YOUNG VIRGIN


I. How do you know there is a God?
1. Because there is a plan and an order in the world. Give examples to your questioner: if seeds are scattered in all directions the resulting plants will not grow up according to a plan; if you throw some pots of paint at a wall, the paint will not make a picture. The plan and the order in the world shows that the world was made by an intelligent Mind with a purpose.

2. Tell a ridiculous story of this kind: "In my room there is a table on which are scattered various bits of clocks and watches. This morning a very remarkable thing happened. Tick. ..Tick ...Tick. ..! I listened and looked. The pieces, and parts had come together during the night to form a new alarm clock; it had wound itself up; it was telling the correct time and with a buzz and a blare it roused me from bed!"
"You're telling me ..." your questioner will say. Compare the story with the "story" of a self-made world.
3. Conscience says, "I ought to be 'so-and-so"'. There is an inner law directing me to do something that is above self-interest and, maybe, contrary to public opinion. Now Law must relate to a Law-giver.
4. Men have always believed in some sort of God and have always worshipped in some way or other. This universal belief cannot be founded on fiction.
(These four points can be discussed from many sides.

II. How can God be called Good if He sends wars and other evils?
Men have free wills; they can choose to do or not to do a thing; they can choose this or that way of doing it. History shows that men very often make evil choices. When these men are the leaders of nations, wars result. God does not force us to use our wills correctly; this would be to destroy His Own gift.

III. Is it not true that many learned men do not believe in Religion?
Do not be impressed with this word "learned"! It does not suffice to be learned or a man of science, in order to be a Christian and receive from God the gift of Faith. A pure, upright, willing heart is required to make the sacrifices that a knowledge of the Truth imposes. As a matter of historical fact, many men of the greatest intellectual capacity have been deeply religious. (Make a list of them, your parents can help.)

IV. Why does God send men to Hell?
He does not send them. They send themselves. A man who dies with his will fixed in evil cannot, by the very nature of the case, go to Heaven.

V. How do I know that Jesus Christ is true God?
Because:
1. He claimed to be God. Peter said, "You are Christ, the son of the Living God." And Jesus approved of this act of Faith. Jesus affirmed:" All things are delivered unto ME of My Father ... no man knows the Father, save the Son. ..." He was asked by the Jews: "Are You the Son of God'?" And He replied, "I am."
2. He proved His claim. He proved His claim by His miracles and by His Own Resurrection from death.
3. St. Paul taught that Jesus was God.
4. The First Christians believed that Jesus was God. (But read the Gospels and mark the important sayings of Our Lord about His Own Divinity.)

VI. How do I know that Jesus Christ is true man?
"Because He has the nature of man, having a body and soul like ours". A body, as we can see from the fact of His birth from a human mother, from the many passages in the Gospels which depict Him as hungry, tired, thirsty, etc. (You can study the reality of His human nature in the fourteen scenes of the Passion which are called the "Stations of the Cross".) A soul---that is, a created human soul, capable of human thoughts, human emotions, human sympathies, etc.

VII. What do I want with a Church separating me from Christ?
One of the things you read in the New Testament is that Christ founded a "Church"---that is, a world-wide, organized union of members under one head. The Church does not separate you from Christ any more than your neck separates your spine from your head.

VIII. Who gave the Catholic Church authority to teach?
Jesus Christ, when He told His Apostles: "Go ... and teach all nations." He promised that His Church (and the Pope who is the Head) should not teach false doctrine.

IX. But there have been several Bad Popes!
So much the worse for them! Their judgment will be a severe one. But a sinful man can yet teach correct doctrine. Christ did not promise that each member of His Church, pope or peasant, duke or dustman, etc., should lead lives free from sins.
 
X. Is not one religion as good as another?
Our Lord founded one Church only to last for all time, He said: "Upon this rock I will build My Church and the Gates of Hell shall not prevail against it." He also said, "I shall be with you all days, etc." This Church or Religion founded by Our Lord is the Catholic Church. It is ridiculous to say that a religion founded by man is as good as one founded by God. You might as well say that a half-crown made by a coiner is as good as one issued by the Mint.
 
The Catholic Church is Our Lord's own Church or religion. Most of the non-Catholic religions were founded by persons such as King Henry, Queen Elizabeth, Martin Luther, John Knox, Calvin, etc.
 
