Choose a topic from Vol 2:


Proof of God's existence
God's nature
Supreme control over all things and the problem of suffering and evil


Destiny of man
Immortality of man's soul
Pre-existence denied
The human free will
Determinism absurd


Necessity of religion
Salvation of the soul
Voice of science
Religious racketeers
Divine revelation
Revealed mysteries
Existence of miracles

The Religion of the Bible

Gospels historical
Missing Books of the Bible
The Bible inspired
Biblical account of creation
New Testament problems
Supposed contradictions in Sacred Scripture

The Christian Faith

Source of Christian teaching
Jewish rejection of Christ
Christianity a new religion
Rational foundation for belief
Causes of unbelief

A Definite Christian Faith

Divisions amongst Christians
Schisms unjustified
Facing the problem
The wrong approach
Is one religion as good as another?
Obligation of inquiry
Charity and tolerance

The Protestant Reformation

Meaning of "Protestant"
Causes of the Reformation
Catholic reaction
Reformers mistaken
The idealization of Protestantism
The Catholic estimate

The Truth of Catholicism

Meaning of the word "Church"
Origin of the Church
The Catholic claim
The Roman hierarchy
The Pope
The Petrine text
St. Peter's supremacy
St. Peter in Rome
Temporal power
Unity of the Church
Holiness of the Church
Catholicity of the Church
Apostolicity of the Church
Indefectibility of the Church
Obligation to be a Catholic

The Church and the Bible

Catholic attitude towards the Bible
Is Bible reading forbidden to Catholics?
Protestant Bibles
The Catholic Douay Version
Principle of private interpretation
Need of Tradition
The teaching authority of the Catholic Church

The Dogmas of the Church

Revolt against dogma
Value of a Creed
The divine gift of Faith
Faith and reason
The "Dark Ages"
The claims of science
The Holy Trinity
Creation and evolution
Grace and salvation
The Sacraments
Holy Eucharist
The Sacrifice of the Mass
Holy Communion
The Catholic Priesthood
Marriage and divorce
Extreme Unction
The resurrection of the body
The end of the world

The Church and Her Moral Teachings

The Inquisition
Other superstitions
Attendance at Mass
Sex education
Attitude to "Free Love"

The Church in Her Worship

Magnificent edifices
Lavish ritual
Women in Church
Catholics and "Mother's Day"
Liturgical Days
Burial rites
Candles and votive lamps
The rosary
Lourdes water
The Scapular

The Church and Social Welfare

Social influence of the Church
The education question
The Church and world distress
Catholic attitude towards Capitalism
The remedy for social ills
Communism condemned
The Fascist State
Morality of war
May individuals become soldiers?
The Church and peace
Capital punishment
Catholic Action

Comparative Study of Non-Catholic Denominations

Defections from the Catholic Church
Coptic Church
Greek Orthodox Church
Anglican Episcopal Church
The "Free" or "Nonconformist" Churches
Church of Christ
Seventh Day Adventists
Plymouth Brethren
Catholic Apostolic Church or Irvingites
Salvation Army
Christian Science
British Israelism
Liberal Catholics
Witnesses of Jehovah
Buchmanism or the "Oxford Group Movement"
From Protestantism to Catholicism

To and From Rome

Conversion of Cardinal Newman
Why Gladstone refrained
The peculiar case of Lord Halifax
Gibbon the historian
Secession of Father Chiniquy
Father Tyrrell, the modernist
Bishop Garrett's departure
Judgment on lapsed Catholics
Protestant apathy towards conversion of Catholics
Principles for converts to Catholicism
God's will that all should become Catholics


567. If Adam was the first human being, how long ago was he created?

I do not know. There is no indication whatever in the Bible as to when the first man was created. Nor is it a religious question. It is for science to seek for such evidence as it can discover from geological research. On such indications as science has so far been able to offer, it is probable enough that the first man was created perhaps 35,000 years ago. It would certainly be rash to go beyond 50,000.

568. You have granted that the world may be 2000 million years old!

The problem of the age of the earth itself differs from that of man. In relation to the probable existence of the earth man has lived upon it for a very short time.

