by G. K. Chesterton
To a Roman Catholic the Roman Catholic Church is simply the Christian religion; the gift of Christ to St. Peter and his successors of a right to answer at all times all questions about what it really is; a thing surrounded at the edge of its own wide domain by various severed fragments of its own substance; consisting of people who for different reasons deny that right to affirm what it really is, and who therefore differ among themselves, indefinitely and increasingly, about what it really is. It may be added that they differ not only about the nature of the ideal Christianity that ought to be substituted, but even about the nature of the Roman Catholicism that is to be defied. To some it is Antichrist; to some it is one branch of the Church of Christ, having authority in certain provinces but not in England or Russia; to some it is a corrupt perversion of Truth from which religion was rescued; to others a necessary historic phase through which religion had to pass; and so on. But it may be noted by the curious that though there is so much difference in the reasons given, there is something common to most of the emotions felt. The reactions to Rome are all reactions to something odd. It is a thousand things, but all things with a sort of thrill in them; a mystery, a bete noire, a strange survival, a public scandal, a private embarrassment, an open secret, a tactless topic, a sly joke, a last refuge or a leap in the dark: everything except anything that is like anything else.
To a Roman Catholic there is no particular difference between those parts of the religion which Protestants and others accept and those parts which they reject. The dogmas have, of course, their intrinsic theological proportions; but in his feeling they are all one thing. The Mass is as Christian as the Gospel. The Gospel is as Catholic as the Mass. This, I fancy, is the fact which the Protestant world has found it most difficult to understand and about which some of the most unfortunate forms of ill-feeling have appeared. Yet it arises quite naturally from the actual history of the Church, which has had to contend incessantly with quite other and quite opposite heresies. She has not only had to defeat these sects to defend these doctrines, but to defeat other sects to defend other doctrines including the doctrines which these sects rightly hold so dear. It was only the Roman Catholic Church that saved the Protestant truths. It may be right to rest on the Bible, but there would be no Bible if the Gnostics had proved that the Old Testament was written by the Devil, or had littered the world with Apocryphal Gospels. It may be right to say that Jesus alone saves from sin, but nobody would be saying it if a Pelagian movement had altered the whole notion of sin. Even the very selection of dogmas which the reformers decided to preserve had only been preserved for them by the authority which they denied...
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- ► 2010 (54)
- Back to School
- The Trick
- GOP Soul Check
- Mostar bishop reiterates rules for Medjugorje pari...
- Catholic Martyrs of the Holocaust
- Obama's Too-Big-to-Fail Plan Is Too Dumb to Pass
- House Remodeling
- Mont St. Michel: Magnificence on a Mudflat
- Catholic public figures who scandalize faithful mu...
- The Campaign is Over, Mr. President
- Without Bush, media lose interest in war caskets
- In De-Christianized Europe, Ratzinger Focuses on t...
- The Brainy Bunch
- Even in Capitalists’ Bad Times, Europe’s Socialist...
- Death Be Not Proud
- Why Medical Malpractice Is Off Limits
- Democrats try to pack the courts
- There Are Only Two Choices Left on Iran
- Outsourcing Hate
- You Mislead!
- The Voice of Twentieth-Century Catholicism
- Pope urges Europe to remember Christian heritage
- Unanswered questions from the NEA
- Of Blight and Men
- Judge not. . .
- Iran’s Not-So-Secret Secret
- The Trouble with Obama
- Eugenio Zolli’s Path to Rome
- The Runaway Abbot
- Afterthoughts from the U.N. Address
- Congress Needs a 72-Hour Waiting Period
- Obama's Iran Formula
- Sorry, but U.S. and Libya are different
- Critics Call for Defunding the Catholic Campaign f...
- The Kennedys' Senator
- Senate Cloaks Obamacare
- Obama's Time Warp: The U.S. Is Still the Bad Guy
- From Our Lady’s Dowry
- Obama's Health Care Bait and Switch
- Vatican Official: Church Erred in Holding Kennedy ...
- On Waffling, Tradition, and the Magisterium
- Obama and the Politics of Concession
- Barack Obama, College Administrator
- The Argument from Conscience
- Hillary's Honduras Obsession
- Obama's Befuddling Afghan Policy
- The Art of Corruption
- Upon This Rock
- The U.N. and Double Standards
- Our Missile-Defense Race Against Iran
- Strangers to Dissent, Liberals Try to Stifle It
- Splitting social and life issues? Can't do it.
- The Truth That Tells a Lie
- On American Morals
- C.S. Lewis: The Problem of Pain
- ACORN and the Catholic Church
- Capitalism After the Crisis
- The Long Retreat
- Caritas in Veritate, Abridged
- Lawsuit Firesale
- Fort Sam Houston - Mother-in-law of the Army
- Ancient Churches in the Holy Land
- Hunt for priests in Xiwanzi diocese
- New Guide Recommends Faithful Catholic Colleges
- Are You Smarter Than A Fifth-Columnist?
- Why Are the Christians Leaving the Holy Land?
- Race to the Bottom
- Hi-Ho, the Derry-O
- Santa Fe: Celebrating 400 Years of Holy Faith
- All in the Family
- Jared Monti’s soldiers watched him give his life, ...
- The Stimulus Didn't Work
- The Money Pit
- Apologetics for the Scripturally Challenged
- Anti-Americanism: Alive and Well in the Age of Oba...
- The Other Catholic Higher Education
- Georgia Pharisee
- Community service is not what made America great
- Patriarch's plea on behalf of the Holy Land
- What You Need to Know About the Mormons
- Media Malpractice: Tom Brokaw's World Implodes
- The Victory of the Cross
- The Problems with Special Ed
- My Name is Lazarus, and I Live
- Senator Kennedy's Final Attempt at Salvation
- Childhood, stalled
- The Authentic Transformation of “Useless” Human Su...
- Finally Catholic! My Conversion to the Catholic Ch...
- Any Friend of God is a Friend of Mine
- Our National 9/11 Schizophrenia
- Confessions of a cradle Catholic
- Private revelations: "Keep to what is countenanced...
- Obama's 'Gift' Has Stopped Giving
- Euthanasia and Murder
- Obama and the Bureaucratization of Health Care
- The Limits of Self-Hate
- What the Public Thinks of Public Schools
- Sorrowful Mother, Joyful Children
- Weird Things Happen: How Catholics Should Deal wit...
- ▼ September 2009 (123)
- Fr. Christopher George Phillips
- Fr. Phillips is the founding pastor of Our Lady of the Atonement Catholic Church, the first Anglican Use parish, established on August 15, 1983. Not that there is any confusion, but he is on the left, shown in his younger, less gray-headed days.