Choose a topic from Vol 3:


Reason proves God's existence
Primitive monotheism
Mystery of God's inner nature
Personality of God
Providence of God and the problem of evil


Immortal destiny of man
Can earth give true happiness?
Do human souls evolve?
Is transmigration possible?
Animal souls
Freedom of will
Free will and faith


Religion and God
The duty of prayer
The mysteries of religion
Can we believe in miracles?

The Religion of the Bible

Historical character of the Gospels
Canonical Books of the Bible
Original Manuscripts
Copyists' errors
Truth of the Bible
New Testament "contradictions"

The Christian Religion

Christianity alone true
Not the product of religious experience
Compared with Buddhism, Confucianism, Mahometanism, Bahaism, etc.,
Rejected by modern Jews
The demand for miracles
The necessity of faith
Difficulties not doubts
Proofs available
Dispositions of unbelievers

A Definite Christian Faith

One religion not as good as another
Changing one's religion
Catholic convictions and zeal
Religious controversy
The curse of bigotry
Towards a solution

The Problem of Reunion

Efforts at the reunion of the Churches
The Church of England as a "Bridge-Church"
Anglicans and the Greek Orthodox Church
The "Old Catholics" of Holland
Reunion Conferences
Catholic Unity
The Papacy as reunion center
Protestant hostility to Catholicism
The demands of charity

The Truth of Catholicism

Necessity of the Church
The true Church
Catholic claim absolute
A clerical hierarchy
Papal Supremacy
Temporal Power
Unity of the Church
Holiness of the Church
Catholicity of the Church
Catholic attitude to converts
Indefectible Apostolicity
Necessity of becoming a Catholic

The Church and the Bible

Catholic belief in the Bible
Bible-reading and private interpretation
Value of Tradition and the "Fathers"
Guidance of the Church necessary

The Dogmas of the Catholic Church

Dogmatic certainty
Credal statements
Faith and reason
The voice of science
Fate of rationalists
The dogma of the Trinity
Creation and evolution
The existence of angels
Evil spirits or devils
Man's eternal destiny
The fact of sin
Nature and work of Christ
Mary, the mother of God
Grace and salvation
The sacraments
Holy Eucharist
The Sacrifice of the Mass
Holy Communion
Marriage and divorce
Extreme Unction
Man's death and judgment
Resurrection of the body
End of the World

Moral Teachings of the Catholic Church

Catholic intolerance
The Spanish Inquisition
Prohibition of Books
Liberty of worship
Forbidden Socieities
Church attendance
The New Psychology
Deterministic philosophy
Marriage Legislation
Birth Prevention
Monastic Life
Convent Life
Legal defense of murderers
Laywers and divorce proceedings
Judges in Divorce
Professional secrecy

The Church in Her Worship

Why build churches?
Glamor of ritual
The "Lord's Prayer"
Pagan derivations
Liturgical symbolism
Use of Latin
Intercession of Mary and the Saints

The Church and Social Welfare

The Church and Education
The Social Problem
Social Duty of the Church
Catholicism and Capitalism

Fate of rationalists

559. Are we fatally in error in rejecting statements on religion which do not meet with our approval?

Not always. But very often it is so. Reason has both extensive and intensive limits. It is limited as to the number of things it can know, and in the power of penetration it can bring to bear upon them. The specialist is a man who has had to abandon many avenues of knowledge in order to concentrate on a few things. And on his death-bed he himself would gladly admit that he does not know all about even the few things in which he specialized. Still the average man would not dispute the findings of the specialist. He would be indignant if any other average man disputed the views of the specialist. But in the field of religion he himself would feel free to air his views to all and sundry, though never had he specialized in either philosophy or theology. Instinctively he mistrusts his own knowledge and reasoning capacity in other matters, but not in religion. It is a peculiar phenomenon of the human being.

560. We rationalists object to your branding us as guilty because of our unbelief. That in itself proves your religion unreasonable.

In what way?

561. Contrast a good rationalist with a bad Catholic. If the Catholic commits every possible crime you say that he is saved if he repents at the last.

