Abraham Lincoln And Catholicism
Next month, February 12, American citizens throughout the nation and the world will remember the birth of Abraham Lincoln. Born in poverty and obscurity in the wilderness country of Kentucky, this man more than any other in our national history has become the symbol of those moral and spiritual forces which have brought greatness to our country. Although he was the leader of one segment of the nation in the bloody Civil War, and might be expected to be held in resentment and ill will by the defeated South, such has never been the case. His qualities of character were such that even in their defeat his "enemies" held no grudge against him. When news was brought to the beloved Robert E. Lee that Lincoln had been assassinated, only five days after Lee himself had laid down his sword at Appomattox, the Confederate chieftain bowed his head in sorrow and declared, "This is the worst blow the South has yet suffered."
No American statesman has ever seen more clearly than did Abraham Lincoln the menace which the Catholic hierarchy poses to our free American institutions. His language (as quoted by Joseph L. Brandt in his book, America or Rome, pages 397,398) fairly burns with indignation against this monstrous evil. According to Brandt's quotation of him, here is what Lincoln said:
"As long as God gives me a heart to feel, a brain to think, or a hand to execute my will, I devote it against that power which has attempted to use the machinery of the courts to destroy the rights and character of an American citizen. But there is a thing which is very certain; it is, that if the American people could learn what I know of the fierce hatred of the generality of the priests of Rome against our institutions, our schools, our most sacred rights, and our so dearly bought liberties, they would drive them away, tomorrow, from among us, or would shoot them as traitors . . . .
"The history of the last thousand years tells us that wherever the Church of Rome is not a dagger to pierce the bosom of a free nation, she is a stone to her neck, and a ball to her feet, to paralyze her and prevent her advance in the ways of civilization, science, intelligence, happiness, and liberty.
"I do not pretend to be a prophet. But though not a prophet, I see a very dark cloud on our horizon. And that dark cloud is coming from Rome. It is filled with tears of blood. It will rise and increase, till its flanks will be torn by a flash of lightning, followed by a fearful peal of thunder. Then a cyclone such as the world has never seen, will pass over this country, spreading ruin and desolation from north to south. After it is over, there will be long days of peace and prosperity; for popery, with its Jesuits and merciless Inquisition, will have been forever swept away from our country. Neither I nor you, but our children, will see those things."
Whether Lincoln was right as a prophet or not matter little but that he recognized the inherent dangers to the American freedoms in the very nature of Catholicism is significant Perhaps his knowledge and his outspoken feelings on the subject may have contributed something at last to his untimely death. For Dr. Brandt in his same book (page 458) cites the following interesting facts:
John Wilkes Booth, Lincoln's murderer, was a devout and practicing Catholic. Hunted down and killed after the assassination, he died with a medal of the Virgin Mary clasped tightly in his hands.
The plot for Lincoln's murder was planned in the home of Mrs. Surratt, a Roman Catholic. There is considerable doubt as to whether Mrs. Surratt herself was in on the plot (although she was hanged for it); but there is no doubt as to the guilt of her son, John H. Surratt. When the truth began to become known, John Surratt fled to Rome and was concealed and protected by the Pope's own orders.
Dr. Mudd, who set Booth's leg, was a Roman Catholic. Mr. Lloyd, who kept the carbine that Booth wanted for protection, was a Roman Catholic.
Garrett, in whose barn Booth took refuge, was a Roman Catholic.
Lincoln's assassination was announced by Roman Catholics at St. Joseph, Minnesota, forty miles from a railroad and eighty miles from the nearest telegraph, more than twelve hours before it occurred. This fact is established in history, and is one of the most puzzling and bizarre occurrences ever to intrigue the historians. The only logical explanation that seems to make sense is that the assassination was a well-laid Catholic plot, and the priests of St. Joseph were well aware of it, but made a slip in their timing of the announcement.
There is only one weapon more potent than Catholicism. It is not the military, and it is not the legislative processes; that weapon is truth. The truth of God's teaching will overcome the evil of this great heresy. But that truth must be known — and taught.