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


622. Is it Catholic dogma that, in order to accomplish mankind's redemption, God became man for thirty-three years?

It is Catholic dogma that God the Son, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, became man in order to redeem us; and from the moment of His Incarnation, He retains both His Divinity and His assumed humanity for all eternity. His death meant the separation temporarily of His human soul from His earthly body, but not the separation of either His soul or His body from its union with His Divinity. In the resurrection, His human soul and body were reunited; and having risen from the grave, Christ ascended body and soul into heaven, there to continue for eternity in His glorified humanity. In His human nature, of course, God the Son took the name of Jesus Christ.

623. Why should the Son of God have to come to earth to save sinners? Could they not have been saved by believing in God only?

Under no conditions could any sinner be saved by believing in God only. Mere belief will save no one. The sinner would at least have to repent of his sins. But even so, your question will come—why could not sinners be saved by belief and repentance, without the necessity of the Incarnation? The answer is that they could have been saved in that way had God decided on that plan of salvation. But God did not. He decided to send His own Son for our redemption, and that because it was the better thing from every point of view. He thus manifested in a special way how greatly He loved us. He made things easier for us merely human beings who depend so much on visible manifestations. Faith in an unseen God is not so easy as faith in a God who has been in our midst, proving His power and His mercy in a way which human history can record. Our hopes are immeasurably lifted and stimulated, for man need not despair of attaining to God when God is willing to stoop to man's own level. And justice is safeguarded when reparation for our sins is made to God in a human nature drawn from a race which had offended God in the first place.

624. I have not been able to find any new teaching on ethics or morals given by Jesus.

He gave much new teaching on ethics and morals, both in matter and spirit. For example, His teachings on poverty, humility, simplicity, virginity, marriage, love of one's neighbor, supernatural motives of conduct, and the ordaining of moral conduct to spiritual as opposed to temporal ends—these, and much else, were new.

625. Is there a single moral aphorism attributed to Jesus which cannot be paralleled in Rabbinical literature?

Yes. Jesus quoted Rabbinical standards when He said, "You have heard that it hath been said: Thou shalt love thy neighbor and hate thy enemy. But I say to you: Love your enemies; do good to them that hate you; and pray for them that persecute and calumniate you." Matt. V., 43-44. It is true that much of the moral teaching of Christ finds a counterpart in the Rabbinical writings. The teachings of Jesus included those of natural morality and of the Old Testament. Rabbinical literature, therefore, had but to set down the ethical ideals of the natural moral law, or of their own religious precepts, and they could not but record much that Jesus would teach. But Jesus instilled a far greater significance into common teachings, and laid quite a new emphasis upon them. Moreover, He went beyond them again and again, and came into conflict with the Pharisees repeatedly because He did so.

626. Most of the recorded sayings of Jesus can be paralleled verbally in the Rabbinical writings, and even the Golden Rule is there.

Merely verbal and external similarity of expression means little. Where the moral law is concerned, two things have to be considered—the statement of the law, and the sense in which it is interpreted. Now, in comparison with the ethical teachings of Jesus, Rabbinical literature gives a most inadequate statement, and fails almost entirely to rise to the level attained by Christ. As for the Golden Rule, it cannot be said that the form in which Christ taught it was already familiar to the Rabbinical writers. In its negative form the saying is found in both Jewish and pagan sources before the Christian era; i. e., "Do not do to another what you would not wish him to do to you." Yet even in this negative form, no one insisted upon it, giving it the urgency imposed upon it by Christ. But when we leave the negative form, and turn to the positive form, "Do to others as you would have them do to you," we are given a distinct advance upon other teachings, and carried forward to the region of an all-embracing charity in the order of faith and divine grace. This is beyond the order of natural ethics; and no man can fulfill it without an interior power impelling him to put it into practice.

