Smoking and Saints

Pope Francis decided to ban, as of 2018, the sale of cigarettes in Vatican City (cheaper for employees which leads, of course, to a black market).  Cigarettes are bad for people and, probably, the environment.   Hence, they must be banned.

I saw on Twitter (where else) defenses of this enlightened choice including the suggestion from those who probably don’t think that contraception, adultery or abortion are mortal sins that smoking surely is.

If it is indeed the case that smoking is a mortal sin, then no person who smoked without amending his life could possibly have lived a life of heroic virtue.  What, then, to say about the beatified (for other than martyrdom) or the canonized whom we honor at the altar and whose lives are offered for our edification and imitation?

There came to mind Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati.  He smoked.  Surely he will never now be canonized.

He – oh the horror – smoked cigarettes!  And the priest is smiling?!?

He smoked a pipe!

He smoked cigars!

And… I  can barely bring myself to write… drank alcohol with friends!

And… oh the scandal… a Saint and a Pope is near a photo of Pier Giorgio with a cigar!

Now, along with the obscuring of John Paul II’s magisterium, his title will have to be stripped from the Album Sanctorum.  

Speaking of obscuring, look carefully at some of the images of Bl. Pier Giorgio and you will see… or not see… something interesting.  Here is a collage:

The pipe, cigar, cigarette… photoshopped out.


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Posted in Lighter fare, Saints: Stories & Symbols | Tagged , , | 35 Comments

WDTPRS – 23rd Sunday after Pentecost: SNIP!

During his Sunday Angelus address today, 12 Nov, the Pope asked the sort of question that Popes ought to ask, especially at this time of the liturgical year, when we focus more and more on the Four Last Things and the End of the World: “One day will be the last. If it was today, am I prepared?”

Here is today’s Collect from Holy Mass in the older, traditional Roman Rite:

Absolve, quaesumus, Domine, tuorum delicta populorum, ut a peccatorum nexibus, quae pro nostra fragilitate contraximus, tua benignitate liberemur.

In the pre-Conciliar Missale Romanum this prayer was in the ancient Veronese Sacramentary in the month of September, a time of fasting. It was a bit different: Absolue, domine, quaesumus, tuorum delicta populorum, et quod mortalitatis contrahit fragilitate purifica; ut cuncta pericula mentis et corporis te propellente declinans, tua consolatione subsistat, tua gratia promissae redemptionis perficiatur hereditas.  It also was used on a weekday of Lent.  Unusually, it survived to live on in the Novus Ordo book, as well.

A nexus, from necto (“to bind, tie, fasten; to join, bind, or fasten together, connect”), is “a tying or binding together, a fastening, joining, an interlacing, entwining, clasping” and thence, “a personal obligation, an addiction or voluntary assignment of the person for debt, slavery for debt”.  Nexus is used to indicate also “a legal obligation of any kind”.  It is not uncommon to find somewhere near nexus the word absolvo, which is “to loosen from, to make loose, set free, detach, untie”.  In juridical language it means “to absolve from a charge, to acquit, declare innocent”.

Here is a truly fascinating piece from the mighty Lewis & Short Dictionary for absolvo: “to bring a work to a close, to complete, finish (without denoting intrinsic excellence, like perficere; the fig. is prob. derived from detaching a finished web from the loom“.

Contraho in this context is “to bring about, carry into effect, accomplish, execute, get, contract, occasion, cause, produce, make”.  Blaise/Dumas indicates that contraho means “to commit sin”.


Unloose, O Lord, we implore, the transgressions of Your peoples, so that in Your kindness we may be freed from the bonds of the sins which we committed on account of our weakness.

ICEL version:

grant us your forgiveness
and set us free from our enslavement to sin.

When you see an English version that is shorter than the Latin original, your alarms bells should ring.  18 words in Latin, 14 English words in the obsolete ICELese.  Gosh!  Did they leave something out?

Think of sin as a web which we both weave and then get caught in.  As Hamlet says the engineer is “hoist with his own petard”.  Finish the proverb: “Oh, what tangled…”.

When our First Parents committed the Original Sin, they contracted (contraho) the guilt and effects for the whole human race.  At that point our race was bound by justice.   To be “justified” again, and to be unbound from our guilt and set to right with God, reparation had to be made.  Thus, the New Adam allowed Himself to be bound by His tormentors, and be bound to the Cross, and then unbind His soul from His Body and die.

