Auricular Confession -- A Deep Pit of Perdition for
IT was some time after our dear Mary had been buried. The terrible
and mysterious cause of her death was known only to God and to myself.
Though her loving mother was still weeping over her grave, as usual, she
had soon been forgotten by the greatest part of those who had known her;
but she was constantly present to my mind. I never entered the
confessional-box without hearing her solemn, though so mild voice,
telling me, "There must be, somewhere, something wrong in the
auricular confession. Twice I have been destroyed by my confessors; and
I have known several others who have been destroyed in the same
More than once, when her voice was ringing in my ears from her tomb,
I had shed bitter tears on the profound and unfathomable degradation
into which I, with the other priests, had to fall in the
confessional-box. For many, many times, stories as deplorable as that of
this unfortunate girl were confessed to me by city, as well as country
One night I was awakened by the rumbling noise of thunder, when I
heard some one knocking at the door. I hastened out of bed to ask who
was there. The answer was that the Rev. Mr.—- was dying, and that he
wanted to see me before his death. I dressed myself, and was soon on the
highway. The darkness was fearful; and often, had it not been for the
lightning which was almost constantly tearing the clouds, we should not
have known where we were. After a long and hard journey through the
darkness and the storm, we arrived at the house of the dying priest. I
went directly to his room, and really found him very low: he could
hardly speak. With a sign of his hand he bade his servant girl, and a
young man who were there, to go out, and leave him alone with me.
Then he said, in a low voice, "Was it you who prepared poor Mary
"Yes, sir," I answered.
"Please tell me the truth. Is it a fact that she died the death
of a reprobate, and that her last words were, 'Oh my God! I am lost!'
I answered him, "As I was the confessor of that girl, and we
were talking together on matters which pertained to her confession at
the very moment that she was unexpectedly summoned to appear before God,
I cannot answer your question in any way; please, then, excuse me if I
cannot say any more on that subject: but tell me who can have assured
you that she died the death of a reprobate!"
"It was her own mother," answered the dying man. "Last
week she came to visit me, and when she was alone with me, with many
tears and cries, she said how her poor child had refused to receive the
last sacraments, and how her last cry was, 'I am lost!'" She added
that that cry, 'Lost!' was pronounced with such a frightful power that
it was heard through all the house."
"If her mother told you that, I replied, you may believe what
you please about the way that poor child died. I cannot say a word—you
know it—about the matter."
"But if she is lost," rejoined the old, dying priest,
"I am the miserable one who has destroyed her. She was an angel of
purity when she came to the convent. Oh! dear Mary, if you are lost, I
am a thousandfold more lost! Oh, my God, my God! what will become of me?
I am dying; and I am lost!"
It was indeed an awful thing to see that old sinner wringing his
hands, and rolling on his bed, as if he had been on burning coals, with
all the marks of the most frightful despair on his face, crying, "I
am lost! Oh, my God, I am lost!"
I was glad that the claps of thunder which were shaking the house,
and roaring without ceasing, prevented the people outside the room from
hearing the cries of desolation from the priest, whom every one
considered a great saint.
When it seemed to me his terror had somewhat subsided, and that his
mind was calmed a little, I said to him, " My dear friend, you must
not give yourself up to such despair. Our merciful God has promised to
forgive the repenting sinner who comes to Him, even at the last hour of
the day. Address yourself to the Virgin Mary, she will ask and obtain
"Do you not think that it is too late to ask pardon? The doctor
has honestly warned me that death is very near, and I feel that I am
just now dying. Is it not too late to ask and obtain pardon?" asked
the dying priest.
"No! my dear sir, it is not too late, if you sincerely regret
your sins. Throw yourself into the arms of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph; make
your confession without any more delay; I will absolve you, and you will
But I have never made a good confession. Will you help me to make a
It was my duty to grant him his request, and the rest of the night
was spent by me in hearing the confession of his whole life.
I do not want to give many particulars of the life of that priest.
First: It was then that I understood why poor Mary was absolutely
unwilling to mention the iniquities which she had committed with him.
They were simply surpassingly horrible—unmentionable. No human tongue
can express them—few human ears would consent to hear them.
