Given from the Catholic Broadcasting Station 2SM Sydney Australia
Choose a topic from Vol 1:
It is to be found whole and entire only in the Catholic Church, as a Church, for the Catholic Church is holy in her Founder, in her teachings, worship and discipline, and can alone inspire a completely Christian spirit in men of goodwill. This, however, does not imply that every member of the Catholic Church is holy. Many, to their own shame, do not live up to their faith.
Protestantism was not holy in its original founders, cannot preserve Christian teaching intact, and dare not insist upon truly Christian moral principles. Even its leaders excuse and approve laxity in practice, tolerating divorce and re-marriage, birth-control, contempt of Scripture, indifference in religion, and rationalism and humanitarianism in place of faith and charity. And you term this renunciation of Christ's principles tolerance! Tolerance may spare evil individuals, but it never says that evil conduct is justified. As for Mahometanism, you know as little about that as you do about the Catholic Church. The Koran allows divorce, polygamy, the right of husbands to thrash their wives, the right to murder unbelievers, the sanction of impurity provided a man washes his hands in clean sand, and much other evil doctrine absolutely condemned by the Catholic Church, and indeed by every right conscience.
Satan is said to be an angel of light in so far as he makes evil appear to be good, not that he ever inspires real good. He never inspires people to hate sin and to love God as does the Catholic Church.
He mixes no good works with his errors. He permits some good to continue side by side with the evil he inspires. And that is the secret of the continued existence of Protestantism. It speaks much of belief in Christ, of broadminded tolerance, of being good to one's fellow men, of owing no man anything. But it shuts its eyes to Satan's propaganda of divorce, birth-control, the flood of doubtful literature poured out by the Press, the banishing of religion from schools, and a hundred other dangers of the day. People can be good Protestants yet carry on with practices for which they would never get absolution from any Catholic Priest unless they promised to abstain from them. At times Protestantism does raise its voice in protest, but nearly always against the wrong things, avoiding current evils which it finds it too unpopular to face.
Then she is a very poor agent indeed. She would be far more efficient if she cried out, "Sin does not matter—go ahead. Confession is nonsense. Eat anything you like on Fridays, the day on which Christ died. Marriage does not bind, divorce yourselves whenever you like. Continence is absurd. Artificial birth-control is progress. Don't believe in Christ, or God, or Heaven, or Hell. Away with religion in flie schools. The chief thing is to be comfortable. Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow you die. Then get cremated, and that ends everything." Don't you see how ridiculous your statement is? All these things are the exact opposite of Catholic teaching.
No. He describes a city of abominations which he terms Babylon. The early Christians, therefore, regarded pagan Rome, with its idolatry and sensuality, as a very Babylon. Thus St. Peter, writing from Rome, called it by that name. But once the city had given up its paganism for Christianity it ceased to be called by that name which had been given it precisely because of its paganism. Some few people since the 16th century, blinded by anti-Catholic prejudice, have termed modern Rome Babylon because it happens to be the headquarters of the Catholic Church. But no sensible people support such a view. The fight of the Catholic Church for the rights of Christ, and her urgent recommendations of true holiness to her spiritual subjects, are too obviously opposed to the conduct of the Babylon described by St. John.
History shows no such facts. It does show that there have been wicked men in the Church, and Christ predicted that there would be bad fish in the net. But these evil men were wicked in spite of the teachings of their Church, not because of them. Meantime in every age there have been Saints, good precisely because they lived up to Catholic teaching. It is proof that the Chmch as a Church is good, if men have to violate her teachings in order to, be wicked. And it is proof of her divinity that she has survived not only attacks from external enemies, but the still worse evil of corrupt members within.
