Welcome to the Weekend Roundup! – News & Views – 7/24/21

The headline pictured above is HUGE and disconcerting news for conservative and traditionalist Catholics. Pope Francis’ decision to restrict and eventually eliminate the Latin mass deserves a separate post all by itself. The Second Vatican Council (1961-1965) was an effort by the Roman Catholic church to modernize itself. One of the most significant changes wrought by the council was replacing the incomprehensible Latin mass liturgy with the Novus Ordo (“New Order”) mass in the vernacular. Conservative and traditionalist Catholics strongly resented Vatican II’s modernizations and defiantly clung to the Latin mass as a symbol of pre-conciliar militant Catholicism. Conservative pope Benedict XVI officially accommodated the Latin mass in a 2007 encyclical. However, on Friday, July 16th, pope Francis reversed Benedict’s accommodation and declared that priests could only say the “extraordinary form” Latin mass with the permission of their bishop, with the goal of eventually eliminating the Latin rite altogether. Conservative and traditionalist Catholics were already resentful of Francis because of his progressive reforms, but this “attack” upon their beloved Latin mass has elicited oaths of outrage and defiance. On his part, Francis recognized the Latin rite was a bastion for his conservative and traditionalist opponents that was being used to rally and indoctrinate others.

The mass is a boring, liturgical ceremony when said in English. Imagine compounding the boredom by sitting through an incomprehensible Latin liturgy for one hour. But traditionalist Catholics are thrilled by the “grandeur” and “mystery” of the Latin rite. Whether said in Latin or the vernacular, the mass is an anti-Biblical ceremony purporting to transform Jesus Christ into bread wafers and wine and to re-sacrifice him for the sins of the congregants. The genuine Gospel is nowhere in sight at either Latin or Novus Ordo masses. I will be reporting on the conservative/traditionalist reaction to Francis’ ruling in the weeks ahead. We are living in unusual times when the most “pious,” doctrinaire Catholics view their pope as a scoundrel at best and a heretic at worst.

Interesting phenomenon. Liberal mainline “Protestantism” is seeing a slight resurgence 1) as a reaction to evangelicalism’s almost-wholesale endorsement of Donald Trump and 2) because of its wholesale embracement of the increasingly acceptable LGBT agenda. The genuine Gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone is not preached in mainline “Protestant” churches.

As a former viewer of “19 Kids and Counting,” I’m still interested in the Duggar clan. Anna Duggar has had to deal with incredibly difficult circumstances in her life while I whine about piddly stuff.

I’ve been reporting on the persecution of evangelicals by Catholics in Southern Mexico since I started this blog six years ago. When will it stop?

Catholic sociologist, Richard Sipe, estimated that 30-40 percent of Catholic priests are homosexual. Catholic seminaries were/are both magnets and incubators of deviancy.

James R. White dissects “Mere Christianity” ecumenical gobbledygook

In the 24-minute video below, evangelical apologist, James R. White examines the spiritually deadly errors of Roman Catholicism and picks apart the foggy-bottom “Mere Christianity” ecumenical paradigm that permeates evangelicalism and is peddled in this video by Norman Geisler disciple, Frank Turek.

This is excellent, folks. In this era of rampant ecumenical compromise, few apologists are willing to step out and “tell it like it is” regarding Roman Catholicism. God bless James R. White!

Throwback Thursday: Life’s Most Important Question?

Welcome to this week’s “Throwback Thursday” installment. Today, we’re going to revisit a post that was originally published back on May 10, 2016 and has been revised.

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If you asked a crowd of people what was Life’s Most Important Question, you’d get many answers, but with the absolute certainty of death ahead of them and their standing with God uncertain, some people would answer that Life’s Most Important Question is:

“What must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:30)

The Roman Catholic church claims to have the answer to that question. It says for a person to be saved they must do the following:

  • Attend RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) classes for a year.
  • Get baptized.
  • Attend mass every Sunday and every holy day of obligation.
  • Receive the eucharist at least once a year.
  • Obey the Ten Commandments (impossible).
  • Confess all “mortal” sins to a priest – participate in the sacrament of reconciliation at least once a year.
  • Use sacramentals liberally and frequently ask Mary and the saints for their help.
  • Receive the sacrament of last rites before you die.

If you do all of the above, according to the Catholic church, you may PERHAPS merit Heaven, provided you don’t have ANY mortal sin on your soul at the moment of your death.

In contrast to Roman Catholicism’s long religious legal laundry list, God’s Word gives us the simple answer to the question in Acts 16:30 in the very next verse:

“Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved.” (Acts 16:31).

