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

End of the World

981. I have heard many foolish things about the second coming of Christ.

There are many foolish people who believe their own foolish guesswork about it. But it is a fact that there will be a second coming of Christ to judge all mankind.

982. As the second coming is taught in the Bible, I presume that Roman Catholics also believe in it.

You can be quite sure that all that is really taught in the Bible is also taught by the Catholic Church.

983. Do you believe that there will be a sudden catastrophic change in the existing order of this universe?

Yes. Christ's second coming will be sudden and unexpected, and it will be a shock to the existent order of the material universe.

984. I know that Christ predicted His second coming, but I do not see how we can expect that second coming at all in the light of experience.

Since the second coming of Christ has not happened yet, it can hardly be a matter of experience in the strict sense of the word. But surely you see the obvious fallacy in the argument that a thing will not happen because it has not yet happened. Meantime, whilst the second coming of Christ cannot be a matter of experience in the strict sense of the word, it is yet a matter of experience that it will occur. The Jewish religion was a long Messianic preparation; the Gospel is the doctrine of the Christian era; the future will bring its own fulfillment. Christ in person was not a matter of experience for the Jews who lived in the days of the preceding prophets. Yet Christ came as predicted. And Christ in turn made many predictions concerning Himself and concerning His Church, as well as concerning His second coming. Every prediction made by Christ which we could reasonably expect to have been fulfilled by now has been fulfilled. And this fulfillment already indicates a truth and a power which give certainty of the fulfillment of what remains to be done for the whole plan of God to be realized.

985. Did not Christ Himself wrongly think His second coming about to occur in the immediate future?


986. Christ said, "I tell you of a truth, there be some standing here which shall not taste of death till they see the Kingdom of God." Luke IX., 27.

What does the expression Kingdom of God mean in this text? Christ uses that phrase at various times in various senses. When He said, "Do penance for the Kingdom of God is at hand," He referred to the initial stages of the Church He was about to establish. When He said, "Thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build My Church, and I will give thee the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven," He identified the notions of Church and Kingdom. When He said, "My Kingdom is like a net holding good and bad fish," He referred to His Kingdom as de facto existing in this world, i. e. His Church through the centuries. Finally, when He speaks of His Kingdom in the sense of its final triumph and of His coming He blends it with mention of the Angels and His coming in clouds of glory. Which of these senses Christ intends must be judged by the context. In the passage from St. Luke, clouds of glory and Angels are not mentioned. Kingdom of God is meant in the same sense as My Kingdom is like a net holding good and bad fish, i. e. His Church in this world. In St. Luke IX., 26, Christ says, "He that shall be ashamed of Me, of Him the Son of Man shall be ashamed." His continuity of thought is clear. "I am come to preach and establish the Kingdom of God, do not think I shall fail. Some of you standing here will not see death till you see the Kingdom of God." Christ did succeed in establishing the Church, His Kingdom in this world and the prelude to His Kingdom of eternal triumph. Within thirty years of Christ's death the Kingdom of Christ had spread throughout the Greco-Roman world and many who heard Christ lived to see the spread of His Kingdom and its solid establishment. Christ said, "Many standing here shall not taste death till they see the Kingdom of God." Many saw it.

987. The same verse in Matthew XVI., 28, is definitely linked with the second advent, described in the preceding Verse 27. For there Christ says, "The Son of Man shall come in the glory of His Father with His angels; and then He will render to every man according to his works."

Verse 27 certainly refers to the end of the world. But Verse 28 is not connected with Verse 27. St. Matthew in his fragmentary account, gives the saying, "Amen I say to you there are some who stand here . . . ." etc., after he records the preceding words. But St. Matthew's recording these words immediately after the preceding text does not mean that Jesus uttered them immediately after the words of that text. We know by critical investigation that He did not. The words in Verse 28 are a quotation of the same thought given by St. Luke, which I have already explained, and by St. Mark VIII., 39. In both places the words are definitely separated from the place in which St. Matthew records them. The Greek has the imperfect and instrumental sense, "And Jesus used to say or repeat, 'There are some standing here that shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming by means of His Kingdom.' " And they did see the coming of the power of Christ when they witnessed His Kingdom spreading everywhere so quickly after His resurrection and ascension.

988. Did not the early Christian Church believe that the end of the world would come in their own time? They certainly never expected men to be living on earth in 1945! Was not that a grave error?

No official teaching of the early Christian Church included the doctrine that the end of the world would come at any particular time. The official teaching of the Church was neither more nor less than the article contained in the Apostles' Creed, "He ascended into heaven .... thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead." Without any official teaching on the part of the Church, however, did the first Christians believe that Christ would come again in their own days? They did. Christ had purposely left the question of when He would come obscure, and warned men to be ever ready as those who knew not the day or the hour. He had preached definitely the essential truth that He would come some day, and the early Christians, of course, believed that as part of their faith. But they interpreted that essential truth in a kind of formula: Yesterday Adam; today Christ; tomorrow the renovation of the world in God. It was an error to understand tomorrow in the strict sense but it was not an error in a matter of faith.

