Skip to comments.Radio Replies Second Volume - Witnesses of Jehovah
Posted on 12/16/2013 8:17:28 AM PST by GonzoII
They are rather a continuation of the Russellites. The present leader of the Witnesses of Jehovah, who calls himself Judge Rutherford, is but the successor of Pastor Charles T. Russell, who founded the movement.
Pastor Russell was born in America in 1852. He was first a Congregationalist, then dabbled in Seventh Day Adventism, and finally set up for himself as a prophet announcing the Second Coming of Christ. His piety was not true piety. It was an unbalanced religious mania centered entirely in himself. He set himself up on a pedestal as the sole object of his worship. Nor was he a Christian, for he denied the divinity of Christ, declaring that Christ was really Michael the Archangel who came in the flesh to redeem mankind. That is not Christian doctrine. Nor was Russell a follower of Christ in practice. His wife divorced him for infidelity; and he made money by selling what he called "miracle wheat" at sixty dollars a bushel to credulous farmers, the fraud being eventually stopped by the Federal authorities, who made him refund the money.
Without any digging at all the writers in Russellite books and papers delight in inventing scandals about Catholics. But do not think for a moment that I have any idea of retaliation. I do not believe in arguments against a religion which are drawn from unworthy conduct of members belonging to that religion. If a man does not live up to a religion, it is proof only that he does not live up to it. It is not necessarily proof that his religion is bad. It may be that he has not really practiced his religion. And one judges the value of a medicine from people who take it, not from those who neglect it. But Pastor Russell himself is in a very different position from that of subsequent followers. He offers himself to the public as a prophet, and as the founder of a new religion. And as he wants his religion to be public property, he is a public figure whose life should be an open book. Christ is the Founder of the Catholic Church, and we are willing that men should examine both His teachings and His life. But, in the same way, we claim the right to test both the life and teachings of all other founders of religions offered to the public.
How do you know that? What knowledge have you of Scripture by which you can check his interpretations? Russell traded on the ignorance of simpletons; and his followers still do the same. Throughout his books Russell pretended to deep learning, quoting Greek words, and frequently attributing a special sense to them which they never possessed in the original language at all. Challenged in an American Court, he had to admit that he did not know Greek, and he was unable to name the letters of the Greek alphabet, Russell poured out page after page of arrant nonsense which he tried to support by myriads of texts torn from their context and forced to mean whatever he wanted them to mean. If ever a man misused and abused Sacred Scripture, that man is Pastor Russell, although his successor, Judge Rutherford, runs him a very close second. Seldom have men given to the world a better example of those whom St. Peter describes as "wresting the Scriptures to their own destruction."
He taught that the Second Coming of Christ began to take place, not visibly, but invisibly, in 1874. From that year commenced the "Millennium," or the reign of Christ in this world for 1000 years. At the end of the "Millennium" this earth will be turned into a vast garden of Eden. The wicked will be finally annihilated, and the good will inhabit this earthly paradise for all eternity, earthly rulers being abolished in favor of Christ, the King of the world. Religion, for him, was but a means to magnificent material prosperity.
He is the successor of Pastor Russell as leader of this fantastic movement—a kind of Elisha upon whom the mantle of the original prophet has fallen. Pastor Russell died in 1916, and Mr. Joseph Rutherford, one of the editorial committee of Russell's paper, "Zion's Watch Tower," secured control of the movement
He teaches the basic ideas of Pastor Russell, with additional ideas of his own. He declares that the 1000 years' period is going on apace, and being rapidly inaugurated. In 1914 God handed over to Christ full authority over this world. A war at once took place in heaven between Christ with the good angels, and Satan with his evil gang. How Satan got back into heaven Mr. Rutherford does not say. However, Satan was cast out, and at once plunged "Christendom" into the World War of 1914. God stopped that war in 1918 for the express purpose of allowing Rutherford's agents to travel about distributing Rutherford's books by the millions, giving testimony of the approaching end. Rutherford has changed the name of the organization from that of the "Watch Tower Society" to that of the "Witnesses of Jehovah"—he being the Chief Witness. An additional contribution to the cause on his part is a still more fervent denunciation of all Christian Churches, Catholic and Protestant, as being in the hire of the devil; and more exact descriptions of the imminent and final catastrophe about to overwhelm mankind.
