A History of the Church: 1517 A.D. to the Present
Theology for the Laity Series
Protestantism and its Forms
by Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
Were now beginning our second semester in Church History and as you remember
what we did was we went up to the beginning of the sixteenth century and we
are now starting what is really called Modern History. Modern Church History
begins with a rise of Protestantism. As I mentioned earlier I am giving
you the pages from the Church History of Fr. John Laux that I understand
is the pronunciation, and it covers in a very condensed form, all the main historical
aspects of the rise of Protestantism, and of course, its effect on the Catholic
Church. I will not go through this now; I am however expecting you people
to read whats here. And what I would like to have you do is sort of give
you some kind of a quiz at the end, say of the month before we meet again, remember,
on October the ninth. Ill ask you to choose any single aspect of what
you read here, dont just copy, but give me your own impressions, either about
the rise of Protestantism, or about the major forms of Protestantism, namely
Lutheranism, Calvinism, what is called Zwingalism and Anglicanism. I would
ask you to share with me and make it as lengthy or detailed as you wish.
I rather not ask specific questions, I would rather have you give me in your
own words your understanding, of for example, Lutheranism or Anglicanism, but
always its significance for the history of the Catholic Church. So that
any title you choose, could be put in these words, the significance of whatever
you choose, some aspects of Protestantism the significance of I repeat of Martin
Luther, the significance of John Calvin, the significance of Thomas Cranmer,
the significance of St. Thomas Moore. The significance of, and then you
choose, either a person, or a movement, or a particular heresy, in other words,
we are dealing with a countless number of subjects on which, not just thousands
of books, but a whole library, has been written in the last four hundred years.
What I thought I would do during class today is to choose first to talk about
Protestantism, and then within Protestantism the four principle forms of Protestantism
how they differ from each other, and especially how they differ from Catholic
First then, Protestantism. The combination, Protestant Reformation, is
found in all English written books, it is however not a Catholic idea, in fact
it is contrary to authentic history. There was no Protestant Reformation.
There was a Protestant revolution. And there was, thank God, a Catholic
Reformation. And among the lights of the Catholic Reformation, surely
one of the outstanding, except for whom I wouldnt be here, was St. Ignatius.
In other words, the Protestant revolution began and the date every self respecting
Catholic should know when Martin Luther nailed those ninety-five thesis to the
church door of the Castle of Wittenberg, October the thirty-first 1517.
And that really is the birthday of Protestantism. So the origins of Protestantism
go back to the day that Martin Luther nailed his ninety-five thesis to the church
door of the chapel at the castle of Wittenberg in Germany. His ninety-five
thesis had become to be called a ninety-five statements some merely challenging
Catholic teaching, others openly denying even revealed Catholic Truth.
It then began, I repeat, on the evening before the Feast of All Saints, and
Halloween has become a clowns day, an object of, well, of something to be laughed
at because Martin Luther broke with the Catholic Church on that first Halloween
of Protestantism. I repeat thirty-first of October 1517. From the
very beginning, those who followed Martin Luther, and other leaders, as well
see, they called themselves Protestants, and the reason they called themselves
Protestants because they protested. They protested against the attempt to reunify
the then Roman Empire which had been, for generations, united by having one
faith. Those then who protested against acceptance of a single faith in
the Roman Empire became, well, those who protest. Thats what the word
Protestant means Protestors. And theyve never been embarrassed by
the name ever since. They have remained protestors. Given that definition
of Protestantism, weve got many more Protestants than we find in the books
of the Protestant denominations.
First Principle Form of Protestantism - Sola Scriptura
What are the essentials of Protestantism? It is not to know what some
of those essentials are, because in over four hundred years, going on five hundred
years, they have remained I would say, quite constant, in other words, those
basic premises of Protestantism have not basically changed. And in Latin
thats why they got started first sola scriptura: Scripture alone.
How do we know Gods mind and will from Scripture alone? Sola scriptura,
by Scripture alone. Only the written revealed word of God is necessary,
not just for salvation, but to know everything that God wants us to both believe,
and to do. It is all contained in the Bible. Historically, that
position could not have, could not have been assumed, no way, until the discovery
of print. Usually we assign about 14, 1465 as the beginning of the print
age. And the first printed book, as I am sure we all know, was the
Bible. Well, Luther and his followers identified all of Gods revelation
with that written book. As over the years, Ive been telling people, the
more bizarre, the more incredible, the stranger an idea is talk about human
nature the more believers you are liable to get. Imagine claiming the
law of God, revealed Truth, is in a written book. When until less than
a century before the rise of Protestantism, there were no books in existence.
