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

Necessity of the Church

65. How long did Christ expect to take in building the Church?

The preparatory work He expected to take the few years from the calling of the Apostles until the day of Pentecost, on which day He expected the Church to be ready to commence her work. The Church herself was to grow and develop through all subsequent centuries until the end of the world.

66. Why don't you preach the Gospel instead of always stressing the Church?

In stressing the necessity of the Church I am preaching the Gospel. If I speak of the Church it is because it is part of the Gospel; and if I speak of that part more than of other parts, it is because more questions are sent to me on that aspect of the Christian religion than on others. And that in turn is because so many who profess to believe in the Gospels have never really understood their teaching about the Church.

67. Have we to look to the Church for our redemption or to Christ?

To Christ by means of the Church. The New Testament does not permit any division of the Church from Christ, or of Christ from the Church. We are told that Christians become "members of Christ." They share life with Him by grace. But we are also told that the Church is "Christ's body;" and as living members of Christ we must be living members of His body, the Church. It is essential to grasp that the redemption offered by Christ is not only an individual but also a corporate redemption. He forms His own chosen people into a Church, and to belong to the redeemed community is as necessary as it was to belong to God's chosen people before the coming of Christ. The Church is not merely a free association of individual believers who find it useful "to get together" and who are free to dissolve such associations as they will. It is an association appointed by Christ and to which He Himself tells us it is necessary to belong.

68. We must turn for salvation to Christ, not to the Church.

How can one turn to Christ whilst rejecting the Church He declares to be necessary? It is to the Church we must turn in order to learn the full truth about Christ. His teachings are to be found in her doctrines; forgiveness of sin and the help of divine grace are obtained through her Sacraments; and God is worshipped as He should be by that Eucharistic worship in the Church which was given as the very heart of His religion by Jesus Christ the night before He died. You believe that the onlybegotten Son of God took to Himself a human body in which He endured the humiliation of the Cross. But He also took to Himself a corporate body consisting of human beings/enduring the humiliation of their human faults. That corporate body is the Catholic Church—the society of those who are bound together by their membership in the body of Christ. It is in that Church and through her that men must seek their eternal salvation.

69. Do you really think it necessary to belong to a Church in order to be a Christian?

It is necessary to belong to the Church Christ personally established. People are mistaken who imagine that it is quite an optional matter as to whether one belongs to the Church or not. They have a wrong idea as to how the Church came into existence, thinking that a few human beings got together and decided that they would like to form themselves into a society. But those who know the Gospels know that Christ Himself established the Church, prescribed its constitution, bestowed upon it authority to teach mankind and regulate divine worship, and made it an obligation for all His followers to belong to it. In other words, the Church is not a human but a divine institution. I maintain, of course, that the Catholic Church can alone claim truly to be the actual Church established by Christ.

70. Are there not good people who accept the New Testament and honestly try to live up to its ideals, although they are detached from any Church?

There are, but they have mistaken views of what Christ requires of them. They forget that only for the Church they would have no New. Testament and no knowledge of their Christian ideals. Not detached individuals but members of the Church wrote the books of the New Testament. It was the Church that decided what books should belong to the New Testament; and that was not finally decided until the 4th century A.D. The notion that the New Testament existed before the Church and can be accepted independently of the Church is against the facts of history. In any case, the New Testament itself insists on the necessity of the Church. If Christ, who said "I will build my Church," thought it necessary to establish His Church, how can you declare it not necessary to belong to that Church?

71. These people do not bother about organized Christianity.

That is only because they know no better. The Church is an integral part of the Gospel and was so from the very beginning. It is the will of Christ that men should not only be reconciled to God individually, but that they should at the same time be received into a God-created and Godsustained society called the Church—the organized community of Christians united as members of Christ and as constituting the Kingdom of God in this world. That single, united and organized community has existed in the world from the time of Christ till the present day; and it is the Catholic Church. Those who wish to do the will of Christ fully and completely can do so only by becoming Catholics; and good and fervent ones, of course.

72. As Christians, these people are not in any way opposed to Christianity.

They may not be consciously opposed to it. But most of them are in reality. For they declare that the vague religious sentiments they possess are enough. They make these the whole of their religion; and it is but to have a substitute for Christianity, not Christianity as it really is. And that means, if they have a religion, it is a rival religion which can only go on growing at the expense of Christianity, spelling death to the actual religion of Christ in multitudes of souls.