The Sacrifice of the Lord was aimed not just at a few chosen or privileged people.  It was for all peoples.  The Sacrifice was “for all”, though “all” will not accept its effects.  Some will refuse what Christ did to free us from our sins and the punishments of eternal hell they deserve.  “Many” will be saved as a result of Christ’s Passion and Death.

Which side of the reckoning will you be on?  If today is the day… are you ready?

Returning to the image of the loom, which is woven into today’s vocabulary, I have in mind the incredible phrase from the Book of Job:

“My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle, and come to their end without hope.  Remember that my life is a breath; my eye will never again see good.”

Our days are indeed like a shuttle.

Zip Zap Zip Zap Zip Zap…

Some years ago I met a women who wove cloth with a large loom.  She showed me how it worked.  In her practiced hands, the shuttle lashed swiftly back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, while the loom packed the threads together.  The cloth “grew” as it was woven, slowly, but surely.  The shuttle snapped back and forth with increasing speed as she found her rhythm and settled into it.

So, too, the days and years of our lives.

At the end… SNIP… the thread was cut.  Absolutely.

Absolved?  Unabsolved?


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WDTPRS – 32nd Ordinary Sunday: Ideals for the Christian, pilgrim soldier on the march


Let’s look at the Collect for the 32nd Ordinary Sunday, keeping that today, Saturday, is Veterans Day (DONATE to the Archdiocese for Military Services!).

Sunday’s Collect has an antecedent in the Gelasian Sacramentary, is also used in the Extraordinary Form on the 19th Sunday after Pentecost.

Omnipotens et misericors Deus, universa nobis adversantia propitiatus exclude, ut, mente et corpore pariter expediti, quae tua sunt liberis mentibus exsequamur.

Adversantia is from adverso(r), “to stand opposite to one, to be against, resist, oppose (in his opinions, feelings, intentions, etc.)”. Resistere denotes resistance through external action.   The distinction of “internal” and “external” is useful in understanding our prayer.  We are challenged from without, but the greatest challenges come from within.  We must constantly cope with the unreconstructed effects of original sin and also the diabolical workings of the Enemy, who stirs up passions and memories, and who implants wicked thoughts and images.   Holy Church prays at Compline every night (in the Extraordinary Form): “Be sober and vigilant: for your adversary (adversarius) the devil is going around like a roaring lion seeking whom he might devour: whom you must resist (resistite), strong in the faith.”  (1 Peter 5:8).

Expediti, is from expedio meaning,“to extricate, disengage, set free”, and when applied to persons, “to be without baggage”.  Thus, an expeditus, is “a soldier lightly burdened, a swiftly marching soldier.” You might have heard of St Expeditus (feast day 19 April), patron saint of procrastinators and, for reasons perfectly clear to me, computer programmers.  St Expeditus is depicted as a Roman solider holding aloft a Cross.  I am sure you are now praying to Expeditus that I will stop this digression and swiftly march on.  That quae tua sunt is, literally, “things which are yours”.  There isn’t room here to get into why but this phrase refers to things God wills or commands.  Think of when the young Jesus told His Mother and Joseph, “I must be about my Father’s business” (cf Luke 2:49).


Almighty and merciful God, having been appeased, keep away from us all things opposing us, so that, having been unencumbered in mind and body equally, we may with free minds accomplish the things which you will.


Almighty and merciful God, graciously keep from us all adversity, so that, unhindered in mind and body alike, we may pursue in freedom of heart the things that are yours.

OBSOLETE (1973):

God of power and mercy, protect us from all harm. Give us freedom of spirit and health in mind and body to do your work on earth.

This Collect appears also in the Catechism of the Catholic Church 1742 in the section on “Human Freedom in the Economy of Salvation”:

“Almighty and merciful God, in your goodness take away from us all that is harmful, so that, made ready both in mind and body, we may freely accomplish your will.”

Our Collect this week provides us with military language consonant with the three-fold understanding of Holy Church as Militant, Suffering, and Triumphant.

navy SEAL gearWe are presented as lightly burdened foot soldiers (expediti) on an urgent mission.  We are beset by enemies and obstacles (adversantia).   Before battles soldiers would shed their heavier gear in order to move more freely.  By grueling and repetitious training, their bodies are strengthened and hardened.  Because of tedious drills, their minds are freed up (liberis mentibus).

Though they are afraid, they act when their commanders are sure, true, courageous.

This is the ideal for the soldier.  It must be the Christian ideal too.

Virtues are habits developed over time by repetition and discipline.  Our Church’s pastors are our officers who will lead us through adversities towards our objective of heaven.   We must learn and review the content of our Faith, especially in the fundamentals. With discipline and dedication we must frequent the sacraments.  We must practice our Faith so that it is so much a part of us that it carries us through even the worst moments we face.

For a while people criticized education by memorization and repetition.  They claimed that children just mouth things they don’t understand.  On the other hand, though they might not understand them at the moment, one day in the future they do.  When they need it, they remember something important because, long ago, someone made them learn it.  Soldiers, sailors, marines gripe during basic training and entertain homicidal thoughts about their drill instructors.  Not a few return to their instructors later and thank them.  When the time came for that skill or tool or piece of knowledge to be used in a critical moment, they had it.

We are pilgrim soldiers of the Church Militant.  Our march is perilous. To reach heaven, we need training, discipline, nourishment.

We need leadership from courageous bishops and priests who drill us, who say “NO!”, who say “GO!”

We need a trumpet certain and clear.

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ASK FATHER: How much “work” on Sunday?

From a reader…


I know we are to abstain from unnecessary servile (manual) labor on Sundays. How strict should we be with discerning whether the labor is “necessary” or not? For example, can mere convenience justify a small amount of light manual labor? How do we respect the Holy Day without being Pharisees?

The Third Commandment of the Decalogue instructs us, for our own good, to honor the Lord’s Day – now Sunday – and to keep it holy.  We do this in two ways.  Positively, we offer God pleasing worship, especially through Holy Church’s sacred liturgy.  Negatively, we avoid activities that are considered “servile labor”.  What “servile labor” is is a matter for debate for most of us.

Man is born for work.  Work is good.  Not all work is toil.  Recreations can be “work”, but they aren’t toil.  Not all “servile” work is physically strenuous.   What to do?

The original intent behind labor that “servile” was to allow for common people, even serfs, servants, slaves, to be able to fulfill the commandment.  Hence, it was strenuous, physical labor.  These days lots of labor is less physical and more mental: desk work.  However, if it is a matter of employment, it probably constitutes “servile” labor and should be avoided unless it is necessary and we avoid scandal.  Farmers at a critical point in the harvest can work.   Being an emergency law enforcement dispatcher is not manual labor in the old-fashioned sense, but it is something that is necessary.  Being a firefighter is okay. Being a checkout gal at a grocery store is not overly physical, but it is servile labor and should be avoided, unless she is trying to feed her children in hard times, etc.

We should avoid activities that hinder us from rendering God what is His due according to the virtue of religion.

Household chores are probably to be avoided, unless you have to patch the roof because water is coming in.  Some people find gardening a pleasure and even meditative.   I don’t think that taking out the trash constitutes a violation of the Lord’s Day, though shifting concrete blocks for the new shed or taking down that dead tree on the south forty probably would be.

I think we have to use common sense.

Common sense is reiterated on our old manuals of theology!

For example, in Sabetti-Barrett I read:

Licita sunt opera liberalia, opera communia et opera aliqua quae videntur servilia, sed requiruntur ad quotidianum usum, victum, necessitatem et dispositionem corporis, vestium vel domus, ut coquere cibos, sternere lectos, verrere domum, et alia quae commode differi vel anticipari aut non possunt aut non solent.  Ita ex praxi communi et sensu fidelium.

Liberalis, an adjective, means “things concerning man’s free condition; noble, honorable; bountiful, generous”.   It can also mean “concerning Liber” the Roman name for Bacchus, the god of drink.. which opens up some possibilities.

Permitted are uplifting works, common works and some works which seem to be servile, but which are required for daily utility, sustenance, the need and ordering of the body, of clothing or the home, like cooking food, making beds, sweeping the house, and others which cannot or should not be conveniently differed or anticipated.  So, according to common practice and the sense of the faithful.

“Common practice and sense of the faithful”… well… that doesn’t help much these days.

It goes on to say:

Inter liberalia connumerandus est usus machinae ad typis scribendum aptatae.

Among the uplifting there can be counted the use of typewriters.

I suppose that means for writing letters and so forth, but not for work.  These days it also surely means use of the computer for writing good things and phones for texting good things.

The same manual permits sculpting and painting (not the garage).  You can probably (probablius) also grind grain!

There is some discussion of how much time one can do chores or labor.  If the work is really hard, two hours cold be allowed.  If not so hard, then three.

