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Theodore Roosevelt (1858–1919). Through the Brazilian Wilderness. 1914.

Page 58

a “Protestant Catholic,” her mother having been a Protestant, the daughter of an immigrant from Normandy. However, it appeared that the older children had been baptized by the Bishop of Asuncion, so Father Zahm at the earnest request of the parents proceeded with the ceremony. They were good people; and, although they wished liberty to think exactly as they individually pleased, they also wished to be connected and to have their children connected with some church, by preference the church of the majority of their people. A very short experience of communities where there is no church ought to convince the most heterodox of the absolute need of a church. I earnestly wish that there could be such an increase in the personnel and equipment of the Catholic Church in South America as to permit the establishment of one good and earnest priest in every village or little community in the far interior. Nor is there any inconsistency between this wish and the further wish that there could be a marked extension and development of the native Protestant churches, such as I saw established here and there in Brazil, Uruguay, and Argentina, and of the Y. M. C. Associations. The bulk of these good people who profess religion will continue to be Catholics, but the spiritual needs of a more or less considerable minority will best be met by the establishment of Protestant churches, or in places even of a Positivist Church or Ethical Culture Society. Not only is the establishment of such churches a good thing for the body politic as a whole, but a good thing for the Catholic Church itself; for their presence is a constant spur to activity and clean and honorable conduct, and a constant