Posts Tagged sin

#DivineMercy Sunday: The Mercy AND Justice of God

23 April 2017
  • Editor’s Note: Mercy and Justice work hand in hand. Very rarely spoken of today except by holy priests who are true to the Faith. They are admonished for it and are suffering as “white martyrs”. Pray for them.

    from Catholic Harbor of Faith and Morals

    Divine Mercy Sunday

    Christ the KingSin is a separation of the sinner from God, a servant’s desertion of his master, the son’s abandonment of his loving father. When man offends the Lord by transgressing His holy law, he says with Agar: “I flee from the face of my master.’ with the difference, however, that Agar fled from a severe mistress; the sinner, however, flees from His most merciful and good God, upon whom he impudently turns his back. In this miserable state the sinner will walk in the wrong path, from one abyss of crime to another. his punishment is already assured; hell is ready to swallow him.

    Richly has he deserved destruction, but God in His great mercy wishes to save him. The sinner can, of himself, do nothing to return to God, but God, as it were, goes after him. he follows the straying creature, He seeks him out, calls unto him, and invites him to return to His lovingly outstretched arms.

    Let us today consider the greatness of Divine mercy, and, at the same time, give attention to the fact that:

    Only the contrite sinner may profit by this mercy, while the unrepentant sinner gains nothing, because the mercy of God is never separated from His justice.

    The Mercy of God

    Mercy comprises in itself, as St. Thomas remarks, two sentiments, that of sadness at the misfortune of the neighbor, and that of willingness to deliver him therefrom. God in His infinite love commissioned His only begotten Son to clothe Himself in our human nature, so that He might have compassion upon our misery, and sympathize with us. The Divine Word, however, was not content with sympathy for our ills, He wished to take upon Himself man’s punishment for sin, even death, so that the endurance of these sufferings would render Him all the more sympathetic to our misery. Hence, St. Paul writes, that Jesus Christ has an infinite compassion upon mankind, because He, although innocent desired to test the sufferings and the misery we endure, and through His own sufferings learn to have mercy and compassion upon ours.

    dm imageThe Divine Mercy is eternal, and He will have mercy on the contrite as long as He is God. Hence David sang: The mercy of the Lord is from eternity unto eternity upon them that fear Him. For from all eternity God decreed to make happy them that fear Him, to save them from every misery, in particular from damnation. To this end, Divine Mercy anticipates the actions of the just, it accompanies and guides them until death. God embraces all in His fatherly arms, great and small, rich and poor; no one is excluded who turns to Him with contrition. We read in holy Scriptures: “But thou has mercy upon all, because thou canst do all things, and overlookest the sins of men for the sake of repentance: (Wisdom xi.24). no matter how numerous and grievous your sins, the mercy of God is greater and ready to forgive them. God delays the punishment so that the sinner may become converted.

    God’s great mercy for the contrite sinner is testified to by Jesus Christ, especially in the beautiful parable of the prodigal son, After this unhappy youth had squandered his father’s substance by vicious excesses, he found himself in want and privation. He reflected upon his father’s kindness of heart and determined to turn to him and ask pardon for his misdeeds. And he had not even reached his father’s home, when the father, filled with love, hastened toward him, embraced him tenderly, and, without reproach for his shameful life and the gravity of his offenses clothed him anew, and rejoiced in his return, because he was happy at the conversion of the son who had been lost.

    The Justice of God

    The recalcitrant sinner, however, who is over confident of the Divine Mercy, will be all the more severely visited by the justice which he feared not. In order to understand this extremely important truth, we must remember that mercy and justice shine forth equally strong in every Divine action: His mercy always presupposes His justice. Whether God punishes or rewards, He does so always with regard to the graces that man has used or misused. Hence, we must not forget that the Divine justice will be exacting toward us.

    Dear Brethren, we have abundantly experienced the Divine Mercy in ourselves. Raise your eyes to the crucified Jesus, and at the sight of God Incarnate, Who bled upon the Cross, in order to deliver us from Hell, and lead us to heaven, you will perceive the most extreme effort of His love. We have been born in the bosom of His holy Church, we have been led by the light of the Catholic faith, received nourishment for our souls in the Holy Sacraments, instructed through His holy gospel. But if, instead of corresponding to these graces by a righteous life, we multiply our sins, then we become worse than unbelievers, and the misuse of the mercies of Divine goodness will burden us with the wrath of Divine justice.

    God is all benevolence and kindness, but when we take this as an indulgence to sin, we forget that God is also just. As the Divine clemency and goodness should encourage us, so, too, His justice ought to make us fear. God is all merciful, but reflect for how many years He has endured your sins, without punishing them; now, at any moment, stern justice may follow upon this great mercy. God is good, but His goodness cannot stand in opposition to His sanctity; it cannot foster weakness, it cannot favor hatred, nor sensual passions, it cannot encourage injustice and fraud, nor does it intend to populate heaven with profligates and adulterers. It is a just judgment of God that those who have ignored His mercy should be made to feel the effects of His justice.

