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

Liturgical symbolism

1308. Do not graven images, symbols, relics, and other material things play a large part in the worship of the Roman Catholic Church?

No. They play their part within due limits, and in a very secondary way only. Every Catholic knows that such external helps to religion have value only insofar as they reflect or stimulate the interior spirit of worship. Without that, they would be but the dead body of religion deprived of its soul.

1309. Is not this one reason for the large following which your Church has, compared with other churches which adopt a simple form of worship giving no prominence to material symbols?

It is one though by no means the main reason why the Catholic religion has more appeal, and is better adapted to the religious needs of men, than the Protestant forms of religion. It was one of the mistakes of the Reformation that, in those years of heated dissent and violent reaction against the Catholic Church, men tended to sweep away all external Catholic rites and ceremonies, statues, medals, relics, rosary beads, and all such visible and tangible signs of religion. Where the Pharisees, in our Lord's time, went to one extreme, concentrating almost entirely on external rites and neglecting the interior spirit of religion, the Protestant reformers went to the other extreme, and boasted that they would worship God in spirit and in truth, abolishing the superstitious practices of Rome. But a merely interior and spiritual worship of God is not possible to man. We are human beings, consisting of body and soul. We are not pure spirits, or angels. And worship of God offered by men must be both of the senses and of the spirit. A disembodied religion cannot retain its hold over men. And one of two things is happening with Protestantism. Its adherents are either giving up all religion, having neither exterior nor interior religion, or they are either restoring Catholic rites and ceremonies and practices, as High Church Anglicans, or inventing substitute external manifestations and sensible attractions for themselves. Some parsons are talking of introducing films as an aid to religious devotion, which is simply the introduction of "cinematographic images" as opposed to the "static images" in Catholic Churches they once so vehemently denounced. They are at least beginning to see that the only sane doctrine is that which Catholics have ever maintained, namely, that true religion in practice must blend both interior worship with external and sensible helps. So the dispute is not so much whether we may have external and material aids to religion, but as to what those aids shall be. Meantime, is not the success of Catholicism as opposed to Protestantism, which you admit at least as regards its hold upon men, an indication of its rightness rather than of its wrongness? Surely God's wisdom would provide a religion which does cater for the deepest needs of man according to all the factors contributing to his personality.

1310. Why has the Church in China portrayed the Holy Family in images and pictures as if they were Chinese?

We can consider Jesus, Mary, and Joseph in their human and natural characteristics, as members of the Jewish race; or we can dwell upon the ideals for which they stand. If we desired to convey to the Chinese their national characteristics, we would have to depict them as Jewish.But if we wish to convey to the Chinese the ideals for which the Holy Family stands, it is better to depict the members of the Holy Family, not as foreigners, but as of the Chinese and for the Chinese. Catholicism, of its very nature, rises above national considerations. Our Lord has to be born of some particular race, since mankind was divided into particular races. But He was not born for a particular race. He is for all mankind.The idea of presenting the Holy Family to the Chinese in their particular style and on a level they can easily grasp is based on the same principle as that of God, who revealed Himself to men in language and analogies proper to men, and not proper to God. Any good teacher must convey the truth to those taught, in the way best calculated to benefit the recipient. No matter how much a superior person knows, he is no good as a teacher unless he can understand and adapt himself to the lesser capacity of his pupils.

1311. I recently saw a statue of a little child, and was told that it represented the Holy Infant of Prague. Could you tell me something of this devotion?

The title is derived from an image of the Child Jesus preserved in a Carmelite Church in Prague. It has been reverenced in that Church since 1628. Sometime prior to this it appears that a religious community was in grave temporal want. A noble Bohemian lady named Princess Von Lobkowiyz brought them a small image of the Infant Jesus, telling the religious that it would bring them a great blessing if they honored it for the love of the Child Jesus whom it represented. It brought many spiritual and temporal blessings upon them, and rapidly became quite a public devotion. Pope Pius X declared that this devotion should inspire parents to invoke upon their children the special protection of the Child Jesus, and to train them to love Him and to imitate the virtues of His infancy and childhood at Nazareth.Devotion to the Holy Infant of Prague is one of those free matters for Catholics and not of any obligation. Those who feel drawn to it may adopt it. The spirit of the devotion enkindles the virtues so particularly associated with the Child Jesus - innocence and purity, humility and obedience.

1312. What is the origin and significance of the halo one often sees in pictures and images of saints?

The halo originated probably in Greece, centuries before the Christian era. Men had noticed the circular luminous glow around the moon, for example, and in various other natural reflections in water and in crystals. Such phenomena of light were naturally chosen to symbolize the light of heroic examples and lofty dignity. The Greeks first applied the idea to the gods, the classical poets describing them as veiled in luminous clouds and radiating light.Christian artists saw the truth and beauty of the symbolism. The only thing wrong was that the Greek pagans were applying it to false gods. The Christian artists but adapted it to the truth as a symbol of true virtue and luminous saintly ideals. In paintings, of course, it was easy to paint a luminous circle about the head of Christ, or of our Lady, or of a saint. In sculpture, the difficulty was overcome by the attaching of a disc behind or above the head of the figure.



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