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

Catholic non-cooperation

1418. In an address in New York, Dr. Fisher, Archbishop of Canterbury, told Americans that the absence of the Roman Catholic Church was the great weakness of "World Council of Churches through no lack of effort on their part.

It is true that promoters of the "World Council of Churches" have again and again begged the Catholic Church to send official representatives to its assemblies, invitations which the Catholic Church has had no choice but to decline. It is also true that the absence of the greatest of all the Churches in the world professing to be Christian deprives the "World Council" of the influence its promoters desire. But the Catholic Church is already all that the members of the Council say that they are seekhai to become. She is one united universal Church, the Church which hal been faithful through the centuries to the religion of Christ. And it i l through no lack of effort on her part that people remain separated fro©I her, divided among themselves and ever worried about their differences! The real road to unity is that of return to the Catholic Church.

1419. Why cannot the Roman Church join the "World Council of Churches?"

Because Christ said: "I will build My Church," not "My Churches" Matt., XVI, 18. The existence of hundreds of Churches, independent of eacl other, differing in essential matters of faith and order, and trying to function in a spirit of compromise through a world council like a league of distinct and separated nations, is quite opposed to the teachings and intentions of Christ. He intended one world-wide Church, united in faith, worship and discipline; and the Catholic Church, conscious of being the true Church of Christ, cannot on principle sanction the mistaken ideas of those promoting the "World Council of Churches."

1420. Is it too much to ask the Catholic Church to cooperate with the Protestant Churches on an equal basis?

That is too much to ask. Try to realize the position. It is part of the Catholic Faith that Christ gave His Church a divinely-maintained unity which can never be lost. People may break away from the Catholic Church, but that does not mean divisions in the Church. The unity Christ promised remains in the Catholic Church. For a Catholic, therefore, there can be no question of repairing a lost unity as far as the Church is concerned. We can only invite other people who have forsaken Catholic unity and who are distressed by lack of unity among themselves, to return to unity within the Catholic Church. If the Catholic Church collaborated with the Protestant Churches on an equal basis, as if she as well as they, were but a fragment of a shattered unity, she would be denying the fulfillment of Christ's promise to be with His Church, preserving her unity all days till the end of the world. She cannot admit that, because people have divided themselves from the Church, the Church herself is divided. She can only work to bring such separated people back. She cannot participate with them in plans based on the idea that the unity promised by Christ has been lost; and that it is for men to restore it by their own human efforts.

1421. Other Churches are making efforts to get back to unity and truth.

As the Catholic Church has never lost unity and truth, she cannot agree that she needs to get back to them. Churches conscious of having lost them need to try to get back to them. The Catholic Church is not in that position

1422. Early in 1950, the Pope issued what seemed a sympathetic Instruction permitting Catholic theologians to discuss reunion problems with non-Catholic theologians.

The Pope did that in response to appeals from England. On Oct. 31, 1949, the London "Times" published an article: "Roman Catholics and Other Christians." That article suggested that, in virtue of her ancient office of "Mother and Mistress of Churches," the Catholic Church should enter into discussions with Protestants in the interests of unity among Christians. The "Times" was flooded with letters urging that Roman authorities should state publicly what forms of cooperation Catholic principles would permit.

1423. Later in the same year, the Pope issued an Encyclical, "Humani Generis" forbidding any watering down of the necessity of belonging to the Catholic Church in order to gain salvation. That robbed of all meaning the concessions granted in the previous document.

It could appear like that only to those who read into the previous document more than it contained.

1424. Error in book.

Error in book.

1425. Almost at the same time, Dr. Cowderoy, Roman Catholic Bishop of Southwark, spoke with contempt of reunion with "an organization so divided within itself as Protestantism".

He was defending the Catholic Church against the charge by the Anglican Archbishops of Canterbury and York that the Pope, by defining the dogma of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, was responsible for widening the gap between Rome and the Protestant Churches. He was quite entitled to point out that the divisions of Protestants among themselves, the attacks made by their leaders on basic Christian doctrines, and their acceptance of outrageous violations of the Christian moral law in matters such as divorce, contraception, sterilization, abortion and euthanasia or so-called mercy-killing, created a far greater obstacle to reunion than any teachings of the Catholic Church. If Protestant leaders regret the defining of the Christian Faith by the Catholic Church, that Church regrets far more their betrayals of the Christian Faith. And Bishop Cowderoy, of Southwark, rightly said that, with every new betrayal, Protestants were the ones who widened the gap between themselves and Rome. That needed to be said, and it should be well weighed by all interested in this matter.

