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 and political ambitions

696. Has not the Catholic Church survived as a religion for 2000 years only because of its power as a political state?

The Catholic Church has survived as a religion through various stages of history whether with or without temporal possessions. For the first 300 years, until the advent of Constantine, the Catholic Church suffered almost continuous persecution and had no possibility of any form of political power. In later centuries, small territories were granted to the Popes to guarantee their independence of political rulers; and even when these territories were forcibly confiscated, the Catholic Church as a Church went on as usual, as it will do till the end of time, whatever its vicissitudes in this world.

697. Is it not impossible for the Roman Catholic Church to confine itself to a merely religious sphere?

In a way, that would be impossible. For whilst there are some matters which are purely religious and others which have no connection with religion at all, there is a vast field of human activities which involve both spiritual and temporal interests/Domestic, commercial, professional, social and political life cannot be declared absolutely exempt from all ethical principles. And where these phases of life are affected by the moral teachings of the Catholic Church, a Catholic has no choice but to accept the guidance of his Church as to the way he will conduct himself in such activities.

698. In other words, your Church is a political as well as a spiritual organization, and has its own political program.

That is another matter altogether. The Catholic Church is not a political organization, and has no political program. You will search in vain for any platform in the realm of politics which Catholics are expected to support in virtue of their religion. When I myself was instructed as a convert, in preparation for my reception into the Church, I was told all that it was necessary for a Catholic to know, and politics were not so much as mentioned. If suspicious people say that converts are not told of the political character of the Church until they are safely landed, I can but say that, in all the years since I have been a Catholic, over forty of them, whilst I am well aware that the Church has at times in different countries warned Catholics of their duty not to support anti- Christian parties or programs, I have never heard of any positive political program Catholics have been told to adopt. During my fourteen years of study in preparation for the priesthood, both in Australia and in Rome, not one of my professors ever explained the political program of the Church. And now, after thirty years as a priest, if any Catholic were to ask me what is the political program of the Church, I would have to tell him that I had never heard of one! If the Catholic Church is a political organization, she is strangely inefficient in leaving both her priests and people so completely unaware of the political convictions she expects them to adopt!

699. But what of assertions of political authority made by some of the medieval Popes?

We must not be too ready to condemn those. The Protestant historian Guizot wrote: "The union of the spiritual and temporal power in the Papacy did not arise from the systematic development either of an abstract principle or of ambitious aims. That which really produced the civil power of the Popes is necessity; and increasing, unceasing necessity." To understand that verdict, one needs a rather extensive background of historical knowledge. The Church was not-given political authority by her Divine Founder. But the exercise of her spiritual authority had created Christendom as the society of Christian peoples in the West. When the Roman Empire went to pieces, temporal princes themselves looked more and more to Papal authority to preserve order in Christendom. Pepin, I 1 Charlemagne and others made territorial grants to the Popes, expecting; them in exchange to use their political influence in the interests of peace.. These princes referred their disputes to the Popes; and no one then thought ti p it out of place in those and later feudal times that secular as well asi [if spiritual authority should be allotted to the Papacy. But the point to I notice is that the Popes did not arrogate to themselves political authority. It It arose from circumstances, was legitimately exercised, and was undoubtedly valid by the consent of Christendom itself.

700. Surely this political power, productive of conflict as it was, involved the Catholic Church as an institution.

It did. The Catholic Church has never repudiated responsibility for j her influence, even political, in the formation and preservation of Chris--j | tendom. But her political administration was not productive of conflict. L If conflicts developed, they were due to resistances, now here, now there, ft on the part of those who would have resisted restraints no matter by whom I, they were imposed. On the whole, however, the political authority of the E medieval Popes was productive of much more good than could be offset by troubles caused by malcontents. S I| The Russian Orthodox philosopher, Vladimir Solovyev, in his book, 1, "Russia and the Universal Church," holds it as one of the glories of the Roman Church as opposed to his own, that she did not refuse the burden I of social and political duties. "The Western Church," he wrote, "faithful to the apostolic mission, has not been afraid to plunge into the mire of history. After having been for centuries the only element of moral order and intellectual culture among the barbarous peoples of Europe, it under- I took the task not only of the spiritual education of these peoples of inde- 1 pendent spirit and uncivilized instincts, but also their material government. In devoting itself to this arduous task, the Papacy thought not so much of the cleanliness of its own appearance as of the urgent needs of mankind." Volumes could be, and have been written on this subject; but I have said enough to show that it is not so simple a matter as many people suppose. Meantime, whilst the Catholic Church is quite prepared to accept responsibility as an institution for the exercise of political power by medieval Popes, no abuses that may have resulted indirectly from it can be used as an argument against the truth of the Catholic Church, or her moral integrity as such.

