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

Holy Eucharist

761. What is the Host? Where, when, and by whom was it originated?

The word Host comes from the Latin word Hostia, meaning a victim. Now the victim in the sacrifice of Calvary was Jesus Christ, and He is forever the propitiation offering Himself to His father for our sins. And because He, our victim and offering to God, is in the Holy Eucharist, the consecrated wafer is often called simply the Host. The Host, then, is the Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist in which Jesus Christ is really and substantially present under the appearances of bread. The Host, or in other words, the Blessed Sacrament, was originated by Jesus Christ in the Supper Room at Jerusalem the night before He died, when He took bread into His hands and said, "This is My Body." Matt. XXVI., 26.

762. Is it possible for the Roman Catholic Priesthood to change bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ?

It is. For the Catholic Priesthood is the Priesthood of Christ Himself communicated to those who are duly ordained as Catholic priests. It was Christ who took bread and wine, and said, "This is My Body," and "This is My Blood." After which He said to His Apostles, "Do this in commemoration of Me." Christ thus first effected the change, and gave to others the power to effect the same change.

763. So priests are really the creators of their Creator!

They are not. In the first place, to create is to produce something from nothing. Obviously the conversion of the substance of bread into the substance of Christ's Body is not creation. Secondly, you still speak as if a priest, in his official capacity, were exercising his own proper and merely human powers. That is not so. It is the power and priesthood of Christ, communicated to him, which effects this sacramental change. If Christ could do it at the Last Supper, He is still able to do it by means of such human instruments as He deigns to choose. Here the Creator obeys His own power insofar as that power has been committed to, and has been exercised by a priest.

764. Are the priests mightier or more powerful than God?

Most decidedly not. Your question is based upon the idea of a power independent of God, and in possible conflict with God. But the power by which a priest causes the presence of the Creator in the Eucharist is not a power independent of God; nor can it be opposed to God. It is God's own power vested in the priest, and it is operative only when the priest fulfills duties appointed by God according to conditions established by God. To help you to understand this take the following example: If the King had a most trusted ambassador, and commissioned him to make certain arrangements in his name, agreeing to abide by those arrangements, and do whatever the ambassador might decide, the ambassador could say truly that he had full power, even over the King. Yet his power would be derived from the King, and, in fact, be the King's own power exercised through Him.

765. It is absurd to say that Christ's body and blood can be in a wafer made by nuns from flour and water.

The fact that nuns make the wafers from flour and water has nothing to do with the case. No Catholic dreams that the Presence of Christ is due to any influence of the nuns, or those who make the wafers. Nor is it due to the activity of the flour and water employed. But God, Who is Omnipotent, can easily change the substance of bread into the substance of the human nature of Christ, leaving unchanged the appearances that are the object of our sense-perceptions, should He so desire. No one can deny this power to God. The only point is, does God do so? He Himself says that He does. For the Gospels clearly show that Christ left Himself under the appearances of bread and wine in the Eucharist. Well I remember how a Wesleyan clergyman tried to convert a well-read Agnostic. The Agnostic asked him whether he believed in the Gospels and that God really did come to earth, and appear at Bethlehem under the outward appearance of a little wriggling baby in Mary's lap! "Of course, I do," replied the minister. "Then if I could believe that," said the Agnostic, "I would at once join the Catholic Church. It is no more difficult to believe that God is present in the Eucharist as Catholics believe, and their doctrine is equally clearly taught in the Gospels you say you accept." He was not a Christian, unfortunately. But he was logical in this particular matter. You profess to believe in Christianity but you are not logical.

766. It is totally against all Scripture teachings to say that the bread becomes actually the body of Christ.

I fail to see how the teaching that it becomes His body is opposed to His words, "This is My body." In St. John VI., 47-67, you will find our Lord very emphatic about it. Like yourself, the Jews said, "How can this man give us His flesh to eat?"; and Jesus did not begin to mitigate His doctrine and say, Of course, I don't really intend to do that. What I will give you will be ordinary bread in a kind of little memorial ceremony. You really won't have to eat my flesh in reality." Listen to what our Lord did say, "Amen, Amen, I say unto you: Except you eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink His blood, you shall not have life in you. He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood hath everlasting life." And He goes on to drive home the actual sense of His words. "For My flesh is meat indeed: and My blood is drink indeed. He that eateth My flesh, and drinketh My blood, abideth in Me, and I in him." You see how He left the Jews no loophole. Nor were they under any misapprehension. They knew what He meant, and He knew that they were thinking exactly what we Catholics hold now. They said, as you say, "This is a hard saying. Who can hear it?" And many of them left Him from that moment. He saw them going, and knew why they were going. But He would not unsay His words in order to keep them. He let them go.

