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In this recording from the 2011 Rochester NY Chesterton Conference, Hilaire Belloc (played by Kevin O'Brien) takes a sweeping overview of Christian history with a look at what he conceptualized as the five major heresies.

Arianism, one of the earliest great heresies, claims that Jesus was not God but a creature. St. Athanasius and some military victories dealt a blow to the heresy, but so did the rise of Islam.

Mohammedanism began as a heresy, as an oversimplified version of Catholicism, which denied the incarnation. It grew because of its promise of freedom from slavery and usury, and as recently as the 17th century, the Ottoman empire was trying to overrun Vienna.

Albigensianism is a heresy that claims that evil is as much a force as good, that all matter is of evil, and therefore that all matter and anything pleasurable must be eschewed.

Protestantism began as a reaction to correct abuses of the Church, but quickly added in ideas of John Calvin, who claimed that there was evil as part of the divine nature. This allowed people to accept evil in the world as part of divine will.

Modernism is a heresy that denies the supernatural and attacks truth, beauty and goodness. The result of this is the rise of slavery in other forms, as well as cruelty.

While the way in which these ideas are presented may at points seem dated (Belloc died in 1953), they remain thought-provoking. And more importantly, Kevin O'Brien's masterful performance of Belloc and his comments that follow illustrate the great potential of ''evangelization through drama,'' the mission of O'Brien's Theater of the Word.

Direct download: Chesterton2011_KevinOBrien.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

The Church can be divided into three parts: the Church Militant on Earth, the Church Triumphant in Heaven, and the Church Suffering in Purgatory. All parts of the Church are ceaselessly praying for each other, and it is through this prayer that God has chosen to place the vitality of the Church.

Direct download: FourLastThings12.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

Through the saving power of Jesus Christ, death has been turned from a curse into a blessing. It is important to emphasize that this is indeed a blessing and not simply a lack of curse. In Christ, we will have communion with all others who are in Christ. We must therefore pray for our brethren and pray for those who are in Purgatory. Never fear to pray for a lost cause, as no prayer is ever wasted. Likewise, we must share the gifts that God has given us one with another, for what charity we give benefits the whole Church, and what sin we commit harms the whole Church.

Direct download: FourLastThings11.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

The majority of the church fathers are of the opinion that more people, indeed more people claiming to be Christian, will be damned than saved. There is a minority who hold an opposing opinion. As overly-optimistic visions of Hell are not particularly helpful, so too are hellfire speeches which luridly describe the punishments of Hell are not useful. Prayer, however, is never wasted.

Direct download: FourLastThings10.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

There was a theory expounded by Origen, among others, that all would be saved, in some theories extending even to the Devil. While the Church has never officially ruled out the more moderate versions of this theory, the clear language of the Bible is very difficult to square with this belief.

Still, we do not know what God knows, and there is no reason not to pray that we might have hope for salvation for any particular soul, or for souls in general.

Direct download: FourLastThings09.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT