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hy G.!. Clcsfcifon
Jo a Ronan Caflolic flc Ronan Caflolic
Cluicl is sinly flc Cliisfian icligion, flc giff of
Cliisf fo 5f. !cfci and lis succcssois of a iiglf fo
answci af all fincs all qucsfions ahouf wlaf if ically
is, a fling suiioundcd af flc cdgc of ifs own widc
donain hy vaiious scvcicd fiagncnfs of ifs own
suhsfancc, consisfing of colc wlo foi diffcicnf
icasons dcny flaf iiglf fo affiin wlaf if ically is,
and wlo flcicfoic diffci anong flcnsclvcs,
indcfinifcly and incicasingly, ahouf wlaf if ically is.
!f nay hc addcd flaf flcy diffci nof only ahouf flc
nafuic of flc idcal Cliisfianify flaf ouglf fo hc
suhsfifufcd, huf cvcn ahouf flc nafuic of flc Ronan
Caflolicisn flaf is fo hc dcficd. Jo sonc if is
Anficliisf, fo sonc if is onc hiancl of flc Cluicl of
Cliisf, laving aufloiify in ccifain iovinccs huf nof
in Lngland oi Russia, fo sonc if is a coiiuf
civcision of Jiufl fion wlicl icligion was icscucd,
fo oflcis a ncccssaiy lisfoiic lasc fliougl wlicl
icligion lad fo ass, and so on. Buf if nay hc nofcd
hy flc cuiious flaf flougl flcic is so nucl
diffcicncc in flc icasons givcn, flcic is soncfling
connon fo nosf of flc cnofions fclf. Jlc icacfions
fo Ronc aic all icacfions fo soncfling odd. !f is a
flousand flings, huf all flings wifl a soif of fliill in
flcn, a nysfciy, a //t. ncir., a sfiangc suivival, a
uhlic scandal, a iivafc cnhaiiassncnf, an ocn
sccicf, a facflcss foic, a sly jokc, a lasf icfugc oi a
lca in flc daik cvciyfling cxccf anyfling flaf is
likc anyfling clsc.
Jo a Ronan Caflolic flcic is no aificulai
diffcicncc hcfwccn flosc aifs of flc icligion wlicl
!iofcsfanfs and oflcis acccf and flosc aifs wlicl
flcy icjccf. Jlc dognas lavc, of couisc, flcii
infiinsic flcological iooifions, huf in lis fccling
flcy aic all onc fling. Jlc ^ass is as Cliisfian as
flc Goscl. Jlc Goscl is as Caflolic as flc ^ass.
Jlis, ! fancy, is flc facf wlicl flc !iofcsfanf woild
las found if nosf difficulf fo undcisfand and ahouf
wlicl sonc of flc nosf unfoifunafc foins of ill-
fccling lavc acaicd. Ycf if aiiscs quifc nafuially
fion flc acfual lisfoiy of flc Cluicl, wlicl las lad
fo confcnd inccssanfly wifl quifc oflci and quifc
oosifc lcicsics. 5lc las nof only lad fo dcfcaf
flcsc sccfs fo dcfcnd flcsc docfiincs, huf fo dcfcaf
oflci sccfs fo dcfcnd oflci docfiincs including flc
docfiincs wlicl flcsc sccfs iiglfly lold so dcai. !f
was only flc Ronan Caflolic Cluicl flaf savcd flc
!iofcsfanf fiufls. !f nay hc iiglf fo icsf on flc
Bihlc, huf flcic would hc no Bihlc if flc Gnosfics
lad iovcd flaf flc ld Jcsfancnf was wiiffcn hy
flc Lcvil, oi lad liffcicd flc woild wifl Aociylal
Goscls. !f nay hc iiglf fo say flaf Jcsus alonc
savcs fion sin, huf nohody would hc saying if if a
!clagian novcncnf lad alfcicd flc wlolc nofion of
sin. Lvcn flc vciy sclccfion of dognas wlicl flc
icfoincis dccidcd fo icscivc lad only hccn
icscivcd foi flcn hy flc aufloiify wlicl flcy
!f is nafuial, flcicfoic, foi Caflolics nof fo hc
always flinking of flc anfiflcsis of Caflolic and
!iofcsfanf any noic flan of Caflolic and !clagian.
Caflolicisn is uscd fo ioosals fo cuf down flc
ciccd fo a fcw clauscs, huf diffcicnf colc lavc
wanfcd quifc diffcicnf clauscs lcff and quifc diffcicnf
clauscs cuf ouf. Jlus a Caflolic docs nof fccl flc
sccial icvcicncc aid fo flc ^oflci of God as any
noic of a confiovcisial qucsfion flan flc divinc
lonouis aid fo flc 5on of God, foi lc knows flc
laffci was as nucl confiovcifcd hy flc Aiians as flc
foinci hy flc !uiifans. !c docs nof fccl flc flionc
of 5f. !cfci fo hc any noic sccially in disufc flan
GLLRT KLTH CHL5TLRTO (1574-136) was a giffcd and iolific
Lnglisl jouinalisf, cssayisf, novclisf, and ocf. An adulf convcif fo Caflolic
Cliisfianify, lc cnncd ovci 60 hooks, including H.r.ti., Ort/c!c\;, T/.
It.r/:tin M:n, and flc oulai sciics of !aflci Biown nysfciics. !c wiofc
flc cssay icioduccd hclow in 126.
C/.t.rtcn, Lpcn T/i Rc./ p:. ?
flc flcology of 5f. !aul, foi lc knows flaf hofl lavc
hccn disufcd. Jlcic lavc hccn anfi-ocs, flcic
lavc hccn Aociylal Goscls, flcic lavc hccn sccfs
dcflioning oui Lady and sccfs dcflioning oui Loid.
Affci ncaily fwo flousand ycais of flis soif of fling,
Caflolics lavc conc fo icgaid Caflolicisn as onc
fling, all flc aifs of wlicl aic in onc scnsc cqually
assailcd and in anoflci scnsc cqually unassailahlc.
ow if is unfoifunafcly inossihlc foi a Ronan
Caflolic fo sfafc flc iincilc wiflouf ifs sounding
iovocafivc and, wlaf is nucl woisc, suciioi, huf
unlcss lc docs sfafc if, lc docs nof sfafc Ronan
Caflolicisn. !aving sfafcd if, lowcvci, in ifs
dognafic and dcfianf foin, as if is lis dufy fo do, lc
nay affciwaids suggcsf soncfling of wly flc sysfcn
sccns, fo flosc insidc if, fo hc nof so nucl a sysfcn
as a lonc, and cvcn a loliday. Jlus if ccifainly
docs nof ncan hcing suciioi in flc scnsc of
sucicilious, foi in flis sysfcn alonc, only flc sainf
is suciioi hccausc lc fccls lc is infciioi. !f docs nof
say flaf all lcicfics aic losf, foi if docs say flaf flcic
is a connon conscicncc hy wlicl flcy nay hc
savcd. Buf if docs dcfinifcly say flaf lc wlo knows
flc wlolc fiufl sins in acccfing lalf flc fiufl.
Jlus flc Cluicl is nof a mct.m.nt, likc all flosc
wlicl lavc fillcd flc woild sincc flc sixfccnfl
ccnfuiy, flaf is, sincc flc hicakdown of flc
collccfivc affcnf of all Cliisfcndon fo sfafc flc
wlolc fiufl. !f is nof flc novcncnf of soncfling
fiying fo find ifs halancc, if is flc halancc. Buf flc
oinf lcic is flaf cvcn flosc lcicfics, wlo snafclcd
af lalf-fiufls, scldon snafclcd af flc sanc lalf.
Jlc oiiginal !iofcsfanfs insisfcd on !cll wiflouf
!uigafoiy. Jlcii nodcin succcssois gcncially insisf
on !uigafoiy wiflouf !cll. Jlcii fufuic succcssois
nay quifc ossihly insisf on !uigafoiy wiflouf
!cavcn. !f nay sccn a nafuial scqucncc fo flc
woisli of !iogicss foi ifs own sakc, and flc flcoiy
flaf fo fiavcl locfully is hcffci flan fo aiiivc.