XI. How can the Catholic Church be Holy when there are so many bad Catholics?
If a Catholic leads a bad life it is not the fault of the Church. The Church teaches quite plainly what is right and what is wrong, and the bad Catholic disobeys his own Church.
 
The Church is Holy because She has a Holy Founder, because her teaching is holy and because she helps us in every way to become holy. Even Our Lord Himself said that there would be wicked people in His Own Church. He foretold that cockle (weeds) would grow among the wheat and that there would be bad fish as well as good in the net. There was even a wicked man among our Lord's Own Apostles.

XII. I would rather belong to an English religion than a foreign religion.
 
A true Christian belongs to Our Lord's Church. This religion does not belong to England or any foreign country, it belongs to all countries equally. Our Lord did not say to His Church, "Go and teach the English. ..., but "Go ye and teach all nations". The Catholic Church teaches all nations, and is to be found all over the world and is the one true Church of Christ.

As a matter of fact the Catholic Church was the only religion of England for a thousand years until the reigns of the wicked King Henry VIII and Queen Elizabeth. The Protestant Religion did not commence in England, but was made in Germany and brought to England. The Catholic Religion is England's true faith.
 
XIII. Any man can make a mistake, so how can you say that the Pope is infallible and cannot make a mistake?
Catholics have never said that the Pope cannot make any mistake at all. In matters of History, Science, Politics, etc., he could make a mistake. We say that the Pope cannot make a mistake when he decides or settles what all Catholics all over the world have to do or what they have to believe in order to save their souls. This is only common sense, because the Pope is the chief teacher and head of the Church. Our Lord promised that the Holy Spirit would guide the Church and teach it all things and remind it of His Own teachings. So with the continual guidance of the Holy Spirit, it is impossible for the Church or the Pope (its principal teacher) to lead us astray. If such a thing happened, Our Lord's promise would have failed. Our Lord also promised that He Himself would be with the Church all days, even to the consummation of the world, and that "the Gates of Hell" (Satan) would never prevail against it. With such guidance and such promises the Church cannot fail ...
 
XIV. Why do Catholics tell their sins to the priest? I would never tell my sins to a man.
Catholics tell their sins to a priest because it is God's Own way of forgiveness. We cannot choose our own way of saving our souls, we must obey God, even if sometimes it does seem rather hard and awkward.

Our Lord gave the power of forgiving sins to His Apostles. He said, "Whose sins you shall forgive they are forgiven, whose sins you shall retain they are retained." The Apostles heard men's sins, otherwise they would never know what to forgive and what to retain. The Apostles ordained other men to be priests, etc., and handed on their powers which they had received from Our Lord, because the Church had to exist until the end of the world. These men in their turn handed on their powers, and so today every priest has the power of forgiving sins which has been handed down from the Apostles who received the power from Our Lord. ("Behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world.") When we confess to a priest we are confessing to God in God's Own way, and the priest absolves us by the power of God. Our Lord said, "Whatsoever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in Heaven, and whatsoever you shall loose on earth shall be loosed in Heaven."

XV. What is the use of Confession? Many people tell their sins, obtain forgiveness, and then go and commit the very same sins again.
Confession is useful because it is God's Own way of forgiving sins (see above). Besides confessing their sins, Catholics must be really sorry for having offended God, and promise to try and not offend again. (Act of Contrition: "O my God, because Thou art so good, I am very sorry that I have sinned against Thee and I will not sin again.") Confession without real sorrow and without an intention to improve one's conduct is a bad confession and brings no forgiveness, and every Catholic knows this.

We are always being tempted because we are weak and the devil is strong, and we might fall into sin again in spite of our resolution. We must therefore confess again and make another start. Frequent Confession gives us grace and strengthens us against continual temptations.
 
XVI. Are not Protestants as good as Catholics?
Many Protestants are as good as Catholics and sometimes even better than many Catholics. This is because the good Protestants are obeying the teachings of the Catholic Church without knowing it, and because many Catholics disobey their own Church. The Catholic Church is God's one true Church and the Protestant religion is a false, man-made religion. When good Protestants find out that their own religion is not the true faith and that the Catholic Church was the only one founded by Our Lord they become Catholics. Hundreds of thousands of Protestants have been converted.