Occasionally Priests have left the Church. Some have unfortunately lost the gift of faith altogether, but such men often speak with great respect for the Catholic Church. The majority, however, have gone rather because they have been unwilling to live up to the lofty standards of morality demanded of them. They have obviously adopted, not higher, but lower standards of living. In their attempts to justify themselves, these men have often pandered to Protestant prejudice by reviling the Church they once served. Their case would sound better if they contented themselves with the mere admission that they had been hitherto mistaken. But if they confess that they have been habitual liars over a period of many years, you can hardly take their word for anything. A witness who admits that lying has long been almost second nature to him for years is not much of a witness.
No. Some Catholic individuals have lost their own spirituality through political ambition, but this does not affect the Church. Christ promised that His Church would never go wrong, not that individuals in the Church would never go wrong. You cannot argue from bad fish in a net to the rottenness of the net. A very good net can hold some bad fish.
If the Pope were to ask me to adore him, I would tell him to go to confession and ask forgiveness of so great a sin before attempting to celebrate Mass. For he would commit mortal sin did he accept adoration even as it would be mortal sin to offer it to him.
At least he did not say that he was God Almighty! He simply meant that, through no merits of his own, he had been promoted to a position which had annexed to it the promise of Christ, "Whatsoever you bind upon earth is bound also in Heaven." Pope Leo was speaking of his commission, not of himself. Gladstone said to Queen Victoria, not with pride but with simple truth, "Madam, I am the people of England."
The Pope's claim is not arrogant, even as Gladstone's claim was not arrogant The Pope merely claims to be the occupant of a constitutional office established and endowed with certain privileges by Christ.
That is verified in the Pope, whose official title is Servant of the servants of God. Being first, he is the servant of all Catholics. He ministers to our spiritual needs and gives his life to the work, renouncing a self-chosen career. But the words you quote do not dispense us from honoring the Pope as Vicar of Christ.
Some misguided writers have spoken of a female Pope named Joan, who was supposed to have reigned from 855 to 857 A.D. But never was a greater hoax put over a credulous public. Voltaire laughed at the gullibility of fools who believed this tale. The Encyclopaedia Brittanica says that she is a pure myth. Chambers Encyclopaedia calls her "a fabulous personage." Gibbons, in his Decline and Fall exploded the legend half a century ago, saying, "A most palpable forgery is the passage about Pope Joan, which has been foisted into some manuscripts." Her advocates bear testimony against themselves, producing echoes of the 14th, 15th, and 16th centuries—at least five centuries after her supposed death. She has been annihilated by two learned Protestants, Blondel and Bayle, but others still attempt to save this poor engine of controversy.
Not unless they live good lives, or at least die repentant of their sins. They must save their own souls just as others, and can lose their souls if they wish.
Not quite, although he certainly was a disgrace to his office. But it is just because his office demanded such holiness that his life was so utterly incongruous. Yet if you reject the Papal System because of Alexander, you must logically reject the College of the Apostles because of Judas. And remember that the life led by Alexander disgusts Catholics far more than it disgusts Protestants, for Catholics know what is really to be expected of a Pope in accordance with Catholic spiritual principles. Had Alexander lived up to Catholic teaching in its fullness he would have been a saint, even as many of the Popes were saints. But then, of course, he would never have been mentioned by Protestants.
Not so many—a few, very few. But the assassination of the king would prove neither that he was never lawful head of the nation, nor that he was an evil man.
Not a large proportion. History records six or seven as having been really unworthy of their office. Out of 260 Popes, the proportion is about 1 in 40. One in 12 is the proportion of evil men among the Apostles chosen by Christ Himself. But this does not affect the question under discussion. It proves nothing more than that certain individuals failed to live up to the obligations of their state in life, and that some bad men were rulers of the Church. And they could be quite good rulers from many points of view, even though personally lax.
There are various ways of ministering to the needs of souls. The Pope administers, with the help of many officials, a Church of some 400 millions. Jesus predicted that the small seed would develop into a vast tree, and the looking after the vast tree is a very different matter from tlie initial care required. Any of the 400 millions may visit the Pope, but it is unreasonble to expect tlie Pope to visit the 400 millions, except of course by letter as he does whenever he issues his encyclicals.
