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Michelangelo’s Creation of Man, Sistine Chapel, the VaticanItalianRenaissance.org

(LifeSiteNews) – As we approach the great Feast of the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ in 2022, we breathe in an atmosphere of scientism, when modern-day Herods in positions of authority in civil and ecclesiastical institutions continually cite “science” as their justification for unreasonable and unjust policies. 

In this toxic atmosphere, we do well to recall the teaching of that great Doctor of the Church, St. Robert Bellarmine, on the mystery of the Incarnation and Nativity of Christ. When instructing students on the necessity of supernatural faith in the mysteries of God, St. Robert’s Catechism shows that God’s revelation in Genesis regarding the origins of man and the universe requires neither more nor less faith than His revelation in the Holy Gospels about the Incarnation of the Son of God in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary:

The secret mysteries of God, even if they are not understood, nevertheless must be believed. For there are a great many things God can do which we cannot comprehend by our genius, therefore in the beginning of the Creed it was said that God is Almighty. Moreover, we have a handsome example in the creation of this world. You know the earth does not ordinarily produce on its own, if beforehand it was not plowed and not planted, or soaked with rain or burned by the sun; Just the same, in the beginning when it first produced grain, the earth was not plowed, nor planted, nor warmed and thus (in that manner of speaking) it was altogether virgin; and only through the command of Almighty God through the power of the same God, at that very moment, it produced wheat and grain. So the virginal womb of Mary, without any human commerce, solely from the command of God, by the operation of the Holy Spirit, produced that most precious grain, clearly the animated body of the Son of God.

With this beautiful instruction, St. Robert Bellarmine powerfully proclaims the coherence of the Catholic Faith when its source is acknowledged to be the authority of God; but he also exposes the incoherence that must follow on any attempt to place even part of the doctrine of the Faith on any other foundation than the authority of God revealing.    

Our Lady of Good Help

In the entire history of the United States of America, there has only been one approved apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the apparition of Our Lady of Good Help in Champion, Wisconsin, in 1859, approximately six weeks before the publication of Darwin’s book On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. According to the official website of the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help:

Our Lady appeared in October 1859 to a Belgian immigrant woman, Adele Brise, on the grounds of Champion Shrine, when the town was known as Robinsonville. Adele Brise was instructed, in a series of locutions by Our Lady, to “make a general confession, pray and offer Communion for the conversion of sinners and to gather the children in the wild country to teach them what they needed to know for their salvation.” She further instructed Adele, to “teach the children their catechism, how to make the sign of the cross and how to approach the sacraments.” Mary ended by saying: “That is what I wish you to do. Go and fear nothing, I will help you.”

These locutions by Our Lady of Good Help became the foundation of a life-long legacy of catechetical mission work by Brise with local families. She traveled on foot in a 50-mile radius around the present-day Shrine to teach and instruct as she was told by Mary. Adele’s father later built a chapel on the apparition site where she also began her teaching work.

‘Teach them their catechism’

Adele said Mary identified Herself as “the Queen of Heaven” and told her, “Gather the children in this wild country and teach them what they should know for salvation. Teach them their catechism….”

Our Lady of Good Help

Just seven years before the apparition of Our Lady of Good Help to Adele Brise, the Bishops of the United States had met in council in Baltimore and resolved to produce a national catechism for the Catholics of the whole country, modeled on the 1597 Catechism of St. Robert Bellarmine. In his catechism, St. Robert Bellarmine had taught unequivocally that God created the heavens, the earth, the seas and all they contain in six 24-hour days and rested from His finished work of creation on the seventh day, just as God had written on the tablets of stone on Mt. Sinai. According to St. Robert:

God fulfilled the creation of the whole world on the Sabbath; therefore, in memory of such a benefit, namely, the creation of the world, He wanted that day to be sanctified … if the Jews worshiped on the Sabbath in memory of the created world because creation was completed on that day, then we certainly celebrate Sunday in memory of the same creation, but by a better law, begun on Sunday.

St. Robert Bellarmine

Catechetical incoherence 

As Christmas approaches, Catholic intellectuals all over the world profess their faith in the Incarnation of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary while they deny the special creation of all of the different kinds of creatures at the beginning of time. Ask them why they believe that the sacred humanity of Our Lord Jesus Christ was created in the womb of the Blessed Virgin at the moment of the Incarnation, and they will have no choice but to admit that they believe this truth on the authority of the Holy Gospels, as they have been understood in the Church from the beginning. If you probe them further by asking, “But a woman’s womb has no natural potential to produce the body of a man, so what would you say to a skeptical natural scientist who claims that Virgin Birth of Our Lord and His Incarnation in the Virgin’s womb are impossible?” At this point, the theistic evolutionist can only repeat what he said before, that he believes this truth on the authority of the Holy Gospels, as they have been understood in the Church from the beginning.  

Even a simple believer without any “higher education,” might then be prompted to ask his intellectual brother or sister in Christ, “But if you believe that God created a man in the womb of a woman that had absolutely no potential to produce the body of a man, why do you not believe that the same God by His Word created in the sea, in the air and from the earth, not only the body of the first man, St. Adam, but a host of other creatures which the sea, the air and the earth had no natural power to produce?”

