My Boston Pilot Column, here presented, contains some of the articles dealing with principles and issues from a Christian and American point of view, which have appeared week after week for more than ten years in the official organ of the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston.
These articles, many of them of a controversial nature, were written first of all to further an understanding of things religious from a Catholic-Christian point of view; and secondly to try and further a proper understanding of matters of an economic, political, and Socialist-Communist nature.
These articles were written with the prayerful hope in mind that in addition to refuting error and helping to inform the misinformed, they may be the means of encouraging fellow-Catholics of the laity to become propagators of the principles, history, and practices of their Church.
These articles are an expression of appreciation of the privilege of being a Catholic, which is a blessedness of the highest order. The gift of Catholic-Christian faith is something to be eternally grateful for, especially by persons whose inheritance, environment, and education have been of an indifferent and anti-Catholic nature.
The gift of faith is a sacred obligation. It calls upon persons so favored to live in accord with Catholic moral standards, which are of the highest possible order. It calls upon persons so favored to let "their light shine before men", so that their moral character and works will attract others to our Lord in the Church He commanded to be heard and obeyed. It also obligates the laity to further the understanding of things Catholic, in order that others may share in the temporal and eternal joy that Catholic life affords. This is the urge that prompted my activity during fifty years of Catholic life. My Boston Pilot Column is the latest expression of an endeavor to bring others to the joy that has been mine ever since the grace of God led me to the baptismal font of the Catholic Church.
The privilege of being a weekly contributor to the Boston Pilot has been, and continues to be second only to the joy of Campaigning For Christ in the streets, squares, and parks of our country for a quarter of a century. For the inauguration of this Catholic lay apostolate to the man in the street, in association with the able and eloquent Mrs. Martha Moore Avery, and lay assistants. ...
I hesitated somewhat to respond to the opportunity of writing for the Boston Pilot, when asked to do so by its Editor, Father John S. Sexton, now pastor of St. Patrick's Church in Stoneham, Mass., who had more confidence in my ability to undertake the task, than did I. This generous courtesy has been graciously and encouragingly continued during the editorship of Father Francis P. Moran, who succeeded Father Sexton; and the present Editor, Very Rev. Msgr. Francis J. Lally, and Associate Editor Father John J. Grant. ...
There is nothing so powerful, and so necessary, as truth for the guidance of man; the moral basis of which is religion. This is deeply appreciated by converts to Catholicism, especially by those of scientific, pedagogic, legal, literary, and artistic ability. This is due to their having journeyed the intellectual road to the realization of the exactitude of Catholic terminology; the soundness of Catholic reasoning; and the positive, uncompromising adherence of the Catholic Church to Christian moral principles, in comparison to the lack of this triad of qualities in the churches from which they graduated. They find the Catholic religion to be a profound intellectual religion, which therefore appeals to man's highest endowment, his reasoning faculty.
It is the realization of the intellectual character of the Catholic
religion, in contrast to the emotionalism of Protestant religions, that prompted former Congresswoman Mrs. Clare Booth Luce, a graduate from Protestantism, to say during the week before this was typed, that
"Catholics are commonly supposed to be deprived by their Faith of the power of reason, when they are the ones who insist on the intellectual approach to religion. On the other hand, Protestants who claim the right to think things through for themselves, generally approach religion in an emotional or sentimental way."
Learned converts are simply amazed to find the Catholic Church to be doctrinally and historically the very opposite to what they had pictured her to be; that she has the Christ-proclaimed religious and moral teachings, whole and entire, divinely in her keeping. Their propaganda spirit is awakened by the realization that Catholic principles are universal principles, which apply to every department of human endeavor; principles that alone make possible the Christ-intended solution of the personal, domestic, civic, and social problems that vex mankind. All this comes to converts like a revelation, which it is in the sense of the veil having been raised which had beclouded their mental vision.