“Believe” is translated from the Greek word, pisteuo, which means “to put one’s faith in, to trust, with the implication that actions based on that trust will follow.”

Accept Jesus Christ as your Savior by faith alone. That is the ONLY way to be saved.

Answering another Catholic apologist

The name of this blog is “excatholic4christ.” Yes, I was a Roman Catholic for 27 years, but I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior by faith alone in 1983 and came out of the Catholic church with its false gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit. Isn’t it okay to “worship” God as a Catholic or whatever way strikes your fancy as long as you’re “sincere”? Nope. Although pluralism, tolerance, and relativism are the world’s current standards, the Bible is God’s standard and it contradicts most Catholic doctrines, including how a person is saved.

I started this blog in 2015 with the aim of Gospel outreach to Roman Catholics and warning evangelicals of ecumenism with Rome. Over the last six years, I’ve addressed many of Rome’s anti-Biblical doctrines. A couple of times, I selected a particular book by a Catholic apologist and systematically answered their claims from a Biblical perspective via a lengthy series.

The first series addressed “The Catholic Verses: 95 Bible Passages That Confound Protestants” (2004) by Catholic apologist, Dave Armstrong. That series ran from August 2018 to April 2019 with 34 weekly installments (see the complete index here). Bottom line: We weren’t confounded.

The next series addressed “Meeting the Protestant Challenge: How to Answer 50 Biblical Objections to Catholic Beliefs” (2019) by Catholic apologist, Karl Broussard. That series ran from December 2019 to November 2020 with 50 weekly installments (see the complete index here).

These apologetics series require a lot of prayerful work and research and I wasn’t in a hurry to begin another one, especially after returning to work in January and commencing to assist one of my sisters around the same time. Those situations have calmed down a bit, so the Lord has put it in my heart to start another series addressing a Catholic apologist. Catholics need this information and so do evangelicals who are increasingly hearing pro-ecumenical messages from their pastors.

I was strolling through Amazon a few months ago and stumbled across “Forty Reasons I Am A Catholic” (2018) by Peter Kreeft. Kreeft is a Catholic philosopher and apologist. He is particularly notable for me because the ecumenically-minded young pastor of the Southern Baptist Convention church we attended for one year (2014-2015) praised Kreeft from the pulpit as his favorite philosopher. This book looks like a good vehicle for another apologetics series. It’s only 132 pages long and, obviously, from the title, is divided into forty chapters, meaning the chapters average only 3.3 pages in length. At quick glance, the book appears to be addressed to a non-academic, general audience. Kreeft evidently believes he has forty good reasons for why he is a Catholic, while I know I have forty (and many more) very good reasons for why I am no longer a Roman Catholic. Who is right?

Please pull out your Bibles and join me on Friday, July 30th as we begin a forty-week series examining and answering “Forty Reasons I Am A Catholic.”

When Some in the Church Came Down on the Wrong Side of History…and the Gospel

Gospel According to the Klan: The KKK’s Appeal to Protestant America, 1915-1930
By Kelly J. Baker
University Press of Kansas, 2011, 326 pp.

4 Stars

When most people think of the Ku Klux Klan, they think of the original, Reconstruction-era (1865-1871) Klan and its unabashed aim to stymie the advancement of Blacks in the postbellum South via intimidation and violence. The reconstituted KKK was founded on Stone Mountain, Georgia in 1915. While Blacks were still a concern to the re-born KKK, the heavy influx of “ethnically-inferior” Catholics and Jews from Eastern and Alpine Europe was also perceived as a serious threat to White, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant-American society. The 1920s Klan would largely use political means to oppose their perceived foes rather than violence.

In this book, Professor Baker examines the philosophy of the 1920s Klan through articles from its own publications. She focuses especially on the KKK’s image of itself as the defenders of the Protestant “gospel” against the onslaught of immigrant Catholic papists loyal to the Vatican and against the cosmopolitan Jew with their Christ-denying religion. But Baker unsurprisingly does not define the gospel other than a nebulous belief in Jesus Christ. According to her understanding, the Protestant and Catholic gospels were/are similar excepting Catholics’ fealty to the pope. She transfers her misunderstanding of the opposing gospels to the Klan, claiming they had no problems with Catholic doctrine except for loyalty to the papacy. That clearly was NOT the case. Some/many in the Klan were genuine Christians and were well aware of the genuine Gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone in contrast to Catholicism’s false gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit.

