Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
March 27, 1952
NUMBER 46, PAGE 10-11a

Roman Catholicism

Harry Pickup, Jr., Phoenix, Arizona

One, who is a Christian, cannot view the ravaged condition of Christianity and not have his soul stirred. As the many altars of the pantheistic Athenians stirred Paul to debate with them that he might teach them the truth of the One God, so we are stirred to like action by the variant philosophies of the modern "Stoics and Epicureans." The greatest enemy to Truth is an attitude of indifference and unconcern. It is a growing attitude among Christian people. A prevailing spirit of this kind will most certainly cause the church to lose her identity and Christians to lose their souls. As fine a remedy for this spiritual disease as I know was prescribed by Moses E. Lard for the church in his day, and since the same disease prevails now as then the same remedy should provide the cure. "Nothing could be of more service to us now than a little tough piquant controversy with our old hereditary foes, the sects. Some may doubt this. We are bold to think we know what we say when we thus speak. You never take your brother's part half so quickly as when you hear an old enemy slandering him. A little pressure from this quarter just now would have a fine effect. Let no brother fear to provoke it. To see the old lance of John Smith and battle-blade of J. T. Johnson burnished up once more would gladden us to the heart. A little of the blood these grand old warriors used to draw would be no mean bond of unions now."

No enemy of Truth is more thoroughly entrenched in Error than the Roman Catholic Church. Nor is any other enemy more capably "dug-in" for battle than she. She is great in power. She is most proficient at hiding her more uncomely parts behind the skirt of goodwill. Her skill at the game of politics is best shown by her increasing ability to array all anti-Catholics as Communists and all anti-Communists as Catholics. Through her powerful hierarchy (members of which have their personal convictions ultimately superseded by the conscience of their superiors) she is able to portray the kind of picture most beneficial to herself.

Under the guise of "prudence" she may play up or down a popular or unpopular doctrine, as it suits her case. For example: In parts of the country where race segregation is unpopular she permits her experts to write and speak freely against it. But in the south where this idea is still popular among some, she, for the sake of "prudence," gags those who would speak out in defense of her own teaching. Such is the case of "Father" George Dunne, of Phoenix, Arizona. This man is considered an expert by his own people on the race subject. He is important enough to have been selected to debate Mr. Paul Blanshard, author of "American Freedom and Catholic Power," in Harvard Law School Forum, before a "live audience of 2500 people and many more in the radio audience. Yet, because of "imprudence," it is common knowledge among Phoenix Catholics that Mr. Dunne is "under wraps" for teaching a Catholic truth at the wrong place at an inopportune time.

In parts of the country where the Bible is especially popular she makes a great appeal to the scriptures. For example: Among the Negroes. In more predominant Catholic sections she seldom uses the scriptures in a way that they may be considered necessary as an unqualified authority.

In certain parts of the universe she quite boldly asserts that no religion but the Catholic religion has the right to exist. Then in free countries, like America, she stoutly condemns religious despotism. For example: Father Pablo G. Lopez, S. J., in "Razon y Fe," a Spanish periodical said: "Spaniards discontented for religious reasons have no right to enjoy more ample religious freedom than they do enjoy. For one reason they are non-Catholics, and therefore in error; and error, even when in good faith has strictly speaking no right to show itself or ought not to be respected in its public manifestation, when these gravely injure the Catholicism of the immense majority of the nation."

But this kind of plain speech is too repulsive for American Catholics to swallow. So, to salve the wounds made by this foreign (?) attitude an American Catholic writer, John Cogley, in Look magazine of February 12, 1952, writing on "The Catholic Problem" said: "Even General Franco's (dictator of Spain, H. P., Jr.) most ardent American apologists would not want to see the Spanish concept of government transferred to this country. That is the heart of the matter."

It is fine to hear a Catholic "layman" give us these reassuring words but when we stop to consider that his convictions and sentiments are not his own but ultimately are those of the clergy we are more alarmed than ever.

In some sections of the country the Catholic Church plays down her efforts to convert non-Catholics; in other sections she makes no bones about her intentions along this line. I have had several discussions with George Dunne, the previously mentioned priest, and he assures me that the Catholic Church has no desire to convert me. When I ask him the Catholic position regarding my eternal condition he smiles benignly and says, "You are in the soul of the church." Another Catholic acquaintance answers that question this way: "you are in invincible ignorance." Which answers simply mean I am a Catholic and won't admit it or sense I am too ignorant to understand and since God's grace provides for fools, I need not lie awake nights worrying. The former reason impugns my honesty and the latter insults my intelligence.

