Excerpts from
Fifty Years in the "Church" of Rome
by Charles Chiniquy

The following are excerpts from a book originally published in 1888, written by a former priest named Charles Chiniquy, who had a parish in Quebec, Canada and in the state of Illinois, and was a personal friend of Abraham Lincoln.


Americans! you are sleeping on a volcano, and you do not suspect it! You are pressing on your bosom a viper which will bite you to death, and you do not know it.

Read this book, and you will see that Rome is the sworn, the most implacable, and absolutely irreconcilable, and deadly enemy of your schools, your institutions, your so dearly-bought rights and liberties.

Read this book, and you will not only understand that it is to Rome you owe the rivers of blood and the unspeakable horrors of the last civil war; but you will also learn that Romanism and Liberty cannot live on the same ground. This has been declared by the Popes hundreds of times.

Read this book, and you will not only see that Abraham Lincoln was murdered by Rome, but you will learn that Romanism, under the mask of religion, is nothing but a permanent political conspiracy against all the most sacred rights of man and the most holy laws of God.

In these pages you will not learn to hate the Roman Catholics. No! but you will learn to be more than ever watchful in guarding the precious treasures of Freedom bestowed upon you by your fathers—you will learn never to let them fall into the hands of those who, with the sacred name of Liberty on their lips, and the mask of Liberty on their faces, are sworn to destroy all Liberty.


Venerable ministers of the Gospel! Rome is the great danger ahead for the Church of Christ, and you do not understand it enough. The atmosphere of light, honesty, truth, and holiness in which you are born, and which you have breathed since your infancy, makes it almost impossible for you to realise the dark mysteries of idolatry, immorality, degrading slavery, hatred of the Word of God, concealed behind the walls of that modern Babylon. You are too honest to suspect them; and your precious time is too much taken by the sacred duties of your ministry, to study the long labyrinth of argumentations which form the bulk of the greater number of controversial books. Besides that, the majority of the books of controversy against Rome are of such a dry character, that though many begin to read them, very few have the courage to go to the end. The consequence is an ignorance of Romanism which becomes more and more deplorable and fatal every day.

It is that ignorance which paves the way to the triumph of Rome in a near future, if there is not a complete change in your views on that subject.

It is that ignorance which paralyses the arm of the Church of Christ, and makes the glorious word "Protestant" senseless, almost a dead and ridiculous word. For who does really protest against Rome today? —where are those who sound the trumpet of alarm?

When Rome is striking you to the heart by cursing your schools, and wrenching the Bible from the hands of your children; when she is not only battering your doors, but scaling your walls and storming your citadels, how few dare go to the breach and repulse the audacious and sacrilegious foe!

Why so? Because modern Protestants have not only forgotten what Rome was, what she is, and what she will forever be: the most irreconcilable and powerful enemy of the Gospel of Christ; but they consider her almost as a branch of the Church whose cornerstone is Christ.

Faithful ministers of the Gospel! I present you this book that you may know that the monster Church of Rome, who shed the blood of your forefathers, is still at work today at your very doors, to enchain your people to the feet of her idols. Read it, and for the first time you will see the inside life of Popery with the exactness of photography. From the supreme art with which the mind of the young and timid child is fettered, enchained, and paralysed, to the unspeakable degradation of the priest under the iron heel of the bishop, everything will be revealed to you as it has never been before.

The superstitions, the ridiculous and humiliating practices, the secret and mental agonies of the monks, the nuns, and the priests, will be shown to you as they were never shown before. In this book, the sophisms and errors of Romanism are discussed and refuted with a clearness, simplicity and evidence which my twenty-five years of priesthood only could teach me. It is not in boasting that I say this. There can be no boasting in me for having been so many years an abject slave of the Pope. The book I offer you is an arsenal filled with the best weapons you ever had to fight, and, with the help of God, conquer the foe....


In the name of your immortal souls, I ask you, Roman Catholics, to read this book.

By the mercy of God, you will find in its pages how you are cruelly deceived by your vain and lying traditions.

You will see that it is not through your ceremonies, masses, confessions, purgatory, indulgences, fastings, etc., you are saved. You have nothing to do but to believe, repent, and love.

Salvation is a gift! Eternal life is a gift! Forgiveness of sin is a gift! Christ is a gift!

Read this book, presented by the most devoted of your friends, and by the mercy of God, you will see the errors of your ways—you will look to the GIFT—you will accept it—and in its possession you will feel rich and happy for time and eternity.


Chapter LIX

Rome is in constant conspiracy against the rights and liberties of man all over the world; but she is particularly so in the United States.

