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A Multimedia Course in the Catholic Faith Based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church

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PARTICIPANT’S BOOK A Written Summary of the Teaching Content of the EVANGELIUM Presentations

CREED

SACRA MENTS

MORALS

PRAYER

Fr Marcus Holden MA (Oxon), STL Archdiocese of Southwark

Fr Andrew Pinsent MA (Oxon), DPhil, STB, PhL, PhD Diocese of Arundel and Brighton

Catholic Truth Society


Nihil obstat: Father Anton Cowan, Censor. Imprimatur: Rt Rev. Alan Hopes,VG, Auxiliary Bishop in Westminster, Westminster, 3rd July 2006, Feast of St Thomas, Apostle. The Nihil obstat and Imprimatur are a declaration that a book or pamphlet is considered to be free from doctrinal or moral error. It is not implied that those who have granted the Nihil obstat and Imprimatur agree with the contents, opinions or statements expressed.

Acknowledgements The authors extend their thanks to the Catholic Truth Society, especially the members of the editorial board and staff who encouraged the development of EVANGELIUM from a catechetical course delivered at the Venerable English College in Rome to a published product: the Rt Rev. Paul Hendricks, Mr Fergal Martin, Fr Peter Edwards, Ms Glynn Johnson, Mr Pierpaolo Finaldi, Mr Richard Brown and Mr Stephen Campbell. They also thank the professors of the Pontifical Gregorian University, in particular Fr Kevin Flannery SJ, Emeritus Dean of Philosophy, and Fr Joseph Carola SJ, Professor of Patristic Theology, for their detailed reviews of the theological and philosophical content. They express their gratitude to Fr Michel Remery, Fr Bruno Witchalls, Fr John Flynn, Fr Christopher Miller, Fr James Mackay, Fr David Charters, Mr Neil Brett, and the members of the ‘Bellarmine Project’ for their reviews and suggestions. The authors also acknowledge those who have encouraged, promoted and co-operated on this project in a multitude of ways, including the Most Rev. Raymond Burke, Fr Tim Finigan, Fr Mark Vickers, Fr Nicholas Schofield, Fr Richard Whinder, Fr Richard Biggerstaff, Fr Stephen Langridge and Prof. Eleonore Stump. The authors also thank their parents, John and Irene Holden and Charles and Teresa Pinsent, for their on-going moral support, prayers and advice.

Evangelium – Participant’s Book: All rights reserved. First published 2006 by the Incorporated Catholic Truth Society, 40-46 Harleyford Road, London SE11 5AY. Tel: 020 7640 0042; Fax: 020 7640 0046; www.cts-online.org.uk. This edition published 2009 copyright © 2009 Marcus Holden and Andrew Pinsent. ISBN: 978 1 86082 393 0

(CTS Code EV1)

