From The Works of the Rt. Rev. Charles C. Grafton (Volume 7),
edited by B. Talbot Rogers, New York: Longmans, Green, 1914, pp. 322-345
LETTER TO THE ONEIDAS
TO THE MEMBERS OF THE ONEIDA TRIBE:
MY DEAR SONS AND DAUGHTERS IN CHRIST:
MAY the Blessing of the Good God rest on you and yours. I have you, as you well know, very near my heart. I have been with you as your Bishop nigh to twenty years. In this time we have walked together with God and have come to know and love one another. Now I am getting to be an old man. Before very long I shall enter my eightieth year. So, before I am gathered to my fathers, I want to have a heart-talk with you as my dear children. You belong to the flock over which God has made me a Bishop, and I care both for your earthly and your spiritual good. We can both be very glad that in all ways you have been blessed. Those who can recall the Reservation as it was twenty years ago must see what great gains have been made. You have better homes, better farms, better food and clothes, are better educated and the church and the hospital and parish library and mission house and the Sisters' dwelling are all things you may well be proud and thankful for. I pray God to bless you yet more and more.
And now that I may better be remembered by you when I have gone, I want you to heed my words. Love your tribe. Love the memory of its noble Christian Chiefs. Love and help one another. Don't stray away to live in cities. Live and work on your farms; there is no work more healthy or happy. Make your homes neat and cheerful and fill them with Love. Let the young men keep themselves temperate and pure and grow in all manly virtues, and give to the maidens they love a true, pure, and good love. Let them beware of liquor, which is the red man's devil and great foe. Do not let the white merchant get you to run up bills and get in debt, for then you will have to mortgage your farms, and so lose them. You have a grand Reservation and good land. Keep it as you and your fathers have. And also be true to your Church, which has so helped you and brought you all these blessings.
Having said this, I want now to leave you a letter telling you about the Church. I know you love it, but I want you, my dear Indians, to know how Christ made it, and how you may know, in this day of many sects, which is the Church Christ founded.
My letter to you will be in four parts.
The first part is about the Church.
CHRIST FOUNDED OR BEGAN THE CHURCH
Christ did not only preach and work Miracles. He did not only tell men to believe in Him, and how to be good and get to Heaven. Besides telling them this, He formed His followers into a Society. He made them, so to speak, into a Tribe, of which He was the Head or Chief.
Now this tribe, which has Christ for the Head of it, is called in the Bible," The family of Jesus Christ." Thus Christ did not only teach, but formed His followers into a tribe or family, which we call the Church. Christ might go away from our sight. This we know by His Ascension. Yet he remains with His Church, as He said, "Lo, I am with you always, unto the end of the world." Now this Church had, just like a tribe, its officers or sub-chiefs under Christ, who was the one Head or Great Chief. These were chosen by Christ. They were first twelve in number. They are known as the Apostles. Their names are given in the New Testament. They were bade by Christ to do certain things. They were to rule and teach and baptize, and to forgive sinners, and to make an offering to God, and feed the people in the Holy Communion, and they were also to ordain others who would come after them. Our Lord also gave the Twelve the Holy Ghost. In this way, He ordained or gave them power to act for Him. The Holy Spirit came down and took up His abode in the Apostles, and He has remained ever since with their successors, and He so abides in the Church unto this day.
We see thus how Christ and the Holy Spirit together made, and how they both dwell in, the Church. Their presence makes the Church a living thing.
This took place about nineteen hundred years ago, and the Church slowly grew throughout the world.