The second thing that I am bound in conscience to reveal is almost
incredible, but it is nevertheless true. The number of married and
unmarried females he had heard in the confessional was about 1,500, of
whom he said he had destroyed or scandalised at least 1,000 by his
questioning them on most depraved things, for the simple pleasure of
gratifying his own corrupted heart, without letting them know anything
of his sinful thoughts and criminal desires towards them. But he
confessed that he had destroyed the purity of ninety-five of those
penitents, who had consented to sin with him.
And would to God that this priest had been the only one whom I have
known to be lost through the auricular confession. But, alas! how few
are those who have escaped the snares of the tempter compared with those
who have perished? I have heard the confessions of more than 200
priests, and to say the truth, as God knows it, I must declare, that
only twenty-one had not to weep over the secret or public sins committed
through the irresistibly corrupting influences of auricular confession!
I am now more than seventy-one years old, and in a short time I shall
be in my grave. I shall have to give an account of what I now say. Well,
it is in the presence of my great Judge, with my tomb before my eyes,
that I declare to the world that very few—yes, very few—priests
escape from falling into the pit of the most horrible moral depravity
the world has ever known, through the confession of females.
I do not say this because I have any had feelings against those
priests; God knows that I have none. The only feelings I have are of
supreme compassion and pity. I do not reveal these awful things to make
the world believe that the priests of Rome are a worse set of men than
the rest of the innumerable fallen children of Adam; no; I do not
entertain any such views; for everything considered, and weighed in the
balance of religion, charity and common sense—I think that the priests
of Rome are far from being worse than any other set of men who would be
thrown into the same temptations, dangers, and unavoidable occasions of
For instance, let us take lawyers, merchants, or farmers, and,
preventing them from living with their lawful wives, let us surround
each of them from morning to night, by ten, twenty, and sometimes more,
beautiful women and tempting girls, who would speak to them of things
which would pulverize a rock of Scotch granite, and you will see how
many of those lawyers, merchants, or farmers would come out of that
terrible moral battlefield without being mortally wounded.
The cause of the supreme—I dare say incredible, though
unsuspected—immorality of the priests of Rome is a very evident and
logical one. By the diabolical power of the Pope, the priest is put out
of the ways which God has offered to the generality of men to be honest,
upright and holy.* And after the Pope has deprived them of the grand,
holy, and Divine (in this sense that it comes directly from God) remedy
which God has given to man against his own concupiscence—holy
marriage, they are placed unprotected and unguarded
* "To avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and
let every woman have her own husband." (I Cor., vii. 2.)
in the most perilous, difficult, and irresistible moral dangers which
human ingenuity or depravity can conceive. Those unmarried men are
forced, from morning to night, to be in the midst of beautiful girls,
and tempting, charming women, who have to tell them things which would
melt the hardest steel. How can you expect that they will cease to be
men, and become stronger than angels?
Not only are the priests of Rome deprived by the devil of the only
remedy which God has given to help them to withstand, but in the
confessional they have the greatest facility which can possibly be
imagined for satisfying all the bad propensities of fallen human nature.
In the confessional they know those who are strong, and they also
know those who are weak among the females by whom they are surrounded;
they know who would resist any attempt from the enemy; and they know who
are ready—nay, who are longing after the deceitful charms of sin. If
they still retain the fallen nature of man, what a terrible hour for
them? what frightful battles inside the poor heart? what superhuman
effort and strength would be required to come out a conqueror from that
battlefield, where a David and a Samson have fallen mortally wounded'?
It is simply an act of supreme stupidity on the part of the
Protestant, as well as Catholic public, to suppose or suspect, or hope
that the generality of the priests can stand such a trial. The pages of
the history of Rome herself are filled with unanswerable proofs that the
great generality of the confessors fall. If it were not so, the miracle
of Joshua, stopping the march of the sun and the moon, would be childish
play compared with the miracle which would stop and reverse all the laws
of our common fallen nature in the hearts of the 100,000 Roman Catholic
confessors of the Church of Rome. Were I attempting to prove, by public
facts, what I know of the horrible depravity caused by the
confessional-box among the priests of France, Canada, Spain, Italy, and
England, I should have to write many big volumes in folio. For brevity's
sake, I will speak only of Italy. I take that country, because, being
under the very eyes of their infallible and most holy (?) pontiff, being
in the land of daily miracles of painted Madonnas, who weep and turn
their eyes left and right, up and down, in a most marvellous way, being
in the land of miraculous medals and heavenly spiritual favors,
constantly flowing from the chair of St. Peter, the confessors in Italy,
seeing every year the miraculous melting of the blood of St. January
having in their midst the hair of the Virgin Mary, and a part of her
shirt, are in the best possible circumstances to be strong, faithful and
holy. Well, let us hear the testimony of an eye-witness, a contemporary,
and an unimpeachable witness about the way the confessors deal with the
penitent females in the holy, apostolical, infallible (?) Church of
The witness we will hear is of the purest blood of the princes of
Italy. Her name is Henrietta Carracciolo, daughter of the Marshal
Carracciolo, Governor of the Province of Pari, in Italy. Let us hear
what she says of the Father Confessors, after twenty years of personal
experience in different nunneries of Italy, in her remarkable book,
"Mysteries of the Neapolitan Convents," pp. 150, 151, 152:
"My confessor came the following day, and I disclosed to him the
nature of the troubles which beset me. Later in the day, seeing that I
had gone down to the place where we used to receive the holy communion,
called Communichino, the conversa of my aunt rang the bell for the
priest to come with the pyx.* He was a man of about fifty years of age,
very corpulent, with a rubicund face, and a type of physiognomy as
vulgar as it was repulsive.
