The myth persists that Christianity was pure in its origins, and that this purity was corrupted by the Church of Rome and its Bishops, and that the corruption continued unabated through the Middle Ages, until the light of the Reformation dawned with the ex-Augustinian monk Martin Luther, the English King Henry VIII, and the Frenchman John Calvin.
That in the early Middle Ages a tyrannical institution, the Papacy, arose which swallowed up all of Christianity. That from the deaths of the Apostles or even beforehand, there was no Christianity. That all was dark, worse even than under the pagan Emperors. That no one knew anything about God, or Christ, or Christ's saving death, for all worshipped Mary and the Saints instead of God and Christ.
This myth was current in the early years of the Reformation. The Homilies of the Church of England (published by Cranmer in 1547) say that 'in the pit of damnable idolatry all the world, as it were, drowned, continued until our Age (i.e. the Reformation) by the space of about 800 years so that laity and clergy, learned and unlearned of all ages, sects and degrees, men, women and children, of whole Christendom have been at once drowned in abominable idolatry.'
The same belief, always unsubstantiated, persist until our own day. Thus, Loraine Boettner, in Roman Catholicism, says (p. 11) that 'the (Catholic) Church became more heathen than Christian,' and 'the Church in Rome and in general Churches throughout the Empire, ceased to be the Apostolic Christian Church and became for the most part a religious monstrosity'
Adventist anti-Catholic polemicist Ellen G. White, in The Great Controversy, claims (p.47) that St Paul, in his second letter to the Thessalonians, 'at that early date saw, creeping into the church, errors that would prepare the way for the development of the papacy. Little by little, at first in stealth and in silence, and then more openly as it increased in strength and gained control of the minds of men, the 'mystery of iniquity,' carried forward its deception and blasphemous work.' She sees the Catholic Church as, 'that gigantic system of false religion,' and the Pope as 'the representative of Satan — the Bishop of Rome'. (p.48)
Jimmy Swaggert is quick to jump on the bandwagon, and claims that 'Catholicism is basically a Roman institution. It arose from the ruins of the 'Holy' Roman Empire . . . it brought itself to power through the glory of Rome and the name of Christ by deception and force; and by force and bloodshed it has maintained that power'. (p.viii)
Jimmy has confused the Roman Empire (27 BC to 395 AD) with the Holy Roman Empire which was a special title given to the German Empire when Otho I was crowned Emperor by Pope John XI on February 2, 962 A.D.
A different non-Catholic point of view
Not all are satisfied with such nursery tales. I should like to quote what an eminent non- Catholic historian Francois Pierre Guillaume Guizot (1787-1874) wrote for a readership that was brought up on the myths described above: 'If the Church had not existed. I know not what would have occurred during the decline of the Roman Empire . . . if Christianity had only continued, as it was in the early ages, a belief, a sentiment, an individual conviction — it is probable it would have fallen amidst the dissolution of the Empire, during the invasion of the barbarians . . . I do not think I say too much when I affirm that, at the close of the fourth and the commencement of the fifth century, the Christian Church was the salvation of Christianity.' (European Civilisation, p.56)
This is how the Man paints, sculpts or carves the Lion.
The Catholic Church is painted as the Scarlet Woman, and however improbably, also the Man of Sin, as the sorceress who intoxicates the nations with the goblet of blood.
Dr Waddington, Dean of Durham, in his Ecclesiastical History describes the Catholic Church as 'the instrument of heaven for the preservation of religion,' and goes on to mention six special benefits that the Church conferred on the world: 'First, she provided for the exercise of charity: secondly, she inculcated the moral duties by means of her penitential discipline; thirdly, she performed the office of legislation in an admirable way: fourthly, she unceasingly strove to correct the vices of the existing social system, setting herself especially against the abomination of slavery; fifthly, she laboured anxiously in the prevention of crime and war; and lastly, she has preserved to those ages the literature of the ancient world'.
Can blasphemy or superstition or idolatry be the salvation of Christianity'? Can the Scarlet Woman or the Man of Sin. or the Beast of the Apocalypse be 'the instrument of heaven' for the preservation of religion? Can blasphemy and sorcery be the promoter of charity, morality and social improvement?
Despite the fact that there is a contrary view held by fellow non-Catholics, one still hears, in 20th century Australia, claims that the Church in the early centuries was a witch, a liar, a seducer, and a bloodthirsty tyrant. And we Catholics are described by the Jimmy Swaggerts, Ellen Whites and Loraine Boettners of this world as superstitious, pagan, and enfolded in a web of deceit that is responsible for damning our deceived souls. (Swaggert, pp.viii, 127)
However absurd, many of the opinions sketched above are, they are not half so absurd as the opinion of Catholics held by otherwise kind hearted, sincere Fundamentalist bible Christians. And these absurdities, we suggest, are the result of habitually looking at one side of a question, and refusing to see any other.
Why Are 'Bible' Christians So Ignorant and Fearful of Catholic Tradition? 
CATHOLICISM has been, for the past almost 2,000 years, as much a fact as the existence as the United States of America for the past 200. How then can it be such a matter for pride to be a United States citizen, and a matter for ridicule and shame to belong to the Catholic Church?
What justification can there be for the name-calling that fundamentalist Protestants indulge in — dismissing Catholics as 'dupes of Satan,' 'superstitious.' and 'idolatrous'? How can fundamentalists consider it to be 'imbecilic' or 'diabolical' to belong to a Church whose 'longevity, wisdom and kindness' Sir Alex Guinness (to quote but one modem convert to Catholicism) so praises in his recent (1985) autobiography Blessing in Disguise.
Despite their 20th century surrounds, it seems that the minds of many Fundamentalist 'bible' Christians are hung with old pictures of hobgoblins, mumbo jumbos and demons; cobwebs abound and scarcely a gleam of light can find its way through the opaque protective screens. The atmosphere is such that what light does struggle through is refracted and distorted.
Cardinal Newman lamented in 1851 that 'in this inquisitive age, when the Alps are crested, and seas fathomed, and mines ransacked, and sands sifted and rocks cracked into specimens, and beasts caught and catalogued,' his fellow Englishmen knew as little of Catholics 'as if, I will not say they were Tartars or Patagonians, but as if they inhabited the moon. Were the Catholic Church in the moon, they would gaze on her with more patience and delineate her with more accuracy than they do now'. Lectures on the Present State of Catholics in England, p. 43.
The world has undergone remarkable changes since 1851 — but ignorance of Catholics and Catholicism remains a constant. We may live in an age of Hi-Tec computers, surface-to-air missiles, interplanetary and even interstellar space exploration, but the old picture of the Lion by the Man remains securely in place — unquestioned and unchanged.
However impartially we may try to look at politics, science, the environment, contagious diseases, archaeology, the needs of minority groups within the community, and so on, it seems simply too difficult for many people — religious or non-religious — to look impartially at Catholics, or at the history, structure and teachings of the Catholic Church.
It is ironical that Fundamentalist Protestants depend to am large extent for their attitudes on that very mode of information which they find so odious in Catholics: tradition.
However, unlike Catholic Tradition which is rooted in the practice and belief of the early Church, Fundamentalists draw upon a 400 year old tradition that is entirely negative in content where Catholics are concerned, and which is unauthenticated.
Fundamentalists pass on verbally or in writing or on TV what they themselves heard from their infancy, in the school-room, in lecture halls, from the pulpit, in newspapers, on radio or TV. Each is the other's teacher, transmitting the 'tradition,' about Catholics.
'How do you know?' I asked the youngster who claimed that making the sign of the cross was pagan, anti-bible, and only introduced into Christianity by 'a' Pope in the fourth century.
'I just know,' he replied. 'I heard it in Church'.
'Did you check whether it was true or false,' I asked.
The pastor of that lad's Church did not think up this claim by himself. it wasn't 'discovered' by some researcher in the history department of one of our numerous universities. He may have picked up this juicy morsel of 'traditional' sixteenth century anti-Catholic slander from Loraine Boettner's Roman Catholicism, which lists (p. 7) among 'Roman Catholic Heresies and Inventions': 'Making the sign of the Cross . . . 300 (A.D.)'
Or, he and Boettner may have got this date from Jimmy Swaggert. Or Jimmy may have borrowed from Boettner. Neither Swaggert nor Boettner gives references so we have no way of knowing, but Swaggert in his book Catholicism and Christianity confidently notes (p. 158) under 'Heresies,' that the sign of the cross 'began about three centuries after Christ'.
Where did Boettner, Swaggert and whoever told the lad with whom I was speaking, get their information? Almost certainly they read it somewhere, or were told by someone who knew. And that someone would have heard it in turn from someone else: handed down from father to son, until the telling and the teaching is lost in fog that reaches back to the heady anti-Catholic polemic of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.
Because they are sometimes abused, traditions are not, for that reason, necessarily unreliable. All human beings live and thrive on traditions, verbal or written. Life is simply not long enough for us to prove everything, we are obliged to take many facts concerning almost all aspects of reality, on the word of others.
Lawyers might tell us that an immemorial tradition — unauthenticated information that goes back many generations concerning some matter — is a prima facie argument in favour of the fact. It may justify our holding an opinion about something — but it won't justify our being certain about the matter in question; and still less will it justify our being angry or fomenting hatred against those who differ from us.
Suppose there was a general impression in Russia that the Russian vessel 'Mir' arrived in Botany Bay before Captain Cook in 1770; or among Australians that gold was first discovered in Australia in 1851 in Victoria; or among Australians that Sir Robert Menzies had a secret agreement with the Japanese to hand Australia over to them in 1943; or that Sir Henry Parkes had become a Catholic before he died.
As long as we had no other information on these subjects, we would probably agree that these opinions were correct; and they would be handed down to generations of Russians or Australians and believed as true.
But let us suppose that all the ships' logs of all the ships in the Russian Imperial Navy turn up in 1993 in the Leningrad Library; and none of these, including the 'Mir,' was within five thousand miles of Botany Bay in 1770 or again let us suppose that irrefutable documentary proof is found showing that in fact gold was first discovered in Australia by Edward Hargraves near Bathurst on February 12, 1851; or again, supposing that after forty years searching in Australia and Japan, no evidence of Sir Robert's alleged 'deal' could be found; or finally, let us suppose that the undertaker's certificate and the Minister's record all show that Sir Henry Parkes was a convinced Protestant up till his dying moments.
Would we reject this evidence and prefer to cling to our former opinions.
Even if we were tempted to do so, how could we defend our action; how could we approve such action on the part of another?
An immemorial tradition has force only on the understanding that it must give way to poof to the contrary.
'Well,' I can hear someone asking, 'when did the sign of the Cross come into use?'
To quote a Catholic source could well appear to be begging the question for many people, so I will reply by quoting from a non-Catholic work; William Smith and Samuel Cheetham's A Dictionary of Christian Antiquities, 2 vols, reprinted NY 1968. Under 'Sign of the Cross,' we read (with appropriate documentary proof that 'The use of the sign of the cross is of great antiquity and was very frequent in the earlier centuries of the Christian Church'. (Vol.2, p.1894) The author of the article speaks (p.1895) of ". . how widespread the use of the sign of the cross became from A.D.150 onwards.'
Why would 'Christian' Ministers of religion not refer to a reliable, well-annotated and authenticated non-Catholic source, instead of repeating a discredited and patently false anti-Catholic Tradition?
The answer that is forced upon us is that they are looking for mud to sling. And even if the mud be imaginary, provided no one checks, the end result is the same. It sticks.
To cling to an opinion while ignoring available evidence to the contrary, reflects a prejudiced frame of mind. A river cannot rise higher than its source; if the source be tainted, then all who drink from it will be poisoned.
Undoubtedly there are thoughtful persons who espouse Fundamentalist tenets for what they would as stronger reasons than here-say or opinion. And such persons and reasons need to be heard.
But the generality of 'bible' and 'evangelical' Christians, judging from their words and deeds, seem all too prone to repeat unauthenticated slanders against Catholics, without checking the accuracy of the opinions they hold.
Two indispensable means for arriving at the truth of a matter are an historical sense, and an ability to think clearly. Unfortunately, most fundamentalists seem to lack both.
Otherwise how can one explain the absurd charges that are levelled at Catholics by Fundamentalists like Jimmy Swaggert:
Readers may recall the story often told of Charles II who sent to the Royal Society asking its members to let him know why a dead fish weighed more in water than a live one. The Society applied itself to the question and arrived at various theories. Then someone thought to check the fact, and found that the hypothesis was a jest of the king's. Dead or alive, the fish weighed the same.
Fundamentalists should not be afraid to acquire knowledge of Catholics at first hand, instead of relying on opinion that won't sand up to examination. Instead of digging around without the proper tools and appropriate environmental safeguards in the Book of Daniel or the Apocalypse, they should start learning history, and start using their minds.
Catholics who are targeted by Fundamentalists have a lot in common with Cardinal Newman, one of the greatest minds in England in the nineteenth century, who wrote over one hundred and thirty years ago:
'Children in the streets of four and five years old, are learning and using against us terms of abuse, which will be their tradition, all through their lives, till they are grey headed, and have in turn to teach it to their grandchildren. They totter out and raise their tiny hands, and raise their thin voices, in protest against those whom they are just able to understand are very wicked and very dangerous; and they run away in tenor when they catch your eye. Nor will the growth of reason set them right. The longer they live and the more they converse with men, the more they will hate us. The Maker of all, and only He, can shiver in pieces this enchanted Palace in which our lot is cast'. — - Lecture on the Present Position of Catholics in England, p.78.
The Thriving Market in Anti-Catholic Propaganda and Discredited Fables 
WE have already looked at the importance of tradition as a source of much of the anti-Catholic propaganda that passes for religious writing among Fundamentalist 'bible' sects.
Fundamentalist 'tradition,' can be seen in its myriad forms — books, magazines, pamphlets, cassettes, videos, comics — in most 'Christian' bookshops; it is hawked from home to home by sincere, well-meaning young and older people who genuinely 'hate' what they believe to be the religion of Catholics; it is sent anonymously through the mail; it is dressed up like Catholic literature to attract the unwary; it is often free; it is passed on by word of mouth from father to son — from mother to daughter until it assumes the appearance and the sound of 'truth'.
One such bookshop run by a Fundamentalist Church in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney was obliged to close some months ago. It outraged not only the sensibilities of Catholics, but many Protestant friends of Catholics took offence at the blatant hate-mongering that passed for 'evangelism'.
These unsubstantiated opinions and accusations, should pose little threat to the faith of a Catholic well-educated in the Faith. They are, however, unsettling.
We should not find this unusual. What parent or spouse who loves and trusts his or her children or partner, would not be disturbed to be met by apparently sincere people who levelled numerous serious criminal or civil charges against members of their family living or long-since dead; charges that concern events that allegedly occurred hundreds of years ago; some of which allegedly occurred almost two thousand years ago?
There is a proverb that says that 'a fool can ask more questions than one hundred wise men can answer'. And most Catholics no matter how wise they may be, find it tiresome if not impossible suddenly to be called upon to have to defend their faith against attackers and accusers who come at them without warning, mouthing charges that in any other context would be regarded as libellous or defamatory.
Justice is a well-established biblical concept. The unjust person is denounced vigorously by the Old and New Testaments.
It is a principle of Australian Law that no one should be allowed to bring a charge against another without being under the obligation of supporting it.
No citizen of Australia would sleep safety at night if any person who wanted to, for whatever whim or reason, could accuse an individual or corporate body of whatever crime took his fancy, take them to court, call no witnesses, and nevertheless obtain their conviction and punishment for no other reason than the fact that a well-dressed, clean-cut (often good-looking sincere 'Christian' alleged that they were guilty.
All accusers are, at the very least, obliged to swear an oath before God that what they say is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. And this is just the beginning of the matter, not the end of it.
The oath they swear before God is concerned with facts. Opinions or hearsay or conjectures or assumptions are not admissible in a court of law.
Even where the guilt of the accused seems certain, the onus of proof is placed in the accuser. The accused is protected by our law from incriminating himself and the law ensures that if he is to be convicted, it must generally be by other means, and other persons.
Justice according to 'bible' Christians
None of this applies, evidently, where Catholics are concerned. The articulate door-knocker or street evangelist or local pastor throws the burden of proof upon the accused — Catholics and their Church.
Any fundamentalists may preach to you or at you and may repeat slanderous statements against Catholics and Catholicism without feeling obliged to produce any authority for his statements other than the fact that he is a 'bible' Christian.
He feels under no obligation to prove that he is respected within the community for other views that he holds or that he has had the opportunity and the means to discover the truth of the matter from primary sources.
He need establish no prima facie for his allegations; he need quote no authorities. All he need do is to accuse, and when he does, the harried Catholic child or mother or employee, or colleague or student or senior citizen is asked what he or she has to say in their defence. As if there was yet anything to defend.
A person could knock on any reader's door tonight, and might say: 'You robbed a person of a TV set and Video tape recorder four years ago'. What could you possibly say other than 'I did not'? And why should you have to prove that you were innocent of the charge?
Let us assume that out of courtesy, and to clear the air, or simply from shock at the charge, you didn't shut the door in the accuser's face. And you unwisely attempted to prove yourself innocent of the charge.
How could you prove that you didn't commit the offence, when there is no mention of the suburb where the alleged offence took place, the address of the victim, the date and so on?
If the accuser adds that the offence occurred on September 15, 1985, in Como, Western Australia, and says that the owner of the goods stolen was called Smith, and lived in a particular area, what normal person could remember where he or she was on a particular day so long ago? You would only be able to repeat emphatically that you were not guilty.
Let's assume that you ask the reasons for the accusation: How does the accuser know that you did it? Did he see you do it? Was he told by an eye-witness? And supposing that he refused to name the grounds upon which he charges you, and despite your remembering that you had never been to Western Australia in your life, replies: 'prove it,' how would you prove that you had never done something, or never been somewhere?
Let's further assume that solely on this unsupported allegation of a stranger you were hauled to court, and a magistrate, without any witnesses being brought, or oaths (taken, or the implausibility of the charge examined, or the vagueness of the testimony, you were sent to prison for five years, do you think that the Council for Civil Liberties or print media or TV stations would take up your cause as a victim of gross injustice?
Let's suppose that you are now in prison and some anonymous writer to a Letters to the Editor column in a local paper said that all persons of your particular profession were well-known stealers of TV sets and Video Recorders, and cited as proof the well-known case of your unfortunate trial and conviction.
Let's suppose finally. that on the strength of this letter petitions were got up and sent to Parliament claiming that all persons of your profession (whatever it is) are suspected of being thieves, and should be locked away as a potential threat to society. And most people agreed with the decision to do just this. What would all this say for the well-known Australian sense of fair-play?
And yet mutatis mutandis, this is what in principle happens frequently to many thousands of Catholics who in the work place, in their own homes, on street comers, on TV and radio, are accused of a multiplicity of crimes; of replacing the simple truth of salvation as set forth in the bible,' with 'an ugly skeleton,' that lies beneath the gaudy trappings of Romanism' (Boettner, p.273; of inventing the doctrine of Purgatory so as to fleece 'mourning relatives and friends' of millions of dollars (Boettner, p.222); of buying up and controlling 'large numbers of television and radio stations, newspapers and magazines' (Boettner, p.406 so as to control the world.
The list of charges is virtually endless: it is limited only by the imagination of the accuser or of the source he or she is drawing upon.
There is no need to stress the poor opinion that many non-Catholic Christians have of the pre-reformation years in England and Europe, from the ninth to the twelfth centuries, which are commonly called The Dark Ages. Readers do not need to have pointed out to them the ominous and emotional overtones of the adjective 'Dark'.
More will be said explicitly about this period in future articles.
Here I should like to draw attention to an anti-Catholic Fable still going the rounds that claims among other things that in pre-reformation days Catholics were taught that true Christianity consisted in merely going to Mass, paying tithes, burning candles and praying to the saints, worshipping relics and obeying priests.
This view of the Middle Ages was given a great boost when it was exploited in a work entitled View of the State of Europe during the Middle Ages (1818), by Henry Hallam who was born 202 years ago and died in 1859.
