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

Holiness of the Church

388. I agree that the Roman Catholic Church is remarkable for its unity. But should not the true Church of Christ also be holy?

It should be, and is. Catholics, therefore, are justified in their great act of faith, "I believe in the Holy Catholic Church."

389. Your Church makes a claim that no other Church dare make.

That is true; and I am grateful for the admission. No other Church is really conscious of possessing any of the four great marks of the true Church of Christ, or of being one, holy, catholic, and apostolic.

390. In what particular way is your Church remarkable for holiness?

She is holy in her Founder, Jesus Christ; in her teachings; in her sacramental system of grace; and in her members. There is no need to dwell on the first point. The Catholic Church alone was founded by Jesus Christ; and there can be no doubt about His holiness. On the other points I must ask you to be patient with a rather lengthy explanation. Take first the question of teaching. The Catholic Church has fought everywhere and at all times to spread and defend the full truth revealed by Christ. Where other professing Christian bodies have made outrageous concessions to rationalistic unbelief, she has remained adamant. And there is not a single dogmatic teaching of the Catholic Church which does not tend to confirm in us the will to sanctify our souls; whether it be the dogma of our origin from God by creation; or of our redemption by Christ, His Son and our Lord; or of our going back to God and to our judgment with one of three possibilities awaiting us--heaven, hell, or purgatory. Certainly, the dogma of hell has never yet induced a man to sin. The dogma of purgatory has inculcated the necessity of purifying our lives by Christian mortification and self-denial. The dogma of grace and of the supernatural rules out mere standards of outward respectability, and demands that one's daily life, personal, domestic, and civic, must be inspired by a deep love of God.If we turn from the dogmatic teachings of the Catholic Church to her moral laws, we can challenge any man to keep them, and not be the better for it. So, too, we can challenge him to violate them, yet not degenerate. There is no Church on earth which so fights to lift man above the natural and the sensual, fighting for purity of morals, the holiness of marriage, and the rights of God in every department of life. So much so that no one joins the Catholic Church sincerely without desiring a loftier standard of living than was previously proposed to him; and no one leaves the Catholic Church save for a lower standard of conduct. If Catholics go, it is not because they have discovered their Church to be untrue, but because they themselves have not been true to their own conscientious obligations.But the Catholic Church is not only holy in her teachings; she is also holy in her members. The Church certainly has the power to sanctify men in practice. But, naturally, this power will attain its object insofar as men allow themselves to be influenced by it. In general, ordinary holiness prevails amongst the vast majority of Catholics insofar as they usually keep in a state of grace and out of a state of mortal sin. They do try to keep God's laws conscientiously, often making great sacrifices to do so. They are remarkable for their fidelity to their religious duties to God; to their Sunday Mass; to the Sacraments; to prayer; to fasting and other forms of self-denial; to the obligations of alms-giving and charity. Often they are ridiculed as fools and as scrupulous for this fidelity to their religion by those who regard themselves as advocates of liberty. If they sin from time to time, they are never happy in that state, but are most uneasy until they recover God's grace. And always they will admit that sin is sin, acknowledging themselves to be sinners, rather than hypocritically trying to save their faces by pretending that sin is virtue, and that what is unlawful is really lawful.Turning from "ordinary" holiness, which does allow for lapses through frailty, though the greater part of life is spent in God's grace, there are hosts of Catholics who go further. They not only consistently avoid mortal sin, but they labor earnestly to emancipate themselves from even venial sins. And yet others push on to the practice of heroic Christian virtue. Take the almost interminable list of canonized Saints produced by the Catholic Church. They are her living miracles through the ages, and her true pride and joy as well as the delight and inspiration of Catholics the world over.That there are bad Catholics does not affect all that I have said. Christ predicted that there would be bad Catholics. The cockle will grow side by side with the wheat. But we can account for the bad Catholics. It is for the critics of the Church to account for the good ones, and above all, for the Saints who have flourished in every age of the Church.

391. Did not the Roman Church, by its corruption, forfeit its right to be the true Church, so that Christ had to establish the Protestant Churches in its place?

