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

A clerical hierarchy

299. Protestants, guided by the Gospels, cannot see the use of priests.

The Catholic idea seems strange to them, not because they are guided by the Gospels, but because, whilst they concentrate on the fact that Christ is their Redeemer and Sanctifier, they fail to grasp the means by which He desires to carry out His work in the souls of men. The Church is the kingdom of Christ in this world. Within that kingdom, an ordained priesthood, deriving its powers from Christ, communicates to the faithful in the name of a Christ the benefits of redemption. The priesthood, then, represents Christ, and continues His mission. It is commissioned to forgive sin as He forgave sin; and to teach and to sanctify men in His name.

300. Priests are only men after all; and how Catholics keep their faith in them is a mystery to me.

Priests as such are not "only men" after all. They are men who have been ordained and have had confided to their keeping the very priesthood of Christ. And any reverence shown by Catholics towards their priests is reverence for this priesthood of Christ. It is not reverence for anything merely human in the priest. And Catholics so esteem the priesthood of Christ that the sight of an unworthy priest merely impresses them with the lofty character of his state. It is precisely because the priesthood is not proper to man but belongs to Christ that the necessity of valid ordination becomes evident. If it be not rightly communicated to a man, that man lacks priesthood entirely in the Christian sense of the word, no matter how firmly convinced he may be that he is a priest, and no matter how many people accept him as such. Finally, it is indeed a mystery how Catholics keep their faith in their priests. It is a mystery to priests themselves as well as to the Catholics who have that faith. For it is the mystery of grace itself-of God's working within their souls. In fact, so great is the mystery that no natural factors can account for it, and we are certain of one thing only-that God must be responsible for it. And this is another indication that God is indeed with the Catholic Church as with no other.

301. Did not Jesus say that the clergy were of their father the devil?

He did not say that. He did not mention the clergy. The text you have in mind is Jn. VIII., 44. There He was speaking to a particular group of Jews who rejected His claim to divinity, and who took up stones to kill Him because of that claim. It is strange that Judge Rutherford who misuses that text against the clergy should himself deny absolutely Christ's claim to be God-thus identifying himself with the very ones whom Christ declared to be of their father the devil, who stood not in the truth, for the truth was not in him.

302. Should servants of the Lord wear special dress to distinguish themselves from others?

There is no need for servants of the Lord who do not happen to be specially consecrated to God to do so. But those servants of the Lord who happen to be priests should wear special dress. God Himself legislated in the Old Law that His priests should wear a special dress. And human wisdom also realizes that those in official position, as in the army, or in the navy, should wear special uniforms. Thus, those from whom people desire official directions can easily be found.

303. How do you harmonize the fact that priests are called "Father" with Christ's words, "Call no man your father on earth"?

Our Lord's words were simply a strong way of saying, in the Hebrew style, that no earthly father must come before God, the one supreme Father of all, in one's allegiance. So Christ said, "He that loveth father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me." His words were not intended to forbid a boy to call a parent ''father," and if you may call the man on earth to whom you owe your earthly life, and education, and constant care, "father," so you may call "father" that man on earth to whom you owe your spiritual life. So St. Paul wrote to the Corinthians, "You have not many fathers. Yet by the Gospel I have begotten you in Christ Jesus." I Cor. IV., 15. He knew quite well that in thus calling himself their spiritual father in Christ he was not violating any commandment of Christ.

304. How is the priest a father of one's spiritual life?

In a purely spiritual sense a priest does all for the life of grace in a soul that ordinary parents do for the natural life of the children God gives them. It is the priest who gives spiritual life to souls at the baptismal font. He educates those brought forth to life in Christ by their baptismal rebirth; he teaches, warns, corrects, and advises his spiritual children, and nourishes them with the bread of life in the Sacraments. When souls go out of this world to meet God, it is the priest who is at their death-beds, soothing their last hours, allaying their fears, and consoling them as no others could do. Having no family, the priest belongs to every family; and all in his parish, men, women, and children, love him and venerate him, and look up to him as their spiritual guide and friend, summing up everything in that term of supreme respect and reverence-"Father." Catholics rightly, therefore, call the priest "father," not to the exclusion of their Father in heaven, but as a manifestation on earth of the supreme Fatherhood of God in the spiritual order, even as an earthly parent is a similar manifestation of that same Fatherhood in the natural order.

