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The doctrines, practices, and rituals of the Roman Catholic Church. This term is used by Protestants to show opposition for Roman Catholic practices and tenets. That’s why they are called “Protest-ants”. A true Protestant protests the Pope, his cardinals, bishops, priests, and all their pagan practices. If you do not, don’t call yourself a Protestant even though you may call yourself a Christian and are not a Roman Catholic or a member of the Orthodox, Coptic or other non-protestant group.

The principles of Edward Bouverie Pusey (1800–1882), English churchman and one of the leaders of the Oxford Movement. The meaning will become clearer in this book.

The system, principles, or practices of the Jesuits.

Described in a series of letters by Luigi Desanctis, 1905.

Luigi Desanctis

Luigi Desanctis

As an Italian Roman Catholic priest, an Official Censor of the Inquisition and thoroughly acquainted with a French Provincial who was the Secretary for the Order, Desanctis was converted to the Christ of the Bible. In a series of letters written in 1849, he describes personal experiences including his imprisonment in the cells of the Inquisition in Rome. His description of the murdered within the underground dungeons of the Inquisition discovered by the Italians in 1849 are right out of Edgar Allen Poe’s The Pit and the Pendulum. The sufferers were buried up to their necks in dry lime while others were enchained, walled up with bricks and left to die. The absolute and universal power of the Company and his discourses with the godly Waldensian are overpowering.



O Italy, thou sunny land,
So queenly and so fair,
When wilt thou burst the iron bands
Of error’s subtle snare?

Thy children, bowed beneath the weight
Of priestly rule and thrall,
For liberty, sweet liberty,
With pleading voices call.

Historic ruins, stately piles,
Madonnas, relics, thine;
But for God’s own most precious gift
Of freedom, still they pine.

No hallowed Sabbath brings release
From sordid toil and care,
Hushing earth’s weary din and noise,
And breathing thoughts of prayer.

No open Bible meets the clasp
Of hands so faint and worn
With struggling for the right to live;
They would they’d ne’er been born.

Yes I poverty and sickness wan
Swift follow in the rear,
When superstition leads the way
Throughout the circling year.

Upon a land where Satan reigns
God’s smile can never rest;
Where He is honored in His Son,
There are the people blest.

Rise up, then, Italy! and take
The Gospel offered thee_
Deliverance, too, from Romish chains;
Then, then, thou shalt be free!

— Letitia Jennings, Rome, 1890.
From The Christian.


These letters were published by Luigi Desanctis under the title of Roma Papale in 1865, at Florence, with copious notes. They had previously appeared in the Record newspaper, in English, under the title of Popery, Puseyism, and Jesuitism, and then were published as a book in English, French, and German, running through many editions as Popery and Jesuitism, which works seem almost to have disappeared, for only one copy have I traced.

Roma Papale was given to my husband when we were in Rome (1872). He was greatly struck with its contents, but being deeply engaged on the works of the early Spanish Reformers, left it untranslated.

Now, in my eighty-first. year, at the instance at my friend, Mrs. Henry Jennings, an Honorary Deputation of the “Women’s Protestant Union,” I have, in a simple manner, but I believe faithfully, rendered it into English, with the help of my niece, Ada Meyer, and republish it under the original title, omitting a long Conclusion and the Notes which were written for Italy. .

I trust the work may lead to the enlightenment of some of my countrymen.

Maria Betts. Pembury, 1903.


I am gratified ta know that the First Edition. of these valuable Letters of Desanctis has been so warmly received, that a Second Edition of this cheap issue is required. I hope that this Edition, to which several Illustrations have been added, may have a still wider circulation. Desanctis’ original Italian M.S. is preserved in the Protestant Theological Library at Rome, and it is encouraging to hear that there is a strong desire fer a cheap Edition in Italian.

MARIA BETTS. Pembury, 1905.


to the Italian Edition published as “ROMA PAPALE”

The letters which we now publish for the first time in Italian are not new. They were published in English in 1852, and had three editions in that language. They were then translated into French and German, and in these languages also they have passed through various editions.