Other Evangelium Resources Evangelium Presenter’s Guide, ISBN 978 1 86082 394 7; CTS Code EV2; Published 2006, revised 2009 Evangelium CDRom, CTS Code EV3; Published 2006, revised 2009 The publisher acknowledges permission to reproduce the following:- Cover: The Holy Trinity, 1420s (tempera on panel) by Andrei Rublev (c.1370-1430) Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, Russia/Bridgeman, Baptism of Christ 1450s (tempera on panel) by Piero della Francesca, (c.1415-92) National Gallery, London, UK/Bridgeman, Moses with the Tablets of the Law (oil on canvas) by Guido Reni (15751642) Galleria Borghese, Rome, Italy Lauros/Giraudon, The Virgin in Prayer, 1640-50 (oil on canvas) by Il Sassoferrato (Giovanni Battista Salvi) (1609-85) National Gallery, London, UK/Bridgeman. Pg v: Baptism of Christ 1450s (tempera on panel) by Piero della Francesca, (c.1415-92) National Gallery, London, UK/Bridgeman. Pg vi: Mary Magdalen Reading, courtesy of the trustees of the National Gallery. Pg 1: School of Athens, from the Stanza della Segnatura, 1510-11 (fresco), Raphael (Raffaello Sanzio of Urbino) (1483-1520)/Vatican Museums and Galleries, Vatican City, Italy, Giraudon/The Bridgeman Art Library. Pg 2: Sistine Chapel Ceiling (1508-12): The Creation of Adam, 1511-12 (fresco) (post restoration), Buonarroti, Michelangelo (1475-1564)/Vatican Museums and Galleries, Vatican City, Italy,/The Bridgeman Art Library. Pg 3: Expulsion from Paradise (oil on panel), Giovanni di Paolo di Grazia, (1403-83)/Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA, Giraudon/The Bridgeman Art Library. Pg 4: Detail from Expulsion from Paradise (oil on panel), Giovanni di Paolo di Grazia, (1403-83)/Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA, Giraudon/The Bridgeman Art Library, Garden of Eden by Jacob de Backer, Groeningen Museum, Madonna and Child with a Serpent, 1605 (oil on canvas), Caravaggio, Michelangelo Merisi da (1571-1610)/Galleria Borghese, Rome, Italy,/The Bridgeman Art Library. Pg 5: The Sacrifice of Isaac, 1603 (oil on canvas), Caravaggio, Michelangelo Merisi da (1571-1610)/Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence, Italy, Alinari/The Bridgeman Art Library. Pg 6: The Crossing of the Red Sea, from the Sistine Chapel (fresco) (b/w photo), Rosselli, Cosimo (1439-1507)/Vatican Museums and Galleries, Vatican City, Italy, Alinari/The Bridgeman Art Library. Pg 7: The Annunciation (Cortona Altarpiece), c.1438 (tempera on panel), Angelico, Fra (Guido di Pietro) (c.1387-1455)/Museo Diocesano, Cortona, italy,/The Bridgeman Art Library. Pg 8: The Nativity by Petrus Christus/ Natinal Gallery of Art, USA. Pg 9: The Entry into Jerusalem, c.1305 (fresco), Giotto di Bondone (c.1266-1337)/Scrovegni (Arena) Chapel, Padua, Italy,/The Bridgeman Art Library. Pg 10: The Calling of St. Matthew, c.1598-1601 (oil on panel), Caravaggio, Michelangelo Merisi da (1571-1610)/Contarelli Chapel, S. Luigi dei Francesi, Rome, Italy,/The Bridgeman Art Library. Pg 11: The Crucifixion (fresco), Giotto di Bondone (c.1266-1337)/San Francesco, Lower Church, Assisi, Italy, Alinari/The Bridgeman Art Library. Pg 12: The Resurrection, c.1463 (fresco), Francesca, Piero della, (c.1415-92)/Pinacoteca, Sansepolcro, Italy,/The Bridgeman Art Library. Pg 13: The Holy Trinity with St. John the Baptist, Mary Magdalene, Tobias and the Angel, c.1490-95 (tempera on panel), Botticelli, Sandro (1444/5-1510)/© Samuel Courtauld Trust, Courtauld Institute of Art Gallery,/The Bridgeman Art Library. Pg 14: The Holy Trinity, 1420s (tempera on panel) by Andrei Rublev (c.1370-1430) Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, Russia/Bridgeman. Pg 15: Giving of the Keys to St. Peter, from the Sistine Chapel, 1481 (fresco), Perugino, Pietro (c.1445-1523)/Vatican Museums and Galleries, Vatican City, Italy,/The Bridgeman Art Library. Pg 16: The San Marco Altarpiece, c.1438-40 (tempera on panel), Angelico, Fra (Guido di Pietro) (c.1387-1455)/Museo di San Marco dell'Angelico, Florence, Italy,/The Bridgeman Art Library. Pg 17: St. Matthew and the Angel, 1602 (panel), Caravaggio, Michelangelo Merisi da (1571-1610)/San Luigi dei Francesi, Rome, Italy,/The Bridgeman Art Library. Pg 19: The Coronation of the Virgin, completed 1453 (oil on panel), Quarton, Enguerrand (c.1410-66)/Villeneuve-les-Avignon (Hospice), Anjou, France, Giraudon/The Bridgeman Art Library. Pg 20: Tabletop of the Seven Deadly Sins and the Four Last Things (oil on panel), Bosch, Hieronymus (c.1450-1516)/Prado, Madrid, Spain, Giraudon/The Bridgeman Art Library. Pg 21: Baptism of Christ 1450s (tempera on panel) by Piero della Francesca, (c.1415-92) National Gallery, London, UK/Bridgeman. Pg 22: Communion of the Apostles, 1451-53 (tempera on panel), Angelico, Fra (Guido di Pietro) (c.1387-1455)/Museo di San Marco dell'Angelico, Florence, Italy,/The Bridgeman Art Library. Pg 23: Episodes from the Life of St. Augustine, 1463-65 (fresco), Gozzoli, Benozzo di Lese di Sandro (1420-97)/Sant' Agostino, San Gimignano, Italy,/The Bridgeman Art Library. Pg 24: Pentecost by Duccio di Buoninsegna © Museo dell'Opera Metropolitana, Siena, Italy/Archivio Scala. Pg 25: The Altarpiece of the Seven Sacraments, c.1445-50 (oil on panel), Weyden, Rogier van der (1399-1464)/Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten, Antwerp, Belgium, Giraudon/The Bridgeman Art Library. Pg 26: The Last Supper or, The Communion of the Apostles, 1474 (oil on panel), Joos van Gent (Joos van Wassenhove) (fl.1460-75)/Galleria Nazionale delle Marche, Urbino, Italy, Alinari/The Bridgeman Art Library, The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb from the Ghent Altarpiece, detail of Angels Adoring the Mystic Lamb, 1432 (tempera on panel), Eyck, Hubert (c.1370-1426) & Jan van (1390-1441)/St. Bavo Cathedral, Ghent, Belgium,/The Bridgeman Art Library. Pg 27: Return of the Prodigal Son, c.1668-69 (oil on canvas), Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn (1606-69)/Hermitage, St. Petersburg, Russia,/The Bridgeman Art Library. Pg 28: St. Peter healing a cripple, and the raising of Tabitha, c.1427 (fresco), Masolino da Panicale, Tommaso (1383c.1447)/Brancacci Chapel, Santa Maria del Carmine, Florence, Italy,/The Bridgeman Art Library. Pg 29: The Marriage Feast at Cana, c.1305 (fresco), Giotto di Bondone (c.1266-1337)/Scrovegni (Arena) Chapel, Padua, Italy,/The Bridgeman Art Library. Pg 30: The Ordination of St Lawrence by Fra Angelico © Musei Vaticani. Pg 31: Sistine Chapel Ceiling: The Fall of Man and the Expulsion from the Garden of Eden, with four Ignudi, 1510 (fresco) (pre-restoration), Buonarroti, Michelangelo (1475-1564)/Vatican Museums and Galleries, Vatican City, Italy, Alinari/The Bridgeman Art Library. Pg 32: The Temptation of Christ by Duccio di Buoninsegna © the Frick Collection NY USA. Pg 33: Moses with the Tablets of the Law (oil on canvas) by Guido Reni (1575-1642) Galleria Borghese, Rome, Italy Lauros/Giraudon. Pg 35: St. Peter Baptising the Neophytes, c.1427 (fresco), Masaccio, Tommaso (1401-28)/Brancacci Chapel, Santa Maria del Carmine, Florence, Italy,/The Bridgeman Art Library. Pg 37: The Virtues c.1305 (fresco), Giotto di Bondone (c.1266-1337)/Scrovegni (Arena) Chapel, Padua, Italy,/The Bridgeman Art Library. Pg 38: Tabletop of the Seven Deadly Sins and the Four Last Things (oil on panel), Bosch, Hieronymus (c.1450-1516)/Prado, Madrid, Spain, Giraudon/The Bridgeman Art Library. Pg 39: Christ Carrying His Cross by Sir Stanley Spencer © Tate, London 2006. Pg 41: The Virgin in Prayer, 1640-50 (oil on canvas) by Il Sassoferrato (Giovanni Battista Salvi) (1609-85) National Gallery, London, UK/Bridgeman. Pg 42: The Mocking of Christ with the Virgin and St. Dominic, 1442 (fresco), Angelico, Fra (Guido di Pietro) (c.1387-1455)/Church of San Marco, Florence, Italy,/The Bridgeman Art Library. Pg 43: Maesta: eleven scenes from the Passion, 1308-11 (tempera on panel), Duccio di Buoninsegna, (c.1278-1318)/Museo dell'Opera del Duomo, Siena, Italy, Alinari/The Bridgeman Art Library. Pg 44: Agony in the Garden, Bellini, Giovanni (c.14301516)/National Gallery, London, UK,/The Bridgeman Art Library. Pg 45: The Last Supper, from the Arte della Lana Altarpiece, c.1426 (oil on panel), Sassetta (Stefano di Giovanni di Consolo) (c.13921450)/Pinacoteca Nazionale, Siena, Italy, Alinari/The Bridgeman Art Library. Pg 47: The Light of the World, c.1851-53, Hunt, William Holman (1827-1910)/Keble College, Oxford, UK,/The Bridgeman Art Library. Pg 49: Mary Magdalen Reading, courtesy of the trustees of the National Gallery. Pg 50: Richard II Presented to the Virgin and Child by his Patron Saint John the Baptist and Saints Edward and Edmund, c.1395-99 (egg on panel), Master of the Wilton Diptych, (fl.c.1395-99)/National Gallery, London, UK,/The Bridgeman Art Library. (For those images where identifying copyright has been unsuccessful, the publisher would be grateful for information to trace copyright ownership).

