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

Unity of the Church

148. At no time has the Christian Church, whether it be regarded as one or many, possessed complete unity.

When you speak like that you show that you are thinking the Christian Church to consist of all the Churches in the world which profess to be Christian. If that were right, no one could deny your contention. Also, far from defending the Christian Church, could it rightly be understood in such a way, I would abandon it and join with you in pointing out its fallacies. But all the conflicting Churches claiming to be Christian cannot rightly be regarded as constituting the one Christian Church. The unity of Christ's Church cannot be that of a mere aggregate of different Churches lumped together like a heap of stones. Its unity is essentially an organic unity. The one true Church is undivided in itself, and divided from all substitute Churches.

149. The Roman Catholic Church is not undivided in itself. You have $ to admit that there is an immense difference between the Catholicism f in some European and in South American countries, and that of i the English-speaking world.

The Catholic Church does not deny such differences. She denies that they concern the essential things of the Christian religion. Consisting of people belonging to all nations, she knows that each nation will have its own special racial characteristics which are bound to color its religious as well as its social customs. And whilst she demands essential unity she does not demand uniformity in secondary and external manifestations of religion. I lived for some years in Italy, and I can assure you that in very many things, even religiously, their ways were not my ways and never will be my ways. On the other hand, my ways in equally many things would have no appeal for them. There is no reason why such differences should not exist, and no reason why we should either condemn or adopt the ways of others just because they are the ways of others. Essentially and constitutionally, however, all Catholics the world over form one united Catholic Church.

150. The New Testament does not require such unity. The Book of Revelation opens with letters to the seven Churches of Asia.

The "seven Churches of Asia" consisted of groups of Christians at Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea— all towns in Asia Minor. These were not independent Churches, but local communities belonging to one and the same Catholic Church. Christ established only one Church and bade it go and teach all nations. The Post Office is one Government Department, but it is represented by local post offices in different towns and suburbs. In dealing with local post offices you are dealing with the Post Office itself. So the seven Churches of Asia Minor were local foundations of one and the same Catholic Church. The New Testament knows nothing of separate Churches recognizing no common authority and not united with one another.

151. There were many different and independent Churches in early Christian times, one at Antioch, one at Jerusalem, one at Constantinople, one at Rome, one at Alexandria; and in later times, in England and Scotland and so on with other localities.

They were not independent Churches. Christ intended one Church only, extending its activities to all places and peoples. He said* "I will build My Church," not "My Churches." His teaching leaves no room for independent Churches. Non-Catholic Churches set up independently of the Catholic Church, whether to suit some individual's personal religious preferences or to suit the national aspirations of a given people are quite opposed to the will of Christ and not part of His Church.

152. Did not the Great Western Schism disprove the unity of the Catholic Church?

No. What is known as the "Great Western Schism" lasted from 1378 till 1417. It was not strictly a schism at all. During that period besides the lawful Pope, there were two others who unlawfully proclaimed themselves Popes, each having a following convinced that his claims were riVht By 1417 things were straightened out, and one lawful Pope was acknowledged by all. The unity of the Church as a Church was no more affected by this than the unity of the Kingdom of England was affected by the fact that at various times there were Pretenders to the Throne with followers convinced of their rightful claims.

153. Where was unity then?

However confused Catholics might have been as to which was the true Pope, all admitted the truth of the one Catholic Church, all acknowledged Papal authority, and all agreed that there could be but one true Pope. They held no schismatical principles, and were not schismatics.

154. How do you explain such confusion?

It is explained by the liability of the human judgment to arrive at wrong conclusions, above all when people are not familiar with all the facts of the case. In quite good faith people can support wrong causes. The essential unity of the Catholic Church is not affected by the fact that all Catholics are not individually infallible in such matters.

155. The Great Western Schism must have permanently injured the Church.

It did not. It was but a transitory historical episode; and as I have said was not really a schism at all. The confusion was ended by the Council of Constance in 1417 when the lawful Pope Gregory XII resigned, the two Pretenders were declared not lawful Popes at all, and Pope Martin V was elected and acknowledged by everybody as the one true Pope. Over five hundred years have elapsed since then without any recurrence of such confusion.

156. An Anglican Bishop tells me that the Christian Church is rent by schism and is divided even now.

That is impossible. There can be no real schism in the Church. There can only be schism from the Church. Christ, who warned us that a kingdom divided against itself cannot stand, took good care that His Church would ever retain its essential unity. Take an analogy from the relationships between England and the United States. The Pilgrim Fathers went to America and founded an English colony there. But eventually the colonists repudiated the authority of the British Throne, declared their independence, and became a new nation, the United States of America, ceasing to be part of the British Empire. Your Anglican Bishop belongs to a Church which in a somewhat similar way ceased to belong to the Catholic Church to which it previously belonged. Pope Gregory the Great sent missionaries to England to establish the Church—the only Church those missionaries knew, the Catholic Church—in that country. Nearly a thousand years later Henry VIII, with the British Parliament, repudiated the authority of the Pope which all Englishmen had till then acknowledged and which all Catholics in France, Germany, Spain and other countries continued to acknowledge. Henry's new Church of England was no more part of the Church previously acknowledged than the United States of America, after the Declaration of Independence, was part of the British nation.

157. I cannot feel that one united Church throughout the world is really necessary. Ephesians, IV, 3, warns us to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace. Surely if we can keep unity of spirit we can forget the rest.

"Unity of spirit" is not the unity of the spirit of which St. Paul speaks. He is speaking of unity in one Church, given by the Holy Spirit. It is not enough to have a unity of spirit in the sense of Christian respect and courtesy for one another whilst remaining in actual fact members of separated Churches. We must, of course, keep that respect and courtesy for one another; or get it if we haven't got it already. But more than that is needed. After the very words you quote, St. Paul tells us that we are to be "one body" and he wrote to the Corinthians: "Let there be no schisms amongst you"; I Cor., I, 10, that is, no divisions of one from another. As the Holy Spirit is one, so the Church must be one; and all should make sure of being in the unity of Christ's Church under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. That is why the Catholic Church is insistent on unity, refusing to accept the idea that different denominations are lawful. Unity is a sign of the true Church, and it is found in the Catholic Church.



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