There are also some things which one can in in charity.  For example: taking care of the sick, burying the dead, helping a particular poor person though probably not “the poor” in general, which is an interesting distinction.  I recall that one of Screwtape’s tactics was to get people interested in “the poor”, rather than the needy person next to you.

Some things we can do out of piety.  For example, working in the church to clean or decorate, but not to construct or make the ornamental features of the church building.

Would working on a Sunday for parish festival fit in this category?  Hmmmm.

There are things we can do out of necessity.  You can form your own examples.   A surgeon can operate to save a life, for example.

So, consider all the elements and make the choice!

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Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, ASK FATHER Question Box, Our Catholic Identity | Tagged , , , | 16 Comments

Challenge Coin Update – Catholic War Veterans – #VeteransDay

You may recall that I had challenge coins made. I’ve been giving and exchanging here and there, as well as receiving from kind readers.

One just came in from an interesting organization: Catholic War Veterans. Appropriate.

I was unaware of this organization.

Many thanks for the challenge coin!

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Happy 242nd Birthday, USMC!

Raising a glass.


Carrying this with me today…

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Posted in Lighter fare | Tagged | 5 Comments

Rereading “Lord Of The World” by Robert Hugh Benson – Brrrrr!

I am once again – after many years – into the dystopian and prophetic Lord Of The World by Robert Hugh Benson.

A taste:

“Briefly,” [Mr. Templeton] said, “there are three forces–Catholicism, Humanitarianism, and the Eastern religions. About the third I cannot prophesy, though I think the Sufis will be victorious. Anything may happen; Esotericism is making enormous strides–and that means Pantheism; and the blending of the Chinese and Japanese dynasties throws out all our calculations. But in Europe and America, there is no doubt that the struggle lies between the other two. We can neglect everything else. And, I think, if you wish me to say what I think, that, humanly speaking, Catholicism will decrease rapidly now. It is perfectly true that Protestantism is dead. Men do recognise at last that a supernatural Religion involves an absolute authority, and that Private Judgment in matters of faith is nothing else than the beginning of disintegration.

And it is also true that since the Catholic Church is the only
institution that even claims supernatural authority, with all its
merciless logic, she has again the allegiance of practically all
Christians who have any supernatural belief left. There are a few faddists left, especially in America and here; but they are negligible. That is all very well; but, on the other hand, you must remember that Humanitarianism, contrary to all persons’ expectations, is becoming an actual religion itself, though anti-supernatural. It is Pantheism; it is developing a ritual under Freemasonry; it has a creed, ‘God is Man,’ and the rest. It has therefore a real food of a sort to offer to religious cravings; it idealises, and yet it makes no demand upon the spiritual faculties. Then, they have the use of all the churches except ours, and all the Cathedrals; and they are beginning at last to encourage sentiment. Then, they may display their symbols and we may not: I think that they will be established legally in another ten years at the latest.
“Now, we Catholics, remember, are losing; we have lost steadily for more than fifty years.


Have you read it?

In 2013 and 2015 Pope Francis suggested it.

In 1994 Card. Ratzinger spoke of it.

Benson describes, already in 1907, a world in which “the euthanatisers are the only priests” and the antichrist is here.

How much he got right is rather disconcerting.

I have a wonderful Baronius Press Classic edition, but right now I am listening to the novel, read by the brilliant Simon Vance (who also read all the indispensable Aubrey/Maturin novels).  Get it through Audible.   US HERE – UK HERE


For an inexpensive book version…


If you want to know more about the author, Msgr Robert Hugh Benson, this is a great read.  Joseph Pearce’s Literary Converts.


Pearce writes of a fascinating chain reaction of English converts to the Catholic Church.

In any event… this is stuff that every Catholic should know.

And Lord Of The World is a book that every Catholic should have read.


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Posted in Semper Paratus, The Coming Storm, The future and our choices, The Last Acceptable Prejudice | Tagged , , | 19 Comments

More about photos during Mass and Pope Francis’ admonisment

The other day Pope Francis spoke out again taking photos at Mass or other liturgical moments.

Greg DiPippo at NLM has a good piece about this HERE.

He makes the distinction between this…

And this…

I would add any of myriad photos of beautiful sacred liturgical moments, Masses and more.

Two observations.

First, if Pope Francis doesn’t want all the photos during Masses etc., he might set an example by avoiding doing things like this, which surely fuel the photo flashing frenzy in his presence and elsewhere.

But we know that, selfies or not, nothing is going to turn this around.  Mobile phones are now the thing.