627. Will any scholar admit your verdict?

Undoubtedly. I have based it on the study of expert writers on the subject. Let me quote one unimpeachable authority, the Jewish scholar, Joseph Klausner, who published a "Life of Jesus of Nazareth" in Hebrew in 1922. An English translation of this book was published by Danby, of London, in 1925. Klausner admits that the moral teaching of Jesus transcends that of any other master. Here are his words: "Jesus was a wandering preacher, differing from others in certain aspects, such as His emphasis on the moral commandments to the exclusion of formalism, in the original and direct nature of His teaching, and the miraculous element of His mission. He was not a mere teacher among the teachers of His day; His originality was incomparable; and as a moralist and as a spiritual leader no man in Israel has ever approached Him. But considered from the Jewish standpoint Jesus is not, and cannot be the Messiah; the Kingdom of Heaven and the days of the Messiah have not yet come. But Jesus still remains, even for the Jews, a moralist without a peer; and the moral teaching contained in the Gospel of Jesus, if it is separated from the rest, is one of the most glorious jewels in the literature of Israel throughout the ages."

628. Isn't it just the advance of years that makes for a man's greatness such as Jesus Christ?

No. Far more often the advance of years makes for a man's complete disappearance from history and the memory of man. A man has to be of striking personality and accomplishments before his contemporaries or posterity will magnify him and enshrine him in the gallery of fame. Where religion is concerned, I admit that there is always the tendency to a growing idealization of a striking personality, often with the creation of an almost completely unhistorical tradition concerning him. But the check on that is historical research. And research has shown that Christ was just as we know Him to be. The Gospels were written by eyewitnesses; and their integrity is certain.

629. Look at Mahomet, Buddha, and Confucius, each with his thousands of worshippers.

Not one of these is worshipped as Christ is worshipped. Not one, whether in personal character, or in teaching, or in work, accomplished anything inexplicable by ordinary human and natural powers. Nor will the records of any of them stand intensive critical research. A mass of legends and myths has grown up around them. That they have thousands of followers is but natural. Men are incurably religious; and, if unaware of the true religion, they will grasp at some substitute religion offered by almost any dominant personality, provided it does not demand too much self-denial.

630. Does it matter whether Christ was God, or merely the Divine Son of God?

What do you mean by the distinction you make? If I were to say, "So-and-so is not a man, but merely the human son of a man," I am sure you would ask me to explain myself more clearly. A son is one who is generated in the same nature as his father. A human father has a son possessing human nature also. And if Christ is the Divine Son of God, He possesses the Divine Nature also, and is God. The only alternative is that He is not the Divine Son of God, but merely a human creature made by God on the same level with other human beings.

631. I cannot accept more than that Christ was the Divine Son of God.

You really mean that you do not believe Christ to be God at all. But that is a complete denial of the Christian Faith, for when St. Thomas the Apostle addressed Christ as "My Lord and my God" he would have been quite mistaken, and Christ's acceptance of such a tribute would have been blasphemous.

632. What more can be demanded than the acceptance of the Divine Sonship of Jesus Christ?

The expression "Divine Sonship" can be ambiguous. It is necessary to accept the Deity of the Person of Christ without any half measures. Jesus is God in virtue of His Divine Nature possessed in union with and equally with the Father and the Holy Spirit. The expression "Divine Sonship" can be ambiguous because both words have been employed by men with various grades of meaning. People speak of a "divine poet," or of a "divinely beautiful character." A Protestant friend once told me that he believed in the divinity of Christ, but not that He is God. Now when we Catholics use the word "Divine" of Christ, we mean absolutely that He is God. Again, the word "Sonship" can be ambiguous. We sometimes speak of our being the children of God by creation. At other times we may speak of sonship by adoption as opposed to actual generation. Or one may simply mean sonship by a mutual paternal and filial affection. But none of these senses means what we intend by the "Divine Sonship" of Jesus. We mean by that expression that the Person of Jesus is the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, eternally generated by the Father in one and the same Divine Nature, equal with the Father and the Holy Spirit in all things, infinitely perfect, and as truly God as the Father Himself. Jesus is not only the Son of God. He is God the Son.

633. Christ often spoke of "My Father in heaven." He would not do that if He was God.

Precisely because He shared in the same Divine Nature as His heavenly Father of Whom He was begotten from all eternity long before He appeared on this earth in human form, that is just as one would expect Him to speak.

634. In Matt. XXII, 9-10, He says, "Call none your father upon earth, for one is your Father who is in heaven. Neither be ye called masters, for one is your master, Christ."

