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

Holiness of the Church

158. I admit that the unity of your Church is impressive enough. But it is a different matter when you appeal to the holiness of your Church.

There is not a single teaching of the Catholic Church which sanctions anything morally wrong, whilst her doctrines and worship are a constant inspiration to virtue and holiness. Moreover, She has the power to enable people to live up to the highest Christian ideals, provided they yield to her influence. This power is amply attested to by all the Saints of the centuries.

159. Christ said: "By their fruits ye shall know them." What do you think those words mean?

They mean that if any religion when put into practice leads to obviously evil results it proves itself wrong. For example, take the non- Catholic principle that the Bible only, interpreted privately by each man for himself, is the guide for Christians. That principle has resulted in a multitude of conflicting non-Catholic denominations which even their own members have to deplore. Judging by such results the principle is obviously wrong. For the very principle itself, put into practice, led to such results.

160. Can the Catholic Church abide by that test?

She is more than content to do so. For the fruit of her teaching when it is applied in practice, and of her Sacraments when they are fervently received, is the holiness of the Saints. Any moral failings at all on the part of her members is not the fruit of their Catholic religion, but the fruit of their own neglect of the ideals they have been taught, or of the means of grace their Church puts at their disposal. If a man lives right up to the teachings of the Catholic religion and then is bad, one would be justified in declaring the Catholic religion bad. But if he can be bad only by violating those teachings, it is he himself, not the religion, that is bad. The Catholic religion is true, even though not all professing it are true to it. Of its very nature it is calculated to bring forth good fruit. In so far as it is applied in practice it cannot bring forth any other fruit. You must not imagine "By their fruits ye shall know them," Matt., VII, 16, to mean that no one with the true religion will ever behave badly. One might as well point to Judas and say: "By their fruits ye shall know them," and then condemn Christ Himself as a religious Teacher!

161. It is a wonder you do not blush to say that your Church is accord• ing to the mind of Christ!

What was the mind of Christ concerning His Church? It is true that He wanted all is members to be good. He said: "For them do I sanctify Myself, that they may be sanctified in truth." Jn., XVII, 19. But He quite understood that, in a Church composed of human beings, there would be human failures. He therefore said: "The kingdom of heaven is like to a man that sowed good seed in his field- But his enemy came and oversowed cockle among the wheat." When the cockle appeared the servants asked: "Wilt thou that we gather it up?" But he said: "Suffer both to grow till the harvest. Then I will say: Gather first the cockle to burn, but the wheat gather into my barn." Matt., XIII, 24-30. According to the mind of Christ, it would be quite wrong to expect to find in any age that there were no weeds growing together with the wheat in His Church.

162. One would think, according to your explanations of Catholic teachings, that all Catholics would be honorable and good. But they are not.

I am glad you realize from my explanations that Catholic teachings are good and would result in ideal conduct were they rightly understood and practiced. But you overlook the fact that there are some who profess to be Catholics but who have not been taught their faith properly nor trained in its practice. Others who have been brought up well as Catholics have deliberately chosen the wrong path in life, violating the ideals of the religion they profess. Their religion is not to blame for that.

163. Do you hold that the majority of Catholics live up to their ideals?

To all their ideals, and perfectly, no. One who did would be a Saint, fit for canonization. And Saints are rare individuals. The majority of Catholics are faithful to their basic religious duties. If they have not heroic virtue, they are at least of ordinary virtue, with occasional lapses into their own particular faults and weaknesses. Of these they quickly repent, trying once more to serve God according to their capacity. Whilst this is true of the majority of Catholics, there is a minority who profess to be Catholics but who neglect Mass and the Sacraments, and make little or no attempt to live up to their religion. These are bad Catholics, and would be the first to admit that they are a disgrace to their religion.

164. God won't discriminate between different religions. There are just as many scoundrels belonging to the Roman Catholic religion as to any other.

Proportionately there may appear to be more scoundrels belonging to the Catholic religion than any other. For Catholic scoundrels continue to profess the Catholic religion and practice it as far as they can, refusing to believe that their religion is not true merely because they are not true to it in some things. But non-Catholic scoundrels tend to drop their religion and ignore it altogether. A non-Catholic criminal's religion is seldom mentioned in the press. It just doesn't matter. But let a criminal be a Catholic, and the fact seldom fails to be recorded. As for God not discriminating between one religion and another, at the last day He will do so, holding- Catholics to be the more guilty than others precisely because they had the true religion whilst others did not; and more was expected of them.

165. Don't you think all your gangsters a bad advertisement for your Faith?

Such gangsters as happen to be Catholics are a condemnation of themselves, not of their religion. After all, the same faith that is professed by the Catholic gangster is professed by the Nun in a hospital ward who is actuated only by the highest spiritual ideals, and whose whole being radiates love of God, innocence of life, charity towards her fellow human beings, and sympathy above all for the sick and suffering who need here ministrations. Why do you choose the gangster who does not pretend to live up to his religion as an advertisement for it rather than the good and holy Nun who exemplifies it and who would tell you that she owes her ideals to its inspiration and her courage to the spiritual help it affords her?

166. These things explain the harsh judgments of your Church.

Were people logical they would not judge in such a way. Christ did not intend His religion to compel people to be good in spite of themselves. The influence, even of the Catholic religion, must ever be proportionate to the degree in which each Catholic will allow himself to be influenced by it. This explains the bad example given by some Catholics. It does not justify that bad example. Christ knew that, because His religion depended on voluntary cooperation and not on compulsion, some would fail. Therefore He said: "It must needs be that scandals will come." Matt., XVIII, 7. Yet He stressed the guilt of those responsible for their own failure when He added: "But woe to him through whom they come."

167. You have such shockingly easy standards. If a Roman Catholic is living an evil life, he still remains a Roman Catholic and attends church as usual!

It is true that if a Catholic violates some particular commandment of God he still remains a Catholic. He does not believe that because he has broken one commandment he is exempt from attempting to keep others. He must still fulfill such religious duties as are possible to him in his unhappy state, as those of prayer and attendance at public worship. However, he cannot receive the Sacraments until he has repented of his sins and determined to do his utmost to avoid them for the future. The obligation to repent and recover the grace of God, of course, ever presses upon him. Since no one ever has a right to be in a state of sin, if he is in a state of sin, he is obliged to get out of it.