XVII. Can a Protestant go to Heaven?
Certainly. A Protestant who really believes his religion is the true faith and who tries to lead a good life will be saved, because his ignorance is not his own fault. Once a Protestant discovers that his religion is false and that the Catholic Church is the only true one, then he is bound to become a Catholic. If he does not do this, then he will certainly not be saved. Our Lord said to His Church, "He that heareth you heareth Me, and he that despiseth you despiseth Me."

[Web Master note: Anyone who dies in the state of grace is saved. The problem with non-Catholics, who are as weak and sinful as Catholics, is that they do not have the Sacrament of Confession. Thus, to regain the state of grace after a serious fall into sin, they would have to have perfect contrition. Since one can not be certain of this the Church always requires us to go to Confession before receiving Holy Communion, for instance, if we have committed a mortal sin. If Catholics cannot be certain that they have true, perfect contrition of sins [because we offended God Who is all-good and deserving of our love, and not the fear of Hell or punishment], is not a non-Catholic the same as to human knowledge? But because he does not have this Sacrament he is in a much more dangerous state.]
 
XVIII. I do not need to go to your Church and listen to the Priest, I can find all I need to know in the Bible.
We cannot please ourselves as to what we can do, we must do what God Himself intends, even if it is rather hard and awkward. God intended us to listen to His Church. "He that heareth you, heareth Me, and he that despiseth you despiseth Me." These were Our Lord's Own words. He also said, "If he will not hear the Church, let him be as the heathen." To get to know God's will we must listen to His Church, which is guided by the Holy Ghost.

(a) The Bible only contains a part of Our Lord's life and teachings. The remainder must be learned from the Church. St. John said, "But there are many other things which Jesus said, which if they were written, every one, the world itself, I think, would not be able to contain the books which should be written."
(b) St. Peter said of St. Paul's Epistles, "Certain things (are) hard to be understood." So we cannot find the exact meaning ourselves, we must listen to the Church, which will explain the meaning to us.

XIX. How do you know that Our Lord is present in the Blessed Sacrament?
From the words of Our Lord Himself and from the teaching of His Infallible Church which is guided by the Holy Ghost.

(1) Our Lord is God.
(2) God is almighty and can do all things; to Him nothing is impossible or difficult.
(3) Our Lord is present in the Blessed Sacrament if He said so, even if we cannot understand how this can be. God has done many things which we cannot understand, and which the Apostles themselves could not understand. We believe on God's Own word.

Our Lord promised to give us His Own Body and Blood in the Holy Eucharist. After feeding the 5000 people, He said, "The bread which I shall give is My flesh for the life of the world ... except you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His Blood, you shall not have life in you ... for My flesh is life indeed and My blood is drink indeed ... he that eateth this bread shall live forever." Our Lord fulfilled His promise at the Last Supper when He said, "Take ye and eat for this is My Body," "Drink ye all of this, for this is My Blood."

He gave the power of changing the bread into His Own Body and Blood to His Apostles when He said, "Do this in commemoration of Me." This power was handed by the Apostles to the men they ordained, these in their turn handed the power down to others, and so the priest today has the power, handed down to him right from the time of the Apostles (by ordination).

XX. But your Church does nothing for the poor!
(Hit back quickly and strongly at this kind of charge. But know facts! Know something of the charitable organizations and societies in your own diocese.)

The Catholic Church, like Our Lord and the Apostles, has always been the friend of the poor, and no man can prove the opposite.

(a) The Church has always taught that oppression of the poor and defrauding laborers of their wages are terrible sins which cry to Heaven for vengeance.
(b) She has always urged Catholics to perform the seven Corporal Works of Mercy, such as feeding the hungry, harboring the harborless, etc.
(c) The Church has always taught that to assist the poor is to assist Our Lord Himself.
(d) Two recent Popes, Leo XIII and Pius XI, have written Encyclicals or Letters about the poor and workers. They say:
(1) That the wealthy must use their riches rightly for the benefit of the less fortunate.
(2) The State should protect and help the poor.
(3) That every working man should earn a wage which will help him to keep his family in reasonable comfort and which will help him to save for a "rainy day".
(4) The working men should, where possible, share in the management and profits of an industry.

