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


863. What does an indulgence mean? I am a non-Catholic, and feel that many other non-Catholics must wonder what it means.

You can be quite sure that many other non-Catholics have no idea what is the meaning of an indulgence according to the Catholic teaching. It is the remission of the temporal punishment due to sin after the sin itself has been forgiven. For example, let us suppose that a child disobeyed his father and was to be put in a dark room without supper. But he showed such remorse that his father forgave him the offense but insisted on his going to bed supperless as a punishment. The child accepted his punishment so submissively and said his prayers so fervently that his mother was permitted by the father to give him a cookie in bed. Now apply that to any soul. By our sins we both offend God, and deserve punishment. Even after the offense against God is forgiven, we still have to expiate our sins, either in this world or in the next. But the Church grants us a remission of the expiation we should undergo, provided we do certain good works such as prayer, fasting, or almsgiving. Scripture itself warns us to redeem our sins by almsgiving. That is, even after being forgiven, we should remember our past sins, and try to compensate for them by works of charity. An indulgence, therefore, is a remission by the Church of the penalties due to our sins even after they have been forgiven.

864. Do not indulgences give Catholics permission to commit sin?

No. No such indulgences are available in the Catholic Church. The only people who ever granted indulgences of that nature were the early Protestant reformers. For they said that people are saved by faith only. And they declared themselves saved, and unable to be lost whatever they might do. Such a doctrine, denying the necessity of good works, was logically an indulgence to do as one pleased. In the Catholic Church, however, sin is held to be essentially evil. At all costs it must be avoided. Never can any permission be granted to sin. And no matter how holy a person may be, if he does sin gravely and dies without repentance and conversion to God, he will lose his soul. Moreover, one who is in a state of grave sin can never gain an indulgence whilst in that state. One must be in God's grace and friendship before an indulgence can be gained. So, far from being an inducement to sin, an indulgence is an inducement not to sin, but to keep in a state of grace.

865. On what grounds does the Church claim to be able to grant indulgences?

On the grounds that a mutual communication of spiritual goods exists between Christ and the Christian, as also between the Saints, together with all others in heaven, and the Church militant on earth. This is simply an application of the doctrine of the Communion of Saints in which all who recite the Apostles' Creed profess to believe. And that the Church has the power to apply the satisfactory value of our Lord's sufferings, and of those of the Saints and Martyrs, to her children on earth, is evident from the fact that Christ gave her the power both to bind and loose in His Name. He said to her, not only, "Whatsoever you shall bind upon earth, shall be bound also in heaven," but also, "Whatsoever you shall loose on earth, shall be loosed also in heaven." Matt. XVIII, 18. By an indulgence the Church remits to us a certain amount of the expiation we must offer for our sins either in this life or in purgatory.

866. It seems absurd that the Pope could remit punishment in purgatory for the sake of a few Our Fathers and Hail Marys.

In the first place, Christ left to His Church the power of forgiving sin. Now if it is not absurd that the Church can forgive by the power of Christ, the greater evil, the very guilt of sin, why is it absurd to say that she can remit the lesser evil, the temporal punishment due to sin? If there be any absurdity, it is your comparison between the remission of punishment in purgatory, and the offering of a few Our Fathers and Hail Marys. You would suggest that there is no proportion between the two things. But there is no need that there should be a proportion. If the conditions prescribed had to equal the benefit conferred, there would be no real indulgence at all. We would merely have an exchange of one form of expiation for another. The prayers required by the Church are but a condition she demands for the obtaining of a remission of expiation out of all proportion to what we do. An indulgence is an act of leniency and mercy, sharing out to us the satisfactory value of others, those others being Christ, and the Saints and Martyrs whose merits constitute the spiritual treasury of the whole Church.



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