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

Re-stating Christianity

353. There is one big difficulty in all this. Your dogmas suppose that an answer is possible to the question: "What is Truth?" - although there is the highest authority in existence for leaving that question unanswered altogether, that of Christ Himself!

You have in mind the incident during the trial of Christ when Pilate said to Him: "What is Truth?" St. John tells us in his Gospel that Pilate, John, XVIII, 38, having said that, went out again to the Jews from the Judgment Hall, without waiting for an answer. In reality Pilate's words were not a question at all, but an exclamation of cynical impatience. He had often presided at trials and. knew how difficult it was to be sure on which side truth really was. As, therefore, he was not really asking a question, it cannot be said that Christ deliberately left such a question unanswered.

354. At any rate, no answer was given. Is there one?

There is. We can, of course, speak of the truth of a thing in itself, or the truth of our idea about the thing. An architect may say of a completed building that it is true. He means that it conforms perfectly to what he intended it to be. A visitor, studyipg the building later on, will have the truth about it if his ideas correspond perfectly with the building. Usually, when speaking of truth, we understand it in this latter sense. And the answer to the question: "What is truth?" will then be that truth is the conformity of our ideas with realities as they are in themselves. To have the truth is simply to have the right idea of a thing; and right ideas can be had of many things, both in heaven and on earth.

355. Did Christ on any occasion say that an answer was possible?

Yes. Alluding to truth of "thought", He said: "You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free." Jn., VIII,32. Alluding to truth of "being", He said: "I am the Truth." Jn., XIV,6. As God is Truth itself and Christ was God expressed personally amongst men on their own human level in the human nature He had assumed in the Incarnation, Christ rightly said: "I am the Truth." The dogma of the Divinity of Christ is absolutely and infallibly true.

356. Do you not think Christianity needs re-stating from age to age in order to adjust it to current modes of thought?

Its unalterable doctrines need to be stated in every age, in order that people may know them. But those doctrines cannot be altered in order to adjust them to current modes of thought alien to them. The obligation of men is to adjust their ideas to the teachings of Christ if they wish to remain Christians in the face of new and destructive theories put forward by people who have themselves drifted from the Christian Faith. The Christian religion has been revealed by God. It has not to be adjusted to men. Men have to adjust themselves to it. We are not free to water down the truth declared by God. We have to accept it just as He taught it.

357. To talk like that is to admit the charge that Catholicism is essentially obscurantist, and allied with all the forces of reaction today.

It is not the Catholic Church which is obscurantist. An obscurantist is one who seeks to obscure important issues, or to suppress large tracts of knowledge. Yet whilst the Catholic Church makes every allowance for scientific knowledge and encourages the pursuit of it, many who work in the field of science think theirs the only branch of knowledge and resolutely shut their eyes to the important truths of philosophy and theology which the Catholic Church could teach them. They are the obscurantists. As for the forces of reaction, much depends upon what you mean by that. Reaction is a universal function in nature. A healthy existence depends upon one's ability to react against disease. The Catholic Church reacts against false teaching, moral depravity, and all that is destructive of human welfare. If that is a crime, she pleads guilty. But not otherwise.

358. Unless Christianity is continually restated it is bound to lose ground.

The trouble is that you want Christianity restated in such a way that it becomes something different. The shelves of libraries are full of books written by people who tried to restate Christianity in that way, adjusting it to ideas that were up-to-date when they wrote, but which are out-of-date now; and their books are equally out-of-date. The truth that God has revealed is absolutely and permanently true. There is no question here of a guess or of a mere working hypothesis, perpetually subject to change. The only restatement possible is that made by the Catholic Church, keeping the truth the same, only making it clearer by more precise definitions. And more and more people who want the truth are beginning to realize that they will find it only in the Catholic religion.

359. How do you account for so many professing Christians losing their hold on Christian beliefs?

The vast majority of them have neither known nor understood the Christian beliefs they say they reject. For every one of these fallen-away Christians who has studied the teachings that made our Christian civilin zation you will 'find a thousand who have contented themselves with the vaporings and breezy comments of critical newspaper articles, or of cheap editions of flippant and sceptical books. From such mental food what can one expect? There are answers to all this vague nonsense, of courseoverwhelming and convincing answers. But millions never hear or read the answers. They are victims of any rubbish that happens to be current and popular. And their driftage from religion is the fruit, not of knowledge, but of ignorance.

