Choose a topic from Vol 5:

Awareness of God

Awareness of God

The Faith of Israel

The Faith of Israel

The Importance of Man

The Importance of Man

Origin of the Gospels

Origin of the Gospels

The Divine Redeemer

The Divine Redeemer

The Catholic Church

The Catholic Church

The Papacy

The Papacy

The Biblical Tradition

The Biblical Tradition

The Blessed Virgin Mary

The Blessed Virgin Mary

Liturgy and Sacraments

Liturgy and Sacraments

Moral Problems

Moral Problems

Final Realities

Final Realities

The Ecumenical Movement

The Problem of Disunity
Reactions Among Non-Catholics
Bewildered Catholics
Combined Unity Services
Mutual Bible Study
Prospects of Reunion

The Catholic Church

156. Did not the historian Edward Gibbon, in his "Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire", attribute the phenomenal expansion of Christianity to merely natural and human causes?

He did. His verdict, however, was dictated, not by history itself, but by reading into it an interpretation based upon his own anti-religious prejudices. He was determined to grant nothing that might tell in favour of the divine origin of Christianity. He published the first volume of his work in 1776, the 15th and 18th chapters of which contained his attack on Christianity. The whole work was completed in 1788. Its vast erudition and mastery of style will forever rank him among the greatest of historical writers. But since in the writing of history a selection of facts has to be made and their significance interpreted, we have to ask what Gibbon's criterion was in his selection of certain facts and his omission of others; and what influenced his interpretation of those he chose. His own personal philosophy did that, and his own personal philosophy was that of a rationalist and sceptic. What made him a sceptic? Certainly not the historical facts. Others knew those, and were not sceptics. Aware of this, Professor Gilbert Murray, himself an agnostic, says in his "History of Christianity," p.76: "Whether Christianity is to be explained as a natural development or as a miraculous revelation cannot be settled by historical research, and must be answered by each man according to his bent." Sir Gilbert Murray realised that for a historian, precisely as a historian and putting aside his religious beliefs or lack of them, the problem has to be left as an open question.

157. What, briefly, were Gibbon's natural factors, and what their deficiencies?

The five causes by which Gibbon thought to account for the expansion and influence of Christianity were: (1) The fanatical zeal of the first Christians; (2) Their doctrine of a future life; (3) Their false claims to miracles wrought by God; (4) Their high moral ideals; and (5) The Church's strict discipline and power of self-organisation. But Gibbon did not allow for the fact that any power of the Church to organise herself presupposed the conversion of people to her; and he omitted consideration of all the external and internal factors standing in the way of such conversions. Externally, Christianity had to meet an incredible corruption of morals, the derision of pagan philosophers, studious vilification, the allurements of worldly pleasures, and violence even to martyrdom. Internally, the obstacles were not less. The first Christians were destitute of all means of propaganda. They lacked the personal qualities necessary to gain the minds of others, nobility, philosophical training, and reputation. And they preached the necessity of believing in a despised and crucified Jew who had claimed to be God. The Jews found this a scandal and the pagan Gentiles found it folly. Only the grace of God could account for conversions to such a religion. But Gibbon not only omits consideration of these external and internal obstacles. He allows his bias to intrude. As the "Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church" points out, by Gibbon "all supernatural considerations are treated with bitter irony and ridicule," while he declares the Middle Ages to be "the triumph of barbarism and religion." Lord Acton, in his essay in the "Home and Foreign Review," said that Gibbon, as a rationalist, not believing in the supernatural, could only assign all manifestations of it to erratic enthusiasm, superstition or fraud; and he added that a Catholic like Bossuet, aware of the divine fire at its centre, was more truly at home in the history of one and the same organic Church continuously developing through the ages than Gibbon could ever be.

158. To what is the real problem of the expansion of Christianity reduced?

To its having survived and become solidly established so rapidly and so widely long before Constantine put an end to the era of the intermittent and fierce persecutions by his Edict of Milan, 313 A.D., declaring Christianity a lawfully recognised religion. It is amazing to find St. Paul writing to the Christian community in Rome, early in 58 A.D., telling the Christians there of his proposed visit to them and that their faith was already proverbial wherever he went. Tertullian, writing in North Africa about 197 A.D. to the provincial governors of the Roman Empire, told them their policy of persecution was folly. The more of us whom you destroy, he wrote, the more we multiply; for the blood of martyrs is the seed of Christians. What is certain is that the Church succeeded in supplanting the pagan cults with the dominant personality of Christ as the fulfilment of ancient prophecies. Against the rampant pagan philosophies, mythologies and mystery religions, the apostolic proclamation pitted, not a new philosophy, but a gospel of salvation demanding self-denial, the abandoning of evil ways, and faith in Christ "Chosen People of God," enabling them to live on the higher spiritual levels to be expected of the children of God. St. Augustine's dilemma still stands. The success of such a religion was due to accompanying miracles wrought by God, or not. If due to such miracles, it is divinely guaranteed. If not, its survival and rapid expansion themselves constitute a miracle. One bent on refusing to admit the intervention of God may, of course, merely dismiss the problem, refusing to think about it. But Gibbon, having thought and written about it, should have declared it an insoluble enigma.

159. In his first sermon (Acts, 2:25f.) Peter quoted David's 15th Psalm: "You will not suffer your Holy One to see corruption." That Jewish prophecy would not impress Gentiles.

It was not meant to do so. St. Peter was addressing the Jews assembled in Jerusalem, many of them from distant places, who had come for the Jewish Feast of Pentecost, the fiftieth day after the Passover. He told them that David could not have been speaking of himself, for "his tomb is with us to this day." David, he said, foresaw and spoke of the resurrection of Christ; of whom, he added, "we are all witnesses." The Jews themselves knew that the kingdom of David, who lived about 1000 B.C., foreshadowed a more wonderful kingdom, that of a future Messiah who would be of the line of David. This promise, St. Peter told them, was fulfilled in the Risen Christ. His argument was that the Church Christ had established would henceforth be the kingdom of God for a new Chosen People of God. (We know that as a visible society this kingdom would exist as a preparatory institution on earth, finding its full perfection only in heaven.)

160. The Roman centurion Cornelius at Caesarea was a Gentile, yet in explaining to him the claims of Christ Peter said that "all the prophets bear witness." Acts, 10:43.

Cornelius, although a Gentile, was a proselyte or half-way convert to Judaism. Dissatisfied with paganism, he worshipped the God of the Jews and knew their scriptures, without accepting the full Mosaic Law. A divine intervention occurred in his case, inspiring him to send for Peter and ask for instruction in the Christian religion. Very different was the approach of St. Paul when, in 50 A.D., he addressed the pagan Greeks at Athens (Acts, 17:22f.). Without referring to any biblical prophecies, St. Paul drew their attention to the fact that they had built an altar to "the unknown god" and declared that he spoke in the name of the God they worshipped as unknown. He told them that the true God was He who created this universe and everything in it; that He is the Lord of heaven and earth; that He has fixed a day for the judgment of all mankind; and that this judgment will be a divinely-appointed man who has proved His mission by His resurrection from the dead. When the Athenians heard of the resurrection, some mocked; others said they would like to hear more about it; and a few decided to become Christians. St. Paul had far greater success among the Greeks in Macedonia, some two hundred miles to the north, and in Corinth, about fifty miles west of Athens.

161. Did not Jeremiah, 31:31, predict a New Covenant under which people would have "the law written in their hearts?"

The Old Covenant which God gave through Moses ended with John the Baptist as forerunner of the New Covenant given us in Christ. So Christ Himself said: "The Law and the Prophets were until John; from that time the kingdom of God is preached." Lk., 16:16. Again, at the Last Supper, Christ said: "This is the New Covenant in my blood which is poured out for you." Lk., 22:20. Hebrews, 8:8-13, quotes Jeremiah's words: "I will make a New Covenant with the house of Israel . . . not according to the Covenant I made with their fathers", saying later, in 12:24: "Jesus is the Mediator of the New Covenant." In Galatians, 6:16, therefore, St. Paul declares Christians to be now the "Israel of God." The Jewish expression about the "law being written in their hearts" emphasises the dominant characteristics of the two Dispensations. In the "New Israel" (Christianity) the interior spirit of religion will be of more importance than the external observances in Israel of old; not that interior dispositions did not count in the Old Law, nor that there are no external duties in the New Law. But in the Sermon on the Mount Christ stressed the greater importance of a truly interior spirit of religion in one's heart, as contrasted with merely external observances.

162. Isaiah 2:2 says: "In the last days the Lord's house shall be established on the top of the mountains . . and all nations shall flow to it." Did that apply to the coming of Christ's kingdom?

In at least its initial stages, yes. "The last days" was a technical expression referring to the messianic times fulfilling the Law and the Prophets - times which arrived with the birth of Christ, the predicted Messiah, in Bethlehem of Juda. Christ established His Church "on the mountain tops", a symbolical phrase indicating a visible institution which all men could see, even though His kingdom was to be a spiritual and religious one, in the world yet not of the world. And that kingdom exists, not for the Jews only, but for all nations to whom the Gospel had to be preached "beginning at Jerusalem," Christ said; and again, to the Apostles: "You will be witnesses to me in Jerusalem, and even to the uttermost parts of the earth." Acts, 1:8.

163. Verse 3 says: "Many will say: Let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us his ways and we will walk in his paths; for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem."

It was in Zion or Jerusalem that Christ founded His Church. Its continuity with Israel ensured its being the house of the God of Jacob. As the Messiah predicted by Israel's prophets, Jesus made the Jewish people His first concern; only later commissioning His Apostles to preach the Gospel to all nations. To the Apostles He gave the power to "teach all nations" (Matt., 28:19); to rule in His kingdom, saying: "Whatsoever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven also" (Matt., 18:18); and to sanctify souls, saying: "Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them" (Jn., 20:23). So the word of the Lord comes forth from Jerusalem where Christ founded His Church; and many from all nations are taught His ways and walk is His paths by their fidelity to the teachings and precepts of the Catholic religion.

164. Since we see no such kingdom, Isaiah's prophecy has surely not yet come to pass!

It has, to the extent that the Church Christ founded in Jerusalem still exists in this world as a visible and imperishable religious institution, remaining One by the bonds of a central authority or law which came forth out of Jerusalem; Holy by teaching us God's revealed truth and how to walk in His ways; Catholic or universally intended for and available to all nations; and Apostolic because linked by unbroken descent with the Apostles chosen by Christ Himself. Where is that One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church today? It is the one which comes spontaneously to everybody's mind on hearing someone so much as speak of the Catholic Church; or, when asked his religion, says simply that he is a Catholic.

165. To my mind, although Jesus said "the kingdom is at hand", that was true only while He was on earth. It will be true again only when He returns in His Second Coming. No apostle, after the ascension, preached that the kingdom was still a present reality in this world.

According to the New Testament, Christ Himself spoke of the Church He founded as His kingdom (Matt., 16:18, 19). Moreover, it was long after the ascension when St. Paul wrote to the Thessalonians: "Walk worthy of God who has called you into His kingdom" (I Thess., 2:12); and to the Colossians that they should give thanks to God who has "transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son in whom we have redemption" (Col., 1:13).

166. Jesus said: "My kingdom is not of this world" (Jn., 18:36), yet everyone sees the Roman Catholic Church as very much an organised institution in this world.