701. The temporal sovereignty of the Popes came to an end with the loss of the Papal States in the 19th century

Not entirely, as we shall see. As regards the Papal States, I am prepared to admit that whatever advantages they brought to the Church by making the Pope independent of earthly rulers, the disadvantages often far outweighed them. The ecclesiastical administration of the world-wide Church as a religious body made it practically impossible for the Popes to give due attention to cares of state. The administration of the Papal States was entrusted to Cardinals who subdelegated authority to secular officials. Abuses became rampant, and it is not an exaggeration to say that in the 19th century the Papal States were the worst administered in Europe from many points of view. But this does not affect the Catholic Church as a Church; and the loss of the Papal States, with the present provision of a minimum of territorial independence for the Holy See, has not affected the Catholic Church as a Church in the least.

702. Misrule was the order of the day, due to the poor administration of the College of Cardinals.

At most that would prove that the Cardinals, however efficient in their ecclesiastical duties, were pretty poor hands at running the temporal affairs of the country. It proves nothing against the truth of the Catholic Church as a Church. If that Church is the true Church without the Papal States, it was the true Church with them, however badly they were managed.

703. In the plebiscite of 1870, only a small handful of people in Rome itself voted against being incorporated in the united Kingdom of Italy. That is what they thought of Papal rule.

ary process of history it had become more and more evident that the disadvantages of having them were beginning to far outweigh any advantages. As far back as 1640 Pope Pius II expressed the opinion that the Church would be far better off without the burden of such temporal responsibilities. In 1853 Bishop Ketteler, in Germany, denied that the Church insisted on claiming for her external position all that had been laid down when the whole of Christendom was Catholic. He declared that much that had been great and legitimate in the days of Catholic unity amongst European States had been rendered unnatural and intolerable with altered historical circumstances. But he added that the difficulty was to bring about the necessary changes whilst safeguarding essential principles. That has always been the difficulty, for men are too impatient, seeking a short cut by revolutionary methods rather than being content with a more reasonable and evolutionary adjustment.

704. The voting in that plebiscite was not of the modern Soviet-style plebiscites, either.

In that you are mistaken, although it would not matter if you were not for the purposes of our discussion. The plebiscite in Rome in 1870 was accompanied by wholesale methods of violence, deceit and corruption. Unfortunately, the Carbonari and many other revolutionary secret societies, atheistic and anti-Catholic, had seized control of the United Italy Movement, which many good Catholics had themselves supported; and the most fundamental rights of the Holy See were denied and violated. But it would take me too far afield to discuss all the details of this very involved historical episode.

705. Things like these put me off the Catholic religion.

That is quite illogical. The spiritual relationship between your own soul and God is not dependent on whether other individuals in bygone centuries behaved in a way you approve; nor, at your judgment by God, will it do to urge in extenuation of your own conduct that the Papal States were really very badly managed in the 19th century!

706. But the Pope is still an earthly ruler in his own right, which makes Roman Catholicism in part a Church and in part a political State.

The Catholic Church can in no way be called even partly a political State. As a Church it is entirely a religious society. The Pope as Bishop of Rome and the successor of St. Peter is the spiritual head of that Church. He happens also to be temporal ruler of the territory known as Vatican City,

707. The fact remains that the Pope is an earthly ruler as well as head of the Church.

What you would like to suggest is that his earthly rule is co-extensive with his spiritual authority over all Catholics throughout the world. It not. The Pope is earthly ruler over Vatican City, and only the handful of people resident in Vatican City are subject to his temporal administration. No other Catholics in the world are subject to the Pope as their temporal ruler. They owe earthly allegiance to their own lawfully constituted civil authorities. Writing on the Constitution of States, Pope Leo XIII defined the Catholic position. "The Almighty," he said, "has appointed the charge of the human race between two powers, the ecclesiastical and the civil; the one being set over divine, the other over human things. Each in its kind is supreme. Whatever belongs to the salvation of souls or to the worship of God is subject to the Church. Whatever is to be ranged under the civil and political order is rightly subject to the civil authority." From those words it is clear that if the Pope behaved as if he were the earthly ruler of Catholics in the various countries to which they belong he would contradict his own teaching, violate an authority as truly from God as his own, and claim rights Catholics would have to repudiate.

708. He is an earthly ruler precisely because elected head of the Church.

True. But the one power is not co-extensive with the other. Because the Pope is head of the Church which has members belonging from a national point of view to all countries in the world, there must be no room for suspicion that he is subject to any particular country and liable to its political pressure in his spiritual rule over the Church. But the only way he can be free from political allegiance to any particular country is to have a territorial sovereignty of his own. That temporal sovereignty he has over the few acres comprising Vatican City. It exempts him from the political authority of Italy, but gives him no political authority outside those few necessary acres and over Catholics throughout the world.

709. If the Pope does not seek political power, why does he try to establish himself after this world's fashion?

He does not. When the Pope's attitude on a certain matter was once quoted to Stalin, Stalin replied cynically: "How many divisions has he got?" If the Pope wanted to establish himself after this world's fashion he'd have to start looking around for an army, navy and air-force; and join in the race for a stock-pile of atom-bombs.

710. If the Pope does not want to exert any political influence, why does he accept ambassadors accredited to the Vatican by variout countries?

