Let the Statistics Tell Their Tragic Story

 The primary purpose of questioning doctors and especially psychiatrists about the effects of Roman Catholic teaching regarding sex, and especially sexual thoughts, was to learn if their experience indicated that the Church's rigidity had backfired and produced more sex crimes or sins than it had prevented.  Unfortunately, the survey disclosed that the tragedy of Catholic teaching was even greater than many suspected.

Every priest is painfully aware of that irritating result of the teaching on sexual thoughts called "scruples." He has been puzzled and disturbed by the sincere person who has come to him in the confessional and has become almost whimperingly incoherent while confessing and reconfessing and again reconfessing sexual sins of thought.

Scrupulosity is treated in the moral theology textbooks as an abnormality due to an inability on the part of the penitent to differentiate between a sexual sin of thought and a passing sexual thought.  The mental conflict has its cause in the policy of the parochial schools that teach youngsters before the age of puberty that thoughts regarding sex or "indecent" parts of their own bodies are mortal sins.  But the tortures of scruples at times persist long beyond the age of adolescence.

Priests are loathe to hear the confessions of the scrupulous.  Such a person will go through the formalities of the beginning prayer, "Bless me, Father, for I have sinned.  My last confession was two days ago-since then I have committed many mortal sins of thought.  I had such thoughts walking down the street seeing women and thinking how beautiful their bodies were.  I tried to stop such thoughts by prayer and saying “Jesus, Mary and Joseph” as fast as I could but the more I prayed the more I saw the pretty women.  And when I went home and to the bathroom I thought of the indecent parts of my own body and sinned again.  Now in confessing these sins I am thinking of them again and therefore sinning some more.  I have just committed all of these sins over again by thinking of them while I am confessing them."

This frenzy can reach the point where the penitent tries to separate his speech mechanism from his reflective mind.  He whispers faster and faster, trying to unburden his sins before his mind can catch up with them and sin again.  This mad performance can go on by the hour.  Some people never recover from it.  Some go to psychiatrists and become nominally adjusted.  In others, the pendulum. swings to the opposite and all moral restraints are dropped.

Of course scruples arise from ignorance, but that ignorance is very common and very understandable when the system attempts to teach a distorted sex morality to little children.  This is admitted by Kirsch:  

We grant that it is not an easy matter to teach the young plainly what is a sin and what is innocent and harmless.  Our teachers of religion do not always draw a clear distinction, and young people may continue for years to believe something to be sinful which is altogether harmless.  Among the questionnaires received by Hoffman there are two letters from men who complain that for a long time they were in ignorance as to what was sinful in this regard.  One of them wrote-

'Even when I was fourteen I was not at all clear about the sins against the Sixth Commandment.  For instance, I considered sinful any looks, touches and imagining of the nude posteriors.  When I was in fifth-year Latin I privately asked our teacher of religion how he could reconcile it with the teachings of the catechism that in our chapel we had an Immoral picture.' The immorality of the picture consisted in the nude back of an angell it is things like these that I confessed as sins for years.  But that was not the worst feature.  Much worse was the fact that my lively fancy was often occupied with these matters as being forbidden and therefore excited the passions.  My whole emotional life was poisoned in consequence, and I had to fight many a battle that taxed both my mental and bodily strength, in the effort to keep my passions under control."

A Catholic doctor gives his observations of the results of this ignorance. . . . He finds among his patients that some conceived an aversion for their parents that continued for years.  Others conceived a horror of all sex Me, became neurotic, and suffered a complete destruction of their emotional life.  He also traces later sexual perversions to complexes formed by the children concerning the origin of life.  He found in the case of some boys who had been uninstructed, that the first seminal emissions caused a shock that had permanent evil results; in some cases there was a complete change of personality.  He also observed hallucinations, neuroses of anxiet y, and dementia praecox in consequence.  With girls he observed that the first experience of menstruation produced a feeling of anxiety that soon included all sexual emotions."  

