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

Extreme Unction

908. What is the literal meaning, and also the spiritual meaning of Extreme Unction?

Literally the words mean Last Anointing. The rite consists in the anointing of the various senses of a dying person by a priest, who uses a special oil blessed by the bishop for the purpose. By his senses man comes into contact with this world; and those senses are one of the chief sources of sin. How many sins are due to a misuse of the senses, of sight and hearing, of speech, and of touch! To the dying Catholic, therefore, the Church comes, and in her name, the priest anoints eyes and ears, nostrils, lips, hands and feet in a last purifying rite, praying that God may forgive any sins due to each sense thus anointed. The Church gives life to the soul at the Baptismal font, accompanies it through life with her teachings and Sacraments, and is present as a true spiritual mother at one's deathbed with the final Sacrament of Extreme Unction to wash away the stains and scars of earthly faults and failings, giving special graces of consolation and confidence to the soul as it is about to go to God at last.

909. If a priest administered Unction in the literal way to one dying man, and another administered Unction in the spiritual way to some other dying man, what difference would there be in results?

There would be an immense difference in the results. By Unction in the spiritual way, I presume that you mean words of consolation and spiritual advice. But a man who received merely such words would lack those special sacramental graces attached to the rite of Extreme Unction by Christ Himself. The Sacraments instituted by Christ do a work for which no merely human efforts can supply. And this is the case, in a special way, with the Sacrament of Extreme Unction. We know by experience that, in many of the greater crises of human life, mere words seem so futile and inadequate. If only one could do something, instead of just talk, is the uppermost thought. And in that great crisis, when a human soul is about to go to its judgment, Christ has given the Church something to do.

910. Would you please explain the passage where St. James V., 14, says, "Is any man sick among you? Let him bring in the priests of the Church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord."

In that verse we are taught that the Catholic Sacrament of Extreme Unction or Last Anointing, is truly a part of the Christian religion. Most Protestants, of course, either ignore these words, or try to explain them away. Some few interpret them as a justification for faith-healing, omitting the use of oil as savoring too much of the Roman Ritual. High Church Anglicans tend to interpret them in the Catholic sense, and are making efforts to restore this Sacramental rite which they regard as having been wrongly rejected, together with much else, at the Reformation. But, putting these diverse opinions on one side, I will explain the true sense of the words. St. James is speaking here, not of ordinary ills of life, but of really serious sickness. He therefore invites, not prayer for him, but prayer over him, the patient being confined to the sickbed. And he gives the command, "Let him call in the priests of the Church." He does not mean merely the elders amongst the sick man's fellow Christians. He is dealing with a sacred liturgical function which the simple faithful are unable to perform. One from amongst the priests properly so-called is to be brought in, and he is to pray over the sick man, "anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord." By these last words St. James shows that he is prescribing, not a natural remedy, but a religious rite authorized by Christ and to be performed in a spirit of faith in Christ.

911. In verse 15 St. James says, "And the prayer of faith shall save the sick man; and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he be in sins, they shall be forgiven him."

Here the three effects of Extreme Unction are given in ascending order of importance: Firstly, in the physical order the man may be cured even of his bodily disease. This, however, being but a temporal benefit, is a conditional promise dependent upon God's will according to each one's circumstances. If one's recovery of bodily health would be to one's spiritual harm, God will not grant it. And even apart from that, if God permits a sickness, it is normally His providence that we should endure the sickness. Sudden relief from it is necessarily the exception rather than the rule. Secondly, we are told that the Lord shall raise him up. This refers chiefly to his interior spirits. The graces of Extreme Unction will alleviate the sick man's despondency and sadness in his affliction, consoling him and strengthening him to bear his trials with Christian fortitude. Thirdly, we have what is obviously the most important effect. "If he be in sins, they shall be forgiven him." It is not the primary effect, for the primary effect is always attained by the conferring of spiritual consolation and strength. Here we have a secondary effect, for the condition is made, if he be in sins. But it is obvious that the destruction of sin as the obstacle to salvation is most important where such sin exists, not having been otherwise remitted. These verses, as I have said, are the justification of the Catholic Sacrament of Extreme Unction which non-Catholics have lost through the destructive work of the Protestant Reformation.



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