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Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 10.djvu/50

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MASSACHUSETTS


2S


MASSACHUSETTS


36H pupils. In tin- Hincoso of Siiringlield there are 24,542 pupils in .")(i parochial schools.

D. Lines- affecting RcUgian iinil Morals. — Elsewhere in this article we have traced colonial laws and legisla- tion. The Constitution of the United States gave religious liberty. The State Constitution of 17S0 im- po.sed a religiou.s test as a qualification for office and it authorized the legislature to tax the towns, if neces- sary, " for t he sujiport and maintenance of public Prot- estant teachers of piety, religion, and morality". The former law was repealed in 1S21, and the latter in ls:i;5. Complete religious equality has existed since the latter date. The ob.servaiiec of the Lord's Day is amply safeguarded, but entertainments for charitable purpo.ses given by charitable or religious societies are permitted. The keeping of open shop or engaging in work or business not for charitalilc purposes is forbid- den. M.any of the rigid laws of colonial days are yet unrepealed. Tliere is no law authorizing the use of prayer in the Legislature; custom, however, has made It a rule to open each session with prayer. This same custom has become the rule in opening the several sit- tings of the higher courts. Catholic priests have offi- ciated at times at the former. The present Arch- bishop of Boston offered prayer at tlie opening of at least one term of the Superior Court, being the first Catholic to perform tliis office. The courts and the judiciary have full power to administer oaths.

The legal holidays in Massachusetts are 22 Feb- ruary, 19 April (Patriots' Day), 30 May, 4 July, the first Monday in September (Labor Day), 12 Oct. (Columbus Day), Thanksgiving Day, and Christ- mas Day. The list does not include Good Fri- day. The seal of confession is not recognized by law, although in practice sacramental confession is generally treated as a privileged conversation. Incorporation of churches and of charitable institu- tions is authorized by statute. Such organizations may make their own laws and elect their own officers. Every religious society so organized shall constitute a body corporate with the powers given to corporations. Section 44, chapter 3fi, of the Public Statutes provide that the Roman Catholic archbishop or bishop, the vicar-general of the diocese, and the pastor of the church for the time being, or a majority of these, may associate with themselves two laymen, communicants of the church, may form a body corporate, the signers of the certificate of incorporation becoming the trus- tees. Such corporations may receive, hold, and man- age all real and personal property belonging to the church, sell, fran.sfcr, hold trusts, bequests, etc., but all iiroperty belonging to any church or parish, or held by such a corporation, shall never exceed one hundred thous:ind dollars, exclusive of church buildings. All church proi)erty and houses of religious worship (ex- cept that part of such houses appropriated for pur- poses other than religious worship or instruction) are exempt from taxation. This exemption extends to the property of literary, benevolent, charitable, and .scientific institutions, and temperance societies; also to legacies, cemeteries, and tombs. Clergymen are ex- empt from .service a.s constables, from jury service, and service in the militia. Clergymen are permitted by law to have access to prisoners after death sen- tence, and are among those designated as "officials" who m;iy be present at executions. The statutes pro- hibit marriage between relatives, and recognize mar- riage by civil authorities and by rablns. The statu- torv' grounds for divorce recognized are adultery, impotency, desertion continued for three consecutive years, confirmed habits of intoxication by liquor, opium, or drugs, cruel and abusive treatment; also if either party is sentenced for life to hard labour, or five or more years in state prison, jail, or house of correction. The Superior Court hears all divorce li- bels. After a decree of divorce has become alisolute, either party may marry again as if the other were


dead; except that the part.y from whom the decree was granted shall not marry within two years. The sale of intoxicating liquors is regulated by law. Each community, city, or town votes annually upon the question, whether or not licx^nce to sell liipmr sh:dl be issued in that numicipality. Special breinls are ap- pointed to regulate the conditions of such licences. The numl>er of licences that may be granted in each town or city is limited to one to each thousand jier- sons, though Boston has a limitation of one licence to each five hundred of the jxipulation. The hours of opening and closing bars are regulated by law. Any person owning projicrly can object to the granting of a licence to. sell intoxicating liquors within twenty-five feet of his prtiperly. A licence cannot be granted to sell intoxicating liquors on the same .street as, or within four hundred feet of, a public school.

E. Religious Libert;/. — In the beginning Massachu- setts was Puritan against the Catholic first, against all non-conformists to their version of established reli- gion next. The Puritan was narrow in mind and for the most part limited in education, a type of man swayed easily to extremes. England was at that pe- riod intensely anti-papal. In Massachusetts, however, the antipathy early oecame racial: first again.st the French Catholic, later against the Irish Catholic. This raciiil religious bigotry has not disappeared wholly in Massachusetts. Within the pale of the Church racial schisms have been instigated from time to time in order that the defeat of Catholicism might be accom- plished when open antagonism from without failed to accomplish the end sought. In politics it is often the effective shibboleth. Congregationalism soon took form in the colony and as early as 1631 all except Puri- tans were excluded by law from the freedom of the body politic. In 1647 the law became more specific and excluded priests from the colony. This act was reaffirmed in 1770. Bowdoin College preserves the cross and Harvard College the " Indian Dictionary" of Sebastian Rasle, the priest executed under the provi- sion of the law. In 1746 a resolution and meeting at Faneuil Hall bear testimony that Catholics must prove, as well as affirm, their loyalty to the colony. Washington himself was called upon to suppress the insult of Pope Day at the siege of Boston. Each of these events was preceded by a wave of either French or Irish immigration, a circumstance which was re- peated in the religious fanaticism of the middle of the nineteenth century. Cause and effect seem well es- tablished and too constant to be incidental. In all the various anti-Catholic uprisings, from colonial times to the present, there is not one instance where the Catho- lics were the aggressors by word or deed: their pati- ence and forbearance have always been in marked contrast to the conduct of their non-Catholic contem- poraries. In every one of the North Atlantic group of states, the Catholics now constitute the most numerous religious denomination. In Massachusetts the num- ber of the leading denominations is as follows: Catho- lics 1,373,752; Congregationalists 119,196; Baptists 80,894; Methodists 65,498; Protestant Episcopalians 51,636; Presbyterians 8559.

F. Catholic Progress. — Throughout the account of the doings among the colonists, there are references to the coming, short stay, and departure of some Irish priest or French Jesuit. In the newspaper account of the departure of the French from Boston, in 1782, it is related that the clergy and the selectmen paraded through the streets preceded by a cross-bearer. It was some fifty years later that the prosperity and activity of the Church aroused political dcmagoguery and religious bigotry. Massachusetts, as well as New York and Pliiladelphia, experienced the storm: a con- vent was burned, churches were threatened, monu- ments to revered heroes of the Church were razed, and cemeteries desecrated. The consoling memory, how- ever, of this period, is that Massachusetts furjiished