The frustrating confusion, mentally destructive agony and the corresponding torture of other innocent people are graphically painted in the following letter from a Protestant girl.  It shows how an impossible, unrealistic moral code conceived in the ivory towers where the theologians dream, can and so often does reach down into the intimate minds and hearts of sincere, innocent Catholics, and literally destroy them:  

To finish my story; I very nearly married a Catholic boy this last month.  I love him very much.  I would do anything for him, up to and including becoming Catholic-in name only.  There are many points of Catholic theology that I cannot accept.  This is probably the reason I am not in a convent at the moment.  I never looked at Catholicism from your angle before.  I would not like to have my children brought up in the school system you describe.  I want a lot of things for my children "that I never had." This is the same old story, you've heard it a million times.  But the truth always becomes a clich6.

The boy that I am in love with has been "shock-troop trained," even though he was not raised in the Church.  His parents were divorced when be was quite small, and his non-Catholic father, a fine, if rather low economic class person, bad custody of Bob for a few years.  He went to public grammar school at first, but then his mother took him over and he was sent to parochial school.

It was in the fifth grade that he discovered that be had been "called to the priesthood." His mother, a "fallen-away Catholic," encouraged him to atone for her own sins.

The only three people who ever objected to his priesthood are his father, whom he has never forgiven for being human and divorcing his mother when he found her in bed with another man; a college professor (non-Catholic) who did not want to see his writing talent wasted; and myself.  

I take back what I said about my being as mixed up as any one person could be.  Bob is even more mixed up than I am.  I won't go into detail, but sex has been his main problem.  Taught by the Church that sex is morally wrong, even in its place, he was at odds with himself.  His father is a very virile man.  So is Bob.  But his virility has been perverted in too many ways to put on paper.  In short, he wanted to enter the priesthood as an escape from "worldly temptation."

When I met Bob, and I admit I met him only a year ago, I knew none of this.  We became friends almost immediately.  We had long discussions about religion.  When he told me that he planned to enter the priesthood, I was horrified.  He is a very talented boy....

From August to March, our friendship was purely platonic.  Finally, he thought enough of me to "make a pass." Nothing violent, just a few goodnight kisses.  Then, one night, be told me that this part of our relationship must end.  I was becoming an "occasion to sin." I don't have to explain what that means to a prospective seminary student.  I couldn't understand, of course.  I was hurt, and I showed it.  He could never stand to see me hurt.  He broke down then, and told me a lot of things.  Some of these things would have sent an ordinary schoolgirl flying for the nearest policeman.  But I love the guy.  What he's done, what he's been doing doesn't matter to me.  I'm not interested in that.  I'm interested in HIM!

The two of us decided to embark on a cure for some of his diseases.  I'm no psychologist, of course, but I watched my father go incurably insane.  I was there, and I've never been able to forget any of it.  I never will.  I know, even if you don't agree, that God used me as a tool to help Bob.  He was greatly improved, even people that had known him all his life commented on that.  We had long sessions and all kinds of discussions.  Eventually, he told me that he was in love with me.  I think I was so glad to bear him say it, I must have made some kind of mistake.

We planned to wait four years to be married-a long time, we both realized, but financially essential.  Anyway, through our decision, we both gained some measure of emotional security.  I won't go into the reasons (you probably know them by this time) why we decided to go ahead and marry this summer.  Bob's father was very eager to help us.  Of course, I realize that help from any in-law is supposed to be bad for newlyweds.  But, under the circumstances, we both decided that it was best to accept help, since Bob could never finish school if we had to go it alone.  Before I go on, understand this: Bob had already been refused entrance to the Trappist monastery in Utah .