1426. In January, 1951, Cardinal Griffin forbade a Father Graham, O.S.B., to attend a Unity Conference intended to include Catholic, Anglican, Greek Orthodox and Nonconformist Churches.

The Conference you mention intended that all delegates should share in common prayer and worship, a very different thing from the theological conferences which the Pope had said could be permitted. Cardinal Griffin Could not have acted otherwise than he did, whilst remaining true to Catholic principles.

1427. His action caused only bitterness and hindered the cause of reunion.

Instead of giving way to bitterness, non-Catholics should expect Catholics to be true to Catholic principles, whether they-the non-Catholics -approve of those principles or not. It is to the credit of one Anglican Bishop at the Conference that he stressed this point. For the Most Rev. Dr. Mortimer, Bishop of Exeter, said to the Assembly: "It is quite certainly true of a great many Roman Catholics, who seem to meet our forward methods with a cold resistance, that that does not spring from any lack of cordial friendship towards us, still less from any lack of desire for unity. But it may arise from certain things of necessity—that they do not wish to lead us up the garden path by making things seem easier than they are. And they conceive it to be their duty to put the Roman Catholic position in all its starkness, so that we may understand how difficult the position really is."

1428. Is there no way in which all of us, Catholics and Protestants alike, could sink our petty differences and call ourselves Christian at last?

We Catholics are in complete sympathy with the desire for unity among Christians. But it is impossible for all Churches to unite in religious matters so long as all the members of all the Churches do not conscientiously believe in the same essential teachings. If the differences between the Churches were merely petty differences, your viewpoint would be intelligible. But the differences are very serious. To ignore these differences leaving essential matters undecided, and to call ourselves Christians with no assurance that we were professing the Christian Faith as it really is would be merely to have the name without the thing. And that would be worse than useless.

1429. There are some things each could give and take

In unessential matters, that is true. But the Catholic Church is not able to make any concessions in essential matters. For example, it is part of the Catholic Faith that the Catholic Church is the one true Church. Any Catholic who denies that has denied his Faith. But no Protestant is called upon by his religion to make an act of divine faith in the truth of his own particular Church. He could admit his Church to be wrong without thinking that he had denied his Christian Faith. If all Protestants did come to see that their Churches were erroneous—I do not mean erroneous in every single thing they teach, but erroneous as Churches—and if all accepted the Catholic Church, then the problem of disunity would cease to exist.

1430. Of course, reunion of Catholic and Protestant Churches on an equal basis would mean that some common denominator must be found.

The Catholic Church could not agree to a union with any of the non-Catholic Churches whilst they remain as they are. The idea of finding a common denominator has been called "peeling the Catholic onion", stripping off layer after layer in the hope of finding a core which all can eat. But it would mean ending with nothing edible at all. This method has also been called "Reunion by Destruction." Where would it stop? To please the Anglican, Catholics would have to agree to deny the authority of the Pope. To please Nonconformists, they would have to forget if episcopacy and the priesthood and the Mass. To please Unitarians, they would have to behave as if the Divinity of Christ did not really matter at all. It is all a fantastic impossibility. A pretended unity based on the common denominator principle would not be unity in the Christian Faith; nor could it in any way be reconciled with Catholic convictions.

1431. It is Rome that really sets up the barrier to unity between those who are disciples of the same Master

Not Rome, but those who wrongly reject doctrines essential to the Church as established by Christ set up the barrier. The desire to see unity between all who claim to be disciples of the same Master is good in itself. But the question at once arises as to what doctrines that Master imposes upon His disciples. The Catholic Church would only betray the Divine Master Himself if she declared that any of His essential teachings were unnecessary, or even false, in order to gain the goodwill of people who happen to dislike them and who are prepared to accept only such teachings as they themselves approve. It is for the Divine Master, not for the disciples, to decide what must be believed.