That does not prove that Christ is not God. In the first part of this text He is teaching His listeners that no earthly parental authority can supplant the authority of God. In reference to Himself, however, He did not hesitate to say, "I and the Father are one." And even whilst saying that God alone is the supreme Father and Master, He puts Himself on the same level as God by saying, "One is your Master, Christ." If Christ were not God, He should have said, "One is your Master-God."

635. In Matt. XXIV., 36, He says, "Of that day and hour no one knoweth, no, not the angels of heaven, but the Father alone."

Christ was there speaking in virtue of His assumed human nature. The knowledge was proper to Him as God, but not proper to Him as man. He did not know God's moment in virtue of the human nature in which He had come to teach mankind, and He merely brought out the fact that this particular piece of information was not part of the message He had to reveal to men. Briefly, it was but a way of saying, "That is God's secret." The text in no way disproves the identity of our Lord's Divine Nature with that of the Father.

636. Christ did say, "Why callest thou Me good? One only is good—God."

Christ said much else also. Nor do these words imply that Christ is not God. He would not contradict Himself. He knew, however, that those around Him saw only His human nature or created humanity, and that they had not yet attained the faith to see beyond merely human appearances to His Divinity. And He once more tried to lift their thoughts to God as the Source of all created goodness. It was a warning that we must not stop at any created goodness which is but a reflection of the infinite goodness of God, and meant to lead us to Him. On another occasion, when Philip said to Him, "Lord, show us the Father," Christ rebuked him also for not rising above thoughts of His merely human characteristics, and said, "Philip, he who sees me sees the Father also. Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in me?" Jn. XIV., 8-11.

637. Christ said, "The Father is greater than I." Jn. XIV., 28.

The Eternal Son of God, after the Incarnation, possessed two natures, the uncreated Divine Nature, and the created human nature born of the Virgin Mary. When He said, "I and the Father are one," He referred to His Divine Nature. When He said, "The Father is greater than I," He referred to the created visible human nature which appeared before the eyes of those to whom He was speaking.

638. When Christ said, "I and the Father are one," He meant no more than in purpose and desire.

The unity prevailing between Himself and His Father, of which Christ spoke, was more than a merely moral union of purpose and desire. It was a unity in one and the same Divine Nature. It was on the occasion of these words that the Jews declared themselves determined to stone Him because, as they said, "Being a man, thou makest thyself God." They knew quite well that Jesus was claiming much more than a merely moral union with God by purpose and desire. Had Christ merely intended that, they would not have accused Him of blasphemy; nor would they have wanted to stone Him to death.

639. Later on Christ prayed that His disciples would be one with Himself as He and His Father were one. Were His disciples one with Him in any other sense than by accord?

Yes. They were one with Him by the reality called grace which incorporated them all in one and the same Christ by a physical even though spiritual union; He the vine; they the branches. At the same time, in the words you quote, Christ was stressing the necessity of complete unity, not the nature of that unity, which necessarily differs in God from that possible to man. Christ prayed that His disciples would be one in the way possible to them, as He and His Father were one in the way proper to God.

640. He said, "I came to do the will of My Father." Also, "The words I speak are not mine, but His that sent Me." Also, "Of Myself I can do nothing; but if you ask the Father anything in My name He will give it to you."

All those expressions were proper to Christ in His mission on earth and in virtue of the created human nature in which He fulfilled that mission. They also suppose the distinction between the Eternal Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, taught by Catholic theology. But they do not exclude Christ's participation in the Divine Nature, nor His claim to be God.

641. On the Cross Jesus cried, "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?"

That is true. Since mankind had forsaken God by sin, it was but just that mankind should be forsaken by God. But the Eternal Son of God took a human nature in which to expiate man's sin. On the Cross, He allowed that human nature to experience the bitter sense of dereliction by God. Hence the cry. But such an experience in His human nature has no bearing at all upon the question of His identity in the Divine Nature with the Father and the Holy Spirit.

642. Would God forsake His own Son?

Not in the sense you have in mind. But, since men deserve to be forsaken by God, then if the Eternal Son of God takes to Himself a human nature in which to expiate sin, it is not surprising that in that human nature He should experience an overwhelming sense of that dereliction by God which sin deserves. And that sense of dereliction in His human soul was more than enough to justify the momentary expression, "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken me?" That this sense of dereliction, though so intense, was but a transitory sword of anguish is evident from the confidence in our Lord's later words, "Father, into Thy hands I commend my spirit."

