27 October 2008

Associating with Non-Catholics, 1892

It is the Correct Thing To...
Be willing and ready at all times and under all circumstances to give the reason for one's religious beliefs when asked to do so by a sincere seeker after truth.
To avoid argument merely for the sake of argument.
To say nothing needlessly to wound the feelings and religious opinions of those out of the Church.
To refute calumnies against the Church when they come under one's notice.
To remember that all minds cannot see alike; that certain minds unillumined by the grace of God are utterly unable to grasp religious truths which are perfectly clear to even a little child who has studied its Catechism faithfully.
To be firm always in one's adherence to the teachings of the Church, even at the risk of giving offence to others outside her pale.
To remember that "a liberal Catholic," in the sense in which the term is usually understood, is often no Catholic at all.
To know that right and wrong is a matter of conscience, even where one has a false conscience.
To know that a Catholic has no excuse for having a false conscience.
To know that ignorance is hardly an excuse for a Catholic, for there is every chance afforded for knowing the truth.
To know that Catholics are excommunicated who marry before a Protestant minister.
To remember that example is more powerful than precept.
It is Not the Correct Thing...
To be unable to give a lucid explanation of one's belief.
To be fond of arguments and religious discussions.
To be careless about what one says, and the use of expressions calculated to give offence.
To weakly agree to slanders on the reputation and integrity of the Church or her ministers.
To manifest surprise and impatience at the failure of any one to grasp a truth that seems so plain to one's self.
To forget that whilst truth remains ever the same, the lamp of Faith, which is God's grace in the soul, may burn differently at different times and may even for some reason be withdrawn altogether; and that as a blind person cannot perceive the objects in the room, although the objects be there, so a soul left in darkness cannot perceive truth, although truth exists as plain as ever.
To imagine that because one cannot see a truth it is therefore not so.
For a Catholic to say that one Church is as good as another; for every intelligent Protestant knows that a consistent Catholic cannot think so, and that a Catholic who says he does is telling a deliberate falsehood.
To try to find excuses for doctrines which the Church never taught.
To act in any way that would bring reproach on the Church or give scandal to those either in or out of the fold.
~From "The Correct Thing for Catholics" (1892) by Lelia Hardin Bugg

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