    Oh, sinner, upon you and upon you only, it depends to choose whether God should be your merciful Saviour, or your stern judge. You can now obtain mercy from God through contrition and penance; and upon your free will depends eternal death. Your stubbornness in sin will ultimately involve a severe judgment. God is all love, and desires the salvation of all. Nevertheless, he lets us have what we choose, be it punishment or reward. Amen

    God’s Justice Toward Sinners

    We read in the Gospel that our Divine Redeemer wept over Jerusalem, that unhappy city, so hardened in sin, because He foresaw its terrible destiny. His tears bear witness to His Divine justice, and they were shed also for every sinner who refuses to listen to God’s warnings and admonitions, or to the voice of confessors, and wastes the time of grace and repentance, putting off his conversion until the end of his life. Such a person will perish because he fails to recognize the days of his visitation, of admonition and of grace. God’s justice requires that this should be so. Let us today consider how this justice is displayed in God’s dealings with sinners.

    The Mercy of God is Tempered with Justice

    God is merciful; this is stated on almost every page of Holy Scripture. His mercy embraces heaven and earth, and includes even the most hardened sinners, as we see from the fact that our Saviour wept over the sinful city of Jerusalem. But God’s mercy is tempered with justice, for He is infinitely just, as well as infinitely merciful. His justice constrains Him to requite every man as he deserves, and our divine Redeemer, in speaking of the day of judgment, proclaimed this fact, for He said that the good would be rewarded, but the evil would hear the terrible sentence: “Depart from me, ye cursed into everlasting fire, which was prepared for the devil and his angels.” Even here on earth, God often punishes and rewards in such a way as to reveal His justice. We have an instance of just punishment in the destruction of Jerusalem, the city that knew not the time of its visitation and would not perceive what would be to its peace, not even on the day when our Lord in all meekness and humility entered the gates whence he was soon to come forth, bearing the heavy Cross amidst the jeers of the citizens. Jerusalem continued in sin until at length God’s mercy was exhausted, and His justice was brought down by the crimes of the wicked city, just as once it had consumed Sodom and Gomorrha.

    God is Just in Punishing Sin

    We must not be astonished if God’s justice constrains Him to punish hardened sinners; for if He invariably showed mercy and never inflicted punishment, He would wrong the good, who suffer much at the hands of the wicked, and He would actually encourage the evil to defy Him by continuing their sins and vices. When God punishes and condemns, He does so because sinners practically compel Him to punish them. He desires not the death of a sinner, but a sinner desires his own death, and demands it, as it were, of God’s justice. God acts like a king bringing a criminal to trial and condemning him to death in accordance with the law. In His compassion, He would fain save the wrongdoer, but He is prevented by justice, that has already given sentence against the sinner, and by the fact that mercy is true mercy only when it can be exercised without injury to justice.

    The Justice of God Warns Us Against Presumption

    We must never presumptuously rely upon God’s mercy when doing so involves a violation of His justice. Men are very prone to presumption of this kind. “God is a loving Father,” they say, “He is sure to forgive me,” and so they go on heaping sin upon sin, not thinking that this loving Father is also a stern and just Judge. Oh, you who continue presumptuously in your sins, always pleading in excuse for them that God is merciful, beware lest you share the fate of the inhabitants of Jerusalem–God’s vengeance fell suddenly upon the wretched city, when it was besieged by the Romans; many thousands perished by the sword, and still more died of starvation. It is gross presumption and a sin crying to heaven for vengeance, when a man persists in evil, relying on God’s mercy. In such a case a habit of sin is quickly formed, and this gives rise to obduracy and despair, that lead to hell. Our Lord shed tears over Jerusalem, but he did not save it; He wept over the city, but nevertheless He allowed it to be destroyed. In His mercy God is now calling you to do penance and be converted; if you do not obey and obey quickly, misery as great as that which fell upon Jerusalem may be your lot, and you too may perish suddenly and for ever. The God who did not spare a whole city and nation, but was obliged to sacrifice them to His justice, will not spare any sinner, when the measure of his guilt is filled up. We ought then to remember God’s justice, and not rely presumptuously on His mercy. Let us anticipate His judgment by doing penance and earnestly striving to amend whatever has been amiss in our lives hitherto. Fear, a wholesome fear of sin and of God’s justice, not a slavish fear, ought to accompany us through life, and then we shall some day meet in heaven around the throne of the Father of Mercies. Amen

    For complete info on the devotion of the DIVINE MERCY CLICK HERE

Good Friday: Sermon from St Alphonsus di Liguori

14 April 2017

“Good Friday”

From the website, Catholic Harbor of Faith and Morals

Who His own self bore our sins in His body upon the tree: that we, being dead to sins, should live to justice: by whose stripes you were healed.–1 Peter 2: 24

On the Number of Sins You Commit
by St. Alphonsus Di Liguori

“Because sentence is not speedily pronounced against the evil, the children of men commit evil without fear.”–Eccl. viii. 11.