While many Protestants of the era objected to the Klan’s postbellum legacy of violence, they strongly sympathized with the new Klan and its anti-immigrant message. Many White Protestants of the era shared the Klan’s belief in Anglo-Saxon ethnic/racial superiority and were anxious regarding the future of their daughters in a nation that was becoming a “melting pot,” with the increasing threat of “miscegenation,” the interbreeding of people of different racial (and ethnic) types.

The KKK was surprisingly popular in 1920s America and attracted a large number of members and sympathizers in the mid-Atlantic and mid-Western states in addition to the South (see chart). Many conservative-evangelical churches of the 1920s came down on the wrong side of history regarding the resurgent 1920s Ku Klux Klan. The chaplain of each chapter usually doubled as the pastor of a local, Protestant church. When did the appeal of the Klan start to wane? The scandalous news of the rape and murder of a young, single woman by David Curtiss “Steve” Stephenson, the Grand Dragon of the Indiana Klan, in 1925 precipitated the public’s loss of confidence in the organization.

Like many historians, Baker scoffs at 1920s-era Protestants’ suspicions of American Catholics’ dual loyalties, but makes no mention of papal condemnations of democratic forms of government and freedom of religion as late as pope Leo XIII’s Testem benevolentiae nostrae encyclical, written in 1890, which condemned “Americanism.” Baker feigns a lack of scholarly expertise regarding current events, but then proceeds to draw many comparisons between the Christian nationalism of the 1920s Klan and the Christian nationalism of the Tea Party (and by extension, Trump’s MAGA-ism). There certainly are parallels, but equating the Tea Party/MAGA-ism to the Klan is as slanderously inaccurate as saying all Democrats are Marxists.

Personal note: After I was saved out of Roman Catholicism and trusted in Jesus Christ as my Savior in 1983, I began collecting reference materials about the Catholic church. One of the books I purchased was “House of Death and Gate of Hell” (originally published in 1918) about the horrors of Catholic convents written by evangelist and ex-Catholic, L.J. King. To my surprise, included in the text were several positive references to the Ku Klux Klan. I was also surprised when I learned the Klan wasn’t restricted to the South as I had previously thought. In my studies of Rochester history, I learned that the local chapter of the KKK burnt crosses near the newly-constructed Monroe Community Hospital in the early 1930s because the edifice was partially designed by the area’s first Black architect, Thomas W. Boyde Jr. Boyde would later design my wife’s maternal grandparents’ cottage at Henderson Harbor on Lake Ontario in 1954. The Rochester Klan held its rallies at a large field in East Rochester. The field, only a half-mile from our home, is now part of the East Rochester Public School Campus.


Negro and White: Desegregation – Right or Wrong? How Much? How Soon? Principles and Problems in the Light of God’s Word
By John R. Rice, D.D., Litt. D.
Sword of the Lord Publishers, 1956, 22 pp.

1 Star

What a coincidence that this pamphlet was next in line in my reading queue following “Gospel According to the Klan.” As the publisher of The Sword of the Lord newspaper from 1934 to 1980, John R. Rice was one of the main leaders of the independent fundamental Baptist movement in this country. In this pamphlet published in 1956, Rice upbraids the Federal government for mandating the desegregation of public schools in the South. Rice concedes that the Jim Crow laws were problematic, but argues that it was up to each state to work out its own racial policies. He argues that Black folks were not yet ready to assume the rights and responsibilities that communist and socialist “agitators” were demanding. Rice also expresses his anxieties regarding the threat to the purity of White womanhood and the racial miscegenation that would inevitably follow radical desegregation, especially given what he posits as the voracious and unbridled sexual appetite of the Black man. Rice’s preacher father was a member of the violent, Reconstructionist-era KKK, a fact you won’t find in his authorized biography. The Sword of the Lord still publishes many of Rice’s pamphlets, but not this one. It’s an embarrassment. John R. Rice and the independent fundamental Baptist movement came down on the wrong side of history…and the Gospel…in regards to race and segregation. Rice asserts in the title of this pamphlet that his pro-segregationist views would be presented “in the Light of God’s Word,” but he actually presents no Scripture passages to support his racist views. This pamphlet is a good example of what happens when Christians become subservient to the surrounding culture rather than being obedient to Jesus Christ and the Gospel.

Postscript: Note the lofty (honorary) academic credentials appended to Rice’s name, a very common practice of pastors in the IFB. Rice’s honorary academic credentials weren’t much help in the writing of this racist diatribe.

