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

Reunion Movement

1400. Do you not think that a greater realization of the necessity of reunion of the divided Christian Churches is growing?

I think that is true among those non-Catholics who retain an interest in religion. Catholics, of course, have never ceased to deplore the existence of separated, divided and independent non-Catholic denominations.

1401. No Protestants today defend different and conflicting bodies as evidence of the rich variety of a Christian religion which all profess in different ways.

I'm afraid that is an exaggeration. Some Protestants still adopt that attitude; but it is possible that those who do are diminishing in number.

1402. Although a Protestant, I would sincerely like to see unity among all Churches.

You are not more desirous of that than are we Catholics ourselves! That all who profess to be Christians are not united in one single visible Church, professing the same beliefs, sharing in the same worship, and observing the same discipline, is a flat contradiction of the will of Christ! And this lack of unity leads to confusion and wasted energy, creating superable obstacles in the field of education, in social influence, in the foreign missions, and in many other spheres. No one who loves Christ and has any understanding of the position could view this problem with indifference.

1403. Now is the time when we should unite into one fold under one shepherd, and that shepherd Christ Our Lord Himself.

The one fold under one shepherd will be a reality when all professing Christians who are not Catholics accept the provision our Lord Himself made for His Church, joining the Catholic Church and acknowledging the Pope as Christ's visible representative on earth and supreme head of the Church in this world. That would mean a real, and not merely a pretended unity of Christians in one and the same Church; and I agree that it is time that all professing Christians who do not belong to it seriously considered such a return to the Catholic Church the Protestant reformers should never have left.

1404. The Anglican Church, as a result of the Oxford Movement, has discovered that the necessity of one, holy, catholic, apostolic and united Church is as much a revealed truth as the Incarnation itself.

That should not have had to be discovered. The Catholic Church, certainly, has realized that all along.

1405. The Lambeth Conferences, therefore, have brought before the Christian world the ideal and obligation of unity.

The Lambeth Conferences may have made many Anglicans and members of other Protestant Churches conscious that there ought to be only one united visible Christian Church. But it is too much to say that the Lambeth Conferences brought these ideas to the attention of the "Christian world." The Catholic Church, with its over 425,000,000 members, comprises more than half of all professing Christians. And that Church has ever exemplified the ideal of unity, and insisted upon the obligation of all who would be Christians to belong to that unity. It is folly to speak as if the Catholic Church did not so much as exist.

1406. In 1946, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Fisher, addressing the Free Church Council in England, said that "he anticipated the time when Methodists, Congregationalists, Baptists and Presbyterians would, within a united Church, still function with their own identity, much as the different Religious Orders within the Roman Catholic Church.

If they still functioned with their own identity as Methodists, Congress gationalists, Baptists and Presbyterians, they would not be a united Church. They would be just as they are now, merely agreeing to say that they were one Church without being one Church. Also they would not be at all like the different Religious Orders within the Catholic Church. For all the members of the different Religious Orders in the Catholic Church are equally Catholics. All hold the same doctrines; all accept the same essential liturgical worship; all are subject to the supreme authority of the Pope.

1407. At a welcome by the Protestant bodies in Sydney, Australia, in 1951, the same Dr. Fisher said that he did not think the Protestant Churches yet ready to merge into one constitutional Church.

That implies that he thinks there ought to be one constitutional Church. But I agree with him that the Protestant denominations are far from ready to unite even among themselves in such a way.

1408. He said that two great Protestant Churches have tried to merge under a common constitution, but that "each tried to preserve so much of its own constitution that the result would have been a Church suffering from arthritis at birth."

In other words, they did not get beyond calling themselves one Church without being one Church at all.

1409. "We see the danger of one uniform Church in the Church of Rome," the Archbishop of Canterbury declared. "This is dangerous, because it is arthritic."

That scarcely fits in with the statement that a union formed by two great Protestant Churches was arthritic precisely because they did not attain itisl to any real uniformity, each trying to have too much of its own way! It is not very consistent to complain that the Protestant Churches are not one constitutional Church, yet to denounce the Catholic Church for being one constitutional Church.

1410. A few years ago Dr. Garbett, Anglican Archbishop of York, visited Moscow for conversations with the Orthodox Patriarch there. Did not that suggest prospective unity between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Church of England?

There is no prospect of such unity. In 1931 Sergius, Patriarch of Moscow, wrote to the Patriarch of Constantinople: "We on our side cannot give up our belief that only our Orthodox Church, found in its completeness in the East, is the Church of Christ. The uniting with our Church of some other body we can conceive of only by the analogy of the saving of the drowning. It would be strange if the drowning, before accepting help from the ship, should begin to put forward some sort of conditions. This would be a clear evidence of the fact that he either does not wish or does not realize the hopelessness of his position...Chasing after an illusory unity with Anglicans might threaten us with the destruction of unity within the Orthodox Church itself. We decline, therefore, participation in the matter of union with Anglicans." Those words do not indicate any prospects of union between Russian Orthodoxy and Anglicanism.