643. If Christ was God the cry would mean, "Myself, Myself, why hast Thou forsaken Myself?" Rather absurd!

The cry from the lips of Christ expressed that sense of abandonment which He willed to experience in His human nature only. There could be no question of abandonment insofar as He shared in the Divine Nature with the Father, the first Person of the Most Holy Trinity. But in His human nature He could certainly undergo the experience of the pain and misery and sense of dereliction which abandonment by God will involve for those people who die estranged from their Maker. And that temporary experience was quite properly expressed from the human point of view by the cry, "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken me."

644. If we take Jesus merely as a perfect man, what do we lose?

I knew it would come to that in the end. Jesus is to be merely a man, and not Divine at all! And you ask what do we lose by such a belief? We lose our Christian religion. We lose the Faith of the ages. We lose all hope of ever being redeemed by Christ, for if He be not God His work was in vain. We lose the conviction that "God so loved the world as to give His only-begotten Son." We lose the right to call ourselves Christians any longer. We join the rationalists and other enemies of Christ, and brand ourselves as guilty of false pretenses so often as we lay claim to the Christian name.

645. If Jesus Christ was in mortality, whilst the other Divine Persons remained in the celestial sphere, what difference was there between Jesus and an ordinary man?

We cannot say that, when the Second Divine Person became man, the other Divine Persons remained in the celestial sphere. There can be no question of the Second Divine Person being somewhere whilst the other Divine Persons are elsewhere. In fact, since the three Divine Persons in the one Divine Nature constitute God, then, because God is everywhere, the three Divine Persons must be simultaneously everywhere. The difference between Jesus and an ordinary man is this: An ordinary man is a created personality in one created human nature. Jesus is an uncreated personality in two natures, one Eternal and Divine, the other created and human, existing only from the moment of its conception in time. Take yourself. You are an ordinary man. You are an entirely created personality, consisting of a material body and an intelligent spiritual soul. That body and soul make "you," rejoicing in an independent and responsible existence. Beyond your body and soul, the principles of your created being, "you" would not exist. Nor did "you" exist prior to the creation of your soul which, together with your body, constitutes "you." Now Jesus vastly differs from this. You are an entirely created personality. The personality of Jesus is uncreated. The human body and soul of Jesus, though created, never had an independent and responsible existence. The Second Person of the Trinity took that body and soul to Himself in personal union, so that both body and soul were ever dependent upon Him and He was responsible for all that resulted from His activities in them. Apart from your body and soul there would be no "you." "You" did not exist prior to their production. But the Person manifested to us in Jesus did exist before the Incarnation. For Jesus is the name given to a unique and Divine Personality, pre-existing eternally as God, yet possessing also from the moment of the Incarnation a created human nature without in any way ceasing to retain His eternal participation in the Divine Nature. Surely, then, there is a vast difference between Jesus and an ordinary man.

646. If God is everywhere, He must fill every man even as He filled Jesus. What was the difference between the relationship of Jesus to God, and that of other men? God must be part of all.

It does not follow that, because God is everywhere, He must be part of man's being. Man's being is finite and created. The Infinite and Uncreated God could not be a component part of created finite being. God and man are in two totally different orders of being, and their co-existence in the same place or space could not make them part of each other. As a matter of fact, God is not even conditioned by space as are creatures. But even in the natural and physical order, thought and brain co-exist in a human head without thought becoming part of the brain. The brain belongs to the material order; thought to the spiritual order. If thought were part of the brain, the brain would increase or diminish as thought increased or diminished. But it does not. And just as thought can co-exist in one's head with a material brain without becoming a component part of that brain, so God's existence everywhere does not make Him a part of man's being. What then was the difference between the relationship of Jesus to God, and that of ordinary men? It cannot consist in any aspect of God's omnipresence, since the human nature assumed by the Second Person existed as much within the immensity and omnipresence of God as you do. It must consist in something over and above that relationship to the omnipresence of God; in something proper to Jesus, and not possessed by any other human being. What was it? It was this: Apart from the Divine Attribute of omnipresence possessed by the Divine Nature, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity entered into possession of, and controlled the human nature born of Mary, so that this human nature never became a created human personality as you or I, but remained the created instrument of a Divine Personality. Thus, within the omnipresence of God, which no created being can escape, a new bond is established between the human nature of Christ and God, a bond which does not exist in the case of any other human nature. It is a personal bond, enabling the one Person of the Eternal Son to say equally, "I am God," or "I am man," according to His possession of both a Divine and a human nature. Other human beings can never say, "I am God." They are restricted to the expression, "I am a man." But the human nature of Christ was gripped into a bond of personal union with the eternal and Divine Son who possessed and controlled it, making it integral to His one Personality for the purposes of our redemption in a nature drawn from that human race which was to be redeemed.