The kingdom of Christ is not of this world in the sense of not being of worldly origin, worldly government, and for merely worldly purposes. But Christ was born into this world and belonged to the institutional religion of the Jews, being in fact its promised Messiah, the very reason for its existence. He could not fulfil the Old Law without providing a new institutional religion in this world, forming a "New Israel" or "Chosen People of God", in direct succession to Israel of old. And He laid the foundation of His new institution by choosing twelve apostles for His "New Israel" as representing the Twelve Tribes of Israel of old, entrusting to them powers to teach, to rule, and to sanctify by sacramental means the new "People of God." The Jews in general, looking for a temporal messianic kingdom of this world, rejected Him and the spiritual yet visible kingdom He offered in the form of His Church. But some, like Holy Simeon, enlightened by the Holy Spirit, were enabled to say, blessing God, and with a great sense of peace: "My eyes have seen thy salvation . . . a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for the glory of thy people Israel." Lk., 2:27-32. That insight is granted to those who see the Catholic Church as the "People of God", founded by Christ with a hierarchical constitution intended for the extending of God's rule in the hearts of men and for the salvation of their souls - the whole organic society or institutional assembly existing as the mystical body of Christ, the very Son of God. Such is God's kingdom on earth, in the world yet not of it, preparing for its perfect fulfilment in the eternal and heavenly glory of Christ and of all members of Christ, with whom He identifies Himself and who have identified themselves with Him.

167. What right had the Church to make unity-pacts with emperors and kings during the Middle Ages?

Hie right was based on the fact that the Church, primarily concerned with spiritual aims, is yet a visible society in this world. The Emperor Constantine's conversion and his Edict of Toleration in 313 A.D., ending three centuries of persecution, made the foundation of what we speak of as "Christendom" possible. Christianity came above ground and spread rapidly throughout the Roman Empire. But this meant two visible societies everywhere, Church and State, each having jurisdiction, the one spiritual, the other temporal, over the same members. In 800 A.D. the Emperor Charlemagne of the West looked out, no longer upon a pagan Roman Empire, but upon an Empire that had become Christian, and in which all professed the same religion. He realised that mutual agreements between the authorities of the Church and State were essential. So, acknowledging himself to be a spiritual subject of the Church, he had himself crowned as first Emperor of the "Holy Roman Empire" by Pope Leo III, promising his protection of the welfare of the Church and receiving from the Pope for himself and his successors such privileges in regard to ecclesiastical administration within his territories as could be lawfully granted to him. Such ideals might have continued to hold good if only history would stand still. But one has only to look back over the political conflicts which have torn Europe to shreds during the past thousand years and the religious divisions which have ended the "undivided Christendom" that once was, to realise that charges and counter-charges were inevitable, namely, either that the Church was seeking absolute supremacy over all things for the spiritual power, or that the States were seeking absolute power over all things for the secular rulers. That long-standing and complicated problem, however, belongs to the past. The Second Vatican Council, in its "Constitution on the Church in the Modern World", n.76, said: "In the proper spheres, the political community and the Church are mutually independent and self-governing. Yet, by a different title, each serves the personal and social vocation of the same human beings . . . (The Church) does not place her hope in privileges conferred by civil authority. Indeed, she stands ready to renounce the exercise of certain legitimately acquired rights if it becomes clear . . . that new conditions of life demand other arrangements." Being the same Church, the Catholic Church would find herself quite at home were she thrown back into the same environment that was hers during the first three centuries of persecution, before any secular powers deigned to grant her recognition at all.

168. You speak of the spiritual authority of the Church, as if the Church were our guide in religious matters. But is not the Holy Spirit the guide of both the Church and the individual?

Not in the sense that the Holy Spirit guides individual members of the Church in a way contrary to the official teachings and rulings of the Church. Christ Himself established His Church for the preservation and diffusion of His religion, under the guidance and protection of the Holy Spirit, for the service of all times, all peoples great and small, learned and illiterate alike. We have to hold that, since the Holy Spirit does not contradict Himself, there can be no conflict between His guidance of the Church collectively and His guidance of her members individually. I am speaking, of course, of doctrines and duties essential to Christianity as such. There are areas where the Holy Spirit may guide individuals in personal matters over and above but never in conflict with official decisions already proclaimed by the Church under His guidance.

169. I was a Protestant, but have un-churched myself altogether. Since the Holy Spirit is the Supreme Guide and He is not guided by the Church, nor am I guided by any Church.

I do not speak for "any" Church. Discussion of differences between Churches must be reserved for questions on Ecumenism. Here it will be enough to say that no Catholic is asked to believe that the Holy Spirit is guided by'the ChurdL what tie New Testament pots before us is the fact that God who in times past spoke throng the prophets, has in these days spoken to lis by His Son CHsb., 1:1-2). That Divine Son in turn established His Chord* to continue His work under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, teaching afl nations and baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Sprat (Matt., 28:19, 20j. By baptism we become members of the Church which the New Testament describes as the "body of Christ". The Christian lives as a matter of coarse in virtue of the life of the body of which he is a member. It is true that each member has his own particular needs, his own personal decisions to make in many matters, and responsibility for his own individual salvation. He cam therefore, rely upon necessary7 guidance by the Holy Spirit in his own particular case in answer to his prayers. But such guidance by the Holy Spirit is always within the context of the individual's incorporation as a member within the Church as tie mystical body of Christ; nor will t i e Holy Spirit's guidance ever be at variance with responsibilities arising from such membership. One who has rightly grasped the mind of the Holy Spirit realises that there is no place for separatist individualism where the Christian religion is concerned and that he cannot rightly claim to be guided by tie Holy Spirit into a rejection of the Church as the very means appointed by God for our guidance in His name and with His authority.

170. To my mind, the Church exists only for organised efforts to bring non-Christians into the way of life which accepts the Spirit of God, as in foreign missions; but once one does that, he will discard the guidance of the Church for guidance by the Spirit.

No passage in the New Testament suggests that the guidance of the Church may at any time be discarded. There we are told that Christ is the head of the Church; that we are members of Him by being members of the Church; and that our duty is to "strive to excel in building up the Church" (I Cor., 14:12). We must remember that on Pentecost Sunday the Holy Spirit descended as promised upon the apostles and disciples gathered together in Jerusalem as an organic group, thus manifesting the social character of Christian existence. The Church as the body of Christ is collectively indwelt by the life-giving Spirit of God, a grace in which individuals as living members necessarily participate. But Christ Himself appointed as authoritative spokesmen for the Church the apostles and their successors. It was not for non-Christians, but for those who were already Christians that St. Paul wrote to Timothy that the Church "is the pillar and safeguard of truth" (I Tim., 3:15). At the Council of Jerusalem, in 49 A.D., the apostles themselves, in issuing a disciplinary decree, prefaced their decision with the words: "It has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us" (Acts, 15:28). Again, about ten years later, addressing the bishops of Asia Minor gathered at Ephesus to bid him a final farewell, St. Paul said: "Take heed to yourselves and to the whole flock wherein the Holy Spirit has made you guardians to rule the Church of God" (Acts, 20:28). The reciprocal duty of ordinary members of the Church is stressed in Hebrews 13:17 with, the words: "Obey your prelates and be subject to them, for they watch as being to render an account of your souls." These aspects of New Testament teaching need to be taken into account if we are to hold balanced views on the nature of Christianity and not become victims of an isolated individualism quite foreign to it.

171. Did not the Second Vatican Council, in 1964, do away with the idea of an authoritative, institutional and organised Church in favour of a more simple idea of a Christian "People of God"?

The Council provided no grounds for such an over-simplification. Its Decree on ''The Constitution of the Church" ("Lumen Gentium") begins by declaring that Christ founded His Church upon the apostles, listing the various figures of speech in the New Testament which explain the mysterious nature of the Church, and proclaiming the mission of the Church, with powers of teaching, ruling and sanctifying derived from the apostles, to establish the reign of Christ in this world among men. enrolling them as members of the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church. The second chapter of the Decree particularly emphasises that, as God formed for Himself a Chosen People of old from the nation of Israel, so Christ. Israel's promised Messiah, established a New Covenant and formed a new "People of God" independently of racial and national limitations who were to remain one "People", and one only, within the unity of His Church. The Council added that, although this Church is to be found in the Catholic Church, many elements of truth, belief in Christ, reverence for holy scripture, and a sacramental bond with her by baptism have survived in Christian communities separated from her; also that these elements inspire in them a desire for unity such as Christ intends, although they do not yet see their way through the barriers of their denominational divisions. The realisation that Christ willed the new community of all who believe in Him to form a unified "People of God" should be a help towards readjusting one's outlook and to rise above inherited loyalties to different and divergent groups.

172. Roman Catholic friends now tell me that, according to the Council, they "are" the Church instead of just belonging to an organisation set up by the hierarchy.

No Catholic believes the Catholic Church to be "an organisation set up by the hierarchy." In explaining the origin and nature of the Grarch. the Vatican Council said that "Christ called together a people made up of Jews and Gentiles, making them one. not according to the flesh but in the Spirit." That stressed the basic dignity of being Christians apart from any distinctions among them according to office. But Christ Himself chose from among His disciples the twelve Apostles, to whom He gave authority in the Church, an authority they shared out to bishops they appointed in various localities. All Catholics, popes, bishops, priests, brothers, nuns and laity alike, constitute "The People of God in the kingdom of God." No individual Catholic or particular groups of Catholics can say "we are the Church", but all can say that they are equally members of the Church; and that applies from the Pope down to the most recently baptised infant.

173. Would you apply to all Roman Catholics Peter's words that Christians are "a royal priesthood, a holy nation" (1 Pet. 2:9)?

St. Peter, in those words, transfers to the New Israel or followers of Christ the titles given in Exodus 19:6 to Israel of old. Moses constantly impressed upon his people that they were to regard themselves among the nations as a priestly nation consecrated to God, as holy to the Lord, and as called upon to exemplify true religion in the world. The very claim of the Catholic religion to be the true religion involves a claim that St. Peter's words apply to all who profess it. However, although they ought to do so, it does not follow that all Catholics will in fact live the holy lives of a people especially consecrated to God. Christ Himself, under no illusions concerning the weakness and instability of human beings, said of His Church that it would be like a net holding good and bad fish (Matt., 13:47). But bad fish in the net do not mean a bad net. The Catholic Church provides her members with all the means of holiness, and the canonised saints throughout the centuries are evidence of her influence upon those who make serious and generous efforts to live up to their religion.

174. If ail Catholics are accepted as the priestly "People of God", does that mean the Roman Church now claims to be a spiritual religion and no longer an authoritarian institution?

The Catholic religion remains both a religion of the spirit and a religion of authority. The one does not exclude the other. The whole of the gospel inculcates the necessity of personal virtue and holiness by means of grace derived from one's union with Christ who said: "I am the vine and you are the branches" (Jn., 15:5). But a fully developed and properly balanced religion demands three elements embracing the whole man as God made him, mind and heart and will - a divinely revealed truth taught with authority and to be believed; personal religious experience in a spirit of worship; and the will to obey the disciplinary laws necessary for the social or community life of the Church Christ founded as a visible institution. All three elements are essential characteristics of the Catholic religion.

175. Considering all that has followed in the wake of Vatican II, has not the world altered the thinking of the Church instead of the Church influencing the world?

It is part of our faith, of course, that the Catholic Church can never cease to be the one true Church established, commissioned and guaranteed by Christ till the end of time, "the pillar and safeguard" of divinely-revealed truth, as St. Paul puts it in I Tim., 3:15. Times, however, change, and the Church has to change her methods with them. In that sense we may say that the world conditions the activities of the Church which has to adapt herself to the ability of any given age to grasp the meaning of Christianity. What the Church must do is to make sure that what she is trying to convey remains the same; that is the authentic religion of Christ. As for the Church's influence on the world, in 1965, during the Fourth Session of the Vatican Council, Pope Paul VI flew to the United States to address the United Nations Assembly. That a Pope should be welcomed there, with all members listening willingly and respectfully to what he had to say to them, made headlines in all the world's newspapers; and the effect of his words on all present about the world's needs and their own responsibilities has been deep and lasting, even though we do not look for miracles overnight.

176. Some Catholics, not interested enough in their religion to be disturbed by changes, applaud what they call the new democratic attitude in the Church.

