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 countries backward

552. If the Roman Catholic Church is the true Church and its religious educational policy so successful, why is it that those countries where it dominates the educational system are the most backward educationally and the most illiterate in the civilized world?

Even were Catholic countries deficient in such a way, the claim of the Catholic Church to be the true Church would in no way be affected. Christ established His Church to teach people new standards of conduct and motive, not to teach them how to read and write. Literacy is a secular, not a religious accomplishment. And if people have not Christian standards, literacy can be a curse instead of a blessing. Writing has been abused in a flood of books and papers which had far better never have been written; and the reading of them has caused immense harm to souls. Ability to read and write is all right in its place; but it is good or bad according to the use to which it is put. And, in itself, it has nothing specifically to do with Christianity. Any supposed argument against the Catholic Church based on such lines is conceived in ignorance and born of prejudice. If I deal at some length with the matter, it is not because the statistics you send concerning illiteracy provide a worth - while argument against the truth of the Catholic Church, but because very many Protestant people are simple enough to think that they do.

553. Let us compare the figures for illiteracy in Roman Catholic and Protestant countries.

It is a fallacy to base a religious argument on comparative statistics of illiteracy. One might just as well compare the highly developed culture of the Greek pagans with the backwardness of the Jews in the centuries before Christ and conclude that the paganism of the Greeks must have been right and the religion of the Jews wrong. No Protestant would think of doing that! Again, purely natural factors account for the growth of general education in the northern European countries as compared with the southern countries. With their resources of coal and iron, the northern countries became the industrial countries, with a consequent greater urbanization than occurred in the southern countries, which remained mainly agricultural with a dispersed population. Educational facilities are greater where populations are more centralized. Thirdly, how little necessary connection there is between Protestantism and literacy should be evident from the fact that in so-called Protestant countries almost in proportion to the growth of literacy people have drifted from the Protestant Churches. People have become literate and irreligious.. And the problem for Protestantism today is to stem the tide of unbelief and irreligion amongst its adherents. One could well argue that, far from Protestantism causing literacy, literacy is proving the death of Protestantism!

554. It is notorious, yet strangely overlooked, that countries where the Roman Catholic Church dominates educational policy are the most backward educationally in the civilized world.

Your very statement strangely overlooks the fact that the European civilization inherited by Protestants was built up through the centuries by generations of people who professed the Catholic Faith! In any case, it is not notorious to well-informed people that Catholic countries are the most backward educationally. People who confuse illiteracy with lack of education do not know what education means. Education is a very different thing from mere ability to read and write. The farmer, who has little literary knowledge, but who is a successful and expert agriculturist, is better educated than a literary ne'er-do-well. Education is a relative matter, and only a fool takes one small aspect of education, thinks it the whole of education, and makes wild and sweeping statements accordingly. Even from the viewpoint of illiteracy, Catholic countries are not the most backward. In Europe, compared with Italy's 19% illiteracy, Spain's 31%, and Portugal's 31%, Bulgaria has 65%, Greece 57%, Rumania 60%, Russia 60% and Serbia 75%. Religiously these all belong to the Greek Orthodox, not to the Catholic Church. Their religion, of course, has nothing to do with their illiteracy. But sensible people know that such statistics have no real bearing on the subject of religion.

555. In Roman Catholic Italy the percentage of illiteracy is 19%.

True. But, firstly, you began with the assumption that the Catholic Church has dominated the educational policy of Italy. And that is not true. From the days of Garibaldi, in 1870, the Church was consistently excluded from the control of educational policy. Religion was banished from the schools. And even after the Concordat with Mussolini in 1929, even though religion may be taught, the control of education has remained in the hands of the State. Secondly, even the anticlerical Governments which divorced religion from education in Italy could not be expected, with an agricultural and dispersed population, to compete with industrial countries where there was a greater centralization of people. Thirdly, throughout the centuries when the Church was dominant and precisely when the country was most Catholic, Italy made immense contributions to civilization and the intellectual wealth of the world. Men still go back to Italy in her most Catholic periods to learn architecture and sculpture, music and painting and literature. Dante and Michaelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and a Fra Angelico, and a host of other great names belong to Catholic Italy. As I remarked earlier, the idea that to be a Catholic is to be backward is conceived in ignorance and born of prejudice. And the only real answer to such arguments as those with which I am now dealing is to educate those who propose them. It is useless to give brief replies to people who have not the mental background necessary to appreciate their significance.

