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

Marriage Legislation

1120. You have often spoken of the attitude of the Catholic Church to marriage, but I can't see what religion has to do with marriage.

Since marriage is most intimately bound up with the life of humanity, religion has very much to do with marriage. Marriage is a Christian Sacrament assuring to the propagation of the human race conditions worthy of a religious man; or, if you wish, of a religious humanity. How could religion fail to be concerned with those rites of nature which provide the Church with children to be redeemed and saved?

1121. Is not marriage merely for a work of nature? Its functions cannot serve a religious purpose.

Marriage is for a work of nature, but nature is not without God. It is included in the religious plan of the world, and man should employ it in the path to his real destiny, which is supernatural. Your assertion that the functions of marriage cannot serve a religious purpose might seem a reverent attitude; but it is really irreverent. Nature is God's work. Christ has adopted humanity, and all its natural processes. And if any function could seem to be opposed to religious ideals, there above all is necessary the sanctifying influence of a Sacrament. The Holy Spirit intervenes between Christians and makes marriage a religious function and part of that organized life of which Christ is the head, and the Holy Spirit the very soul. So the Catholic Church, without false shame or puerile timidity and shyness, but with the dignity of a true mother, blesses the marriages of her children as well as their souls.

1122. By her restrictive laws the Church may lose some of her adherents, should they resent them.

From the point of view of the Church, those who have so little religious spirit that they are not prepared to obey the laws of their Church, would not be much loss. But if we consider, not their loss to the Church, but the loss of the Church to them, I must say that nothing they are likely to gain will compensate them for the religion they abandon. No human being can take the place of God in a soul.Furthermore, if by laws relating to marriage the Church is going to lose adherents, would you say that she ought to change those laws in order to keep them? If so, where will you stop? Other people find other laws awkward. If they threaten to leave the Church, is the Church to alter or abolish those laws in order to keep such people? Would such people be worth keeping? Surely legislation must depend upon the authority and wisdom of the legislator; not upon the whim and caprice of the subject. It is not upon our own terms that we are members of the Catholic Church, but upon her terms. That is the only possible position for one who has faith in the Catholic Church as the authorized spiritual agent of God in this world, and who has a spark of the virtue of obedience to God's will.

1123. In the event of cousins wishing to be married, would the Church object?

Yes. The ordinary laws of the Catholic Church forbid the marriage whether of first or second cousins. These laws form an ecclesiastical regulation from which a dispensation can be given by competent authorities where reasons sufficiently grave to warrant an exception are presented. But the normal thing is the law, and not the dispensation from the law. And the law of the Church is opposed to the marriage of cousins.

1124. Don't you think it is unfair to prevent the marriage of cousins, if they love each other?

The mere fact that they have fallen in love with each other is not a sufficient reason for permission to marry. What would be the use of making an impediment to marriage if it had to be swept aside whenever those affected by it wanted to marry! First cousins would not want to marry unless they thought they loved each other; and if love is to be a sufficient reason for marriage despite the impediment, then there would be no impediment in practice, and all first cousins who wanted to marry could do so. Love is not its own law. It is a sentiment or a passion which must be controlled according to the dictates of reason and conscience. Many a man has fallen in love with a woman he is not free to marry. If she is already married, there is an impediment from the mere fact that she is already subject to the bond of marriage to somebody else. Will you say that it is unfair to prevent the single man going off with another man's wife if he loves her? Surely you can see that love cannot be its own law, justifying whatever it wants to do. And as previous marriage is an impediment, so consanguinity is an impediment. Just as a man who loves another man's wife must realize that he can't have her, and must try to get over his infatuation, and bestow his affections elsewhere, so first cousins must realize that they cannot marry, and divert their attentions from one another to other prospective and eligible partners. It's no use saying that they can't learn to love others. Experience is against that.

1125. Why does the Church forbid first cousins to marry?

The Church has good and solid reasons for the law. The general good of society is not promoted by the formation of isolated groups bound together by close intermarriage. Again, individual and domestic morality is better safeguarded if young people of opposite sexes who are thrown much into each other's company owing to bonds of close relationship are conscious that marriage is out of the question, so that they will not foster any movements of attraction for one another apart from that of the relationship already existing between them. Finally, the physical and mental welfare of future children is better safeguarded by the avoiding of close intermarriage. All things else being equal, the chances of healthy offspring are much greater when those who marry are not already blood relatives.

