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

"Outside the Catholic Church no salvation"

1595. Is not that a monstrous doctrine?

Not in the sense in which it is meant. It would be monstrous if we said that no one outside the Catholic Church, whether through his own fault or not, can be saved. I am speaking, of course, of a person's public profession of adherence to the visible Catholic Church in this world. This is a profound subject which raises the questions as to whether it is necessary to belong to the Church, and to which Church, and in what way or to what extent one must belong to it in order to be saved. On all these aspects of the problem we shall see more as we go along. Here I will content myself with asking you whether it was monstrous for Christ to say: "If a man will not hear the Church, let him be as the heathen." Matt., XVIII, 17. Or again, when Saul was persecuting the Church and Christ appeared to him and said: "Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou Me?" Acts, IX, 4, can we escape the conclusion that, if persecution of the Church is persecution of Christ, our salvation must in some way be bound up with our attitude to the Church? The whole point is whether or not the Catholic Church is the one true Church as depicted in the New Testament. Catholics believe that it is; and therefore they hold with the Bible that the salvation of souls is bound up with their relationships to the Catholic Church.

1596. Is not the Catholic Faith absolutely necessary before a man can be saved?

For a man who has had it sufficiently put before him and who has realized its truth, yes. But if a man has never known the truth of the Catholic religion, he can be saved provided he complies with other necessary conditions applicable to him.

1597. The Athanasian Creed declares without qualification that its acceptance is necessary for salvation.

The Athanasian Creed was written by Catholics for people already Catholics, and it tells them that they will not remain Catholics unless they accept the explanations contained in it of the particular aspects of the Christian religion with which it deals. And all Catholics know quite well that fidelity to their Catholic Faith is necessary for their salvation. But a person who had never at any time realized the truth of the Catholic Church and the binding character of the Athanasian Creed would not forfeit salvation by a refusal to believe what he is unaware of any obligation to believe.

1598. I find it difficult to square what you say with what the Creed says.

Your difficulty arises from confusing an objective statement of truth for all who know the Catholic religion to be that of Christ, with the question of the subjective dispositions of those who have never attained to such knowledge. It is one thing to state the truth which all sufficiently informed people must hold. It is quite another to say that insufficiently informed people are not morally to blame for what they have never realized. Nor, because such people are not morally to blame for their mistake, does it follow that it is as good to be mistaken as to know the truth.

1599. In the Bull "Unam Sanctam", Nov. 18, 1302, Pope Boniface VIII defined that for all human beings it is absolutely necessary for salvation to be subject to the Roman Pontiff.

He did, in order to stress the serious obligation of every man to join the Catholic Church once he becomes aware of its truth. But until a man becomes aware of its truth, he cannot be obliged to join it. In fact, if a man sincerely believed the Catholic Church to be false, or even Antichrist (some people do!), he would be obliged not to join it whilst laboring under such a delusion. And he would be guilty of grave sin before God if he did join it against the dictates of his conscience.

1600. Is that quotation from Boniface VIII complete, excluding nothing which would alter its meaning?

It is complete in regard to the particular aspect of the relationship of the Catholic Church to the salvation of souls with which it deals. But there is another and equally important aspect of the subject with which it did not intend to deal, of which the explanation is to be sought elsewhere and in its own proper place.

1601. I presume that the definition by Pope Boniface VIII has never been retracted.

Never.

1602. Then I know that your Church definitely teaches that no person whatever can be saved unless he is a true Roman Catholic and subject to the Pope.

In that case you know better than the Catholic Church herself the meaning of her own teachings! For on Dec. 9, 1854, Pope Pius IX declared: "We must hold as of faith that out of the Apostolic Roman Church there; is no salvation; that she is the only ark of safety, and whosoever is not in her perishes in the deluge. We must also, on the other hand, recognize with certainty that those who are in invincible ignorance of the true religion are not guilty for this in the eyes of the Lord." On August 10, 1863, he further said: "Those who are in invincible ignorance of our most holy religion, but who observe carefully the natural law graven by God on the hearts of all men, and who, being disposed to obey God, lead an honest and upright life, aided by divine grace, attain to eternal life.

