Given from the Catholic Broadcasting Station 2SM Sydney Australia
Choose a topic from Vol 2:
I admit that his case is more difficult than that of Gladstone. Lord Halifax was a convert to Catholic teaching and forms of worship. But Catholic discipline and jurisdiction were beyond him. He was so absorbed by the idea that the Anglicanism he loved was somehow or other part of the Catholic Church that his judgment was clouded on the one point as to whether he should abandon the Church of England and submit to Rome, or not. He was a wonderfully good man; but wonderfully good men can make mistakes. Certainly he never saw clearly the obligation of joining the Roman Church, or he would have done so.
I am sure he had considered all the main arguments. And they quite convinced him that the Roman Church was the true Church. Had you asked him, "Is the Roman Catholic Church in error?", he would have declared that she was not! He constantly deplored the fact that the Church of England was not in visible communion with the Holy See. But he would rather see the whole of the Church of England seek unity with Rome than go over alone. He knew that Rome regarded him as an outsider so long as he remained an Anglican, and this hurt him very much. In a letter to the Abbe Portal he wrote, "How can I make it clear in Rome that I believe in one only Church, and that my one aim is to work for the return of the Church of England into the fold of Catholic unity, and to restore the relations which must necessarily exist between the English bishops and the Holy See?" A man who can write like that is certainly convinced that the Roman Church is the true Church. From our point of view, of course, any man who admits that the Church of England should be within the fold of Catholic unity and is not, and that its bishops should be subject to the Pope but are not, surely has the obligation personally to go over to Rome. Yet that is precisely what Lord Halifax did not see. He knew the arguments in favor of this obligation, but apparently they did not impress him. It is a lack of insight for which I am not prepared to blame him. As G. K. Chesterton has said, "When you look at a thing for the hundredth time, you are in great danger of seeing it for the first time." To know, and to realize arevery different things.
I do not hope to convert people by reason. In itself reason cannot be the road to the faith, or else brainy people would have a better chance of attaining religious security merely because more intelligent. After all, intellectuals have no greater claim upon God than the dull-witted. What I do hope to do by reason is to clear away misapprehensions and prejudice, show the rational foundation for belief, and bring out the impossibility of conflicting statements of doctrine being equally true. Then I can show that the characteristics of the Catholic Church alone fit in with those intended by Christ. After that, I must leave it to each man's good will and the grace of God. I can explain the faith; but I cannot give the gift of faith. The suggestion that because some intelligent men are not convinced it will be impossible to convince less intelligent men is without weight. The intelligent men who are convinced more than offset the ones who are not, whilst your fears concerning people of ordinary mental caliber are excluded by the fact that such people are convinced and converted daily. As a matter of fact, simpler people often see more clearly than the learned whose minds are tangled with hosts of ideas which get in each other's way. Where these men cannot see the wood for the trees, less distraught minds have an intuitive perception of the vital truth. And always, of course, allowance must be made for the grace of God which follows no law of man's own devising.