John Paul II – flagellation before he ordained priests

Many people sent me a link to this story in the Daily Mail … and you can stop sending it now.

I have a proposal for a PROJECT at the end.

I read this as one who was ordained by Pope John Paul II:

Pope John Paul ‘would whip himself before he ordained priests

By Nick Pisa
Last updated at 1:18 AM on 24th November 2009

Pope John Paul II regularly whipped himself in ‘remorse for his sins’, a nun has revealed.

Pope John Paul, who died in 2005, is being considered for sainthood by the Catholic Church – the ultimate accolade and a tribute to his holiness.

As part of the Vatican’s investigation, thousands of documents have been collected and examined by officials from the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.

Among them is the testimony of Polish nun Tobiana Sobodka, of the Sacred Heart of Jesus order, who worked for Pope John Paul in his private Vatican apartments and at his summer residence in Castel Gandolfo near Rome.

Sister Sobodka said: ‘Several times he (Pope John Paul) would put himself through bodily penance.

‘We would hear it – we were in the next room at Castel Gandolfo. You could hear the sound of the blows when he flagellated himself. He did it when he was still capable of moving on his own.’

The flagellation is also confirmed by another bishop who has given testimony, Emery Kabongo, who for several years was a secretary for Pope John Paul.

He said: ‘He would punish himself and in particular just before he ordained bishops and priests. Before passing on the sacraments he wanted to prepare himself.

‘I never actually saw it myself but several people told me about it.’

Sister Sobodka’s leaked statements were published in Italian newspaper La Stampa and are part of new book on Pope John Paul II by its Vatican correspondent.  [No doubt Andrea Tornielli.]

[...]

I know some priests (myself included) who often themselves do the penances they give to penitents in the confessional.  I have never heard of any bishop doing what he did before ordinations.

Your Excellencies?

Your Lordships?

What do you think?

How do you prepare for ordinations?

PROJECT:

It strikes me that if all the people of God of a diocese would do some kind of penance – such as fasting or almsgiving – accompanied by their own good confession before the local bishop would ordain new priests for their diocese, for their parishes… well… that would be a good start.  No?

Is this a project worth proposing?

Could a bishop, also doing penance himself before ordinations, invite the entire diocese to fast and give alms, make a good confession and Communion, before ordinations?

Bloggers?

FacebookEmailPinterestGoogle GmailShare/Bookmark

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Our Catholic Identity, SESSIUNCULA and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

49 Responses to John Paul II – flagellation before he ordained priests

  1. bookworm says:

    “It strikes me that if all the people of God of a diocese would do some kind of penance – such as fasting or almsgiving – accompanied by their own good confession before the local bishop would ordain new priests for their diocese, for their parishes… well… that would be a good start. No?”

    I imagine it would, although I have to admit, I’m a complete failure when it comes to fasting… I can usually last until about late afternoon, then I completely lose it and start pigging out :-)

    This might also be a good thing for members of a diocese to do before the installation of a new bishop or while waiting for a new bishop to be appointed (as is the case in my diocese). As a matter of fact, until further notice, all parishes in my diocese have been directed to periodically offer all weekend Masses for this intention (that we get a good bishop.) That’s a good start too.

  2. Massachusetts Catholic says:

    Great idea. I don’t see it happening in Boston, but with God all things are possible. Certainly the two priests who are involved with vocations for the archdiocese are very good men. And to be fair, Cardinal O’Malley hosted the heart of St. John Vianney several years ago, and the visit of that relic has had many good fruits. But from what I know of many parish priests…

  3. jlmorrell says:

    Fr. Z, sounds like a wonderful proposal! But it would take leadership from the Bishop and clergy; and an open and public commitment to one’s sanctification. Sadly, in my part of Texas we are lacking this sort of striving for holiness among our clergy.

    Having said that perhaps my family can make a private commitment to fasting and almsgiving so that we receive holy priests and bishops – definitely a good idea.

  4. MikeM says:

    I need to find some better form of self-denial than fasting. I would like to do more penance than I do, but I get really cranky when I get hungry… and that’s not good for anyone.

  5. dcs says:

    It strikes me that if all the people of God of a diocese would do some kind of penance – such as fasting or almsgiving – accompanied by their own good confession before the local bishop would ordain new priests for their diocese, for their parishes… well… that would be a good start. No?

