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

Rome and totalitarianism

728. When Bishop Fulton Sheen received into the Roman Church Elizabeth Bentley, a former Soviet spy, he said that he was convinced of her sincerity "in renouncing all forms of totalitarianism".

He could not have received her into the Catholic Church had he not been assured of that.

729. I was astounded when I read that. For is not Roman Catholicism itself the acme of totalitarianism?

The answer to that is yes, and no. Take no first. The totalitarianism which is that utterly incompatible with the Catholic religion is State Absolutism— a State Absolutism which behaves as if citizens had no destiny whatever beyond this world and no duty in it except one of servile submission to whatever the State chooses to demand of them. As Communism works on such principles, no Catholic can be a Communist. But I have admitted that the Catholic Church in some sense stands for totalitarianism. This is not, however, in any political or earthly sense. It has nothing to do with any form of totalitarian temporal power. It is concerned with the totalitarian religious claims of God Himself, to which all other claims are secondary and subordinate. Christ Himself stressed such totalitarian claims when He declared that the first and greatest commandment is: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, with all thy mind and with all thy strength" (Matt., XX, 37). Whilst condemning secular totalitarianism, therefore, the Catholic Church does insist upon the totalitarian claims of God to every man's conscientious and religious obedience.

730. Can you, with a due regard for the truth, deny that the Roman Church suffers from a chronic power-complex?

A due regard for the truth would compel me to deny that, in the sense you have in mind concerning the expression you use.

731. Does she not seek power of very sort, at all times, and by every means?

No to all three, in any sense of worldly power or of unlawful means. Naturally, convinced of her obligation to obey the command of Christ: "Go, teach all nations" (Matt., XXVIII, 19), she seeks ever to extend her religious influence, to the greater glory of God and the salvation of souls. She is aware that unsympathetic and hostile critics will be bent on misinterpreting her aims. But she cannot regard that as a reason for neglecting her duty.

732. One with a blind eye could see the totalitarian tendency of the Roman Church to extend its authority into every sphere of life.

If it is a question of moral and spiritual authority, there is no sphere of life in which sound moral and Christian principles should not be applied. But I deny that this can rightly be called a totalitarian tendency in the usual and political sense of the word. In his Bampton Lecture in America, at Columbia University, in 1950, entitled "Gospel and Law", one of the best Protestant Scripture scholars, Professor C. H. Dodd, a Congregationalist, declared that the New Testament doctrine of the Church insists that the Church as established by Christ has the twofold duty making disciplinary laws for its members and of pronouncing moral judgments on human conduct throughout the world in general. And he expressly says that this absolute claim to moral authority cannot be called totalitarian in the political sense because the Church is not a self-determining power, but one entirely subordinate to ends beyond itself, the ends of Christ. The strange thing is that Professor Dodd does not see that what he describes as the New Testament doctrine of the Church is realized in the Catholic Church only, and not in any of the non-Catholic Church which make no claims to any absolute moral authority, and even object to the Catholic Church doing so!

733. If you want proof of what I say, read C. J. Cadoux's book "Roman Catholicism and Freedom".

I have read it. In reality his book but proves that, far from claiming any absolute moral authority, Protestant Churches object to the Catholic Church doing so. For the rest, Dr. C. J. Cadoux shows that he was quite unable to appreciate Catholicism at its true value. Another Protestant writer, Dr. E. G. Selwyn, Anglican Dean of Winchester, said of him: "Dr Cadoux's Protestantism is of a very radical kind. He is a Congregationalist . . . not afraid to jettison the Creeds as well as the Pope." Speaking of an earlier book against Catholicism by Dr. Cadoux, Dean Selwyn said "His book moves through many fields, theological, historical and ethical;and each is made to add its quota to the case against Catholicism. It a great thing to have the case thus presented within the covers of one volume. If Dr. Cadoux fails to establish it, probably no other attempt will succeed." Then he adds: "Our contention is that Dr. Cadoux fails."

734. Read "Crux Ansata" by H. G. Wells.

I have read that incredibly silly book. It is not surprising, of course that H. G. Wells, an utterly immoral man in his personal life, and who rejected belief in Christ and in God, should have found the very thought of the moral authority of the Catholic Church distasteful. But it is to be noted also that Wells wrote the book you mention in his old age, in 1943. The London "Times Literary Supplement," of May 13, 1944, said of him then: "The mark of his old age has been a rising intolerance, until his pen becomes a cat-o'-nine-tails tearing the backs of his contemporaries and leaving wounds which only time will heal. The spectacle is fascinating but horrible . . . It horrifies because the biting lash is so obviously unfair even to the worst of its victims, and is wielded with a passion that seem to spring from the depths of Mr. Wells' being." Those words are from a review of his book " '42 to '44." An irascible atheist filled with hatred of the Catholic Church is hardly likely to provide his readers with a impartial and objective judgment of that Church. So we can dismiss the late Mr. H. G. Wells.