Hallam, described in the 1897 edition of Chambers Encyclopaedia as 'accurate', in scholarship and 'wide and deep' in learning,'authenticated' his melancholy picture of the 'Dark Ages' by quoting from a passage in the writings of St Eligius a famous seventh century goldsmith of Limoges who was ordained priest by Deodatus Bishop of Le Mans and consecrated bishop at Rouen on May 14, 641. Eligius (also called Eloi) died in 659.
Hallam wrote: 'He is a good Christian, says Eligius a saint of the seventh century, who comes frequently to Church, who presents an oblation that it may be offered to God at the altar; who does not taste the fruits of his land till he has consecrated a part of them to God; who can repeat the Creed or the Lord's Prayer. Redeem your souls from punishment while it is in your power: offer presents and tithes to Churches, light candles, in holy places, as much as you can afford, come more frequently to Church; implore the protection of the saints; for if you observe these things you may come with security at the Day of Judgement. . .'
'With such a definition of the Christian character,' writes Henry Hallam, 'it is not surprising that any fraud and injustice becomes honourable when it contributed to the riches of the clergy and glory of their order.' (Vol. iii, p.353)
Hallam, a lawyer by profession, does not actually quote from St Eligius's writings, but refers to a certain Rev. William Robertson, 1721—1793, who wrote a History of Scotland in 1759 and in the year that Hallam was born, a History of America.
Robertson, in his history of the Reign of the Emperor Charles V who lived at the time of the reformation notes that the 'Christian religion degenerated, during these ages of darkness, into an illiberal superstition,' and that 'the barbarous nations, instead of aspiring to sanctity and virtue, imagined that they satisfied every obligation of duty by a scrupulous observance of external ceremonies.'
The author continues: 'all the religious maxims and practices of the dark ages are a proof of this. I shall produce one remarkable testimony in confirmation of it, from an author canonized by the Church of Rome, St Eloy or Eligius.'
After giving more or less the same version as Hallam, as if it were a translation of the original, Robertson then goes on to quote a certain Dr Archibald Maclaine, a Presbyterian minister, who wrote: We see here a large and ample description of the character of a good Christian in which there is not the least mention of the love of God, resignation to his will, obedience to his law, or of justice, benevolence, and charity towards men.'
As well as Maclaine, the Rev. John Jortin Archdeacon of the Church of England, in his Remarks on Ecclesiastical History (1751-1753) refers to 'Eligius' system of religion' and comments, 'in this seventh century. .monkery flourished prodigiously and the monks and popes were in the firmest union. As to true religion, here is the sum and substance of it as drawn up for us by Eligius, one of the principal saints of that age'. He then goes on to quote from basically the same text as Hallam, Robertson and Maclaine.
Maclaine (1722-1804) and Jortin (1698-1770) both got their material about St Eligius from the Lutheran theologian Johann Lorenz von Mosheim (1694-1755) who in his Institutiones Historiae Ecclesiasticae (1726) wrote: 'true – religion lay buried under a senseless mass of superstitions, and was unable to raise her head.' Seventh century Christians, according to Mosheim, believed 'that the gates of heaven would be closed against none who should enrich the clergy or the Church with their donations. The former (the early Christians) were studious to maintain a holy simplicity, and to follow a pure and chaste piety; the latter (the Catholics of the 'Dark Ages') place the substance of religion in external rites and bodily exercises.'
Mosheim then goes on to quote the 'words' of Eligius, referred to by Hallam. From 1726 until 1818 St Eligius was still being quoted as if he had written them.
Exposing the Fraud
In 1833 the Protestant Dean of Durham set out to write an Ecclesiastical History, Like Hallam, Robertson, Maclaine and Jorton, he went ahead and quoted Mosheim's version of St Eligius as the 'sum and substance of true religion'. However, by the time he reached p.298 he had taken the trouble to read the original (Specilegium Dacherii) and the cat was among the pigeons.
Dr Waddington refers to the 'treachery of his historical conductor, 'Mosheim. He notes that the sentences quoted were indeed in the saint's writings, but 'in the society of so many good and Christian maxims,' that it was 'an unpardonable mutilation,' to suggest that they were all that the saint said on the subject. 'It was certainly unfair to weed them out and heap them together, without notice of the rich harvest that surrounds them'.
Annals readers interested in following this debate can find it treated by the (non-Catholic) Dean S.R. Maitland, in his book The Dark,Ages, John Hodges, London, 1844.
Even though Dr Waddington (in 1833) and Dean Maitland (in 1835 in an article in an Ecclesiastical magazine) exposed the fraud perpetrated by Mosheim and continued by his followers, a new edition of Mosheim came out in 1841 with all the old slanders repeated.
Mosheim is still being quoted, and St Eligius is still being misquoted, in 1993 — eloquent proof of the power of prejudice, and the fatal attraction of lies.
Truth: No Match For Religious and Historical Fictions 
AMONG the Ten Commandments there is one that seems to be conveniently over-looked by Fundamentalists in their attacks on the Catholic Church and the faith of Catholic people.
Exodus 20,16, Deuteronomy 5,20 and Matthew 19,18 refer to a serious obligation upon all human beings — especially those with pretensions to being 'religious' — not to give false evidence'.
Yet, as impartial commentators admit, the substance and force of past and current Fundamentalist crusades against the faith of Catholics and against the papacy in particular, is slander.
Even if all the historical and theological charges brought against us were true — and not all are false — what do our Fundamentalist friends make of our Lord's command: 'Pass no judgement, and you will not be judged. For as you judge others so will you yourself be judged. Whatever measure you deal out to others will be the measure that will be dealt out to you'. (Mt 7,1-2)
The constant harping on the alleged faults and sins of Catholics does not sit so well with our Lord's command to 'love your neighbour as your-self,'(Mt 19,19).
To judge by the techniques of door knockers, anchor persons for anti-Catholic revivalist and evangelical TV and radio programmes, and many preachers, false witness is the chief tool in their box of tricks.
This leads one to the conclusion that the anti-Catholic Tradition, still alive and well after over 400 years of destructive employment, could not survive without its daily dose of slanderous fable.
The history of the Catholic Church from is very beginnings gives the lie to the old maxim that says that truth is stranger than fiction.
If truth were really stranger than fiction, we would find biographies and history books on the best-selling lists and on sale in airports and newsagents, and fictionalised violence, sex and corruption relegated to the lower shelves to be overlooked in the rush to buy 'books dealing with 'facts'.
In a world where truth was eagerly sought after, fiction writers should be struggling to survive and learned authors of academic tomes, those dealing in 'facts,' would be reaping a generous harvest of dollars.
That this is not the case hardly needs stressing. And that fundamentalists realise that this is not so, seems borne out by the heavy emphasis they lay on fictionalised versions of Catholic beliefs, Catholic history and Catholic Tradition.
More than four centuries ago, earlier fundamentalists set the scene by calling the Pope the Antichrist, and identifying him as the Beast of the Apocalypse. When the implications of this piece of mud-slinging sank into the consciousness of the uneducated masses it was not too hard to sway them from their allegiance to the Church.
If truth had been sufficient to wean Christians away from the Catholic fold, why rely so heavily on fiction. slander and fable?
The truth that fascinates many fundamentalists today, and that they find both scandalous and titillating, is the obvious one that not all Catholics are just and holy, and live edifying lives.
Modern day fundamentalist 'bible' Christians seize upon this phenomenon that has been with the Church since the betrayal of Jesus by Judas, and use it as a pretext for denying the claims of the Catholic Church to be considered as the Body of Christ.
They are not the first to have taken offence at the presence of sinners within the Catholic Church; nor the first to have used this as a weapon against her.
The former Catholic priest Novatianus in Rome in 250 AD, founder of the Novatians; the former Catholic Bishop Donatus in Carthage between 313-318 AD, founder of the Donatists; and Lollards, all former Catholics, followers of Wycliffe, founded by Walter Lollard in 1315; the former Catholic priest Martin Luther in Germany from 1517 onwards, founder of the Lutherans: all, claimed, like the fundamentalists, that imperfect or sinful people have no place in the Church of Christ; and all were eventually excommunicated by the Catholic Church.
Any Catholic who maintains that sinful people cannot be members of the Church, will be reprimanded by the same Catholic Church for holding opinions that are contrary to the faith.
From the time of Christ and his apostles to the present day, all who make such a claim have been resolutely called into line.
Our Lord himself clearly says that the Church is to be like a net that gathers in all kinds of fish, good and bad. The net with all sorts of fish, (Mt 13,47-50) and the field with weeds and wheat, (Mt 13,24-30) were Christ's own images of his Church.
The fact that the Catholic Church corresponds to this model cannot be used as an argument to prove that she is not the Church that Christ founded. The contrary is the truth.
We cannot expect to find the Catholic Church different from the Church that Christ founded. Of that Church he said, 'Many are called; few are chosen'. (Mt 22,14) They come, they fall away, they leave. As children grow up in a family, and some leave never to return, the time comes eventually when some of the members of Christ's family also fall away, either for a while or for good. Our Lord foresaw this, as the parable of the prodigal son manifests, (Lk 15,11-32) and he issues a challenge to the fundamentalists: Will you also go away?' (Jn 6,57)
There has always been what Cardinal Newman called 'a vast load of moral evil,' in the Church. Not because God or his Church wills it, or because it is something to which we can be indifferent, but because human beings are notoriously fickle and imperfect.
And this evil has been found everywhere, at all times, throughout the Church's 2000 year old history. There have been bad popes, bad bishops, bad priests, bad monks, bad nuns, and bad laity.
Fundamentalists who denounce the Catholic Church for containing 'both weeds and wheat,' drop their mask inadvertently, and can be seen for the modem-day Gnostics they are, They have much in common with the Novatians and Donatists and with any of the myriad other Gnostic sects of early, middle and late Christianity that could never bring themselves to accept the consequences of the humanness of Christ.
By rejecting the right of their fellow weak human beings to belong to Christ's Church, fundamentalists are rejecting Christ and his mission to save mankind.
When people claim that some Catholics do not live up to their baptismal vows, that some, if not many, lead worldly lives, never pray, are unforgiving, lazy, vengeful, proud, greedy, cruel or even lacking in deep faith — we admit it at once.
'In any great house,' says St Paul to Timothy 'there are not only utensils of gold and silver, but also others of wood or earthenware; the former are valued, the latter held cheap.' (ii,2,20)
In any great family, there are good and bad. They do not cease to be members of the family because they are unworthy of the love which surrounds them. Until they draw their last breath they will be given the chance to return that love.
Among many promises made to the Church by her founder — that she will always be guided by the Holy Spirit, that she will last until the end of time, that she is a vehicle for Grace, that she will spread throughout the whole world — she is not promised that all her children will accept her teaching, or that they will all respond equally or fully to the love of God mediated through her.
So when fundamentalists start rattling through the generally lengthy list of Catholics whom they judge to have been 'bad' people in the past, or at present, Catholics should simply ask them 'So what?'. Isn't this the reason that Christ came on earth, and died to save us? The Communion of Saints is only in heaven. Here we have the Communion of sinners. Like it or not, the Church was founded by our Lord for sinners'.
Let fundamentalists come back with proof that throughout her long history the Church has ever taught as of faith, or recommended to the faithful what is unmoral or contrary to the teachings of Christ; that she has ever encouraged or rewarded sin; that she ever required of her members that they should do evil.
Catholics have no difficulty in admitting — in fact it is Catholic teaching — that there were, are and will be scandals in the Church. 'scandals will inevitably occur, but woe betide the man through whom they come'. (Mt 18,7) There have been in the past numbers of Catholics who have died unrepentant; many of us are living lives that are unworthy of our beliefs; there may be individual priests or even groups of them who are unworthy of their vocation, and who may teach erroneous doctrine; they may be insensitive, tyrannical, greedy and selfish.
What critics must prove, if Catholics are to have a case to answer, is that such scandals and unfortunate behaviour are caused by the Catholic Church's principles, teachings and laws; and that such behaviour is condoned by the Church.
Insuperable problems start for fundamentalists and other critics of the Catholic Church when they start muckraking, and accusing Catholics of specific sins and crimes.
If they claim that none of their own Church members, including their leaders, has ever failed to live up to the Gospel teaching, then they plainly are either stupid or lying; and if they admit to being sinners themselves, then their argument against the Catholics is shown up for what it is: sour grapes.
If grievous wrong exists in holy places, the Church will always find it hard to prevent it, while man remains free.
Fundamentalists have to prove that the Church promotes and teaches evil, and does nothing to discourage it; that she has never done good for human societies, and for individual human beings.
Since there was a Judas among the twelve followers of Jesus (Mark 14,43-45); since 'many of his disciples' found his teaching too hard when Jesus was in their midst (John 6, 66); since Peter denied Christ (Mark 14, 66-72); since all the disciples apart from John abandoned their dying Lord (John 19,25- 27); since there was an heretical Nicholas (Rev. 2,6); an ambitious Diotrephes (3 John,9); a worldly Demas (2 Tim, 4,10) — we have no valid reason for thinking that the Church of the past 2000 years should be any better off for members than the original group that attached itself to Jesus, or followed him after his death.
A greedy priest or incompetent bishop or unworthy cleric or ignorant or superstitious Catholic lay person offers as little grounds for arguing against the truth of Catholicism, as the Christine Keeler case offers grounds for arguing against Parliamentary democracy, or the Second World War offers grounds for arguing against the possibility or importance of Peace.
You may as well believe that the Watergate scandal proves that America is the 'Great Satan' so hated by the late Ayatollah Khomeini, as believe that scandals, when they do in fact occur, prove that the Catholic Church is not the true Church that Christ founded.
Catholics may be assured that truth will eventually prevail. Until it does, our Lord (Matthew 5,11) reserved a special blessing for those who 'suffer insults and persecution and every kind of calumny' for thy name's sake. They are promised a 'rich reward in heaven.'
Why is Logic One of the First Victims of Anti-Catholicism? 
IN the past four articles we have examined a number of the attitudes that appear to lie behind the modern-day revival of Christian fundamentalists.
Logic — the map of reason that if followed will lead to the hidden treasure of truth — is conspicuously missing from the well-rehearsed repertoire of argument and attitude that many 'bible' Christians use against Catholics and Catholicism.
The Catholic whose faith and life is firmly anchored on the foundation of truth, guaranteed by logic and reason, has nothing to fear from fundamentalists whose conclusions are arrived at either by feeling, and emotion, or are the result of sincerely held opinions handed down from one generation to the next.
It is not to be wondered at, however, that some encounters with sincere 'bible Christians' often leave Catholics unsettled and even alarmed. If the concern is analysed dispassionately, it can be seen for what it is: the normal reaction of reasonable people when confronted by the spectre of un-reason and non-logic. It is frightening to be confronted with unreasonableness in whatever form, and for whatever reason.
Religious 'un-reason' is particularly unsettling for it frequently adopts a negative and destructive stance, and likes to pass itself off as 'revelation,' or 'inspiration,' or 'Spirit-filled utterance'.
Not that fundamentalist Christians are alone in being "unreasonable or illogical. Many Catholics when confronted by arguments against their faith show an equal disregard for logic in the way they react, and the points they concede. Even their readiness to believe what others say about the quality of their own faith, and about the Faith and history of the Church, reflect a fear that is the result of too fragile a grasp of the importance of reason and tradition in the realm of faith.
Injustice usually follows hard on the heels of ignorance. Racism, prejudice and hate under their myriad forms, are the natural children of lack of knowledge.
Some poorly instructed Catholics who cave in under the fundamentalist onslaught, often become more prejudiced than their mentors, and filled with animosity towards their former Catholic family.
People who have always viewed Catholicism under a certain light, find it very difficult to adjust their eyes to any other. It is as if they have been sitting or lying for years in the one severely constricted position: their muscles have atrophied. they are cramped and in pain when they attempt to straighten their limbs, to adopt another physical position.
The mental cramps that afflict people who have for years adopted one position with would to the beliefs and practices and history of Catholics, and attempt to shift position, are excruciating. They find it almost impossible to set aside their prejudices and to look impartially at Catholicism, to determine upon what principles it rests, and then to set out to ed how, if at all, these principles differ from the principles upon which their lives are based.
Fundamentalists, for instance, accuse Catholics of being 'fascinated' by images, and mockers for the reverence and honour that we pay to statues or paintings of Christ, his Holy Mother and the Saints.
They seem to be unaware that they are equally fascinated by images — only instead of praising them as holy objects, they abuse them as unholy objects, and abuse all who venerate them.
Where is the sense or the worth in dishonouring an image, if the image be senseless and worthless, and if it be stupid and pagan to honour it? Are not praise and blame, honour and dishonour, approval and criticism but opposite sides of the same coin?
If it be childish to honour an image of a holy person, why is it not childish to dishonour it? If it be possible (rightly or wrongly) to dishonour some image, then it must also be possible (rightly or wrongly) to honour it.
This brings us inevitably to the age-old question: is it or is it not in fact right to honour images?
Here we find ourselves in an area of reason, logic, argument and history, where fundamentalists fear to tread.
For what would happen if it could be shown that in honouring images of those whom they hold most dear in their religion, Catholics are in fact doing something that is honourable and upright and spiritually healthy?
With restrictions on fireworks and bonfires for safety and environmental reasons, Catholics these days are at least spared the indignity of seeing the pope or Guy Fawkes — being burnt every fourth of November for the amusement and pleasure of the neighbourhood — as was the case until well into this century.
Guy Fawkes and his fellow conspirators were Catholics who after the intolerable persecutions under Elizabeth had hoped for some consideration under James I the only son of Mary Queen of Scots who was murdered by Elizabeth.
When James increased the penalties against Catholics rather than mitigating them, Guy Fawkes and some other Catholics decided to take the law into their own hands They were betrayed anonymously and put to death. Along with Guy Fawkes was Robert Catesby, a Northampshire gentleman, Sir Evered Digby and Ambrose Rookwood, a Suffolk Catholic. The ninth earl of Northumberland was shot dead along with Robert Catesby at Holbeach House whither they had both fled.
Those ancestors of the modern fundamentalists who every fourth of November burnt images of the pope or Guy Fawkes expected that the persons burnt would be in some way dishonoured by their burning - otherwise, why burn them? So why should not those holy ones whose images Catholics honour, be honoured by the reverence shown to them?
Even as I write, in parts of the USA, various fundamentalist 'Christians' who belong to the Ku Klux Klan apparently see nothing illogical in denouncing Catholics for worshipping images and then going off and setting fire to a wooden cross to strike fear into the hearts of Catholics, Negroes and Jews.
Catholics are criticised for reverencing the cross as a symbol of sacrifice and salvation from fear; the Ku Klux Klansman sees nothing blasphemous or reprehensible in setting fire to the same cross in order to create fear.
Both are using the same image made of wood or enamel or ceramic or gold and silver, but for vastly different reasons, and from a totally different viewpoint.
In 1565 English Catholics were denounced as idolaters and blasphemers for showing to the Blessed Sacrament at Mass the ceremonial respect usually shown to kings: bowing, genuflecting and kneeling.
Catholics might well have enquired whether it wasn't more blasphemous to show kings and princes greater honour than it was permissible by law to offer to the Blessed Sacrament.
'While Catholics were being hanged, drawn and quartered for wearing vestments, or medals, bishop John Aylmer, 1521-1594, Protestant bishop of London, described his episcopal surplice with pride as 'the queen's livery' — and he meant Queen Elizabeth I — not the Queen of Heaven. The good bishop delighted in being the Queen's servant, and approved of punishing Catholics for claiming to be God's.
The extent to which monarchs were accorded divine honours by ancestors of the fundamentalist may be gauged from the History of the Rebellion (II, p.322) whose author, Edward Hyde, Earl of Clarendon (1608-1674) had no doubt that the sin against the Holy Ghost referred to by our Lord (Mark 3,29) was an Act of Treason by an ordained Minister against the king.
Ironically in the light of his notorious hatred for Catholics, Hyde was eventually impeached for High Treason himself, and died in exile in France in 1674. Charles II, who exiled him, became a Catholic just before his own death eleven years later. in 1685.