1432. Rome's stiff-necked claim to have a monopoly of Christian Truth must be given up.

The Catholic Church does not claim to have a monopoly of Christian Truth. She is quite ready to admit as true any sound Christian doctrines taught by other Churches. What she does claim is that other Churches, whilst teaching some of the truth, omit other necessary elements of Christian truth and blend with what they do teach various human errors, Such elements of the truth as they teach she herself teaches, without any admixture of human error; and she also teaches the additional necessary doctrines which they omit. This claim to the fulness of Christian doctrine not a stiff-necked claim, for it does not proceed from human pride. It proceeds solely from a sense of duty to God. If Christ established a true Church, surely that Church is obliged to be true to Him, to know itself to be what it is, and to proclaim the fact.

1433. A few years ago I read an article in the "American Mercury by a Methodist clergyman, the Rev. Alson J. Smith. It impressed me more than anything else I have ever read on the subject, and I w copied it out.

You have now sent me a copy; but it is too long for detailed comment. Briefly, the author contends that, in this crisis of civilization, all who profess to be Christians must bring their concerted influence to bear upon the work of saving Christendom. He then goes on to say that both Protestantism and Catholicism as they are cannot do it. He declares that Protestantism insists on individual and personal religion, to the neglect of the external world. But he says that Catholicism does not make that mistake. The Catholic Church realizes that life is one; that life cannot be departmentalized; and that religion must have some control over educational, economic and political life. He complains, however, that the Catholic Church, in dealing with the world, has been contaminated by the world and has developed an unholy appetite for temporal power. Moreover, he says that the Catholic Church makes arrogant claims to the sole possession of the truth, which others cannot possibly accept. Those complaints reflect the usual Protestant attitude, but they are based upon a misrepresentation of the facts and an inability to view Catholicism with due impartiality.

1434. Do read the final paragraph, which I have underlined.

It reads: "In this terrible hour of the utter ruin of Catholic Europe, the great Mother Church of Christendom purge herself of temporal appetite and hierarchial arrogance, and devote herself to the urgent work restoring the unity of Christianity. How far would we Protestants go towards Rome, if only Rome would take one small step towards us!"

1435. What do you think of that, Rev. Sir?

It exhibits what Holy Scripture describes as zeal without knowledge. The zeal for unity is excellent. But if Protestants admit that the Catholic Church is indeed the Great Mother Church, then surely it is their duty to return to their mother whom they deserted; and on the mother's terms, not their own. As for the suggestion that the Catholic Church must purge herself first of her "appetite for temporal power," and of her hierarchial arrogance," those expressions are based on Protestant prejudices which cannot be supported by facts. Finally, the Catholic Church will make any number of steps towards Protestants in the cause of unity; but she will not make a single step towards "Protestantism," abandoning Catholic principles in order to placate people who do not really subscribe to the Catholic Faith in all its fulness at all.

1436. Is it possible for Rome to take that one small step suggested by this good Methodist minister?

In her desire for unity the Catholic Church surpasses all other Churches. A11 through her history she has insisted on the necessity of unity. Always she protested against those who forsook her unity and who claimed the right to create and perpetuate divisions. Never has she ceased to appeal to those divided from her to return to the unity they abandoned. Every Protestant returning to Catholic unity is sure of a welcome. But it is not possible for the Catholic Church to take the kind of step your good Protestant minister has in mind. It is not a question of "will not;" it is a question of "cannot." For the Catholic Church has not the right before God to take a single step which would involve abandoning any principles vital to the Christian religion.

1437. Surely we should put aside dissension and promote such harmony thai men will again be able to exclaim: "See how these Christians love one another!"

Dissension should be avoided. But it is useless to say that differences in teaching, worship and discipline do not matter, when they do matter. Nor may we just ignore them, leaving such problems unsolved, shaking hands all round, and pretending that we are united in all essentials when we are not. These matters are more difficult than most people imagine. In humility, sincerity and charity we can but pray that God wiJJ lead all Christians eventually into identical conscientious convictions as regards all basic Christian principles without exception.



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