Next, we live in a time when beautiful sacred liturgy has been nearly forgotten or has, frankly, never been experienced by many.   Photos give people who have never known or nearly forgotten what the Church can offer to God as sacred liturgical worship are invaluable to instruct and, hopefully, inspire.

Provided that the photo takers are discreet, so as to not disturb others, I see no problem with taking the occasional pic.  However, then The Precious™ should be stowed and focus should be wholly in the sacred action.

As Greg put it over at NLM:

We do not live in a normal age in the Church’s life, and one of the things that makes it abnormal is the very widespread phenomenon of badly done and ugly liturgies; their ugliness is often far more distracting than any photographer, however poorly behaved. Photography is an extremely useful tool, I would say even a necessary one, for presenting people with models of liturgies which are well-done and beautiful. As long as they are taken with discretion, in a way that does not intrude upon the congregation’s ability to pray, I see no reason why we should have a problem with photographs taken during the liturgy. NLM will continue to publish such images, and we encourage others to do so. Photographs that have a documentary, historical, instructional or apologetic purpose, and serve as part of the Church’s evangelical outreach are one thing; photographs taken in function of the addictive selfie culture and digital tourism are another matter entirely.

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A “tour de force” about Protestants and Martin Luther

One priest in an email to me referred to this as a “tour de force” about Protestants and Martin Luther.

All I can say is… “Whew!”

Go to Crisis and read “Calling a Spade a Spade” by Angelo Stagnaro.


I can forgive Protestants and Protestantism for most things.

I can forgive Protestants for the Know-Nothing Party and their murderous Philadelphia Nativist Riot, the Intolerable Acts, Bloody Monday and the Orange Riots in New York City in 1871 and 1872. I forgive them for the “Blaine Amendments” which forbade tax money be used to fund Catholic parochial schools.

I can also forgive them for the KKK and for funding the Mexican atheist genocidal maniac Plutarco Ares Calles in his efforts to kill Catholics during the Cristero Wars. I can forgive them for calling any, and all, popes, the “Anti-Christ(s)” and “Whores(s) of Babylon.”

I also forgive them for supporting Henry VIII’s Act of Supremacy by which the Church gained many of her modern martyrs. In addition, I forgive them for the Recusancy Acts and the fictitious, so-called “Popish Plot.” I forgive them also for the fact that as a Catholic, I shall never sit upon the British Throne though literally everyone else is allowed to do so.

I can forgive Protestants for The Troubles in Ireland and Oliver Cromwell and his engineered Potato Famine and the slaughter and military occupation of that country. I forgive them for the enslavement of 50,000 men, women and children who were forcibly removed from Ireland and sent to Bermuda and Barbados as indentured servants?America’s first slaves.


It goes on and on and on and on…

This puts into perspective the lack of enthusiasm some of us have regarding “celebration” of the 500th anniversary of the revolt.

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ACTION ITEM – Petitions in Support of @BishopMorlino @MadisonDiocese

UPDATE 10 Nov:

See Church Militant… but before you do that… sign the petitions!

First, at LifeSite…. HERE    [as I write – 5253]

Then, at Change… HERE    [as I write – 5,469]


___ Originally on: Nov 4, 2017

If you are not up to speed about the horrid attacks underway against Bishop Robert C. Morlino of the Diocese of Madison (aka The Extraordinary Ordinary), you might start HERE and read backwards.

There is an online petition at, started be a hard-core lib authority hater (when that authority isn’t liberal). They are fantasizing that their petition could get Bp. Morlino removed. They have no clue at all about how things work, and they have zero interest in the truth about the person or situation they are protesting, but they haven’t let those deficits slow them down. They are simply trying to hurt someone… and that’s called BULLYING.

If you see that petition, read the comments to see what sort of folks they are.

I know of two counter petitions, in support of B. Morlino. Your ACTION ITEM… SIGN THEM.

First, at LifeSite…. HERE

Right now the petition stands at 2448. Let’s see how fast we can make that rocket. Send the link around to all your friends. Bloggers, pick this up.

Next, a petition at the site of The Remnant. HERE They have a supportive article.

They’re link sends to to a petition at, the same place where the smear attack petition is found. HERE

As I write, that petition is at 2299

OKAY!  You have your marching orders.   Be swift.

Fun fact.  At the petition, you can see the votes come in in real time.

Go! Do your thing and tell your friends.  Let’s make this move.


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@JamesMartinSJ and “downward-facing dog”

In 2015 Pope Francis said:

“You can take a million catechetical courses, a million courses in spirituality, a million courses in yoga, Zen and all these things. But all of this will never be able to give you the freedom” of being a child of God.”

