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

Mixed marriages

1070. Does not the Catholic Church forbid mixed marriages, and only reluctantly give dispensations to allow them, even though they take place in a Catholic Church?

That is the position.

1071. Should not a Christian Church encourage such marriages rather than discourage them?

No. Any Church which believes in the truth of its own position is obliged to do all possible to safeguard the faith of its own members and of their future children. From this point of view there is always an element of danger in a mixed marriage. In his booklet, "Mixed Marriages," the Anglican Bishop G. K. Bell, of Chichester, England, wrote: "Without doubt the first thing to say is that such marriages are to be discouraged and avoided. A marriage, to be happy, ought to be built up on a religious foundation, and on agreement in religious belief. Religion is, after all, the most important thing in life; and where there is a breach in religious belief at the very start of married life, the future happiness of the married couple is gravely imperilled." Catholics could certainly agree with every word of that.

1072. True love being part of God's plan, is any attempt to thwart this plan in keeping with Christian ideals?

It was part of God's plan that human beings should have the inclination to love, just as many other inclinations. But it is also part of God's plan that people should learn to regulate their affections, just as their other inclinations. We must remember that love is not its own law. If it were, a married man who felt that he no longer loved his own wife, but that he loved some other woman, would be justified in going off with that other woman. The Christian religion certainly demands that he thwart that new love! People say that surely love is the important thing in marraige. It is important as an inducement to people to get married. But in marriage itself the first glow cannot last, and the parties have to settle down to a less exciting appreciation of one another. Being in love is not the chief thing, nor is it irresistible. We need not let first attractions develop into love; and if they do, we can rise above such love for the sake of higher duties. Whenever necessary, it is an obligation to do this if Christian teachings are to be observed.

1073. I have been told that if a Protestant wants to marry a Catholic girl, the priest has to ask both parties to sign promises that all children will be brought up as Catholics, that the Protestant will put no hindrance in the way of his wife's practice of her religion, and that she will try by prayer and good example to make the Protestant also want to become a Catholic with her.

The fulfilment of those conditions is necessary for a mixed marriage.

1074. An Episcopal clergyman told me that the Roman Church would not give a dispensation for me to marry a Catholic girl unless I agreed to receive an appointed number of instructions from the Roman priest first.

That is true. And surely, even though you have no desire to become a Catholic, it would be well for you to have some understanding of the religion of the girl you wished to marry. If her religion means anything to her at all, your own chances of happiness will be greater if you realize in advance what it will require of her. You will not then resent her fulfilment of obligations which would otherwise be altogether strange to you. It is not a case of your taking instructions from a priest in the sense of taking orders from him. One can well understand a non-Catholic saying: "I'm not going to take instructions from Rome!" But it is not that at all. It is a question of simply having the essential points of the Catholic religion explained to you; and it is knowledge worth having, even if you feel that you yourself could not become a Catholic.

1075. Is it true that the marriage would have to be according to Roman Catholic rites only?

That is true.

1076. Could we be married by Catholic rites, and then have a second ceremony in my own Protestant Church?

The laws of the Catholic Church would not permit any priest to officiate at the marriage except on the understanding that the Catholic ceremony is the only religious ceremony. A Catholic cannot accept the ministrations of a religion incompatible with his or her faith. To do so would incur excommunication from the Catholic Church. This is the only possible position for one who believes the Catholic Church to be the one true Church, and that one religion is not as good as another. Religious indifferentism, however acceptable to others, is quite irreconcilable with the Catholic Faith.

1077. The Episcopal clergyman told me that I had no right to make the promise that all the children of the marriage will be brought up as Roman Catholics.

He cannot quote any definite law of his Church forbidding you to make such a promise. It is a matter for your own conscience. Meantime, remember that a Catholic believes absolutely that the Catholic religion is the one true religion. She has a grave obligation in conscience, therefore, to see that all the children will have the grace and privilege of that religion. And even the Bishop cannot in conscience grant a dispensation for the marriage without the assurance that both parties have promised that the children will not be deprived of the Catholic Faith, but that they will all be brought up as Catholics.

1078. He said that it would be immoral for me to sign such a promise against my deepest and most conscientious convictions.

