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For the Preservation of the Deposit of the Faith
For the Kingdom of God to come!
The Countess du Châtelet, of whom Voltaire had made an unbeliever, always called religion a superstition. On her deathbed, she asked the philosopher if after all it would not be useful to receive the last Sacraments. “Countess,” said Voltaire, “take the safest course.” So she sent for a priest, but when he arrived, he found only a corpse.
An atheist said one day to a practising catholic: “Poor cleric! how you are deceived, if heaven is a fable. – Poor freethinker! how you will be caught, if hell is not a fable.”
Prince Sfondrati, abbot of St. Gallen, met one day, during a trip to Rome, an unbeliever with whom he had already exchanged some letters. The freethinker immediately resumed his attacks on the belief in the existence of God. The abbot finally became impatient and said to him, “Either there is no God, and then you are in no danger, but if there is, you will have a bad time when you appear before Him to give an account of your unbelief.” With that, he went back in a very meaningful way to his occupation; this retort made such a deep impression on the unbeliever that from that moment on he ceased his attacks on religion.
Blaise Pascal had already said: “If against a million probabilities in favor of atheism there is only one in favor of hell, reason demands that I act as if hell really existed.”