There were manuscripts, but no books.
Second Principle Form of Protestantism - Solo Spiritu
Second major premise of Protestantism, solo Spiritu, solo Spiritu.
In Latin we see thats the opposite case by the Spirit alone. This answers
the question, how, how do we come to understand or interpret the revealed word
of God? Revealed where? Revealed in the Scriptures.
How by the Spirit, and meaning by the Holy Spirit alone? By the
first premise saying that all of Gods Revelation is contained in the Scriptures.
What did Protestantism exclude? Sacred Tradition!
By the second premise claiming that all you need is the Holy Spirit to explain
or interpret Gods revealed Word. What did they do? They excluded the authority
of the Church. As John Calvin made so plain in his writings, it is the
same Holy Spirit Who inspired Jeremiah to write, well, his prophesies Who is
at my disposal to enable me to understand Jeremiah. And you dont need,
you just dont need, a Church to tell you what either Jeremiah, or Matthew,
or John, or any other sacred writer, is saying.
Third Principle Form of Protestantism - Solo Gratia
Thirdly, in Protestantism, another term taken from Latin, sola gratia, sola
gratia. By grace alone are we saved. What do they mean
by that phrase, sola gratia? That, as every Christian has everybody
been Christian holds, we Catholics certainly hold, that we need Gods grace
to be saved. But, does Gods grace alone save us, or do we have to both
receive Gods grace and cooperate with that grace? Of course! Whereas
according to, what I call classic Protestantism, the Protestantism that was
first conceived, and in hundreds of volumes explained in depth by the founders
of Protestantism. It is by grace alone and not, watch it, by good works.
So that, even as Scripture alone is necessary for salvation and not Sacred Tradition,
even as the Holy Spirit alone is needed to interpret the meaning of Sacred Scripture,
and you dont need the Authority of the Church, so you need only Gods grace,
and not good works to be saved.
Fourth Principle of Protestantism - Sola Fide
Fourth and last basic premise. Another Latin phrase sola fide, sola
fide, by faith alone. What do they mean by faith alone? And
the word for faith in Latin, is certainly fides, or the additive fide.
By faith! But what did Luther and his followers do with the word fides
or faith? Unlike the Catholic definition of faith, which is the assent
of the intellect to everything which God has revealed. In other words,
we hold that faith is the mind, the intellect, accepting assenting to everything
which God has revealed. Thats the Catholic understanding, whereas, in
Protestantism faith is not a virtue of the mind or intellect at all. It
is a virtue of the will. Faith in Protestantism is identified with hope
or trust. All I know is, Ive told you Im sure more than once having
taught in six Protestant seminaries, my longest tenure was seven years on the
faculty of the Lutheran School of Theology. Youd think they would have
dropped me by the third day, but no, they didnt. And one reason is because,
first of all, I am so deeply sympathetic with the Protestants. I did tell
you, Im sure at least many of you, my mother lost her husband, my father. She
just had me. Well we needed some means of support. Mother worked but that was
not enough, so she took in boarders. And they were women. But I
tell you, from the age of one to the age of sixteen, I was reared in an all
women household. My dear men, you husbands, you want to know more about
your wife, call me up sometime. Oh how much the Lord has taught me. Thats
from infancy. Well, two that remained with us for fifteen years, were
Judith and Susan. Two staunch Lutherans. I thought they were
my sisters. They were good Christians, but they were sure not Catholic.
So I learned all about Luther by the age of three. So I came to teach
the Lutherans in Chicago, at Lutheran School of Theology. I knew much
more, much more Lutheranism, than they did, far more. For Id have flunked
most of them for their ignorance of Protestantism. But in Protestantism,
on this crucial fourth element, when they say sola fide, the word fide,
is of course, is the Latin term for faith. And fides can
mean, as you know, certainly in English, that words mean what people who use
them want them to mean, thats simple. In English by the way, in case
nobody told you, you dont need a dictionary. I have said the unabridged
English dictionary, the editors we can no longer publish a dictionary that defines
the meaning of words. No way! The best we can do is publish a dictionary
which describes how words are used. Ok so, sola fide means by trust
alone, and not how, and not by assenting with the mind to what God has revealed.