The long-time chief exorcist of the Diocese of Rome, Fr. Gabriel Amorth, was convinced that yoga summoned and opened people up to demons.  If there is the slightest chance that he was right – and he seems to have known his stuff – yoga should be avoided.

The CDF issued a document some years back in which yoga is mentioned in the context of “New Age” issues.

This showed up in my email this morning.  A screenshot, clearly, from someone’s mobile Twitter app.  From the feed of homosexualist activist James Martin SJ (just try to imagine St. Peter Canisius’ reaction to the news of this “retreat”):

Perhaps Martin is into “downward-facing dog”.

On the other hand, he doesn’t say that he is involved with this Jesuit Yoga Retreat, does he.



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Posted in Sin That Cries To Heaven, You must be joking! | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

ASK FATHER: Venial sins forgiven during Mass?

From a reader…


Thank you for all of your efforts here, as it really brings strength to many of us during our sojourn.

A priest at our local university gave a homily a few days back wherein he spoke of the absolution given at the end of the penitential rite as being efficacious for the forgiveness of venial sins. I know that reception of the Eucharist will forgive venial sin, but I had never heard this before. Is this correct? Of course, the priest did say we needed sacramental confession for mortal sin.

Father is correct on both counts.  While mortal sins are forgiven in the Sacrament of Penance (and in Baptism and in emergencies through the Sacrament of Anointing), there are various ways by which we obtain forgiveness of venial sins.

To review, there are two kinds of actual sins which we commit: mortal and venial.

Mortal sins kill the life of grace, sanctifying grace, in the soul.  Mortal sins must be of serious matter, committed with knowledge of their serious nature and with consent of the will.  They deserve the eternal punish of separation of God which is Hell.

Venial sins are lesser offences against God and His laws.  They do not deprive the soul of sanctifying grace. If the matter is not grave or when one doesn’t fully grasp how serious it is, or if consent of will is lacking, the sin can be venial rather than mortal.  Venial sins can be forgiven through certain works and in moments of the Mass, etc.

Let’s be clear about something: venial sins are SINS.  They offend God, Mary and the saints and angels.  They endanger our souls because they can lead to worse sins or the deadening of our minds and hearts about the true nature of sin’s horror.  Moreover, as one goes more deeply into the spiritual life and successfully roots out serious faults, then the smaller sins take on more importance.  St Teresa of Avila says that the first great obstacle she had to overcome in advancement of her spiritual life was carelessness about sin.

An Act of Contrition, use of sacramentals such as Holy Water, recitation of the Rosary, reception of Communion, etc., are ways by which we obtain forgiveness of venial sins.

While we are obliged to confess all mortal sins in both kind and number, yes number, we can but are not strictly obliged to confess venial sins.  It is a good thing to confess venial sins, especially if you find in the course of ongoing examination of conscience that a pattern is developing in you which can more easily lead to the commission of mortal sins.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church says:

CCC 1458 “Without being strictly necessary, confession of everyday faults (venial sins) is nevertheless strongly recommended by the Church. Indeed the regular confession of our venial sins helps us form our conscience, fight against evil tendencies, let ourselves be healed by Christ and progress in the life of the Spirit. By receiving more frequently through this sacrament the gift of the Father’s mercy, we are spurred to be merciful as he is merciful”

During the older, traditional form of Holy Mass in the Roman Rite, there have been identified nine moments when forgiveness of venial sins is offered to one who participates with full, conscious and active, actual participation:

During the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar, Father gives an absolution, which in truth has many intentions, including forgiveness of venial sins.

The priest says the Aufer a nobis as he ascends the altar steps: “Take away from us our iniquities, O Lord, we beseech You, that we may enter with pure minds into the Holy of Holies. Through Christ our Lord.” and he says the Oramus te, Domine.  In the Canon Father prays the Nobis quoque peccatoribus famulis tuis.  At Communion time there are several prayers, including the Libera nos.  Just before Communion we say the Domine, non sum dignus.  After Communion the priest has ablution prayers which ask for forgiveness.  For example, “May Your Body, Lord, which I have eaten, and Your Blood which I have drunk, cleave to my very soul, and grant that no trace of sin be found in me, whom these pure and holy mysteries have renewed. You, Who live and reign, world without end. Amen.”

We can obtain forgiveness of venial sins in many ways.   Mortal sins must be confessed in both kind and number.

