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A Doctrinal Catechism for Protestants

A Doctrinal Catechism for Protestants

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by Rev. Steven Keenan
by Rev. Steven Keenan

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Published by: Jerald Franklin Archer on Jun 26, 2010
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05/12/2013

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A DOCTRINAL CATECHISM;
 
WHEREIN DIVERS POINTS OF
 CATHOLIC FAITH AND PRACTICE ASSAILED BYMODERN HERETICS
ARE SUSTAINED BY AN APPEAL TO THE
 HOLY SCRIPTURES, THE TESTIMONY OF THE ANCIENTFATHERS, AND THE DICTATES OF REASON
BY THE
 
R E V. S T E P H E N K E E N A N.
 THIRD AMERICAN EDITION, REVISED AND CORRECTED, CONFORMABLY TO THE DECREES OF THE COUNCIL OF THE VATICAN."Try all things, and hold fast that which is good."—THESS. V. 21
IMPRIMATUR:
 
+ JOHN CARDINAL McCLOSKEY
 
ARCHBISHOP OF NEW YORK
 
P. J. K
ENEDY AND
S
ONS
PUBLISHERS TO THE HOLY APOSTOLIC SEE
 
3
AND
5 B
ARCLAY
S
TREET
N
EW
Y
ORKAPPROBATIONSOF THEORIGINAL EDINBURGH EDITION.
A Concise Summary of Arguments, Authorities, and Proofs, in support of the Doctrines,Institutions, and Practices of the Catholic Church, is here presented in a very convenientform, as an additional antidote against the unceasing effusions of antagonist Ignoranceand Misrepresentation. The Believer will be hereby instructed and confirmed in his Faith,and the sincere Searcher after Truth will here find a lucid path opened to conduct him toits sanctuary. There is much important matter condensed in these unpretending pages.The work, I trust, will meet with the notice it deserves, and the good be thus effectedwhich the zealous and talented author has had in view in its publication.+ ANDREW, BISHOP OF CERAMIS,Vicar Apostolic of Eastern Scotland.EDINBURGH, 10
th April,
1846.I have read, with much pleasure, a Catechism by the Rev. Stephen Keenan. As it containsa well-reasoned defence of the Catholic faith, and clear and satisfactory solutions of theusual objections adduced by separatists, I deem that the study of it will be most useful toall Catholics; and, therefore, I earnestly recommend it to the Faithful in the NorthernDistrict of Scotland.+ Jas. Kyle, V A N.D.S.PRESHOME, 15
th April,
1846.
 
 
IMPRIMATUR.+ JOHN, CARDINAL McCLOSKEY, Archbishop of New York.Copyright, T. W. STRONG, 1876.PREFACEDiscussions of the various questions of religion have ever been, and still are, matters of inevitable necessity, because Christianity and its dogmas have ever been, and still are,impugned by those victims of passion, prejudice, and error—the schismatic, heretic, andinfidel. The true minister of Jesus Christ is thus compelled to make religious controversyan important part of his studies, as it is only by this mean he can, and with the help of God's grace, bring back these unfortunate wanderers to the fold of Christ. If angryfeelings are sometimes engendered by these discussions, the fault lies with those whofirst raised the standard of rebellion against the authoritative teaching of the lawfulpastors, whom Christ commissioned to feed his lambs and his sheep, with the bread of life and the Word of God. To elucidate truth, is the the object of free discussion; and toall who are
 properly qualified 
for the task, ample scope should be given. Catholics asregards their doctrines, court publicity; because they are fully aware, the more these aretried and examined, the stronger will be the conviction of their truth in the mind of thesincere inquirer. Of this, ample proof will be found in the multitude of lateconversions,—conversions, be it observed, not of the vulgar and illiterate, but of thebrightest ornaments of the age,—not of the interested and worldly, but of men whoproved themselves ready to[pg. 4]sacrifice every worldly advantage for the sake of conscience and truth,—conversions, notof the victim of passion, as is the case when a stray Catholic becomes Protestant, but of men whose minds are pure and their hearts chaste, whose high and spotless morality isbeyond all suspicion. Such are the men, who, bursting the fetters in which they had beenhitherto bound, and tearing to pieces the thick veil of early prejudice by which theProtestant world is blindfolded, have boldly dared to act upon the Protestant principle of examining for themselves, and having made that examination, not without heartycommendations of themselves to heaven, have, of late, added to the glory of theRedeemer by their piety and learning, and, by their numbers, extended the pale of his trueChurch.With many Protestants it is vain to argue; their preconceived notions of Catholic doctrineare such, as to prevent the infusion of the smallest portion of Catholic truth. Theirteachers have been for three hundred years employed, not in refuting the
true Catholicdoctrine,
but in inventing calumnies against, and publishing misrepresentations of Catholicism, and then amusing their audiences with a refutation, not of the Catholicreligion, but of these absurd Protestant forgeries, and "ingenious devices," which theythemselves have fraudulently palmed upon the public as the genuine doctrines of the
 
