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
Socialism
Trade unions
Communism
Protestant Churches and Communism
Capitalism
Social apathy of Churches
Catholic social teaching
Marriage
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
War

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
Anti-semitism
"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

Hierarchical constitution

90. Organized religion can only lead to the domineering priestly hierarchy one finds at its worst in the Roman Catholic Church.

That is the opinion of one who is a stranger to the Catholic religion. Non-Catholics often mistake the reverence and respect of Catholics for their Bishops and Priests for subservience, and religious authority in the Catholic Church for tyranny. But to find the truth we should ask, not those without experience, but those with experience of what we wish to understand. Catholics, quite normal people in every other way, love their Priests and love to see their children becoming Priests. That would not be if they stood m dread and fear of their Priests. Then, too, Priests themselves are not such fools as to think they would retain the esteem and loyalty of their people by domineering ways rather than by becoming humility and sincerity, gentleness and charity.

91. The self-assumed authority of religious dictatorships is slowly on the way out.

Your reference to self-assumed authority of religious dictatorships, to whatever other form of religion it might apply, does not apply to the Catholic Church in which no man has any self-assumed authority. It is Christ Himself who exercises His own divine authority in and through the Catholic Church; and that Church will last till the end of time.

92. The Nazarene taught simple truths for simple people.

He taught simple people as well as the learned. His religion is for all men; and of all He demands a simple faith. But He did not teach only simple truths. He said to Nichodemus: "Art thou a master in Israel and knowest not these things? . . . If I have spoken to you earthly things and you believe not, how will you believe if I shall speak to you heavenly things?" Jn., Ill, 12. When He gave His very difficult doctrine of the Eucharist and the Jews felt that they could neither understand nor accept it, He said to them: "No man can come to Me except the Father draw him." Jn., VI, 44. A doctrine which is beyond the merely natural power of any man to grasp is something far from simple.

93. Protestant Churches are made up of free people, not of those who bend without question to the wills of mere men set over them in the Church.

Catholics are every bit as free as Protestants. Their allegiance to their Church is quite voluntary. If they want to ignore the laws of their Church or even to abandon their Church no physical compulsion is brought to bear upon them to keep them faithful. What needs explaining is why more Catholics want to be faithful to their Church than Protestants to Protestant Churches. But you have really given the reason yourself. Protestants do not feel that the men set over them in their Churches have any really divine authority, and consequently do not feel that they owe any obedience to the wills of mere men. But the Catholic has faith in his Church. He does not regard Priests as "mere men" set over him in the Church. He regards them as sharing in the commission given by Christ to the Apostles to rule in the Church; and Christ said to the Apostles: "He who hears you, hears Me." Lk., X, 16. He obeys, therefore, the will of God as manifested in the laws of the Church. Nor does he believe that those only are free who have no spirit of obedience at all.

94. Christ said: "Beware of the Scribes who desire to walk in long robes, and love greetings in the markets, and the highest seats in the Synagogues, and the chief rooms at feasts; who devour widows' houses, and for a show make long prayers. The same shall receive greater damnation." Lk., XX, 46.

In no way was Christ there condemning religious authority. He was condemning the pride, ambition, hypocrisy and injustice of the Scribes. For Christians today, and indeed of all time, the lesson is that we should be humble and sincere, without self-seeking, and scrupulously just. And since the Scribes whom Our Lord then rebuked were religious leaders, all who hold office or authority in the Church of Christ should be doubly on their guard against the faults He enumerated.

95. There is no priestly or sacerdotal order in the Church. Paul says that there is only one "Mediator between God and man." I Tim., II, 5.

The Catholic Church insists upon St. Paul's doctrine in the true sense he intended. But that doctrine in no way excludes a priestly or sacerdotal order. The explanation is simply that Christ imparted His own priesthood to the Apostles, exercising it through them as through human instruments, He remaining the one Supreme Mediator, and His priesthood the sole priesthood in the Catholic Church.

96. The priesthood of Christ is unique, eternal, unchangeable; and it cannot be transmitted to others.

That is refuted by the fact that He did transmit it to others. He called and set apart from other men the twelve Apostles and communicated to them His own priesthood. He gave them His own mission. "As the Father hath sent Me, I also send you." Jn., XX, 21. He gave them a more than human power, breathing upon them and saying: "Receive ye the Holy Ghost." Jn., XX, 22. He gave them His own authority to teach, bidding them go "into the whole world and preach the gospel to every creature." Mk., XVI, 15. They were to rule in the Church. "Whatsoever you shall bind on earth shall be bound also in heaven." Matt., XVIII, 18. After instituting the Sacrifice of the Mass at the Last Supper He said to them: "Do this in commemoration of Me." Lk., XXII, 19. The purpose of this was explained by St. Paul: "As often as you do it, you shall show the death of the Lord until He comes." I Cor., XI, 26. Christ also gave the Apostles His own power to forgive sins. "Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven." Jn., XX, 23. There can be no room for doubt that Christ imparted to the Apostles His own priestly power.

