For there are not only thousands but millions
of Roman Catholic girls and women whose keen sense of modesty and womanly
dignity are above all the sophisms and diabolical machinations of their priests.
They never can be persuaded to answer "Yes " to certain questions of their
confessors. They would prefer to be thrown into the flames, and burnt to ashes
with the Brahmin widows, rather than allow the eyes of a man to pry into the
sacred sanctuary of their souls. Though sometimes guilty before God, and under
the impression that their sins will never be forgiven if not confessed, the laws
of decency are stronger in their hearts than the laws of their cruel and
perfidious Church. No consideration, not even the fear of eternal damnation, can
persuade them to declare to a sinful man, sins which God alone has the right to
know, for He alone can blot them out with the blood of His Son, shed on the
But what a wretched life must that be of those exceptional noble souls, which Rome keeps in the dark dungeons of her superstition? They read in all their books, and hear from all their pulpits, that if they conceal a single sin from their confessors they are forever lost! But, being absolutely unable to trample under their feet the laws of self-respect and decency, which God Himself has impressed in their souls, they live in constant dread of eternal damnation. No human words can tell their desolation and distress, when at the feet of their confessors, they find themselves under the horrible necessity of speaking of things, on which they would prefer to suffer the most cruel death rather than to open their lips, or to be forever damned if they do not degrade themselves forever in their own eyes, by speaking on matters which a respectable woman will never reveal to her own mother, much less to a man!
I have known only too many of these noble-hearted women, who, when alone with God, in a real agony of desolation and with burning tears, had asked Him to grant them what they considered the greatest favor, which was, to lose so much of their self-respect as to be enabled to speak of those unmentionable things, just as their confessors wanted them to speak; and, hoping that their petition had been granted, they went again to the confessional-box, determined to unveil their shame before the eyes of that inexorable man. But when the moment had come for the self-immolation, their courage failed, their knees trembled, their lips became pale as death, cold sweat poured from all their pores! The voice of modesty and womanly self-respect was speaking louder than the voice of their false religion. They had to go out of the confessional-box unpardoned—nay, with the burden of a new sacrilege on their conscience.
Oh! how heavy is the yoke of Rome...
Charles Chiniquy: The Priest, The Woman and The Confessional