The True Mission of the Church

John Francis Maguire
CHAPTER XXV (2) start of chapter

The Catholic Church was content to preach 'Christ crucified' to its own followers, as to all who came to listen. It regarded its pulpit as a sacred chair, from which it was to teach the knowledge of the truth, how man could best fulfil his duties to his Creator, his country, and his neighbour. It deemed—and the judgment of the wise and good will say it deemed rightly—that if the minister of religion became a firebrand, instead of a preacher of peace, he misunderstood his duty, and prostituted the sanctity of his office: it held, that it was a gross desecration of a temple erected to the worship of the Deity, to suffer it to resound with the language of unholy strife—with eloquent incentives to massacre and desolation. Others might act as they pleased; they might turn their churches into political assemblies, and their pulpits into party platforms—they might rage, and storm, and fulminate—they might invoke the fiercest passions of the human breast, and appeal to the lowest instincts of man's nature—they might stimulate their hearers to a wider destruction of life and property, to sadder and more terrible havoc; others might do this, as others did—but the Catholic Church of America was neither bewildered by the noise and smoke of battle, nor made savage by the scent of blood: she simply fulfilled her mission, the same as that of the Apostles—she preached the Word of God in lovingness and peace.

The Irish in America, first published in 1868, provides an invaluable account of the extreme difficulties that 19th Century Irish immigrants faced in their new homeland and the progress which they had nonetheless made in the years since arriving on a foreign shore. A new edition, including additional notes and an index, has been published by Books Ulster/LibraryIreland:

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ebook: The Irish in America