For Protestants it does not really, really, make a difference whether Jesus
Christ is really God or not. Six of Luthers works have never been published
and they will never be published, as long as there is a Lutheran left on earth.
Theyll never be published. Kept in safety deposit boxes in Germany.
One page after another, and the manuscript is of Martin Luther, Christ is described
as and I am being very kind, as a lecherous sinner. No way, no way, that
the Christ of Martin Luther could be the living God.
Premises of Protestantism
Those are the four principles called the premises of Protestantism. My
first book, is there a copy here? Oh yes. My first book, The Protestant
Churches of America, dated October the 29th, 1956. And, in
three years went to 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 printings, and two revisions. By the time
I finished the manuscript the Protestants changed their religion. In any
case, heres what the Anglican Theological Review says about the book,
I must have read it thirty years ago. The attempted wholeness of the
presentations which included historical, doctrinal, organizational and additional
information is admirable. unquote - The Anglican Theological Review says thanks.
The book sold about a half a million copies. And it should be revised,
what I need is more time. But, I love the Protestants and well they admire
being liked, but they know that I know that Protestants are not Catholics. But
let me tell you, in teaching in Protestant seminaries, lecturing to Protestant
groups over the country, the one thing they want to make sure is, Are you an
authentic Catholic? The last thing they want is a namby-pamby Catholic
who is compromising his Catholicism with Protestantism. No, we want a
bona fide Roman Catholic and they love you. And they told me how many times,
maybe you know what we are protesting. Because, so many would become Catholics if
only we knew more about who they are, and willing to take the time and reaching
out to them who are so desperately in need of the full truth. Well having
said that about Protestantism in general.
First Division of Protestantism - Lutheran
Now the principle forms or divisions of Protestantism. Chronologically, the
first branch or form of Protestantism, of course, was Lutheran.
Thats where it all got started. What was distinct about Lutheranism from
the beginning, and I would say has remained fairly constant over the centuries.
Lutheranism has held on fairly constantly to what I would call the basics of
Christian Revelation. In recent years in a country like ours, Lutheranism
has become more and more, lets say liberalized, but in general among the Lutherans
there has been a conservatism which has not held up as well in other forms of
Protestantism. Again in Lutheran Protestantism there has remained over
the centuries, surprisingly in many forms of Lutheranism especially in the Scandinavian
Lutheranism, Norwegian, and Swedish, an episcopate, and they trace their bishops
back, back, to the 16th century. So there are Lutheran bishops.
In fact, among some of these Lutheran bishops, they sincerely believe, that
they are successors of the Apostles.
What is one truth of the Catholic faith that Luther dropped immediately on
breaking with the Catholic Church, and that in my judgment, is the heart of
the crisis in the Catholic Church today. Martin Luther had lost his faith
in the Real Presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist. Having been a priest
for 15 years as he was, he had no illusions about what the Catholic Church believes.
That a priest validly ordained, has the power to change bread and wine
into the Living Jesus Christ. Luther then, having lost his own faith,
could not pass that on because he no longer believed it, and yet, he had been
a Catholic for too many years not to hold on to, strange, to the term transubstantiation.
Luther professed to believe in transubstantiation. Well how can
you have transubstantiation if you dont have a Real Presence which is made
possible by the words of Consecration by validly ordained priests? Although
Martin Luther, even though he might use the word transubstantiation, he coined
the word consubstantiation. In other words, even where he would retain
the word transubstantiation, he really meant and spent thousands of words
explaining what he meant by consubstantiation. Transubstantiation as we
know, means, that what had been bread and wine in substance, are changed into
the Whole Jesus Christ. So what becomes present on the altar is no longer,
no longer the substance of bread and wine, thats gone. By replacing the
substance of bread and wine is both the substance of Christs Living Body and
Blood and all the physical properties of Christs living humanity. For
Luther has the word consubstantiation. Con being the equivalent of
quo in Latin, the substance of bread and wine remain but they then remain
along with, if you please, Christs Body and Blood. Then he invented, what
weve touched on I think more than once in class, without directly dealing with
it as we are doing here. He invented what he called, there was no theory
for him, it was an article of the Lutheran faith. What he called the ubiquity
of Christs humanity. The ubiquity of Christs humanity. Ubiquity
comes from the Latin, ubique, u-b-i-q-u-e in Latin. Ubiquity is simply
u-b-i-q-u-i-t-y, ubiquity, which means the everywhereness, the everywhereness
of Christs humanity.
