Page 5, 16th December 1949

16th December 1949
Page 5

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People: Godfrey


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From a Special Correspondent " I do not think that theological debates are very fruitful in the columns. of the newspapers but they do reveal the fundamental problems of religion and the relation of the Catholic Church to other religious bodies throughout the world."

So said Archbishop Godfrey, Apostolic Delegate to Great Britain, in what would seem a reference to the recent Tinter correspondence, in the course of a sermon he preached on Sunday last at St. George's, Walthamstow. The occasion was the fortieth anniversary of the opeising of the present church.

"The parry and thrust of debate and argument does not take us

very far," said Archbishop Godfrey, " but one cannot help feeling at times that there is still deepseated prejudice. Men are not willing to take the trouble to examine the credentials of the Church to see if we practise what we profess to believe.

"The great difficulty swab which we are confronted is that we must try to make our non-Catholic brethren examine our claims and not to inflict upon us the reiteration of the old-time arguments which have been effectively answered throughout many years of contro.

Toda versy." y people are saying: "Is this the Church of Christ or are we

to look for another ? Our Lord did not appeal to argument on this occasion: He said ' Look at the works which are being done, the blind see. the lame walk.'" He called attention to His works, what He was doing and so. today, those who are inquiring for the truth should look at what he is doing before using arguments against it.

Archbishop Godfrey then developed his argument showing the works of the Church in charity. prayer and spiritual succour. He developed also the scriptural arguments and those from tradition and finally went on : THREE QUESTIONS

" In this controversy that goes on between Protestants and Catholics, it is very necessary to avoid confusion. There should be no digression from the main argument, Ultimately whatever they may say these questions have to be faced:

1. Did Protestant countries or did they not separate themselves from the divinely constituted authority and worship of the society founded by Christ ? " 2. Did they or did they not repudiate the central act of Catholic worship in this country in the lath century ?

"3. Did they or did they not cast away the Altar Stone of the Holy Mass and show their contempt and hatred of the central act of our worship by their shameful treatment of it and of the Church of their forefathers ?

"Were not the great cathedrals of this country built for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass ? Was it not that which made our boys cross the sea for ordination and return to be hunted and persecuted for the sacrifice of the Holy Mass and if that be so how can it be claimed that the

Church established in the time of Elizabeth be the same as the Church of our forefathers ?

" Whatever road discussion or argument may take we must keep the main things before our eyes. Essential questions must be answered.


" My dear brethren it is better to speak plainly. Some hold that we could all come together, that there could be general agreement but it would be a sad day for us, if we Catholics compromised on an

essential point of any doctrine. It would be a victory of error and a disaster for mankind if the Catholic Church were to waver or make concessions for the peace. There can be no collaboration along that road.

" Nevertheless, far be it from us to reproach or to say a hitter word to our non-Catholic brethren or to say they are outside the pale of salvation. All just men and women doing God's will. will be admitted to the kingdom of God. But to say that Christ made many religions, that one is as good as another, is to depart from the truth of the Gospel.

"Allow me to say one word more before I finish. It seems to me that many people in this land have this idea that unity is something we arc working for, something to be achieved. Christendom— if by that you mean all followers of Christ—is divided, but Christ's Church is not divided.

" It was one from the beginning and will always be one and it is for those who have left it to come back, and those who have not found it to seek it and embrace it.

" Outside Our Lord's fold there are some sheep. it is for us to help and work with them as far as we can but there is never to be the slightest concession. They look in vain for this compromise."

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