Why Should Catholics Play The 'Wolf'
English Faith And The Church
IT is not infrequently said that English people generally welcomed the reformers' religious innovations, and were glad to be free of the alleged superstitions and oppression of Catholicism. That this view is false is borne out by the scholarly and these days little-known protestant historian, the Rev. John Sherren Brewer (1810-1879) in his Calendar of Papers of the Reign of Henry VIII where he says: 'There is no reason to suppose that the nation as a body was discontented with the old religion. Facts point to the opposite conclusion. Had it been so, (queen) Mary, whose attachment to the Faith of her mother was well-known, would never have been permitted to mount the throne, or have found the task comparatively easy, seeing that the reformers under Edward VI had been suffered to have their own way unchecked, and to displace from honour and influence, all who opposed their religious principles. Long down into the reign of Elizabeth . . . the old Faith still numbered a majority of adherents in England. . . This rooted attachment to the old Faith and the difficulty everywhere experienced by the government and the bishops in weaning the clergy and their flocks from their ancient tendencies, is a sufficient proof that it was not unpopular.' (vi, p.47O)
In the time of Jesus, it was a first principle among the Romans that everyone should follow the religion of his country — ('cujus regio, ejus religio').
This was the main reason why the Roman Empire persecuted the Christians. Statesmen of all parties and enlightened men and great thinkers of the Empire all took it for granted: if you are a Jew we let you follow Jewish rites; if you are Carthaginian we let you follow Punic rites; why must you try to introduce a new religion that crosses national boundaries?
Basing themselves on this first principle, they threw Christians to the beasts in the amphitheatres, burnt them alive, covered them with tar and used them as torches, tortured them unmercifully and mocked them for following a religion of slaves unworthy of intelligent men. And this went on for hundreds of years — from 64 A.D. under Nero until 313 A.D. under Diocletian.
Yet that odious 'religion of slaves' is the faith of more than 1,400,000,000 people, of whom more than 950,000,000 belong to the same Catholic faith for which Simon Peter was crucified and Paul of Tarsus beheaded. Which shows that it is possible that first principles are only opinions even if held by large numbers of people; and not necessarily true.
To hold on to first principles is understandable and laudable; people must cling to what principles they have; often they can do no more. But what was reprehensible in the conduct of the Romans was to despise others who had other principles, with which they did not sympathise; and to be so sure that they — were right.
For it was the very first principles of Romans and Christians that were in question.
THE excavations under St Peter's Basilica that revealed the vast complex of tombs dating from Imperial Roman times including the tomb of St Peter — raised a number of questions in the 50's when details of the digging were made public. Some critics were offended at the way the foundations of the immense Basilica were laid higgledy-piggledy among the mainly pagan tombs — even though the tombs were left relatively undisturbed. The existence of the tombs was well-known as can be seen from the comments of Antonio Bosio, the noted authority on Roman catacombs, who died in 1629. He wrote at the time: "Many tombs were laid bare in The foundations of the New Church together with an incredible number of gravestones and sarcophagi." Twentieth century people seem to be more interested in the pagan tombs than in the tomb of St Peter. Our 16th and 17th century ancestors who designed and built Christendom's most beautiful shrine to the Prince of the Apostles, never doubted that the Basilica was built on the site of an ancient burial ground in which St Peter had been buried along with others who died as he did, in Nero's circus, whereas moderns seem to doubt everything until 'hard' evidence (i.e. what convinces them) can be produced. Since the 16th century reformation Catholics had been accused of lying when they claimed that St Peter had died in Rome in the circus between the Vatican and Janiculum Hills. When the saint's tomb along with many others was discovered, instead of being silenced, the critics merely changed tack and took up a new cause — the alleged disrespect for the pagan tombs. The truth is that St Peter's is a monument to the first Pope, and to all the dead — both Christian and non-Christian — buried in the cemetery with him. No disrespect was intended or shown by building the Basilica above the tombs.
For the Christians, as a first principle they took the Beatitudes: blessed are the meek, the persecuted, the poor, the peace lovers.
Following their own first principle, the Romans found the Christian guilty of treason and atheism, and condemned them to death accordingly.
Had they judged the Christians in the light of the Christian first principle then Christians would have been praised, not blamed; and the Roman Empire would have been a different place.
The question that now arises is: which principles are true? Is it possible to find out?
Assuming one has identified the principles that underlie one's actions and judgements, it must be possible to judge as to the relative value of them, especially when contradictory principles exist. The Roman would have been entitled to blame the Christians only if and when they had overthrown their first principles.
The same can be said of most of the modem anti-Catholic propagandists who act from vastly different first principles from those of Catholics.
Fundamentalists act on the unproven assumption that up until the light of the Reformation shone, the world lay in darkness. The 'Dark Ages' (the 'Catholic Ages'), according to them were unrelieved misery and gloom, with Satan rampaging around dressed up like the pope, and sitting in St Peter's chair in Rome. Fortunately for the world, we are told, 'bible' Christians sprang up who alone possess religious truth.
What we are being asked to accept is that this 'bible truth' had been lying for 1500 years unwittingly trapped in the body of an ugly Catholic frog by the wicked machinations of the Beast of the Apocalypse, just waiting to be turned into true 'bible' Christianity by the kiss of the fundamentalist princess.
Over the centuries numerous high pressure religious salesmen and women have tried to get Catholics to accept new lamps for their old ones.
To these ancient and modern Sinbads, Catholics reply: 'Catholicism has had its old lamps for almost 2,000 years. You come along with 400 year old lamps that you say are the genuine article and you say that ours are all false. Very well, prove them to be false, and we will look at your new lamps. But don't say ours are false just because yours are newer.'
TO the charge that the Catholic Church in England was opposed to learning in pre-reformation times, proof to the contrary is so irrefutable and so readily available to the seeker after truth, that one hesitates even to raise to matter. However, it is interesting to note from the registers of both Oxford and Cambridge, in the years preceding Henry VIII's seizure of monastic property and lands, that a high proportion of those who took degrees belonged to some religious Order; and that their numbers were increasing, rather than diminishing, up to the time the 605 monasteries, convents and friaries in his kingdom, along with 96 colleges, 110 hospitals, 2,374 chantries and chapels were dissolved, and their revenues and properties declared to belong from then on to the Crown. This fact is borne out further by the acknowledged dramatic drop in the numbers of students attending universities in Henry's domains after the dissolution of the religious houses.
It is not fair to ridicule goods because they are made in Australia, and for that reason say that American or Japanese goods are to be preferred. You must compare the products, and show that what is made elsewhere is in fact superior. Catholicism has its first principles, and had them long before fundamentalism came on the scene. If they be overturned, even then this will not prove that the first principles of the 'bible' Christians are true: only that ours are not.
Generally, what Catholics affirm, fundamentalists deny. We affirm, for instance, that Mary should be honoured, as a first principle; they deny her honour as a first principle. Clearly it is the principle that needs to be examined. Ours is contradicted by theirs. So if ours be true, then theirs is false. We take it for granted that our first principle is true; they take it for granted that their first principle is true.
As ours has been around far longer, and until it be disproved, we have, to say the least, as much right to hold on to our old principle, as they have to hold on to their new one. But until theirs is proved, they have as little grounds for accusing us of being unreasonable, as for boasting that they are reasonable.
What Catholics ask from fundamentalists in the present climate of accusations of idolatry, superstition, 'mediaeval,' mentalities, pagan origins, Satan worship and the rest, is that they have a good look at their new lamps and make absolutely sure that they are the genuine article.
When they have irrefutable proof that their new lamps are better than the old lamps of Catholicism, let them come back and we will listen. Until then, our well-oiled and trimmed old lamps that served our forefathers in the faith well, will continue to light our paths.
Incidentally, it should be pointed out that the first principles of Catholicism have been looked at, argued about, examined critically and found sound, by innumerable saintly and highly intelligent people down the past almost 2,000 years. So it may prove a difficult and onerous task to show that they are false. But if the fundamentalists are genuine, they will cease their polemics and start trying to overthrow the foundations of Catholicism by reason, not brute force. This is a contest in which we are well prepared to enter.
IT is not unusual for Catholics to be confronted at their front doors, or on their TV screens, by persons who claim that they were once Catholics, but have seen through its errors with the help of God's grace, and now belong happily to 'X' sect.
Such people seem to imagine that simply by claiming (truly or falsely) that they had once been Catholics offers an unanswerable argument against the truth of the Catholic Church.
This is much the same as claiming 'I once used DIM brand of soap powder, but now I am happily using GLIM and urge you to do as I have done.'
At least on TV ads we are shown what are claimed to be the whiter than white after-effects of using GLIM.
'We are offered no such proof by the door-knockers or street-preachers. They simply trot out the all too-familiar unproven assumptions that apparently they now have no difficulty in accepting (though they have insuperable difficulties with purgatory, the saints, prayers for the dead, our Lady, the Pope etc) and ask us to take their word for it, and behave as they have behaved.
They are not unlike someone who has spent his early years in the bush and grew up among cattle and horses, or sheep and wheat, familiar with the smell of newly mown hay or horse manure or the sounds of cattle and bush animals or the taste of home-made butter and fresh cream.
A young person in this country atmosphere grows up with parents and friends who take certain things for granted about the benefits and disadvantages of working at first hand with animals; of the physical and mental advantages and disadvantages of tussling with nature and trying to conquer its unpredictable and wild ways; and the beauty and intangible attraction of the bush.
God Bless Thomas Rotheram
IN 1480, Thomas Rotheram was consecrated Archbishop of York. Born at Rotheram, whence he took his name,
he drew up a will that was executed in June 1500 upon his death. In it, among other things, he set aside money for the founding of a College — the
College of Jesus at Rotheram — to educate the youth of the town. 'For,' he wrote, 'there came to Rotheram, I don't know by what chance, but I believe by
a special grace of God, a teacher of grammar who taught me and other youths, and by whose means I and others with me rose in life. Wherefore, desirous of
returning thanks to our Saviour, and to proclaim the reason, and lest I might seem ungrateful and forgetful of God's benefits and whence I have come, I have
determined first of all to establish there for ever a grammar master to teach all gratuitously. And because I have seen chantry priests boarding with
lay-people, one in one place, one in another, to their own scandal and in some places ruin, I have desired in the second place, to make them a common dwelling
house. For these reasons I have commenced to build the College of Jesus, where the headmaster shall teach grammar and the others may board and sleep.'
Moreover, as he had seen many unlettered the country folk from the hills attracted to the services of the Church by the beauty of the Liturgy, he established
at Rotheram a choir-master and six singing boys to add to the attraction of the liturgy and for such of those boys who might not want to become priests, he
endowed a master to teach them reading, writing and arithmetic.
Having gone to the city, such a person could very well turn up one day on somebody's doorstep and tell them that they are stupid to remain in the bush — the city offers plenty of money and comforts and none of the uncertainties and disadvantages of country life. Having abandoned or lost his former principles he has acquired new ones with which he is more comfortable, Equally unproven, these new assumptions are paraded as 'facts' to entice friends and relatives to abandon one way of life (which he has 'seen through') to take up another allegedly 'better' way of life.
Dishonest people, embezzlers, shonky professionals, opportunists of every kind, also act from certain unproven assumptions with which they are now very comfortable: 'A fool and his money are soon parted'; 'People have a right only what they can physically protect'; 'lf someone is stupid enough to trust you, take him for all you can'; 'lf I want it, I have a right to take it'; 'Life was not meant to be hard' and so on.
Such a one who has 'got away with it,' could well say (and has said) to family members 'I was once honest and it got me nowhere; I paid my taxes and contributed to a superannuation fund and tried to conform but I got ripped off by everyone. Now I have decided to do the ripping off myself, and have done very well indeed. You should join me. You are fools to be honest. It gets you nowhere and gets you nothing'.
Ex-Catholic, ex-farmer, ex-honest person — each has made a choice (for various unstated reasons) to tum his back on the past and take a new path, with new assumptions to guide him. He is, we are told, perfectly comfortable with these. But is he?
Were he as convinced of the value of his new life as he claims, would he feel so driven to try to play down the value of the old? If his new product is as good as he claims, it would sell itself. He should not have to ridicule the old, if the new were so good. If he is perfectly happy, why should he try to make others unhappy? If he is completely at ease with his new beliefs and moral and social ways, why try to make others uneasy?
The answer is not too hard to find: Catholic and ex-Catholic member of 'X' sect, honest worker and embezzler, farmer and city slicker are standing upon different ground and what is in question is the very ground itself; those unproven assumptions.
MICHELANGELO Buonarroti (1474-1564) was deeply attached to his old servant Urbino. One day, his old retainer standing by him as he worked, the already ageing Michelangelo asked him, 'My poor Urbino, what will you do when I am gone?' 'Sadly,' Urbino replied, 'I will have to look for another master'. 'That will never be,' said Michelangelo, 'and even though he couldn't afford to, gave 2000 crowns to his servant, making him independent. As it happened, Urbino died before Michelangelo. It is said that the great artist nursed the frail old man with the tenderness and patience of a mother. When the old man died Michelangelo was almost inconsolable: 'My Urbino is dead,' he wrote to a friend, 'to my infinite grief and sorrow. Living, he served me truly and in his death he taught me how to die. I have now no other hope than to rejoin him in Paradise.'
No one who is mature, needs to stand on the street comer crying out: 'I'm mature,' in order for people to recognise the fact, If it isn't self-evident, then quite likely it isn't true, and no amount of yelling will make it so.
The discomfort and disillusion allegedly felt with the old ways, and the ease and comfort allegedly experienced with the new are peripheral to what is really at issue: the genuineness or falsehood of the old and the new principles.
When that ex-Catholic knocks on the door and announces that he has seen the light, he often goes on to point out what it is he has seen through.
He will say, for instance, that he too had once been superstitious. He says this because he now believes that to act as Catholics act (and as he presumably once acted if he is telling the truth) is superstitious. But is it?
He will say that before he saw the light he too was once led by the nose by the Pope and the Hierarchy. He says this because he now believes that the Catholic Church structures Te pagan and inspired by the devil. But are they?
He will say that there was a time when he too used to disregard the bible, and accept all sorts of man-made substitutes for God's revelation. But now that he has accepted the Lord Jesus into his life, he sees that he was led by Satan. He says all this because he sincerely believes now that Catholic attachment to tradition is evil and un-Christian. But is it?
As these ex-Catholics insist that they have accepted their new beliefs in Sect 'X' because they 'have seen through' the errors of Catholicism, let us look a little more closely at just one of the myriad things such people claim to have seen through.
And because it is such a basic Rule of Faith for Catholics, let us examine the Catholic belief that God's revelation has come down to us in unwritten and written form: through tradition and Scripture.
Catholics believe that the sum total of the message of salvation as passed on to us by the apostles, was communicated not only or primarily in written form but also by word of mouth and through the various rituals that the Church has faithfully observed from generation to generation.
Catholics believe that the New Testament does not contain all that the apostles left us: that many doctrines and Practices were transmitted not in writing but in the mouths and memories of the believers.
Fundamentalists deny this. And they have a right to do so, provided they do not assume that their denial is true without proof, and provided they do not try to use their mere denial as a self-evident truth, and claim that Catholics are wrong, simply because they will not agree to the denial.
Yet this is what they do. And they do it as ingenuously and innocently and naturally as if it were a most reasonable way to act.
Our ex-Catholic fundamentalist may ask a Catholic to prove some point of Catholic doctrine. When the Catholic refers to tradition, the fundamentalist refuses to listen further because he will not accept anything that is not based on scripture. That is his principle. He will not budge. But he expects the Catholic to accept this principle and argue for the Catholic position basing himself only on Scripture.
In fact, the Catholic knows that such a doctrine is based in Scripture and found in Tradition, but for him to go ahead and try to prove its truth from scripture alone would be to accept a principle that is simply not proven: that nothing is true if not based on scripture.
If the Catholic insists that instead of discussing the point of doctrine, they should discuss the two opposing principles, the fundamentalist refuses to enter into the discussion, and goes off convinced that the point of doctrine is false, because the Catholic would not discuss it on his terms.
The New Testament comprises twenty-two works: four books of the Gospel by St Matthew, St Mark, St Luke and St John; a history of apostolic times (the Acts of the Apostles) written down by St Luke; one work written in a very special literary genre, the Apocalypse of St John; and various letters by St Paul, St Peter, St James and St Jude.
We are asked to believe that the occasional writings of some of the apostles, not all, written to particular Churches, not all, for reasons peculiar to those Churches or regions, not all, convey the whole mind of the writers on the important subject of Christ's message and all the necessary practices and beliefs of Christians.
We are asked to believe that the authors deliberately decided to communicate Christ's message only in writing, and all of it in writing.
No Sunday Recreation
THE village of Barnsley, near Cirencester, came as I near to perfection in these respects as is possible in a sinful world. When John Taylor visited it in 1652 he found that little children were not suffered to walk or to play, and two women who had been to both morning and afternoon services were put in the stocks for walking in the fields for recreation. But even Barnsley could not compare with Aberdeen. There on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday afternoons all shops were shut, and the people were compelled to attend lectures. On Sundays the highways were watched for absentees from church. In Scotland the presbyterian discipline really took root, sometimes with curious consequences. Thus in April 1646, at the height of critical negotiations between Charles l, the Scots and the English Parliament, Balmerino, travelling to Newark with an urgent message from London, halted when 13 miles short of his destination in order not to travel on the Sabbath. — Christopher Hill, Society and Puritanism
Even though there is not a shred of proof to show that Jesus ever asked his followers to write anything down; and not a shred of proof to show that he himself ever wrote anything down (apart from the mysterious reference in St John 7, 58-60 to his writing in the dust); and even though the real Word of God is Jesus himself alive in the Church today, yesterday and forever — we are asked to believe that those apostles whose writings have come down to us in the New Testament decided that only what they wrote down was to be held as authoritative for Christians; and that what they wrote down was absolutely all that was needed for salvation.
What about those other apostles and disciples whose writings have not come down to us or who may not have written anything down; or may not have had their teaching copied down?
What about the apostle Andrew, Peter's brother? What about the apostles Philip and Bartholomew, Thomas, James, John's brother, and Simon the Zealot?
We are asked to believe either that James, John's brother, didn't preach anything to anybody about Jesus before his own martyrdom in 44 A.D., or if he did, that he never said anything that isn't contained in the New Testament.
We are being asked to believe that because they do not appear to have written anything down, their message bore no lasting fruit: that they communicated nothing to those to whom they and the 'disciples of the Lord' were sent to preach the good news; or, if they did communicate something, that nothing of their message has got down to us.
We are asked to believe that Scripture, alone among all the writings of humankind, despite defects of human language, and especially of translators, and despite the almost infinitely varied knowledge and understanding of its readers, is able to convey the real mind of its writers, exactly as they intended, to all who pick it up and peruse it.
We are asked to believe that being literate is essential for salvation. We are asked to believe that any doctrine or practice not found explicitly in Scripture is false and if followed will lead to damnation.
But the Creed is not found in Scripture. We are not told how to baptise in Scripture. Scripture nowhere says that only Scripture is to be taken as a criterion of Faith. Scripture nowhere says that only what is found in Scripture is valuable for salvation. Scripture does not say that there are not seven sacraments; that we should not reverence the saints, or use holy water, or bless ourselves, or confess our sins to a priest.
The earliest followers of Jesus were a living body of men and women and children — they numbered tens of thousands. They were zealous, energetic and dedicated to spreading the message of salvation made known through the life, death and resurrection of their Lord whom they believed to be the Word of God, and alive in their midst: speaking to them through the Church.
They travelled a lot, spoke many different languages and shared the one heart and the one mind 'that was in Christ Jesus'. The message of salvation was preached to millions between the death and resurrection of Jesus and the time when final decisions were made about what book actually comprised the New Testament.
Fundamentalists ignore all this preaching, ignore the fact that the Church is the body of Christ, ignore the fact that Jesus is the Lord of God par excellence, and limit the whole of the message of salvation, and all that is necessary for Christians to know, to a few meagre texts written down long ago, by very special 'people, to particular Churches, for special reasons.