360. To me - I speak as a non-Catholic - your Roman dogmas seem completely irrational and do not make sense.

Were you to receive adequate instruction in the Catholic religion you would realize that the genuine dogmas of the Catholic religion are never contrary to reason even though they surpass our limited powers of comprehension. But that we should not fully understand them is not surprising. Even on the natural level the explanation of nuclear fission would surpass the powers of understanding in innumerable intelligent people who would be content with the assurance of authorities as to its reality. They would not dream of denying it merely because they could not fully understand it.

361. I doubt whether they could ever have any meaning for me.

Divinely revealed doctrines can never cease to be mysterious. But you must not imagine that a doctrine lacks all meaning for us merely because it is mysterious. Reason, if developed, admits an infinity of things beyond it; and the truth about God and the things of God satisfy reason precisely because they surpass it. When they are revealed to us we only partially understand them. We believe what we do not fully understand because of our faith in the God who understands all. For the rest, what we do understand of what God has revealed is full of meaning; for us and has very practical consequences in our lives.

362. The Church would have great power by preaching the simple moral principles of Christ if only she did not associate them with dogmas reasoning men cannot accept.

Firstly, the dogmas you say reasoning men cannot accept are accepted by reasoning men, and by millions of them. Secondly, not wellinformed, but ill-informed people imagine that it is in any way against reason to do so. Thirdly, the Church does not weaken her power by associating the moral teachings of Christ with dogmas. Just the opposite is true. And without the dogmatic teachings of the Christian religion Christian moral principles will not survive. For the authority of Christ to rule our conduct depends entirely on the dogmas about His Person— that He is God, who came into this world as only God could come, by a virgin birth; that the Second Divine Person, the Eternal Son, could do this because there is an Eternal Son amongst the Trinity of Persons in God; that, as Christ, He rose from the dead, still the Living God. And if He, still living, is not visibly on earth today, it is only because He has ascended into Heaven; not, however, without having told us that He will come again to judge the living and the dead, so that all of us without exception will have to account for our lives eventually to Him. Rob Christianity of these dogmas, and there is no ultimate reason why Christian moral teachings should be observed by anyone who does not feel like doing so.

363. More and more people are abandoning the Churches because they no longer believe in the fundamental doctrines on which those Churches have built their ethical superstructures.

I will grant the truth of that in the case of the Protestant Churches. But the driftage is the fruit of the merely secular education most Protestants have received. They have had little training in religious teaching or in religious practices; and they lack knowledge of the basic reasons for them. It is easy for people who see no reasons for doing a thing to regard that as a reason for not doing it; above all, when doing it calls for some self-sacrifice, whilst to neglect it is the easier road. To the lack of religious training amongst Protestants we can add the lack of confidence in the Protestant Churches themselves owing to their divisions and contradictions, and owing to their inability to speak with any certainty on matters vital to the Christian religion.

364. Putting it plainly, people are ceasing to go to Church because the dogmas of the virgin birth of Christ, the Trinity, the Resurrection and Ascension of Christ are becoming less and less believable as reason, and not emotional faith, is applied as the test to postulates of all kinds.

That cannot pass muster. If the reason why people don't go to Church is because the Church insists on belief in the dogmas mentioned, why is it that the Catholic Church which does insist upon them finds her churches filled to overflowing, whilst Protestant Churches, many of which are prepared to sanction a denial of them, are the ones to complain of empty pews? But all through you are taking too much for granted. The dogmas of the Christian religion are not mere postulates. They are definite truths revealed by God. As for reason as the test, of what is it the test? It may test the evidence for the fact of revelation; but once assured that God has revealed a doctrine to be true, it is for reason to accept it, not to dispute it, and to try to understand it as far as reason's limited capacity will permit. The idea of "emotional faith" is due, of course, to the Protestant confusion of faith with sentiment. For a Catholic, faith is an act of the intelligence by which one acknowledges the truth of what God has revealed because God has revealed it and could not reveal an untruth. What God has revealed may or may not awaken an emotional response as one adverts to its significance. But if it does awaken such a response, the emotion is an effect and not a constituent element of faith.

365. Your Church is the greatest offender in its refusal to adapt itself to modern thinking.

If the Catholic Church agreed to adjust its teaching to suit the modern thinking of those who have already abandoned the Christian Faith, she, too, would abandon it! If people want to be true, it's no use looking for the merely new. The truth of the Gospel is never out-of-date. It is permanent. People may think it clever to say whatever happens to be fashionable at the moment. But it is better to be right than bright. And the Catholic religion is right - as permanently right as the Gospel itself. Men must come back to that, or go on dwelling in the dark.

