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


700. This sin business worries me. Is it possible that mortal man can sin against Almighty God? I can see that he can sin against his fellow mortal men.

It is possible precisely because we are mortal men and He is Almighty God. What is sin? Sin is a crime, and crime is a breaking of the law. Now God created us, and He certainly has the right to lay down laws according to which we must conduct ourselves. If men will not obey those laws they sin against God just as those who refuse to obey the state are criminals in the eyes of state law. As a matter of fact, it would be impossible to sin against one's fellow men if one could not sin against God. Every sin supposes the violation of the rights of another. Rights and duties go together. If I have a duty it is because another has a right. But whence come the rights of my fellow men? What is their foundation? Since man did not make himself, he certainly did not make that which is less than himself, his rights. The very foundation of these rights is God the Creator, the Author of all morality. And every sin against your fellow man is a sin against the Author of the law—Almighty God. Without God you have rights with no assignable title and no real sanction,

701. Was the sin of our first parents the eating of an apple, or the committing of adultery?

It was not a sin of adultery. Disorder in their passions was subsequent to their first sin. Their higher faculties had perfect control over their lower faculties until they had rebelled against God. Only after that did things lower than themselves, even their own passions, rebel against them. There is far less reason why lesser things should obey man than for man to obey God. Nor were they expelled for eating an apple. Nowhere is an apple mentioned. They disobediently partook of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. The fruit of that tree could not communicate knowledge to them, but where before they had not known the evil of sin, they now had the sad knowledge of what it meant to be at variance with God. Their violation of God's prohibition was an implicit blasphemy, and a denial in practice of God's right to dictate their conduct.

702. How can God blame anyone for doing what he must do?

He cannot and does not. But for every free choice in the direction of evil man will have to render an account. Man is free, and no man must do moral evil.

703. Why did not God make their will power strong enough to resist the temptation?

He did. They need not have consented to it. God had to choose between giving man freedom of will or not. If man were not free, he would necessarily love and serve God. Man would have to love God. But God did not want a forced love from intelligent creatures. He wished to be freely chosen for His own sake. So He left man free. Yet if man is free, he is free not only to love God, but also to reject God. But God thought so much of man's freely given love that He preferred to risk not being chosen.

704. At least God could have given men a stronger will.

What do you mean by stronger will? Do you mean a will with a stronger propensity towards the good? But freedom means freedom from inclinations imposed by any outside agency. It means indifference and personal decision. Any intrinsic strengthening of man's will in one direction means diminishing his freedom in the opposite direction. God gave man the truth; He gave him grace; but always man remained his own master physically, although morally of course he was bound to obey God.

705. God knows all. He knew the pair must fall when He made them.

God does know all. He therefore knew that they would be free, and that there was no must fall about it. There was no necessity to fall, and they could have resisted the temptation. You may say, "But they did fall, and God must have known that they would fall." That is correct. But the fact that God knew this did not make them fall, nor place the responsibility upon God. If I find out by some means that you are going to sail for Europe next week, when you have sailed I do not tell everyone that I made you go. Knowledge as such does not cause events. Events are responsible for the knowledge one has of them.

706. Anyway God need not have made a serpent or devil to tempt them.

God did not make any devils. He made angels in quite a sinless condition, but also free, even as man. By misuse of their freedom of choice, some angels turned themselves into evil spirits. In his evil will Satan then tempted man. God permitted this, for man had to prove the reality of his devotedness to God. Anybody can serve God if he is never tempted. Man's real glory is to be tempted to abandon God, yet not to consent.

707. You say that man fell. Evolution says that man did not fall, but that he has experienced a steady rise from brutality.

History denies this steady rise. It is full of falls, and is, in fact, but a catalogue of ups and downs. Nations rise to a high state of civilization and decay. If evolution wants to maintain a steady uplift, history itself proves it wrong.

708. What do you mean by original sin?

Actual sin is a deliberate personal transgression of God's law. But original sin, which is inherited, does not mean that I have personally and maliciously transgressed. We must notice the difference between nature and grace. Nature is our being and all that our condition demands as rational animals. Grace means a gift or quality over and above all that our nature legitimately demands. Now nature is fitted to know God only by deduction from created things. Yet over and above this God's sheer goodness chose to give us what is in no way due to us, the supernatural destiny to see Him face to face in heaven, and the grace to attain this Vision. He promised this to Adam and, provided Adam were faithful, to all his children. And in this supernatural matter He regarded Adam as father of the human family. Adam failed. He and his children were deprived of this supernatural destiny and of the gift of sanctifying grace. This deprivation of grace is called original sin. It is called sin in so far as we lack that quality which renders us pleasing in God's sight as heirs to the Vision of Himself in heaven.

