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

Evil spirits or devils

593. I am interested in the bad angels or devils, who are, of course, a little more out of date than good angels.

Neither is out of date. People are more ignorant of revelation and of the truth. And as they are more prone to deny the things they don't like rather than things they do like, they deny devils a little more vehemently than they deny angels. They deny both, of course. But this also results from the fact that men dislike being taught by anybody, even by God; and because they do not like to think that there are any beings higher than themselves. So you find unbelievers asserting that man is the highest and culminating point of evolution so far, and that he must push on to still greater perfection. But human pride has never permitted the suggestion that man will so evolve that he will cease to be man, and become another creature altogether. All is ordained to the glorification of man; and that leaves no room for angels. Therefore, angels do not exist. And if not angels, then no devils. For devils are simply angels who fell into sin, rejecting good and choosing evil in the inevitable trial given to all created beings endowed with free will.

594. Does the name devil refer to the fallen angels collectively, or to a single personality?

The fallen angels may be called devils collectively. At the same time, their leader is a single personality, and is at times called the devil as the chief representative of the class of beings to which he belongs.

595. Who is Lucifer?

Lucifer, meaning "Light-bearer," was the name of the leader of the rebellious angels before their fall into sin. After the fall he received the name of Satan, or Adversary. Scripture also refers to him as the "Beast" and the "Dragon." Thus St. John says that Michael the Archangel fought with the Dragon and his angels, and the great Dragon was cast out of heaven. (Apoc. or Rev. XII., 7-9.) Christ referred to this when He said, "I saw Satan like lightning falling from heaven." Lk. X., 18. And He depicted the fate of Satan when He described the sentence of the wicked, "Depart from me ye cursed into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels." Matt. XXV., 41.

596. It is hard to think of an angelic intelligence so weakened as to think it could dethrone God.

It is. But the rebellious angels never thought to destroy or dethrone God. They simply abstracted from the consideration of God, and sought to enthrone themselves in their own proud estimation as sufficient for themselves without due relationship to God and submission to Him.

597. Can we associate the very human failing of pride with angelic spirits?

That is almost the only vice found in human beings which could be associated with angelic natures. Pride is the inordinate love of one's own excellence, and is a sin which can be common to human beings and to purely spiritual beings. Proper to men are those sins which arise through the association of the soul with a material body of a sensitive and passionate nature. And these are the very human failings, not pride. St. Bernard expressed this idea when he said, "Sin by sensuality, and you sin as a beast; sin by dishonesty, and you sin as a man; sin by pride, and you sin as the angels."

598. With all the Divine attractions before them, and despite the intoxication of His Presence, we are to believe that the angels sinned!

Not quite. Even the angels had not the beatific vision of God in all His glory and infinitely beautiful reality. Had they had that vision they could not have sinned. It must be remembered that God is in the order of infinite being and perfection. But the angels, as finite creatures with necessarily limited intelligences were in a lower order altogether. The vision of God as He is in Himself would be impossible to them by their own natural powers. They, as well as human souls, would need a supernatural elevation by grace, and by the intensification of their powers before they could have an immediate sight of God. Just as we know of God's existence without possessing that vision, so was it also with the angels. The fallen angels, therefore, never have seen God as He really is. Those angels who did not sin received the supernatural vision of God as their inheritance; and for them, therefore, sin is no longer possible.

599. The heaven in which Lucifer existed, then, is not the same as the future home of the elect?

No. Such human souls as are saved are elevated by grace to the supernatural order, and received on their entrance into heaven an additional capacity to see God in all His beauty and splendor as Lucifer never saw Him. Once any creature, angelic or human, has received that vision, sin becomes an impossibility; and heaven is, therefore, eternal.

600. Of one thing I am certain. No devil tempts me.

You are not certain of that at all. You have no experimental proof that no devil tempts you. How do you know that the devil has not tempted you to adopt that conclusion? How do you know that he is not confusing his activities with your own mental processes in such a way that you cannot distinguish his activity from your own? I am not saying that he is doing so. I merely say that you do not know for certain that he is not doing so. And I maintain that he could do so, and that he is never so well served as by those who deny him. The devil is not likely to inform you just when he is at work, and how many of your inclinations are due to his influence.

