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

Trade unions

884. Did not the Catholic Church from the very beginning forbid Catholics on the Continent of Europe to join socialistic trade unions?

Yes. For there were particular reasons for that prohibition. Marxian socialists on the Continent of Europe, hostile to religion, were trying to organize workers, not only in independent trade unions for the betterment of industrial conditions, but on an international basis for political purposes, having in view the establishing of a world-wide Communism. Catholics were forbidden to join such unions, and in many places they formed their own independent Catholic trade unions in which their religious interests were promoted whilst they fought for their rights on the labor market. However the Church permitted Catholics, where purely Catholic unions were not possible, to join independent secular trade unions which were not affiliated with the international socialist organization, and provided certain other conditions were observed.

885. What is the position in our country?

Even here Catholics would not be free in conscience to join unions formed for the purpose, not only of bettering the conditions of workers, but for the purpose also of promoting socialism strictly so-called, as a politico-economic system. The Catholic Church admits, however, that conditions in England, the United States of America, and in Australia, are unfavorable for the establishing of purely Catholic unions as in some European countries. Existing secular unions are registered with the State and enjoy official recognition. They are not affiliated with any international socialist body, and are honestly concerned with the securing of social justice for the workers. Catholics are, therefore, permitted to join such secular unions. Needless to say, although these unions are neutral towards religion, they leave Catholics free to act as Catholics, in no way asking them to violate Catholic principles by compelling conformity to a set trade-union policy regardless of whether it be right or wrong. Where such conditions prevail, the Catholic Church declares that the Bishops must watch all trade-union decisions which involve moral principles, making sure that Catholics are not deceived into supporting violations of justice; and also that the Bishops must establish special Catholic societies to which Catholic members of secular unions should belong for the safeguarding of their religion. In America, in 1937, an American Association of Catholic Trade Unionists was founded, in which Catholic workers from different bona fide secular Labor unions were brought together. This Association sponsors Labor Schools for Catholics, trains Labor leaders in a sound knowledge of Catholic social principles, and publishes various Catholic Labor papers throughout the country. Here in Australia, although we have not made such progress as that, we have various Catholic Guilds and Societies for the Catholic members of the different trade unions, in conformity with the laws of the Church.

886. Trade unionism and socialism are almost synonymous today.

However many trade unionists may lean towards socialistic ideas, that does not make trade unionism as such synonymous with socialism.

887. The late Kier Hardie, who helped to launch the Independent Labor Party of Great Britain in 1893 was often spoken of as "The Grand Old Man of British Socialism". But his theories were very moderate compared with those of present-day socialists.

Kier Hardie's theories of social reform could hardly be called socialism, and Catholics were never forbidden to join his Independent Labor Party. As a matter of fact, Kier Hardie broke away from the extreme Marxian socialism which was then beginning to make its bid for the support of the workers throughout the world. In 1864 Karl Marx's "International Working Men's Association" was formed, and the "First International" actually set up in England. There it established the "Social Democratic Federation," hoping to win British trade unionists to that organization. Pope Leo XIII saw the danger of this move on the part of the Marxists and forbade Catholics to join it. Kier Hardie and his followers rejected the "Social Democratic Federation" with its Marxian teachings, and set out to create a more moderate Labor Party which would have more appeal for the British workers. In 1893 he formed the "Independent Labor Party." In 1895 Pope Leo XIII, in a special letter "Ad Anglos," warmly praised the British trade unionists and their more moderate efforts at the solution of social problems.

888. The Labor Party and trade-unionism, then condemned root and branch by your infallible Pope, is now supported by priests and people alike in your Church.

Pope Leo XIII condemned neither trade-unionism (which indeed he advocated) nor the Labor Party. He condemned root and branch the socialism proposed by Marx, Lassalle, Engels and others, as being materialistic in principle and aiming at a class-less society with a completely socialized State, to the denial of private property and the destruction of human dignity and liberty. And what he condemned is not supported by priests and people alike. All Catholics are obliged absolutely to reject it. I must add that, whilst all Catholics acknowledge the legitimacy of trade-unionism, not all Catholics by any means support the Labor Party in politics. Industrial Labor organizations are distinct and separable from political Labor Parties in the different countries where the latter exist.