569. Do those who speak of pre-Adamites mean animals with a certain degree of likeness to men?

The pre-Adamite theory was first put forward seriously by a Calvinist named Isaac de la Peyrere in 1655. But Isaac de la Peyrere himself ended by renouncing Calvinism and becoming a Catholic; and he also renounced his pre-Adamite theory. The pre-Adamite theory did not mean animals with a degree of likeness to men, but men truly human beings equally as developed as Adam himself. Adam, therefore, was not the first man, but merely the first remote ancestor of the Jewish race, the Gentiles being descended from other and previous human stock. This doctrine is condemned by the Catholic Church as opposed to the Scriptural teaching that all men without exception are descended from Adam even as Christ, the second Adam, died for the redemption of all.

570. Who lived before the Jews?

Various peoples descended from our first parents, Adam and Eve. Definite historical details of the Jews can scarcely go back beyond 2094 B. C. when Abraham went from his native land in Babylonia down into Palestine. Egyptian historical records can be traced back to 4000 B. C. We have evidences of a Chinese civilization back to 2000 B. C. Records of the Persians, Indians, Greeks and Romans, of later periods, yet contemporary with the Jews of the Old Testament are also available. History, of course, does not go back very far. The earliest fixed date in history is about 4200 B. C. In the absence of records we have nothing but conjectures to go upon for pre-historic periods. But this gives no reason for doubt as to what we do know. What we know of Christ and of His teachings is not invalidated by obscurity as to the history of dispersed mankind during the period which elapsed between the creation of Adam and the earliest historical records of subsequent generations.

571. Why does the Bible mention the Jews only?

Other peoples besides the Jews are mentioned in the Bible. But since the Old Testament is the inspired record of God's chosen people, it cannot be expected to contain exhaustive accounts of other peoples. Other peoples are mentioned only insofar as they came into contact with, and affected the Jews.

572. Isn't Christianity rather narrow-minded, to make our earth the center of existence and forget the millions of spheres like our own upon which life most probably exists?

Whatever may be said of possibility, there is no probability that life exists upon millions of other spheres. Probability demands at least some shred of evidence, and there is no such evidence in existence. It is possible that life exists on other spheres; but Christianity has never denied that. It is illogical to attribute to Christianity a teaching you think narrow-minded, and then to transfer your epithet to Christianity whether it contains that teaching or not.

573. If life existed on another planet, would that affect the Christian religion?

Not in the least.

574. Would Christ have redeemed such people on other worlds by His death on Calvary?

To that I can but give a conditional reply. If there be living beings on other planets; and if they be endowed with free will; and if they have sinned against the moral law of God; and if God did attach their salvation to the death of Christ on the Cross, then Christ died for their salvation also. But who could verify all those "ifs"? Meantime God has revealed to us on this earth all that we need to know for our own needs; and such speculations concerning other possibilities are of little practical importance. The lack of such knowledge is no hindrance to our own salvation, and will not excuse us if we fail to attain it.

575. Are all human beings now on this earth descended from the one couple--Adam and Eve?


576. Adam and Eve had two children, Cain and Abel. Cain killed Abel, and afterwards took a wife. Whence came that wife?

We are told three things in the Bible concerning this matter, and there is no other source of information. The three things are these: Firstly, that Adam and Eve were the first two human beings on earth. Secondly, that the days of Adam were 800 years, and that he begot sons and daughters. Thirdly, that Cain took a wife. The only possible conclusion is that Cain married a female descendant of Adam. Cain most probably married a sister. He could have married a niece, although that would have involved the prior marriage of a brother and sister.

577. It is against all laws that a brother should marry his sister.

The marriage of brothers and sisters is against the natural moral law in the present state of the human race. But laws which are normal now need not have obliged when conditions were abnormal. Special conditions demand special laws. And the beginning of the human race is an abnormal thing. God Himself created two human beings and commanded them to increase and multiply. The only possibility was by the intermarriage of their children. And God permitted this as long as it was necessary. He who could create human beings could easily preserve them from the evils usually associated with close intermarriage by a special act of His providence; and, in any case, the children of our first parents were not so closely related to each other as Eve was to Adam.

578. Could it be said that Cain married a female of a pre-existent lower animal species?

That could not reasonably be maintained. A mother drawn from a lower species would not be capable of producing children fulfilling all the requirements of a higher species. The offspring of such a marriage would not be human beings at all. The only explanation which does not violate reason is that Cain married a female descendant of Adam and Eve within his own species.