556. In Roman Catholic Spain and Portugal illiteracy is 31%.

The Catholic Church cannot be said to have dominated the educational policies of those two countries during the past century. For the most part, anticlerical Governments were in office right up to the conclusion of the civil war in 1936, and the educational work of the Church was largely crippled, However, things would probably not have been much different from the viewpoint of illiteracy even had the Church had unlettered control. Much the same must be said of natural conditions in Spain and Portugal as of Italy. Lacking the natural resources of the industrial countries, for which the Catholic religion is certainly not to blame, the people have lived mainly an agricultural life. They do not lack education which, as I must point out once more, must not be confused with literacy. The Spaniards are expert farmers, vintagers, orchardists and stock breeders, despite their financial inability and even their lack of desire to introduce the methods of the modern machine age. They naturally have not the wealth of the industrial countries, with an immense inter' national trade, making possible all the latest improvements wealthier countries can afford. But that has nothing to do with religion, any more than the natural resources exploited by the northern European countries were due to Protestantism. In any case, common sense should tell you that the fluctuations of temporal adversity and prosperity cannot affect the truth of any religion as such. Spain and Portugal were Catholic countries when they were the leading nations of the world, making immense contributions to European civilization. They did not find it necessary to abandon their Catholic religion in order to do that. They were the discoverers and explorers of the New World, British and Dutch Protestants following in their wake. In literature and art, music and painting and architecture, just as is true of the Italians, they created a culture only the uneducated can deny. In his articles of "The Inside Story of Spain," the British Ambassador Lord Templewood wrote: "Before I became Ambassador, I knew neither Spain nor Spanish. Spanish history and literature I had never studied. Spanish art I only knew through the meager examples of Spanish painting and sculpt ure in the galleries outside Spain. My mission therefore opened to me a new world of boundless wealth."

557. In Roman Catholic Brazil illiteracy is 67%.

That has nothing whatever to do with the truth or otherwise of the Catholic religion, with which problem alone I am really concerned. However, to discuss your present statement, it is a remarkable thing that 33% of the population of Brazil is literate, When the Portuguese went to Brazil they did not set out to destroy the native inhabitants as we British did in Australia. The Indian tribes remained and were incorporated in the population, of which they form an overwhelming proportion. The Portuguese taught these Indians the Catholic religion. But it was another matter to lift them to standards of European civilization. It takes centuries to civilize primitive peoples. At the time of the Protestant Reformation in Europe, the first Protestants were born into a civilization built up during 16 centuries and provided for them by Catholics. The primitive Indians of Brazil had not such a good start. Yet the natives of Brazil have done much better under the Catholic Portuguese than the South African natives under British Protestant domination, and better still than the people of British-ruled India where illiteracy is over 90%. But all this is quite outside the field of religion, and cannot be regarded as even remotely having anything to do with the question of the truth of the Catholic religion. As I remarked earlier, I am not dealing with the subject because it has any real religious significance, but only because some simple people imagine that it has.

558. In Roman Catholic Mexico illiteracy is 59%.

Much that I have said of Brazil applies also to Mexico - only more so. There, too, one finds a large percentage of primitive Indians. Moreover, Freemasonry and anticlericalism have kept the country in a state of constant political disturbance, and have legislated against the work of the Catholic Church, suppressing her teaching Orders and closing her schools. The Catholic Church is certainly not to blame for illiteracy in Mexico! And once more, even were the illiteracy there the responsibility of the ecclesiastical authorities, it would in no way disprove the truth of the Catholic Church.

559. As contrasted with all the above countries, Protestant Denmark has only one-sixth of one per cent illiteracy; Protestant Sweden three-fifths of one per cent; and Protestant Switzerland three-tenths of one per cent.