305. Priestcraft seems to be everything in your Church, filling Catholics with superstitious dread.

The priesthood established by Jesus Christ has nothing to do with "priestcraft." Nor does superstition enter into the high regard Catholics have for the priestly vocation. The priesthood of Christ, communicated to men, is undoubtedly the highest dignity in the world. And in a way it is everything in the Church. For it is the essential manifestation of the Church. The Church is but a "collective priest," the spiritual and mystical body of Christ, the One High Priest. Through the Church, Christ offers Himself to us; and He makes use of a specially ordained priesthood in order to do so. From this point of view, the priesthood is the most important function in the Church. Bishops are for this priesthood. They are to ordain priests, and control the exercise of priestly powers. And those powers are chiefly for the Eucharist. Priests are ordained to consecrate the Eucharist, and to prepare the faithful for the reception of the Eucharist by instruction and by forgiving them their sins.

306. Catholics are told that they owe the greatest respect and reverence to priests independently of their personal character and in spite of their faults.

That is true. But notice that the respect is independently of a priest's character, and in spite of his faults. If he has faults, no one is expected to reverence those faults. And even charity, which overlooks those faults, does not demand that we deny them if they do exist. Of course, a priest is obliged to make his personal character correspond with the sacred character of his office, and deserve personally the respect which his position secures for him. If he fails to do this, he will answer to God for his infidelity. But others are never dispensed from the duty of reverence for those who are called to the office of priesthood. Such respect is included in the reverence one has for his religion.

307. I do not see why this should be so.

It is really a question of justice, which inspires us to render to others what is due to them. Now we know that people differ, and always will differ, in education, ability, virtue, authority, dignity, and in many other ways. And it is but just to recognize these differences in practice. If religion is a just recognition of God's excellence and majesty, so in a lesser way we should respect the office and dignity of such men as exercise religious authority given by God. Thus, we all admit that a child should treat his parents with respect. And the faults of those parents do not dispense the child from that duty. If a mother has faults, the child is not obliged to call those faults virtues; but he will at least say, "Anyway, she is my mother, I respect her for the office God gave her in relation to me, and I prefer not to discuss her with others." But there are other bonds between people besides parentage. For example, justice demands that we render to a king or president the respect due to him as holding authority from God. And the respect we owe to him is extended to a governor or an ambassador appointed by him. The governor may have his personal faults. But they do not dispense us from honoring him in virtue of his office. In the same way, a priest is a representative of Jesus Christ, fulfilling duties entrusted to him by our Savior, and acting in His name. Our very respect for Christ is extended to those He has deigned to choose as His ambassadors to men. And one's respect will be proportionate to one's own faith in Christ.

308. I read a book which said that a slanderer of a priest was a most despicable creature, and it quoted, "Touch not my holy ones," or some such phrase from Scripture.

The slanderer of anybody is a most despicable creature. But if the slandering of anybody is evil, it is worse when one slanders a priest. The text to which you refer is from Ps. 104, where God says, "Touch ye not my anointed." He insists on respect for His religion being extended to His appointed ministers of religion. There are some people who try to excuse their irreligious conduct by saying that they are not anti-Christian, but merely anticlerical. But, whatever theoretical value that distinction may have, it has practically none in practice. Anticlericalism inevitably leads to a decrease or even a complete loss of the Christian Faith in the end. If a priest is guilty of disedifying conduct, he will be blamed on all sides because of his very identity with religion. It will be argued that he cannot but bring disgrace on the Church and the cause he represents. But this must apply both ways. To slander a priest is also to bring contempt on the Church and on the cause of Christ. And that is treachery on the part of any professing Christian.

