The Confessional Unmasked  

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"Many have a vague and indefinite notion that some queer questions are asked in the Confessional, but very few indeed have any idea of the fearful reality as disclosed in the following pages. "--Popery Unmasked

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

"Confessional Unmasked: Showing the Depravity of the Romish Priesthood, the Iniquity of the Confessional, and the Questions put to Females in Confession" is an anonymously published anti-Catholic pamphlet, first published by William Strange in 1836. The publication was the object of Regina v. Hicklin in 1868.

The text consisted primarily of English translations quoted from the Latin casuist moral theology of Peter Dens's Theologia Moralis and the moral theology of St. Alphonsus Liguori.

Other parts were translated from Delahogue, Bailly, and Cabassutius. In the preface, after alluding to the different authors quoted, and showing that they were held of great authority in the Roman Catholic Church, the compiler proceeds: "Such, then, is the theology, and such the morals which, by granting 30,000l. a-year to Maynooth, we assist in propagating."

The main gripe the Protestant authors have with catholic confession is that the priests who take the confessions derive sexual gratification from the confessions of females and deliberately ask them lurid details of their sex lives.

As an apology the writer states: "In the latter part of the pamphlet I have given a few extracts without abridgment, to shew into what minute and disgusting details these holy men have entered. This alone has been my object, and not the filling of the work with obscenity."

The pamphlet is also known as " Maynooth and its Teaching."

Censorship history

Generally cited as most offensive is the second part of the publication.

Offensive bits include:

"such as would be to move the finger morosely within the female vessel." (prout esset digitum morose admovere intra vas femineum).
"But is it always a mortal sin, if the husband introduces his into the mouth of his wife" (An semper sit mortale, si vir immittat pudenda in os uxoris)

The first prosecution took place at Wolverhampton in 1867 when, after some lectures by William Murphy, the " Watch Committee" obtained a warrant under Lord Campbell's Act to search the premises of H. Scott, where the objectionable pamphlet was being sold. A seizure of " a quantity of books " was made at Scott's house on the 18th March, upon which the magistrates delivered the following decision :

"We consider that the book produced before us is an obscene book within the meaning of the Act, and calculated to contaminate the public morals, and of such a character that the publication of it becomes a misdemeanour. The sale and distribution have been sufficiently proved before us, and we hereby order the books to be destroyed."

The case was taken to the Quarter Sessions, and the verdict of the Magistrates was quashed by the Recorder, he giving authority for his judgment. The Popish party appealed from the verdict of the Recorder to the Queen's Bench. That court said it did not lelieve the evidence put forth by the book, and and added new matter to the case submitted to it for judgment j and upon the ground of the matter added, and for other reasons, reversed the decision of the Recorder ! ! {The Queen v. Hicklin, April, 1868).

Notes

The books used in these lectures are De La Hogue's Treatises on Dogmatic Theology, in 5 volumes, and Bailly's on Moral Theology, in 5 volumes.

See also




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "The Confessional Unmasked" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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