1441. The Catholic Church is a blight on social welfare, asking the public to support too many religious institutions.
The irreligious man perhaps thinks that there are too many. But the religious man will say that there are not really enough. God is not likely to complain that works of mercy are being multiplied in His name. And what public is called upon to support these Catholic institutions? Let those complain who do so. Catholic institutions are supported in the main by Catholics and by such generous non-Catholics who admire their charitable work. And the man who does not support them is not the one who should complain. If those who do support them had no wish to do so for the love of God and their fellow men, they would cease to give. But they must be allowed to do with their own property what they wish. If they wish to devote some of their earnings to charitable and religious works, those who selfishly reserve all for their own comfort or amusement should at least have the grace to keep silent.
1442. How long will the country be able to stand this vast expenditure?
The country is not asked to do so. Catholics give out of their private earnings, paying all public taxes required for the public finances. Catholic institutions are not a burden on the public. In fact they lessen the public burden, relieving the state of a great deal of financial responsibility. Public money is spent on state schools, and in them Catholic public money is spent to educate the children of non-Catholics, while Catholics have to pay privately over again for the education of their own children. Take my advice. Do not talk economics in reference to Catholic institutions. Just pocket Catholic money and be wisely silent!
1443. Is not the money extracted from Catholics out of all proportion to their ability to give?
Money is not extracted from Catholics. They delight to give what they can afford in support of their religion. They believe they can afford it, even if it does mean the sacrifice of some of the amusements those who don't give can enjoy. But they would rather give to God than spend all on superfluous self-entertainment. All Catholics know that they are not expected to give out of proportion to their real ability. Those who cannot afford it have no obligation to give.
1444. The money is wrung from the people.
It is not, and every Catholic would resent the charge that his offerings to God and to the Church are not prompted by supernatural motives, and are not voluntary, but given under compulsion. You have not the least idea of the Catholic spirit.
1445. It is a wonderful way to get money; just tell people that they sin if they don't give!
That would indeed be a wonderful way. It is surprising that the big business people have not thought of it. They have but to insert an advertisement in the newspapers, "It is sinful not to purchase at our establishment," and the first firm that does so will have all rival firms closed in no time. It is a wonder that the modern world has not yet thought of this.
1446. All the same Catholicism keeps the people poor, for Father Martindale bewailed the fact that the Catholic religion is looked upon as the religion of the kitchen.
That does not mean that it is the religion of the kitchen. Nor was Father Martindale alluding to the qualities of the religion. He was rebuking the dispositions of those who so regarded Catholicism. He was blaming men who are so blind to the real facts that, because many of the lower classes do happen to be Catholics, they look down upon Catholicism with prejudice and snobbishness. Such men would have despised Christianity in the first days of its existence because preached by a common fisherman, Peter.
1447. Why are there so many Catholic employees, and so few Catholic employers?
The duty of proving that Catholic employers are proportionately fewer than Protestant employers rests upon yourself, before I have any need to reply. And even if you could prove such to be the case, no question for or against the Catholic religion could arise from such considerations. Temporal prosperity is no index as to the truth of Christianity, for Christ did not promise that. He Himself knew no temporal prosperity, and predicted that His true followers would not be above their Master. In fact, from this point of view, lack of worldly prosperity on the part of Catholics would be, if anything, in their favor as disciples of a crucified Master.