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

The Inquisition

929. Does the Church give its tacit approval to the Inquisition?

It explicitly condemns the extravagances and unwarranted cruelty of certain individuals who held office in the Inquisition. On the other hand, it explicitly approves the Inquisition as it should have been administered according to the social conditions prevailing in those times, and according to the particular evils to be eradicated. She would not approve the same measures in the present era. Changed conditions of society require a different approach to its various problems.

930. As the Church is responsible for religious seal inculcated in its majority membership, how came the Inquisition to let loose something the Church was unable to govern?

Firstly, not a majority membership, but relatively few of the members of the Catholic Church were responsible for inexcusable excesses during the dominant days of the Inquisition.Secondly, whilst the Church is responsible in inculcating religious zeal, she is not responsible for any excesses of such zeal in individual members. She did not inspire such excess, and she condemned it over and over again. Her legislation was often unheeded, but her inability to control wayward members is an inherent difficulty in all societies composed of human beings. God Himself, who gave the Ten Commandments, does not compel men willy-nilly to keep them. The State takes upon itself the responsibility of educating its future citizens; but always it will find that it lets loose upon society some whom it is unable to govern, and who will respond to no appeals for law and order. Even in the Church, as a religious society, men still retain their freedom. If obedient to the Church, men are voluntarily obedient. And once you bring in the voluntary element, you must be prepared for individual failures.

931. Does the Church condemn today the matter—as apart from the manner—of those Inquisitional executions?

She does not condemn the principle that the State has the right to safeguard the common good even, if necessary, by inflicting the penalty of death upon its enemies. However the application of the principle must vary according to the type of society prevailing in any given age. Apart from the manner, which the Church had often to condemn, the Church does not condemn the matter of Inquisitorial executions in the times when they occurred. For, as I have so often pointed out, the State then, as a State, professed Catholicism and the disturbance of Catholic principles meant the destruction of the existent form of society. The propagation of heresy was, by the very fact, an offence against the State and the common good. The State could, therefore, defend itself against such sedition. But much water has gone under the bridge since then. We live in very different times. And whilst the Church does not condemn today the matter of Inquisitorial executions then, she would condemn such executions were they suggested today. Circumstances alter cases.

932. If the Church has not deviated from the course set for it by Christ, and has not altered its practices and teachings in any way, would not its treatment of defaulters remain the same?

Firstly, and by the way, non-Catholics today are not defaulters. They have never professed to belong to the Catholic Church; and were born to non-Catholic parents, so that their being outside the Church is no fault of their own. But let us take your main difficulty. The Church would deviate from the course set for it by Christ, if it did not alter its practices and discipline from time to time. Of course it could not alter any defined teachings as to what is to be believed by faith, or as to principles of morality. But in her relations with the changing conditions of this world, the Church must be able to legislate to meet new emergencies, and to relax that legislation when such emergencies have passed—probably to give place to new ones. For this reason Christ said to His Church "Whatsoever you shall bind on earth, shall be bound also in heaven; and whatsoever you shall loose on earth, shall be loosed also in heaven." Matt. XXVIII., 18. This power of binding and loosing allows for a fluctuating disciplinary legislation according to the necessities of various ages.Again you must note this. The application of the principles and legislation of the Church is in the hands of human beings. At times the very officials may fail to discern the mind of the Church; or may exceed the authority given them by the Church; or even ignore the laws of the Church. In such cases one should blame the individuals responsible, and not the Church whose laws they violate. Thus the Popes protested again and again against abuses in the Spanish Inquisition. Thus, too, a recalcitrant Bishop in France handed over Joan of Arc to be burned at the stake. The Church absolutely disowns his conduct. Many practices of clerics horrify us as we study the history of the ages, but such practices cannot rightly be called practices of the Church. And, in any case, the disciplinary laws of the Church need not be the same in one age, as in another whose conditions are very different. Nor does the alteration of such legislation mean that the Church has deviated from the course set for it by Christ.

933. Why would you advocate State toleration of all religions even though the State were 95% Catholic? Can you explain that?

Quite easily. The Reformation period is over. Protestants today are children of Protestants and are not therefore personally renegade Catholics. Most Protestants sincerely take their religion for granted, and are honestly convinced that the Catholic Church is wrong.Now let us suppose that 95% of the population were Catholic—the other 5% Protestant.The Catholic Church declares that no one can be received into her fold against his will. The Catholic Church then, on her own principles, cannot compel the 5% to become Catholics if they don't want to do so. Therefore, even in a Catholic State, they must be tolerated in the sense that they be allowed to worship God in their own mistaken way and according to their personal, if erroneous, conscience.



Prefer a PRINT version?