601. Is his influence confined to the effects of original sin?

Original sin has left a certain disorder in man's nature, warping his mind and disturbing the balance which should prevail between his will and his passions. Yet, although original sin was due to Satan's treachery in the first place, his influence now is not confined to these transmitted deficiencies. Over and above inherited evils, he is still able to tempt men within such limits as God permits.

602. Why should a man he condemned if he falls a victim to the super-intelligence of the devil?

The devil has a keener intelligence than man, but the scope of his knowledge is not without limits. He cannot read man's secret thoughts and intentions. He can conjecture from our conduct what is most likely to prove our downfall, and tempt us accordingly. Even so, he has no direct power whatever over our will. Again, God has promised to supply by His grace for our deficiencies. "My grace is sufficient for thee," He said to St. Paul. And we are told, too, that God permits no man to be tempted beyond that which he is able. God expects us to resist temptation, but He also expects us to ask for the necessary graces by prayer. Christ constantly urged such prayer. If a man, therefore, is condemned for yielding to the temptations of the devil, it is not because he could not resist them, but because he would not, and refused to ask the necessary help of God.

603. If God wills all men to he saved, why does He ever allow Satan, to defeat that end?

God does not will all men to be saved in spite of themselves. He intends that those who choose to die in a state of grace and in His friendship should be saved. And to every man He gives sufficient grace for that. In no single case has Satan been able to defeat this purpose of God so that souls through no fault of their own have been lost. God respects man's freedom. But if He will not compel men to be good, neither can Satan compel men to be evil. If a man wants to be good, he can be good; and Satan cannot prevent him. If a man wants to be evil, he can be evil, and God will not prevent him even though He forbids evil by the moral law. Men choose for themselves to take their stand either under the banner of God, or under that of Satan.

604. Since the devil has some success in persuading men to choose evil, why doesn't God do away with him to prevent further harm?

Firstly, God will not do away with the devil because the devil is an essentially spiritual being whose nature is immortal of its very nature. And God does not create a being endowed with immortality only to destroy it. Secondly, God knows that human souls, with the help of His grace, can themselves prevent the devil from doing them any moral harm by refusing consent to his evil suggestions. Thirdly, since there is no particular merit in being good if never tempted to do evil, God knows that the temptations of the devil are the occasion at least in which men have the chance to practice and to grow in virtue. Fourthly, since all previous generations of men have had to endure the sedulous attentions of the devil, there is no particular reason why the present and future generations should be exempt. We must battle through the same trials as others, conscious that with God's help we can come through victoriously, as so many others whose example is offered for our encouragement.

605. Must Catholics believe in an Antichrist?

Since they must believe in Holy Scripture they must believe that there will be an Antichrist. And they must believe that all the prophecies in Scripture are true prophecies, and that they will be duly fulfilled. But all this is in the sense intended by Scripture itself. We have not to believe whatever people think Scripture to mean by Antichrist, and by the prophecies concerning him. And very many absurd ideas have been taught by irresponsible people on this subject. There will come an Antichrist who will fulfill in the sense intended by Scripture the mysterious prophecies concerning him. More than that we are not obliged to believe.

606. Must we believe that he is a real being, or that he is just a myth?

The Antichrist is a reality, and not just a myth. We are not allowed to suggest that Almighty God would inspire the Sacred Writers to set down myths for our instruction. Antichrist will be a reality in the sense God knows and intends. Is Antichrist to be an individual being, or rather a general spirit of unbelief? We are free to interpret the future reality in either sense. But authors think that more probably Antichrist will be some definite human being because St. Paul calls him "the man of sin"-an unbelieving and immoral beast who will come by the power of Satan. That is the more general interpretation. But it is not a defined article of faith, and Catholics are obliged to believe simply that some great force opposed to Christ will arise prior to His Second Coming-a force which will deceive many members of the Church, and drag them into apostasy.



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