To know what the Scriptures mean one needs to belong to the community out of which they sprang and for whom they were written.
To take but one simple example: After reading St John's gospel, 13,1-20, the careful reader would be driven to admit that the most important act of Christian ritual was not the Eucharistic celebration. but the washing of the feet.
When we examine St John's gospel we find that the:
Fundamentalists who claim their only and all-sufficient Rule of Faith is the bible. and who refuse to accept Catholic tradition, need to be asked if this ritual washing of the feet is followed in their Church. And if it isn't then by what authority have they presumed to disregard so clear a command of the Lord?
The undeniable fact is that constant Catholic tradition has always taken our Lord's command figuratively — apart from the ceremonial washing of the feet which takes place every Holy Thursday. This Catholic tradition can be the only reason for fundamentalists continuing to take it figuratively. And constant Catholic tradition has always considered the Eucharistic celebration — the Mass — to be the most solemn and sacred Christian memorial of our Lord's death, resurrection and ascension.
DEAR Hope! earth's dowry and Heaven's debt,
Not a single voice in the early Church was ever raised in protest at the non-observance of what seems at first sight to be a clear command of our Lord that we wash one another's feet. And many of those early Christians knew our Lord personally, and had heard him speak, and would have heard St John recount the story of the washing of the feet. They knew the truth of the matter.
Catholics have no problem with this acceptance of the 'mind of the Church,' and a tradition that dates from apostolic times. But how do fundamentalists reconcile their noncompliance and their alleged 'bible faith'?
Catholics need have no fear that their belief in tradition is ill-founded, It is the constant teaching of the Fathers of the Church. It is based on historical fact, and commonsense.
Tertullian (160-220 A.D.) describes a familiar situation: 'They (heretics) fiddle with the scriptures and base their arguments on them. Speaking of faith, they claim that the only basis for discussion is the written word of faith: thus they wear down those whose faith is strong, they ensnare the weak and fill all those in between with doubts. We commence by laying down as a principle that people should not be allowed to use Scripture as a basis for arguing about the faith'. (De Praesc. Haer. c.75).
St John Chrysostom (345-407 A.D.) commenting on II Thessalonians 2,4 sums up the constant belief of the early Church: 'It is plain that the apostles did not
pass everything on to us through their letters, but many things (have come down to us) orally. Hence let us look to the tradition of the Church as the subject
of our belief. When such and such a doctrine is a tradition, look no further (Hom. iv).
POPE John Paul II, two hundred and sixty-fourth successor to the Apostle Simon Peter the fisherman of Galilee, is, like Jesus his master, and like so many of his predecessors in the See of Peter, a sign of contradiction in a sceptical world.
Loved and admired as spiritual leader of the world's more than 950,000,000 Catholics, the Pope and 'Papal authority' regularly come under fire from the numerous Protestant and Orthodox churches that separated from the Catholic Church and from that authority at some time over the past 2,000 years. In our own days, criticism of the Pope is as savage and unremitting from churches of a fundamentalist or charismatic bent, as it was in the heady days of the Protestant 'Reformation' less than five hundred years ago.
The secular TV, radio and print media also find the Bishop of Rome a perennial source of 'news' or 'feature' items, many of which are sensationalist or negative in tone. Even members of his own flock often voice their criticism of the Pope or the Roman Curia, loudly and publicly.
There is nothing new in any of this.
Ever since Jesus said to Peter 'feed my sheep' there have been arguments about the food that should be fed to the sheep, which sheep should be fed first, and what should be done with sheep that wouldn't be fed.
Successors of Peter have even declared some food to be unhealthy for Christ's sheep, while other food was to be avoided because it was simply not nourishing enough. Where, when and how the flock should be fed has occupied many keen minds over the past 2,000 years, and other shepherds not belonging to Peter's fold have attracted many sheep away with different food.
Peter the Rock, to whom was entrusted the 'keys to the kingdom of heaven' was crucified for his loyalty to his Lord. His successors could expect nothing less.
Numbers of the 263 Popes before the present Pope John Paul II were martyred (24), tortured (13), murdered (6), exiled (5), imprisoned and physically abused (9). Few of them escaped being vilified, repudiated, mocked and ignored. Emperors, kings,'diplomats' and soldiers all tried their hand at bullying and bludgeoning the Popes into being mere mouth-pieces for the political power brokers of the day. With conspicuously little success. In our own day, Pope Paul VI survived an assassination attempt, and Pope John Paul II barely survived a brutal shooting that would have killed a less fit person.
Human nature has not changed so radically that we could expect more respect for the authority of Peter in 1989, than was accorded it over the centuries by rulers and ruled alike.
In 1907, Robert Hugh Benson, youngest son of E.W. Benson, Archbishop of Canterbury, and a convert to Catholicism, wrote a best-seller entitled 'The Lord of the World'.
In it Benson describes the condition of the Catholic Church at the end of the world.
Gone are the trappings of power, the physical reminders of a Catholicism that survived the end of the Roman empire, the barbarian invasions, the Saracen invasions, the black death, the 'reformation', the 'enlightenment', the French Revolution and the industrial revolution.
In this monochrome and anonymous Wellsian and Orwellian world, the mere handful of Catholics remaining loyal to Peter's Successor are huddled around the Pope, who with the few priests left to him has returned to Bethlehem where he and they are destroyed finally in a cataclysm, provoked by alienated humankind, that puts an end to the world.
For all its melodrama, Benson's picture of the abandoned Pope still feeding the much diminished flock entrusted to him, fleeing Rome and returning to the birthplace of Peter's Lord and Master, reflects the consequences of a phenomenon which Carl Jung described in 1933 — before the twisted nature of National Socialism, Italian Fascism and Russian Communism had been exposed in all their terror.
'Modern man,' Jung wrote, 'has an ineradicable aversion for traditional-opinions and inherited truths.'
Along with a disregard for the authority of parents, teachers and the aged, we find civil authorities, and especially the authority of civil law, disregarded as irrelevant by many moderns. In this environment we should not be surprised to find the religious authority of the Pope (and consequently of the Church) no longer accorded the respect and love that once they commanded.
Napoleon Bonaparte's attitude towards the Papacy was typical of many in the nineteenth century. At the height of his political power, after humiliating Pope Pius VII in 1808 and holding him captive, he asked contemptuously: 'What does the Pope mean by threatening to excommunicate me? Does he think the world will fall back a thousand years? Does he suppose that the guns will fall from the hands of my soldiers?'
Not long afterwards (June 10, 1809) the Pope, his patience exhausted, did excommunicate Napoleon. And only a few years after that (1812) the guns did fall from the frozen hands of the thousands of poor French soldiers who died in the Russian fiasco that spelled the beginning of the end for the self-styled 'Emperor of France'.
What Napoleon and many before and after him never comprehended was the fact that there is a great difference between the authority given by Christ to the successor of Peter, and other kinds of authority, especially the authority of political leaders, whether monarchs, presidents or dictators.
All authority is based on a certain superiority. But if Papal authority be correctly viewed, it will be recognised that the interests of Pope and faithful lie in the same direction; the Pope is satisfied if he can feed his flock, show Catholics the 'Way' that leads to eternal life, and other forgiveness and support. His authority is not manipulative or exploitative.
When this authority is properly understood, as psychologist Erich Fromm explains in another context, the gap between Pope and faithful grows less and less. And the authority of the Bishop of Rome becomes an example with which one wants to identify one's self. This kind of authority is meant to be a model for all other kinds of political and religious authorities.
Unfortunately, many forms of all-too-familiar political or civil or alternative religious authority, in practice if not in theory, manipulate and even exploit the citizen or 'believer'; ensuring that he or she pays taxes or 'tithes', obeys the laws, works hard for the good of the State (often synonymous with a political or religious party) and even serves the interests of a myriad bodies which ostensibly serve the State, but, as in the case of many State bureaucracies seem to have independent existences and to be self-serving. In this case the gap between authority and those under it widens.
Psychologically there is an enormous difference between the two situations — often ignored in the rush to downgrade all authority.
From the time of Peter's crucifixion, in the case of Papal authority properly understood, elements of love, admiration and gratitude normally prevailed, because the successor of Peter was known to be acting with an apostolic 'mandate' and in the best interests of the 'flock' entrusted to him by Christ.
But where exploitation and manipulation occur, feelings of resentment or anger and hostility will generally arise, because subordination to the exploiting body will be seen, eventually, to be against the best interests of those under the authority.
Twentieth century man has become accustomed to anonymous authority which has replaced the old overt authorities referred to above. This has led to an increasing if unconscious) sense of powerlessness on the part of the ordinary citizens.
Catholics not well educated in their faith, and unaware of the complex social, economic and political changes that have occurred over the past 150 years, have been as affected psychologically by these changes as everyone else. Patters of thought can and do fluctuate and vary as easily as interest rates and Dow Jones Averages.
Many of the effects of the rise of anonymous, invisible and alienated authority in the twentieth century have flowed over into attitudes towards the Pope and his authority on the part of non-Catholics and even some Catholics.
Under this anonymous authority we are used to the cult of modernity; to the downgrading of tradition, custom and the 'past'. We are also used to nobody making 'demands'- neither persons nor ideas nor moral laws; yet we could not conform more rigidly if we were living in a totalitarian state.
In this environment, as Erich Fromm explains, 'nobody is an authority except "It". What is It? Profit, economic necessities, the market, commonsense, public opinion, what "one" does, thinks, feels. The laws of anonymous authority are as invisible as the laws of the market — and just as unassailable. Who can attack the invisible? Who can rebel against Nobody?'
Conversely, anonymous authority presents itself as 'liberal' and 'progressive'; while all forms of overt authority are made to appear 'illiberal' and 'reactionary'.
In the West, overt religious authority has virtually disappeared; except in the Catholic Church. What we see exercised by the myriad fundamentalist sects — most of them American in origin and Republican in politics — proliferating in our day, is religious 'power'. No Pope in history ever exercised the all-pervading religious power or claimed the absolute infallibility demanded as a right by the 'charismatic' pastors, 'evangelical' bible-teachers, or TV hosts of American-style 'take-away-religion' Shows.
The Vision of The Monk of Eynsham
'AND of those I saw there I knew that they were comforted principally by the hope of everlasting bliss,
which they all hoped at some time to reach. Some I saw patiently suffering great pains, but the good works which they had done conscientiously were recorded
and put to their credit, as was also the great trust which they showed that they would eventually come to everlasting bliss, and which enabled them to bear
lightly in spirit the great and horrible pains that afflicted them. They wept and sorrowed and cried out for grief and pain, but as they went further their
sufferings were diminished and made more easy to bear.'
How many parents give commands to their children these days? They simply suggest that the child 'may like' to do such and such. Since they have lost touch with traditional principles and convictions themselves, they can only steer the child along the path of conformity, and being older and less 'in touch', parents actually learn new attitudes from their child- ren, instead of opening their children's eyes and hearts to the past.
How many teachers are frightened to 'teach' lest they inhibit the creative activity of their charges. Headmasters, and many Religious Superiors, have had their 'authority' replaced by 'teamwork'. 'Decisions,' have been replaced by 'seminars'.
Even in business and industry few orders are given. Bosses 'suggest', coax and manipulate as best they can. Universities and education generally is caught in the same situation. Marxism, no matter how discredited, must still be taught as if it were a viable economic or political or social alternative, for not to do so would be to pass judgement on it. This is contrary to the maxim of the new society: nothing is really bad; nothing is really good or certain except conformity.
As long as there was overt authority, in all is forms, there was always the possibility of conflict and rebellion; especially when the authority was exercised in the manipulative manner described above.
If God had been as unwilling to allow the weeds and the wheat to grow up together, as moderns are to allow the possibility of conflict and doubt, then he would have created us as un-free as the 'anonymous' authority would like us to be.
Pope Alexander and His Learned Teacher
WHILE William the Conqueror was residing in Normandy, the English bishops, Lanfranc of Canterbury,
Thomas of York, and Remi of Lincoln, undertook a journey to Rome, and were received with great honours by Pope Alexander II (Pope from 1061—1073) and the
Roman Curia. Pope Alexander, having been a pupil of Lanfranc at Bec, rose from his seat to receive him, saying that he paid him this mark of respect, not to do
honour to the Archbishop of Canterbury, but to his learned master.
The fact that God was willing to tolerate evil that good might flourish seems to mean nothing to modern thinkers, who will not tolerate good, lest what they deem 'evil' flourish.
Some years ago there was a domestic pilots' dispute crippling the airline and tourism industries in Australia. Hidden agendas aside, this revolt against the much vaunted 'Wages Accord' would not have occurred if the pilots had gone-under gracefully to the conformity required of them in the trade-union and political arena. The outcome was predictably loss for both pilots and government.
Conformity is the key mechanism through which anonymous authority works. I must do what everyone else does. I must not be different. I must not be conspicuous. I cannot ask whether I am right or wrong, but whether I am 'adjusted', 'not different'. Do I watch the 'right' TV shows, read the 'in' magazines, attend the 'right' seminars on everything from macroeconomics to theology, listen to the trendy CDs, know the right people?
The craving to be accepted is characteristic of the alienated person. It is a special feature of the modern 'religious' alienated person who finds fundamentalism so attractive. Why should someone be grateful to be accepted unless he doubts that he is worthy of acceptance?
People who are young, well- educated and successful (the usual profile of those who throng the New Christian Churches, the Bible-Schools, the Evangelical Unions etc) can have such doubts only because they cannot accept themselves; and if this be true, then this is due to the fact that they are not being themselves. When the only haven in the Identity Storm is conformity religious or political, many head for it and hang-in there.
Being accepted means not being perceived as different from others. If we feel inferior, this means that we are different, And the impression is given that being different is 'bad'. But is it?
From a religious point of view 'conformity' to the demands of 'anonymous' authority results in tyrannies that the much belittled mediaeval Catholic world never dreamed of.
Following on the social 'adjustment' required of people who conform — whether it be to the glossy, high-tec marketing approach of many fundamentalist sects, or to the new 'liberalism' within Catholicism itself, we find an almost complete lack of privacy and confidentiality, that goes hand in hand with indiscriminate talking about one's 'problems'.
People who feel that with such 'good Church fellowship they never need to face a problem alone, often are oblivious of the fact that they are never really facing up to problems.
Such efforts as people make at privacy often are accompanied by feelings of guilt. To shut oneself off from others has become a sign of neurosis. Contemplative religious orders make no sense in the modern world.
To attempt to justify traditional Catholic devotions that were of a private nature is represented as 'refusing to share'. What would once have been regarded as a reasonable attempt to 'mind one's own business' is seen as refusing to conform. Becoming part and parcel of the herd is now described as 'togetherness'.
Not to conform religiously or socially in the alienated world of the late twentieth century is not only to be punished by such threatening terms as neurotic' but sometimes even by sanctions that defend the worship of the god of conformity. The threat of being ostracised or forced out of the group normally does the trick.
Along with conformism, the alienated inhabitants of the giant Hollywood set that is the modern world accept as axiomatic the unproven assumption that all repression and frustration is 'traumatic' and likely to cause 'neuroses'. Parents anxious for their children not to be 'frustrated' give them every-thing, and they all land on the analyst's couch — if they can afford it, as Fromm notes.
This greed for things and inability to postpone the satisfaction of wishes, whether in the private, public or international arenas, and whether social, political or sexual in nature, was the theme of Aldous Huxley's Brave New World in which people always 'get what they want, and never want what they can't get'.
Unfortunately Huxley's ideas belong more to a Cowardly Old World, that sensible human beings believed was long behind them.
This passivity and conformity and — at a religious level — this constant 'taking-in, of people, lectures, Seminars, bible-courses, theology in-service training, leads not infrequently to immaturity and disappointment. Not to be weaned from the 'receptive' mentality is to remain always a child. This in turn can eventually lead to feelings of inferiority and guilt: a sense that the receivers are living, yet not alive. Problems that stem from this constant passivity of 'taking-in' are, again according to Fromm, countered by a spilling out: talking — often aimless; never-ending, and leading nowhere.
The truly sad aspect of this dilemma in which good religious people find themselves, is that the conformism and passivity — fruits of the lack of any reasonable overt authority such as was granted to Peter and his successors by Christ himself, to lead the faithful to their destiny — leads to the paralysis and eventually to the destruction of self.
How can modern peoples express their personality or creativity if they have no will or convictions of their own; if they are mere annotations whose taste, opinions and preferences arc all manipulated by the conditioning machines called the State, or multi-national media groups, or international bodies for evangelisation or the myriad tiny sects that are preying on poorly instructed Catholics in the name of spreading the gospel. Instead of salvation they carry with them a virus, identified by numerous ancient Church Councils which attempted to eradicate it, that ends by destroying initiative and the possibility of perfect faith, and crushing the human spirit.
Modern religious man has lost all the certainties of his mediaeval ancestors along with all their doubts.
How can people speak of 'human relations', when what they really are talking about are 'inhuman' relations — those between alienated zombies. Instead of 'happiness', let's call a spade a spade and speak of the perfect trivialisation that has driven out the last doubt along with all spontaneity, freshness and creativity: in other words, the obliteration of what makes us human.
'Even from the nineteenth century to our own day,, Fromm writes, 'there seems to have occurred an observable increase in stupidity, if by this we mean the opposite to reason, rather than to intelligence . . . our intelligence helps us produce the weapons which our reason is not capable of controlling. Indeed we have the know-how, but we do not have the know-why or the know-what.'
A Very Catholic Will
AND to the ringers of my mind (i.e. those who rang the bells of the Church for the thirty days
after his death — the "month's mind") nightly by the space of a month at Langford, Wyly and Fisherton, 12d. To each of the poor men of the almshouses at
Heytisbury, 5d., praying each of them of their charity to say five times our Lady's Psalter (i.e. the complete rosary of 150 Aves) for my soul, praying
Master Cotell to receive this money for them, and to deliver on five sundry days to each of them 1d. to say daily our Lady's Psalter during the five days.
Ours may be the last age that values the present more than the past: that rejects doctrine based on ancient Christian tradition, and accepts uncritically, doctrine based on the 'feelings' and 'spirit-filled-utterances' of modern religious preachers; that trusts religious experience more than religious knowledge.
The more it seeks 'personal' experience of what life is 'all about' and refuses to make assumptions based on the wisdom and experience of past ages, the less capable our age is going to be of truly possessing itself in peace. Unless, of course, it is willing to consider an unpopular alternative . . .
'You are Peter,' said Jesus to Simon, 'and on this rock I will build my Church. I will give to you the keys of the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven,. — St Matthew's Gospel, 16, 18-19. (See John, 1,42).
'Come to me all you who labour and are heavily burdened, and you will find rest for your souls. Take my yoke upon your shoulders, and lean from me; for I am gentle and humble of heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy; and my load is light.' — Jesus, in Matthew,s Gospel, 11,29.
'The people were astonished at his teaching; unlike their own teachers, he taught with authority'. — Matthew, speaking of Jesus, in his Gospel, 7,28-29.
When the redoubtable Dr Johnson was informed that he was to be held up to ridicule and contempt by a London comedian, a certain Samuel Foote, he asked his host at a dinner party what was the common price of an oak stick. When told 'sixpence', Johnson said, 'Why, then, sir, give me leave to send your servant to purchase me a shilling one. I'll have a double quantity: for I'm told that Foote means to take me off, as he calls it. And I am determined that he shall not do it with impunity.' When he heard about this, the cowardly Foote changed his mind.
One wonders what would happen if our arrogant TV, radio and tabloid satirists and gossip mongers were to be physically threatened or castigated by one of their many victims. Would a jury convict the assailant of assault?
This question was put in an article in The Spectator in 1991 by Paul Johnson who pointed out that an author's copyright was first recognised by statute only in 1710. And the protection granted lasted only 28 years. It took more than another 170 years before the Berne Convention, in 1886, put order into what was international chaos.