They were at first composed for England, and were published in The Record, a journal of the English Church. They bore for title: “Popery, Puseyism, and Jesuitism,” and their scope was to show the union of these three sects in making war on true Evangelical Christianity. But the English editor, perhaps not wishing to irritate the great Puseyite party in England, suppressed in the title the word “Puseyism,” and published the book under the title of “Popery and Jesuitism”; which title is preserved in the French and German editions.

But the publication of these letters would be of little profit or interest to Italy, as they were written for England, therefore the author, leaving the original plan of the work, has so re-cast these letters as to render them interesting to Italian readers.

Unfortunately, Papal Rome under the religious aspect is not known even in Italy; the organisation of the Court of Rome, the manner in which it manages its affairs, the hidden springs which move all the machinery of Roman Catholicism, are mysteries to many Italians. We do not flatter ourselves to have laid bare all these mysteries, but we hope in hope in our book to have given an idea of them.

As to the doctrines of Roman Catholicism, we have not exposed them all — our aim not being to make a controversial book – but we have sought to expose some practical points of Roman Catholicism as seen in action in Rome. He who wishes to know Roman Catholicism as it is, must study it; in Rome, and study it, not in books, but see it in action in the Pope, in the Cardinals, and in the .Is, md in the Roman congregation. Books often only give a false, and always an incomplete, idea of Roman Catholicism. One finds in books either the barbarous and superstitious Papacy of the Middle Ages, or the poetical Papacy of Chateaubriand.

If you observe the Papacy in different countries, you will find it most varied. In the south of Italy you will still find all the superstitions of the medieval age; in England, and in Germany, where Roman Catholics are mixed with Protestants, you will find a Papacy less superstitious and more tolerant, to be transformed into superstition and intolerance in the day when it shall have become dominant.

It is a certain fact, that after the Council of Trent, Roman Catholicism was entirely fused into Jesuitism. Jesuitism is not very scrupulous; it knows, according to the circumstances of the times and places, how to invest itself with new forms, and to appear even liberal, whilst officially it condemns liberalism.

We have a speaking example of this under our eyes. Pius IX., in his Encyclical and in his Syllabus, solemnly condemns all the principles of liberty and progress, and at the same time we see Theologians, Catholics, Priests, and Bishops pretending to be Liberals and Progressives, remaining attached to Catholicism and the Pope. Thus the people do not know whom to believe, and Catholicism presents itself to tyrants and to retrogrades armed with the tyrannical and retrograde Encyclical; it presents itself to the Liberals armed with the reasons of the Neocatholic Theologians, who affect Liberalism; it presents itself to the people, to deceive them, under the aspect of religion.

These tactics are precisely the fundamental tactics of Jesuitism, which is based upon this principle, amply explained in our book, that all means are good when they conduce to the end.

The originator of this impious maxim was Ignatius Loyola. The Roman Court accepted it, and thus it is obliged to submit to Jesuitism, and leave to it the care of managing its interests, so that Jesuitism acts with great zeal every time that the interests of the Roman Court are united to its own. But if the interests of the one are separated and opposed to the interests of the other, then Jesuitism is the first to rebel against the Roman Court, and then that must yield to the immense influence of Jesuitism. The day that Catholicism is separated from Jesuitism will be the day of its death.

To have a just idea of the immorality of the Roman clergy it is necessary to have been educated and to have lived, as the author of this book has done for many years, amongst the priests and friars. It is only there that you can know the life of those pretended servants of God. There you know how those ecclesiastics pass days and hours in idleness, in the most futile, and very often the most immoral, conversations. There you know the cabals and subterfuges of these servants of God, to reach after and lay hold of a bishopric or the charge of a convent.

