HE Sovereign Pontiff Pius X, in a letter addressed "to the Sacred Bishops of the Universal Church, on the Teaching of the Christian Doctrine," attributes "the remissness, or rather the intellectual debility, of our times chiefly to ignorance of divine things."
A prominent Jesuit Father, in a recent issue of the "Ecclesiastical Review," says: "Faith is weak and love is cold, largely because Catholics do not clearly understand what the Church of Christ commands them to believe and do.
"As a remedy for this great evil, His Holiness commands the shepherds of the faithful to take care that frequent and systematic catechetical instructions be given to the young and old of every Parish."
In an endeavor to obey the call of our Chief pastor, Pius X, to supply "The Teaching of Christian Doctrine" the plan to public THE MANUAL OF THE HOLY CATHOLIC CHURCH was undertaken with the intention to provide the Catholic people with the necessary knowledge in a clear, concise form that would include all the information in one important work, thereby enabling them to do away with the necessity of consulting a large number of different books or being compelled constantly to ask questions concerning their Religion.
It was decided to publish the MANUAL in two parts, and owing to the fact that Laymen are obliged to answer questions on every Catholic subject, the first part of the MANUAL, embracing "THE BEAUTIFUL TEACHINGS OF THE HOLY CATHOLIC CHURCH," has been published in the form of Questions and Answers. The objections against the Doctrines of the Catholic Faith spring commonly from misconceptions, hence the second part of the MANUAL, "LIGHT FROM THE ALTAR, OR THE TRUE CATHOLIC IN THE CHURCH OF CHRIST," has been published as a work of reference and instruction.
As to the first part of the MANUAL let us seriously dwell upon "The Beautiful Teachings of the Holy Catholic Church;" beautiful in that they teach the imitation of Christ; beautiful because through Mother-Church, they also "adorn the doctrine of God Our Saviour in all things." Titus 11-10.
What is more beautiful than Faith? What is more beautiful than the Teachings that develop and sustain that Faith?
The Eight Hundred Instructions and Fifteen Hundred Quotations from the Scriptures so thoroughly sustain every point of controversy that the reader is furnished with such a defense of his Faith that he may indeed become a TRUE EXPONENT OF CATHOLIC DOCTRINE.
In the adaptation of the writings of the learned Bishop Hay, the purpose has been to make them more acceptable to all the faithful of the Church by using modern phrases and carefully editing the subjects in such a manner as to bring THE BEAUTIFUL TEACHINGS OF THE HOLY CATHOLIC CHURCH within the understanding of young and old, TO MAKE THEM SO CLEAR AND CONVINCING that reference to any one question would interest and lead the reader from one truth to ALL THE TRUTHS OF FAITH. The plan of the first part included not only the idea of Religious Instruction, but to furnish an authoritative and convincing answer to every possible question couched in such language that there should be no room for doubt as to its true meaning.
In these times, Catholics in every walk of life, even the children on their way to school, or during their hours of play, are frequently asked questions by honest inquirers "TO GIVE REASONS FOR THE FAITH THAT IS IN THEM." On this account it was necessary that the first part of the MANUAL be made A TRUE EXPLANATION OF OUR HOLY FAITH.
Parents are daily asked by their children to teach the truths of their religion to them, often seeking information which the average parent is not prepared to give. The plan is also to furnish parents with that necessary knowledge and with a complete table of contents under classified headings so that the Questions and Answers wanted may be had in a few moments.
It is to be regretted that THERE ARE MANY CATHOLICS WHO ARE NOT CONVERSANT WITH THE TEACHINGS OF THE CHURCH, and who through the ignorance cannot answer the most simple questions on many points of Christian Doctrine and who on account of this deficiency are unable to explain the truths they profess to believe. It is hoped that the plan of this work will enable such to become better informed and thereby be a credit to THE NAME OF CATHOLIC.
FOR CONVERTS AND OTHERS seeking more knowledge THE TEACHINGS OF THE CHURCH will prove a TRUE GUIDE TO OUR HOLY FAITH.
In planning the second part of the Manual, "LIGHT FROM THE ALTAR or THE TRUE CATHOLIC IN THE CHURCH OF CHRIST" it was decided not only to treat on Ceremonies and Devotions, but to make it a work of general reference and instruction.
It was therefore necessary to include a large number of subjects, and for this reason considerable space has been devoted to "The Religious and Moral Training of Children, or Christian Education in the Catholic Home." also to a "Review of Church History" and to "A Catholic Dictionary and Cyclopedia."
This has been done with the hope that it would prove a guide and KINDLY LIGHT THE WAY OF FAITH for seekers after truth.
The great Cardinal Newman prayed for the Light that illumines the world and his prayer was heard.
Lord, kindly Light, amid the encircling gloom,
Lead Thou me on!
The night is dar, and I am far from home -
Lead Thou me on!
Keep Thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene, - one step enough for me.
I was not ever thus, nor prayed that Thou
Shouldst lead me on.
I loved to choose and see my path; but now,
Lead Thou me on!
I loved the garish day, and, spite of fears,
Pride ruled my will: remember not past years.
So long Thy power hath blest me, sure it still
Will lead me on,
O'er moor and fen, o'er crag and torrent, till
The night is gone;
And with the morn those Angel face smile
Which I have loved long since, and lost awhile.
- Cardinal Newman.
Everyone should seek the same Kindly Light, the light of that ONE TRUE FAITH, which leads to the Eternal Happiness of Heaven.
JAMES J. McGOVERN, D.D.Archdiocese of Chicago.
Feast of the Assumption of the B.V.M.