In very early timesthe second or third centuryit came to Britain, now called England. It was not founded there by the Roman Church. It existed centuries in Britain independent of Rome.1 Rome, about 596 A. D., sent a missionary there. By and by the old British Church and the Roman Mission became united. But when Rome became bad in doctrine and oppressive, the Church of England threw off the Papal yoke and became again independent. This was at the time of the Reformation, in the sixteenth century. The Church did not make a new Church, but reformed the old one. The old Church was not torn down and a new one built up in its place, but the old Church was cleansed and repaired. It was the same old Church, only restored. If anyone asks you, "Where was your Church before this time?" you can say, "Where is a man's face after it has been washed?" It is the same face as before, only made clean. It is the same house, only repaired. So at the Reformation the Church was made clean, but remained the same old Church it had been since it was founded. It came to this country. Your forefathers, becoming Christians, belonged to it, and Bishop Hobart was your Bishop.
Now God put on His Church four marks, by which it could be known. He gave it four marks which would separate it from all others. These four marks would keep us from making mistakes about it. It was just like this: when the logging men cut down a tree, before they put it into the water that is to float it down to the mill-town, they chop certain marks on each log to tell whose it is. So, when Christ put His Church into the stream of time, He marked it. He put these letters on itA. H. C. 0. These marks stand for "Apostolic," "Holy," "Catholic," "One." Any religion or body or Church that is Christ's Church will have all those four marks upon it. If they do not, it is not His Church, however good it may seem.
, to be a true part of the Church which Christ has made, it must have the mark "A" upon it. A stands for Apostles. It must have come down to us from the Apostles. If it did not come from the Apostles, it would not be Christ's Church, but some man-made society. Again: Christ gave the Apostles power to ordain others as ministers, and said He would be with such to the end of the world. We see thus that that cannot be Christ's Church which had a beginning since Christ's time, as all the sects,have. We see also that no persons have a right to call themselves ministers of Christ unless they have derived their authority from the Apostles to act for Christ. It is not enough for them to say they are inwardly called. We know that no American could go abroad to a foreign court and go to the King there and say he was inwardly called to be an Ambassador from the United States. He would not be received. He would have to bring a paper to say that the President of the United States had sent him. Just so, no one can set himself up to be an ambassador of Christ unless he has received from Christ the right to act for Christ; and can prove he has the right in the way Christ set up, which was through the Apostles. This truth is called the doctrine of the Apostolic Succession, and is so called in your Prayer Book. Now your Bishops and Clergy have their power to act for Christ as coming down to them from the Apostles themselves. They can prove this. So what they do when they ordain, or confirm, or baptize, or forgive, or bless, it is by Christ, who acts by them as His agents and does these things. We ought to be very thankful that our tribe, taught by Bishop Hobart, has this gift of an Apostolically descended ministry. Always love and support your Priest.
Another sign of the true Church is that it must have the mark "H" upon it; it must be holy. This does not mean that all the members of it are holy. We wish they were. But it tells us that the Church has all the teachings and means to make us holy, if we will use them. Those bodies who have separated themselves from the Church, like the Congregationalists, Baptists, Presbyterians, and others who left our Church about two or three hundred years ago, have lost some of these helps to be holy. They went out or seceded from the Church, and as they had no Bishops to ordain ministers, and no one who could confirm, and no priest who could absolve penitents, or consecrate and offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Altar, they gave up the old Church's teaching, and so lost these many helps. But the old Mother Church has held on to the old Faith and ministry and sacraments, and to this dear Church you belong. It is a school where we may be educated for Heaven by being made holy. And you know how many of the tribe have by their lives shown what the dear Church can do for souls. You know the saintliness of your holy pastors, of Fathers Greenough, Burleson, and C. Hill, and of many devout souls who have died in the faith and whose bodies rest on the hill. Your forefathers who came out from New York, as they were loyal to their country's flag, so they were loyal to the Church's faith, and it shone forth in their lives. They look down upon you from Heaven and pray for you, that you may in like way be faithful unto the end. As you hope to meet them in Heaven, be not separated from them on earth. Keep to your Church, for it is the one Christ founded.
Another mark of the Church is that it should be "Catholic"it should have the mark "C" on it. We say in (our Creed we believe in "the Catholic Church." This word is sometimes misunderstood. It does not mean "Roman Catholic." We are not Roman Catholics, and never will be. The word "Catholic" means "universal." The religion of Christ is a universal religion. It is for all men, all countries, all races, all times. It is to go over the world and be preached as a witness for all people.