1126. Are ill effects more likely to happen when blood relatives marry than in other cases?

Though allowance must be made for exceptions, the possibilities are all that way. In fact, I would say the probabilities. Whilst it is always possible for defective offspring to result from other marriages, it is more than probable when close blood relatives marry. Why it is so, it may be difficult to say. But experience teaches us that the closer people are to the same stock, the less wise it is for them to marry. It is a fact that healthy offspring requires the accession of new blood. We know that inbreeding is bad even amongst animals, resulting in stunted growth. Even apart from blood relationship, it is better for people of opposite types to marry than those of similar type. But blood relationship complicates things still further, and the danger is greater as the relationship is closer. Such unions often result in children who are subject to physical and mental weaknesses, if not to epilepsy, defective sight, the misery of deaf-mutes, or to various nervous diseases. Not normal, but abnormal hereditary defects seem to be transmitted and intensified by such unions. Nature itself has implanted an instinct in men against close intermarriage. I do not say that all the evils I have mentioned always result. There are exceptions, when the couple are both healthy and of sound stock. But the exceptions are exceptions. And when first cousins marry, even though the worst does not happen, some ill effects result to the offspring in ninety cases out of one hundred; if not in the first generation they will in subsequent generations. The Catholic Church, therefore, has wisely made the law that first and second cousins may not marry, and she is reluctant to dispense from it, and the more reluctant where the couple are first cousins. I might add that the Church has other reasons also for the impediment, for the prohibition of marriage checks loose morals between those thrown much into each other's company by the bond of relationship; and also promotes social welfare by extending marriage outside the circle of relatives.

1127. Is it possible to get a dispensation from the Catholic Church to marry a first cousin?

It is possible, under certain circumstances. But it must be remembered that laws are not made by the Church for the purpose of granting dispensations from them. They are made to be observed. Dispensations, therefore, are necessarily the exception. Normally the law is upheld, as a dispensation without a reason involves immorality in him who grants it and invalidity in the marriage itself. And, where marriage is concerned, the law forbids first cousins to marry. As Catholics, we should make the mind of the Church our own, and be eager to see whether we can possibly observe her laws rather than to see whether we can possibly get a dispensation from them. They are not made lightly, by any means! I certainly would advise first cousins to renounce altogether the prospect of marriage one to another. As long as they entertain hopes and thoughts of possibility, they will continue to dwell on the prospect and foster their mutual affection. But if they make up their minds definitely that marriage is out of the question they will find it easier to let their thoughts run in a different direction. If death took one of them, the other would find some other marriage suitable with little or no heartburning. Sentiment and emotion are kept alive by the entertaining of hopes. My advice to first cousins would be that they should refuse to entertain the thought of marriage and that they should make up their minds to look elsewhere for a life partner.

1128. Does the Catholic Church sanction marriage with a deceased wife's sister?

The law of the Catholic Church forbids such a marriage. In Catholic law, when a man marries, a diriment impediment arises forbidding later marriage with her blood relatives within the first and second degrees. Unless a dispensation be obtained from the impediment, such a marriage would be null and void.

1129. Why does the Catholic Church object to such marriages?

Firstly because husband and wife are so intimately united that they practically become one person. And, as a man has sisters by blood relationship, his wife's sisters become his by affinity, and he should treat them as sisters, not as unrelated persons.Secondly, his very marriage to one girl in a family is most likely to bring him into frequent and intimate contact with other members of her family. There may be, not only daily association, but even the necessity of dwelling under the same roof. If marriage is out of the question, even after the death of his wife, there is ever so much less danger of such a man allowing an affection for her sisters to develop, or permitting familiarities forbidden by the respect and reverence he should entertain towards relatives. The very danger of this through their being thrown so much into each other's company shows the wisdom of the Church in forbidding such marriages. The consciousness of this makes a man almost instinctively banish all thoughts of those displays of affection, and exchanges of love and embraces, which enkindle the passions, and lead to thoughts of indulgences permissible only to married people. Those not free to marry are not free to indulge in those usual approaches to marriage, and the legislation of the Church is wisdom itself in the interests of morality, and Christian reserve and modesty.

