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Radio Replies Second Volume - Confession
Celledoor.Com ^ | 1940 | Fathers Rumble & Carty

Posted on 12/12/2010 4:45:18 AM PST by GonzoII


736. On what Scriptural authority does the Catholic Church base its practice of Confession?

On the promise of Christ, as recorded in matthew 16, that He would give the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, and the power of binding and loosing to His Apostles and the Church. And again, on the fulfillment of that promise, with specific reference to absolution from sin, as recorded in Jn 20:23. There we are told that, having breathed upon the Apostles, Christ said to them: "Receive the Holy Ghost. Whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven; and whose sins you retain, they are retained." By those words He gave the power to the official representatives of the Church of forgiving or not forgiving sin as they judged fit; and promised to sanction and ratify their decision.

737. I have been told that "Whose sins you forgive," means that the Christian minister has the right only to assure people that God has forgiven sins of which we repent. Do you accept that interpretation?

It is an altogether inadequate and erroneous interpretation. Christ did not say, "When you assure people that God has forgiven people because of their repentance and faith, those people have been forgiven." He breathed upon the Apostles and said, "Receive ye the Holy Ghost." The action and the words indicate, not a promise of future guidance, but an actual communication of the Holy Spirit to them, by whose power they would be able to effect what He was telling them to do. We must note also that Christ had just declared that He was giving the Apostles a mission identical with that which He Himself had received from His Father. "As the Father sent Me," He said, "I also send you." Now Christ did not merely assure people that God had forgiven them when they showed signs of faith and repentance. He Himself came into this world to destroy sin, and He directly forgave sin in individual cases at His discretion. We must note, too, that the Greek word used for forgive is active, and signifies a positive and efficacious influence, not a mere declaration of a forgiveness which has already been effected by God. The interpretation given you, therefore, does not agree with the correct sense of Sacred Scripture.

738. Christ gave the power to the Apostles, not to the Bishops and priests of today.

As Christ conferred this power upon the Apostles, they conferred it in turn upon those whom they ordained and consecrated. These, in turn, ordained others; and by an uninterrupted succession of lawfully consecrated Bishops, the power has been retained and transmitted in the Church. Normally the Church comes into contact with individual subjects through her priests, not through her Bishops who preside over large sections of the Church. And the Church exercises her absolving powers through priests. That is why St. Paul wrote to Titus, "For this cause I left thee in Crete that thou shouldst ordain priests in every city, as I also have appointed thee." Titus 1:5. As a matter of fact, the Sacrament of Penance, if it is to be available to all men, as it must be, simply has to be exercised by priests, for no Bishop would be able to deal with all the faithful of a whole diocese. Christ instituted this Sacrament for the necessities of men, and He certainly did so in a way in which it could be applied to them in their necessities. Never in the history of the Church from earliest Apostolic times was it ever questioned that priests as well as Bishops possessed this power in virtue of their ordination.

739. In John 20:23, Christ spoke to His Apostles, not to any pastors of today. I cannot therefore believe the Catholic teaching.

To that I must say, firstly, that you ask an absolutely impossible condition before you will believe. You would believe only provided all the priests of all succeeding ages could have been present simultaneously when Christ gave the power of forgiving sin. Secondly, you forget that Christ established a Church which He said would last all days even to the end of the world. And that Church had to continue just as He established it, retaining all the powers He intended its pastors to possess. And in Jn 20:23, you see Him endowing the pastors of the infant Church with the essential power to forgive sin. The same Church through the ages must retain within herself that same power.

740. By saying our prayers each evening, and telling our sins directly to God, they are just as surely forgiven as telling them to a priest.

Are you sure of that? How much time do you devote to the examination of your conscience, to the discovery of your sins, and to the realization of their guilt? Do you know what dispositions of soul are required for the forgiveness of sin? And do you understand your obligations of restitution and reparation of harm done to others by your sins? Again, if forgiveness is obtained privately, and without recourse to a priest, why did Christ so solemnly confer upon the Apostles the power to forgive sins, saying, "Receive the Holy Ghost: whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven"? That was quite unnecessary if the power was not to be exercised. And Christ did not confer unnecessary powers upon the Church. As a matter of fact your idea springs from an inadequate notion, not only of Scripture, but also of the Christian character. The Christian who sins is guilty against himself, against the Church and against God. He recovers grace by his own actions, by the action of the Church, and by the action of God. Within himself he repents, to the Church he confesses and is warned of his duties; and, through the priest, God forgives. I might add that a favorite charge against the Catholic Church used to be that it is a great advantage to get rid of all one's sins in a moment by one Confession. But you at least realize that Confession is an uncomfortable penalty. And you wish an easier method still by wanting to get rid of your sins in a moment without Confession. You will never taunt Catholics, therefore, with choosing an easier way out than is available to Protestants.

741. The forgiveness of sin is an act that can only be done by God.

Correct. But God can do it personally and immediately, or He can exercise His power through chosen human instruments. In either case it remains His own power. The only real question to be solved is as to whether God did ever delegate His power to forgive sin to human beings. I have shown that Christ said to His very human Apostles, "Whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven." Will you accept the truth of those words, or will you reject belief in Christ? If you reject belief in Christ, you must cease to be a Protestant. If you accept the fact that He left to His Church the power to forgive sin, then you must become a Catholic. The choice, of course, must be left to yourself, and to the grace of God.