We have rights over our creative work, and over our labour. And the law recognises, as Dr Johnson's namesake notes, that a person's reputation is a form of property to which a value can be attached. If this reputation be taken away by slander (where damage must be proved) or libel (where damage is assumed) then one may have access to legal redress.
But what about the kind of ridicule and contempt that so aroused the ire of Dr Johnson? What legal remedies have we got if a person is held up to public scorn and his/her character is assassinated for profit?
For instance, one of the cover lines in the Canberra Times for Friday May 29 1992 announced to its readers 'Time for the Pope to go'. We discover on page 10 an article reprinted from The Guardian whose sub-title informs us that 'most laity and many clergy despise the Pope'. As there are more than 950 million Catholics in the world, 'most' laity must be taken to mean that more than 450 million Catholics 'despise the Pope'. The claim is as contemptible as it is absurd.
The author of this cliche-ridden and poorly written article (Maire Nic Suibhne), then accuses the Pope — Dr Frankenstein-like — of 'breathing new life' into the monster Inquisition; and of having the Vatican's 'totalitarian thought police scouring the globe for any individual bold enough to voice an original idea'.
A 'senior Church figure' who is unnamed, presumably out of fear of the 'totalitarian thought police', gives vent to the hoary old catch-cry beloved of anti- Catholic polemicists and claims that 'fascists have taken over the place'.
Cardinal Ratzinger is 'hard line', the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith 'strikes many with fear and loathing' and the Vatican is 'tightening its stranglehold on all freedom of thought'.
According to the author 'Hans Kung has been curtailed (sic!) in the doctrine of the Church', and the Pope is 'stifling intellectual life', and 'squandering' the future of the Church 'by his arrogance and intransigence'. The Pope is accused of 'sheer hypocrisy', and described as 'flit(ting) around the globe like a mediaeval potentate'.
The article ends with an impassioned demand that the Pope resign, and breaks the news that 'No Pope has ever resigned but there is nothing to stop him', which should make alarm bells ring in the brains of even the dullest of the Canberra Times readers since it is well known that Pope St Celestine V resigned on December 13, 1294 after five months and one week as Pope.
Mair Nic Suibhne's venomous attack on the integrity of the Pope personally, and the Catholic Church in general, makes Queen Elizabeth Tudor's calling the Catholic bishops in her time 'a set. of lazy scamps' seem rather mild; and resonates more comfortably with the call by the (newly appointed) Protestant Dean of St Pauls, Alexander Nowell, in 1563, for 'killing the caged wolves'.
We recognise the obvious fact that some Catholics find much in the post-Vatican II Church not to their liking; and many of us occasionally feel extreme exasperation — akin to the feelings of members of any family when lines of communication break up, or even break down. If criticism is to be made let it at least be expressed with un-condescending good manners, forcefully and simply, and with tact. Personal abuse, muck-raking, gossip mongering and the bludgeoning of opposition is part of the armoury of critics whom John Updike dismissed as 'pigs at the pastry cart'.
No Catholic, however frustrated, could 'despise' the Pope and still remain a Catholic. Nor would any priest known to me subscribe to the outrageous claim made by the unnamed senior Church figure. This anonymous and disgruntled 'source', smacks very much of the 'source close to the Vatican', about whom the late Alan McElwain loved to speak. A colleague, urgently needing a story, asked a few' leading questions of a lounger in the vicinity of St Peter's Square, and millions of British readers were regaled the following day with a story quoting 'a source close to the Vatican 'who denied any knowledge of an impending visit of the then Soviet President, Nikita Khrushchev, to Pope John XXIII.
Did Coleridge put his finger on part of the cause of the hate for the Pope and Catholicism that is spilling out of so many media people these days, when he described 'people who would have been poets, historians, biographers, etc if they could: they have tried their talents at one or the other and have failed; therefore they turn critic?'
Mozart and The Rosary
Certainly numbers of the Pope's harshest and bitterest critics claim, as does the author of this article, to be 'Catholic': 'As a Catholic', Maire Nic Suibhne concludes, 'I think it is time for him to go'. Nothing in the article would justify a jury's convicting the author of being a Catholic. Not if being a Catholic still means what it has meant for almost 2,000 years: loving the Church, respecting the Pope, obeying his authority and working for unity and a rediscovery of truly Christian values and culture. Claiming to be a Catholic does not make one a Catholic, any more than claiming to have funds at the bank justifies writing a cheque. One's Catholicism needs validating, and Maire Nic Suibhne's 'amusement' at 'seeing the Holy Father being told that doctrinal rigidity is a luxury he cannot afford', is hardly compatible with belonging to the Catholic Church.
'Faction', or the fictionalising and exploiting for gain of the faces, characters, voices and mannerisms, of public and not-so-public figures, is now a multi-billion dollar business. The Royal family is a favourite target, as are most public figures past and present. The fact that Britons, allegedly so devoted to the Queen and her family, allow the media to get away with ridiculing this sole remaining symbol of what once made England great, and that Catholics, especially bishops and priests sit on their hands while the Pope and the Church are vilified, mocked and trivialised, in no way lessens the injustice, the untruth or the hurt, or excuses the unprofessional conduct of the 'journalists' who play the despicable game, and of their employers in the print, radio and TV media, who rake in the cash.
Readers, and more importantly, buyers of The Canberra Times should have asked the editor why articles so badly written and so blatantly anti-Catholic, whose hold on reality is so enfeebled by undeclared agenda that the distinction between history and fantasy, falsehood and truth is blurred beyond recognition, were ever printed.
If the 'public interest' be cited as the reason, then the point could be made that 'what interests the public' is not necessarily 'in the public interest" as the current targeting of the marriage of Princess Diana and Prince Charles, and other members of the Queen's family by the British gutter-press proves beyond doubt.
If the author's alleged Catholicity be cited as a powerful reason for rushing into (re)-print, then this would make as much sense as reprinting Table Talk and other diatribes against the Pope and the Catholic Church, on the grounds that Martin Luther was (once) a Catholic and should know what he is talking about.
It would, indeed, as Paul Johnson suggests, be worth-while seeing if Common Law offers victims of ridicule and vilification at the hands of the media, more protection than we think. The matter is worthy of investigation because the 'faction' industry is growing, as is the number of gullible and impressionable people for whom TV and the tabloids (along with some of their up-market stable mates who should know better) have replaced God and the Church as sources of infallible truth.
Dr Johnson would almost certainly have known what to do.
THE curious and friendly I visitor from Mars beloved of Hollywood scriptwriters, wends his hypothetical way through the ruins of planet earth's cities and towns in some future mercifully hidden from us. He might be forgiven for believing that he had chanced upon some clues to the fate of long-extinct human society, were he to stumble upon remnants of the planet-wide electronic media output for various days in September and October 1993.
With a hind-sight denied us, he might wonder at the obtuseness of those influential earth people, long-vanished, whose rejection and ridicule of the timely advice of their ageing spiritual leader he was able to decipher from the crude digital speech-encoding form in which it was preserved. None of the contemporary print media had survived the self-destructive forces and anarchy that attended those final centuries.
'What lay behind the naked animosity of such powerful forces towards the politically and economically powerless bishop of Rome?' he might well ask.
'Was it really the Pope's allegedly outdated and unpopular religious and moral teaching that so angered them? Or could it have been the fact that he spoke with Authority, and not like many of the state officials or politicians, or intellectuals or academics?
'Or was it because his teaching was too hard for most people to accept? Or because he dared to offer guidance to rich and poor alike: to the millions of unemployed, and the exclusive clubs of directors of giant multinational conglomerates?'
It would be less than wise for us to await the visit of some hypothetical inter-planetary visitor before taking stock of the sadly not so hypothetical situation in which the world finds itself. And we need an answer to some of the above questions that occurred to many readers long before they were asked by our friendly extra-terrestrial.
At least part of the answer is to be found in an address that Pope Pius XII gave in i949 in St Peter's Square, in Rome.
In it he exposed the demands made by certain Maxist-Leninist regimes on the Church. Almost all those illegitimate regimes have toppled and fallen; and their teachings have been exposed as the lying and murderous doctrines that he accused them of being.
His words, written almost fifty years ago to a different socio-political world from ours, apply even more strongly in the 1990s to those other materialistic regimes that take pride in being capitalist free market economies:
The Catholic Church never acceded to those terms, and never will, as Bismarck, Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Nguyen Tat Tan (also known as Ho Chi Minh), Castro, Tito, Ceausescu, and myriad other dictators have found.
Up to the present, neither the finally discredited would-be Tsars in the Kremlin nor the largely WASPish occupants of the White House have shown any ability to appreciate how the Catholic Church understands her religious role within the political order.
The Second Vatican Council puts it thus:
While the Catholic Church claims no political voice per se, she does insist that per accidens, her spiritual authority has effects in the socio-economic and political order than can be ignored only at the risk of putting humankind's very future in peril.
HOW often do we hear TV announcers, Radio commentators, academics, politicians and others describe some
attitude with which they disagree as 'mediaeval'. Everything, from all kinds of intolerance, conservatism, ignorance and narrow-mindedness, violence and
'creationism' to high taxation is labeled as 'mediaeval'.
Stalin's famous throw-away line, 'How many divisions has the Pope?' quoted as derisively by western atheists, materialists and capitalist bosses proved in 1989 to be prognostic. The Pope, with no divisions, was almost single-handedly responsible (as the Washington Post was gracious enough to acknowledge) for the collapse of the Communist Russian state, and the liberation of its Eastern European satellites.
Not just John Paul II. All the Popes from Pius XII to John Paul II played a part in the dismantling of the greatest 'Evil Empire' in history.
But behind every dictator there stands an expansionist military and economic machine that grows fat and powerful amidst the misery of 'revolution'; and, as the Croatian and Bosnian experience proves, is only too ready to use force to preserve its privileges.
The family power and fortunes of dictators like Brezhnev, Marcos, Hafiz al-Assad, Papa Doc. Samoza. and others too numerous to mention were possible only with the active participation of corrupt officials, including media, inside and outside the country. And when the dictator falls, so do thou- sands of others who battened on him. Many of these formerly powerful and still wealthy Communist apparatchiks and their foreign sympathisers, along with Western multinationals that through corrupt dealings had the inside running in third world dictatorships, are in no doubt who contributed to their fall from power.
The unabashed hatred for the present Pope and for the Catholic Church evidenced by the bitter personal attacks on the Pontiff, regular exposés of alleged corruption in the Vatican, sensationalist handling of alleged and proven moral lapses on the part of priests and religious, orchestrated attacks by U.S. based and funded fundamentalist churches on Catholics, especially in South America, the Philippines and South East Asia and Africa, all point to an all-out campaign of denigration of the Church and her structures.
The present Pope's toughest criticisms of so-called 'Super Power politics' are to be found in Sollictudo Rei Socialis which was attacked by such unlikely bed-fellows as the New York Times and the National Review who declared it guilty of claiming that Soviet and US policy differed very line in the effects that they had on developing countries.
A STUDENT of Orleans wrote home that he had become a famous dialectician, and that, he would like to
study theology. His father, however, wrote back that, although he praised his ambition, he could not afford the cost of a Bible, and his son should turn his
thoughts to a more lucrative profession.
The Pope is well-known as favouring the devaluation of all so-called Super-Power status, in favour of a more pluralistic international system. In other words, Papal policy seeks more freedom and living space for small and middle powers to determine their own destiny in the international arena. The Pope's real view of the 'New Order' is of an international system based on the equality of all peoples, regardless of their size or financial ranking, and on the respect due to their legitimate differences.
Having exercised a dramatic influence on the resolution of East West tension, and having overseen the destruction of Communism in its heartland, the Pope continues to press North-South issues, and criticises the functioning of the West's much vaunted economic system and its very foundations. He singles out for criticism in Sollicitudo Rei Socialis the trading system, the monetary system and inter-national organisations in urgent need of restructuring.
At every rum his message is as unwelcome in Wall Street and the Pentagon as it is to the arms manufacturers and the Octogon. He has resolutely refused to sanction any use of force to effect social change, and declared unequivocally in Ireland in 1979 'violence is unworthy of man'.
Just as Pope Paul Vi's distancing of the Church from the hereditary monarchs and aristocrats of Western Europe, many of whom depended for their original status on the Papacy, brought down upon him unparalleled personal attacks, so John Paul's shifting of the Catholic Church from an uneasy alliance with the West to a distancing from both West and East, in favour of the impoverished South, has brought upon him personal attacks of equal ferocity.
Our Lady at ChristmasLovely Mother! Love's own fountain!
Mother of thy Lord and mine!
Intercede for me, I pray thee,
With this lovely Child of thine;
Gain me grace to please Him well
All the days that here I dwell.
Let me share in those compassions
Which thy tender bosom fill,
For thy little gentle Jesus,
Born of His own sweetest will:
Born for us in winter sore,
Eden's summer to restore.
Here I have in painful exile,
Banish'd from my native home;
Here I have my only comfort
In the hope of life to come:
Where below is joy for me
Save in thy dear Christ and thee?
Let me in thy loving worship
Of thy Jesus bear a part,
Let me kiss the Life Incarnate,
Let me hold Him to my heart,
Who, in taking human breath
Dying comes to conquer death!
In the secret of this presence
May I find my earthly rest,
In his Grace my perseverance
And, oh, be His vision blest
In another world my bliss,
When I leave the light of this.
author of the better known Stabat Mater Dolorosa sung on Good Friday
and at commemorations of the dead.
The general rules that the Pope enunciates in this beautiful and profound document have long ceased to be regulatory in economic or political life. Is it any wonder that his attempts to encourage respect for them in social or domestic life in the closing years of the twentieth century should be opposed vigorously by vested interests opposed to the Catholic Church?
The recent battering that the media gave the Pope illustrates well the difference between two kinds of lies: l. the expression of an untruth, and 2. the suppression of a truth.
Towards the end of his most recent encyclical, the Pope lists actions which in the Church's teaching are regarded as intrinsically evil. He quotes from Vatican Ii's Constitution on the Church in the Modern World: 'whatever is hostile to life itself, such as any kind of homicide, genocide, abortion, euthanasia and voluntary suicide; whatever violates the integrity of the human person such as mutilation, physical and mental torture and attempts to coerce the spirit; whatever is offensive to human dignity such as sub-human living conditions, arbitrary imprisonment, deportation, slavery, prostitution and trafficking in women and children; degrading conditions of work which treat labourers as mere instruments of profit, and not as free responsible persons. All these and the like are a disgrace, and so long as they infect human civilisation they contaminate those who inflict them more than those who suffer injustice'.
It was only after the above long list of evil actions that John Paul II mentioned, in passing, contraception.
Readers may judge for themselves how fairly the Pope has been treated by the media and by many, Catholics and non-Catholics alike, who quite clearly had not even read the encyclical they were attacking.
Those who 'inflict' the evils enumerated by the Pope are smarting under the suggestion that they may be more contaminated by them than are those who actually suffer from them.
But no amount of personal attack, or negative criticism in the media, will deflect the Catholic Church from her attempts to lead the way for the construction of an international 'New Order' that will be able, legally, economically, politically and morally, to meet the needs of what Pope John XXIII called the 'Universal Common Good'.
If the critics do not prevail, then our hypothetical Martian will find a landscape less depressing than the one sketched above, when he finally arrives.
CATHOLICS in Australia still suffer from intermittent and inconsistent bigotry at official and semi-official levels, and in the media. The patience of many Catholics is starting to run out, despite the fact that insults have a way of being back-handed compliments, and turning the other cheek is a time-honoured Christian reaction.
The word 'Catholic' as almost everybody knows, means 'Universal'. 'Roman' is an adjective referring to the city or Sec of Rome, the first city of an ancient Empire, and the capital of modern Italy. To qualify 'Catholic' with any adjective is a contradiction in terms.
THE English,'having their greatness in modern time, are careless of their mediaeval past'. Professor Brookes, Professor of Mediaeval History at Cambridge in the 40's lamented the neglect of their pre-reformation past by the English, still unsure of their cultural legitimacy. The often self-conscious on our mediaeval past by young and old alike who speak disparagingly of mediaeval times yet know nothing of them is at least in part one of the baleful effects of the setting up of so called Modern Greats at Oxford. This system presumed that history 'really' began with the industrial revolution, and this false assumption has wreaked intellectual devastation that is still being felt, even in faraway Australia, in the 1990s.
Have readers noticed how some 'friends' or business acquaintances will self-consciously and at times barely audibly throw in the word Roman when referring to Catholics. They are insulting you and know that they are using a term you reject but they go ahead just the same — and their very hesitancy heightens the discourtesy.
The custom of doing so arose in the heady times of the reformation when having abandoned the Catholic Church many of the reformers began to doubt their spiritual legitimacy. They saw that they could not very well reject the Nicene Creed and still call themselves Christians. But what were they to make of the statement of belief in the Holy Catholic Church? To deny it would be fatal; and to accept it without qualification was impossible.
So the opponents of Rome came up with the convenient tag 'Roman' Catholic to distinguish Catholics in union with the successor of St Peter from other alleged 'Catholics' who rejected the authority of the Pope but realised how shaky their claim to be Christian was unless they could, somehow, cluster under the 'Catholic' umbrella. The ploy is a familiar one, and Catholics are happy enough to let history be the judge as to the truth of falsity of the claims.
Amazingly, State and Federal organs in 'democratic' and 'secular' Australia still use the reformation title 'Roman' Catholic when referring to the Catholic Church where legal matters are concerned, and in government documents the Catholic Church still appears as the 'Roman' Catholic Church.
By some convention that has been inherited from the colonial days, most Australian newspapers and almost all radio and TV stations (the ABC is a notorious example) still insist on attaching the adjective 'Roman' when Catholics are found — as they frequently are — to he newsworthy.
And the opposite lack of calling some ministers of Protestant religions 'Catholic' (thereby implying that they are in union with Rome which they are not) especially when they are making court-appearances, is a situation equally to be deplored.
Australia is supposed to have no 'Established Church'. Yet for many years, certainly up until the wave of post-war migration began to make its effect felt, the Church of England, as it was then known, was the de facto Church 'by law established'.
Catholicism in England
The Catholic structure still lies lightly buried beneath every phase of English life; history, topography, law, archaeology everywhere reveal Catholic origins. Foreign travel anywhere reveals the local, temporary character of the heresies and schisms and the universal, eternal character of the Church. It was self-evident to me that no heresy or schism could be right and the Church wrong. It was possible that all were wrong, that the whole Christian revelation was an imposture or a misconception. But if the Christian revelation was true, then the Church was the society founded by Christ and all other bodies were only good so far as they had salvaged something from the wreck of the Great Schism and the Reformation. This proposition seemed so plain to me that it admitted of no discussion.
The Catholic Church was given no comparable privileges, no imposing sites for its Churches (St Mary's Cathedral is built on what was at the time a rubbish dump) and offered no 'glebes': it had no Archdeacon with a place on the Governor's council. It was a body foreign to the Protestant establishment, and was made to feel its foreignness at every opportunity.
At that time Catholics were almost always referred to in government communiques with the prefix 'Roman' attached. This was known to be offensive to Catholics, and was persevered with for that reason, and in order to keep Catholics in their 'place,' and so as to bolster the Church of England's claim to continuity with the ancient 'Catholic' Church that existed prior to the reformation.
Annals Australia, is published by the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart as a service to the Catholics of the Pacific region, and all concerned persons who are distressed by the lack of resource material available at the level of Catholic culture. We carry articles on all aspects of Catholic life and culture. Since 1889 Annals has been in the forefront of Catholic journalism in Australia. Read Annals — tell your friends.
SUBSCRIPTIONS, for all details.
Writing of this habit of limiting 'Catholic' by adding 'Roman' to it, Monsignor Ronald Knox noted in 1949: 'First let us note a point of language. It is a capital mistake to dismiss any subject of discussion with the comment "After all, it is only a matter of words". Words are vastly important. When they are used with careful deliberation they deserve to be studied; when they are used off-hand they give you an invaluable clue to the unconscious processes which are going on in the other man's mind.'