But we do not wish to say by this that all priests and all friars are bad or dishonourable men; there are some good ones, but they are rare exceptions. We are persuaded that there are also honourable Jesuits, but such as these are an almost imperceptible minority. They are men who have not known, or could shake off, the prejudices of youth, and whilst becoming old have remained childish. These have not had either knowledge or power to unfetter reason and religious prejudice from the shackles of their early education; they retain as infallible truth the legends with which their youthful minds were filled, and retain as the representative of God the man, who in the name of God, treads under foot the most holy rights of man. Such as these act, if you will, in good faith, but their good faith is the effect of culpable ignorance, created and fomented by Jesuitism.

If you seek to learn the disorders in the nuns’ convents, the author of this book has known them well. In the course of twelve years he has been sent by the Cardinal Vicar to almost all the convents of Rome, either as Preacher or extraordinary Confessor, or as spiritual Director, and thus has known all the horrors which are hidden between those walls. When he last year read Signora Caracciolo’s book on “The Mysteries of the Neapolitan Cloister,” he was obliged to confess that the Neapolitan nuns were much better than the Rome, with some exceptions.

The author of this book not only knows the disorders which he has witnessed, but he knows many others, having had occasion, through these same relations he had in Rome, to read the registers of the Vicariat, and to know much dissoluteness, both of friars and nuns, brought before the Congregations of Bishops and regulars, and of Discipline. Had he wished to speak in his book of such disorders he would have made a scandalous book; but he has written not to scandalize, but to instruct and to edify; and he hopes that Christian readers will appreciate his reserve.

To know that Roman Catholicism is the religion of money, you need to go to Rome, to enter the Chancery, and the Roman Court of equity, and to see in what way bishoprics, canonries, benefices, matrimonial dispensations, and all spiritual favors are bought, to see how the price is haggled over, and to see a class of persons authorised to be the agents of such sales, under the specious title of Apostolic Commissioners.

With regard to the doctrine of Popery you need not seek for it in the books of those theologians who, like Bossuet and Wiseman, have described a Catholicism quite different to that which it really is, and thus ensnare sincere Protestants to enter the Roman Church. You must go to Rome, and observing all things with a searching eye, you will see that real Roman Catholicism has three different doctrines – the official doctrine, which is very elastic, and as such, may be understood in not a bad sense. That doctrine serves as a weapon to the Jesuits and their adherents; and with the double meaning to that doctrine they show faithful Catholics that the Protestants calumniate Catholicism. They have a second doctrine, which they call the theological doctrine, which goes much further than the official doctrine, but still is restrained within certain limits. Finally, there is the real doctrine, that which is taught to the people, and which they practise; which is full of superstitions and often full of impiety. We have given some examples of these three different doctrines in our books which we have published on purgatory, on the mass, and on the Pope. We will cite here, also, two examples. Bossuet and other theologians, who have written against Protestants, maintain that it is not true that the Roman Church prohibits the reading of the Bible in the vulgar tongue, because there is no decree of the General Council which prohibits such reading. The Roman theologians maintain instead, that the Church prohibits the reading of the Bible translated by Protestants, because it is falsified. But these two assertions are false, and are contradicted by the real doctrine of the Romish Church, which, in the 4th rule of the Index, prohibits the reading of versions of the Bible made by Catholic authors. Bossuet, uniting with the official doctrine, which says that images should be venerated, denies that the Roman Church adores them; but the theologians, reasonably interpreting the decree of the Council of Trent, which orders the veneration of images according to the decree of the second Nicene Council, which says that they ought to be adored, explain that adoration, which they call the worship of “dulia,” as inferior adoration; whilst the real doctrine admits a true and proper adoration, kneeling before the images and crosses, praying to them, and offering incense to them.

Popery Jesuitised can only be known in its reality in Rome. Only in the Secretariat of State, in the Secretariat of extraordinary ecclesiastical affairs, in the Congregation of the Propaganda, and in the Congregation of the Inquisition, can you learn the elucidation of all that mystery of iniquity; there alone can you learn the subterfuges and the evil arts that they adopt to draw all the kingdoms of the earth under the yoke of the Pope. It is an incredible thing to say, but it is, nevertheless true; Rome is glad of the progress of infidelity and rationalism, because it hopes, and not without reason, that a country which becomes infidel is more easily made subject to Popery.