735. Paul Blanshard, the American, says the same thing in his book, "Freedom and Catholic Power."

Hatred of the Catholic Church makes strange bedfellows. You have quoted Dr. Cadoux, the Congregationalist, H. G. Wells the atheist, and now we have Paul Blanshard, the secularist and one-time revolutionary socialist. It does not seem to matter by whom or for what reasons the Catholic Church is defamed, provided it is defamed! As for Paul Blanshard, Henry Luce, of "Time," "Life" and "Fortune" magazines, himself a Presbyterian, warned Protestants against Blanshard's attacks on the Catholic Church. He said that Blanshard, whilst appearing to be concerned for Protestantism and promoting sales of his books through Protestantism, did not show any real interest in any form of Christianity. And he suggested that if Mr. Blanshard were honest, he would frankly declare himself a secularist with no concern for religion at all. Certainly it is not to a man like Paul Blanshard that one can look for a reliable estimate of the Catholic Church. So we can dismiss him also, with the late Mr. H. G. Wells.

736. The Anglican Bishop Burgmann, of Goulburn, N.S.W., said: "We Anglicans are undyingly opposed to all forms of totalitarianism, both in Church and State."

Anglicans are not more opposed to totalitarianism in the form of State Absolutism than Catholics, who have certainly been in the vanguard of resistance to the tyranny Communism would impose upon us. As for totalitarianism in the Church, no Anglican Bishop can afford to speak on that subject. The Nonconformist Churches exist as a protest against the totalitarian claims of the Church of England and its Bishops, for they were born of rebellion against all attempts to coerce them into conformity with the Anglican religion as by law established in England. The pilgrim fathers fled to America to escape the totalitarian demands of that same Church of England. Meantime, the Anglican Dean of Canterbury, Dr. sail Hewlett Johnson, campaigned openly on behalf of Soviet tyranny whilst Anglican authorities did nothing about it.

737. Bishop Burgmann said: "The Roman Church is authoritarian if oi in principle and by conviction, and tireless in the pursuit of its aims."

From a religious point of view that is true. The Catholic Church would not be the true Church otherwise. For Christ called His Apostles, made them the nucleus and foundation of His Church, commanded them to teach all nations whatsoever he had made known to them, told them that whatsoever they bound on earth would be bound also in heaven, and declared that if a man would not hear the Church he was to be regarded as a heathen, or not a Christian at all. Surely the Catholic Church is not to be blamed for remaining religiously as authoritarian in principle and by conviction as Christ intended her to be, and for being tireless in her aim to win as many people as possible to the Christian and Catholic Faith! But all that has nothing to do with politics.

738. The Rev. Alan Walker, an internationally known Methodist, said of the Roman Church: "Any religious dictatorship which formulates doctrines and forces men to accept them forgets that men are not servants but children of God."

Men are servants of God even though they be also children of God. St. Paul tells us: "Being free from sin, we have become servants of God." Rom., VI, 22. But what does Mr. Walker mean by "any religious dictatorship which formulates doctrines and forces men to accept them"? Any religious dictatorship! Christ Himself spoke "as one having authority. He formulated doctrines about God and God's kingdom, about Himsel as the Messiah, about man and man's eternal destiny. He dictated what men were to believe, and laid an obligation on them to accept His doctrines saying: "He who believes not shall be condemned." Will Mr. Walker accuse Christ of forgetting man's proper relationship to God? If he say that he did not mean Christ, why did he say "any religious dictatorship"? And if he says that he was attacking the claim of the Catholic Church to teach with authority, what will he make of Christ's words: "If a man will not hear the Church, let him be as the heathen" or of St. Paul's description of the mission of the Church to bring "into captivity every understanding unto the obedience of Christ"? II Cor., X, 5. "Captivity" sounds very like our being servants, after all.

739. The Anglican Bishop of Sheffield, in England, recently declared "The Roman Church never forgets that it is a temporal power as well as a spiritual society; and its political activities are always directed to the strengthening of its own tactical position and influence".

It seems that the Bishops of England's national Church are themselves scarcely able to think except in terms of politics! The Catholic Church neither claims to be a temporal power, nor aims at becoming one. I am a Catholic, and I owe no temporal allegiance to the Catholic Church. Not a resident of Vatican City, I do not owe temporal allegiance to the Pope even as temporal ruler of Vatican City. The simple truth is that the Catholic Church never forgets that she is a spiritual society, and that her religious duty is to influence her members towards an ever better observance of Christian principles in their personal, domestic, commercial, professional and political activities, whilst warning them against any departures from Christian principles in these fields.



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