    Isn’t that what the Ember Days were for? Wasn’t Ember Saturday set aside for ordinations?

  6. This strikes me (no pun intended!) as a worthy practice to begin during this Year of the Priest.
    No flagellation, unless your spiritual director or superior approves, but some form of penance before the ordination of priests or bishops.
    The Evil One is out and about “like a roaring lion” and these acts of love and self-sacrifice can atone and beg grace for the ordained.

  7. JosephMary says:

    We know from the example of St. John Marie Vianney that although he was not known for his intellect, he was known for his holines and part of his practice was fasting and penance. Great penance. He did penance for his people who did not know to do penance. Many nowadays have the attitude that since we are a ‘resurrection people’ we no longer do penance–as was taught at my former parish. Padre Pio also did penance for his people who came to him for confession.

    We have lost the art of discipline. I struggle with it as well. We will have a new pastor next year and I am already praying for a good holy priest who loves God and souls and Our Lady and who will institute perpetual adortion in our parish that has long desired it. I need to be adding sacrifice to my prayers too.

    That the Holy Father did this penance is a good example. May our priests lead the way to holiness that is prayer and disciple, not necessarily flagellation–as we do need permission of our directors for that–but there are other means of discipline.

  8. Lee says:

    Just generally, apart from the ordinations issue, it would really be helpful if our priests would talk about talk about the concept of penance and its place in a Catholic’s life, about its possibilities for obtaining graces from God, about the entire spectrum of penitential practices. For example, a number of years ago I bought a beat up volume of the Summa at a used book sale in which St. Thomas in his discussion of penance mentioned prayer as a pentitential practice. This totally amazed me. Fasting seemed beyond me, but sure, I could ratchet up my prayer life. And that way, too, the difficulties in prayer became pentitential fodder. It wasn’t just dryness, it was penance. If prayer was laborious, that was alright, because it was also penance. it was a “twofer.” As St. Theresa of Avila said, “We suffer so much because of ignorance.” Although they may call for the approval of a confessor or spiritual director, people should be made aware that even in our age- especially in our age of luxury and sensuality- taking the discipline, wearing a hairshirt, using only cold water, fasting, pilgrimages on foot, etc., etc. are all possibilities that are absolutely open to us, as open to us as the saints of old.

  9. How about abstaining from meat on every Friday of the year? [How about we stick to the time before ordinations, at least for the sake of this entry? Friday penance is good, but that is not the topic.] Everybody used to have to do that; as far as I know, nobody died from it.

    And it is a real penance. Fish on Friday is NOT a penance (at least not for me); the penance lies in forfeiting convenience (e.g., not being able to slap up a baloney sandwich in the morning to pack off to work, or grab a quick hot dog when you only have half an hour for lunch).

  10. FrCharles says:

    Fr Z: Is that you in the picture? :)

  11. TNCath says:

    This is one of the many things in the life of Pope John Paul II that is just now being revealed. I bet there will be much more to come in time.

  12. Seraphic Spouse says:

    O dear. Secular press. Field day.

    I don’t know what else to say, except that flagellation has been utterly sexualized in some of our very sick societies and, well, incoming.

  13. I have a hard time with the “discipline”. I find it inconceivable that people hurt themselves for their sins and for others. I know it’s existed for centuries. I’m overwhelmed by the knowledge that the Holy Father humbled himself in this regard. All dissenters who think the Pope thinks he is so far above the rest of us, should ponder this post.

    Solid plan about prayer, fasting, almsgiving, confession before Ordinations.

    Fr. Charles: Yes, that is our esteemed blog host! (Not the one with the mitre-lol)

    Father Zuhlsdorf: I’m curious why you, and maybe other priests could weigh in, do the penance you assign to penitents?

  14. FrCharles says:

    Thanks for the confirmation, C of A, and happy feast day!

  15. MichaelJ says:

    How is it that flagellation is not considered self-mutilation and causing deliberate injury to one’s body? What has the Church taught about this subject?

  16. Thomas S says:

    MichaelJ,

    It’s not considered self-mutilation because their is no mutilation, and pain is not necessarily the same as “injury.” And I think the person highlighted in the article should relieve you of your concerns about the Church’s approval or disapproval of the practice.

