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

"Rome's historical record"

1523. What is the teaching of Catholic theology in regard to the conversion of the Jews to Christianity?

Catholic theology merely says that the day will come when the Jews will, as a people, be converted to the Catholic religion. St. Paul wrote that "blindness in part has happened in Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles should come in." Rom., XI, 25. Theology cannot say more than that the Jews will be converted when the Catholic Church has accomplished God's purposes among the Gentiles, and before the end of the world. How long it will be before that happens, no one can say. I do not think that there are any signs that the time is near at hand.

1524. Even if the Catholic Church does not claim such power in regard to Jews, as non-Christians, does not that Church claim the right to put heretics to death?


1525. Would it exercise such a right in our country if it had the power?

In the impossible supposition that the Catholic Church did have such absolute temporal power in our country, she would not use it to put heretics to death. She would brand the putting to death of people for their religious opinions as straight-out murder. I hope that reply demolishes any fears you may have entertained on the subject.

1526. If the Catholic Church would not mete out to present-day Protestants the severe treatment she inflicted upon them in the past, is it that the rules have been changed in this matter?

I do not grant that you have right ideas of the attitude of the Catholic Church in the past. But letting that go for the moment, it will be enough to say here that Catholic principles have not changed, although worldconditions have so greatly changed as to require different applications of them. Past history cannot be rightly judged from the standpoint of presentday conditions. To get things in a right perspective, one must try to get back into the atmosphere of the age when the past events took place. For example, when the American colonists some 200 years ago refused to acknowledge England's authority, they were still British subjects; and England sent armed forces to compel their submission. But the American colonists won their independence, and such an action on England's part in regard to the present-day descendants of those American colonists would be absurd. For those descendants have never acknowledged England's authority, but have ever been independent of it. No rules or principles have been changed. But the circumstances have altered. In a similar way, although the cases are not entirely parallel, the Catholic Church regards in a very different light the first Protestants who had been her own subjects and who had deliberately rebelled against the religion they had once professed, and their descendants who have never known the teachings of the Catholic Church, and have never professed to be subject to that Church.

1527. Take, for example, your burnings of John Huss, Joan of Arc, Latimer, Savonarola and Giordano Bruno. A modest list.

They are not my burnings. I didn't have anything to do with them. Nor do any of them afford any argument whatever against the truth of the Catholic religion. If the Catholic religion was true before they were burnt, that same religion was true after they were burnt, even if they were wrongly burnt. Arguments based on the behavior of different people at different times in history have no bearing on the question of the truth of a religion as such. If people behaved wrongly, then they behaved wrongly. But in every case where any Catholics have behaved wrongly, it will be found that their conduct was not in accordance with Catholic principles, but opposed to them. I have not time to discuss each of the cases you mention. Some of the penalties were inflicted justly. Some unjustly. In none of them was the Catholic religion as such responsible for them. If you became a Catholic, you would still be free to think what you liked about them as historical incidents, although you would have to reject any errors opposed to Holy Scripture and the teachings of the Church which any of the people you have mentioned may have maintained. Joan of Arc, of course, is a canonized Saint of the Catholic Church; so you would certainly not be at any variance with her by becoming a Catholic!

1528. Pope Innocent III was responsible for the extermination of the Albigensians.

That takes us back to the 12th century, and to feudal times when Church and State were so intimately bound up with one another that religious disturbances were of their very nature a political menace. Pope Innocent III at first merely demanded that Albigensian heretics should be expelled from any localities where they actively engaged in trying to subvert the faith of Catholics. In 1208 he sent his legate, Peter of Castelnau, to hold a conference with them and to persuade them if possible to cease from such efforts. They murdered the papal legate, and the Pope then called upon the king of France to suppress the Albigensians. Under the leadership of Simon de Montfort the religious crusade against them became a war of conquest. The Albigensians, who brought most of their troubles upon themselves, even although they were treated with excessive violence, are not half so deserving of sympathy as the Waldensians. But all this is a matter of history, with no particular bearing on the truth or otherwise of the Catholic religion in itself. You yourself would not be prepared to admit that the religion of the Albigensians was true, unless you are prepared to admit, with the Manichaean heretics of old, whose doctrines the Albigensians had revived, that there is not one God but two Gods, one good and the other evil; that Jesus is not the Savior of mankind; that anyone who marries commits sin by the very fact; and that no citizen ever has any duty of loyalty to the State to which he belongs!

1529. How does the Church of Rome condone the slaughter of the people of Pragelas, in the valleys of the Waldensians, in 1400 A.D.? Fifty babies were found in the morning frozen to the ice; mothers with babies in their arms frozen to death!