989. What is meant by Armageddon?

The word is mentioned in the Apocalypse, (Protestants call the book Revelations) XVI., 16. St. John gives it as the scene of the final conflict between the powers of good and evil. Some fanatical Bible-Protestants have imagined it as a real place, and have predicted that Christ is about to return to slaughter all His enemies. This dire catastrophe they term Armageddon, and they say that it is imminent. The enemies to be slaughtered are usually those who do not accept the tenets of the particular sect which happens to be misusing Sacred Scripture. Judge Rutherford declares that all who do not join his Witnesses of Jehovah will be the victims. Plymouth Brethren believe that only they will come through safely. Christadelphians declare that Armageddon is for all who are not of their peculiar sect. So Armageddon goes the rounds, glibly quoted by people who have no idea of the meaning intended by St. John when he wrote the passage they regard as their own special message to mankind.

990. Is Armageddon merely legendary?

No. But it is symbolical. It is a type, and not a locality. There was a Mt. Megiddo which had been the scene of great and decisive battles in Palestine. There Barak slew the Canaanites, routing completely the enemies of Israel. The place became a metaphorical expression for any great defeat of one's enemies, just as we say today that so-and-so met his Waterloo on that occasion! St. John gives the symbolical Hebrew compound, Har-Megiddo, or, in modern English spelling, Armageddon, to signify the ultimate defeat of evil by good when the constant war of principles will culminate in the final victory of Christ.

991. Why does the Roman Catholic Church refuse to preach the doctrine of Armageddon?

It is implicitly contained in the Catholic doctrine that Christ will some day come in majesty and power to judge the living and the dead. Having stated that fact, the Catholic Church concentrates on our clear duties here and now. The future can then safely be left to God. As a matter of fact, God has not revealed all that is to occur when the end of the world does come. Most of the prophesies of St. John in the Apocalypse will be fully explained only by their actual fulfillment. They are not intended to be clear now, and St. John himself declares that they will be obscure to his readers. God did not give these prophecies to satisfy men's curiosity, but that generations living when they are fulfilled may know that they were predicted, and are part of His plan. Fools who make such prophecies a basis for their own rash predictions, as if God had made them His prophets, only bring contempt on themselves and the Scripture they misuse. The prophecies of the Apocalypse are as obscure to us as the prophecies of the Old Testament concerning the Messiah were obscure to the Jews. But the good Jew preserved his faith, looked on the Holy Books and all they contained, with deep reverence, and fulfilled the known duties prescribed for him then. And he waited with patient expectation for the consolation of Israel. We Catholics, similarly, fulfill our known Christian duties now, and accept the fact that the prophecies of the Apocalypse will be fulfilled by the final triumph of Christ in God's own good time and as He intends. And that is better than the attitude of people who get lost in their mystical speculations, ignore the clearest teachings of the Gospel, and want to flood the world with a nonsense which is the product of their own imagination.

992. Am I to believe that Antichrist will get priests and nuns and all good Catholics away from the faith and have the whole world at his feet?

No. Christ has told us that He will be with His Church all days even till the end of the world. Therefore, it is impossible that all priests, nuns, and good Catholics will ever abandon the faith. It is true that Scripture predicts the coming of Antichrist, and a great apostasy of multitudes from the true Church before Christ comes again. But the exact meaning of these prophecies is very obscure to us, and theologians differ in their interpretations of these future events. Naturally such prophecies concerning the remote future will have difficulties for us, just as prophecies in the past were obscure to the Jews before their realization. The Church has defined no particular interpretation of these predicted events, and we are not obliged to believe in one interpretation rather than another. What we are obliged to believe is that Scripture is the Word of God in the sense in which God intended it. If, therefore, Scripture speaks of Antichrist and a future apostasy from the Church, we must believe in an Antichrist to come, and a future apostasy from the Church. But we freely confess that we do not yet understand the full implication of these mysterious things, and we believe them as God intends them. We do know, however, as I have said, that not all will apostatize from the Church. That fact is safeguarded by a clear prediction of Christ.

993. What does St, John mean when he says, "Blessed is he that hath part in the first resurrection. In these the second death hath no power." Revelations XX., 6.

Obviously there is a contrast between the first resurrection and the second resurrection; the first death, and the second death. Now the first death is that normal separation of body and soul at the end of this earthly life as we now experience it. When the soul leaves the body it is judged at once. "It is appointed unto men once to die, and after that the judgment" says Holy Scripture. If a soul is in God's grace and friendship, it is admitted to heaven either at once, or after due purification in purgatory. Those souls are sure of their eternal happiness. Their death has been followed by the attaining of eternal life, and this is called the first resurrection. Thus St. John, in Revelations VI., 9, says that he saw in heaven the souls of those who were slain for the Word of God. It is evident that this first resurrection concerns the soul only, and blessed are those souls who depart this life in God's grace and who have attained their salvation. They are already reigning with Christ, until the second resurrection which will include the bodies of all mankind. The second death is the sentence to be passed upon the wicked at the general judgment, following the general resurrection. It will be the living and eternal death of all hopes and aspirations in hell. That is why those are blessed who have part in the first resurrection by departing this life in God's grace, for over them the second death hath no power.



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