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
Socialism
Trade unions
Communism
Protestant Churches and Communism
Capitalism
Social apathy of Churches
Catholic social teaching
Marriage
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
War

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
Anti-semitism
"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

Catholicism anti-democatic

766. On Sept. 20, 1944, Dr. Wilson, Anglican Bishop of Chelmsford, England, said that according to the Roman view, the best interests of the Catholic Church are served, not by a democratic Government, but by a Dictatorship.

That utterance, made during World War II, was dictated by both religious and national prejudice. Let another Englishman speak who knew more about the subject. Mr. George Glasgow was, for over 20 years, diplomatic correspondent of the London "Observer," and a special writer on Foreign Affairs in the "Contemporary Review." In his book, "Diplomacy and God," written shortly after the outbreak of World War II, Mr. Glasgow said that when Italy entered that war: "Her declaration of war, among its other grievous consequences, dealt a hard blow at the Pope, who had left no doubt by his many pronouncements that he condemned the German aggressor. The Vatican now had to accept the fact that Italy's millions of Catholics were forced by the political power to join the millions of German Catholics in a cause condemned by their Pope. The Vatican organ, 'Osservatore Romano' enormously increased in circulation throughout Italy, which fact suggested at any rate that an increasing number of the Italian people agreed with the Pope, not with Mussolini. The Duce's Press was therefore mobilized increasingly to attack the Holy Father. The crisis in Italian feeling had been further inflamed when the Pope sent messages of sympathetic distress to King Leopold, Queen Wilhelmina, and the Grand Duchess of Luxemburg, and prayed for the delivery of three noble and inoffensive peoples from the aggressor who had just crossed their frontiers . . . The youth of Italy were aware that the Pope had condemned both Hitler and Mussolini as lawless aggressors . . . and Mussolini took drastic steps to poison their minds against the Catholic Church itself. Posters were displayed on the walls of Rome inciting the youth of Italy against the twin enemies: England and the 'Osservatore Romano.' " Mr. George Glasgow would reject as childish Bishop Wilson's suggestion of the Vatican's anti-democratic preference for dictatorships!

767. How do you account for the Pope's never having uttered a word against the Fascist leaders, Mussolini, Franco, Salazar and Hitler, who were all favorites of the Vatican?

You are merely reviving ancient Communist propaganda. The indiscriminate use of the word "Fascism" by Communists was too absurd to warrant discussion. The men you name all differed in their political theories. None of them was a "favorite" of the Vatican. The totalitarian principles of Mussolini's Fascism and of Hitler's Naziism met with Papal condemnation.

768. During and after the civil war in Spain, the dictatorship of General Franco enjoyed the special blessing of the Pope.

The Pope has never expressed the slightest approval of General Franco's specific role as dictator in Spain. He did express approval of his cause, in so far as he defended Spain against the Reds and guaranteed the protection of the Church against their hostility. But that did not imply approval of whatever form of political administration Franco might choose subsequently to adopt. In that matter the Pope was neutral.

769. Franco massacred a million people in Spain, yet in May, 1939, he went to Church to give thanks to God for his victory.

Even were your description of General Franco's conduct true - and it is not - the fact that Franco went to a Catholic Church to give thanks to God for his success does not prove the Catholic Church to be a political institution. It merely proves that Franco was a Catholic, however misguided you may imagine his policy to have been. His military decisions during the civil war and his national reorganization afterwards were, of course, his own. They were not dictated by the Catholic Church, although they happened to include protection of the Catholic Church against the atheistic liberals and the Communists of the International Brigade who had sworn to destroy it. To speak of Franco's "massacre of a million people in Spain" as if they were not casualties in a war which Franco believed necessary and lawful, and to omit reference to the massacre of civilian Catholics, including Priests and Nuns, by the Communists before Franco stepped in to put an end to it shows a political as well as a religious bias which discounts the value of your judgment in this matter.

770. Pope Pius XII blessed Franco's bloody bands of Moors, Germans, Italians and the scum of Spain, addressing them as "my beloved sons who bring to the heart of your Father an immense consolation because you have been defending the faith and the civilization of your country."