It is this striking contrast between what they, converts, thought the Catholic Church to be, and what she is, that causes many of them to be more active propagators of Catholic principles and practices than are "cradle Catholics", as persons of Catholic parentage are sometimes called. Catholics to the manor born generally tend to leave the propagation of things Catholic entirely to the priests; often due to failure to appreciate that the authority to teach, which was given by Christ to His ambassadors, the bishops and priests, has always been understood to include the laity as their assistants in the propagation of the faith. It is the realization that the laity are privileged, are expected to play a part in furthering the understanding of things Catholic, as expressed by Pope Leo XIII, and repeated by the four succeeding Popes, that urged this columnist to become a propagator of the faith. Leo XIII said:
"Those (private individuals) on whom God bestowed the gifts of mind with the strong wish of rendering themselves useful. ... These so often as circumstances demand, may take upon themselves, not indeed the office of pastor, but the task of communicating to others what they themselves have received, becoming, as it were, living echoes of their masters in the Faith. Such cooperation on the part of the laity has seemed to the fathers of the Vatican Council so opportune and fruitful of good that they thought well to invite it. In propagating Christian truth and warding oft errors, the zeal of the laity should, as far as possible, be brought actively into play." (Encyclical "Duties of Christians as Citizens").
Converts come to the realization of the beauty and soul-satisfying nature of Catholic faith the hard way, that "cradle Catholics" do not have to travel, as they were born in a Catholic environment, with a Catholic sense. This causes them to accept Catholic teachings upon faith; that is to appreciate, without a question of doubt, that their Church is the one and the only Christ-instituted Spiritual Society, which she is; that the members of her present hierarchy are historic successors of "The Twelve" that formed the Spiritual Society that Christ called "My Church" (St. Matt. 16:18) which is divinely safeguarded from error in matters of faith and morals (St. John 14: 16-17).
Faith, which "cradle Catholics" seem to inherit, the Catholic Church calls a theological virtue infused into the soul by God. It is an illumination that causes revealed truths to be believed without doubting. It causes the intellect to assent to the teachings of the Church on account of the reliability of the source from which it emanates, God. This is enforced by the conviction that the Church is "the pillar and mainstay of truth", as St. Paul says (1 Tim. 3:15-16).
The religious belief expressed in My Boston Pilot Column is based upon the following twenty-five truths, which give warrant for the children of Israel becoming adopted children of Christ in His Church; and for the return of Protestants to the Church of their pre-sixteenth century forebears, the Catholic Church.
1. There is and can be but one True God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
2. The existence of but one God, means that there can be but one true religion of God.
3. Therefore there can be but one true Church of God at any one time. The existence of two churches, or hundreds of churches, as exist in the Protestant world, assumes God to be doctrinally and morally divided; that God is a contradiction (1 Cor. 1:13; Col. 1:18).
4. It must be a divinely instituted, authoritative, priestly Church (Deut. 17:8-12; St. Matt. 18:15-18).
5. The religious authority of this God-instituted Church, in matters of faith and morals, must center in its hierarchy (Deut. 17:8-12; St. Matt. 18:16-20; Rom. 13:2).
6. The highest communal form of worship in this God-made religion centers in altar sacrifices, offered by priests in honor of God, as commanded by God, for the spiritual well-being of the children of God (Levit. Chapters 1 to 7 inc.; Num. 17; St. Luke 22:19-20; Heb. 8:1-4).
7. That one true Church of God was the priestly Church of the children of Israel; which operated with Divine sanction from the days of Moses and Aaron, until the First Pentecost Day, in the Year 33 A.D.
8. The prayerful hope of the children of Israel centered in the coming of the predicted Messiah (Isa. 7:14; 9:6; Gen. 49:24-26).
9. He came in the time (Dan. 9:24-26); place (Bethlehem, Michaes 5:2); family and manner foretold, and His name is Jesus (2 King 7:12; Zach. 9:9; St. Matt. 21:9-11).
10. Jesus, the Messiah, came to fulfill the law and prophecies of the Mosiac dispensation (St. Matt. 5:17).
11. This fulfillment was evidenced in the life and works of Jesus; and in the principles He proclaimed, which existed potentially and prophetically in the Judaism which was of God: Also in His institution of a Church of all nations, in place of the Church of an exclusive people, the children of Israel (St. Matt. 28:16-20).
12. This fulfillment was evidenced in the institution by Jesus of a more perfect, more authoritative priesthood than was called for in the Mosaic Law. It is a priesthood without genealogy, in place of the priesthood of Aaron, which was an inherited, family priesthood (Ps. 109:4; Heb. 5:1-6; 7.).