742. To apply to a priest seems like snubbing the Almighty.

It is no more like snubbing God than it would be like snubbing the King to respect and submit to the authority of an Ambassador fully accredited by the King. In fact, to refuse to acknowledge the spiritual authority of those men who have been commissioned by God to exercise it, is to snub God. That is why Christ said to His Apostles, "He that despisetlh you, despiseth Me, and he that despiseth Me despiseth Him that sent Me." Lk 10:16.

743. What advantage have Catholics in the practice of Confession to a priest?

They have at least the advantage of fulfilling Christ's definite will. But the practice of Confession has immense advantages. It steadies the flood of evil by imposing a real and periodical check. It forces men to recollect themselves, and pay attention to their spiritual state in order to give an account of it. It unmasks sin, robbing it of its charm, and showing up its true malice and hypocrisy. It restores to people the control of their souls, revives their resources, and helps to break their perverse inclinations. At the same time, it is a great consolation. It lightens the soul's worries and anxieties, and gives certainty of pardon. Even though heaven seems mute, it assures the soul that God still loves and offers only encouragement. It guarantees a clean sheet on which one may yet write holiness and virtue. Hundreds of Protestants have regretted the loss of the confessional, and write wistfully and longingly of the boon it must be to Catholics.

744. If a man wanted to confess his sins, but died unexpectedly before he could do so, surely his sins would not be held against him because of his inability.

On your very hypothesis, such a man would go to Confession if he could. Since he cannot, God forgives him in virtue of his will to go to Confession, giving him the necessary graces to enable him to make an act of perfect contrition.

745. If this sin is not held against him, why the need of the confessional?

Since Christ instituted Confession as the normal means of forgiveness, the actual use of this Sacrament is normally necessary. If a Catholic secures forgiveness apart from Confession, it is only insofar as he is unable to confess, and insofar as he has the will to do so, were it possible. If he were in such dispositions that he would not confess, did the opportunity present itself, he would not be forgiven. It is one thing to be forgiven because one has the will to fulfill all that God requires, yet does not do so only because prevented by circumstances beyond one's control. It is quite another to demand forgiveness on one's own terms, deliberately rejecting the normal means instituted by Christ.

746. What justification is there for imposing penances in Confession?

Protestants, of course, deny not only the necessity of confessing one's sins, but also the obligation to make personal satisfaction for them by penitential works. For a Catholic, sufficient justification for the imposition of penances is found in the fact that the Catholic Church requires it as part of the Sacrament of Confession. For to that Church our Lord has said, "Whatever you bind upon earth is bound also in heaven." We accept the laws of our religion because they have the authority of Christ latent within them, not because we ourselves happen to approve of their wisdom or of the reasons for them. However, there are reasons for the law that penances must be imposed upon those who seek forgiveness of sin in Confession; and those reasons are based upon the known will of God in relation to the forgiveness of sins in general, and also upon the very nature of the Sacrament of Confession as instituted by Christ.

747. Could you give me the reasons for this discipline?

As I have said, they are based upon God's own procedure in dealing with sin, the teachings of Christ, and the very nature of the Sacrament of Confession. In the Old Testament God Himself couples the forgiving of sin with the imposing of penances. The very sufferings and miseries that came upon the human race because of sin show that sin must be expiated. God forgave David the great sin that king had committed, yet despite the forgiveness, exacted a penalty. "Because thou hast repented," He said, "thy sin is forgiven thee. Nevertheless, because thou hast done this thing, thy own son shall die, and shall not live." 2 Kings 12:13-14. Through the Prophet Joel, God gave the general law, "Be converted to Me with all your heart, in fasting and mourning." Joel 2:13. In addition to sorrow, the people had to inflict the penance of fasting upon themselves. Again God said, "Redeem thy sins by alms-giving." By depriving themselves of their goods in favor of the poor people can compensate the unlawful pleasures they have taken at the expense of God's law. Protestants admit that these principles held good in the Old Law, but say that Christ has expiated our sins on the Cross, and that we are exempt from such expiation. But this is not true. The New Testament does not exempt us from the need of penitential expiation of sin. It insists that we take up our cross as Christ carried His; that we suffer with Christ, and fill up in ourselves what is wanting to the sufferings of Christ.

Christ did not suffer so as to free us from the need of expiating our own sins, but that we might be able to expiate them with greater success and merit in union with Him. Finally, Christ instituted the Sacrament of Penance, sanctifying the whole penitential process. He said to the Apostles, "Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven." He gave them a truly judicial power, requiring the hearing of the case, a sentence of forgiveness or otherwise, and the imposition of due reparation.

748. I should think that with perfect contrition for one's sins, the priest's absolution should be enough.

Firstly, I might ask how you could be sure that any particular penitent's contrition is perfect. There are many degrees of sorrow, and many variations of motive. Again, even though the sorrow were perfect, remember that God said, "Be converted to Me with all your heart, in fasting and mourning." You would say that to be converted with all one's heart should be enough! Finally, if one has really perfect contrition he wants to make reparation for his offences against God. He feels that he can never do enough to expiate them. Thus the Saints, who excelled all others in loving contrition and sorrow, excelled others also in their spirit of penance, self-denial, and mortifications. The more deeply men plunge into sin, and the weaker their spirit of contrition, the less they see the need of self-accusation and penitential expiation. Those who fight against sin, emancipate themselves from it, and develop perfect sorrow for their own past infidelities, see how evil sin is, and how it does deserve, not only the sufferings permitted by God, but self-inflicted penances as well.