He went to his parish priest to see about having the banns published.  When he came back, he told me that he didn't love me and he never bad.  I must have gone into shock.  The next thing I remember him doing was wiping my face and telling me to blow my nose.  Then he told me that he was all mixed up.  He didn't know what he wanted.  He asked me to let him enter seminary for a trial time.  I love him that much.  I told him to go ahead if that was what he wanted.  Oh, I was very brave.  It didn’t last long, of course.  His priest had told him that be couldn't see me for a while.  In desperation, I begged him to make a decision.  He was regressing.  He was so mixed up that he couldn't even let his frustrations out on paper-and for Bob, that is just about impossible.  I didn't see him for two weeks.  Finally, I decided the best thing for me to do was what I've been doing all my life-to run....  

The Church's unyielding condemnation of birth control also drives all too many Catholics into serious neurotic states.  The married people know they must practice birth control-they have too many children already, or the woman's health is precarious, or the husband simply insists on it.  But the constantly repeated guilt haunts them, as illustrated by the following true case history, sent to me by a psychoanalyst:

 Mrs. Mary B., age twenty-nine, entered psychoanalysis because of her chronic alcoholism.  After three sessions, she became extremely agitated because her priest threatened her with excommunication when she told him she was undergoing analysis.  He quoted the Pope and Bishop Sheen stating that no Catholic should go to a psychoanalyst, and he insisted that she go to see a Catholic psychiatrist.  Later in her analysis, she confessed that she did have three sessions with the Catholic psychiatrist, but that she left because he conducted the priests same line of criticism, judgment and condemnation.  As the analysis proceeded, it became evident that her main conflict concerned the Catholic ban on the use of contraceptive devices.  She was married at eighteen because she felt compelled to marry her husband after having confessed sexual intercourse with him.  She insisted to the priest that she did not love him, but the priest told her that she must "marry or bum.' She had sex with her husband frequently, but hated each sexual act.  At twenty-six, Mary had four children and her husband's earnings were so low that the family was existing, not living.

At this point, she was afflicted with anemia, and emotionally upset.  Mary bad resented having each child and the resentment of the children continued as she attempted to raise them.  After the fourth child, she refused to have sexual intercourse with her husband.  He went to the priest about her refusal, and the priest called to tell her that producing children was a duty owed to the Church.  Then Mary secretly started using a contraceptive device, but finally her guilt was so great that she confessed this deviation from doctrine.  'The priest spent one hour telling me that if I ever confessed one more sexual sin he would not accept the confession and would personally see that I was excommunicated."

By the time she entered analysis, Mary had six children and hated them and her husband.  She only came to me because when her father, a non-Catholic, died he made her promise that she would seek a psychoanalyst rather than a priest; she had always loved him deeply, and she envied his free and easy approach to life as opposed to the narrow, limited lives of her mother and grandmother who were Catholic, Her father explained to her that due to the Church she bad married a man she did not love and she had more children than she could care for properly.  He told her that drinking was no solution.

Mary completed her analysis, divorced her husband, placed her children in a neutral home and prepared herself to become a legal secretary.  She is now happy in her work as the office manager in a large legal office, and she is presently engaged to a man whom she met at my office who has undergone analysis.  They plan to be married and to create a home for her children.  When I saw her recently, she said if she had never left the Church she would after reading a recent statement by Bishop Sheen which she had seen quoted in The Reporter of November 3, 1955, "I ask you to drink to our friend the leader of Spain, who from deep and intimate personal experience I believe to be not only the most unselfish but one of the greatest, if not the greatest, heads of state in the world, with the exception of our own President."

 The same psychoanalyst sent me another case history which was just as tragic:

 James S. was brought up in a strict Catholic home.  His parents were more than pleased when he became an altar boy and in many other ways showed his devotions to the teachings of the Church.  He had intense desires to masturbate at age of twelve, and he indulged a few times.  He confessed his masturbatory conflicts, and the priest condemned him as a sinner who was doomed to "hellfire and eternal damnation." The priest put special emphasis on bow Mary, Mother of God, viewed such practices and told him in no uncertain terms that when he experienced sexual desires of "any kind whatsoever, now or in the future" he should think of what Mary would say and how Mary would feel.  Throughout his teens and until his marriage at twenty-three, James repressed all his sexual desires by thinking of bow Mary would view such lewd, lascivious and sinful ideas or acts.  Even when considering marriage, he went to great length to assure himself that be marrying a "Catholic virgin who was like Mary." was