767. If Jesus said, "This is My body," He also said, "I am the true vine," and "I am the door." In those cases it was metaphorical, for our Lord is not a vine or a door in reality. Logically, therefore, we should say, "This represents My body.$quot;

That is not a logical conclusion. In fact, it is a dreadfully shallow fallacy, and quite opposed to our Lord's clear statements which I have just given you. There is no logical parallel between the words, "This is My body," and "I am the vine," or "I am the door." For the images of the vine and the door can have, of their very nature, a symbolical sense, Christ is like a vine because all the sap of my spiritual life comes from Him. He is like a door, since I go to heaven through Him. But a piece of bread is in no way like His flesh. Of its very nature it cannot symbolize the actual body of Christ. And He excludes that Himself by saying, "The bread that I will give is My flesh for the life of the world, and My flesh is meat indeed." That is, it is to be actually eaten, not merely commemorated in some symbolical way.

768. The use of the word "is," is explained by the fact that in the Aramaic language spoken by Jesus, there was no word for represents.

That was a favorite argument of the early Protestants. But it has been abandoned now. For, firstly, research has shown that there were nearly forty different ways in which Christ could have said, "This represents My body," in the Aramaic language. Secondly, even prior to this research, the fact was pointed out that the Greek language abounded in symbolical expressions, and St. Mark, St. Luke, and St. Paul, who wrote in Greek under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, should have expressed the figurative sense in that language, had the figurative sense been intended by Christ. Instead, even whilst using Greek, they select words which exclude the symbolical sense.

769. The Apostles must have taken the symbolical sense, for they did not remark on the repugnant literal sense.

You overlook two points: At the Last Supper it is far more likely that the Apostles would have remarked upon our Lord's words if He had meant them symbolically rather than in a literal sense. There were many other alternative expressions by which our Lord could have made it clear that He did not intend to give His actual body, but merely a symbolical memento. If Christ intended to give merely a symbol of His body, and not His body at all in reality, He chose the very worst words to convey His meaning when He said without any qualification, "This is My body." It was so unnecessary to choose that expression, and so absurd, that the Apostles would certainly have demanded an explanation of what He meant. But they did not. They knew that He meant what He said. You must remember that, long before the actual giving of His body to be eaten at the Last Supper, our Lord had given the Apostles the opportunity to express any notions of repugnance His doctrine might awaken within them. In John VI., we read of our Lord's promise to do what He did at the Last Supper. "The bread that I will give is My flesh." "Except you eat the flesh of the Son of Man," etc. Many of His listeners, rightly understanding that He meant His actual flesh, expressed their repugnance. "This saying is hard. Who can hear it?" And they left Him. Then Jesus turned to His Apostles, and gave them the opportunity to express their repugnance also, and to leave Him if they wished. "Will you also go away?" St. Peter replied, in magnificent faith, "Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life." St. Peter did not pretend to comprehend the mystery. But he knew that our Lord meant to give His very flesh in the one way which those who went had understood, and he simply accepted our Lord's assurance because of his firm faith in Christ. But the point to note is this: Having overcome any ideas of repugnance then when our Lord promised to give His very flesh as food, there is no reason to expect expressions of repugnance from the Apostles when the promise was fulfilled at the Last Supper.

770. Is not Christ, since His resurrection, a spirit?

Christ rose in His complete human nature, and, therefore, in His material body. It was after His resurrection that He said to the Apostles, "See My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself; handle and see: for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as you see Me to have." Lk. XXIV., 39. At the same time it is certain that, whilst Christ rose with the same body and blood, His material substance had undergone a radical change, and had been endowed with quite new qualities proper rather to spiritual entities than to matter as we know it. So His body could enter a closed room without any hindrance from doors and walls. But, though subject to different conditions, it was still that same body in which He had lived and died.

771. Where does the blood come from? A spirit has no blood.

Christ did not rise from the dead in a purely spiritual state. He rose in His material body, even though His material substance was subject to new conditions and qualities. And He retained the very substance of His flesh and blood. But your question, "Where does His blood come from?" is dictated by a grossly materialistic outlook on the merely natural plane from which the Catholic doctrine completely abstracts. Any notion of a liquid stream of blood flowing from Christ now must be put aside altogether. For the idea of liquid, or of flowing, has to do, not with the substantial reality of blood in itself, but with qualities and space-time notions which are inapplicable to the Eucharistic Presence. The substance of Christ's body and blood is present without the manifestation of those ordinary external qualities we usually associate with a body or with blood in a merely natural state. So it's useless to appeal to natural external qualities.