647. Did Christ's death on the Cross have to be?

It had to be by what is known as a conditional necessity. God could have exercised His mercy only, and condoned our sins without exacting expiation on the part of the human race. But if God wished to satisfy the claims of justice even whilst exercising His mercy, then the Incarnation and death of Christ were necessary. The Son of God freely chose to offer Himself in sacrifice, and that sacrifice was the logical necessity consequent upon His choice. He need not have chosen to die, and to die in such a way; but having chosen to do so, the fact necessarily followed.

648. Had no one attempted to crucify Christ, what would have become of our salvation?

I do not know. Nor does anyone else save God alone. In dealing with God's work for the salvation of souls, our knowledge is limited to what He has revealed and actually accomplished. It is impossible to say what would have been done by God if what has happened did not happen. We must take things as they are, and be content to let curious speculations go unanswered.

649. If it was ordained that Christ should die, why does any blame attach to those who put Him to death?

Just as the sins of mankind in general from which Christ came to redeem us were not willed by God, so the evil dispositions of those who actually put Christ to death were not willed by God. Thus, the treachery of Judas, the injustice of Pilate, the hatred and malice of the Jews—these things were evil and opposed to God's will. And those guilty of such evil dispositions were blameworthy before God. You must not think of God as planning that Christ should die, and then arranging that some men will be evil enough to kill Him. Where we think one thing after another, God sees all things simultaneously. He sent His Son to a world which He knew was wicked, and needed redeeming; and into the midst of men who would, as a matter of fact, be evil enough at heart to condemn Him to death. But the evil was the fault of men, not of God. God did not ordain, nor cause the evil; but he permitted it to be the death of His Son who had undertaken to expiate it.

650. If the Second Divine Person suffered only in His human nature, how was the atonement made by God? Catholic doctrine makes it a purely human sacrifice.

The sacrifice of Calvary was not a purely human sacrifice. The atonement was made by God because the Person, whose human nature was nailed to the cross, was God. The Person, and not the nature under the control of that Person, is the terminus of attribution. If I commit murder, I do it. It's no use saying, "My hand did it." The human nature which was nailed to the cross was His who was and is the Second Person of the Holy Trinity. And the sacrifice, though directly involving the death of the human nature, derived its dignity from the Person to whom it belonged. It was, therefore, an atonement of infinite value derived from the infinite dignity of the Second Person of the Holy Trinity. One may or may not agree with our explanation; but in no sense can one say that on this explanation a purely human sacrifice took place on Calvary. That could follow only if we admitted that Jesus was a purely and merely human person. That we have never admitted.

651. You hold that Christ died to save sinners.

The Catholic doctrine says that Christ died for the purpose of saving sinners. But note this: Christ did not die to save sinners unconditionally, as if His death means that all sinners are necessarily saved. His death provides salvation for all who are willing to comply with the conditions laid down by Himself.

652. One clergyman told me that Christ died for me personally.

That is true. But Christ did not die to force salvation upon anybody. He did die to offer the means of salvation to all mankind, and, therefore, to every single member of the human race. In that sense His death will avail for you personally, if you personally comply with the conditions prescribed by Christ. It is as if you personally were in debt, and I lodged sufficient money in the bank to discharge that debt, giving you a checkbook to draw upon the money. I could truly say that I had done enough to save you from beggary. But if you refused to put your name to a single check, and would not walk a step towards the bank, despising my arrangements, you would not be saved from beggary. That would be your own fault, however, and no proof that my provision for you was not efficacious in itself. Christ did not die for sinners so that they could go on being sinners, yet be sure of salvation in spite of themselves.