Needless to say, when James attempted sexual intercourse he found himself to be impotent, His impotency continued, and it caused great emotional distress.  Gradually, he became convinced that his impotency was God's punishment for his sins-just what sins he did not exactly know.  He became so disturbed that his wife thought that she would cure him of the curse of his sins by confessing hers, namely, that she had sexual intercourse and orgasms frequently throughout her high school years.  She thought she could reason with him that she had not been punished; therefore, be was not being punished.  To her surprise, he became exceedingly violent and pummeled her until she became unconscious.

To me, he later confessed that when she was unconscious he seriously considered "bashing her head in with a hammer." Now he started periodic attacks of jealousy which were always climaxed by physical brutality, that the wife accepted as a punishment for her sins.  Several times they consulted priests and received general advice to forget the past and start life anew under Gods guidance.  After one particularly brutal beating which hospitalized his wife for three weeks, a doctor insisted that he see a psychoanalyst.  Jaynes was cured, but in his return to sanity he dropped his Church affiliation and his faith in such medieval notions as the Virgin Mary complex.  

A crime that the clergy condemns as violently as birth control is the marriage of a Catholic outside the Church.

Many Catholics adjust themselves mentally to this "life of sin, by hoping that God will be merciful and give them a chance to confess on their deathbeds.  Others Simply quit the Church and worry no more.  But some are deeply affected by the admonitions of the priests.

On June 2, 1954 , Mrs. X., a parochial school graduate, was admitted to Memorial Hospital in Phoenix in premature labor.  She was only five months pregnant.  She was extremely anxious and worried, and her physician feared a postpartum psychosis.  The intern in obstetrics was a tough-looking, snarling boy who had cut his medical eyeteeth on the emergency room at Cook County Hospital in Chicago .  But his heart was as big as all Chicago .  He and the attending physician conditioned this woman for the inevitable-her baby could not live.  It did not, and she took it calmly.

But Mrs. X. was a Catholic and wanted a Catholic funeral for her baby.  She asked the Chicago intern to call her parish priest.  The priest refused at first, but under the young doctor's vigorous insistence he consented to come out to the hospital.

A supervising nurse and a student nurse, both Roman Catholics, were on duty when the priest visited Mrs. X. He upbraided her for being in Memorial Hospital because it was administered by an ex-priest.  Ile told her that her baby's death was a curse from " because she was married outside the Church.

Mrs. X. was thrown into violent hysterics.  The doctors feared permanent psychic trauma.  The intern came to me, literally bursting with fury.  He wanted to commit physical mayhem on the priest.  I told him that such an action was against the law and would not cure the woman's hysteria.  We went to see her, and knowing the methods of the priesthood, I was able gradually to calm her down.  I pointed out to her that throughout the centuries priests used the misfortunes of nature to enslave the believing.

To the good they said that illness, death and other catastrophes were tokens of the love of God, testing man's fidelity.  To those who disobeyed the clergy, these same illnesses, deaths and catastrophes were the scourge of an angry God-and portents of even more violent wrath to come.

I was able to show Mrs. X. the ridiculousness of the priest's position.  On the day she was admitted to our hospital, a devout Catholic boy was also admitted.  He had been bitten by a dog while delivering newspapers.  He turned out to be the one in ten thousand who is sensitive to the Pasteur anti-rabies vaccine.  He was dying of post-vaccinal encephalitis.

'Your baby died," I told Mrs. X., "and Sammy is dying.  If God cursed you because you were not married by a priest, why did he curse a good little Catholic boy?  By what authority can any priest interpret the mind of God -or the misfortunes of nature?"

Mrs. X. not only recovered from her hysteria, but she also severed all ties with the Church, as did the nurses Who witnessed the event.

