Choose a topic from Vol 3:


Reason proves God's existence
Primitive monotheism
Mystery of God's inner nature
Personality of God
Providence of God and the problem of evil


Immortal destiny of man
Can earth give true happiness?
Do human souls evolve?
Is transmigration possible?
Animal souls
Freedom of will
Free will and faith


Religion and God
The duty of prayer
The mysteries of religion
Can we believe in miracles?

The Religion of the Bible

Historical character of the Gospels
Canonical Books of the Bible
Original Manuscripts
Copyists' errors
Truth of the Bible
New Testament "contradictions"

The Christian Religion

Christianity alone true
Not the product of religious experience
Compared with Buddhism, Confucianism, Mahometanism, Bahaism, etc.,
Rejected by modern Jews
The demand for miracles
The necessity of faith
Difficulties not doubts
Proofs available
Dispositions of unbelievers

A Definite Christian Faith

One religion not as good as another
Changing one's religion
Catholic convictions and zeal
Religious controversy
The curse of bigotry
Towards a solution

The Problem of Reunion

Efforts at the reunion of the Churches
The Church of England as a "Bridge-Church"
Anglicans and the Greek Orthodox Church
The "Old Catholics" of Holland
Reunion Conferences
Catholic Unity
The Papacy as reunion center
Protestant hostility to Catholicism
The demands of charity

The Truth of Catholicism

Necessity of the Church
The true Church
Catholic claim absolute
A clerical hierarchy
Papal Supremacy
Temporal Power
Unity of the Church
Holiness of the Church
Catholicity of the Church
Catholic attitude to converts
Indefectible Apostolicity
Necessity of becoming a Catholic

The Church and the Bible

Catholic belief in the Bible
Bible-reading and private interpretation
Value of Tradition and the "Fathers"
Guidance of the Church necessary

The Dogmas of the Catholic Church

Dogmatic certainty
Credal statements
Faith and reason
The voice of science
Fate of rationalists
The dogma of the Trinity
Creation and evolution
The existence of angels
Evil spirits or devils
Man's eternal destiny
The fact of sin
Nature and work of Christ
Mary, the mother of God
Grace and salvation
The sacraments
Holy Eucharist
The Sacrifice of the Mass
Holy Communion
Marriage and divorce
Extreme Unction
Man's death and judgment
Resurrection of the body
End of the World

Moral Teachings of the Catholic Church

Catholic intolerance
The Spanish Inquisition
Prohibition of Books
Liberty of worship
Forbidden Socieities
Church attendance
The New Psychology
Deterministic philosophy
Marriage Legislation
Birth Prevention
Monastic Life
Convent Life
Legal defense of murderers
Laywers and divorce proceedings
Judges in Divorce
Professional secrecy

The Church in Her Worship

Why build churches?
Glamor of ritual
The "Lord's Prayer"
Pagan derivations
Liturgical symbolism
Use of Latin
Intercession of Mary and the Saints

The Church and Social Welfare

The Church and Education
The Social Problem
Social Duty of the Church
Catholicism and Capitalism

The Spanish Inquisition

1019. Would you define what you mean by the "Catholic Church" in that reply?

I mean that no one has ever taken human life in virtue of jurisdiction granted to him by lawful ecclesiastical authorities in the name of the Catholic Church.

1020. Were not the Inquisitors ordained by the Catholic Church?

They were, but they never received any jurisdiction from the Church to take human life. Their duty was to inquire into the character of the doctrines being taught and propagated by such as were brought before them, and to declare whether that doctrine was heretical and subversive of the Catholic religion, or not. If these ecclesiastical judges decided that the doctrines were false and heretical, the one guilty of spreading such doctrines was informed of the fact, and given the opportunity of retracting his errors, and submitting to orthodox teaching. If he refused to do this, the Inquisitors had no further jurisdiction in the case, but had to leave him to civil authorities acting with the jurisdiction of the state. If the case warranted it, the state imprisoned or executed the anarchist as a traitor to the welfare of the nation. But the penalties were inflicted by officers of the state, and in the name of the state, not by ecclesiastics in virtue of any authority from the Church.

1021. Christ rebuked Peter for cutting off the ear of a man who struck Him.

That is true. But take the circumstances. The time had come for Christ to die for mankind. He would rather be crucified than crucify. And just as He rebuked Peter for protesting against His passion when He foretold it; now He rebukes Peter for thinking to hinder it by force of arms. And this incident is offset by the flogging Christ inflicted on the desecrators of the Temple under other circumstances and on a former occasion.