709. Does God create every soul now in a state of sin?

No. God's creative activity terminates in good only. But the soul cannot normally be infused into a child of Adam without its contracting the privation of the original gratuitous gifts it was destined to receive had Adam not fallen. I say normally because God did anticipate the merits of Christ in one case, preventing the soul of the Virgin Mary from contracting original sin. Do not imagine, however, that God creates a separated soul and then infuses it. By simultaneous action the soul is created and blended with the body, thus completing a nature in a state of sin. The stain of original sin, also, differs from the stain of personal sin, which is committed, not contracted. Original sin supposes a lack of grace, which would have been present, but it does not suppose a personal and malicious disposition.

710. What proof have you that original sin is inherited?

The very best—the word of the God who created us. In Ps. L., 7, we read David's testimony, "In sins did my mother conceive me." The original Hebrew has "in sin," not "in sins." He is speaking, not of his own personal sins, nor of any actual sin of his father or mother. He is speaking of original sin derived from Adam and the first fall, tracing back to the very first beginning of human life a sin handed on with human nature from parent to child. In Jn. IIL, 6, Christ demands that a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost in Baptism. A birth means a life. Re-birth means the acquiring of some new principle of life not secured by our natural birth. And Baptism gives the principle of supernatural life without which we were born into this world, and the lack of which constitutes the very essence of original sin. St. Paul tells us clearly, "By one man sin entered into this world ... in whom all have sinned." Rom. V., 12. Experience confirms this revealed doctrine. Our very proneness to evil argues to a privation of original rectitude. As Chesterton has well remarked, men may deny original sin, but almost the only thing they know about original innocence is that they haven't got it.

711. To brand me with sin is as unjust as hanging me for a murder I did not commit.

Original sin does not brand you with the positive guilt of actual and personal malice. It is a privation of a grace and of a destiny to which no human being has a natural right. God offered that destiny to Adam and to all his children, regarding Adam as head of the human family. Were you a married man with a family, I could certainly agree to grant to you and to each of your children a substantial recompense, provided you fulfilled certain conditions specified by me. If you failed to comply with my conditions, I could certainly cancel that recompense. Nor could your children justly complain later that I had robbed them of anything due to them. Original sin is the deprivation of a right to a happiness which was never due to us. The privation of grace is essentially the privation of something gratuitous.

712. I can understand inheriting the effects of the first sin, hut why the sin itself? If my father is a thief, I share in his disgrace, but my soul is not stained by his sins.

Your father was not constituted the head of the whole human race, and is but the intermediate transmitter of an individual human nature. If we inherited original sin as something of positive personal malice, it would be unjust. But we do not. Death in a state of positive and serious personal malice merits hell. But if a child dies with no personal sin, but only original sin, whilst it can never attain to the very Vision of God, and thus suffers the privation of a gratuitous destiny, it will never endure the positive suffering of the lost in hell. It will be rendered happy according to its natural capacity.

713. Why inherit the first sin of Adam, and not his subsequent sins?

Only in the matter with which the first sin was connected was Adam constituted the supernatural head of the race. After his sin as head of supernaturally elevated human nature, he sinned as a private individual and independently of God's universal decree for the human race as such.

714. Why was I born without my consent, when I have to inherit original sin?

Before you existed your consent could hardly be requested. Also I would not need to be asked if someone offered to invest a few thousand dollars for me before I was able to be consulted. Yet the gift of life with a prospect of eternal happiness is more valuable than any earthly fortune. After all, if God permitted original sin, it was only because He knew that a greater good would eventuate in the Incarnation of His Son for us men and for our salvation. Christ has restored to every man the possibility of attaining the original supernatural destiny first offered us through Adam.

715. You suppose, of course, the validity of your dogmas concerning the person and work of Christ.

Those dogmas are valid. I do not suppose their validity.



Prefer a PRINT version?