Choose a topic from Vol 4:

Religion - Yes or No

Necessity of Religion
Reality of Religious Experience
Religion and life
Religious statistics
Nature of religion
Necessity of worship
Neglect of religion
Religion and history
Conversion of mankind

The Christian Church

Nature of the Church
Necessity of the Church
Visible organisation
Hierarchical constitution
Papal supremacy
Perpetuity of the Church

"This Shall Be the Sign"

Notes of identification
Unity of the Church
Holiness of the Church
Catholicity of the Church
Apostolic succession
"Roman" but not "Roman Catholic"

Dogmatic Authority of the Church

Authority in religion
Catholic Church infallible
The Pope infallible
Papal definitions
Dogmatic spirit of the Catholic Church
"Religion of the spirit"
Individual freedom
Re-stating Christianity
Athanasian Creed
Meaning of faith
Faith and reason
Faith and science
Religion and education
Religion and morals
Catholic countries backward
Universities and religion
Natural Moral Law
Christian principles of morality
Catholicism versus the world

The Power-Complex Illusion

Legislative power of the Catholic Church
Coercive power of the Catholic Church
Catholic Church and political ambitions
Divided allegiance of Catholics
Rome and totalitarianism
Aim of the Catholic Church in America
Catholic Action
Political freedom of Catholics
Catholic infiltration of civic life
Catholicism anti-democatic
Rival totalitarianisms, Rome and Moscow
Catholic attitude to Protestants
Spanish Inquisition
Church and State
Federal Union or "One World State"

Life-Or-Death Social Problems

Social reform necessary
Trade unions
Protestant Churches and Communism
Social apathy of Churches
Catholic social teaching
Family life
Primary purpose of marriage
Religion and marriage
Form of marriage
Mixed marriages
Birth control
"Catholic birth control"
Divorce and re-marriage
Catholics and civil divorce
Nullity decrees
Therapeutic abortion
Euthansia or mercy-killing

Those Exclusive Claims

Divided Christendom
Do divisions matter?
The "Only True Church" claims
Cause of sectarian bigotry
Reunion Movement
Catholic non-cooperation

Religious Liberty

Religious freedom
Catholic intolerance
Protestants and the principles of religious liberty
Rome and the "Four Freedoms"
Heresy and heretics
Religious rights of Protestants
Religious persecution
"Rome's historical record"
Protestant missionaries in Spain
In Italy
In South America
Conditions in Colombia

Are Only Catholics Saved

"Outside the Catholic Church no salvation"
Beliefs of Catholics
Salvation of Pagans
Salvation of Protestants
Why become a Catholic?
Duty of inquiry
Salvation of apostate Catholics
Test at the Last Judgment
Obstacles to conversion
Truth of Catholicism

Nature of the Church

55. What exactly is the idea of the Church?

The word "Church" is derived fropi a Greek word, "Kyriakon," meaning "Belonging to the Lord." For Christians, therefore, it is the society consisting of those who belong to Christ. Until His coming we know that the Jews were God's chosen people. They were a visible people, distinct from the nations around them, and they were the custodians of the true religion. Individually and corporately they fulfilled religious duties prescribed by God and offered divine worship to Him in the midst of an idolatrous world. Unfortunately the Jews did not recognize and accept Christ as the Messiah for whom the whole of their religion had been a preparation and of which He was the fulfillment. Not all, however, rejected Him; and the few who acecpted Him He formed into a united visible body distinct both from the Jews and the world, calling that body His Church. This was the new "Israel," the new body of God's chosen people on earth. That is the basic idea of the Christian Church; and to come to Christ is to join the ranks of His chosen people; or, as the Acts of the Apostles puts it, be "added to the Church."

56. My dictionary gives four meanings for the word "Church(1) A building for Christian worship; (2) The whole body of Christians; (3) The clergy; (4) Any particular sect or denomination of Christians.

A dictionary explains words, not things. That is, it merely gives different senses in which words are used, without regard to technical or popular meanings. For exact technical information, not as to how people use the word church, but as to what Christ Himself meant by it, you must go to the New Testament and those early writings which tell us what was taught by the Apostles from the very beginning.

57. We read of synagogues and temples in Christ's days. The word "Church" was unknown.

We read also of the Church. The temple, of course, was a material building. The word "synagogue" was Greek for the Hebrew word "Edah," which primarily meant a group of people and was secondarily used to describe the buildings in which they met. The Greek word for "Church," namely "Ecclesia," was the equivalent of the Hebrew word "Qahal" which meant a group of people united by the same ideals and laws. Both "Edah" and "Qahal," "Synagogue" and "Ecclesia," therefore, have the meaning we express by "Church."

