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

Glamor of ritual

1275. We Protestants reject the Catholic religion because it depends merely on the observance of impressive forms and ceremonies.

The Catholic religion does not depend merely on impressive forms and ceremonies. So nothing is gained by making such an allusion. At the same time, whilst mere form and ceremony do not constitute the Christian religion, we do know that the Christian religion includes within itself certain very wise and beautiful rites. Jesus Himself instituted the rite of Baptism. He employed ceremonial rites again and again during His life when healing the deaf and the blind. Your suggestion that the forms and ceremonies were really a continuance of old ideas of human sacrifice is without a trace of foundation, and quite opposed to facts. Professor Harnack, a great German scholar who died in 1931, and whose authoritative research in early Christian periods the whole world of scholars has to admit, writes as follows: "The oldest Christianity strictly refrained from everything polytheistic and heathen. The unreasonable method of collecting from mythology parallels for original Church traditions is valueless. There is no occasion to suppose that the Gentile congregations in the time up to the middle of the second century adopted, despite their fixed principle, popular mythical representations."

1276. It was stated that, during the Eucharistic Congress Procession in Dublin, jewels and vestments were worn which were valued at half a million dollars.

I had not heard of such an estimate. But, in any case, the exact value is immaterial. Personally, I am glad to think it was not less, and would be happy to think that it might possibly have been more.

1277. Don't you think, since you claim to be followers of Christ, that this was only vulgar display?

If we thought that, do you imagine that we would do it? To your mind it might seem "vulgar display." But you must make allowance for the fact that our outlook differs from your own, and try to interpret our conduct in the light of our principles. Of course I am more than willing to believe that that is just what you desire. So let us try to get at the heart of things. "Vulgar display" is personal ostentation opposed to good taste. It is the foolish effort to secure empty honor for oneself. And no one who claims to be a follower of Christ should be guilty of such worldly vanity. But when one seeks, not one's own honor, but to render due respect to another, and to render that honor in the degree the other deserves, we have not "vulgar display," but a just tribute of reverence and respect. Now we Catholics, as followers of Christ, believe Christ to be God. And we believe Him to be truly present in the Eucharist. When, therefore, we arrange a Congress in His honor, we feel that our tribute of praise, and gratitude, and worship, cannot be too splendid and glorious. At least you can see that we intended the honor for Him, and not for ourselves; and that, since He is God, there could be no possibility of excess in such honor as we could render. Nothing is too good for God.

1278. It seems quite out of keeping with the humility displayed by Jesus Himself.

The Eternal Son of God came into this world in human form to teach us true virtue. And, as a good teacher, He exemplified the virtues He taught, amongst them being humility. We, therefore, must learn humility, to entertain a modest estimate of ourselves, and to keep ourselves in the background where conduct is concerned. But whilst humility teaches us to have a lowly opinion of self, it does not teach us to have a lowly opinion of Christ. He might humble Himself, and we love Him for doing so. But it is not for us to humble Him. Scripture tells us that Jesus "empties Himself, taking the form of a slave; wherefore God hath exalted Him, giving Him a name above all other names." Will you blame us Catholics for exalting Him also? Of course your mistake arose from your belief that by the magnificence of the Congress we intended to exalt ourselves. But that is quite erroneous. We intended to exalt Christ as our Lord and Savior and God. Have you any objections to our doing so? Remember that the more humble a man is the more he will depreciate self, but the more also will he magnify and glorify God.

1279. Jesus Himself displayed a lack of ostentation.

As a teacher of humility to men, He regularly exemplified humility in His own conduct, but He allowed the ostentation of others who wished to honor His true dignity. When His followers cast their very garments on the road to make a festive way for Him, and praised Him with joy, crying out, "Blessed is He who cometh in the name of the Lord," the Pharisees were scandalized, and told Jesus to rebuke His disciples. But He refused to do so, saying, "If these hold their peace, the very stones will cry out." Jesus Himself, at fitting and proper times, manifested His authority and glory. When he said publicly to the Jews, "You know that Moses has said this, but now I say unto you," His suggestion that He was superior to Moses was not an ostentation to be reprehended, for He is God. So, too, in the Transfiguration He manifested His glory to His Apostles, but for a definite and legitimate purpose. But I have said enough to show that the personal humility exhibited by Christ in no way conflicts with Catholic generosity in the worship of Christ.

1280. Whilst not condemning your Church alone, I think you are the greatest offenders in this respect.

I do not wish to speak unkindly, but does it really matter what you think? Would you suggest that our ways are certainly wrong unless they fit in with your ideas as to what should or should not be done? By condemning us, you set yourself up as the competent judge of Christian conduct. But are you sufficiently well-informed to pass judgment at all? You say that we are the worst "offenders." But against what principles have we offended? And wherein lies our offense? You invoke the principle of humility, but forget that, whilst humility demands self-depreciation, it does not forbid us to magnify and glorify to the best of our ability the God who made and redeemed us. And the offense with which you charge us is based upon a completely wrong interpretation of our motives and intentions. Where we intend to honor Christ, you insist that we desire only to glorify ourselves. But I think it is for us to say what we intend by our own actions.