That cannot be said. Christ declared that His Church would be like a net holding good and bad fish. But any corruption amongst the members of the Catholic Church is not because of her teachings, but against them and in spite of them.Despite the bad fish within the net, however, the net is quite good. You cannot argue from bad fish to a bad net. And certainly Christ did not establish the Protestant Churches in place of the Catholic Church. It is absurd historically to say that He established them when we know that they were established sixteen centuries after He left this world by men whose names are also well known. It is absurd logically to say that Christ, who is Truth itself, and who said that His Church would be one as He and His Father are one, founded a whole lot of conflicting Churches, each contradicting what the others assert. And it is absurd to say that the forces of evil did prevail against the Catholic Church when Christ said that they would not do so. He said that He would preserve His Church from error and corruption--as a Church--all days from His time till the end of the world. How any one can continue to believe in the Divinity of Christ, yet insist that He could not do as He said He would do, passes comprehension.

392. What is meant in Scripture by "The Scarlet Woman"?

St. John says, in Rev. XVII., that he saw "a woman sitting on a scarlet colored beast full of names of blasphemy." This "woman" has been popularly called "The Scarlet Woman." Many fantastic explanations have been given as to her real character. Some people have said that the Scarlet Woman represents pagan Rome in the days when the Emperors persecuted the early Christians. But that certainly is not completely true, for the "woman and the beast" are described as outlasting pagan Rome. Others, under the influence of religious prejudice, have said that the Scarlet Woman represents Papal Rome. But that is certainly quite untrue. For Papal Rome has ever labored to forward the cause of Christ, whilst the "woman and the beast" are opposed to Christ and the cause of Christ. There is no absolute certainty as to the Scarlet Woman's full significance. Most probably, as the Church is the "Bride of Christ," so the woman represents the "Bride of Satan." I speak, of course in the mystical sense. The "Woman," therefore, stands for the "Antichristian Spirit." The "Beast" upon which the "Woman" is seated, and which she guides and controls, is the material force of this world. The "Woman and the Beast," therefore, signify an antichristian idealism employing the material forces of this world against the cause of Christ, and against all that is holy and spiritual and good. And always through history, in every age, and right to the end, we shall have manifestations of their evil campaign. The campaign is as violent today as ever it was. Officially Christ is banished from commercial, civil, and national life. We see today a wrong nationalism, coupled with a wrong internationalism, which will have none of one thing only--of God revealed in Christ as absolute over all rulers and nations. The unchristian idealism controlling national and international relations on a purely worldly, materialistic, and selfish basis is a re-crucifixion of Christ and of His cause; and it constitutes a manifestation of the "Woman and the Beast" in our own days.

393. Why do some people presume that The Scarlet Woman means the Papacy?

Because they are very ignorant of the Catholic Church, hate it without understanding it, and are enabled by their peculiar mentality to believe whatever they would like to be true without further ado.

394. The Catholic religion, if holy and true, should produce almost invariably a peculiarly excellent type of individual.

You commence with an idea which is only a half-truth. The Catholic religion is able to produce excellent types. If a man seriously wants to be good, the Catholic Church will enable him to be good as no other power on earth. But there cannot be any guarantee that she will invariably produce excellent individuals, because that makes no allowance for the variation in the dispositions of men. Men are not inanimate objects to be sanctified against their will. So Christ compared His religion to seed which falls, some upon good ground, some upon shallow soil, and some upon stone. The seed is always equally good; but its fruit is dependent upon the quality of soil which receives it.

395. Is not Protestantism as well able to give the spiritual outlook as Catholicism?

That cannot be admitted. It is undeniable that Protestantism as such cannot preserve Christian truth intact, and dare not insist upon the fullness of Christian moral teaching. As a result of the Protestant Reformation we find articles of faith denied; fasting and other forms of mortification not taught; the sense of sin diminishing; the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity, and obedience inspiring monastic life ignored; a clergy unable to rise to the ideals of celibacy, and as unable to give sound spiritual advice as the laity are unwilling to receive it; nationalism displacing the universal outlook of Christianity; materialism supplanting supernaturalism; whilst more and more philanthropy and humanitarianism tend to displace that Christian charity which is in the order of grace, and supposes a pure and disinterested love of God rather than merely of our fellow men.