73. Should it not be said rather that the Christian religion in such people is merely latent, and ready for an opportunity to assert itself?

I'm afraid not. If, in any individual, the Christian religion has become latent and has ceased to assert itself, it is not because no opportunity presents itself for its practice, but because the person in question does not want to practise it. To argue that people who call themselves Christians yet who continue drifting farther and farther from the Christian religion in practice are really healthy Christians after all, is like arguing that a sick man dying of pernicious anemia is really very well because he is not yet dead. I am sorry to sound so pessimistic; but nothing is gained by shutting one's eyes to the evidence which is only too apparent.

74. An American writer, Pearl Buck, said that Church organizations stand for their own sake, and not for the sake of Christ and humanity.

Pearl Buck, as a non-Catholic, thinks of the Church only as a manmade organization, and not as a divine institution. She therefore cannot see how the Church is to be identified with Christ and even imagines that there can be opposition between the two. Thinking in such a way, she regards the various Churches as man-made organizations which tend to eet wrapped up in their own glory at the expense of that of Christ. Now I have to agree that all non-Catholic Churches are man-made organizations, as non-Catholics themselves admit. And it is for them to say how far Pearl Buck's charge applies to them. But I deny that their notion of the Church is that taught in the New Testament; and I deny that any conclusions based on their notion is applicable to the Catholic Church For the New Testament shows the Church as a divine institution, as the very mystical body of Christ, and spiritually identified with Him. The interests of the Church are the interests of Christ, and the interests of Christ are the interests of the Church. When Saul persecuted the Church Christ appeared to him and said: "Saul, Saul, Why persecutest thou Me?" Acts, IX, 4. It is impossible, therefore, to speak of the true Christian Church as standing for its own sake and not for the sake of Christ.

75. I cannot believe that one would forfeit redemption by ignoring the Church.

If he did not forfeit redemption by ignoring the Church it could only be because such a person would be excused from guilt through not knowing any better. But we have to ask whether there is a grave obligation to belong to the Church and fulfil its duties, not whether a man can be excused from that obligation because he is not aware of it. Now there is a grave obligation imposed by Our Lord Himself upon Christians to belong to His Church; so grave that He Himself said: "If a man will not hear the Church, let him be as the heathen;" that is, not as a Christian at all. (Matt., XVIII, 17). One who is aware of the will of Christ in this matter would forfeit redemption if he ignored the Church and persisted in doing so until death. For if, as the New Testament so frequently declares, the Church is the body of Christ, how can one separate oneself from the body of Christ and declare independence of it, without separating oneself from Christ? Yet apart from Him there is no redemption.

76. The very idea that adherence to the Church is so necessary is quite foreign to me.

That can only be due to your lack of instruction in Christian doctrine. In the New Testament no allowance is made for believers who are not members of the one visible and Apostolic Church. Christ said: "I will build my Church." Matt., XVI, 18. He did not say: "Churches." He gave to His Church an apostolic ministry to teach and to rule and to sanctify souls in His name. Baptism was the visible means of making new members of His Church. Those who joined the Church acknowledged a corporate faith, corporate standards of conduct, and a corporate worship. Voluntary separation from the Church was no more permissible than voluntary separation from the chosen people of God under the Old Law was permissible to the Jews. For in Christ the Church is the "New Israel"—God's appointed group of people in the world, yet not of the world; separated in spirit from the world and consecrated to Him as a holy people, for His greater glory and for blessings upon the whole human race. That one visible Apostolic Church is the Catholic Church, still existing today as it has existed during all the centuries since Christ.

77. I want you to consider my spiritual benefit, not the materialistic - set-up of your worldly organization.

I have in mind your own spiritual welfare, knowing that that can best be provided for by the Catholic Church. That Church cannot truly be described as a worldly organization, for although it is "in" this world, it is not "of" this world. It owes its origin to Christ who came from Heaven to establish it; its authority is from Him, and not from men; and its primary concern is with the eternal and heavenly, not merely with the temporal and earthly destiny of men. Nor will the Catholic Church benefit by your becoming a Catholic, should you do so. It is you who would benefit by that. We don't become Catholics for anything we can bring to the Catholic Church, but for the blessings she can confer upon us. My own conversion to the Catholic Church was no great gain to her; but it was a great gain to me—not from a worldly point of view, but from a spiritual point of view. And it is on that point of view that I base every word I am saying to you.

