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

Catholic intolerance

1002. Does your Church believe in laying curses on people? If it is God's religion, is God cruel?

The Church does not believe in cursing people. Her one idea is to bless them. Nor is it God's religion to curse people, though people who deliberately violate its teachings bring anything but a blessing upon themselves. Finally, Catholic teaching insists that God is not cruel and cannot in any way be accused of cruelty.

1003. Whence comes the power of the Church to excommunicate?

From Christ who said, "Whatever you bind on earth is bound in heaven," and "If a man will not hear the Church let him be to thee as the heathen" i. e. outside the communion of the Church, or, excommunicated.

1004. He who breaks God's commandments automatically cuts himself off from God, so what is the use of excommunication?

By grave sin a man loses God's grace. But the Church as a visible society has the right to give her own declaratory sentence of condemnation and exclusion from participation in the privileges of the Catholic religion until such time as the delinquent repents. And he who is excommunicated not only has to recover God's grace by repentance, but is obliged to submit to any penalties imposed by the Church as a condition of his readmission to the privileges of his religion. In the First Epistle to the Corinthians C.,5, you will read how St. Paul excommunicated the incestuous Corinthian, who after all was already guilty of grave sin and not in a state of grace and friendship with God.There is an element in God's love which many people overlook. He must hate evil as much as He loves good, both insofar as it is opposed to His perfection, and insofar as it is an obstacle to the union of our souls with Him. God is infinite goodness, light, and stainless beauty; and He must hate sin which is evil, darkness, and corruption. The ideal of holiness and truth has been degraded by those who never associate it with the terrible energy of execration. The Old Testament shows God as rigorous and inexorable in regard to hardened sin and rebellion. The New Testament shows us Jesus as the perfect example of humility, sweetness, mercy, and all that is good. But it shows Him as detesting hardened sin as ardently as He loved good. There was an aspect of horror about Christ, the horror of evil burning in the heart of Jesus as a forgotten lamp in some unknown sanctuary. If horror be missing there cannot really be love nor light, for he who does not see that evil ought to be hated is blind and does not really love good. Read the twenty-third chapter of St. Matthew, and notice the terror-inspiring condemnation of the Scribes and Pharisees by Jesus. If you want the terrible energy which inspires execration you have it there. Notice that the Apostle St. John, the very apostle of love and charity, is also the prophet of God's vengeance in Revelations. And the Catholic Church alone inherits these characteristics. She is accused of being too gentle and easy and merciful in forgiving sin. How often I have had to answer the charge that Catholics can so easily get forgiveness in the confessional! But she is also accused of that terrible energy of execration insofar as she excommunicates hardened and sinfully rebellious subjects. But that is an additional reason for believing in her. The Catholic Church alone excommunicates, according to the commission and power given her by Christ, a power, as I have shown, which was certainly exercised by St. Paul. Other Churches profess to be mild and kind, and to be horrified by Roman Catholic denunciations and excommunications. But look at the state they are in! They are quite unable to safeguard the truth. The Anglican Church can do nothing with a Bishop Barnes save weep, and wring her hands, and let him go on undermining the whole of supernatural religion. Here in our own midst we find the Presbyterian Church at its wit's end as to what is to be done about a Dr. Angus. He denies the very Deity of Christ, and Presbyterians have to endure it, afraid to excommunicate, neither conscious of possessing the power to do so, nor conscious of how it should be exercised, even did they possess it. The power to excommunicate is a very real power in the Catholic Church, and one of the surest signs of her divine mission.

1005. As a Christian I am ashamed of the history of persecutions, both by Catholics and Protestants.

No one is particularly proud of past persecutions. But a balanced judgment will view them in the light of the times when they occurred, and not in the light of another age altogether.

1006. But the Catholic Church was the most guilty, until stopped by the revolt of her own adherents.

The Catholic Church does not really come into it. Catholics of the time were not guilty of any greater excesses than Protestants. More prominence is given to apparent Catholic intolerance because Catholicism was the religion in possession and Protestants were revolting against it. And the first Protestants had been Catholics, and were traitors to the religion they had professed. They were not as their descendants, who are not responsible for their separation from the Church. At that time, too, heresy was a cause of immense civil disorder and was a crime against the law as well as against religion.

1007. All through history Catholics and Protestants have given their followers today cause to blush for the cruelties perpetrated in the name of Christianity.

That is an unreasonable statement. Nothing really done in the name of Christianity can give anyone cause to blush. That many evil deeds have been done by professing Christians throughout the ages I know. But it is unfair to dish up all the misdeeds of professing Christians in the past, and treat them as if they were the natural fruit of Christianity. And it is still more unfair to think that I must share in the responsibility of all the mistakes, and follies and crimes committed in past history by people who professed the same religion as myself. I blame them as heartily as you do. Were I guilty of the same things, you could blame me. But there is no argument in all this against Christianity or the Catholic Church.

1008. Can you blame people today for wondering if our spiritual leaders have lost touch with the original precepts of Christianity when we look back over the years?