653. Can you tell me from what He saved sinners?

People who are now dead, who were sinners during life, but who repented of their sins, and did their best to comply with the conditions imposed by Christ, have been saved by Him from hell. People who are still living have not yet been saved by Christ. He has paid the price necessary for their salvation, if they choose to avail themselves of it. Those who are actually sinners in grave matters are not availing themselves of it at present; and if they die without changing their dispositions they will not be saved at all. Those sinners who do abandon their sins, repenting of them, and die in a state of such repentance, appealing to Christ for salvation, will be saved by Him—from hell.

654. Did Christ die to save sinners from death in the ordinary sense of the word, or from hell?

He did not die to save sinners or anyone from death in the ordinary physical sense of the word. Even those who will be saved and who have been saved, were not intended to be freed from the necessity of death as the termination of this earthly life. Their salvation is from a future and eternal hell—that living death of all man's hopes and aspirations for happiness.

655. If I do not escape hell, does the atonement apply to me?

It will not be applied to you. But the fact will remain true for all eternity that Christ did do His part to atone for your sins, and the privilege of salvation was possible for you. The atonement was there, but you did not avail yourself of it.

656. My reason abhors the thought that another should suffer for my shortcomings.

One who has no faith in Christ, as Christ really was and is, could alone speak like that. If Christ be reduced to the merely human level, and emptied of His Divinity, then it becomes a question of merely man and man; and we all admit that, where man and man are concerned, no mere man could satisfy for the sins of another man; and that he who sins should do so, if it be possible to him. But in reality, no mere man can satisfy adequately for sin against God, however well able he may be to repair injuries against his fellow creatures. And only the true Christian doctrine solves the problem of reparation of sin against God.

657. We would be base and cowardly, knowingly to allow the existence of such a position.

We have no choice in the matter. For it is an accomplished fact that Christ died for the redemption of mankind. The only choice left to us is rejection of Christ's sacrifice, or acceptance of His redeeming work. He who has no faith in God's revelation and no sense of sin or real understanding of what sin means will reject it.

658. Such a doctrine does not strengthen, but weakens the Christian religion.

You would not say that, did you have a right idea of the doctrine. Try to grasp the position. The gravity of an offense is intensified by the worth of the person offended. Precisely because one's own mother has a special claim upon the respect and reverence of her child, ill-treatment of her is worse than that of another. But sin is against the infinite dignity and majesty and authority of God. No mere creature could make adequate atonement or reparation to the Creator for such an offense. Yet since human nature gave such offense, one in a human nature should make reparation. So the Eternal Son of God became man. Because of His Divinity He could make adequate reparation; because of His humanity, He could make it in our name. Man did not love God enough to keep God's law, but broke that law and became worthy of death. Why should God preserve man in life only that man might offend him? So Christ endured death, expiating our sinful pleasures by His sufferings, and compensating for our own lack of love by the immense love in His human heart for God. And in order that this might not be just one isolated individual suffering for another, even as He blended Himself with our humanity in the Incarnation, so He blends us with Himself by grace. He is the Head and we are the members; and Head and members are one. So Christ sacrificed Himself, making those for whom He did so one with Himself. By this very union of love between Himself and us Christ could say to His Father, "Father, what I offer, they offer; and the love you have for me will be your love for them also." Thus God "so loved the world as to give His only-begotten Son." That Son, by shedding His blood for us, atoned for our sins, exemplifying His own words, "Greater love no man has than that he should lay down his life for his friend." Jn. XV., 13. One who sees no spiritual significance in this does not understand ordinary gratitude which cries, "I'll never forget what you have done for me this day; never can I thank you enough; and if ever I can render you a service ask it of me." It is this doctrine of Christ's death on the Cross for us, of His vicarious death, that the Saints found their greatest inspiration, even as St. Paul, who said, "I live in the faith of the Son of God who loved me and delivered Himself for me." Gal. II., 20.

659. You have said that after His death, Christ resumed the life He sacrificed on the cross.

Catholics believe that. And the man who rejects it must shut his eyes to the historical evidence available.

660. Such a statement is due to your confusion as to the nature of factual proof.

That is not so. Factual proof may be either by personal experimental knowledge, or by the evidence of history. If I say that historically a man must shut his eyes to the evidence, or believe that the Battle of Waterloo took place, you cannot say that I am blind to the nature of factual proof.