78. Personally I just could not defend any Church organization.

In that case you could not defend the very work of Christ. When He said: "I will build my Church," He chose a word which meant of its very nature an organized society. During His public life He carefully selected His twelve Apostles as the nucleus of the new community He was organizing, and He conferred upon them magisterial, legislative and disciplinary powers, sending them in the end with authority to make disciples from amongst all nations. St. Paul organized the Church in all the centers he visited and members of the Church acknowledged his authority, whilst he spoke of his burden in continuing his care of them.

79. Jesus was no friend of institutional religion.

That certainly is not true. He insisted upon institutional religion. He Himself fulfilled the duties of public worship in the synagogues and in the Temple before founding the Church as His own institution. And He prescribed as the great central, corporate act of worship in His Church the Eucharistic Sacrifice of the Holy Mass which it is impossible for isolated individuals to observe who restrict their religion to private prayers only. Public worship is for a Christian one of the most important duties. No one who really believes in God the Father Almighty can cut himself off from the great family of the children of God our Heavenly Father, and never fulfil any religious duties corporately with them.

80. It's all a matter of money. If there were no money there would be no churches.

Like many other ill-instructed people you mix up Churches and churchbuildings. Primarily, the Church is an association of Christian people united in belief and worship, and in the acceptance of the spiritual authority Christ gave to the Apostles and which has been transmitted to their successors. It is true that those who became members of this religious society from the very beginning built churches as places of worship. Yet again you would be wrong were you to say that were there no money there would be no churches even in this sense. Repeatedly throughout history Christians have built churches with their own hands in their spare time, quarrying the stone, shaping it and setting it in place as a labor of love and an act of devotion to Christ whom alone they desired to honor. As a rule, however, instead of giving their own time and labor, Christians have freely given what money they can spare in order that more expert workers might build their churches. They have done this in the same spirit of faith and devotion despite the criticism of less generous people who want a diluted Christianity leaving them more comfortable and demanding a minimum of self-sacrifice.

81. Catholics are always being asked for money, though the Church is rich enough already. That's one reason why I object to organized religion.

A selfish and mean spirit is not a very noble motive for rejecting anything. Nor is a religion that costs you nothing much of a religion. But Catholics are not always being asked for money. Regular support of their religion is, of course, a duty; and occasionally special appeals are made for special causes. This is not because the Church wants to become richer but because she w ants to do more work on behalf of Christ and humanity. The Church needs money and goods to accomplish her work in this world and her members practise the self-denial necessary for her to do so. But the self-denial is voluntary and each gives according to his ability and generosity. Were you a Catholic you would not be expected to give beyond your ability, nor compelled to give more than you were willing to give. But whatever you did about this aspect of church membership, it remains true that you cannot be a good Christian in the true sense of the word whilst remaining in your isolated individualism, having no part at all in the life of the Church, of which Christ Himself is the Head and of which we are expected to be members.

82. How does one become a member of God's family?

The Gospels tell us that one must repent of his sins, believe in Christ, and be baptized as a member of His Church.

83. It is not by joining any particular Church.

In a sense you are right; for one must join, not any particular Church, but that visible and universal Church Christ personally established and which He promised to be with and to safeguard until the end of time. That Church is the Catholic Church.

84. All that is necessary is faith in God's only-begotten Son. Jn., Ill, 16.

The root cause of your trouble here is that you take one little bit of the Gospel and think it all. The verse you mention says: "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life." Very well. From the same lips that spoke those words came the admonition: "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved." That adds the necessity of baptism. Christ also said: "If a man will not hear the Church, let him be as the heathen." That imposes on us the obligation of hearing and obeying the Church. He also said: "Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you shall not have life in you." John, VI, 54. Of those words you take no notice whatever. I could go on with ap almost unending list of things you overlook. Take one more thing. If, as you say, faith alone in Christ is necessary, why does Christ Himself say that at judgment He will tell some: "Depart from me you cursed. For I was hungry and you gave me not to eat; I was thirsty and you gave me not to drink"? Matt., XXV, 42. Evidently works of charity are also necessary. Surely I have said enough to show that your ideas are quite inadequate.



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