|DOWNLOAD THE SACRED HEART DESKTOP
THE BIBLE: PROTESTANT AND CATHOLIC "USE OF BRAINS"
"I read your column every now and then, through the courtesy of a Catholic friend of mine, who passes his copy of The Pilot onto me. I failed to find therein the recognition of the fact that Protestants use their brains in determining matters of religion; whereas Catholics depend upon the brains of their Church. This is due to the Bible---which is the Word of God---being the Protestant rule of faith; whereas the Church of Rome is the Catholic rule of faith."
That matter has been dealt with often in this column; though perhaps not in the copies of The Pilot given to you.
In the first place your contrasting rules of faith are not correct. Catholics have the Bible as their rule of faith, though not the "sole rule of faith." First things come first in the religion of Catholics. Therefore Catholics are guided in their religious judgments, first by their Church; and secondly by the Bible as interpreted by the Catholic Church, to which the world is indebted for the existence of the Christian Bible.
Persons who use their "brains" properly go to a physician when ill, and not to the Materia Medica to make out their own prescriptions. This principle is followed by Catholics, who, holding Jesus Christ to be the Divine Physician of souls, use their "brains" as their Heavenly Physician commanded them to be used, when Christ said "hear the Church"; the Church to which He delegated His authority when He gave His Keys to Peter, with the power to "bind and to loose" (St. Matt 16), which is the Catholic Church.
If the Bible is the "sole rule of faith," pray name the text in the New Testament that warrants such a false conclusion that the renegade priest, Martin Luther, originated! If you used your "brains" instead of your anti-Catholic emotions, you would realize the absurdity of your assumption. Christ promised to be with His Church, and not the Bible, until the end of the world. The officialdom of that Church, whose "brains" you repudiate, is made up of priests whom St. Paul calls Ambassadors of Christ (2 Cor. 5:20). Hence repudiation of them is repudiation of the Personage they represent.
Surely the Apostles had "brains," yet they did not depend upon a Christian Bible for religious and moral guidance as it was non-existent. In fact there is only one of the Twelve who may possibly have seen the writings that formed the New Testament. That was St. John, as the other Eleven had gone to their eternal reward before St. John wrote his Gospel, which the Catholic Church declared to have been inspired by God.
The Catholic Church came into existence before a line in the New Testament was written: The Apostles preached Christ and Him crucified; St. Peter converted 3000 Jews; the Council of Jerusalem was assembled; and the Jewish law was abrogated, before a single line of the New Testament was written. Before St. John wrote his Gospel the Catholic Church celebrated her golden jubilee; and St. Paul could say that faith of Christ had been "proclaimed all over the (then-known) world" (Rom. 1:8).
You say the Bible is "the Word of God," which it is, but what evidence have you, or any other Protestant who rejects the authority of the Catholic Church, to prove the assertion?
Surely the writings themselves cannot prove that they were inspired by God. Only the Catholic answer to this question can stand the test of right reasoning, viz: I believe the Bible to be the Word of God because the Catholic Church, by her Divine authority, said so in the Council of Carthage (A.D. 397), with the confirmation of the Pope, when she selected the writings that were inspired by God, to form the Christian canon of Holy Scripture. The rationality of this was recognized by a Protestant professor, Dr. Marcus Dods, who came to our country from Scotland to deliver a course of lectures which were published in a book, called "The Bible, Its Origin and Nature." He says (Pp. 31-32):
"If you ask a Romanist why he accepted certain books as canonical; he has a perfectly intelligible answer ready. He accepts these books because the Church bids him do so. The Church has determined what books are canonical and he accepts the decision of the Church. If you ask a Protestant why he believes that just these bound up together in the Bible are canonical, and neither more nor fewer, I fear that ninety-nine Protestants out of a hundred could give you an answer that would satisfy a reasonable man. Protestants scorn the Romanist because he relies on the authority of the Church, but he cannot tell you on what authority he himself relies. The Protestant watchword is "The Bible, the whole Bible and nothing but the Bible," but how many Protestants are there who could make it quite clear that within the boards of their Bible they have the whole Bible and nothing but the Bible?"
Space in this promised column prevents the presentation of further evidence to show the absurdity of assuming your "brains" to be superior to the "brains" of the Catholic Church in judging the Divine Library, that St. Chrysostom, Catholic Archbishop of Constantinople named "The Bible." Surely St. Augustine, Bishop of Hippo, was not lacking in the use of his "brains," when he said: "I would not believe the Bible were it not for the authority of the Catholic Church."