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Contents

CREED

SACRAMENTS

MORALS PRAYER

Introduction............................................................................................................................................. v The Meaning of Life............................................................................................................................... 1 Creation and Fall..................................................................................................................................... 3 Salvation History..................................................................................................................................... 5 The Incarnation....................................................................................................................................... 7 The Life of Christ.................................................................................................................................... 9 The Paschal Mystery............................................................................................................................. 11 The Trinity............................................................................................................................................. 13 The Church............................................................................................................................................ 15 Scripture and Tradition........................................................................................................................ 17 Mary and the Four Last Things.......................................................................................................... 19 Liturgy and Sacraments........................................................................................................................ 21 Baptism and Confirmation.................................................................................................................. 23 The Eucharist......................................................................................................................................... 25 Confession and Anointing................................................................................................................... 27 Marriage and Holy Orders................................................................................................................... 29 Moral Action.......................................................................................................................................... 31 Natural Law and the Ten Commandments.......................................................................................33 Grace and the Beatitudes..................................................................................................................... 35 Virtues and Vices.................................................................................................................................. 37 Christian Life in the World................................................................................................................. 39 The Life of Prayer................................................................................................................................. 41 The Lord’s Prayer.................................................................................................................................. 43 Praying the Mass................................................................................................................................... 45 The Practice of Confession................................................................................................................. 47 Catholic Devotions............................................................................................................................... 49

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Introduction

CREED

SACRAMENTS

MORALS PRAYER

Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation. Mark 16:15

What is ‘EVANGELIUM’? ‘Evangelium’ means ‘gospel’ or ‘good news’. This course is called EVANGELIUM because it aims to teach the good news of our salvation in Jesus Christ.

Aim of EVANGELIUM The EVANGELIUM multimedia catechetical course teaches the essentials of Catholic faith and life in a straightforward, precise and attractive manner. The course is based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the materials are organised in the same fourfold way: Creed, Sacraments, Morals and Prayer. Those who with God’s help have welcomed Christ’s call and freely responded to it are urged on by love of Christ to proclaim the Good News everywhere in the world. This treasure, received from the apostles, has been faithfully guarded by their successors. All Christ’s faithful are called to hand it on from generation to generation, by professing the faith, by living it in fraternal sharing, and by celebrating it in liturgy and prayer.

Teaching an EVANGELIUM session using a PC projector, one way in which the course can be used by groups, such as RCIA candidates

BENEFITS OF EVANGELIUM

Concise, precise wording to communicate key ideas in a timely manner The use of computer based presentations to animate and link concepts and images

Catechism of the Catholic Church par. 3 (Prologue)

Who is EVANGELIUM for?

Quotations from Scripture, the Catechism and other Catholic sources to illustrate and explain

EVANGELIUM is for all those who wish to deepen their knowledge of the Catholic Faith, whether or not they are practising members of the Church.

Suggested further reading and activities to reinforce learning

The course materials are intended principally for those participating in the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA) or other adult catechetical programs. Other uses include Confirmation preparation, youth catechesis, marriage preparation and self-instruction. The study of the course materials can be carried out in classes, in small groups or by individuals.

Beautiful religious art to convey a rich visual experience of the key persons and ideas

A modular approach: each session can stand alone to provide maximum course flexibility

The centuries-old conciliar tradition teaches us that images are also a preaching of the Gospel. Artists in every age have offered the principal facts of the mystery of salvation to the contemplation and wonder of believers by presenting them in the splendour of colour and in the perfection of beauty. It is an indication of how today more than ever, in a culture of images, a sacred image can express much more than what can be said in words, and be an extremely effective and dynamic way of communicating the Gospel message.

The aim of this Participant’s Book The principal aim of this Participant’s Book is to assist each person taking part in an EVANGELIUM course; it summarises the course presentations and provides additional references for further reading. This Participant’s Book can also be used independently of any course, as a complete, attractive and concise summary of the key teachings of the Catholic Faith.

Pope Benedict XVI, Introduction to the Compendium of the Catechism.

v


The order of the sessions

Course materials and sources

The order of the sessions in this Participant’s Book follows the main fourfold division of the Catechism. Creed

Sacraments

Morals

Prayer

10

5

5

5

EVANGELIUM COURSE MATERIALS

Presentations on CD. A self-starting CD with

twenty-five PowerPoint Viewer© presentations.