I cannot begin to begin to tell you how deeply these Protestant ideas have
infected the thinking of many well-intentioned, but poorly educated Catholics. What
do we believe takes place at what we call transubstantiation? At the moment
of transubstantiation what having been the substance of bread and wine cease
to be there. Accidents, or properties, of the bread and the wine stay.
What replaces the substance of bread and wine, is the Whole Christ. Remember,
the Totus Christus, the whole Christ, which means the whole of His Divinity
and the whole of His humanity, but for one person, and consequently, there
is no such thing as the ubiquity of Christs humanity, that in plain Anglo-Saxon,
is a lie. Thats spelled l-i-e, thats a lie. When God became man,
He began it truly young. Where was His humanity? When He was conceived
in Marys womb, His humanity was in Marys womb. On Christmas morning,
where was His humanity? Well where else, in Her arms. Christs
humanity was, wherever, well, His human nature His living body, with His limbs,
His face, His hands, feet, wherever therefore, Christ the whole Christ was present,
was present also His humanity. But dont you dare say that Christs humanity
ever was or now is everywhere. Absolutely NO! What then took place on
the first Holy Thursday night? What happened bread and wine became
Christ truly present with His humanity, keep after that, keep after that.
The hundreds of priests that Ive taught, and there are many confused priests
in the Church today, how well I know. The key to grasping our faith of the Real
Presence is to know that Christs humanity is not everywhere. Christs
humanity is present only where? Where He is present as the Incarnate Son
of God in human form. On earth where is Christs humanity? Could
somebody answer that? You will make my day more than worthwhile.
Where is Christs humanity present? (Person answers: In The Blessed Sacrament)
In The Blessed Sacrament. Viva! Thats where Christs humanity is
present, no where else, no where else on earth and in heaven and elsewhere.
(Person asks: Or in heaven or and in heaven?). Please. (Person asks:
He is present only in The Blessed Sacrament on earth and in Heaven?). Yes. (Person
speaking: His humanity and in Heaven His glorified body in Heaven). Yes, same
glorified humanity thats in Heaven is on earth. And Hes present on earth in
His humanity only because He rose from the dead and ascended to His Heavenly
Father, and then because Christ instituted the Blessed Sacrament, which is the
sacrament of Christs continued Presence of His humanity. Keep that humanity,
keep that humanity. I believe there is so much confusion, wide spread
Consequently, back to where we were regarding Lutheranism. That for Luther,
having been a priest, and never of course losing his priesthood, you would expect
one of the key features, call it a feature of Lutheran Protestantism, would
be precisely why Luther was distinct. He was a well educated priest who
gave up his faith. But we go on, still on Luther, because the stage that
Luther set has been pretty much colored by his thinking over the centuries.
In English there are 54 volumes to the complete works of Martin Luther, 54 volumes.
And Ive told people, Im sure many of you, you can spare yourself the trouble of
reading those 54 volumes, thats a lot of reading, a lot of pages, its more
simple to just know what besides what Ive just said, mainly, his denial of
the Real Presence of Christ, His humanity in the Holy Eucharist, and he
invented the idea of Christ universal humanity. Christ already is everywhere
as man, and so nothing really happens at what we call the consecration.
But, there is another distinctive feature in Lutheran Protestantism. And
that is, for Luther having struggled as, your author will point out, having
struggled with his passions, especially his passion of lust. Martin Luther
had a very strong sex passion. And, he claims, though once you get to
know Luthers life you realize just a claim.
Among other things Luther stopped doing was praying. One of the letters
that he wrote was one to his sister, which he told her Ive got so much work
to do I dont have time even to say my office. In any case, after years
of what he called struggle with his passions, he decided its no use, and he
decided what was wrong was not Martin Luther, but the Catholic Church.