XXI. Has the Church ever DONE anything for the poor?
Ever since the time of Our Lord the Church has helped the poor. The Apostles and their converts helped widows, the poor, etc., and shared their goods with others. Later monks, priests and nuns sheltered and fed the poor, taught them and protected them from tyrannical kings and barons for over a thousand years. Catholic Guilds saw that workers received just wages, and that the poor, the sick and the orphaned were provided for. Protestantism put an end to all this good work by destroying monasteries and robbing the Guilds.

Today the Church has hospitals, orphanages, homes for the aged and poor. Nuns, priests and brothers devote their lives to doing good works. Catholic parishes have St. Vincent de Paul' Societies to help poor families. Their work is done very quietly, and very few people know the great amount of work done by them.

Priests and nuns have given up everything to look after lepers and other afflicted people.

These are only a few examples of the Church's work for the poor; whole books could be filled with such examples.

N.B. You ought to know the main facts in the lives of those Saints who have worked for the poor and fought for social justice.

XXII. "Christianity has had its Day": so says a book published by the Nazis.
It continues: "The era of international humanitarian dreamings has come to an end, and with it the dream of a Christian humanity which for 2000 years has agitated men without their ever being able to attain it."

"Before long, thanks to persecution, this sect will be crushed, and we shall hear no more of their God crucified." ... So spoke an official of "totalitarian" Roman Empire when Christianity---that is, the Church founded by Jesus Christ---began her missionary work. But the Roman Empire, not the Church, was crushed. Luther, Elizabeth, Cromwell, Napoleon, Garibaldi, Hitler, Lenin ... our enemies have been numerous. They have all said, "Let us crush the Church." But the Church keeps on keeping on!

XXIII. Don't you worship the Virgin?
You mean Mary, the Mother of God? No---we give her a very special honor as the most pure and the most holy Mother of God---as indeed did generations of Englishmen before the time of Henry VIII and as the Eastern Churches do today.

N.B. Some of the questions which you may be asked are so foolish that they are best answered by a short and sharp retort.

1. You put flowers and candles round your pictures and statues?
Have you ever put flowers before the photo of someone you love, and have you never seen Blackpool illuminated at night? Anything wrong with an illuminated picture of Winston Churchill? Illumination is a sign of joy---amongst other things.

2. Don't you pay for going to Confession?
Who told you that one?

3. Why do your priests dress up in Church?
Why did you "dress-up" when you joined the A.T.C.? A special uniform is required when people are acting in a special capacity.

4. "Religion is a money-making game."
Why, then, do you not apply to the nearest monastery for a good job? Or make an inquiry into the salary of a Reverend Mother?

5. "Priests are always asking for money."
For themselves? There are 300,000 priests in various parts of the world. You say "priests". How many have you actually heard "asking for money"?

6. "Religion is for the weak."
As, for instance, the Poles who never surrendered to the Germans, the Maltese who withstood countless air-raids, the Irish who held to their Faith, the Spaniards and the Portuguese who colonized the great continents of South America. ... Study your history, old chap!

When you leave school, you may find yourselves in all kinds of occupations. You may be working, for the best part of the day, with one other man. He may be a decent fellow or he may be a rotter. Be a true member of the Church Militant---by training yourself to "hit" back quickly and effectively. You may be mixed up with many others at work. Some of the "talk" will be foul and may be anti-religious. Do not go out of your way to seek an argument; be ready for the attack when it comes. Men will respect you if you "stick up" for your principles and practice what you "preach".

If you belong to a Club, get a "Question and Answer" half-hour session once a week. Get fellows to write down on paper the questions which interest them and ask your chaplain to answer them.

Many of the questions which men will debate are not directly religious. They are interested in wages, housing conditions, Communism, social justice, and so on. Most boys and girls, when they first leave school, do not care for these kind of problems. But as you grow older it would be well to get interested in current world affairs and social problems in general.

For the moment, just notice these points:
1. The Church does not say that one particular form of Government is the only one possible. She approves of all forms of Government, as long as they give her opportunities to preach the Gospel.
2. She has to resist any form of Government which says that the State is supreme in all matters. She will not tolerate that men should be treated as mere "slaves" of a party, or that they should be given a false
sense of racial superiority.
3. The Church is not "hand in glove" with Capitalism! still less with this or that Capitalist. She denounces all forms of injustice.
4. Every man has a right to live in "frugal comfort" and to own his own property.
5. "To defraud the laborer of his wages" is one of the worst sins, denounced by Christ and His Church.



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