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

Catholics and "Mother's Day"

1054. Is the Catholic Church opposed to the observance of "Mother's Day"?

All depends upon the manner of its observance. The modern "Mother's Day" celebration was originated by an American girl named Miss Anna Jarvis of Philadelphia, U.S.A. On one occasion, whilst placing a wreath of flowers on her mother's grave, she got the notion that people should wear a white flower on some yearly anniversary in honor of a living mother, instead of waiting to pay the tribute of putting flowers on her grave. It was a pretty sentiment, though quite detached from religious motives. In May, 1913, the United States Congress declared the second Sunday in May to be a day of national observance in America; and the idea spread to other parts of the world. Now a celebration in honor of mothers is the expression of a naturally noble sentiment, and with such a manifestation of filial piety the Catholic Church could not quarrel. Unfortunately, the selection of a Sunday, and the adoption of the idea by many Protestant Churches have invested the celebration with a non-Catholic religious atmosphere. The day has become almost a Protestant substitute for our Catholic religious Feast Days. That aspect naturally does not appeal to the Catholic Church.

1055. Is not "Mother's Day" of American origin, another beautiful custom filched from the Catholic Church and put to base commercial ends?

I certainly do not think so. I do not agree that the celebration of "Mother's Day" is intended to serve any "base commercial ends." It is intended as an expression of a naturally noble human sentiment, and to foster that sentiment. But the celebration is not of Catholic origin, nor is it drawn from Catholic sources. The Feasts of the Catholic Church are concerned with the very highest nobility of man which results from his elevation to the supernatural order by divine grace. But those who have rejected the Catholic Church, and who have lost their supernatural ideals, find themselves confined to the infinitely lower, and merely natural plane. Finding no significance in the Feast Days, and the celebrations promoted by the beautiful liturgy of the Catholic Church, they are driven to the invention of new festivities for themselves. Having forsaken the divine for the merely human level, they celebrate what all admit to be the noble human relationship between mother and child. "Mother's Day" is a kind of humanitarian substitute for the great Christian Feasts of the Catholic Church. And many will find a significance in it who have long since ceased to find any real significance in Christmas, or Easter, or the Feasts of the Ascension of Christ and of the Assumption of our Blessed Lady.

1056. Is it not more than a coincidence that Mid-Lent or "Laetare" Sunday has long been known in the Catholic Church as "Mothering Sunday"?

It is not more than a coincidence. The American originators of the present "Mother's Day" were certainly not moved by the fact that Mid-Lent Sunday used to be known in England as "Mothering Sunday." They themselves would not admit that they drew their ideas from Catholic sources.

1057. The fourth Sunday in Lent was called "Mothering Sunday" from a reference in the Epistle of the Mass for that day.

That is true. But the primary sense of the expression was not merely natural. The Epistle in question has a deep supernatural sense. St. Paul contrasts the Jewish Dispensation with the Christian Dispensation. In other words, he contrasts the Synagogue with the Catholic Church. And he shows that the Church will be a mother for far more children than the Synagogue, bringing forth those children to eternal life in Christ. In the Middle Ages Catholics so well understood this supernatural fact that the faithful used to go in procession to the Cathedral or "Mother Church" of their various dioceses, carrying gifts and offerings as tokens of love and gratitude. Surely you can see how far elevated this celebration of "Mothering Sunday'' was above the present non-Catholic celebration of a merely natural and earthly relationship.

1058. "Mothering Sunday" was a day of reunion in Church and Home of our Catholic forefathers. A bunch of Spring violets was given to the mother, and the blessed Simnel cake was eaten in common.

It is true that, besides the visits to the Cathedral "Mother Church," the day was celebrated in the family circle, with the presentation of Simnel cakes in honor of the mother of the household. The English poet Herrick alludes to this custom in the well-known lines:"I'll to thee a Simnel bring'Gainst thou goest a-mothering,So that, when she blesses theeHalf that blessing thou'lt give me."But even the festive celebrations at home on Mid-Lent Sunday, when the table was adorned with the rich plum Simnel cake, was intended as an encouragement to continue the strict observance of the Lenten Fast on weekdays.

1059. If there is any connection between the present "Mother's Day" and the ancient "Mothering Sunday," I think the beautiful custom should be rescued from distortion, and be given its true place and significance in our Cathol

As I have pointed out, there is no connection between the two celebrations. When all Christendom was Catholic, there was a succession of beautiful festivities and celebrations of deep religious significance. And we Catholics still have a most inspiring succession of liturgical Feast Days. But non-Catholics, who have abandoned the Catholic Church and her festivities in honor of the great mysteries of the Christian religion, have to look round for other things to celebrate. And as their vision does not rise above the merely natural level, they have invented "Mother's Day" to celebrate the noblest of purely human relationships. We Catholics, however, must remember that human sentiments are not everything. And wonderful as mothers may be, still more wonderful is the story of our supernatural life of grace derived from Christ our Lord. "Mother's Day" may be all right in itself, and good as far as it goes. But as a humanitarian substitute for the beautiful festivities of supernatural significance in the Catholic Church, it can have little appeals for Catholics. As citizens, we join most heartily in the celebration of national holidays. As human beings we are prepared to do honor to all good mothers. But as Catholics our bond is one of supernatural grace with Christ, and it is not possible to find a place and significance in our religion for a purely humanitarian institution.

1060. Would a Catholic be a hypocrite were he to wear a while flower in honor of his mother on that day?

He certainly could not be called a hypocrite. If he wore a white flower, it would be in all sincerity as a tribute to the memory of his mother, and for no other reason. But like many other normally good things, the wearing of the white flower on "Mother's Day" has suspicious associations from the Catholic point of view. Miss Jarvis conceived that idea one day when visiting her mother's grave in order to place some flowers there. This to her seemed rather futile, and she suggested that it would be better to wear a white flower in honor of a living mother than to wait until it could be placed on her grave. The very thought carries the vague implication that we can do no more for our dead when death takes them from this world, and that, of course, is quite opposed to the Catholic outlook. By our prayers we can follow our loved ones, and still help them; and a prayer for a departed mother is of infinitely more value than the putting of flowers on her grave, even as a prayer for a living mother is far better than wearing a white flower in her honor. If the white flower is to be worn on the supposition that we can do no more for mother when she is dead than put flowers on her grave, then the Catholic Church could not but object to the practice. If, however, this implication be not in the least intended and the wearing of the white flower be a merely natural tribute to one's respect for mothers, the practice would be harmless.

1061. I cannot see any harm in setting aside one day in the year to do special honor to mothers. It would not mean that we should forget her on other days.

There is no harm whatever in setting aside a special day in honor of mothers. It was the practice of medieval Catholics in England to do so. The only difficulty for Catholics in the modern celebration lies in the circumstances surrounding the observance today. The fact that a Sunday was chosen as an explicitly religious day, and that Protestant Churches have invested the day with additional religious significance, and that the honoring of a living mother was prompted by the thought that nothing of any practical benefit could be done for a dead mother—these things make Catholics hesitant about adopting the practice; and above all since, however their own motives may exclude such ideas, there is always a danger of their participation being misinterpreted. I think, therefore, that I have made things clear. In itself, there is no harm in the observance of "Mother's Day." But its origin and circumstances rather rob it of its appeal for Catholics.



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