Where the internal affairs of the Church are concerned, one who still has the Catholic faith realises that talk of a democratic attitude is an unjustified recourse to secular political ideas. On October 5, 1966, Pope Paul VI, in a public audience, said that the recent Council had indeed paid attention to the rights and duties of the laity; but he stressed that the Church is not a merely human and democratic institution; that it is divinely-established and endowed from above with divine authority; and that all of us, himself included, remaining disciples, must seek the fulfilment, not of our own desires, but of the Divine Will; and he strongly rebuked any spirit of indiscipline and self-assertion which would seek emancipation from due submission to the Will of God as made known to us by the official teachings of the Church.

177. Maybe, to avoid having as many opinions as there are individuals, an authoritative institutional Church is necessary. But you claim that the Catholic Church is infallible.

Much depends here on what people understand as infallibility. Some think Catholics regard every utterance of their Church on anything as necessarily the revealed Word of God. They do not. They certainly see obedience to the disciplinary laws of the Church as the will of God for them. But the infallibility of the Church relates essentially to the divinely-revealed truth given to the world by Christ and the Apostles. It means a God-given inability to fail in preserving and proclaiming that truth. Directly, the defined dogmas of the Church are merely official declarations binding on the whole Church that certain doctrines are integral parts of that truth. Indirectly, Divine Providence sees to it that her ordinary teachings on religion and morals are neither opposed to that truth nor liable to lead her people in ways conflicting with it.

178. I thought you would have thrown the infallibility idea overboard long ago.

To do that, one would have to abandon faith in God as the Source of truth, in Christ as the Word Incarnate, and in the Holy Spirit whom He bestowed upon the New Israel or People of God which He called His Church and founded upon His twelve Apostles. Belief in the indefectibility and infallibility of the Church, taken collectively as a Church, leads back inevitably to faith in the basic truths I have mentioned. Far greater supernatural powers were bestowed upon the New Israel than upon the Old Israel for the guardianship of the truth brought to the world by Christ who said that He Himself is "the Way, the Truth and the Life" (Jn., 14:6), a claim no prophet of old ever dreamed of making. On our present subject, there are three considerations to be kept in mind. Firstly, Christ declared His intention of establishing a Church against which the forces of evil would never prevail (Matt., 16:18), as such forces would prevail if they could lead the Church into distorting, falsifying and betraying the essentials of the Gospel of Christ. Secondly, we have the promise of Christ to the Church (represented by the Apostles) that the Father "will send the Spirit of truth to remain with you forever" . . . "who will guide you into all truth" (Jn., 14: 16, 17; 16:13), a promise fulfilled when the Holy Spirit descended upon the assembled apostles and disciples on the first Pentecost Sunday (Acts, 2:1-4). Thirdly, Christ's final commission to His Apostles is unintelligible if there were no supernatural guarantee of their reliability. "All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me," He said. "Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations . . . teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and behold I am with you all days even to the end of the world." Matt., 28:18-20. His presence and protection must still be a reality.

179. Have not many Catholic leaders long since discarded the doctrine of the infallibility of their Church?

Did any of them do so, he would not only no longer be a leader of the Catholic Church; he would cease to be a Catholic at all, ranking as an unbeliever who had lapsed from the Catholic Faith. The Second Vatican Council, in its "Constitution on the Church", n.25, reaffirmed that "the infallibility with which the divine Redeemer willed His Church to be endowed in defining a doctrine of faith and morals extends as far as extends the deposit of divine revelation, which must be religiously guarded and faithfully expounded." That the more than two thousand Catholic bishops assembled at the Council should have endorsed that declaration, promulgated in 1964, sufficiently answers your suggestion.

180. Catholics have to believe "all that the Church believes and teaches." Is not that a very sweeping proposition?

We are dealing with religion. The reference is to the Catholic Church as the "New Israel" or "People of God;" and the subject matter concerns the divinely-revealed truths contained in the Christian Faith. All Catholics have the same faith; but some are better informed about its contents, others less well-informed. Not all are trained scripture scholars and theologians, any more than all law-abiding citizens with sufficient practical knowledge of civic duties are trained lawyers, experts in all aspects of civic legislation. The average Catholic receives instruction in the basic truths contained in the Apostles' Creed; on the nature of the Mass and the Sacraments; on the moral obligations imposed upon us by God's commandments and the precepts of the Church; on the significance of life in this world and the next; and they learn the main prayers for daily personal use. Over and above this explicit knowledge of their religion, they have implicit faith in whatever else competent Church authorities have officially declared, when the need arose, to be the correct and necessary meaning of other aspects of the Christian religion. This follows from their acceptance of the proposition in the Apostles' Creed: "I believe in the Holy Catholic Church." It should be noted that, since human beings think, different individual Catholic writers, while retaining the same essential faith, arrive at different insights concerning the significance of various Catholic doctrines. Their opinions are not authoritative and have no more value than the reasons they can advance for them. Naturally, these personal opinions do not fall within the scope of the formula: "I believe all that the Church believes and teaches." However, there is a far wider area within the Catholic Church for differences of opinion in religious matters than most people imagine, provided that all who claim to be Catholics keep within the boundaries of those teachings which have been infallibly defined by the Church as articles of faith and which must be accepted under pain of forfeiting one's membership of the Church; and also provided they do not advocate opinions which the Church, even though not infallibly, has authoritatively declared unacceptable because of their ambiguity or perhaps a divergence in principle and logical consequences from authentic Catholic doctrine.

181. Nevertheless, you admit that some doctrines are imposed on Catholics as infallibly true. Can any human being be compelled to believe what in fact he does not believe?

The answer to that is obviously - no. If a man does not believe a thing, then he does not believe it; and that's all about it. If he professed outwardly to believe it, while saying within himself: "All the same, I don't," he would not really believe it at all. But granted that a man is a Catholic who already has faith in the Catholic Church and in her divinely given teaching-authority, then he acknowledges the right and the duty of the Catholic Church to prescribe what the Catholic religion requires of him if he wishes to remain a Catholic. His conscience dictates an obligation to believe both in the Catholic Church and in all that she defines in the name of God to be an The answer to that is obviously - no. If a man does not believe a thing, then he does not believe it; and that's all about it. If he professed outwardly to believe it, while saying within himself: "All the same, I essential and integral part of the divinely-revealed truth. If his conscience is so atrophied that it no longer dictates such an obligation, then he has simply ceased to be a Catholic, in whatever way he may attempt to rationalise his position.

182. It is psychologically impossible for anyone to believe personally in a teaching unless one is offered compelling reasons as a motive for such a belief.

We cannot declare to be psychologically impossible an experience which is that of all human beings without exception; an experience without which our system of education, primary, secondary and tertiary would come to a standstill - no students being prepared to accept implicitly what their teachers put before them; without which social relationships would become chaotic - the rule being to doubt everybody without compelling proof of reliability in each case; and without which the training of highly-qualified legal, medical and other professional men to put their skill at the service of clients and patients would be a sheer waste of time - clients and patients refusing to take any advice unless the specialists in question spend time giving compelling reasons why one should believe what they say. As a simple test-case, ring the Railway Inquiry Bureau and ask when the next train leaves for a given destination. On receiving your answer, tell the officer in charge that you find it psychologically impossible to believe personally that the information given you is true unless you are given compelling reasons as a motive for accepting it. You will merely hear the click of his 'phone as he replaces it and turns to the next inquirer. As far as psychology is concerned, the same common-sensed attitude prevails, although on a different level, where it is a question of a Catholic's confidence in the reliability of his Church's teaching-authority on religious matters.

183. Are all the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church to be regarded as infallible?

The general infallibility of the Church means that she can never fail in preserving intact the divinely-revealed truths of the Christian religion; or, as Jude, 3 puts it: "The faith once delivered to the saints." It is only in extraordinary circumstances, however, that the Church exercises her full teaching-authority by issuing a particular infallible definition. Technically infallible particular decrees are, therefore, comparatively rare. Usually, in her day-to-day teaching, the Church issues official and authoritative decisions which do not claim infallibility, but which do demand sincere religious acceptance by Catholics. Such acceptance is called religious because the motive is religious, namely, confidence in the ordinary yet still God-given authority attached to the teaching-office of the Church even when it is exercised non-infallibly. A Catholic knows, not merely as a possibility but with moral certainty that he is safe in "thinking with the Church", being convinced that the Holy Spirit watches over her normal and ordinary guidance of the faithful for the sake of the collective welfare of the whole Christian community.

184. If the Roman Catholic Church were infallible, as you maintain, the present Vatican Council should not be necessary.

Her infallibility does not mean that the changing circumstances of history itself will not create new problems for the Church in adjusting herself to them, while maintaining the essentials of Christian faith, Christian discipline and Christian worship. These problems Pope John XXIII thought to be of sufficient gravity to warrant his calling upon the Bishops of the Catholic Church as successors of the Apostles to assemble from all parts of the world in a General Council (1962-1965) for the sake of discussion and the deciding of the issues involved.

185. Is it not true that there can never be a complete reform of an infallible Church, but only in it; just a tidying up of a few things here and there?

Taking the Catholic Church as a whole, it certainly cannot be so altered as to become another kind of a Church, different from the kind of Church Christ established. In secondary matters, however, which Christ Himself left to the discretion of the Church, changes can and will necessarily occur from age to age, as in further clarifications of doctrine and in such altered disciplinary measures as circumstances require. In this sense, as you say, there will be reforms in the Church; but there cannot be any reform of the Church in the sense of repudiating the existing Church and forming another and man-made Church, different in kind from that instituted by Christ.

186. Does not the life of the Church consist in the ever-renewed attempt to hear the Word of God?

The life of the Church surely consists in her continuing to be what Christ intended her to be, a visible religious society in this world founded by Him upon His Apostles and commissioned by Him to continue His work till the end of time, assisted by the indwelling Holy Spirit, teaching, guiding, saving and sanctifying all willing to accept her ministrations. Many people think of a Church as a merely humanlydevised association of like-minded persons according to their own particular preferences, and for them such a Church will be merely the human beings comprising it. But that is not the New Testament idea of the Church. In the New Testament the Church is put before us, not merely as an organisation, but as a living organism, simultaneously human and divine; that is, as something greater than the merely human elements belonging to it, whether taken individually or collectively. Christ, we are told, is the Head of the Church which is His body; and we who are members of the Church are members of Christ, with the same unifying Holy Spirit linking both Head and members. The life of every individual member of the Church without exception ought, of course, to be characterised by ever-renewed efforts to live according to the teachings and precepts of the Church and thus attain to closer union with Christ the Head of the Church, a union He declared to be so necessary when He said: "I am the vine, you are the branches. As the branch cannot bear fruit unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me." Jn., 15:4. Christian virtue results from our taking seriously these declarations of the Word of God; our failures result from our own neglect of them.

187. Is not Catholicism's chief sin the equating of the treasure with the earthen vessels, so that the transcendent power of God no longer belongs to Him but is claimed by the Church itself?

The reference to "earthen vessels" occurs in 2 Cor., 4:7, where St. Paul, with his own deficiencies in mind, says that the preaching of the Gospel of Christ has been entrusted to men of no great attainments and subject to human weaknesses, in order to show that the preservation of its truth and power must be due to the divine influence and protection, and not to any merely human qualities they may possess. The Catholic Church speaks of her own apostolate in precisely the same way as St. Paul spoke of his, fully admitting that without the divine influence and protection she herself would neither have survived nor succeeded in spreading a knowledge of the Gospel to so many millions of souls throughout the two thousand years of her existence.

188. Forgetting it has its treasure in earthen vessels, the Church is always sinning and corrupting the Gospel bequeathed to it.

