How the Vow of Celibacy of the Priests is Made Easy
by Auricular Confession
ARE not facts the best arguments? Well, here is an undeniable, a
public fact, which is connected with a thousand collateral ones, to
prove that auricular confession is the most powerful machine of
demoralization which the world has ever seen.
About the year 1830, there was in Quebec a fine-looking young
priest; he had a magnificent voice, and was a pretty good speaker.
Through regard for his family, which is still numerous and
respectable, I will not give his name: I will call him Rev. Mr. D—.
Having been invited to preach in a parish of Canada, about 100 miles
distant from Quebec, called Vercheres, he was also requested to hear
the confessions, during a few days of a kind of Novena (nine days of
revival), which was going on in that place. Among his penitents was
a beautiful young girl, about nineteen years old. She wanted to make
a general confession of all her sins from the first age of reason,
and the confessor granted her request. Twice, every day, she was
there, at the feet of her handsome young spiritual physician,
telling all her thoughts, her deeds, and her desires. Sometimes she
was remarked to have remained a whole hour in the confessional-box,
accusing herself of all her human frailties. What did she say? God
only knows; but what became hereafter known by a great part of the
entire part of the population of Canada is, that the confessor fell
in love with his fair penitent, and that she burned with the same
irresistible fires for her confessor—as it so often happens.
It was not an easy matter for the priest and the young girl to
meet each other in as complete a tete-a-tete as they both
wished; for there were two many eyes upon them. But the confessor
was a man of resources. On the last day of the Novena, he said to
his beloved penitent, "I am going now to Montreal; but in three
days, I will take the steamer back to Quebec. That steamer is
accustomed to stop here. At about twelve, at night, be on the wharf
dressed as a young man; but let no one know your secret. You will
embark in the steamboat, where you will not be known, if you have
any prudence. You will come to Quebec, where you will be engaged as
a servant boy by the curate, of whom I am the vicar. Nobody will
know your sex except myself, and, there, we will be happy
The fourth day after this, there was a great desolation in the
family of the girl; for she had suddenly disappeared, and her robes
had been found on the shores of the St Lawrence River. There was not
the least doubt in the minds of all relations and friends, that the
general confession she had made, had entirely upset her mind; and in
an excess of craziness, she had thrown herself into the deep and
rapid waters of the St. Lawrence. Many searches were made to find
her body; but, of course, all in vain. Many public and private
prayers were offered to God to help her escape from the flames of
Purgatory, where she might be condemned to suffer for many years,
and much money was given to the priest to sing high masses, in order
to extinguish the fires of that burning prison, where every Roman
Catholic believes he must go to be purified before entering the
regions of eternal happiness
I will not give the name of the girl, though I have it, through
compassion for her family; I will call her Geneva.
Well, when father and mother, brothers, sisters, and friends were
shedding tears at the sad end of Geneva, she was in the parsonage of
the rich Curate of Quebec, well paid, well fed, and dressed-happy
and cheerful with her beloved confessor. She was exceedingly neat in
her person, always obliging, and ready to run and do what you wanted
at the very twinkling of your eye. Her new name was Joseph, by which
I will now call her.
Many times I have seen the smart Joseph at the parsonage of
Quebec, and admired his politeness and good manners; though it
seemed to me, sometimes, that he looked too much like a girl, and
that he was a little too much at ease with the Rev. Mr. D—-, and
also with the Right Rev. Bishop M—-. But every time the idea came to
me that Joseph was a girl, I felt indignant with myself.
The high respect I had for the Coadjutor Bishop, who was also the
Curate of Quebec, made it almost impossible to imagine that he would
ever allow a beautiful girl to sleep in the adjoining room to his
own, and to serve him day and night; for Joseph's sleeping-room was
just by that of the Coadjutor, who, for several bodily infirmities
(which were not a secret to every one), wanted the help of his
servant several times at night, as well as during the day.