1130. Please explain the attitude of the Church towards mixed marriages.

The law of the Catholic Church prohibits the marriage of a Catholic with a non-Catholic. Bishops and priests therefore have the duty to advise Catholics strongly not to contract mixed marriages.Her reasons are many and serious:1. There is the danger to the faith of the Catholic.2. There is the probability of domestic discord.3. There is danger to the faith of the children.4. The Catholic education of the children often involves great difficulty, even granted that they are baptized Catholics.5. Even in the ceremony itself, the Catholic Church is naturally reluctant to admit to her rites those who are not members of the Church. If, however, despite these obstacles, a Catholic in the judgment of the Church has good reasons for marrying a non-Catholic, above all in countries where a non-Catholic population predominates, the Catholic Church will grant a dispensation from the prohibiting law. But she grants this dispensation only on the following conditions:1st. The non-Catholic must be willing to receive instruction in Catholic teaching whether he intends to become a Catholic or not. It is not fair to let a Catholic marry a non-Catholic when that non-Catholic knows nothing of the other's religious obligations. 2nd. The marriage must take place according to Catholic rites and in no other way. 3rd. The non-Catholic must give a promise in writing that he will in no way attempt to persuade the Catholic to give up her religion, but that he will give her full liberty to practice it. 4th. Both parties must promise in writing that all children without exception will be baptized and brought up in the Catholic faith.In brief, because of the great dangers attaching to mixed marriages from a Catholic point of view, the Church forbids them. Granted sufficiently grave reasons, she will dispense from her prohibition, but only on condition that the marriage is safeguarded as far as possible from the dangers she foresees by the promises I have mentioned.

1131. Are you prepared to tell your listeners about the Ne Temere Decree?

There is no earthly reason why I should not. The words "Ne Temere" mean "Lest Rashly." They are the opening words of a decree of the Catholic Church, made applicable to all members of the Latin Rite in 1908, by which the Church seeks to diminish rash and foolish marriages by her own subjects. In order to exercise stricter control over so important a matter, the Church decreed that, after 1908, no Catholic of the Latin Rite could contract a valid marriage except in the presence of a Catholic priest and two witnesses. Prior to the application and promulgation of the Ne Temere Decree, if a Catholic contracted marriage outside the Catholic Church, the action was a gravely sinful violation of Catholic regulations, but the marriage was recognized by the Catholic Church as a valid and sacramental marriage in this country. The Ne Temere Decree declared that henceforth the condition of even a valid and sacramental marriage for any Catholic is that the ceremony takes place according to Catholic rites. Before the decree, therefore, if a Catholic married outside the Church, the marriage was unlawful, but valid as a sacrament in this country. After the decree, such an attempted marriage is both unlawful and invalid in the eyes of the Catholic Church. And that means for anyone with the Catholic faith that the marriage is invalid before God and in conscience, whatever may be the attitude of civil law and society toward it.

1132. No human being has the right to make such laws affecting the marriages of other people.

The Queensland Marriage Act of 1864 declared that no marriage would be deemed valid unless celebrated between 8 o'clock in the morning and 8 o'clock in the evening. If the state can thus legislate in the matter for civil purposes the Church can certainly do so for ecclesiastical purposes. And it makes no difference whether validity is made to depend upon the hour of 8 o'clock or the year 1908. The one difference between the two cases is that, in this matter of the Sacrament of Marriage, it is the legislation of the Catholic Church which binds before God rather than the legislation of civil authority.

1133. What right has the Roman Church to make such a law as the Ne Temere Decree in 1908? It's only a man-made law.

Firstly, the law was not made only in 1908. An already existent law was applied to our country in that year. Secondly, had it been made in 1908 that would not prove it a man-made law as you intend it, that is, as having human authority only. When men make a law, the value of the law depends upon the value of the authority vested in the men. If a man tries to make a law in matters over which he has no jurisdiction, his supposed law obliges nobody. But the Catholic Church has received jurisdiction from God to legislate as she thinks wise concerning the Sacraments, and marriage being a Sacrament, her legislation obliges Catholics in conscience. It is not a man-made law. It is the Church of Christ legislating in the name of Christ. For to that Church He said, "He who hears you hears Me, and he who despises you despises Me."

1134. Is it correct to say that, if two Catholics marry before a Protestant minister or a civil magistrate, there is no marriage at all?

