Choose a topic from Vol 1:


God's existence known by reason
Nature of God
Providence of God and Problem of Evil


Nature of man
Existence and nature of the soul
Immortality of the soul
Destiny of the soul
Freewill of man


Nature of religion
Necessity of religion

The Religion of the Bible

Natural religion
Revealed religion
Mysteries of religion
Value of the Gospels
Inspiration of the Bible
Old Testament difficulties
New Testament difficulties

The Christian Faith

The religion of the Jews
Truth of Christianity
Nature and necessity of faith

A Definite Christian Faith

Conflicting Churches
Are all one Church?
Is one religion as good as another?
The fallacy of indifference

The Failure of Protestantism

Protestantism erroneous
Greek Orthodox Church
Salvation Army
Witnesses of Jehovah
Christian Science
Catholic intolerance

The Truth of Catholicism

Nature of the Church
The true Church
Hierarchy of the Church
The Pope
Temporal power
Outside the Church no salvation

The Catholic Church and the Bible

Not opposed to the Bible
The reading of the Bible
Protestants and the Bible
Bible Only a false principle
The necessity of Tradition
The authority of the Catholic Church

The Church and Her Dogmas

Dogmatic truth
Development of dogma
Dogma and reason
The Holy Trinity
Grace and salvation
The Sacraments
Holy Eucharist
The Sacrifice of the Mass
Holy Communion
Extreme Unction
The Millenium
Prayer for the Dead
The resurrection of the body
The general Judgment
The End of the World

The Church in Her Moral Teachings

Mental restriction
Ecclesiastical censures
Index of Prohibited Books
The Inquisition
Catholic Intolerance
Protestant services
Prohibition of drink
Sunday Observance
Convent life
Mixed Marriages
Birth control

The Church in Her Worship

Holy Water
Sign of the Cross
Liturgical ceremonial
Spiritual Healing
The use of Latin
Devotion to Mary
The Rosary
The Angelus
Devotion to the Saints
The worship of relics

The Church and Social Welfare

Poverty of Catholics
Catholic and Protestant countries
The Church and education
The Social Problem
The Church and Capitalism
The Church and the Worker


678. Of more interest to me are the dogmas concerning the formation of man. Why not admit that man has evolved out of the past?

Out of the past what? Man has evolved in many things. God meant him to do so. But he did not evolve out of nothing. Evolution supposes something evolving. We are forced to admit a Creator. If you will not admit that, you will have nothing turning its non-existent self into something.

679. May not Catholics believe in creative evolution, or emergent evolution?

Creative evolution is a contradiction in terms. Evolution supposes an existent something progressively improving itself. Creation supposes the production of being where previously there was no being. No Catholic, therefore, can believe in creative evolution as if there were no need of a Creator. Many Catholics believe in a created evolution as a possible hypothesis in a limited degree.

680. Too many have accepted the evolutionary theory in part or entirely for the Church to condemn it.

That so many have accepted the evolutionary theory does not make it true. If it were against God's revelation the Catholic Church would condemn it no matter how many held it. The number who hold an error could never influence the Catholic Church; nor does she mind whether her decision be popular or not. She is concerned with what God teaches, not with what men think. However, one can hold the evolutionary theory to a certain extent. Nobody holds it in full, for all evolutionists are very hazy about origins.

681. Restricting the question to man, what does Catholic dogma say concerning his evolution?

It says that his soul is certainly not the result of evolution, but that it is immediately created by God. There is no dogma concerning the precise mode of formation in regard to his body. But the Church stands to the ordinary teaching that his body has not evolved from lower beings, but that it also was produced by the special intervention of God. The idea that the body of man has evolved from lower animals is scientifically and philosophically highly improbable, and it cannot be held with either safety or prudence. Science has proved nothing concerning the origin of man's body, and is merely in the conjectural stage. And in view of the mind of the Church, no Catholic would be justified in denying the literal Biblical account. If he may not deny it, must he therefore believe it? He must accept it as more probable than the evolutionary hypothesis. Presumption stands for the literal sense until the contrary has been demonstrated.

682. Aquinas compares Adam's wisdom with that of Solomon, whilst anthropology shows that the first type of man was dimwitted and of small brain development.

