Newark Daily Advertiser - February 14, 1853

Correction of Misstatements of Catholic Discipline - Father Patrick Moran

My communication in last Friday's Daily was written not with a view to elicit a religious controversy, but to correct misstatements of Catholic discipline, which, through often before refuted, are still reiterated again and again, with as much assurance as if they were Gospel truths, by writers concealing their names, and thereby avoiding the responsibility of their unfounded assertions. Mr. S. B. Goodenow, (with whom I have not the honor of being acquainted,) seems to misunderstand my motive, and insinuates that I have submitted the principles of my Church for the purpose of being discussed by an enlightened public. Such is not the case. My only object was to show that the Catholic Church, in rejecting the Protestant Bible, does not prohibit the reading of the Sacred Scriptures, and that her discipline in regard to their interpretation differs from that of Protestant sects only in the fact that she openly avows her principle of action whilst they deny in theory what they observe in practice. The comparison had been previously made by a writer in the Daily and erroneously stated, and in correcting the misstatement I have only exercised a privilege which I believe I enjoy as well as every other citizen. Without meaning offence to any one, I therefore leave it to the option of the "great public," whom Mr. Goodenow represents, to exercise themselves according to their good pleasure in the "free discussion" of my communication; they may correct to suit their own views just as freely and unequivocally, as I have expressed what I believe King James' Bible to be; whatever they think wrong in my statements I will not quarrel with them about that. I do not retract one word. I only reserve to myself the right of correcting any misrepresentation of my words or doctrine they may happen to make.

On my objecting to a similar charge about 5 or 6 years since, this same subject was discussed in the columns of the Daily, by the Rev. Mr. Prime and the undersigned. A few texts of the Bible, (Heb. XI: 21, and 1 Cor. IX: 5) selected by my Reverend opponent, were then critically examined and resulted in the full conviction of my mind, and I believe of the minds of many others, that the Protestant translation did not express the true meaning of the original, but rather the peculiar views of Protestants on certain points of doctrine, on which they differ from Catholics. These, and with the suppression of several books and parts of books contained in the Latin Vulgate, and held as canonical by the Holy Catholic Church "The pillar and ground of truth," are in my estimation sufficient grounds to substantiate the charge of corruption and mutilation. Either to add or take from the record of God's revealed Truth, is certainly to corrupt it; hence the rejection of any portion of the sacred cannon of the Scriptures, implies also a corruption. It may be proper to name a few of the books rejected. The Book of Tobias, of Judith, part of the Book of Hester, &c. These reasons, tho' conclusive to my mind, and satisfactory to the whole Catholic Church, I am aware will not be so to Mr. Goodenow, and those who think with him. I will be told, forsooth, that these books are Apocryphal, that some were not admitted by the Jews, and others were rejected by some early Christians, their contents will be condemned and all manner of hard things said about them; but how far can all that reconcile the difference? We may quote on both sides, as many before us have done, hosts of learned writers, both Catholic and Protestant, well versed in biblical criticism, but with what effect? In a word, all the changes that have ever been rung on the bells of polemical discussion may be made again to tinkle in our ears, and produce no other effect than to display some little learning, and perhaps gratify some little vanity, in exhibiting our intimacy with the early fathers of the church; but we would be still as far from any logical adjustment of differences as we are at this moment. And why? Because there is no final judge inasmuch as it is at present the subject of dispute. "The great public," cannot be the judge, inasmuch as the very decision even if they could agree upon a verdict would upset the protestant principle of private interpretation. Mr. Goodenow will therefore please, as he has though proper to state the case for litigation and summon his jury of the "great public," be good enough to appoint also the judge. If I approve of his worship, I shall have no objection to join issue before his tribunal. Until then he may turn as many tables and chairs as he like on the Douay or any other Bible, and I will remain most respectfully his humble servant.

Father Patrick Moran
St. John's Roman Catholic Church


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