Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
September 13, 1951
NUMBER 19, PAGE 6,14

Another Catholic Writes Cogdill

N. A. Honkamp, Crockett, California

(See Editorial Comment)

Dear Mr. Cogdill:

I have just finished glancing through and reading parts of your "The Origin and Claims of Roman Catholicism," which, by the way, is the wrong name for the Catholic Church, Catholics are called Catholics, not Roman Catholics. For this slight error, all Catholics could rule out pamphlets such as yours, as not for or against them. However, knowing your reference, as I type this, I am wondering what sort of person you must be. I am wondering whether or not you are happy; whether you love your work; whether you love anything but destruction, bigotry, and confusion, and are bitter, morose, and utterly confused. It would be interesting to know the inner-workings of men such as you, Martin Luther, and Henry VIII. Whether you actually mean or meant good alone. Furthermore, I wonder what you will gain by endeavoring to destroy the Catholic Church, and, if you could, just whom you would turn upon after that—you still would not have a universal church, assuming you and yours had the power to eliminate the Church.

You have made the wrong approach, Mr. Cogdill. For me, a man cannot build for unity, himself, or his ideals by destroying, chopping heads, name calling, and the like. A person should begin with leading questions and approach his objective through reason. It's good also to have two demonstrative premises, in endeavoring to make people see your conclusion. It's reasonable, too, that you might use a more Christ-like approach, rather than the ugliness of a Judas. Apart from the section on Apostasy (an Apostate is one who gives up the Christian faith entirely, which no Catholic has) and the Church's early and more advanced government, of which I know little, but of which I will endeavor to know more, now that you have brought it up, you have not appealed to reason, especially about the Church's desire for union of the Church and State, Communism, and the schools. Here, I believe you go on assumptions alone. Isn't it reasonable to believe that the Church is opposed to Communism when so many of her clergy are imprisoned by them?

I once told a Priest jokingly that, if another war comes, I would be a conscientious objector. He told me it would be wrong for me to do so, because as an American citizen I was obligated to fight. Does that sound un-American? I have never heard a Catholic clergyman advocate union of Church and State and the elimination of the public school system. In some countries possibly the union of Church and State would be good, as in Spain, but not here in the United States. For further evidence, I suggest you read David Goldstein's book, "Campaigners for Christ Handbook," published by Thomas J. Flynn and Co., Inc., 62-64 Essex Street, Boston, Mass.

I could question you in many instances, but because of time, space, and my limited knowledge, the above and one or two more will suffice. In your "Petros-Petra affair," you do not mention what language Christ spoke. I believe he spoke Syro-Chaldaic, not the Greek tongue. Here the word used is Sephas—the Rock. I refer you for your information to John 1:42. Christ foretells the change in names. Therefore, we may neglect the Petros-Petra. Again, if you state the Bible is all sufficient, what about the Sabbath Day? Do not you also keep holy Sundays. Nowhere in the Bible is Sunday mentioned. If the Bible is all sufficient, what about the passages Matt. 28:20; 2 Thess. 2:14, and Rom. 10:17? You cannot rightly dismiss these by saying these are not needed, or nothing was taught other than was written. Furthermore, if a Church was founded in 33 A.D., what church was it? And, if the Catholic Church arose from apostasy, what happened to the church established by Christ? There was no other church but the Catholic Church—all agreed to that. Now, if Christ's Church went into error, He did not live up to His promise to be with it all days. Therefore, according to this reasoning Christ lied, because the churches of Christ did not come into existence until after the Reformation, and then from another Protestant church at that. What about that period when you say the Catholic Church went into error until 1849 when the churches of Christ were established in Cincinnati from the Disciples of Christ Church? Also, who has stated that what the apostles have written, was actually written by them? If you say a fallible man, I'll never believe you.

By the way, the Americanism you mention in Leo XIII's encyclical has reference to a form of thinking and heresy in Europe at that time. It has no reference whatsoever to democracy as the form of government in the United States. In your meaning Americanism could also mean South America.

No, Mr. Cogdill, you have not convinced me the Catholic Church is Anti-Christ, Apostate, false, and all the other nasty things you have declared about her. In writing this I recall the many passages and sayings about the persecution of the church. Can you name me one church so thoroughly and longingly persecuted? On this basis alone, I would be inclined to go along with the Catholic Church—remembering Christ's persecution and the similarity.