396. What regulated conduct of Catholics is the least that visible fellowship of the Church requires?

By "visible fellowship" I presume you mean public adherence to the Catholic Church on the part of the person concerned, and acknowledgment by the Catholic Church that he belongs to her fold. For that, the least required is that the person who professes to be a Catholic has not been excommunicated officially by the Church. The Church, of course, insists that all Catholics are obliged to regulate their conduct in accordance with the ten commandments and the precepts of the Church. Insofar as they do not, they sin; and if they sin publicly in serious degrees, they are forbidden the reception of the Sacraments until they sincerely repent and resolve to do their best to observe the laws of God once more. But whatever their sins, and even though interiorly they are not in God's love and friendship, they still retain external membership of the Church, or, as you call it, "visible fellowship." They are sinners, but they are still Catholics; and the Catholic Church, instead of abandoning them, simply pleads with them to abandon their sins. Conscious that part of her duty is to be a kind of hospital in a spiritually sick world, she does not throw the patients out of the window on the score that they are in grave need of spiritual care. So long as a Catholic continues to profess his faith, and has not so directly defied the authority of the Church as to merit excommunication, he is fulfilling at least the minimum required for continued visible fellowship, and will be publicly acknowledged by the Catholic Church as one of hers.

397. What are some of the qualifications of a good Catholic?

A good Catholic is essentially a man of duty. Now we can classify our duties as being towards God, towards ourselves, and towards our fellow men. A good Catholic, therefore, is one who fulfills his duties in all three cases. He loyally accepts and lives up to the religion God has revealed, gladly professing the Catholic Faith, regularly fulfilling the duties of prayer, sacramental life and worship prescribed by the Catholic Church, and obeying the commandments of God and the laws of his religion in all things. In addition to this, he fulfills his duties to himself, controlling his lower passions, avoiding vice and cultivating personal virtue according to the dictates of reason and of conscience. As regards his fellow men, he regulates his relations towards them by the master virtues of justice and charity in all things. A man who fulfills all these duties is a really good Catholic. If he does not do so, then insofar as he professes the Catholic Faith he is a Catholic. But his goodness or badness as a Catholic must be measured by the degree in which he succeeds or fails in living up to the ideals I have given.

398. How is the Roman Church superior to other Churches in the help it gives towards holiness of life?

I have already explained that to some extent under No. 390. But in addition to the ideals and standards of the Catholic Church by which a man knows clearly how to serve God, the worship of the Catholic Church is more helpful than any other Church can offer. The Sacrifice of the Mass, offered in supreme adoration to God, lifts men's souls to Him as nothing else can do. The Sacraments, too,--and all seven--have an immense influence on souls, Baptism conferring the spiritual life; Confirmation strengthening it; Confession destroying later sins which come between the soul and God; Holy Communion bringing Christ to each as the very Guest of the soul; Extreme Unction finally preparing the soul for its meeting with God. The Sacrament of Matrimony is specially ordained to sanctify the duties of the state of marriage, whilst Holy Orders gives a priesthood which has meant an incalculable stream of blessings to the faithful. In addition to those helps, the innumerable practices of piety, prayer, self-denial and abnegation inspired by the Catholic religion result in a greater spirituality and sanctification of men. Finally the discipline of the Catholic Church, based on obedience to the Will of God, has resulted in that general sense of order in the Church which is essential to spiritual progress. In necessarily brief replies I cannot do more than just touch upon the subject; but at least I have said enough to stimulate your own further thoughts.

399. Whatever you may say, I wouldn't join any Church which has priests.

If you became convinced of the truth of the Catholic Church, you would have to join it whether you approved of the conduct of priests or not. It would be ridiculous to neglect your own salvation because all priests were not as holy as you thought they ought to be. You might as well refuse a legacy because all lawyers are not wealthy! However, if you had a right idea of priests and of the Catholic Church, you would not have your present prejudices. And you cannot say what you would do under happier circumstances.

400. Ultimately, if we get down to fundamentals, the priests have been the cause of all the troubles in the Church and from persecutors.

That is not true. The vast majority of priests have been men of moderate and self-sacrificing lives.

401. Is the ideal of chastity for the priests the same as for the nuns?

Yes. The vow of chastity made by both priests and nuns means that any sin against the virtue of purity of morals is also a sacrilege against the virtue of religion. And people who want to live immoral lives do not vow the opposite for the sheer joy of making themselves doubly guilty when they break their vow! It must be remembered too that the vow of chastity does not imply merely a negative obligation to abstain from sins against morality. It implies also that positive obligation of consecrating oneself to God, or of rendering oneself sacred to God, so that the heart and all its affections are reserved for Him alone. Cravings for the consolation of human affections have to be rigidly controlled, never manifested, and elevated by grace to the supernatural and spiritual plane which was characteristic of the love of humanity in the heart of Jesus Christ Himself. The vow of chastity, therefore, demands a very far-reaching and continued renunciation of the sensual in favor of the spiritual.