  17. Up until the Council we had flagellation in our Order. Our present Provincial (in his sixties now) can remember it as can all the older friars. It became something of a joke to many at the time. There were rules: one was not to draw blood or leave permanent marks and it went on for no longer than the length of a psalm,(51 I think) and how hard one struck was up to oneself. Sometimes it was on the ankles and sometimes on the bottom. The idea was to offer up the sacrifice of pain and discomfort as a penance for one’s sins. I suppose it demanded one be more serious about perfection. I get the impression that some people think of fasting as a total denial of all food but surely in the Catholic tradition fasting was on bread and water (or black tea) for those who were able. Any self-denial that is genuine and to the limit of our power can be offered up as a voluntary penance. It is the loving will to please God and collaborate with Him in our sanctification and that of others that counts not how much one gives up. All the saints practised mortification and penance. Doing it as a preparation for ministry sounds very commendable.

  18. Geoffrey says:

    Using “the discipline” has always been a form of corporal mortification practiced in the Church for centuries, right up there with wearing a hair-shirt (Paul VI), wearing the cilice (St. Josemaria) and fasting (the most common form). Of course, these serious forms of mortification are greatly misunderstood by society, and even many Catholics. Gross exaggerations in things like “The DaVinci Code” don’t help.

    Donald Attwater’s 1958 “A Catholic Dictionary” defines “discipline” as: “a small whip or scourge of cords, variously arranged, used for self-inflicted mortification. Its use is prescribed in the more austere religious orders and congregations; among the Cistercians, for example, it is self-administered on most Fridays of the year after the night-office for the space of a Miserere. Its voluntary use should be submitted to the advice of a prudent director.”

    I am one of the “many” who sent this link to you, Fr. Z. It is all over the secular press and really needs true “Catholic” attention and commentary. Every time I am amazed about the Servant of God Pope John Paul the Great, I discover something new to amaze me even more. Santo subito!

  19. I think this project is an excellent idea. However as someone else above said, neither the discipline nor any other form of corporal mortification should be practiced without CLOSE consultation with one’s spiritual director. And if you don’t have a spiritual director, get one.

    For the record, St. Josemaria Escriva used both the cilice and the discipline.

  20. tewter says:

    I like Father Z’s suggestion and think that nearly every bishop in this country and maybe in the world could get some portion of his flock to do some sort of penance or spend an hour or two in Adoration before ordinations. All it would take is a letter read by the pastor from the pulpit the Sunday before the ordinations, publishing in the diocesan newspaper/magazine, and posting on the diocesan web site.

    A small pamphlet could be offered in every parish to inform parishioners. A bishop could frame the request as an invitation for his flock to perform the acts of self-denial in union with his own and I bet many would respond positively. This would be such a great opportunity to preach about the sacred priesthood, what it means to be a “Father”, and the true meaning of Christian Community, not the modernist use of community.

    In my experience of parish life, not enough importance is attached to the true meaning of Mystical Body of Christ and our vocational interdependence. I’d love to see bishops do what Pope John Paul did.

  21. Thanks, FrCharles! It has been a fantastic day! May God bless you.

  22. dcs says:

    For the record, St. Josemaria Escriva used both the cilice and the discipline.

    So did St. John Neumann. His cilice and discipline are both on display at his shrine in Philadelphia.

  23. kenoshacath says:

    In theory, it sounds like a good idea. I’m all for penance and fasting (not to say that it is easy for me). I will address some thoughts to almsgiving, even though I know it was just an example you used Father.

    I could see it turning into a “community effort,” more “social work” or “show and tell” for Catholics. Almsgiving should be done based on the needs of the poor that we meet along the way. Christ comes to us under the disguise of the poor at anytime. We should always be ready to give, for it is Christ Himself who asks us at His pleasure. We might be tempted to tell Him, “I already gave at the office.”

    “So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.”

    “But when thou dost alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doth.”

    Also, I think that personal penance should remain personal.

    Just my thoughts.

  24. tioedong says:

    Double standard alert.

    Flagelation? How medieval.
    Hairshirts or belts, how gauche.
    Fasting for sins? How stupid.

    But it’s okay to get tatoos, permanent waves, manicures, botox, tummy tucks, walk in high heels, wear a girdle, or jog. Going around hungry so that you can fit into your size 6 dress, or inducing vomiting after meals so you don’t gain weight is common among our young girls.

    doing a painful penance is silly in the world’s eye.
    putting up with painful things in the name of health and beauty, no problem.

