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

Necessity of becoming a Catholic

487. Will all those in heaven be Catholics only?

Good non-Catholics who, through no fault of their own, have never known the Catholic Church to be the true Church, and who die sincerely repentant of such sins as they have committed will save their souls. But once they leave this life they will see the truth and gladly admit their mistake. They will then realize that the Catholic Church is indeed the true Church. In that sense all in heaven will profess the truth of the Catholic religion, whatever form of religion they mistakenly professed in this life. They will also, as is clear, admit that it would have been far better for them to have known the full truth whilst on earth, and to have had the use of so many more means of grace than they knew. Anyone who does realize the truth of the Catholic Church whilst he is in this life is obliged of course to become a Catholic even now.

488. That still means that non-Catholics are excluded from heaven.

It means that non-Catholics who attain heaven will cease to be non-Catholics once they are there. The Catholic Church teaches that non-Catholics in this world are mistaken in their religious views in so far as they diverge from Catholic teaching. She could not believe herself right without believing other and opposed Churches wrong. But though Protestants are mistaken, it does not follow that they realize this. If their lack of full knowledge be no fault of their own, their sincerity may save them. And in heaven they will see the full truth as they did not see it on earth. But it is surely better to be saved by doing the right thing, than to have to be excused from it on the plea of ignorance.

489. What do you mean by the clause, "If their ignorance be not their own fault"?

I mean that a man forfeits his right to salvation if his ignorance of his obligations be really through guilty neglect on his part. For example, a man might suspect that the Catholic Church is the true Church, yet deliberately put the thought aside and refuse to inquire further into the matter for fear lest he should become convinced of its truth. That man would, to say the least, be running a great risk, for he has not the will to find out God's will, let alone do it, in a serious matter.

490. Read the enclosed statement by Cardinal Manning in 1864.

Speaking in the name of the Pope as supreme head of the Church and the instrument of Christ's authority over men in spiritual things, Cardinal Manning said, "I acknowledge no civil power. I am the subject of no prince. And I claim more than this. I claim to be supreme judge and director of the consciences of men; of the peasants that till the fields, and the prince that sits upon the throne; of the household that lives in the shade of privacy, and the legislator that makes laws for kingdoms. I am the sole, last, and supreme judge of what is right and wrong. Moreover, we declare, affirm, define, and pronounce it to be necessary to salvation to every human creature to be subject to the Roman Pontiff." Such are the words you send, and I subscribe to every one of them. They are but the logical application of Christ's decree, "If a man will not hear the Church, let him be as the heathen." Once one grants that the Catholic Church is the true Church, and that the Pope is the supreme court of appeal in that Church, the conviction embodied in the words you quote at once follows.

491. Do you not contradict that when you say that non-Catholics can get to heaven?

No. Cardinal Manning fully agreed that, if non-Catholics did not perceive an obligation to become Catholics, they would not be condemned for that for which they were not responsible; and that if they die repenting of such sins as they did consciously commit, they would save their souls.

492. How do you account for Proposition 17 in the Syllabus of Errors published by Pope Pius IX.?

In Proposition 17, Pope Pius IX. condemned this doctrine: "At least there is a well-founded hope for the salvation of all those who have never belonged to the true Church." By condemning that proposition the Pope says that there is not a well-founded hope for the salvation of all those who have never been Catholics. But that does not mean that all non-Catholics are necessarily lost, and that none can be saved. The statement condemned' by the Pope practically said, "Anyway, there is no real obligation to join the Catholic Church. One can be saved without that." The Pope replies, "That won't do. We cannot hold out hope of salvation to all who have refused to join the Catholic Church. If a man has never realized the obligation; God may overlook his mistake, and grant him salvation. But if a man has realized the obligation, and willfully refuses to join the Catholic Church, there is certainly no well-founded hope for the salvation of that man."

493. That is merely your interpretation of the mind of Pope Pius IX.

Let me quote his own words from his Encyclical Letter on Indifferentism, Aug. 10th, 1863. "The Catholic dogma that no one can be saved outside the Catholic Church is well known. Those who obstinately and knowingly reject the authority and definitions of the Church, and persist willfully in remaining separated from the unity of the Church and from the Bishop of Rome, successor of St. Peter to whom the charge of the vineyard was committed by Christ, those cannot be saved." Yet in the same letter he says, "We know that those who are invincibly ignorant of our holy religion, and who are prepared to obey God, earnestly observing the natural moral law engraven in the hearts of all men by God, can be saved by living an honest and just life with the help of divine light and grace. For God, who clearly discerns the minds and souls, thoughts and habits of all men, will not, in His goodness and mercy, permit anyone to be punished eternally who is not guilty of voluntary sin." The Pope himself, therefore, clearly distinguishes between those who knowingly and willfully refuse to join the Catholic Church, and those who do not do so merely because they are not aware of the obligation to do so. And he admits that these latter can be saved.