661. Of course you may possess evidence other than that of the Gospels; evidence which leaves no shadow of doubt as to the resurrection being a fact.

The Gospels and St. Paul's Epistles constitute five independent historical documents which leave no shadow of doubt. Their being bound in one volume does not affect their independence of each other. You begin by rejecting the resurrection on the score that you will not believe in what seems to you so incredible a thing. You doubt the Gospels precisely because they record what you deem incredible.Did I produce any other documents recording the resurrection, you would have the same reason for doubting their reliability as you make your excuse for denying the reliability of the Gospels! It is not reasonable to refuse to believe unless I can produce evidence other than that contained in the documents which contain the evidence. If I produce five documents, instead of refusing to believe until I can produce more documents, your duty is to disprove the historical value of the five documents produced. Merely to ignore them is to shut one's eyes to the evidence.

662. The only unquestionable fact is that certain contemporaries of Christ have given accounts of the resurrection which may or may not be sincere; or which, if sincere, may or may not be mistaken.

You do not doubt, therefore, that the accounts were written by contemporaries of Christ. You base your doubts on the possibility of the writers being insincere; or, granted their sincerity, on the possibility of their being mistaken. Now the possibility that they were insincere has long been abandoned as quite unreasonable by even the bitterest enemies of Christianity. Firstly, it would be so pointless to conspire to impose on the world a religion in which the Apostles themselves did not believe. They had nothing to gain. Men do not break with all their friends, and invite persecution and death, for a lie which they know to be a lie. Nor were the cowardly Apostles rendered suddenly courageous by a conviction they knew to be unfounded. If they were liars, they were not conscious liars. They were sincere. That leaves your second possibility. Were they mistaken? That supposes them to have been deranged, and suffering from some strange hallucination. But that is impossible. It is so evident that they were not expecting Christ to rise. Their tendency was to unbelief, not to belief. And also, there were too many witnesses for them all to be subject to precisely the same hallucination. Nor is it reasonable to admit their sanity on things you are willing to accept, and arbitrarily declare them insane whenever you do not happen to like what they have to say. To make your likes and dislikes the test of credibility is prejudice—not reason.

663. Before such an event is accepted as historical, it must satisfy the strictest tests imposed by the laws of evidence.

Quite so. And the historical evidence for the resurrection is better than that for the greater number of events of those times accepted as historical by scholarly men. The only reasons you have advanced against the value of the evidence are suggestions that the writers were either liars or insane. And neither suggestion is reasonable.

664. We are too inclined to take someone else's word for things; i.e., to depart from the strict laws of evidence.

All historical evidence consists in the acceptance of the recorded word of others. Such acceptance is not a departure from the strict laws of historical evidence, provided we make sure that the documents are authentic, that there are sufficient witnesses to preclude the possibility of derangement, and that the witnesses were men of unimpeachable honesty.

665. Unless evidence as disinterested as an entry in a birth register were forthcoming, one must hold that no real proof exists.

That is foolish. The fact that an account of an event has been written voluntarily, and not at the instigation of State officials, cannot invalidate the account. We cannot reject history merely because the authors were interested enough to want to write it. I admit that, when extraordinary events are recorded, we must inquire more carefully into the nature of the interest prompting the writers. In the case of the Gospels, there is no interest other than the desire to record the truth.

666. Even in an official record the chances of faked entry and human error would have to be considered.

In the case of the Gospel and Pauline accounts of the resurrection they have been considered, and with a thoroughness with which no one who is familiar with the subject could quarrel. The chances of faked entry are excluded by the very independence of the records. And that human error is responsible for the narration of the event is impossible.

667. Catholics may think it worth their while to believe it, but they must not therefore pretend that a proof exists.

They do not pretend that a proof exists. They say that the historical proofs of the resurrection as a fact render its denial a violation of reason. It is the man who does not want to believe who pretends that the evidence is not sufficient. Yet he has nothing to advance against that evidence except his prejudice against anything supernatural. He practically says, "I do not think that it would happen, and I refuse to accept any evidence that it did happen." But preconceived ideas of the probable and improbable must yield to facts.



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