"I approached the little window to receive the sacred wafer on
my tongue, with my eyes closed,
* A silver box containing consecrated bread, which is believed to be
the real body, blood and divinity of Jesus Christ as is customary. I
placed it on my tongue, and, as I drew back, I felt my cheeks caressed.
I opened my eyes, but the priest had withdrawn his hand, and, thinking I
had been deceived, I gave it no more attention.
"On the next occasion, forgetful of what had occurred before, I
received the sacrament with closed eyes again, according to precept.
This time I distinctly felt my chin caressed again, and on opening my
eyes suddenly, I found the priest gazing rudely upon me with a sensual
smile on his face.
"There could be no longer any doubt; these overtures were not
the result of accident.
"The daughter of Eve is endowed with a greater degree of
curiosity than man. It occurred to me to place myself in a contiguous
apartment, where I could observe whether this libertine priest was
accustomed to take similar liberties with the nuns. I did so, and was
fully convinced that only the old left him without being
"All the others allowed him to do with them as he pleased, and
even, in taking leave of him, did so with the utmost reverence.
" 'Is this the respect,' said I to myself, 'that the priests and
the spouses of Christ have for their sacrament of the Eucharist? Shall
the poor novice be enticed to leave the world in order to learn, in this
school, such lessons of self-respect and chastity?' "
Page 163, we read: "The fanatical passion of the nuns for their
confessors, priests, and monks, exceeds belief. That which especially
renders their incarceration endurable is the illimitable opportunity
they enjoy of seeing and corresponding with those persons with whom they
are in love. This freedom localizes and identifies them with the convent
so closely that they are unhappy, when, on account of any serious
sickness, or while preparing to take the veil, they are obliged to pass
some months in the bosom of their own families, in company with their
fathers, mothers, brothers, and sisters. It is not to be presumed that
these relatives would permit a young girl to pass many hours, each day,
in a mysterious colloquy with a priest, or a monk, and maintain with him
this correspondence. This is a liberty which they can enjoy in the
"Many are the hours which the Heloise spends in the
confessional, in agreeable pastime with her Abelard in cassock.
"Others, whose confessors happen to be old, have in addition a
spiritual director, with whom they amuse themselves a long time every
day tete-a-tete, in the parlatoria. When this is not enough, they
simulate an illness, in order to have him alone in their own
Page 166, we read: "Another nun, being somewhat infirm, her
priest confessed her in her own room. After a time, the invalid penitent
found herself in what is called an interesting situation, on which
account, the physician declaring that her complaint was dropsy, she was
sent away from the convent.
Page 167: "A young educanda was in the habit of going down,
every night, to the convent burying-place, where, by a corridor which
communicated with the vestry, she entered into a colloquy with a young
priest attached to the church. Consumed by an amorous passion, she was
not deterred by bad weather or the fear of being discovered.
"She heard a great noise, one night, near her. In the thick
darkness which surrounded her, she imagined that she saw a viper winding
itself round her feet.. She was so much overcome by fright, that she
died from the effects of it a few months later."
Page 168: "One of the confessors had a young penitent in the
convent. Every time he was called to visit a dying sister, and on that
account passed the night in the convent, this nun would climb over the
partition which separated her room from his, and betake herself to the
master and director of her soul.