Now, what all persons in the Apostolic Church have from the beginning and at all times and in all countries held and believed is a sure witness of what Christ taught. This is a grand truth and ought to be thought over and studied. You see that Christ, having divine knowledge of what would take place after He went away, and what His followers would come to believe, must have so taught His doctrines that the great majority of His believers would not get wrong ideas of it. He would be careful so to teach in so great a matter as religion that the majority of those who wished to know what they were to believe as His followers would not go wrong. So if we can find out what the great mass of Christians under the Apostolic ministry have always held, we shall know what Christ taught and what He wanted them to believe. This is called Catholic Doctrine, or doctrine believed by all who are members of the Apostolic Church. This is the true doctrine, for it is Christ's doctrine. It is the doctrine He taught and we teach, and what you hold.
The sectarians do not hold this. They have made up or invented doctrines for themselves. The Romans have done the same thing. Some of the doctrines they teach now were only put forth as dogmas in the last century. For instance, in 1854, the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin was made a Dogma; and in 1870 the Pope was decreed to be in certain cases infallible. Now these were new dogmas, just as new as some the sects had made. They were additions made to the old Catholic Faith. They were unknown in the early ages, to the great Doctors and Fathers of the early Church. Had anyone ventured to preach them, the people would have cried out, "Heresy; this is not the Catholic Faith!" So thank God, my dear sons and daughters, that in this branch of the true Church, while you are preserved from formal heresy, you hold loyally to the old Faith as members of the Catholic Church. This is to be found in the Creed, the Prayer Book, and the Sacraments. You have in these absolute certainty of what Christ taught. This faith will be your spiritual food in life and your sure defence and your shield in the hour of death. Love it, dear children, and live it. By living it we come to know it; and it makes new men.
The fourth mark of the true Church is "unity." It is the mark "One." The Holy Apostolic Catholic Church is one body. I want you, however, to think over and make clear to yourselves the difference in meaning between two ideas, namely"unity" and "union." You will have to give it a little hard study.
You know a family is one family, and a tribe is one tribe. But the members of a family may fall out. The brothers and sisters may quarrel. They may separate and live apart. They might go so far as not to be willing to speak to one another. Then this is a case of a disunited family. It is still, however, one family. The unity of the family is not broken. It cannot be, for they are all from one stock. They have all the same blood in their veins. They are brothers and sisters. But intercourse and love is broken, and it is a disunited family. Just so with a tribe. It is one by reason of its common origin and common descent. The members all come from the same stock. A common blood runs through their veins. It is one as a tribe. But its members may quarrel and separate, and then it is a divided or disunited tribe.
This difference between "Unity" and "Union" will help you to understand the oneness of the Church. Our Lord prayed that its members might be one as "He and the Father were one." Now the Father and the Son are one because they have the same Nature. So the members of the Catholic Church are one, having in them, by their common baptism, the same nature. They have been made by the Sacraments members of Christ. They have received the Holy Eucharist, and have, so to speak, the same blood in their veins. They are thus brothers and sisters in "the family of Jesus Christ." This is a unity that cannot be broken. The gates of Hell cannot prevail against it. The members may fall out with one another, but they are still the same family.
Now this is what has happened in the latter days of the Church. A separation has taken place between what is called the Eastern Churches, in Europe, and the Western, and the western part of Christendom has been divided into the Anglican, or English, and the Roman, or Latin, Communions. So we Anglicans belong, though this has happened, to the One Church. It is one, because all its members together make up one family by being all members of Christ by Baptism.
And here we pause to say a word about the word "Union."