749. Must a priest keep silent about the sin of a murderer confessed to him, if an innocent man is condemned for the crime?

The priest would violate his Christian obligations did he betray his penitent under any circumstances whatever from knowledge secured in the confessional. Firstly, evidence in civil law courts is given by witnesses in their capacity as citizens. But the criminal did not confess to the priest in his capacity as a citizen of the State, but in his capacity as the agent of God. And as God Himself keeps silent, allowing even mistaken human procedure to take its course, so must the priest keep silent. Secondly, the priest's silence is not the cause of the innocent man's arrest and punishment. That would have occurred whether the real criminal went to Confession or not. Thirdly, if the priest did act as you suggest he should, far greater evils would arise from his conduct than the one you think he could avert. If Catholics are subject to the obligation of confessing their sins in order to secure God's forgiveness, they must know that they can do so with absolute confidence and security. Any betrayal of a penitent who has come to Confession in order to fulfill a conscientious obligation imposed by God would be outrageous. And the Catholic law that the seal of Confession obliges everywhere and always, and permits of no exceptions whatever, is the only just law.

750. This seems a mockery to me.

That is because you have little knowledge of comparative moral obligations.

751. To my mind the priest should be treated as an ordinary accessory after the fact.

Since God knows, even as the priest shares in the knowledge proper to God, would you hold God as equally guilty for His silence?

752. What if the priest's own innocent father or brother or mother were condemned? Could he expose the real murderer then?

If the priest had no other knowledge from external sources independently of the murderer's Confession he would be bound to absolute silence. No sin submitted for absolution in the confessional may be used in any way at all by the priest outside of Confession. This law admits of no exception. If a man confessed to me that he had sinned by resolving to shoot me, I would simply have to commend myself to God's protection. Did I know where the man kept his revolver, I could not even go and remove it; for I would be making external use of knowledge secured in the Sacrament of Confession. There are many grave reasons for this severe legislation. Firstly, every penitent who manifests his sins to a priest in order to obtain absolution, does so only on the understanding that the priest will respect his confidence absolutely. And the moment a priest agrees to hear anyone's Confession, he practically enters into a contract to preserve silence concerning all sins manifested to him. Secondly, besides this contract, Christ intended the Sacrament to be in favor of the penitent. If people thought that, under certain circumstances, the priest could reveal what he hears in the confessional, they would either stay away, or be gravely tempted to conceal their sins; which would turn a Sacrament meant for their good into an occasion of grave spiritual injury. Thirdly, the legislation of the Church demands obedience. And the Fourth Lateran Council manifested clearly how strict is the mind of the Church in this matter. That Council decreed as follows: "Let the priest be most careful not to betray any penitent, by word, or sign, or in any other way. Any priest who presumes to reveal a sin manifested to him in Confession must not only be deposed from his priestly office, but must be sent to an enclosed monastery, there to do penance for the rest of his life." And the law, as I have said, permits of no exception.

753. But if the priest does not speak, would he not be morally guilty of his innocent mother's death?

No. It would, of course, be a terrible trial for any priest. But he would have to accept the trial, and permit things to take their course. He is not morally guilty of his mother's death, for that death would take place just the same, had the murderer not gone to him for Confession. Therefore, the priest's hearing of the murderer's Confession does not cause his mother's death. Her death is unfortunately due to the mistake of the civil authorities. If you say that at least the priest could save his mother by speaking, I can but reply that he is not morally free to speak, and that he would not therefore be morally guilty of her death. He is not morally free to speak, because he has no information as a human being, and in his capacity as a citizen of this world. St. Thomas Aquinas, one of the greatest of theologians, thus explains the matter. "While hearing Confessions, the priest acts in the name of God, and should behave as God Himself behaves. But God does not reveal, but keeps silent concerning sins manifested in Confession." The priest may use only that knowledge which he acquires in the ordinary way in which other men acquire knowledge. But what he hears in Confession is to be regarded as unknown, since he does not know as a man, but shares in a knowledge proper to God alone. After all, God knows all things. And God is not morally guilty of the poor woman's death owing to the mistakes of men. Nor is God obliged to work a miracle to save her. He has entrusted the administration of justice to men in this world; and He will rectify all errors in His own good time. An innocent person may die through an accident of law, just as other innocent persons die through the accident of a motorist's false judgment, or the geological accident of an earthquake. And the priest, in the case you give, is unable to prevent the accident of his mother's death, and is certainly not morally guilty of that miscarriage of justice. Whatever you think of this reasoning, however, the fact remains that, according to the laws of the Catholic Church, no priest could betray the sin told him in the confessional.

754. Does not your Church easily reconcile itself to sin?

No. She is ever ready to reconcile the repentant sinner to God. But never can the Catholic Church justify sin of any kind. In her eyes sin is the greatest of evils. But it is not an irreparable evil. After sin, all is not finished. All can and should be put right with God. The sinner can be purified and rise as high as before. And Christ has sent His Church precisely to save people from their sins.

755. My observations suggest that your Church has quite a special love for sinners.

Your observations have led you into error. The Catholic Church has a special love for those of her members who make special efforts to live a life of virtue and holiness. At the same time, while she has not a special love for sinners, she does extend to them a special mercy and gentleness. They have more need of sympathy than others, and Christ Himself said that He came, not for those who need not the physician, but for the sick.

