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

Anti-semitism

1499. Evidently your Church is only concerned with the sufferings of members of its own persuasion

That is not true. I have often referred to Catholic protests against the persecution of Eastern Orthodox peoples and Protestants as well as Catholics in the Communist satellite countries. On July 7, also, in 1952, Pope Pius XII addressed an Apostolic Letter to all the people of Russia itself. To these people, belonging religiously to the Russian Orthodox Church, he expressed his deepest sympathy in the sufferings inflicted on them because of their religion by a godless Communist regime. And he declared: "Where there is a question of defending the cause of religion, of truth, of justice and of Christian civilization, We certainly cannot remain silent; but our thoughts and intentions have always been directed to this end, namely, that peoples may be governed not by force of arms but by the majesty of the law; and that each people should enjoy civil and religious liberty within the confines of its own country." In standing for the basic rights of people to practice their religion against tyrants who would suppress all religion the Catholic Church makes no distinction between people belonging to different Churches. She insists on the rights of them all. Quite another question, and one on a totally different level, arises when Protestant missionaries, instead of going to pagan countries where the Gospel has never been preached, begin to invade Catholic countries in order to undermine the prevailing religion there precisely because it happens to be the Catholic religion.

1500. Take the question of the persecution of the Jews. Why has the Catholic Church always been anti-semitic?

The official attitude of the Catholic Church has never been anti-semitic. That individual, and even groups of Catholics, again and again throughout history, whether because of racial antipathy, or commercial rivalry, or of anti-Jewish religious prejudices, have behaved in an anti-semitic way, I do not deny. But such abuses are utterly to be condemned as opposed to the teachings of the Catholic Church herself. The severity of the language in the many Papal documents condemning persecution of the Jews, if it proves that Catholics were misbehaving in such a way, proves also that the Catholic Church herself gave no official approval to such behavior. In September, 1938, Pope Pius XI put clearly the official Catholic attitude when he said: "Abraham is called our Patriarch, our ancestor. Antisemitism is incompatible with the thought and sublime reality expressed in this text. It is a movement in which we Christians can have no part whatsoever. Anti-semitism is unacceptable. Spiritually we are Semites."

1501. Is it true that Christians got their religion from the Jews?

It would be more correct to say that both Jews and Christians got their religion from God. But, in a sense, it is true to say that Christians got their religion from the Jews in so far as the Christian religion is the fulfillment and the development of the religion first given to the Jews. Throughout the centuries preceding the coming of Christ, God miraculously preserved the Jewish people in the midst of far more powerful pagan nations around them, and through Moses and a succession of prophets after him progressively revealed the true religion to them, preparing them for the coming of the promised Redeemer. St. John the Baptist can be called the last of the Jewish prophets, sent to introduce Christ, the Incarnate Son of God, to mankind. Christ Himself was of the Jews, and was meant to be accepted by the-Jews as well as by the rest of mankind. But the Jews as a nation refused to accept Him. Christians are those, mainly of other nations, who have accepted the Messiah or Redeemer for whom the Jewish religion was meant to be a preparation.

1502. Why is the Holy Land called Palestine?

That name is derived from the Philistines, the race of people who lived there before the Jews settled in the country.

1503. When did the Jews first go there?

About 13 centuries before Christ. They went there, under the leadership of Moses, after their liberation from captivity in Egypt. But they were not known as Jews then. They called themselves the people of Israel, a name given by God Himself to the descendants of Jacob, the grandson of Abraham.

1504. Where did they get the name Jews?

From the name of one of the principal tribes of Israel; the tribe known as that of Juda. Their territory was called Judea, and the people from there were known as Judaei, or Jews. That became the name of all belonging to their race.

1505. Did not anti-semitism develop from fear and spite on the part of Christians?

To a certain extent, that is true. Throughout the ages, some Christians have feared the political influence of the Jews; others their economic or financial influence; whilst yet others have regarded them as aliens and disliked them as foreigners. These fears have given rise to, and in turn have been fostered by, all kinds of prejudices and calumnies through the ages. If it be said that some Jews have given reason for such opposition to them, we must not forget the provocation they have received; nor must we hold all Jews responsible for what some Jews have done.

1506. Do not spite and hatred always find pretexts to excuse themselves?

They do. People given to spite and hatred are the last in the world to admit that their own evil dispositions are to blame. To justify themselves they attribute evil to those they dislike and do not bother about evidence. Surely no one should know this better than Catholics who have suffered from similar campaigns of vilification. And as Catholics protest against anti-Catholicism, so also they should protest against anti-semitism. Certainly they themselves should never be guilty of it.

1507. In the Middle Ages, did not Christians hold that every Jew deserved to be stoned and spat upon because his ancestors crucified Christ?

Some may have held such views, and agitators may have preached such a doctrine in order to rouse people to violence. But such hatred of Jews was based, not upon love of Christ, but on unworthy and selfish motives. And once more, whatever ignorant and fanatical Christians may have done during the Middle Ages, the Catholic Church never at any time taught that the Jews as a race are responsible for the death of Christ; and she officially condemned repeatedly all excesses against the Jewish people. When, in the centuries immediately preceding and following the Protestant Reformation, secular rulers expelled Jews from European countries, it was in the Papal States that they received hospitality.

1508. The Medieval Church, to its disgrace, fanned the flame of anti- Jewish feeling, instead of reminding its people that Christ Himself was a Jew, and that the Jews of His own time sided with Him and against His persecutors.

The Medieval Church did not fan the flame of anti-Jewish hatred. She taught then, as she teaches now, the duty of charity to all men, regardless of their religious beliefs. She also taught, of course, that the Christian religion is the true religion and the lawful fulfillment of the Jewish religion which all Jews should have accepted. She forbade Christians to intermarry with the Jews. But she also made laws protecting the Jews froni any efforts to force their conversion, insisting that they must have freedom to worship in accordance with their beliefs. For the rest, it is not true that the Church did not remind her people that Christ Himself was born of the Jewish race. Nor is it true that the Jews of His own time sided with Christ and against His persecutors at least during the crucial period of His passion and death.

1509. W/hen Christ said: "You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you will do", to whom was He speaking?

To a particular group of Jewish leaders, the Scribes and Pharisees, who denied His claim to be the Messiah. At that time the ordinary Jewish people were very much in His favor, so much so that the leaders feared their reactions, should they take active measures against Him. In the end, however, the leaders managed to work up the people against Him, Securing the general approval when they eventually encompassed His death.

1510. Why does not the Catholic Church teach the truth that Jesus was crucified, not by the Jews, but by the Romans?

The actual death-penalty was inflicted by the Romans, but it Was at the instigation of the Jews. Had the Jews not demanded it, the Romans would never have dreamed of putting Him to death. The Catholic Church, therefore, holds fast to the historic truth that Jesus was put to death by the Romans at the request of the Jews of that time. But she does not hold that Jews of today are to blame for that. Nor has she ever said that the Jews are exclusively responsible for His death. She strongly and emphatically teaches that His death was really caused by the sins of all mankind, pagan, Jewish and Christianóby the sins of all humanity, past, present and future; including the sin of anti-semitism or hatred of the Jews as a people.

1511. In the 1940's, Professor Solomon Zeitlin, of Yashiva College, New York, published a book entitled, "Who Crucified Jesus?" in which he says that Pilate alone was responsible for His death, not the Jews; and he says that the belief of Christians that the Jews crucified Jesus is a tragic libel against an innocent people which has led to 1900 years of antagonism and misunderstanding.

Whilst I am in full sympathy with any effort to suppress all anti- Jewish feeling, I do not think anything is to be gained by Professor Zeitlin's theory. For it is not true. Christ Himself warned the Jewish leaders that they would have Him put to death when He gave them the parable of the owner of the vineyard who sent first his servants to supervise the harvest, only to find that they were ill-treated; and then his own son, whom the employees determined to kill. On another occasion He said openly to them: "Ye seek to kill Me." John, VIII, 37-59. On two different occasions they took up stones with the intention of killing Him. At the trial before Caiaphas the Jewish court declared Him worthy of death, and Caiaphas said that it wa:s expedient that one man should die for the people. Pilate would never have condemned Christ but for the pressure of the Jews; and they were the Jews who cried out: "Crucify Him," Mark, XV, 13, when Pilate sought to release Him. Yet whilst all this is true, it is quite wrong to make it the excuse for any hatred of the Jewish people today. If the Jews of today were to try Christ, there is no reason to believe that they would sentence Him to death. In fact, many modern Jews admit the responsibility of the Jewish leaders of the time and declare their conduct inexcusable.

1512. Is Professor Zeitlin's theory representative of Jewish opinion generally?

No. In 1933 there was set up in Jerusalem a special tribunal composed of five outstanding Israelites, in order to re-examine the whole question. By a four to one vote they declared that the condemnation of Christ by the Sanhedrin itself was most unjust, and that the Jewish nation would do itself honor by an unreserved repudiation of it. Earlier, in 1925, Professor Joseph Klausner, of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, had published a book in Hebrew entitled "Jesus of Nazareth." It was a most scholarly work which had created a sensation among Jewish readers. In it he proves that Jesus would never have been put to death had not the Jewish High Priests condemned Him, handed Him over to Pilate, and persuaded the people to clamor for His blood. "The High Priests, the supreme Jewish authority," he wrote, "like all short-sighted officials, did not inquire into the case very deeply"; and he adds that they were guilty of criminal injustice.

1513. What has been the official reaction of Judaism to the Jerusalem verdict?

There can be no official reaction of Judaism as a whole; for, since the suppression of the High Priesthood, and the extinction of the Palestinian Patriarchate in the 5th century, there has been no central authority able to give decisions in the name of all Jews. Different countries now have their own independent Chief Rabbis, with authority vested in the President of the Council of various Synagogues. As for average and ordinary Jews, I do not think they have ever heard of the verdict of the Jerusalem Tribunal. Of the Jewish Rabbis who have heard of it, they would be the few who have been impressed by it. Professor Zeitlin's book in the 1940's shows that he was not impressed by it; and with him many Rabbis still protest that it is a distortion of history to say that the Jews were in any way responsible for the crucifixion of Christ, blaming that teaching for most of the anti-semitism throughout the centuries. Anti-semitism is quite unjustifiable; but the remedy for that is not to be found in the denial of the facts of history. The Jews of today are not to be blamed for what was done by Jews in the past; and I believe with Professor Klausner that it would be better for Jews today to condemn the injustice of the particular group of Jews who encompassed the death of Christ in the long ago, than to deny that such injustice ever occurred.

1514. A Greek Orthodox friend told me that he bitterly hates the Jews, and that they believe Christ to have been the illegitimate child of Mary. Is that true?

Your friend should be more concerned about, his own sinful dispositions of hatred for the Jews than about anything they might think about the Christian religion. As for what the Jews do think about Christ, most of them do not think about Him at all. They just take their own religion for granted, ignoring other religions.

1515. Are there any grounds for attributing such an opinion to the Jews?

The "Talmud," a kind of Jewish encyclopaedia of instruction and legends, composed by various Jewish writers during the first five centuries of the Christian era, says that Jesus was the illegitimate son of Mary and a man named Pandira. But Jewish scholars themselves deny that assertion. They say that the breaking away of Christianity from Judaism caused the Jews in those first centuries to hold Jesus in abhorrence as a dangerous heretic and deceiver; hence the efforts to blacken His reputation with contempt and disgrace. Most modern Jews simply do not believe this legendary account of Christ's origin.

1516. I just cannot believe that Jews think like that

There is no need to do so. Modern Jews cannot be blamed for irresponsible opinions expressed by other Jews over a thousand years ago, any more than Christians would like to be held responsible for the bitter hatred of Jews expressed by your Greek friend today! The modern Jew believes that Christ was the lawful child of Joseph and Mary, naturally rejecting the Christian doctrine of the Virgin Birth. They would be prepared to admit that Jesus was a very wonderful man, a great teacher of the highest moral ideals, and a genius of whom the Jewish race has every reason to be proud. Thus Professor Klausner, in his "Jesus of Nazareth," appeals to Jews to respect Christ as a great ethical teacher whose doctrines "have a sublimity, distinctiveness and originality in form unparalleled in any other Hebrew code." All this, of course, falls far short of accepting Jesus as the promised Messiah. Even the most favorably disposed Jews attribute our belief in Jesus as the Messiah to later processes of idealization on the part of Christians.

1517. Is it any wonder that Christians hate Jews, if Jews teach such shockingly sacrilegious things about Our Lord?

If they did teach such things, Christians would still not be justified in hating them. Christians profess to love Christ, and their duty is to imitate Christ. But no one can possibly love Christ and hate His own people. Christ was a Jew as far as His earthly lineage was concerned; and He loved the Jews throughout the whole of His life on earth, even as He loves them today despite the fact that they reject His love. But they will not always do so. It is for us to imitate His own dispositions towards them, practice charity, and pray for the day when they will become one with us in accepting Him.