That the Catholic Church is mistaken in thinking that we, somehow we, can contribute
to our either sanctification or to our control of our lower drives. No,
said Luther, it is all up to God. If God wants
Always a sin. Omnia qua ego facio son semper pecatum. All
the things that I do are always a sin. Thats Martin Luther. And
that then is the second cardinal feature of Lutheran Protestantism what weve
come to call the total depravity of human nature. Human nature is so depraved
you couldnt be more depraved in theological language than to claim as Luther
did that everything we do is always a sin. Thats pretty depraved.
And of course the consequences of these positions, after almost five hundred
years have been disastrous.
Second Division of Protestantism - Calvinism
Now the second by the way, and read what youve got in your pages. I also recommend
that you get a copy of my book, Religions of the World. The book
needs to be reprinted; all I need again is time. After Gods grace what
I most need is time. But Religions of the World is about sixteen
long chapters. One of the chapters, on Protestantism, has a very carefully worked
out synthesis of Protestantism, both historically and doctrinally. It
is the fruit of a lifetime of research into Protestantism and condenses all
the important things that anyone should know including by the way, Protestants,
by their own Protestantism.
The second major branch of Protestantism is Calvinism. In the United
States it generally is in two forms, either as Presbyterianism, or as one of
the Reformed Churches, so-called Reformed Churches. But at root it is
Calvinism. We are not sure that Calvin and Luther ever physically met
during their lifetimes, Calvin in France, Luther in Germany. What
we do know is that Calvin, having been a seminarian, never ordained, was a genius.
To really, really know, the best, and the sense of the deepest and the most
devastating of Protestantism, there are the two volumes of John Calvin called
the Institutes of the Christian Religion, Institutes of the Christian Religion.
It is really a summa theologica of Protestantism. Because where
Luther may be called the prophet of Protestantism, Calvin was the theologian.
Calvin really thought through Protestantism. His ideas are clear and they
are devastating. You couldnt be, you cannot be, more contrary to Catholic
Christianity than John Calvin. What John Calvin bought was two ancient
heresies. He bought the heresy of Pelagianism and he bought the
heresy of Manichaeism, which is a strange combination. Original Pelagianism,
as you may know, claimed you dont need grace. All you need is your own, your
own will to be saved. I dont mean now in Manichaeism you dont need your
own will, all you need is Gods grace. Calvin in his genius managed to
combine those two that seem to be contrary, not to say contradictory heresies.
For John Calvin, many you might say are Luthers ideas, for John Calvin in the
last analysis who will be saved those whom God has predestined for salvation.
Would anybody else be saved? No. And therefore, basic to John Calvin,
is the absolute denial of mans free will. Now ironically, Calvin writes
for pages and pages in his summa, the entries of the Christian religion about
the human will. John Calvin is the genius who created the modern world
with its denial of human freedom. If there is one basic error in the
modern world this is it. And by now you find it, in every psychology book
in the English speaking world, every sociology book in the English speaking
world, you find it burnt in the minds of children from infancy, what shapes
our lives our heredity our environment and our education. And in this
sense, Calvin improved on Pelagius. Pelagius believed really in a true
free will. Calvin claims that everything in this world is determined by
forces outside of man. Take a man like William James, one of the three,
I will say, three most influential philosophers of the American mind. Volume
after volume all allegedly on the free will. There is no real freedom left.
Its not I who determine what I want to do. I am already shaped. I repeat by
my heredity, by my environment and by my education. Does heredity shape
ones character? Sure. Does environment shape ones character? Sure.
Does education shape ones character? Sure does. But is that is
that the ultimate reason, watch this, is that the ultimate reason why we should
ever choose anything and know that the only problem is, and I say this through
almost 50 years of priestly experience, Im afraid most Americans seldom use
their own free will. Their lives are shaped and they want to have it shaped.
And beyond that shaping are those, who have, well, shaped the modern mind, going
back and John Calvin is a genius. And John Calvin with all his opposition
to any true human freedom was a sworn enemy of the Catholic Church, who had
been studying for the priesthood. And among his hatreds, there was none worse,
than the Sacrifice of the Mass. And I think in your pages that I gave
you there is a picture, yes, page 443. The Martyrs of Gorcan. In 1572
the Calvinists seized 17 priests and 2 lay brothers in Gorcan, threw them into
prison, truly mutilated them, and finally hanged them for refusing to deny their
belief in the Real Presence and the Papal Primacy, and in that order.
