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

Causes of the Reformation

221. The power of Romanism was shattered by Martin Luther, of immortal memory.

Martin Luther is undoubtedly an outstanding figure in history. But the immortal memory of Luther will become less and less pleasant as the facts concerning him become known. Those who idealize Luther can do so only by ignoring an immense amount of inconvenient information. He was a priest of the Catholic Church, but one who was not faithful to his obligations even as a Christian. On his own admissions he was a victim of both immorality and drunkenness; and he was the most intolerant of men. Far from granting liberty of conscience, he refused to allow anyone to think differently from himself, and coolly said, "Whoever teaches otherwise than I teach is a child of hell."

222. When did the Protestant Movement begin?

In the sixteenth century. Luther, in Germany, broke away from the Catholic Church in 1517, and began to set up a new Church for himself. Henry VIII., in England, abandoned the Catholic Church in 1534, when he brought in the law of his own supremacy over the Church in his own realm. It would take too long to narrate how each of the first Protestants broke away. In various ways, each rebelled against the authority of the Church and was excommunicated by the Church. Luther denied her teaching by preaching heretical doctrines. Henry VIII defended her teachings, but violated the discipline of the Church.

223. Did not Norway and Sweden adopt Protestantism?

Lutheranism was imposed on both peoples by their rulers. The princes wanted control of the Church independently of the Pope. In breaking with Rome, they took the nearest form of Protestantism at hand--Lutheranism. Frederic I. of Denmark imposed Lutheranism upon Norway. In Sweden, Gustavus Vasa led a revolt against Denmark, and was crowned king of Sweden. He himself was a Catholic, and the people were much attached to the Catholic faith. But Gustavus needed money for his new kingdom, and to get it he decided to confiscate the estates of the Church. Not from religious conviction, but solely through political expediency, he decided to impose Lutheranism also by civil authority.

224. What made Scotland abandon the Catholic faith?

There were three chief causes: Firstly, most of the people were not instructed in their religion, and were greatly disaffected towards the Catholic Church by the scandalous laxity of the Scottish clergy of the time. The clergy made little pretense at a life in accordance with what they preached, and their disedifying lives left the people ready to back up any preacher who seemed sincere, whether he was right or wrong in matters of doctrine. Secondly, John Knox eventually came from Geneva to preach straight-out Calvinism with a zeal and energy which stood out in marked contrast with the apathy of the Catholic clergy in the cause of the old religion. Thirdly, John Knox had the armed support of the nobles who sought to possess themselves of Church property.

225. So you blame the depravity of the clergy?

I give it as one of the reasons, and even as the main reason. In his book on the "Counter-Reformation in Scotland," Father Pollen says that the depravity and laxity of the clergy were unquestionably the main reasons why the faith of Catholics fell away so suddenly and so completely before the Protestant preachers. This is no argument against the Catholic Church; but it is a terrible indictment of the Catholic clergy in Scotland immediately prior to the advent of Protestantism. As Mr. Joseph Clayton has pointed out, no mass of people will ever be persuaded for long that priests and clerics can justly be exempted from the moral standards prescribed for the laity.

226. This seems to be new history from Catholic lips. Do not most Catholic writers paint the Protestant Reformation in the blackest colors?

They have maintained, and still maintain, that the Protestant Reformation can never be justified. But I admit that most history books written in the past by Catholics have exhibited a good deal of bias against the Protestant Reformers, even as the history books written by Protestants have given a distorted view of the Catholic position--and to a far greater extent.

227. History is history, and the record of truth.

You leave out the fact that historians do not always tell the truth. I admit that the writing of history is a very difficult thing. For, firstly, a man must get the facts, testing his sources rigidly at every stage. Secondly, since no one book can give all the facts, some must be left out. And here the mentality of the writer will decide the omissions. If he has any prejudices, the tendency will be to leave out the facts that tell against his theories. "What has the historian left out?" is one of the first questions to be put in estimating the worth of a textbook. Thirdly, if we consider such undisputed facts as he does give, the question arises as to the interpretation and significance of those facts. Now the textbooks of history in the English language have for the most part been written by men whole-heartedly Protestant, or by conviction anti-Catholic; or at least by those infected by the Protestant tradition, however impartial they may think themselves to be. If only unconsciously, bias and prejudice creep into their writings, and the real truth is not to be found in their works. Our complaint is not against history, but against the historians.