Miss D. was an attractive nurse, a product of parochial schools.  She fell in love with a young man who would have no truck with the Catholic Church, its premarital promises or its priestly marriages.  Shortly after their baby was born they learned that something was wrong.  The baby was a hydrocephalic.  It had "water on the brain.' It was a hopeless condition, one that would cause the baby's head to grow all out of normal proportions, hang limp on its little shoulders and after an agonizing eternity of several months to several years, would inevitably end in death.  

The girl's father came to me.  He said she was becoming neurotic.  She was told that the baby's condition was God's curse because she had married outside the Catholic Church.  She was in danger of becoming bitter toward her husband.

I told him what the doctors told me.  Hydrocephalus was an abnormality that happened once in every so many thousand births and might just as easily happen in the popes own family.  My advice was not to approach a priest but to approach her husband and become pregnant as soon as possible.  A normal baby would "lift the curse" -and it did!

Mrs. N. was a strict enough Catholic, as a result of her parochial school training, that she would not get a divorce even though her married life was extremely unhappy.  She took to heavy drinking and in one of the better bars of Phoenix met a man who was also companionably miserable.  He had quit the Franciscan Seminary before reaching the priesthood, but his guilt complex would not permit him to adjust to normal life.

After an evening of mutual alcoholic commiseration, they started home together in his car and ended in our emergency room.  A few days later, after Mrs. N. had "dried out" and her broken bones bad subsided to a dull ache, she called for me.  She felt that life was useless.  She could not live with the Catholic Church or its moral code, yet she was not morally strong enough to defy it.  Her life was at an impasse; she felt that suicide was the only logical step.

I tried to paint the panorama of things that a woman could do to relieve the boredom and enrich herself and her fellowman-work, P.T.A., women's clubs, hospital auxiliaries, polio work, Red Cross, day nurseries arid, above all, intelligent politics.  Mrs. N. went home cheered.

A few days later she called and told me she had decided on her contribution to humanity.  She wanted to donate her eyes to the blind.  I told her that that sounded fine.  She should see her lawyer and have her will drawn UP to that effect.  "No," she said, "I want it done now.  My eyes are no good to me.  They are a source of constant temptation.  I want to go into Memorial Hospital this week and have my eyes taken out and put in the Eye Bank for the poor."

My delaying tactic was to tell her I would have to consult one of the hospital's attorneys.  He surprised me with the opinion that the Catholic woman's request, although stupid, was perfectly legal.  People can donate blood, bones and skin.  There is no legal reason why they cannot donate their eyeballs.

The lady kept calling me for her appointment in surgery.  The specialists refused to grant her request because the local eye bank was filled with dead people's eyes, and they refused to take any from the living.

In our hospital's psychiatric department, in the letters from doctors and in the cases that I deal with personally, I have learned that the Churches sexual code is not only frustrating but that it unbalances people mentally.

I began to wonder if the Church might not be filling our insane asylums instead of giving calmness and mental assurance to her believers.  I determined to find out.  Occasionally the press would hint at something along this line, as seen in this report from the New York Times:



 by Emma Harrison

 The idea that strong religious beliefs-especially Roman Catholicism-protect against mental breakdown was challenged here yesterday by a psychiatrist.  As in other personal adjustments, he said, the motive for the quality of the religious belief determines its effectiveness.

A "religious devotee' may be maladjusted, just as he may be well adjusted, Dr. Sandor Lorand told the American Psychoanalytic Association.  He described difficulties in treating the maladjusted and the techniques he had used.

"The reassuring function of divine protection may break down in certain individuals because of severe traumatic experience in childhood and adolescence," said Dr. Lorand, who is Professor of Clinical Psychiatry of the State of New York ....

They had curbed any thoughts and feeling that were considered 'sinful" and had thus ended with a constant feeling guilt for having hostile or "sinful' thoughts....

Free association, necessary in analysis, was accompanied by guilt and fear in these patients because it "involved expressions of thoughts forbidden by religion."...