1281. I would like to know if there is any reason for departing from Christ's teachings.

There is not. But do you understand Christ's teachings? Have you any reason for believing that you have clearly grasped them? You object to vestments and jewels valued at half a million being worn at a splendid and glorious procession in honor of Christ in the midst of a gathering of over a million people. Will you object to the lavish display and the beautiful ceremonial which took place at the coronation of King George VI.? Yet is Christ, the King of Kings, worthy of less honor than an earthly sovereign? You may say that Christ neither wishes nor accepts such external demonstrations of honor. I have already answered that by showing that He did so when His disciples cast their garments in the way, and accompanied Him into Jerusalem midst shouts of joy and waving palms, all with His consent. He sanctioned exactly the same principle when Mary, the sister of Lazarus, anointed Him with very costly ointment in the presence of all there assembled. And Judas complained of the lavish expense in His honor. "Why was not the ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor?" cried Judas. He thought it a dreadful waste that 10 or 12 dollars in our present day money should be used in such an ostentatious display of reverence for Christ. And Jesus rebuked, not Mary, but Judas. In the past, as a Protestant, I shared your views on these matters, and had much the same outlook. I understand your attitude, therefore, and do not intend any reproach in all that I have said. But it is certain that you have not fully understood the spirit of the Gospels, nor the spirit of Catholic ceremonial. And for that reason, your comparison of the two is bound to be faulty.

1282. Is Roman pageantry a scheme to work up the masses to fever heat so that they can be molded to the will of their religious rulers?

If that were the reason, it would be a dismal failure. But it is not the reason. And you are taking two wrong things for granted. Firstly, that fever heat is enkindled amongst our Catholic people; and secondly, that the purpose of the Church is to mold them to the will of their religious rulers. Amongst an ordinary congregation of Catholic people at Mass, fever heat is conspicuous by its absence. There is a great spirit of reverence, if you wish. But for calm and common-sensed tranquility, and lack of outbursts of emotionalism, I can commend to you our Catholic people in their religious duties. Again, the object of the Catholic religion is not to mold Catholics to the will of their religious rulers, but to mold all, Pope, cardinals, bishops, priests, and the laity, whether men, women or children, to the Holy Will of God.And now that your two suppositions have broken down, why that dignified and reverent ceremonial in the Catholic Religion which you call pageantry? It is because we are visible and sense-endowed human beings engaged at such moments in the worship of God. God's very majesty demands the highest and most reverent worship, and man's sensitive nature demands the expression of that worship in an external and symbolic way. You may not agree with that principle, though you really use it every time you give an external and symbolic expression of your respect for a lady by raising your hat. Yet even though you don't agree with the principle, I must ask you to remember that our motives are that we may render what we believe to be fitting worship to God. And now that I have told you that, I'm sure you won't repeat your idea that our motive is to enkindle fever heat, or to mold Catholics to the will of their ecclesiastical rulers. I think we have the right to say what our interior motives really are.

1283. Romanism relies largely on superstition and ceremony to hold its people.

The Catholic Church condemns superstition as sinful and warns her members that they themselves will no longer hold to her standards if they are guilty of it. That she relies on her ceremonies to hold her people is absurd. Her ceremonies are but an expression of the Catholic faith; and the Church relies upon the divine gift of faith, together with the grace of God and their good will to hold her people. Speaking of ceremonies, surely you will agree with me that the Coronation ceremonies are but the expression, and not the cause of British loyalty to the throne. Is it unreasonable to ask you to apply the same principle to the Catholic religion?

1284. At what period did the Roman Catholic ritual originate?

It originated with Christ, Who gave us the Mass and the Sacraments, and sanctioned the principles which have found their perfect expression in the liturgical worship of the Catholic Church. I admit, of course, that whilst Christ originated Catholic ritual, that ritual has developed immensely through the ages in comparison with the primitive simplicity of the rites given and used by Christ Himself. Such development is to be expected. Our Lord Himself said that He was planting a seed which would develop into a vast tree. And a grown oak tree certainly differs in its complexity from a simple acorn. We cannot, therefore, object to development whether in doctrinal expression or form of worship. But such development as does occur must be true development, clinging to the right type and keeping within original principles. A kitten develops into a cat, not into a dog. The acorn evolves into an oak tree, not into a cabbage. And the ritual of the Catholic Church is a quite legitimate evolution of the teachings and principles of Christ.

1285. What was the name of the Pope who authorized this ritual?

As the ritual of the Catholic Church has grown steadily with that Church through nearly 2,000 years, it has been under the supervision of all the Popes. At every stage of her growth, the Catholic Church has been sanctioning true and legitimate phases of her ritual, and rejecting innovations not in harmony with the principles of genuine Christianity. It would be impossible in so brief a reply to mention every detail of Catholic ritual, and give the name of the Pope of the time who sanctioned it.



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