579. If there were no other people except Adam and Eve and their family, who were the people that Cain was afraid of in the land of Nod?

The Bible tells us that Cain went out to dwell in the land of Nod. But this does not mean that he went to an inhabited place. In Hebrew the expression "land of Nod" merely means "land of exile." The verse intends only that Cain fled from the others into exile. He took his wife with him, having married one of the daughters of Adam. Knowing of the command to increase and multiply, he feared that future men, hearing that he had murdered his own brother, would kill him if they found him.

580. If we are all descended from Adam and Eve, how account for essential racial differences, diverse languages, and dispersion to isolated places?

Essentially all human beings are similar. Racial differences afford no real difficulty against humanity's unity of origin. In fact, all such differences are accidental, not essential. The geographical distribution of peoples even to the most isolated places from a common center is easily accounted for whether by land routes, or by primitive rafts and boats. And the mere fact of such dispersion would give rise to differences in language.

581. If our first parents were white, how did the black races originate?

There is no evidence to tell us whether Adam was white, black, or between the two, much as the Arabs today. It is certain that all human beings are descended from Adam, whatever their color. How then account for the colors of different peoples? Simply by natural factors, such as climate, operating through thousands of years, the effects becoming permanently ingrained by heredity. As regards color, it is certain that it depends neither upon the blood nor upon the skin itself. Beneath the skin there are pigment cells which are the sources of color, and which are affected by many things, heat, cold, mode of life, etc. Darwin himself admits, in his book "The Descent of Man," that diversity of color is no sound argument at all against the derivation of all men from a common first parent.

582. According to the Bible the primitive Patriarchs lived for very long periods. Did their year correspond with the present twelve months, or was it shorter?

There are no indications that it differed in length from the year as we know it. The attempt to diminish the length of the years lived by our earliest ancestors leads to formidable difficulties--far more formidable than the long lives granted to them. That men could live such long lives did God will them to do so affords little difficulty. And there are good reasons why they should do so, both for the purpose of the multiplication of the race, and for the preservation of primitive revelation through successive ages. That man does not live so long now can be due in no small way to the advent of sin and moral depravity. Vitality and vigor diminish in a degenerate race; and the general laws of heredity help to explain a progressive enfeeblement of humanity as a whole through the many thousands of years since its creation.

583. What does your Church teach concerning the nature of man?

Her teaching on that subject is that of all sound philosophy. Man consists of body and soul, the body being material and perishable, the soul spiritual and immortal.

584. Have not the words "soul" and "spirit" in the Hebrew and Greek many different meanings throughout the Bible?

They have; and therefore the sense in which the words are used must be determined from the context in which they appear. The same thing is true of the English language. Both words are still used with very many different meanings. If we say of a sick person "poor soul," we do not imply that he is without a body. If we say that some friend was "the soul" of the party, we do not imply that others present had no souls of their own. If we quote the hackneyed lines, "Breathes there a man with soul so dead," we do not intend that his living body is animated by a soul that is actually dead. In the same way we can speak of the "spirit" of a man, intending the spiritual principle of his very being, or merely his mentality, or character, or intentions, or motives, or his influence, or a dozen other aspects of his person. But the fact that a word can be used in many ways does not destroy its value when it is used in a particular way. All that we have to ask ourselves is in what particular way the word is used in a given context. And when Christ said, "Fear not them that can kill the body, but who cannot kill the soul," Matt. X., 28, He obviously intended that the death of the body does not involve the death of the soul. And the only reason for that is the totally different nature of the soul from that of material objects. The soul is non-material, spiritual, and immortal, or not subject to physical death. It can be morally dead by sin; but that does not mean that it ceases to exist.

585. In my opinion the soul is only the mind or conscience.

The mind or the conscience is not the soul itself, but a power possessed by the soul. The soul is a created spiritual being made in the image and likeness of God, the Supreme and Infinite Spirit. And just as we speak of the "Divine Mind" in God, or of an "angelic mind" in the angels, so the "human mind" is the power of intelligence in human souls. Conscience is merely a judgment of the human mind concerning the moral goodness or badness of conduct. So long as the soul is united with the body in this life, the soul exercises its intelligence or mind with the help of the material brain, which is like a telephone exchange linking it with all the bodily senses--senses which put us into contact with the material world around us.