That the Catholic Church is infallible, that is, unable owing to the protection of the Holy Spirit to teach officially doctrines opposed to the Gospels, does not mean that members of the Church are endowed with impeccability, that is, with inability to corrupt themselves by sinful behaviour. That is another matter altogether. As regards infallibility, St. Paul's description of the "Church of the Living God" as "the pillar and mainstay of truth" (I Tim., 3:15), which could only be by the transcendent Will and Power of God, excludes the possibility of her "corrupting the Gospel bequeathed to her." As regards the statement that "the Church is always sinning," we have to be realists enough to accept Christ's parable of His Church as a net holding good and bad fish, the bad ones eventually being sorted out from the good ones and discarded (Matt., 13:47). But bad fish do not mean a bad net, and we do not rightly judge the "net" or "Church" by those within her who do not live up to her teachings. Those who have fully lived up to her teachings are her canonised Saints, who were not "always sinning". And does not St. Paul, in Ephesians 5:27, describe the Church as Christ visualises it: "a glorious Church, without spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish?" That is the kind of Church which will be found still there when the great sorting out has occurred and the "bad fish" have been cast out of the net. Meantime, and once more, the dominant power of God does not permit the deficiencies of the human elements in the Church to affect her official reliability or infallibility in fulfilling her God-given mission to proclaim faithfully the Gospel of Christ through all ages till the end of time.

189. Is a Christian to be guided, not only as regards belief but also conduct, by Scripture, or by his own intelligence, or by the Church?

Surely by all three, together of course with the help of God's grace. Since God has given us intelligence, He expects us to use it. In ordinary everyday business, domestic and personal activities that is evident to everyone. Where religion is concerned, an intelligent Catholic wants to live intelligently as a Catholic. He takes seriously Christ's declaration: "If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free." Jn., 8:31. To continue in the word of Christ can only mean to persevere both as regards belief and practice in the essentials of the religion He gave to mankind through the Apostles and the Church upon whom He sent the Holy Spirit on the first Pentecost. Among the essentials is the power of the Church through her Bishops as successors of the Apostles to make necessary disciplinary laws. So Christ Himself commanded that we "hear the Church" which he endowed with powers of "binding and loosing" (Matt., 18:18) - powers to be exercised by those appointed "to rule the Church of God", with the assistance of the Holy Spirit (Acts, 20:28). Directly, this power concerns religious matters affecting both our beliefs and our conduct. Indirectly, it concerns temporal interests in so far as they are connected with the welfare of souls. In purely civic and political matters which do not overlap into the moral sphere, the Church merely declares it the duty of her members to be law-abiding citizens.

190. If a Catholic felt he owed it to his own intellectual integrity to reject a non-infallible but authoritative decision of ecclesiastical authorities whether of doctrine or of moral guidance, would he be free in conscience to do so?

The Second Vatican Council, in its "Constitution on the Church", n.25, declared as a conscientious duty that "the faithful are obliged to accept their bishop's decisions on matters of faith and morals and to adhere to them with a ready and respectful allegiance of mind and will." Normally, a Catholic who had previously thought differently, is only too happy to admit that he was misinformed once he hears or reads his bishop's statement of what the Catholic position really is. If, greatly attached to his own opposite opinion, he found difficulty in accepting the decision, his first duty would be to look into things more closely, suspecting his need for further knowledge of the subject. He would do well also to consult others competent to advise him. Above all, he should remember that the presumption would stand for ecclesiastical authorities speaking in the name of their responsible office, which carries with it a right to the special assistance of the Holy Spirit in the fulfilling of its duties. In a spirit of faith he could quite reasonably say to himself that in religious and moral problems the ecclesiastical authorities are more likely to be right than he is, and that it would be wiser on his part to prefer their judgment to his own. To yield to such second and wiser thoughts would better preserve his "intellectual integrity" than would obstinate adherence to his own first thoughts.

191. If further research and study confirmed a scholarly Catholic theologian in an opinion opposed to an authoritative directive of the hierarchy under non-infallible conditions, would he behave wrongly if he published his views?

Not if he received ecclesiastical permission to do so. When such permission is given, it is usually with the declaration that it does not imply endorsement of the views expressed by the writer. Even so, the author would certainly behave wrongly were he to manifest any lack of reverence for those holding official positions in the Church, thus further disedifying the faithful beyond the confusion and dismay his wayward opinions in themselves might cause among them. Should his lawful superiors forbid his publishing his views, he would be obliged in conscience to refrain from doing so, keeping his own opinions to himself; or restricting them to private discussions of them in academic circles, or with appropriate ecclesiastical authorities until these should judge otherwise, granted his willingness to make suitable emendations.

192. Would you not agree that today such rules are more honoured in the breach than in the observance?

Not to the extent the news-media may have led many to imagine. The Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) naturally gave rise to discussions and conflicting opinions as to what changes an up-dating or renewal of the Church required, and within what limits these were permissible. The Council's proceedings secured world-wide publicity. Books by theologians, biblical scholars, liturgists, canonists, and interested laity poured from the press; articles appeared in innumerable periodicals; and the kindest thing to say would be that the disciplinary formalities of the Church as regards the publication of such material were in many cases thought of as in abeyance rather than defied during such a period of transition. One cannot deny, however, that some extremists became very vocal in their destructive rather than any truly constructive criticism of the Church; and newspapers, ever on the lookout for the sensational, have gladly given them the publicity they sought. These extremists have shown little respect for the authority of the Church. With a confidence bordering on arrogance they have proclaimed their own novel ideas as if these were legitimate developments of doctrine rather than distortions of it; and the spirit of their utterances suggests that an ultimate choice between having to retrace their steps or persisting in their obstinacy would find them unhappily persisting - but no longer as Catholics. To revert, however, to your question. One's final judgment should be reserved for a later and more settled period, in the meantime being based on the better balanced majority of Catholic spokesmen and writers than on a minority of irresponsible extremists.

193. A press-report, dated May 23, 1963, said that Dr. Hans Kung was a noted theologian named by Pope John XXIII as one of the experts at the Second Vatican Council.

That was a build-up to suit news-reports themselves. Long before the Council assembled, a Commission was appointed to find competent experts or "periti" on this or that given subject, biblical, philosophical, ^canonical, theological, liturgical, sociological etc., who could act as consuitors when necessary. In Germany, Dr. Hans Kung had published a specialised study of the Calvinist Karl Barth's teaching on "Justification by Faith" in the light of the defined doctrines of the Council of Trent. Because of his researches on that particular subject, he was chosen by the Commission. He was one of some two hundred such consultors thus chosen, Pope John XXIII merely ratifying the list. It is only fair to say that Father Kung himself made no claim to have been personally chosen by Pope John XXIII; nor did any of the periti claim that their competence in the subjects for which they were chosen meant that they were competent in everything. As a matter of fact, in 1961, the year before the Council, Father Kung published a second book entitled: "The Council, Reform and Reunion." Msgr. James C. Fenton, for many years professor of dogmatic theology in the Catholic University of America, reviewing this book in the "American Ecclesiastical Review", Sept., 1962, declared it "an extraordinarily unsatisfactory source of information about the nature and the activities of the Catholic Church," showing how inaccurate was Father Kung's "own grasp and understanding of the theology of the Church." Msgr. Fenton was himself one of the experts at the Second Vatican Council "named by Pope John", if one wishes to put it that way.

194. The report concerned a lecture given by Father Kung at King's College, London University, on "The Church and Freedom." It said that he "castigated both the totalitarian procedures of some clerical bureaucrats and the timidity of the laity in whom cowardice and a lack of self-reliance pose as obedience."

The First Session of Vatican II finished on December 8, 1962; the Second Session was to commence on September 29, 1963. In between the Sessions, Father Kung engaged in lecturing-tours, publicising his own ideas of what the Council should do in its future Sessions. It is his misfortune if press-reports have not done him justice; but since the ideas ascribed to him have so impressed the public, comments upon them are necessary. Father Kung, of course, had no particular mandate to castigate anybody, and a use of the word "totalitarian", with all its sinister associations, would be quite indefensible. As for his attributing the laity's observance of the laws of their religion to timidity, cowardice and a lack of self-reliance, Mr. Evelyn Waugh, a Catholic layman present at the lecture, said that such extravagant expressions could only mislead the Council Fathers into entertaining ideas "far from the hopes of the large but less vocal body of the laity." One is left wondering what Father Kung himself hoped to gain by indulging in such unbridled invective at King's College, London University.

195. Father Kung said Catholic doctrine itself insists that every man must ultimately follow his own conscience.

That means only that a man must be truly conscientious in all that he does. What is conscience? It is a practical judgment of man's reason as to what he is morally obliged to do. The Catholic, rightly convinced that the Catholic Church is the divinely-authorised guide of mankind in matters of faith and morals, reasonably judges that it is his duty to accept her official teachings in those matters and conscientiously adheres to them. He obeys his conscience in doing so. But Father Kung wanted to suggest that Catholics are independent of the guidance of their Church as to what they are religiously obliged to believe and do, an idea quite opposed to the Catholic Faith. It is significant that, in the following year, 1964, a Protestant writer, A. M. Carson, in his book "Roman Catholicism Today," pp. 8-11, says that, although Dr. Kung speaks in many ways like a Protestant and has been permitted more latitude than others who have raised rebellious voices in times past, Protestants must not be deceived into thinking him truly representative of the Catholic Church. Mr. Carson accordingly, for purposes of reference in his own book, prefers to use another German and more orthodox exponent of Catholicism, Dr. Ludwig Ott, in his book "Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma."

196. Father Kung said a Catholic is even bound to reject the Church's teaching if he cannot accept it in conscience.

A Catholic who has been both baptised and who has received due, even though elementary instruction in his Catholic Faith, and who later thought he should abandon it, would have an ill-informed conscience; and his moral obligation would be, not to follow, but to remedy his erroneous impulsive judgment by seeking advice from a priest or someone else competent to help him. If, through lack of goodwill, he is not prepared to do that, he is blameworthy before God for the mistake leading to his deliberate rejection of the teachings of the Church. No responsible theologian would publicly proclaim in any case a rare and exceptional possibility as ordinary Catholic doctrine which the average person could only interpret as the principle of private judgment, and as if Catholics were morally free in conscience to stay in the Catholic Church or abandon it as they pleased.

197. Father Kung further said: "We do not in the Church, any more than elsewhere, have 'blind obedience'; but, as St. Paul wrote in 1 Thessalonians 5:21, only that obedience which 'proves all things'."

In the text quoted, St. Paul was speaking neither of obedience nor of proving anything. He was warning individual Christians not to take it for granted that every idea they imagined to have come to them from the Holy Spirit was really from the Holy Spirit. His advice was to stop and think, because self-deception in this matter is very easy. Msgr. Knox rightly translates the verse: "Scrutinize all carefully, retaining only what is good, and rejecting all that has a look of evil about it." It was unpardonable to use such a text in reference to a wholly unrelated subject and to suggest that we owe obedience to lawful authorities only provided they explain to our own satisfaction their reasons for the decisions they make.

198. Is there such a thing as "blind" obedience in the Church, or anywhere else?

Father Kung's tendentious reference to "blind" obedience was for rhetorical purposes. There is such a thing as implicit obedience to those in authority precisely because they have authority. In an army, when commanding officers have planned some given operation, soldiers implicitly obey orders; but their observance of military discipline is not itself "blind". It is due to an intelligent realisation that orders are orders and that chaos would result if the rule for each individual soldier was only what he personally decided to do. A moment's thought will recall many instances where discipline must be maintained, as between parents and children in a home, or teachers and pupils in a school, reason demanding that the one in charge should be obeyed, without the reason for each particular command having to be given. Where the Church is concerned, of course, we move into the sphere of religion, one essential element of which is necessarily a spirit of obedience. We went from God by disobedience. If religion is to get us back to God, it must require a retracing of our steps by obedience. Christ, having become man for our redemption, said of Himself: "I came, not to do my own will, but the will of Him who sent me." Jn., 6:38. To us He says: "If you love me, keep my commandments." Jn., 15:15. One of His commandments is that we must obey the authority He has vested in His Church; so much so that if a man "will not hear the Church, let him be to you as the heathen and publican" (Matt., 18:17) that is, as one not belonging to the "People of God" at all.

