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

Athanasian Creed

371. What do you yourself think about the Athanasian Creed, which gives a definition of the Catholic Faith purely and simply?

It does not give a definition of the Catholic Faith purely and simply. It-declares what one who has the Catholic Faith must believe about certain particular doctrines pertaining to that Faith, chiefly concerning the Holy Trinity, the Incarnation of the Son of God, and the Last Judgment of mankind. As for what I think of it, much depends on from what point of view you want my opinion. If you are concerned about its authorship, it was certainly not composed by St. Athanasius himself, who died in 373 A.D. However, it certainly sums up the doctrines about the Trinity and the Incarnation which St. Athanasius so strenuously vindicated. Probably it was composed by Caesarius, Bishop of Aries, in Gaul, who died in 543 A.D. If you are concerned about the authority of the Athanasian Creed, I can but say that it has the same authority as the Apostles' or the Nicene Creed; and all Catholics are obliged to accept all its teachings.

372. I do not understand the Athanasian Creed; and emphatically I do not believe anyone else does.

can accept your confession of your own ignorance; but that cannot be accepted as evidence of the ignorance of everybody else. You reflect the mentality of those multitudes of non-Catholics who have drifted so far from the Christian religion that they hardly know what they believe themselves, or why they believe, or what good belief does them; and who object to any clear and dogmatic teaching about God at all.

373. The Athanasian Creed is a melancholy example of how clever men can come to grief when they try to cage in exact and precise words what must forever remain a profound mystery.

It is evident that you have not the remotest idea of the purpose of the Athanasian Creed. Its purpose certainly was not to make the doctrines of the Trinity and of the Incarnation any less a profound mystery to be believed by faith than before it was composed. Its purpose was to exclude wrong explanations of the doctrine revealed by God about the Trinity and the Incarnation; and to give an exact and precise statement of the doctrine so revealed, and to be held by all Christians. We have to hold that there are three Persons in one and the same God; and that the second of these three Persons became man as Jesus Christ in order to redeem mankind. The Athanasian Creed excludes all explanations which would undermine these essential truths, but it leaves the inner reality of the Trinity and of the Person of Christ as at once God and man still in the order of the most profound mysteries.

374. Apparently the authors of the Creed felt that the doctrine of the Trinity meant polytheism, and that they had to try to show that it did not.

That is not the explanation. The Athanasian Creed was intended to safeguard the faith of Christians against the false teachings of heretics. Some heretics denied that the three Divine Persons in the Trinity were equally God. Others denied the unity of God in the Divine Nature possessed by the three Divine Persons. Others again denied the Divinity of Christ as the Incarnate Son of God. As often as a new error appears concerning a vital element of the Faith the Church has to give an authoritative decision, condemning the error and declaring the truth.

375. Some of the most subtle brains of those early centuries tied themselves into knots over these questions.

Some saw difficulties they were not able to solve, tied themselves into knots, were too proud to accept the teaching-authority of the Church, and became heretics. But the Church defined the truth against these heretics, God raising up men who had not only the highest intellectual gifts but the insight of Saints to see both the fallacies in the arguments of heretics and the true explanation of Christian doctrine.

376. The simple unphilosophical members of the early Church must have felt themselves at limes hopelessly bewildered.

The vast majority of simple unphilosophical members of the early Church had the faith and were content with the faith, leaving it to the ecclesiastical authorities to deal with the errors of heretical theologians. When the Church condemned the errors of these men and defined the right doctrine, ordinary Christians accepted without question the decisions of the Church.

377. The authors wanted to make the orthodox position crystal clear once and for all.

And they succeeded admirably. No one is left in any doubt by the Athanasian Creed as to what Christians must believe about the Holy Trinity and the Divinity of Christ. People who no longer believe in those doctrines find the ideas in the Athanasian Creed foreign to them; but that is because they have abandoned the Christian Faith, not because of any fault in the Creed.

378. To us today it seems to clarify nothing, but only to make confusion worse confounded

As I have suggested, that is true only of those who have drifted so far from the Christian Faith that it has become quite foreign to their way of thinking.

379. We can sympathize with the American theologian who says that the best thing we know about Athanasius is that he was not the author of the Athanasian Creed.

One who says that the best thing he knows of St. Athanasius is merely that he did not personally write a certain document knows very little indeed of St. Athanasius! Meantime, whilst it is true that St. Athanasius was not the actual author of the Athanasian Creed, it would be absolutely false to suggest that he would not have subscribed to every one of its propositions. Those who drew up the statement, and those who named it after him, knew that there could be no doubt whatever that the Creed embodied the doctrines for which St. Athanasius had ever made so uncompromising a stand against heretical denial of them.



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