Church of Rome.Even with those who do not know the rules of discussion, and whose minds are imbuedwith something like honest fairness, controversy will be endless, if the Scripture
alone
beappealed to. That Divine Book does not and cannot explain itself, and, accordingly, eachdisputant will interpret to suit his own views; hence the bitter discussions, andinterminable contradictions, observable[pg. 5]among all those sects who have separated themselves from the Catholic Church.Tertullian, in his Book of Prescriptions, points out the proper method of refuting allheresies. He tells them
to give proofs of their mission
,—opposes to their novelties,
thetraditional doctrines of the Apostolic Churches,
—and points to their
 jarring and contradictory systems,
as invincible proofs that they are teachers of error. Thus, withoutany appeal to Scripture, had the first reformers been asked, Whence come ye? fromwhence have ye derived your mission? they would have looked very foolish, for to thisquestion they could give no reply. They were not sent by any lawful pastor;—they had nomission from any Christian Church;—they and their novelties came fifteen hundred yearstoo late to have any connection with the Apostles. In thus setting up as preachers, withoutany mission, they outraged the common sense of men. Christ himself, Moses, and theApostles, preached new doctrines, but they treated men as rational beings,—they provedthey were sent by God by the most evident and astonishing miracles; but the reformingministers never wrought even one miracle to prove to their unfortunate followers thatthey were sent by God, or to stamp upon their
new
system the seal of heaven.These self-commissioned men railed against tradition, because it condemned theirnovelties; but had they been asked to prove, without the aid of tradition, that even thevery Bible, of which they boasted so much, was the Word of God, they would have beenmuch embarrassed; for without the traditional argument, no man can prove the Bible tobe God's Word. Hence, the very first principle of the Protestant Creed—rests solely onthe authority of tradition; and, consequently, if, as they maintain, tradi-[pg. 6]tional be only human doctrines, their whole creed is merely human, for it first principle,upon which all their other doctrines are grounded, rests solely, even according tothemselves, upon the authority of men. Those who talk of the Bible as the only rule of faith, would do well to make this matter a subject of serious meditation; if they do, theywill ask themselves, How can this be, since even the authenticity, integrity, and divinityof the Bible, can be proved only by a reference to tradition?The heresies of modern times are as productive of sects and divisions as those whichappeared in the days of Tertullian; they are daily spawning new religions, as perplexingand pestiferous as the parents from which they spring; and thus they will continue,shooting off in every direction, no matter how preposterous or absurd, until their veryabsurdity will force the pious and reasoning portion back into the bosom of the CatholicChurch and drive the thoughtless and vainly-wise section of them into the broad, but dark and hopeless, path of infidelity.On the subject of religious controversy, numerous works of deep research and intrinsicmerit have of late issued from the press. Most of these, however, are so diffuse and

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