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Rockford, Illinois
August 4, 1961     The Observer
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August 4, 1961
 

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FRIDAY. AUGUST 4. 1961 THE OBSERVER PAGE 9 THEOLOGY FOR EVERY MAN At a time 05 much, discussio,~ on ecumenis~n it is possible for certab~ misco~tceptions ~o arise co~cern~ng religious truth. In the ques~ :for unity, compromise ~nay prove tempting. What are the a~swers to be give~ the "indi]]eren~ists" who argue'that the lowest co~mnon de+~on~inator of charity excuses a host oy di]- ]erences in religious belief and practice? The following com- ~entarl was prepared at St. John's Seminary, Brighton, Mass. It is reprinted ]ro~n the Bo3to~7 Pilot. Q. IF GOD COULD CREATE MANY DIFFER~,NT TYPES OF BEINGS. WHY COULD HE NOT HAVE ESTABLISHED DIF- FERENT FORMS OF RELIGION? A. The doctrine that there is only one true religion can be proved on purely reasonable grounds even before we prove that the one true religion is the Catholic Church. The essence of all religion is the expression by man of his natural depen- dence on God. i'~ow there is but one God. Moreover. the dif- ferences which exist among individual human beings are all secondary and accidental to the human nature which is the same in them all. It follows that all men must express their subjec- tion to God in essentially the same way. and that the obligations which are implied in man's relations with God are essentially the same for all. They are based on the objective requirements of man's na- ture; they are not arbitrary rules of conduct, to be followed or rejected at will. In short, religion is an expressmn of truth about man and his relations with God. There cannot be many forms of religion because there cannot be many forms of truth. If we admit on principle that systems bf religion which are contradictory among themselves are of equal value in leading men to God, we are not only implying thai God is indifferent to the truth; we are expressing by implication our lack of conviction in the very existence of God and thus making religion a mere gratify- ing of undisciplined emotion. Q. WOULD NOT THE PRACTICE OF CHARITY TRANS- CEND ALL RELIGIOUS DIFFERENCES AND FORM THE BASIS OF A RELIGION THAT WOULD APPEAL TO ALL MEN? A. It is true that Catholics and non-Catholics are all crea- tures of the same God, sharing as equals in the human nature on which He has impressed the stamp of His own divine like- ness. Implied immediately in this common possession of hu- MAN'S RELIGIOUS LIFE is therefore in its origin and faun- manity is the obligation to love one another as brothers, to help an inevitable requirement of the objective truth of his re- one another in realizing our common destiny. The natural law lation with God. No man is free to choose his religion in accord- of charity commands not only internal affection and love. but also those acts of external beneficence which Christian tradi- ance with his personal preferences. Religious activity must rep- resent conformity with the truth, rather than expression of in- tion has classified as the spiritual and corporal works of mercy. dividual caprice or satisfaction of individual impulse. The specu- No differences of religious belief can excuse from observance lative doctrines of religion, whether they are deduced reasonably of this first and greatest of God's commandments. or communicated by divine revelation, have more than the sub- NOW WE CANNOT ACCEPT the law of charity as merely jective value of human theories. Religious doctrines are expres- an unquestionable postulate even though, in point of fact. no siena of the truth. If they are presented without regard for their one does actually question it. As reasonable beings, we must value in objective reality, they become utterly devoid of mean- make some attempt to justify it. The only possible source and ing. The same is true of the principles of morality, which are inseparably associated with the speculative truths of religion. O AURORA--The Aurora Foun-lhas received a $300 scholarship dation has awarded three $1001for the same course from the 1 o c a 1 youngIj National Brush CO Aurora. All womenSCh larshipSwho tOplan to pursue a' scholarships were given to en- courage qualified applicants to year's study at the McAuley take advantage of the practical Mercy School of Practical Nurs- nursing education p r o g r a m, ing this fall. Recipients are: available for the first time in Ruth Ann Horn, Sugar Grove, a the Fox Valley, beginning Oct. nurses' aide at St. Joseph Mer- 2. cy hospital. Verla Brent, and The role of the practical nurse Mrs. Judy Johnson. both from is being clarified with the ca- Aurora and both aides at Copley tablishment of the local school. Memorial Hospital. After the student completes the Miss Josephine Guzeman. Au- 12 months of study and clinical tara. aide at St. Joseph Mercy, experience, she takes the exam- ination for S t a t e Licensure. Passing this examination, she becomes a Licensed Practical Nurse. fully prepared to be a Spencer's part of the nursing team. The L.P.N. always works within the 28' WEST STEPHENSON limits of her position. In no way does she replace the Reg- FREEPORT. ILLINOIS istered Nurse: on the contrary, she works under the supervi- Card, sion of the R.N performing as- signed duties for which she is Luggage specifically trained. Handbags The new McAuley M e r c y Unusual Gift, IlSchool of Practical Nursing ac, . . Ilcepts applicants on a resident[ Uecoratwe items liar non-resident b a s i s. ,TheI course is open to married wom- I Per,anal Loathe, Good, Il" m I I en as well. as to the s' g : . I I SERVICE BODY CO. "No lob Too Largo Nor Too Small" Phone AD 2-3516 114 N. Walnut Freeport DEININGER'S Funerals Wedding, Flowers for All Occasions Plants Bouquets Corsages Arrangements I West Main Phone AD 2-6191 Freeport the beer refreshing explanation of the law of charity is the fundamental truth that we are all creatures of a God Who is personal and infinitely perfect. Apart from God there can be no charity among men. With God removed from active influence in human life friend- ship among men becomes shallow and sentimental and quickly degenerates into a selfish and calculating give and take. For this very reason there is no greater divisive force in the field of human relations than refusal or failure to recognize God and to live and act as creatures subject to His law. The extent to which dissension and bitterness impede the universal law of charity is a measure of the extent to which the idea of God, revealed by critical investigation of an enlightened reason, has failed to influence men's lives In other words, on the most fundamental level of human ex- istence, the way men live and act is determined by the way they think. If this is so. we should hesitate before accepting the assumption that doctrinal differences have no relation to every day life. The doctrines of the Catholic Church are not wistful flights of imagination, serving only to gratify and stabilize the impulses of emotion. This is. to be sure, a prevalent non-Catholic point of view towards religious teachings. For Catholics, how- ever, the teachings draw naturally from every fact of human experience. The scope of these teaching~ has been enlarged by divine revelation, and co-ordinated by the teachings of the Church, which functions under divine guidance. To be indifferent to- wards the teachings of religion and morality which the Church presents authoritatively is, for Catholics. logically impossible. If religious beliefs have no relation at all with objective truth. we are forced logically to deny the very existence of objective truth. If no authority can be appealed to for confirming and guaranteeing the truth of religious beliefs, then secure posses- sion of the truth in this important field becomes altogether im- )ossible. IT IS FOR THESE REASONS that Catholics refuse to look for ~eaceful relations with their non-Catholic neighbors by com- promising or minimizing the principles of religion and morality. Christ cannot be brought into the world by any form of co- operative activity which would disregard the truth of His teach- ing. Christ has described Himself as the Way, the Truth and the Life By living according to His example, we shall be united to Him in grace here below and in glory for all eternity. The truth is. however, the medium between the Way and the Life. If we forsake the truth, we shall soon lose the Way. Then our life will be not that of Christ, but that of the world. We are not intolerant when we seek unification of the world through deeper penetration of the truth of God's teachings. Unity among men must be the outgrowth of the union of all men with God. I Lundstrom Greenhouses ,ROBERT A. LUNDSTROM, PROP. See Us For ,~ll op Your Floral Needs" Phone MA 5.0893 205 Eighteenth Ave. Sterling, [llinoi, ES1 i932 LEO J. LAUFF -- Real Estate DIAL MA S-0684 INCOMt tAX SERWC 204 East Third St. Sterling, Ill. Q. IS IT POSSIBLE TO LIVE A MORAL LIFE WITHOUT BEING RELIGIOUS AND WITHOUT BELONGING TO ANY CHURCH? A, This question bears upon two distinct problemL each of which must oe considered separately. First, the relation of morality to religion Morality consists essentially in the direction of human activity towards God. Apart from God there can be no question of right and wrong. Those who attempt to formulate a code of morality without reference to God find themselves hopelessly lost in a turmoil of conflicting human passions. God. Who created man, has destined him to direct the course of his own earthly life towards the happiness of heaven. Man achieves his destiny by living in ac- cordance with the precepts of morality which are based on the essential requirements of human nature. Religion and morality are thus essentially correlated. Only in God can the rules of human conduc~ find a principle of unity and coherence. SECONDLY, THE NEED OF GOD'S GRACE for the right or- dering of man's moral life. As a creature of God, man naturally requires God's assistance in everything he does. The super- natural assistance of God's grace is likewise necessary, for the gaining of the supernatural reward of heaven for which all men are destined, and for the perfect fulfillment of even the pre- cepts of the natural law. Men can be naturally virtuous up to a certain point without the supernatural assistance of God's grace, but no one can realize that fullness of virtue by the ex- ercise of his merely natural powers. The weakness consequent upon original sin renders us so subject to temptation that only by the grace of God can we hope to avoid sermus sin and per- severe to the end of life. Since the ordinary channels of God's grace are the sacraments, and since the dispensation of the sac- raments is divinely entrusted to the Church of Jesus Christ, it rament is divinely entrusted to the Church is a divinely appointed means for living even a naturally good life. Those who through no fault of their own fail to become mem- bers of the Church are not thereby deprived of the grace neces- sary for the fulfillment of the moral law. God gives to them in extraordinary ways, in proportion to their merits, the super- natural assistance which will lead them to their heavenly re- ward. 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