!oi flc Caflolic cacl of flcsc flings nay hc
disufcd in ifs fuin, and all will icnain.
cvciflclcss, in naking so sloif a sunnaiy in a
woild sfill !iofcsfanf hy fiadifion, if will hc
convcnicnf fo assunc flaf flc icadci is acquainfcd
wifl flc Cliisfian sclcnc in flosc fcafuics wlicl,
unfil lafcly, wcic connon fo nany oi nosf
Cliisfian hodics: flc !nagc of God, flc !all, flc
ncccssify of Rcdcnfion, flc Lasf Judgncnf, and flc
icsf, and fo dcsciihc flc Caflolic faifl (fion wlicl
all flcsc flings ically conc) as flaf woild sccs if, hy
flc clicf fcafuics flaf acai disfincfivc hccausc
flcy aic disufcd. ! will flcicfoic say a woid oi fwo
of wlaf would sfill hc connonly callcd flc naiks of
Ronan Caflolicisn. ! slall say vciy lifflc ahouf flc
gicafcsf of all, hccausc if is adniffcdly a nysfciy and
an ohjccf of faifl. Caflolics hclicvc flaf in flc
Blcsscd 5aciancnf Cliisf is icscnf, nof ncicly as a
flouglf is icscnf in a nind, huf as a cison is
icscnf in a ioon, vcilcd only fion flc acfual scnscs
hy flc acaianccs of hicad and winc. f ifs
lisfoiical asccf if will hc cnougl fo say flaf Ronan
Caflolics aic convinccd flaf if is sokcn of in flis
siiif af lcasf as caily as 5f. !gnafius, wlo was
iouglly of flc ncxf gcnciafion fo flaf of flc Goscl.
Jlc connon scnsc of if, if sccns fo nc, would hc fo
say flaf if flc woids of Cliisf af flc Lasf 5uci
wcic nisundcisfood, flcy wcic nisundcisfood hy
flc fwclvc Aosflcs. Buf flc docfiinc is so
ficncndous and fiansccndcnfal flaf wc cannof
conlain if sonc nisundcisfand if as hlaslcnous
and cxfiavaganf. nly flcy cannof lavc if hofl
ways. Jlcy nusf nof fuin iound and conlain flaf
wc clain fo osscss Cliisf as a living God hy a vifal
ioccss, ahscnf fion flc oflci connunions flaf
callcd flc ioccss inossihlc. Jlcy nusf nof
giunhlc af oui falking of Cliisf coning hack fo a
lcicfic land wifl flc fiisf ioccssion hcaiing flc
!osf. Jlcic nusf hc a diffcicncc hcfwccn Cliisf`s
icscncc in flcii scnsc and in oui scnsc, if flcy aic
acfually slockcd and sfaggcicd af oui scnsc. A
Rcfuin wlicl flcy aic diivcn fo call inossihlc wc
nay suicly hc allowcd fo call uniquc.
!oi iacfical uioscs in !iofcsfanf civilizafion if
is anoflci facf flaf soais nosf clcaily info siglf,
fowciing cvcn ovci Jiansuhsfanfiafion. !f is flc
!aacy flaf nakcs flc !aisf. !oi lin, af lcasf, if
dafcs fion flc liglly dianafic woids ahouf flc
Rock and flc Gafcs of !cll, if ccifainly acais, fo
say flc vciy lcasf, as an adniffcd scaf of suciioi
aufloiify in flc dchafcs of flc fiisf !aflcis and
Councils, huf if was nof logically and lifcially
dcfincd unfil flc niddlc of flc nincfccnfl ccnfuiy.