Participant’s Book. A written summary of the content of the presentations.

Presenter’s Guide. A guide to presenting the

sessions with further references and activities.

Since each session is a complete lesson in itself, the order in which the sessions are presented is flexible and should be adapted to the needs of participants. Page 51 of this book shows a possible sequence of sessions to accompany the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA). Page 52 presents an alternative sequence for general purpose catechesis.

The main reference sources for EVANGELIUM are Scripture and the Catechism. Scripture citations are generally taken from the Revised Standard Version (RSV) Catholic Edition. Citations from other standard translations are used occasionally when an alternative translation highlights a particular point more clearly. On such occasions, the alternative translation is indicated by an abbreviation.

The estimated time required for teaching a session using the CD is 1 hour 10 minutes.

The following tables list the Bible translations and Biblical books cited in EVANGELIUM: BIBLE TRANSLATIONS USED IN EVANGELIUM No abbreviation

Revised Standard Version

NRSV

New Revised Standard Version

NJB

New Jerusalem Bible

DRA

Douay-Rheims Bible

KJV

King James Version

BIBLICAL BOOK ABBREVIATIONS

Viewing EVANGELIUM presentations on a laptop, one way in which the course can be used for personal study

Praying and living the Gospel EVANGELIUM seeks to impart much more than information. Although it is possible to know about the Catholic Faith using human reason alone, to know the faith with a kind of inner illumination of its truth is a gift from God. It is important to ask God to impart and increase this gift of faith.

Gen

Genesis

1 Cor 1 Corinthians

Ex

Exodus

2 Cor 2 Corinthians

Deut Deuteronomy

Eph

Ephesians

Isa

Isaiah

Col

Colossians

Mt

Gospel of Matthew

Jas

James

Mk

Gospel of Mark

1 Pet

1 Peter

Lk

Gospel of Luke

2 Pet

2 Peter

Jn

Gospel of John

1 Jn

1 John

Rev

Revelation

Rom Romans

References to the Catechism of the Catholic Church are indicated by “ccc.” followed by the paragraph number. The reference “ccc. 50”, for example, indicates paragraph 50 of the Catechism.

It is therefore highly recommended to begin and end each session with a prayer. Page vii offers a suitable prayer of St Thomas Aquinas; others are provided in the Presenter’s Guide and the course presentations.

The majority of other citations are sources cited by the Catechism. In such cases, both the original source and the Catechism reference are provided.

To know the faith also involves experiencing and living the faith. Catholic art, prayers and practical suggestions are included in this course to encourage and nurture this experience and life of grace.

The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent, and believe in the gospel. Mk 1:15 vi


The Magdalene Reading by Rogier van der Weyden

Opening Prayer As the final goal of Christian teaching is to know God, it is good to ask for God’s help at the beginning of each session. The following short prayer is from St Thomas Aquinas, who always prayed before study.

Bestow upon me, O God, an understanding that knows you, wisdom in finding you, a way of life that is pleasing to you, perseverance that faithfully waits for you, and confidence that I shall embrace you at the last. Amen.

vii


The Church in glory: detail from The Last Judgment by Fra Angelico

This symbolic representation of the kingdom of heaven reminds us of the happiness God desires us to have as the true goal and meaning of our lives: to be gathered into heaven where we shall see the face of God, in the company and friendship of the angels and saints in everlasting glory. viii


The Meaning of Life

CREED

Let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice! Psalm 105:3

The meaning of life refers to the most fundamental reasons for the existence of the world and ourselves.

Wh y? As a child grows up, the most persistent question he or she will tend to ask is ‘why?’ As human beings we not only ask what things are but also why they are. The Greek philosopher Aristotle said that this desire is universal, “All people by nature desire to know! ”

The School of Athens by Raphael Sanzio

Question the beauty of the earth, question the beauty of the sea ... question all these realities. All respond: ‘See, we are beautiful ’. Their beauty is a confession. These beauties are subject to change. Who made them if not the Beautiful One who is not subject to change? St Augustine, Sermon 241 (ccc. 32)

The question ‘why?’ can also be applied to the whole universe and to human beings. Why is the universe here? Why are we here? What is the goal of human life? Men and women throughout history have attempted to answer these questions.

What does creation teach us about God?

What is the ‘first be-cause’?

From what has been created, we can learn that God is one, all powerful, all good and unchanging.

