Given from the Catholic Broadcasting Station 2SM Sydney Australia
Choose a topic from Vol 1:
They should sanctify Sunday by assisting at Mass, by prayer, and by abstaining from unnecessary servile works.
That is merely because Catholic ideas do not happen to fit in with your own religious upbringing. Things we don't agree with usually seem peculiar to us. But the whole point is, are your ideas right, or are our ideas right? You have no proof whatever that your notions are right, or that Catholic ideas are wrong.
No. The command as given by Moses in the Name of God to the Jews was that the Sabbath, and not Saturday, should be kept holy. The word Sabbath means rest. The law includes two elements; one essential, that one day in seven should be dedicated to God; the other ceremonial, that the particular day should be chosen. The Jews selected Saturday.
On that argument He could not have changed from the Old Law to the New Law, nor from the Jews to the Christians. You should give up your Christian beliefs, and join the Jewish religion! Yet did not Christ say, "You have heard it said in the Law; but now I say unto you." And He deliberately abrogated certain Jewish legislation concerning marriage. He certainly admitted the possibility of some changes.
God is not a liar, and the Catholic Church is not wrong. God Himself predicted in Isaiah II., 2-3, that He would establish a visible Church to which all nations would come, and that out of that Church the law would proceed to teach us His ways. In due time He sent His Son, who established the Catholic Church, and she tells us God's present law. God has not changed. If you decide to do different successive things, your decision does not change merely because the undertakings change successively. The Jews decided to observe Saturday, while Christians decided to observe Sunday. The seventh day as God's day was not changed. The Sabbath, God's rest day, was transferred from Saturday to Sunday.
In believing the specified Jewish day to be still of obligation. You do not seem to understand that the Old Law was but figurative of the more perfect New Law, and that in the New Law Christ established the Catholic Church which clearly teaches the change of ceremonial day. If you want to keep the ceremonial day of the Jews, you may as well keep the lot, and abolish Baptism in favor of Circumcision.
We did not. Sunday may have been the day celebrated in honor of Mithra. But this was not the reason for its selection by Christians. There is as much connection between the Christian choice of Sunday and Mithraism as there is between the fact that the Jews observed Saturday and the derivation of the word in English from Saturn. Had the Church chosen Wednesday for some reason of her own, you would alter your charge and cry in triumph, "Ah! The day sacred to Wodin."
After Christ's resurrection and the establishment of the Church of the New Law, Christians kept the substance of the Old Law in this matter by still retaining one day out of seven. But the Apostles, as I have said, changed the specification of the day to Sunday. This they did for several reasons. Firstly, in order to honor the resurrection of Christ from the dead on Sunday morning. St. Paul shows that this is the bed-rock foundation of our faith when he says, "If Christ be not risen, then is our faith in vain." Secondly, the advent of the Holy Ghost gave life to the Church on Pentecost Sunday. Thirdly, the change was calculated to impress upon our minds the transition from the Old Law to the New Law. Finally, Saturday had special significance as being dedicated to the completion of God's creative work. But God's redemptive work is greater than His creative work, and as a mark of honor the first day of the week was dedicated to the superior redemptive work of God.
Yes. Christ, of course, accepting the Old Law prior to fulfilling and perfecting it by His new revelation, observed Saturday. But He Himself prepared the way for the change of day. He defended His disciples when the Jews accused them of not observing the Sabbath strictly in the traditional sense. Matt. XII., 1-8. He rebukes a too severe an interpretation of the Sabbath law. Lk. XIII., 10-16; XIV., 1-5; Jn. V., 9-18; VII., 22. He shows His authority to do as He may please with the Sabbath. Mk. II., 27-28. Nowhere does He re-assert the obligation of observing the Jewish Sabbath. Never does He quote this Jewish Law. In marked contrast, the New Testament pays special honor to Sunday. Christ rose on Sunday, and appeared to His Apostles on Sunday. He chose the following Sunday to appear to them when St. Thomas was present. Fifty days later He chose Sunday for the bestowal of the Holy Spirit upon His Church. The first Christians themselves observed Sunday from the very beginning. "On the first day of the week, when we were assembled to break bread." Acts XX., 7. St. Paul rebuked the Galatians because of their tendency to revert to Jewish customs, and above all in their observance of Jewish days as if they were still binding. Gal. IV., 9-10. To the Corinthians he wrote, "As I have given order to the churches of Galatia, so do ye also. On the first day of the week let every one of you put apart . . . what it shall well please him" towards the collection on behalf of the Church. 1 Cor., XVI., 1-2. In Kev. I., 10, St. John tells us that he was in the spirit "on the Lord's day," i.e. on the day on which Christ rose from the dead, and which was already dedicated to Him as sacred in a special way.