You can be quite sure that the Catholic Church does not condone any excesses violating the law of God and the spirit of Christ, whether perpetrated by misguided individuals 551 years ago, or at any other period in history. But you must be careful to get your facts right, and not rely on biased and garbled accounts by partisan writers. The very style of the book from which you have drawn your information should have made you suspicious of its accuracy. The author is obviously not concerned to give a dispassionate and impartial history for history's sake. He is out to play upon the feelings of his readers and to create an impression of revulsion and disgust. So, from all those killed, he selects fifty babies. The number fifty sounds so definite that he hopes it will look true, although of course he wasn't there 550 years ago to count them. Then, too, mothers frozen with babies in their arms make a much more pathetic picture than mothers frozen separately; So that must go in. One cuts the ground from under one's own feet by writing pretended history in such a way. I am not denying that there was any slaughter of the Waldensians in 1400 A.D. Pope Boniface IX, throughout the whole of his reign from 1389 to 1404, was constantly urging secular princes to maintain the unity and harmony of Christendom by stamping out the growth of heretical sects in their territories. That some of these princes were guilty of cruelty and injustice in their measures against the Waldensians is not at all unlikely. If so, the Catholic Church would say that they were guilty of cruelty and injustice. But that leaves the question as to whether the Catholic religion is the true religion or not quite unaffected. And that is the question with which I am concerned in my radio program.

1530. How do you condone the fact that, in 1486, Pope Innocent VIII appointed Cattaneo, Archdeacon of Cremona, to exterminate the Waldensians ?

Pope Innocent VIII did not do so. He sent Albert de Cattaneo, Archdeacon of Cremona, to France, to urge the French king to banish the Waldensians from the Province of Dauphine. The Waldensians were given the option of going either to Switzerland or to Germany, to join their brethren there. Those who would not go voluntarily were driven out by the French army, and the Catholic population was left in undisturbed peace. The Waldensians had undoubtedly been disturbers of the peace. However, if any excesses and wrongs were committed by the French authorities in expelling them, they were excesses and wrongs, not to be condoned but condemned. But all this says nothing, once again, as to the truth or otherwise of the Catholic religion in itself, or as compared with the religion of the Waldensians.

1531. How do you condone the dreadful massacre of the Waldensians in 1655, by the Society for the Propagation of the Faith?

The Society for the Propagation of the Faith was not established until 1úS22. So it could scarcely have engineered a massacre or anything else in 1655. Of the incident you mention, Kellett, a non-Catholic writer, says in his book, "A Short History of Religions," p. 280, "Their chief seat (i.e. of the Waldensians) was on the slopes of the Alps, half in Piedmont, half in France. According to the political needs of the Dukes of Savoy they were tolerated or persecuted. In 1655 it suited the Duke to persecute* them." The author upon whom you relied had no right to turn the Duke of Savoy into a Society which came into existence only some 300 years later; and no right to pretend that not political but religious motives only were involved.

1532. In that year, 1655, thousands of Waldensians were slaughtered, peaceful industrious people whose only crime was their Protestant faith.

That also is inaccurate. Not all the Waldensians were peaceful people by any means. They were on the whole a much better lot than the Albigensians. But many of them were not content with merely practicing peacefully their own religion. They were very militant in their efforts to undermine the faith of Catholics, efforts which were a political menace in those particular times. For example, in the very year you mention, 1655, Oliver Cromwell in England was engaged in persecuting Anglicans. In that year he made a law imposing dire penalties on any dispossessed Anglican minister who would dare to use the Book of Common Prayer, or to administer the rites of the Church of England, or to preach. Nonconformist Protestants were then in the ascendency in England. In explaining Oliver Cromwell's persecution of Anglicans, G. P. Fisher, a Professor in Yale University, U. S. A., writes as follows in his book, "The History of the Church," p. 485: "While the persecution is condemned, it must not be forgotten how closely religious differences were mingled with political aims. To be a 'Prelatist' was to be a foe to the government and to be anxious to overthrow it." Mr. G. P. Fisher was a Congregationalism whose sympathies were anti-episcopal and with Cromwell. But Protestants cannot have it both ways, rejecting a principle of historical interpretation when applied to a Catholic country in 1655, yet using it in regard to a Protestant country in 1655!

1533. The Emperor Sigismund induced John Huss to come to a General Council at Constance in Switzerland. But there, in spite of a solemn promise of personal safety which he had given to John Huss, he carried out the Decree of the Council and had him burned at the stake in 1415 A.D. How do you explain that?

That is not a correct presentation of the affair. John Huss, an ex- Catholic priest, began to preach heretical doctrines in Bohemia, and many disturbances resulted. Quite convinced that his ideas were sound, Huss himself said that he was willing to go to the Council. He felt sure that in any debate there he would triumph and prove that his teachings were not heretical. He declared that he wanted the case tried by the Council and that he would abide by its decision. The Emperor Sigismund gave him a safe-conduct, guaranteeing that he would not be molested on the way to the Council nor on his way home, if he succeeded as he said he would in justifying his teachings. The Emperor's safe-conduct gave no right to return, if John Huss were condemned by the Council. Huss was condemned. He refused to renounce his errors as he had promised to do, and declared that he intended to go on teaching them. And according to the laws then in force, he was put to death in 1415 by the civil authorities as an enemy of the State.

1534. Would Christ have done the same in such circumstances?

Firstly, the safe-conduct given to John Huss was not violated according to the real terms of the agreement. So we can omit that. Secondly, would Christ have ordered the death of John Huss, even granted his condemnation by the General Council? He would neither have ordered it nor forbidden it, any more than He would order or forbid the execution of a criminal by a modern State for a capital crime. He would not have ordered it, for He expressly left the administration of temporal affairs to temporal rulers. He would not have forbidden it, for there is nothing in His teachings against the infliction of capital punishment by lawfully constituted civil authorities upon those found guilty of treason. Treason against the State, of course, must be estimated according to the conditions prevailing at the time. We cannot arrive at╗ a sound judgment by reading back our present ideas into a state of society which prevailed 500 years ago!

1535. You once said that Martin Luther persecuted other Protestants and caused thousands to be put to death. You know that is a false charge against a man who left the tyranny of Rome precisely to establish Christian Liberty.

Martin Luther believed in the liberty of people to agree with him and to disagree with Rome. But he did not believe in the liberty of people to disagree with himself.

1536. Have you a single reputable authority to support so libellous a charge?

Not a reputable authority would deny it. When the Anabaptists, under Thomas Muntzer, rose in the name of the Christian liberty Luther preached, protesting against oppression by the Lutheran princes, Luther advised the princes to cut them down without mercy. Professor H. A. L. Fisher, of Oxford University, says in his "History of Europe," that "the encouragement he gave to a course of savage repression is a serious blot on his good name." Dean Inge, Anglican Dean of St. Paul's Cathedral, London, wrote: "Luther wished to extend no tolerance to the Anabaptists and had in principle no objection to persecution." Professor G. P. Fisher, of Yale University, U. S. A., says in his "History of the Church," that "when the peasants rebelled, Luther urged the princes to cut them down without mercy, and great numbers were slain." Luther himself said after the event: "I, Martin Luther, have during the rebellion slain all the peasants, for it was I who ordered them to be struck dead. All their blood is on my head. But I put it all on our Lord God, for He commanded me to speak thus." The poor Anabaptists may have been religiously deluded; but their delusion was not greater than that of Martin Luther!

1537. The most stupendous death warrant in all history was signed by King Philip of Spain in 1568. It sentenced to death as heretics the whole 3,000,000 people of the Netherlands. Is that the kind of thing your Catholic religion inspires?

Your statement is not historically correct. Nor was anything that did really happen the responsibility of the Catholic Church. Here are the facts. In 1568, the Netherlands formed part of the northern Spanish Provinces. Even under the rule of the Emperor Charles V there had been a good deal of political unrest, although Charles V was personally popular. But his son, Philip II, cold, reserved and severe, was personally unpopular; and political resentment of his rule quickly developed. Many Dutch Catholics, although of the same religion as King Philip, wanted independence for the Netherlands. Dutch Protestants, like the Catholics, were politically divided, some wanting political independence, others not. Those who wanted independence naturally supported the politically rebellious Catholics. So there were Catholics and Protestants for Philip, and Catholics and Protestants against Philip. Naturally, hating the Catholic religion as they did, there were far more Protestants opposed to Philip than Catholics. They had religious as well as political animosities; and they showed their religious fanaticism by wrecking Catholic Churches, or by converting them into Calvinist places of worship, after having in their puritanical fury destroyed every work of art and beauty they contained. It meant really a question of civil war, and Philip II naturally felt it necessary both to quell political disturbances and to prevent the further development of Protestantism which was only adding fuel to the fire. In 1567, he sent the Duke of Alba with an army of 10,000 men to restore order. The Duke was a great soldier, but no diplomat; and he was pitiless in his determination to crush the rebellion. In 1568 the Duke of Alba created a special tribunal called the "Council of the Troubles," a Council which came to be known as the "Council of Blood." It was this tribunal that, in 1568, decreed death to all rebels. Alba showed the same severity to Catholics and Protestants alike. Two prominent Catholic nobles, Egmont and Hoorne, were executed on June 5, 1568, because of their political opposition to Philip. Protestant rebels, on the other hand, put Protestants to death who were politically loyal to Philip. Apart from the fact that more than half of the Dutch people were then Catholics, it -is impossible out of all this tangled history of the times to say that the whole 3,000,000 people of the Netherlands were sentenced to death as heretics! You have provided but another instance of how history is distorted in favor of religious prejudice.