  25. catholicmidwest says:

    Sustained formal penances (a practice of whipping, binding, etc) should NEVER be undertaken without the permission of one’s superior or spiritual director (not just one’s parish priest, who may have no idea how these things work). In point of fact, sustained formal penances can be a sort of (false) consolation for a suprising number of people and drive aberrations of the spiritual life which can be seriously damaging to soul & body.

    Most laypeople have things they face on a daily basis–jobs hanging on by a thread in this economy, endless routines and deadlines (diapers, meals, cleaning, meetings, deliverables), difficult marriages, financial difficulties, loneliness & all the other things involved in the lay vocation. Our proper penances are dealing with these things in faith, rather than just getting through them like non-believers. Our proper penance is to bring the church to the world in hope by living it out freely, faithfully and independently (of a religious house, etc). Believe me, we get lots of penances.

    Because of this, and because laypeople have not been properly prepared for formal penances, laypeople should NOT be asked (in a blanket fashion) to perform formal penances (ie corporal or psychological types) unless we are provided with genuine and proper spiritual direction first. Above all, they should NOT be told they MUST do these things.

    If bishops and priests need the prayers of laypeople, then they should simply ask: ask for prayers, ask for rosaries and support us in these endeavors. I don’t think clergy realize how much we pray for them already, but if we were asked and especially if we were supported in the effort, we’d pray even more. Scrounging up the time, after all the chores are done, to pray more or say an extra rosary is a penance for laypeople and an appropriate one.

  26. catholicmidwest says:

    Seraphic: Yes, that is one of the dangers of flaggelation.

    Many saints and doctors of the Church have covered the subject of penance, bodily and otherwise, in their writings. I suggest that before anyone get very into this sort of thing, that they at least consult those works! You might start with St John of the Cross, St Teresa of Avila and St Therese of Lisieux if you want very good treatments you can rely upon.

  27. catholicmidwest says:

    Above all, don’t set up a situation where laypeople can see each other and compare their efforts, for pete’s sakes! Penances should be a matter discussed between director and directee. Only, and for the good of the directee’s soul and the church.

    —Discretion but not secrecy—

    That’s the key.

  28. Great idea – to invite others to fasting and penance ahead of ordinations.

    yeah – I’m in, I’ll blog on it next time ordinations are coming.

  29. kolbe1019 says:

    Yes penances like fasting, taking cold showers, sleeping on the floor, and flagellations are hard and nobody enjoys them… THATS THE POINT!

    One reason to do them is so the WILL is in control of the flesh. That said we need to offer sacrifices for our priests and we shouldnt wait for a Bishop to mandate it… Although they should. Let us all start mortifying ourselves and maybe then a Bishop or two would feel strengthed to speak favorably of such practices as long as they are kept within reason. God bless you and God love you Fr.Z. Count me in!!!!

  30. catholicmidwest says:

    Except that some people do enjoy them, Kolbe.

    Some people enjoy that “will controlling flesh” sensation/idea. IT can be a source of spiritual pride. It can also be akin to “cutting oneself to feel.” It can also be one method of running after consolations, as a result.

    I don’t recommend any of this serious penance business unless you have a spiritual director, a good one.

  31. kolbe1019 says:

    Then their penance can be to stop beating themselves. But as for the rest of us let us offer some prayer and sacrifice.

  32. Jaybirdnbham says:

    Since the thread is about the idea of a Bishop asking his diocese to offer penances before ordinations, that is a great idea and I hope some Bishops read this blog and take the idea and run with it.

    As to flagellation… um, don’t most of us over 40 already have enough natural aches and pains that we can just offer up instead? Somehow, the idea of beating one’s self just sounds creepy. Why not instead just abstain from the Advil one might be reaching for, for those achy knees this winter?

  33. catholicmidwest says:

    Problem is, Kolbe, people don’t always self-diagnose very well. Asking people to engage in larger penances is a bad idea. Little ones, like not complaining in traffic, aren’t going to hurt anybody.

  34. catholicmidwest says:

    BTW, the presence of penance (just like the presence of apparitions) isn’t necessarily a reliable sign of holiness. The gold standard, so to speak, is ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS growth in virtue (as defined by the moral theology of the church).