Long before I was ordained a priest I knew that my Church was the most implacable enemy of this Republic. My professors of philosophy, history, and theology had been unanimous in telling me that the principles and laws of the Church of Rome were absolutely antagonistic to the laws and principles which are the foundation-stones of the Constitution of the United States.

1st. The most sacred principle of the United States Constitution is the equality of every citizen before the law. But the fundamental principle of the Church of Rome is the denial of that equality.

2nd. Liberty of conscience is proclaimed by the United States a most sacred principle, which every citizen must uphold, even at the price of his blood. But liberty of conscience is declared by all the Popes and Councils of Rome, a most godless, unholy, and diabolical thing, which every good Catholic must abhor and destroy at any cost.

3rd. The American Constitution assures the absolute independence of the civil from the ecclesiastical or Church power; but the Church of Rome declares, through all her Pontiffs and Councils, that such independence is an impiety and a revolt against God.

4th. The American Constitution leaves every man free to serve God according to the dictates of his conscience; but the Church of Rome declares that no man has ever had such a right, and that the Pope alone can know and say what man must believe and do.

5th. The Constitution of the United States denies the right in anybody to punish any other for differing from him in religion. But the Church of Rome says that she has a right to punish with the confiscation of their goods, or the penalty of death, those who differ in faith from the Pope.

6th. The United States have established schools all over their immense territories, where they invite the people to send their children, that they may cultivate their intelligence and become good and useful citizens. But the Church of Rome has publicly cursed all those schools, and forbidden their children to attend them, under pain of excommunication in this world and damnation in the next.

7th. The Constitution of the United States is based on the principle that the people are the primary source of all civil power. But, hundreds of times, the Church of Rome has proclaimed that this principle is impious and heretical. She says that "all government must rest upon the foundation of the Catholic faith; with the Pope alone as the legitimate and infallible source and interpreter of the law."

I could cite many other things, proving that the Church of Rome is an absolute and irreconcilable enemy of the United States; but it would be too long. These are sufficient to show to the American people that Rome is a viper, which they feed and press upon their bosom. Sooner or later that viper will bite to death and kill this Republic.

This was foretold by Lafayette, and is now promulgated by the greatest thinkers of our time.

The greatest inventor, or rather the immortal father of electric telegraphy, Samuel Morse, found it out when in Rome, and published it in 1834, in his remarkable work, "Conspiracies Against the Liberties of the United States." The learned Dr. S. Ireneus Prime, in his life of Prof. Morse, says: "When Mr. Morse was in Italy, he became acquainted with several ecclesiastics of the Church of Rome, and he was led to believe, from what he learned from them, that a political conspiracy, under the cloak of a religious mission, was formed against the United States. When he came to Paris and enjoyed the confidence and friendship of Lafayette, he stated his convictions to the General, who fully concurred with him in the reality of such a conspiracy."

That great statesman and patriot, the late Richard W. Thompson, Secretary of the Navy, in his admirable work, "The Papacy and the Civil Power," says, "Nothing is plainer than that, if the principles of the Church of Rome prevail here, our constitution would necessarily fall. The two cannot exist together. They are in open and direct antagonism with the fundamental theory of our government and of all popular government everywhere."

The eloquent Spanish orator, Castelar, speaking of his own Church of Rome, said, in 1869: There is not a single progressive principle that has not been cursed by the Catholic Church. This is true of England and Germany, as well as of all Catholic countries. The Church cursed the French Revolution, the Belgian Constitution, and Italian Independence. Not a Constitution has been born, not a step of progress made, not a solitary reform effected, which has not been under the terrific anathemas of the Church."

But why ask the testimony of Protestants or Liberals to warn the American people against that conspiracy, when we have the public testimony of all the bishops and priests to prove it? With the most daring impudence, the Church of Rome, through her leading men, is boasting of her stern determination to destroy all the rights and privileges which have cost so much blood to this American people. Let the Americans, who have eyes to see and intelligence to understand, read the following unimpeachable documents, and judge for themselves of what will become of this country, if Rome is allowed to grow strong enough to execute her threats.

"The Church is of necessity intolerant. Heresy, she endures when and where she must, but she hates it, and directs all her energies to destroy it.

"If Catholics ever gain a sufficient numerical majority in this country, religious freedom is at an end. So our enemies say, so we believe." —The Shepherd of the Valley, official journal of the bishop of St. Louis, Nov. 23, 1851.

"No man has a right to choose his religion. Catholicism is the most intolerant of creeds. It is intolerance itself. We might as rationally maintain that two and two does not make four as the theory of Religious Liberty. Its impiety is only equalled by its absurdity." —New York Freeman, official journal of Bishop Hughes, Jan. 26, 1852.