58. Does the New Testament identify the Church of Christ with His Kingdom?

Yes. The Old Testament had predicted that the Messianic Kingdom would be both on this earth before the end of time and also extend beyond time into the next world. Christ declared that it was His own proper' work to declare and establish the Kingdom in this world. "I must preach the kingdom of God," He said, "for therefore am I sent." Lk.,IV,43. He told the Jews: "Do penance, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." Matt.,IV,17. He expressly identified the church and the kingdom when He said to St. Peter: "Thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build my church . . . and I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven." Matt.,XVI,18-19. In describing His kingdom, Christ distinguished a twofold stage-one in this world which He terms the church, and the other after this life for those who attain to eternal happiness in heaven. There is no doubt, then, that He intended His church to be already His visible kingdom in this world.

59. Did not Christ mean by the "Kingdom of God?' the hidden life with God within each one's soul?

According to the Gospels the Kingdom of God means, of course, the Rule of God over human souls, That Rule will be perfectly realized only in Heaven. But initially, here and now in this world, the Kingdom of God finds its expression both individually and corporately in the souls of those who submit freely to the claims of Christ, and in the visible Church He established and to which souls who submit to Him are also expected to belong. The New Testament knows nothing of isolated individual souls who are not members of the Church Christ so carefully established.

60. At least you cannot identify the term "Kingdom of Heaven" with the Church in this world.

In the New Testament that term sometimes refers to the future perfect society of all elect souls in Heaven. But at other times it refers to the Rule of God even now .in individual souls by their voluntary submission to God's holy will. Yet often it also refers to the visible Church of Christ on earth.

61. How do you arrive at that conclusion?

From the very teaching of Christ Himself. He declared that He had come to establish a spiritual yet visible society on eairth which would be an initial, imperfect, but steadily developing stage of a Kingdom of Heaven which would attain its perfection in eternity. This branch of the Kingdom of Heaven He expressly identified with His Church, as I have shown in No. 58. And that it was to be an initial imperfect stage of the Kingdom of Heaven in this world is evident from His parable in Matt., XIII, 47-49, describing the Kingdom of Heaven as like to a net holding good and bad fish. In the eternal Kingdom of Heaven there will be no bad fish. In the Church as a colony of the Kingdom of Heaven in this world there are. Holy Scripture contains many other indications that the Kingdom of Heaven and the Church are to be identified, and that those who desire to belong to it in eternity must belong to the Church as its preparatory stage on earth.

62. Jesus said to Pilate (Jn. XVIII, 36): "My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, then my soldiers would fight that I should not be delivered to the Jews. But now my kingdom is not from hence."

In those words Jesus replied to Pilate against the charge of sedition. The Jews had accused Him of setting up a political kingdom in opposition to Caesar. He merely pointed out to Pilate that iŁ Pie had wanted that kind of kingdom he' would have gathered an army to establish it by force, and that His soldiers would have fought violently to rescue Him. Pilate , saw the force of that, but said curiously: "All the same, you claim to be a king?" Jesus admitted it, and explained in what sense. "My kingdom," He said in effect, "is not a political kingdom as the Jews have pretended. It is a special kind of kingdom. It is different in its origin and in its nature from any earthly kingdoms. Its authority is not maintained by physical force. "For this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Everyone that is of the truth heareth my voice." John, XVIII, 37. The kingdom I have established, my Church, has its authority from God, not from the world; and it depends for its control, not upon physical force, but upon the willing obedience of those who love the truth and desire to serve God. The Catholic Church, therefore, in the Mass for the Feast of Christ the King, describes His Kingdom as "a Kingdom of truth and life; a Kingdom of holiness and grace; a Kingdom of justice and love and peace." That Kingdom, "in" but not "of" this world, finds its outward and visible manifestation in the Catholic Church whose very existence depends on the faith in Christ and love of Christ and obedience to Christ in the souls of its members.

63. Christ said: "I will build my Church", obviously referring to the future.

At the time He spoke He was beginning to lay the foundations. He Himself completed His work of establishing the Church in its essential constitution when He sent the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles on Pentecost Sunday.

64. You will agree, therefore, that the building is still in the course of construction. You do not claim to have completed it, I hope.

Better say: "In the course of development." To call the Church a "building" is, of course, a metaphorical expression, for we are speaking of a society of living human beings. But we must keep in mind that it is to press the analogy altogether too far to imagine that it fully explains the nature of the society. Different analogies are used to express different aspects of the Church; and all the analogies and all the aspects have to be taken into account, Christ Himself once said, using another metaphor: "I am the vine and you are the branches." So, too, He likened the Church He promised to build to a tree, beginning as a small seed and developing by its own vital principles. No merely material building does that. And as an acorn contains all the vital principles or powers necessary for its later development into an oak tree, so the Church was constitutionally complete on the day it commenced to fulfill the commission received from Christ to preach the Gospel to all the world. The Church, then, is not "in the course of construction," but "in the course of development." Equally metaphorical is St. Paul's description of the Church as the "body" of Christ, which Christ ever controls and of which He makes us members. Always it is Christ who is the founder and the builder and the source of life in His Church. And that Church is the Catholic Church.



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