No. He has deluded many people into distributing his books which explain what he mistakenly thinks the Bible to teach. In reality he teaches what is directly opposed to the Bible. He proclaims that some leader is to set up a kingdom in this world to the destruction not only of the Churches of all kinds, but of all present forms of government. He denounces all authority, civil or ecclesiastical, teaching principles of anarchy opposed to the explicit doctrine of Christ and the Apostles. St. Paul wrote to the Romans, "Let every soul be subject to higher powers, for there is no power but from God; and those that are, are ordained of God. Therefore he that resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God." St. Paul therefore insisted on obedience to lawful civil authority, even in pagan Rome. St. Peter said, "Be ye subject, whether to the king as supreme, or to governors sent by him. For so is the will of God. Honor all men. Fear God. Honor the king." Yet Judge Rutherford tells us that "Christendom" is Satan's organization, and chiefly America and the British Empire. And in his fanaticism he promises the nations and the Churches a war such as has never been seen on the face of the earth, with all the forces of heaven pitted against his adversaries. He declares that "the worst tribulation that has ever afflicted mankind" is to come upon organized Christendom; and that the nations will get a "terrible drubbing." Of course he declares that he is not inciting sedition, and that he is merely advocating the cause of Christ who is to become the temporal king of this world—a title Christ indignantly repudiated and refused. "My kingdom," He said, "is not of this world."
No. He has no real title to call himself a judge at all. He was originally a court reporter at Boonville, Cooper County, Missouri, U. S. A. Familiar with court procedure, but without any formal training in law, he managed to get a license to practice as a lawyer in the State of Missouri, U. S. A. in 1892. Four times in Cooper County his turn as a local lawyer came to preside over the local court owing to the absence of the regular judge. And on each occasion he presided for one day only. The other local lawyers also took their turn on other occasions, and if Mr. Rutherford is entitled to claim to be a judge, then every lawyer in the State of Missouri is a judge! Every other lawyer rejects the idea; and "Judge" Rutherford, never officially appointed to such a position in his life, is masquerading under a title to which he has no real claim at all.
His record is not very impressive. In 1894, 1895, and again in 1897, he was in legal trouble himself, accused of sharp practice and unprofessional conduct. Later he was employed by Pastor Russell who was frequently involved in litigation, and thus came into contact with the Russelite organization. In 1916, as I have already said, he succeeded to the full control of that organization. In 1918 he was sentenced to twenty years' imprisonment for conspiracy and disloyalty in promoting military revolt in America, but was released with many other prisoners by an amnesty in 1919, after having served nine months in Atlanta Penitentiary.
Its trend is to turn people into simple fools, impelling them to wander about, calling themselves Witnesses of Jehovah, and selling Judge Rutherford's booklets. Its gist is this: Civil governments, and all Churches, in fact, all religious, political and commercial, powers in this world organized before the new commercialized religion of Judge Rutherford are the work of Satan, and under the control of Satan. Any day now—and so soon that "Millions Now Living Will Never Die"—God is going to smite all except those who accept Joseph Rutherford as their infallible guide and teacher. Of what authority is all this? Of none whatever. God neither invited Rutherford and his dupes to be His "Witnesses," nor did He dictate their "message."
The Russellites do not prove their claim by pointing triumphantly to such a text. What they have to prove, if they wish to establish their case, is that those words were written of them, and truly apply to them.
It is harmful from almost every point of view. It is not in the least constructive. It is destructive, not only of Christianity, but of all lawful civil authority. Recently in Canada two distributors of Rutherford's books were sentenced to two months in jail and a fine of three hundred dollars. They appealed against the sentence, but their appeal was dismissed. The presiding judge said, "I find in these pamphlets a sapping of all authority, to be replaced only by anarchy and mob rule, unless some despot should present himself. The language, repeated and again repeated is grossly insulting." He added that their contents were beyond all permissible fair comment on other people's political, social, and religious tenets.
Rutherford uses the term "Jehovah" for God. The word "Jehovah" is an English misspelling for "Jahveh" or "Yahweh," the Hebrew word for God. As the Mahometans say, "There is no God but Allah, and Mahomet is His prophet," so the Witnesses of Jehovah believe that there is no God but Jehovah, and that Rutherford is His prophet. Rutherford's main prophecy is that the end of the world is at hand, and that the only means of escape from the impending disasters is to join his Witnesses of Jehovah and sell his books from door to door.
Rutherford declares that he does not believe in religion of any kind. He says that Satan invented religion, and that his own followers will have no religious obligations save to help him attack and denounce religion, sell his literature, and play his gramaphone records wherever possible.
Satan has no visible organization on earth. Christ has a visible organization—Catholic Church. But Satan is the adversary of Christ, and adopts quite other methods. As Christ remarked, "Those that love the works of darkness come not to the light." Jn. III., 20. Satan is not so foolish as to betray his hand in his nefarious schemes. He is essentially a hidden worker. But whilst he has no visible organization of his own, he subtly makes use of organizations ostensibly established by men for commercial or other purposes. He inspires the daily press to give publicity to antichristian theories; he relishes the sight of publishing houses deluging the world with the thinly-veiled immorality of novels and other literature; birth-control clinics and easier divorce are favorable to his cause; and he influences political regimes to try to legislate religion out of existence. But, whilst with devilish cunning Satan makes a parasitical use of various human organizations, he has no visible organization of his own.
