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

Rome and the "Four Freedoms"

1454. All our benefits are due to the liberty of the Gospel, first taught by Luther.

Luther's principle of private judgment led to all kinds of divergent novelties, and to check these he had no alternative but to appeal to the authority of the State as supreme even in religious matters. That, in turn, led to still worse disasters. The State gladly accepted the new accession of power. But if Lutheranism could exist only at the good pleasure of the State, there was nothing to prevent the State from changing it to some other religion. It was quite in accordance with Luther's principles that, at the time of World War II, the Nazi Socialists tried to impose on Germany a new religion of "blood and soil," distributing hundreds of thousands of the booklet, "Gott und Volk," throughout the country, calling upon the people to abandon Christ for the ancient pagan gods of Germany. The Anglican Dean Inge, of St. Paul's Cathedral, London, did not hesitate to say during those troubled times: "If we wish to find a scapegoat on whose shoulders we may lay the miseries which Germany has brought on the world, I am more and more convinced that the worst evil genius of that country is not Hitler or Bismarck or Frederick the Great, but Martin Luther." And he gave as his reason that in Lutheranism "the Law of Nature, which ought to be the court of appeal against unjust authority, is identified with the existing order of society, to which absolute obedience is due."

1455. The Roman Catholic Church now claims that it has always championed the rights of the people.

There is no need to restrict the claim to the rights of the people. The Catholic Church has always stood for rights, no matter whose they may be. First and foremost, there are the rights of God. The Catholic Church has ever stood for those. When we turn to relationships between human beings, there are international rights; and within nations there are the rights of lawfully constituted authorities and the rights of citizens, and a host of other rights belonging to groups of various kinds, and to individuals. For all these rights, granted in each case their genuine claims to be such, the Catholic Church has ever demanded the fullest respect.

1456. The Roman Catholic Church was also a great supporter of the Atlantic Charter which insisted on Freedom from Fear, Freedom of Worship, Freedom from Want and Freedom of Speech.

The Atlantic Charter was agreed upon by Roosevelt and Churchill in 1941. The Catholic Church was neither consulted as to its terms nor asked for its support. One thing is certain. The Catholic Church does not necessarily agree with the interpretation of the Four Freedoms which anyone at all may choose to put upon them. But the Atlantic Charter is really a thing of the past. At Teheran Roosevelt and Churchill entered into agreements with Stalin which amounted to an official and public recognition that the Atlantic Charter was not really binding on anybody. As W. H. Chamberlin remarks in his book "World Order or Chaos," the Atlantic Charter was "buried at Teheran" in Feb., 1944.

1457. The "Universal Declaration of Human Rightsas approved by "The United Nations Assembly" at Paris, on Dec. 10, 1948, says in Article 18: "Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observanceHow do you interpret that?

At most it could rightly mean that men, together with their merely human legislation, should leave their fellow men free in such matters. It has no bearing on how far God leaves men free in such matters; and He certainly does not grant men unrestricted freedom. God's law does not leave men free in conscience to do whatever they like, or to indulge in any religious beliefs, practices, teachings and worship they may be pleased to adopt. Take one point. To assert such wholesale freedom would be to deny the obligation of a Christian to be a Christian rather than a pagan! Even the United Nations Organization felt the need of imposing some restrictions, for it added in Article 29, section 3, that "these freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations." Notice that they did not say: "Contrary to the will and commandments of Almighty God." They ignored God and set themselves up as the supreme authority over the conduct of mankind. Such a usurpation the Catholic Church cannot acknowledge. In any case, members of the United Nations Organization admit that their "Declaration of Human Rights" has really no binding force upon anybody, and that it is but a statement of liberal ideals. With some of them, needless to say, provided they are rightly interpreted, the Catholic Church would be in agreement.

1458. Is not the Roman Catholic Church absolutely opposed to freedom of speech and expression?

No. But she is opposed to absolute freedom of speech and expression if people wish to include in that the false liberty to say, publish and circulate anything one wishes, however evil it may be. G. K. Chesterton rightly said that it is no more natural to let a man utter follies and abominations which are bad for mankind than to let a man dig gaps in a public road, or infect half a town with typhoid fever. Freedom to utter or publish obscene filth which all decent citizens refuse to tolerate would violate the right df a community to live in freedom from contamination from such pernicious influences. There must be limits to freedom of speech and expression. What those limits are must depend upon the conception of what is good held by those in possession of lawful authority, whether it be that of parents in the home, of Bishops in the Church, or of legislators in the State.

1459. Would not the Catholic Church impose Catholicism on people by force, if it were possible?

No. For it is impossible to compel by external force the interior beliefs of anybody. And it would be no advantage to the Catholic Church to compel the outward adherence to it of people who did not believe in it. In fact, that would be most injurious to the Catholic Church, for such "forced conversions" would add to her numbers merely nominal adherents who Could be ranked only as bad Catholics, if indeed they could be called Catholics at all.

