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

Legislative power of the Catholic Church

667. Rome's power-complex is the thing people can't help noticing today. Book after book has been written to expose it.

It is true that enemies of the Catholic Church have written book after book, attacking what they are pleased to term her "power-complex"; but they are laboring under a delusion.

668. Repeatedly you say, in radio program after radio program, that the Catholic Church was set up of God.

I do. I insist that, according to Sacred Scripture, Jesus Christ must be accepted as God, and that He established, commissioned and guaranteed one Church as His own. Moreover, He conferred legislative authority upon that Church, enabling her to make such laws for the good of her members as the changing circumstances of history might render necessary. To her, in the persons of the Apostles, He said: "Whatsoever you shall bind upon earth shall be bound also in heaven; and whatsoever you shall loose upon earth shall be loosed also in heaven." Matt., XVIII, 18. I also insist that according to Scripture, history and logic, that Church is the Catholic Church, which is therefore the true Church of God.

669. Because of her claim to be able to make laws in the name of God many people feel that your Church wants to control the very lives of all who submit to her.

To a certain extent that feeling is justified, and it is a reason why one should become a Catholic, not a reason for refusing to do so. For the real position is this. The Catholic Church seeks no control over her members in purely political matters which do not conflict with religion or morality. In the field of religion and morals, she does seek to control the very lives of her members. She wants them to live as good Christians, tells them how to do so, and insists on their obligation before God to do so. But to quarrel with that is to quarrel with the Catholic Church for behaving precisely as one would surely expect the true Church to behave.

670. When Christ gave the power to bind and to loose, He was addressing the Apostles only, not the Church through the ages.

Christ chose the Apostles in order to establish His Church, and was giving them powers necessary for the Church. That Church He called a kingdom on earth; and a kingdom needs a constitution. The basic constitutional powers of the Church had to include the power to legislate in order to meet whatever new needs might arise in the ages to come. Without such authority the Church could not possibly maintain unity of any sort for very long. Christ therefore conferred upon the Apostles as officials of His Church the constitutional power to make necessary laws as occasion demanded. And that power had to remain in the Church as long as it lasted. But Christ declared that it was to last till the very end of the world.

671. If the power to make laws has been handed on in the Church, why not also the command to heal the sick, to raise the dead, and to work other miracles?

The power to work miracles was not intended to be part of the constitutional powers of the Church. The essential commission of the Church was to teach all nations the truth, to preserve order and unity within itself by legislative authority, and to labor for the salvation and sanctification of souls. To commend the mission of the first preachers of the gospel, God directly intervened by working many miracles through them. Thus St. Mark says, in the last verse of his gospel: "They, going forth, preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word with signs that followed" (XVI, 20). In his Epistle to the Corinthians St. Paul stresses the fact that not all had the same powers, but that different powers were manifested by different people, as God willed. And he told them, in Cor.,XIV, 22, that such signs were not for believers, but for unbelievers. No Christian should look to the Church for such temporal benefits. To heal the sick and cure all manner of diseases were not part of the constitutional powers of the Church. In his instructions to Timothy and Titus, whom he had appointed as Bishops, St. Paul speaks of their duty to teach sound doctrine, to rule well over their flock, and to work for the welfare of souls. Nowhere does he tell them that part of the mission of the Church is to heal the sick miraculously. As a matter of fact, as the Church became more and more solidly established and the need for miracles as special signs of its truth diminished, God intervened less and less frequently in such a way. But the power of the Church to make laws continued and has continued in all ages, according to the changing times and circumstances for which Christ made no specific provision personally. He left future legislation to His Church as need arose, whether by making new laws, or by repealing old laws. That was the only possible thing to do for a Church, which had to go on existing till the end of time through all the fluctuations of history. To deny that this Apostolic authority was to continue in the Church is opposed both to Scripture and to reason. And there is no parallel between that permanent and abiding authority, and the transitory power of miracles as God chose to bestow it, now upon this person, now upon that, in the early stages of the Church.