The Church of England has now decided that it wishes to be known as the Anglican Church. Catholics respect its right to be called by that name. Anglicans have let it be known that they resent being called 'Protestants'. We respect their wish and do not call them such. But we insist that the same courtesy be extended to us. And that we be called 'Catholics' — the name that has always been given to Christians in union with Rome.
When an Englishman speaks of affairs over the border as Scotch, not Scottish, you know that he is either ignorant, or insulting the Scots.
To call a Japanese person a 'Jap' or an Italian or Greek person a 'wog' is insulting to them, and against the anti-Discrimination laws of this country. When the 'Good Weekend' Magazine of the Fairfax Group publishes an interview of Steve J. Spears with Caroline Jones in which the Catholic Church is described by Spears as 'the pompy pap I tossed aside for atheism years ago — the Roman Catholic Church' the insult is deliberate and equally obvious.
When a Catholic Diocese or Order, to be registered as a Corporation for legal reasons, has to call itself 'The Roman Catholic Diocese of . . .', or when I apply for a passport, and I have printed on it as my profession 'Roman Catholic Priest' the implication is again obvious.
In a society where real religion is losing its hold from year to year, as we Catholics emerge into greater prominence, find ourselves inexorably the target for insult and attack. The stakes are high; the situation of ecumenism becomes more and more precarious. How can Christian unity or our much vaunted 'multi-culturalism' be meaningful when the Australian media and government, and even the general public, still get away with using derogatory terms to describe Catholics?
When will the Bishops of Australia take this pejorative use of the word 'Roman Catholic' to the Anti-Discrimination Board and test it?
ON November 15, 1990, a Mr Ronald G. Westwood, of Surrey Hills, Victoria, wrote a letter to The Age Newspaper, Melbourne, in which he stated: 'There was an English (Anglican) Christian Church in existence in England in the early years of the third century — almost 300 years before the first missionary arrived in England from Rome.' The writer went on to say 'The Acts of Parliament influenced (sic!) by Henry VIII between 1529 and 1536 simply marked the beginning of the Anglican Church as a national church independent of Papal jurisdiction. They did not in any sense mark the establishment of the Anglican Church which had existed since the beginnings of Christianity.'
The letter, which also claim- ed that the 'Anglican Church is not. . . a "protestant church"' was drawn to our attention by a reader from Diamond Creek, Victoria who asked 'Have we been misled all these years?'
Our reply — printed on this and the following page — was written to The Age in response to the cri de coeur of our reader. The Age did not carry our reply, owing to its length. For this reason, we are printing it here for the benefit of other Catholics similarly intrigued by Mr Westwood's claims.
We might have been content to send a private reply to our Diamond Creek reader, were it not for the blatantly unhistorical claims made on numerous Australian University campuses by Anglican evangelicals on the one hand, and by the so-called Vicar General of the 'Anglican Catholic Church in Australia' whose headquarters are at Coal Point, via Toronto NSW, on the other. Material disseminated by these quite opposed groups is so full of fantasy that our reply printed in this issue may prove of value to any Catholic encountering their propaganda.
Lord Justice Slessor, a former Anglo-Catholic, struggled with the inevitable historical, religious and cultural dilemmas that face all Anglicans, especially those who have an attraction for their Catholic past. He wrote, in 1948, of his reception into the Catholic Church: 'I have found in the Catholic Church that authority for the practices and beliefs which I have long held. My chief fault, as I now see it, was the long delay which kept me outside for so long, but in the sight of the Church time is not of the essence: what is essential is that once our ignorance is no longer invincible we must submit ourselves with joy to the appointed source of divine teaching and sanctification which we derive through the Church and its Holy Father from the Lord of all life.'
This is light years away from the spirit that animates the letter of Mr Westwood, or the writings of the Rev. Bromley of the Anglican Catholic Church' or his co-religionists in the far right evangelical wing of Anglicanism.
About the same time, Lever Mawr [Llearwg], king of the Britons, directed letters to the same pope, entreating; him that he might be made a Christian. And the blessed pontiff, having ascertained the devotion of the king, sent to him some religious teachers' namely, Faganus and Deruvianus, to convert the king to Christ, and wash him in the holy font. And when that had been done, then the different nations ran to baptism, following the example of the king, so that in a short time there were no infidels found in the island. Therefore, those blessed teachers, when they had destroyed paganism throughout the whole of Britain, dedicated the temples, which had been founded in honour of many gods, to the one God, and to his saints, and filled them with different companies of ordained priests; and they appointed in the different cities of the kingdom twenty eight bishops, who were under the supreme jurisdiction of three archbishops and three metropolitan sees. The first see was that of London, to which Cornwall and Loegria were subject, provinces which the Severn separates from Wales. The second was at York, to which Deira and Scotland were subject, and which the great river Humber separates from Loegria. The third was in Caerleon, to which Cumbria, that is, Wales, which the Severn separates from Loegria, was subject. The old walls and buildings testify to us that this city was formerly situated on the river Usk, in Glamorgan.
A.D. 186. The blessed priests Faganus and Deruvianus returned to Rome, and easily prevailed on the most blessed pope that all that they had done should be confirmed. And when it had been, then the before-mentioned teachers returned to Britain, with a great many more, by whose teaching the nation of the Britons was soon founded on the faith of Christ, and became eminent as a Christian people. And their names and actions are found in the book which Gildas the historian wrote, concerning the victory of Aurelius Ambrosius.
Latin Chronicler of the Thirteenth Century.
No amount of fantasising can change the fact that today's 'Anglicans' have little in common with the English of the 11th century — let alone the British of the 3rd — who were, according to a contemporary 'always extremely closely united to the Apostolic See' ('maxime familiares apostolicae sedis semper existunt'.)
THE "Age" correspondent Ronald Westwood has opened a Pandora's Box when he claims that there was 'an English (Anglican) Christian Church in England in the early years of the third century,' and that 'Three English (sic!) bishops' attended the Council of Arles, and 'other' bishops ('English' presumably,) attended the Council of Sardica.
My poor British ancestors, driven into Wales n 449-455 AD would be ashamed to find their bishops tagged 'English'; and would be even more astonished to discover that they were really 'Anglicans,' and not in Communion with the Bishop of Rome.
John Dryden, the 'greatest pen of his age,' closer to the matter and at least as well-informed as Ronald Westwood, dealt a poetic blow to claims that 'the Anglican Church . . . had existed since the beginnings of Christianity'. In 1687 Dryden, Poet Laureate and Historiographer Royal since 1670, wrote of the Church of England:
The sword proved mightier than the pen, for a year later, when William of Orange and Mary led their 'Glorious' Revolution, Dryden lost both his royal posts because he would not renounce his Catholicism. No one seriously denies the existence of Christians in England before 597 l.D. But these, unlike the post-reformation Anglicans, were undoubtedly in union with Rome, and Catholic.
The British (not English, and certainly not Anglican) bishops who were at Arles around 314 and at Sardica around 347, were welcomed as Catholic Bishops by the representatives of Pope St Sylvester I (314-335) and Pope St Julius I (337-352) respectively.
The two Councils to which the "Age" correspondent alludes offer him no support in his claims of an 'Anglican' Church that existed before the first Archbishop of Canterbury, St Augustine, was sent to Britain by Pope St Gregory I.
The British bishops at Arles assembled under the Pope's legates and the local bishop, roundly condemned the Donatists — a sect that incidentally rather resembles the Anglican Church — and condemned teachings that were not uncommon in Protestant England in Elizabethan time and for long afterwards. There is no doubt that the British Church in 314 AD was in communion with Rome.
Those bishops from Britain at Sardica voted in favour of appeals to the See of Peter in Rome, from any Province of the Christian world. As this matter of Papal authority over the universal Christian Church was a major thorn in the side of Henry VIII and Elizabeth, we may safely conclude that Britain was well and truly in communion with Rome in 347 AD.
Granted the hankering of many modern Anglicans for their lost Catholicism, and their right, if they so choose, to repudiate the title 'Protestant', they cannot deny that as late as the nineteenth century the Anglican Church as established was a Protestant Church; and that the British Monarch took an oath to maintain its Protestant nature.
The Anglican Bishop John Jewel (1522-1571), whose Apology for the Anglican Church earned for him the title 'Father of English Protestantism' declared in the Apology 'We have departed from that Church, which they call the Catholic Church. . .'.
Visitors to London may still visit the imposing statue of Anglican Bishop Middleton in the south aisle of St Paul's Cathedral and note the inscription underneath: 'First Protestant Bishop in India'. And the Rev. Sydney Smith (1771-1845), a jewel in the crown of Anglican letters, had no doubt that the Church of England in his day was Protestant.
If Christian unity is ever to be achieved, Anglicans should not leave unconsidered the foundations of the handsome and substantial edifice that is the Church of England. To drift into historical fantasy, instead of scrutinising title deeds and the manner of their Church's coming into being, would be a tragedy.
AUSTRALIAN Catholics are still finding themselves bailed up in their place of work or at their front door by fanatical members of evangelical sects who hold the Catholic Church up to ridicule for allegedly keeping people in ignorance of God's word by deliberately refusing to translate the bible into the European vernacular languages.
Among many matters of which such persons appear to be unaware, is the fact that by definition such 'languages' were really dialects spoken by country people, poorer people, especially by servants and slaves. Numbers of these dialects, in 1993, still lack grammars and dictionaries and literature.
Catholicism and the Invention of Printing
CONTRARY to claims by ill-informed fundamentalist 'bible Christians' of suppression and opposition by the Church, printing was regarded as a valuable advance by the Church in England and throughout Christendom. In England the first presses were set up in monasteries, under the patronage of well-known ecclesiastics. It is generally known that William Caxton, a mercer, and, of course, a Catholic, set up the first printing press in England in Westminster in 147O. What is not so generally known is that the press was set up in the Alms Room of Westminster Abbey, to the west of the sanctuary of the famous Benedictine Abbey, with the encouragement of Thomas Miling, at that time Abbot of Westminster. The first book to be printed by John Gutenberg, himself a Catholic, at Mentz between 1450 and 1455, was the bible, in Latin. The first book to be printed with its leaves numbered was Aesop's Fables, printed by Caxton in 1484.
Catholics, and others troubled by such baseless claims, should remind zealous 'friends' that vernacular literature was pointless where the 'vernaculi' or 'slaves born in the home' could not read literature of any sort, no matter in what language it was written.
Such critics ignore the well-known fact that the Church's attempts to set up schools and to make the people literate were continually frustrated by social, technological and political circumstances outside her control.
As a result, despite her efforts at setting up Monastic and town schools, and establishing Universities — most of the great mediaeval European Universities were set up by Papal Charter — relatively few human beings could read and write before the invention of printing in 7450, which revolutionised the dissemination of knowledge through writing.
The surprisingly large number of those who could read, read Latin and to a lesser extent Greek. The bible and all else besides, was available in these two languages.
Those still tempted to criticise the Catholic Church should note that from the moment that grammars were written and literature began to appear in vernacular dialects and languages, she saw to it that the Sacred Scriptures were the first hand-written or printed 'books' available in Saxon, or Danish or Langue d'Oc or whatever language was spoken in the homes of the people of the various Christian countries, where these were able to be read.
Nestorian Monks and The Pope
TOWARDS the end of the thirteenth century two Nestorian monks travelled from their monastery near Peking.
In any case, after the so-called 'Reformation', when the Catholic Church was no longer able to be blamed for whatever ignorance prevailed in Europe, it is interesting to note that the following major classical works of literature had to wait hundreds of years after the bible, to be translated for the first time into English:
In a non-Catholic world that prided itself on its 'liberal' ideas on education, why did the common people have to wait so long to read Xenophon, or Thucydides or Julius Caesar in English?
The unpalatable truth is that in post-Catholic England and Europe Arthur Young's famous retort in 1711 (quoted in D. Marshall, English People in the 18th Century, 1956, p.180) was borne out, 'the lower class must be kept poor or they will never be industrious'. Not just the lower classes; women were kept, if not as poor, then just as illiterate.
St Jerome, in 401 A.D. drew up a comprehensive, in fact exhausting programme for the baby daughter of Laeta, wife of Taxatius and daughter of a pagan priest Albinus. My translation of his letter (cvii) was printed in Annals (March 1987, p.3) and is available to interested readers who send a stamped self-addressed envelope. The care with which little Paula was to be taught to read and write, and especially to read the Scriptures, should be contrasted with the complaint of Richard Steel in 1724, that in non-Catholic England in his day not one gentlemen's daughter in a thousand was brought up to understand her own native tongue.
IT is not unusual, even in otherwise respectable academic circles, and not infrequently in the media, to hear mediaeval western (and therefore Catholic) thinkers airily dismissed as being largely preoccupied with 'how many angels could sit on the point of a pin'.
A variant on this patronising and unsubstantiated theme was added in 1941, when Cyril Joad, a well-known writer on philosophy, stated that 'In the Middle Ages, most people believed, indeed it was an article of faith, that a certain number of angels could dance on the point of a pin; and the great question was as to how many there should be. That was faith in the Middle Ages.'
It appears that the first person to attribute this thesis to St Thomas Aquinas was Isaac D'Israeli, father of the famous Prime Minister, in his Curiosities of Literature.
The Rev. E. Cobham Brewer's well-known Dictionary of Phrase and Fable continued the lie by attributing St Thomas's title of 'Angelic Doctor' to the fact that he discussed the being and nature of angels, and asked 'How many angels can dance on the point of a pin?'
The truth is, as always, something quite different. The first reference we can find to this preoccupation with Angels dancing (or sitting) on pins was in 1637, when a certain William Chillingworth, an Anglican, wrote his The Religion of Protestants, A Safe Way to Salvation. Born in 1602, Chillingworth had, for a time, embraced Catholicism, but eventually abandoned it in favour of what today would be called 'evangelical-bible religion'. His most often quoted phrase was: 'The Bible, I say, the Bible only, is the religion of Protestants'. In the next year he was ordained a minister in the Church of England, and eventually was Chancellor of Salisbury.
The Poor In Post-Catholic England
WHEN Henry VIII suppressed all 605 monasteries, convents and friaries in his kingdom, along with 96 colleges, 110 hospitals, 2,374 chantries and chapels (more than one third of all the parish churches in England) this spoliation, as Sir William Dugdale, 1605-1686, tells us, involved, 'besides the houses and lands taken away, . . . much money made of the present stock of cattle and corn, of the timber, lead and bells etc and chiefly of the plate and church ornaments,' for which no value was given by the appropriators.
Chillingworth's scornful reference to Catholics disputing eternally 'whether a million of angels may not sit upon a needle's point' seems to have been taken up by propagandists and anti-Catholic polemicists who wanted to make Catholics and their ancestors look ridiculous.
The last word should be given to the great mediaevalist and Renaissance expert Dorothy Sayers who told Arnold Lunn that she had never been able to find any authoritative source for the problem about the angels and needles. 'I have always heard it referred to as a problem debated in the (mediaeval) schools; but I should not be surprised to find that the precise terms of it were formulated by some scoffer who wanted to put across a nasty crack at the (mediaeval) Schoolmen.' (The Revolt Against Reason, Arnold Lunn, Eyre and Spottisword, London, 1950, p.233).
The 'crack' directed at the mediaeval scholars seems first to have reverberated in the quiet of Lord Falkland's house, at Great Tew, Oxfordshire, where William Chillingworth penned his attack on Catholicism and defence of Private interpretation of the scriptures, in 1637.
Since then scorn in plenty has been poured on traditional Catholic doctrines, and on alleged mediaeval passion for hair-splitting. The scorn could be better directed at the anti-Catholic writers out of whose fervid imaginations all sorts of incredible fantasies have flown.
Amongst these we note the origin of the word 'Dunce'. Post-reformation anti-Catholic bias succeeded in converting the name of Duns Scotus (1264-1308) one of the greatest of mediaeval scholars, famous for the subtlety of his thought, into a synonym for a blockhead, still used in schools in 1992.
By an extraordinary irony, Duns Scotus, the Subtle Doctor, (Doctor Subtilis) like St Thomas, the Angelic Doctor (Doctor Angelicus) before him, wrote quite a lot about angels. But nothing, as far as we know, about pins.
DO you know anyone who believes that if you hit an elbow accidentally, you will have a disappointment if you don't hit the other on purpose; that if you spill some salt, you will meet with an accident if You don't throw some of the spilt salt over your shoulder; that if 'you don't step on all The cracks in the street, you will be stricken with bad luck; and that the same will happen to you if you don't touch all the posts along a path; that you must touch wood if you make a statement containing an element of Pride, otherwise something will occur to contradict what you said; that if you fill your lotto tickets with threes, sevens and nines you will be more likely to win?
What political leader would plan his election day for Friday the 13th of the month? or what firm or business would put their offices on the thirteenth floor of a building?
Look through any suburban or metropolitan paper and check out the advertisements offering advice based on astrology and on the occult. Not only is there a fortune to be made by entrepreneurs in the Star Games, but the clients of these latter-day witches and wizards of Endor seem to be as countless as the sands of the seashore.
In an age of so-called 'secularism', enlightenment, high-technology and dominance of science rather than Christian humanism, we find that astrologers have become once again the High Priests of the religionless masses.
Parents and teachers are familiar enough with questions about ouija boards, seances, astrological charms, star signs and the rest.
Fixing The Numbers Elizabethan-Style
WHEN Queen Elizabeth introduced two bills into the House of Lords — the Act of Supremacy, (rejecting the Pope's authority and confirming the Queen as Supreme 'Governor', of the Church) and the Act of Uniformity (abolishing the Mass and imposing the Second Protestant Prayer Book of Edward VI) she was opposed by the majority in the House. Heath, Archbishop of York, Scot, Bishop of Chester, and Tekenham, Abbot of Westminster, spoke strongly against the Bills. In February 1559 the convocations of Canterbury and York repudiated the Bills as did the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, declaring their attachment to the Pope and to the ancient Catholic doctrines. The Queen had two bishops imprisoned and three others were obliged to attend court daily to await sentence. In the meantime the Bills were rushed through the House and passed by the Lay Lords — but still with only a majority of three. All the bishops stood firm and rejected the Bills. But to no avail. By this tiny majority, voted principally by 'noblemen' created by her father Henry VIII, bought by the blood money of the despoiled monasteries, Elizabeth severed once and for all the unity of Christendom.
The questions are ageless, and the answer of the Church remains the same: touch them at your peril!
Tibetan resistance to the Chinese invasion of the 1950s was hampered by a belief in astrology. When even military matters were constrained by the stars, authorities had to consult sages who would consult elaborate tables to determine the most auspicious moment to fight. If a war is a defensive one, such delays can prove costly!
In India there is published an astrological magazine which sets out in great detail each month the fate of people born at a particular hour and day in the month: ranging from prospects for health, commercial ventures, family relationships to financial speculation.
Disputes with in-laws, tendencies to sickness, and financial losses are all predicted. Fluctuations on the Stock Exchange depend on sales and purchases, and these depend on confidence or lack of confidence in particular companies. Political developments depend on largely similar factors.
It is hardly surprising that many of the predictions become self-fulfilling!
It was precisely these political and economic ramifications of astrology that seem to have most worried the authorities of ancient Rome.
In the time of Christ, astrologers proliferated in the Roma Empire, under various names. They were called Chaldaei (because of the Chaldaean's interest in these occult sciences); Mathematici, (among ordinary people 2,000 years ago this was the principal meaning of this word); Apotelesmatici, from a Greek word referring to people dealing with the influence of the stars; Genethliaci, because they cast horoscopes based on the positions of the planets at the time of birth.
Astrologers were to be found in every city and town of the Empire, and there was no element in paganism more difficult for the State (or the Church) to counteract.
The astrologers were banished from Rome by Agrippa, Augustus, Tiberius, Claudius and Vitellius.
The fact that sanctions had to be invoked to frequently against them proves how deeply embedded were the superstitions to which they pandered.
Some Emperors, like the Jewish King Saul before them, turned to astrologers in their ambition and suspicion. Galba's murder of Ortho was at their counsel.