Holy icon of the fourth day of creation
Holy icon of the Fourth Day of Creation Week

Our interlocutor might reply that the Holy Gospels are historical books which contain eyewitness accounts of the life, death and resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ, whereas the book of Genesis is a kind of allegory, an “exalted myth,” which was never intended to be taken as a literal historical account of the creation and early history of the world. But if our interlocutor is a truth-loving, fair-minded man, we will have no difficulty in proving to him that all of the Apostles, Fathers, and Doctors of the Church considered Genesis from beginning to end to be a sacred history, so that there is no more reason to take God at His Word in the Gospel of St. Mark than there is to take Him at His Word in the Book of Genesis!

The character of God and of His Blessed Mother excludes theistic evolution

When the Queen of Heaven told Adele Brise to teach the children of her area, Adele asked Her, “How can I teach them when I know so little?” To this, the Queen of Heaven replied, “I do not mean the science of the world. Teach them their catechism.” Less than two months after the Queen of Heaven made this request, Charles Darwin published his world-changing book On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle for Life. With this in mind, let us ask ourselves two important questions.  

Charles Darwin’s ‘On the Origin of Species’

Question #1: When the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to Adele Brise, did She know the true origin of man and the universe?

Answer: Certainly, She did! Possessed of the Beatific Vision, it would have been impossible for the Blessed Virgin not to know, in God, the true origin of man and the universe—knowledge that She had already been given during her life on earth through the Book of Genesis and, according to Venerable Maria of Agreda, by being shown the work of the six days of creation in vision, just as they were shown to Moses.

Question #2: In light of the fact that the Blessed Virgin Mary definitely knew the true origin of man and the universe, is it possible that the Immaculate Conception would ask Adele Brise to teach her children a catechism that was not true—a catechism that told her children that God directly created all of the different kinds of creatures of the sea, land and air, including St. Adam body and soul and St. Eve from Adam’s side, in six days, when She knew that God actually used hundreds of millions of years of the same kinds of material processes going on now to evolve the bodies of the first human beings in the womb of a sub-human primate?

Answer: No, it is not possible!

This simple pair of questions and answers suffices to prove that the character of God remains the most powerful and irrefutable argument against all the deviations from the traditional Catholic doctrine of creation — be it theistic evolutionism, progressive creationism, or some other novelty. It is simply impossible for God or His Blessed Mother to command the Holy Church to teach a false account of the origins of man and the universe. Moreover, there is no doubt that the catechism that Sister Mary Adele Brise used to teach the children of her region taught them that God created the heavens, the earth, the seas and all they contain in six 24-hour days six thousand years ago. As summarized in the Teacher’s Guide for the Baltimore Catechism which was mandated for use in every diocese in the United States during Sister Mary Adele’s lifetime:

In the beginning God created all things: something particular on each of the six days of creation . . . The chief things created [were] . . . Plants and trees . . .[and] men . . . The sun, moon, stars, etc. . . . All these are the works of God’s creation.All these he has called into existence by merely wishing for them. (An Explanation of the Baltimore Catechism, 1891).

Can it be a mere coincidence that Our Lady commissioned Adele Brise to teach these truths to the children of her area less than two months before the publication of Darwin’s Origin of Species called them all into question?

Our Lord Jesus Christ once asked, “Which of you, if he ask his father bread, will he give him a stone? (Luke 11:11) and during the Sermon on the Mount He chided, “If you then being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children: how much more will your Father who is in heaven, give good things to them that ask Him?” (Matthew 7:11).  Again, in the light of these words, is it conceivable that Our Lord Jesus Christ would allow His Church to teach authoritatively the literal historical truth of Genesis 1-11, including its account of six-day-creation, all the while knowing that this was a false account of the origins of man and the universe? Is it compatible with the character of God to assert that He then raised up — not saints and scholars from within the Church to enlighten her leaders about the mythical billions of years of cosmic and biological evolution — but godless men, like Charles Darwin and Ernst Haeckel, to enlighten them?

Ultimately, the choice that confronts every man, woman and child who hears God’s creation revelation in Genesis Chapter One is a choice between the infallible Word of God as it was believed and taught in God’s Church from the beginning and the extremely fallible word of man as it has been believed and promoted all over the world since the time of the so-called Enlightenment. The consequences of elevating the word of man above the Word of God are truly cataclysmic. This Christmas, through the prayers of the Immaculate Conception, our Mother, may the Holy Spirit grant to our Church leadership and to all the faithful a renewed faith in the traditional Catholic doctrine of creation, the foundation of our Faith and the only firm foundation for a culture of life.  ​

Hugh Owen is the convert son of Sir David Owen, the first Secretary General of International Planned Parenthood Foundation. He is also the founder and director of the Kolbe Center for the Study of Creation which provides a forum for Catholic theologians, philosophers and natural scientists who defend the traditional Catholic doctrine of creation as the foundation of our Faith and as the only firm foundation for a culture of life. The Kolbe Center is about to release a new DVD series entitled “How the World Was Made in Six Days.” The Introduction to the DVD series will be released at 2 p.m. Eastern Time, on St. Stephen’s Day, December 26, at this link: https://youtu.be/dsyXc_xnic4.