Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 53.djvu/59

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
47
WITCHCRAFT IN BAVARIA.

deceased priests or, on extraordinary occasions, by holy angels sent for that purpose. The feasts and fasts prescribed by the Catholic Church are observed there; in this respect "the most perfect order prevails in purgatory" Indeed, he seems to think that in no spot on the surface of the earth are the offices so well done and the conduct of the worshipers so earnest and exemplary as in this subterranean place of expiation on the very confines of hell. It is no wonder that under such circumstances there should be "kindled in their glowing breasts an ardent longing for mansions in the skies"

In speaking of the final judgment. Professor Bautz refers to the resurrection of the Virgin Mary and her ascension to heaven as incontestable historical facts and describes these events in all their details. The apostles, he informs us, were caught up into the air, wherever they happened to be, and transported to Jerusalem, the scene of her "glorious departure" On their arrival they saw angels and heard the celestial hosts singing psalms. The body of the Virgin Mother was buried at Gethsemane and escorted thither by apostles and angels, the latter continuing to sing at her grave for the next three days. On the third day Thomas also made his appearance, this delay being due probably to the difficulty attending his aërial transportation on account of the heavy burden of doubt resting upon the mind of the inveterate skeptic. He was welcomed, however, by the other apostles, who took him to the tomb in order to show him the body of the deceased, when lo! it was no longer there; only the shroud lay on the ground and "emitted an indescribable perfume"

It would be tedious, as well as superfluous, to cumber our pages with further citations. These few examples will suffice to show the kind of academical instruction and intellectual discipline imparted to young men in such institutions of learning as the one at Münster, in which Professor Bautz is a bright and shining light. What wonder, then, that priests, who have been prepared for their sacred calling by having their minds crammed with stuff of this sort, and who have been taught to accept Tertullian's test of truth, "Credo quia absurdum" as the highest law of evidence and to make the absurdity of any statement the ground of its credibility, should be full of superstitious notions, especially as regards our relations to the invisible world and the agency of the devil in human affairs!"[1]


  1. Since this article was written, a distinguished Catholic theologian, Dr. Hermann Schell, Professor of Apologetics in the University of Würzburg, has published a book entitled Der Katholizismus als Prinzip des Fortschritts, in which he ascribes the Catholic clergy's "inferiority in the independent exercise of their reason" to the same cause—namely, the pernicious character of their theological training, involving the sacrifice of the intellect to the dictates of ecclesiastical authority. In this connection he refers to the "revelations of Miss Diana Vaughan," and the credulity with which they were received by the clergy, as a recent illustration of the results of such teaching. The ease with which the representatives of the Romish hierarchy, from the infallible Pope and his cardinals down to the humblest country vicar, fell into the snare laid by Leo Taxil and his confederate?, ought to serve as a serious warning and lead to educational reform.