228. You will never undo memories of the past in Protestant minds.

We can correct those memories. We can point out that textbooks perpetuating false views of history do not give a genuine knowledge of the past, and persuade them to to cease pulling the bandage off old sores, giving them no chance to heal. In histories of the Protestant Reformation, feeling and sentimental loyalties have again and again got the better of dispassionate reason. And the education in history which they have provided has accounted for millions of professing Christians fearing and hating the Catholic Church, and that in a way which is simply baffling to Catholics.

229. Have not Catholic writers distorted history also?

Undoubtedly many have done so. On both sides history has been written in a partisan spirit. Bias, of course, may be quite unconscious. Nevertheless it results in distorted and inadequate presentations of history, and I agree with Mr. Joseph Clayton's advice that, if there is to be any bias where history is concerned, it should be, in both writer and reader, to the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth--and that, both in the presentation of the facts, and in the interpretation of those facts. Of one thing I am certain: the Catholic Church has nothing whatever to fear from the results of such historical research. Truth cannot contradict truth; and the Catholic religion, being the truth, will never find itself in any way disturbed by any facts that history can reveal.

230. Not many people, either Catholic or Protestant, will agree with these views.

Those in a position to give a reliable verdict do so. I have quoted Mr. Clayton, a Catholic writer. In support let me quote a Protestant, Rev. Dr. Goudge, Regius professor of Divinity at Oxford. In a plea for a better understanding between Protestants and Catholics, he begs us to drop the prejudices of the sixteenth century when the Reformation occurred. "The whole spirit of the controversies then," he writes, "was wrong. They were black with hatred and misrepresentation, and largely conducted in theological Billingsgate. If we base our statements upon sixteenth century sources, we generally base them upon poisoned sources. At best they leave out half the truth; and at worst, they are lying." Again he says, "Much of the history written then was not history, but controversy under a thin disguise. Even if the facts recorded are indeed facts--which is not always the case--they are so selected, and so presented, as to give a false idea of what took place. Here there has happily been a great change. The best Catholic and Protestant historians are not far today from agreement about the facts, though they do not regard them in the same way. No instructed Roman Catholic now denies the appalling condition of Western Christendom at the beginning of the sixteenth century, or the failure of the Conciliar and other reforming movements to deal successfully with it. No instructed Protestant now denies that political and personal motives bulked very large in the Protestant Reformation. It is the duty of the better-informed members of all Communions to correct the errors of the less-informed, especially when these errors lead them to misjudge those from whom they are separated." So speaks Dr. Goudge, and I agree with every one of his words in this matter.

231. Don't you find it a mystery that so many millions should fall away from the Catholic Church during the Reformation?

No one with a knowledge of human psychology, and of the conditions of the period, would find it a mystery.

232. Was not the fall of the Roman Catholic Church due to the vilest practices ever recorded against any Church?

The Catholic Church did not fall. Many of her members had fallen from her standards of virtue, and this was made the excuse for their conduct by multitudes who fell from the faith into heresy. And the children of those who then fell away from Catholicism are today falling into indifference to all religion and almost complete unbelief, whilst the Catholic Church is the one great stronghold of Christianity in the world. Even in his own day Luther admitted that the more his teachings progressed, the worse the people became. "It is clear," he wrote, "how much more greedy, cruel, immodest, shameless, and wicked the people now are than they were under the Papacy."

233. Do you deny that the Church was in a state of decay prior to the Reformation?

I deny that. I do not deny that there was a widespread laxity corrupting the lives of many of the clergy and laity alike. St. Thomas More knew the society of his day very well, and he put things pithily when he said, "The world is tired of the clergy, but the clergy are not tired of the world." Yet St. Thomas More did not make the mistake of blaming the Church of Christ for the lax members in it. He blamed the lax members. And it would be a mistake to think that there was nothing but laxity in the Church in the times immediately prior to the Reformation. There were Saints in those days side by side with the sinners. Read that marvellous little book, "The Imitation of Christ," by Thomas a Kempis; and try to realize that that treasure of spirituality was written by a Catholic monk during those very years of supposed universal corruption. That book represents the true ideals of the Catholic Church, and is a strong condemnation of the unchristian lives of those who were a disgrace to the Christian name.