402. Are you just saying that, or is it the official doctrine of your Church?

In December, 1935, Pope Pius XI. issued an Encyclical on the Catholic Priesthood. In that Encyclical he writes: "A priest should have a loftiness of spirit, a purity of heart, and a sanctity of life befitting the solemnity and holiness of the office he holds. Clerics, therefore, are bound by a grave obligation of chastity. So grave is the obligation in them of its perfect and total observance that a transgression involves the added guilt of sacrilege." Every student for the priesthood has this drilled into him during his years of study and preparation for his ordination; and that is not the way in which people are prepared for an immoral life.

403. Of course, as a priest yourself, you would defend your fellow priests even at the expense of the Church.

I certainly would not. The interests of the Church come before the interests of any individual member of the Church. If the conduct of any priest were discreditable to the Church, I would certainly condemn it much more strongly than you would. I give that as a general statement. For in no individual case would I accept the uncorroborated verdict on the conduct of anybody from an anonymous critic.

404. Are not the outbreaks against the Church in Spain, and Mexico, and other countries due to the selfish lives of priests?

No. I admit that laxity on the part of some priests may have been a contributing factor towards the discontent of some people. But the chief cause of their discontent lies in the very persons of the disaffected. The good man is saddened by the sight of any disedifying example. It is the evil man who rejoices in it, and makes it the excuse to do still more harm to the Church. Outbreaks against the Church are due to the efforts and propaganda of professed enemies of God and of all religion; and to the apathy or even the bitterness of ignorant and ill-disposed members of the Church, who are only too eager to abandon restraints of their religion.

405. We have nothing to say against the nuns, who live good, useful, and self-denying lives. We are opposed only to priests.

Why, then, do the revolutionaries with whom you sympathize, make straight for convents, burn them to the ground, and subject the nuns to shocking ill-treatment?

406. Even if Catholics knew that the conduct of a priest was not right, they would be afraid to say anything.

How do you know that? If you were to read the lives of St. Catherine of Siena, or of St. Bernard of Clairvaux, you would find some very straight talk even to Popes --yet both these have been canonized by the Church as Saints. Catholics are not in the least afraid to condemn what is to be condemned; and to report to the Bishop what they believe should be reported. But they do not believe in wholesale condemnations, nor in taking charges for granted without bothering to make sure of the truth. Likewise they know that the law of charity extends not only to calumny, but also to detraction; and they are naturally slow to usurp the right to judge others. But that is not a crime.

407. Turning from the question of the personal morals of the clergy, is not the power of the Roman Church due to her immense wealth?

The Catholic Church does not owe her spiritual power to such temporal possessions as belong to her. Rather she owes such temporal possessions to the multitudes of Catholics who, after all, had to be converted to the Church through the ages before they could devote their contributions to the support of their religion. In other words, the Church has not influence because she has temporal possessions; she has temporal possessions because she has influence. Her power over men's souls comes first.

408. Why is the city of Rome itself crowded with Churches in which are stored up most of the finest and valuable art treasures on earth?

The number of Churches is due to the fact that, during the last 1900 years many parish Churches, special Shrines, and Chapels to various colleges, Universities, and Central Houses of Religious Orders have been built in that great center of Christendom. Not most of the art treasures on earth are stored in them. One who could suggest that must have sedulously avoided the Museums and Art Galleries throughout the world. If those that do exist in Rome are amongst the finest in the world, that is due to the high level of culture and genius of artists drawn from the Italian people. Their preservation in the Churches is due to the fact that the artists had faith and piety enough to devote their genius to the fitting adornment of this Church or that; and that the death of the artists did not make the authorities feel free to sell these offerings in honor of God's House to wealthy tourists. As a result, travelers from all over the world are still able to see them and appreciate them.

409. Are not Catholic Churches and institutions built on the best land and in the most expensive style even in our own country, for which the congregations must pay?

That is not a fact. Such buildings have to be built somewhere; and it is easy to term as the best whatever blocks of land they are built upon--after the event. It is but wisdom, of course, to choose a site suitable and convenient to the uses of the institutions in question. And if good and solid buildings are erected these are not the most expensive in the long run, but really the cheapest. We must take longsighted views. Finally, those members of the Catholic Church who can afford to to do so, and are willing to do so, will meet the expenses required in due course. Those so burdened with other expenses that they really cannot afford to give, ought not to give; and those not willing to give, are not compelled to give. In most cases the debt is spread out over years, and even over generations, many people giving a little regularly according to their means.