13. This fulfillment was evidenced in the institution by Jesus of a more perfect Sacrifice; an "unbloody oblation", later called The Mass, in place of the bloody Mosaic sacrifices (Mal. 1:11; St. Luke 22:19-20).
14. This sacrifice was to be offered on altars all over the world, "from the rising of the sun, unto the going down thereof", instead of a single altar in a central place, as called for in the Old Testament (Deut. 12; Esdras &; 17: Mal. 1:11).
15. The Mosaic Church of the Children of Israel, set forth in the Torah (Pentateuch), ended its Divine mission in the first century of the Christian era, when it ceased to have a priesthood; which was followed by the destruction of the Temple with the single altar, the only altar permitted according to the Mosaic Law.
16. With the ending of the existence of an Aaronic priesthood, there came to an end the sacrifices called for in the Book of Leviticus. Thus the Judaism recorded in the Old Testament became a thing of the historic past.
17. The reinstitution of an Aaronic priesthood, prayed for by present-day traditional Jews, is praying for the impossible, as there exists not a tribe of Levi, and therefore a house of Aaron within the tribe, such as existed in pre-Catholic priesthood days, from which a Mosaic called-for-priesthood could be reinstituted.
18. Praying for the coming of a Messiah is also in vain. Not only did the Messiah come centuries ago in the person of Jesus, but there exists not a distinctive tribe of Judah, and therefore a house of David within it, such as existed in the days of the Blessed Virgin Mary, in which a Messiah or anybody else could be born.
19. There are various kinds of Judaism today---Orthodox, Reform, Conservative, Reconstructionist---with Rabbis; but not one of the present-day Judaisms is the priestly, sacrificial, authoritative Judaism of the pre-Christian pattern, such as is called for in the Old Testament. This is not accidental; it is providential, as the "New Covenant" predicted by Jeremiah came into being in the first Christian century; which the Messiah-instituted Catholic Church evidences (Jer. 31:31; Heb. 8:1-10).
20. Christ established a Church, a visible Spiritual Society, not churches. The supreme authority, the primacy of jurisdiction therein, was delegated by Christ, the Eternal Rock, to Simon, whose name Christ changed to Kepha (Anglicized Peter), which is interpreted the Rock, the foundation upon which Christ said He would build, and did build His Church. This supreme authority was to pass on to successive occupants of the Chair of Peter, as the Church that Christ established was to continue to exist until time was no more (St. John 1:42; St. Matt. 16:13-20).
21. That Church of Christ was to be, and is, an organic, visible, authoritative, priestly self-perpetuating spiritual corporation. With it Christ promised to remain until the end of the world, with the Holy Spirit indwelling (St. Matt. 28:20).
22. That Spiritual Corporation is the Catholic Church, now under the jurisdiction of Pope Pius XII, the present-day occupant of the Chair of Peter. Therein is seen potential Old Testament principles full-blossomed; and Old Testament prophecies fulfilled; just as the majestic oak tree is the fulfillment of the design that existed in the acorn from which it blossomed forth.
23. It is the Church, named Catholic in the Apostles Creed by the Church under the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Rome. She is the one, and the only Church among the churches that are designated Christian, with historic credentials that certify to an unbroken record of existence throughout the Christian ages.
24. The existence of the Catholic Church evidences the truth of the divinely prophesied declaration of Christ, that "the gates of Hell", that is the evil forces, would not prevail against His Church; as they have endeavored to prevail throughout the Christian ages; as they are endeavoring to prevail today; and as they are likely to endeavor to prevail until time is no more (St. Matt. 16:18).
25. This Catholic Church, being the Mystical Body of Christ, is Christ in the world (Col. 1:18).
These are the religious truths dealt with in My Boston Pilot, Column.
They prove that a proper understanding and love of the Judaism recorded in the Old Testament leads to a love of, and affiliation with the Catholic Church. Therein is seen potential Old Testament principles full-blossomed; and Old Testament prophecies realized; just as the beauty seen in the butterfly is the expression of what existed potentially in the caterpillar. These are some of the religious truths which prove that "conversion" from Protestant churches to the Catholic Church, which had better be called reversion, is passing from man-made churches to the Church of the pre-Protestant ages; the Church that the forefathers of present-day Protestants recognized as the one and only Christ-instituted Church.