Obligatory reading? Differing suggestions.

fishwrapI’m sure you are all wondering what is going on at the Fishwrap (aka National Schismatic Reporter – aka National Sodomitic Reporter these days.  A quick scan of their stories includes:

  • When women become a clear and present danger at the Vatican (which pushes for the ordination of women (written by an open lesbian who learned her craft at the knee of Sr. Margaret Farley)
  • Maybe it’s time to reconsider calling priests “Father” (by a Presybterian elder who should mind his own damn business)
  • What would we do without NCR? (I have lots of ideas about that – but this was offered by the aforementioned lesbian)
  • (ADDED 9 June): Sr. Margaret Farley at theological meeting: ‘We have not gone far enough’ (they thinks she’s just wonderful – read what the CDF thought of her HERE)

But today I note in particular a piece by the Wile E. Coyote of the catholic Left, Michael Sean Winters, in which he suggests that Card. Coccopalmerio‘s (esp. HERE) strange …

  • Commentary on ‘irregular unions’ should be required reading for all pastors

At the foundation of all the commentaries which suggest, as Card. Coccopalmerio and others do, that people can receive Communion after having sinned mortally and without confession and a firm purpose of amendment, is the premise that some people cannot keep God’s commandments, that God’s commandments are ideals to which not all are to be held, that these ideals are in fact impossible for some to keep.

That flies directly in the face of what the Church has been teaching clearly for a very long time indeed.

How about learning what the CHURCH teaches before we go off into speculative fancies?

Here is what the Session VI Council of Trent (1547 – Paul III, gloriously reigning) teaches about the possibility of obeying the Commandments (my emphases):


But no one, however much justified, should consider himself exempt from the observance of the commandments; no one should use that rash statement, once forbidden by the Fathers under anathema, that the observance of the commandments of God is impossible for one that is justified.

For God does not command impossibilities, but by commanding admonishes thee to do what thou canst and to pray for what thou canst not, and aids thee that thou mayest be able.[58]

His commandments are not heavy,[59] and his yoke is sweet and burden light.[60]

For they who are the sons of God love Christ, but they who love Him, keep His commandments, as He Himself testifies;[61] which, indeed, with the divine help they can do.

For though during this mortal life, men, however holy and just, fall at times into at least light and daily sins, which are also called venial, they do not on that account cease to be just, for that petition of the just, forgive us our trespasses,[62] is both humble and true; for which reason the just ought to feel themselves the more obliged to walk in the way of justice, for being now freed from sin and made servants of God,[63] they are able, living soberly, justly and godly,[64] to proceed onward through Jesus Christ, by whom they have access unto this grace.[65]

For God does not forsake those who have been once justified by His grace, unless He be first forsaken by them.

Wherefore, no one ought to flatter himself with faith alone, thinking that by faith alone he is made an heir and will obtain the inheritance, even though he suffer not with Christ, that he may be also glorified with him.[66]

  1. St. Augustine, De natura et gratia, c.43 (50), PL, XLIV, 271.
  2. See 1 John 5:3.
  3. Matt. 11:30.
  4. John 14:23.
  5. Matt. 6:12.
  6. Rom. 6:18, 22.
  7. Tit. 2:12.
  8. Rom. 5:1f.
  9. Ibid., 8:17.

This isn’t hard.  It is what the Church has always taught in different ways and formats.  For example, today I received in my email a passage from The Sincere Christian Instructed in the Faith of Christ, from the Written Word (1870) by Bishop George Hay.  Here is a bishop teaching, faithfully, what the Church teaches.  Perhaps this sort of thing should be “obligatory reading”?

Q. 6. Are we able, by the strength of nature alone, to keep the commands of God?
A. By our own natural strength alone, without the help of God’s grace, we are not able to keep the commands, nor, indeed, so much as to think a good thought towards our salvation. Thus the scriptures declare, that we are not sufficient to think anything of ourselves, as of ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God,” 2 Cor. iii. 5. “And no man can say, the Lord Jesus, but by the Holy Ghost,” I Cor. xii. 3: that is, no man can say it, so as to be conducive to his salvation. And our Saviour himself, to show our total inability of doing any good of ourselves, and without his divine assistance, says, “Without me you can do nothing,” John xv. 5; and he confirms the same truth by the similitude of a vine, and its branches, saying,”As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abide in the vine, so neither can you, unless you abide in me,” verse 4.

Q. 7. Are we able to keep the commands by the help of God’s grace?
A. Yes we are; and God, who requires us to keep his commands, is never wanting on his part to give us sufficient grace for that purpose. The truth of this is shown from several reasons.1. The scriptures are full of the warmest exhortations to all to keep the commandments, which certainly would be unbecoming the divine wisdom, if it was impossible to keep them with the help of God’s grace, or if that grace was ever refused us. 2. God every where obliges man to keep his commandments, under pain of eternal punishment. Now, it is totally inconsistent with his justice, and makes God a cruel tyrant, to say he would punish us for breaking his commands, if it was impossible for us to keep them. 3. We read of several in the scripture who actually did keep them perfectly, and are highly praised on that account, such as Abraham and Job, and particularly the parents of St. John the Baptist, of whom the scripture says, that”they were both just before God, walking in ALL THE COMMANDMENTS and justifications of the Lord, without blame,” Luke i, 6. 4. God himself declares, in the very first command, that he shows mercy to thousands of those that love him and keep his commandments,” Exod. xx. 6. 5. And St. Paul assures us, that God is never wanting on his part to give us all necessary assistance to keep them, saying,”God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above what you are able to bear, but will make also, with the temptation, issue,”(that is, a way to escape) “that you may be able to bear it,” 1 Cor. x. 13.


Here is some truly obligatory reading.

Ch. 6. First Decree – On Justification (13 January 1547)

CANON XVIII. – If any one saith, that the commandments of God are, even for one that is justified and constituted in grace, impossible to keep; let him be anathema.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church says:

2082 What God commands he makes possible by his grace.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. departing contestant says:

    ” (by a Presybterian elder who should mind his own damn business)
    Amen. it is hard enough to listen to dissention within the church. i wish those outside the Catholic church would just……………….

  2. Gaetano says:

    For people who always talk about God’s mercy, they don’t give much for God to be merciful about. People without sin don’t need a savior.

  3. Julia_Augusta says:

    Many people don’t believe in the supernatural power of prayer or the Holy Spirit. Why? Because we live in the age of Materialism, where people believe that the only things that are real and valid are what you can sense via your 5 senses. If you don’t pray regularly and ask for God’s help to stop committing sins, it will be very difficult to live a virtuous life, not impossible but much more difficult than if you had prayed a lot. I also think that we live in an era of sensationalism where people don’t truly believe in God unless they are given signs – miracles, appearances by angels or by the Virgin Mary . . . But God doesn’t work this way. He works very quietly, when you least expect it. I know this to be true in my own life.

  4. Imrahil says:

    This one could actually be turned in an argument for the other side:

    “As it is clearly impossible, consequently it cannot have been a commandment by God, because Trent says”, etc.

    Just saying.

  5. Kathleen10 says:

    There are times I say gosh darn it, why did I go into a field that is so aggravating and filled with numbskulls! Then I comfort myself by remembering, at least I’m not a faithful Catholic priest.


  7. Mike says:

    Has the US Conference of Catholic Bishops ever issued a condemnation of this heterodox organ? Until they do, they can blather for the rest of the century about ‘evangelization’ and it won’t mean a hill of beans.

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