  35. kenoshacath says:

    Anyone old enough to remember Ember Days? Four times a year (pre-Vatican II) the Church set aside three days to help discipline ourselves through fasting and penance. Although this is now voluntary, it was (and maybe still is) customary that Ember Days were favored for priestly ordinations.

    With some simple instruction, laypersons, priests, and bishops could get back to actively participating in the Ember Days recommended by the Church.

    I’m all for that!

  36. Kate says:

    Great idea, Fr. Z!

    I don’t remember Ember Days, but they sound like a good idea.

    Catholicmidwest’s comment about undertaking severe penances only under the direction of a spiritual director sounds right to me. In my reading, I have come across the concept of individuals who undertook severe penances without permission. They were reprimanded. It is very important to not undertake penances to (in some twisted manner) feel good about ourselves (these would be false penances, no?). That is one reason why a good spiritual director is so important.

    I do not read Fr. Z’s proposal as one that is encouraging the laity to engage in severe penance without direction, however. Fr. Z’s proposal is simply for the clergy to invite the laity to pray and fast with them before ordinations. I think it is an excellent idea!

  37. Joan M says:

    “As to flagellation… um, don’t most of us over 40 already have enough natural aches and pains that we can just offer up instead? Somehow, the idea of beating one’s self just sounds creepy. Why not instead just abstain from the Advil one might be reaching for, for those achy knees this winter?” This is fine, BUT it is “passive” – we have the aches anyway. How we deal with them can transform them into penance.

    We should also perform some “active” penance – it can be as small as no sugar in our coffee, if we usually take sugar in it, or starting our shower with cold water, rather than waiting for the water to warm up before getting wet. It can be deliberately not eating that delicious dessert that we long for.

    Flagellation is, as many have said, only to be used under spiritual direction. It is not for those of us who have never practiced any penance! We all need to start out small.

    For me, sometimes the sight of all those luscious chocolate bars near the supermarket check-out are almost too much to resist. A firm “no” (silently – I do not want anyone to know I am crazy!!) while passing them is a penance!

  38. puma19 says:

    Reading this revelation about JPII and his self flagellation reminded me of the late Paul VI. It has also been revealed (I am pretty sure) that the late Holy Father wore a hair shirt under his papal clothing during his pontificate.
    One thing about these revelations is that it confirms the biblical injunction of doing in private the things that are seen by God. Do not show off, do not publicise: rather your Heavenly Father sees all that is done in secret; when you fast and pray do so in private and God will reward you. I think there are probably many many things the Popes have done in their spiritual lives that are hidden from us all, but God knows. Hours that JPII spent in prayer and so many stories of him prostrating himself at night in his chapel in Cracow where he prayed before the Blessed Sacrament. This was the crux, the very core and powerhouse of his life as a priest.
    Also, M Teresa of Calcutta would spend hours in prayer especially in the early mornings before Mass and going on to the streets.
    Tragically, this is what we have lost in the Church, what many priests have lost – THE TIME IN PRAYER. They need to go back to the basics and take time out for God in prayer and find the source of their strength. The revelations of the saints and holy men and women now reveal they pray and fast and do penance.
    More will come out I am sure about the holy priest and bishop John Paul II – an extraordinary man of prayer and penance.
    We have much to learn from his life.

  39. kolbe1019 says:

    Puma 19… beautiful… Let us offer all things to God… all of our daily crosses yes, let us live in a state of grace, let us make daily visits to the blessed Sacrament, let us say daily the rosary, and let us confess often. God will reward a holy people with holy priests.

    But also I pray that the people of God have not become so soft they only mortify themselves by abstaining from chocolate and soda…. Lord have mercy on your people.

  40. Kimberly says:

    How right you are “JoanM”. Yet, there is nothing so beautiful as going into a silent church to visit Jesus and find the pastor on his knees with tears in his eyes.

  41. Father S. says:

    Because most Catholics are ignorant of things that were historically part of the Catholic ethos, from the Stations of the Cross to Benediction to Gregorian Chant to mortification, there is a pervasive sense that these things are no longer important. That being said, I cannot think of a single priest I know who is faithful to the prayer that the Church asks of him and who is not also faithful to mortification. I think that most folks would be very surprised to know just how many cilices, disciplines and hairshirts there are in rectories.