Anthropology does not show that. That is part of the evolutionary guess. There is no scientific evidence whatever as to what degree of culture the first man possessed. Meantime it is certain that Adam had all the knowledge necessary and fitting for his circumstances. Genesis shows us that he knew the nature and diversity of animals, whilst Ecclesiasticus XVII., 5-6, tells us that God filled him with knowledge and understanding, and created in our first parents science and wisdom. The fact of their knowledge must be admitted. Its degree is open to speculation, but in no way can we admit that our first parents were demi-witted, nor can science possibly demonstrate such a deficiency.

683. Did God redly take a rib from Adam and make a woman therefrom?

We are bound to believe that Eve was formed from Adam. It is revealed doctrine that "God hath made of one all mankind." Acts XVII., 26. "For the man is not of the woman, but the woman of the man." I. Cor. XL, 8. Nor has reason anything to say to the contrary. It is as easy for God to make a woman that way as to make Adam from the earth or the earth from nothing.

684. Besides Adam and Eve we read only of Cain and Abel. Whom did Cain marry?

Your knowledge is inadequate. Had you read on, you would have seen in the fifth chapter of Genesis that Adam begot Seth, and after that lived on for some 800 years, begetting sons and daughters. Cain very probably married a sister. He could even have married a niece! But that would involve the marriage of a brother and sister at some stage, or indeed of several brothers and sisters. With the cessation of necessity, such close inter-relationship was forbidden. But special conditions naturally prevailed in such special circumstances as the starting of the human race. God exercised a special providence to safeguard the earliest human beings from the evils usually associated with close inter-marriage. And after all, a sister would not be so closely related to Cain as Eve was to Adam. Cain's wife was not made out of his own rib! Whom Cain married precisely is not mentioned, as not being very important. One book cannot give all the names that have occurred in history, and the Bible gives but a summary outline of chief events.

685. Do you believe with science that man has been on earth tens of thousands of years, or do you believe the Bible story?

Science has nothing very definite to say on the subject, and in any case, the age of the human race cannot be calculated from the Bible. I certainly believe the Bible account in its own proper sense. As far as that account is concerned, man could have been on the earth a hundred thousand years. No one can say with certainty exactly how long.

686. You have distinguished between the body and the soul of man, the soul being a spirit. Yet how can a man belong to the material and the spiritual worlds at once? They exclude each other.

A material world cannot be a spiritual world, nor can a spiritual world be a material world. But the two can exist simultaneously, even as in one man's head we have material brains and spiritual thoughts. We cannot say that a man's material brains so fill a man's head that they leave no room for thought. Even in purely physical things you can have material copper and electric force occupying the same wire. They are in different orders of being.

687. Is it revealed doctrine that the soul of man is immortal?

Yes. Revelation confirms the conclusions of reason which I have explained already. The account in Genesis of man's formation proves it. God is immortal, and cannot die. He made man in His own image and likeness. But our bodies are nothing like God in appearance, and are mortal. Therefore the real image of God is in our soul, and it resembles God by immortality. Both Old and New Testaments insist upon the immortality of the soul.

688. Man has not got a soul—he is a soul Genesis II., 7, says that man became a living soul

That does not deny the distinction between body and soul in man. If God breathed a living soul into man's body, then man's body is a distinct thing, and man is rightly said to possess both a body and a soul. To say that a man is a living soul is but to use a figure of speech, alluding to the complete thing by the name of its principal part. A man's saying that he intends to take sail for Europe does not prove that the boat is a sail and that it has not got a sail. The immortality of the soul and its distinction from the body are obvious in Scripture. Thus we read, "The souls of the just are in the hand of God. The torment of death shall not touch them. In the sight of the unwise they seemed to die." Wisd. III., 1-2. Christ said, "Fear not them that kill the body but are not able to kill the soul." Matt., X., 28. If body and soul were not separate things one could not be killed without the other. St. Paul remarks, "While we are in the body we are absent from the Lord." II. Cor. V., 6. When he was out of the body he expected to be present to the Lord. But if the soul is dead it is present to no one. Again, he desired that the union of body and soul should be dissolved in order that he might be with Christ—a thing he declared to be far better. Philip. I., 23. Or again, in Heb. IX., 27, "It is appointed unto man once to die, and after this the judgment." Judgment follows death, and the dead body not being able to give an account of itself then, it is the living soul, which experiences judgment