Priestcraft is the product of man's imagination, superstition, and perhaps fear. But priestcraft has nothing to do with the Catholic Church. The Catholic priesthood, a very different thing, is of divine institution, as can be proved to the hilt.
Why do you think they are? If I were to ask you suddenly, "Why are all people of English descent born cross-eyed?" you would be rather astonished for a moment, to say the least. When I was a small Protestant boy I used to fear the very sight of a Catholic Priest, and I used to think that Catholic children must be equally terrified. I am a Catholic Priest to-day, and I have never seen the faintest sign of fear on any Catholic face when I have appeared on the scene.
That is because Catholic Priests alone are conscious of the authority to guide their people. But they do not speak severely. They speak earnestly, because they do not wish to see their people running the risk of eternal loss. They speak at times with just indignation, because they are charged with the protection of God's interests. No Catholic Priest has even spoken more strongly than the prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah.
Those Priests would have been more comfortable at home reading some pleasant book. Wriy should they put themselves out like that? Look at things from a Catholic standpoint. A Priest is obliged to do all he can that not one soul be lost through his indifference. If he knows that a Catholic is dying, he must do all he can to bring that soul to a good frame of mind before actual death. And the more such a soul does not want to rectify things, the more that soul needs the help of a Priest. Uneasiness for a few moments before death is nothing to uneasiness for all eternity. And if, after a few moments of uneasiness, a man dies repentant and with the last rites of the Church, he will bless for all eternity the Priest who had the unselfish zeal to labor for his conversion.
Would you condemn a whole family as criminal because one child went wrong? An unworthy Priest does not inspire you with half the indignation he inspires in Catholic hearts. But try to grasp this principle. I have never undertaken to defend the conduct of every individual Priest. Nor, for a moment, would I wish to defend the evil conduct of anybody. But I say that the Catholic Church is the true Church, even though not all her individual members are true to her ideals. No valid argument can be based upon the conduct of individuals. I might argue against the Wesleyan Church from history, logic, or Scripture. But I would not condemn it because of the bad conduct of some Wesleyan minister.
No. The Catholic Church is the body of all the faithful. But not each member of the faithful constitutes the whole Church. And the vast majority in every age has been sufficiently good morally, even though saints have necessarily been the minority.
It may be that your notions of Christ's attitude towards wealth need rectifying, before we can proceed with this question.
He did not.
He lived poorly Himself, but He never commanded others to follow His own example in this matter. Meantime He did not aim at having no means of support. St. Luke, VIII., 3, speaks of many who ministered to His needs and those of His Apostles out of their possessions. He accepted their offerings, and we know that Judas carried the common purse, which held enough to allow of almsgiving to the poor. Jn. XIV., 29.
That is not so. He was dining in the house of a wealthy man jvheni the woman who was a sinner came in and washed His feet with her tears.
He did at times teach in the open air. But Scripture tells us that He often spoke in the Temple at Jerusalem, calling it His Father's House. And He had an immense respect for that edifice as dedicated to His Father.
That proves my assertion of His respect for that religious edifice. But it does not prove that Christ condemned money. Christ condemned the abuses of these traffickers in the Temple. They were desecrating that holy place by usury, and also as we know from various sources by selling dried peas, raisins, grapes, and apples, which should have been sold in the market place.
Christ Himself set the supreme example of poverty, although, as I have said, Judas carried the purse containing money for His use, and for the needs of His Apostles. But Christ never commanded that His followers should adopt actual and absolute poverty. God had sanctioned the right of private property when He gave the commandment, "Thou shalt not steal." The right to private property is therefore just and not sinful. Christ did forbid men to make earthly goods their only treasure to the exclusion of their spiritual welfare. In fact, He warned those who have mammon or wealth, not necessarily to give it up, but to make it their friend by giving alms to the poor.