Welcome to the Weekend Roundup! – News & Views – 7/17/21

Retired Catholic archbishop of Newark, N.J., John Myers, caught some heat over his 8000 sq. ft. estate featuring indoor and outdoor pools (photo above). The extravagant opulence that was the standard for Catholic prelates in the past is increasingly less tolerated by the rank and file. See my post here about former-Catholic bishop, James Kearney, who resided on “millionaires’ row” here in Rochester.

As the writer of this article points out, rhe U.S. Catholic Bishops’ efforts to deny the Jesus wafer to abortion-supporting politicians like Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi will definitely alienate many casual Catholics.

This article exemplifies how conservative Catholic media commentators advise their like-minded audience to ignore pope Francis and his progressive reforms. This calls into question the RCC’s claim that the pope is infallible when it comes to his pontifications on all serious matters affecting “faith and morals,” even though Catholic theologians can only agree on the infallibility of three papal declarations throughout history – the immaculate conception (1854), papal infallibility (1870), and the assumption of Mary (1950). What is the worth of having an allegedly infallible guide when the prerogative of infallibility is never used? It’s all bogus.

I’d like to read this new book, “The Truth at the Heart of the Lie: How the Catholic Church Lost Its Soul — A Memoir of Faith,” from a liberal Catholic. Progressive Catholics think Francis isn’t making changes fast enough while conservatives rue the day he was elected pope!

Francis is softening up the RCC to eventually ordain women as deacons, but it will be decades before Rome accedes to ordaining women as priests. By the way, priestly sacrifice was done way with by Jesus Christ and His once-for-all-time sacrifice on the cross.

The NAR (New Apostolic Reformation) is taking Christian Nationalism to the next level.

I’m not a fan of statues of Jesus Christ. I believe they violate the second commandment. Notorious anti-Semite, Gerald L. K. Smith, erected this monstrosity in 1966.

English soccer fans get downright nasty with their anti-Catholicism (and racism). These folks are “Protestant” in name only.

The number of Rochester homicides in 2021 that’s cited in this article isn’t accurate. There have actually been 40 homicides here in Rochester since January 1st. Rochester is one of the poorest cities per capita in the country due to the decline and exodus of several manufacturing companies (e.g. Kodak, Xerox, etc.). 2020 U.S. Census data ranks Rochester as the third poorest city in the country behind only Detroit and Cleveland.

New books about Roman Catholicism by Gregg Allison

I was perusing through Amazon the other day and stumbled across an upcoming book about Roman Catholicism. “40 Questions About Roman Catholicism” by evangelical theologian, Gregg Allison, is due to be published by Kregal Academic Publishing on September 28, 2021 as an offering in their “40 Questions” series. Allison has already given us the scholarly “Roman Catholic Theology and Practice: An Evangelical Assessment” (see my review here), one of the best (although challenging to read) examinations of Catholic theology.

The summary blurb posted at Amazon for this new book is below:

Straightforward answers about Roman Catholicism for a Protestant audience.

The Roman Catholic faith is one of the world’s most widespread religious traditions, yet the unique aspects of Roman Catholicism elicit perennial questions from adherents and outsiders alike. Such questions tend to fall into three major categories: historical backgrounds, theological matters, and personal relationships. Using Catholic Church documents and the writings of Catholic scholars, Baptist systematic theologian Gregg Allison distills the teachings of Catholicism around forty common questions about Catholic foundations, beliefs, and practices. The accessible question-and-answer format guides readers to the issues that concern them, including:

  • Where do Roman Catholic and Protestant beliefs differ?
  • What happens during a Roman Catholic Mass?
  • How does Roman Catholicism understand the biblical teaching about Mary?
  • Who are the saints and what is their role?
  • How can my Roman Catholic loved ones and I talk about the gospel?

40 Questions About Roman Catholicism explores theology and practice, doctrine and liturgy, sacraments and Mariology, contributions and scandals, and many other things, clarifying both real and perceived differences and similarities with other Christian traditions.

I’m very pleased to see this new and important book from Gregg Allison, which, unlike his previous book, is aimed at a non-academic audience. Pre-order from Amazon here.


I noticed yet another new book about Roman Catholicism by Gregg Allison at Amazon. “Essentials of Catholic Theology: Student’s Guide” was published this past May.

The summary at Amazon states…

This course takes a systemic approach to explain the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church and gives a comparative assessment to evangelical theology in the areas of salvation, Jesus, the church, eucharist, baptism and Mariology. The quotes that Dr. Allison is reading are from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, an official catechism approved by the Roman Catholic Church. This Student’s Guide was created by BiblicalTraining.org to be used in conjunction with this class.

