Charles P. Chiniquy (30 July 1809 – 16 January 1899) was a Canadian Catholic priest who converted to Presbyterianism and became known for his anti-Catholic writings and sermons. In the period between 1885 and 1899 he was the focus of a great deal of discussion in the United States of America. During the 1880s his conspiracy theories included the claim to have exposed the Jesuits as the assassins of President Abraham Lincoln, and that, if unchecked, the Jesuits could eventually politically rule the United States.
Chiniquy was born in 1809 in the village of Kamouraska, Quebec. He lost his father at an early age and was adopted by his uncle. As a young man, Chiniquy studied to become a Catholic priest at the Petit Seminaire (Little Seminary) in Nicolet, Quebec. He was ordained a Catholic priest in 1833. After his ordination, he served his Church in Quebec and later emigrated to Illinois. During the 1840s, he led a very successful campaign throughout Quebec against alcohol and drunkenness.
In 1856, he was sued for slander by one of his parishoners, and was defended by Abraham Lincoln. The case was eventually settled out of court.
After twice being suspended by two different bishops he was excommunicated from the Catholic Church, and joined the Presbyterian Church along with a reported 2000 followers. He then became a dedicated anti-Catholic preacher, attacking what he claimed was its theology. He claimed that the Catholic Church is pagan, that Roman Catholics worship the Virgin Mary, that its theology spoils the Gospel and that its theology is anti-Christian. He also claimed that the Vatican had planned to take over the United States by importing Catholic immigrants from Ireland, Germany and France.
Chiniquy further claimed that he was falsely accused by his superiors (and that Abraham Lincoln had come to his rescue), that the American Civil War was a plot against the United States of America by the Vatican, and that the Vatican was behind the Confederate cause, the death of President Lincoln and that Lincoln's assassins were faithful Roman Catholics serving Pope Pius IX.
Chiniquy earned his living by writing several anti-Catholic books and tracts and making speeches attacking the Roman Catholic Church. His two most influential works are Fifty Years in The Church of Rome and The Woman and The Confessional. These two books helped to swell the tide of anti-Catholic resentment in the United States. These books were written at a time when Americans were suspicious of foreign influence, as typified by the Know-Nothing movement.
He died in Montreal on January 16, 1899.
To this day, some of Chiniquy's works are still promoted among Protestants and Bible-Only believers. One of his most best-known modern-day followers is Jack Chick, who created a comic-form adaptation of 50 Years In The Church of Rome called "The Big Betrayal" and who draws heavily on Chiniquy's claims in his own anti-Catholic tracts.
- ↑ Phelps, Eric Jon (2001). Vatican assassins: wounded in the house of my friends, the diabolical history of the Society of Jesus. Halycon Unified Services. ISBN 978-0970499929. p. 56: "Charles Chiniquy, a French Canadian and “the Martin Luther of America,” who, although having been deceived into joining the Masonic Lodge after his conversion to Christ (believing Satan’s Masonic Craft was the enemy of Satan’s Jesuit Order), boldly exposed the Jesuits as the assassins of President Lincoln during the 1880s. He also warned, that if unchecked, the Jesuits would rule this country."
- ↑ Fenster, Julie M. (2007). The Case of Abraham Lincoln. Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 978-0230608092.
- ↑ Fifty Years in The Church of Rome
- ↑ The Woman and The Confessional
- ↑ The Big Betrayal
- Richard Lougheed, “Le Luther de Canada: La conversion de Charles Chiniquy comme modèle évangélique,” La Revue Farel 3 (2008): 23-37.
- Richard Lougheed, The Controversial Conversion of Charles Chiniquy Texts and Studies in Protestant History and Thought in Quebec, Vol. 1, Toronto: Clements Academic, 2009, 366pp.
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