689. Immortality teas unknown to the Jews, and was rejected by the Sadducees because it was not in the Pentateuch.

The immortality of the soul was well known to the Jews. The Sadducees were a small minority who were remarkable among the Jews precisely because they denied it. The majority of the Jews, therefore, held it. They were well aware of the apparition of the soul of Samuel to Saul in I. Sam. (Kgs.), XXVIIL, 15. Our Lord quoted the Pentateuch against the Sadducees, proving immortality from Exod. III., 6. "I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob." And He said, "He is not the God of the dead, but of the living." In other words, He is, not was, their God.

690. David asks, "What man shall deliver his soul from the grave?" Ps.89, 48.

The verse means that no man can avoid death and free his soul from the necessity of being separated from the body.

691. Does he not say, "He returneth to earth, and in that day all his thoughts perish"? Ps. 146, 4.

When man's soul departs from his body, that body returns to dust, and all his thoughts and schemes for this earthly life are over.

692. Ecclesiastes III., 19, tells us that the death of man and beasts is equal, and that man hath no pre-eminence over the beast.

Human experience does show us that man can no more escape death than the beasts. But man's condition is not the same, for his soul lives on, still capable of knowledge and love, happiness or misery. Thus the same Book, in XII., 7, tells us that "the dust shall return to the earth as it was, and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it." The fate of the soul differs from that of the body.

693. But in IX., 5, we read, "The dead know not anything, neither have they any more a reward, for the memory of them is forgotten."

Those last words obviously show that it is useless to depend upon a reward as far as recognition by fellow men is concerned. The writer is speaking from the point of view of people still living in this world. To all practical purposes as far as this world is concerned the dead are removed from this world and know not anything as far as the evidence of our own senses goes. But that the soul has passed beyond the conditions of life as we know them does not prove that the souls of the departed are not quite conscious in other conditions. In I. Pet. III., 19, we are told that Christ preached to the souls of the departed. Such a proceeding implies that they were conscious of His doctrine.

694. Ezechiel XVIII., 4, says, "The soul that sinneth, it shall die."

The word soul here does not refer exclusively to the immortal part of man's nature. Ezechiel is pointing out that not only the sins of our parents, but also each man's own personal and individual sins deserve punishment. In verse 24 he says that, if the just man turn from his righteousness and do evil, he shall die, and all his righteousness shall not be remembered. But his prevarications will be remembered, a thing which will matter nothing to a soul if it merely ceases to exist, but very much indeed if it be still living.

695. You quoted the text, "Fear not them that are not able to kill the soul." But Christ went on to say, "Fear him who can destroy both body and soul."

Christ meant that we should fear God rather than men. Men have no influence in one's final judgment, whatever they may do to the body. But God cannot only destroy the body; He can condemn the soul to an eternal existence, which is destruction indeed—the wreckage of all one's hopes and desires. It is simply a living death forever.

696. St. Paul says, "The cross to them indeed that perish is foolishness; but to them that are saved the power of God." I. Cor. I., 18.

All, whether good or bad, perish as far as this earthly life is concerned, by natural death. But the cross is folly to those who are spiritually dead in sin. When a man commits serious sin he drives God's grace out of his soul. His soul is then dead to a spiritual and supernatural life until he recovers God's grace by repentance.

697. But St. Paul tells us that Jesus alone hath immortality. I. Tim. VI., 16.

He means that through Christ alone can man attain to everlasting happiness. That he intends, not immortality as such, but a happy immortality is clear from his immediate addition of the words, "dwelling in the light," as opposed to the unending darkness of eternal misery.

698. The doctrine of the resurrection of the dead denies that the soul is still living.

It does not. It refers to the resurrection of the body. If the individual soul ceases to exist, there could be no resurrection of the same personality. The material body could be recalled, but another soul would have to be created. This would mean two successive personalities, of which the second would not be the first. Deny the immortality of the soul, and you deny any possibility that you yourself will rise again.

699. It is more comforting to think that those who persisted in sin are not conscious.

It would be still more comforting to think that they did not persist in sin. However comfort or discomfort has little to do with it. There are a thousand things we would like to be true, but that does not make them true.



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