Joseph McCabe (1867-1955) was one of the most prolific authors of all time. He was brought up as a Roman Catholic, worked on Latin documents, and made himself very well-informed about Christianity, but turned against it. But he was extremely naive about Jews; bear this in mind.

Click for Detailed notes on McCabe - scroll down for selections from A Rationalist Encyclopaedia (1948).

Here's the full A Rationalist Encyclopaedia (about 1.3 MBytes; Word format; includes notes on some of its limits)

Justice, The Christian preaching of.

J. McCabe, Rationalists Encyclopaedia

Since, in modern times, the stress of apologetic work was shifted from doctrinal to ethical issues, a good deal has been made of the fact that the Gospels inculcate, and the Church has always preached, justice. In so far as this boast implies that the inculcation of justice began, or became more emphatic, 1,900 years ago, the historical statement is too crude for discussion. The Egyptian tomb-inscriptions, for several thousand years, insisted on justice, and see articles on Asoka; Children; Hammurabi Code; Stoics; Woman; Workers; etc. Many other articles show that, to whatever cause we assign the change, after the fourth century the great mass of the people entered upon a social order which was foully unjust as compared with the Greek-Roman [see Christianity; Chivalry; Divorce; Philanthropy; Serfdom; Slavery; etc.], and that the modern struggle for social justice grew with the spread of scepticism and had, considering the relative proportion of sceptics and Christians until less than a century ago, a remarkable number of sceptical leaders [see Democracy; Social Justice; Woman; etc.]. It will, before long, be recognized as a platitude of history that the period 450-1850 was one of deep injustice between the old pagan order and the new. Positivists and other non-Christians, who insist that the preaching of justice by so powerful an organization as the Church must have promoted it in a high degree, rarely evince a close study of the question whether in fact it did. One needs little reflection to see where the preaching of justice fails as long as you leave it to your hearers to say what is or is not just, especially when the preacher belongs to the class which would, on a strict application of justice, have to give rather than receive. Gregory I, the greatest slave-owner in Europe, was as eloquent about justice as Luther exhorting the nobles to shoot down the rebellious peasants "like mad dogs." Leo XIII, vaguely demanding a "just wage" for the workers and refusing to define it when asked to do so, talked just as fervently about justice as did the English bishops who opposed the Reform Bill or education, or the Catholic bishops who blessed the vile persecution of democrats in Spain and Italy in the last century and unctuously blessed Fascism in our time. Our pragmatic age is more interested in facts; and they make a mockery of the preaching.

 



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