!n flis scnsc if is fiuc flaf flc idca gicw, huf wc can
ncvci nakc anyfling huf nonscnsc ouf of flc soif of
cvolufion flaf inagincs soncfling giowing ouf of
nofling. Buf in so fai as an cfcinal fiufl can giow,
in flc coniclcnsion of ncn, if las giown
C/.t.rtcn, Lpcn T/i Rc./ p:. J
confinuously wifl flc incicasc of flc cxciicncc of
ncn. Jlc gcncial casc foi a fiihunal fo dcfinc flc
fiufl las hccn fouclcd uon alicady. ! oinfcd ouf
flaf long hcfoic !iofcsfanfs iuslcd in fo icscivc
flcii sinlc Cliisfianify, cvcn flaf sinlc
Cliisfianify would nof lavc hccn flcic fo icscivc
if flcic lad nof alicady hccn a Cluicl fiihunal fo
icscivc if. Jlc qucsfion flcn hcconcs onc of flc
nafuic of flc fiihunal. Lvcn if dcnociacy wcic
alicahlc fo a icvclafion, flcic could nof ically hc
a dcnociafic fiihunal wlicl slould hc dcciding all
flc finc and dcnociafic all flc finc. !f would nof
hc flc nillions of ooi and lunhlc Caflolics wlo
would iulc, if would hc flc officials if if wcic nof flc
official. !f would hc a !oly 5ynod. ow cvciy
oulai insfincf Caflolics osscss sccns fo flcn fo
say flaf iaflci flan lavc ncicly an official oidci
flaf is, an oligaicly if is fai noic lunan fo lavc a
nonaicly flaf is, a nan. !f is indccd icnaikahlc
flaf flosc wlo hiokc wifl flis uicly noial
nonaicly gcncially scf u a nafciial and a iaflci
innoial nonaicly. Jlc fiisf gicaf sclisn in flc
Lasf was nadc hy ncn wlo fuincd fion flc !ocs
fo how down fo flc Cacsais and flc Jsais. Jlc
lasf gicaf sclisn in flc \csf was nadc hy ncn wlo
affiihufcd divinc iiglf fo !cniy \!!!, nof fo
ncnfion Clailcs !. Jlosc wlo flougl flc aacy
foo dcsofic did nof cvcn cscac dcsofisn.
!f is nccdlcss fo cxlain, ! fiusf, flaf flc only
dcsofisn of flc !oc consisfs in flc facf flaf all
Caflolics hclicvc flaf God will guaid lin fion
fcacling falsclood fo flc Cluicl on flosc sccial
and iaflci iaic occasions wlcn lc is acalcd fo fo
cnd a confiovcisy wifl a final sfafcncnf of faifl.
!is oidinaiy ionounccncnfs, flougl nafuially
icccivcd wifl iofound icsccf, aic nof infallihlc.
!is iivafc claiacfci dccnds on lis own ficc will,
likc anyhody clsc`s. !c can connif sins likc
anyhody clsc, lc nusf confcss sins likc anyhody clsc,
and lis laving hccn !oc is nofling fo lis salvafion.
Buf flc qucsfion is, givcn oui nccd foi sucl final
dccision fo savc Cliisfianify af gicaf ciiscs, wlaf
oigan of flc Cluicl dccidcs Jlc longci lisfoiical
cxciicncc accunulafcs, flc noic iofoundly
flankful nosf Caflolics aic flaf flc oigan is a
lunan hcing, a nind and nof a fyc, a will and nof
a fiadifion oi fonc of a class. Jlc hcsf hislos
iuling as a class would hcconc a cluh, as a
ailiancnf docs. Jlcy would lavc all of ifs
scaffcicd icsonsihilify, all ifs nufual flaffciy, all ifs
diffuscd and dangcious iidc. Buf flc icsonsihilify
of a !oc is so solifaiy and so solcnn flaf a nan
would nccd fo hc a naniac nof fo hc lunhlcd hy if.