This was not a command, obliging in conscience. It was a special invitation which the young man was free to accept or reject. If the possession of goods as such were evil, Christ would have been recommending the young man to cause evil in the very ones who bought or accepted possession of his goods. But you have misunderstood the passage. The rich young man said to Christ, "What must I do to be saved?" Christ replied, "Keep the commandments." Thus He specified what was necessary for salvation. But hearing that the young man had kept them, He went further: "If you desire not only to be saved, but to be perfect, then do more than is of obligation. Sell all, and follow Me." The young man turned away sad, for he had not the generosity of character required. But the Gospel does not suggest that he was lost. No man is lost who loves God enough to keep all the commandments. Meantime, in the Catholic Church, thousands of Priests, Brothers, and Nuns have renounced all worldly possessions and have vowed poverty for the love of Christ, giving up the right to possess or administer anything in their own name. Thus the invitation of Christ is fulfilled in the Religious Orders of the Catholic Church.
He did not. He said that the rich would encounter special difficulties in the matter of salvation. But this is not because they are rich. It is because rich people are in danger of being so attached to their earthly goods as to forget God. The same Christ said, "Blessed are the poor in spirit." A rich man can be poor in spirit by being at least sufficiently detached from his worldly goods that he would not for all of them offend God.
A family is not wealthy if it has scarcely enough to meet all its essential needs, and the Catholic Church certainly has not enough for its necessary work. Meantime she spends millions on her many works for men's temporal welfare, and is very hard put to it to provide her thousands of missionaries, who are laboring for the spiritual welfare of pagans, with the bare necessities of life. If ever a Church has tried to feed her sheep spiritually it is the Catholic Church.
For the administration of a huge society like the Catholic Church, consisting of over 400 million members, offices and temporalities are necessary. But these properties are not the possession of any individual Catholic, not even of the Pope. Even the Pope can will none of it away when he dies, as if it were his own private property.
Quite. Christ is God. Yet God ordered the Jews to build at Jerusalem a magnificent Temple. During His life on earth, the Son of God commended the poor widow for her contribution to the needs of the Temple. When Judas blamed the woman for wasting precious ointment in Christ's honor instead of giving it to the poor, Christ rebuked him.
Yes. The government has no claim whatever to private property, unless in extreme necessity it has to confiscate or appropriate from all citizens alike. Our Catholic people voluntarily erect permanent buildings for the needs of their religion. Others have just as much money, in fact more than Catholics. If the government confiscates the useful results of Catholic generosity with surplus earnings, then it has the right to confiscate the surplus money of everyone else, above all when it is not put to good use. As for giving it back to the people, there is no Church on earth which can compare with the Catholic Church for the number of charitable institutions. She has more hospitals for the sick, orphanages for destitute children, homes for the aged and dying, for the deaf and dumb, than all other churches put together.
The opinion of the one doing the work is of more value than that of the onlooker. The Church knows that these temporal things are necessary. Anyway these properties have been honestly and laboriously acquired by charitably minded citizens, are held in their name, and are not actually theirs only, because they have freely resigned the ownership of them to God. They certainly do not belong to the clergy. And it is quite unjust for other citizens to talk of confiscating them. Remember also that, besides beautifying the cities of the world, the greater part of the expense of these churchs, cathedrals, and institutions, has gone in wages to the workers.
The poor who belong to the Catholic Church far exceed in numbers the rich. As for convenience, the Catholic Church is the most inconvenient of all to live up to, although I admit that it is convenient to die in, since it fits one so well for one's meeting with God.
If the new convert did contribute to the support of his religion that would already be an advantage to him, if Christ rightly commended the poor widow who gave her mite to the Temple. But even if a convert could give nothing he would be none the less welcome. The Catholic Church never wants anyone for what he will bring to her, but for what she can give to him—absolution for his sins, Christ as his Saviour and Guest of his heart in Holy Communion, relief after his death, and heaven in the end. It is all very much to the advantage of the convert.
There are thousands giving their lives to the service of God and of their fellow men, their fellow men making a return, not by giving their lives, but by giving a small percentage of their temporal goods. One's life is more precious, and a greater gift, than a portion of that life's earnings.
That is not true. The thousands of Priests, Brothers, and Nuns who have vowed poverty in the Religious Orders of the Catholic Church never receive a penny personally in wages, they renounce the possession and administration of property, and are given merely such shelter, food, and clothing as are absolutely necessary. Those Priests who do not undertake this obligation of poverty are entitled to such revenue as the people provide in return for a life-work on their behalf.
The Pope lives in the Vatican without for a moment pretending to own it, for it is simply the headquarters of the largest single institution on earth, containing the central offices of administration of that Church which Christ said would grow from a mustard seed into a great tree. Such buildings as the Vatican are built to last for generations, and in them the Pope must live a simple and Christ-like life. It is absurd to say that the Pope owns fabulous wealth. You might as well accredit all the assets of the Bank of England to the manager of that bank. Nor does the Pope live on the fat of the land, enjoying luxury and ease. He keeps a frugal table, has few amusements, gives from twelve to sixteen hours a day to work, hard worrying work with a great responsibility, and scarcely knows the meaning of the word ease. The Pope must be able to meet kings on their own level, and the faithful insist upon providing him with quarters befitting his position and dignity. But these externals give no indication concerning the spiritual life of the Pope personally.
All men are equal in so far as each is a human soul before God, and must meet the same judge. And God will not be more lenient with the Pope than He will be with the simple layman. But all men are not equal in other ways. Christ certainly gave the Apostles a higher office than simple Christians possess, and they and their successors were to rule the faithful. Preference on this earth follows one's office, but the office does not necessarily make a man any better as a Christian. He may or may not be better, and he will answer for his life just as anyone else.
Not all production is measured by bodily comforts. There is an intellectual world and a spiritual world. If you know nothing of these, at least suspend your judgment, and do not interpret all things in terms of food and clothing. Not by bread alone does man live. Meantime you will let Catholics estimate the usefulness of their Bishops to them, and not judge by your own personal lack of benefits which you will not let them confer upon you. The Bishops of the Catholic Church have to visit Rome at stated intervals, for the administration of the Church must be carried on. The poor we shall always have with us, whether the Bishops visit Rome or not. And no Church expends so much upon the poor as the Catholic Church, with her charitable institutions in every diocese, and benevolent societies in every parish.
We must note carefully the force of the teachings given. Christ taught some things as being absolutely necessary; others He recommended, without obliging His followers to adopt them. Every Priest is obliged to ayoid all deliberate sin, and to fulfill all that Christ declared to be necessary. The Church also obliges every Priest to renounce marriage in order that he may give undivided attention to the service of Christ and the salvation of souls. But whilst it is good if he does so, there is no obligation that every Priest adopt absolute poverty, as do those who enter Religious Orders. If a Priest avoids the sin of avarice and does good with such possessions as he lawfully obtains, he is fulfilling the necessary teachings of Christ
Had they devoted the same number of years to the study of law or medicine they would be immeasurably better off, have more time to themselves, and would not have had to renounce wife, home, and children, and much else that men so love. Christ promised that if they labored for the spiritual well-being of souls, giving their very lives to the work, the faithful would give a portion of their earnings towards their support. Lk. X., 7. I. Cor. IX., 13. St. Jerome wrote in the 4th century, "Priests have a right to be supported and there will always be those ready to support them, not as beggars, but as those more worthy than themselves, whom it is their honor and glory to support." The Priest keeps himself in a state in keeping with his position according to the general standard of living prevailing in the society around him. And if you despise him for that, there are hundreds who would despise him were he shabby and unkempt. This too would be the shame of Catholics, and no Priest has the right to cast a reflection upon the generosity of parishioners. Whatever is over from necessary expenses, the Priest usually devotes to the good of the Church or the relieving of the poor. And the poor know that the Priest is the most ready of all men to give to them. In any case the fat income and luxury are as a rule mere chimeras. The vast majority of Priests are saintly men, as poor and detached in spirit as many who have entered Religious Orders, actually taking the vow of poverty. I am not a secular Priest trying to justify myself. I am a member of a Religious Order who would like to be as holy as many a secular Priest I know.
