Given from the Catholic Broadcasting Station 2SM Sydney Australia
Choose a topic from Vol 2:
Yes. But you must keep in mind the full text. Christ did not merely say that He had other sheep. He said, "Other sheep I have that are not of this fold." And He added, "Them also I must bring, and they shall hear My voice, and there shall be one fold and one shepherd." Jn. X., 16. That one fold under one shepherd is the Catholic Church only.
No. God may give the grace of an interior and spiritual conversion to a non-Catholic; but not the impulse to join a non-Catholic Church. The joining of a non-Catholic Church is due to the inadequate knowledge of the person in question. Men can misunderstand the promptings of grace in this matter just as in others. God's ways are mysterious, and beyond our understanding. And it takes two to fulfill His plan--Himself and the individual soul. God patiently allows for the dispositions of each soul, and the realization of His plan is gradual, accordingly. But undoubtedly it is His will that those who seek Him should do so in the Catholic Church, and according to the faith, worship, and discipline prevailing in that Church.
Since we cannot approve of Protestantism, we cannot approve of the fact that natives are taught this or that Protestant form of Christianity. But, granted that in certain localities the choice is between their being left in their paganism or converted to Protestantism, I have no hesitation in saying that it would be better for them to be converted to Protestantism. After all, Protestantism preaches the necessity of salvation, and Christ as the means of salvation. This element of truth may be mixed up with many errors. But the element of truth may mean the salvation of souls, whilst the errors are robbed to a great extent of their danger by the ignorance of their character on the part of those who hold them. And half a loaf is better than no bread.
There can be no doubt that Protestant missions have done much good. They have improved the morals of the natives, lifted them to higher aspirations, and in many cases inspired genuine virtue and holiness both as ideals and in practice. From Protestant missionaries natives have learned to believe in Christ, to love Him sincerely, and to serve Him most generously. For that, one could not but rejoice.
No. We are genuinely happy that native pagans are taught to know and love Christ, however inadequately it may be. As a matter of fact, to my mind, the so-called benefits of civilization are the least of the benefits a mission in the name of Christ can confer--if it can be called a benefit at all in some cases! The chief thing is to teach them of God, and how to love and serve God through Jesus Christ, and thus to save their souls. And it is precisely from this viewpoint that we rejoice at such good as Protestant missions accomplish. Undoubtedly we would prefer that the natives should receive the full Catholic truth. But we are discussing the case where natives will be taught Protestantism, or never hear of Christianity at all. To a Catholic, Protestantism includes heresy, and heresy is an evil. But paganism is a greater evil than unconscious heresy. So of two evils we prefer the lesser, and that natives should be Christians unconscious of the heretical elements in the doctrines taught them than that they should remain pagans.
If the right form is used with the normal Christian intention, Protestant baptisms are valid. But here a peculiar position arises. All the Sacraments, of course, were instituted by Christ, and belong to Christ. But He founded the Catholic Church, and committed His religion to her only. Therefore the Sacraments without exception belong to her. Not a single valid Sacrament is proper to any of the Protestant Churches. There is but one Lord, one faith, one baptism. If Protestants can administer baptism validly, it is because one need not be a priest, nor even a Christian, to administer that Sacrament validly, whereas confirmation, confession, the eucharist, extreme unction, and holy orders, require a valid priesthood. Meantime, if baptism administered by Protestants be valid, the subject, though baptized in the Protestant Church, is not baptized into the Protestant Church. Christ instituted baptism into the Catholic Church, not baptism into the Protestant Church. If a child is baptized in a Protestant Church, and the baptism is validly administered, the child is a Catholic, and remains a Catholic until it comes to the age of reason and adopts Protestantism for itself. If I receive an adult Protestant into the Catholic Church together with his infant son, and it is certain that both have been baptized validly, I have to make the father abjure heresy and formally profess his submission to the Catholic Church; but nothing is done as regards the infant son. It is simply taught Catholic doctrine and brought up as a Catholic just as any other Catholic child. Its baptism, although administered in a Protestant Church, made it a member of the Catholic Church.