It is correct to say that those two Catholics have contracted marriage according to the requirements of civil law, but that they have not done so according to the requirements of the laws of the Catholic Church. Civil society will therefore accept them as married; but their Catholic religion will forbid them to regard themselves as married in the Christian sense of the word, or as entitled in conscience to live as married people.

1135. If a Catholic marries a non-Catholic before a Protestant minister or a civil magistrate, is that no marriage at all?

The same answer again applies. State law will regard these people as married. But, according to the laws of the Catholic Church no marriage of a Catholic complies with the requirements of validity unless that Catholic marries before a Catholic priest and two witnesses. And that applies whether the Catholic marries a fellow Catholic, or a non-Catholic.

1136. Three years ago a Catholic man married a non-Catholic woman at a registry office.

In doing that a Catholic violates a very grave law of the Catholic Church, and is not justified in regarding himself as married according to the requirements of God. In conscience, therefore, he is obliged to get the marriage rectified according to the laws of the Catholic Church; and until he does so, he is not morally free to claim marital privileges.

1137. Now the Catholic Church does not recognize such a marriage.

The Catholic Church does not recognize such a marriage as valid and binding before God, nor as giving any right in conscience to dwell together as husband and wife. But the Church does recognize the fact that, in the eyes of the state, such a matrimonial contract in a registry office gives rise to a legal bond between the parties. And, in civil law, unless that legal bond be cancelled by the state itself, a further attempt at marriage would be bigamous.

1138. Could the woman marry another Catholic in the Catholic Church, if she were to obtain a civil divorce?

From the standpoint of the laws of the Catholic Church, abstracting from all other factors, such a marriage would be possible, granted a civil divorce. The ecclesiastical authorities, of course, would require proof of the different religions of the parties to the registry office marriage, of the non-rectification of that marriage subsequently according to Catholic requirements, and of the civil decree of divorce given by the state. But I have said that all this is from the mere standpoint of the laws of the Church. For there are other aspects besides the question of law. If a Catholic man thought that he could marry a non-Catholic in the registry office, and later, should he tire of her, get a civil divorce, and so be free in conscience to marry again without any further responsibilities, he would be very much mistaken. He would, of course, commit a grave sin in the first place by marrying outside the Church. But he would also do a grave injustice to the non-Catholic woman which could be repaired only by marrying her properly according to the laws of the Catholic Church. In the case you give, however, the woman apparently does not want the first marriage put right. The Catholic man has evidently treated her badly since the marriage, even as he did in its celebration. And if the state thinks she has sufficient reason for a civil divorce, and grants it, she would be free to remarry, after verification of all the facts, even according to the laws of the Catholic Church. Such cases are rare, but they do happen. And each such case is a warning to non-Catholics against marriage with any Catholic who is prepared to violate the laws of his Church in so serious a matter. A girl should remember that, if a man won't be true to God and to his conscience, there is little likelihood that he will be true to her.

1139. Why in a mixed marriage is the marriage ceremony performed in the Sacristy and not in front of the altar?

In order that the Church may manifest the fact that she disapproves strongly of mixed marriages. Marriage is a Sacrament and the Sacraments are confided to the keeping of the Catholic Church. The Church is not even certain that the non-Catholic party has been baptized correctly, and is less certain that he or she is in a state of grace. The Catholic party may go to confession first; the non-Catholic does not. We know how the Church regards bad communions or bad and sacri-ligious confessions. But is she to be heartbroken over these, yet indifferent when there is risk of profanation of the Sacrament of Marriage, welcoming mixed marriages with no sign of disapproval?

1140. Who first decreed that mixed marriages should not take place in the Church, before the altar?

Pope Pius VI., in 1782.

1141. Surely this practice would tend to embitter the non-Catholic against the Catholic Church and would make him feel that he was not being accepted in the eyes of God.

It should bring home to both Catholics and non-Catholics that mixed marriages are not really acceptable in the eyes of the Catholic Church. The marriage is valid, but the non-Catholic, not being a child of the Church, has no reason to be bitter on being refused those privileges reserved to children of the Church. If the non-Catholic desires the full privileges of a child of the Catholic Church, let him receive instructions in the Catholic religion, and if, after those instructions, he feels that he should become a Catholic, let him become one.