The Pope does want to exert political influence, though he does not want political control. The Church stands for the moral law, and nations as well as individuals are obliged to observe the moral law. The Pope therefore has the duty to explain the moral law as it applies to nations, and to do his best to persuade governments as far as possible to observe that law. For that he must be prepared to receive representatives of such nations as are prepared to enter into discussions with him. And that in turn means that he must have his own officials to meet those representatives and to send in exchange to the nations concerned his own representatives to deal immediately in his name with the various State Departments. In this he is seeking, not political control, but a moral influence over those who have political control.

711. Why, if he is not political, did the Pope exchange diplomatic representatives with Tokyo, even while we were at war with Japan?

Precisely because he is not political. Had he refused because it did not suit our policy, then he would have been political! At the time, some thirty-nine different nations, some of them in conflict with one another, had representatives accredited to the Vatican. They wanted to discuss with the Pope the position of Catholics within their territories, as the Pope wished to do also with them. The Pope, as spiritual head of all Catholics throughout the world, will enter into such relations with any country which desires them. Despite the fact that England tried to put pressure on the Vatican to reject Japan's application for an ambassador there, President Roosevelt, although America was then at war with Japan, expressly declared that unlike England he made no protest at all. England wanted the Pope to adopt its own political views, and because he refused to be political, the newspapers accused him of being political in favor of Japan! President Roosevelt adopted a much more balanced and reasonable viewpoint.

712. Protestants object to the Roman Catholic Church, not because it seeks religious influence, but because it seeks political power.

Years ago, C. A. Windle, the Protestant editor of the American magazine "Truth and Light," wrote in an editorial: "Political Romanism is a man of straw constructed by enemies of the Catholic Church for the purpose of camouflaging the religious bigotry in their own hearts. As a non- Catholic I must reluctantly confess that the only political activity of Churches in America emanates from the pulpits of those Protestant ministers who are loudest in their condemnation of the alleged political activity of the Catholic Church."

713. The Anglican Bishop Moyes, of Armidale, N.S.W., pointed out recently that the Roman Catholic Church is an international institution with adherents in every nation and in ever clime.

Surely the true Church of Christ, who died for all men regardless of any earthly and national considerations, should transcend all national limitations and be for all men. The international character of the Catholic Church is a scandal only for those who identify nationalism and religion, and who want a different brand of religion for each different country. But one who understands the all-embracing truth and charity of Christ finds in the international character of the Catholic Church only a further argument in favor of her claim to be the one true Church of Christ.

714. He declared that the Roman Catholic Church "takes part in politics, both national and international".

So long as politics, whether national or international, are kept within the moral law, the Catholic Church has nothing to say on the subject. But if, in the name of politics, moral principles are violated, the Church has the right and the duty to condemn such an abuse, to declare the moral law which should govern national and international administration, and to plead with politicians for justice in their political decisions. If this effort to persuade politicians to use their authority and power well is to be branded as "taking part in politics," then - and then only - the charge is justified.

715. You have admitted that one and the same man - the Pope - has both temporal and spiritual power. Since the Roman Catholic Hierarchy of Bishops throughout the world is subject to this one man, does not that make it a political Hierarchy?

No. Catholic Bishops throughout the world have spiritual jurisdiction ] over the dioceses entrusted to them. That certainly does not give them any political authority in the countries in which they reside. Nor have the Bishops the least say in the administration of the one small temporal domain subject to the civic rule of the Pope - Vatican City State.

716. How can Roman Catholics be subject to one and the same man in spiritual things, yet not in political things, when one and the same man has both powers?

Quite easily. The Pope is spiritual head of the Catholic Church. Therefore all Catholics everywhere owe him spiritual allegiance. But the Pope is temporal head only of Vatican City State. Therefore only those resident in Vatican City State, whether they are Catholics or not, have to acknowledge him as their temporal ruler. It is absurd to say that because the Pope is spiritual head of the Catholic Church and temporal head of Vatican City State, the two capacities are not so separable that a man cannot owe him allegiance in one capacity but not in the other. In England, one and the same person, the King, is legally the head of both the State and of the Established Church of England. All Englishmen owe him allegiance in his capacity as head of the State. But non-Anglicans owe him no allegiance as head of the Established Church of England. Yet they are not accused of defective loyalty because of that. The King's authority extends to all politically, but not to all religiously. The Pope's authority extends to all Catholics religiously, wherever they may be, but not to all politically. Only anti-Catholic prejudice blinds people to this elementary difference.

717. If the Pope is a spiritual ruler, why so many Papal pronouncements on this world's affairs?

Because the spiritual principles which he has the duty to maintain must be applied even in this world's affairs. Catholics do not cease to be citizens of the States to which they belong, and they may not divorce their conduct as citizens from their Christian principles. The Pope would not be much of a spiritual guide if he had nothing to say about the way in which Christians should conduct even their worldly affairs, letting them go with the world in its own pagan ways without a word of protest or It advice on his part. Religion cannot be ignored in human behavior, whether individually or collectively.



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