!iohahly flc !iofcsfanf woild would counf as flc
ncxf oufsfanding fcafuic, affci flc owci of flc
iicsfs fo cifoin ^ass and of flc !ocs fo dcfinc
docfiinc, flaf oflci owci of flc iicsflood wlicl
is cxicsscd in flc saciancnf of !cnancc. Jlc
saciancnfal sysfcn is cvciywlcic hascd on flc idca
flaf ccifain nafciial acfs aic nysfical acfs, aic
cvcnfs in flc siiifual woild. Jlis nysfical
nafciialisn docs dividc us fion all flosc foins of
idcalisn flaf lold all good fo hc inwaid and invisihlc
and naffci fo hc unwoifly fo cxicss if. !f is
nccdlcss fo nofc low flis alics fo flc wafci of
hafisn, flc oil of uncfion, and so on. Buf ! an
dclihciafcly faking flc saciancnf wlicl oui woild
las nosf nisundcisfood, and, sfiangcly cnougl, if is
flaf onc wlicl is lcasf nafciial and nosf siiifual,
consisfing of sokcn woids cxicssing flc nosf
sccicf flouglfs. f all flc saciancnfs if is, in flc
nodcin jaigon, flc nosf syclological. And flc
ioof of if is flaf cvcn flc colc wlo aholislcd if a
fcw ccnfuiics ago found flaf flcy lad fo invcnf a
ncw inifafion of if a fcw ycais ago. Jlcy fold flc
colc fo go fo a ncw iicsf, offcn wiflouf
cicdcnfials, and nakc confcssion gcncially wiflouf
ahsolufion, and flcy callcd if sycloanalysis.
Caflolicisn would say flaf flc lack of flc
confcssional lad ioduccd a nodcin congcsfion and
sfagnafion of sccicfs so noihid as fo hc icacling flc
vcigc of nadncss.
Bioadly, if nay hc said flaf Ronan Caflolicisn
las lad flc idca, liflcifo af lcasf liglly uniquc, of
woiking nankind fion flc insidc. Jlcic lavc hccn
and aic any nunhci of cxfcinal cflical and olifical
sysfcns diiccfing ncn low fo do iiglf in flc nass,
flcic is no oflci flaf flus gcfs fo giis wifl wly
sucl a sysfcn gocs wiong wifl flc individual. ^osf
nodcins aic confcnf fo gcf lold of flc lan of
\foia. Jlis is iaflci likc gcffing lold of flc diaiy
of flc \foian and lcaining flc ical icason wly lc
docs nof always hclavc in a \foian nannci. Buf,
of couisc, if is quifc usclcss unlcss lc ioduccs lis
own diaiy of lis own ficc will. \nlcss lc ically
wislcs if, flcic can hc no saciancnf, and unlcss lc
ically iccnfs, flcic is no ahsolufion. !oi flc lisfoiy
of flis insfifufion, if follows in ifs iougl ouflinc flc
sanc couisc as flc oflci cascs of flc ^ass and flc
!aacy. Jlaf is, if is undouhfcdly pr..nt as an idca
in flc vciy cailicsf fincs, flcic aic disufcs ahouf
flc prcpcrticn of flaf icscncc, and flcic nccd hc no
disufc af all flaf if gicw noic clahoiafc, noic
sysfcnafic, and noic suhflc wifl flc ioccss of
cxciicncc. \laf is callcd Lcvcloncnf is flc
unfolding of all flc conscqucnccs and alicafions of
an idca, huf of soncfling flaf is flcic, nof of
soncfling flaf is nof flcic. !n flis scnsc flc
Caflolic Cluicl is flc onc Cliisfian hody flaf las
always hclicvcd in Lvolufion.
Jlcic is haicly sacc fo foucl on fwo noic of
flcsc flings wlicl aic counfcd !oisl sccialfics
clicfly hccausc flcy aic counfcd !oisl scandals.
Jlc fiisf is flc idca of asccficisn and csccially of
cclihacy. Jlc sccond is flc culf of flc Blcsscd
\iigin. f flc foinci if will hc cnougl fo say lcic
flaf fo nosf oidinaiy Ronan Caflolics, wlo aic nof
callcd uon fo iacfisc sccial ausfciifics, flosc
cxanlcs aic valuahlc nof only as cxanlcs of
lcioisn, huf as vciy vivid cvidcnccs of flc icalify of
icligious locs. Gianfcd flaf foi us flc divinc liglf
is valucd as a daily liglf, hiiglfcning oui daily and
noinal affaiis, ycf if would nof hiiglfcn flcn af all
if wc did nof hclicvc flaf flc liglf was ically divinc.