If God instantly chastised the man who insults him, we certainly should not see Him so much outraged as we do at present. But because the Lord does not instantly punish sinners, but waits for them, they are encouraged to offend Him the more. It is necessary to understand that, though God waits and bears, he does not wait and bear forever.

It is the opinion of many holy fathers –of St. Basil, St. Jerome, St. Ambrose, St. Cyril of Alexandria, St. John Chrysostom, St. Augustine, and others–that as God (according to the words of Scripture, Wis. xi. 21–“Thou hast ordered all things in measure, and number, and weight”) has fixed for each the number of his days, the degrees of health and talent which He will give to him, so He has also determined the number of sins which he will pardon; and when this number is completed, he will pardon no more. And these fathers have not spoken at random, but resting on the sacred Scriptures. In one place the Lord says that He restrained His vengeance against the Amorrhites, because the number of their sins was not as yet filled up– “For as yet the iniquities of the Amorrhites are not at the full.” –Gen. xv. 16. In another place He says, “I will not add any more to have mercy on the house of Israel.” –Osee i. 6. Again he says, “All the men who have tempted me ten times . . . . shall not see the land.”–Num. xiv. 22, 23. “Thou hast,” says Job, “sealed up my offences as it were in a bag.” –Job xiv. 17. Sinners keep no account of their sins; but God keeps an account of them, that when the harvest is ripe,–that is, when the number of gins is completed,–he may take vengeance on them. “Put ye in the sickles; for the harvest is ripe.”–Joel iii. 13. In another place he says, “Be not without fear about sin forgiven, and add not sin to sin.”–Eccl. v. 5. As if he said, O sinner! you must tremble even on account of the sins which I have forgiven you; for if you add another, it may happen that this new sin, along with those which have been pardoned, may complete the number, and then there shall be no more mercy for you. ”The Lord waiteth patiently, that, when the day of judgment shall come, he may punish them in the fulness of their sins.”–2 Mach. vi. 14. God waits till the measure of iniquities is filled up, and then he chastises the sinner.

Of such chastisements there are many examples in the Scriptures. Saul disobeyed God a second time, and was abandoned. When he entreated Samuel to intercede for him, saying, “Bear, I beseech thee, my sin, and return with me that I may adore the Lord,” (1 Kings xv. 25,) Samuel answered, “I will not return with thee, because thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, and the Lord hath rejected thee.”–ver. 26. We have also the example of Balthassar, who, after having profaned the vessels of the temple at table, saw a hand writing on the wall, “Mane, Thecel, Phares.” Daniel came, and in explaining these words, among other things, said, “Thou art weighed in the ballnce, and art found wanting.”–Dan, v. 27. By these words he gave the king to understand that in the balance of divine justice the weight of his sins had made the scale descend. “The same night Balthassar, the Chaldean king, was killed.” O, how many miserable sinners meet with a similar fate! They live many years multiplying sins ; but, when the number is filled up, they are struck dead, and cast into hell. “They spend their days in wealth, and in a moment they go down to hell.”–Job xxi. 13. There are some who spend their time in investigating the number of the stars, the number of the angels, or the number of years which each shall live. But who can discover the number of sins which God will pardon each individual? We should, therefore, tremble. My brother, it may be that God will pardon you no more after the first criminal pleasure which you indulge, after the first thought to which you consent, or after the first sin which you commit.

Affections and Prayers

Ah! my God, I thank thee. How many, for fewer sins than I have committed, are now in hell! For them there is no pardon–no hope. And I am still living; I am not in hell; but, if I wish, I can hope for pardon and for paradise. I am sorry above all things for all my sins, because by them I have offended thee, who art infinite goodness. Eternal Father, look on the face of thy Christ; behold Thy Son dead on the cross for my sake; and through His merits have mercy on me. I wish to die rather than offend Thee any more. When I consider the sins I have committed, and the graces Thou hast bestowed on me, I have just reason to fear that, if I commit another sin, the measure shall be completed, and that I shall be damned. Ah! assist me by Thy grace; from Thee I hope for light and strength to be faithful to Thee. And if Thou seest that I should again offend Thee, take me out of my life, now that I hope to be in a state of grace. My God, I love Thee above all things, and I feel a greater fear of incurring Thy enmity than of death. For thy mercy’s sake do not permit me ever more to become Thy enemy. Mary, my mother, have pity on me; assist me; obtain for me holy perseverance.