1518. Is not the Jewish religion to be regarded as Antichrist?

No. Although, temporarily, the Jewish people have forfeited their inheritance, God has preserved them as witnesses to the truth of the preparatory religion of Moses and the Prophets; and the New Testament tells us that they will ultimately be converted to Christ. St. Paul speaks of them as "my kinsmen according to the flesh, who are Israelites; to whom belong the adoption of children and the glory and the testament and the giving of the law and the service of God and the promises." Rom., IX, 3-5. The permanence of the Jews through the ages, therefore, is equally due to God's providence; and they are not to be regarded as "Antichrist," but as prospective converts to Christ whose conversion has been delayed owing to their failure to understand the true significance of their own religion as a preparation for the Messiah. We Christians owe them a debt of gratitude for having kept for humanity and transmitted to us the revelation of God and of the moral law; and we should pray for them that they may soon share with us in the fulfillment of their religion in Christ which their forefathers failed to recognize and accept.

1519. Has the Catholic Church ever officially pronounced upon the authenticity or otherwise of the "Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion"?

No. They are not of sufficient importance to warrant such attention.

1520. Is there any truth in the Jewish claim that they are forgeries?

Yes. In his book, "Antisemitism," the noted Catholic author, Jacques Maritain writes: "I have mentioned the Protocols of Zion. Everybody is aware that in Germany the Hitler propaganda machine makes systematic use of this alleged document; everybody also knows that this is the most impudent of forgeries, as has been proved by all those who have seriously studied the question, among others the prominent Jesuit, Father Pierre Charles. If there are still orators and publicists who dare to invoke this forgery to spread antisemitic legends, one can only believe that they have lost respect for their own intelligence and that of those who listen to them." Maritain's book was published in 1939, hence his reference to the use of the Protocols then being made by the Nazis. In 1952 there appeared a book entitled: "Christianity and Anti- Semitism," by the Russian Orthodox writer, Nicolas Berdyaev. On p. 16 he writes: "I think it beneath my dignity to refute at this point the authenticity of the 'Protocols of the Elders of Zion,' for any man who has preserved a rudimentary psychological sense realizes, in reading this counterfeit document, that it is nothing but a shameful falsification by the detractors of Israel. Moreover, it can now be considered as proved by the police that this document is a fabrication from beginning to end." In the English Jesuit Magazine, "The Month," the Protocols were branded as a "puerile forgery." "Proof has been given," declared "The Month," "that the Protocols are a fraud, a clumsy plagiarism of Maurice Joly's satirical work, composed with the transparent intention of rendering the Jews odious and of inciting against them the inconsiderate and blind passions of the masses."

1521. What is the position of Christians in the new Jewish State of Israeli, in Palestine?

Christian Churches there have freedom to exist and to provide in every way for the religious needs of their own members. But, as is to be expected, the Jewish religion is the official State religion. The Israeli Minister for Religion, Rabbi Judah L. Maimon, declared in 1951 that efforts to convert Jews to Christianity would not be permitted, but that Christians would have full liberty to practice their own religion and bring up their families as Christians. Christians are quite free to use the Hebrew language provided they do not use it for religious broadcasts which could lead Jewish young people astray and teach them non-Jewish religious ideas. From the Jewisn point of view that attitude is just as logical as the position in Spain, where the Catholic religion is the State religion, and where non-Catholics are free to practice their own religion provided they do not engage in efforts to undermine the Catholic Faith of the Spanish people.

1522. What is the position of Catholics in Jerusalem itself?

They are on an equal footing with all other religious bodies, whether Jewish, Moslem, Greek Orthodox or Protestant. At present, however, Jerusalem is in the melting pot. Sections of the city are under Jewish control, other sections under Arab control. The United Nations Assembly proposes to combine both Jewish and Arab sections into an international city under a special council of trustees. Both Jews and Arabs object to this, and the matter is not yet decided. In such circumstances there are difficulties for all; but Catholics have not been subjected to any special disabilities.

NEXT TOPIC »

MORE FROM VOLUME 4

"THAT CATHOLIC CHURCH
A Radio Analysis"
- Book Title