Given from the Catholic Broadcasting Station 2SM Sydney Australia
Choose a topic from Vol 1:
That you lead a good life is to be commended. But it would be better to do it in the way God wishes, rather than in your own way. Your leading a good life cannot prove your religion true. If it did, then the fact that a Catholic lives a good life also proves the Catholic Church true. Yet if your religion is true, the Catholic Church is not. You cannot appeal to your own life as proof, but must find out how Christ described His Church, and then look for that Church.
Some Protestants believe that. Many do not. Good Protestants can be saved, but if they are good they are Protestants in good faith who have the will to do God's will, and are not Catholics merely because they do not realize their obligation to join the true Church.
And is not one doing wrong when he refuses to bother about doctrinal belief? Why did Christ say, "He that believes shall be saved?" Why did He send the Apostles to teach doctrine? Not only are good works required, but also the true faith.
That is taking refuge in credulity. Every rational man, if he does a thing, should know why he does it. Moreover, Christianity is a set of truths to be believed as well as a life to be lived. It imposes obligations upon the intelligence as well as upon the will and the passions. Jesus said, "Repent and believe the Gospel." But before a reasonable man believes, he must either prove the doctrine true in itself, or at least that God has revealed it, then he knows that it must be true even though he himself does not fully comprehend it. To say that God is indifferent as to whether a man is a Protestant or a Catholic goes very close to blasphemy. If he revealed the doctrines of Protestantism, He could not possibly be pleased with one who would deliberately accept the opposite by embracing Catholicism.
If you mean that there are good men and bad men in all religions, you are right. But if you mean that the teachings of all churches, including the Catholic Church, are partly true and partly false, you are wrong. The teachings of all non-Catholic churches are partly true and partly false. Partly true, for a religion consisting wholly of error could not exist. Partly fabe, because all non-Catholic churches are a denial that Christ made sufficient provision for the Church He established. But not a single false doctrine is to be found in the official teaching of the Catholic Church, which is the work, not of man, but of God. If a man is obliged to accept the truth in its entirety, and not a fragment of the truth, he is obliged to accept the Catholic Church as his guide.
Few Protestants would thank you for such a dreadful description of their religion. Nothing more is necessary? Do what you like, but say that prayer in your heart! Also, had Christ but one doctrine to give, namely, "Say a prayer in your own hearts," He went a very strange way about teaching that doctrine.
In so far as you are sincere, Our Lord overlooks your mistaken notions and accepts your love for Him. But the fact remains that you serve Him in your way, and not in His, and that He does not obtain from you all that He desires. Also what He overlooks in you He would not overlook in a Catholic who has known the truth.
No. Not all the sincerity in the world can be a sufficient substitute for authentic credentials in this matter. An immense power and authority over the souls of men requires solid proof that it is really possessed. Christ proved that He had it. The Catholic Church can prove that He entrusted that power to Her. Founders of other churches had no more than their own personal conviction that they possessed such authority—a persuasion as insufficient as would be my own personal belief that I had the authority of the Chief Justice in the land.
Witness in oneself may easily be purely subjective persuasion, and is no sure test of truth. Men holding totally divergent views claim to experience this witness within themselves, yet they cannot all have the exact truth revealed by Christ. Thank God, intellectual mistakes do not always mean evil dispositions. But remember that Christ allowed the Jews to go because they knowingly refused to accept His teaching on the Eucharist—a teaching you also reject, as we shall see. If you knew what you were doing, He would reject you also.
The Kingdom of God as established by Christ is at once a visible Church in this world, and an invisible spiritual Kingdom of grace within the soul. External adherence to the visible Kingdom demands also that Christ reign by grace within the soul. But this interior grace does not dispense a man from accepting the will of Christ once he is aware of it, nor from the obligation to join the visible Kingdom established by Him in this world. Christ distinctly said, "I will build my Church"; and again, "If a man will not hear the Church, let him be as the heathen." He was obviously referring to the authority of a visible Church. He also likened His Church to a net holding good and bad fish. This cannot refer to a Kingdom of spiritual and invisible grace only, for bad fish are not in a state of grace.
The teaching of Christ clearly condemns Protestant principles, and insists upon the acceptance of Catholic principles. He did die for all who would accept Him, but one does not accept Him who rejects knowingly the very definite and particular religion He gave to the world. And He predicted that that religion would be characterized by unity of doctrine, holiness of moral precepts, catholicity or universatility, and continuous succession from the Apostles.
The authority of the priesthood will be the subject of our consideration in due time. Meantime the denominations were not necessary according to the mind of Christ. He prayed that all might be one, as He and His Father are one. St. Paul said that even though an Angel from heaven were to preach a gospel differing from that already given, he should be regarded as accursed. No one had any right to establish the denominations, with their varying doctrines.
It is ten thousand times a pity. But remember that the Catholic Church did not start the conflict. She cannot be blamed for the domestic troubles of Protestantism. All Catholics at least are in doctrinal unity.
Because Christ said, "If a man will not hear the Church, let him be as the heathen." He did not say, "If a man will not hear a portion of the Gospel in man-made substitute churches."
Bigotry is blind zeal. It is not bigotry to say that a thing cannot be true if its opposite is proved to be correct. Truth must exclude error.