756. If a criminal is pardoned by the State, society never fully esteems him again.

Society does not see the heart, and scarcely has a heart. Jesus set the example to His Church by making His friends from amongst sinners.

757. Despite their frequent Confessions Catholics frequently fall into the same sins? How often can they get forgiveness?

You omit reference to the hosts of Catholics who have gradually grown out of their sins with the help of frequent Confession. Meantime, those who do not make much progress may lack earnest effort, but more often their sins are due, not to malice, but to frailty. By temperament and heredity they may have very strong tendencies to sinful attractions, or they may be subject to the force of habits, habits which may be due to past guilt, yet which may diminish present guilt. When you ask how often they can secure forgiveness, I say as often as they are truly repentant at the moment they seek absolution. God's love is such that even the obstinate infidelity of His children cannot exhaust His mercy. And He is ever ready to pardon even a multitude of sins. Jesus spoke of forgiveness, not seven times, but seventy times seven times. He knows our weakness, and supplies for it. To all sinners He says, "Come to Me, and I will refresh you." And in promising forgiveness, He does not add, "Unless, of course, your sins be your own fault."

758. Catholics are thus encouraged to think that they can go on sinning with impunity.

Can a Protestant who commits a sin secure forgiveness of that sin? You will have to say yes, or all Protestants are damned, for they all commit sin. Now does the thought that they can get forgiveness lead them to think they can commit further sin with impunity? Again, which is likely to prove the greater deterrent against future sin, the thought that one can get forgiveness without Confession, or the thought that one will be able to get forgiveness only provided one is willing to confess that sin to a priest? Tell me, would you find the thought of having to confess all your own sins to a priest pleasant or repugnant? If repugnant, would not the inducement be not to sin, rather than have to confess it? And cannot Protestants, therefore, get away with sin more easily than Catholics? Furthermore, is Confession an inducement to sin when no priest can forgive any sin unless the penitent is resolved to try to avoid it in the future and is prepared to repair the harm done to others, if any? And are Catholics lulled into the false idea that they can sin with impunity when they are told that, while the guilt of their sin is forgiven by sacramental absolution, they will yet have to expiate their sins in purgatory, and that accumulated sins will mean accumulated sufferings there? If there is one thing you cannot say, it is that the Catholic Church encourages the idea that people can sin with impunity.

759. Do you believe it is right to ask a girl at Confession all the filthy questions on immorality that the teaching of St. Ligouri advises and the Church upholds?

I don't believe it is right to ask any penitent at Confession any filthy questions. The teaching of St. Alphonsus Liguori does not advise such questions nor does the Church sanction such questions. As you have no experience whatever of this matter, whereas I have heard thousands of Confessions and am quite conversant with the principles of moral theology, including the teaching of St. Alphonsus Liguori, concerning the duties of a confessor towards his penitents, you will excuse my saying that you do not know what you are talking about. Every priest knows how to ask any information necessary for an adequate Confession, or the spiritual advice of a penitent, without trespassing against the requirements of delicacy and propriety, and without offending against the susceptibilities of any who seek his advice and help. If the confessional should be abolished because of the peculiar notions invented concerning it by the diseased imaginations of bigots who know nothing of it, then there is scarcely an institution for the spiritual, mental, or even physical welfare of human beings that should not be blown up with gelignite.

760. The recital of sins and their details must involve the moral corruption of both priest and penitent.

That's just what it must not do. Do you imagine that there are no rules governing the conduct of priests in the confessional? No one is ordained a priest without long training in moral theology, and the principles governing all his duties. If a penitent commences to go into unnecessary details, he forbids further explanation. If he has to interrogate penitents, he is guided by rules of prudence, keeping ever before his eyes the rule given by all theologians that it is better to err by defect in many things than to exceed even by one question in that which is indelicate. But I have said enough to show that your preconceived notions afford no sufficient ground for your opinion.

Encoding copyright 2009 by Frederick Manligas Nacino. Some rights reserved.
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0

TOPICS: Apologetics; Catholic; Theology
KEYWORDS: catholic; radiorepliesvoltwo

Preface To Volume One of "Radio Replies"



Bishop Fulton J. Sheen

There are not over a hundred people in the United States who hate the Catholic Church. There are millions, however, who hate what they wrongly believe to be the Catholic Church — which is, of course, quite a different thing. These millions can hardly be blamed for hating Catholics because Catholics "adore statues"; because they "put the Blessed Mother on the same level with God"; because they say "indulgence is a permission to commit sin"; because the Pope "is a Fascist"; because the "Church is the defender of Capitalism." If the Church taught or believed any one of these things it should be hated, but the fact is that the Church does not believe nor teach any one of them. It follows then that the hatred of the millions is directed against error and not against truth. As a matter of fact, if we Catholics believed all of the untruths and lies which were said against the Church, we probably would hate the Church a thousand times more than they do.