494. Anyway, I regard myself as a Christian, and find all I want in the Gospels.

Only for the Catholic Church you would not have the Gospels; and without the Catholic Church you cannot prove that they ought to be accepted as divinely inspired. The Gospels were written after the Church had commenced preaching the truth; and before they were written, Christians got along well enough without them. Jesus Himself commanded no Gospels to be written. He established the Catholic Church and sent that Church to teach all nations. Later on, the Church had the Gospels written, to preserve a record of our Lord's life and teachings. And they belong to her. Those who left the Catholic Church took the Gospels with them, and claimed the "family documents" as their own. And they have made those Gospels mean just what they have wanted them to mean, opposing them to the very Church from which they took them!

495. Christianity is simplicity itself. Ella Wheeler Wilcox rightly says:

"So many gods; so many creeds;So many paths that wind and wind. Whilst just the art of being kind Is all the sad world needs." That is certainly not Christianity. If just the art of being kind is all the sad world needs, there is no need of Christ at all. Men would be their own saviors. The world would, of course, be happier if people were kinder to one another. But human kindness is not the be-all and end-all of Christianity. The Christian religion cannot be defined as a mere relationship between man and man. First and foremost, it is a relationship between man and God, implying faith in the complete teaching given by God, and obedience to the Church established by God. One effect of the Christian religion is that, for the love of God, we shall be kind to our fellow men. But to mistake the effect for the Christian religion itself is inexcusable in one who professes to know what Christianity is.

496. I don't believe one can be spiritually saved from outside oneself by any Church.

That the Catholic Church saves her members does not mean that they are saved from without. Society is never outside its members. They are the constituent elements of the society they form. Then, too, the Holy Spirit who works in the Church is the same Author of the work in individual souls. What the Catholic Church says to our ears, God says to our hearts by the Spirit of Truth and of Love. It is the same wind which fills the sails of the great ship, the Bark of Peter, and provides for the breathing of the passengers.

497. Religion is an individual matter. No organization can come between the soul and God.

Religion is not an individual matter. Man is a social being, and in religion more than in anything else. If, humanly, we need completing by others, much more so do we need it in divine things. The most fundamental thing of all is that which unites us most, and best prevents our division from one another. And Christ employed this greatest social force by establishing a Church which He commanded to remain undivided forever, and to gather all men to itself. Religion should not be an individual drop of water to be evaporated. It must express itself in a Church as a vast ocean which resists opposing forces by its very mass. Socially we live in groups, finding both utility and safety in numbers. Spiritually also we Catholics form a group in unbreakable unity. Our religion is not a mere theory or vague sentiment. It is a life - a family life - with Jesus at the head. And as the one true family, so it forms the one true Church or assembly of the faithful. In fact, the Church is but the association of souls united to God. It is impossible for the organization to come between the soul and God. For the very social grace brings the soul to God. The Church is commissioned to communicate the divine life to men. That is her ministry in the name of Christ. She is but the luminous atmosphere bringing us the light and warmth from the Sun of Truth, Jesus Christ Himself.

498. You will tell us next that not only Christ, but the Church itself is divine.

It is. For she gives every sign of divine authority and protection. Christianity is a divine religion, and Christ put the whole of Christianity into the Catholic Church. She is divine in her proofs, supreme by her authority, infallible in her religious teaching, venerable in her centuried history, one in her universality. The Pope has no legions at his disposal to make men obey the sound of his voice. A sheet of parchment with the seal of the fisherman is enough to make the whole Church obey. Such is the power of divine faith. If you can believe yourself and make others believe you can sway millions. The Pope believes, and commands belief in others; and he rules millions. He would be entirely unable to do so were the Church not divine. The Catholic Church teaches and rules in the name of God; and in believing and obeying the Catholic Church, we believe and obey God, whose mouthpiece she is.