199. Father Kung also said: "Ecclesiastical obedience never has any claims upon us contrary to conscience."

As a theologian, particularly in a popular lecture, he should have added that the conscience of a Catholic itself dictates obedience to lawful ecclesiastical authorities acting within the sphere of their competence. Since God's authority remains always supreme, ecclesiastical authorities themselves being subject to it, no duties can be imposed upon us by anyone holding office in the Church which are clearly opposed to God's known commandments. If we were told even by the Pope to do anything obviously sinful, we would have to refuse obedience on the ground that he had exceeded his authority and that "we must obey God rather than men." Acts, 5:29. But here we have to beware of selfdeception. If it is a question of pitting our own judgment of the meaning of God's law against the Church's official interpretation of it, the presumption stands for that of the ecclesiastical authorities who, in the exercising of their office, have a promised assistance of the Holy Spirit in a special way not guaranteed to us in our individual private judgments.

200. In his lecture at London University, Father Kung compared the Catholic and Communist systems, saying: "Both have a party machine to condemn erroneous doctrines; both have strict party discipline; both have a devotion to their leader amounting to a cult." He added: "The Church at times seems like a prison rather than a sanctuary of the Holy Spirit. There is a great lack of freedom inside, power politics, distortion, dishonesty in defence of truth."

Those are not the words of a theologian, but rather of a demagogue. When the attention of his own bishop in Germany was drawn to his extravagances, the bishop replied, over-indulgently: "He is a young man and likes to be given his head." At the time of his London lecture, Father Kung was but thirty-five years of age and he should have been the last in the world to complain of a lack of freedom. His slanderous references to the administrators of the Congregations, Tribunals and Offices of the Church were, of course, inexcusable. Even conscientious men in the service of the Church may make mistakes at times in dealing with particular cases, but they must be given credit for being conscientious, intent on safeguarding the Faith and acting for the welfare of souls. The trick of equating Catholicism with Communism was adopted twenty years ago by that bitter enemy of the Catholic Church, Paul Blanshard, in his book "Communism, Democracy, and Catholic Power." Even the Anglican "Church Times", of London, June 13, 1952, saw through Blanshard's trick, saying that his tactics are to establish an essential kinship between two great authoritarian systems denying freedom to the minds of men. But he does not see that there is a sense in which the Church must be authoritarian. "Unless it is to fail in its duty," this Anglican paper rightly stressed, "it must assert the absolute supremacy of God as much as Communism must assert the supremacy of its own dismal creed." The differences, however, begin to appear "when the supremacy is defined and the ways in which each body tries to exercise its claim are examined." For Communism, the State is the ultimate source of all human rights and liberties. There can be nothing outside the State; nothing above the State; nothing against the State. Catholicism strikes at the root of all this by declaring everything to be limited by the laws of God, the State itself being subordinate to the fundamental rights of the human person given by God. The Congregationalist biblical scholar, Dr. C. H. Dodd, in his Bampton Lectures "Gospel and Law" at Columbia University, New York, 1950, pp. 35, 36, insisted that according to the New Testament the Church as established by Christ must claim a rightly-understood absolute religious authority, but that this cannot be called totalitarian in the political sense because the Church is not a self-determining power but one "entirely subordinate to ends beyond itself, the ends of Christ." Father Kung, for rhetorical purposes, preferred to adopt the trickery of Paul Blanshard. But one does not do justice to the Catholic Church by omitting all consideration of her supernatural aspects, by dwelling on and exaggerating defects in her purely human elements, and by a selective emphasis creating distorted and superficial resemblances to Communism!

201. Father Kung suggested that it would be a magnificent manifestation of freedom in the Church if the law requiring the advance censorship of books on religion by Catholic writers were abolished.

The Church has the duty as far as possible to preserve the freedom of her people from errors in matters of faith and morals; and, as Bishop Ahr, of Trenton, New Jersey, U.S.A., remarked at the time of the Vatican Council: "After error has been printed, it is too late to prevent a great deal of harm. Far better to see that it is not started on its path." Much is made of interpreting the mind of Pope John XXIII. Yet in an address, November 18, 1959, to a "Conference of Ecclesiastical Censors," Pope John XXIII said: "The mission you carry out is of the highest value because you participate in the solicitude of the Church in guiding and instructing her own children in the knowledge of truth and in shielding them from error. Our predecessor, Pius XII, in February, 1956, had already said: 'In each of you we recognise a worthy and faithful co-operator in our pastoral ministry.' These words should tell you that you should be valuable instruments and faithful collaborators with the ecclesiastical authorities in the service of truth, safeguarding the patrimony of the Faith and Morals which must be handed down intact to future generations."

202. What is the purpose of the "Index of Forbidden Books"?

What was technically called the "Index of Forbidden Books" - now no longer in force as such - was really only a minor item among the measures adopted by the Church in fulfilment of her duty throughout the centuries as guardian of the integrity of Christian faith and morals. The earliest example of the Church's attitude towards anti-Christian literature is recorded in Acts, 19:19, where we are told of the spontaneous gesture of St. Paul's converts who voluntarily burned their pagan books publicly - so many that their value in money was computed at "fifty thousand pieces of silver." The first official condemnation of a book occurred at the Council of Nicea in 325 A.D., when the work "Thalia" by the heretic Arius was condemned as containing false doctrines. The first brief list of condemned books was issued by Pope Innocent I, in 405 A.D. As may well be imagined, the invention of the printing press in 1450 A.D. resulted in a multiplication of books which made it impossible to keep track of them all individually. In 1564, therefore, the Council of Trent preferred to give general rules covering classes of books forbidden, the actual "Index" merely listing a comparatively few particular books to which the general rules applied. During the four centuries since the Council of Trent the titles of other books were added from time to time, these being mostly technical works on biblical, philosophical or theological subjects although some were included as calculated to undermine morals. The books listed as condemned were written in various languages, Latin, Italian, Spanish, French, German etc., most of them being of interest only in their country of origin. The "Index" itself, published in Latin, was a kind of record for purposes of consultation rather than for general diffusion. Of its very nature, the greater part of it would be of no practical use in all countries. What was of importance for all countries and for the instruction of Catholics everywhere by their pastors were the general classes of books forbidden to Catholics, and these classifications were included both in the introduction to the "Index" and also in the Code of Canon Law. On December 7, 1965, just before the closing of the Second Vatican Council, Pope Paul VI established the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith to replace the former Congregation of Holy Office, and the official "Index of Forbidden Books", which had been under the control of the Holy Office, lapsed together with that institution. The new Doctrinal Congregation, under the Presidency of Cardinal Seper, said that it would henceforth be a matter for bishops in their own dioceses to supervise books published in their own areas and, if necessary, to censure and condemn them. Despite such decentralisation, however, the Doctrinal Congregation reserved to itself the right in particular cases to prohibit books offending against faith or morals when such works were brought to its attention, although it will not do this until the author has been permitted to state his own case fairly and has refused to make alterations still considered necessary. Adverse decisions of the Congregation, if any, will be published in the interests of the faithful.

203. Does the Church hold that God's Law itself forbids all reading which is likely to undermine one's faith or morals?

We exclude those with an official duty to check doubtful books. The Church therefore declares that all unnecessary reading (or listening to or seeing in these days of radio and films) with a definite sense of danger to one's faith or morals is clearly opposed to the manifested Will of God. Holy Scripture itself warns that he who loves the danger will perish therein (Ecclus., 3:27). Our Lord bade us pray: "Lead us not into temptation." Deliberately exposing oneself to influences calculated to undermine one's faith or morals ranks as voluntarily entering into an occasion of sin. St. John warns us as regards faith: "If any man come to you and brings not this doctrine, receive him not into your house." 2 Jn., 10. That certainly forbids the reception into our minds of the teachings of those who are bent on destroying our Christian convictions. As for morals, thoughts prepare the way for conduct, and what one thinks is conditioned to a great extent by what one reads. St. Paul wrote to the Philippians: "Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever modest, whatsoever just, whatsoever holy, whatsoever of good repute . . . think on those things" (Phil., 4:8). To the Ephesians he wrote, saying of immorality, obscenity and scurrility: "Let not such things be so much as named among you . . . for because of those things comes the anger of God upon the children of unbelief" (Eph., 5:4-6). The law of the Catholic Church still declares prohibited for all Catholics books known to be written for the express purpose of attacking the Catholic religion, or books which every normal Christian judgment would regard as immoral and obscene. We cannot expect the censorship laws of modern secularised States to coincide with those of the Catholic Church in this matter. Secular States have no sense of mission to uphold the Christian religion nor to interest themselves in the salvation of souls; and in the permissive societies secular governments tolerate Catholics cannot accept everything that others around them may regard as permissible. In matters of faith and morals they are obliged to be true to their own consciences, formed under the guidance of the authoritative teachings and rulings of the Catholic Church, the ultimate purposes of which are, not to curtail the freedom of her members, but to preserve for them that true spiritual freedom from evil "wherewith Christ has made us free." (Gal., 4:31).

204. Did not Professor Albert Einstein say that the Catholic Church, because of its authoritarian character, is necessarily the enemy of freedom?

Never, to my knowledge. He has been misrepresented in various ways on this matter of freedom. In 1933, when Hitler came to power in Germany, Einstein as a Jew took refuge in the United States. From there, in 1940, he sent an article to the French newspaper "L'Ere Nouvelle" in which he said that as a "lover of freedom" he had to admit that when the revolution came in Germany "only the Church (TEglise') had protested against the Hitlerian onslaught on liberty." To French readers "l'Eglise" could mean only the Church with which they were familiar, the Catholic Church, and when that translation appeared in English papers Einstein had to correct it, saying that he had spoken only of "the Church", not of "the Catholic Church", and that he had in mind the Protestant Confessional Churches, as represented by the Lutheran Pastor Niemoller. In view of his express declaration, it must be admitted that those who in all sincerity have quoted his words as a tribute to the Catholic Church have done so mistakenly. It must be noted, however, that Einstein was dealing with the question of freedom as a principle in the civil order, the obligation of States to grant freedom to all citizens, with no totalitarian oppression or denial of their fundamental rights as human beings. He was not concerned with the religious disciplinary authority prevailing in any of the Churches to which any groups of citizens might choose to belong. He would have admired, equally with that of Pastor Niemoller, the courageous protests against Nazi tyranny in Germany from such Catholic leaders as Cardinal Faulhaber of Munich, Bishop Galen of Munster, and Bishop Preysing of Berlin, had he adverted to them. Einstein was not interested in religion as such, even in that of his own Judaism. Although Jewish by birth, while not denying the existence of God, he had lost faith in a divine revelation of any kind. He said he believed in "the God of Spinoza". Spinoza, a 17th century Jewish philosopher, acknowledged God as a kind of universal impersonal intelligence but not as a personal Being with whom man could enter into any personal relationships at all. As a humanist, therefore, Einstein upheld human ideals only, maintaining the right of each person to his individual integrity and the duty of States to protect the rights and liberties of all citizens in the political and social order. Einstein died in 1955. Had he lived to read the Declaration of the Second Vatican Council on the rights of all citizens, regardless of their religious beliefs or lack of them, to social and civic freedom, issued on December 7, 1965, he would have fully approved of the principles proclaimed on this subject by the Catholic Church.

205. Is it not a violation of freedom that those who become priests should have celibacy forced upon them by the laws of the Church?

This is a matter of internal ecclesiastical discipline, and one much misunderstood. The Catholic Church insists that no one may be forced to become a priest at all. There is not a priest who could not have chosen to marry, had he wanted to, rather than be ordained as a priest. The Church, however, has the right to make the conditions under which she is willing to ordain those who want to be priests. She therefore says to young men: "You may marry if you wish; or, if you wish and can fulfil necessary conditions of health, education and suitability for such a vocation, you may become a priest; but in choosing to become a priest - as you need not - you must choose celibacy also, renouncing the idea of marriage."