1538. Did not your Church order the massacre of thousands of inoffensive French Protestant Huguenots on St. Bartholomew's Day, August 24, 1572?

No. The Catholic Church had nothing to do with that event. It was ordered by Catherine de Medici, the mother of the French King, Charles IX. Catherine de Medici was a completely irreligious woman whose one desire was political power, and who dictated the policy of the King. Hearing that Coligny, the leader of the Huguenots, was plotting to get rid of her, she made arrangements for his assassination on August 22. Her plan failed, so on August 24 she ordered a general massacre of the Huguenots. Religious reasons did not come into the case at all. Catherine's motives were purely political. She was not interested in religion; and as a matter of fact many Catholics were murdered together with the Protestant Huguenots. Catholic historians join with Protestant historians in condemning the massacre on St. Bartholomew's Day as an utterly unscrupulous and barbaric murder.

1539. Did not the Pope chant a "Te Deum" of thanksgiving for it in Rome?

No. The Pope had been informed that the French King had been saved from a plot to murder him, and for the King's preservation he ordered a "Te Deum" to be chanted in thanksgiving. The same diplomatic message had been sent to the various ruling sovereigns in other countries, and the story was accepted by everybody. Queen Elizabeth of England joined with other sovereigns in sending messages of congratulation to Charles IX. Only later did the real truth come out, and when Pope Gregory XIII heard the facts of the case, he expressed his horror and condemnation of the whole affair. He positively refused to receive in audience one of the leaders of the attack who visited Rome shortly afterwards, saying: "I will not meet a murderer." That prejudices against the Catholic Church should have to depend on such misinterpretations of history should make all anti-Catholic prejudices suspect in the eyes of all reasonable men.

1540. In February, 1884, Pope Leo XIII addressed an Encyclical Letter to the French Bishops exhorting them to redouble their vigilance against infidelity.

That in no way suggests the persecution of heretics. Is it persecution of others to safeguard one's own? What is the duty of a Catholic Bishop, if not to do his utmost to preserve his Catholic people from falling into error and unbelief? To interpret the Pope's warning against the corruption of the Catholic religion as a command to persecute heretics is unpardonable. As a matter of fact, not heresy, but straight-out infidelity was the danger in France. And it is a tribute to Pope Leo's foresight that in 1884 he saw what would be the results of the skeptical philosophy of unbelieving intellectuals. General Giraud, in an analysis of France's downfall in World War II, said that one great factor was an education in schools characterized by "the negation of everything spiritual., of everything divine, of everything ideal. Atheism, if not proclaimed, was encouraged." Such was the result of the tendencies in France against which Pope Leo XIII warned the French Bishops to be on their guard. And to find a Protestant who still professes to believe in Christ using that as an argument against the Catholic Church is, to say the least, a sad commentary on the persistence of prejudice even in otherwise good people.

1541. Even as late as 1901, a Father Marianus de Luca, S.J., Professor at the Gregorian University in Rome, published a book entitled "Institutes of Canon Law," a book carrying the approbation of the Pope and of the Jesuits, in which he asserts that the Church possesses the power, which she ought to exercise, of extirpating heretics.

That statement has gone the rounds of anti-Catholic writers, who repeat it one after another without bothering to verify the accusation. Yet it is a gross calumny. In his treatise on Canon Law, Father de Luca deals with the history of past legislation, subsequent variations, and present applications. In the historical section of his book he quotes from a 16th century author an obsolete law of the earlier Middle Ages declaring that the civil power has the right to punish those condemned for heresy by the Church. It is to be noted that he expressly declares the law to be obsolete, and therefore not applicable in our era. Even then, the right to inflict physical penalties belonged, not to the Church, but to the civil power. The Church could only decide whether or not a given set of teachings was heretical. And the age was one in which the Catholic religion was officially acknowledged as the religion of the State, the whole population professing the Catholic religion. In speaking of present Canon Law in these days when so many Who profess to be Christians have never been Catholics, he declares that by the express law of the Church non-Catholics are exempted from the practical applications of her jurisdiction, and that there can be no punitive action against them by the State on religious grounds which no longer have political implications. Father de Luca, therefore, did not advocate the "extirpation of heretics," and to continue propagating the assertion that he did is to continue propagating a falsehood.

1542. What is the Holy Office?

The "Holy Office" is a Congregation or Committee of experts in theology and canon law, presided over by the Pope himself. Its main duty is to safeguard the integrity of Christian teaching on matters of faith and morals. If in any part of the world doubts arise as to whether any particular teachings or practices are compatible with Christian doctrines, it is customary to submit the matter to the Holy Office for an authoritative decision concerning them. Briefly, the Holy Office is simply a Council of Vigilance, whose duty it is to preserve the divine revelation in its original purity, as it was entrusted to the care of the Catholic Church by Christ and the Apostles in the first place.



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