If I were not a Catholic, and were looking for the true Church in the world today, I would look for the one Church which did not get along well with the world; in other words, I would look for the Church which the world hates. My reason for doing this would be, that if Christ is in any one of the churches of the world today, He must still be hated as He was when He was on earth in the flesh. If you would find Christ today, then find the Church that does not get along with the world. Look for the Church that is hated by the world, as Christ was hated by the world. Look for the Church which is accused of being behind the times, as Our Lord was accused of being ignorant and never having learned. Look for the Church which men sneer at as socially inferior, as they sneered at Our Lord because He came from Nazareth. Look for the Church which is accused of having a devil, as Our Lord was accused of being possessed by Beelzebub, the Prince of Devils. Look for the Church which, in seasons of bigotry, men say must be destroyed in the name of God as men crucified Christ and thought they had done a service to God. Look for the Church which the world rejects because it claims it is infallible, as Pilate rejected Christ because He called Himself the Truth. Look for the Church which is rejected by the world as Our Lord was rejected by men. Look for the Church which amid the confusion of conflicting opinions, its members love as they love Christ, and respect its Voice as the very voice of its Founder, and the suspicion will grow, that if the Church is unpopular with the spirit of the world, then it is unworldly, and if it is unworldly, it is other-worldly. Since it is other-worldly it is infinitely loved and infinitely hated as was Christ Himself. But only that which is Divine can be infinitely hated and infinitely loved. Therefore the Church is Divine.

If then, the hatred of the Church is founded on erroneous beliefs, it follows that basic need of the day is instruction. Love depends on knowledge for we cannot aspire nor desire the unknown. Our great country is filled with what might be called marginal Christians, i.e., those who live on the fringe of religion and who are descendants of Christian living parents, but who now are Christians only in name. They retain a few of its ideals out of indolence and force of habit; they knew the glorious history of Christianity only through certain emasculated forms of it, which have married the spirit of the age and are now dying with it. Of Catholicism and its sacraments, its pardon, its grace, its certitude and its peace, they know nothing except a few inherited prejudices. And yet they are good people who want to do the right thing, but who have no definite philosophy concerning it. They educate their children without religion, and yet they resent the compromising morals of their children. They would be angry if you told them they were not Christian, and yet they do not believe that Christ is God. They resent being called pagans and yet they never take a practical cognizance of the existence of God. There is only one thing of which they are certain and that is that things are not right as they are. It is just that single certitude which makes them what might be called the great "potentials," for they are ready to be pulled in either of two directions. Within a short time they must take sides; they must either gather with Christ or they must scatter; they must either be with Him or against Him; they must either be on the cross as other Christs, or under it as other executioners. Which way will these marginal Christians tend? The answer depends upon those who have the faith. Like the multitudes who followed Our Lord into the desert, they are as sheep without a shepherd. They are waiting to be shepherded either with the sheep or goats. Only this much is certain. Being human and having hearts they want more than class struggle and economics; they want Life, they want Truth, and they want Love. In a word, they want Christ.

It is to these millions who believe wrong things about the Church and to these marginal Christians, that this little book is sent. It is not to prove that they are "wrong"; it is not to prove that we are "right"; it is merely to present the truth in order that the truth may conquer through the grace of God. When men are starving, one need not go to them and tell them to avoid poison; nor to eat bread because there are vitamins in bread. One need only go to them and tell them that they are starving and here is bread, and the laws of nature will do the rest. This book of "Radio Replies" with 1,588 questions and answers goes out on a similar mission. Its primary task is not to humble the erroneous; not to glorify the Catholic Church as intellectual and self-righteous, but to present the truth in a calm, clear manner in order that with the grace of God souls may come to the blessed embrace of Christ.

It is not only the point of "Radio Replies" to prove that the Church is the only completely soul-satisfying Church in existence at the present day; it is also to suggest that the Catholic Church is the only Church existing today which goes back to the time of Christ. History is so very clear on this point, it is curious how many minds miss its obviousness. When therefore you, the readers of "Radio Replies" in the twentieth century, wish to know about Christ and about His early Church, and about His mysteries, we ask you to go not only to the written records but to the living Church which began with Christ Himself. That Church or that Mystical Person which has been living all these centuries is the basis of our faith and to us Catholics it speaks this way: "I live with Christ. I saw His Mother and I know her to be a Virgin and the loveliest and purest of all women in heaven or on earth; I saw Christ at Caesarea-Philippi, when, after changing Simon's name to Rock, He told him he was the rock upon which the Church would be built and that it would endure unto the consummation of the world. I saw Christ hanging on a cross and I saw Him rise from His tomb; I saw Magdalene rush to His feet; I saw the angels clad in white beside the great stone; I was in the Cenacle room when doubting Thomas put fingers into His hands; I was on Olivet when He ascended into heaven and promised to send His Spirit to the apostles to make them the foundation of His new Mystical Body on earth. I was at the stoning of Stephen, saw Saul hold the garments of those who slew him, and later I heard Saul, as Paul, preach Christ and Him crucified; I witnessed the beheading of Peter and Paul in Rome, and with my very eyes saw tens of thousands of martyrs crimson the sands with their blood, rather than deny the faith Peter and Paul had preached unto them; I was living when Boniface was sent to Germany, when Augustine when to England, Cyril and Methodius to the Poles, and Patrick to Ireland; at the beginning of the ninth century I recall seeing Charlemagne crowned as king in matters temporal as Peter's vicar was recognized as supreme in matters spiritual; in the thirteenth century I saw the great stones cry out in tribute to me, and burst into Gothic Cathedrals; in the shadows of those same walls I saw great Cathedrals of thought arise in the prose of Aquinas and Bonaventure, and in the poetry of Dante; in the sixteenth century I saw my children softened by the spirit of the world leave the Father's house and reform the faith instead of reforming discipline which would have brought them back again into my embrace; in the last century and at the beginning of this I heard the world say it could not accept me because I was behind the times. I am not behind the times, I am only behind the scenes. I have adapted myself to every form of government the world has ever known; I have lived with Caesars and kings, tyrants and dictators, parliaments and presidents, monarchies and republics. I have welcomed every advance of science, and were it not for me the great records of the pagan world would not have been preserved. It is true I have not changed my doctrine, but that is because the ‘doctrine is not mine but His who sent Me.’ I change my garments which belong to time, but not my Spirit which belongs to eternity. In the course of my long life I have seen so many modern ideas become unmodern, that I know I shall live to chant a requiem over the modern ideas of this day, as I chanted it over the modern ideas of the last century. I celebrated the nineteen-hundredth anniversary of the death of my Redeemer and yet I am no older now than then, for my Spirit is Eternal, and the Eternal never ages. I am the abiding Personage of the centuries. I am the contemporary of all civilizations. I am never out of date, because the dateless; never out of time, because the timeless. I have four great marks: I am One, because I have the same Soul I had in the beginning; I am Holy, because that Soul is the Spirit of Holiness; I am Catholic, because that Spirit pervades every living cell of my Body; I am Apostolic, because my origin is identical with Nazareth, Galilee and Jerusalem. I shall grow weak when my members become rich and cease to pray, but I shall never die. I shall be persecuted as I am persecuted now in Mexico and Russia; I shall be crucified as I was on Calvary, but I shall rise again, and finally when time shall be no more, and I shall have grown to my full stature, then shall I be taken into heaven as the bride of my Head, Christ, where the celestial nuptials shall be celebrated, and God shall be all in all, because His Spirit is Love and Love is Heaven."



