bellarmine, at the pope's behest, contested this (cf. John Clement Rager, "The Political Philosophy of St. Robert Bellarmine"). In France the papacy condemned Divine Right as the heresy of Gallicanism.

Of course in the secular realm to this day there are Catholic reactionaries and royalists who are even willing to side with the Protestant crown than countenance the American Revolution. In America however, the Church was dominated by the Republican Irish who with their bad experience under the British monarchy embraced the American system of Republican government wholeheartedly.

Pius IX was very concerned about the Union's use of Irish Catholics as cannon fodder in the war and issued a letter to be read in all the churches in Ireland resisting Union recruiting.

Hoffman does not seem to deny the personification of the Divine Right concept within the Church itself, just the possibility of an alliance between the Church and European monarchs. After all, the Catholic Church is quite blunt about it: the Pope is (supposedly) God's representative on earth.

But in spite of Hoffman's erudition, as apparent in the excerpt quoted above, why wouldn't the Catholic Church and European monarchs have found some common ground? Politics make strange bedfellows, and a secret agreement between European monarchs and the Pope is not too far-fetched.

In Burke McCarty's book on the Lincoln assassination (Suppressed Truth About the Assassination of Abraham Lincoln, see CN 9.74), mention is made of a Rev. Charles Chiniquy, a defrocked Catholic priest who authored a book called Fifty Years in the Church of Rome. A CN reader was nice enough to send the following, indicating that Chiniquy's book is still in print:

I am writing to inform you about a book written by a contemporary of Abraham Lincoln, which appears to confirm what Burke McCarty is saying. The book is:

          "50 Years in the Church of Rome"
           by Charles Chiniquy
           Copyright 1981
           by Jack T. Chick
           Published by:
           Chick Publications 
           P.O. Box 662
           Chino, Calif.  91710
           ISBN: 0-937958-09-3

In Burke McCarty's book, the ex-Rev. Chiniquy, who knew Lincoln, quotes the great president as having stated as follows:

The common people hear and see the big noisy wheels of the southern Confederacy cars, and they call him Jeff Davis, Lee, Thompson, Beauregard, Semmes, or others. They honestly think that they are the motive power, the first cause of our troubles, but it is a mistake, the true motive power is secreted behind the thick walls of the Vatican -- the colleges and schools of the Jesuits; the convents of the Nuns, the confessional boxes of Rome.

And again, said by Chiniquy to be a statement having been made by President Lincoln:

Father Chiniquy, I want your views about a thing which is exceedingly puzzling to me and you are the only one to whom I would like to speak on the subject. A great number of Democratic newspapers have been sent me lately, evidently written by Roman Catholics, publishing that I was born a Roman Catholic and baptized by a priest. They called me a renegade and apostate on account of that, and they heaped upon my head mountains of abuse. Now, no priest of Rome has ever laid his hand on my head. But the persistency of the Romish press to present this falsehood to their readers as gospel truth, must have a meaning. Please tell me, as briefly as possible, what you think about it.

This, Chiniquy answered, was done solely to incite and justify the act of assassination in the minds of any Catholic fanatics. It was, says Chiniquy, equivalent to a command.

Skeptics will rightly point out that as a defrocked Catholic priest, Chiniquy's claims are dubious. Yet that coin has two sides: as a defrocked priest, Chiniquy would have been free to speak his mind.

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