1142. Whilst this law is in force, there will always be difficulties for both parties.

The strict law is meant to make difficulties for both parties in a mixed marriage, so it's little use urging that. Remove the law, and you remove one of the things which makes Catholics think twice before they allow such an alliance with non-Catholics to develop.

1143. A non-Catholic girl, being more sentimental than the man, resents not being married before the altar.

You are thinking only of the non-Catholic party's feelings. But two come into the case, and you should take into consideration the attitude of the Church of Jesus Christ towards His Sacraments. The non-Catholic party does not resent her exclusion from a marriage before the altar nearly so much as the Church resents mixed marriages.

1144. Because of this she often induces the man, if his Catholic faith is weak, to go to another Church.

That, of course, is to be lamented where it occurs. But I don't think you could have any disciplinary law without some human being or other making it the excuse for rebellion. It is as if a motorist, when told that there is only one-way traffic in a given street, were to reply petulantly, "All right. If I can't go both ways in this street, I won't drive in it at all." But you couldn't expect the traffic laws to be changed because of that. And as I have said before, if the man's faith is so weak that he would go off to another Church to please such a girl, then he is the last to whom the Church should grant a dispensation for a mixed marriage. Such a marriage will endanger his own faith in any case, and his promises to bring up the children as Catholics would be practically worthless.

1145. Don't you think the law should be repealed, so that fewer marriages would take place with non-Catholic rites?

I do not agree that the law should be repealed. Abolish that law, and though the number of Catholics marrying outside the Church might be diminished to a certain extent, the number of mixed marriages would greatly increase, with their consequent danger to the faith of the Catholic party and to that of the children. By this law the mind of the Church is kept constantly before Catholics, whereas otherwise they would think lightly of entering into such alliances. Meantime a Catholic who would marry outside the Church because of such a law has so little love for his religion that he would not be much of a Catholic whatever concessions were made in his favor. There is some reason in granting concessions to good Catholics. But why should the Church make concessions to the less devoted section of her children?

1146. Do you think it just and fair to refuse marriage in front of the altar to a Catholic girl who is marrying a non-Catholic man?

It is quite just and fair. The Church is quite justified in manifesting her disapproval of mixed marriages by not granting those full privileges which are the right of Catholics only. If a Catholic girl brings one, who is a complete stranger to the Catholic religion, justice does not demand that the Church should make as much of them as if both parties were her own subjects. Nor is it fair to ask the Church to admit to her Sacraments one who is of another religion. You speak as if the Church had no duty to safeguard the reverence due to her Sacraments, and as if the contracting parties were alone to be considered. But a just and fair new makes allowance for all concerned. As a matter of fact, in strict justice, the Catholic Church has no obligation to grant a dispensation at all; and if she does so, those who are thus enabled to marry should be grateful for that concession rather than resent not receiving further favors.

1147. I have heard of mixed marriages taking place before the High Altar in a Catholic Church.

That is quite possible. By way of exception to the general law, the bishop in each diocese has the power to dispense from the usual procedure, if he thinks there are sufficiently grave reasons for doing so.

1148. Does not this give reason for the idea that money speaks all languages in the Catholic Church?

Not in the least. I made no mention whatever of money. I said that the law of the Church empowers a bishop to dispense from this particular regulation concerning the celebration of mixed marriages. There is not the slightest trace of justification for concluding, "Therefore he uses this power to dispense in favor of the wealthy who can pay for the privilege, and not in favor of the poor who can't." People cannot argue that because an official possesses certain powers, therefore he abuses those powers!

1149. Would you be kind enough to explain the "sufficiently grave reasons"?

The "sufficiently grave reasons" are not set out definitely in the law. They are left to the judgment of each bishop. The only way to ascertain a knowledge of them would be to write to each bishop in the world, and ask him what in his prudent judgment, would be a justifying cause for dispensing from normal procedure. Of one thing I can assure you. Not a single bishop would include in his list the conditions, "Provided the parties are wealthy." Perhaps I could give you a slight hint as to the lines along which a bishop would think in such matters. The Catholic Church strongly discountenances mixed marriages. The normal law forbidding their celebration with full Catholic privileges is intended to discourage them. Now in places where Catholics are very numerous, and the opportunity of marrying a fellow Catholic readily occurs, there is much less excuse for a mixed marriage than in a place where there are very few Catholics, and non-Catholics are greatly in the majority. In the latter case a bishop could be much more lenient in his application of restrictive laws than in the former case. And his leniency would be quite impartial, and entirely independent of the financial state of the parties concerned. Nor, even if the parties were wealthy, would any charge be made for the dispensation to be married in the Church, should such a dispensation be granted.