1411. Have not over one hundred branches of the Christian Churches joined the World Council of Churches

It would be incorrect to speak in such a way. Over one hundred different non-Catholic Churches have agreed to form amongst themselves a "World Council." We cannot speak of these Churches as branches of the Christian Church as though they already belonged to one Church. They themselves deplore the fact that they do not, and urge the necessity of getting back to a unity which will make them "the Christian Church" instead of remaining divided and conflicting "Churches." One cannot have it both ways, admitting that they are not one united Church, and then speaking of them as if they were!

1412. What is the nature and purpose of the World Council of Churches?

It is a kind of Committee with members drawn from most of the Protestant Churches, and from some, not all, of the Eastern Orthodox Churches. It was established in 1938 at Utrecht, in Holland. Its purpose is to promote common action in fields in which the member Churches are already agreed; and to try to see how such differences as still exist between them can be overcome, so that eventually there will be "only one Christian Church." Although the Catholic Church has never been affiliated with this "World Council of Churches," the members themselves realize that there can never be one only Church without Catholics belonging to it. They therefore declare that their ultimate hope is a unity which will include the Catholic Church. Their problem is to discover terms of reunion which will be acceptable to the Catholic Church, and to persuade Protestant and Greek Orthodox peoples in turn to accept those terms. I cannot see any prospect of such a hope ever being realized.

1413. Has the World Council of Churches any power of legislation over member Churches?

No. It expressly disclaims any such power of legislation. And that is a sure sign that its member Churches are separate and distinct bodies, not members of one and the same Church. In the Council they may agree to cooperate in common action on some things, as England and America cooperated during World War II. But they remain as distinct and separate Churches as England and America are distinct and separate nations.

1414. You say that the "World Council of Churches" aims at a unity which will include the Catholic Church. But the " World Evangelical Alliance" protested against such an idea saying: "Ultimate aim of reunion with the Roman Catholic Church is impossible and undesirable unless there is a complete revolution in both the doctrine and practice of Romanism.

The "World Evangelical Alliance" is an older body than the "World Council of Churches" and it stands for the defense and propagation of strictly Protestant principles as opposed to Catholic and Eastern Orthodox teachings. Its outlook is that Catholics and members of the Eastern Orthodox Churches must be converted to Protestantism, and its one fear is that the "World Council of Churches" should make concessions at the expense of Protestantism to placate Catholics and the various Orthodox Churches. Its attitude merely stresses the difficulty the "World Council of Churches" will have in trying to persuade convinced Protestants to accept any moves towards reunion with the Catholic Church at all.

1415. I am a member of the "World Protestant Alliance" and I hold that all Protestant reunion movements are a betrayal of the first Protestant reformers.

To a certain extent you are right in that. For the first Protestant reformers thought it a good thing to set up new and conflicting denominations, whilst many modern Protestants, by advocating reunion, admit that such divisions among Christians are bad and should never have arisen. But you cannot condemn the "betrayal" of the first Protestant reformers unless you first justify the conduct of those first Protestant reformers. For if they were mistaken, then they were the betrayers of true Christianity and to undo their mistake is the best thing that could be.

1416. The first Protestant reformers would have been horrified by any talk of reunion with the Catholic Church, which they denounced as Antichrist and a wicked abomination.

That is the way they thought, but the vast majority of Protestants have grown out of such ideas. It would be strange if, in 400 years, education and reason showed no signs of prevailing over prejudices based far more on heated and violent ill-feeling than on intelligence. However, there are some, even many, not yet emancipated from the narrowness and bigotry of past centuries.

1417. Would you deny that in encouraging Protestant reunion movements, Rome is merely leading Protestants up the garden path, hoping to get all Protestants back once more?

I'm afraid your question is based on a misunderstanding of the position. Protestants promoting reunion movements regularly complain of the lack of encouragement they receive from Rome. That does not look like Rome leading them up any garden path! Again, commenting on the Instruction issued by the Vatican in 1950 concerning relations between Catholics and other Christian bodies, the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury said that the Vatican's insistence that in all discussions stress must be placed on points of disagreement rather than on points of agreement discourages rather than encourages such discussions. Rome is not interested in making converts just for the sake of adding to her numbers. She does, of course, desire non-Catholics to become Catholics; but that is for their sake, not for her own sake. And it can only be in so far as they themselves, with the help of God's grace, have become sincerely convinced of the truth of the Catholic religion. If you yourself attained to that conviction, you would want to become a Catholic; but you are far from that yet, of course.



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