Therapy was successful when his patients were finally able to develop their own moral code rather than that which had been imposed upon them in childhood, he reported.  They developed a clear distinction between responsibility for actions and responsibility for thoughts and feelings .2

 I could find no studies that had been made of the denominational differences of state mental hospital patients.  The survey of prisons had produced such a large response that a committee, headed by a doctor, was formed to survey America 's mental hospitals.  From the 1952 directory, Psychiatric Clinics and Other Resources in the United States, published by the National Association for Mental Health, Inc., we secured the names of 287 state mental institutions.' Each was sent a questionire asking the total number of patients, the number of Protestants, the number of Catholics, the number of Jews, others, and those with no religious affiliation.

We heard from 205 institutions, in addition to statistics from Illinois that we had previously obtained.  Forty-two of them replied that they either kept no church statistics or that they were homes for congenital mental defectives where, they said, religious denomination could play no part.

The reports covered 361,704 mental hospital patients.  Many interesting facts developed which are not part of this survey.  For example, there are 10984 Jewish patients or three per cent of the total.  Local rabbis tell me that nationally Jews constitute four to five per cent of the nation.  It was shown earlier that only six-tenths of one per cent of our prisoners are Jewish.

The same confusion regarding the term "Protestant" exists in the mental hospitals that was so evident in prisons.  Some count the Catholics and Jews, deduct them from the total patient load and consider the rest as "Protestants."

The following are the replies received from 163 mental hospitals in the United States .  Some of the original reports include complete denominational breakdowns, which may be of interest to those studying the possible correlation between Protestantism and mental illness or the student trying to explain the difference between the percentage of Jews in mental hospitals and in jails.


Table V111.  Catholics in Total Population and in

Mental Institutions


                                                         Catholics       Catholics

                                                                    in          in State

                                                          Hospital    Population

                                                                    %                  7.

              Alabama                                                              2.5

               Alabama State Hospital                    2.3

               Searcy Hospital                               2.8  

             Arizona                                                              22.0

               Arizona State Hospital                    32.7

               Arizona Children's Colony            29.8

              Arkansas                                                             2.1

                 State Hospital                                2.8

              California                                                           22.2

                 Dept. of Mental Hygiene (mentally ill,

                   mentally deficient)                     31.4

                 Camarillo State Hospital               29.0

                 Modesto State Hospital                    .34.3

                 Sonoma State Hospital                 32.5

                 Agnews State Hospital                   3.3.2

                 DeWitt State Hospital                   31.9

                 Mendocino State Hospital            37.6

              Colorado                                                           16.7

                 State Home Training School (mental

                   defectives)                                27.7

                 Ridge State Home (mental defectives)            16.5

                Connecticut                                                     37.3

                 Connecticut State Hospital           58.7

                 Fairfield State Hospital                 54.9

                 Mansfield Training School            49.4

  Kansas                                                                                                   10.6

Topeka State Hospital                                            10.4

Larned State Hospital                                             11.7

Winfield State Training School                              7.6

  Louisiana                                                                                               33.5

Central Louisiana State Hospital                              30.3

Kentucky                                                                                               8.4

Eastern State Hospital                                                    5.1

Western State Hospital                                                   5.8

Central State Hospital                                                   21.1

Kentucky State Hospital                                                 7.7

  Maine                                                                                                          24.0

Augusta State Hospital                                                       37.9

Pownal State School                                                         28.9

  Maryland                                                                                                     14.8

Springfield State Hospital                                                 16.7

Rosewood State Training School                                     23.2

Eastern Shore State Hospital                                              7.4

  Massachusetts                                                                                                47.3

Monson State Hospital                                                          62.5

Metropolitan State Hospital                                                   57.4

Fernald State School                                                             60.3

Medfield State Hospital                                                         53.5

Belchertown State School                                                      54.1

Boston State Hospital                                                              66.0

Taunton State Hospital                                                            56.8

Wrentham State School                                                          52.9

Worcester State Hospital                                                          53.8

Miles Standish State School                                                   59.8

