Given from the Catholic Broadcasting Station 2SM Sydney Australia
Choose a topic from Vol 1:
It is derived from the Greek language, and means universal and complete. And as Christ told His Apostles to go and teach all nations all His doctrines, the word Catholic is reserved to that Church which alone teaches all Christ's doctrines to all peoples—the Catholic Church. St. Ignatius of Antioch, about the year 110, first used the word to designate the true Church. He wrote, "Where the Bishop is, there is the Catholic Church." Donatism broke away from the Church in the 4th century, just as Protestantism in the 16th, and St. Augustine declared that this heresy was cut off from the Catholic Church. In the same 4th century Pacian used the word Catholic as a mark of identification, saying, "Christian is my name, Catholic my surname." He did not wish to be taken for one of those who protested against the Catholic Church, yet still continued to call themselves Christians.
The word Roman is derived from the fact that St. Peter established the headquarters of the Church in Rome. I am not a Roman Catholic in any sense of Roman citizenship. I am an American Catholic in communion with that Church which has its centre in Rome.
The same as between a Britisher and an Englishman, or if you wish, as that between the Jewish and the Mosaic religions. There is no real difference. The words Roman Catholic do not mean that there are other kinds of Catholics, but oniy that all true Catholics belong to that one great Church which has its centre in Rome. There are no Catholics apart from that one great universal Church. Those who leave that Church cease to be Catholics. At the time of the Reformation Protestants left the Catholic Church. They cannot leave it and belong to it. The only way they can be Catholic is to return to the Church their forefathers should never have left.
Catholic and Roman Catholic are alternative expressions. The Roman Catholic Church is the Church universal on earth. All Catholics in Europe, America, Asia, Africa, and Australia, and in the rest of the world, are subject to the present Bishop of Rome. Were you to stop any man indiscriminately in the street and ask him to direct you to the nearest Catholic Church, he would unhesitatingly point out what you term a Roman Catholic Church. The average man makes no mistake in practice on this point.
They are man-made substitutes which do not come in, but which went out Modern Protestants do not advert to the fact that they have been robbed of membership in the true Church by their ancestors. Protestant Churches cannot claim to have been founded by Christ, yet they confuse many people. But the true Church may be discerned by finding out that one which goes back to St. Peter, and through him to Christ. And he who is subject to the Pope is in communion with the very successor of St. Peter.
It is not a question of a name, but of the thing. And the universal spiritual society now known as the Catholic Church is most clearly described in Scripture. Christ said clearly that His Church would be one fold under one shepherd, the fold embracing all nations, the shepherd being St. Peter, and his successors. Either the Catholic Church is the one Christ established, or His Church has altogether ceased to exist.
The recitation of a formula does not make one a member of the true Church. A profession of belief in America would not make a man an American citizen. Citizenship in the Catholic Church involves actual reception into that Church and submission to her authority.
Yes. The Founder of the Catholic Church was certainly a Catholic, and history proves that Christ founded the Catholic Church, and identified it with Himself. Thus St. Paul says, "God hath made Him head over all the church (not churches) which is His body, and the fullness of Him who is filled all in all." Eph. I., 22-23.
His pre-existence did not prevent His founding a Church and identifying it with Himself. As the Son of God He existed before the Incarnation, but that did not prevent His being man from the moment of the Incarnation.
The Founder of the Church is not subject to the Church He founded. Rather the Church He founded is subject to Him. And the Church of which the Bishop of Rome is supreme head on earth is the only Church which is so subject to the authority of Christ that it can truly be called His. From our point of view the test of communion with Rome became valid as a mark of identification only from the day that St. Peter, under divine guidance, definitely established his See at Rome.
He was. And so is the Catholic Church. She is not a sect. Sect supposes section or cutting off. The Catholic Church has never been cut off from herself. The sects are those religious bodies which have cut themselves off from the Catholic Church, and the clippings from the tree are not the tree.
The Church was just as Catholic in the time of the Apostles as it is to-day, by virtue of the divine commission to teach all nations. But you must give the mustard seed time to grow. You could hardly expect the Church to preach the Gospel in America or Australia prior to the discovery of these countries. But her missionaries have gone forth with the very explorers, and to-day she reaches practically all nations far more efficaciously than any other Christian body.
She claims to be the only divinely accredited missionary force, the only one which has a truly innate and perpetual expansive power, and the only one which has actually gone to all nations. In fact, there would be no other Christian missionary bodies were it not for her own missionary expeditions to the ancestors of those sects which later broke away from her despite Christ's promise that He would never fail to protect her.
That is untrue. For over three centuries Protestantism could not inspire the thought of foreign missions. The Catholic Church was missionary from the very beginning and has ever retained that characteristic. In any case where are the English and American Protestant missions in Italy, Spain, Germany, Austria, Russia, etc.? Do not these Europeans deserve the truth? The Catholic Church is in all these countries.
Your opinion cannot avail against Christ's command to the Church that she must go to teach all nations. Christianity, in its true form of Catholicity, gives many helps to the attaining of eternal salvation, and it is certainly better to have those helps than not to have them. Any harm which seems to follow missionary enterprise is due to the vices of so-called Christian traders and adventurers, to the introduction of false forms of Christianity, or to the mistakes of well-meaning men. But it is never due to the spreading of Catholic doctrine as such. Pagan and even cannibal tribes, noting the beneficial effects of the coming of the Catholic missionaries, again and again send requests that they too may receive a Priest to teach them.