Because that is the peculiar form in which the religious fanaticism of Mr. Joseph Rutherford happens to manifest itself. No mania, whether it be religious or otherwise, has any real reason other than the fact that it does break out as it does. Lunacy follows no set laws. Financially, of course, Rutherford's lunacy is very profitable.
Rutherford's doctrine is self-contradictory. If we are completely extinguished by death, there will be no "you" to stay in the grave. Nor will the non-existent "good" be able to rise again. Being non-existent, they won't be able to do anything. They won't "be." Resurrection supposes some kind of continuity of existence. Complete cessation of existence denies the possibility of resurrection. God could choose to create other beings, but they would be other beings, and not the previous beings who had been completely annihilated. God will not utterly destroy any soul. The human soul is immortal of its very nature, and it is an insult to God's wisdom to suggest that He purposely endowed the soul with an indestructible nature only to undo His work in millions of human beings.
Surely I, as a Catholic priest, should know what the Catholic religion really is. And I can assure you that Judge Rutherford has no idea of the Catholic religion. Of course you may doubt my honesty, and believe that I am only saying what I have to say. But if so, you will not doubt the verdict of the Anglican Bishop of Ballarat, Victoria, Australia, to whom the Witnesses of Jehovah submitted some of their literature, hoping that this Protestant Bishop would sympathize with their anti-Catholic bias. The Bishop wrote back to them, "I most strongly condemn the literature which you are distributing and selling. It is not, as you claim, Bible truth. It is most bigoted and dangerous error. You left me a booklet called "Uncovered," in which Judge Rutherford purports to deal with the teachings and claims of the Roman Catholic Church. This book is dangerously misleading on account of Judge Rutherford's profound ignorance of theology, and his gross misrepresentation of Bible truth. As an attempt to deal with the Roman Catholic position it is worthless. The books are so full of dangerously misleading matter that I feel they should be destroyed." There is no need for me to add anything to that verdict of the Anglican Bishop of Ballarat, who is no more inclined to accept the Roman Church than Judge Rutherford.
No sane person would humor an ignorant, deranged, and abusive charlatan whose one craving is publicity. Rutherford is as ignorant of his subject as he well could be. His challenge is as absurd as would be that of a child who is just commencing school, yet who would challenge Einstein to a debate on relativity. Again, Rutherford's books are filled with scurrilous abuse of the Catholic Church. Imagine a man calling another an unmitigated liar, and then calmly inviting him to a debate as to whether he is really an unmitigated liar or not!
Rutherford is not wily. He is but persistent and noisy. And his books can safely be left to the common sense of the average reader. If a person is so unintelligent that he cannot perceive their absurdity at a glance, he would certainly lack sufficient intelligence to see the force of any reply given during a debate.
I gravely doubt whether the Pope is aware of that. But Judge Rutherford should not be upset. He is not the only one to be deprived of such a glorious experience. Even Aimee MacPherson has not had the honor of a debate with the Pope on the respective merits of Catholicism and the "Hot Gospellers."
By their ignorance and superstition, and by Rutherford's publicity methods. If you were to apply an intelligence test to the average simple soul engaged in tramping from door to door with Rutherford's books, the results would not be very impressive. In the midst of the misery resulting from economic distress and disastrous wars, there is a vast field for such exploitation amongst thousands of people who lack any real knowledge of religion yet are religiously inclined. A man who comes with the doctrine that Satan is directly responsible for the things they hate and dread is sure of disciples. And above all when he trades on their fears of a still more dreadful catastrophe in the near future, continually asserting that he alone knows the secret by which it can be escaped.
No. In many countries the civil authorities are beginning to realize that Rutherford's doctrines are anarchical and subversive of all lawful authority. When a man scatters far and wide throughout the land streams of booklets urging people to detest, hate, and fight against the "Beast," and then identifies the "Beast" as the United States of America and the British Empire, those responsible for the welfare of those countries are not doing their duty if they allow such propaganda to continue. Then, too, the fanatics who peddle the books from door to door disturb the peace and comfort of their fellow citizens, and constitute a public nuisance. People have the right to complain and ask protection from it. The Witnesses of Jehovah, of course, make capital out of this by calling it persecution. But because one who tells the truth may be persecuted, it does not follow that all who suffer opposition are telling the truth. There is scarcely a lunatic in an asylum who does not regard the restrictions placed upon him as a form of persecution. But sane people cannot help that, and they are quite justified in restraining a dangerous maniac. And the religious mania of Judge Rutherford is contagious among simpletons, and dangerous to the welfare of the State.
Preface To Volume One of "Radio Replies"
By RT. REV. MSGR. FULTON J. SHEEN, D.D
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" Volume 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"
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.
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
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