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

Creation and evolution

578. Has the Catholic Church any objections to the theories of evolution?

The Catholic Church does not exclude belief in a moderate and restricted material evolution. Things do evolve. But they have to "be" in order to evolve, and they secured their being by creation. We cannot, therefore, admit any form of the evolutionary theory which excludes God, or which denies dependence on God. In a well-understood system of evolution nature has two means by which it fulfills its work. It can use its initial resources received from the Creator, employing its own innate powers. And again, where its acquired capital does not suffice, it can have recourse to the ever-present God who interferes with His creative power for great changes only, as in the production of life, or of intelligence, and of individual souls. But these questions do not affect religion in practice. Even though a man did know how all things have come into existence, the why of all things would still remain; and God's rights would still have to be maintained. Reason cannot get away from the fact that all is the execution of a plan traced by God's Will; nor can reason get away from the fact that God has intervened in a special way to reveal to mankind its religious obligations.

579. Scientists like Sir James Jeans say that the earth has evolved slowly through 2000 million years to its present state. May Catholics accept this as a possible or probable theory?

Catholics are quite free to accept that opinion as an opinion.

580. If so, how does it square with the Genesis story?

No difficulty arises in this matter. For whilst Genesis teaches that God created all things out of nothing, it does not say that He created every individual thing in the universe like that. Even if God created a vast original nebula which gradually contracted at certain centers-such as the sun-from which smaller fragments separated, God would still be the Creator of all things, the evolution taking millions of years. The account in Genesis of the origin of all things in no way hinders an explanation allowing for an indefinite expansion of time.

581. How will you harmonize Genesis with geological records?

You raise a problem which really does not exist. Three elements enter into the account of creation given by Genesis-the revelation of facts given by God; the expression of those facts in human terms intelligible to the people of the time for whom they were intended; and the arrangement of the matter according to a plan based upon religious motives, i. e., in order to inculcate religious obligations. The sequence is logical, not chronological. The Mosaic account does not pretend to give the exact scientific and objective order.

582. Can you accept the further theory of many men that human beings evolved from lower forms of life some 300,000 years ago, and for thousands of years were little different from brute beasts?

Greater difficulties occur when it is a question of the formation of man. That the earth as such took millions of years for its gradual formation can be regarded as scientifically certain. But that man evolved from lower forms of life is pure hypothesis or conjecture, without any real evidence in its favor. Even for man's body, intermediate forms are missing, and strict proof is entirely wanting. The Catholic Church teaches that each man's soul, which is spiritual, is immediately created by God. No Catholic, therefore, can hold that the soul of man is evolved from lower beings. What about man's body? The Catholic Church has not defined as an article of faith that we must believe that God immediately formed the body of the first man. But she says that the whole tenor of Biblical teaching is against its evolution and in favor of immediate creation. It would be rash, therefore, to assert as a fact that man's body evolved until fit for the reception of a rational soul. If, however, the hypothetical guess concerning man's body having evolved were ever proved true-as it probably never will be-such a doctrine, restricted to the body of the first man only, would not necessarily conflict with the Bible. For even then it would have been formed out of the slime of the earth through successive intermediate forms. However, there are weightier reasons against this theory than for it; and the Catholic Church, without defining the question, has given an interim decision of a disciplinary character forbidding Catholics to deny the actual creation of the first man, even bodily. Until the Church gives a further decision in the matter Catholics should hold that both the body and the soul of the first man were due to the special creative activity of God.

583. Then belief in man's evolution is not incompatible with any dogma of the Catholic Church?

Belief in man's bodily evolution would not be incompatible with Catholic dogma. But it would be incompatible with science. It is because the really scientific men do not know what to believe as regards man's origin that they propose the theory of evolution as a probable guess which seems to fit in with the few very isolated fragments of apparent evidence they have perceived. More and more, these really scientific men are tending to regard what is termed major evolution as less and less probable, and to confine themselves to a very minor or mitigated evolution.

584. According to my reading on the subject, the derivation of all forms of life by modification of earlier and simpler forms is accepted by practically the whole scientific world.

I am afraid you have not read widely and deeply enough. No first-class scientist will admit the derivation of all forms of life from simpler earlier forms to be a fact. They insist that it is no more than a probable guess. Wassmann rightly says, "The doctrine of evolution is not experimental. Man is too late on the scene for that. But there is a probability of a restricted evolution or of a mitigated transformism. To assert, however, that all vegetable forms are from one primitive type, or that all animals are from one primitive type is a delightful dream." Sir Bertram Windle says, "Transformism, however probable, is not proved. Perhaps it never will nor can be."

585. Darwin's "Descent of Man" proves, to my satisfaction at least, that man and anthropomorphous apes had a common ancestor.