If to do so be indeed against your own deepest and conscientious convictions to make such a promise, then it would be immoral on your part to do so, and you should let nothing on earth persuade you to do so. Certainly the Catholic Church can neither compel you to make such a promise, nor would advise you to make it against the protests of your conscience. The Catholic Church merely tells the Catholic party that she is not free in conscience to marry a non-Catholic, and that the Bishop is not free in conscience to permit such a marriage, unless the non-Catholic promises that all the children will be Catholics, sharing the true religion with herself. The non-Catholic must be left to his own conscience. If he feels that he can make the required promise with a good conscience, all is well. If he feels that he cannot in conscience make such a promise, then the only thing morally lawful for both parties is to be true to conscience and realize that the contemplated marriage is not possible.

1079. He told me that 1 would be signing away my unborn children's rights.

You would not be doing that. You would be acknowledging the right and duty of your wife to bring up her children in the religion she knows to be true. You yourself may not have the Catholic Faith. But if you find no difficulty in the thought that the Catholic religion is that of your wife, you will find no more difficulty in the thought that it is also the religion of your children. On the other hand, if the thought of your children being Catholics horrifies you, then whatever you do, do not marry a Catholic girl. Your dislike of her religion would be too intense to make happiness with her even a remote possibility.

1080. He said that no Episcopalian should ever consent to such terms.

Thousands of Episcopalians have thought differently. For thousands of them have married Catholics in the Catholic Church, have made the promises required, and have kept them. Of course, if Episcopalians believed theirs to be indeed the one true Church they could not in conscience make such a promise. But Episcopalians do not believe that. Even the Episcopalian authorities do not believe that. If they did, they would be obliged in conscience to insist that no children of the Episcopalian party must be deprived of the true Episcopalian religion. They would have to do the very thing they now condemn the Catholic Church for doing! But they have not the same consciousness of the truth of their own religion which Catholics have of theirs.

1081. No other Church exacts such promises when one of its members marries someone of another religion.

If other Churches had the same deep conviction of their own truth as that possessed by the Catholic Church, then they would feel obliged to adopt similar measures. As a matter of fact, some years ago, the American Lutheran Church declared that if the Catholic Church is so convinced of her own truth, she is quite justified in her regulations for mixed marriages. But the Lutherans went on to say that it was for Lutherans to show that they were just as convinced of the truth of their own Church. So they made the law for themselves also that henceforth no Lutheran may contract a mixed marriage unless the non-Lutheran party promises in writing that all children of the marriage will be brought up as Lutherans! The Catholic papers throughout the United States applauded the decision and expressed the hope that all other Protestant Churches would take the same stand, with a consequent diminishing of mixed marriages all round.

1082. The Catholic party has to promise to do all possible to convert the other.

There can be no room for complaint about that. Such a promise merely stresses the spirit of apostolic zeal which every Catholic should possess. Surely the Catholic party has an obligation to try to win the other to a realization of the truth of the Catholic Church by both prayer and good example. There is no question of putting any pressure on the non- Catholic to compel him to become a Catholic, or to persuade him to do so in a reluctant or half-hearted way. He himself must want to become a Catholic; and all that the Catholic promises is to live so good and edifying a life that he will be likely to want it; and also to pray fervently for that intention.

1083. The Catholic Church has the right to make laws for her own members, but not for non-Catholics.

The Catholic Church does not make laws for non-Catholics. But marriage is a bilateral contract. It takes two to make a marriage. And if a non- Catholic wishes to marry a Catholic, it is impossible for that non-Catholic not to be affected by legislation affecting Catholics. America does not make laws for Australians. But if an Australian girl marries an American, she brings herself under American laws affecting the marriages of American subjects. She cannot reasonably protest that America has no right to make laws affecting her!

1084. Could not one say that, since the threat is made that the marriage cannot take place unless the promises are made, such promises are exacted under duress and therefore would not bind in conscience?

The statement that the promises are a necessary condition before the Catholic Church is free in conscience to grant a dispensation for a mixed marriage cannot be construed as a "threat." No threat of any kind enters into the case. Nor is there any question of duress. Since you are in no way compelled to enter upon such a marriage, your free choice to do so is also a free choice to comply with all the conditions attached to it. Duress implies force or any pressure of such a kind that you could no longer be regarded as a free agent in your decision. Such a plea is not possible where consent to the conditions of a mixed marriage is concerned.

1085. An Anglican clergyman told me that many Protestants make the promises without the slightest intention of observing them. Could one do that?