672. By your own admission, then, certain laws of your Church are man-made.

They are, but that does not mean that they have only human authority. Since Christ delegated His own authority to the Apostles and through them to the Church of which they were the foundation, it follows that He exercises His divine authority through the Church. Laws of the Church made by lawfully constituted ecclesiastical authorities in I any given age have not only human, but divine authority. Surely you will not deny that God can exercise His authority either immediately, or ] through chosen human agents, just as earthly rulers can exercise their authority either personally, or through chosen ambassadors. There is no contradiction between the statements that certain laws are formulated by the Church authorities, and that those laws are of God. For God sanctions the laws which result when the Church exercises the authority He gave her.

673. St. Paul tells me that I am not under the law, nor compelled to live by the law.

He tells you that you are not under the Mosaic Law as a religion, nor subject to all its details. But you are obliged to observe the basic moral laws embodied in it which are part of the natural moral law; and you are obliged to observe the prescriptions of the Christian religion. Membership of the Church established by Christ, and obedience to that Church, are essential to the Christian religion.

674. If there is authority for any law-making apart from those laws specifically laid down by Christ, it would apply to everything!

It would apply to everything necessary or useful for the welfare of the Church according to the purposes for which Christ established it. Matters outside the scope Christ intended for His Church do not come under her authority. That the Apostles knew that they had received authority to make laws apart from those specifically laid down by Christ personally is evident from Holy Scripture. Throughout the Acts of the Apostles and the Epistles of St. Paul you will find all kinds of rules and regulations concerning problems of worship and discipline that arose from time to time, and for which Christ had not expressly legislated. The very words used by the Apostles in publishing their decision at the Council of Jerusalem show that they acted with a divinely-given authority. "It has seemed good to the Holy Ghost and to us," they said, "to lay no further burden upon you than these necessary things" (Acts, XV, 28).

675. The English writer, Mr. Sidney Dark, said that he could never submit to the hard arrogant claims of the entirely Italianized Vatican.

That statement is due to his insular English nationalism and a complete misconception of the supernatural character of Catholicism. Although the present Pope happens to be an Italian by birth, the Vatican is not in the least "Italianized." The Vatican has ever proclaimed its independence of Italy. Italy itself was forced to acknowledge the Vatican's independence. Nor does the Vatican think in terms of Italy. The Vatican thinks in terms of the universal Church. Had Mr. Dark lived in the first century, would he, noting that the Apostles were all Jews, have dismissed their claims to authority as hard and arrogant, declaring that he, an Englishman, could never submit to a Church with such an entirely judaized body of leaders? Logically, he would have to do that, according to his present attitude. So, too, in the 14th century, he would have been able to reject the same Catholic Church on the score that the Popes were French, and that he could not submit to the hard arrogant claims of an entirely Gallicized Avignon Papacy. It is evident that he is thinking in terms, not of Christianity, but of his English nationalism. Not without reason, an American radio commentator, Edward Murrow, said recently: "The English are a religious people, but their religion is England."

676. I have heard you say that, for sufficiently grave reasons, your Church sometimes dispenses from certain of her laws.

That is true. Our Lord said to the Apostles not only: "Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound also in heaven," but: "Whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed also in heaven."

677. That confirms my belief that your Church makes laws only to break them, when it suits any of its members to evade the law.

What I have said could in no way justify such a belief. The Catholic Church does not make laws only to break them. She would not bother making a law she did not expect to be observed. If, in special circumstances, she uses her authority to dispense a particular person from an ordinary and normal rule of conduct for Catholics which she herself: made, there is no question of that law being broken. The law is repealed for that particular person in his or her particular circumstances. And there is no law forbidding the Church to grant a dispensation from her own ecclesiastical legislation. I might add that dispensations are not granted whenever it suits any members of the Catholic Church to want them. The many Catholics who have applied for dispensations in various matters yet have not obtained them would soon disillusion you on that point.

678. My contention is that laws are made to be kept.

You are right in that. But you omit one vital factor. A law is a law only in so far as it is the manifestation of the will of someone in authority. It ceases to be operative in so far as the legislator ceases to will that it should apply. And a dispensation means that the legislator no longer wills the law to apply in a particular case. A person who receives a dispensation, therefore, breaks no law when he acts upon it.



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