772. Has your Church ever proved her claim by chemical analysis of a Host?

No chemical test could possibly prove or disprove the Catholic doctrine. Chemicals could affect only the qualities of bread, and at best would prove that the qualities of bread remain. As the Catholic Church declares that they do remain, no progress is made by chemical tests. The inner substantial reality cannot be reached by chemicals.

773. How would the process of decay act in a consecrated and an unconsecrated Host?

In exactly the same way, since the qualities of bread remain the same before and after consecration.

774. Would there be any material difference between the two substances after decomposition?

Possibly not. In the process of decomposition, as the proper qualities of bread undergo their change and cease to be the qualities of bread as such, the substantial presence of Christ's body is withdrawn by Divine Power, God providing the connatural substance suitable to the new character of the corrupted qualities.

775. Is there a separate presence of God in the Eucharist?

There is not a separate presence of God in the Blessed Sacrament; but there is a new and distinct mode of presence. He is equally present there, but in a new and additional way. Thus, since God is everywhere, in Him we all live and move and have our being. And the humanity of Christ did this just as the human nature of any other individual man. But there was an additional mode of God's presence in Christ which has never been realized in others, insofar as the very personality of Christ was the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity. And the complete Christ, body, blood, soul and divinity, is present in a new substantial and sacramental way in the Blessed Sacrament.

776. Where and what is this human soul of our Lord at this present time?

It is still His human soul, forming an integral part together with His body of His glorified human nature. As Christ ascended into heaven in His human nature, His human soul is in heaven as part of that human nature.

777. We are told that, in the Eucharist, we receive His body and soul, as well as His divinity.

That is true. The substantial presence of Christ in the Eucharist requires that. But we must note that in the Eucharist we have the presence of the body and soul of the risen and glorified Christ, which abstracts from merely earthly conditions as we know them. And also, our Lord's presence is according to His substantial being in a way which further abstracts from accidental modifications such as those which enable us to calculate dimensions, shape, color, resistance and other phenomenal manifestations of ordinary material things.

778. How many persons are there present in the Holy Eucharist?

All three Divine Persons are present in the Holy Eucharist, for God is there present. But the Father and the Holy Spirit are there by association. When the priest consecrates the Host, the immediate effect is the presence of the body of Christ. By direct association His soul and His divinity are present. By indirect association owing to His divinity, the First and Third Persons are present together with the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity.

779. Is the Trinity received in Communion, or the Second Person only?

Since we receive Christ in Holy Communion, and since Christ is God, we receive God. And in receiving God, we receive all three Divine Persons. But where we receive the Second Person directly by reason of His immediate union with the body of Christ, we receive the Father and Holy Spirit indirectly by reason of Their association with the Second Person in the Divine Nature.

780. What relation arises between the soul of the communicant and the First and Third Persons of the Trinity?

The whole idea of Communion is to bring us into a special union with God, and that means into a more intimate union with all Three Persons of the Blessed Trinity. The Blessed Sacrament is the medium by which, in virtue of our Lord's humanity, we attain that union. His humanity links us with His divinity because itself is united with that divinity in an indestructible and personal union. And in that divinity we are brought equally into relation with all three Divine Persons. What is this relationship given by Sacramental Communion? God is present everywhere by His immensity, knowledge and power. But that is His natural presence. No one can escape it. Yet, if men cannot escape God's immensity, knowledge and power, they can escape His love, forfeiting it by sin. If a man repents of his sins and recovers God's grace, God is united to that man in a new way, no longer natural but supernatural. He is one with such a man, not only by the contact of power, but by the far more intimate contact of love. That there is a difference between these two modes of presence and union all men admit. Two people, physically present to each other in a room, could be miles apart in quite another sense. There may be nothing in common between them. They are not drawn to each other. We even say that they behave distantly to each other. There is a chasm between the spirit of one and the spirit of the other. Now it is this chasm between the soul and God which is eliminated when grace replaces sin, and when a man ceases to rebel against God's will in order to love Him. And that means a union of intimate and personal friendship with all three Persons of the Holy Trinity. Thus, Christ said, "If anyone love Me, My Father will love him, and We will come to him, and will make Our abode with him." Jn. XIV., 23. The plural indicates a new mode of presence of the Persons of the Blessed Trinity. Now this new relationship, or union, with all three Divine Persons exists in all who are in God's grace. But, as is evident, such a union can be ever intensified. One can grow in grace, and in the love of God. Now I can answer your question. Every Sacramental Communion intensifies our degree of grace, and, consequently, the intimacy of our union equally with all three Divine Persons of the Blessed Trinity.



Prefer a PRINT version?