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

Neglect of religion

38. To my mind religion enters as little into the lives of most people as into the lives of ants.

However great the evil of irreligion, there is no need to exaggerate it. Whatever may be said of individuals, our social life is based upon and molded, to a great extent by religion. Even those who have drifted from personal religion still accept the lingering conventions of a Christian civilization. They are living, if you like, on their Christian capital; and that will still be kept going by those who do personally live Christian lives and maintain Christian standards. The lives of all in the community are affected by it, even though many are not conscious of it. And the lives of all are affected by religion as the lives of ants are not.

39. More and more people are drifting from it.

I am well aware of the growth of irreligion. And rightly you speak of people "drifting" from it. Most of them have just let go, a very easy thing to do. But if you look into the matter you will find that the driftage is to be found chiefly among non-Catholics who have had a secular education only and who have been taught little or nothing about religion. Not knowledge but ignorance is the cause of it. They have no positive reasons for their lack of religion.

40. Even among Catholics, who are the most reluctant to abandon their religion, it is only the few who take it seriously.

It is true that Catholics are more tenacious in clinging to their religion than others. It is not true that only a few Catholics take their religion seriously. That saints are rare I grant. For heroic virtue would not be heroic were it ordinary. But the vast majority of ordinary Catholics take their religion sufficiently seriously to try to fulfill its basic obligations and to be distressed by any failure on their part to do so. If they are not saints, they are at least sorry they are not saints; and that's something. That at least means taking their religion seriously. It is always in their consciousness and not ignored right through life whilst all goes well, to be thought of only at the very end when the vanity of perishable things is forced upon their notice. The average Catholic cannot be said to regard his religion lightly.

41. Is not the driftage from religion due to the fact that people are beginning to think for themselves?

That I have already answered. Far from thinking for themselves those who have drifted from religion live thoughtlessly. They find it too much of an effort to take sufficient attention and energy from the flood of events which engulf them. They prefer to stop thinking in order to do things rather than to stop doing things in order to reflect. So they are empty-headed where God and religion and the things of the spirit are concerned. Their moral character is consequently undermined and they are swayed by likes and dislikes rather than by intelligent principles and will power. Socially, what is conventional is enough for them; but that means doing as others do, without thinking for oneself. Lack of religion is due to lack of thought, not to thinking for oneself.

42. Just the opposite is the case. Not thought, but credulity and superstition keep religion alive!

There may be some religious people who are credulous. But that is because they are credulous, not because they are religious. Credulity has no necessary connection with religion. Half the patent medicines in the world flourish only because of the credulity of people who read the advertisements for them. As for superstitions, they are not the monopoly of religious people. There are far more of them among the irreligious.

43. What is wanted is truth, and truth only.

To that I would say: "Truth only, but all of it—the truth about God as well as the truth about all that He has made." Indeed, were there no God there would be no truth. And why do you say that what is wanted is truth? Why should it be wanted, what obligation would there be to seek it, if there is nothing at all of permanent value in the universe and the whole of human life is one day bound to come to nothing with the end of the solar system? What would it matter in the long run then whether people had bothered about truth or not?

44. Scientists who have professed to be atheists have devoted their whole lives to the discovery of truth.

There have been some such as you describe. But atheists among scientists have ever been in the minority. And if they have professed to be atheists, that is only because they have concentrated their attention on one aspect only of truth, that concerned with material things, to the neglect of higher and more important aspects of truth. They are simply ignorant of religious truth and quite unscientifically declare that it has no reality just because they have paid no attention to it.

45. a. Have not these men had just as great a horror of lies as any advocates of religion?
b. This is not because there is a God, but because society has so conditioned us that we feel more comfortable when telling the truth.

a. Not always. But at least you are taking it for granted that people ought to have a horror of lies, which implies a moral obligation to prefer truth to falsehood. However, you have anticipated that I would stress that point.
b. You wish to avoid admitting conscience as the voice of God. But let us take your suggestion that society has conditioned us in such a way. Why should it do so? If you say because society could not continue to exist if we could not rely upon people normally speaking the truth, why should society be so made that truth and not falsehood is necessary for its very existence? The reason is because there is a necessary connection between truth and reality; and as God is Truth itself, so He is the Supreme Reality. Our very desire of truth, part of our very nature, is a desire of God whether we acknowledge it or not. And as men cannot rest until they find the truth, St. Augustine rightly said, God being the Source of all truth, "Thou hast made us for Thyself, O God; and our hearts will know no rest till they rest in Thee."

46. It is not self-complacency to lack belief in the possibility of personal relationships with God, as offered by religion.

It is certainly not humility which rejects the possibility of such relationships. For those relationships are founded upon the consciousness of our dependence upon God, of our indebtedness to Him of our sinfulness and helplessness, and of our need for His intervention for our salvation. Those who reject the religious expression of these things find man s significance in himself. Their doctrine is one of self-sufficiency and human achievement. For them, the thing is to assert oneself. Consciousness of sin is eliminated and sorrow that one has offended God becomes quite out of place. Self-complacency is the inevitable result.

47. It is not pride which refuses to praise and thank God, or express sorrow for sin, or ask His help in human terms and according to human customs.

Again I must say that it is not humility that leads a man to set himself above such human observances. Of course the pretence is that God could not be interested in our small ways, and that they would have no meaning for Him. But it is against reason to say that God was sufficiently interested to create us and then lost all further interest in us. It is against reason to suggest that God would expect us to acknowledge Him in other than human ways according to the nature He gave us. And it is against reason to suggest that any word or gesture that has meaning for us would have no meaning for Him. He

48. If all men were to abandon secularism tomorrow and return to religion it would remedy nothing.

If they returned to the Catholic religion and lived right up to it in practice all major world-troubles would be remedied, and many minor ones. The greatest service men can do the world today is to spread the Catholic Faith, awakening human beings to a sense of the need of God, teaching them the meaning of the world and of their own existence, and bringing them to the worship of God and to the supernatural life of grace and virtue. Only as the religious, spiritual and supernatural life affects individuals, families and the different nations will the world be redeemed from the miseries into which it has been plunged.



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