If Catholicism is true, why are the most backward countries Catholic, and the most enlightened and progressive countries Protestant?

The Catholic Answers

Let me lay this ghost once and for all. The assertion implicit in such a question ignores the facts of history. A few centuries ago Spain was the dominant nation, and it rose to power as a Catholic nation. On your principles, pagan Romans could have argued that their paganism was true, pointing with scorn to Druid-ridden England, and its lack of culture. Italy, under Mussolini, is to-day leaping to the front and disturbing politicians of other countries; and its rapid advance has not demanded the relinquishing of Catholicity. As for enlightenment, Protestant artists and architects go to study the great masters and the architectural gems in Catholic countries, and are inspired by Catholic culture! Temporal progress is a fluctuating thing, dependent on political, geographical, racial, economic, and personal factors, and that quite independently of religion. I have mentioned that the assertion violates logic from the Christian point of view, since Christ did not promise temporal welfare. And it is absurd, on the face of it. For it is like arguing, “Jones is a millionaire; his religion must be true. Jones has become a bankrupt; the same religion must be false!” Finally, if Protestantism is justified by the present temporal prosperity of Protestant nations, it will be falsified by the future collapse of those nations. You can be quite sure that the present relative position of the nations of this world is not going to remain unchanged until the end of the world. That would be against all the laws of history and of the mutability of men. Alexander the Great longed for more worlds to conquer—his empire has crumbled and gone. The Roman Empire has crumbled and gone. The British Empire will crumble and go—yielding to further political changes and regimes, ever fluctuating and variable. Protestantism is changing daily, and will go even as the religions of the Greek and Roman Empires. The Catholic Church alone is changeless, and will last through all political and national upheavals, as she has done through all the changes of the last two thousand years. Talk about the relative temporal enlightenment and progress of various countries impresses no thinking man in the matter of religion. It is a phase which neither proves nor disproves the truth of a religion, but is simply irrelevant.

Radio Replies Volume 1 by Rev. Dr. Leslie Rumble MSC and Rev. Charles Mortimer Carty

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