Another, during the delirium of a typhoid fever from which she was
suffering, was constantly imitating the action of sending kisses to her
confessor, who stood by the side of her bed. He, covered with blushes on
account of the presence of strangers, held a crucifix before the eyes of
the penitent, and exclaimed in a commiserating tone:—"'Poor
thing! kiss thy own spouse!'"
Page 168: "Under the bonds of secresy, an educanda of fine form
and pleasing manners, and of a noble family, confided to me the fact of
her having received, from the hands of her confessor, a very interesting
book (as she described it) which related to the monastic life. I
expressed the wish to know the title, and she, before showing it to me,
took the precaution to lock the door.
It proved to be the Monaca, by Dalembert, a book as all know, filled
with the most disgusting obscenity.
Page 169: "I received once, from a monk, a letter in which he
signified to me that he had hardly seen me when 'he conceived the sweet
hope of becoming my confessor.' An exquisite of the first water, a fop
of scents and euphuism, could not have employed phrases more
melodramatic, to demand whether he might hope or despair."
Page 169: "A priest who enjoyed the reputation of being an
incorruptible sacerdote, when he saw me pass through the parlatoria,
used to address me as follows: —
"'Ps, dear, come here; Ps, Ps, come here!'
"These words, addressed to me by a priest, were nauseous in the
"Finally, another priest, the most annoying of all for his
obstinate assiduity, sought to secure my affections at all cost. There
was not an image profane poetry could afford him, nor a sophism he could
borrow from rhetoric, nor wily interpretation he could give to the Word
of God, which he did not employ to convert me to his wishes. Here is an
example of his logic:—
" 'Fair daughter,' said he to me one day, 'knowest thou who God
"'He is the Creator of the Universe,' I answered drily.
"'No,—no,—no,—no! that it is not enough,' he replied,
laughing at my ignorance. 'God is love, but love in the abstract, which
receives its incarnation in the mutual affection of two hearts which
idolise each other. You, then, must not only love God in His abstract
existence, but must also love Him in His incarnation, that is, in the
exclusive love of a man who adores you. Quod Deim est amor, nee
colitur nisi amando.'
"'Then,' I replied, 'a woman who adores her own lover would
adore Divinity itself?'
"Assuredly,' reiterated the priest, over and over again, taking
courage from my remark, and chuckling at what seemed to him to be the
effect of his catechism.
" 'In that case,' said I, hastily, "I should select for my
lover rather a man of the world than a priest.'
"God preserve you, my daughter! God preserve you from that sin!'
added my interlocutor, apparently frightened, 'To love a man of the
world, a sinner, a wretch, an unbeliever, an infidel! Why, you would go
immediately to hell. The love of a priest is a sacred love, while that
of a profane man is infamy; the faith of a priest emanates from that
granted to the holy Church, while that of the profane is false—false
as the vanity of the world. The priest purifies his affections daily in
communion with the Holy Spirit; the man of the world (if he ever knows
love at all) sweeps the muddy crossings of the street with it day and
"But it is the heart, as well as the conscience, which prompts
me to fly from the priests,' I replied.
"'Well, if you cannot love me because I am your confessor, I
will find means to assist you to get rid of your scruples. We will place
the name of Jesus Christ before all our affectionate demonstrations, and
thus our love will be a grateful offering to the Lord, and will ascend
fragrant with perfume to Heaven, like the smoke of the incense of the
sanctuary. Say to me, for example, "I love you in Jesus Christ;
last night I dreamed of you in Jesus Christ;" and you will have a
tranquil conscience, because in doing this you will sanctify every
transport of your love."
Several circumstances not indicated here, by the way, compelled me to
come in frequent contact with this priest afterwards, and I do not,
therefore, give his name."
"Of a very respectable monk, respectable alike for his age and
his moral character, I enquired what signified the prefixing the name of
Jesus Christ to amorous apostrophes."
"It is,' he said, 'an expression used by a horrible sect, and
one unfortunately only too numerous, which, thus abusing the name of our
Lord, permits to its members the most unbridled licentiousness."
And it is my sad duty to say, before the whole world, that I know
that by far the greater part of the confessors in America, Spain,
France, and England, reason and act just like that licentious Italian
Christian nations! If you could know what will become of the virtue
of your fair daughters if you allow secret or public slaves of Rome
under the name of Ritualists to restore the auricular confession, with
what a storm of holy indignation you would defeat their plans!
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