You have misunderstood him. The Church then merely gave a special pre* cept ordering the faithful to keep to the Apostolic practice of observing Sunday, But the change was not made in the 4th century for the first time. Thus St. Augustine wrote in the 4th century, "The Apostles and their contemporaries sanctioned the dedication of Sunday to the worship of God." Two centuries before Augustine, Tertullian had written, "We, as tradition has taught us, observe the day of the Lord's resurrection." St. Justin Martyr, who died in 167 A.D., wrote, "On Sunday we meet to celebrate the Lord's Supper and read the Gospels and Sacred Scripture, the first day on which God changed darkness, and made the world, and on which Christ rose from the dead." Earlier still, St. Ignatius, who died in 107 A.D., says, "If we still live according to the Jewish observances, we confess that we do not accept the grace of Christ. Those who once lived according to the Old Law have come to a new hope, no longer observing the Jewish Sabbath, but the Lord's day on which our Life rose from the dead." Thus tradition goes back to the indications given in Scripture and recorded above. Yet it is right to say that the Catholic Church changed the day in so far as the Apostles were representatives of that Church; for they, with the authority of Christ, sanctioned the change.
The foundation of the Catholic Church is a matter of history, and history shows that Christ Himself founded her. You would find it quite impossible to say when, where, and how Satan founded the Catholic Church. As for Satan governing the Catholic Church, do you think Satan would be so insistent on the preservation of the doctrine of Christ? The Catholic Church says that anything impure, filthy, or wicked, is absolutely forbidden. Is that Satanic? She warns against all sin, and urges her children to be holy. It does not sound very devilish. You neither un derstand Scripture nor the Catholic Church to which you are so opposed.
A Catholic could not, when there is nothing to prevent his attendance at Mass. It is a mortal sin to miss Mass, and if he put himself into a state of mortal sin he vitiates all else he might attempt to do. That is, of course, unless he makes an act of perfect contrition, after which he could do some good actions; but he would not have fulfilled God's essential law.
I doubt it. But if a Catholic did do that, he would be doing what God does not command, and neglecting the thing God does command.
Christ said, "If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments." Now one of these commandments is, "Remember that thou keep holy the sabbath day." Thus God demands the sanctification of one day in seven in a special way. His very use of the word "Remember" implies a grave obligation not to forget or omit this duty. It is a mortal sin to disobey God in this matter. But how are we Christians to observe this commandment? Who is to tell us? Our Lord says, "If a man will not hear the Church, let him be as the heathen." Matt. XVI11., 17. We must, then, hear the Church. Now the Catholic Church tells us that the central factor in the religion of Christ is the Mass, and that the chief thing in the sanctification of Sunday is to be present at the offering of that Sacrifice to God. This obliges under pain of mortal sin, unless sickness or other grave difficulties prevent such assistance at Mass. Remember that men are not only individual beings. They are also social units in a collective nation. And as they are obliged to worship God in their individual capacity, so too collectively. God has always demanded public worship, and from the earliest Apostolic limes Christians met regularly for religious exercises in common.
Religion is a debt to God. We Catholics pay this debt regardless of our own comfort and pleasure. We do not pay earthly debts when it gives us pleasure, and refuse to pay them when it displeases us. It is a matter of honesty and justice.
You wrongly suppose that the Church insists upon attendance at Mass and money-giving, and that she is indifferent to truth and good living. You should ask Catholics who do attend Mass what they are taught, instead of making prejudiced guesses.
Would you have them continue in their sins and discontinue going to Mass? That is what the average non-church-goer does. It would not be so bad if he did so and kept silent about others. But it is intolerable that he should rail at those who do attempt to offer some worship to God.
He may not be in other things, though even that is unlikely. But he is certainly better in God's sight in so far as he attends Mass. If the church-goer has faults, I do not justify them; but those faults will be less grave than the sin of the man who neglects the greatest of his debts—that to Almighty God.