586. You speak of man's twofold composition of soul and body. But St. Paul speaks of "spirit, soul, and body." I Thess. V., 23.

In that text spirit and soul are the same thing considered under different aspects. As giving life to this body of ours it exercises the functions of a soul, and is the principle of sensitive life in us in conjunction with the sense faculties. But that same soul is, in its intrinsic nature, spiritual and in the image and likeness of God, capable of purely intellectual operations. Whilst the soul is immersed in a material body it must regulate the lower passions with God's help; but as purely spiritual, its mind and will must be united to God by truth and love; and when the soul is separated from the body these last operations are the ones that will persist. Therefore St. Paul speaks of our animating principle first in virtue of its higher and more important capacity as spirit; then in virtue of its lesser capacity as soul informing the body; and finally of the body itself. St. Paul, therefore, does not intend three principles in man, but two; one of which, the soul, he takes according to its two different functions.

587. Are we strictly masters of our eternal destiny?

Yes. Eternal destiny is but the manifestation of the true state of conscience in a saint or in a sinner at the moment of death. All that happens is that this state is fixed eternally. One is either in God's grace and friendship or not at the moment of death. What you are now would be your eternity were you to die now. "The Kingdom of Heaven" is within you--if you be in the grace of God. The life given by Christ to those who love Him and serve Him simply continues. Our earthly existence merely serves to enable us to get God's grace if we lack it; or to recover it, should we lose it.

588. Does the soul, immediately after death, make contact with another body?

No. So long as it is in this material body it needs the help of material bodily powers to exercise its intelligence. But once the soul is liberated from the body by death, it enters into a completely different state; and under the new conditions the mind or intelligence of the spiritual soul will be able to operate without the aid of a material brain and senses which are adapted to this world. Neither God nor the angels have any need of a body to exercise their spiritual powers. Nor will the human soul once it enters into the realm of the spirit beyond the portals of death. Therefore you can dismiss the idea that, immediately after death, the soul makes contact with another body. It will exist in a state of separation until the last day, when it will be united in the resurrection with the body it possessed in this life.

589. I read recently where a doctor restored a man to life by massaging his heart after he had been dead for some hours. As it could not return from heaven or hell, where was that man's soul during those hours?

The patient was not really, but only apparently dead. His soul, therefore, was still united with his body. Normally speaking actual death does not occur until some hours after the heart has stopped beating. Death really and finally takes place when the soul has left the body; and no one maintains that the soul loses its association with the body the moment the heart stops beating. So long as any cells remain in a state of animation the soul can be present. For that reason the Catholic Church permits the anointing of the apparently dead up to two hours after the heart has stopped.

590. Lazarus at least, who had been brought back to life by Christ, was dead. If his soul had survived, why couldn't he tell us what things were like after death?

It is certain, of course, that Lazarus had really died, and that his soul had separated from his body. Then why couldn't he tell of his experiences? If we dealt with this question from the mere viewpoint of fact, we could say that there is no evidence that he could not have done so. However, it is not recorded that he ever did so. Personally I do not think that he had any conscious experiences to tell. God knew that the death of Lazarus was to be but for a few days, and that he was to be restored to life again. At once we see that his soul could not have encountered the fate of those whose term of probation in this life is definitely over. Some special provision had to be made for the soul of Lazarus. And I think it very probable that, just as the soul is inoperative as regards knowledge whilst still in a body under the influence of chloroform, so the soul of Lazarus, though separated from his body, was preserved in being, but with its normal operations suspended. Under such conditions Lazarus would simply know that he was restored to life, finding out from others how long he had been dead, four days.

591. Do departed souls retain memories of us, and know what is still going on in this world?

There is every probability that they retain memories of those whom they loved or met during their life on earth. But there is no real probability that they are aware of things which have occurred since their death, except insofar as God may choose to manifest such knowledge to them. The human soul secures its information concerning this world through the bodily senses--seeing, hearing, and touching things. Those senses are its normal means of contact with this earthly life. But when the soul leaves the body, it is separated from these sense-faculties, and therefore loses the normal means of contact with the life we still experience.



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