They are known as the Martyrs of Gorcan. They were canonized in 1865.
The Society of Jesus has martyrs, priests murdered while offering Mass, for
claiming that a Mass obtains grace. How idolatrous can you be? Obtains
grace, and that your life is not, as they claim, absolutely predestined.
Questions and Answers
It is however, my clock says 3:51. Are there any questions? There
must be more than two questions. Here let me pass it around again.
Father, will the Catholic Church may going under ground as we here said?
Well, this may surprise you; the Catholic Church in some ways is already living
under ground. Without identifying either of the priests or the diocese, a priest
was called in by his bishop, some thirty miles from his parish, ordained just
about a year and told by the bishop to leave his car in the parking lot, leave
all his clothes over the rectory, and is given a one way plane ticket to a monastery
far away from the diocese. What did he do? No crime. He was just,
as the expression goes, too traditional. By the way he called me up, the
priest did, from his monastery. He thanked God for being here.
But I tell people hear the recommendation that I give to people. Number
one keep the faith, number two keep cool, number three keep quiet, number four
do something. Is it proper to say in such simple terms that the Churchs
mission in the world is to call the people to the perfection of love and truth,
and to teach what that demands of us, even if we do not like the burden it puts
on us. Oh sure, thats good, but I can tell you this, the more you do
what okay, okay, you dont like, but the more you love, the more you love Our
Lord, the less you are going to complain about the burden. Then you wake
up one morning, and to your surprise, where have I been all these years?
I have been living in a dream. Thats what following Christ is all about.
Lord, thanks for waking me up. And its a wonderful experience, and youll
really begin to say its not just all right, but you also love it. Not
because you love the burden or the cross, because the love you love the One
Who you know on faith is behind the burden and the cross.
Did I see another contribution? What is a good book in apologetics for
beginners? Well I think William Mosts book, I am just trying to think
of the name, remember the name, Fr. William Mosts book. It may be simply
Apologetics, published recently. William Most, M-O-S-T. And what Fr. Most does
is give you the rational grounds for believing and remember there are two fundamental
grounds for believing. One is the mind being able to prove the mind, being
able to prove that there is a God. And then the mind being able to prove that
that God works miracles, then youve got it made. And God will work miracles,
as I told you, was todays homily, expect miracles and you wont be disappointed.
My friend is Catholic, but she goes to these Protestant healing services because
she wants to feel better, but they dont make her any better. She never is peaceful.
She says your class is too hard. What to do? Tell your friend, and use your
head when you say this, but Ive been meaning to have yet a more simple and
easier class. Now that I could either simplify the classes I am giving
here, I cant come down with my vocabulary, or I could at least have for example
a class showing pictures instead of using big words. Tell her Ill pray
for her, if she comes to class, tell her Ill say a prayer for her, or tell
you what, Ill say one rosary for her, an unusual person. Ill say one rosary
for her each time she comes to class, okay?
Is Fr. Gobi getting authentic messages or has he gone astray? I met Fr.
Gobi about ten years ago, and I must have mentioned him to you on some previous
occasion. When I questioned him he told me, my broken Italian, he knew almost
no English. We talked about an hour and a half maybe almost two hours. He told
me, a very high compliment, the questions you are asking me are those the Holy
Father has been asking me too. How do you know your revelations are from
God? He said I dont know. I dont know. Well then you shouldnt
tell people they are from God. Right? In any case, I think Fr. Gobi,
I dont want to use the word has gone astray, but I think Fr. Gobis fertile,
pious, imagination sometimes carries him away.
One of my jobs for the Church is meeting mystics, sometimes appointed by the
Church, to pass judgment on the authenticity of mystics. Met one in Chicago
last Friday. And find out, are they genuine? Pray for Fr. Gobi.
What do you think of the new Stewards for Tomorrow? Endowment Drive now
be conducted in the Detroit Archdiocese Stewards for Tomorrow. Unless
I am mistaken, is this to raise money? I think it is a very attractive
title; I compliment those who worked up the title, Stewards for Tomorrow.