889. Why this change of front today?

There has been no change of front on the part of the Catholic Church. But there have been very many changes amongst those calling themselves socialists since Pope Leo XIII's time. Pope Pius XI, in his Encyclical "Quadragesimo Anno," which commemorated the "Fortieth Year" after Pope Leo XIII issued his great Encyclical "Rerum Novarum" on the "Condition of the Working Classes," pointed out that whilst some socialists had continued along the violent road of atheistic Communism, others, although retaining the name of socialists, had mitigated their demands even to the extent of conforming them to the just proposals of Christian social reformers. Pope Pius XI insisted, however, that although Catholics might not be able to find fault with the modified economic demands of mitigated socialism, they could not in conscience accept it as a social system so long as it continued to retain its materialistic outlook on life which is common to all real socialism, ignoring religion and paying no attention to Christian principles and motives of conduct. "Socialism," he said, "if it really remains socialism, cannot be brought into harmony with the dogmas of the Catholic Church . . . no one can be at the same time a sincere Catholic and a true socialist." Catholics are obliged to direct their efforts towards a genuinely Christian social reform.

890. Is there no way in which socialism and true religion can be blended for the betterment of mankind?

So many interpretations are given to the word socialism that no answer could be given to your question until you have first defined what you intend by it. There are many people who think that to be interested in social welfare at all is to be a "socialist." They say they are socialists, yet when asked to explain their ideas, one finds that they are not socialists at all in the real meaning of the word. So I will content myself with saying that true religion and social reform can and should be blended for the betterment of mankind. Social reform must not be confused with socialism.

891. Does not the work of Christ speak loudly of socialism?

No. The work of Christ was primarily to condemn sin as an offense against God, to redeem men from the consequences of sin, to restore them to a right relationship with God, and to lead them to a destiny of eternal happiness in heaven. I do not think any socialist would regard that as the primary purpose of socialism! Christ did insist, of course, that a right relationship between God and man must result in a right relationship between man and man. He certainly intended that human life should be characterized by justice and charity, not only in heaven, but also on earth. According to Him, however, man's earthly welfare will result only when men use earthly things from spiritual motives, in a spirit of obedience to God and for the love of God. Many people have made the mistake of thinking that Christ came to give a lot of good advice about this world and show men how to live in social harmony. They forget that God so loved the world as to give His only-begotten Son for the redemption of men from sin and for the eternal salvation of their souls. Christ teaches us that a deep-rooted tendency to moral evil affects man both in his individual and in his social life. To ignore this and to take some of the ethical teachings of Christ, give them a "this-worldly sense" only, and quote them as indicating "socialism," is to put a disastrous misconception on the teaching and work of Christ. It ignores the very main purpose of His incarnation and redemptive action.

892. What duty is imposed upon Christians by the prayer: "Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven"?

The duty enjoined by that prayer is the duty to make the same Rule of God prevail in our lives now, individually and collectively, as that which prevails in heaven. When we pray that the kingdom of God may come on earth, we are praying for a type of kingdom completely different from the world's idea of a kingdom - for a type of kingdom for which socialism cares nothing. Christ came to preach the kingdom of God. He made it clear that He did not intend an earthly kingdom. He refused to be the kind of king the Jews would have welcomed, devoted to their national, political and social welfare in this world. At the same time, although the kingdom of God was not to be of this world, it was to be partly in it. It was to be perfectly realized, of course, beyond this world and in eternity. But here and now on earth and amongst men, the Catholic Church which Christ established is the visible branch of the heavenly kingdom. Both the Church and her members are to be under the Rule of God. The prayer you have quoted insists that we must bring God into the very texture of our personal lives. In that sense Christ said: "The kingdom of God is within you." Luke, XVII, 21. So we pray that here and now, on earth, our lives may be ruled by God. We implore Him to invade our souls and take possession of them by His love; and that His will may be done in us against the rebellious inclinations of our own persons and of a world that ignores Him - as socialism certainly ignores Him. It is by working for this Rule of God that we contribute to the coming of God's kingdom on earth in anticipation of His eternal and heavenly kingdom. Good social conditions and international order do not mean the kingdom of God. Should we give our bodies to be burned for social justice and have not the love of God within our souls, it profits us nothing, accordng to the teaching of the New Testament. All this, I am sure, is very different from the explanation you expected. There was all the more need, therefore, to put the true meaning of Christ's doctrine before you.



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