1150. The Catholic Church decrees that the non-Catholic party to a mixed marriage must renounce absolutely the religious upbringing of the children in any faith other than the Catholic faith.

That is so. But keep in mind the fact that marriage is essentially a two-party contract. And in the case of a mixed marriage it is inevitable that, if the non-Catholic does not renounce the right to dictate the religion of the children, then the Catholic would have to do so. And any denial that the non-Catholic should have to do so is, on the same principles, an assertion that the Catholic should have to do so. And that, of course, means deadlock.

1151. If it is wrong for Catholic parents to rear their children as Protestants, how can non-Catholics be forced to see their offspring trained in a faith foreign to them?

That is a fairly complex question, and I will make the answer as clear as I can.Firstly, your admission that the Catholic faith is foreign to a Protestant means equally that the faith of the Protestant is foreign to the Catholic. That clears away any nonsense about our being "one Church" after all. Now secondly, and granted that, there can be no question about its being wrong for a Catholic to rear his or her children as Protestants. For if a man be a Catholic his very religion includes an act of divine faith in the Catholic Church as the one true Church of God. Non-Catholics have not this conviction. But that is not the point for the moment. The point is that the Catholic has to say, "I believe in the Holy Catholic Church" just as he has to say, "I believe in Jesus Christ Our Lord." Both propositions are in one and the same Apostles' Creed. Now, if a Catholic does believe that his Church is the one true religion, and the one way in which God demands that He should be worshipped and served, it should be clear that no Catholic could in conscience agree that any of his children should be deprived of the true religion; nor could he say, "God will be worshipped and served by me in the way He wishes, but not by my children." To that I think you will say, "Right. I see the Catholic position. But why is not the same thing true of the Protestant party from his standpoint?" In other words we come to the second part of your query.

1152. How can non-Catholics be forced to see their offspring trained in a faith foreign to them?

Firstly they cannot be forced to do that for the simple reason that they cannot be forced into a mixed marriage with a Catholic at all. If they are not agreeable to the Catholic upbringing of their children, they can easily avoid that by not marrying a Catholic. But, you will say, what if they do choose to marry a Catholic? I reply that, if they choose to do so, they also choose to agree to the condition that all children will be Catholics. When children arrive, such Protestants cannot say that they are "forced" to see their children brought up in a foreign faith. They freely agreed to that. But we must follow this out to the end. If a Catholic could not freely agree that his children should be Protestants, how can a Protestant freely agree that his children should be Catholics? To that I can merely say that all depends upon the convictions of each given Protestant. If a Protestant firmly believes that the Catholic religion is false and evil, and that his own religion is the one true religion, then he cannot in conscience agree that his children will be brought up in what he believes to be a false religion. He would be obliged before God to refuse agreement that all children will be Catholics. But as the Catholic is obliged in conscience to refuse marriage unless the promise is given, the marriage would have to be abandoned. It is better for two human beings to part with each other than to part with loyalty to conscience in such a matter.If, however, a given Protestant, does not believe the Catholic religion to be false, and is not convinced that his own is the one true religion, but believes that one religion is as good as another, then he personally will have no conscientious objections to his children being brought up as Catholics. He promises that they will be, and neither violates his own conscience nor asks the Catholic to violate hers.

1153. The non-Catholic man makes a pre-marital promise, bartering away the spiritual direction of his children.

If he believes that he is gravely violating his conscience in doing so, he ought to refuse to do so; and the marriage should be abandoned. If, however, he has no particular convictions on the subject, and feels that he can with a good conscience allow his children to be brought up as Catholics, then he may sign the promises. In that case he does so willingly, and is rather exercising what he believes to be his rights than bartering them away. If, according to your own principles, he thinks that the worship of the one God justifies the participation in any religious forms of worship, then the fact that the children will be brought up to worship that one God would justify him in allowing them to be Catholics.



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