Rome Jesuitised knows how to draw for itself an admirable profit from love of the fine arts. It knows that the world is carnal, and the worldly cannot comprehend the things of the Spirit, because they are spiritually discerned; thus, in place of the worship in spirit and in truth taught by Christ, it has substituted a worship carnal and material, to retain in its bosom carnal men under pretext of religion.

The policy of Jesuitised Rome is contradictory and deceitful; it proclaims and condemns at the same time liberty of conscience; it proclaims it in the countries where it does not rule, to be able thus gradually to sow confusion, and one day to get dominion. It condemns it in the countries where it rules, for fear of losing this dominion. Such conduct shows evidently that it does not act on any higher principle than that of its own interest.

I should never be able to finish were I to enumerate a11 the monstrosities which are included in the fusion of Popery with Jesuitism. I could have desired to explain more at length this theme, but then I should have had write many volumes, and this generation does not love voluminous works – hence I must content myself with giving a simple a1lusion to papal Rome in this present work.

Nevertheless, in presence of the facts cited, and the express judgments of the author, the public has a right to know from what sources he has derived his information, and what credit they may merit. We think it our duty to forestall the request of our readers On this point, so that they may know that he is not writing a romance, but that he reports public and incontestable facts. The author is a Roman by birth, and was educated from his early youth in ecclesiastical life – he has lived for almost twenty-two years in a Congregation of priests, who are in some measure affiliated to the Jesuits; he himself was one of the warmest friends of the Jesuits, because he believed them to be the main support of Catholicism; and he believed Roman Catholicism to be the only true religion. The author of this book has for fifteen years exercised the office of Confessor in Rome, and has exercised that office, not only in the public churches, but in the convents, in almost all the cloisters of nuns, in the colleges, in the prisons, in the galleys, and amongst the military. How much he has been able to learn during fifteen years of office no one can imagine. He has been for eight years parish priest in one of the principal churches of Rome – the Church of the Magdalene; he was esteemed by his ecclesiastical superiors, who have many times confided to him the most delicate commissions, and he ever preserves a hundred autograph documents of his superiors, which show that. his conduct all the time he was in Rome was always such as to merit their eulogy. Let this be said in answer to the calumniator-Father Perrone-and others of the same class, who have copied from Perrone the calumnies they have poured out against the author. He challenges all his calumniators to set up an honourable jury to examine the documents he has, and pronounce sentence. All this should assure readers that the author has known the facts he narrates.

With regard to the opinions which the author permits himself to give in this book, readers may be assured that he was in a position to give them. After having received academical degrees he was for some years Professor of Theology in Rome itself, he had acquired the degree of Censore Emerito (Emeritus Censor) in the Theological Academy of the Roman University, and was a member of various academies. The famous Cardinal Micara, Dean of the Sacred College, had chosen him to be one of the prosinodali examiners of the clergy of his diocese. He has been for ten years Qualificator, or Divinity Confessor, of the Sacred Roman and Universal Inquisition; in consequence of which he was in a position not only to be well-informed, but also to give his judgment on the facts.

Perhaps it will be asked on what account I have left a position so good, a career which could open up the way for me to the first ecclesiastical dignities, in order to throw myself into the arms of a troublesome and uncertain future. I have never been pleased with stories which have been written about conversions, because they are mainly a. panegyric which the converted one writes of himself; and strong in this opinion I shall not write the story of my conversion, only I shall say to him who will believe it, that the motives that have moved me abandon Rome, and take refuge in a strange land, under the care of Providence, spring from preferring the glory that comes from God to that which comes from men; heavenly benefits to earthly blessings; true peace of conscience, which is only found in Christ, to the false peace the world gives.

