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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 56.djvu/595

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A SURVIVAL OF MEDIEVAL CREDULITY.

my many blasphemies! Pardon all the evil I have wrought!' I passed the night in prayer, and resolved on the next day to seek absolution for my sins." He retired from the editorship of the République Anti-Clericale, and handed in his resignation at a meeting of the "Anti-Clerical League," of which he was the founder and hitherto the most active member, when he had the satisfaction of being denounced by the presiding officer as a comedian and scoundrel. No one of his former colleagues believed in his sincerity, and yet every one was puzzled to understand the strategic purpose of this retrograde movement. The general impression was that he had been bribed. "You can't fool us by your abjuration!" they exclaimed. "The fact is, you have received a large sum of money from the Vatican." He does not seem to have attempted to refute these charges, nor did he permit them to divert him from the execution of his deep-laid plot. With hypocritical humility, he made full confession to the papal nuncio in Paris, Monsignore Di Rende, who, after subjecting him to several days' penance, embraced him with joy and released him from all excommunications and ecclesiastical censures.

Taxil now began to issue his Complete Revelations concerning Freemasonry, in four volumes, the ostensible object of which was to expose the secret and sacrilegious rites of this order as an organized system of devil-worship, thus confirming by the testimony of an eyewitness the assertions of the Popes, and proving that their decrees and decisions on this point had been bulls in the ecclesiastical and not in the Irish sense of the term. This work, although a mere tissue of fabrications, was greeted by the Catholic press and priesthood with exultation, as an authentic narration containing positive and irrefutable proofs of the diabolic character of the Masonic mysteries. The members of this fraternity, says Taxil, regard the God of the Catholics as an evil principle—a crafty, jealous, and cruel genius, a supernal tyrant, and archenemy of human happiness. Opposed to him is Lucifer, the good genius, the perennial source of virtue and wisdom, the spirit of freedom, and the friend of mankind. For this reason, in the high-grade lodges Lucifer, the reputed father of Cain, Canaan, and Hiram, is adored, under different names indicative of the Supreme Being, as the God of Nature, and the great architect of the universe. In short, while modern freethinking is atheistic and begets a skepticism which, even when not denying God, does not care for him. Freemasonry is essentially a Satanic cult. These words give the sum and substance of the supposititious disclosures which excited such intense joy in the clerical camp. In 1887, when Taxil was received in solemn audience by Leo XIII, "My son," asked the Pope, "what dost thou