Our Lord desired that the members of His Church should not quarrel. He wished and prayed that they might be united, so that the world, seeing it, might be convinced of His divine mission. He wanted the Church to be so outwardly united that unbelievers, seeing this union, would say, "It is no earthly power that holds these Christians together." He prayed that this outward union, by its supernatural or grace-given character, would be a witness of His own supernatural life and mission. Now the Roman Catholic system, which would enforce a union of all the churches by putting them under a pope or a king, does not do this. It testifies to nothing supernatural. It is a kind of union man might make. But our Church and the Eastern Churches declare that the union, which is to bear witness to a divine mission, must be one made by the Holy Spirit; and that such a union was secured in the early days without a monarchical papacy. A papacy is not, therefore, a necessity for union. Indeed, it has been the greatest cause for disunion. It is by mutual charity, by each member of the Church submitting to the other, by each, national Church to the others, that the union that witnesses to the supernatural is secured. When, therefore, a Romanist says "there is but one church," we can agree with him, and say "we are part of it." When he says "we must be under the Pope to be united," we can say that the papacy has been the great cause of disunion. It has divided and torn the Church and keeps it apart. Romans have repeated the sin of Israel in desiring a visible head and king, and with the same result of division for its sinfulness. God may save a Roman Catholic, but we believe He hates the papacy as a worldly thing.
Again, we must be on our guard against some Roman mistakes. Sometimes ignorant Romanists will say that our Church was founded by a bad king, called Henry VIII. This man had about as much to do with making our Church as Pontius Pilate had with making Christianity. Pilate helped to put Christ to death, and Henry helped to deliver the Church from the Pope, but neither founded Christianity or the Church. Sometimes it is said that the Pope would not let the king be divorced, and so the king broke with him. The true story is that one of the Popes had done a very wicked thing, and let the king, when a young man, marry his deceased brother's wife. The king consulted the doctors and lawyers in the universities, all Roman Catholics, asking them if the Pope could do this, and they all said "No," so he felt that he was not lawfully married to Catherine, and could marry again. Both were bad, king and Pope, but the Pope was the worst. ^
Then again: Once Romanists used to say we had no valid orders. But their arguments broke down, one after another. Then by political influence, some got a late Pope to say our orders were no good. He only injured himself by doing so, for many Roman Catholic divines had said otherwise. The papal decree did not disturb us. We know that, just as truly as there is a God, we are true priests. By his false decree the Pope proved to us that he was not infallible, because we know, with divine certainty, he was wrong. If anyone says to you, " The Pope does not acknowledge your orders," we can say "we are glad of it." It shows how untrustworthy are his judgments. He may not acknowledge our orders, but God does, and we believe God rather than man.
This may all be very hard reading. So you must go to your priest or to the Sisters if you want any explanation of it. As I love you I want you to be good Christians and well-instructed Churchmen. Christ loved His Church, and I want you to know it and love it too. And here I will stop and let you think this over, and then you may, by and by, go on with the second part.
There are good Christians among the Romanists. And so long as they do not try to upset our people and lead them astray, we let them alone. But as you know, they have been creeping in and trying to unsettle some of you. You must be on your guard against them. If you cannot answer their statements, tell them to go to your priest, who is a learned and godly man, and he will do so.
You are in the One, Holy, Apostolic, Catholic Church already, and do not need to change. If a Romanist asks why your Church is also called "Protestant Episcopal," as well as Catholic, tell him that it is called Protestant because it protests against all the novel doctrines of the sects and those of Rome. It is also Episcopal in its government, and so not like Rome or the sects. The word Episcopal means a Bishop. Our Church has "Bishops," as the Catholic Church has always had from the beginning. It is not a Congregational church, or a church governed by the people or congregation. It is not like a Presbyterian church, or one without Bishops and governed by ministers called Presbyters. It is a Church having for its chief rulers Bishops, and is not a papal church, or under the Pope. While it is thus Protestant and Episcopal, it is part also of the one holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church Christ founded. You are thus in the true Church and have the ancient and true faith, without the Roman or sectarian errors.