97. The Apostles did not claim to be priests.

If that be so, why did St. Paul write to the Corinthians: "Let a man so account of us as of the ministers of Christ and the dispensers of the mysteries of God"? I Cor., IV, 1. Or again, "All things are of God, who hath reconciled us to Himself by Christ and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation." II Cor., V, 18. Acts, XIII, 2-3, tells us how, under the direct inspiration of the Holy Ghost, the Apostles, fasting and praying, imposed their hands upon Paul and Barnabas, ordaining them to the priesthood. Acts, XIV, 22, declares that Paul and Barnabas in turn ordained priests in every church. To Timothy St. Paul wrote: "Neglect not the grace that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy with imposition of the hands of the priesthood." I Tim., IV, 14. And again, later, "Stir up the grace of God which is in thee by the imposition of my hands." II Tim., I, 6. To Titus he wrote; "For this cause I left thee in Crete, that thou shouldst set in order the things that are wanting, and shouldst ordain priests in every city as I also appointed thee." Tit., I, 5.

98. Without mentioning priests, the New Testament describes as the only officials in the Church pastors, evangelists, teachers, apostles, prophets, bishops, presbyters and deacons.

Those words include both those who received special gifts from God in the early Church, and those who received from the twelve Apostles by priestly ordination a definite ministerial authority. Christ instituted a priesthood in the persons of the Apostles, plainly intending it to endure till the end of the world. At the beginning of the Acts of the Apostles their official position stands with unquestioned authority. They ordained "presbyters" (priests) and deacons by the laying on of hands. Less than 60 years later, when the danger of misunderstanding the word "priest" for which "presbyter" was used had ceased, we find St. Ignatius of Antioch speaking clearly of the threefold ministry of bishops, priests and deacons. Act Mag, VI, 1. Under the guidance of the Holy Ghost these emerged as the official hierarchy left by the Apostles as provision for the future administration of the Church. And this was unanimously accepted throughout the whole Church right down to its denial in the 16th century by the Protestant reformers; and it is still accepted, of course, by the Catholic Church and the Greek Orthodox Churches, comprising between them the overwhelming majority of professing Christians. The Protestant denial is based on a lack of understanding both of Scripture and history, and on prejudices inherited from the early Protestant reformers. The whole subject cries out for earnest reconsideration by Protestants who are still sufficiently interested in "Christianity to want it in,its genuine form.

99. Is not "Elder" the right translation of the Greek word "Presbyter"?

In the strictly literal sense of the word in the Greek language, yes; but not technically in the sense in which Christians understood it when they used it. They intended a "priest" in the Catholic sense of the word - one who possessed a truly priestly office not possessed by the laity.

100. If you are right, why did not the New Testament writers use the actual Greek word for "Priest," instead of using "Presbyter"?

Because the Greek word for "Priest" had acquired by usage and lonoassociation a particular and restricted significance. Had they used the Greek word for priest, "Hiereus" instead of "Presbyter," it could only have meant , for the first Christians either one of the Jewish priests or one of the pagan priests among the Gentiles. If it were said, "He is a priest," they would have thought only that the man in question was a Jewish priest who had become a Christian, or a pagan priest who had done so. Another word therefore had to be used for priests of the Christian religion, and the Greek word "Presbyter" was chosen.

101. This matter is very important. In the New Testament, "Bishops" were not in charge of dioceses and only in remote control of parishes like your bishops today. They—and not one, but several—were in the local congregation.

The New Testament describes the Church in its embryonic stage. One cannot expect to find there features which become manifest only with subsequent growth and development. That development began almost at once because of the claims of Gnostic heretics to have a secret transmission of strange doctrines from the Apostles. This made it most important to clarify the position and ensure the genuine apostolic succession in particular bishoprics. By the end of the first century there was a clear demarcation of Bishops, Priests and Deacons. And St. Hippolytus, who lived from 160 A.D. till 235 A.D., shows that in his time "mon-episcopacy," or one Bishop as the only head of a diocese and not merely president of a single congregation, was an established fact. And that is the system which has prevailed ever since, except in some Protestant denominations which date at best only from the 16th century. These Protestant denominations make a fatal mistake in ignoring history and the development of the Church in post-apostolic times, and by considering only the embryonic stages of the Church as described in the New Testament. That mistake arose from the error that the Bible only is a sufficient guide in religious matters, and from the denial of a visible Church protected and guided by the Holy Spirit as Christ had promised. The appeal to New Testament terminology, then in a fluid state and not fully clarified until about the end of the first century, is not valid. Looking back over the centuries we can say: "By their fruits you shall know them." The actual emergence of the hierarchy of Bishops, Priests and Deacons within fifty years after the death of the Apostles cleared up all the ambiguity of the New Testament language—a development which would not have been possible save in accordance with directions from the Apostles. This development was the fruit of the inherent principles of the Christian ministry. As surely as the flower and the fruit eliminate all doubt as to the nature of the seed that was planted, so the hierarchy which developed in the Church indicated the true significance of the "Elders" and "Overseers" ordained and appointed in the earliest few years. The Protestant reformers, repudiating the authority of the Catholic Church and claiming to "go back" to the New Testament, were deceived by words into substituting their ministry of preaching for the sacrificial priesthood of the New Law, derived through the Apostles from Christ.

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