Monday, May 13, 2013

That Organization Still Exists In The World, And Is Called The Catholic Church.

It is at his mother's knee the Catholic child learns to believe in the Church as "the pillar and ground of truth," (1 Timothy 3:15) and he will usually have already accepted all the Catholic doctrine before he begins to reflect on and examine his ultimate reasons for doing so. But when he does begin to enquire, his reasoning will run along the lines indicated. Now, let us see more in detail the steps of the process whereby a man may work his way to the conclusion that Catholicism is the true religion — just as he may work his way by study and weighing of evidence to the conclusion that William the Conqueror invaded England in 1066, or Captain James Cook discovered Botany Bay in 1770. I suggest the following steps as indicating the ordinary method by which the argument proceeds; and remember that these steps or propositions are all to be examined, sifted, and established by ordinary reasoning, apart from any act of religious faith; just as a judge or jury will weigh and examine the evidence placed before them in order to reach a verdict.

First then (and to begin at the very beginning), we know by the light of reason that God exists, Creator of the universe and of our own souls.

Secondly: We are bound (by natural law) to show Him respect, obedience, and service; that is, we are bound to practice religion.

A part of the reverence and submission we owe to God is to accept His statements — in case He should make any to us.

It is neither impossible nor improbable that God should communicate with mankind and deliver to them certain truths and commands, and should make it quite clear that they proceed from Him.

As a matter of historical fact, such divine communications have taken place in the past especially through Jesus of Nazareth.

Jesus of Nazareth was a true Prophet of God — divinely empowered to teach men religious truth.
Jesus claimed to be Himself a Divine Person, and His claim was justified.

He founded a teaching organization, which was to be world-wide in its scope, and was to last for all time.

That organization still exists in the world, and is called the Catholic Church.

The first four of these propositions — about God's existence, the duty of worship, the possibility of Divine Revelation — may, perhaps, for most people be quite obvious, and in no need of proof; but others will wish to have the reasons for them set forth with some fullness — and that is what we now propose to do. In Catholic schools of philosophy and theology, these matters are gone into fully and with the most minute care. Every Catholic Priest before his ordination must spend several years studying these questions. The output of books upon them, especially in Latin, is enormous. The policy of the Catholic Church is not a hush-hush policy. She has no desire to shirk difficulties or throw dust in the eyes of her students. To us it is sometimes amusing enough to watch the proceedings of certain people who are anxious to have a tilt at religion. 
They bring out as a new and original idea some difficulty or other about God's providence, miracles, free-will, et cetera, which is really as old as the hills. It amuses us because we remember in our seminary days discussing these very problems, wrangling for hours over them in class and out. 
And we always remember that they were discussed by Saint Thomas Aquinas seven hundred years or so ago, or by Saint Augustine eight hundred years earlier still. Yet to these modern opponents of religion, who are often quite ignorant of history, especially of the history of Christian thought, the difficulties seem something quite new and original.
Link (here) to CATHOLIC COMMON SENSE. The Existence of God, by Fr. Albert Power, S.J.

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