Don't be fooled into believing the Catholic Church is not anxious to convert all non-Catholics. In Collier's magazine of November 10, 1951 the writer says of Archbishop Cushing: "He has also brought to Boston the Paulist Fathers whose chief concern is the non-Catholic as a prospective candidate for conversion."

However, the Christian is more concerned with the spiritual threat proffered by this organization than the political one. The R.C.C. is becoming more and more bold in challenging men to refute her claims. She knows that Protestantism in its mimicry of Catholicism is too weak and divided to wage any kind of successful war against its archenemy. When some part of Protestantism does not dare to accept the challenge boldly thrown by the Catholic Church its position is so insecurely built upon the foundation of Bible truths that the arguments used are quickly dispelled. There is no one else but the Lord's body who would dare accept the gauntlet. We should do so gladly in hope of surmounting the Cause of Error and rescuing millions who are unaware they need saving.

Let us examine her own teachings and see for ourselves what her attitude is toward non-Catholics. In "Question Box," New edition 1929, p. 117, St. Augustine is quoted on the question of "similar" religions. "Both of us have baptism, in that we are united. We have the same Gospel; in this we are united. They celebrate with us the feasts of martyrs; in this we also agree...But they are not with us in ALL things. They are not with us in their schism; they do not agree with us in their heresy. And by reason of those FEW things in which they are not with us, the MANY things on which they are avail them NOTHING." It would be well to keep this in mind when discussing with a Catholic on unity.

Again let her writer speak. In "Rebuilding A Lost Faith," p. 212; "Far be it from us to dare to set bounds to the boundless mercy of God;...we must hold, as of faith, that out of the apostolic Roman Church there is no salvation, and that she is the only ark of safety." The Catholic rebuttal to the implications in this argument is that she believes many non-Catholics may be saved through "invincible ignorance"; they have never had an adequate chance of knowing thoroughly her claims and truths. "Rebuilding A Lost Faith," p. 211. It would be difficult for many Americans to qualify as being in "invincible ignorance."

The Catholic Church is inviting us to "investigate" her. So we are. And this would be excellent advice for the average Catholic. One of the most popular Catholic prelates, Fulton J. Sheen in his "Old Errors, New Labels" had this to say: "The Catholic Church perhaps more than any other form of Christianity notices the decline in the art of controversy." There are hundreds of Gospel preachers who would welcome the opportunity of engaging in the "art of controversy" with a Catholic priest. But "prudence" or some other excuse continually prohibits it.

Here is a list of quotes which frankly tells what the Catholic Church thinks about herself. From "Question Box," p. 39: "Only one church — the church Catholic DARES teach as he taught with divine infallible certainty; only one church claims his divine pardoning power over the sins of men; only one church is founded on Peter, the Rock, teaching everywhere the same Gospel that Jesus and the apostle gave the world." "Question Box," p. 95: "She alone represents Christ, the Divine, Infallible Teacher, in conduct, belief and worship." Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 7, "Infallible," p. 791, Col. 1: "All who refuse to assent to her teaching are threatened with eternal damnation." "Finding Christ's Church," on the flyleaf, quote from Cardinal Newman: "This is the great, manifest, historical phenomenon which converted me, — to which all particular inquiries converged: Christianity is not a matter of opinion, but an eternal fact, entering into, carried out in, indivisible from, the history of the world. It has a bodily occupation of the world; it is one continuous fact or thing, the same from first to last, distinct from everything else: to be a Christian is to partake of, to submit to, this thing; and the simple question was, where, what is this thing in this age, which in the first age was the Catholic Church? The answer was undeniable; the church called Catholic now, is that very same thing, in hereditary descent, in organization, in principles, in external relations, which was called the Catholic Church then; name and thing have ever gone together, by an uninterrupted connection and succession, from then till now." "Question Box," p. 134: "The true church is apostolic in origin, doctrine and ministry."

From the above quotes it is easy to see why no Protestant dares to engage in the "art of controversy" with the Roman Catholic Church, which church "notices the decline" in this art and deplores it. These quotes should make the Christian soldier adjust his armor a little more securely, fasten his grip on the Sword a little tighter and "have at" this enemy who acts like Goliath before David. Having the same God as David we can expect the same results because "our God is able."