Choose a topic from Vol 2:


Proof of God's existence
God's nature
Supreme control over all things and the problem of suffering and evil


Destiny of man
Immortality of man's soul
Pre-existence denied
The human free will
Determinism absurd


Necessity of religion
Salvation of the soul
Voice of science
Religious racketeers
Divine revelation
Revealed mysteries
Existence of miracles

The Religion of the Bible

Gospels historical
Missing Books of the Bible
The Bible inspired
Biblical account of creation
New Testament problems
Supposed contradictions in Sacred Scripture

The Christian Faith

Source of Christian teaching
Jewish rejection of Christ
Christianity a new religion
Rational foundation for belief
Causes of unbelief

A Definite Christian Faith

Divisions amongst Christians
Schisms unjustified
Facing the problem
The wrong approach
Is one religion as good as another?
Obligation of inquiry
Charity and tolerance

The Protestant Reformation

Meaning of "Protestant"
Causes of the Reformation
Catholic reaction
Reformers mistaken
The idealization of Protestantism
The Catholic estimate

The Truth of Catholicism

Meaning of the word "Church"
Origin of the Church
The Catholic claim
The Roman hierarchy
The Pope
The Petrine text
St. Peter's supremacy
St. Peter in Rome
Temporal power
Unity of the Church
Holiness of the Church
Catholicity of the Church
Apostolicity of the Church
Indefectibility of the Church
Obligation to be a Catholic

The Church and the Bible

Catholic attitude towards the Bible
Is Bible reading forbidden to Catholics?
Protestant Bibles
The Catholic Douay Version
Principle of private interpretation
Need of Tradition
The teaching authority of the Catholic Church

The Dogmas of the Church

Revolt against dogma
Value of a Creed
The divine gift of Faith
Faith and reason
The "Dark Ages"
The claims of science
The Holy Trinity
Creation and evolution
Grace and salvation
The Sacraments
Holy Eucharist
The Sacrifice of the Mass
Holy Communion
The Catholic Priesthood
Marriage and divorce
Extreme Unction
The resurrection of the body
The end of the world

The Church and Her Moral Teachings

The Inquisition
Other superstitions
Attendance at Mass
Sex education
Attitude to "Free Love"

The Church in Her Worship

Magnificent edifices
Lavish ritual
Women in Church
Catholics and "Mother's Day"
Liturgical Days
Burial rites
Candles and votive lamps
The rosary
Lourdes water
The Scapular

The Church and Social Welfare

Social influence of the Church
The education question
The Church and world distress
Catholic attitude towards Capitalism
The remedy for social ills
Communism condemned
The Fascist State
Morality of war
May individuals become soldiers?
The Church and peace
Capital punishment
Catholic Action

Comparative Study of Non-Catholic Denominations

Defections from the Catholic Church
Coptic Church
Greek Orthodox Church
Anglican Episcopal Church
The "Free" or "Nonconformist" Churches
Church of Christ
Seventh Day Adventists
Plymouth Brethren
Catholic Apostolic Church or Irvingites
Salvation Army
Christian Science
British Israelism
Liberal Catholics
Witnesses of Jehovah
Buchmanism or the "Oxford Group Movement"
From Protestantism to Catholicism

To and From Rome

Conversion of Cardinal Newman
Why Gladstone refrained
The peculiar case of Lord Halifax
Gibbon the historian
Secession of Father Chiniquy
Father Tyrrell, the modernist
Bishop Garrett's departure
Judgment on lapsed Catholics
Protestant apathy towards conversion of Catholics
Principles for converts to Catholicism
God's will that all should become Catholics


917. Why should the Catholic Church prescribe what its members are to read?

The Catholic Church does not prescribe the literature Catholics are to read. She does at times prescribe the literature they are not to read. She was sent by Christ to teach and preserve the true faith in this world. Just as the State forbids the sale of injurious chemicals and poisons, the Church forbids that literature which can poison the mind and soul. She would not be doing her duty if she did not.

918. If your Church has the truth, what have you to fear?

That those who possess the truth may, through their own imprudence, lose the truth. Your question is like saying, "Cocoa is nourishing, so we need not fear to drink arsenic."

919. Is it a venial or a mortal sin to read a book forbidden by the Church?

It would be a mortal sin to disobey the disciplinary law of the Church in this matter; for no book is placed on the Index without very grave reasons for the prohibition.

920. I heard a Catholic say that, during all the years the Index has been in existence, only one mistake has been made; i.e. the banning of Galileo's books.

Even the banning of Galileo's books was not a mistake. The ecclesiastical authorities were wrong in declaring Galileo's theory of the movement of the earth round the sun to be erroneous. But it must be remembered that, though correct, Galileo's theory was at the time no more than a hypothesis. Galileo could not prove it; and not one of the arguments he advanced for it is accepted today as scientifically demonstrative. All his arguments gave a probability only. In the present state of general education we all know now that there is no doubt on the subject, and that the movement of the earth is in no way opposed to Sacred Scripture rightly understood. But people did not know that then, and they were not ready for the new knowledge. Its general publication could result only in widespread disturbance due to a lack of preparatory knowledge; and Galileo himself made the mistake of going outside the realm of science to invade the field of theology. He set up as an exegete of Scripture, and thus brought upon himself the censures of lawful religious authorities. The conservatism of the Church was prudence itself in the face of these novelties not yet proved, and likely to result, owing to the circumstances then prevailing, in widespread disturbance and harm to souls.

921. It was not merely a mistake, but bold-faced effrontery.

If a man wishes to prove that the legislative authority of the Catholic Church is effrontery, he must disprove her claim to have been commissioned by God to legislate in His name for the religious and moral welfare of men. He will find that a formidable task. He may not believe it. That is beside the point. Let him produce proof that it is invalid.