Another thing, if you were to convince me of one error in the Catholic Church, I would never accept your church or any other church or faith. If you rule out the Catholic Church, you rule out all infallibility and inspiration on divine authority. All men, unless they have been given the power by God, are fallible. What reasonable man can accept the interpretation of a supposedly infallible Bible by a fallible man. If you believe this, then I have the right to interpret the Bible as I see it, against your claims, and you cannot deny me this privilege, nor anyone else. In fact, if you rule out the Catholic Church, I could not even accept the Bible or Christ. All I could be sure of is that I believe someone or something has caused my existence, that's all. I could never be sure any man is telling me about the true religion or church, because being fallible, he could be wrong. Where religion is concerned I want more than this, and I'm sure a good God wouldn't condemn me for this belief. A rational should have this much allowance at least.

Today, possibly more than ever, we need unity, good will toward men, and especially love for everything good. Whether you are aware of it or not, Mr. Cogdill, soon we may be fighting the powerful Russian government. If this happens it will be a struggle for our very existence, nothing less. Catholic boys will be fighting alongside Protestant boys, as they are today in Korea. The way you talk, you wouldn't possibly lift a finger, if a Catholic life could be saved, because that life would mean less Catholics for you to oppose. Maybe this is stretching a point, but this could be hidden between the lines of your writing. Don't you realize that Catholics will die for their faith? Those were Catholics who died during the early periods of the church; those were and are Catholic clergymen killed and dying yesterday and possibly today in Communist-dominated countries. Are you and the members of the churches of Christ willing to do this to all Catholics, if necessary? I hope you never answer affirmatively to this question. Again, would you actually be willing to die for your faith?

Evidently you think the Catholic Church is bad, but your pamphlet did not prove it to me. I have not seen this evil anywhere. There is not anti-Protestantism preached by Catholic clergymen. The Catholic clergymen and ministers of all faiths in the Armed Forces have the motto, "We agree to disagree agreeably." I attended Catholic and Protestant services while in the service, and I did not see any of the evil mentioned by you. If Catholics are stubborn about their faith, they have a right to be, because they believe that certain practices, doctrines, or whatever they may be, are what Christ commanded. You might respect that faith for it, and not give out with the face-blackening. Soon some Protestant sects will not allow Catholics to marry members of their churches, or so they claim they will. Do you think for one minute the Catholic Church will condemn them for it? Of course it will not; in fact, I've heard some Catholics say that that is good, and certainly Catholics will respect these denominations for what they have done and will do.

It seems that wherever I go, I meet someone trying to destroy or persecute the Catholic Church. I saw it in school, in the service, in my work, and now in your pamphlet, more anti-Catholicism than I have ever seen in any other pamphlet or book. Can you blame the Catholic Church for putting its Imprimatur on all literature subject to question and to which her members are subject? If I believed some sort of food was bad for my children, I would do all in my power to keep them away from it. This is all the church is endeavoring to do. That's the way I would think Christ would want it, because where He is concerned, you get above man and into the supernatural—something very difficult for all of us. At least, this is the way I want it, because I have learned through experience and study a person cannot depend on his reason entirely in spiritual matters. One can go so far, then he needs God's help. To suppose so is pride, the sin of our first parents.

I wonder if you really despise the Catholic Church as much as you lead your readers to believe, or say, as much as the Atheistic Communists. Certainly this is not Christian, Mr. Cogdill. I would think if anyone could destroy the church it would be the communists, not the churches of Christ.

Enclosed is $1.00 for copies of your pamphlet. A number of my Priest friends should enjoy the reading—I'm sure it's nothing new to them. It was not for Christ, Peter, and the apostles, early martyrs, St. Joan of Arc and all the other Saints, the church during the 18th and19th centuries, and presently today—down through the ages, and according to Christ to the end of time. I sincerely hope you hear from one or two of my Catholic friends, because what you have done will not help anyone, and such accusations should be denounced. You might be ignored by the church, I don't know, but if not by some Catholics, you should make the strong Catholics stronger, because they will prove you false to themselves, and of the others, if they are foolish enough to believe your accusations without positive proof, Agnostics or your disciples and followers, for whom I will be deeply sorry, because I don't believe then they will ever have peace of soul truly.

With this conclusion in mind, I ask you, what have you accomplished for your church?

Kindly send the pamphlets to me at the following address: Rm 15, Crockett Club, Crockett, California.

Yours for better understanding, N. A. Honkamp