Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
September 13, 1951
NUMBER 19, PAGE 4,12b

Those Catholic Letters Again


Two months ago we printed a letter from a Catholic reader which he had sent as an answer to brother Cogdill's booklet, "The Origin and Claims of Roman Catholicism." In this issue we print another of the same sort. These letters are typical of a number that have been received in recent months. And we print them for the help they may be to our readers in their contacts with Catholics who may be seeking the truth.

It is interesting to observe in both these letters (as well as in others that have been received) the appeal to the Scriptures. This is quite unusual for Catholic laymen, and indicates that in spite of all prejudice and the persistent efforts of the hierarchy to immunize their minds against truth, some Catholics, in spite of their teaching, recognize the supreme and total authority of God's word. Otherwise, why appeal to it?

The fact that Catholic people are willing to read literature like brother Cogdill's booklet, that some of them (like Mr. Honkamp) are even circulating it among their friends in the priesthood, is most encouraging. A Catholic man can be taught the truth just like any other man if he is honest and is willing to study. And that many of them are learning the truth, and coming out of the darkness of their former traditions and superstitions is abundantly evident. Brother Aniceto Sparagna, the ex-priest, who as a faithful gospel preacher is now seeking to raise funds for work in New York City, estimates that no less than ONE THOUSAND PRIESTS abandon the Catholic Church every year! And for every one who openly breaks with Catholicism there are probably a score who would like to do so, and would do so were they not held back by fear and timidity. The retaliation the hierarchy brings on those who abandon Catholicism, especially priests, is fearsome indeed.

"Doth Protest Too Much"

"The lady doth protest too much, methinks," is one of Shakespeare's most famous lines (from Hamlet), and has lived because it shows deep insight into human nature. When one is guilty, or fearful, or uncertain, one is prove to exaggerate his affirmations out of all proportion. None can protest his innocence quite so vehemently as the man who is trying to cover guilt; none can brag of his courage quite so loudly as the man who has a sneaking, nagging fear that he will flee headlong at the first sign of danger. And none can argue with such violence for his beliefs as the man who is unsure of himself, uncertain as to his ground.

We believe these Catholic letters reveal more of their writers than was intended. The very fact that they felt called upon to deny so vigorously the points in Cogdill's book, that they were willing to spend the time and effort necessary to formulate a reply, shows something. How many of our readers, for example, make it a habit to write letters of disagreement and protest to the men who write books with which you do not agree? Such letters are written either by people who are cranks and extremely fanatical crack-pots on the one hand, or they are written by people who are arguing with themselves and trying to convince themselves by their own arguments on the other hand. These two letters we have published (and others like them) are not written by cranks or fanatics. They are written by men who are struggling with their own souls, men who have learned enough of the truth, and who have enough integrity of conscience, that they feel compelled to seek and find some justification for their remaining Catholics.

The battle with Catholicism is a battle for the souls of men. It is not merely our own liberties that are at stake, but it is a whole attitude toward truth. The hierarchy, imposing its authoritarian views from above, would stifle and finally destroy all individual initiative and all personal searches for the things that are right. It would compel men to accept the statements of the Catholic Church as truth, even when they knew those statements were not truth; it would stultify the conscience and stifle the intellect. It is from this confusing, inexorable tyranny of mind and heart that the modern Catholic man of honesty and integrity is so often trying desperately to break loose.

These Catholic friends of ours need every help and every sympathy. Their jibes and insults are not to be taken at face value; they are parroting what they have been taught—repeating it as often as not in a frantic effort to convince their own hearts. If they can be encouraged to continue reading and study; if they can be shown tolerance and understanding and sympathy, we have no doubt that thousands upon thousands of them can be brought forth from their bondage.

That such is happening in Italy even now is the heartening report of the gospel preachers who are working there. This editorial is being written in the study of the Brownfield church, Brownfield, Texas, and these brethren are in constant communication with brother Paden whom they support in Italy. It is thrilling indeed to hear of the open door that is evident in that priest-ridden land. People are hungering for something different; they will respond once they know the truth.

We rejoice to receive letters like the ones we print in this issue. There is an unrest in Catholicism, a dissatisfaction, a yearning hunger for something better and different. Those of us who have the truth know what it will take to satisfy that hunger. Let us not shun to declare the whole counsel of God.