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

Divided Christendom

1339. When we look round the world, we become at once conscious of the number and variety of religious sects claiming the allegiance of men.

We do; and that state of affairs, I am afraid, will ever be. Religious sects have come and gone in the past; and as present-day sects die out, others will arise. Christ predicted this when He said: "There will rise up false Christs and false prophets . . . to seduce (if it were possible) even the elect." Mk., XIII, 22. This is due to the fact that men have free will. To prevent men from setting up other religions in opposition to the true religion God would have to destroy their free will; and He will not do that. But amidst all claimants, the true religion is sufficiently clear to those who are sincerely seeking it. It must be left to men themselves as to whether they will do so. Certainly by sheer contrast, the unity prevailing amongst the millions of Catholics of all nationalities should be enough, when compared with the division and conflict prevailing elsewhere, to induce thinking men to look into the claims of the Catholic Church.

1340. There seems to have been divisions and schisms from the very beginning, and many of the causes of the present Protestant divisions and sects were present at the time of St. Paul.

The cause of present divisions was, of course, present in earlier divisions, the mistaken thinking and the pride and self-sufficiency of men. But whilst the cause has been the same, the excuses alleged by those who p.n different ages have separated themselves from the Catholic Church have tiot been the same; nor have earlier separations from the Catholic Church :eally influenced later ones. For most of the earlier ones had flourished if independent sects for a time, and had then died completely away before :he Protestant reformers abandoned the Catholic Church in the 16th century. There is a continuity of dispositions in men which accounts for different schisms in different ages. But there is no continuity from schism to schism.

1341. It seems to me that most of the divisions, whether in earlier history or later history, have been caused by the Catholic hierarchy's exercise of authority

When men rebel against legitimate authority in the Church and abandon it, the cause of their going is not to be sought in the exercise of (legitimate authority, but in the wrong dispositions of those unwilling to submit to authority. Otherwise one might just as well say that the division between ordinary citizens and outlaws is caused by the very law which good citizens obey and outlaws refuse to obey. But all reasonable •people attribute the division between these two classes to the rebellious land wrong dispositions of the outlaws themselves. The judaizing sects in the time of St. Paul, were formed by men wedded to their own ideas, ideas alien to the Christian religion, but which they tried to graft upon it St. Paul denounced them, and they found themselves expelled from the Church. Acts, XV. Other men, in later ages, wedded to other alien ideas and unwilling to renounce them, also either departed or were expelled from the Catholic Church. In each case, whatever may have been their excuse the fault ultimately lay with them, not with the Catholic hierarchy, which merely did its duty in condemning error and refusing to permit the corruption of Christian doctrine.

1342. The contradiction of truth is a lie. If you say that the Catholic Church is true and all others wrong, it is too mild to say that the religious teachers in those other Churches are mistaken. You must hold that they are liars.

We cannot say, certainly of modern non-Catholic religious guides, that their mistakes are lies. Lacking the guidance of the Catholic Church they are left to their own resources; and it is human to err. They can be quite sincere in their various errors, mistakenly believing that their opinions are sound. And it is not true to say that a contradiction of the truth is a lie. Error is opposed to truth. A lie is opposed to truthfulness. To be a liar a man must be conscious that what he says contradicts the truth. Thus a man is guilty of perjury if he swears to what he knows to be wrong. He is not guilty of perjury if he swears to what is erroneous yet what he firmly believes to be correct.

1343. I cannot get over all the differences of opinion amongst Christians, including ministers of religion

Such differences are the result of separation from the Catholic Church When the first Protestant reformers left the Catholic Church, they could not agree amongst themselves. So they founded different and conflicting Churches. But just as the first Protestant reformers rejected the authority of the Catholic Church, so their own followers rejected theirs. New divisions amongst Protestants arose, resulting in ever-increasing diversity. But the Catholic religion which they have abandoned is not responsible for that.

1344. These differences keep many people from joining any Church.

That is true, but it is not a reasonable attitude to adopt. If you have six conflicting answers to a sum in arithmetic, you would know that all could not be right. But it would not follow that all would be wrong and that you should refuse to accept any. One of them could be right; and if you found that right one, you would know that all the others were mistaken. What you have to do is to find which of the Christian Churches truly represents Christianity as given to this world by Christ our Lord.

1345. If Christianity is destroyed, won't it be the fault of Christian themselves for not uniting as Christ wishes us to?

Since Christ has promised that the gates of hell will never prevail against His Church, Christianity will never be destroyed. But the lack of unity resulting from the separation of so many professing Christians from the Catholic Church and from the divisions amongst themselves is undoubtedly a hindrance to the work of Christ, and greatly to be deplored.

1346. St. Paul told the Ephesians "to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace, one body and one Spirit, as you are called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all." Eph., IV, 3-6.

That is the ideal at which the Catholic Church aims; and which can be realized only within that Catholic Church. But until non-Catholics see that for themselves, they will remain in a state of separation from the Church; and the immediate demand is for patience and charity in the midst of all differences, together with prayer for their ultimate removal.

1347. Do you not agree that the divided state of Christendom cripples the work of Christian reconstruction?

I certainly do. And therefore Christ, although He has permitted defections from the Catholic Church through the waywardness of men, could never have intended that. He intended all Christians to remain in One corporate body in this world, holding the same faith, subject to the same religious authority, and working for the same end. He Himself founded one society which He called His "Church," not His "Churches." "I will build my Church," He said. Matt., XVI, 18. The very names used in the New Testament show clearly that it is one society, for it is described as forming one kingdom, one flock or sheepfold, one vine, one tree, one living body. And as one society, it supposes one authority which all accept and to which all submit. So Christ said: "If a man will not hear the Church, let him be to thee as the heathen." Matt., XVIII, 17. To fulfill the will of Christ men should not rest until they find the Church Christ Himself established; and they will find it in the Catholic Church.

1348. Still worse is the adverse effect of all these divisions upon the minds of pagan peoples in foreign missionary work.

No one familiar with the facts could be unaware of that, and it should fill us all with the desire to eliminate such divisions. But it will not be easy. It will take a lot of humility, patience, charity and prayer. After the disaster of the Protestant upheaval in the 16th century, the Catholic Church set about reforming her own members, and at the Council of Trent did away with the outstanding abuses at the papal court and amongst both clergy and laity. That was an admission of the responsibility of Catholics themselves for the break-up of Christendom. But it was too late to undo all the harm that had been done. The disaster had happened, and it is proverbially more difficult to cure than to prevent. The various Protestant sects have gone on developing along different lines, and there are great psychological obstacles and deep-seated differences to be overcome. But we should not abandon hope that the scandal of divisions, if it cannot be entirely eliminated, may at least be gradually reduced.

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