206. What basis is there in Scripture for the celibacy of the clergy?

The basis is found in the teaching of Christ and of the Apostles. In Matt., 19:12, Christ is recorded as saying that one who feels called to celibacy for the sake of the Kingdom of God and feels able to adopt it, should do so. St. Paul recommended it, writing in I Cor., 7:7; 8, 33: "I would that all men were even as myself . . . and I say to the unmarried that it is good for them if they so continue, even as I . . . for he that is without a wife cares for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please God. But he that is with a wife cares for the things ~of the world, how he may please his wife; and he is divided." St. John, in Rev., 14:3-5, speaks in the highest praise of celibacy, declaring those who have ever observed it to be particularly honoured and close to Christ in heavenly glory. One can rightly ask here for a basis entitling the Church to make this ideal into a law binding all priests. That basis is found in Christ's words to the Apostles: "Whatsoever you shall bind on earth shall be bound also in heaven; and whatsoever you shall loose upon earth shall be loosed also in heaven." Matt., 18:18. As should be clear, it is for the Church, in virtue of this apostolic authority of "binding" and "loosing", to decide what disciplinary laws should be enacted, maintained, modified or abolished. The ideal of celibacy, of course, can never be unsaid, for that, as an ideal, is the divinely-revealed truth beyond the sphere of disciplinary laws within the competency of ecclesiastical authorities.

207. How did the celibacy law originate?

The practice of clerical celibacy arose gradually in the Church, developing from an ever-growing voluntary custom into Church laws first imposed by various local synods and finally into a universal law binding upon all priests throughout Western Christendom. The earliest historical record of a local law is that of the Council of Elvira, in Spain, about 300 A.D.; but that Council's decree presupposed and was intended to enforce a long-existing law, since it declared that priests violating the rule of celibacy were to be deposed. Pope Siricius, in 385 A.D., is the first one known to have declared celibacy binding on all priests everywhere throughout Western Christendom. The Eastern Orthodox Churches have their own laws on this matter, which declare that a man already married may be ordained as a priest, but that no one may marry after ordination. One ordained as a single man must remain single. If a married man is ordained and his wife dies, he may not marry again. All Bishops must be celibate and therefore must be chosen from among the unmarried priests only.

208. If celibacy is a Church-made law, could not the Church abolish it?

The Church could do so, but is not likely to do so. On June 26, 1960, two years before the Vatican Council, Pope John XXIII told the Synod of the Diocese of Rome that it was sheer folly to imagine that the Catholic Church might possibly abandon what has for centuries upon centuries been one of the noblest glories of her priesthood; and he said that the heroic challenge of the ecclesiastical law of celibacy would ever be maintained. In the December of that same year, Etienne Gilson, the French Catholic philosopher, mentioned the subject to Pope John during a personal interview and reported the Pope as saying: "Ecclesiastical celibacy is not a dogma. It is not imposed in the Scriptures. How simple it would be: I take up a pen, sign an act, and priests who so desire can marry tomorrow. But this is impossible. Celibacy is a sacrifice which the Church has imposed upon herself - freely, generously, heroically." On June 24, 1967, Pope Paul VI issued an Encyclical on "The Celibacy of the Priesthood," in which he reaffirmed the law, declaring its binding force for all ordained to the priesthood. He said that the reasons for retaining the law far outweighed any in favour of abolishing it, and that the world needs more than ever today this witness to the highest and most sacred spiritual values. The priest, so closely associated with Christ at the altar, reflects our Lord's own supreme self-giving to the glorification of His heavenly Father and to the salvation of souls. The Catholic faithful in turn, moved to great reverence for their priests, realise that in urging them to a life of self-denial, they are not urging them to what in a special way they have not undertaken in their own lives. Moreover, unmarried priests can work more effectively wherever they may be sent and however difficult the circumstances, expending themselves without imposing on wife and children the inconveniences and often hardships their vocation frequently involves.

209. Newspapers report large numbers leaving the priesthood in order to marry. Are not such priests just seeking a more natural way of life?

It can of course be said that it is only natural to want to marry. But it must be remembered that priests are called upon to rise above being only natural. They have to aim at supernatural standards, their hearts being reserved for Christ and their interest centred in Him and in the welfare of the souls for whose salvation He gave His life. Also, since God does not ask us more than He enables us to do, with a vocation to the priesthood He gives the graces necessary for fidelity to its duties. The condition required of priests, of course, is the maintaining of their spiritual ideals. Human nature being what it is, we should not be surprised by the occasional failures among priests and their falling short, for one or several of a variety of reasons, in living up to their ideals. But newspaper reports can be misleading. I have before me one such report headlined: "6,000 Priests in Six Years allowed to Wed." The years were 1962-1968. The average would be 1,000 per year. On a worldbasis, since there are some 500,000 Catholic priests, the permissions granted would work out at about one in five hundred during each of those years. We must keep things in their proper perspective and realise that the vast majority of priests continue faithfully in the duties expected of them.

210. Do you think the celibacy law will soon be relaxed, allowing priests to marry who wish to do so, while continuing actively in their priestly vocation?

Personally, I see no prospect of that. The Church is not without compassion for those who, having commenced the priestly life with the highest ideals, have not succeeded in living up to those ideals. She urges sympathy for them, that all spiritual help be given them, and that they be treated with charity if they have failed to persevere in their original choice. If, however, she grants a dispensation from priestly obligations and permits a return to the lay state, together with marriage, it is on the condition that the one dispensed contents himself with trying to live a good Catholic life among the laity, without further exercising of the priestly ministry which, as Pope John XXIII put it, would be "distressing to the Church and disedifying to the faithful." After all, St. Paul himself wrote sadly of one who had been a companion in his apostolate: "Demas has left me, loving this world." 2 Tim., 4:9. He said no more than that; but it was enough to indicate a lapse from supernatural ideals to merely natural levels in practice, whether or not Demas still retained his faith as a Christian.

211. If allowed to marry, would not the priest have a better understanding of family life?

In the overwhelming majority of cases the priest himself comes from a family. In the midst of a home-life with his parents and brothers and sisters the thought of becoming a priest dawned upon him. He felt called by God to consecrate his life entirely to an apostolate on behalf of the salvation of souls. But in giving up the idea of founding a personal family of his own, he does not lose his understanding of the ordinary family life from which he came in the first place.

212. Would he not be better able to advise married people in difficulties that threaten to break up their marriage?

Married people are not the only ones with a claim upon his care; and certainly the priest, who has chosen close imitation of Christ who set the highest example of virtue, at least does not urge upon young unmarried people a self-discipline he has not imposed upon himself. As for married people, a priest hasn't got to be married before he can give wise advice on their problems. He has had long years of study before being ordained, covering all aspects of the ministry he will be called upon to fulfil. He is not without the assistance of God's grace in exercising that ministry; and in one aspect of that ministry above all, that of the confessional, he finds himself dealing with many different ^cases, hearing of more marital problems than any particular couples are likely to experience in their own individual lives.

213. Would you regard the abolition of celibacy for priests as a help or as a hindrance to reunion of all professing Christian Churches?

Very definitely, more of a hindrance than a help. Here a dilemma confronts us. The cause of reunion has to be pursued on two fronts. In the Eastern Orthodox Churches, marriage is strictly forbidden after ordination as a priest. It is true that a man already married may be ordained in these Churches and continue as married; but if his wife dies, he may not remarry. In the Uniat Eastern Churches, that is, those in communion with the Pope, Rome allows this same disciplinary law to continue. It may be that, all else being presupposed, the abolition of the law of celibacy would dispose the Protestant Churches more favourably towards reunion with the Catholic Church; but this would be at the expense of alienating the Eastern Orthodox Churches which are unyielding on obligation of celibacy for single men already ordained as priests. Many people fail to advert to this. Even Dr. Hans Kung, on p. 178 of his book "The Council, Reform and Reunion," makes the astonishing statement that the obligation of celibacy "applies only to the Latin Church." That is simply not true. Taking all aspects of this matter into consideration, therefore, I do not believe that making marriage optional for those who have been ordained as priests in the Latin Rite, contrary to the laws of the Eastern Orthodox and the Eastern Uniat Churches, would be helpful towards the reunion of all Churches. On the other hand, continued priestly celibacy in the Catholic Church would not prove a hindrance to reunion with other Churches having a married clergy N& to their retention of which the Catholic Church would have no objection if the clergy of those Churches had or received a sacramentally-valid priesthood. I am speaking merely from the celibacy point of view, abstracting for the time being from other factors affecting the ecumenical problem.

214. You still seem to uphold the Constantinian image of the Church.

To speak of the Constantinian image of the Church is to resort to a catch-word and a caricature, as if the Church were merely a monolithic unchanging juridical organisation bent on preserving itself as such, instead of being a living organic body, all its members having within it their own proper duties to fulfil. The distorted Constantinian exaggeration is, for all ordinarily well-informed people, sufficiently obvious to refute itself.

215. You split the Church into a teaching, ruling and sanctifying authority, and a laity taught and ruled, having only "to pay, pray and obey."

The Second Vatican Council made it quite clear that the Church is spiritually a living single organism, constituting that mystical body, of every member of which St. Paul's words are true: "You are all one in Christ Jesus." Gal., 3:28. Differences of function within the Church no more split the Church than my own body loses its unity because my heart is not my head nor my legs nor my lungs. Institutionally, of course, as a visible society in this world, the Church consists of those in authority and those subject to that authority. The faithful are subject to the pastoral care of the bishops who, as successors of the apostles, are by the will of Christ Himself shepherds of the flock. This is not a "Constantinian image of the Church." It is a question of the constitution prescribed for the Church by Christ Himself from the day of her foundation. It is true that the whole Church is more than the pastors alone. The "Church-teaching" and the "Church-taught" combine to form the "People of God." Pope, bishops, priests and laity are in this sense all equally, "the faithful," subject to the same faith, worship and discipline. Pope John XXIII, when dying, said simply: "Let us do things as a good Christian." He professed his faith, received the Sacraments, and to the end was obedient to Christ and Christ's Church in which he as Pope held the highest office on earth. The fact remains that the three-fold power of teaching, ruling and sanctifying by sacramental means was given by Christ to the apostles and transmitted by them to their successors, the bishops. This transmitted apostolic and hierarchical authority is not from the will of the people but divine in its origin and directly from Christ.

216. Cardinal Newman wrote a special treatise "On Consulting the Faithful in Matters of Doctrine."

He himself explained that he was using the word "consulting", not in any sense of seeking the advice and consent of the faithful, but in a special theological sense. He said that since the Church as a whole was infallible because indwelt by the Holy Spirit, within the Church as a whole the essentials of revealed truth as handed down by the Apostles have been unerringly preserved. These essentials are to be found in many sources, such as in the writings of the Fathers and Doctors of the Church, in her liturgy, in her customs, and in the basic convictions of all Catholics everywhere, taken collectively. In regard to this last consideration, due attention should be paid to what the great majority of the faithful quite evidently regarded as an essential part of the divine revelation to be believed by Christians. Such world-wide agreement was a reliable witness to the infallible tradition of the Church, "granting fully," Newman added, "that the gift of discerning, defining, promulgating and enforcing any portion of that tradition resides solely in the 'Ecclesia Docens'." The "Ecclesia Docens" or "Church-Teaching" consists of the bishops of the Catholic Church acting in unison with the Pope as successor of St. Peter and supreme head of the Church on earth.