168. To my mind it is simply hypocrisy to live sinfully, yet still go to church! A holy Church would not permit that.

It is not hypocrisy to go to church even whilst living a sinful life in other ways. A hypocrite pretends to be good in some particular way, though he knows that he is not. But the Catholic who goes to Mass on Sundays has no intention of pretending to be a model of every virtue. He goes from a sense of duty to offer religious worship to God. If he sins in other ways, it is not because he goes to Mass but in spite of it. So we can put aside his attendance at Mass. Is he a hypocrite because of his sins? Not necessarily. If he does not pretend that his sins are virtues, if he admits that they are faults and reproaches himself with them, then he may be a sinner, but he is not a hypocrite. I am not justifying his sins. They should be remedied. But the charge of hypocrisy is due to your own confused ideas on this matter.

169. I read a book by a Father Devas who said that the Church must often be well content to save at their death those who have been a disgrace to her during life. Fancy being content with that!

The Catholic Church is not content with that; nor did Father Devas suggest that she is. Ever she is drilling into her people that their religion obliges them not only to die well, but also to live well. She can never be really content unless her members aim at both a good life and a good death. But granted that some individual Catholic goes right through life with little effort to live well, then the Church can but hope that, in God's great mercy, he may die well. Always it remains true that conversion is better late than never.

170. The inability of Catholics to see any fault in anything even vaguely connected with their Church is the astounding thing.

It is true that Catholics are unable to see any flaw in the arguments for the truth of the Catholic Church. But that does not mean that they cannot see any fault in "anything even vaguely connected with their Church." They know quite well that all through history, from the betrayal of Christ by Judas, there have been those who have not lived up to Catholic ideals, whether the disloyalty has been that of unfaithful popes, bishops, priests or laity. But they are clear-sighted enough to realize that such infidelity on the part of individuals does not affect the essential truth of the Catholic Church as such.

171. The historic record of Roman Catholicism is so full of corruption that no enlightened mind could accept it.

That statement is refuted by its own extravagance. Take a Cardinal Newman. If ever a man knew the history of the Catholic Church through the ages, he did. If ever there were a good and conscientious man, he was. To this day Protestants sing with fervor his hymn: "Lead, Kindly Light," and they kn6w that a bad man never wrote that hymn. Yet Newman, aware of the facts of history, accepted the Catholic religion, becoming a convert to the Catholic Church from Protestantism. Ever afterwards he maintained that prejudice was the basis of most of the objections to Catholicism. Illogically the corruption of . some who have professed to be Catholics is transferred to the Catholic Church itself. Antipathy has magnified charges against any evidence available. And prejudice has made multitudes blind to anything save the evil they have wanted to see; blind to the beauty of Catholic teachings, to the sublimity of Catholic ideals, to the immense contributions of the Catholic Church to Christian civilization, to her charitable work through the ages, and to the holiness manifested by her Saints in every century. If an appeal is to be made to the historic record of Catholicism, let it be an appeal to the real record of history, and not to a prejudiced distortion.

172. According to historic records the Roman Catholic Church was never holy.

That is not true. What is true is this. There never has been a time when every single member of the Catholic Church was holy. And there never will be such a time in this world. Always there will be bad Catholics. Christ Himself predicted that His Church would be like a net holding good and bad fish. But however many bad fish there may be, now more, now less, that doesn't make a bad net. The Catholic Church is holy in her Founder, Jesus Christ. She is holy in her teachings and worship. She is holy in her Saints through all the ages. Bad Catholics, whether clergy or laity, are those who do not submit in practice to her influence. It would make them also holy if they did. For the Catholic Church herself is holy, however wayward some of her members may be.

173. The Catholic Church is composed of human creatures who are by nature corrupt. All of us are.

We all without exception experience within ourselves a tendency to evil, a tendency which has to be watched and controlled, and which unhappily we do not always succeed in controlling as we should. But that does not mean that no human beings succeed in controlling their evil tendencies to some extent. In varying degrees all people do so. A few do so in an heroic degree. Most people do so at least sufficiently for ordinary average virtue, despite occasional lapses. Many only manage to do so in so poor a degree that their lives seem to be mainly lapses with only occasional outbreaks of virtue. You must remember, too, that besides evil tendencies all human beings have good tendencies to which they also yield in varying degrees. We cannot, therefore, brand all human beings as corrupt without qualification, as if all without exception were utterly depraved and without any redeeming features at all. You take too gloomy a view of human nature.

174. "Time" magazine once said that the author Graham Greene had discovered the truth that "a Catholic is more capable of evil than anyone."

Rightly understood, that is true. It does not mean that a Catholic is more "liable" to evil, as you apparently think. It means that "if" a Catholic becomes a bad Catholic he is likely to become a much worse man than a bad non-Catholic. The guilt of a man's sin is proportionate to the nobility of the moral code he violates and to the means at his disposal to avoid such a lapse. It follows that that man is capable of the greatest evil who has the highest concept of the moral law and the most efficacious means at his disposal to observe it. A person who does not know any better may do a wrong thing and not be a sinner at all; whereas a Catholic doing the same thing would certainly be acting maliciously. So, too, the means of grace are so much greater in the Catholic religion than in any other religion that the responsibility of a Catholic is correspondingly greater than that of other sinners. The axiom is, therefore, a tribute to the nobility and efficacy of the Catholic religion. It took an angel to become a devil; but whilst the angel was capable of becoming a devil, he could have remained an angel. Catholics may be more capable of evil than others who have never known the truth and blessings of the Catholic religion; but they are not more liable to evil, being capable, with the grace of God, of living up to their religion as good Catholics.

175. Rome has ever succeeded in divorcing religion from morality.

Did she succeed in doing so with a St. Benedict, a St. Francis of Assisi, a St. Bernard, a St. Teresa, a St. John of the Cross, a St. Augustine, a St. Vincent de Paul and the thousands of other Saints through the ages? The Catholic Church has never wished to divorce religion from morality, has never attempted to do so, and has never done so. Often she has been blamed for demanding too high a standard of morality. Where other Churches have been willing to compromise moral principles, she has never yielded. No man can point to any utterance of the Catholic Church declaring that morality does not matter. If people sin, she refuses to let them say that it is not a sin. Day in and day out she pleads with people to abandon sin and urges them to live a life of Christian virtue.

176. The percentage of illegitimacy in Catholic countries is notoriously high.

That is not proof of greater immorality. It is quite possible for a country to be far more immoral with fewer illegitimate births, preventing such births by the use of contraceptives or by deliberate abortions. Everyone knows that the Catholic Church is absolutely rigid in her condemnation of contraceptives, and that she declares abortion to be murder, excommunicating those guilty of such a crime. The statistics of illegitimate births would therefore be proportionately higher in a Catholic country than in a country like our Australia where contraceptives are sold by the million and where there are over half a million abortions performed yearly. No argument against the morality of Catholic countries can be based on such grounds.

177. Has not history revealed many bad Popes?

Not many; though of course one would still be too many. However, there were five or six bad Popes, men whose lives were quite unworthy of their office in some aspects of their conduct. That is shocking, more so to Catholics than to anybody else; but it is not surprising when we realize that a man is not confirmed in virtue merely by being elected Pope. The Pope remains a human being. He has to labor to make sure of his salvation just as anybody else, denying himself, resisting the temptations of the world, the flesh and the devil, and seeking to serve God according to the duties of his state. That out of some 260 Popes five or six have failed to be what they should have been is surely not surprising, human nature being what it is. Out of the 12 Apostles chosen by our Lord Himself, Judas was a failure. Compared with that proportion of 1 in 12, the number of unworthy Popes works out at but 1 in 40.

178. The very last Book in the Bible, "Revelation" describes the Pope as Antichrist.

It does not. The "Cambridge Bible," in its notes on this subject, says: "It is most unjust and unreasonable, in fact hardly less than blasphemy, to treat the Papacy as the representative of Antichrist. In fact, the identification of the Papacy with Antichrist admits of direct refutation. "He is Antichrist," says St. John, "who denies the Father and the Son." Now, whatever the errors of the Papacy and of the Roman Church, it is certain that no Pope has ever denied the truth of the doctrines of the Trinity and of the Incarnation." That verdict of a Protestant Cambridge scholar, who obviously has no leanings towards Rome yet rejects absolutely charges prompted by ignorance and prejudice, should suffice for any thinking person.

179. What is the "Mother of Harlots and the abominations of the earth " given in Rev., XVII?

The best Protestant commentator say that St. John designated by that symbolical expression the pagan city of Rome, which he describes as "drunk with the blood of the saints and martyrs of Jesus Christ," clearly referring to the persecution of the early Christians by the pagan Roman emperors. This explanation is given by Professor Crafer, of Queen's College, London, in "A New Commentary on Holy Scripture"; by Professor H. T. Andrews, of London University, in "Peake's Commentary"; and also in J. R. Dummelow's "One Volume Bible Commentary."

180. What is the city "built upon seven mountains"?

The pagan city of Rome as it existed when St. John wrote the Apocalypse, or Book of Revelation. The city itself spread out over seven hills. But St. John symbolically linked the seven hills with seven heads or rulers of whom he said, "five are fallen, one is, and the other is not yet come." Professor Crafer says that the five in the past are the pagan emperors Augustus (27 B.C.-14 A.D.), Tiberius (14-37), Caligula (37-41), Claudius (41-54), and Nero (54-68). The "one that is" was Vespasian (69-79); and the one to come was Titus (79-81). Then was to come the eighth, Domitian (81-96), who is described by St. John as "the beast which was, and is not," and is "of the seven." This is because the persecuting ferocity of Nero was to come to life again in Domitian.

181. I have been told that the Pope is the "Beast of the Apocalypse Is there any truth in such a description of the Pope?

No. In "The Letters of Evelyn Underhill," published in 1943, there is one written by her in 1910, describing her audience with Pope Pius X. Though she was a Protestant, she was deeply impressed. Here is what she wrote to her husband, Hubert Stuart Moore: "The Papal Guard came in; and then the Pope in his white things, and ascended the throne so quietly and simply that he was there before one had noticed him. He has a beautiful voice, and gives an intense impression of great holiness, kindness and simplicity. He made a little speech in Italian, saying that he thanked everyone for their kindness in coming to see him, and that he blessed us, our families, and friends; but we must remember that only those who were trying to live Christian lives were capable of receiving the blessing. . . . It was enormously impressive, not on account of any state or ceremony, but entirely by reason of his personality. I never received such an impression of sanctity from anyone else before." Do those words from this Protestant writer sound like the description of an audience with the "Beast"?

182. Was not Pope Stephen VII expelled for morality, imprisoned and strangled?

There is no evidence whatever of immorality on the part of Pope Stephen VII. Yet his behavior was disgraceful enough. He had been elected some thousand years ago, in 896 A.D., under pressure from the then ruling faction in Italy, and he exhumed and publicly desecrated the body of his predecessor, Pope Formosus, who had resisted the political ambitions of that ruling faction. This infuriated the Roman populace, who threw Stephen into prison and strangled him. Probably he richly deserved that fate. But whilst his conduct says little for the personal virtue of Pope Stephen, it says nothing against the holiness of the Church. That a man is Pope does not render him personally impeccable in his conduct; and certainly in his official capacity Pope Stephen VII never taught any principles of behavior incompatible with the ideals of the Church.

183. Was not Pope Benedict IX but a boy of eleven when he was made Pope; and did he not disgrace himself by every form of vice?

Rightly you speak of his having disgraced himself, which is a tribute to the ideals to be expected of one elected to the Papacy! Benedict IX was Pope from 1032 A.D. till 1045 A.D. He was about twenty years of a°-e, not eleven, when elected; and if ever an election was simoniacal, his was.' His father, Alberic, had indulged in wholesale bribery to secure it. As Pope, Benedict lived an immoral and dissolute life until at last he resigned in consideration of a large sum of money which a good priest, John Gratian, had collected as the only way of ending the scandal given by the profligate Benedict. But here again, God preserved the Church from any erroneous official teachings by Benedict on matters of faith or morals which could conflict with the prerogatives of his office.

184. In view of the law of celibacy, how do you account for such an immoral scoundrel as Pope John X?

The accusation that Pope John X led an immoral life is without sound historical foundation. Such stories about him depend upon the authority of Liutprand, whose writings on this subject cannot stand up to critical investigation. Should you appeal to an authentic case of immorality, such as that of Benedict IX above, then the way to account for it in view of the law of celibacy should be obvious. The guilty party broke the law of celibacy.

185. Was not Pope Leo X a cultured atheist who used to tell his friends that "Christianity was a profitable superstition for Popes"?

No.

186. In an historical work I came across the very interesting revelation that Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia, later Pope Alexander VI, had several illegitimate children.

It is a common-place of history that Pope Alexander VI, who reigned from 1492 till 1503 A.D., led an immoral life as a Cardinal and had the illegitimate children you mention. To people ill-disposed towards the Catholic Church this is a very interesting revelation when they come across it for the first time. To Catholics, who love their Church, it is a source, not of joy but of sorrow; and even after the lapse of four centuries, they cannot but condemn such reprehensible conduct on Pope Alexander's part in his earlier days. Not that he was a model Pope in his personal behavior even later. But he was at least not as bad as he had been as a Cardinal.

187. I would ask how anyone could be expected to regard such a Pope as Christ's representative on earthy and to revere and pay homage to him?

One could not do so, from the viewpoint of his personal vices. Those could fill one only with disgust. But one could have a supreme reverence for the office such an unworthy man holds. And the greater one's reverence for the office, the greater would be his disapproval of unbecoming behavior on the part of the one appointed to it. As for being a representative of Christ, again we must distinguish between the man and the office. Such a Pope in his personal life would not be representative of the virtues of Christ; but he would hold the authority attached to the office by Christ. Official authority does not fluctuate with the good or bad personal character of officials. Even in our Law Courts a judge of greater personal virtue has not more authority than a judge of less personal virtue. Each judge is the mouthpiece of the authority of the State. So Christ exercises His authority through variable human instruments, the authority remaining always that of Christ. He Himself sanctioned this principle when He faced the same difficulty as you are now putting to me. The behavior of the Scribes and Pharisees was not in accordance with the requirements of their office. And Christ said: "The Scribes and Pharisees have sitten on the chair of Moses. All things therefore whatsoever they shall say to you, observe and do; but according to their works, do ye not; for they say and do not." Matt., XXIII, 2-3.

188. Was not Julius II a mere secular statesman with no piety, but a decided talent for intrigue?

No. That he .had to meet statesmen on their own ground does not mean that he himself was merely secular in his outlook. And not all diplomacy in dealing with intrigue is itself to be branded as intrigue. But even were your charge true, what of it? It is no argument against the holiness of the Catholic Church to point to the deficiencies of individuals which are not in accordance with her ideals. One of the very Apostles, Judas, had little piety and showed a decided "talent for intrigue." But you do no accept that as an argument against the religion of Christ, nor against the reality of the authority He bestowed upon the Apostles. This type of argument is really a waste of time. You may ransack history, and succeed in blackening the character of people who lived in past ages. But you make no headway by doing so towards disproving the truth of the Catholic religion. I repeat, however, that your verdict of Julius II is inaccurate. You have not got your facts right.

189. If you can explain how the lives of bad Popes can be reconciled with the teachings of your Church I shall be amazed.

I am glad you realize that unworthy conduct of any Pope, or Bishop, or Priest, or of any ordinary Catholic for that matter cannot be reconciled! with the teachings of the Catholic Church. All I maintain is that such unworthy conduct on the part of anybody else is no reason why one should doubt the truth of the Catholic Church. The good Catholic realizes that ' the more the infidelity of others, the greater his own obligation to be faithful. He is not so foolish as to say: "Such and such a man was unfaithful to his duty, therefore I will be unfaithful to my duty!" Rather, he feels an additional obligation to be doubly fervent and exact.

190. Has man's nature improved to such an extent that similar evils would not transpire today?

Man's nature has not improved. But circumstances have very greatly changed, and the Church has not been blind to the lessons of history. She is much more exacting now than she was in times past when selecting candidates for the priesthood. She gives them a longer training intellectually and spiritually before their ordination, and there is much more assurance that they will be true to their ideals. Of course there is always the possibility that some individual Priest will turn out badly; but failures are rare. The great body of Catholic Priests has been faithful, and generations of good Catholics have not been mistaken in their confidence in the fidelity and holiness of their Priests. And since the Bishops are chosen only from among Priests who have given proof of their integrity during many years, and the Popes from among good Bishops, it would be impossible that such a type as Alexander VI should ever again be Pope.

191. But how can you reconcile these facts of history with the way Catholics are taught that all their Popes without exception, and all Bishops and Priests, are pure and holy men of God?

Catholics are not taught that. They are taught that every Pope and and every Bishop and every Priest occupies a holy office in the Church and has holy duties to fulfill. And they know, without being told, that Popes and Bishops and Priests should be personally holy in keeping with their sacred duties. Moreover they know they can take it for granted that the vast majority of them try to be holy. Where virtue is normal and vice is exceptional, one is justified in taking virtue for granted until an exceptional individual proves unreliable, rather than believe all to be vicious until individuals prove their integrity. Because there are some criminals in America you don't believe that all Americans are criminals until each has given definite proof that he is not. You take the integrity of all for granted until individuals give cause for lack of confidence. If you do not, you are both uncharitable and unjust. In all this I am really asking only for a balanced outlook on such matters.

192. Not the Popes of the past, but the record of your Church today is one of her greatest indictments. How can you regard as "holy" one of the worst criminal incubators in existence?

Surely you must find it strange that what you call one of the "worst criminal incubators" has produced all the great Saints of the ages! Just look at things reasonably. If the Catholic religion tends of its very nature to produce criminals, then the more one yields to its influence the greater the criminal he is likely to become, and the less he does so the more likely he is to be good. According to that, the better the Catholic the more criminal his tendencies will be; the worse the Catholic the greater his prospects of virtue. Do you really believe that criminals are not bad Catholics who neglect their religion, but good Catholics who live up to it?

193. Not statistics of government bureaus, nor of anti-Catholic agencies, but data supplied by official Catholic sources show that the majority of hardened criminals have been hatched and raised by your Church.

Your pretence at a detached impartiality which goes to Catholic, and not to anti-Catholic sources for information, won't work. You betray bias by your very statement that "the majority of hardened criminals have been hatched and raised" by the Catholic Church. Those words are inspired, not by evidence, but by prejudice and the will to believe evil of the Catholic Church. Statistics giving merely percentages of people in prison say nothing about the quality of the prisoners. And that any criminals at all have been hatched and raised as criminals by the Catholic Church is a calumny not to be justified by any statistics. If a Catholic becomes a criminal, it is in spite of, not because of his religion. When I myself became a Catholic I did not find that my new-found faith was one long temptation to become a criminal! Quite the opposite. The ideals put before me were those of the Saints—those of heroic virtue who can indeed be said to have been "hatched and raised" by the Catholic Church.

194. Prison statistics cannot be gainsaid.

No sound argument can be based on prison statistics. The "Encyclopaedia Britannica" rightly says: "Many writers on crime have been betrayed into taking prison statistics as a basis for their arguments, but these figures depend solely upon the efficiency of the police and the criminal courts." In other words, law-breaking cannot be estimated from prison statistics. There are thousands who never go to prison, riot because they are better at observing the law, but because they are better at evading detection.

195. In Australia the percentage of Roman Catholic criminals is proportionately higher than for other religions. To what else is that due if not to the influence of their religion?

It is not due to any influence of their religion. You must remember that, however divine a religion may be, the response of human beings to its influence will be conditioned, not only by, their individual temperament and characters, but also by their social environment. Now most of the Catholic minority in Australia are descendants of those exiled to this country with little or nothing, to live and work for the Protestant majority. Few Catholics had the capital, or were given the chance, to attain to wealth and comfort. The odds were against them; and by sheer force of circumstances Catholics have remained proportionately more numerous among the poorer classes. Check up the wealthier suburbs and the poorer suburbs in our big cities, and you will find Catholics under-represented in the former and over-represented in the latter. And people in an underprivileged environment encounter more temptations to lawlessness than wealthy people who have all they want. If we restrict our survey to those subjected to underprivileged conditions, I deny that Catholics are more given to law-breaking than non-Catholics.

196. The Roman Catholics who become criminals would, in almost every case, be products of Catholic schools.

That is guess-work on your part; and false. Jail chaplains know more about it than you; and they find that prisoners who are, or who have put themselves down as Catholics, have for the most part never been in a Catholic school and know little or nothing about the Catholic religion.

197. Do you suggest that prison records are not a reliable indication of the religions of the inmates?

They are not absolutely reliable. In its issue of Nov. 17th., 1949, a newspaper in Sydney, N.S.W., complained of undue Catholic influence in the Prisons Department, declaring that Protestant prisoners often gave their religion wrongly as Catholic because they found that by doing so they got much better treatment from the Catholic officials! The charge that Catholics run even the Prisons Department was quite unjustified, but it suited the paper for the time being. A few years earlier the Commissioner of Police in New Zealand, in an official report, admitted that many non-Catholic prisoners wrongly gave their religion as Catholic because they preferred the religious provision made by prison regulations for Catholics to that made for non-Catholics. But there is no need to fall back on such considerations; for prison statistics are of no value in a discussion of the truth or otherwise of the Catholic religion, or of any other religion.

198. Prison statistics show that to find virtue and respectability one must look for them among Protestants, not among Catholics. Christ will know where to look for His own.

Prison statistics are not a reliable test of virtue, nor respectability a reliable test of spiritual value. There is more vice which never comes before a court of law than that which does. As for respectability, remember that it was to the respectable Pharisees that Christ said: "Amen I say to you, that the publicans and harlots shall go into the kingdom of God before you." Matt., XXI, 31. But your whole approach to this subject is wrong. To get a right estimate of the Catholic religion it should be studied in itself and in the fruits it produces in those who have fully lived up to it; not in those who fail through human weakness or malice to allow it to control their lives as they should.

199. The Rev. Fr. Nugent, for over twenty years a chaplain at Walton jail, Liverpool, England, said that it was a hideous disgrace to his Catholic religion that in one year 21,334 prisoners passed through the jail; and that of these 13,676 were trained in the faith and morals of Rome, while Protestants of all denominations were but 7,648.

He did not say that those Catholics who were prisoners had been "trained in the faith and morals of Rome." He deplored their lack of such training. And that he declared the facts a hideous disgrace shows that, far from being the fruit one would expect from the Catholic religion, they were quite incompatible with it. But if their religion is not responsible for their delinquency, what is responsible for the sad record of Catholics in Liverpool? Poverty and environment are the two main factors. Here, though I am of purely English descent, you compel me to record the guilt of my own nation. Over the centuries England has made Ireland one of th6 unhappiest of countries. The English bled the country of its revenues and kept the Irish in a state of semi-starvation. Tens of thousands of Irishmen emigrated to America. Not all could afford that. So thousands of single young people, who could not find work in Ireland and whose people could not support them, crossed to England, to the nearest port of Liverpool. In that alien environment they drifted from their religion. They were down-trodden, and hounded into the slums. The sheer necessity of getting food forced many young girls to sell their virtue in the only employment Englishmen would offer them. Their children were told that they were Catholics like their mothers, but that is about all they knew of their religion. Brought up in the slums of Liverpool, marrying in the slums, dying in the slums, these Irish Catholics, drifted from their religion, provided one of the most tragic problems confronting the Catholic Church in England. But all this provides no argument against the truth and holiness of the Catholic religion in itself; and English people should be the last in the world to cast in the face of the Catholic Church those conditions in Liverpool which they themselves so largely helped to create.

200. Father Leo Kalmer, O.F.M., chaplain from 1917 to 1936 at Illinois State Penitentiary, says in his book, "Crime and Religion that Catholics are but 17% °f the population in U. S. A., yet have 33°/o of the criminals in prison.

If the Catholic religion were responsible for those criminals, then Father Kalmer, who has drunk in its "poisonous influence" far more deeply than any of the inmates of penal institutions, should be the greatest criminal, of them all! Instead of which, he writes a book deploring crime and urging upon Catholics the more fervent practice of their religion that there may be less crime. And he forces upon their notice prison statistics to show what comes of the neglect of their religion by Catholics in the underprivileged sections of society.

201. This is but one more proof that your religion breeds more criminals than any other.

It is not proof of that at all. What, then, does account for it? It is not because a larger percentage of Catholics fail to practise their religion than Protestants, even though Catholics who do yield to crime are failing in the practice of their religion. For there are far more Protestants than Catholics who are indifferent to religion. Again, it is not because there are proportionately more wicked people among Catholics than among Protestants. The kind of wickedness that lands a man in jail is not the only kind of wickedness. There is plenty of wickedness which does not happen to violate civil law which wealthier classes regard as even respectable and easily condoned—in this world. If you ask why the kind of sins which offend against civil law are proportionately more numerous among Catholics, the answer is to be found in social conditions. Catholics are more numerous among the poor whose temptations to lawlessness are greater. As Arnold Lunn has pointed out, Catholics may. be but one-fifth of the population in U.SA., but their share of the national wealth would be scarcely one-twenty-fifth. All that criminal statistics prove is that the majority of Protestants are, on the average, better off from this world's point of view than the Catholic minority; and where Protestants are in the majority, Catholics will find their religion no help towards becoming better off.

202. Do you say that an "underprivileged environment" accounts even for the Catholic criminals in the United States?

To a great extent, yes. Many migrant families from Catholic countries in Europe, owing to their lack of knowledge of the English language and their initial poverty had little chance of making good socially in the United States, even apart from the determination of the Protestant majority not to give them a chance. The outbreaks of persecution and oppression on the part of such organizations as the "Know-Nothings," and later of the "Ku-Klux-Klan," propagating hatred of "Catholics, Negroes and Jews," should make Protestants the last in the world to taunt their victims with belonging to an underworld to which they themselves drove so many of them.

203. A Communist paper in Melbourne, "The Guardian,99 said that the Pope sent a special blessing to the criminal Oswald Pohl in Germany, after he had been condemned to death for crimes against humanity at the Nuremberg trials.

The Communist "Guardian" would like to suggest, of course, that the Pope sent his blessing because he approved of Pohl's brutal crimes as a Nazi official. But it omits to tell its readers that Oswald Pohl was not a Catholic but a Lutheran Protestant at the time of the crimes. After being sentenced to death, Pohl was imprisoned at Landsberg, Bavaria. In prison he attended both Protestant and Catholic services. With time on his hands to reflect, he both repented of the crimes he had committed as a non-Catholic and decided definitely to become a Catholic. On his reception into the Church, at the request of friends, the Pope sent him congratulations on his conversion, and invoked God's blessing upon him.

204. The Pope's action was certainly open to misinterpretation.

Not by sensible people. When Christ offered to the dying thief on Calvary the consoling words: "This day thou shalt be with Me in Paradise," it was not because the man had been a thief, but because he had repented of his crimes. The merciful dispositions of the Pope would certainly be preferable to the merciless dispositions of the Communists. When Christ said: "I was in prison and you visited Me," Luke, XXIII, 43, Matt., XXV, 36. He promised to regard as done to Himself even an act of charity to a convicted criminal; and Communists are welcome to charge the Pope with such an act of charity.

205. Arnold Lunn once said that the tenderness of the Catholic Church towards gangsters and gunmen at the hour of death is a proof of her greatness!

So it is. The mercy and compassion of the Catholic Church towards even gangsters and gunmen at the last, doing her best to reconcile them with God, is to her credit, not to her discredit. And those who would make this an accusation against her know nothing of the spirit of Christ.

206. Such an open admission of the importance of belief rather than of righteous living is very revealing to us Protestants.

There is no admission that belief is more important than righteous living. But yours is a strange charge to come from a Protestant. At one time the stock charge was that the Catholic Church insisted on the necessity of good works for salvation. Protestants opposed to the Catholic Church their declaration that people were saved, not by good works, but by faith only. And that doctrine was much more open to the charge that belief is more important than righteous living. But prejudice does not bother about consistency.

207. When political boss Charles Binaggio was murdered by gangsters in Kansas City in 1950 he was given an immense Catholic funeral.

He was given ordinary Catholic burial rites. The Church was not responsible for the number of relatives, friends, acquaintances and curiosity- hunters who attended the funeral. As for the mind of the Church, the whole world received cables of the public declaration of Father Raymond Jackson that, whilst the Catholic Church leaves to Almighty God the eternal fate of an individual soul and interprets as mercifully as possible her own law forbidding the burial of notorious sinners who have given no signs of repentance, she absolutely condemns all crime and vice, whether in the underworld with its barbarous and cowardly ways, or in high places where apparently respectable people sacrifice every decent principle for their own contemptible and selfish ends. Those words I quoted over the radio from our own Australian newspapers.

208. Not only wickedness, but the wealth of the Roman Catholic Church gives the lie to its claim to be a holy Church.

The value of that conclusion is dependent upon the facts that you can advance on its behalf, and the reasonableness of your deductions from them.

209. Why are you always engaged in such money-grabbing tactics?

Bias has dictated that question. The very expression "tactics" suggests insidious methods, whilst "money-grabbing" suggests the unscrupulous extraction of cash from reluctant people for selfish purposes. None of these implications is true. It is scarcely necessary to say that the. Catholic Church does not ask for money for the sake of having money.

210. Why does your Church want so much money?

To do good in this world money is necessary. And the Catholic Church undertakes more works of charity than all the others put together. Her schools, her hospitals, her institutions for the deaf and dumb, her homes for orphans, for the aged and the dying, homes for the destitute, and her relief for the poor irrespective of their religious beliefs—all these activities require the expenditure of money. Much of that money is voluntarily subscribed by generous and charitable people. The rest is obtained from various functions organized by voluntary social workers. And the charge of "money-grabbing" is no more justified in regard to the Catholic Church than in regard to the "Red Cross Society" in its efforts to secure financial support for its own humanitarian efforts. That reproaches are not hurled at the "Red Cross" and other similar societies, but are reserved for the Catholic Church is accounted for, not by any real sense of justice, but by religious prejudice.

211. It is this commercialism that alienates people from your Church.

As people drift from the Christian Faith, heavenly and spiritual realities become less and less important to them, whilst earthly and material interests become more and more important. And they cannot understand any employment of money for religious and charitable purposes. When, therefore, they see people devoting money to such purposes, they cannot believe that they do so willingly. So they think it must be extorted from them, and they interpret "money-giving" as "money-grabbing." Naturally they dispense themselves from similar self-sacrifice on behalf of any church-upkeep and religious activities. If it is nice to say one is a Christian, that is easily said; and it is so comfortable to have nothing to do about it, and so much cheaper, too.

212. During the International Eucharistic Congress at Barcelona, in 1952, it was reported that Church property, including art treasures, golden chalices, altars and tabernacles ornamented with precious stones, priceless vestments, etc., to the value of $100,000,000 was displayed for inspection by visitors.

Barcelona has centuries of history behind it, being one of the oldest cities in Europe. Naturally it has a glorious collection of art treasures of all kinds, accumulated gradually throughout its thousands of years of history, many of its most beautiful possessions owing their inspiration to the traditionally Catholic religion of the country. I can well believe that this heritage of art and beauty and piety from all the past ages of Barcelona's history would be worth three times as much as the Golden Gate bridge of which San Francisco is so proud; and ten times more worth seeing in the eyes of visitors with sufficient education and culture to be able to appreciate them.

213. Does it not look as though the Church is a commercial body first, and that charity comes very late afterwards?

The accumulated art treasures of Barcelona, whether secular or religious, have nothing to do with commerce. They constitute an heirloom of the ages, a possession of which Barcelona is justly proud, and one which is certainly not for sale. The spirit of commercialism is rather on the side of those who say with Judas: "Why was not this sold for 300 pieces of silver and given to the poor?" "He said this," adds St. John, "not from any concern for the poor." Jn., XII, 6. So it is with critics of the Catholic Church in this matter. Meantime, there are few countries in the world to compare with Spain for a traditional practical charity towards the poor, not only in every age of its history, but on a proportionate scale of generosity which all who are well-informed on the subject find deeply impressive.

214. I heard a Communist speaker say that the Vatican is a monopoly capitalist having shares and vested interests in oil, copper, lands banks, steamship lines, railways, electricity, gas and water-supply companies, tin mines, rubber plantations, textile industries, flour mills, joint-stock companies, etc., in all the five continents and ranging from Arctic Canada to Antarctic South America.

He stopped only when he could not think of any further financial or commercial activities, came to the limits of his knowledge of o-e0araphy and found his imagination going on strike against any further demands upon it. Probably he overlooked the more serious charge that the Vatican has secured the controlling interest in the little-known diamond-mines on the moon where specimens are so big that they can only be lifted by enormous derricks, erected with the help of the inter-planetary financiers.

215. Can you disprove such accusations?

There is no need to do so. Bland assertions without an atom of proof are sufficiently met by an equally bland denial.

216. Millions of dollars are held up by the Vatican as valuable purchasing power that would bridge the gap between supply and demand for many thousands of your own Catholic people.

You have not devoted sufficient time to research and thought on this subject. By far the greater part of the estimated possessions of the Vatican does not constitute "purchasing power" at all. And even if any individuals could afford to buy the immensely valuable cultural collections preserved in the Vatican on behalf of the civilized world, it would be a crime to dissipate them for the merely temporal relief of the poor in a particular generation. One might as well suggest that England should sell the British Museum and all that it contains in order to tide a group of distressed workers over a temporary period of unemployment. As regards expendable revenue, that is necessarily great in a Church consisting of over 420 million adherents, even though every individual diocese has to meet its own local expenses before sending a relatively small subsidy to the Vatican. But the Pope regularly distributes large sums for the relief of the poor in various countries, adjusting disbursements to what he knows to be possible. It is rather presumptuous of people who have no idea of what the Vatican is able to do, nor of what it does do, to condemn it for not doing what they thjnk it ought to do.

217. Why should the Pope and the Bishops of your Church have such beautiful and costly robes to wear on their official occasions?

It is necessary that they comply with the prescriptions of the Church, and the motive of the Church is that Christ may be duly honored and the dignity of His religion upheld. The vestments prescribed by the Church cannot fail to impress one with respect for the sacred office held by the Pope and the Bishops. The Pope and the Bishops realize, of course, that not their personal merit, but the office they happen to hold, is the reason for the reverence and respect shown by those who meet them.

218. Christ humbled Himself, and never sought outward splendor.

There is nothing to prevent a man from being humble and simple, no matter how high his office, nor how great the respect shown him because of his office. For the rest, however Our Lord may have chosen to humble Himself, it is for us to honor Him, both in Himself and in His representatives. As a matter of fact, at various times, Our Lord took care that His power and glory should be manifested with an outward splendor we can never hope to imitate. His birth into this world was heralded by the singing of a heavenly choir of angels. Kings from the East came to greet Him with their ceremonial gifts. The ritual of His entry into Jerusalem with a procession of enthusiastic disciples, the waving of palms and hymns of joy, was quite in accordance with Catholic principles. In fact, when the Pharisees rebuked the people for making such a display, Christ rebuked the Pharisees, saying: "If these hold their peace, the very stones will cry out." His transfiguration in a blaze of glory was an indication of the honor in which we should hold Him at all times.

219. Christ had no home and no possessions. He did not live in a gorgeous palace and have a staff of servants to went on Him.

You betray an inadequate knowledge of the Gospels. Christ lived at home with Joseph and Mary until He began His public life. After that He sometimes slept in the open, so that He could say truly: "The Son of Man has not where to lay His head." But at other times He stayed with friends. Have you forgotten how He said to Zacchaeus: "This day I must abide in your house?" Lk.,XIX,5. He had no objection to dining in the house of the wealthy Pharisee, Simon. His needs were catered for by His disciples, one of whom, Judas, carried the purse. And He sent disciples ahead of Him to arrange accommodation for Him in various cities. It was upon one such city that the disciples wanted to call down fire because the inhabitants, who were Samaritans, refused Him rooms because He was going to Jerusalem. Moreover, good women waited on Him and attended to His comfort wherever He went. St. Luke speaks of certain women, Joanna the wife of Chusa, and Susanna, and many others who ministered unto Him. Lk., VIII, 2-3. The very different circumstances now that the Church has been established and each diocese must have a resident Bishop exclude the possibility of Bishops leading the same kind of unsettled life as that of Our Lord. Nor does He want them to do so. The "gorgeous palaces" in which Bishops live exist only in your imagination. The average Bishop's house is anything but a gorgeous palace In large cities a more substantial residence is provided so that there may be accommodation for both local clergy and visitors from other dioceses and States. St. Paul insists that an outstanding quality of a Christian Bishop must be that of hospitality. But this subject is not worth discussing at greater length.

220. The wealth of the clergy of the established Church in Spain is proverbial.

Only among those who know nothing of the subject. Professor Allison Peers, an Anglican, published in 1945 a book entitled, "Spain, the Church and the Orders." He knew Spain as probably no other foreigner to that country. He declared that, for the past twenty years before writing his book, he had spent a quarter of his time in Spain. And he points out that, whilst in the established Church of England the Archbishop of Canterbury, Primate of all England, gets $60,000 a year, the Cardinal Archbishop of Toledo, Primate of Spain, gets. $7,200 a year. Where the Anglican Archbishop of York gets $36,000 a year, the Bishop of London $40 000 and the Bishop of Durham $28,000, in Spain the Archbishops of Valencia and Seville get $6,000 each, and the Bishop of Barcelona $4,400. In Spain a Dean gets from $600 to $800 yearly; a Canon from $320 to $640- Parish Priests from $80 to $320 per year. There are over 4,000 of the parochial clergy with less than $120 a year, and over 10,000 with less than $160 a year. On page 31 of his book, Professor Allison Peers writes: "Writers of travel-books are always impressed by the splendor of Catholic worship in Spain and by the costliness of the vestments, plate, pictures statues and other adjuncts of worship. But these/of course, are inalienable heirlooms, and even anti-clerical propagandists have never suggested that any of them are sold (or could conceivably be sold) to satisfy the pangs of hunger. They are in a true sense the Church's treasure, for they symbolize the spirit of worship and devotion which is the greatest gift to God But behind the facade of rich heirlooms the Church in Spain is pitiably poor "

221. If Christ had lived in this 20th century, would He have ridden in motor cars wherever He went?

Judging by the way He adapted Himself to the conditions of His own time, He would have equally adjusted Himself to these days. He did not mind riding on a colt into Jerusalem on the Sunday before the Jewish Paschal Feast; and He asked to be taken across the Lake of Galilee, rather than walk around it. He would equally have made use of modern means of transport, car, boat, train or plane, whenever they might be useful for His work. One must try to be sensible.

222. In all your explanations you defend the holiness of your Church by saying that Catholics who do evil are not living up to her teachings. Do you mean to say that it is impossible for the Catholic Church as a whole, i.e., as an institution, to be guilty of wrongdoing?

In a sense, yes. In particular cases of administration, and in disciplinary laws not directly connected with revealed doctrines but adapted to circumstances of time and place, the Catholic Church as such could be mistaken in her policy. Thus, looking back on some particular event in history, we could say: "The Church made a wrong move that time, and with disastrous results." But if it is a question of "moral guilt," that cannot be attributed to the Catholic Church as an institution. If any of her members, even of her highest officials, are actuated by evil dispositions, that is their own personal responsibility, not that of the Catholic Church. They did not learn such dispositions from her. As an essentially holy Church she forbids such dispositions, and as an institution she can never be branded with moral guilt. We must remember that in her total reality the Catholic Church is more than the human beings belonging to her in any given age. The fact that she is the mystical body of Christ, indwelt by the Holy Spirit, and endowed with holiness as one of her essential characteristics, makes it impossible for her responsibility as an institution to extend to anything morally wrong. In that sense she conforms to the description given by St. Paul: "A glorious Church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish." Eph.,V,27.

223. You have said that if a Catholic lives up to the teachings of the Catholic religion he will be good. But surely if a Protestant lives up to the teachings of his particular Protestant Church he, too, will be good.

To the extent in which the teachings of his particular Church are good and truly Christian, that is true. If his Church taught wrong doctrines or wrong moral principles, then it would not be good to believe or to act according to those. For example, Unitarians do not believe in the Divinity of Christ; and true Christians cannot believe that it is good to deny the Divinity of Christ. So, too, in the moral order, many Protestant Churches teach that contraception is permissible. To live according to that principle would not be good. But even in those teachings which are good, the Protestant would have been given an inadequate knowledge of the Christian religion.

224. Have you not you yourself known good Protestants?

I have. I was brought up in an entirely Protestant environment, and as a Protestant. And I have known, not only good, but really holy people belonging to various Protestant Churches. Moreover, since I became a Catholic and a Priest, I have devoted a lot of time to the instruction of converts and have received into the Catholic Church many who, as Protestants, have been remarkably faithful to moral ideals, people good, sincere and honest from every point of view. And I gladly pay my tribute to them.

225. Then if the goodness of Catholics who live up to their religion proves the Catholic religion true, why does not the goodness of Protestants prove the truth of the Protestant religion?

Because the good teachings of the Protestant Churches are not really Protestant. When the Protestant movement began, the existent religion was Catholic. The reformers kept a certain amount of the Catholic doctrine they had learned, rejected other sections, and added various errors. Any- good material they took with them from Catholicism is still in Catholicism. The elements proper to Protestantism are the various omissions and errors giving rise to the various sects. The good in Protestant systems is common to both Catholicism and Protestantism, but is essentially Catholic. And whilst a Catholic is holy if he lives up to Catholic principles, a Protestant is holy only if he departs from specifically Protestant principles and acts on Catholic principles, however unconscious of this he may be. It may seem a paradox, but the goodness of Protestants proves the truth of the Catholic religion, for it is due to such Catholic elements as their Churches have retained.

226. You explained good and bad Catholics by the parable of Christ about the wheat and the tares growing side by side in the same field. Would not that explain good and bad Protestants?

Yes. But not in the same way. Christ established the Catholic Church as His kingdom on earth, and compared it to a field in which good wheat was sown, but which an enemy oversowed with cockle or tares. And He said that the tares would be left growing with the wheat until the harvest. But it was Satan's wisdom, when inspiring separation from the unity of the Catholic Church, to allow some of the good wheat to continue growing with the tares; and it is the presence of this good wheat which accounts for the continued existence of Protestantism. The wheat, however, is not specifically Protestant. It was not the personal contribution of the reformers to the creeds of their new Churches. The specifically Protestant thing in Protestantism is its essential independence of the authority of Christ vested by Him in the Catholic Church; and independence of the authority of Christ is not holiness.

227. If it is a question of the holy ideals of the Catholic religion, I feel that your claims must be granted. But I do fear for myself the chasm between theory and application.

It has been said that the Catholic religion is a beautiful one to die in, but a difficult one to live in. I do not deny the difficulty. How could I, when Christ Himself said: "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me." Matt.,XVI,24. But I do insist that the Catholic religion as no other provides all the'help necessary to meet and surmount that difficulty, for those who have the goodwill to practise that religion fervently.

228. I have observed a certain inability even in Catholics to adjust their lives to the teachings of their religion.

Surely that is only to be expected! The Catholic Church will never water down Christian ideals to suit anybody. She is ever mindful of Our Lord's words: "Be ye perfect as also your heavenly Father is perfect." Matt., V, 48. But she knows that perfection is not the work of a day; and she makes full allowances for the weakness of human nature which alternately succeeds and fails in the struggle for virtue. I doubt whether there is a Catholic in the world who would not tell you that he finds a certain inability to adjust his life to the teachings of his religion, and that he wishes to heaven that he were a better Catholic than he is!

229. Catholics seem always to be struggling with themselves.

So long as they keep doing that they'll be all right. It is when they stop struggling with themselves that there is need for anxiety. For the Christian life is a warfare, a continual struggle against the world, the flesh and the devil. And certainly the road to self-conquest cannot be an easy one. The Catholic Church cannot give virtue to people. She helps them to acquire it. But the building up of a Christian character with the help she offers remains, and must remain, the work of each individual Catholic.

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