1603. If not, how do you reconcile the two apparently opposed teachings?

By saying that they are concerned with different things. In the one case, omitting considerations of the subjective and personal dispositions of men, we can ask whether the Catholic Church is in itself the true Church to which Christ intends men to belong. To that we reply, yes. The Catholic Church is the Church Christ Himself established and of which He said: "If a man will not hear the Church, let him be as the heathen." Matt., XVIII, 17. When, however, we turn from considering the truth and the necessity of the Catholic Church in itself, and ask about the position of people who do not belong to it, we have to say that they are to blame for not belonging to it if they know it to be the true Church, but not if they do not know this. And if they are living good lives according to such convictions as they do possess, we have to rank them among those of whom Christ said: "Other sheep I have who are not of this fold." Jn., X, 16. The absence of contradiction is, therefore, clear once one realizes that "one doctrine deals with the objective truth of the Catholic Church in itself, whilst the other deals with the subjective dispositions and responsibility of individuals in relation to its claims. The whole position is summed up in the ordinary Catholic Catechism for children by the statement that no one outside the Catholic Church "through his own fault" can be saved.

1604. It is the general belief of Catholics themselves that there is no salvation outside their own Church.

All Catholics believe that for themselves it is necessary for them to continue as members of the Catholic Church if they wish to save their souls. It is definitely not the general belief of Catholics that those outside the Catholic Church who have never realized the truth of the Catholic Church cannot be saved.

1605. Will you answer this. Can salvation be received through any other Church than that Church of Rome which you claim to be the one true Church?

If a person belongs to some other Church in quite good faith, not suspecting his position to be mistaken, God will not deny to him personally the graces necessary for his salvation. If he has the goodwill to correspond with those graces, he will save his soul. But salvation will not be granted to him through the wrong Church to which he belongs, nor because of it. As salvation is possible only through Christ, so it can be mediated to men only through the one true Church He founded—the Catholic Church. No Church set up by men independently of that Church has the vocation and power to save mankind. The non-Catholic who saves his soul will do so through an influence overflowing to him from the Catholic Church, not through any specific influence of the wrong religion he mistakenly accepts. He may not realize this in the present world, but he will in Heaven. Salvation, then, is possible for those who happen to belong to Churches other than the Church of Rome, but not through those Churches.

1606. Surely you do not think that that makes sense to us Protestants!

It ought to. Let us take a doctrine you Protestants yourselves admit. You, together with Catholics, accept the teaching of Acts, IV, 12, in reference to Christ: "There is no other name under heaven given to men, whereby we must be saved." If, therefore, some poor pagan who has never heard of Christ saves his soul, Protestants themselves would have to admit that it would be through the grace of Christ, although the pagan would be quite unaware of that until he got to heaven. Having received the grace of Christ, the soul of that apparent pagan would have belonged to Christ without knowing it. Now we Catholics hold also that the Catholic Church is the one true Church established by Christ, that there is no other Church given to men whereby they may be saved, and that all who are members of Christ by grace are somehow or other, whether they know it or not, members of that one true Church. Implicitly, even though not externally, and even though they deny it as that good pagan would have denied that he was a Christian, all who are in the grace and love and friendship of Christ belong in their souls to the Catholic Church, and they go to heaven through that membership of the Catholic Church, of the truth of which they have not been conscious in this world. Of course, had they become aware of the truth of the Catholic Church they would not have remained in a non-Catholic denomination but would have transferred their allegiance externally to the Catholic Church, as so many converts, including myself, have done. But that transfer is not of obligation until one does realize clearly the truth of the claims of the visible Catholic Church to be the one true Church in this world. This explanation may have seemed long and involved, but we are dealing with a profound question which cannot be settled off-hand by a single superficial statement.

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