Christ did not always walk. Motor cars were not in existence then, and Christ used the ordinary means of locomotion at the time. Instead of walking round the lake, He went across it by boat. Motor cars are efficient means of transport, and if a car gets a Priest to a dying man in time to help him prepare to meet God, instead of his arriving too late by walking, it is a good thing. In America, country Priests have to travel up to two hundred miles in order to say Mass in some parts of their parishes. Meantime, despite his car, such a Priest can be as detached in spirit from worldly goods as anybody else.
In the Catholic Church there are two vocations open to a man who feels called by God to His service. Either he will feel called to be simply a Priest, or else, in addition, to enter a Religious Order. If called to be a Priest, he enters college and is prepared for parish work, in which he must provide for his own necessities. This involves the necessity of income from which he can save enough to provide for possible years of sickness, or later years of retirement. If called to a Religious Order, he takes a vow of poverty, renouncing all personal income, the Order providing his necessary food and clothing. Both types give their lives to God, but in different ways, according to their different vocations. The former are called Secular Priests, because they must live alone in the world; the latter are called Religious Priests, because they live in Religious Communities. Secular Priests are not worldly Priests, Order men only being religious Priests. A Secular Priest could be a far more religious man than an Order Priest, and many an Order Priest is greatly edified by the Secular Priests he meets. It is simply a question of different types of vocation.
Priests who do not join Religious Orders may own and administer their own property. They have vows of chastity, and obedience to their Bishops, but they do not take the vow of poverty. If such a Priest inherits wealth from his family, he may reserve it to provide for himself in case of illness, old age, or incapacity. Such large legacies are very rare indeed, and not the result of one's priestly work. Nor does the leaving of large sums of money prove that such Priests have set their hearts upon money to the exclusion of God and works of charity.
How do you know that they did not? One Priest I know who left a large sum of money deliberately refused to give his capital to the poor and be finished with it, but left it safely invested, regularly distributing the income from it to the poor over a period of many years. The poor got far more that way than otherwise. When he died, he left the whole of the capital to charity, to the scandal of unintelligent critics. But even supposing that a Priest who had wealth did not use it in the relieving of the necessities of the poor, his omission of this good work should not blind us to his other good works. All the more credit to him that, possessing such means, he did not devote himself to a life of idle pleasure, but to the service of God, and of his fellow men in their spiritual needs.
The duties of a Priest are very different from those of Nuns. Priests have parochial obligations, necessitating the visitation of the people, sick calls, the organizing of parochial functions, etc. Also the Nun belongs to a Religious Order, her vocation involving necessarily a retired life and Community observance. A Secular Priest is not obliged to the rules of Community life.
You may know of some individual Catholics who do not. Unfortunately, so do I. But would you say that all Englishmen are dishonest because you know of some individual dishonest Englishmen? Be sure that a Catholic can be evil only by breaking the laws of his Church, and you cannot blame the Church for the conduct of members who can be evil only by refusing to live up to her teachings. If a man lives right up to Catholic teaching and then is evil, blame the Church by all means, but not otherwise.
Firstly, your implied assertion merits no more than mere denial. Secondly, close examination shows that such Catholics as happen to be criminals have, for the most part, never been in Catholic schools to receive a Catholic training, whilst many were once in a Catholic school only to be transferred to a state school later on, eventually dropping their religion, save in name only. Finally, granted that some Catholics are criminals, their conduct is in spite of, and not because of their religion, for they do just what their religion forbids. They are in no way an argument against the holiness of the Catholic Church. That Church is holy in her Founder, doctrines, worship, and those of her members who are faithful to her guidance. Above all is she holy in the numerous Saints of the ages who have been supremely faithful to her teachings. And no other Church can claim a holiness similar to that of the Catholic Church under all these aspects.