Tiberius was harsh in his laws against them, but he believed in them. He had one terrified astrologer sent under guard from Naples to Capri where he was compelled to walk up the long series of steps to the magnificent Palace, with the Heliograph station at the top of the cliff for sending signals by reflected sunlight. He undoubtedly thought each hot step brought him closer to being thrown into the rocky sea below, only to discover that he was there for a 'professional' consultation.
Historians have neglected to tell us if he demanded a fee!
The Church objected to astrology on different grounds from the State.
For the early Bishops of Rome, and the Patriarchs of the East, the worship of false gods, and magic which lay behind the practice, made it quite unacceptable for followers of Christ.
A Prince Comes From Heaven
WEIGH not his crib, his wooden dish,
English poet, and Jesuit priest. Hanged under Elizabeth I.
his body was disembowelled, and quartered'
In his final speech he said
'I die because I am a Catholic priest, elected into the
Society of Jesus in my youth.'
The astrologer was dabbling in dark areas of human and spiritual realities that were fraught with danger.
The fathers of the Church saw astrology as substituting destiny and fate and predestination for belief in Divine Providence.
It was especially dangerous because it broke down a sense of moral responsibility and encouraged simple people to attribute their faults and vices to the stars, and the accidents of birth such as the time at which they were born, the day etc.
St Augustine and others of the Church fathers pointed out that Esau and Jacob were born in the same hour, but had quite contrary destinies. Others, while conceding that the pagan world might be subject to influences that stemmed from dark and malign forces, nevertheless stressed that Baptism liberated Christians from this world of darkness, and set them in an altogether different mode of living; negating any 'horoscopes' that might have been cast as their physical birth.
Mathematici were to hand over the astrological books to the Bishop, who would see that they were burnt. All Priests were forbidden to Practise or consult these 'curious arts', referred to in Acts 19,19. To do so would lead to excommunication.
According to St Epiphanius (315-403 A.D.) Aquila, the second century A.D. translator of the Old Testament, was excommunicated for Practising the dark arts, but there is no certainty about this. Even St Eusebius of Caesarea was accused of being an astrologer because of his love of science.
St Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) laid down the Church's teaching clearly: there is nothing against the faith in holding that the stars may affect men's bodies, and therefore indirectly affect their lives, by causing passions to which men sometimes give way.
Taking this for granted, (and its truth is a question to be resolved by the physical sciences, not by theology according to St Thomas) an astrologer can make educated guesses at the truth, But he cannot know the future, or predict with certainty our future actions, or so-called 'destiny'. For according to the Catholic Faith, the human will is free. We are free to choose the paths we follow. No one is compelled by the stars to act or not to act in certain ways.
In 1992 we have nothing to add to what St Thomas said in the 13th century!
EVEN the Poorest Catholic Church possesses some representation of Our Lady, or Our Lord, or one or other of the Saints. There is always a crucifix (with the figure of the crucified Jesus represented on the cross) on or above the altar, and there will always be a cross somewhere on the Church building. Usually the 14 Stations of the Cross adorn the walls, either in the form of icons, statues, or frescoes, and sometimes there will be a grotto in the grounds with statues of Mary, St Bernadette or the children at Fatima.
The making of images was plainly condemned by the First Commandment (Ex. 20,4) because of a fear of idolatry. But Moses himself, to whom the commandments were given, had a brazen serpent made Numbers 21,9); there were images of the Cherubim actually standing over the Ark of the Covenant (Ex. 25,18-22) and Solomon's Temple was ornamented with carvings of palm trees, open flowers and cherubim (l Kings 6,23-35).
From this it is clear that the question of the making of images was regarded by the ancient Hebrews as quite distinct from the prohibition against worshipping them.
That some early Christians thought that the first commandment extended also to the making of images emerges from the writings of Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria, Origen and others. That the worship of images was banned from the outset is universally acknowledged.
But from the beginning, Catholics used images as reminders of their Saviour, of his saving death and of the holy men and women who lived and died out of love for him.
The earliest of these 'images' was the 'Sign of the Cross',made with the hand in the air, or on various parts of the body. This was made, as Tertullian (160-220) said, 'at every coming in and going out, at the putting on of our clothes and shoes, at baths, at meals, at lighting of candles, at going to bed, at sitting down, whatever we are doing, we make the sign of the cross on our foreheads.' (De Cor. Mil. c.iii).
The first permanent public representation of the cross was as far as we know that set up in Rome beside the statue of Constantine after the defeat of Maxentius in 311 (Eusebius, Hist . Eccles. 1x,9).
Eusebius (265-339) also tells us that Constantine had an image of the holy cross 'composed of various precious stones set up' in a room in his Palace. (De Vita Const. iii,49) and the same emperor had the sign of the cross engraved on his soldiers' weapons' in much the same way that today, Arab or Lebanese Catholics and other Christians will have the cross tattooed on their foreheads, or the hacks of their hands, or on their fingers.
The emperor Julian (361) accuses Christians of making 'shadowy figures of the cross on your foreheads, and painting it at the entrances of your houses', and in reply St Cyril of Alexandria justifies the painting of 'the sign of the precious cross. (Lib. vi ad calc. Opp. Jul. 194).
St John Chrysostom describes how commonly the image of the cross was displayed in his day (347-407): 'This (image) shines at the holy altar, at the ordination of priests, and again with the Body of Christ at the mystic supper. It may be seen everywhere displayed, in houses, in market places, in deserts, on roads, in mountains, in groves, on hills, in ships, and on islands in the sea, on beds, on dresses, on weapons, on coaches. (Contra Iudae. et Gentil. #9).
Writing in 403, St Paulinus of Nola speaks of the 'ensign of the holy cross, surmounted by the crown of thorns, painted on the walls of his churches at Nola and Fundi, in Spain. A mosaic built by Paulinus at Nola represents Our Lord as a lamb, and the Holy Spirit as a dove. The 12 apostles were twelve doves around a cross, and the Church was represented by the Rock of Peter, with four streams issuing from the rock symbolising the teaching of the four evangelists, the gift of the Catholic Church to mankind. (Epist. Paulini xxxii, 10).
The True Enemies
ALWAYS make sure you really understand what you read or hear. An educator should never dig in front of his students a ditch he fails to fill in. To raise clever doubts, constantly to pose problems without solving them — these are the great enemies of education.'
Tertullian refers to images of the good shepherd painted and engraved on chalices (De Pudic. vii,10) and paintings on the walls of the catacombs in Rome are probably the earliest Christian pictures, some of them dating from the second century.
St Augustine, writing about some spurious letters allegedly written by our Lord to Ss Peter and Paul, says of the forgers that he supposed that 'these apostles came to mind because they (the forgers) would have seen them painted together with Jesus in many places.' (De Consen. Evangel. i,x,l6) St Augustine also writes of the sacrifice of Isaac as 'a noble deed painted in so many places'. (C. Faust, xxii,76).
St Gregory of Nyssa (330-395) says that the martyrdom of St Theodore in all its details was depicted on the walls of a Church erected in his memory (Encom. Theodori).
Paulinus of Nola, to whom I referred above, in a poem written in 402 describes scenes from the Old Testament that he had painted on his church in Nola, He explains his reason for doing so at length. By means of these paintings he hoped to interest and instruct the uneducated converts in the neighbourhood, and especially to keep them from the excesses in which they fell on feast days. (Poem xxvii, De St Fel. Natal. carm.9).
Asterius (died after 341) describes persons with subjects from the New and Old Testament including Our Lord, the apostles and miracles worked by Our Lord embroidered on their clothes! (De Div. et Laz.) The same author describes the martyrdom of St Euphemia which he saw painted on the walls of a church (op. cit. col.207).
NON-BELIEVERS and Jews are not the Church's enemies. Bad Christians are. The fish nets have been cast, the Church is multiplied, innumerable fish are caught (Luke v 6). This multitude swells the crowds which so throng our churches at Easter-time, that the walls are scarce capable of containing them. How can one not be troubled at this multitude, when one sees the same persons filling the theatres and amphitheatres, who a little while before filled the churches? The same persons engaged in wickedness, who a little before were engaged in the praise of God? The same persons blaspheming, who just now were answering Amen to God? Of such the prophet Ezechiel (xv 2) says that they are comparable to useless vine-twigs. The pagans may be forest-trees outside the Church; still something can be made of them, as of available timber you find wood suited to the carpenter; and though it be still knotty and crooked, and covered with bark, still it is apt to be hewn and adzed and planed and made fit to be of some use for humankind. But of grapevine twigs cut off, carpenters can make nothing; fire alone awaits them. So be careful, brethren. Though a twig remaining on the grapevine is everywhere preferred to a barren forest tree, because the twig bears fruit and that tree bears none, nevertheless, if you compare the forest tree with that same grapevine-twig when it is cut off, you understand the tree to be the better, because the carpenter can make something of it, whereas the other is of interest only to the fire man who feeds the furnace. The wicked in the enjoyment of my sacraments, says the Psalm, live worse lives than they who have never approached them.
Prudentius, in 405, saw in the Forum Cornaelianum in Rome paintings of the martyrdom of St Cassianus, a school master from Imola who in 250 was put to death at the command of a magistrate because he would not worship idols. His death was unusually barbaric, because he was killed by certain of his pupils who disliked him. The schoolboys used their styli or styluses to stab him to death. The account of his martyrdom notes that 'as their efforts were puny, his suffering was bitter and his death protracted.'
The earliest authentic account of images in England is to be found in Bede the Venerable's Ecclesiastical History where he refers to St Augustine of Canterbury meeting Ethelbert in 597 and carrying with him a silver cross, and 'the image of the Lord and Saviour painte on a board'. (i,25).
Bede also describes in another work, how his first Abbot, Benedict Biscop, 'brought from Rome', in 648,'paintings of sacred images, of the Blessed Mary and the twelve apostles, besides representations of th gospel stories and of the visions of John the Evangelist and placed them in his church so that all who entered the church, even those who were illiterate, no matter where they turned their eyes, might contemplate the ever lovely countenance of Christ, and of his saints, in an image, and might more heedfully call to mind the grace of the Lord's Incarnation.' (Hag. sect. 1).
The Catholic Church has never countenanced the worshipping of images. But she wisely recognises that icons, statues, frescoes, mosaics and symbols of whatever kind have a wonderful effect in making real to human beings the mystery of the Incarnation of their Saviour and Lord, Jesus Christ.
ST Bede (672-73) tells in his Ecclesiastical History of the English People of a Northumbrian man who fell ill and died. The next morning, as people gathered for the wake, he sat up suddenly and told them wondrous stories about places he had seen. He said that he had a vision in which he thought he was seeing hell — only to discover that it was the purgatory of people who had lived bad lives, but had managed to die repentant and confessing their sins. Hell was something much worse.
What our readers will find comforting is that the same man had a vision of another purgatory — this time the purgatory of those who had lived fairly good lives, but not good enough to merit entering heaven immediately.
This is how that vision is described by Bede: 'So goodly and clear a light shone there in every place that it seemed fairer than the brightness of the day and beams of the sun when it is at the highest. There were in the field innumerable companies of white-coloured men, many seats and infinite multitudes of souls rejoicing and triumphing. And as he (the being who guided him) led me through the midst of those blessed souls I began to think with myself, perchance this may be heaven, of the which I have heard men often times preach. To this my imagination and thought, he answered saying, this is not the kingdom of heaven as thou dost imagine. The goodly green field full of odiferous flowers where thou sawest all joyful, jocund and merry, is the very same place where their souls are received which depart out of this life in the state of grace, yet not of such perfection that they deserve to be brought straight away into the kingdom of heaven.'
Astronomer in Imperial China
FATHER Johann Adam von Schall, S.J. (1592-1666), one of the most extra-
I ordinary figures of missionary scientists who worked to introduce Christianity into Imperial China, was commemorated in 1992 in Bonn, the city where he was born 400 years ago.
There was, in the vision, even a third purgatory — closest to heaven, of which the man said: 'I saw a brighter shining light than the other was, and heard a sweet melodious noise of Musicians besides that such a sweet perfume and fragrant savour brake out in every place that the other which I smelled before, and thought excessively passing, was in comparison unpleasant and nothing worth, in like manner as the other bright shining light of the pleasant green field in comparison of this seemed somewhat dark and obscure.'
This vision of degrees of suffering or happiness in Purgatory depending on one's tally in the heavenly Points System never seems to have caught on with the Catholic imagination. But we think that the vision of the honest householder in the country, which with all his family lived a godly and virtuous life' deserves to be remembered. St Bede, who certainly believed it, and thought it worth his while preserving, says that he heard of the vision from a monk called Haemgils who lived in the same monastery as that to which the Northumbrian man went to spend the remainder of his life in prayer and thanksgiving to God.
Thomas Stapleton when he made his translation of Bede in the reign of Queen Elizabeth did so to demonstrate that the religion to which the English were converted from paganism was the Catholic religion and not the new religion of the Tudor Reformation. The account of the visions is to be found in Book V, Chapter XIII.
WE have received a number of requests from readers to write something on the belief of some people in the re-incarnation of souls.
The doctrine — that the human soul passes from body to body, usually but not always of the same species, with the lot in this life being determined by the conduct in a former life — has been known over the centuries by a number of different names: metempsychosis, transmigration of souls, and re-incarnation.
It is beyond the scope of this article to delve deeply into the myriad subtleties of this belief as it was understood by ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans, Jews, Buddhists and Indians.
Suffice to say that there is great variety among the various adherents to the belief. For what you mean when you say that the soul passes upon death to another body, depends essentially on what you understand by creation, the soul, death, immortality, the nature of the afterlife, punishment and reward for good and evil committed, and so on.
Mything The Point
"THIS comparative mythology which endeavours to connect everything causally with everything else, which tears down solid fences, playfully bridges separating chasms and spins combinations out of superficial similarities. In this way it is possible in the twinkling of an eye to turn Christ into a sun god and the twelve Apostles into the twelve months of the calendar, to recall, when thinking of the nativity, all the other stories of divine births, to let the dove of Jesus' baptism set us chasing all the other doves of mythology, to join all other famous asses to the ass on which Jesus entered Jerusalem and so with the magic wand of 'comparative religion' to eliminate every original and spontaneous feature that a story may contain."
Among ancient peoples the belief seems to have arisen because of the noted similarity of children to their parents, or to other relatives. The 'sacred' character of certain animals, the prevalence of 'totems', and belief in 'totem ancestors" found among certain peoples, are all tied in with belief in the transmigration of souls.
The custom among the Egyptians, Celts and Indians of burying along with the corpse, objects familiar and useful to humans, or of burning such things on the funeral pyre, seems also to have arisen from a belief in re-incarnation.
For some cultures, such as that of India, re-incarnation had a depressing twist, for the prospect of wandering perpetually through the bodies of animals, birds, insects and plants, of forever suffering anew the pains of death, and birth, was frightening in the extreme. The soul might eventually become divinised, but this was small comfort for the gods themselves were caught up in this same cycle, with the wheel of existence rolling on, inexorably, and the gods returning to lower forms of existence where they used up their 'merit,' through the enjoyment of divine position and honours, Buddhism seems to have developed as a way of offering deliverance from this cycle of birth and re-birth.
Among the Jews, belief in transmigration of souls seems to have been tolerated rather than approved. The Jewish law about a brother marrying hi deceased brother's wife seems to have its origins in this doctrine: the new born babe will receive the soul of the dead man and continue his earthly life.
A reader noted that 'it was mentioned that this (re-incarnation) was an accepted idea of the early Church,' and asks, 'Was this so?'
To this question, the simple answer is 'no'. Transmigration of souls was never an accepted idea with the early followers of Christ; and has never been an accepted part of Catholic written or oral tradition.
In the very full treatment of this subject found in the non-Catholic Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics, edited by James Hastings, (Vol. xii, 425-440 1974 impression, under 'Transmigration,') there is no reference to any belief in re-incarnation among Christians of any century.
These days, apart from Buddhism and Hinduism, re-incarnation is strongly believed by members of the Theosophical Society an eclectic religious organisation that draws on all religious traditions, is firmly rooted in the occult, and was founded on November 17, 1875 by a Russian psychic Helena Blavatsky and an American ex-civil war Colonel, Henry Olcott.
The Theosophists, especially through the writings of Annie Besant who popularised the sect, may indirectly be responsible for the impression being given that the early Christians were believers in re-incarnation. Annie claimed that the early Gnostics or 'knowers,' and the second century Christian writer Origen, were early 'theosophists'.
As 'theosophy' was unknown until 1875 this is clearly not so, but Annie Besant seems to be influenced by the fact that some Gnostic sects and certainly Origen (De Principiis II, viii, 4) appear to have subscribed to a belief in re-incarnation.
Origen's doctrine was condemned in a Council held in 402 specifically to consider it, it was further condemned in another Council held in 543; it was unequivocably rejected in the II Council of Lyons held in 1274, and this rejection was endorsed by the Council held in Florence in 1439.
RE-INCARNATION as a doctrine seems to have awakened many modern followers who seek a simple explanation for the differences between human beings, and particularly for the fact that there are child prodigies like Pascal, Mozart, Rembrandt. All becomes clear, the believers in re-incarnation tell us, if you admit a life prior to the present one.
Ancient Addictions and Remedies
AN unsound mind cries out falsehoods; sanity is truthful. In what you see and take for good, you are mistaken. You are not of sound mind; the fever-fit has driven you into frenzy; what you love is no reality. You praise your favourite charioteer, you cry out to your charioteer, you are mad over that charioteer. It is vanity, insanity, lying. "No, it is not," you say, "there is nothing better, nothing more interesting." What am I to do with this fever patient? If there is any compassion in you, pray for such people. Often a doctor turns in despair to the members of a family who stand round him in tears, hanging on his lips to hear the sentence on the sick man in danger; the doctor stands hesitating; he sees no good that he can promise, he fears to express an unfavourable opinion, lest he frighten the family he hits upon this well-guarded utterance:
[Preached at Carthage, between 411-413]
But if re-incarnation has to be appealed to in order to explain the diversity of human beings, must it not also be appealed to in order to explain the diversity in plants and insects and lower animals? This leads to an impossible hypothesis, where all of reality is re-incarnated.
'Margaret Mead once said, referring to a religious census, (that) one out of seven English-men still believes in it (re-incarnation)' — Richard Woods. The Occult Revolution.
We know now that genes, environment, and education, as well as God's grace, all work together in harmony to make us what we are — geniuses or not.
Catholics believe in an after-life, in the reward and punishment for lives well or badly spent, in the uniqueness of the human soul made in God's image, and in a heaven, purgatory and hell.
There are no grounds from the Christian Scriptures or Tradition for considering re-incarnation as in any way, 'accepted' by our ancestors in the faith.
On the contrary re-incarnation is opposed to basic Christian truths, and locks human beings into a relentless cycle of birth and re-birth from which our Lord came to deliver us with his message of salvation through repentance and conversion.
Catholics who believe in free will, and personal responsibility for actions and thoughts, and who use the Sacrament of Reconciliation with profit, have a message of hope to all who see re-incarnation as the lot of human-kind.
CATHOLIC education exists to communicate the Catholic Faith to the children of Catholic families. All involved in the religious education of Catholic children can take heart from a series of essays published in 1982 by Oxford University Press to commemorate the six hundredth centenary of what today is a Protestant school known as Winchester College, but in pre-reformation England, and for a long time after Catholicism was banned in the British Isles, was known as The College of St Mary by Winton. The Catholic College of St Mary was founded by Bishop William of Wykeham in 1387, who, seven years before, had founded New College at Oxford.
Professor Patrick McGrath, in an essay entitled 'Winchester College and the Old Religion in the Sixteenth Century' raises more interesting questions than he answers. For Catholics he provides stunning proof that given the right environment, wise teachers and the appropriate intellectual stimulation, young Catholics can be formed whose faith will be strong enough to withstand even the incredible political and social winds that lashed the religious shores of England in the sixteenth century.
In the thirty years between 1529 and 1559 Wykeham's College of St Mary by Winton experienced four major changes in the official religion of England. There was the break with the Pope under Henry VIII, the introduction of Protestantism under Edward VI, the return to Catholicism and full communion with Rome under Mary, and finally the establishment of a new National Protestant Church under Elizabeth.