Yes. For here again, since those who make the contract are the real ministers of the Sacrament, no valid priesthood is required for its administration. The Catholic Church has the right to regulate the conditions governing this Sacrament; and she says that an authorized Catholic priest must be present as her official witness at the marriages of Catholics. But the priest does not administer the Sacrament. The contracting parties minister it mutually by their consent. Validly baptized Protestants therefore contract sacramental marriage amongst themselves as often as they enter into the matrimonial contract, whether it be in their own Church, or in a civil court. (I am speaking of first marriages, not of marriages subsequent to divorce, with the former wife still living.) Here again, as a valid Sacrament, such a marriage is subject to the legislative power of the Catholic Church. But because the parties are in good faith, and unaware of this fact, the Catholic Church exempts Protestants from her own prescriptions for Catholics. Yet they cannot be exempted from the essential prescriptions of Christ. That is why the Catholic Church insists that a valid sacramental marriage between two Protestants can be broken only by the death of one of the parties. Even for them, divorce does not break the bond of marriage and give the right to remarry, in the sight of God.
Our Lord Himself said, "If a man will not hear the Church, let him be as the heathen." Matt. XVIII., 17. But that obviously applies to people who have realized the authority of the Church, yet have deliberately rejected it. Non-Catholics who have never been Catholics, nor have understood and acknowledged the claims of the Catholic Church, are not guilty of personal sin in their refusal of obedience. They cannot therefore be said to be abandoned as the heathen. In 1927 the late Pope Pius XI. spoke as follows on the Catholic attitude towards the separated Churches: "Catholics are sometimes lacking in a right appreciation of their separated brethren, and are even wanting in brotherly love, because they do not know enough about them. People do not realize how much faith, goodness, and Christianity there is in these bodies now detached from the age-long Catholic truth. But pieces broken from gold-bearing rock themselves bear gold." Those words of the Pope were followed by insistence on the duty of charity towards the separated Churches; which shows that we do not apply to them the words of Christ, "let him be to thee as the heathen."
Yes, but here I must ask you to try to view things from the Catholic standpoint. If someone asked you to join in an important enterprise, and declared that he did so in the name of the State, you would want him to prove that he had the authority of the State, and that the enterprise was within the conditions laid down by the State. If he had no authority from the State, or did not comply with its conditions, you would deny that he was acting in the name of the State. Even though he mistakenly thought he was authorized by the State, he would not really be so authorized. Now a Catholic believes that Christ entrusted the care and administration of His religion to the Catholic Church. If we want to assemble for religious purposes in His name, it must be according to the sanction and direction of His Church, this being one of the conditions laid down by Him. People assembling in the name of other religions are not really assembled in the name of Christ however sincerely they may think it to be so. And a Catholic, granted Catholic principles, cannot sanction by his presence those religious functions organized independently of the authority of Christ, and of the conditions He imposed.
It should not be so difficult. A good Protestant, convinced of the truth of Christianity as he perceives it, has principles which would prevent him from joining in pagan worship. I am not saying that as paganism is to Protestantism, so Protestantism is to Catholicism. I merely want to bring out that Protestants have similar principles to which they will adhere, and that they should make allowances for a Catholic acting on principles which forbid participation in any other forms of worship than those prescribed by the Catholic religion. Every man who has principles and adjusts his conduct to them is liable to be called narrow-minded by others who do not accept those same principles. A Protestant should say to a Catholic, "If you believe that Protestantism is a departure from the Christian religion as intended by Christ, then I cannot blame you for refusing to attend Protestant services. But let us discuss the question as to whether Protestantism is a departure from the precepts of Christ."
Love for people of other religions does not exclude acknowledgment of the authority of one's own Church and obedience to it. In fact the very love of Christ which bids us love others also bids us to love His own authority in the Catholic Church and to keep her laws. You, of course, do not see that the authority of the Catholic Church is that of Christ. But if you know that Catholics take that view, you should not blame them for fidelity to the laws of their Church. And you should not blame the Church for making laws to safeguard the religion of Christ, and her own subjects in its profession and practice.
Catholic exclusiveness is not a matter of not trusting Catholics. It vindicates the right of Jesus Christ to be worshipped only in accordance with the rules of the Church He established.
I admit that the Protestants of today are merely the children of those who broke away from the Catholic Church four centuries ago. But still it is their duty to study the question, and to return to the Church the first Protestants should never have left.Editor's note: Question #279 does not appear in the original text.