309. What are the duties of Catholics in this matter?

They are three. Firstly, to allow one's respect for Christ to extend to a priest by reason of his office. Secondly, to think no evil, to avoid rash judgments, and to overlook in a spirit of charity such obvious human faults and frailties as a priest may exhibit, dismissing them completely from consideration and conversation. Thirdly, to continue most faithfully in one's own religious duties, never dreaming that neglect of duty in a priest could possibly justify neglect of duty by others.

310. Despite their privileged position, priests are often a disappointment to their own people.

The fact that Catholics are disappointed when individual priests fail to set an edifying example shows that they at least have right ideas as to what a priest ought to be. A priest does not need to be holy for the validity of his ministrations. In him it is the priesthood of Christ which is at work, and Christ is holy. At the same time it would be wrong for one called to dispense grace and spiritual gifts to others in the name of Christ to lack grace and spirituality himself. And if the salt lose its savor, at the possibility of which Christ so sadly hinted, the only remedy is the reform and greater sanctification of the clergy, and an increased spirit of faith in the laity. The priest is in a privileged position as regards salvation by his intimate contact with religion and holy things. But he is in a perilous position also. His responsibilities are much greater than those of others, and his judgment will be much more exacting than that of others. His priesthood will not save him of itself. He has to work out his own salvation, and his fate will depend upon the use he makes of his gifts, and his fulfillment of the duties of his exalted state. To whom much has been given, of him much will be required by God.

311. The Church is not merely an organization, but its members are members of Christ's body.

Those who belong to the Church are members of Christ's body. But the Church is definitely an organization. Christ called His Church a kingdom, and a kingdom supposes organized authority, not anarchy.

312. Why have not the laity a say in the administration of your Church just as in Protestant Churches?

Because the Catholic Church is not a Protestant Church. The Protestant idea of the Church is radically opposed to the Catholic idea. By their very departure from the Catholic Church, Protestants were forced to deny the constitutional and divine authority vested in the Pope and the bishops. Whilst they said that God is related to us through Christ, they repudiated the idea that Christ is related to us through the Church. Consequently, for them the Church lost its significance. They felt free to form Churches for themselves, insofar as they thought such associations helpful. Different men, therefore, formed different types of Churches. Hence the diversity. But all these Protestant Churches were what men made them, and had constitutions which men had given them. Their constitutions are always dependent upon men, and are revisable by men. But the case is very different with the Catholic Church.

313. We Protestants do not believe in a "passive laity."

Nor do Catholics. The Catholic Church is a living organism, and no element is passive in a living organism. Jesus came to cast fire upon the earth, and the laity has its part to do in the enkindling of that fire. But the laity's activities are not extinguished by submission to a hierarchy; they are stimulated. Catholics are not governed without their cooperation, and the Church relies upon their active good will. The recent appeal of the Pope for "Catholic Action" is precisely an appeal that the laity should banish all passivity, and do that work which lies within their province. The whole body benefits by the proper functioning of every unit. But the best government is that which unites the participation of all lesser activities with higher functions, controlling and centralizing everything in the harmony of one directing principle. This is accomplished in the Catholic Church, and Christ has given her the best possible constitution. In their very workings, the constitutions of Protestant Churches betray their purely human origin.

314. How do priests differ from Protestant ministers?

Protestantism does not acknowledge a sacrament of Holy Orders in the Catholic sense of the word. It repudiates anything savoring of sacerdotalism or of a priesthood distinct by its very nature from the condition of the laity. Some Protestant ministers are so insistent upon this that on principle they refuse to wear a dress distinguishing them from the layman. And many of them feel little incongruity in changing from a clerical to a secular career. On the other hand, the Catholic priest receives the very priesthood of Christ indelibly stamped upon his soul by the sacrament of Holy Orders. He is no longer a layman after his ordination, and knows that he can never be a layman again. He is forever consecrated and raised to a sacred dignity far above all earthly levels. Even did he return to a secular career, he would ever be conscious that he was still a priest. And knowing that the priesthood of Christ was communicated to him that he might offer sacrifice to God for the sins of men, and that he might dispense to men sacramental graces, he would know that a return to a secular career would be an insult to Christ, a guilty neglect of the grace of his ordination, and treachery to the souls of men for whom he was ordained.

315. Jesus is our Great High Priest. Let us glorify Him, and not man.

Catholics fully agree that Jesus is our Great High Priest. So even did you become a Catholic you would not have to change your views on that point. Where you do go wrong, however, is in thinking that, because Jesus is our High Priest, no human being could be empowered by Him to exercise the office of priesthood on His behalf. That Jesus is our High Priest does not forbid Him to exercise His priesthood through human instruments of His own choosing, who will thus be secondary priests. Any honor given to priests would then be honor given to Him; for apart from Christ from whom they derive their priesthood they would be nothing.

316. Christ is the Head of the Church, and the Holy Spirit is the life-giving soul.

Christ is the Head of the Catholic Church, and the Holy Spirit is the soul of the Catholic Church. But Christ, the one invisible Head of the Church, is visibly represented in the visible Christian assembly by the Pope. As successor of St. Peter, the Pope is simply the "Agent General" of Christ.

317. The hierarchy claims that whatever it binds on earth is binding in heaven. But Christ Himself did not have an open order from His Father to do or say what He liked.

The only restriction on Christ was His inability to contradict Himself, or to commit sin of any kind. He Himself said, "All power is given to me in heaven and on earth." And He said to the Apostles, "Whatever you bind on earth will be bound also in heaven."

318. As Christ did not make one new law, and warned us about the "commandments of men," is it likely that He would give men the power to make new laws?

Christ made many new laws. I cannot spare the time to enumerate them all. But take this one example. When He said at the Last Supper to the Apostles, "Do this in commemoration of Me, and as often as you do it, you will show the death of the Lord until He come," He gave them a new law not to be found, as previously binding, in the Old Law. So, too, when He commanded men to be baptized by water and the Holy Spirit. When Christ gave the warning about the "commandments of men" He was addressing the Scribes and Pharisees. But their unauthorized impositions under the Old Law did not prevent Him from authorizing His own Apostles to legislate in His name under the New Law, promising to safeguard them from error by the gift of the Holy Ghost. It is that same Holy Spirit who preserves the Church from any essential errors opposed to Christian principles in her official teaching concerning faith and morals.

319. Christ told them to teach what He had commanded them, not what they thought fit to devise.

Part of what He had taught them was that they had the power to legislate in His name. And that constitutional power has been handed on in the Church.

320. Dean Inge says: "If those who are bitterly opposed to Christianity will take the trouble to trace those things in it which arouse their indignation to their sources, they will find, I think, that almost everything which offends them comes from ecclesiasticism, not from Christianity."

Dean Inge is wrong. His appeal to the distinction between 'Churchianity' and Christianity may have weight with Protestants who protest against the Catholic Church, and whose religion has become so self-centered and individualistic that they have little respect for their own Churches. But the distinction will avail nothing with those bitterly opposed to Christianity. They do not object to the corporate view which identifies the Church with Christ. They object to the idea of a supernatural revelation at all. They will not entertain the notion that God Himself ever prescribed a definite religion for man. And Dean Inge could attack eccleciasticism till his dying day without converting a single one of its enemies to Christianity. It is true that bitter opponents of Christianity rejoice when professing Christians attack the clergy. They gladly repeat such utterances. But their joy is not in any hope that pure and undefiled Christianity will emerge from the painful criticism; their hope is that anticlericalism will put one more nail in the coffin of Christianity.

321. "Religious societies must exist" writes Dean Inge, "and it is not likely that a class of officials will ever be found who do not wish to increase their power."

I deny that, in the Catholic Church at least, the priesthood and the bishops, as an official class, will ever want to make their authority a personal matter, to be increased to their own advantage. I say thatI deny that of them as a class. ButI agree with Dean Inge to this extent: It is not likely that, in a society composed of human beings, there will ever exist a class of officials in which some of the officials will not abuse their office, and seek to increase their power from motives of personal pride and ambition. That may be true of leaders in the Catholic Church, as of every other society, secular or religious in this world. Not for a moment would I deny that there have been Catholic bishops and priests who have forsaken the spirit of Christ, neglected their duties, exceeded their rights, been guilty of intolerable tyranny, and sickened those who have known them of the religion they claimed to represent. But they are the exception. Christ predicted that they would exist, and warned us not to let such failures and disappointments due to human frailty and sin shake our faith in the Church as such. The Church is to be judged by the mass of those who have lived in accordance with her requirements; not by the comparative few whose conduct is their own, and possibly guilty of a violation of what the Church declares they should be and should do.

322. "As soon as we recognize that the history of the Great Church is a monstrous abuse" added Dean Inge, "which has made the Word of God of no effect by its traditions, we shall be more ready to go back to the fountain-head, and judge of the modern problems by the broad principles of the New Testament."

In the first place, if any history depicts the Catholic Church as a monstrous abuse, that history itself is a monstrous abuse. One may agree with historians bringing out abuses of which members of the Church have undoubtedly been guilty. But to transfer the guilt from recalcitrant members or officials to the Church they disgraced is monstrous. Still more monstrous is Dean Inge's bland assertion that the traditions of the Great Church have made the Word of God of no effect and that people who learn to despise the Church will be then ready to go back to the fountain-head is against all experience. An ever-growing loss of interest in any Christianity at all is the outstanding characteristic of those whose forefathers abandoned the Catholic Church at the time of the Protestant Reformation. As for judging modern problems by the broad principles of the New Testament, those who make such statements seldom get beyond vague generalizations. They do not tell us what they think those principles to be, lest in defining them they should seem to be narrow. The main thing, apparently, is to keep on talking about the broad principles of the New Testament, but at all costs to keep them so broad that they cease to be principles.

323. What is needed, according to Dean Inge, is "entire detachment from ecclesiastical tradition which has completely upset the moral standards of the Gospels, counting disobedience to the hierarchy a graver offense than sins against love, truth

Where the Catholic Church is concerned it is sheer nonsense to say that ecclesiastical tradition has completely upset the moral standards of the Gospels. Apart from the extravagance of the statement, the Gospels themselves declare it to be impossible. As for disobedience to the hierarchy being a graver sin than sins against the theological virtue of charity or love of God, the Catholic Church expressly teaches that sins against the theological virtues are worse than sins against the cardinal virtues of justice, which includes obedience and truthfulness, and of temperance, which includes humility and purity. Apparently, too, the Dean wants to convey the idea that, in the Catholic Church, sins against love, truthfulness, humility or purity, do not matter so long as one is obedient to the hierarchy. That is a calumny. It may be argued that the Dean does not want to convey such an idea, and that he admits that they are regarded as sins. But he took care to destroy that impression by declaring that ecclesiastical tradition has completely upset the moral standards of the Gospels. One wonders why he remains an ecclesiastic even in the Church of England!

324. Could not the outward form of a Church, frequently borrowed from earlier systems, be so engrossing as to blind one to its development through human weakness and vanity from a simple truth?

That could happen. But I deny that such is true of the Catholic Church. On the other hand, a superficial knowledge of earlier religious systems, and a fascination for the discovery of remote parallelisms in Christianity, can blind one to the historical facts concerning the independent origin of the Christian religion, and the immense differences which far outweigh what are for the most part imagined similarities. And still further, one can be blind to the laws of logic, and fall into the fallacy of thinking that similarities are of themselves sufficient proof of derivation.

325. What powers did Christ confer upon His Church?

All can really be reduced to three. Firstly, magisterial power, or the authority to teach the truth in His name. Thus He said, "Go, teach all nations." Secondly, sanctifying powers for the forgiving of sin and the conferring of graces necessary for salvation and virtue. Thus He said, "Whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven them." Thirdly, legislative power, or the right to make laws for the disciplinary needs of the Church. Thus He said, "Whatsoever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven; and whatsoever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven."

326. You maintain that the Church will remain permanently the same till the end of the world?

Yes. For Christ said, "Behold, I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world." Matt. 28, 20. By the consummation of the world is meant, not the death of the Apostles, but the end of time, and of the human race on earth. And the Church must remain with the constitution, powers, and authority given it by Christ, or it would cease to be the Church as Christ established it, and no longer, therefore, His Church. The Catholic Church, just as Christ intended it and founded it, is imperishable. It is not subject to any essential changes.

327. Would you kindly read St. Mark, XVI., 17-18?

Those verses are as follows: "These signs shall follow them that believe: In My name they shall cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues. They shall take up serpents; and if they shall drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them: they shall lay their hands upon the sick, and they shall recover."

328. If the Catholic hierarchy desires to secure belief in itself, let its members do these things.

You are asking what the Gospels themselves do not require; for you are reading more into the words of Christ than they contain. Christ said, "These signs shall follow." He did not say that they would follow always, and in every single age, and be in the power of every believer in Him, or even of every priest. Christ's prediction was verified, for such signs did follow the preaching of the Gospel. If you read the Acts of the Apostles and the Epistles of St. Paul you will find that such things certainly did occur. Again, although such miraculous manifestations are not so abundant today as in the early Church, when they were more necessary to secure its rapid and solid extension, they have not entirely ceased. They have continued intermittently through the ages, as we know from the lives of the Saints. But, if you have any faith in the predictions of Christ, instead of urging an exaggerated extension of a particular prediction beyond any limits intended by our Lord, why not face His prediction that the Church He established will continue in the world all days till the end of time, the very gates of hell failing to prevail against it? That Church is still in this world, and it is the Catholic Church.

329. Priests can't do these things today.

There is no particular reason why they should be empowered to do so. Our Lord did not predict that every single believer in any given age would be endowed with the ability to do all the remarkable things He enumerated. In the various ages, and more particularly in Apostolic times, some believers did some of them; others did others. And since those signs did follow those who believed in Christ, His prophecy was fulfilled. Your difficulty arises from our having read too hastily and superficially an isolated text, accepting conclusions far wider than the premises afforded by it could possibly justify. If the answer to a sum in arithmetic is to be correct, it must not contain more than the preceding figures warrant. And it is a great test of sound reasoning to go back to the propositions from which you began, and make sure that you have got their right sense, and that you have not read more into them than they really say.

330. If these promises were made to the disciples only, why are not other promises so interpreted, such as the promise of the power of binding and loosing in the Church?

The promises of miraculous powers were not for the disciples only. I merely maintain that they were not for all believers always. Christ promised the gift of miracles, not to anyone who would believe in Him at all, but to the community of the faithful, to be exercised by some of them individually according to the will of God and the interests of the Church. The cases quoted in the passage from St. Mark are merely possible examples, chosen from amongst others. So St. Paul describes in 1 Cor. XII.. 28-31, the various gifts, saying that God gave to some the gift of miracles-that in the Church were graces of healings, helps, kinds of tongues, interpretations of speeches. But he adds, "Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all workers of miracles? Have all the grace of healing? ... Be zealous for the better gifts." And he goes on to show that charity and personal virtue are the things that really matter. The disposition of extraordinary gifts can be left to God.



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