Christ said that His Church would teach all nations, and go to the uttermost parts of the earth, the tiniest of seeds growing into a great tree. His words, "When the Son of man cometh, shall He find, think you, faith upon earth?" refer not so much to numbers as to quality of belief, as the context shows. And He is referring to special conditions which will prevail towards the end of time when the charity of many shall have grown cold. Matt. XXIV., 12. The text in no way suggests that the body of believers through all the ages will necessarily be small.
The Church was a little flock at the time Christ spoke, for it was in the seedling stage. But even the vast grown tree can be called a little flock. The Catholic Church is little and despised by worldly-minded men because she consists chiefly of the poor and of the despised. And it is always little in spirit, insisting upon humility in accordance with Christ's words, "Unless you become as little children you cannot enter the kingdom of heaven."
The Catholic Church preaches, not democracy, but Christian doctrine. In any case, democracy has nothing to do with your question. Democracy suggests that the lower classes are as equally considered as the so-called higher classes. And as far as the Papacy is concerned, democratic principles are observed. Pope Leo XIII. was a Prince by blood, whilst his successor, Pius X., was the son of a poverty-stricken fanner.
Catholicity is not measured by the nationality of a given Pope. The Church numbers some 400 millions. If all Italians in the world died to-morrow there would be 350 million Catholics left. If this vast Church becomes Italian because we happen to have an Italian Pope now, then it was Jewish when St. Peter was Pope, English when Hadrian IV. was Pope, French under the French Popes, etc.
No. Hadrian IV. was an Englishman; Martin IV. a Frenchman; Zachary a Greek; Gregory III. a Syrian; Hadrian VI. a Dutchman. The present Pope happens to be an Italian, but the Cardinals could quite easily elect an Englishman next time, should they think fit.
As a rule, slightly more than half the College of Cardinals are non-Italian.
Not because so many of the Cardinals are themselves Italian. All the Cardinals, before the election, take an oath that they will vote for the one whom in conscience they believe to be the best fitted for the position, independently of all national considerations. Yet, although there is no law forbidding the election of a non-Italian, as a rule it is to be expected that an Italian will be elected, even by the choice of the non-Italian Cardinals. Why? Because the Pope is to be Bishop of Rome, an Italian diocese, and just as we usually wish an English-speaking Bishop for English-speaking peoples, so the Italians should normally have an Italian Bishop. There is a greater reason wanted why he should not be an Italian than why he should be. Again, the Pope must live in Italy, and if he has to make a stand against the encroachments of Italian civil power, a Pope of Italian nationality at least cannot be accused of anti-Italian national sympathies.
There is no reason why the Church should elect a Britisher, and such an election would in no way prove the Catholicity of the Church. Once a Pope is elected he is the Vicar of Christ, and cannot behave as an Italian, or as an Englishman, or in virtue of any other nationality. The Pope must have an equal love for all his subjects, and the Catholics of any nation cannot benefit by having a Pope of their own nationality. To Catholics it does not matter of what nation the Pope may be. The Cardinals elect that man whom God wishes them to elect. You want them to elect a Britisher just to please the English nation. The Cardinals would elect an English Pope if they considered it for the good of the Church and the glory of God in the light of the circumstances prevailing at the time.
No. As I have said, all things else being equal, an Italian would be the more suitable for a position to be occupied in Italian territory. And as a rule Italian Cardinals are every bit as pious and learned as others. Being international, the Catholic Church abstracts from national considerations. All are equal on that score. For purely external reasons, in no way intrinsic to the office, and all things else being equal, account is taken of the people in whose midst the Pope must reside.
You have entirely failed to grasp the Catholic position. There are no foreigners in the Catholic Church. A supernatural standard prevails, and natural standards are not valid. If you call the Pope a foreigner because he is an Italian by birth, whom would you put there? An Englishman? If so, on your principles, all other nations would have the right to call him a foreigner! It is absurd to speak of foreigners in the one universal spiritual family. In Christ, an Italian, who has been baptised, is my born brother. From an earthly national standpoint we may be foreign to one another. But Christ's kingdom is not of this world.
The Irish element does not prevail. If the ten million Irishmen in the world were to die to-morrow the Catholic Church would not be affected as a Church. In this country the majority of Catholics are of Irish descent. But to judge from these local conditions is as absurd as the conduct of an Italian who would regard the world as Italian because he had lived all his life in Italy. And if you cannot reconcile yourself to the fact that at least in this country the Irish element prevails, would you join the Church in some other country in which it does not prevail? Will you rather do without the truth because the majority of those who have it in this country are of Irish descent? Is your dislike of everything Irish stronger than your love for Christ? Or will you say, "0 God, I will accept the gift of Catholic faith, provided You do not ask me to share it with the Irish"? Imagine some Gentile saying in the early Church, "Really I am strongly attracted by this Christian religion, but I cannot reconcile myself to the Jewish element which so prevails amongst its present adherents."
They do. You are outside the Church. I am within it. I am of purely English origin, and was instructed and received into the Church by an Irish Priest, and found myself more than welcome among the children of the Catholic Church. Nor was I expected to become a militant Irish sympathizer from any national point of view. I retain my own national ideals. But the glory of the Catholic Church is that she unites people in one Catholic ideal, yet does not interfere with national ideals. The 400 million Catholics love very many different lands from a national point of view, but all love the one Catholic Church of Christ, that only true Catholic Church whose every member is in communion with the Bishop of Rome, successor to St. Peter himself.