1460. Did not the Communists in Yugoslavia imprison Cardinal Stepinac for promoting the forced submission to the Catholic Church of members of the Greek Orthodox Church?

They made that false charge among many others as an excuse for his arrest. But the truth is that Cardinal Stepinac had Utterly condemned such a practice. When, in 1941, after the collapse of Yugoslav resistance to the Nazis, the Pavelic Government decreed that members of the Orthodox Church must become Catholics or leave the country, Cardinal Stepinac, on May-8th, 1941, warned all his priests against this foolish decree of the politicians, and told them that they must strictly observe the Canon Law of the Catholic Church forbidding all forced conversions. And he sent a similar protest to Pavelic himself.

1461. What is the exact teaching of the Catholic Church in this matter?

It will be enough for me to quote two Canons from the official Code of Canon Law. Canon 1351 says: "Let no one be compelled against his will to embrace the Catholic religion." Earlier, in the same Code, in Canon 752, we have the provision: "No adult may be baptized unless he has clear knowledge of what he is doing, has freely chosen to take the step, and has been fully instructed." The laws of the Church herself, therefore, forbid imposing Catholicism on people by force, even were there an opportunity to do so.

1462. Is not the Roman Church opposed, not only to freedom of conscience, but still more to freedom of worship?

No. Communists are opposed to freedom of worship because they think all religion an evil from which mankind ought .to be; liberated. The Catholic attitude is diametrically opposed to that. The Catholic Church insists that it is man's duty to offer fitting worship to God and that he therefore has the right to be free to offer that worship. The Catholic Church also condemns those who interpret freedom of worship, not as freedom for worship, but as freedom from it, completely neglecting their religious duties, as unfortunately so many professing Christians do. The freedom she advocates is fredom to fulfil one's religious duties.

1463. Do you hold that a government should favor the Catholic religion even to opposing other religions?

Granted that a country is traditionally Catholic and that the overwhelming majority of its people are Catholics, there would be nothing against the government of that country acknowledging the Catholic religion as the official religion of that country and taking reasonable measures to protect its interests. Although the two powers, the ecclesiastical and the civil, are distinct in their fields of operation, the spiritual and the temporal, they should cooperate in such a country, each promoting the welfare—the true welfare—of the other. To prevent the destruction of the religious unity of the nation, the government could quite justly prevent the introduction of new and divisive sects into its territory. But no measures could rightly be taken in favor of the Catholic: Church which would involve suppressing the freedom of worship of any non-Catholic minority already resident in the country, or interfering with its property rights. At most, measures could be adopted to prevent the minority who did not believe in the Catholic religion from any organized efforts to corrupt or destroy the faith of those who did believe in it. The case is very different, of course, with countries like America and Australia, which were built up from the very beginning by an influx of peoples of many different religions, and where a government has been elected to represent citizens as citizens, and not as professing this or that particular form of the many and various religions. In such circumstances the Catholic Church does not ask more than a full share in the liberty and protection granted to all religious bodies, without privileges, but certainly without discrimination against her own legitimate activities.

1464. It seems that the Catholic Church believes in freedom of worship only where itself is concerned. At least many people think like that.

If so, it is because they want to think in such a way. In reality, where religious worship is concerned, the Catholic Church teaches, as I have repeatedly said, that people have a strict obligation to obey the dictates of their conscience, and that they must have freedom to obey their conscience. Catholic authorities have protested against Communist oppression of members of the Greek Orthodox and of the Protestant Churches as well as of Catholics. Catholic principles are opposed to religious oppression no matter whom it affects, where religious freedom within its due and proper limits is concerned.

1465. This was made clear by the great outcry over the jailing of Cardinal Mindszenty of Hungary, of Cardinal Stepinac of Yugoslavia, and of Archbishop Beran of Czechoslovakia.

I have already said that the Catholic Church protested also against the persecution of the Greek Orthodox and Protestant Churches. If the world press did not make so much of those, it is because the measures against them were less drastic, and because they were on the whole more ready to compromise with the Communist governments than Catholics could in conscience do. As for the outcry in the case of the Catholic victims of persecution, that came, not from Catholics only, but from the whole non-Catholic world represented in the different free nations.

1466. Yet these men were trying to dictate to the governments of their respective countries, instead of attending to their own religious duties.

The real truth is that they were fulfilling their religious duties by resisting the dictation of the Communist governments which were determined to cripple and destroy religion. Consider these words from the London "Times," in November, 1950. No one could accuse the London "Times" of having a pro-Catholic bias. Yet here is what it said in a leading article: "The sufferings of Catholics in Eastern Europe have aroused the sympathy and indignation of many people besides their co-religionists. No unprejudiced observer can any longer believe that the issue being fought out there is one between reactionary clericalism and the forces of progress; fundamentally, it is a conflict between those who affirm and those who deny the reality of spiritual values.

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