The course that’s referred to is a free, 7-part “Essentials of Catholic Theology” online course that can be accessed at BiblicalTraining.org here. The student guide can be ordered at Amazon here. I ordered and received the guide. It’s definitely not a stand-alone resource. Strictly complementary. Yes, my friends, I will be taking the course and providing reviews down the road. Praise God that Dr. Allison and other faithful evangelical theologians continue to point out the irreconcilable differences between Roman Catholicism and Gospel Christianity.

Welcome to the Weekend Roundup! – News & Views – 7/10/21

Some Catholics were outraged when reality-TV idol, Kim Kardashian, recently visited Vatican City as a publicity-stunt. Ms. Kardashian was outfitted in a revealing, form-fitting dress as she toured St. Peter’s Basilica, the Sistine Chapel, and the Vatican Museum. Pious Catholics regard the Vatican as a “holy site” and were offended by Kardashian’s deliberately-provocative outfit. All niceties aside, the Vatican and its false gospel are from the pit of hell. The “scandal” of Kardashian’s outfit pales in comparison to the scandals and evils of Roman Catholicism. By the way, the Vatican is full of paintings and sculptures of nude or barely-covered women and men, so why all the controversy over Kardashian’s dress?

Roman Catholicism teaches that people of all religions and even atheists can merit Heaven if they sincerely “follow the light they have been given.” That’s not the Christianity that the apostles and many of the early Christians gave up their lives for.

I’ve often said that the most dangerous characters in the movie, “The Exorcist,” were the exorcist priests with their false gospel.

This new documentary interests me because I’m currently reading a book about the radicalization of nuns in the U.S. in the 1960s and 70s and their subsequent steep numerical decline. There were 200,000 nuns in the U.S. in 1965. There’s now under 50,000 and the great majority are elderly.

With COVID-19 restrictions being lifted across the country, the U.S. Catholic bishops have rescinded their dispensations and now require the Catholics within their dioceses to attend mass on Sundays under threat of soul-damning mortal sin. According to the RCC’s own survey data, only 22% of Catholics attended mass every Sunday as required prior to the pandemic.

Canada’s thirteen-million Catholics are questioning whether they should continue as members of a religious institution that was directly responsible for so much suffering. Scandals come and go, however it’s important to note that no Catholic ever heard the genuine Gospel from their church’s pulpit.

It was amazing (and revealing) to see how the media elevated Francis’ medical procedure to a major news story last weekend. The entire world is enthralled with Francis, except for conservative Catholics and discerning Gospel Christians.

Throwback Thursday: Standing up for the Gospel when others push for false “unity” and compromise

Welcome to this week’s “Throwback Thursday” installment. Today, we’re going to revisit a post that was originally published back on May 12, 2016 and has been slightly revised.

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Evangelicals, Catholics, and Unity
By Michael S. Horton
White Horse Inn Publishers, 2012, 60 pages

4 Stars

The “Evangelicals and Catholics Together” (ECT) declaration issued in 1994 was an ecumenical effort by several evangelicals, led by Charles Colson, J.I. Packer, and Richard Land, and several Roman Catholics, which sought to minimize doctrinal differences and spur unity between the two groups as co-belligerents in the defense of social “morality.” The declaration inferred that Roman Catholicism was a Christian entity that “basically” preached the same Gospel as evangelical Christianity.

Many evangelicals expressed righteous indignation at the attempt to unite with Rome. The Catholic church has changed none of its doctrines since the Reformation and still teaches a false gospel of sacramental grace and merit. “Evangelicals, Catholics, and Unity” by Reformed theologian, Michael S. Horton, was first published in 1999 in response to ECT. Horton argues that the two main issues that fueled the Reformation, 1) Sola Scriptura , the authority of Scripture alone versus the Catholic church’s combination of Scripture, sacred tradition, and its magisterium, and 2) salvation by the grace of God alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone versus salvation by sacramental grace plus works, remain as irreconcilable differences. There is no salvation through obedience to the Law as Catholicism teaches. Horton cites additional differences very briefly.

This is a very short book (60 pages) that you’ll finish in one sitting, but it serves as a valuable introduction to the differences between the Gospel of grace and the false gospel of Roman Catholicism. Order from Amazon here.