Some sinners say, “But God is merciful.” “Who,” I ask, “denies it?” The mercy of God is infinite; but though His mercy is infinite, how many are cast into hell every day! “The Lord hath sent me to heal the contrite of heart.”–Is. Ixi. 1. God heals those who have a good will. He pardons sins, but He cannot pardon the determination to commit sin. These sinners will also say, “I am young.” You are young; but God counts not years, but sins. The number of sins which God pardons is not the same for all; some he pardons a hundred; others a thousand sins; others he sends to hell after the second sin. How many has the Lord condemned to eternal misery after the first sin! St. Gregory relates that a child of five years, for uttering a blasphemy, was condemned to hell. The most holy Virgin revealed to that great servant of God, Benedicta of Florence, that a girl twelve years old was damned after her first sin. A boy of eight years died after his first sin, and was lost. In the Gospel of St. Matthew we find that the Lord instantly cursed the fig-tree the first time he saw it without fruit. “May no fruit grow on thee forever. And immediately the fig-tree withered away.”–Matt, xxi. 19. Another time God said, “For three crimes of Damascus, and for four, I will not convert it.”–Amos i. 3. Perhaps some daring sinner may have the temerity to demand an account of God why He pardons some three sins, but not four. In this we must adore the judgments of God, and say with the apostle, “O depth of the riches, of the wisdom, and of the knowledge of God! How incomprehensible are His judgments, and unsearchable His ways!”–Rom. xi. 33. The Lord, says St. Augustine, knows whom He spares, and whom He does not spare. To those who receive mercy He gives it gratuitously; from those who do not receive mercy, it is justly withheld.

The obstinate sinner may say, But I have so often offended God, and He has pardoned me; I also hope He will pardon me the sin which I intend to commit. But, I ask, must God spare you forever, because He has not hitherto chastised you? The measure shall be filled up, and vengeance shall come. Samson continued to allow himself to be deluded by Dalila, hoping that, as on former occasions, he would escape from the Philistines. “I will go out, as I did before, and shake myself”–Judges xvi. 20. But at last he was taken, and lost his life. “Say not, I have sinned, and what harm hath befallen me? “–Eccl. v. 4. Say not, says the Lord, I have committed so many sins, and God has not chastised me; “for the Most High is a patient rewarder; ” (Ibid.–that is, He will one day come and punish all; and the greater the mercy which He will have shown, the more severe shall be the chastisement which He will inflict. St. Chrysostom says, that God should be dreaded more when He bears with the obstinate sinner, than when He punishes him suddenly. Because, according to St Gregory, if they remain ungrateful, God punishes with the greatest rigor those whom He waits for with the greatest patience. And it often happens, adds the saint, that they whom God has borne with for a long time, die unexpectedly, and without time for repentance. And the greater the light which God will have given, the greater shall be your blindness and obstinacy in sin. “For it had been better for them not to have known the way of justice, than, after they have known it, to turn back.”–2 Pet. ii. 21. And St. Paul says, that it is morally impossible for a soul that sins after being enlightened, to be again converted. “For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, have tasted the heavenly gifts, . . . . and are fallen away, to be renewed to penance.”–Heb. vi. 4, 6.

The threats of the Lord against those who are deaf to His calls, are truly alarming. “Because I have called, and you have refused, . . . . I also will laugh in your destruction, and will mock when that shall come to you which you feared.”–Prov. i. 24. Mark the words–I also: they mean that, as the sinner has mocked God by his confessions, by promising fidelity, and afterwards betraying him, so the Lord will mock him at the hour of death. The wise man says, “As a dog that returned to the vomit, so is the fool that repeateth his folly.”–Prov. xxvi. 11. In explaining this text, Denis the Carthusian says, that as a dog that eats what he has just vomited, is an object of disgust and abomination, so the sinner who relapses into sins which he has detested in the tribunal of penance, renders himself hateful in the sight of God.

Affections and Prayers

Behold me, O my God, at Thy feet. I am that disgusting dog that has so often eaten the forbidden apples, which I before detested. I do not deserve mercy; but, O my Redeemer, the blood which Thou hast shed for me encourages and obliges me to hope for it. How often have I offended Thee, and Thou hast pardoned me! I promised never more to offend Thee, and I have afterwards returned to the vomit; and Thou hast again pardoned me! What do I wait for? Is it that Thou mayst send me to hell, or that Thou mayst abandon me into the hand of my sins, which would be a greater punishment than hell? No, my God, I wish to amend; and in order to be faithful to Thee, I will put all my confidence in Thee. I will, whenever I shall be tempted, always and instantly have recourse to Thee. Hitherto, I have trusted in my promises and resolutions, and have neglected to recommend myself to Thee in my temptations; this has been the cause of my ruin. Henceforth Thou shalt be my hope and my strength, and thus I shall be able to do all things. “I can do all things in Him that strengtheneth me.”–Philip, iv. 13. Give me grace, then, O my Jesus, through Thy merits, to recommend myself to Thee, and to ask Thy aid in my wants. I love thee, O Sovereign Good, amiable above every good ; I wish to love Thee alone; but it is from Thee I must receive aid to love Thee. O Mary, my mother, do Thou also assist me by Thy intercession; keep me under Thy protection, and make me always invoke Thee when I shall be tempted. Thy name shall be my defence.