1022. The Inquisition had not the extenuating circumstances of Peter's impulse in the heat of the moment.

The Inquisition, nevertheless, had other extenuating circumstances more than sufficient to justify its existence and legitimate measures. The mistakes, follies, and crimes of individual agents who went beyond their authority I would not attempt to justify. But the Catholic Church was not responsible for those.

1023. You said once that if a Protestant wants to become a Catholic he has to ask the Catholic Church for the favor. Why the change, when for hundreds of years Rome used curses, prisons, and torture to make converts?

I deny that the Catholic Church has ever made use of such means to gain converts. She has ever taught that the faith can be forced on no one. But there is a difference to be noted between those who have never had and have never professed the Catholic religion, and those who have had the Catholic Faith. A man who has never had the faith incurs no penalties, and cannot be forced to embrace Catholicism. He never has been a subject of the Church.But Catholics are subjects of the Church, and therefore subject to her laws. If a Catholic violates the laws of his Church he is naturally subject to the spiritual penalties attached to the violation of such laws. Those penalties are not curses seeking to do harm to the renegade Catholic for time and eternity. They are rather sentences of spiritual deprivation in order to impress upon Catholics the necessity of fidelity to their religion.When you speak of imprisonment and the stake as means of making converts in bygone ages, you again go astray. In those days people who professed heresy had been Catholics. Having violated the laws of their Church they were subject to her spiritual penalties, such as excommunication; in addition to that they labored to corrupt the faith of others, and to spread doctrines utterly subversive of Christian society as then constituted. And in order to protect its own very existence, civil society had to repress them. Today the state of affairs is entirely different. The descendants of the first Protestants have never been Catholics; and civil society does not incorporate religion. No practice then could render a different practice now inconsistent. But as regards converting people who have never been Catholics at all, the policy of the Church has always been the same. No one may be compelled in any way to embrace the Catholic Faith. It must be his own free and independent choice. Nearly 250 years before the reformation broke out in Europe, St. Thomas Aquinas described the attitude of the Church towards converts. In his Summa Theologica he writes, "Unbelievers who have never professed the faith are in no way to be forced to embrace it; for to believe must be the choice of a free will. They may be compelled, if possible, not to hinder the spreading of the truth, or not to corrupt the faithful, or not to persecute Christians. And for these reasons Christians have waged war on unbelievers, not in order to force them to believe; for even should they have been victorious, they had to leave it in the power of the conquered to decide for themselves whether they wished to believe or not." That is the doctrine of the Catholic Church today; it was the doctrine of that same Church over 600 years ago when St. Thomas lived; and it has been the doctrine of the Church right through the ages.

1024. As St. Thomas Aquinas considered the death penalty for heretics not excessive, would he not have approved of the Inquisition?

In his Summa of Theology St. Thomas says that those who have been brought up in the Catholic Faith, but who abandon the Church and become heretics deserve to be excommunicated by the Church. And in the state of society prevailing in his time, long before the advent of Protestantism, when all were Catholics, they deserved to be put to death by the state as corruptors of the public faith and morals, if they tried to propagate their errors. He declared that forging of false doctrine was worse than forging false money for which the death penalty was then inflicted. But he added that the Church should exercise the role of mercy, and first try to convert her erring subjects, declaring them cut off from the Church only if they were contumacious. Only then were they to be handed over to the secular power for punishment according to the civil law of the times. He did not claim that the Church herself had the right to inflict any death penalty.

1025. What loyalty betrays you into saying that St. Thomas did not advocate the practice of things he propounded were right to be done?

Loyalty to the truth. St. Thomas was a professor of philosophy and theology, not concerned with public administrative duties. He took the facts, and laid down the principles governing those facts, showing how far they were justified, and to what limitations they were subject. St. Thomas never devoted his energies to urging that heretics should be put to death.

1026. Has he not insinuated that frightful things may be done, by saying how they should be done if they were done?

No. In his Summa of Theology he says this: "The Church, according to the ruling of our Lord, extends her charity to all, not only to her friends, but also to her enemies and persecutors." But he adds that, if one man endangers the salvation of many, then as the common good must be preferred to the individual good, then charity to the many must be preferred to charity towards the individual. Later, in the same book, he deals with the administration of punishment, and there declares that a man who punishes without reason, or beyond just limits and proportion is vicious and guilty of cruelty. But one who takes pleasure in the infliction of suffering just for the sake of making people suffer is a savage beast and a stranger to sentiments proper to normal human nature. St. Thomas, teaching such principles, is certainly no advocate of "frightfulness." He would characterize that as a form of bestiality.



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