So, for everyone out there reading this who has not gone for a while, for whatever reason…

Examine your consciences and…


What happens when you make your sincere confession? What happens even if you sincerely can’t remember every thing?

WHAMO! All your sins will be forgiven, taken away, gone.  They aren’t simply overlooked, or covered over.  They are eradicated, washed clean in the Blood of the Lamb, never to be held against you when you come to your judgment.

Also, and this is important, there is no sin so horrible that we little mortals can commit that God will not forgive provide we ask for forgiveness.

Though your sins be red as scarlet, they will become as white as snow.

Dear readers, look at your life with honesty, and go to confession. That’s it. Then you will be able to go to Communion again just as if it were your First Holy Communion all over again.

If you are nervous, or don’t know quite what to do, just say that to the priest: “Father, it’s been awhile and I’m not quite sure how to start.  Could you give me a hand?”  Easy.

Remember that you, and not the priest, are your own prosecuting attorney.

To repeat, there is no sin that we little mortals can commit that is so bad that our almighty, loving God will not forgive, provided we confess our sins and ask for forgiveness.

God’s mercy is magnificent and it is ours for the asking.


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Posted in GO TO CONFESSION, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000 | Tagged | 6 Comments

IRELAND: Priests told to stop calling bishops ‘spineless nerds and sycophantic half-wits’

This is amusing in a dark way… sort of like a movie about a screwball dysfunctional family.

Just how dysfunctional is the Catholic Church in Ireland?

From the Irish Times and the annual meeting of the ultra-liberal Ass. of Catholic Priests:

Priests told to stop calling bishops ‘spineless nerds and sycophantic half-wits’
Annual meeting of priests hears bishops ‘not all as bad as painted’

Priests must stop calling bishops “spineless nerds and sycophantic half-wits”, the former Abbot of Glenstal Mark Patrick Hederman has said.
Speaking at the annual meeting of the [ultra liberal] Association of Catholic Priests (ACP) in Athlone, he said most bishops were “not all as bad as painted by your leadership” and accused priests of adopting the wrong approach.
“If the ACP [Ass. of Catholic Priests] is trying to change things and to galvanize the bishops of this country into positive action, [I shudder to think… action for what?!?] then even the most junior politician and unseasoned diplomat would tell them that they are going about it the wrong way.
Calling the bishops spineless nerds and sycophantic half-wits is not going to encourage them to adopt your point of view.[LOL!  No, no!  Don’t give up! Surely you’ll get your way eventually.]
Defending bishops, he said: “In fact, for the most part, many of their flock would hold that they are more pleasant, less pompous, and more approachable that others from the past”.  [Folks, I promise that I didn’t write this as a satire.]
Separately, the meeting on Tuesday heard a confidential helpline for priests may need to be set up[May I also suggest “safe spaces” with stuffed animals and coloring books?]
The event heard depression was “very common” amongst priests and concerns were expressed about the number of priests dying by suicide. [They’re killin’ me, too.]
Redemptorist priest Fr Gerry O’Connor presented a summary of matters raised at seven regional meetings of the ACP throughout Ireland over the past year, which took place in 19 dioceses out of the 26 and which were attended by a total of 253 priests.
He told the approximately 250 priests in attendance at the Athlone meeting that it was clear from those regional meetings that “priests need to learn to say ‘I need help’,” and also “to say a respectful ‘No’.”  [In many cases, priests would do well to learn to say “no”.  But here, I suspect, they don’t mean “No” for Communion for the divorced and remarried couples… unless they’re not “gay”.]
There was, he said, “no tangible Church vision for the future” while priests themselves “have enormous grief about disappearing faith communities.[Gentlemen, if you are looking for reasons why they are disappearing… LOOK IN THE MIRROR.]
The relationship between bishops and priests had become “damaged and soured” with some priests feeling “bullied.
A major concern of priests was how those of their number who faced abuse allegations were being treated by church authorities.  [Okay… now this is no joke.  I know men who have been falsely accused of thing and have been treated appallingly by their bishops.]
Fr Tim Hazelwood, who was himself falsely accused, said “there was no consistency in how [ACCUSED]priests are treated.” Guidelines were not being applied correctly and he cited three recent cases as examples.
He also raised concern about funeral rights [sic … rites?] for priests out of ministry which can mean currently that there is no death notice placed in the papers and no concelebrated funeral Mass, he said.
The report from the ACP regional meetings stated that in this context, “priests statutory rights are being denied”, he said. It was also “unjust that a priest is asked to stand down on the basis of an anonymous accusation.”
A presentation was made on behalf of the ACP to solicitor Robert Dore for his “untold” work on behalf of priests, and on a pro bono basis.
Making the presentation, Fr Tony Flannery, said that “without Robert we would never have been able to establish there was such a thing as a false allegation.”  [Ahhh,… Tony Flannery.  Look him up HERE.]
Mr Gore [sic … Dore?] received a standing ovation from all the priests present.