Interested readers may wish to follow up with a more thorough response to ECT and evangelical compromise with one of the books below. All are available from Amazon.com:

  • “The Gospel According to Rome: Comparing Catholic Tradition and the Word of God” (1995) by James G. McCarthy
  • “Romanism: The Relentless Roman Catholic Assault on the Gospel of Jesus Christ!” (1995) by Rob Zins
  • “The Roman Catholic Controversy” (1996) by James R. White
  • “Faith Alone: The Evangelical Doctrine of Justification” (1999) by R. C. Sproul.
  • “Are We Together? A Protestant Analyzes Roman Catholicism” (2012),  by R. C. Sproul.
  • “Reckless Faith: When the Church Loses Its Will To Discern” (1994) by John MacArthur

See my Books tab here for a list of over 360 books that compare Roman Catholicism to God’s Word.

Postscript: Michael Horton would later cause a stir with his fawning endorsement of “former-evangelical,” Roman Catholic apologist, Scott Hahn’s book, “Covenant and Communion: The Biblical Theology of Pope Benedict XVI” (2009). Would the apostle Paul have endorsed such a book? The answer is clearly no. Evangelical theologians, pastors, and para-church leaders do some amazingly bizarre and stupid things in regards to Roman Catholicism and its false gospel.

The Lincoln assassination: a Jesuit conspiracy?

The Suppressed Truth About The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln
By Burke McCarty
The Lutheran Library Publishing Ministry, 2020, 332 pp. (Originally published in 1922)

2 Stars

Conspiracy theories abound these days, but they’re nothing new. After the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, some conjectured that the murder was part of a Jesuit conspiracy to undermine Protestant America. I had read an interesting scholarly book about the Lincoln assassination plot multiple decades ago and when I saw this provocatively-titled book (ebook edition) that was originally published in 1922, I thought I’d give it a whirl.

President Abraham Lincoln was shot by John Wilkes Booth at Ford’s Theater in Washington D.C. on April 14, 1865 and died the following day. Booth’s attack on Lincoln was part of a larger conspiracy by a cadre of Confederate sympathizers that included an attempt on the life of Lincoln’s Secretary of State, William Seward, and unconsummated attacks on Vice President Andrew Johnson and General Ulysses S. Grant. Booth was killed on April 26th at the Garrett Farm near Port Royal, Virginia as he attempted to flee from Federal authorities. Ten of Booth’s co-conspirators were eventually arrested. Four were subsequently hanged – David Herold, Lewis Powell, George Atzerodt, and Mary Surratt – and four were sentenced to imprisonment at Fort Jefferson in the Dry Tortugas in the Florida Keys.

Above: St. Mary’s Roman Catholic church in Bryantown, M.D., cira 1901. John Wilkes Booth attended mass here along with co-conspirator, Dr. Samuel Mudd. Mudd set fugitive Booth’s broken leg, which the assassin fractured after leaping from the presidential box at Ford’s Theater.

Of the ten conspirators arrested, four were Roman Catholics. It was also alleged that Booth was a recent convert to Catholicism as he was wearing an “Agnes Dei” medal at the time of his death and had regularly attended mass at St. Mary’s Catholic church in Bryantown, Maryland. One of the main conspirators, young John Surratt, another Catholic, escaped to French Canada and to Europe with the direct assistance of Catholic clergy. Making his way to Rome, he became a member of the Papal Zouaves. Surratt was apprehended by U.S. agents in 1867 and brought to trial, but avoided conviction due to legal technicalities.

A number of books were subsequently written suggesting that the plot had been orchestrated by the Jesuits, including this book, which was published 57 years after the assassination. There is circumstantial evidence that may indicate something more than a coincidence on the part of the Catholic church in connection with Lincoln’s assassination, especially the church’s aid to fugitive, John Surratt. Despite the sensationalistic extrapolations by the author,* no credible evidence has ever been discovered demonstrating the Jesuit’s direct or indirect involvement in the conspiracy. I’m not a conspiracy mongerer. Such people as former-publisher, Jack Chick, did tremendous harm to Gospel witness to Roman Catholics by spinning conspiracies that blamed the Jesuits for every major calamity. That’s not to say the Jesuits were never involved in efforts to manipulate politics and to counter Gospel outreach. Even Catholic monarchs in Europe resented Jesuit interference and subterfuge to the point that they demanded that pope Clement XIV disband the order. The pope “suppressed” the Jesuits in 1773, but the order was reinstituted in 1814.

I read this conspiracy-themed book as a lark, but definitely would like to read another scholarly book about the Lincoln assassination plot.

*Perhaps author McCarty’s most outlandish claim is that the Jesuits orchestrated World War I in order to divert attention away from the 400th anniversary of the Reformation in 1917 (p.16).