!f wc only hclicvcd flaf icligion was uscful, if would
hc of no usc. ow nofling could hcffci iovc flc
liglf divinc flan flaf sonc slould livc on if as on a
food, nofling could noic clcaily slow icligion fo hc
ical flan flaf foi sonc colc if can hc a suhsfifufc
foi oflci icalifics. \c lavc no difficulfy in hclicving
flaf sucl colc dcal noic diiccfly wifl divinc
flings flan wc, as in flc casc of flosc wlo cnjoy
diiccfly a divinc lovc insfcad of indiiccfly fliougl a
lunan lovc in naiiiagc. And wlcn wc aic ciificizcd
foi flis, wc icncnhci wifl sonc anuscncnf flaf if
was wc wlo said flaf naiiiagc was a divinc
saciancnf wlcn oui ciifics said if was nof.
f flc nosf oulai, flc nosf ocfical and flc
nosf iacfically insiiing of all flc disfincfivcly
Caflolic fiadifions of Cliisfianify, ! will say vciy
lifflc lcic, indccd, ! will say only onc fling. Jlc
lonoui givcn fo ^aiy as flc ^oflci of God is,
anong a flousand oflci flings, a vciy cifccf
cxanlc of flc fiufl fo wlicl ! lavc iccuiicd noic
flan oncc: flaf cvcn wlaf wc nay call flc
!iofcsfanf fiufls wcic only savcd hy flc Caflolic
aufloiify. Anong flcsc is flc vciy ncccssaiy fiufl
of flc suhoidinafion of ^aiy fo Cliisf, as hcing
affci all flc suhoidinafion of flc cicafuic fo flc
Cicafoi. ofling anuscs Caflolics noic flan flc
suggcsfion, in so nucl of flc old !iofcsfanf
ioaganda, flaf flcy aic fo hc ficcd fion flc
sucisfifion callcd ^aiiolafiy, likc colc ficcd fion
flc huidcn of dayliglf. All flc sonfancous
siiifualify, as disfincf fion flc ncccssaiy docfiinal
oiflodoxy, is on flc sidc of flc cxfcnsion and cvcn
cxccss of flis culf. !f Caflolics lad hccn lcff fo flcii
iivafc judgncnf, fo flcii cisonal icligious
cxciicncc, fo flcii scnsc of flc csscnfial siiif of
Cliisf and Cliisfianify, fo any of flc lihcial oi
lafifudinaiian fcsfs of fiufl, flcy would long ago
lavc cxalfcd oui Lady fo a lciglf of sucilunan
suicnacy and slcndoui flaf niglf ically lavc
inciillcd flc uic nonoflcisn in flc coic of flc
ciccd. vci wlolc fiacfs of oulai oinion slc
niglf lavc hccn a goddcss noic univcisal flan !sis.
!f is flc aufloiify of Ronc flaf las icvcnfcd sucl
Caflolics fion indulging in sucl ^aiiolafiy, flc
sfiicf dcfinifion flaf disfinguislcd hcfwccn a cifccf
wonan and a divinc ^an. Buf if if wcic a lacc foi
cxicssion of fccling, lifflc douhf would hc lcff ahouf
wlicl way all oui nosf diiccf and dcnociafic
fcclings diivc. ! lavc fliouglouf flis sfafcncnf
ignoicd flc ncaninglcss affccfafion of inaifialify.
!f is inossihlc foi any nan fo sfafc wlaf lc hclicvcs
as if lc did nof hclicvc if. Buf ! lavc cndcavouicd fo
dcsciihc flc nosf faniliai fcafuics of flis onc
icligion in fcins of logic nof of ilcfoiic. And on flis
lasf naffci of flc docfiinc foucling flc \iigin ! will
concludc wiflouf fuiflci scccl. !f is only
icasonahlc flaf a ciccd icscnfcd hy onc wlo lolds
if slould hc sfafcd wifl convicfion, huf anyfling !
wiofc on flis lasf foic niglf hc dcfaccd wifl
!ion ^n Out/in. c/ C/riti:nit; (London, 126). Rciinfcd in G.!. Clcsfcifon, T/. C:t/c/i. C/ur./ :n! Ccnt.ricn (160). Llccfionic
vcision cicafcd 15, hy Louglas C. Andcison. Jlis foinaffcd vcision is availahlc on flc C:rit: .t V.rit: \ch sifc: