Robert Micken’s Lutheran conversion may be complete

fishwrapIt seems that Robert Micken’s Lutheran conversion is complete.


You recall that Mickens was fired by The Tablet because of his horrid online denigration of Benedict XVI.  HERE

Recently, Archbp. Rino Fisichella announced a couple initiatives for the Year of Mercy to boost confessions and to bring the relics of saints, Sts. Padre Pio and Leopold Mandić, to Rome so that pilgrims may venerate them more easily.

On the promotion of the Sacrament of Penance, Mickens scoffs…

No, he called the presser to offer details about two events that are taking place in the next several days leading up to Lent.

Both of them are aimed, fundamentally, at one thing — getting people to go back to confession, a practice most Catholics gave up a long, long time ago.

Well, good luck, fellas.

Pope Francis is popular and influential, but it’s unlikely that even he will be able to spark a revival in a practice that most Catholics know (correctly) is not essential to their membership in God’s household.

But this is one verdict of the “sensus fidelium” that it seems the pope does not want to acknowledge.

Apart from the obvious point that Mickens doesn’t understand sensus fidelium, Francis is now being attacked from the Left because he talks too much about confession!

Clearly the emphasis on confession from Fisichella is what Francis wants him to say.

Not essential to membership in “God’s household”…?  Good luck with that, my friend.  I respond… GO TO CONFESSION.

In any event, Luther would be proud of this.  To wit, about confession:

I consider one of the greatest plagues on earth whereby you have confused the conscience of the whole world, caused so many souls to despair, and have weakened and quenched all men’s faith in Christ. (Luther’s Works Vol 34.19).

Going on, let’s see what sort of view he has of the notion of confession, absolution, mercy…


Archbishop Fisichella noted that these [Missionaries of Mercy] envoys would have the “mandate to announce the beauty of the mercy of God while being humble and wise confessors who possess a great capacity to forgive those who approach the confessional.” [He really doesn’t like this, does he.]

We don’t have a list of these 1,071 missionaries of mercy, because the archbishop said if the names of these “super confessors” were published they might be subjected to an avalanche of emails and phone calls. Really? Are there that many people out who have committed one of the five sacrileges that only the pope’s delegates can forgive?  [Even if there were only a few…. What’s his problem?]

In any case, the “missionaries of mercy” concept sounds extremely dubious. Some would even say kooky. [I grant that I scratched my head a little when this was announced and wondered what it was about, but… “kooky?  See what contempt the Left has for the Church’s affirmation that there is such a thing as personal sins?]

But wait… he goes on …

But not nearly as kooky and outright weird as the second Holy Year “event” that Fisichella unveiled last week.

Here it is: the Vatican will be displaying the bodies of two dead Capuchin saints for an entire week for its Holy Year pilgrims to venerate. They are shipping them in from their normal resting places on either ends of the Italian peninsula.

It’s more than a little ironic that Fisichella, who is considered to be one of Italy’s most intelligent theologians, is being asked to promote this medieval, pietistic practice. He’s the same theologian who, along with then-Cardinal Ratzinger, help ghostwrite John Paul II’s 1998 encyclical, Fides et Ratio (Faith and Reason).  [Of which, I’m sure, Mickens is a huge fan.]

He did his best to make a kooky idea sound as reasonable and normal as possible by emphasizing that “urns containing the relics of Saint Leopold Mandi?? and Saint Padre Pio of Pietrelcina” were being brought to Rome. [Yes, the body of Padre Pio will be in Rome, so that pilgrims who might come to Rome once in their lifetime won’t have to go to San Giovanni Rotondo.  Also, Pio was a great confessor.  He would regularly read souls and expose the sins that penitents didn’t confess.  No wonder the Left hates this idea and calls if kooky and weird.  Pio reminds people of their sins and the need for confession.  The bodies of saints remind us that we are going to die and, if we don’t repent and amend our lives, we won’t be admitted to heaven. St. Leopold Mandi? was physically deformed in life and had difficulty walking.  Perhaps he might inspire people on pilgrimage.  Will Mickens mock the handicapped people who come to venerate St. Leopold as being kooky and superstitious?]

But they are not urns. They are glass coffins.

And under each of them is showcased the embalmed corpse of a bearded friar dressed in a new brown Capuchin habit.

These life-sized “urns”, as the jubilee organizer calls them, will be displayed in two different churches in Rome for public veneration on Feb. 3 and 4. Then on the evening of Feb. 5 the two transparent caskets will be carried in a long, solemn procession from the opposite side of the Tiber River all the way up and into St Peter’s Basilica.

The dressed-up corpses (let’s call them what they are) will then be placed in front of the main papal altar for veneration for the next several days until Ash Wednesday.

Fisichella said people would be able to view them in the same way folks paid their respects to John Paul II in 2005 as he lay in state several days prior to his funeral.

But this is not a wake and the two Capuchin saints did not give up the ghost only yesterday. Padre Pio died in 1968; and Leopoldo Mandi? in 1942.

But, beyond all that, this is the 21st century. Not the Middle Ages.  [Sounds like a Lutheran.]

Do the men in the Vatican — including our dear Pope Francis — really think that dressing up dead bodies, even of the holiest of saints, is really going to help people “understand the ways in which God’s great love manifests itself in their daily lives”? [Maybe he understands more than you.]

Most reasonable Catholics — Italians included — disagree with the need for such props and gimmicks the jubilee committee is using to promote the Holy Year.  [Promoting confession and displaying the body of Padre Pio… “props and gimmicks”…]

The Vatican — and, again, even the pope — categorizes these as “popular devotions.” But most of them are rooted in Mediterranean superstition and folklore. [Still channeling his inner Luther.] They are completely unnecessary for living the Christian faith and, in some cases, may even detract from the true message of the Gospel. [Which, no doubt, Mickens knows better than everyone else.]

Leave aside the ridiculous notion of cheap grace. This is grace cheapened.  [A famous phrase of Dietrich Bonhoeffer… Lutheran.]

(Note: Venerating lifeless corpses has absolutely nothing to do with believing in the communion of saints!)


I’m surprised he didn’t get into indulgences.

Maybe that will be in his next column.

The National Schismatic Reporter actually published this disgusting rubbish.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in GO TO CONFESSION, Pò sì jiù, Year of Mercy and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. mcgarveya says:

    I’m appalled by this complete disregard of the Sacrament of Confession, which IS necessary. And what’s with his disgust to saint’s relics? The church has been venerating relics since the beginning. but you’re right Father, we’re lucky he didn’t go indulgences, he probably would’ve repeated the same tropes about “selling indulgences.”

    On a note about the “Missionaries of Mercy,” I personally know one of them. He’s a TOR Franciscan and he’s the best confessor I’ve ever had the pleasure of confessing my sins to. My diocese published his name so that people could find him more easily. If all the missionaries are even half the priest and confessor the one I know is, they are a great blessing for the church.

    St. Pio, ora pro nobis

  2. SaintsSQPNcom says:

    So…. now you not only don’t have to be Catholic to work at the ‘Reporter’, you have to be actively anti-Catholic?

  3. Imrahil says:

    When our concathedral was under construction and the time for the annual patronage youth festival (with all that sort of music many readers here won’t like, etc.), the shrine of the patron saint (yes… the one with the bear) was transported into the hall where Mass was going to be, announced by the bishop with “and there he comes!” – “St. Corbinian, who is now here present”, etc.

    –> You can get mainstream-Church 21st century German Catholic youths to venerate relics. And er… do I hear a “if them, why not others”?

    Also, you can get arts professors give lectures on Middle-Age relic retables, explaining how people would behave differently when the retable was opened and closed, and after one from the audience raises his hand and asks “why”, the professor (before I get the time to raise my hand and say so myself) says “well, there’s just a difference; after all, Catholics to this day will genuflect on one knee in front of the Blessed Sacrament present in the tabernacle, but on two knees in front of the Blessed Sacrament exposed”. But that was a parenthesis.

    Leave aside the ridiculous notion of cheap grace. This is grace cheapened. [A famous phrase of Dietrich Bonhoeffer… Lutheran.]

    S.c.n.r.: good point.

  4. Robert of Rome says:

    SaintsSQPScom: Was it ever otherwise?

  5. haydn seeker says:

    I have only one thing to say to Mr Mickens: Acton Institute.

  6. Sven says:

    The most basic Lutheran document is surely the Small Catechism. Here, Luther writes: “What is Confession? Confession embraces two parts: the one is, that we confess our sins; the other, that we receive absolution, or forgiveness, from the confessor, as from God Himself, and in no wise doubt, but firmly believe, that our sins are thereby forgiven before God in heaven. – What sins should we confess? Before God we should plead guilty of all sins, even of those which we do not know, as we do in the Lord’s Prayer. But before the confessor we should confess those sins alone which we know and feel in our hearts.” – In later editions of the Small Catechism, after Luther’s lifetime, the section on Confession (Section V) was left out. But for Luther himself, Confession was clearly very important indeed.

  7. Elizabeth M says:

    Oh, now I see. The relics mentioned in the Bible and carried by the Apostles were just props and gimmicks. Keeping the shroud was “kooky”. Riiigght.

    This man needs a bath in the waters of Lourdes. Prayers for him, maybe this is just a test and in time will actually strengthen his faith.

  8. Ellen says:

    I’ve been to a professional counselor, and I go to confession. Trust me, confession is a lot better. Not only do I get good advice, but I have the knowledge that my sins are forgiven. I went through a phase of not going to confession during the Silly Season, but when I finally did, it was as if a HUGE weight fell off my shoulders.

  9. Chatto says:

    Whenever anyone makes the “this is the 20th/21st Century” argument, I laugh. Wasn’t it Chesterton who pillaried the ‘logic’ of this statement by likening it to saying, “but…but…this is Tuesday!”

  10. JesusFreak84 says:

    Dietrich Bonhoeffer may have been Lutheran, but he still deserves better than his words being misused by trolls like that!

  11. Ipsitilla says:

    Has he nailed his complaints to a Holy Door of Mercy yet?

  12. KatieL56 says:

    It’s bad enough when non-Christians mock and deride. It’s worse when non-Catholic Christians mock and deride. But when fellow Catholics –the ones who should, as St. Paul reminds us, be the most vigilant to help bolster the faith among their compatriots–are the ones mocking and deriding CATHOLIC devotions, traditions, and ‘piety’ in ways that would make the garden variety atheist embarrassed, and the most militantly ‘Bible Christian’ uncomfortable-that is, per the Bard, “the unkindest cut of all.” For all the arrogance of someone who clearly thinks he is beyond the need for things like humility, obedience, respect, devotion, and indeed, tradition, and that by pointing this out for the edification of those ignoramuses who haven’t reached his transcendent level, the fact will remain that years, decades, and centuries from now, should those be granted to this earth, those practices which Mr.Mickens finds risible and irrational will still be carried on by the faithful, while Mr. Mickens’ own words will either be lining the birdcage or long forgotten, not even a footnote in the “How crazy WERE the ‘liberal Catholic/Christians of the 20th/21st century” articles (because I’m sure there will be many more examples for the authors to cite of the convoluted “Cafeteria Catholic” crowd that has plagued. . .I mean prevailed in the media and sadly many parishes lo these many years.

  13. Andrew says:

    … the Vatican will be displaying the bodies of two DEAD saints …

    Correction: the Vatican will be displaying the bodies of two LIVING saints.

    “Have you not read what was said to you by God, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not the God of the DEAD but of the LIVING.” (Mathew)

  14. Imrahil says:

    Dear Andrew,

    well, by neatly applying the definition – separation of soul and body – , they are, in fact, dead at present. (While the Blessed Virgin isn’t.)

    Our Lord didn’t dispute that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, whom we all know were dead men, were dead, but he points out that the fact that God (whom all Jews agreed was emphatically a God of the living) is actually known, and call himself, by the names of these three men proves that he cannot forever leave them in death, and thus that there must be a resurrection of the dead, which was the point at issue.

    Wherefore (as St. Thomas has it) he answers the Sadducees’ question correctly and with the utmost subtlety.

  15. MarkJ says:

    Here is what I posted on their website:

    These bodies are the Holy relics of living saints who exemplified Mercy in their lives on earth and who now intercede in Mercy for us in Heaven. How can you guys mock this Truth and denigrate the Communion of Saints like is done in this column? How can you mock Confession, an essential Sacrament of Holy Church? If you do not believe in Confession, you have apostasized to another religion. Same with the Communion of Saints and the veneration of their relics. Mercy is lived out in the lives of Holy men and women like those whose relics are now on display for veneration, and in those who imitate their virtues. What could possibly be wrong with that, especially since that is the perennial teaching of Mother Church? I just don’t get you guys… God shows Mercy to the humble who repent and convert… and the saints are there to help us do just that. And so are the priests in the confessional…. The proud are those who reject God’s Truth and make up their own to follow… and then expect God to show Mercy after rejecting Him. Pray for conversion during this Holy Year! Padre Pio, pray for us. Saint Leo, pray for us. St. John Paul II, pray for us. St. Faustina, pray for us. Kyrie Eleison.

  16. Bruce says:

    Chronological snobbery!

    Chronological snobbery is the erroneous argument  that the thinking, art, or science of an earlier time is inherently inferior to that of the present, simply by virtue of its temporal priority. 

  17. Imrahil says:

    oh, by the way:

    a medieval, pietistic practice

    Pietism is a movement that began in the 17th century and had its height in the second half of that one and in the first half, or first three quarters, of the 18th.

    The Middle Ages ended, depending on the definition, in 1492 (discovery of America) or 1517 (Luther’s theses at Wittenberg) or 1500 (in between and makes for a nice number).

    Enough said.

  18. Aquinas Gal says:

    He said: “Both of them are aimed, fundamentally, at one thing — getting people to go back to confession, a practice most Catholics gave up a long, long time ago.
    Well, good luck, fellas.”

    Actually, at one point most Catholics had also given up going to Holy Communion–with Mickens’ logic, that never could have been reversed either.

  19. Patti Day says:

    I seem to recall that relics of Saint Therese of Lisieux and her parents, and relics of Saint Maria Goretti, were warmly received in the U.S. during 2015. Apparently viewers were unaware that this is the 21st century. Not the Middle Ages.

  20. Gregg the Obscure says:

    Catholics who fail to confess and who persist in receipt of the Eucharist are guilty of grave sacrilege.

    Many would contend that the Middle Ages ended in 1453 with both the fall of Constantinople and the end of the Hundred Years’ War. Catholics have continued to venerate relics long since.

  21. lairdangusmcangus says:

    Forgive me, as I am relatively new Catholic (~5 years), but how is this not considered outright heresy and therefore the basis for ipso facto aut0-excommunication?

    The Church’s dogmatic teaching on the sacrament of reconciliation is fairly clear, is it not? For a putatively Roman Catholic writer to openly mock one of the sacraments and promote the false notion that it is “no longer necessary” seems like blatant sacrilege. Would it be acceptable to speak in this way about the Eurcharist?

    On a related note, I agree with those who celebrate the healing power of reconciliation and penance. I’ve started going more frequently, and the effect on my soul has been miraculous. Thank God for good confessors!

  22. lairdangusmcangus says:

    Would it be considered a sin against charity for me to say that the servants of the Devil are still hard at work within the Church and that this man, Mickens, has all the signs of being one of them?

    St. Michael the Archangel…Protect Us!

  23. majuscule says:

    A Capuchen who would occasionally fill in at my parish when I first returned to the church has been named a Missionary of Mercy.

    It’s been a few years now, but I remember him as someone who related to young and old alike. I felt the need for confession one Sunday before Mass and he willingly heard mine even though it delayed Mass a few minutes. I believe my positive experience with him helped relieve me of the fear of confession that I had had since I was a child. And I don’t mean to say that he was one of those who say it’s all about love and there is no sin. It was all about God’s mercy.

  24. DisturbedMary says:

    Too bad Pio isn’t around to hear his confession.

  25. Clinton R. says:

    I guess Mr. Mickens would say it is a “kooky” idea to have the image of a dead man crucified in center of the church. The saints point us the way to Christ and as other comments have noted, they are not dead, but very much alive. As for his criticism of Confession, just because few Catholics go does not make it any less necessary for the good of our souls. Pompous dismissal of Middle Age “props and gimmicks” smacks of the attitude of the ‘spirit’ of Vatican II crowd.

  26. Hello Robert Mickens, old co-worker at Vatican Radio, friend of mine.

    Look me up in Rome and I will grant you an exclusive interview, one which just may put you on your knees in confession.

    Or are you afraid of speaking to a real Missionary of Mercy?

    Check out how to find me:

  27. Mariana2 says:

    “medieval, pietistic practice.”

    The Middle Ages and Pietism are centuries apart, embarrassingly enough.

  28. Kathleen10 says:

    When, in 2015, the relic of St. Maria Goretti made her visit to these United States, and ended up visiting the western part of the very liberal and heavily Democrat state of Connecticut, not that far from the New York line, it was wondered by we pilgrims how many people would notice, and, how many would even show up.
    We needn’t have worried. The church was filled to overflow. People stood. The line for veneration was quite long and wrapped around half of the church, OUTSIDE, and people waited for an hour or more to see her and have about fifteen seconds of time with her.
    I guess in the progressive, Democrat-heavy, secular state of Connecticut, people are just not as advanced in spirituality as Mr. Mickens is.

  29. Imrahil says:

    Dear Greg the Obscure,

    good point. Some also have said 1450 when the book-printing machine was invented.

  30. Imrahil says:

    Dear Clinton R.,

    they are “alive” in the sense that they can and do intercede for us, rejoice with us, and so on, but as we learned in the Catechism:

    “What is death?”
    “Death is the separation of the soul from the body.”

    so by the sense of the term, they are, indeed, dead.

  31. Benedict Joseph says:

    While I do not find Mr. Mickens depreciatory comments theologically grounded or edifying in any manner, it is refreshing to see “Fishwrap” exhibit the unvarnished perspective of the heterodox. It is always revitalizing to see the veil lifted on the authentic face of protestantism and its first cousin, left-wing Roman Catholicism. Without make-up and in the raking light of morning, ambiguity consigned to its proper place, it allows us groundlings the opportunity to evaluate our choices.
    Given the billionth opportunity to respond to the disparagement of the sacraments and the Communion of Saints, will those with authority and a microphone call the heretical to conversion? Doubtful.

  32. John Grammaticus says:

    when is this happening?

    I live in the UK so hopping on a plane to Rome for the weekend is entirely feasible

  33. Gerard Plourde says:

    As a Catholic who is supportive of the Second Vatican Council and of the Litugy instituted by Bl. Paul VI, (therefore probably considered more Left of most readers here) I find myself scandalized by Mr. Mickens’ comments. The Sacrament of Penance is one of the great gifts that Our Lord has given us and one that we are all in need of. As for the exposition of the saints’ relics (for their bodies are that), Mr. Mickens may forget that the Church is by definition comprised of three parts: The Church Militant, the Church Suffering and the Church Triumphant. With all of the temptations and obstacles that we as humans face daily it’s wonderful to know that St. Pio and St. Leopold certainly intercede on our behalf. The presence of their relics provide a tangible sign of God’s eternal love for us through the bodies that He fashioned for them in their mothers’ wombs. Or does Mr. Mickie’s also subscribe to the pernicious heresy of the total depravity of humanity and creation as a desultory of the Fall and Original Sin?

  34. Gerard Plourde says:

    “Desultory” should read “result”. There are times I’m tempted to think autocorrect is an instrument of Satan

  35. iamlucky13 says:

    “Do the men in the Vatican — including our dear Pope Francis”

    Feigned affection is one of the more irritating forms of mockery.

    And mockery it is. He doesn’t mean “dear.” A moment before he made a reference to “kooks” that simply could not exclude the “dear” pope – not to mention his bigoted portrayal of nearly every Catholic who came before him as ignorant and superstitious – and then he continues the quoted sentence to suggest that Pope Francis is deluded about the value of devotions to the saints.

    This guy is a snake. Sorry Father, I’m sure you don’t approve of name-calling on your blog, but just look at the way he slithers about pretending to respect the Pope and the Church while treating the devotions and even sacraments offered by the Pope and the Church as nonsense.

    And to mock the sacrament of confession?!?

    How can the reporter even remotely be allowed to use “Catholic” in its name?

  36. joan ellen says:

    How I love this post…because it is about 3 realities that keep me Catholic….Sacraments, Saints & Succession…Apostolic…continuous & authoritative…all substantially helpful for a struggling soul.
    I used to think that Saints were dead dead…that their good works remained here & the ‘bad’ that they may have had…followed them there…to Eternity.

    But…a young dad, a former Catholic…& now a practicing Anglican…taught me about the Transfiguration. He said that the Transfiguration was evidence of Heaven. Perhaps…when their ‘time’ is done…some Saints are very much alive….in soul. Bodies not joined to the soul yet. But…because of his observation…could there be a few others who enjoy a resurrected body besides the Blessed Mother before the ‘appointed’ time?

  37. billy15 says:

    What a ridiculous article, as many have said.

    Father Z, looking at this, I have a feeling you don’t want to give this trashy website any traffic. I came across a helpful website a few months ago that doesn’t increase web traffic to sites, because as we know, each it increases their position in search engines like Google. It’d be better if National Catholic Register got more hits, or Crisis. Anyway, I hope this can be of help to you. There’s an FAQ on this site that explains things pretty well:

    And here’s an example with the article in question:

  38. Elizabeth D says:

    I certainly look forward to Robert Mickens’ interview with the amazing Father Byers!

  39. WYMiriam says:

    Fr. Z: “Not essential to membership in “God’s household”…? Good luck with that, my friend. I respond… GO TO CONFESSION.”

    Oh, well said, well said!!

  40. Luke W says:

    Aquinas wrote in CG: “A likeness of one thing existing in another is essentially an exemplar if it stands to the other as principle” (4, 11). As you correctly point out, Father Z, Robert Mickens is an exemplar of Lutheranism and, indeed, of Martin Luther himself (according to your quote from Luther’s Works and the applied words of St. Thomas, above). I bring this up only to speculate that Mickens might have told the National Catholic Reporter that he is Catholic in “principle” when, in fact, his self-admittedly practiceable likeness is to Lutheranism as it stands to that faith as “principle” expressed in his writing. If many people while reading Mickens’ piece in the NCR are further hardened in their own avoidance of the sacrament of reconciliation then the Biblical “millstone ’round the neck” springs to mind: unless Robert Mickens gives up his hardness of heart by returning to orthodoxy in Catholic praxis so that he may “eat the bread of the Lord” in a worthy manner (cf. I Cor 11:27-28) that leads him to have a receptive heart–a heart that is willing to serve God instead of self. THAT kind of a prayerful heart in an author in Mickens’ position could lead readers to the kind of transformed mind and reasonable spiritual worship of which The Apostle wrote in Romans 12.

  41. Father K says:

    Elizabeth D – It will never happen. The likes of Mickens prefer to pontificate to what they consider to be ‘the ignorant, unwashed masses’ – aka faithful Catholics. They always run a mile from a genuine discussion.

  42. Legisperitus says:

    I agree about the use of “dead” to modify “saints”… always a giveaway of disrespect, since it otherwise has no meaning other than a redundant one.

    I still remember an anti-Catholic guy from back in my college days who said, “I don’t know about those Catholics; they pray to dead saints.”

  43. Nicolas Bellord says:

    It is sad to see how very common it is that once someone goes publically awry on one point they eventually go awry on most of the teachings of the Church.

  44. LarryW2LJ says:

    “But, beyond all that, this is the 21st century. Not the Middle Ages.”

    Again, just because we have advanced technology, the assumption that we are inherently more intelligent is presumptuous. I would dare say our capacity for common sense had diminished, as well as our perception and appreciation for those things beyond the veil.

  45. Elizabeth D says:

    Father K, we all know Mickens is not brave enough to interview Father Byers, whom he fears might try to drown him in the ocean of God’s mercy or (you never know) might even have Laudie Dog with him there in Rome to excitedly lick people.

  46. MrsMacD says:

    Fr. Z, why didn’t you post a picture of the relics of one or both of the relics of St. Pio or St. Leopold?

  47. Sonshine135 says:

    By these standards, Mickens wouldn’t even be considered Lutheran, although, Luther’s proclamation to “sin boldly” does come to mind in reading this. Bonhoeffer’s notion of cheap grace is exactly what he is promoting.

    I find that a number of people like Mickens are extremely scrupulous and not trusting of God’s grace. As I recall, before Luther’s revolt, he was scrupulous about confessing every little detail of his sin. My gut tells me that Mickens isn’t looking for self mastery, rather that Christ’s death upon the cross wasn’t enough for him, and now Christ must bend to his will. Repugnant!

    Even more repugnant is his misunderstanding around the veneration of the Saints. Unfortunately, this is the result of sterilized Catholicism that a large majority of Catholics have been exposed to in recent years. Just looking upon the images of Padre Pio is deeply moving for me. An 18 inch statue of him sits outside of the confessionals in my church. When I see his image, I think back to the great abundance of mercy he showed for people and how many souls he must have saved by being difficult on the person’s sins.

    In short, I pity Mr. Mickens.

  48. Luvadoxi says:

    Just to clarify, wasn’t Bonhoeffer opposed to the idea of cheap grace (as was the Apostle St. Paul)? He did write the Cost of Discipleship.

  49. Zephyrinus says:

    Mickens ? Mickens ?

    Wasn’t it Mrs Mickens who owned The Pie Shop in Blackadder ?

    Surely a relation !!!

  50. paladin says:

    Imhahil writes:

    Dear Clinton R.,

    they are “alive” in the sense that they can and do intercede for us, rejoice with us, and so on, but as we learned in the Catechism:

    “What is death?”
    “Death is the separation of the soul from the body.”

    so by the sense of the term, they are, indeed, dead.

    Well… I’d quibble and make one distinction: they have DIED, by that definition (i.e. experienced death), but that is distinct from the idea of being DEAD. Physically, of course their bodies are dead. Spiritually, the Saints are fully alive. There are two senses of the word “dead” (physically vs. spiritually), so Clinton R’s statement is still correct.

    So is yours, by the way. :)

  51. benedetta says:

    So the authority he cites for his claim that confession is unnecessary is, himself, then. I would just need, a little something more, something, well, credible, and verifiable, and authentic, to help me make up my mind on his thesis and proposal for all of the rest of us. I mean, there’s no small amount of significance or import resting on that decision. Will he indeed be accountable for the way in which I spend my life, for me? At the same time I wonder what he does when he sins? Or would he have us believe he doesn’t sin? Practically speaking, everything that modern psychology has to say is against him on his assertion that one doesn’t need to turn from sinful ways in order to better pursue the good. So when he pretends to put it in the category of “superstition”, he is quite far from science and the “progress” that world supports.

    Still he is just mimicking what he indeed probably witnesses to in the various parishes of his choice, that mirror his preferences as to which themes to self select out from the millienia, and looking around he probably safely believes himself in some sort of group if not majority on this at the moment. One can see in these places that the confessionals have been ripped out, the accent is on “communal penance service” or nothing at all, and the usual 3 pm on Saturday (or by Appointment for you ax murderers).

    But once again he is very far from the heart of the Holy Father, no? I mean, Year of Mercy, emphasis on forgiveness, I have a hard time believing without a real thorough showing of the facts that he actualizes these in concrete terms in real time without the grace of penance. More is needed in order to make a sound determination. Until then I’ll stick with the “superstition” — I’m really not going to gamble my salvation on his flimsy thesis.

  52. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Even Jewish people before Christ came to believe that the bodies of the righteous were somehow holy and that God would somehow bring them out of death. Since we know that our bodies as well as our souls have been filled with Christ’s life, we should know that the body of a Christ-like person, a saint, is also filled with Christ’s power and love. Death does not take that dignity away from the Christian body, nor will it be forever separated from the soul that was once one with it. A saint’s soul is in heaven, but his body is not something thrown away.

    So if even water and salt can be sacramental by a priest’s blessing, why would anyone think that a saint’s body would be devoid of God’s presence and power, or of the saint’s attention? Is not a life of good works and mighty deeds in Christ something that hallows the body in every cell? Why would death be thought to reverse that, when Christ has defeated death?

    Have we not all seen the profound peace and joy that often ennobles the face of someone holy? Is that something that the body does not experience and keep forever?

    Now, not everybody is going to enjoy the spirituality of relics or engage in devotion. Some people are just shy about bodies (dead ones). No problem. But for a Catholic to denigrate the oldest early Christians’ and contemporary Jews’ love of the bodies of the saints is weird, and it does sound like someone does not want and expect the resurrection of the body and life everlasting.

    We should pray for Mickens. People get some funny ideas sometimes, and then later find out better, from having a better personal experience of the thing. I bet this is just one of those cases.

  53. Prayerful says:

    Language like this is rare. It is overt in its rejection of the Faith, yet nowadays nary a word is spoken of Confessions. Often it is rare, and people are given to think that collective reconciliation sermons once per year are enough. Confession is being quietly buried.

  54. Prayerful says:

    And even a Lutheran would shy away from rubbishing people’s beliefs like he does, leaving aside that the NCR poses as Catholic.

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