"The Church is instituted, as every Catholic who understands his religion believes, to guard and defend the right of God against any and every enemy, at all times, in all places. She, therefore, does not, and cannot accept, or in any degree favour liberty, in the Protestant sense of liberty." —Catholic World, April, 1870.

"The Catholic Church is the medium and channel through which the will of God is expressed. While the State has rights, she has them only in virtue and by permission of the Superior Authority, and that authority can be expressed only through the Church." —Catholic World, July, 1870.

"Protestantism has not, and never can have, any right where Catholicity has triumphed. Therefore we lose the breath we expend in declaiming against bigotry and intolerance and in favour of religious liberty, or the right of any man to be of any religion as best pleases him." —Catholic Review, June, 1865.

"Religious liberty is merely endured until the opposite can be carried into effect without peril to the Catholic Church." —Right Rev. O'Connor, Bishop of Pittsburgh.

"The Catholic Church numbers one-third the American population; and if its membership shall increase for the next thirty years, as it has the thirty years past, in 1900 Rome will have a majority, and be bound to take this country and keep it. There is, ere long, to be a State religion in this country, and that State religion is to be the Roman Catholic.

"1st. The Roman Catholic is to wield his vote for the purpose of securing Catholic ascendency in this country.
"2nd. All legislation must be governed by the will of God, unerringly indicated by the Pope.
"3rd. Education must be controlled by Catholic authorities, and under education, the opinions of the individual, and the utterances of the press are included, and many opinions are to be forbidden by the secular arm, under the authority of the Church, even to war and bloodshed." —Father Hecker, Catholic World, July, 1870.

"It was proposed that all religious persuasions should be free and their worship publicly exercised. But we have rejected this article as contrary to the canons and councils of the Catholic Church." —Pope Pius VII, Encyclical, 1808.

Everyone knows that one of the first and most solemn acts of the present Pope, Leo XIII, was to order that the theology of St. Thomas Aquinas should be taught in all the colleges, seminaries, and universities of the Church of Rome, throughout the whole world, as the most accurate teaching of the doctrines of his Church. Well, on the 30th of December, 1880, I forced the Right Rev. Foley, Bishop of Chicago, to translate from Latin into English, before the Court of Kankakee, and to swear that the following law was among those promulgated by St. Thomas as one of the present and unchangeable laws of the Church of Rome:

"Though heretics must not be tolerated because they deserve it, we must bear with them, till, by a second admonition, they may be brought back to the faith of the Church. But those who, after a second admonition, remain obstinate in their errors, must not only be excommunicated, but they must be delivered to the secular power to be exterminated." —St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, vol. iv, p. 90.

After the bishop had sworn that this was the true doctrine of the Church of Rome, expressed by St. Thomas, and taught in the colleges, seminaries, and universities of the Church of Rome, I forced him to declare, under oath, that he, and every priest of Rome, once a year, under pain of eternal damnation, is obliged to say, in the presence of God, in his Breviarum (his official prayer-book), that that doctrine was so good and holy, that every word of it has been inspired by the Holy Ghost to St. Thomas.

The same Bishop Foley was again forced by me, before the same Court of Kankakee, to translate from Latin into English, the following decree of the 4th council of Lateran, and to acknowledge under oath that it was as much the law of the Church of Rome today, as on the day it was passed in the year 1215.

"We excommunicate and anathematise every heresy that exalts itself against the holy orthodox and Catholic faith, condemning all heretics, by whatever name they may be known, for though their faces differ, they are tied together by their tails. Such as are condemned are to be delivered over to the existing secular powers to receive due punishment. If laymen, their goods must be confiscated. If priests, they shall be degraded from their respective orders, and their property applied to the church in which they officiated. Secular powers of all ranks and degrees are to be warned, induced, and, if necessary, compelled by ecclesiastical censure, to swear that they will exert themselves to the utmost in the defence of the faith, and extirpate all heretics denounced by the Church, who shall be found in their territories. And whenever any person shall assume government, whether it be spiritual or temporal, he shall be bound to abide by this decree.

"If any temporal lord, after having been admonished and required by the Church, shall neglect to clear his territory of heretical depravity, the Metropolitan and Bishop of the Province shall unite in excommunicating him. Should he remain contumacious a whole year, the fact shall be signified to the Supreme Pontiff, who will declare his vassals released from their allegiance from that time, and will bestow his territory on Catholics, to be occupied by them, on condition of exterminating the heretics and preserving the said territory in the faith."