This is the secret of my conversion, and as for those who will not believe it, I await them before the tribunal of Christ, when all the secrets of hearts shall be manifested, and there they will see if I have lied. I should feel degraded if I answered those who think that I embraced Evangelical religion in order to give vent to my passions. All who know me can conscientiously say that such as accusation is a calumny; and then I had had such wishes, so contrary to Christianity, I need not have abandoned Rome; I might have remained at my post, and have acted as do so many cardinals, prelates, and priests.

I ought also to add that I have never had any serious unpleasantness with my ecclesiastical superiors; nay, rather, Cardinal Patrizi, my immediate Superior, loved me and showed me the greatest esteem; he is still living, and could witness for me. Cardinal Ferretti, then Secretary of State, loved me, and I preserve some autograph letters written to me some time after my departure from Rome, which show that Pius IX., Cardinal Patrizi, Cardinal Ferretti, and all Rome, wished me well; and when Cardinal Feretti, in 1848, came to Malta, where I was, he publicly gave me the greatest proofs of his esteem. You have only then the impudent effrontery of Father Perrone to calumniate me. If an apparently just reproof could be given me for leaving Rome, it might be a reproof of ingratitude for having abandoned Superiors who so loved me, and who were so disposed to benefit me. But the voice of my conscience justifies me from this reproof, and also the voice of the Divine Word which tells me that we ought to obey God rather than man, and that it would be no profit to me to gain the whole world at the price of my eternal salvation.

Readers will easily understand that the plan of this book is fictitious; the four principal personages, who are in the letters, represent the four different doctrines with which one is more or less confronted. Enrico represents the fervent and intelligent Catholicism of a young man full of zeal. He is the ideal of that class of theological students who go to Rome to receive their religious education, then go into Protestant countries to carry on the Catholic-Jesuit propaganda. Signor Pasquali is the ideal of an evangelical Christian, without sectarian spirit, who follows the religion of the Gospel as it is written, and as the apostle of the Gentiles preached it to our Italian fathers. The author wished to make Pasquali belong to the Waldensian Church, in order to render just homage to that Church, which honours our Italy, and which will always be, whether it wishes or not, the mother or eldest sister of all the evangelical churches which have come out of, or will come out of, Italy. Mr. Manson has been brought on the scene to give a specimen of honest and sincere Puseyism. Lastly, Mr. Sweeteman is an honest defender of Evangelical Anglicanism.

These four principal personages are imaginary; the other personages, however, are real, known by the author; the character which he gives to them is a true one, and the author could state all their names. One difficulty yet remains for readers. They may ask how I have learnt to know Jesuitism, so as to describe it this manner. To that I reply that Abbot P______, a most learned ex-Jesuit, well known in all Rome, was my friend, and from him I learned many things. I was also most friendly with the Jesuits. Father Perrone, who now calls me ignorant, twenty years ago invited me many times to examine and try his theological students; Father Rootan, a famous General of the Jesuits, loved me much, and gave me his book on the exercises of St. Ignatius, which is only given to great friends of the Jesuits, because it contains the unfolding of the fundamental maxim of the Jesuits, that all means are good, if only they lead to the end. I have been three times to perform the exercises of St. Ignatius in the Jesuit Convent of St. Eusebius; the first time when I was an enthusiast for the Jesuits, the second time when the study of the Word of God had begun to open my mind, and then I began to see the wickedness of the Jesuit doctrines. I went there the third time, but only to well study those doctrines and to learn the true explanation of them from the two famous Jesuit Fathers–Zuliani and Rossini.

The letters bear the date of 1847-1849. Some insignificant changes have taken place in Rome since that time. For instance, there has been some (amelioration) in the condition of the Jews; but this came to pass, not so much from the exigency of the times, as at the instance of Signor Rothschild, who refused to give money to the Pope if their condition was not ameliorated; but the apparent amelioration has only increased the cruel persecution of those unfortunates.

We wish that this book may have, in its original language, the same reception which it has had in the foreign into which it has been’ translated.

Florence, February, 1865

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