While there is some truly serious stuff in this column, you can also read it with the lens of black humor.

It seems to me that the Catholic Church in Ireland, or what’s left of it, is now eating itself alive.

Not too long ago, I posted a story about the vocation crisis in Ireland.  HERE

At that time I wrote:

It’s a vicious circle by now, a tornado of failure, a hurricane of identity suicide.

The vocations crisis was in part manufactured. In Ireland it is so bad that it is a self-perpetuating vortex of self-inflicted wounds.

Talk about manmade climate change!

I’m reminded that Benedict XVI, in his Letter to the Irish people, recommended a return to traditional practices.

[QUAERITUR] Do you want where you live to look like Ireland?

Pray for vocations. Be willing to offer your own children. Support your priests and seminarians.

Stop coddling perversity. Return to the Mass of our forebears as much as possible. Bring back our devotions and processions and many seasonal and festal blessings. Use sacramentals. Pray the Rosary.

Do penance for sins and offenses against the Sacred Heart and Immaculate Heart.


So very very sad.

Perhaps if the Irish people pray, perhaps if their priests and bishops pray and pray and pray and offering penances and sacrifices, God will raise up a great saint in Ireland to help with a reform and to lead them onto a new path.

BTW… I have a hard time watching movies about screwball dysfunctional families. While there are some funny bits here and there, most of the situations are not funny at all.  They make me feel troubled and sad more often than not and I have to turn them off.

St. Columba, intercede for the Church in Ireland.
St. Brigid, intercede for the Church Ireland.
St. Patrick, intercede for the Church Ireland.

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Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, The Coming Storm, The future and our choices | Tagged , | 15 Comments

NEW BOOKS about the Seven Deadly Sins and answers to Protestant objections to the Faith

I get quite a few books.  Two grabbed my special attention.

Remember, you eventually will do some shopping for Christmas.  Yes, I know it’s early, but I like to get mine done early so I don’t have to worry about it.  Use my search box?

First, Manual for Conquering Deadly Sin Leather Bound by Fr. Dennis Kolinski S.J.C. [Canons of St. John Cantius!]  US HERE – UK HERE

This is a beautifully bound, small leather bound volume from TAN with silvered pages and ribbon, along the lines of others they have done.  I wrote about their Manual for Marian Devotion (US HERE – UK HERE) and the Manual for Eucharistic Devotion.  (US HERE – UK HERE).  I showed those books HERE.   They also have a Manual for Spiritual Warfare.

In the new manual we find explanations of the Seven Deadly Sins (Envy, Gluttony, Greed or Avarice, Lust, Pride, Sloth, Wrath) and how to militate against them, remedy them.

It might be difficult to give this book as a gift to everyone in your life, but, if you have your own copy, perhaps they will see it and be curious.

Next The Case for Catholicism: Answers to Classic and Contemporary Protestant Objections by Trent Horn


The author says he offers this book as a response to the 500th anniversary of the Protestant revolt.  He gets into the classic things that Protestants have a hard time with, such as sola Scriptura, justification, the papacy, Marian devotion, Purgatory, the Mass, etc.

I’ve done a bit of spot reading and it is good.  If you have discussions with Protestant friends, relatives, etc., this could be useful.  Moreover, it would be good for your parish priests to have a look at this book: indirect catechism review is an added benefit for them.

Think about it: in many places priests may by know have more accidental protestants in their congregations than people who truly know and affirm the Catholic Faith.


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Posted in The Campus Telephone Pole | 4 Comments

A strong sermon with food for thought

Here is a sermon from a priest friend of mine in my native place, Fr. Thomas Dufner, pastor of Epiphany Church in Coon Rapids, MN.

He gave this sermon on 15 October 2017, just after the 100th anniversary of the final apparition of the Our Lady at Fatima.

He makes a reference to a Mass at the Cathedral of St. Paul, which was packed.  You should look up the Cathedral to get a sense of the size of the crowd.

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Posted in Mail from priests, The future and our choices | Tagged , | Leave a comment