"Catholics who shall assume the cross for the extermination of heretics, shall enjoy the same indulgence and be protected by the same privileges as are granted to those who go to the help of the Holy Land. We decree further, that all those who have dealings with heretics, and especially such as receive, defend, and encourage them, shall be excommunicated. He shall not be eligible to any public office. He shall not be admitted as a witness. He shall neither have the power to bequeath his property by will, nor succeed to any inheritance. He shall not bring any action against any person, but anyone can bring action against him. Should he be a judge, his decision shall have no force, nor shall any cause be brought before him. Should he be an advocate, he shall not be allowed to plead. Should he be a lawyer, no instruments made by him shall be held valid, but shall be condemned with their authors."

Cardinal Manning, speaking in the name of the Pope, said: "I acknowledge no civil power; I am the subject of no prince; and I claim more than this. I claim to be the supreme judge and director of the consciences of men. Of the peasants that till the fields, and of the prince that sits upon the throne; of the household that lives in the shade of privacy, and the legislator that makes laws for kingdoms. I am sole, last, supreme judge of what is right and wrong. Moreover we declare, affirm, define, and pronounce it to be necessary to salvation to every human creature, to be subject to the Roman Pontiff!!" (Tablet, Oct. 9, 1864).

"Undoubtedly it is the intention of the Pope to possess this country. In this intention he is aided by the Jesuits, and all the Catholic prelates and priests." (Brownson's Review, May, 1864).

"For our own part we take this opportunity to express our hearty delight at the suppression of the Protestant Chapel in Rome. This may be thought intolerant; but when, we ask, did we profess to be tolerant of Protestantism, or to favour the question that Protestantism ought to be tolerated? On the contrary, we hate Protestantism. We detest it with our whole heart and soul, and we pray our aversion for it may never decrease." —Pittsburg Catholic Visitor, July, 1848, (official journal of the Bishop).

"No good government can exist without religion, and there can be no religion without an inquisition, which is wisely designed for the promotion and protection of the true faith." —Boston Pilot, official journal of the Bishop.

"The Pope has the right to pronounce sentence of depositon against any sovereign when required by the good of the Spiritual Order." —Brownson's Review, 1849.

"The power of the Church exercised over sovereigns in the Middle Ages was not a usurpation, was not derived from the concessions of princes or the consent of the people, but was and is held by divine right, and whoso resists it, rebels against the King of kings and Lord of lords." —Brownson's Review, June, 1851.

The Council of Constance, held in 1414, declared: "That any person who has promised security to heretics shall not be obliged to keep his promise, by whatever he may be engaged.

"It is in consequence of that principle, that no faith must be kept in heretics, that John Huss was publicly burned on the scaffold, the 6th July, 1415, in the city of Constance, though he had a safe passport from the Emperor."

"Negroes have no rights which the white man is bound to respect." —Roman Catholic Chief Justice Tany, in his Dred-Scot Decision.

"If the liberties of the American people are ever destroyed, they will fall by the hands of the Catholic clergy." —Lafayette.

"The absurd and erroneous doctrines, or ravings, in defence of liberty of conscience, are a most pestilential error, a pest of all others to be dreaded in the State." —Encyclical Letters of Pope Pius IX, August 15, 1854.

"It is of faith that the Pope has the right of deposing heretical and rebel kings. Monarchs, so deposed by the Pope, are converted into notorious tyrants, and may be killed by the first who can reach them.

"If the public cause cannot meet with its defence in the death of a tyrant, it is lawful for the first who arrives to assassinate him." —Suarez, Defensio Fidei, book vi, c 4, Nos. 13, 14.

"See, sir, from this chamber, I govern, not only to Paris, but to China; not only to China, but to all the world, without any one knowing how I do it." —Tambriorini, General of the Jesuits.

"A man who has been excommunicated by the Pope, may be killed anywhere, as Escobar and Deaux teach, because the Pope has an indirect jurisdiction over the whole world, even in temporal things, as all the Catholics maintain, and as Suarez proves against the King of England." —Busembaum, Lacroix. Theologica Moralis, 1757.

The Roman Catholic historian of the Jesuits, Crétineaum Joly, in his vol. ii, page 435, approvingly says: "Father Guivard, writing about Henry IV, King of France, says: 'If he cannot be deposed, let us make war; and if we cannot make war, let him be killed.' "

The Roman Catholic theologian, Dens, puts to himself the question: "Are heretics justly punished with death? He answers: St. Thomas says, Yes! (ii 2 question 11, art. 3). Because forgers of money, or other disturbers of the State, are justly punished with death; therefore, all heretics who are forgers of faith and, as experience testifies, grievously disturb the State."