If he repents at last there is one possible crime that he has not committed. For he has not died unrepentant. However we can let that go. It is a fact that, no matter what his crimes, a Catholic who dies repentant, and with the Sacraments of the Church, will save his soul. He will, of course, expiate his multiplied sins in purgatory; and will thus find that, though he has attained salvation, the multiplication of his sins was not a thing that did not matter. You may say, "But all the same, he is saved." But remember the conditions. I have said, "If he repents, and receives the Sacraments." That little "if" forbids presumption, and checks any tendency to throw oneself into a life of continued sin. For what man can say that he will have time to repent; or that he will suddenly develop the good dispositions necessary to correspond with such graces as God does offer him; or that his plan to receive the Sacraments at the last will be realized? All these considerations tend to make a man think. However if all the conditions are realized, a man will save his soul through God's mercy, no matter how many or great his crimes.

562. On the other hand a rationalist is condemned to everlasting torment.

Apart from other factors his fate would depend on his degree of responsibility before God for his unbelief. If he had had no opportunity for sufficient study to discern the truth of the Catholic religion, or was so dense that through no fault of his own he could not perceive its truth despite an effort at impartial consideration, then he would not be held responsible for his unbelief by God. He would be judged on other factors.

563. I suppose, of course, a rationalist who has led an honest life.

It is difficult to believe that an intelligent man could regard himself as honest because he acknowledges his debts to his fellow men whilst he refuses to acknowledge any debt to God. However you suppose that he has led what he really believes to be an honest life. If by that you mean that he has never violated his conscience during the whole of his life in any serious matter, there is no need to believe that he is condemned to eternal torment. And, even if he has violated his conscience in such a way, he would be saved did he repent sincerely before death with the help of such graces as God would offer him. Where he would undoubtedly lose his soul would be in the case where he would persist in rejecting the Christian religion despite a conviction that it was indeed from God.

564. If a believing bad Catholic can be saved whilst an unbelieving good rationalist is lost, then belief is more important than conduct.

We do not for a moment believe that a believing bad Catholic can be saved. All we maintain is that a believing Catholic who has been bad can be saved provided he becomes good by repentance of his wickedness, and by reception of the grace of Christ before he dies. And that is a very different proposition. Nor do we say that an unbelieving good rationalist is lost. For if he is indeed good, then his unbelief is not his own fault; and we hold that God will not blame him for what is not really his own fault. Your conclusion that belief is more important than conduct is really meaningless. Belief is conduct. Belief and unbelief are merely ways of conducting oneself in the presence of a proposition offered for our consideration. If God declares a thing to be true, then it is most improper conduct to refuse to believe it. On the other hand, belief is correct conduct in such a case. This foolish division between belief and conduct seems to be based on the idea that kind conduct towards our fellow men in other matters justifies the outrageous conduct towards God of not caring in the least whether He has revealed any doctrines, or whether they are true or not.

565. Did Thomas Paine, on his death-bed, renounce his infidel views?

Thomas Paine cannot strictly be called an infidel. He professed always a firm belief in God, and in the immortality of the human soul. On the very first page of his book attacking all revealed religion he declares that he believes in God, and hopes for eternal happiness. An infidel does not talk like that. His very writings, however, show that he never had any real understanding of the Christian religion, and that he never attained to the gift of faith in that religion as revealed by God. And he died without doing so, insofar as men can judge. He certainly expressed no recantation of his writings against Christianity, and probably died still under the delusion that he had good grounds both in fact and in reason for rejecting that form of religion. Men who mistake fallacies for sound reasoning are little likely to detect their own fallacies. But the chief trouble with Thomas Paine was his colossal ignorance of subjects upon which he took it for granted that he was well-informed. How responsible he was for this attitude before God must be left to God; as also the question of his ultimate fate.

566. Did Voltaire die screaming for a priest?

There is no need to bring in the screams. Shortly before his death he asked for a priest, and sought reconciliation with the Catholic Church. The interpretation of his action is very difficult. Much exaggerated nonsense has been given out about Voltaire's dying dispositions by both supporters and opponents of the Christian religion. In one thing certainly Voltaire was sincere. He did not want to be refused Christian burial. But whether he was sincere in complying with the conditions required by the Church is hotly disputed. He never made a full and clear retraction of his blasphemous attacks on Christianity. And it is hard to believe that he really meant such professions of faith as he did make. A man who has indulged for years the habit of malicious mockery of religion does not change his mentality in a moment, unless by a miracle such as Voltaire certainly did not deserve. And it is quite possible that the fruit of a lifetime of deceptions was a last grim and tragic self-deception. But none of these cases proves opposition between reason and revelation, or that there is any conflict between science and the Catholic Faith.



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