Pope Pius XII addressed his remarks to the Spanish people. He made ao mention of "bloody bands of Moors, Germans, Italians and the scum of Spain." And his blessing was upon the Spanish people, not for their merely political plans and accomplishments, but precisely because they had safeguarded the welfare of religion and civilization. That certainly does not turn the Catholic Church into a political institution.

771. I know Roman Catholics who were of the opinion that the wishes of the majority of the people in Spain were unjustly overridden by the powerful few—Franco and his followers.

Such Catholics were ill-infbrmed, taking for granted the garbled reports published in the newspapers at the time. One of the greatest successes of the Communists was that of persuading the press of the world to describe the Moscow-inspired Republicans as "Loyalists," and the Spanish armies under Franco as "Insurgents." The issues at stake in Spain during the civil War there were at no time presented impartially by our daily press. Thinking people have become much wiser since. But a Catholic who took the daily press then as his guide, when a pro-Communist mania was sweeping through the ranks of our journalists, would be as liable as anyone else to form wrong impressions.

772. I know of one Roman Catholic who abandoned the Catholic Church because he honestly believed this.

He must have been a very ill-instriicted Catholic whose spirit of faith was in the last stages of pernicious anemia before the civil war began in Spain at all. It is simply ridiculous to imagine that the truth of the Catholic Church no longer holds because, although the Church has been the same Church for nearly 2,000 years, in a particular country at a particular time political events don't happen to meet with one's approval! And it is not merely absurd, it is pitiable that a Catholic should renounce his religion because of a judgment based on biased reports which have not given him a true idea of the situation. However, I do not believe that the man you mention abandoned his religion for the reason he pretended. He was already disposed to abandon it for other reasons, and merely made newspaper propaganda an excuse for doing so.

773. Is General Franco still "The Holy Son of the Church?"

One has to be something before one can still be something. General Franco has never assumed the title "Holy Son of the Church"; and he has never been given that title by the Church. He professes to be a Catholic just as other Catholics; and the Church acknowledges him as a Catholic just as she acknowledges other Catholics. The Church has never declared Franco to be more Catholic than other Catholics. As regards his management of Spain, she has commended him for his attitude towards the interests of religion in some things; she has reproved him for his attitude on that matter in other things. In purely political matters the Church leaves it to Franco and to the Spanish people to work out their own destiny.

774. If your Church is not political, why did Pope Pius XI make a political treaty with Mussolini in 1929 to gain Fascist recognition of Vatican City, a large sum of money, control of education, the listing of criticism of religion as a crime - all provided the Pope promised not to interfere with Italian politics?

What is known as the Lateran agreement was not a Treaty between two political powers, but a "Concordat" between the Italian Government and the Catholic Church. By it the Italian Government admitted that it had no political control over the Vatican and that the Vatican would have no responsibility whatever for Italian political decisions. Italy agreed to reimburse the Church for ecclesiastical properties wrongly confiscated by previous governments. The Concordat allowed the restoration of religious teaching in the schools, but did not give control of education to the Church. The Fascists were determined to keep that in their own hands. Criticism of religion was not listed as a crime. Finally, precisely because the Church is not a political institution, the Pope declared that the Italian Government had nothing to fear from political interference by the Vatican, although he expressly reserved the right to vindicate moral principles should any earthly Government at all - including Italy - transgress them.

775. What have you to say about Mussolini's Fascist State?

Nothing, save from the religious point of view. His Fascism differed of course from Stalin's Communism and from Hitler's Nazism where religion was concerned. Stalin wanted to exclude religion altogether. Hitler wanted to exclude the Christian religion, yet use the religious instinct in the service of the State by creating a religion of "blood and soil" which meant the worship of the German nation itself. Mussolini wanted a Corporate State in which the Catholic religion would be allowed to function, but only in subordination to the State. His idea was a State Absolutism, in which State interests would have to come before those of religion should any conflict arise between them. In the Lateran Concordat of 1929, he modified his demands on paper, promising due regard for the religious rights of the Church. But Pope Pius XI soon had to protest that the promises were not being observed, that in practice the Fascists were propagating the worship of the State rather than of God, and that the formula of the Fascist Oath of allegiance to the State which even children were compelled to make was quite unlawful both from the viewpoint of natural morality and Christian principles.