Again: I want to tell you something about this Romanism which has a Pope or king at its head, who lives in Italy. Our Lord said: "By their fruits ye shall know them." But few of the Roman Catholic laity know much about the history of the Popes. There were some good ones amongst them. But there were also a number of very wicked and bad men, and many more worldly ones.
In the tenth century, we learn from a great Roman Catholic historian named Baronius, the papacy was for years in the power of three noted evil women who were prostitutes. One of their bastard offspring they made Pope. Baronius wrote: "In this century, the Abomination of Desolation was seen in the Temple of the Lord. How hideous was the face of the Roman Church when filthy and impudent and bad women governed all at Rome, changed Sees at their pleasure, gave away Bishoprics, placed their gallants into the See of Peter."
Again in history we come to Pope Alexander VI, and there were others equally bad. "Pope Sergius has been loaded with every vice and every enormity which can blacken the character of man. One of his sons by Marozia, John XI, was raised to the papal throne. Later came John XII. A Cardinal testified he had seen him celebrate and not communicate himself. Another testified he had ordained a Bishop who was but ten years old. Other and darker charges followed, charges of adultery, incest, and that he had made the Lateran palace a brothel." "He disgraced,'' says another writer, "the Papal dignity by the most shameless excesses, adultery, rape, and even incest. To such depths of degradation had the papacy been reduced."3 John XIX, though yet a layman, was elevated to the papal throne and on his decease, the tiara was bestowed on his nephew Benedict IX, a boy in his teens. But, though a boy, his vices were the vices of a man, and moreover of a man utterly lost to shame. He perpetrated adultery, murder, and every kind of abomination with the greatest impunity. It is impossible, says the ex-Jesuit, George Tyrrell, "that the knowledge and infallible interpretation of tradition" should be lodged "in a totally ignorant boy-pope like John XII or Benedict IX.
Now, as there was one Judas among the Apostles, so there might be some bad Popes. But what I want you to see is that the badness in Popes is destructive of the Roman claim that the Popes, when teaching all of us, cannot err. They are said to be infallible, in consequence of the gift of God they receive, to teach without error. Now no one can do this but by aid of the Holy Ghost. A bad priest might do certain things, like baptizing and consecrating, absolving, etc. He could do these things as an agent of Christ, though he was a bad man. But he could not decide or say what was the truth except the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of Truth, guided him. Now the Holy Spirit cannot dwell or work in bad men. Bad men are not under the help or guidance of the Holy Spirit, but of the devil. So you see how foolish the doctrine of the Pope's infallibility is. And it is proved to be false, because the Catholic Church condemned in a Council one of the Popes, named Honorius, for heresy.
Again: A large number of the Popes have been very worldly men, given over to politics and the love of power. They have bought the Papacy, which destroys their claim, and given away its income to their children or other relatives. They have been filled with the love of power. The love of power made them claim to be kings over all kings; to have the power of absolving their subjects from all obedience, if the king did not please them. And this they did. This was directly contrary to what Christ said His Kingdom should be. You may be surprised at such a wicked claim, and ask how it came about that the Church in the western half of Europe accepted it. It is another sad and awful story. It came about largely by false writings, by a series of forged papers. We put forgers in the State Prison. Now these letters pretended to come from early times, and gave much power to the Pope. The people in those days did not know how to find out such forgeries, and so believed them. They got found out at last, and the Roman Catholics had at last to say that they were not true. But meantime the Pope had been claiming all this power and so imposing on «the Church. Now you, as having Christian common sense, would know that if God wanted to make a Pope, and have a Pope over His Church, He could do it without resorting to a series of lies. A Church so largely built on misinterpretation of Holy Scripture and on man's lies cannot be the only true Church.