Introduction To The American Edition Of "Radio Replies" Vol One


"Radio Replies" by Rev. Dr. Rumble, M.S.C., is the result of five years of answering questions during a one-hour Question Box Program over Radio Station 2SM Sydney, N.S.W. The revision of "Radio Replies" for American readers was prompted by the widespread interest the Australian edition created among Protestants and Catholics during the summer of 1937, when I was carrying on as a Catholic Campaigner for Christ, the Apostolate to the man in the street through the medium of my trailer and loud-speaking system. In the distribution of pamphlets and books on Catholicism "Radio Replies" proved the most talked of book carried in my trailer display of Catholic literature. The clergy and laymen engaged in Street Preaching agree that it is not so much what you say over the microphone in answer to questions from open air listeners but what you GET INTO THEIR HANDS TO READ.

My many converts of the highways and parks throughout the Archdiocese of St. Paul have embraced the faith as a result of studying this book. Whole families have come into the Church through reading the book by this renowned convert from Anglicanism. The delay in getting copies from Sydney and the prohibitive cost of the book on this side of the universe led me to petition the author to have published a CHEAP AMERICAN EDITION in order to get this Encyclopaedia of Catholic Doctrine into the hands of fellow citizens. Because of the author's genius for brevity, preciseness, fearlessness and keen logic that avoids the usually long Scriptural and Traditional arguments of the average question and answer book, which is beyond the capacity of the man in the street, this manual of 1,588 questions and replies has already attracted readers throughout Australia, New Zealand, Africa, India, England, Ireland, Canada and now the United States.

The questions he answers are the questions I had to answer before friendly and hostile audiences throughout my summer campaign. The piquant and provocative subject matter of this book makes it a fascinating assembly of 300 or more worth-while pamphlet tracts, a dictionary of doctrine for the desk of the FAMILY, the STUDENT, the SHOP HAND, the OFFICE WORKER, the ATTORNEY, the DOCTOR, the TEACHER, and the PREACHER. It is a handy standard reference book of excellence for popular questions which are more than ever being asked by restless and bewildered multitudes. It is a textbook for the Confraternities of Christian Doctrine Classes and Study Clubs.

A non-Catholic Professor after reading the book stated that, "If the Catholic Church could defend herself so logically as 'Radio Replies' demonstrates, then I do not see why you don't get more converts." Members of the Knights of Columbus, the Holy Name Societies and numerous women's societies have written in that they no longer have to apologetically say, "I can't answer that one." Catholic students in non-sectarian colleges and universities write in that they now walk the campus with this book under their arms, ready for all challenges and that this manual of ready reference has cured their INFERIORITY COMPLEX ON EXPOSITION OF CATHOLIC CLAIMS. Lapsed Catholics have come into my trailer-office to confess that the reading of "Radio Replies" has brought them back to the Church.

I am grateful to His Excellency Archbishop John G. Murray, D.D. for his approval of this compendium of dogmatic and moral theology for readers of the American Commonwealth and I am deeply appreciative to Rt. Rev. Msgr. Fulton J. Sheen, D.D. for writing the Preface to this American edition.

From my experience on the Catholic Radio Hour, on the lecture platform, and in the pulpit, I do not hesitate to say that HERE AT LAST is the book that has something for everybody, the book for the UNINFORMED CATHOLIC, THE UNEDUCATED AND EDUCATED LAPSED CATHOLIC, and the PROSPECTIVE CONVERT.

Rev. Charles Mortimer Carty




Historical Context of "Radio Replies"

By markomalley

If one recalls the time frame from which Radio Replies emerged, it can explain some of the frankness and lack of tact in the nature of the responses provided.

It was during this timeframe that a considerable amount of anti-Catholic rhetoric came to the forefront, particularly in this country. Much of this developed during the Presidential campaign of Al Smith in 1928, but had its roots in the publication of Alexander Hislop's The Two Babylons, originally published in book form in 1919 and also published in pamphlet form in 1853.