You are. And you might be able to think out ideas just as valuable as ourselves. But here it is not a question of human opinions. It is a question of God's teaching, and neither your opinions nor our opinions have any value if they contradict that. Catholic doctrine is not our opinion, but His doctrine who sent the Church to teach in His name.
We are obliged by the law of charity. But charity does not forbid one to tell the truth. It forbids blaming people who, through no fault of their own, do not know the truth. Nor would the Catholic Church wish Protestants to admit that she is right if she were not right. And since she can prove that they are not right, she is not doing to them what she would not have them do to her in denying the correctness of their religion.
The Catholic Church has to condemn Protestantism as a system. But she desires to insult no single Protestant. That Protestants are human beings does not prove their religion true. Otherwise the fact that Catholics are human beings also would prove their religion true. As a matter of fact, in so far as Protestants are human beings we Catholics love them, and it is our very interest in them which makes us want to give them the best religion in the world—Catholicism. Protestantism is not good enough for them.
That is a great compliment to the Catholic Church, when we consider the conditions others lay down as the basis of reunion. For it means that she is doing more than any other church to keep intact the religion entrusted to her by Christ, and that she steadily refuses to let her heart run away with her head by admitting that whatever sincere but mistaken men would like to be true is good enough, and that what Christ exactly taught does not really matter.
One instance is enough to refute that statement. Your proportion would be about four hundred in forty millions. Now the population of England is about forty millions, and in England alone the average number of converts to the Catholic Church is over twelve thousand yearly. The number is even greater in America, and a steady stream of converts is the experience of most other countries also. However, the one instance of England is a sufficient reply to your extravagant assertion.
You take up an extraordinary position. If you do not say that you are right, you cannot have definite grounds for your belief, and such belief is credulity.And do you really believe in everyone believing in his own belief? Whether that belief be right or wrong? If so, you believe in people believing in error. But Christ came precisely to stop people from believing in error. Far from allowing people to believe in their own beliefs, He commanded them to give up their previous beliefs, and believe in what He taught, if they wished to save their souls. I believe with you in not criticizing others. I give them credit for sincerity and goodness. But it is quite lawful to criticize their theories.
If you except the Catholic Church, I'm afraid it is. That other churches think so is shown by the amazing exchanges of pulpits and attendances. But the Catholic Church is a different thing altogether. Until we prove a tiling it is a matter of opinion. Thus before Australia was discovered, it was a matter of opinion as to whetlier a southern continent existed or not. But once discovered, it was no longer a matter of opinion. So, too, if God had never given a revelation about religion, it might be a matter of opinion. But once God speaks in a definite way, it is no longer a matter of opinion. When the Creator speaks, the creature must simply accept. Now God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, who established one definite Church, to which He gave His teaching authority. This does not look like religion being a matter of opinion. Here we have God's decision, and we must accept it. If our human opinions suggest anything against the teaching of Christ, or against the teaching of His Church, we just renounce our own fallible ideas as being the foolish notions of untaught children. The Protestant clings to his own opinions whether they are in harmony with God's explicit teachings or not. Nor does he make much effort to find out what those teachings are. But God would no more admit that the religion revealed by Him is a mere matter of opinion than your grocer would admit that the amount owing to him is a mere matter of opinion.
No. If the individual conscience is to be the guide, there will be as many religions as consciences. There are right consciences and wrong consciences. Conscience is right if it squares with the laws of God. It is warped if it be at variance with the will of God. However, if conscience alone matters, why did not Christ leave us all to our consciences, instead of carefully teaching His Apostles a definite set of doctrines to be preached and to be believed? Conscience must accept the teachings of Christ, who could neither be deceived, nor deceive us.
Why did Christ try to convert people to His special doctrines? And whv did He send His Church to teach all nations? If God gives the truth to man by sending His Son, is it not better to have that truth to guide one's conduct? Or is it better to be in partial or total ignorance, omitting much that ought to be done, and being forgiven by God only because not knowing any better? To know the truth and live exactly as God intends is much better than asking to be excused from it on the plea of ignorance.
Very often. But there is this difference. The Catholic who does not understand Protestantism does not know the wrong thing. The Protestant who does not know Catholicism does not know the right thing. I personally know both, having been brought up in Protestantism, which I renounced in favor of Catholicism.
All things else being equal, and strictly from the viewpoint of the religions, Catholics have many advantages. They have the full truth contained in Sacred Scripture and in the teaching Church. The Protestant accepts only part of Scripture, and has no God-appointed guide. Certainly a man with full information as to the road leading to a given destination has greater advantages than one with defective information. Again, Catholics have more means of grace than non-Catholics. They have the sacrifice of the Mass, and seven Sacraments. You may say that Christ gives grace at times independently of the Sacraments instituted by Him for this purpose. But why should He, when He definitely institutes seven Sacraments for the purpose? And even granting that He does give certain graces to those in good faith, those graces are not so plentiful, nor of the same nature as the special Sacramental graces.
Yes. As a matter of fact, a close study of other forms will suggest only reasons for abandoning them, whilst an equally close study of Catholicism intensifies the conviction that in the Catholic Church, and in her alone, can the full truth be found.