You may ask, perhaps, what sort of Popes there are now. Well, since the Reformation the Popes and Cardinals have had to be more careful in their lives. But you must know that the Pope continued to be an earthly king till 1870, over a country called the "States of the Church." Now this government was about as bad as it could be. The people were oppressed, kept in ignorance, justice was badly administered, the country was impoverished. The priests made the people believe a lot of superstitions and kept them under their control. At last the Italians, Roman Catholics as they were, rebelled against the tyranny and made a United Italy with Victor Immanuel (a Roman Catholic) as their Head or Constitutional King. Certainly we who are Americans and whose forefathers fought for and got their freedom, cannot blame the Italians in their noble struggle for freedom. And how did the new government treat the Pope? He was treated most generously. He was in the exercise of all his spiritual powers as Bishop, protected, and was given $625,000 a year to live on. But what did he do? He cried and whimpered like a baby who has had his playthings taken away. He said that the Italians had no right to turn him out of his throne, and so he said he would not take the money from the Italian government, but would shut himself up in his great church and palace with its thousand rooms and large grounds, in which he could take a drive, and say he was a prisoner, and "ask the Church to support him"! It is of course a pretence, a cheat, a fraud. He is no prisoner, he is simply acting a part. He is deceiving the ignorant. He is acting out a lie, and the poor Roman Catholics are forced to send out their money from America to support him and his Cardinals in their pomp and luxury. This is a free country, and if Roman Catholics want to be fooled, let them be fooled. But do not let yourselves be taken in. I think this living a lie business by the Pope shows that it is the same old, bad, worldly papacy it has been in the past.
ON ROMAN DOCTRINES
There is another matter I must tell you about. It is the Roman doctrine of teaching about the dead. We believe that Christians dying go to Christ and are at peace, and are prepared for Heaven. The Romans believe that Christians must suffer in purgatory. They must suffer, so they claim, to satisfy God's Justice, though their sins have been forgiven. The sufferings they must endure are terrible. It is much more severe than any earthly fire. Those in it are represented as crying out to their friends to have pity on them and help them: "O Father and Mother, Wife or Sister, help me out of this terrible suffering!" What a power this gives the priests over the people who believe them. To help their dear ones, they must have Masses said; and the Masses, remember, must be paid for, or alms must be given. Sometimes the poor are greatly impoverished by this drain upon them. Do you, dear brethren, want to believe the dreadful doctrine that the good God thus punishes the children He has once pardoned? We believe in a good, loving Father, that welcomes home His penitent child, and takes him to His arms. Not one who forgives him and then thrashes him or puts him in the fire. We believe that Christ has made a full satisfaction on the Cross that satisfies God's Justice. We do not believe in giving money to the priest for any of the Sacraments, still less for offering the Mass to get souls out of purgatory. It is a dreadful religion, and we bid you keep away from it.
The doctrine of Purgatory, where good souls are tormented, is a dreadful doctrine. It is not in the Bible. It is only used to get money out of the people. It is one of Rome's superstitions and not like the pure, simple Gospel of Christ. Again, there is another wrong doctrine; it is called the gaining of "Indulgences." If you will do certain acts and give alms, you can yourself, or others, avoid the punishment in purgatory. It brings in a good income to the Church. But it is not in the Bible. And while it does not allow persons to sin, it teaches them how to avoid the punishment for sin, which is what persons most care about.
Again: The Roman Church teaches that the Blessed Virgin Mary is the neck of the Church. Christ is the Head, but Mary is the neck. And just as the blood passes from the head through our neck into our bodies, so grace passes from Christ to us through Mary. No text of Scripture can be found that says this, and it leads to persons going to Mary for grace instead of going to Christ.