While in Britain (and consequently Australia), the other fellow would surely have experienced the effects of the Popery Act, the Act of Settlement, the Disenfranchising Act, the Ecclesiastical Titles Act, and many others since the reformation (that basically boiled down to saying, "We won't kill you if you just be good, quiet little Catholics"). Even the so-called Catholic Relief Acts (1778, 1791, 1829, 1851, 1871) still had huge barriers placed in the way.

And of course, they'd both remember the American Protective Association, "Guy Fawkes Days" (which included burning the Pontiff in effigy), the positions of the Whigs and Ultra-Torries, and so on.

A strong degree of "in your face" from people in the position of authoritativeness was required back in the 1930s, as there was a large contingent of the populations of both the US and the British Empire who were not at all shy about being "in your face" toward Catholics in the first place (in other words, a particularly contentious day on Free Republic would be considered a mild day in some circles back then). Sure, in polite, educated circles, contention was avoided (thus the little ditty about it not being polite to discuss religion in public, along with sex and politics), but it would be naive to assume that we all got along, or anything resembling that, back in the day.

Having said all of the above, reading the articles from the modern mindset and without the historical context that I tried to briefly summarize above, they make challenging reading, due to their bluntness.

The reader should also keep in mind that the official teaching of the Church takes a completely different tone, best summed up in the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

817 In fact, "in this one and only Church of God from its very beginnings there arose certain rifts, which the Apostle strongly censures as damnable. But in subsequent centuries much more serious dissensions appeared and large communities became separated from full communion with the Catholic Church - for which, often enough, men of both sides were to blame."269 The ruptures that wound the unity of Christ's Body - here we must distinguish heresy, apostasy, and schism270 - do not occur without human sin:

Where there are sins, there are also divisions, schisms, heresies, and disputes. Where there is virtue, however, there also are harmony and unity, from which arise the one heart and one soul of all believers.271

818 "However, one cannot charge with the sin of the separation those who at present are born into these communities [that resulted from such separation] and in them are brought up in the faith of Christ, and the Catholic Church accepts them with respect and affection as brothers .... All who have been justified by faith in Baptism are incorporated into Christ; they therefore have a right to be called Christians, and with good reason are accepted as brothers in the Lord by the children of the Catholic Church."272

819 "Furthermore, many elements of sanctification and of truth"273 are found outside the visible confines of the Catholic Church: "the written Word of God; the life of grace; faith, hope, and charity, with the other interior gifts of the Holy Spirit, as well as visible elements."274 Christ's Spirit uses these Churches and ecclesial communities as means of salvation, whose power derives from the fullness of grace and truth that Christ has entrusted to the Catholic Church. All these blessings come from Christ and lead to him,275 and are in themselves calls to "Catholic unity."276

838 "The Church knows that she is joined in many ways to the baptized who are honored by the name of Christian, but do not profess the Catholic faith in its entirety or have not preserved unity or communion under the successor of Peter."322 Those "who believe in Christ and have been properly baptized are put in a certain, although imperfect, communion with the Catholic Church."323 With the Orthodox Churches, this communion is so profound "that it lacks little to attain the fullness that would permit a common celebration of the Lord's Eucharist."324

269 UR 3 § 1.
270 Cf. CIC, can. 751.
271 Origen, Hom. in Ezech. 9,1:PG 13,732.
272 UR 3 § 1.
273 LG 8 § 2.
274 UR 3 § 2; cf. LG 15.
275 Cf. UR 3.
276 Cf. LG 8.
322 LG 15.
323 UR 3.
324 Paul VI, Discourse, December 14, 1975; cf. UR 13-18.

1 posted on 12/12/2010 4:45:20 AM PST by GonzoII
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To: fidelis; MI; Sir_Humphrey; dsc; annalex; Citizen Soldier; bdeaner; CatQuilt; Graing; bboop; ...

Radio Replies Ping


FReep-mail me to get on or off

“The Radio Replies Ping-List”


2 posted on 12/12/2010 4:51:16 AM PST by GonzoII ("That they may be one...Father")
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To: All

The Radio Replies Series: Volume One

The Radio Replies Series: Volume Two

Chapter One: God

Radio Replies Volume Two: Proof of God's Existence
Radio Replies Volume Two: God's Nature
Radio Replies Volume Two: Supreme Control Over All Things and the Problem of Suffering and Evil

Chapter Two: Man

Radio Replies Volume Two: Destiny of Man/Death
Radio Replies Volume Two: Immortality of Man's Soul & Pre-existence Denied
Radio Replies Volume Two: The Human Free Will
Radio Replies Volume Two: Determinism Absurd

Chapter Three: Religion

Radio Replies Volume Two: Necessity of Religion
Radio Replies Volume Two: Salvation of the Soul
Radio Replies Volume Two: Voice of Science
Radio Replies Volume Two: Religious Racketeers
Radio Replies Volume Two: Divine Revelation

Radio Replies Volume Two: Revealed Mysteries
Radio Replies Volume Two: Existence of Miracles

Chapter Four: The Religion of the Bible

Radio Replies Volume Two: Gospels Historical
Radio Replies Volume Two: Missing Books of the Bible
Radio Replies Volume Two: The Bible Inspired
Radio Replies Volume Two: Biblical Account of Creation
Radio Replies Volume Two: New Testament Problems

Radio Replies Volume Two: Supposed Contradictions in Sacred Scripture

Chapter Five: The Christian Faith

Radio Replies Volume Two: Source of Christian Teaching
Radio Replies Volume Two: Jewish Rejecton of Christ
Radio Replies Volume Two: Christianity a New Religion
Radio Replies Volume Two: Rational Foundation for Belief
Radio Replies Volume Two: Causes of Unbelief

Chapter Six: A Definite Christian Faith

Radio Replies Volume Two: Divisions Amongst Christians
Radio Replies Volume Two: Schisms Unjustified
Radio Replies Volume Two: Facing the Problem
Radio Replies Volume Two: Wrong Approach
Radio Replies Volume Two: Is One Religion as Good as Another?