“My son, hast thou sinned? do so no more; but, for thy former sins, pray that they may be forgiven thee.”–Eccl. xxi. 1. Behold, dear Christian, the advice which your good Lord gives you because He desires your salvation. Son, offend me no more; but from this day forward be careful to ask pardon for your past transgressions. My brother, the more you have offended God, the more you should tremble at the thought of offending Him again; for the next sin which you commit shall make the balance of divine justice descend, and you shall be lost. I do not say absolutely that after another sin there shall be no more forgiveness for you; for this I do not know; but I say that it may happen. Hence, when you shall be tempted, say within yourself, “Perhaps God will pardon me no more, and I shall be lost!” Tell me; were it probable that certain food contained poison, would you eat it? If you had reason to think that on a certain road your enemies lay in wait to take away your life, would you pass that way as long as you could find another more free from danger? And what security, or even what probability, have you that, if you relapse into sin, you shall afterwards repent sincerely of it, and that you will not return again to the vomit? What just reason have you to believe that God will not strike you dead in the very act of sin, or that, after your sin, He will not abandon you?

O God! If you purchase a house, you spare no pains to get all the securities necessary to guard against the loss of your money; if you take medicine, you are careful to assure yourself that it cannot injure you; if you pass over a torrent, you cautiously avoid all danger of falling into it; and for a miserable gratification, for a beastly pleasure, you will risk your eternal salvation, saying, “I expect to go to confession after this sin.” But when, I ask, will you go to confession? “Perhaps on Sunday.” And who has promised that you will live till Sunday? Perhaps you intend to go to confession to-morrow. But who promises you to-morrow. How can you promise yourself that you shall go to confession to-morrow, when you know not whether you shall be among the living in another hour? “He,” continues the saint (St. Augustine), “who has promised pardon to penitents, has not promised to-morrow to sinners; perhaps He will give it, and perhaps He will not.” If you now commit sin, God, perhaps, will give you time for repentance, and perhaps He will not; and should He not give it, what shall become of you for all eternity? In the mean time, by consenting to sin, you lose your soul for the sake of a miserable pleasure, and expose yourself to the risk of being lost forever. Would you, for that vile gratification, risk a sum of one thousand ducats? Would you, for that momentary pleasure, expose to danger your all–your money, your houses, your possessions, your liberty and life? Surely you would not. Will you, then, for that wretched delight, lose all–your soul, heaven, and God? Do you believe that heaven, hell, and eternity, are truths of faith, or that they are fables? Do you believe that, if death overtake you in sin, you shall be lost forever? O, what temerity! what folly! to condemn yourself, by your own free act, to an eternity of torments, with the hope of afterwards reversing the sentence of your condemnation. No one is as foolish as to take poison with the hope of being preserved from death; and will you condemn yourself to eternal death, saying, I will, perhaps, be hereafter delivered from it? O folly which has brought, and brings, so many souls to hell! “Thou hast,” says the Lord, “trusted in thy wickedness . . . Evil shall come upon thee, and thou shalt not know the rising thereof.”–Isa. xlvii. 10, 11. You have sinned through a rash confidence in the divine mercy; vengeance shall unexpectedly fall upon you, and you shall not know whence it comes.

Affections and Prayers

Behold, O Lord, one of those fools who have so often lost their souls and Thy grace with the hope of afterwards recovering them. And hadst Thou struck me dead in those nights in which I was in sin, what would have become of me? I thank Thee for Thy mercy, which has waited for me, and which now makes me sensible of my folly. I see that Thou desirest my salvation; and I too wish to save my soul. I am sorry, O infinite Goodness, for having so often turned my back upon Thee. I love Thee with my whole heart. And I hope in the merits of Thy passion, O my Jesus, that I will never again be one of those fools. Pardon me at this moment, and give me the gift of Thy grace. I will never leave Thee again. “In Thee, O Lord, have I hoped; let me never be confounded.” Ah no; I hope, O my Redeemer, never more to suffer the misfor tune and confusion of seeing myself deprived of Thy grace and love. Grant me holy perseverance, and give me the grace always to ask it of Thee by invoking Thy holy name and the name of Thy mother, and by saying, “Jesus, assist me; most holy Mary, pray for me.” Yes, my queen, if I have recourse to thee, I shall never be conquered. And when the temptation continues, obtain for me the grace not to cease to invoke thy aid.

Got Anger? Read this Homily and then…

27 June 2013

Posted by Sofia Guerra
27 June 2013 Anno Domini

A Biretta Tip to our Internet Pastor, Father Z for posting this today. A much needed post. Particularly for me.

I have mentioned several times in posts that I have a very hard time with the sin against charity. My friend and sister in Christ, Lisa Graas has helped me tremendously with this. I should have been totally forthwright with her as it is truly anger which precedes the sin against charity.