776. If the Vatican was neutral politically, why in 1942 did Roberto Farinacci have to complain, in the "Regime Fascista," that representatives of all Italy's enemies were staying at Vatican City, including a clique of Jews?

That charge of political disloyalty to Italy was absurd, after the Concordat had made it quite clear that the Vatican owed no political allegiance to Italy. The Concordat itself acknowledged the right of the Holy See to receive representatives from all nations which chose to appoint them, whether those nations were friendly or otherwise towards Italy. Many nations, even hostile towards each other, had representatives there, and the Pope was certainly within his rights in granting asylum to many refugee Jews against the anti-semitic fanaticism of extreme Fascists represented by men like Roberto Farinacci.

777. Why, although the Pope did not protest against the bombing of towns and cities in any other countries, did he protest against the bombing of Rome? Was Rome any different from other cities?

As supreme head of the Catholic Church the Pope had to be above all sectional interests. There were Catholics in all the belligerent countries in World War II. Nor could the Pope allow himself to be dragged into the condemnation of particular outrages which interested politicians wanted condemned to suit themselves. Those interested politicians did not really believe in the right of the Pope to praise or condemn anybody from the moral point of view. They would attach no weight whatever to any condemnation which affected their own conduct. They were merely ready to complain when the Pope did not say or do what they thought he should say or do. But the Pope was not really silent. Again and again he condemned attacks on non-military objectives, and the destruction of civilian populations, regardless of which nation was guilty of such conduct. On June 2, 1940, when Germany was having things all her own way and was indiscriminately bombing English cities, the Pope protested strongly against the forgetfulness by belligerents of duties to humanity, and against the extermination of non-combatants. Any particular incident violating laws of humanity fell under that condemnation and of many others similar to it. As for the particular protest against the bombing of Rome, there were good reasons for that from the purely religious point of view. Anyone who knows anything of history knows that Rome is the Mother of Western Christendom. England itself, as well as the rest of Christendom, owed its Christian Faith to Rome. Just as Jerusalem itself, where Our Lord died, has international religious significance for all Christians, so Rome whence the Christian religion was spread throughout the Western World has international religious significance for all Christians. Everyone deplored, and rightly so, the destruction of ancient and venerable Cathedrals and Churches in Europe. But there was yet more, and altogether special reasons, to deplore the destruction of the most ancient and venerable Christian edifices in Rome itself.

778. Had not Hitler planned with the Pope for a world-domination for himself and for the Roman Catholic religion alone?

No. Whatever he had planned for himself, he intended only the destruction of all forms of the Christian religion. The officially-sanctioned book by Rosenberg, "Gott und Volk," contained these statements of the Nazi outlook: "We believe in Germany and cannot believe at the same time in another life. The fronts are evident; one is called Christ, the other Germany. There is no third front, nor is there any compromise. If people t>elieve i n Rome, they cannot believe in Germany. We cannot hold a double faith. When we announced our faith in eternal Germany, we closed the era of religions. There will be neither dogma nor Church." That does not sound like a desire on Hitler's part to see the Catholic Church sharing a world-domination with him.

779. Since Catholics were a third of the population in Germany why did they not prevent the Nazi Party from ever attaining power, if they were so opposed to it?

Had they foreseen from the very beginning what Hitler's National Socialism would mean, they certainly would have done so. But they did not realize the full implications of the movement until all legitimate mean! of opposing it had been wrested from them. In the beginning the Nazi movement made a strong appeal to patriotism. As all other Germans, Catholics could not but respond to that. Catholics are human beings, and as such owed allegiance not only to their Church but also to their country. The distress in Germany which followed the defeat in 1918 was theirs as well as that of other Germans. And with all other Germans; they longed to see their country and nation rehabilitated. They cannot be blamed for not opposing what they regarded as efforts to rectify national grievances.