217. Even religiously, the Vatican Council has urged the Catholic laity to take their rightful place in the Church.

The rightful place of the laity must be judged from their sphere of membership in the Church as the Mystical Body of Christ, with the very life of Christ transfused through and active in all of its members without exception. This means that every Catholic, by virtue of his very baptism, has a Christ-function to fulfil, and that the laity have a positive mission, different from that of bishops and priests but equally of the essence of the Church, which should inspire them to work for the realisation of God's plan - the restoration of all things in Christ. The Vatican Council, in its Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity, November 18, 1965, a Decree called the "Magna Carta" for the laity, said that the basis of the lay apostolate is the fact that all the faithful are members of the "People of God" and should be, not passive, but active members in both the spiritual and temporal spheres. The mission of the laity is part of the mission of the Church which consists in a spreading of the knowledge of the Gospel and effecting a Christian renewal of society. The means to be adopted consist in the building up of Christian families, the instruction and protection of youth, works of charity, and co-operation with all men of goodwill in promoting the welfare of humanity on both national and international levels. Within the Church, by means of parish and diocesan councils, the laity should willingly become co-workers with their priests and bishops. Pope Paul VI, addressing the "World Laity Congress" in 1967, told the delegates that the world was their field of action: that by their vocation they were in the world; and that they were there to remedy the corrosive secularisation of the social order around them. He added, however, that the lay apostolate must be carried out in unity and with the approval of the Church's divinely-established hierarchy, to cut oneself off from which would be to become like a branch cut off from a tree and from the source of its own life and from the power to bear any of the fruit rightly to be expected from it.

218. The Apostolic Delegate to the United States, Archbishop Vagnozzi, recently told American Catholic intellectuals: "The layman has not been constituted as teacher of the 'magisterium', nor as admonitor of the hierarchy."

There is not a Catholic in the world, reasonably instructed in his religion and orthodox in his beliefs, be he bishop, priest or layman, who would not agree with that declaration of the Apostolic Delegate to the United States. Nowhere, either in scripture or tradition, can any evidence be found that the layman has been constituted "as teacher of the 'magisterium' " or "as admonitor of the hierarchy." But this in no way excludes a respectful representation of his views by any Catholic to any bishop on matters he thinks sufficiently important to warrant it.

219. The Delegate said that when, after mature deliberation, one wants to inform those in authority of the people's problems or inspirations, they can do it directly rather than by sending critical letters to the press.

Archbishop Vagnozzi was referring, not to the legitimate, dispassionate and objective expression of one's views and preferences in the public press, but to abuses in this matter. He would agree with Father Karl Rahner's statement in his booklet "Free Speech in the Church" that "to a certain extent the individual within the Church must be allowed to address the Church community in general as a publicist - not only to make direct representations to the hierarchy." But when it comes to a question of airing grievances which can serve only to scandalise good Catholics, deter prospective converts from becoming Catholics, and put material into the hands of the enemies of the Church for further attacks upon her, then love of one's Faith and loyalty to it demand direct representation to ecclesiastical authorities rather than public criticism and often a destructive disparagement of one's religion. It is difficult to see how any thoughtful person could quarrel with a declaration to that effect.

220. We are frequently reminded, even by Catholic writers, that this is "the day of the laity."

Rightly understood - which is not always the case - there is a sense in which that is true. As the French writer Jean Guitton, a lay auditor at the Vatican Council, has said, secularism today threatens to spread over the face of the earth and create a civilisation without God; and the Church needs to mobilise all her sons, making them realise their dignity and mission. Aware of this, the Vatican Council in its "Decree on the Constitution of the Church", having declared in n.25 that the bishops are the authentic teachers of what must be believed and practised in the Church, continues from n.30 onwards that the laity form an integral part of the People of God; that by baptism they become members of the Mystical Body of Christ and sharers in His priestly, prophetic and kingly functions; that their priestly duty in the world is to offer God the spiritual sacrifice of their praise and work; their prophetic duty to proclaim Christ's message of salvation by their own profession of faith and the social example of their lives; and that their royal dominion over the forces of evil is to be exercised by fidelity to conscience as Christians in all their activities. By doing this, in the words of Jean Guitton, they will not lose their souls in the world but will rather, as men among men, take the world and give it a soul.

221. Would not the Communists, as a means towards their own ends, certainly like to see the laity gaining positions of control in the Church?

Communists would indeed be the victims of an illusion if they thought that the activities of a truly zealous Catholic laity in the Church would in any way further the aims of Communism. For the more the Catholic laity live up to their rights and duties in the Church, the more deeplycommitted Christians they will be in a spirit of supernatural faith, reverence for God, and wholehearted submission to the divinely-given authority of the bishops as the shepherds of the whole flock of Christ; and that, of course, would widen the gap between them and the secular, materialistic outlook of atheistic Communism.

222. Father Karl Rahner, S.J., a consulting theologian in Rome during the Council in 1962, said in a lecture there: "The entire hierarchy does not hold all the keys to the temples of truth." He stressed that there is a "charismatic" element in the Church "independent of the tables of organisation."

The last words are wrongly translated. Father Rahner said "apart from", not "independent of." While the duty of safeguarding officially the truth as taught by Christ and the Apostles and committed to the Church belongs to the hierarchy as collectively constituting the teaching authority within the Church, it does not follow that spiritual or mystical insight into the significance or even that practical application of any given truth will necessarily be more profound among members of the hierarchy than in some other individual members of the Church. There is a charismatic element in the Church, that is, an enlightenment and inspiration given directly by the Holy Spirit to individual and non-hierarchical members, but not independently of any necessity of obedience to lawful ecclesiastical authority. It is one thing to admit that besides the hierarchical element in the Church there is also a charismatic element; but quite another to suggest that the latter is independent of the hierarchical element. Father Rahner did not maintain that. As a matter of fact, in his "Theology of Pastoral Action", Vol. I, p. 62, he wrote: "Free charisms must account for themselves to the Church's hierarchy when they make demands which concern the life of the Church itself as a sacred society."

223. Father Rahner said: "Just as God in the Old Testament spoke through the prophets who were not priests, so He may in this century speak through prophetic laymen."

No Catholic who knows anything of the nature and history of Catholicism doubts that God not only may, but that He has frequently spoken in such a way; nor only through prophetic laymen but through prophetic laywomen also. The return of the popes to residence in Rome in the fourteenth century after seventy years of administering the Church from Avignon, in France, was due in no small measure to the prophetic voice of St. Catherine of Siena; and if ever there was a prophetic layman it was Frederic Ozanam, a French lawyer (1813-1853), who founded the St. Vincent de Paul Society of Catholic laymen, a society responsible for incalculable good in all kinds of charitable activities and which is still flourishing in our midst. But what has to be noted is that those who are truly led by the Spirit of God in such a way are also filled with a profound spirit of personal humility and of love for the Church, together with the deepest respect for hierarchical authority in the Church and readiness to comply with its official directions in all matters pertaining to religion and to ecclesiastical discipline. There is no surer test of mistaken claims to guidance by the Holy Spirit than the absence of the characteristics I have mentioned.

224. When you speak of the Catholic Church I presume you mean the Roman Catholic Church, because the head of that Church resides in Rome

The idea of residence does not really enter into this matter at all. Christ said to His apostles: "Go, teach all nations" (Matt., 28:19). As the famous American character Mr. Dooley replied, when someone asked him: "Aren't you a Roman Catholic, Mr. Dooley?" "No," he answered, "I'm a Chicago Catholic." He professed the same religion as the Pope; but he certainly was not a "Roman" Catholic from a residential point of view. As a matter of fact, for some seventy years the six Popes from 1309 till 1377 resided, not in Rome, but at Avignon in France. Ecclesiastically, of course, they had been elected to the bishopric of Rome as successors of St. Peter who had died in Rome; but they themselves did not reside there.

225. As all Christians are aware of the general description of themselves as either Catholics or Protestants, why do Protestants always speak of Catholics as Roman Catholics?

It is more a matter of custom or usage than anything else; at least nowadays. There is possibly a latent idea that to speak of Catholics rather than of "Roman Catholics" would be a kind of tacit concession that there are not other kinds of Catholics also. After all, most of them know that in the Apostles' Creed the expression occurs: "I believe in the Holy Catholic Church," although some substitute for that: "I believe in the Holy Christian Church." However, few advert to any theological significance and simply comply with an inherited custom. Even some Catholics adopt what they regard as the generally accepted usage (as one might say, without prejudice to the theological claims of the Church to which they belong).

226. Why do Roman Catholics normally prefer to speak of themselves simply as Catholics?

From a practical point of view, the term "Catholics" is simpler than the rather clumsy expression "Roman Catholics", especially when, in speaking or writing, the longer phrase is repeatedly used. People tire of it, and in any case find it unnecessary since everyone knows what Church is meant when asked, for example, where the nearest Catholic church is to be found in some given locality. I do not think many advert to the linguistic, historical and theological aspects of the question, but we can allude briefly to them. From a language point of view, since the word Catholic means universal there is something incongruous in adding to it a prefix intended to limit it, which would involve speaking of the "not-universal universal Church." From a historical point of view, the term "Roman Catholic" is not Catholic in origin. The Anglican Bishop Frere admits in the "Dictionary of English Church History", p. 543, that the term was invented in England during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I to designate those who continued to adhere to the Pope rather than join the newly-constituted Elizabethan English Church. From the Catholic and theological point of view, Vatican Council I, in 1870, discussed this matter and expressly rejected the expression "Roman Catholic" as a description of the Catholic Church, insisting that, if the two words are used, they must be separated, so that at most we can speak of the Holy, Catholic, Apostolic and Roman Church, the first three terms referring to our religion, the last to the fact that it acknowledges the primacy of the Bishop of Rome.

227. Instead of building beautiful Cathedrals and churches, would it not have been better to have built homes for old people and for the poor, declaring those to be for the honour and glory of God?

The better choice would be, not to do the one or the other, but to do both. It is not always possible, however, to do both. In undeveloped areas Mass has to be offered in a hall or a school-church, or even in huts of bamboo and grass. As for the beautiful Cathedrals of medieval Europe, some of which took centuries to build, the American Ralph Waldo Emerson, in his book "English Traits," had the grace to write, opposed to all historical creeds though he was: "In seeing those old Cathedrals I sometimes said: These were built by another and better generation than now looks upon them. The architecture still glows with the faith that inspired them." Meantime, the Catholic Church, probably the most blamed for lavish expenditure on religious edifices, has also been most generous in works of charity to the poor and those subject to suffering of any kind. No Church, proportionately to numbers and resources, has so covered the land with hospitals, homes for old people and for derelict children, and with institutions of all kinds for spiritual and corporal works of mercy. No Church has such an army of Religious Orders and voluntary lay agencies such as the St. Vincent de Paul Society dedicated to every kind of charitable work. One is entitled to ask whether her critics are really interested in the poor or only in seeking a pretext for their criticism of the Church. Certainly, the more materialistic one becomes in his own outlook, the more he begrudges the employment of any resources for religious purposes.

228. Those who claim to be followers of Christ should remember that He chose absolute poverty, saying: "The Son of man has nowhere to lay his head." Matt., 8:20.

Other factors also need to be taken into account. Christ's esteem for the magnificent Temple in Jerusalem shines out through the pages of the Gospels. He called it His Father's house. He went regularly up to Jerusalem on the greater Feast Days for the ceremonies there. He praised the poor widow who gave all she had towards the upkeep of the Temple (Mk., 12:42). To no one more than to Him would the words of Ps., 25:8 apply: "I have loved, O Lord, the beauty of Thy house and the place where Thy glory dwelleth."

229. At work, a Communist gave me the enclosed newspaper article entitled: "Just How Rich is the Pope?" The article says no one knows, but his resources must be immense.