922. "The mere banning is a mistake from the scientific point of view."

The banning by responsible authorities of what is likely to be harmful to the welfare of those under their control, whether it is likely to be to their physical harm, or their mental harm, or to their moral and spiritual harm, is not in the least an unscientific proceeding.

923. The scientist must reject all authority in truth or falsity; for accepting authority means rejecting inquiry.

If the scientist must reject all authority in truth or falsity, then, for one thing, he must deny the value of all historical records. He must declare, for example, that no one can be certain that Napoleon ever lived; for the truth of that is known only from the authority of historical records. As for the absurd dictum that the acceptance of authority means the rejection of inquiry, scientists themselves accept a thousand things on the authority of previous scientists in order that they may pursue their own inquiries either in other fields, or in the same field to a further extent. Truth however we may know it, whether by personal discovery or by authority of experts, is always an advantage. It saves us from waste of time inquiring along lines already known to be wrong and enables us to inquire still more deeply into the truth already known.

924. , A man does not discover truth by authority. He discovers it by research, analysis, and experiment.

A man can obtain the truth, either by personal discovery, or by being told it by others who already know the truth. In the latter case he attains knowledge by authority. Now when God reveals the truth through Christ, we have no option but to believe it. The alternative is to accuse God of ignorance or of a want of truthfulness. Either is an insult to God. We therefore, acknowledging His authority, accept what He says by faith. From the very nature of things one must submit to the authority of God, or he will learn nothing much about God, or man's destiny in the light of God. The attitude of those who refuse to do this is rather ridiculous. The very foundation of their own education came to them by authority. They went to school, and accepted an immense amount of truth in natural things on the authority of their teachers. They built on that knowledge, and discovered further things for themselves. Can you imagine a person deciding to take up the study of chemistry, yet completely ignoring all that former chemists have discovered on the subject! Faith in the authority of experts is a perfectly valid source of knowledge. And religion, with its demand for faith, is based on that principle. Those who won't submit to any authority in religion demand a license in respect to that subject which they do not ask in any other field of knowledge.

925. Since censorship limits freedom of inquiry it is immoral—ethically bad.

The statement as it stands is self-contradictory. For to condemn anything as ethically bad is to uphold a censorship of conduct. It matters not whether that censorship forbids harmful reading, or harmful drugs, or any other occasions of injury to individuals or society. You, of course, have in mind the censorship of books. Would you say that censorship is immoral when it forbids the reading of immoral books? If the books are immoral, the law forbidding them is by the very fact moral. Unlimited liberty does not exist as a right either before God or in reason. One cannot support such an unlimited liberty without denying the exclusive right of truth and virtue to exist. Forgers of evil thoughts and of error have no more right to circulate their wares than forgers of bad money have the right to circulate their bogus coins. If you insist that truth has the right to exist, you deny the right of error to exist. And I am quite sure that, if you had the power, you would put on your own list of prohibited books all Catholic books teaching that books ought to be prohibited. You would forbid the teaching of all that you choose to regard as "ethically bad" in Catholicism.

926. Censorship prevents "inquiring for the sake of inquiring," which is the same thing as inquiring for truth's sake.

That is absurd. One might as well say that a man running to catch a train is running for the sake of running. The purpose of a censorship is to prevent the pursuit of inquiries which wiser people know will result only in harm to the ill-informed, and to those incapable of arriving at a right judgment in grave matters. Is every human being capable of forming a sound judgment on any subject at all? Have parents the right to regulate the reading of their children? Besides intelligence, have not human beings passions which affect their judgment every bit as much as evidence, and often much more? The Catholic Church, having the right to teach religion and morals, has the correlative duty to watch over the education of her subjects in these matters. "Evil communications corrupt good manners." A man's thoughts are moulded by what he reads. Bad companions exert an evil influence on those frequenting their company. The State rightly has a consorting act forbidding such associations. A book is a companion; and a bad book is a bad companion. And it is immoral, and ethically bad, for responsible guardians not to forbid evil to those under their care. Nor can any occasional imprudence in the exercise of the duty affect the principle that they have the duty, and the right to exact obedience from those committed to their care.

927. In our democracy there is no room for restrictions of any kind on our liberty in this matter.

In other words, you object to censorship of any kind where reading matter is concerned. Democracy must not be allowed to defend itself and its children against indecent filth, or even against literature calculated to undermine democracy itself! You are a great and wise defender of democracy indeed! We must remember that there is mental poison as well as chemical poison. And it would be as foolish to abolish all restrictions on corrupt and dangerous literature as to abolish all restrictions on the sale of dangerous drugs. To grant everybody access to everything, even though it be to their harm, is merely extreme folly.

928. A faith, like anything else, is of poor quality if it cannot meet its rivals in open competition.

The truth of the Catholic religion can stand the test of anything that may be opposed to it. But you forget that there are various degrees of intelligence in people who may happen to know the truth. And in an argument between two people, far more often than not, it is not the truth that is being tested, but their relative wits. A less-intelligent man with a good case can easily lose in a debate with a more-intelligent man who is supporting a bad case. And such a debate would reveal, not the merits of the case, but the merits of the disputants. In the same way, if a poorly equipped Catholic failed to justify his faith in an argument with a clever atheist, that would not prove any poor quality in the Catholic Faith itself. It would prove only that the Catholic in question was not well-up enough in his religion to defend it. And even though a good Catholic had not the erudition necessary to refute the arguments of a more highly educated unbeliever, his own faith would be unimpaired by his failure to do so.



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