Things went on very smoothly with Joseph during two or three
years, in the Coadjutor Bishop's house; but at the end, it seemed to
many people outside, that Joseph was taking too great airs of
familiarity with the young vicars, and even with the venerable
Coadjutor. Several of the citizens of Quebec, who were going more
often than others to the parsonage, were surprised and shocked at
the familiarity of that servant boy with his masters; he really
seemed sometimes to be on equal terms with, if not somewhat above
An intimate friend of the Bishop—a most devoted Roman
Catholic—who was my near relative, took upon himself one day to
respectfully say to the Right Rev. Bishop that it would be prudent
to turn out that impudent young man from his palace—that he was the
object of strong and most deplorable suspicions.
The position of the Right Rev. Bishop and his vicars, was, then,
not a very agreeable one. Their barque had evidently drifted among
dangerous rocks. To keep Joseph among them was impossible, after the
friendly advice which had come from such a high quarter; and to
dismiss him was not less dangerous; he knew too much of the interior
and secret lives of all these holy (?) celibates, to deal with him
as with another common servant-man. With a single word of his lips
he could destroy them: they were as if tied to his feet by ropes,
which, at first, seemed made with sweet cakes and ice-cream, but had
suddenly turned into burning steel chains. Several days of anxiety
passed away, and many sleepless nights succeeded the too happy ones
of better times. But what was to be done? There were breakers ahead;
breakers on the right, on the left, and on every side. However, when
everyone, particularly the venerable (?) Coadjutor, felt as
criminals who expect their sentence, and that their horizon seemed
surrounded absolutely by only dark and stormy clouds, a happy
opening suddenly presented itself to the anxious sailors.
The curate of "Les Eboulements," the Rev. Mr. Clement, had just
come to Quebec on some private business, and had taken up his
quarters in the hospitable house of his old friend, the Right
Rev.——, Bishop Coadjutor. Both had been on very intimate terms for
many years, and in many instances they had been of great service to
each other. The Pontiff of the Church of Canada, hoping that his
tried friend would perhaps help him out of the terrible difficulty
of the moment, frankly told him all about Joseph, and asked him what
he ought to do under such difficult circumstances.
"My Lord," said the-curate of the Eboulements, "Joseph is just
the servant I want. Pay him well, that he may remain your friend,
and that his lips may be sealed, and allow me to take him with me.
My housekeeper left me a few weeks ago; I am alone in my parsonage
with my old servant-man. Joseph is just the person I want.
It would be difficult to tell the joy of the poor Bishop and his
vicars, when they saw that heavy stone they had on their neck thus
Joseph, once installed into the parsonage of the pious (?) parish
priest of the Eboulements, soon gained the favor of the whole people
by his good and winning manners, and every parishioner complimented
the curate on the smartness of his new servant. The priest, of
course, knew a little more of that smartness than the rest of the
people. Three years passed on very smoothly. The priest and his
servant seemed to be on the most perfect terms. The only thing which
marred the happiness of that lucky couple was that, now and then,
some of the farmers whose eyes were sharper than those of their
neighbors, seemed to think that the intimacy between the two was
going a little too far, and that Joseph was really keeping in his
hands the sceptre of the little priestly kingdom. Nothing could be
done without his advice; he was meddling in all the small and big
affairs of the parish, and the curate seemed sometimes to be rather
the servant than the master in his own house and parish. Those who
had, at first, made these remarks privately, began, little by
little, to convey their views to their next neighbor, and this one
to the next: in that way, at the end of the third year, grave and
serious suspicions began to spread from one to the other in such a
way that the Marguilliers (a kind of Elders), thought proper to say
to the priest that it would be better for him to turn Joseph out
than to keep him any longer. But the old curate had passed so many
happy hours with his faithful Joseph that it was as hard as death to
give him up.
He knew, by confession, that a girl in the vicinity was given to
an unmentionable abomination, to which Joseph was also addicted. He
went to her and proposed that she should marry Joseph, and that he
(the priest) would help them to live comfortably. Joseph, in order
to live near his good master, consented also to marry the girl. Both
knew very well what the other was. The banns were published during
three Sabbaths, after which the old curate blessed the marriage of
Joseph with the girl of his parishioner.