Yes. I can, and I do. The only reasonable judgment as to whether our present spiritual leaders have lost touch with the original precepts of Christianity must be formed from a study of those original precepts and of the conduct of our present spiritual leaders. You can't conclude that present spiritual leaders have lost touch with Christian precepts because some past spiritual leaders violated them. When you speak of "looking back over the years," remember that you have over 1900 years' history of a Church composed of human beings. It is a vast field to choose from. Good will be found in it mixed with the bad; and bad will be found in it mixed with the good. But prejudice is blind to anything which favors the Catholic Church. It searches for any evil it may find in the pages of past history, and judges the Catholic Church on that, and not on its present merits. Present spiritual leaders are to be judged on things in which they had no say. The Catholic Church is to be condemned on deeds which were not the fruit of her principles. And very often the past evil deeds of professing Catholics are practically taken for granted, no allowance being made for the imperfection of records, no effort being made to get back to the prevailing atmosphere of the times so as to view things in their right perspective, and no care taken to avoid surmising motives without warrant. Instead of "looking back over the years," a man should look at the Catholic religion in itself, and ask whether that religion works evil effects when practiced in his own time and surroundings. I can assure you that it does not. If you got the gift of the Catholic Faith, it would be your introduction to the fullness of Christian truth. And if, having become a Catholic, you lived right up to your religion, no one in the world would be able to fault you whatever he might find to say about other Catholics, past or present, who are a discredit to the religion they did not allow to influence them as they should have done.

1009. Do you believe that the Spanish Inquisition existed?

I know that it did.

1010. Could you please give me a brief summary of what the Inquisition was for?

The Inquisition was established to meet a very real need. The Church had the obligation to preserve the teachings of Christ free from corruption. When individual men took it upon themselves, not only to hold erroneous opinions, but to seek to propagate their errors, and destroy the faith of others, the Church had to undertake the defense of her children. She instituted the "Inquisition," or "Board of Inquiry" to trace errors to their source and prevent further dissemination of them. Just as the government has a "Pure Foods Act" to prevent contamination of the food we eat, and has inspectors to enforce the act, so the Church wisely had a "Pure Faith Act," and inspectors to prevent the adulteration of the life-giving doctrine of Christ. And this was most necessary. In Spain, for example, both Jews and Moors had pretended to be Christians, had received baptism, and had even worked their way into bishoprics, their one intention being to undermine both the nation and its religion. The Inquisition detected these false pretences, and the Church expelled them from her communion, whilst the state dealt with them as traitors. It was a wise censorship based on principles acknowledged as necessary by all reasonable people. We admit even now that some censorship of films is required to preserve moral standards from corruption. People may disagree with the way that censorship is handled, but not many deny its necessity. And the same thing applies to the Inquisition. Many of its ways were in keeping with the spirit of the times when it flourished and would not be sanctioned by anybody today. And there were, of course, abuses of it by unscrupulous individuals. But in principle the idea was quite sound.

1011. Still it is a fact that 300 years ago the Roman Church tortured heretics to make them renounce their heresy and believe in the Church.

That is not correct history. In the state of society that prevailed then, totally different from conditions prevailing today, the propagation of heresy was an offense also against the civil welfare. It was for the Church to decide as to whether a man's teachings were indeed heretical; whilst the punishment of those guilty of disruptive agitation was left to the state. However we can let that go. The thing to notice is that the authorities were well aware that they could not make any man interiorly renounce heretical opinions against his will, or interiorly accept the teachings of the Church if he did not want to do so. But they could compel individuals to keep their private opinions to themselves, and cease public propagation of their errors. If men personally renounced the faith, and engaged in seditious efforts to undermine the prevailing and legitimate civic order, both Church and state could cooperate to prevent such men from corrupting the faith of others and from subversive activities against the legitimately established order.

1012. Do you consider that such methods of propagating the dogmas of the Church received Divine approval?

You are laboring under a misapprehension. The Spanish Inquisition did not exist for the propagation of the dogmas of the Church. It existed to prevent the propagation of heretical doctrines in Spain, and also to suppress sedition against the state. It was, therefore, a mixed tribunal, ecclesiastical officials dealing with religious matters, and civil officials dealing with crimes against the state. As constituted, and from both points of view, the Spanish Inquisition would certainly meet with the Divine approval. But unconstitutional abuses of their powers by the officials themselves would not meet with the Divine approval. That such abuses occurred I do not deny, nor am I called upon to defend them. I condemn them as heartily as you would do, had you also the knowledge of them that I possess.

1013. Even if you torture a man to death you cannot alter his belief.

That is true. But the man himself could alter it in matters outside the realm of things mathematically or experimentally demonstrated.

1014. You may make him pretend to agree with you through fear, but inwardly he still holds to his original thoughts.

So long as he still holds to his original thoughts outward agreement would indeed be only pretense. And I agree that a man can still hold to his inward opinions despite all external pressure. For a man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still. This shows how great a force the will is, as well as the mind, in obstinate adherence to one's own opinions. We have all heard of the countryman who saw a giraffe at the zoo for the first time, and said, "I don't believe such an animal exists." Yet, although so long as a man still holds to his original opinions, you will only get a pretense at agreement from him. I maintain that he is free to change his opinions if he wants to in all matters which are philosophically possible, yet not scientifically demonstrated. Though not in all things, in very many things, a man is free to believe what he likes, choosing between probabilities against the truth of which in actual fact there is no demonstrative evidence. How ever so many beliefs are freely chosen we see every day. There are people who do not believe any good of some particular man. There are others who do not believe any evil of him. It is not that they cannot believe otherwise than they do. It is because they will not.



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