The subject is a fairly regular one for journalists seeking a feature article for the popular press. They are quite safe in saying that the Catholic Church, after nearly two thousand years of existence, with today over six hundred millions of adherents and thousands of institutions spread throughout so many different countries in the world, must have immense resources. But they err by omission in failing to add that the Church's resources are certainly not equal to her actual needs in her administrative, missionary and charitable activities; and they err by commission when they suggest that the possessions of the Church make the Pope himself a wealthy man. Popes come and go, their office not enriching themselves at all. When Pope Pius X died in 1914, he wrote simply in his Will: "I was born poor; I have lived poor; I die poor." He had no property to leave to anybody. When Pope John XXIII was elected as Pope in 1958, one of his first acts was to raise the wages of Vatican City State employees to meet rising living costs. Told there was not enough money available, he insisted that just claims must be met even if, unhappily, there were less available for world-wide charitable donations to distressed refugees or victims of famines, earthquakes, floods and other disasters. Incidentally, early in 1963, Pope John received in audience within the Vatican Aleksei Adzhubei, editor of Moscow's Soviet newspaper "Isvestia," together with his wife, Rada, the daughter of Krushchev. Interviewed afterwards, Rada said that what most impressed her during her Vatican visit were "Pope John's strong, peasant hands, just like those of our workers in Russia!" That might help to disarm some of your Communist friend's prejudices. For the rest, we must take philosophically such articles as the one you have sent me. There will be more of them, whatever we may say of this one; and in any case they do not raise problems which thinking people will not see for themselves to be unrealistic and irrelevant.

230. If all Christian groups united in one great Church, how would its membership compare with the rest of the world's population?

Its membership would include approximately one third of the human race. But the prospects of all professing Christian groups uniting in such a way are very remote. There are some denominations - not numerically insignificant - which are strongly opposed to any moves towards such unity, such as the Witnesses of Jehovah, who denounce all conventional Churches; the Mormons, who insist upon the acceptance of the revelations of their founder Joseph Smith; and the Seventh Day Adventists, who regard as a basic obligation the continued observance of the Jewish Sabbath (Saturday) instead of the Christian Sunday. These and other groups for various reasons will not so much as consider the idea of Christian Reunion. Without undue optimism, therefore, Christians interested in the Ecumenical Movement content themselves with relative hopes of success, aiming at as great a unity of professing Christians as will actually prove possible, leaving to God the long-term results of the efforts they make in this direction.

231. What is the world-population today?

It is impossible to give more than an approximate estimate of the world's population at any given time. At present, it is said that about 150,000 children are born every day. These births are, of course, offset by death-rates which are very variable owing to natural disasters in addition to ordinary causes. But in general, and under present conditions, the birth-rate far exceeds the death-rate. According to a United Nations' Report, in the ten years, 1953-1963, the world's population increased from 2,000 millions to 3,500 millions. Many people are disturbed by what they call this "population explosion", but there are various aspects of this complex question which are almost completely overlooked. One such aspect is that, with the advance of medical science, more and more people are living longer than in former times; so much so that in England, according to a Royal Commission on population, by 1980, if the birth-rate continues falling, eight people will be moving into the oldage pensioner group for every one child born! Were such conditions to become a world-wide phenomenon there would be eventually quite a dramatic fall in the reproduction-rate. That problem, however, we must leave to the future.

232. How do the major Christian groups compare numerically with one another?

It is usual to group professing Christians for general statistical purposes under three headings, Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Protestants. According to the "Encyclopedia Britannica Year Book," for 1959, there were then in the world approximately 510 million Catholics, 129 million Eastern Orthodox Christians, and 210 million Protestants. Apart from other factors and by merely natural increase alone, it would be a fair estimate to say that today the sixteen independent groups of Eastern Orthodox Churches would number between them about 160 million adherents; the many and diverse forms of Protestantism would be able to claim 250 millions; while Catholics, united under Pope Paul VI would add up to at least 600 millions. There should be no need to say that these statistics concern quantity, and not quality. All groups have those who are ill-instructed as well as those better instructed in the knowledge of their religion; and the lax as well as the fervent in its practice.

233. When did the Catholic axiom originate that "Outside the Church there is no Salvation," and on what is it based?

It is based on the doctrine of the Church as contained in the New Testament. Christ had said: "I will build my Church" - not "my Churches"; and: "If a man will not hear the Church, let him be as the heathen." St. Paul had insisted that there must be "one Lord, one faith, one baptism"; and had warned the Corinthians: "Let there be no schisms" It was to those who were already Christians in the Catholic sense of the word that the early Christian Fathers issued the warnings that one cannot have God for his Father who has not the Church as his mother, and that one can no more be saved outside the Church than, during the Flood, those could be saved who were outside the Ark of Noah. The precise dictum: "Outside the Church there is no Salvation" first appeared in the writings of Origen (185-254), in a discourse on being "in the boat with Jesus." Throughout the course of history, however, we know that certain individuals or even groups did abandon the Catholic Church, establishing separate religious denominations of their own; and as time went on there arose later generations of good people, still professing to be Christians, but who in all sincerity inherited non-Catholic positions not of their own making. Catholics, therefore, to the original axiom "Outside the Church there is no Salvation", add the qualifying clause: "provided their being outside the Church is through no fault of their own."

234. Can the axiom he said to apply only to baptised Catholics who have deliberately cut themselves off from the Catholic Church?

In general, the distinction is between those who are outside the Catholic Church through their own fault, and those who are outside it through no fault of their own. The axiom does not apply to the latter class. As regards the former class, it could apply to those who have been well-instructed Catholics but who, by their own deliberate choice, have abandoned their faith; or it could apply to those who have never been Catholics but who, having become convinced of the truth of the Catholic Church, have refused to obey their conscience and join it; or who, having adverted for good reasons to the possibility that it might be true, have refused to inquire further for fear that they might actually become convinced and converted - a step which, for motives of convenience under one form or another they want to avoid. Obviously, such people are not in good faith. Forfeiture of salvation always supposes, of course, that such people die without having received and corresponded with the grace of final repentance.

235. What is your own attitude on this matter?

I hold simply that no one outside the Catholic Church through his own fault can be saved. But in these days of divided Christendom one has to stress "through his own fault." When I see a good Protestant, obviously sincere and living a most edifying life, I say to myself: "It is certainly no fault of his that he is not a Catholic." And I often feel that I will be very fortunate if I attain, not only to heaven, but to as high a place there as he will have. At the same time, since Our Lord thought it necessary to establish, commission and guarantee the Catholic Church, it must be necessary to belong to it if one realises the obligation of doing so. There are, then, two extremes to be avoided. We must not so stress the possibility of salvation outside the Catholic Church as to suggest that there is no necessity to belong to it; nor must we so stress the necessity of belonging to the Catholic Church as to exclude all hope of salvation for good non-Catholics. So I have to say to sincere Protestants: "You can be saved because you are in good faith and so excused from the obligation of joining the Catholic Church." But from the Church's point of view I would have to say: "It is necessary to join the Catholic Church and you cannot be saved if you are in bad faith and it is through your own fault that you do not belong to it." (Incidentally, the convinced Protestant, who holds, with Acts, 4:12, that "there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved," would have to adopt that same attitude towards a good Muslim or a good Buddhist as regards at least an acceptance of faith in Jesus Christ).

236. Father Karl Adam, in "The Spirit of Catholicism", says more and more Catholic theologians agree that the loss of the Catholic Faith without moral guilt is possible "in exceptional cases."

It is important to note the limitation of his concession to "exceptional cases." I would say that they are very exceptional. Normally, since God wills all men to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth (I Tim., 2:4), and since He never deserts anyone unless that one deserts Him first, a person who has ever had the Catholic faith cannot lose it without rejecting divine grace; and that means moral guilt. If a Catholic got to the stage of thinking he should in all sincerity leave the Church, that merely pushes the fault further back, namely, to his earlier indulgence in things calculated to destroy his faith, or to his neglect of means to preserve it when difficulties first arose by prayer, fidelity to the Sacraments, and by seeking advice. Father Karl Adam himself says in the book you mention that in most cases of lapse from the Catholic Church the real cause is not intellectual but moral, namely, owing to pride, selfcomplacency, contempt for the authority of the Church, or a life incompatible with standards of conduct in keeping with the Christian religion. Cases in which it is possible for a Catholic to lose the faith without any moral fault anywhere along the line are rare exceptions indeed.

237. To say it is possible at all seems to contradict Vatican Council I, which declared that "a Catholic can never have any just cause for changing or doubting his faith."

That Council was there dealing with the objective truth, not with subjective persuasions. The principles are clear. Truth cannot contradict truth. The Catholic religion is true. Therefore there can be nothing in Scripture, history, philosophy, science, or anywhere else which can actually be opposed to the truth of Catholicism and provide one with reasonable grounds for rejecting it. But the Council did not say that subjectively a Catholic could not wrongly persuade himself that he had sound reasons for abandoning his faith. The problem then arises concerning his moral responsibility for arriving at such a mistaken idea.

238. What does the Church hold as regards the fate of pagans who never had the chance of receiving Christian baptism?

According to Catholic teaching, it is possible for them, as human beings endowed with freewill, to save their souls or to lose their souls. Since God wills all men to be saved, He must grant to every man, even a pagan, enough grace to enable him to save his soul. If a pagan corresponds with the inspirations of grace given to him, enlightening his mind, attracting his heart and inclining his will in a right direction, he will arrive before death takes him from this world at faith in God and sufficient sorrow for his sins to save his soul by what we call "baptism of desire." This means that such a man, having the will to do God's will, would ask to be baptised if he knew baptism to be necessary and if there were someone at hand who could baptise him. God takes the will for the deed in such a case and directly grants to the soul the grace necessary for salvation which is normally given to believers by means of the Sacrament of Baptism.

239. If such pagans, knowing nothing of Christianity, can get to heaven in any case, are not foreign missions for their conversion unnecessary?

From the fact that it is possible for them to save their souls - we do not know that they will - we cannot argue that they may as well be left as they are and that there is no need to send missionaries to teach them the Christian religion, providing them with all the spiritual blessings that religion can bring into their lives. There is a difference between the possibility of saving one's soul and the probability or likelihood of doing so. One with a knowledge of the Christian religion and with all its helps at his disposal is in a better position than a pagan left in his paganism. But apart from the needs of the pagans themselves, we as Christians are not left free in the matter. We owe obedience to the command of Christ: "Go, teach all nations . . . baptising them." Also, since He said: "I am come to cast fire on the earth, and what will I but that it be enkindled" (Lk., 12:49), our duty is to enkindle the light and the warmth of the knowledge and love of Christ in as many souls as possible. Confidence in the providence of God for the souls of pagans we cannot reach does not dispense us from unflagging zeal in trying to bring the Faith into the lives of those we can reach.

240. When converts are received into the Catholic Church, why is it not enough for them to profess their faith merely in the words of the Apostles' Creed?

Historical developments provide the explanation of that. From Scripture we know that Christ came as the long-promised Saviour of mankind, wrought the work of our redemption by His life, death and resurrection, and commissioned His Church, "founded upon the apostles" (Eph., 2:20) to go to all the world, making disciples "from among all nations" (Matt., 28:19). In Acts, 2:42, we are told that St. Peter's first converts on Pentecost Sunday, numbering about 3,000, "continued in the doctrine of the apostles." As a practical measure, the Church quite early summed up briefly the apostolic teaching in what we know today as the "Apostles' Creed", to be recited as a profession of faith by those desiring baptism. In 325 A.D., however, the Council of Nicea drew up the longer and more detailed "Nicene Creed", finding it necessary to stress certain additional aspects of Christian teaching, especially concerning the Divinity of Christ which some professing Christians, such as the Arians, denied. Unhappily, in the 16th century, the Protestant Reformation led to the "Divided Christendom" which confronts us today, and in general the basic differences between Catholics and others concern the nature and authority of the Church itself, the doctrine of Papal Supremacy, the number and efficacy of the Sacraments, and above all the significance and importance of the Sacrifice of the Mass. The Catholic Church, therefore, requires of those who wish to share in her membership a profession of faith, not only in the doctrines specifically enshrined in the Apostles' and Nicene Creeds, but also in these particular matters as well as in all else that the Church regards as essential to the Catholic Faith. There is no question here of merely humanly invented teachings. The Catholic Church has no choice but to declare expressly that these doctrines are part of the original apostolic doctrine proclaimed in the name of Christ.