I have struggled with the sin of anger for many years. I always try to justify it. I usually get angry when I help people (who have come to me for help) and then they will argue with me at my advice or ignore the advice and then expect me to get them out of their problem. Most people upon looking at the situation would say that my anger was righteous or justified. Not true. If I am angry at evil, then yes, it is justified. How do I make the distinction?

In the last couple of months I have been very angry concerning a certain battle on the Catholic blogosphere. I wrote and wrote until I came up with what I thought was the perfect retort to a certain well known blog and it’s bloggers. The battle has been ugly and has divided people. It started with one blog’s knee jerk reaction to something and then this well known blog and its bloggers counter attacked. The Editor unfortunately kept the fires stoked as I am sure the blog was getting high traffic because of the drama. Everyone of the bloggers who retorted knew nothing of the subject and committed the ad hominem attack. the original instigator did know the subject and acted foolishly and more important, uncharitably.

The post I wrote wasn’t kind and dealt with both sides equally. I met with my Spiritual Director at our monthly meeting. I discussed the piece with him. He referred me to my confessor who then ordered me under obedience not to publish it as it would keep the fires going and would be a sin of anger and a sin against charity if I did.

Most of you are probably saying “ordered you? under obedience?” I am a former Religious and now a member of a Third Order and I take my Catholic faith seriously. I agreed to be treated as a Religious since I technically am still one. I am not married, chaste and took vows as part of both Orders.

I know that both sides of this battle on the Internet were wrong. The original offenders sickened me because they do know the subject but can be extremely uncharitable, a misnomer usually given to this type of people. In this case, they deserved it. The other group, completely devoid of any real education on this particular subject showed their level of being uncouth by calling a certain group of people a stupid name. (and continue it to this day to describe a type of person who has certain preference with the same ridiculous descriptor) The blogposts by this group of bloggers were nasty, unintelligent,basically classless and beneath them. Just because you are baptized a Catholic and perhaps consider yourself devout and practicing, doesn’t give you the right to act as an expert on everything Catholic on Social Media. (Myself included)

Given all this, I must say not publishing the piece was a bitter pill to swallow. Still reading bloggers who use this name to describe Catholics like myself, hurts. Instead I pray for both sides to stop, breathe and forgive. I pray particularly for the Editor of this well known blog as this person has lost their way.

I pray for myself now to acquire humility, patience and meekness. This is a big task for me as I rarely pray for myself. My Spiritual Director said this is the first of my sins which causes all the others. Neglecting my soul…then and only then when I pray for myself will I acquire the humility needed to pursue all the other virtues. He is correct.

Normally I would crosspost something like this back to the original person who posted it. I found it so important that I only linked it back to Father Z and I hope he forgives me for that. I bet he will since I know how generous of spirit he is. Now, only to be as generous as he is, that’s the rub!

God love you.


The Three Degrees of Anger
by Fr. Cassian Folsom, O.S.B.
Monastery of San Benedetto, Norcia, Italy

Today’s Gospel speaks of anger. The context is a debate against those who observe the Law of God superficially and exteriorly, but sin in their heart. He who lives superficially protests by saying “I’ve never killed anybody”, and therefore I’m not guilty of breaking the fifth commandment. But Jesus responds: “Look at the intentions in your heart: have you ever had feelings of anger or hatred towards your brother? The crime of murder has its roots in the heart!”

Therefore, the Lord directs this appeal to us, so that we can be more sensible to the presence of sin in our life—not only big sins, but especially those small ones.

Note how the Gospel distinguishes three degrees of anger, and assigns to each degree a suitable penalty.

1. He who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment, i.e. a trial.
2. He who insults his brother saying “Raca”—a word in Hebrew which is pejorative and strong—shall be liable to the council (a panel of judges)
3. He who says “you fool”—another word similar to “Raca”—shall be liable to hellfire.

It seems like a disproportionate punishment for so little! But the point is that the heart speaks through the mouth. Wrath that spreads throughout the heart and soul must be confronted and healed—so that our actions might be free from the consequences of anger.

The patristic tradition takes these considerations seriously. Let’s look at what St. Augustine and St. John Cassian have to say.

St. Augustine interprets these three degrees of anger in a psychological sense (cf. Breviarium Monasticum, V dominica post Pentecosten). In other words, by his acute observation of human behavior, Augustine makes this diagnosis:

1. Anger begins with an interior turmoil.
2. This turmoil is unleashed on the outside with a cry of wrath, a sound—but not yet articulated in words.
3. Finally, a cry rises from the wrath of a word—as, for example, “raca” or something similar.

Parallel to these three degrees of anger are three degrees of the judicial process.

1. The first degree is the meeting of the judges, St. Augustine says, where the case is discussed. There is still the possibility to exonerate the accused, because it deals with interior turmoil, which has not yet been expressed exteriorly.
2. The second degree presumes that the accused is guilty, and the panel of judges discusses the sentence, the punishment.
3. The third degree carries out the sentence with the fire of hell.

Summarizing the thought of St. Augustine, one notes the various degrees of anger from the interior turmoil to the explicit appearance in sounds and words. The punishment is very severe, as if it were not only a wrathful word, but actually homicide.