Well, I dont have the money to contribute, so I dont think it pertains to
me. But, I pray of course, for the Archdiocese of Detroit.
Do you have suggestions for program sources for a youth group to keep young
people interested in faith after Confirmation? Well, you may be surprised,
but my Jesuit General has told me, ordered me, to do something for thirty years,
while it was called The Eucharistic Crusade was phased out of existence, it
is exactly that, a program for the youth to keep them in the faith, and strengthen
their faith, from the ages of six to eighteen. Sources I was told by my
superiors to do something, and the organization had to be, well, started by
the Bishops. So what I did was to find a benevolent Bishop, who canvassed
his fellow Bishops. We now have forty dioceses, isnt that nice? Forty
dioceses signed up. All we need now is working hands. So, well do something
about this program sources for youth group, and if the one who signed this would
give me their name Id appreciate it. One on this by the way, I would
ask all of you, as I have to some of you already, any contribution you can make,
we are still open, and in need, any ideas on how you teach children, either
teach them religion or teach them about the faith or the Sacred Heart in any
shape or form the practice of religion, I would appreciate getting something
from you. Did I make an announcement on this before to you people?
Well gosh; its about time I made the announcement of course its already three
months since we last met. Would you please, and then Im leaving the States
on Sunday this week, and Id appreciate your faxing, I mean it. My fax
number at the University is area 313-993-1653, 313-993-1653. Any idea
you may have, either what you have done, or your wife, or somebody you know,
and as long as it is readable, fax it and Ill use it ok? Please. Thank
There is a Church in our area that has a Eucharistic room separate from the
Church but has many windows for all to view Jesus exposed in the monstrance.
There is no reverence shown to Jesus by genuflection. Should it be brought
to the pastors attention to put curtains on the windows so Jesus will not be
exposed to all, since reverence is not enforced? Well, by all means, mention
this to the pastor. You dont know how far youll get. Certainly, if anybody
should be respected and reverenced, its Our Lord. Remember the crowd
that followed Jesus and the extreme reverence, and remember the man who said
Im not even worthy to have You come under my roof. Remember? And this also
is part of the crisis in the Catholic Church, the loss in so many places, of
the most basic respect, for Jesus Christ really present in the Holy Eucharist.
And of course where just about everybody can handle the Blessed Sacrament, is
it any wonder that this has an overflow into such things as this, by all means
talk to the pastor, Ill say a prayer that you get somewhere.
Should miracles be added to the four marks of the True Church? Well lets
see. Does anybody happen to have a copy of the Modern Catholic Dictionary?
Well, dont bother. The miracles, that is already included in the four marks
One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic. And it is usually included under
the word Holy. Miracles are one of the signs of the Churchs Holiness. However,
St. Robert Bellarmine, who wrote in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries,
does include miracles as one of the fifteen marks of the True Church.
So, yes, in other words, a more fully developed marks of the true Church would
You told us our minds must become completely certain that God exists.
Would you briefly describe the classic proofs for the existence of God?
Well, they are best described in St. Thomas, St. Thomas Aquinas. And, they are
present, I have them, in my Treasury of Catholic Wisdom. In the
section which includes quite detailed selections from St. Thomas Aquinas.
I could talk of course for hours in analyzing the five classic proofs for the
existence of God. But we can say very simply, that everything, everything
that we know, everything we know in the world has a cause but there must be
some One Cause that is behind everything which itself was caused.
And that One Cause, behind all the other causes, cannot Himself have been caused.
Otherwise from nothing comes what? Nothing. Or the other way that
I put it, to condense it, can there have been, can there have been a time when
nothing, I mean this literally, nothing existed? Can there have been a time
when nothing existed? No, because if there was quote, a time, unquote
when nothing existed what would exist now? Nothing. And, wonder
of wonders, to think that human beings, each one of whom had a beginning.
Sometime I tell people to call up their mother, and ask them, Mother, where
was I before I was born? Jim, stop cracking jokes over the telephone.
In other words, there can not have been nothing, otherwise, there would now
be nothing. The One Being, that cannot not have existed from eternity,
what a name you give Him, we call Him God.
Copyright © 2005 by Institute on Religious Life
Conference transcription from a talk that Father Hardon gave to the
Institute on Religious Life
Institute on Religious Life, Inc.
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