Westboro State Hospital                                                          63.2


                                                         Catholics   Catholics

                                                                    in      in State

                                                          Hospital Population

                                                            Catholics     Catholics

                                                                      in        in State

                                                            Hospital  Population

                Nevada                                                               17.2

                 State Hospital for Mental Diseases 29.8  

               New Hampshire                                                  35.1

                 New Hampshire State Hospital     43.0

                 Laconia State School                  37.3

                New Jersey                                                         36.8

                 New Jersey State School            33.3

                 New Jersey Training School-Girls 26.7

                 New Jersey State Village              45.6

                New Mexico                                                       41.5

                 New Mexico State Hospital          40.0

                 New Mexico Home-Mental Defectives               56.3

                New York                                                           29.8

                 Binghamton State Hospital           34.4

                   Buffalo State Hospital                55.9

                   Dannemora State Hospital          49.2

                 Willard State Hospital                  44.9

                   Rome State School                  44.9

                   New York Psychiatric Institute  26.8

                   Middletown State Homeopathic 36.6

                   Utica State Hospital                   53.1

                   Marcy State Hospital                 49.2

                   Gowanda State Homes, Hospital 43.6

                   Manhattan State Hospital           48.5

                North Dakota                                                      21.8

                   State Hospital for Insane           22.3

                   Grafton State School                30.3

                                                                           Catholics   Catholics

                                                                               In              in State

                                                                            Hospital     Fopulation

                  Ohio                                                                              19.0

                   Longview Hospital                              26.7

                   Toledo State Hospital                          27.4

                   Athens State Hospital                          11.0

                   Apple Creek State Hospital                 33.3

                   Lima State Hospital                            24.6

                   Tiffin State Hospital                            34.7

                   Orient State Institute                           17.6

                   CHdren7s Receiving Hospital             13.3

                   Dayton State Hospital                          18.8

                   Cambridge State Hospital                    34.2

                   Cleveland Receiving Hospital              41.6

                   Columbus State School                       24.7

                     Mt. Vernon State Hospital                 53.5

                  Oklahoma                                                                      3.6

                     Eastern State Hospital                               5.2

                     Central State Hospital                               6.3

                   Western State Hospital                                 5.4

                     Enid State School                                     3.0

                     Paul Valley State School                         5.2

                  Oregon                                                                          7.4

                     Oregon State Hospital                                  10.4

                  Pennsylvania                                                                       27

                     Torrance State Hospital                               44.7

                     Retreat State Hospital                                  68.8

                     Philadelphia State Hospital                          42.8

                     Clark Summit State Hospital                        67.4

                     Mayview State Hospital                               53.6

                     Danville State Hospital                               33.7

                                                            Catholics        Catholics

                                                                    in          in State

                                                          Hospital        Population

              West Virginia                                                  4.7

               Spencer State Hospital                  7.6

               Lakin State Hospital                      1.1

               West Virginia Training School      1.3

              Wisconsin                                                    29.7

               Winnebago State Hospital           48.2

               Central State Hospital                  44.2

              South Wisconsin Colony Training School           41.3

              Wyoming                                                            16.6

               State Training School                     11.8

 All of the questionnaires in this study were returned to Memorial Hospital .  Doctors dropped into my office almost daily to analyze them.  One Phoenix psychiatrist said, as he fingered through a hundred or more, "Here are the cold, cruel, stark facts of what Roman Catholicism does to the human mind."

As can be observed, the preceding statistics do not refer to private psychiatric institutions, particularly Sisters' Hospitals.  No one knows bow many additional Catholics are patients in these exclusively Catholic institutions-patients driven to insanity by Church laws.  I have heard many nurses tell stories of nuns they have cared for in Sisters' Hospitals, and particularly in Catholic Sisters' psychiatric hospitals, who have broken under the unnatural strain of convent life.  No one knows how many there are.