Not if one is a man of honor, and still less if he had Christian ideals of any kind. Writing on this subject in his book "Marriage and Divorce," the Anglican Bishop of Oxford, the Most Rev. Dr. Kenneth E. Kirk, says: "There are Anglicans, I believe, who make the promises with the intention of disregarding them. Such a course, to my mind, is strongly to be deprecated. Promises are very grave matters; and anyone who suggests that they can be taken simply to achieve a personal interest, and thereafter broken without scruple, is guilty of fostering behaviour wholly contrary to Christian principles." The suggestion made to you by your Anglican clergyman is therefore branded as most reprehensible by the Anglican Bishop of Oxford, one of the best moral theologians in the Anglican Church.

1086. A. The United Nations Charter demands "Freedom of conscience and religious belief, practice, teaching and worship". What freedom has the Protestant party to a mixed marriage?
B. Is he free to follow his own conscience when the Catholic Church tells him that he must marry the Catholic girl in the Catholic Church if he does not want to be accused of living in sin?

A. All the freedom that can rightly be expected.
B. That question is based on many misapprehensions. The Catholic Church does not tell the non-Catholic man that he must get married in the Catholic Church, nor that he must get married at all! The Catholic Church tells the Catholic girl that, as a Catholic, she must marry in the Catholic Church if she wants her marriage to be valid—and that, whether she marries a Catholic or a non-Catholic. If a Catholic girl wants to marry a non-Catholic, or rather if a non- Catholic tells a Catholic girl that he wants to marry her, that Catholic girl informs him that she is obliged in conscience to marry according to Catholic rites, and declares that she can marry him only provided he consents to marry her in such a way. He is quite free to agree to marry her in such a way, or to decline. If the non-Catholic man refuses, and the girl, disloyal to her religion, agrees to marry him outside the Catholic Church, that Church tells her that her marriage will not be a true marriage in the sight of God and that she will be living in a state of sin. But the Catholic Church does not tell the Protestant man that he will be living in sin with her. For the Church is well aware that, whilst the Catholic girl has violated her conscience, the Protestant man thinks it all right, has not violated his conscience, and is therefore not guilty of sin. But whilst he may be in good faith, she is not; and it is the Catholic party whose conduct is condemned by her Church.

1087. Would he have freedom of religious teaching, to teach his own children what his own conscience tells him is right?

His promise before the marriage that all the children will be brought up as Catholics would not have been made had he had any conscientious objections to their being taught the Catholic religion, or had his conscience told him that they must be taught the form of Protestantism which happens to be his. Since his conscience told him that he could allow the children to be brought up as Catholics, he is quite free to follow his conscience by allowing it. If in the first place his conscience had told him that he could not make such a promise, he ought not to have made it. Far from asking him to violate his conscience, the Catholic Church tells him that he is obliged not to do so. If, later on, the Protestant husband declares that he did violate his conscience in making the promise, that he now repents of having done so, and that he feels obliged to bring up the children as Protestants, the Catholic wife would be obliged in conscience to do all possible to prevent his doing so, and to see that the children were brought up as Catholics. There would be a clash of consciences, in which neither could give way. The marriage could well go on the rocks altogether, the wife having to take the children and leave the husband in order to safeguard their faith. But the m average Protestant who marries a Catholic is not in the least likely to develop convictions which could lead to such a disaster.

1088. Would you agree that the only freedom the Catholic Church leaves to a Protestant man contemplating marriage with a Catholic girl is freedom to put all thought of such a marriage right out of his head?

Not if he feels free in conscience to comply with the conditions required by the Catholic Church for such a marriage. But if he does not feel free in conscience to do so, then, since she is not free in conscience to marry him unless he does make the required promises, the only thing to do is to abandon the idea of such a marriage. He has no more right to ask her to violate her conscience than she has to ask him to violate his. Fidelity to conscience is the first duty of each; and, however reluctantly, the parties would have no morally lawful choice except to renounce the particular pleasures and advantages in this world which they thought their marriage would bring them. That would be the only way to safeguard the freedom of each to be true to his and her own conscience, if his conscience would not allow him to promise that all the children would be Catholics. To go on with the marriage under such circumstances could only be at the expense of a violation of conscience either by the Catholic party or by the Protestant - and in neither case could that be justified.



A Radio Analysis"
- Book Title