If so, you must be very easily satisfied. But firstly, you have not quite understood even Darwin. Darwin maintains lineal, not collateral descent. He would not say that man and anthropomorphous apes had a common ancestor, but rather that man is a direct descendant from anthropomorphous apes. In his book he writes, "The Simiadae then branched off into two great stems, the New World and the Old World monkeys; and from the latter, at a remote period of time, man, the wonder and the glory of the universe, proceeded." Secondly, whilst Darwin's theory appeals to many people as a theory, his attempts to justify it, attempts which have impressed you, have been utterly discredited. That statement is bound to seem extravagant to you, so let me justify it. Professor Bateson, of the British Association, recorded in 1914, "We biologists have come to the conviction that the principle of natural selection cannot have been the chief factor in determining species." Driesch, one of the greatest of German biologists, says, "For men of clear intellect, Darwinism has long been dead." Dwight, Professor of Comparative Anatomy at Harvard University, writes, "We have now the remarkable spectacle that just when many scientific men are all agreed that there is no part of the Darwinian system that is of any great influence, and that as a whole the theory is not only unproved, but impossible, the ignorant, half-educated masses have acquired the idea that it is to be accepted as a fundamental fact." Bumuller, the German scientist, writes, "The testimony of comparative anatomy is decidedly against the theory of man's descent from an ape." In addition to the names I have mentioned, the following men, all first-class scientists, and subsequent to Darwin, reject not only his methods of argument, but also his theory: Ranke, Wundt, Kohlbrugge, Vogt, Caullery, Carazzi, Du Bois-Reymond, Clark-Wissler, Branco, Karl von Zittel, Joseph le Conte, Virchow, Sir William Dawson, Vialleton, T. H. Morgan. Admitting more or less the theory, but rejecting Darwin's proofs, are: Le Dantec, Delage, Cope, Korchinsky, Von Baer, Hartmann, Packard, Jeckel, Haberlandt, Goette, Von Sachs, Kassowitz, Eimer, most of these being Professors of Zoology, Botany, Biology, Palaeontology, Pathology, etc., at their respective Universities of Berlin, Paris, Vienna, Strasbourg, Tubingen, Amsterdam, Stanford, etc.

586. Are you aware that the human embryo shows that man's ancestors were once water-breathers, and later on hairy quadrupeds?

Are you aware that Dr. de Beer, in his great work, "Embryology and Evolution," published from Oxford University, has declared that a study of the human embryo, far from showing anything about our ancestry, is really useless for the purpose? Dr. de Beer is not a Catholic. That should be one credential in his favor for you. Also he is an ardent supporter of the evolutionary hypothesis. But he is too scientific to rank a plausible guess as a demonstrated fact. Listen to his words, "There is no logical justification," he writes, "in regarding any embryological stage as evidence of the former existence of such a stage representing an adult ancestor. Equally well might a present adult stage represent an embryological stage of an ancestor. Embryology, therefore, is no guide to philosophy."

587. Are you aware that man has upwards of one hundred vestigial traces in his body of its undoubted animal origin?

I am quite aware of vestigial resemblances to features discernible in other animals. But resemblances and similarities are not proof of derivation. To regard them as traces proving undoubted animal origin is simply fantastic. It is interesting to contrast the dogmatism of the man in the street with the tentative caution of the real scientist. Professor J. B. S. Haldane, a quite irreligious man, at least refuses to outstrip the available evidence. And he says that he regards the evolution of man from lower animals as rather more probable than the existence of Cedric the Saxon, but less probable than the existence of Queen Anne." The really great scientist, Reincke, speaks even more strongly. "The only statement consistent with her dignity that science can make," he writes, "is that she knows nothing about the origin of man."

588. If you were once a germ cell, what difficulty have you in admitting your animal ancestry?

I would have none, were my animal ancestry a proven fact, as is the origin of the human body in a germ cell. But it is not; and I object to fancies being represented as facts.

589. You appear to speak somewhat scathingly of the theory of organic evolution.

I speak scathingly of those who want to make such evolution appear to be more than a mere theory. Many people who pretend to a scientific outlook, have built up a mythology equal to any that has ever been foisted on a credulous humanity. And they get worried when one refuses to profess belief in their dreams. But organic evolution, involving the transformation of species, does not warrant belief. The well-known scientist, Yves Delage, made it his opinion that such evolution probably occurred. Yet he wrote as follows: "If there existed some other scientific hypothesis besides that of descent to explain the origin of species, many transformists would abandon their present opinion as not being sufficiently demonstrated. If one takes one's stand upon the exclusive ground of the facts, it must be acknowledged that the formation of one species from another species has not been demonstrated at all."



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