Dear Friends of the Kolbe Center,
Christ is born! Glorify Him!
A few days ago, a protestant friend of mine announced that he is going to be received into the Catholic Church later this year and he mentioned that the work of the Kolbe Center played a significant role in his decision to enter the Catholic Church. While I was overjoyed to receive this great news, I was also saddened by the thought of the millions of protestants who should be joining my friend in a great return of separated brethren to the one, holy, Catholic and apostolic Church, but who remain apart because of false conceptions of the Church and of her teaching. One of the biggest factors in this failure to attract our separated brethren back into the fold is our collective amnesia as Catholics with regard to the fundamental doctrines of the Faith in regard to the origins of man and the universe.
Before providing irrefutable proof of my claim that we are suffering from collective amnesia with regard to the Catholic doctrine of creation, let us recall a number of times in salvation history when God's People have suffered from "collective amnesia." In a previous newsletter we saw that prior to the reign of King Josiah, the Jewish people largely "forgot" the Law of Moses, including the sacred history of Genesis. This period of collective amnesia lasted about 75 years and led to an epidemic of serious sin, especially in regard to Holy Marriage and sexual morality. Later, the Jewish people succumbed to another period of "collective amnesia" during the 70 years of the Babylonian Captivity after the destruction of the First Jerusalem Temple. This "collective amnesia" only came to an end with the re-proclamation of the Law by Nehemiah and Ezra after the return of the exiles to Jerusalem. It arguably began before the seventy years of Babylonian Captivity and thus lasted even longer than the collective amnesia that came to an end during the reign of King Josiah.
Nehemiah rebuilds the walls of Jerusalem [CC BY-SA 4.0]
Today, prominent Catholic intellectuals like Dr. Kenneth Miller at Brown University, author of Finding Darwin's God, routinely dismiss the literal historical interpretation of the first eleven chapters of the Book of Genesis as a "protestant fundamentalist" phenomenon that was never taken seriously within the Catholic Church. The notes and commentary in the Douay Rheims Bibles in use throughout the English speaking world at the beginning of the Second Vatican Council continued to teach that God created the heavens, the earth, the seas and all they contain in six days four thousand years before the Birth of Christ, but the majority of the Bishops at the Council had been taught by their seminary professors that at least some - if not all - of the historical information in Genesis 1-11 had been falsified by modern "natural science." Thus, like the collective amnesia that afflicted the Jewish people during the seventy years of the Babylonian Captivity, our collective amnesia concerning the Church's teaching on origins began long before the Second Vatican Council.
The proof that the creation of all things in six 24-hour days four thousand years before the Birth of Christ was taught by all Catholic Bishops, seminaries, and universities in the world as recently as the beginning of the First Vatican Council in 1869-70 can be found in the Catholic catechisms and theological manuals approved by the Bishops of Europe and North America at that time. Through the efforts of our colleague Chris De Vos we have been able to review a large representative sample of these works, including A Dogmatic Catechism by Rev. D. W. Cahill (1855) and The Catholic Church: An Epitome in Sacred History by the same author (1860); The Full Catechism of the Catholic Religion by Rev. De Herbe (1863); A Manual of the Catholic Religion for Catechists and Teachers by Rev. Walther Weninger (1863); The Catechism of Perseverance of Rev. Jean-Joseph Gaume (1866), which was used to instruct the Little Flower, St. Therese of Lisieux; and The Dogmatic Catechism of Rev. Frassinetti (1873), published in English with a foreword by the Archbishop of Westminster in London.
These works prove that Catholic seminarians and laity alike were taught to believe and defend the literal historical truth of the sacred history of Genesis. In his Dogmatic Catechism Rev. Cahill yields no ground whatsoever to the "learned men" of his time who challenged the chronology of four thousand years from Creation to the Nativity of Christ. In works recommended by the Bishop in charge of Eastern Scotland for use in all of his Catholic schools, Fr. Cahill writes that these "learned men":
attribute ten thousand years or more to certain ancient monuments, particularly Egyptian monuments . . . to bring into discredit the Sacred Scriptures, and so to shake the foundations of our most holy religion. Adam was the first man created by God. He is as old as heaven and earth within five days, having been created on the sixth day of creation; and all the buildings and monuments which are in the world are less ancient than Adam.
Could our Fathers in the Faith have been any more emphatic that the literal historical truth of the first eleven chapters of the sacred history of Genesis pertains to the "foundations of our most holy religion"?
A careful examination of the instructional materials in use throughout the world at the time of the First Vatican Council shows that they not only taught the literal historical truth of the sacred history of Genesis from beginning to end but also anticipated many of the objections to it that have destroyed the faith of so many Catholics in recent times. How many Catholics have cited Fr. Stanley Jaki's statement that "There can't be days without the sun" as a decisive argument against a literal interpretation of "day" in Genesis One? Yet in the Catechism of Perseverance that formed the faith of the soul dubbed "the greatest saint of modern times" by Pope St. Pius X - St. Therese of Lisieux - Fr. Gaume anticipated and refuted this sophistical objection with the same argument that St. John Chrysostom and the Church Fathers had used against the skeptics of their day. God created the sun and the moon on the fourth day, Fr. Gaume explains, so that men would not attribute the growth and sustenance of living things to them but to God, thus protecting mankind against the temptation to idolatry.
Our new DVD series is called "Foundations Restored" because it proves that the forced abandonment of the "foundations of our most holy religion" was not accomplished by sound argumentation in the realm of theology, natural science or history, but by deceit, intimidation, and subsequent censorship that has prevented huge numbers of the faithful from receiving the Faith of our Fathers whole and entire, which is the rightful inheritance of every Catholic. Please join the fight to restore the foundations of the Faith by using our DVD series to organize a study group in your local parish, school, home-school coop, Newman club, or even in your own home, so that the Catholics in your area - especially the young Catholics - will have the opportunity to evaluate the claims of the molecules-to-man evolution hypothesis in its theistic and atheistic forms, and, so, to fully embrace the Faith of our Fathers on the foundation of the true Catholic doctrine of creation.
Please keep the Kolbe Center in your prayers.
Yours in Christ through the Immaculata in union with St. Joseph,
P.S. We are often asked about the apparent discrepancy between the chronology derived from the Septuagint which allots approximately 5,200 years from Creation to the Nativity of Christ and the chronology derived from the Masoretic text of the Bible which assigns approximately 4,000 years to the period from Creation to the Birth of Our Lord. This discrepancy is explained in our book "I Have Spoken to You from Heaven": A Catholic Defense of Creation in Six Days and in a previous newsletter at this link.