499. You insist on the necessity of obeying the Church?

Yes. It is in vain to talk of obeying Christ but not the Church. The Catholic Church has an absolute authority without appeal. She declares her own authority under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and Jesus supports it. "Tell the Church," He says, "and if a man will not hear the Church, let him be as the heathen." He shows that the last appeal is to the Church. If she condemns, there is no appeal to God. Jesus does not say, "If a man offends me, treat him as a pagan-as none of mine." Such a person is simply a sinner, to be forgiven on repentance. So long as he does not rebel openly against the Church there is hope. But if he rebels against the Church all is broken, and Christ tells us to treat him as a stranger to Christianity. It is not that rebellion against the Church is worse than revolt against God. It is disobedience to God in a supreme degree. Christ entrusted His Church to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and to ignore or despise the Church is to sin against the Holy Spirit.

500. As a Protestant I cannot see with you.

One with Protestant ideas necessarily finds it difficult to understand the Catholic outlook. There are many differences between Protestantism and Catholicism. But the most fundamental of all is precisely the one we are dealing with when treating of the nature of the Church. Protestantism is really religious individualism. It gives to each the right of private judgment and self-management. Its groupings or Churches, therefore, are only of secondary importance; and they are limited by national considerations. Catholicism regards the religious society or assembly as basic; a society which, through Christ and under His protection, gives and regulates divine gifts. Again, by its very principles, Protestantism ends in diversity, and an infinite number of varying doctrines according to the individual outlook. But Catholicism is an agent of unity, rigid as life in its eternal laws, yet as adjustable as life to growth and development within the bounds of one and the same type.

501. To my mind, any Church worshipping in the name of Christ is the true Church.

That leads to an insoluble difficulty. For example, good Seventh Day Adventists are perfectly convinced that they are meeting and worshipping in the name of Christ. But we Catholics have the same conviction concerning our own religion. On your principles, both Churches would be the "true Church." But Seventh Day Adventists teach that the Pope is the "Beast" and "Antichrist," whilst Catholics believe him to be the Vicar of Christ on earth. If both are equally the true Church, Christ is teaching through His Church contradictory doctrines. The same thing applies all around. The Salvation Army says that baptism is not necessary; the Baptists say that it is necessary, but only for adults; the Anglican Church says that it is necessary, even for infants also. Are all these equally giving the truth to mankind in the name of Christ? It is impossible.

502. Whom am I to believe, an educated Protestant minister, or an educated Catholic priest?

You have no need to believe either of them, taking them merely as educated men. There are educated atheists! Were someone to ask you whether he should believe an educated Protestant minister or an educated atheist, you would advise him to believe the Protestant minister. And you would be influenced by the thought, not of their education, but of the teaching they represented. Knowing Christianity to be true, you would prefer it to atheism. The same principle must be applied in the case you give. Apart from their relative education, you must consider the religions represented by the Protestant minister and the Catholic priest. But I must warn you that the Protestant minister really represents only his own views. No Protestant Church has any official body of doctrines which it can impose even upon its own ministers. But the Catholic priest does not give merely his own views. He speaks in the name of that vast international Catholic Church which alone can trace herself back to Christ, and which alone speaks as conscious of a divine commission to teach all mankind.

503. For some time I have realised the truth of the Catholic Church, and I have become dissatisfied with my own religion.

Your realization that the Catholic Church is the true Church is due to God's enlightening grace; and as a natural consequence any non-Catholic form of religion must seem inadequate and unable to satisfy the needs of your soul.

504. The Catholic Church, however, seems such a hard one to live up to, and I don't think I have the courage required.

I admit that the Catholic Church imposes many obligations ignored by other Churches. But how can the true religion of a crucified Master be a comfortable one from a natural point of view? If human nature has to be sanctified, many of its natural inclinations must be mortified. So our Lord said, "If any man will come after Me, let him take up his cross and follow Me." You see, He does not deny that it means a cross. Yet, knowing the power of the grace He gives us, He says, "My yoke is sweet, and My burden light." It is a yoke, and it is a burden; but the one who courageously accepts the obligations of a Catholic will find such peace of soul and patience that it is more than worth while. Thus our Lord says, "My peace I give unto you - not as the world gives peace do I give peace." The world offers us the peace of earthly comfort. The peace of Christ is not that, but it is something far loftier and far more precious. You do not think that you have the courage to take up the cross of becoming a Catholic. Of yourself you have not. But God will supply for your lack of courage if you sincerely ask for additional strength. St. Paul says, "I can do all things in Him who strengthens me." That is true for all of us. So I advise prayer, earnest, fervent, confident, and persevering. And God will give you the graces you need.

505. Should I decide to become a Catholic, what must I do?

You should go to the nearest Catholic rectory and ask the priest to instruct and prepare you for your reception into the Church, or at least to arrange for your instruction. He will do so gladly.



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