Thursday, 28 November 2013

SUPPRESSION OF RELIGIOUS LIBERTY IN GERMANY.

To the Editor of the Daily News, 

Sir—The fate of our Protestant country is closely connected with the fate of your own ; you, therefore, cannot avoid feeling the deepest interest in the encroachment of Popery on our ancient religious liberties, and in the suppression of the new reformation in Germany, which by the Pope and the despots in this very moment is going on. I speak of the "German Catholic Church" or of the "free parishes," whose existence is now at stake; it is the existence of many thousand parishes and schools throughout the whole of Germany.

Protestant Prussia having yielded complete submission to Catholic Austria, Popery bursts rapidly in and overflows all Protestant parts of Germany. Under various names the Jesuits are kindly received by the governments in their dominions, and rewarded beforehand for their services, by rich donations of landed property. The King of Prussia, the grandson of the philosopher Frederick the Great, is completely in the hands of the Catholic retrograde party. So the police and the army of Prussia are in the service of the dark and sanguinary plans of Rome, and nobody in England would imagine the persecution to which Protestant clergymen must submit, who are reluctant against preaching from their chairs in favour of court-martials and breaking of oaths, the two favourite measures of the German courts. In the first line of persecution are placed the "German Catholic parishes" founded since 1844. Having proceeded by successful agitation within the walls of the Roman Catholic Church, of course they are hated above all by the ruling Jesuits.

It was very natural of Metternich to declare criminals the partisans of these parishes, and to banish them from Austria. But since the revolution of 1848 a great many "German Catholic reformed parishes" in Austria and Bavaria came into existence ; and they were fully entitled to do so, as every one of our thirty four sovereigns solemnly, upon their oaths, warranted absolute religious liberty to their subjects. But now in the course of the counter revolution a real hunting up of all these parishes, who altogether may consist of about a million of people, has begun.

In Austria they are no longer allowed to worship or to meet. Their clergymen or church-wardens are imprisoned or driven out of the country. The clergyman of the parish, at Vienna, is declared insane by the Catholic clergy, and so confined in a madhouse.     

In Prussia, the government is more cowardly, but not less cruel. Last January the ministry of that chief Protestant  country, on the continent, held, in a privy council, the deliberation whether they should destroy, at once, the "free religion unions," or kill them by-and-by, by measures of force. The council decided for the latter way. So the Prussian government endeavours to please the Pope, and-the Czar. Since 1845, of course, in these parishes, numerous marriages have been contracted. The books of the parishes, and the statements of those contracted marriages, were recognised by the authorities. Now, suddenly, the government declares all those marriages to be no better than concubinage.

Mr. Editor—Call into your mind the confusion and the alarm which, by this diabolical measure, are brought into thousands of honest homesteads; fancy the trials which must originate from it, the spoliations of the fortunes of so many innocent children, the offsprings of such marriages, if dishonest judges take up this measure of the government as a law of the country. And you can rely upon it that they will do so, poor Germany having no other source of law besides the wretched souls of those governors. And they are not satisfied by disturbing the sacred home of these unhappy families, they persecute every individual of these parishes, from his cradle to his grave, in every instance of his lifetime,the new-born infant, if it is not brought immediately to a state church parson, is picked up by the royal gens d'armerie, taken to a state church, and there prepared for the blessings of eternity; for there is the command of his Majesty, the grandson of Frederick the Great.

The worship, of the large parishes having been in existence for more than six years, was not at once prohibited. Riots were apprehended. But there was a police measure at hand. The government took away from them the chapels which were lent to them by their Protestant fellow-citizens. So it happened to the parishes at Berlin and at Breslau. To the small parishes the command of prohibition at once was handed over. The Lord's Supper of free parishes has been punished in several towns by imprisonment. So it happened in Konigsberg. Public officers, who were members of free churches, have been dismissed. Even the support of the poor children of those parishes is forbidden and the schools which the free churches had erected are shut up. In Breslau, where, to the free parish, belong 10,000 souls, the Ladies' Union proposed a public auction of objects which they themselves had worked, for the benefit of poor children. The Berlin Government prohibited it. At Breslau and at Nadhausen, the "children's gardens" (Kindergaerten] of the "Ladies' Union" are dissolved What do you think these gardens are that they should frighten that warlike Prussian Government? The Kindergaerten are playing-rooms and gardens for young children, from three to seven years, in order to be educated there by playing together, under the superintendence of members of the " Ladies' Union" (Frauen Verein). Indeed the Pope could find no better tool for his destructive purposes, than this Protestant king and his abominable government.

And do you not think, sir, there could be any connexion between the conversion of the King of Prussia and the papal invasion on England? I think Lord John Russell knew real facts when he stated in parliament that there was a wide-spread conspiracy against all European liberty and religious freedom and enlightenment. Was it not close after the Olmutz meeting and the glorious battle of Bronzell or the shameful submission of Prussia to that Jesuitic-Austrian dominion, when Cardinal Wiseman made his appearance at London? And do you not think the Jesuits will gain their ends better in Great Britain, where such powerful superstitions of every kind support them, as soon as they have   thoroughly subdued that country, which is the cradle of the Reformation and of so many distinguished men of art and science? The destinies of all nations are now so closely connected together, that there is left but one general home of humanity. Let the light of the continent be quenched, and England will soon be covered by the darkest night.   

The free Catholic church, an offspring of the German scientific progress, is the most powerful enemy of Papacy and Jesuitism. It takes away from them the people, the families, the children, the schools. Shall the free Protestant people of England and America sleep, meanwhile this new reformation in their motherland of Germany is crushed by the bloody hands of senseless despots? Let them raise their powerful cry of just indignation. Let us have their sympathy in our struggle for death or life of human society in the continent, Let them remember Cromwell, who protected the persecuted Huguenots in France. It is now time to awake and to join us.

And so we come to practical proposition. All free parishes of the European continent, and of the United States of North America, have to submit themselves to a "united committee," which resides at this moment in London, in order to pursue the struggle against Jesuitism and religious oppression, with combined and well-directed force. The united committee appeals to the sympathy of the English people, and appeals to every one who is a friend of religious liberty and of the progress of humanity, to support their labour and to join them.

I am, &c., 

JOHANNES RONGE,

Lower Mount Cottage, Lower Heath. 

Hampstead.

Empire 13 January 1852, 

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