By going to Mass Catholics have remembered to keep holy the sabbath day, which is required. For the rest, Catholics are not allowed to do as they please afterwards. They are forbidden all unnecessary servile works, and are of course forbidden, as always, any sinful conduct. But they are not forbidden lawful relaxation from ordinary pursuits.
Catholics do keep the day holy. The day is consecrated to God by definite duties of religion. Innocent recreation does not desecrate it. Eating one's meals on Sunday is not in itself a pious act, yet it does not desecrate the day. To keep a day pious does not mean that every single act must be one of piety. Any act which is not sinful can be offered to God's greater honor and glory, even as David offered his dancing before the Ark of the Covenant. When the Pharisees complained to Christ that the disciples were doing what their traditions held to be unlawful, Christ replied that the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath,
Playing tennis is not sinful. It is neither holy nor wicked of itself. It is mental and bodily refreshment of one's forces. But how far will you go? If I may not play tennis, may I exercise my limbs by walking? If I may not use my legs, may I use my eyes in reading? If not that, may I use my lungs by breathing? Where are you going to stop in the use of one's faculties? Religion was not meant by God to be a strait-jacket of gloom.
If so, they do so on their own authority, not on the authority of the Scripture.
That may be true of many Protestants who know that their ministers forbid such things unreasonably, and therefore give up going to church at all. It does not affect Catholics. We have easily the largest number of church-going people, even though we refuse to adopt the man-made prescriptions of Protestant ministers.
The Catholic Church is the only Church which can oblige her people to worship God definitely on Sunday, and many of her churches are filled three or four times on that day. There is nothing wrong with innocent recreation provided it does not interfere with one's duties to God and attendance at religious worship. Sunday is a day on which we must avoid hard bodily labor, worship God, and take lawful rest. But God never intended us to sit glum and gloomy from Saturday until Monday, as if that could offer Him the greatest possible honor and glory. Of course the Catholic Church may be guilty according to the standards of many Protestants, but she has never admitted those standards. The Catholic goes to an early Mass, slips home, has his breakfast, and then enjoys God's sunshine in innocent recreation. His greatest critic is the man who breakfasts in bed, and reads the Sunday papers until 11 a.m., religiously refusing to play the piano. If he feels like it, such a man goes along to some service at a popular church or chapel in the evening, believing himself to be one of the chosen few who have gone to church that day, forgetting the legions of Catholics who have done so whilst he was still in bed.
Innocent recreation on Sunday is not opposed to Christ's commands. You decide upon your own notion of what Christianity means, and calmly demand that I reconcile Catholic practice with your notions, as if your ideas were infallibly correct. That is the way with Protestantism. Protestants won't accept the authority of the Pope, believing his claims arrogant. Then each proceeds to set himself up as his own Pope. Why should I accept your tests of what Christianity should be as possessing any value? Another Protestant, with different ideas, will want me to reconcile Catholic practices with his notions. If Catholic teaching could square with every peculiar idea of each Protestant inquirer, it would have to be as changeable as the chameleon.
Let us put it the other way round. If it were sinful, it is possible that Christ would have said so. We certainly cannot expect Him to describe all that is not sinful. Sleeping is not sinful, yet nowhere does Christ solemnly assure us that it is no sin to go to sleep. Christ omitted any explicit reference to sport on Sunday just as he omitted to refer to the wearing of shoes, sleeping at night, or the breathing of the air God gives us.
Work which in olden times used to be given to servants and slaves, and which is chiefly performed by bodily labor and for bodily needs. Liberal and mora intellectual works are not forbidden.
The term servile refers, not to the time spent in the work, but to the nature of the work. If the work is of a servile nature in itself, it cannot be done even for ten minutes without genuine necessity. If not servile of its very nature, it would not become servile if done for ten hours.
God forbade the ordinary work of the Jews by which they earned their living, and the work they allotted to their slaves and servants. Christ Himself rebuked the Pharisees for their letter-of-the-law interpretation o.f this commandment. God's chief purpose was that all might be free for religious duties. We have to note what God intended, and fulfill the intentions of the legislator, in addition to making allowances for the vast difference between the spirit of the Old Law and that of the New. The Catholic Church forbids all unnecessary servile work on Sundays. If such work can be done during the week, it is not necessary on Sundays. Our Lord Himself said that one would be justified in laboring to release an ox from a pit on the Sabbath. A man cannot find time always on week days for all things necessary to be done, and certainly some housework is reasonably necessary on Sundays.