Given from the Catholic Broadcasting Station 2SM Sydney Australia
Choose a topic from Vol 1:
The Catholic Church exists to sanctify men. She must give them all that is necessary for their salvation, and safeguard them from all that could hinder it. Any Church which has no prohibition of dangerous books would not be doing its duty. Meantime if a leading writer publishes stuff which can lead souls to hell, then the Catholic Church forbids her children to be led by him. What sort of Church would she be if she remained indifferent while the members she is supposed to be saving corrupt their minds and hearts?
That should be obvious. Such prohibitions keep Catholics free from evil reading which could corrupt their faith or morals.
Yes, unless he secures special permission for grave reasons to read it. The only books named in the Index are those which are sinful and immoral of their very nature, or which have been proved to give an entirely false and even blasphemous view of Christian doctrine.
False translations of the Bible are on the Index. Catholics may read the safe translation provided for them, a translation which may be secured at any Catholic bookshop.
Some sex-books are banned, above all those which depend for their sale not upon their technical matter, but upon their lurid and suggestive style. Sex-books which are valuable to doctors and experts are allowed to them. As far as the ordinary non-professional human being is concerned, books treating of sex are not so valuable to the present-day generation as you think. Sex-knowledge is being spread by every possible means; but instead of people becoming enlightened to avoid the pitfalls of life, and which would otherwise occupy far less of their attention. The criminal courts are certainly not one whit less busy because of the popular study of sex-questions.
No. It is an effort to suppress error, which can poison the mind every bit as much as arsenic can poison the body.
You miss the point. The Church is out for healthy reason, and forbids books which foster the credulity of her enemies. You might as well accuse a chemist of desiring the ill-health of his customers and not their health when he labels a bottle "Poison."
What do you mean by properly instructed? If a Catholic has had long training for years in logic, philosophy, history, Scripture, and theology, it is unlikely that reading would destroy his faith. But how many lay-people have had such training? Yet without it, few would be able to see through the fallacies latent in many books. So-called educated men who have had good eduction in some matters but not in others, have lost their faith through reading anti-Christian literature, not knowing sufficient in the matters of religion to detect the errors of the books chosen.
If parents prevent their children from reading harmful literature, would you call that cunning censorship, or wise parental control? The Catholic Church is the mother of all her spiritual children, and she exercies a wise parental control over their spiritual formation. Other churches have not the same interest in their members and in any case no authority. The Catholic Church alone has real sense of duty towards those whom she is commissioned to guide in the way of salvation.
Let me give you a little parable. Almighty God established a paradise on earth, created Adam and Eve, and said, "Do anything you like, but do not eat of the tree which will give you acquaintance with evil. I forbid you to eat of that tree." But a certain wily serpent came along and said to Eve, "Why has God forbidden you to eat of that tree?" And Eve replied, "God has commanded us not to touch it because He says that He knows that it is not good for us." The serpent replied, "The real reason is because God is afraid that your eyes will be opened and that you will find out the truth and be equal to Himself." Adam and Eve ate of the tree and regretted it all their lives. Some Catholics have disobeyed the laws of the Church in this matter and have lost both their faith and their morals. But your explanation of the motives of the Catholic Church has a very familiar ring about it.
I do. If it be in the interests of the public to have a "Pure Foods Act," is it not in the interest of Christians to have a "Pure Faith Act."?
Priests have not always been consulted. The moment a Catholic perceives a book to be dangerous to his faith or morals he knows from the doctrine concerning occasions of sin that he is obliged to cease reading it. Each is his own censor to a certain extent. In doubt, a book could be given to a Priest to read. The moment the Priest finds that book is undoubtedly evil in itself, he closes it and forbids it. If it needs reading right through for purposes of refutation, he secures permission from the Bishop and does it as a duty. Just as doctors have at times to attend to patients in a way which would be postively sinful for a non-professional man, so a Priest may have to study books to safeguard morals, books forbidden to those who have not the public duty. The Priest in this case would commit no sin, where others would do so.