All the things we see in the universe are caused by other things. Many thinkers have concluded that this chain of causes cannot go on forever. There must be a ‘first be-cause’, a necessary, eternal and unchanging ‘first cause’ which creates and sustains everything. This first cause is what people naturally call ‘God’.

MISTAKES ABOUT GOD

⌧ Polytheism

In addition, the universe shows evidence of many processes that are ordered towards things of great complexity and beauty. This order and goodness encourages belief in a God who created them.

What is ‘God’?

Pantheism

‘God’ is what people rationally call the first cause and purpose of things, but this raises questions about what God is and God’s relationship with us.

Denies the one God in favour of many ‘gods’. This is wrong since there can only be one first cause; several gods would introduce chaos and unintelligibility into creation. Denies that God is distinct from the world. This is wrong because the first cause is unchangeable, unlike all the other beings of creation.

Denies that God is all-powerful. This is wrong because the first cause A powerless must have the power to cause ‘god’ everything in creation.

For Aristotle, ‘God’ was the unmoved mover. For Plato, he was the unchanging good. For Anselm, he was ‘that greater than which nothing can be conceived ’. For Newton, he was the architect of the laws of nature.

All rational models of the cosmos also require a ‘first be-cause’. Einstein, for example, often referred to the first cause of the intelligibility of the universe using the language of ‘God’ or the ‘mind of God’.

An evil ‘god’

Denies that God is good. This is wrong because what God has created is good. Evil in the world always refers to the corruption of some intrinsically good thing.

For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made. Romans 1:20 NIV

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What are Human Beings?

Where is happiness found? Given our mortality, together with much suffering and discontent in life, it is clear that permanent happiness is impossible for us without some help beyond ourselves. Even though our souls may be immortal, we lose everything else when we die. Knowing that there is a good God, human beings have rightly looked to God to fulfil their hope for happiness. Furthermore, as naturally religious beings it is clear that happiness must involve knowing God as the first cause and reason for all things.

The Creation of Adam by Michelangelo

You have made us for yourself and our hearts are restless till they rest in you. St Augustine, Confessions, I.1.1 (ccc. 30; cf. 1718)

Human beings differ from all other living beings on earth. Along with an animal nature, we also have the capacity to know and to communicate intelligently using language. Aristotle calls us ‘rational animals’.

What does God offer us?

The kind of knowledge we have is also unique. It is not just sensory perception and habit, but the knowledge of what and why a thing is. Without this capacity we would have no science or philosophy.

Christianity affirms God’s goodness and desire for our happiness. In Jesus Christ, however, God offers us what is infinitely greater: a sharing in his own divine life and blessedness.

In addition, human beings have a unique ability to choose, which gives rise to an enormous variety of human work and action, both good and evil.

God, infinitely perfect and blessed in himself, in a plan of sheer goodness freely created man to make him share in his own blessed life.

Many philosophers have realised that the kind of being who knows and chooses in this way must have some quality which cannot simply be reduced to mere matter that is subject to change and decay. They therefore infer that we have immortal souls that do not perish when our bodies die.

Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, question 1

Due to this higher calling, God never allows us to be satisfied with anything less. It is only by responding to this invitation of friendship with God that we also find our natural happiness and fulfilment. St Paul speaks of this great gift and promise as follows:

What do we want?

What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the human heart conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him.

People seem to want many different things in life. However, when the deeper question is asked about what we really want, St Augustine answers that in all things we are really searching for happiness.

1 Cor 2:9 NRSV

The Greek word εὐαγγέλιον (in Latin, ‘evangelium’) means ‘good news’ or ‘gospel’. The good news of Christianity is that God has made it possible, through Jesus Christ, for us to enjoy this new life and be happy with him for ever. This course, also called ‘Evangelium’, has been written to enable people to know and grow in this new life.

We all want to live happily; in the whole human race there is no one who does not assent to this. St Augustine, De moribus eccl. I, 3, 4 (ccc. 1718)

We therefore look for happiness. Proper happiness is something complete, fulfilling, pleasurable, and permanent. Although in this life we experience many partial and temporary joys, none of these truly bring happiness. Furthermore, there is much pain and suffering in life, and our bodies decay and die.

These are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name. Jn 20:31

References Catechism of the Catholic Church: ccc. 27-49 (Compendium questions 1-5) Further reading: HAFFNER, P., The Mystery of Reason, Gracewing; CREAN, T., God is No Delusion: A Refutation of Richard Dawkins, Ignatius Press. DAVIES, B., An Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion, Oxford University Press

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