234. The Book of Revelations revealed that many of the hierarchy would fall into gross sins in the Middle Ages. History tells us that they did so.

It is a mistake to restrict the predictions of Revelations to any particular class, or to any particular age. St. John sees the forces of evil ever reviving and renewing their attack against Christ and His Church. Only with the end of the world itself will the influence of antichrist or the Beast come to an end. Through the ages surge upon surge of evil will attack the Church; now prevailing in a greater degree; now beaten back. But we need not go to the Book of Revelations for predictions of evil amongst members of the Church. Christ Himself predicted them. "It must needs be," He said, "that scandals come. But woe to that man by whom the scandal cometh." Matt. XVIII., 7. And He did not make any distinction between clergy and laity. In fact He seems almost to have permitted the fall of Judas, one of the Apostolic hierarchy, to warn us of the possibility of such things, and to preserve us from undue dismay.

235. Pope Innocent III said that the Church of his day suffered from five evils, and that the first of all was the evil conduct of prelates.

Be it so. But notice that Pope Innocent III, whilst aware of the abuses on the part of prelates, did not sanction them. He spoke to condemn them as not in keeping with Catholic ideals. And the obvious cure was the reform of the prelates, and the stamping out of their abuses; not the dynamiting of the whole Church established by Christ, and the creation of new Churches by men who had no authority from God to do so. Certainly Pope Innocent himself never dreamed that such abuses could afford any excuse for leaving the Catholic Church, and setting up other Churches.

236. Reform after reform was instituted by the Popes, only to fail because of strong vested interests.

Despite the exaggerated suggestion of current evils, the admission that reform after reform was attempted shows that the Catholic Church was definitely not evil in itself, but good; that she could not accept with equanimity the violation of her ideals; and that she never remained passive under the sufferings inflicted on her by her own subjects. As a matter of fact, the reforms instituted were not in vain, though in many cases they failed owing to lack of goodwill in the subjects. Eventually the Church did succeed in securing her own internal reform consisting of human beings so far as that is possible in a Church.

237. Will you set out what you consider the main causes for the loss of such multitudes to the Church at the Reformation?

There was nothing whatever wrong with the Catholic religion in itself. But there were a good many things wrong with great numbers of Catholics, or the Reformation would have been impossible. No one simple cause can explain it. The conduct of those who left the Church must be attributed firstly to their infidelity to the grace of God in their own personal lives, and to their own pride and passions. But that so many should follow these leaders demands explanation. Mass defections from the Church were possible only in a given atmosphere. And unfortunately many factors were at hand to contribute to the disaster. Political causes had weakened the authority of the Pope. Their personal ambitions made the German princes of the various small States welcome a movement which would free them from their discordant relations with the Pope altogether--even religiously. The covetous and avaricious also saw the possibility of loot and plunder in the confiscation of Church property. So they supported the Protestant rebellion even by force of arms. In England the Tudor kings had immense power, and Henry VIII, when he could not get his divorce from the Pope, found it comparatively easy to impose his ideas on his subjects, robbing them of the Catholic inheritance. We must remember, too, that the Renaissance had brought the revival of the pagan Greek and Latin classics, and these had corrupted the minds and the hearts of the educated classes. Moreover, many of the bishops and priests, far removed from Rome, had been too subservient to secular authority, and had neglected to enforce the discipline of the Church, thus weakening their hold upon the people. Laxity amongst the clergy had given great disedification; and the delay in their reformation had paved the way for a wrong reformation by breaking away from the Church. Careless priests had left the faithful uninstructed, and incredibly ignorant of their religion; and, not knowing their own faith, great numbers of simple Catholics did not discern the real evil of the separatist movement. Not knowing the truth, they were swayed by the ideas of the Reformers, who denounced Rome without demanding any higher standard of virtue than that which had prevailed. And when the temporal rulers backed up the campaign with violence and oppression, the people simply found themselves Protestants. There were many other factors also, which a brief reply can scarcely describe. But I have said enough to show the possibility of a Reformation, with its disastrous division of Christendom amongst an ignorant, dissatisfied, and disedified laity, above all under pressure by ruling princes, and grasping dukes and earls.



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