Those are small and compact countries with consequent facilities for general education; and they have natural resources and more wealth proportionately than the less favored southern European states. Their low percentage of illiteracy is in no way due to their Protestantism, even as illiteracy figures themselves are not a reliable test of education in the full sense of that word, nor of a nation's contribution to civilization. Nations with a higher illiteracy percentage amongst a rural population have often contributed more to the intellectual and cultural wealth of the world than nations with lower illiteracy figures. The Danish, Swedish and Swiss peoples have not made anything like the contribution to civilization proportionately to that made by the Catholic Italian, Spanish and Portuguese peoples.

560. Quebec, entirely Roman Catholic, is the most illiterate State in Canada. Taking Canada as a whole, French-speaking Roman Catholics show 6.18 illiterates against British .18.

Hitherto I have not bothered challenging your figures, because the matter is really irrelevant. But your inaccuracy is too glaring here. The 6ver-all illiteracy figures for Canada, as given in the Encyclopaedia Britannica" (1947 Edition) are 9.7 per cent males, 8.7 per cent females. The figures given for the United States are 6 per cent males, 5.9 per cent females. But letting that go, whatever the illiteracy figures for Canada, no religious conclusions at all can rightly be drawn from the comparison you make. Nor, as I have repeatedly pointed out, must illiteracy be confused with lack of education. Education covers a thousand things over and above, mere ability to read or write, in matters of practical skill and personal character. I am not saying that it is better to be illiterate than to be literate; although for some individuals it would have been better so. There are many literate people who cannot be called truly educated. No truly educated person would want to argue from relative statistics of illiteracy to the intrinsic truth or falsity of the religions of the peoples concerned. One might as well say that atheism is right and Christianity false because some individual atheist happens to be literate whilst some individual Christian happens to be illiterate! As a matter of fact, quite natural factors account for French-speaking and English-speaking Canadians being educated to a great extent along different lines; the French as descendants of the early colonists inheriting other traditions than the later British migrants from England. One remark may be added, a remark your type of argument invites. From the viewpoint of education in the full sense of the word, Catholic Canadians are in general better educated than Protestant Canadians. They have been educated for better things.

561. Library circulation in Quebec shows an annual output of 697,400 volumes, against the neighboring Protestant State of Ontario's 13,999,414.

And you really think that an argument against the truth of the Catholic Church! A 2,000 years old Church does not suddenly become false because Protestants in Ontario happen to borrow more books from their libraries in 1954 than Catholics do in Quebec! But even so, there are a few questions to ask about this book-reading business. The first thing to note is that education does not depend upon the number of books one reads. Quality, not quantity, is most important here. The voracious reader who feels that he must keep up with the latest trash that is published, gaining from all his reading a hotch-potch of muddled ideas, is worse off than one who reads fewer and better books. Have you checked up the kind of books read by Protestants in Ontario as compared with the kind of books read by Catholics in Quebec? The next thing is to ask why Protestants in Ontario borrow a greater quantity of books from their libraries than Catholics in Quebec. I'll offer you a reason. The severe winter months in Ontario and Quebec tend to keep people at home in the evenings. What are they to do? French Canadians have been educated in the moral law. They do not believe in contraception or abortion. They have a healthy family life, with many children. There is no loneliness and boredom in such families. In Ontario, birthcontrol and abortions are destroying family life. Childless couples turn to reading, making books a substitute for babies. Lest you think I am exaggerating, the annual increase of Protestants in Ontario, even with the help of immigration, is only half the annual increase of Catholics in Quebec without the help of immigration. So pronounced was the contrast that, on June 8, 1944, the Toronto "Globe and Mail" complained in an editorial that taxes for family allowances paid by Protestants in Ontario were mostly distributed to Catholic families in Quebec! The following week, the same paper complained that if the birth-rate amongst Protestants in Ontario goes on declining, their parliamentary representation will diminish and they will end up governed by Catholics. Is it any wonder, then, that more reading is done in the lonely homes of Ontario Protestants than amongst the Catholics of Quebec, kept busy with a houseful of children? And you ask me to reconcile the truth of the Catholic Church with the fact that Protestants in Ontario, because they have less babies, find time to read more books than Catholics in Quebec! But that is enough of this foolish argument based on what is imagined to be the educational backwardness of Catholics under the destructive influence of their religion.



A Radio Analysis"
- Book Title