410. Is not the confessional used to compel people to pay for Church purposes?

No. Nor has any priest the right to make use of the confessional to compel subscriptions towards Church enterprises over and above one's ordinary duty of normal contributions. And even then, he can but point out one's duty when asked.

411. Does not the Church compel people to go to Mass so that she can extract wealth from an assured congregation?

No. Firstly, the obligation to attend Mass is but an application of God's commandment, "Remember that thou keep holy the Sabbath day." Secondly, the Church insists upon the fulfillment of this obligation so that God may receive due acknowledgment from men, not that she may extract wealth from them. Thirdly, if the Church takes advantage of the presence of her people at Mass to appeal for the support of her various works, she appeals to the free generosity of those willing to give, and for works necessary for the good of souls, not from personal or selfish reasons.

412. Ought not the Pope to go round amongst the poor as Christ did?

Christ established the Church, saying that it was then as the smallest of seeds. But He predicted that it would grow into a vast tree. The Pope imitates the virtue of Christ, but the administration of a vast Church of over 400 million subjects necessarily involves duties differing from those of Christ Himself. The Pope goes amongst the poor insofar as many of the poor come to the Vatican for an audience with him. Whenever they come at the time appointed for an audience he sees them, speaks with them, and blesses them and their families. But the Pope cannot leave his greater duties to spend his time wandering around the world from city to city, seeking out the poor. Consider his ordinary day's work. He rises at six; says Mass at seven; and is at his desk by eight. With the help of three secretaries he attends to his correspondence until nine. Then he turns to the reports of Papal Nuntios and Apostolic Delegates throughout the world. At ten he interviews visiting Bishops or accredited diplomats from foreign governments. After that, audiences are granted to groups of visitors until about 2 p. m. After lunch, the Pope returns to similar work until his evening meal, taking one hour off for a walk in the open air within the Vatican gardens. He dines at eight, then says evening prayers with the staff, and after that studies until about 1 a. m. He gives five hours only to sleep. To speak of his going about to visit the poor in their own homes as if he were an ordinary parish priest shows no knowledge whatever of his duties and responsibilities.

413. Why does he live in such luxury?

He does not live in luxury. What evidence have you for suggesting that he does? Is it because he dwells in the Vatican which has come down to us through the centuries, and which the Pope does not own? The Pope has to dwell somewhere. He has his room at the Vatican as others have their rooms in their own homes or in boarding houses. You may say that the Pope has a luxurious life inside the Vatican. He has not. He lives very simply, and works very hard. He has the usual Continental breakfast--a cup of coffee and a roll of bread. His dinner, at 2 p. m., consists of boiled meat and vegetables, rice, fruit, and coffee. At 8 p. m., for supper he has boiled eggs, bread and butter, and a cup of hot milk. That can scarcely be called luxury.

414. Has your disappointment with the Catholics you have met ever made you regret becoming a Catholic?

I have not met only with disappointments. Some individual Catholics have proved a disappointment insofar as they have failed to live up to their religion. They make a very poor thing of their lives considering the graces at their disposal. On the other hand, I have been greatly edified by good Catholics who do live up to their religion, and who have manifested a holiness and a degree of spirituality in circumstances and places where one would scarcely expect to find a saint. But whatever my disappointment with some Catholics, never have I been disappointed with the Catholic Church. She is the true Church of Jesus Christ, and is rightly described by St. Paul as "a glorious Church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing." Eph. V., 27. Her only tendency is to produce saints. Insofar as her children allow her to do so, her one effort is to destroy in them all that could prevent their becoming saints. The Catholic Church is absolutely holy in herself, and she is relatively holy in those whom she influences to the degree in which they submit to her influence. As Catholics withdraw from the practical influence of their Church, less and less, of course, is to be expected of them. But amidst all faults of human frailty, the ideals of Catholics remain as long as they retain the faith. If they know that one who gives bad example is a Catholic, they are more horrified than they would be were he anything else. If a priest gives scandal, their misery and sorrow will scarcely bear description. And the more they love their religion the more broken hearted they are; for the more they realize how utterly repugnant to Catholic principles and ideals is any deliberate evil in one who shares in the very priesthood of Christ.



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