    As for taking on penance under spiritual direction, (and here I am only speaking of priests) this can only be true to a point. The reason for that is that there are times when good spiritual direction for priests is simply unavailable. Because of this, there are certainly times when one can take advantage of ecclesiastical customs within reason. For example, it is perfectly sensible to maintain the ember days, to regularly practice the Great Fast or even to use a cilice, discipline or hairshirt. This may not be recommend for the seminarian or for one who cleaves to scrupulosity, but these things can certainly be reasonable.

    For laymen, the use of these practices certainly ought to be done under some basic direction. That being said, there are also times when adequate direction cannot be found for laymen. In that case, some mortification, if one is properly educated, can certainly be exercised. As a point of fact, laymen ought to be encouraged in mortification. For this we can turn to thte 1962 document of Blessed Pope John XXIII in “Paenitentiam agere”:

    “31. But besides bearing in a Christian spirit the inescapable annoyances and sufferings of this life, the faithful ought also take the initiative in doing voluntary acts of penance and offering them to God. In this they will be following in the footsteps of our divine Redeemer who, as the Prince of the Apostles said, “died once for sins, the Just for the unjust; that he might bring us to God. Put to death indeed in the flesh, he was brought to life in the spirit.”(31) “Since, therefore, Christ has suffered in the flesh,” it is only fitting that we be “armed with the same intent.”(32)”

    On a practical note, the making of a hairshirt is quite easy and can be done for less that $15 at the fabric store. If you look online you will find them for sale at $50+, which is simply ridiculous.

  42. Lee says:

    “On a practical note, the making of a hairshirt is quite easy and can be done for less that $15 at the fabric store. If you look online you will find them for sale at $50+, which is simply ridiculous.”

    This info amazed me, since we had discussed these things on the IFSB forum several years ago and I scoured the internet. It was perfectly obvious that there was a niche market for this stuff.

    And, behold: http://www.cilice.co.uk/hairshirts.php

    Then as now, there was great alarm expressed at laymen attempting anything of the kind, esp w/o spiritual direction. Pretty hilarious, imho. There’s more spiritual danger in watching mainstream TV for half an hour or dipping into your local newspaper than underaking any of these penances. There’s a better case to be made for getting the permission of your confessor and spiritual director before going to the movies than buying and wearing a hairshirt or taking the discipline. Talk about a loss of persepctive. We’re collectively out of our minds.

  43. Lee: It is true, very true, that you can find ANYTHING on the internet! Wow!
    I’m not sure what to think…but bodily mortification like what is offered here is part of the Church’s tradition; we have to be very, very careful here, however. Prudence and obedience must be the rule. You are correct about the spiritual dangers involved with the media. But the devil especially tempts “the good” with things that in and of themselves may be good, but outside of the proper circumstances could lead to spiritual pride (which is the sin of the Devil). I’m not knocking this; I’m just very cautious in this matter.

  44. fatheranthonyho says:

    Very edifying!

    Maybe we priests should do penance, and pray more before we baptize and hear Confessions.

    Good comment, Nazareth Priest!

    God bless!

  45. Father S. says:

    I just thought that I would offer the following. If anyone wants a simple schematic of how to make a hairshirt for less than $15 from the fabric store, head over to my site and send me an email. (Just click my name for the link.)

  46. irishgirl says:

    I’ll echo Fr. Charles’ question-is that you in the photo with the Holy Father, Fr. Z?

    [ducks]

    I think acts of physical penance would be good for bishops and priests to do before administering the Sacraments-especially one so serious and far-reaching as Holy Orders.

  47. bookworm says:

    “I don’t recommend any of this serious penance business unless you have a spiritual director, a good one.”

    In other words, “this should only be attempted by trained professionals… don’t try this at home, kids!” :-)

  48. quietbeginning says:

    Here is another form of penance (and one that is, admittedly, less dramatic than self-flagellation) that some might want to try: the next time you take a shower, just refrain from turning on the hot water.

  49. The Cobbler says:

    Alright, so if one needs a spiritual director and parish priests tend not to be qualified, where the heck do most of us get spiritual directors? This has troubled me for some time: all this emphasis in the Church on spiritual direction and little to no offering of the same. One might as well come out and say, “Sorry, kids, but most of you are forbidden to strive for holiness. Go about your lives like normal worldly folk and just try not to sin so you get to Heaven.” Well?