An American Indian Confronts a Protestant Minister, and Other Stories

[Taken from Catholic Gems & Pearls by Rev. J. Phelam, 1897]

Speaking of the truth, “out of the church there is no salvation,” I remember a very amusing story related by Father De Smet, the famous American missionary. “Amongst the Indians converted on the frontier of Canada,” said he, “is a certain Jean Baptiste…” This Jean Baptiste had been formerly a thief. On his conversion, the Black Robe enjoined him to make restitution of two dollars to a Calvinist minister in the neighborhood. Our man presents himself at the minister’s house, when the following dialogue ensues: “Well, what do you want?” said the preacher.

“Me rob you. Black Robe say to me, “Jean Baptiste, you give back the money.”

“What money?”

“Two dollars; me bad savage, take from you – me now good Christian; me have the water of baptism on my head; me child of the Great Spirit. Here, take the money.”

“That is well. Steal no more. Good day, Jean Baptiste.”

“Good day, not enough; me want something else.”

“And what do you want?”

“Me want a receipt.”

“A receipt! what need is there of a receipt? Did the Black Robe tell you to ask it?”

“Black Robe say nothing; Jean Baptiste [pointing at himself with his finger] want a receipt.”

“But what do you want with a receipt? You stole from me what you now give back; that is enough.”

“No, no, not enough; listen, you old, me young; you die first, me die after, you understand?”

“I do not understand; what do you mean?”

“Listen again; that will say much, that will say all. Me knock at the gate of heaven, the great chief, St. Peter, he open and he say, “That you, Jean Baptiste? What you want?”

“My chief, me want to go in the lodge of the Great Spirit.”

“And your sins?”

“Black Robe forgive them all.”

“But you rob the minister – did you give back that money? You show me your receipt.”

“Now you see how it is with poor Jean Baptiste, poor Indian with no receipt, he run all over hell to find you, because no salvation out of Black Robe’s Church.”


How Wise That Church Has Been

In his diary the Hon. Francis Adams made this entry:

“1857, March 5, Thursday – Mrs. Metcalfe is buried today from the Roman Catholic Church in Franklin Street (Boston). There was a very large attendance of judges, lawyers and friends of her family. The deep, uniform bass of the Requiem is still in my ears. Centuries speak through it. How wise that church has been, and how firm, to maintain its liturgy, its chants, its universal language, against all the assaults of time and place!”

Commenting of the efforts of an Episcopalian bishop to check conversions to Catholicity, a recent convert says: “He cannot stop the prodigal coming back. To do so he must close every Episcopal church in the country.”

Protestantism was established in England by the most systematic robbery. The endowments to churches and monastic institutions for prayers for the dead were stolen, while texts relating to prayers for the dead were stolen away from the Bible. The Second Book of Maccabees lays down that “it is a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead that they may be loosed from their sins.” In that connection it should be borne in mind that when, in 1534, Henry VIII laid hands on the monasteries and churches and confiscated their property under the guise of reformation, the Second Book of Maccabees and several similar sections were eliminated from the Bible, and the Book of Common Prayer was drawn up, and embodied the declaration that “Purgatory is a fond doctrine, vainly imagined, and is not warranted in Holy Scripture.”

A non-Catholic cannot have this firm and unwavering faith. With him it is all guess regarding the truths that God has revealed. Take for example that wonderful dogma of the Real Presence of Our Lord under the appearance of bread and wine. The words of institution are distorted, so as to mean anything but their plain, evident meaning. The two hundred different meanings given by non-Catholics to these four words, “This is My Body,” are so many guesses. This is an appalling fact.

The Anglican church is still staggering from the blows of Cardinal Newman. His influence is on the increase in England. His mental struggles when in quest of the truth are fully revealed in his books. We can trace his steps better than any other convert. His earnest study of the history of the church of the fourth and fifth centuries led him in 1844 to ask himself those stern questions: “Can I be saved in the English church? Am I in safety were I to die tonight?” And any other Episcopalian asking himself similar questions in deep sincerity would soon find himself following the “kindly light leading on,” into where truth and happiness are to be found.

In the October number of the American Ecclesiastical Review the editor discusses the permissibility of Catholics acting as organists or singers in non-Catholic churches. The editor declares that “the positive divine law forbids all conscious and direct participation in heretical worship.” This view is supported by a declaration of the sacred tribunal of the propaganda under the date of July 8, 1889. It is held that playing the organ or singing in the religious services of non-Catholics is a participation in their worship.

Every Christian family should be a miniature of the Holy Family of Nazareth. In order that it may be so it is necessary that father and mother and children should all alike be living and fruitful members of Holy Church; and that the divinely established constitution of the family should be preserved. Everything which interferes with the attainment of this ideal is forbidden: the mixed marriage which vitiates the family religion at its fountain head; the secularistic education which molds the offspring into the image of the “prince of the present world” instead of into that of the Christ child; woman’s rights, falsely so called, which dethrones the husband and father from his divinely appointed headship; and divorce, which shatters the family and exposes every one of its members to temporal and eternal ruin.

Protestants are coming to the truth very slowly. It took them nearly four hundred years to discover that the Church of Rome was a true Christian Church; in another four hundred years they will have discovered that she is the only true Christian Church.

Lady Burton died not long ago in England. She was the noble titled Catholic lady who on the death of her Protestant husband burned the manuscript of a book for which she was offered $30,000, because she considered the work indecent. She was poor, but never regretted her act. Certainly she does not regret it now.

The “Independent” says it is unchristian for Catholics to hate Protestantism. We can see how it would be unchristian to hate Protestants; but Protestantism – that is quite another thing.

An English Protestant, who did not very well like the idea of Purgatory, remarked to a Catholic: “Did you hear that the bottom fell out of Purgatory?” “Well, if it did the Protestants below must have got a great fright,” was the retort.

An Irish witness was being examined as to his knowledge of a shooting affair. “Did you see the shot fired?” the magistrate asked. “No, sir, I only heard it,” was the evasive reply. “That evidence is not satisfactory,” replied the magistrate, sternly. “Stand down!” The witness turned round to leave the box, and directly his back was turned he laughed derisively. The magistrate, indignant at this contempt of court, called him back and asked him how he dared to laugh in court. “Did you see me laugh, your honor?” queried the offender. “No, sir, but I heard you,” was the irate reply. “That evidence is not satisfactory,” said Pat, quietly, but with a twinkle in his eye. And this time everybody laughed except the magistrate.