Perhaps the most infamous anti-Catholic story of the nineteenth century was the tale of Maria Monk. Monk said that on the night that she was inducted into a Montreal convent, she came upon a tunnel which was used by priests and monks from a nearby monastery to sneak into the convent at night. Monk said they had sex with the sisters, leaving many of them pregnant. Once the child was born, the old sisters would smother him or her to death, but only after they baptized them first.
The story is a hoax. Monk was a woman without morals who made it all up. She wasn’t even a Catholic (she was Protestant) much less a nun. But that didn’t stop the book, The Awful Disclosures of Maria Monk from being a best-seller. It sold over a million copies before the end of the century and is still selling today.
When William Donohue recently learned that Barnes & Noble was carrying this book in its catalog, he protested. The response was great. “I concur with your opinion and believe that this title is inappropriate for our catalog,” wrote Greg Oviatt, Vice President of Merchandising. “It will not appear in future Barnes & Noble catalogs,” he added.