According to historians of Winchester, Wykehamists (as scholars and masters of Winchester and New College Oxford were called), were curiously resistant to the Protestant Reformation, and to the later Puritanism. Although, it should be noted, the Archbishop of Canterbury who had to face the first crisis of the Reformation under Henry VIII was an old Winchester student, William 'Warham, and in its hour of need he failed the Catholic Church in England and the College that educated him.
John White, Headmaster of 'Winchester, for political reasons, seemingly went along with the Royal Supremacy, but drew the line at denying the Real Presence which, he said, had been taught 'since the Faith first came into this realm' and had been accepted by all, clergy and laity, 'until about two years ago'.
After the death of Henry VIII, when the young Protestant king took power on January 28, 1547 the College authorities were instructed that the bible was to be read daily in English 'distinctly and openly in the midst of the hall, about the hearth, where the fire is made both at dinner and supper.' All scholars coming to the college had to buy the New Testament in English or Latin before Christmas and had to read it every Sunday. All Graces and other prayers had to be in English, and the Salve Regina and Regina Caeli were forbidden 'along with any such-like untrue and superstitious anthems'.
As there was nothing in the above, apart from the last prohibition of the anthems to our Lady, that posed a problem for Catholics, it wasn't until the Mass was forbidden and the Book of Common Prayer was imposed in 1549 that the College started to feel the winds of change biting more deeply into its traditions.
The High Altar was then demolished, and a table substituted. Vestments and images of the saints disappeared, masses for the dead had already been banned and in 1553 all the Church vessels were seized by the Royal commissioners.
Despite this official clamping down on Catholicism, during the reign of Edward VI, of the scholars who were at Winchester, there are over forty who were subsequently committed Catholics, including Thomas Stapleton, Owen Lewis and Thomas Dorman. Dorman, a distinguished Catholic writer, had gone to Winchester in 1547 at the age of 13 from a Calvinist family and wrote that 'in the same year I was brought home agayn to Chrystes Church from where I was strayed . . .'.
Understandably, when Mary became Queen in 1553 Winchester continued to produce young Catholic scholars, with much that had been swept away under Edward being restored: altars, vestments, church ornaments and vessels.
Large numbers of Wykehamists went into exile when Elizabeth came to the throne in 1558 — a Queen who outwardly conformed to Catholicism initially, but did not accept it in her heart. Under Elizabeth the Protestant, many Wykehamists went to the Tower, died in the Fleet, or were deprived of all offices.
When the new regime re-introduced many of the liturgical and religious reforms of Edward VI, these were resisted strongly by the Winchester scholars.
When the boys learnt that their Catholic Headmaster Thomas Hyde was in prison, and that the new Headmaster Christopher Johnson was by law required to make them attend Protestant sermons they shut themselves up in their dormitories 'and asked Johnson if he wished to destroy the souls of the innocent.' When the Headmaster attempted to use force and called in the military from the nearest seaport, twelve boys ran away and the rest were terrorised into attending the reformed Church services.
In 1568 Edmund Grindal, Protestant bishop of London and in 1575 to be Archbishop of Canterbury, complained of the persistence of 'popery in Oxford, particularly at Corpus Christi, New College and in the College of Winchester'.
Feast Day Bills
THE Tailors' Guild of Winchester in Catholic England, and before it was suppressed by Henry VIII was under the patronage of St John the Baptist. It celebrated its Patronal Feast on the Day of the beheading of the saint, August 29. In 1411, August 29 fell on a Saturday, in mediaeval times a day of abstinence from flesh meat in honour of Our Lady. Hence the Guild planned for a fish dinner. The expenses as listed in their register for that day were as follows:
grinding the same, 3d;
baking the same, 6d;
ready baked bread, 12d;
beer, 7s 1d;
salt fish bought from William Oakfield, 6s 8d;
mullet, bass, ray and conger, bought from the same, 6s 8d;
fresh salmon bought from the same, 8s;
fresh fish bought of John Wheller 'fisher', 2s;
fresh fish bought of Adam Frost, 9s;
fresh fish bought of a stranger, 2s 8d;
divers spices, saffron, cinnamon, sanders, 12½d;
salt,2d; mustard, 2½d;
vinegar, 1d; tallow, 2d;
wood, 18d; coals, 3½d;
paid to Philip the cook, 2s;
paid to four labourers, 2s 6d;
to three minstrels, 3s 4d;
for rushes to strew the hall, 4d;
three gallons and one pine of wine, 19d;
On August 29, 1411, the Guild of Tailors at Winchester had 170 male and female members. The cost of their patronal Feast-day celebrations was less than 1/6th of the annual income of the Guild. Note that a minstrel was paid a fraction over half the wages of the cook; and that the wine cost 1d more than the wood; and that the unspecified quantity of beer cost almost four times more than the wine.
Source: Baigent's notes on the history of Hampshire, quoted in The Eve of the Reformation,
by Francis Aidan Gasquet, London, 1900.
In 1571 Bishop Horne of Winchester, a determined Protestant, issued 31 injunctions to the College. In general these demanded that those who resisted the new religion should be removed. The fellows were to attend divinity lectures in the Cathedral and be examined on them. A moveable pulpit was to be set up near the communion table, and communion was to be administered once a month, with no vestment bearing an image or picture. If the warden, sub-warden and fellows failed to receive communion thrice a year they were to be expelled ipso facto. No one could be a scholar if he could not say the English Catechism, and no one was to be admitted to New College Oxford unless he could recite Alexander Nowell's 'Little' Protestant Catechism and subscribed to the Thirty Nine Articles. Those who kept company with people suspected of 'Popery' were to be expelled. Scholars were not to turn to where the high Altar used to be when they sang 'Glory Be to the Father'. If any scholar received a letter from a friend or anyone urging him to continue in Popery; and did not show it immediately to the authorities, he was to be expelled.
Among the hundreds of Wykehamists who stuck to their Faith despite the religious pressures, were many who died for their Faith: John Body, who went to Winchester in 1562 was executed for High Treason at Andover in 1583;John Munden, a scholar at Winchester in 1555, was executed with four other priests on February 12, 1584; Alexander Rawlins, entered the College in 1572 and was executed with Mr Henry Walpole on April 7, 1595.
The Elizabethan Reformation scattered Wykehamists all around Europe as students, University lecturers, chaplains, writers and even soldiers; numbers of them went back to England and died for their faith as seminary priests and Jesuits. Because of their Faith these remarkable men were not willing to place their abilities at the service of an Elizabethan State or of the new National Church of England.
It is difficult at this distance to know what made Winchester unique among Colleges during the Reformation period in England, but among all the influences that shaped the minds and hearts of the boys of Winchester a high place must be accorded to the spirit of the College of St Mary by Winton, and the Masters, Wardens, fellows and scholars who taught and studied there.
A READER WRITES:
A FRIEND of mine recently decided to quit the Catholic Church and now attends a Protestant group.
The 'brief mention in one of Dr Rumble's books' to which our reader refers was in response to a correspondent who wrote: 'Pastor Chiniquy was a priest who said that he left the Church because she was too intolerant'.
To this, Dr Rumble replied as follows: '(Pastor Chiniquy) did not leave the Church voluntarily but was expelled from it in 1851 by the Bishop of Montreal because the Church could not tolerate his immorality. He pretended repentance, promised to behave himself and persuaded another Catholic Bishop to accept his services. But in 1856 he was again expelled for immorality. If Pastor Chiniquy is your only argument against the moral theology of the Catholic Church, there is nothing wrong with that theology. I think it was Dean Swift who gently remarked, "I wish when the Pope weeds his garden, he wouldn't throw the weeds over the fence into our grounds".' (Radio Replies, I, 1082; see also II, 1286-1288).
A Very Catholic Will
AND to the ringers of my mind [i.e. those who
rang the bells of the Church for the thirty days after his death — the "month's mind"l nightly
by the space of a month at Langford, Wyly and Fisherton, 12d. To each of the poor men of the
almshouses at Heytisbury, 5d., praying each of them of their charity to say five times our Lady's
Psalter (i.e. the complete rosary of 150 Aves) for my soul, praying Master Cotell to receive this
money for them, and to deliver on five sundry days to each of them 1d. to say daily our Lady's
Psalter during the five days.
The writings of Charles Chiniquy are still being quoted with approval in anti-Catholic publications like Loraine Boettner's Roman Catholicism, and reprinted by 'evangelical' and 'bible' publications like the one referred to by our reader. Like twentieth century 'religious' dung beetles, these true 'Calathumphians' never tire of raking over the garbage pits of history.
The background to Charles Chiniquy's much publicized vendetta and untiring polemic against the Catholic Church would be unknown to all but a few people were it not for his popularity with 'Bible Christians'.
For this reason we offer the following summary of his career. Readers can then judge for themselves what credibility to attach to the testimony of the controversial former priest who was born in Quebec in 1809, and died aged 91 on January 16, 1900.
His story is a tragic one, granted the promise that his earlier years as a Catholic priest had contained.
He was obliged, on moral grounds, to leave the Diocese of Montreal in 1851, and was permitted to transfer to the diocese of Chicago late in the same year.
Because of his violent and depraved conduct (details of which may be found listed in Chiniquy, by Marcel Trudel, Professor of History at Laval University, Editions du Bien Public, 1955) Chiniquy was suspended from his priestly duties by the Bishop of Chicago
On August 19, 1856. On September 3, the same year, he was solemnly excommunicated. On August 22, 1858 Chiniquy founded the 'Catholic Christian Church,' called by his followers the 'Church of Chiniquy' claiming to be a 'reformer,' a 'modern-day Luther,' with a mission directly from Christ.
He took down the cross from his Church (which he refused to vacate), removed the Stations of the cross, the statue of our Lady, the altar and the tabernacle. He suppressed Confession against which he was to preach for the rest of his life, and he mocked devotion to the Mother of God, and the sacrifice of the Mass.
Anglicanism, And Archbishop's Wives
ANGLICANISM has been based on compromise,
illogicalities, unresolved contradictions and a mutual willingness not to push issues too far.
Its first Supreme Governor, Elizabeth I, understood this spirit very well. She greatly disliked
political sermons of any kind, and would interrupt them ('To you text, Mr Dean!'). She had a lifelong
distaste for clerical marriage, too. On the other hand, she was fond of Dr Parker, the first
Archbishop of Canterbury to practise it. He had been chaplain to her tragic mother, and often crossed
the river in state to dine at his Lambeth lodgings. Elizabeth's godson, Sir John Harington, tells us
that once, 'at her parting from thence, the Archbishop and his wife being together, [the Queen] gave
him very special thanks, with gracious and honourable terms, and then looking on his Wife, and you
(saith she) Madam, I may not call you, and Mrs I am ashamed to call you, so I know not what to call
you, but yet I do thank you'. In short, Elizabeth made her point, but did not press it, a true
His new Church lasted not much more than a year, and on February I, I860 he was received into the Presbyterian Church of the United States, and 'ordained' a minister.
His conduct was such that two and a half years later, on June 18, 1862, he was expelled from the Presbyterian Church of the United States for fraud and misappropriation of monies collected for a non-existent Protestant charity.
Chiniquy then applied to be admitted into the Presbyterian Church of Canada and on June 11, 1863 he was admitted as a minister.
On January 26 1864 he married Euphemie Allard, who had been his servant since 1857 and had three children by her, a son who died quite young and two daughters.
From then on, until the end of his long life, 'Pastor' Chiniquy gave thousands of public lectures, wrote numerous books and pamphlets denouncing Catholicism, the Pope, devotion to our Lady, the Mass, devotion to the saints, and all manner of Catholic 'superstitions'.
Chiniquy actually visited Australia as a guest of the local Presbyterians. In September 1878 he gave a talk in Sydney entitled 'Why I and 25,000 of my fellow-countrymen left the Church of Rome'. This attracted a great audience most of whom were disappointed to have to listen to an uninterrupted tirade of insults heaped on the Bishop of Chicago who excommunicated him.
The same 'message' was preached in various country towns in NSW and Victoria, and when Chiniquy went lo Tasmania riots broke out.
Catholics, incensed by the publicity and support given to the apostate priest by the Protestant establishment, finally reacted. They broke up two meetings in the Hobart Town Hall and reports of Irish Catholics pouring into Hobart by every available means caused the Tasmanian government to declare a state of emergency and call out the Volunteer Forces to keep the peace.
Because of the demonstrable lies and proven frauds perpetrated by Charles Chiniquy throughout his long life (see Chiniquy, referred to above pp. 22, 23, 49, 66-68, 152-154 also 2, 14, 16, 18ff, 30, 35ff, 48, 59, 68ff, 70, 71, 73, 80, 123ff, 130, 131, 134, 135, 137, 138, 153, 161, 163, 165, 166, 167, 176, 177, 192, 193-197, 199ff, 204, 205, 220, 221, 225, 226, 230, 232, 237ff, 239-245, 260-262, 264ff, 273, 289, 296, 297, 299, 300, 301, 302, 306, 308) some have accused him of hypocrisy and of being a bare-faced confidence-trickster.
It is probably fairer to see him as an unfortunate victim of his own delusions, and of the ingenuousness and intolerance of the 'bible' churches that paraded him like some kind of circus animal around the concert halls of the English and French speaking world.
When he stood in need of counselling and psychiatric help, he found his world of unreality and lies accepted as 'gospel truth' by a vast body of bigots in the Americas and Europe willing to use any means to discredit the object of their own unhealthy obsession: Catholicism.
In the last decade of the twentieth century one might be forgiven for thinking that Pastor Chiniquy's deranged tirades of lies and personal abuse against Catholics and Catholicism would have been laid to rest along with his bones, in 1900.
'Chick Publications,' to which our correspondent alludes, is a bitterly anti-Catholic publishing group that produces, among other things, comics that slander the Catholic Church.
Catholics need to form an organisation that will react to lying and hate-filled anti-Catholic publications and articles or TV or radio programmes, in much the same way as the Jewish Anti-Defamation League acts as a watchdog to identify and act against anti-Semitism.
AROUND 550 AD St Kentigem, the son of a British princess in southern Scotland, and bishop of Cumbria founded a Monastery at Llanelwy in North Wales which he entrusted to St Asaph who became the first Welsh bishop of the diocese that grew up around the Monastery, and which took his name.
Readers of our popular Almanac of Catholic Curiosities (p.76) will know that St Kentigem — also known as St Mungo (from Mungho, 'dearest') because that was the name given him by St Severn his first teacher— also founded the Cathedral of Cathures on the Clyde where Glasgow now stands, and was its first bishop.
IS THE BIBLE THE PRINCIPAL
RULE OF FAITH FOR CHRISTIANS?
CATHOLIC TRADITION IS THE KEY THAT
UNLOCKS THE SACRED SCRIPTURES
THE MASS AND/OR BIBLE SERVICE!
INVOKING THE SAINTS
DUE REVERENCE OR IDOLATRY! etc.
64 PAGES. Frank discussion of arguments commonly raised against the Catholic Church by fundamentalist evangelical sects. The principal objections are analysed and the Catholic Faith explained and defended. All Catholic homes and schools should have copies. Be sure to read it.
For current price and Subscriptions, please click on SUBSCRIPTIONS
To St Kentigem or St Asaph it would have been unthinkable that with the death of a successor of theirs in this remote Welsh See more than a thousand years later, the last link in the chain of Apostolic Succession that tied England and Wales to the See of Peter would be broken, and Catholicism would be outlawed for three hundred years in the land that was known as 'Mary's Dowry'.
The little-remembered story deserves to be re-told.
When Queen Mary died on November 17. 1558. and Elizabeth, Henry VIII's illegitimate daughter by Anne Bolyn, succeeded her as Queen of England, five of the twenty-seven dioceses of England were still vacant in the wake of the policies of her father, and her young brother, Edward VI, under whom England had been forced to renounce its Catholic faith and embrace Protestantism. Bishops had been nominated to four of these Sees, but their names had not been approved by the Pope at the time of Mary's death and all were set aside by Elizabeth. These 27 dioceses and the nominated bishops were as follows:
At the beginning of 1559, there were only sixteen Catholic bishops left alive in England. What happened to them?
One of them, Owen Oglethorpe of Carlisle, was prevailed upon to crown Elizabeth, lest, if the queen were to be made more angry than she already was, she would seize upon this as an excuse for overthrowing the Catholic religion of those who refused to anoint her. But the Coronation Service followed the liturgy of the Roman Ritual for the crowning of the monarch, with the anointing, Pontifical High Mass and the Communion, as well as the oath to defend the liberty of the Catholic Church. The grief that Bishop Oglethorpe felt at having been separated from his brother bishops by performing this ceremony is said to have 'greatly accelerated his death,' which occurred in prison on December 23,1559.
When the attendant bishops were asked to take the oath prescribed by the Act of Supremacy which rejected the Pope's authority and confirmed the queen as 'Supreme Governor of the Church' they all refused — with the exception of one bishop;
Augustine Birrell writes of them: 'there is something disappointing and non-apostolic about them, ' While that is true, they were, nevertheless, true Confessors for the Faith. There may not have been an Ambrose or Augustine among them, but the fate of the last Catholic hierarchy of England — called by Elizabeth 'a set of lazy scamps' — until Pius IX restored it in 1850, deserves to be better known.
The notorious William Cecil, creature of Henry VIII and then spymaster for Elizabeth, in his 'Execution of Justice in England,' (1583) says of the fate of the deposed bishops that they were simply removed 'from their ecclesiastical offices which they would not exercise according to law.'
According to Cecil, the future Lord Burghley, they were 'for a great time retained in bishops' houses in a very civil and courteous manner, without charge to themselves or their friends'. And while Burghley admits that some of them may have been treated more harshly, he adds that they were not 'called to any capital or bloody question' — a euphemism for not being hanged or burnt.
Even though the ultimate fate of a few of the bishops is unknown, it does appear that none of them was either burnt or hanged. Well-known Protestant historian Canon George Perry (born 1820), expressed amazement that this was so, and Alexander Nowell, the new Protestant Dean of St Paul's and Day, the Provost of Eton clamoured for their blood at the opening of Parliament on January 12, 1553, urging that 'killing the caged wolves' was justified. But what could they have been burnt for? As Birrell asks, 'who in the year 1559 would have been bold enough to declare that the Archbishop of York was a heretic for refusing an oath prescribed by an Act of the queen of the same year?'
So what did happen to the fifteen who held on to their Catholic Faith despite the
politico-religious pressures of Elizabeth and William Cecil?
With the death of Thomas Goldwell, the sixteenth century successor of St Kentigem and St Asaph, the ancient Catholic hierarchy that had served Britain well from the beginnings of Christianity until 1559, ceased to exist; the last link in the chain of Apostolic succession was broken; and the health-giving 'shadow of Peter' (Acts 5,15) that had fallen on the British Isles for fifteen hundred years was overshadowed by the figures like Martin Luther, Elizabeth Tudor and William Cecil, and others of whom the true story remains yet to be told.
The Danger of Remaining Cut Off From the Catholic Church
BRETHREN, there is one remedy: let them fear God, let them abandon Donatus.
You [Donatists] are perishing in heresy and schism; God must visit such things
with retribution; you will come to damnation; do not flatter yourself with your talk,
do not follow a blind guide, and both fall into the pit (Matt. xv 14). "What is that to
me?" my Donatist says;"as I lived yesterday, so will I live today; I will be what my
parents have been." You are not fearing God; reflect that all that is read in the
Gospel] is true, because it is the faith of Christ which cannot be deceived. How
can you remain in heresy in face of so great evidence of the holy Catholic Church
which God has spread over all the world, which God promised before he spread
it, foretold, and finally exhibited it as he promised? Let them beware and take
heed, who do not fear God — He hath stretched out his hand in retribution.
From "Catholic Answers to 'Bible' Christians" Vol. II, 1993.
Original article in "Annals Australia" - March, 1986.
Chevalier Press, Kensington, N.S.W. Australia.
Go to Vol. I HERE