St. John Cassian, too, describes three species of anger (Conf. V,11).

1. The first is that which glows interiorly—here he repeats the concept of St. Augustine.
2. The second is that which breaks out in words and gestures—here he unites the second and third degree of St. Augustine.
3. The third is that which is not disposed of in a short time, but is cultivated for days and days. This third species, Cassian continues to develop, saying that such people who prolong their anger “for several days, and nourish rancorous feelings against those against whom they have been excited, they say in words that they are not angry, but in fact and deed show that they are extremely disturbed. For they do not speak to them pleasantly, nor address them with ordinary civility, and they think that they are not doing wrong in this, because they do not seek to avenge themselves for their upset. But since they either do not dare, or at any rate are not able to show their anger openly, and give place to it, they drive in, to their own detriment, the poison of anger, and secretly cherish it in their hearts, and silently feed on it in themselves; without shaking off by an effort of mind their sulky disposition, but digesting it as the days go by, and somewhat mitigating it after a while” (Institutes, VIII, 11).

In this precious description of the three species of anger, we can recognize ourselves and, with compunction and repentance, realize the negative consequences of our anger both for us and for those with whom we live.

What is the cause of anger? Normally, our wrath is provoked because we cannot have what we want. Our ego encounters an obstacle; our own will, in some way, is denied: and then boom, anger. To heal the wounds of wrath, according to this analysis, we must examine our desires: what do we want? That which we want: is it more or less reasonable? Should I change my expectations?

The opposing virtues are patience and meekness. Patience undergoes an injury and accepts the suffering experienced in the midst of the difficult situation. Meekness renounces the aggression of its own will, and says with St. John the Baptist: he must increase, but I must decrease (Jn 3:30). In this way, we will become like the disciples described in today’s Epistle: All of you, have unity of spirit, sympathy, love of the brethren, a tender heart and a humble mind (1 Pet 3:8).

Our model, as always, is our Lord Jesus Christ, who comforts us with these words: Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart… (Mt 11:28-29).

A young Catholic woman responds to the “Rosemarie Smeads” of the world

28 April 2013

29 April 2013 Anno Domini
Posted by Sarah Campbell
(@CatholicTeen on Twitter)

Father Robert Pasley,KHS & Sarah (Catholic Teen)

Probably the most famous of oaths in the Roman Catholic Church is the one concerning Modernism. My Catholic training came daily while I was being homeschooled in conjunction with my monthly catechism class for homeschoolers at my former parish, Mater Ecclesiae in Berlin, NJ. Our pastor, Father Robert C. Pasley, KHS generously provided a diocesan approved TRADITIONAL Catholic Catechism class for the homeschoolers in the parish. We would meet monthly and then be assigned three weeks of work to be completed within our Homeschooling curriculum.

Needless to say, my instruction was truly Catholic and for that I will always be grateful. One of the many things I studied was the “Oath Against Modernism” given by His Holiness St. Pius X September 1, 1910 A.D In addition, I studied the followup to that from the Sacred Congregation For The Doctrine Of The Faith “Declaration in Defense of  The Catholic Doctrine on The Church Against Certain Errors of the Present Day” Issued: June 24, 1973 A.D. <NOTE THE DATE!

Okay, so why do some Cardinals,Bishops, priests, Religious Sisters, Brothers and the Laity choose to disobey? Why do I understand it at 18 years old and find Church Teaching the Fullness of the Truth but also find it reassuring and freeing? Yes, I feel free. Free from heartache, misery and all the rest that goes along with moral relativism, disobedience, pride and most importantly grave mortal sin. Yes, I am a sinner but I try to never commit a grave mortal sin. The thought of it makes me sick to my stomach. Why would I want to do that to Jesus especially after giving His life for me/us? I don’t.

I cannot understand a 70 year old woman who was a former Carmelite nun thinks that she can deliberately defy the Teachings of Christ’s Church. She chooses grave mortal sin because SHE WANTS to become a priest which is not possible?(Please visit Father Z’s Blog HERE for the complete story but PROMISE TO COME BACK!) I would like to fly without a plane or any assistance other than my body, but that is not possible and I will be DEAD upon arrival. What happened in this woman’s life that she chose grave mortal sin instead of love which comes forth from obedience? When did she stop rejecting satan and all his works? When did she start thinking she knows better than Holy Mother Church and Her Authority Our Lord deemed so?

What kind of Carmel was she part of? Was she part of a true and holy Carmel in which she decided all who obeyed were nitwits? Or was she part of a Carmel where they have completely lost their way? I have studied and learned from someone who was there during the horrible years when women in Religious Life decided it was now about them instead of their Spouse. I must say, if this is what adult life is like, keep it. I will remain a child of Christ.