"This is confirmed, because God, in the Old Testament, ordered the false prophets to be slain, and in Deuteronomy it is decreed that if any one will act proudly, and will not obey the commands of the priests, let him be put to death.

"The same is proved from the condemnation of the 14th article of John Huss in the Council of Constance." —Dens, Theo. Mor. t. ii. art. 3).

"That we may, in all things, attain the truth. That we may not err in anything, we ought ever to hold, as a fixed principle, that what I see white, I believe to be black, if the superior authorities of the Church define it to be so."

"As for holy obedience, this virtue must be perfect in every point, in execution, in will, in intellect, doing which is enjoined with all celerity, spiritual joy, and perseverance; persuading ourselves that everything is just, suppressing every repugnant thought and judgment of one's own, in a certain obedience, should be moved and directed under Divine Providence, by his superior, just as if he were a corpse (Perinde acsi cadaver esset) which allows itself to be moved and led in every direction." —Ignatius Loyola, Spiritual Exercise.

"If the holy Church so requires, let us sacrifice our own opinions, our knowledge, our intelligence, the splendid dreams of our imagination and the sublime attainments of human understanding." —Pope Gregory XVI, Encyclical, Aug. 15th, 1832.

"No more cunning plot was ever devised against the intelligence, the freedom, the happiness, and virtue of mankind, than Romanism." —Gladstone, Letter to Aberdeen.

"The principal and most efficacious means of practising obedience due to superiors, and of rendering it meritorious before God, is to consider that, in obeying them we obey God Himself, and that by despising their commands, we despise the authority of the Divine Master.

"When, thus, a religious receives a precept from her prelate, superior, or confessor, she should immediately execute it, not only to please them, but principally to please God, whose will is known by their command.

"If, then, you receive a command from one who holds the place of God, you should observe it as if it came from God Himself. It may be added that there is more certainty of doing the will of God by obedience to our superiors than by obedience to Jesus Christ, should He appear in person and give His command.

"St. Philip used to say that the religious shall be most certain of not having to render an account of the actions performed through obedience, for these, the superiors only, who command them shall be accountable." —Saint Ligouri, The Nun Sanctified.

"Our business is to contrive: —1st. That the Catholics be imbued with hatred for the heretics, whoever they may be, and that this hatred shall constantly increase, and bind them closely to each other.

"2nd. That it be, nevertheless, dissembled, so as not to transpire until the day when it shall be appointed to break forth.

"3rd. That this secret hate be combined with great activity in endeavouring to detach the faithful from every government inimical to us, and employ them, when they shall form a detached body, to strike deadly blows at heresy." —Secret Plans of the Jesuits, revealed by Albate Leon, p. 127.

Henry IV, King of France, after being wounded by an assassin sent by the Jesuits, said: "I am compelled to do one of these two things: Either recall the Jesuits, free them from the infamy and disgrace with which they are covered, or to expel them in a more absolute manner, and prevent them from approaching either my person or my kingdom.

"But, then, we will drive them to despair and to the resolution of attempting my life again, which would render it so miserable to me, being always under the apprehension of being murdered, or poisoned. For these people have correspondence everywhere, and are so very skilful in disposing the minds of men to whatever they wish, that I think it would be better that I should be already dead." —Sully's Memoirs, tome ii, chap. iii.

"Let us bring all our skill to bear upon this part of our plan. Our chief concern must be to mould the people to our purposes. Doubtless, the first generation will not be wholly ours; but the second will nearly belong to us: and the third entirely." —The Secret Plan, page 127-128.

"The State is, therefore, only an inferior court, bound to receive the law from the superior court (the Church) and liable to have its decrees reversed on appeal." —Brownson's Essays, pages 282-284.

"The Jesuits are a military organization, not a religious order. Their chief is a general of an army, not the mere father abbot of a monastery. And the aim of this organization is—POWER. Power in its most despotic exercise. Absolute power, universal power, power to control the world by the volition of a single man. Jesuitism is the most absolute of despotisms; and at the same time the greatest and the most enormous of abuses." Memorial of the Captivity of Napoleon at St. Helena, by General Montholon, vol. ii, page 62.

"The General of the Jesuits insists on being master, sovereign over the sovereign. Wherever the Jesuits are admitted they will be masters, cost what it may. Their society is by nature dictatorial, and therefore, it is the irreconcilable enemy of all constituted authority. Every act, every crime, however atrocious, is a meritorious work, if committed for the interest of the Society of the Jesuits, or by the order of its General." —Memorial of the Captivity of Napoleon at St. Helena, vol. ii, page 174.

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Fifty Years in the "Church" of Rome by Charles Chiniquy
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