One of our nursing executives told me that she was surprised that the nuns in Sisters' hospital schools of nursing would send their students to Sisters' psychiatric hospitals because of the disillusionment of seeing so many nuns who were patients in them.  She spoke of a very intimate friend of hers who had trained in St. Joseph 's Mercy Hospital in Mason City , Iowa , and had taken her psychiatric affiliation in St. Joseph ’s Sanitarium in Dubuque , Iowa .  She said the thing that struck her was the large number of nuns who were patients, and the fact that all of them she met as patients were "sex crazy."

It would be impossible, of course, to get all of the statistics on the many hundreds of Sisters' Hospitals in the country, but they would add appreciably to the figures quoted above.

 Many psychiatrists, especially Catholics, had written to me that the teachings of Catholicism could not cause or aggravate mental illness because religion offers the comfort, solace and rituals that prevent insanity.

A religion established by God Himself, as the Roman Catholic Church claims to be, should be a balm to the human soul.  It should provide a lodestar for the normal mind as well as for the burdened mind.  It should ease the pressure of the world's iniquity as well as the world's problems among its members.  Certainly among them God's grace should be sufficient.  There should not be the manic depressives, the split personalities, the anxiety neuroses that scourge those who have no divine mental or moral anchors.  And in their lives, abounding with grace and the blessings of the sacraments and the sacramentals, women should be protected by God from giving birth to idiots, mental defectives and monstrosities.

But what are the facts?  If the sanity and mental stability of the members be a "mark of the true Church" or an index of the infusion of divine peace, then certainly the Roman Catholic Church is far from God-surely much farther than are the Jews and Protestants.

The indictment of Catholicism and its system would be strong enough if the percentages of Catholics in the various states and in mental hospitals were equal.  That would prove that confession, the Mass, the other sacraments and the solicited aid of Mary were merely useless.  However, the figures themselves condemn Catholicism as a threat to mental health.  "By their fruits ye shall know them."

I had suggested to one of our consulting psychiatrists that we eliminate from the tabulation all institutions that we knew to be for epileptics, mentally retarded, morons and the like.  He insisted that we include them.  Most of them also show a higher percentage of Catholics than the average in the state population.

The state hospitals, of course, include all categories of the mentally ill.  Many of those types could in  no way result from a religious background.  Some, however, the psychiatrist insisted, well might be caused by the mental strain of religious indoctrination or the continuance of childbirth because of Church law after the couple had had one or more mentally deficient children.  Many of the hospitals listed care for mental deficients only.  They, too, have a percentage of Catholics above the average in the state.

Catholics who go to prison are those who take their moral code too lightly.  It is my opinion that many who go to the insane asylums are those who take it too seriously.  They are the very devout who try to avoid "bad thoughts" and go into scruples that tear their souls.  They are the married Catholic women caught between the prohibition of birth control and the realization that an uncontrolled series of pregnancies can wreck their health, bankrupt their families and alienate their husbands.  They are the indoctrinated Catholics whose minds have been atrophied by the parochial school, who have let the Church and its priests think for them and have simply snapped under the strain of facing the realities and problems of life.

One interested psychiatrist worded it this way: "Insanity is the opposite of sanity and reason.  The lack of reasoning or thought is the beginning of mental illness."

The parochial school tries to destroy thought or reasoning in its pupils-and all too frequently succeeds.  It demands blind mental obedience and conformity.  The Catholic may not think for himself.  He must think with the Church: sentire cum ecclesia.  He is forbidden to think against it.

Some excommunications are imposed for merely thinking heretically: quicumque aliter censverit ... anathema sit!  Lack of independent thought produces mental atrophy.  Lack of reason is lack of saneness.  Once conditioned, a crisis produces the final break-mental illness or insanity.

Incidentally, the hierarchy constantly emphasizes the double financial burden Catholics are bearing-they support their own schools and also pay taxes for public schools they don't use.  Protestants and Jews can certainly make a similar complaint about prisons and insane asylums.  They are not only supporting their own in these institutions, but also the great excess of Roman Catholics.