They lived together as husband and wife, in such harmony that
nobody could suspect the horrible depravity which was concealed
behind that union. Joseph continued, with his wife, to work often
for his priest, till after some time that priest was removed, and
another curate, called Tetreau, was sent in his place.
This new curate, knowing absolutely nothing of that mystery of
iniquity, employed also Joseph and his wife, several times. One day,
when Joseph was working at the door of the parsonage, in the
presence of several people, a stranger arrived, and enquired of him
if the Rev. Mr. Tetreau, the curate, was there.
Joseph answered, "Yes, sir. But as you seem to be a stranger,
would you allow me to ask you whence you come?"
"It is very easy, sir, to satisfy you. I come from Vercheres,"
replied the stranger.
At the word "Vercheres " Joseph turned so pale that the stranger
could not but be struck with his sudden change of color.
Then, fixing his eyes on Joseph, he cried-out, "Oh my God! what
do I see here! Geneva! Geneva! I recognize you, and here you are in
the disguise of a man!"
"Dear Uncle" (for it was her uncle), "for God's sake," she cried,
do not say a word more!"
But it was too late. The people, who were there, had heard the
uncle and niece. Their long secret suspicions were well-founded—one
of their former priests had kept a girl under the disguise of a man
in his house! and, to blind his people more thoroughly, he had
married that girl to another one, in order to have them both in his
house when he pleased, without awakening any suspicion!
The news went almost as quick as lightning from one end to the
other of the parish, and spread all over the northern country
watered by the St. Lawrence River.
It is more easy to imagine than express the sentiments of
surprise and horror which filled everyone. The justices of the peace
took up the matter; Joseph was brought before the civil tribunal,
which decided that a physician should be charged to make, not a
post-mortem, but an ante-mortem inquest. The Honorable Lateriere,
who was called, and made the proper inquiry, declared that Joseph
was a girl; and the bonds of marriage were legally dissolved.
During that time the honest Rev. Mr. Tetreau, struck with horror,
had sent an express to the Right Reverend Bishop Coadjutor, of
Quebec, informing him that the young man whom he had kept in his
house several years, under the name of Joseph, was a girl.
Now, what were they to do with the girl, after all was
discovered? Her presence in Canada would forever compromise the holy
(?) Church of Rome. She knew too well how the priests, through the
confessional, select their victims, and help themselves in their
company, in keeping their solemn vows of celibacy! What would have
become of the respect paid to the priest, if she had been taken by
the hand and invited to speak bravely and boldly before the people
The holy (?) Bishop and his vicars understood these things very
They immediately sent a trustworthy man with £500, to say to the
girl that if she remained at Canada, she could be prosecuted and
severely punished; that it was her interest to leave the country,
and emigrate to the United States. They offered her the £500 if she
would promise to go and never return.
She accepted the offer, crossed the lines, and has never gone
back to Canada, where her sad history is well known by thousands and
In the providence of God I was invited to preach in that parish
soon after, and I learned these facts accurately.
The Rev. Mr. Tetreau, under whose pastorate this great iniquity
was detected, began from that time to have his eyes opened to the
awful depravity of the priests of Rome through the confessional.
He wept and cried over his own degradation in the midst of that
modern Sodom. Our merciful God looked down with compassion upon him,
and sent him His saving grace. Not long after, he sent to the Bishop
his renunciation of the errors and abominations of Romanism.
To-day he is working in the vineyard of the Lord with the
Methodists in the city of Montreal, where he is ready to prove the
correctness of what I say.*
Let those who have ears to hear, and eyes to see, understand, by
this, fact, that Pagan nations have not known any institution more
depraving than Auricular Confession.
* This was written in 1874. Now, in 1880, I have to say that Rev.
Mr. Tetreau died in 1877, in the peace of God, in Montreal. Twice
before his death he ordered out the priests of Rome, who had come to
try to persuade him to make his peace with the Pope, calling them
"Suppots de Satan"—"Devil's Messengers."