( WESTMINSTER PASTORAL continued from P. 1)
sincerely convinced that he is embracing the truth. It is a vital matter between the individual and his Creator. At times there may be a group movement towards the Catholic Church. but it is the individual's own conviction of the truth that, with God's grace, settles the issue. We note the stress laid on the individual in the words of Saint Paul " He loved me and delivered himself for me."
(Galatians ii, 20.) It is interesting to recall that Cardinal Manning once said to a friend, " I did not enter the Church because of a movement; I came in off my own
bat ". Here it was the Cardinal's own learning and keen intelligence that, with God's grace, had led him to make his submission to the Catholic Church.
Our Lord said : " You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free." (John viii. 32.) Many think that Catholics arc living their lives in a state of thraldom to dogmas, that they are fettered. and even that dogmas are a brake upon the wheels of our socalled progress of thought. A truth already established, however, is a fixed and definite thing. It can neither recede nor progress. Certainly the interpretation of truths already implicitly revealed always continues in the Church of God. This process is guided by the living voice of Christ. beard as clearly today through His Church as it was when He dwelt amongst us.
()UR power to choose our own
way of life is not eliminated by true and definite teaching. Rather is it guided into the way in which God would have us walk. The worshippers who crowd our churches choose freely to come because they arc taught what is true, namely, that man is bound to worship his God not only as an individual. but as a member of a community. As the individual has his duty to God, so have communities and nations. Those who worship in common are witness to a common faith.
Our forefathers suffered heavy penalties, fines and even death rather than take part in the services of the new religion. Even at the very gibbet our martyrs were offered pardon if they would do this. They remained steadfast precisely because they knew that, if they acquiesced. their action would be interpreted as the acceptance of what they did not believe. It would ill become us to forget so admirable an example of loyalty and grit. Even at the risk of being considered intolerant we must stand boldly for the truth.
It is nod that we think that sincere non-Catholics may not, often enough, be in better disposition for prayer than ourselves.
That is beside the point. It is quite simply that we are unwilling to profess, or seem to profess, a faith which in our belief is not Catholic.
The idea of a plurality of Christian Churches, each founded by Christ. is alien to the Catholic mind. Our people know full well that, even though other denominations may adopt our terminology and imitate our ways, establish orders of monks and nuns and use titles which would have been severely frowned on half a century 'ago, this is only the appearance and not the reality of Catholicism. You cannot claim lineage with a man because you have donned his uniform; nor do you become a member of his family by entering into his inheritance.
Nevertheless, such a liking for Catholic ways would seem to point to a Certain instinctive realisation
of the need of Catholicism. Tertullian, who spoke of the human
soul as being " naturally Christian ". might have said with truth that it is "naturally Catholic ". In this way, doubtless, is explained the satisfaction caused in the souls of men by Catholic worship and practice. It remains true, however. that the use of Catholic ritual does not change the nature of things, nor does it make the worshipper a Catholic or member of the true Church of Christ.
It is idle to suppose that any union of Christian bodies can be brought about by yielding a principle here or gaining a point there. There can he no trafficking with truth. It would be unreasonable to believe that our Lord and Saviour could allow His one true Church to he divided and to teach diametrically opposed doctrines on such matters as, for example, the divinity of Christ. That would not he to leach all nations but to confuse them. Thus would the mandate of Christ be rendered meaningless. On this day, the feast of the Blessed Trinity. we pay homage to the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. It is in the name of these three persons of the Godhead that we arc bidden by Christ our Lord to preach the Gospel to every
creature. Whether we proclaim God's truth in our own land or send our missionaries all over the world, our preaching is in obedience to this command of the divine Master.
We urge Our priests and people to pray earnestly that the seed sown may grow to fruition, that more labourers may he given to us in the vineyard of the Lord : not only zealous priests and religious brothers and sisters but also good apostolic layfolk, filled with zeal for the glory of God and the advancement of the Church of Christ.
" May the peace of God, which surpasseth all our thinking. watch over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." (Philippians iv, 7.) WILLIAM Archbishop of Westminster.