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

Catholic Church infallible

279. You\'re taking a terrible lot for granted when you hold that the Catholic Church is infallible; for that\'s what it comes to.

Before asking anyone to believe in the infallibility of the Catholic Church we presuppose that he believes in the Divinity of Christ and in the power of Christ to do what He said He would do�preserve His Church from the possibility of error where divinely revealed truth is concerned. Granted the Divinity of Christ, the terrible thing would be to imagine that, though God, He left no authoritative and infallible Church to safeguard the truth, abandoning men to their own resources so that they would not only fall into doubt, uncertainty and error, but even into despair of ever being able to know with certainty whether they possessed the true religion or not!

280. Such infallibility of the Catholic Church would in itself be a miracle.

Since the infallibility of the Catholic Church cannot possibly be due to any merely human efforts or wisdom, but is due entirely to the power of God, it can in a true sense be called a miracle.. For indeed without God's miraculous protection the Catholic Church could not have remained infallible as Christ predicted it would. As it is, the Catholic Church today is still as St. Paul described it in I Tim., Ill, 15: "The Church of the living God, the pillar and the ground of truth." Catholics who accept the infallible teaching-authority of the Catholic Church know exactly where they stand, whilst others who reject that teaching-authority are not only without certainty, but can never hope to have certainty. Christ never intended His followers to be reduced to such a sad plight.

281. The claim to infallibility is a pretentious one, in very truth.

If it were but self-made, with none but natural and human resources to rely upon, it would indeed be pretentious. But it is not a self-made claim, nor does the Church pretend that merely natural and human resources account for her infallibility. She owes that to the influence of the Holy Spirit, and offers historical evidence to prove that Christ commissioned and guaranteed her in her mission to teach all nations. If I claimed to be able to sentence you to prison it would be a pretentious claim indeed. But if an accredited judge makes the claim it is not pretentious for his claim is, not that he is doing it, but that the State is doing it through him. All he has to do is to prove that he is an authorized agent of the State. And the Catholic Church is quite prepared to prove that she is the authorized agent of Christ in this world.

282. I even heard a priest say that if an angel came from heaven and said anything contrary to Catholic doctrines, the angel would be wrong!

You can scarcely blame him for speaking in exactly the same way as the Apostle St. Paul spoke. Look up in your New Testament the epistle to the Galatians, I, 8. There you will find St. Paul's words: "Though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed." If you do not object to St. Paul's speaking in such a way, why object to a priest saying the same thing of the same religion as that which St. Paul taught?

283. On what grounds do you hold that your Church is infallible?

On the grounds that Christ, having established His Church, declared that He would be with it all days even till the end of the world; Matt XXVIII, 20, and promised that the Holy Spirit of Truth would abide with it forever. John, XIV, 16-17. He Himself said that if a man would not hear and obey the Church he was to be regarded as the heathen. Matt., XVIII, 17. Christ could not oblige us to be guided by the Church unless He guaranteed that the Church could not lead us astray. And tjhe Catholic Church, the only one that claims to be infallible, is the only one in complete harmony with the requirements of the New Testament.

284. You forget that all your Catholic doctrines have been compiled by some human hand from the Scriptures.

Catholic teaching is derived not merely from the Scriptures but also from Apostolic traditions over and above what is written in the New Testament. Those traditions have been divinely safeguarded and handed down in the Catholic Church from the earliest Christian times. Thus the Catholic Church has preserved the whole of the faith, as St. Jude puts it, "once delivered to the saints." Jude, 3. The whole of the faith once delivered to the saints means more than merely that section of it which was committed to writing in the books "of the New Testament.

285. Those doctrines have been modified and added to during the centuries.

It would be strange indeed if centuries of study and meditation did not result in an ever more exact classification and clarification of Christian teaching. Then, too, in every age there have arisen those who,, falling into human errors, have proclaimed as Christian teachings what were not really Christian teachings at all. In such cases the Catholic Church, acting officially in accordance with her divine commission and safeguarded by divine protection, has condemned false doctrines and defined the true doctrines. These definitions neither modified nor added to the original Christian teachings, but gave new statements and clarifications of them.

286. Being the product of human thoughts and ideas, there would always be the possibility of error.

If the official teachings of the Catholic Church resulted only from the thinking of human beings left to themselves you would be right. If there were no more than that to it, no one could reasonably be asked to make an act of faith in such teachings. Even the best of Catholic theologians is not infallible. Even the Pope, merely as a theologian, is not infallible. The Pope is infallible only when acting as the supreme and official spokesman on behalf of the Catholic Church. Then there is the infallibility of the Catholic Church, exercised through him, the Holy Spirit Himself preserving the Pope from error for the sake of the whole Church. Our faith in the infallibility of the Church, therefore, is not based on the reliability of any merely human thinking, but on the guidance and protection of the Holy Spirit which Christ promised to His Church precisely to preserve it from all error in such vital matters.

287. Even the Apostles themselves never claimed such a thing as infallibility !

I have already quoted St. Paul's words to Timothy (n. 280) that the Church is the "pillar and the ground of truth"; and to the Galatians that an angel from heaven would be wrong were he to preach anything contrary to the Apostolic teaching (n. 282). St. John claimed infallibility for all the Apostles when he wrote: "He that is not of God heareth us not. By this you know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error." I Jn., IV, 6. And that the Apostles were conscious of the assistance of the Holy Spirit in their official decisions on behalf of the Church is evident from their declaration at the Council of Jerusalem: "It hath seemed good to the Holy Ghost and to us." Acts, XV, 28.



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