Again: The Roman Church only gives the Blessed Sacrament to the laity in one kind. The laity are not allowed to partake of the Chalice. They can only receive the consecrated wafer. Now, if you will read your Bible, in St. John's Gospel, chapter 6, verse 54, you will find that our Lord said: "He that eateth My Flesh and drinketh My Blood hath eternal life." And when He gave the Holy Communion, He said, "Drink ye all of it." He did not say to the Apostles or ministers, drink ye of it, but speaking to the Church, He said, "Drink ye all of it." This was what the Catholic Church understood the meaning to be, and for about twelve hundred years the Church always gave the Sacrament to the laity in both kinds. It does so now in the Eastern and Anglican Churches. But the Pope altered it. What right had he to alter Christ's words? What right to change Christ's commands? What right to go against the custom of the Catholic Church? How could he be wiser than Christ? Did not Christ know all about all the dangers of irreverence? And yet He said, "Drink ye all of this." It is a dreadful profanation of authority thus to set aside Christ's very words. But this is what Rome does. If, then, one goes to Rome, it is to cease to be a follower of Christ and become a follower of the Pope. It is to cease to be a Catholic and become a Papist. It is to do what Christ expressly forbade; to make some one a master or a father whom we are to follow, instead of following the Church. It is a falling away from Christ to become a Papist.
Romanists will quote you the text, "Thou art Peter, and on this rock I will build My Church." Peter might be the foundation stone, but this would not give him any authority over the stones laid on him. The Apostles did not recognize him as having any authority over them. On the contrary, they sent Peter on a mission to Samaria, and divided the jurisdiction of the Jews and Gentiles between Paul and Peter. This shows they were over him, not he over them. There is nothing in this misunderstood text about Peter that gives any office to Peter which he was to hand on to a successor. He had the keys and used them to open the kingdom to both Jew and Gentile. He did the first on the day of Pentecost, when the converted Jews were baptized, and he brought in the first Gentiles when he baptized the Gentile soldier, Cornelius. He thus led the lambs of the new Gospel order and the sheep of the old into Christ's Kingdom. But no authority was given him over the Apostles, for when St. Peter asked our Lord about St. John, saying, "What shall this man do?" our Lord said, "What is that to thee?" or in other words, "that is none of your business."
Our Lord prayed for Peter, that his faith should not fail, but not that he should be infallible. And so St. Paul treated him as being in error, and rebuked him for it. When Peter was converted after his fall, being forgiven, he was to strengthen his brother Apostles, who as brethren were his equals. He was not to be the Vine, but Christ was to be the Vine and Peter only a branch, as Christ said, "I am the Vine, and ye (including Peter) are the branches. Besides all this you must see, my sons, that there is nothing in the Bible that says that Peter ever went to Rome, and it is impossible to believe that God would have our salvation depend on our being under the Bishop or Pope of Rome, and never tell us that Peter went there.
Let no man deceive you about the Papacy. Catholicity is one thing, the Roman Papacy is another. Hold fast the true Catholic faith and make it your own by living it.
THE GREAT SIN OF JOINING THE ROMAN CHURCH
My dear Sons and Daughters in Christ, it is a very great sin for any Churchman to leave their own Church, where they have the true Faith and Sacraments, and join the Roman Church. Let me tell you why. If one joins the Roman Church he has to be confirmed again. He has to receive the Communion as if it were his first Communion. Now see what that means. When you were confirmed by the Bishop, you received the gifts of the Holy Spirit. You cannot be confirmed again, any more than you can be baptized again. To be confirmed again is to deny that you have already been confirmed. It is to be a traitor to the Holy Spirit. It is to turn on the Holy Spirit and to deny Him. It is to say to Him, I have never received You in Confirmation. This is to sin against the Holy Ghost, and if we sin against the Holy Ghost, Christ warned us that such a sin, persisted in, could not be forgiven in this world nor in the next. This should make us careful not to commit such.
So, too, about the Blessed Sacrament. Christ the dear Lord has fed you with His own Body and Blood. To go over to Rome, and to receive your first Communion, is to say, in act, to our Lord, "I have never sacramentally received You." It is like Peter's denial of our Lord. How it must pain His sacred heart! What a stab it gives Him! Those who go over to Rome thus run great risks of their final salvation. Be true to your Church, and you are safe. In it you have found Christ and been united to Him. Abiding in Him you are safe. Love your Church. Love each other. Stand together. Try and bring back the wanderers, and God will protect and bless you and yours.
Your Bishop and Father in God,
C. C. FOND DU LAC.