Agnosticism and Socialism are the two great forces to be reckoned with in the immediate future.
Poison-thought has eaten the vitals of non-catholic sectaries. The teaching of so-called Christian churches has evaporated into a mere natural theism, the supernatural element has disappeared. Both the Socialist and Agnostic frankly confess that the demolition of the sects is but a preliminary skirmish: the real battle lies farther afield. The lines of conflict between us and them are daily drawing closer, and it is a question of brief time till we are locked in deadly grip. How are we preparing for this struggle, which may yet convulse the world?
The future priest must be made familiar with the modern objections in their native dress and form.
The aspirant for the foreign missions has a tough quarry before him: it behoves him to steady his hand and point his weapon.
Young men complain of the length and tediousness of the years consumed in preparation for the Ministry. Could I but engrave on their minds the conviction as it lives, fixed and definite, on my own as to the equipment requisite for the efficient discharge of their great office; could I but show them the thousands untouched that might be within her fold to-day, were the Church’s workmen fully aware of the pressing needs of modern life, they would count that hour as lost that did not contribute its quota towards their arming for the future.
P.S.—I cannot do better than here append a list of those books I found in practical experience most valuable in meeting modern thought. I would earnestly ask every aspirant for the foreign mission not to leave the college till he has a familiar acquaintance with every page of them. I take it for granted that the transcendent merits of “Catholic Belief” and “Faith of our Fathers” are so well known, especially as books for intending converts, that there is no need to add them to the list on the following page.
Dealing with Agnosticism, &c.
“Liberalism and the Church” Brownson.
“Notes on Ingersol” Lambert.
“The Newest Answer to the Old Riddle” Gerrard.
“New Materialism” Gaynor.
Dealing with Socialism “Pope Leo XIII. on Labour.” “Labour and Popular Welfare” Mallock. “Socialism” Cathrein.
SHOULD A YOUNG PRIEST WRITE HIS SERMONS?
[Side note: Clearing the ground]
That the young priest may discharge the office of preacher with efficiency and honour, not only must he bring ability and industry to his task, but he must approach it with a mind free from false theories. One unsound principle may mean shipwreck. Amongst the many questions discussed by aspirants to pulpit success, perhaps the greatest prominence is given to the relative merits of the written or the extemporary sermon. This is so important that its full treatment demands an entire chapter.