366. Would not even a little wordly wisdom show the folly of such rigid conservatism?

Worldly wisdom doesn't come into the matter. There have been, of course, non-Catholic religious teachers who have listened to the dictates of your worldly wisdom. And what has happened? By the time they have got their new religion ready, modern thinking has changed and the world they thought to please simply ignores them. Professor C. E. M. Joad rightly said: "A creed in harmony with the thought of today will be out of harmony with that of tomorrow. And a religion based on the discoveries of modern science will be discredited by the discoveries of a science still more modern." Where the Catholic Church is concerned men know where they stand. She speaks with consistency and the authority of truth. They can either accept or reject that truth; but they cannot complain that the Catholic Church does not put her claims before them exactly as they are and as they will ever remain.

367. The Protestant Churches offer new versions of Christianity, where Catholic dogmatism only repels.

In the vast majority of cases the so-called new versions of Christianity consist mainly of denials. We hear of Protestant clergymen saying that they cannot accept the traditional ideas about God. They deny the Divinity of Christ. They declare that they can no longer believe in the Bible as our forefathers did. They reject the virgin birth. They profess that they can no longer believe in hell. There is scarcely a basic Christian doctrine that they do not reject, or so modify as almost completely to change its meaning. Such procedures do not result in new versions of Christianity, but in the denial of it. And far from respecting Churches which are thus ready to compromise with the spirit of the age, men lose confidence in them and drift from them. Meantime the Catholic Church, with her unswerving fidelity to Divine Revelation, continues ever ancient and ever new with undiminished vitality.

368. An ex-Anglican clergyman, the Rev. Stuart Watts, said that he found great difficulty in reciting the Creed, a formula drafted centuries ago.

The real difficulty for one who speaks like that is not that the Creed was drafted centuries ago, but that he himself has lost the Faith which has been that of Christians throughout the centuries. The Creed cannot be true in one age and then by a mere lapse of time become untrue in another age. Modernists would like to say that, whatever the Creed meant to people of earlier centuries, it cannot have the same meaning for us. But that is sheer nonsense. They would not dare to speak like that of any other writings. What Plato and Aristotle wrote centuries before Christ made sense then and makes the same sense now. The meaning of the writings of Plato and Aristotle has not changed and become meaningless for us. But Modernists want to retain the Christian name, whilst rejecting the Christian Faith; so they fall back on a difference between the truth and the formula expressing it, saying that they merely reject the formula. But it is the doctrine in which they no longer believe.

369. He said he had hoped that the Church would have been able to work out a synthesis between the old faith and the new knowledge.

There is no new knowledge which in any way makes the ancient Faith less acceptable today than when it was first given to the world by Christ and the Apostles, and as it has been held through the ages by the Catholic Church. Writing of Modernism, one of the Rev. Stuart Watts' fellow Anglicans, Mr. Sidney Dark, says: "Today the most dangerous enemies of the Faith are not the men who acclaim themselves atheists, but the men who claim to be Christians and reject the Christian dogmas; who are so impressed by the 'spirit of the age' that they re-write the Creeds after every meeting of the British Association." And he adds: "While it is fundamentally illogical, Modernism also offers no encouragement for the struggling, no hope for the bewildered. The Modernist is always eager to tell the world what he does not believe, and the world is left in considerable doubt as to what he does believe. This is particularly true of the Modernists in the Church of England."

370. The Presbyterian, the Rev. Dr. Cox, of New Zealand, said that the repetition of the Apostles' Creed should be discontinued in public worship because it repels educated people.

Those Presbyterians who have ceased to believe in any particular Christian teaching should, of course, cease to say that they do believe in it. But the Rev. Dr. Cox was not justified in saying that educated people no longer believe in the Apostles' Creed as if those who do believe in it are not educated. He knows, or should know, that multitudes of educated people accept it; and do so wholeheartedly. The Rev. Dr. Cox exemplifies the liberalism and rationalism which are sapping Presbyterianism the world over of its remaining elements of Christian teaching. The American Dr. J. Gresham Machen, a Presbyterian professor of theology, declares in his book, "Christianity and Liberalism," that the greatest danger to the Presbyterian Church comes from enemies in the ministry itself who lack faith themselves and do all they can to undermine the faith of others. He declares that the gulf between the Church of Rome and the Presbyterian Church is indeed profound; but that that gulf is trifling compared with the abyss between the true Presbyterians and many unbelieving ministers of their own Church.

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