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

Faith and reason

542. Are not many eternal truths the fruit of development of human thinking from the dawn of recorded history?

I would not deny that human reason is capable of arriving at many natural aspects of eternal truth. Nor would I deny that the findings of previous generations provide a starting point for further discussions and discoveries by subsequent generations. But, in addition to aspects of eternal truth discoverable by reason, there are other aspects not discoverable by reason, and certainly not the fruit of natural mental development on the part of mankind. If they are known to men today, it is only because God Himself stepped in at a given moment in history and revealed them. Such, for example, is our knowledge of the Trinity of Persons in God, and of the fact that the Second Divine Person became man, appearing in our midst as Jesus Christ.

543. What puzzles me is how anyone can believe at all in creeds and dogmas which are against reason.

That is not surprising. I would be puzzled too. No sane and well-informed man could believe in dogmas or creeds opposed to what is really reasonable. But what is really reasonable is not to be identified with what ill-informed and unreasonable people may think to be reasonable.

544. Do you consider the religion of the Bible to be compatible with reason?

The religion which is based upon the correct sense of the Bible is entirely compatible with sound reason. I hold no brief for the various forms of non-Catholic religion which men mistakenly believe to be in accordance with Scripture. Nor do I hold that even the right interpretation of the Bible will be in accord with what every man chooses to call the dictates of reason. Unreasonable propositions are often thought to be reasonable by the illogical and the untrained. Then, too, many people confuse the imagination with reason. But reason often demands the admission of things we cannot imagine. I have heard many a man commence a sentence with the words, "It stands to reason," and then go on to talk utter nonsense in the name of the reason he first invoked. The revelation of the Bible rightly understood will never conflict with reason rightly used.

545. To Catholics who are not allowed to think for themselves your doctrines may seem all right.

Whoever put the idea into your head that Catholics are not allowed to think for themselves? Of course, they are allowed to think for themselves! God expects them to use the intelligence He gave them, and the Catholic Church expects it also. We priests are constantly urging our own people, "For the love of God, think!" On religious matters, however, when people begin to think wrongly, the Catholic Church says, "You must not think that, for what I teach on such subjects is the truth." Whilst people are free to think for themselves, they are not always free to think whatever they like. Christ certainly did not leave people free to think whatever they liked. He spoke with authority, saying, "You have heard it said . . . but I say unto you." He demanded that His listeners accept His teachings, whatever their own ideas might otherwise be. Christian faith is not faith in what one thinks out for oneself, but faith in what God has revealed through Christ and what is taught in the name of Christ by the Catholic Church.

546. It strikes me that unbelief is the domain reserved for thinking people, whilst Catholicism is for people who delight in fairy tales.

Every man, who has not ceased to be human, "delights" in fairy tales, if they do credit to a creative imagination, and are well told. But to delight in fairy tales is not necessarily to believe them to be real descriptions of actual events. Nor have fairy tales anything to do with Catholicism as such. If ever a religion fitted in with common sense, it is Catholicism; and it is the only religion which does fit in with common sense. At the same time, it surpasses common sense insofar as the God with whom it is concerned surpasses finite and created man. A God on our own level, and able to do no more than we could do, would be no God at all. Meantime, unbelief is a domain reserved for people who think wrongly, or for those who, if they do think rightly, select unimportant affairs which have little bearing on religion and on the graver issues of life. The domain of unbelief is also reserved for people who do not think at all, as well as for minerals, vegetables, and animals. It includes all who cannot believe, and all who will not believe.

547. If you analyze yourself correctly, you will find that you ceased to think from the day you became a Catholic!

I do not know that these talks indicate a man who has ceased to think. But if you wish to speak of a fairy-tale mentality, what is the mentality of one who takes it for granted that a man who became a Catholic some twenty-five years ago ceased to think from that moment? You have no evidence whatever for that judgment. You believe it because you want to believe it, just as a child believes a toad to be a princess in disguise. Your interest in trying to explain away my becoming a Catholic, and your method of doing so, I quite understand. If the Catholic Church be true, it is most uncomfortable for those who do not accept it. Therefore, converts to that Church must be explained away. The easiest way to do this is to accuse them of utter brainlessness. And it is a consoling idea, because it contains an implicit compliment to your own superior powers of thought. But it doesn't work with the impartial, even though they themselves do not subscribe to Catholicism.

548. Leaving out factors of ignorance and worldly advantages, could a Catholic study theology so well as to prefer another faith to his own?

No man could study theology so well as to be led to abandon the Catholic Church. He would have studied it very badly, did he arrive at such a decision. But we can ask whether a Catholic has ever studied theology so deeply as to doubt and finally abandon the Catholic Church. As the question stands I say no. Deep study of theology as such could never lead from the Catholic Church. But other factors could enter into the case. A man could plunge into the deep study of theology, yet fail in piety and prayer, thus depriving himself of the influence of grace. That could be followed by a failure in humility and a tendency to isolated thinking with no allowance for the guidance of the Church. More and more such a man could consciously abandon himself to the dangers of self-sufficiency, until his eccentric subjectivism sapped his clear appreciation of essential obligations. It is easy to see that it would be possible for him to arrive at the wrong conviction that he should abandon the Catholic Church. And I believe that some men have been led by a badly regulated study of theology, coupled with neglect of grace and a failure in humility, to abandon the Catholic Church. They have got themselves into such a mental tangle that they no longer discern the true sense of Scripture, the verdict of history, and the demands of logic. But, even for them, the ultimate cause of their defection would lie, not in the intellectual, but in the moral sphere. And their loss of faith would not be free from sin.

549. By using his reason he is merely using a power given him by God.

By using his hands to throttle his victim the murderer is merely using a power given him by God. Reason can be used badly just as any other power. Human reason is not infallible. Every thought that comes into a man's head is not necessarily correct. It is absurd to believe that just because a man thinks a thing, it must necessarily be so. Though reason is a gift of God, it is no more exempt from submission to God's law than any other gift of God. And it is God's law that the human mind must accept what He declares to be true on the simple ground that He who is Truth itself has made the declaration. Man guiltily forgets his place, and proudly denies the obvious limitations of his finite intelligence, if he tells God that he doesn't think it true, and, therefore, will not believe it.

550. Will you not admit that it is much easier to believe all that one is told?

Not for thinking men. And if we restrict "all that one is told" to matters of religion, it is much easier to drop one's religious beliefs than to keep them; and having dropped them for want of thought, it is much easier to stay without them than to get them back. There is a mental laziness as well as bodily fatigue. And it takes no effort to take stones, vegetables, and animals for granted, and see nothing at all beyond them. You have but to hold your eyes open in order to see chalk-marks, but you have to be mentally alert to discern the sense of the writing on the wall. Again, it is easier to follow the lines of least resistance, obeying strong but blind instincts, than to adopt the Catholic program of self-control. Flippant and soft views of life are easier than serious and severer estimates.



Prefer a PRINT version?