Radio Replies Volume Two: Obligation of Inquiry
Radio Replies Volume Two: Charity and Tolerance

Chapter Seven: The Protestant Reformation

Radio Replies Volume Two: Meaning of "Protestant"
Radio Replies Volume Two: Causes of the Reformation
Radio Replies Volume Two: Catholic Reaction
Radio Replies Volume Two: Reformers Mistaken
Radio Replies Volume Two: The Idealization of Protestantism
Radio Replies Volume Two: The Catholic Estimate

Chapter Eight: The Truth of Catholicism

Radio Replies Volume Two: Meaning of the Word "Church"
Radio Replies Volume Two: Origin of the Church
Radio Replies Volume Two: The Catholic Claim
Radio Replies Volume Two: The Roman Hierarchy
Radio Replies Volume Two: The Pope

Radio Replies Volume Two: The Petrine Text
Radio Replies Volume Two: St. Peter's Supremacy
Radio Replies Volume Two: St. Peter in Rome
Radio Replies Volume Two: Temporal Power
Radio Replies Volume Two: Infallibility

Radio Replies Volume Two: Unity of the Church
Radio Replies Volume Two: Holiness of the Church
Radio Replies Volume Two: Catholicity of the Church
Radio Replies Volume Two: Apostolicity of the Church
Radio Replies Volume Two: Indefectibility of the Church
Radio Replies Volume Two: Obligation to be a Catholic

Chapter Nine: The Church and the Bible

Radio Replies Volume Two: Catholic Attitude Towards the Bible
Radio Replies Volume Two: Is Bible Reading Forbidden to Catholics?
Radio Replies Volume Two: Protestant Bibles
Radio Replies Volume Two: Catholic Douay Version
Radio Replies Volume Two: Principle of Private Interpretation

Radio Replies Volume Two: Need of Tradition
Radio Replies Volume Two: The Teaching Authority of the Catholic Church

Chapter Ten: The Dogmas of the Church

Radio Replies Volume Two: Revolt Against Dogma
Radio Replies Volume Two: Value of a Creed
Radio Replies Volume Two: The Divine Gift of Faith
Radio Replies Volume Two: Faith and Reason
Radio Replies Volume Two: The "Dark Ages"

Radio Replies Volume Two: The Claims of Science
Radio Replies Volume Two: The Holy Trinity
Radio Replies Volume Two: Creation and Evolution
Radio Replies Volume Two: Angels
Radio Replies Volume Two: Devils

Radio Replies Volume Two: Man
Radio Replies Volume Two: Reincarnation
Radio Replies Volume Two: Sin
Radio Replies Volume Two: Christ
Radio Replies Volume Two: Mary

Radio Replies Volume Two: Grace and Salvation
Radio Replies Volume Two: The Sacraments [Baptism]
Radio Replies Volume Two: Confession

3 posted on 12/12/2010 4:53:00 AM PST by GonzoII ("That they may be one...Father")
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To: GonzoII

Do you have a link to the audio? I know I’ve listened to some of his radio in the past. I have vision issues (not blind yet but cateracs).

4 posted on 12/12/2010 5:12:31 AM PST by Mercat
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To: Mercat
"Do you have a link to the audio? I know I’ve listened to some of his radio in the past. I have vision issues (not blind yet but cateracs)."

I assume you are referring to Bp. Sheen who merely wrote the preface to volume one of Radio Replies. The authors of Radio Replies are Fathers Rumble and Carty and as far as I know there is no audio version to the series of books authored by them.

I gladly give you the link to the website, having I believe just about everything Bishop Sheen ever put out on tape:

5 posted on 12/12/2010 5:33:53 AM PST by GonzoII ("That they may be one...Father")
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To: GonzoII

There’s an app. Thank you so much.

6 posted on 12/12/2010 5:38:07 AM PST by Mercat
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To: GonzoII
He breathed upon the Apostles and said, "Receive ye the Holy Ghost." The action and the words indicate, not a promise of future guidance, but an actual communication of the Holy Spirit to them, by whose power they would be able to effect what He was telling them to do. We must note also that Christ had just declared that He was giving the Apostles a mission identical with that which He Himself had received from His Father. "As the Father sent Me," He said, "I also send you."

This is a part of the Holy Scripture that flies in the face of Protestant counterclerical theological contructs.

Good to see you back, Gonzo. Have a blessed Advent.

7 posted on 12/12/2010 8:05:05 AM PST by annalex (
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To: annalex
"Good to see you back, Gonzo. Have a blessed Advent."

Thanks, same to you.

"He was giving the Apostles a mission identical with that which He Himself had received from His Father."

Mt: 28:20: even to the consummation of the world. (DRV)

8 posted on 12/12/2010 10:25:09 AM PST by GonzoII ("That they may be one...Father")
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