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Christ in the Church
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Christ in the Church
Publisher Marketing: Monsignor Benson explains the origin of this work: "The following chapters have, in substance, been delivered in sermon form in the church of S. Silvestroin-Capite in Rome, in Lent 1909; in the Carmelite church in Kensington in the Lent of 1910; and in a private house in Boston, U. S. A., in the Eastertide of the same year. I have altered to some slight extent the language used in their oral delivery; but to a large extent I have also allowed that language to stand, as being more appropriate to conferences intended to be persuasive rather than scholastic, and especially in treating of the dramatic scenes of the Passion." Msgr. Benson explains the need of mortification: "For the Catholic Church alone amongst religious bodies welcomes and wills her own pain-(as is shown in her fruitfulness with regard to contemplatives and her organisation of their life)-not only for the sake of the individual who suffers, but of the whole body to which he belongs." Then explains how this is so misunderstood by the world: "The Church alone, I have said, recognises and uses the principle. She is therefore accused of 'morbidity' by those who resent the facing of Facts, and who believe that Pain is incompatible with Joy. But it is a singular misuse of a word. Morbidity is the state of unhappiness in a man who ought to be happy; while the Contemplative is a man who is happy when he ought, in the world's opinion, to be unhappy." After explaining Judas' failure, he compares those who leave the Catholic Church to Judas: "The Catholic Church has, I trunk, this characteristic in an almost unique degree, that while on one side she is capable of arousing the most passionate devotion that can ever be given to a Society, she also arouses. in those who leave her, the most violent opposition. An indifferent apostate is a very rare phenomenon. When persons leave other denominations they do not immediately turn round and assail them. I have known innumerable converts from very many forms of Christianity, as well as from agnosticism and positive infidelity; but it is exceedingly seldom that I have ever heard anything but expressions of affection or respect for the systems, or at any rate the persons whom they have left." And further on: "But if one wishes to hear reviling carried to a fine art, to hear an entire range of abusive vocabulary poured out, the meanest motives attributed, the worst interpretations put upon innocent actions, and all with the ardour of an ecstatic, one must turn to the apostate monk or the escaped nun. The very intensity with which the Church is assailed by those who were once her friends, and the lengths to which they will go-this is as much a mark of what she is as is all the sanctity of her saints. Ex-Anglicans are often bored by the subject of Anglicanism, but they never treat it with fury or cynicism. Ex-Catholics, however, can seldom leave Catholicism alone." This is indeed an interesting set of sermons and well worth reading.