780. Their opposition to Hitler must have been a very feeble effort.

Once they realized the necessity of opposition, the cost to Catholics was thousands of lives and an immense amount of suffering, mental and physical, together with impoverishment through confiscation of property. It must be remembered that the Nazi Party only gradually manifested its hostility to religion. Back in 1933 so little hostility had been shown that a Concordat had been entered into between the Catholic Church and the Nazi Government by which religious freedom was guaranteed to German Catholics, to show them that they had nothing to fear from the Nazi regime from that point of view. But as the Nazis felt stronger] they broke the Concordat and began persecuting the Church, advocating a return to paganism. The Catholic Bishops, various Catholic Associations, and Catholic newspapers protested. The newspapers were suppressed and the Associations dissolved. The Bishops were hampered in every possible way. In 1937 Pope Pius XI issued his Encyclical "Mit Brennender Sorge," condemning Nazism as anti-Christian; and Catholics in Germany were forbidden to belong to the Nazi Party under pain of deprivation of the! Sacraments.

781. If the Pope had no political sympathies with Hitler, why did he send him a telegram of congratulation when he escaped assassination?

He did not do so. Newspapers reported that he did so, but the report was contradicted the following day. When such reports fit in with one's own religious prejudices or political bias, one should suspect the possibility that they have been invented by religious prejudice or political bias. At about the same time as the rumor you mention was cabled throughout the world by various press agencies, London newspapers declared that Hitler's flying bombs were being made in Spain. Challenged in the House of Commons, Mr. Eden said that the Foreign Office was satisfied that there were no grounds for such a charge. London newspapers defended themselves by saying that they got the report from the Moscow newspaper, "Pravda." But "Pravda" retorted that it took the report in good faith from a London newspaper! So round it goes. It is elementary prudence to reserve one's judgment concerning tendentious newspaper reports, refusing to form settled convictions on doubtful evidence.

782. Did the Pope ever once denounce the cause of the Fascist Axis in World War II?

Neither.the Axis nor the Allies ever once asked the Pope to adjudicate between them on the political issues at stake. It would have been time enough for the Pope to speak on such a political matter when invited to do so, and each side had put its case before him. You must not object to the Pope for interfering in politics and then blame him for not doing so. The Pope was not silent, however, on the moral issues involved in the political programs of the different countries; and it is significant that the three dictatorships drew condemnations from the Pope, but none of the democracies. For the Pope condemned the State Absolutism af Italian Fascism, the Pagan Nationalism of the Nazis, and the Atheistic Totalitarianism of Russian Communism.

783. Did not these things justify the protest of Dr. Wilson, Anglican Bishop of Chelmsford, in England, against letting the Vatican have any say in the peace settlement?

That a religious leader of a Protestant Church should express such a dread of Papal influence, ought surely to indicate that his protest was prompted by a religious antipathy towards the Catholic Church. Even his fellow Anglican, Dean Inge, took him to task for allowing his prejudices to warp his judgment where the Catholic Church was concerned. And Dean Inge, who had earlier been taken to task for the same reason by Hilaire Belloc, certainly was not prejudiced in favor of the Catholic Church. What ever else might stand in the way, religious bigotry at least should not be allowed to prevent the Vatican from contributing in any way at all towards a lasting peace in this world, if by its advice and influence it could do so. That it could do so was certainly the opinion of Mr. Sumner Wells, former American Under-Secretary of State, who declared in his book, "The Time for Decision," that "the detailed and accurate knowledge of the Holy See of the conditions in every part of the world, particularly in the countries of Europe, is proverbial." And he added: "I left the Vatican with the conviction that one of the constructive forces working for the regeneration of mankind will be the present Pope, and many of those about him." Bishop Wilson's dread of Papal influence was quite unjustified; and the fact that the greatest admirer of his hostility towards the Vatican was Mr. H. G. Wells, the self-declared opponent of all forms of Christianity, should be enough in itself to undermine any confidence in his judgment whether on matters of politics or religion.

NEXT TOPIC »

MORE FROM VOLUME 4

"THAT CATHOLIC CHURCH
A Radio Analysis"
- Book Title