I am far from perfect but I understand ONE THING: Obedience is first in the eyes of God. I have heard that from 4 1/2 years old throughout today from Sofia. Yes, we will sin. Yes, we will disobey. However, when disobedience becomes heresy is it a grave mortal sin. I will pray for this 70 year old former Carmelite who today fancies herself a priest or is that a priest-ess? I will pray that she comes back to the Truth of the Roman Catholic Church before her day of Particular Judgement. Like Saint Therese and her sister who prayed for the prisoner who was guillotined to convert before his death, I will pray for the conversion Of Rosemarie Smead. She was a sister of Therese in Carmel. I am sure she read “A Story of a Soul”. Maybe she needs to read it again.


Oath Against Modernism

Given by His Holiness St. Pius X September 1, 1910

With the decree Lamentabili (1907) and the encyclical Pascendi (1907), the dangers of the modernist interpretation of Catholic truth had been exposed and fully expounded. Nevertheless, efforts to promote the modernist cause were continued in various countries. To eliminate the possibility of modernist error spreading through the clergy, St. Pius X (1903-14) drew up and published on September 1, 1910, the following oath against modernism and imposed it on all clergy to be advanced to major orders, on pastors, confessors, preachers, religious superiors, and on professors in philosophical and theological seminaries.

The first part of the oath is a strong affirmation of the basic Catholic truths opposed to modernism: the demonstrability of God’s existence by human reason; the value and suitability of miracles and prophecies as criteria of revelation; the historical institution of the Church by Christ; the invariable character of Catholic tradition; the reasonableness and supernaturalness of faith.

The second part of the oath is an expression of interior assent to the decree Lamentabili and the encyclical Pascendi with their contents. Particular modernist errors are singled out for censure and rejection.

The Oath Against Modernism

I firmly embrace and accept each and every definition that has been set forth and declared by the unerring teaching authority of the Church, especially those principal truths which are directly opposed to the errors of this day.

And first of all, I profess that God, the origin and end of all things, can be known with certainty by the natural light of reason from the created world (see Rom. 1:20), that is, from the visible works of creation, as a cause from its effects, and that, therefore, his existence can also be demonstrated:

Secondly, I accept and acknowledge the external proofs of revelation, that is, divine acts and especially miracles and prophecies as the surest signs of the divine origin of the Christian religion and I hold that these same proofs are well adapted to the understanding of all eras and all men, even of this time.

Thirdly, I believe with equally firm faith that the Church, the guardian and teacher of the revealed word, was personally instituted by the real and historical Christ when he lived among us, and that the Church was built upon Peter, the prince of the apostolic hierarchy, and his successors for the duration of time.

Fourthly, I sincerely hold that the doctrine of faith was handed down to us from the apostles through the orthodox Fathers in exactly the same meaning and always in the same purport. Therefore, I entirely reject the heretical misrepresentation that dogmas evolve and change from one meaning to another different from the one which the Church held previously. I also condemn every error according to which, in place of the divine deposit which has been given to the spouse of Christ to be carefully guarded by her, there is put a philosophical figment or product of a human conscience that has gradually been developed by human effort and will continue to develop indefinitely.

Fifthly, I hold with certainty and sincerely confess that faith is not a blind sentiment of religion welling up from the depths of the subconscious under the impulse of the heart and the motion of a will trained to morality; but faith is a genuine assent of the intellect to truth received by hearing from an external source. By this assent, because of the authority of the supremely truthful God, we believe to be true that which has been revealed and attested to by a personal God, our Creator and Lord.

Furthermore, with due reverence, I submit and adhere with my whole heart to the condemnations, declarations, and all the prescripts contained in the encyclical Pascendi and in the decree Lamentabili, especially those concerning what is known as the history of dogmas. I also reject the error of those who say that the faith held by the Church can contradict history, and that Catholic dogmas, in the sense in which they are now understood, are irreconcilable with a more realistic view of the origins of the Christian religion. I also condemn and reject the opinion of those who say that a well-educated Christian assumes a dual personality–that of a believer and at the same time of a historian, as if it were permissible for a historian to hold things that contradict the faith of the believer, or to establish premises which, provided there be no direct denial of dogmas, would lead to the conclusion that dogmas are either false or doubtful. Likewise, I reject that method of judging and interpreting Sacred Scripture which, departing from the tradition of the Church, the analogy of faith, and the norms of the Apostolic See, embraces the misrepresentations of the rationalists and with no prudence or restraint adopts textual criticism as the one and supreme norm.

Furthermore, I reject the opinion of those who hold that a professor lecturing or writing on a historico-theological subject should first put aside any preconceived opinion about the supernatural origin of Catholic tradition or about the divine promise of help to preserve all revealed truth forever; and that they should then interpret the writings of each of the Fathers solely by scientific principles, excluding all sacred authority, and with the same liberty of judgment that is common in the investigation of all ordinary historical documents.

Finally, I declare that I am completely opposed to the error of the modernists who hold that there is nothing divine in sacred tradition; or what is far worse, say that there is, but in a pantheistic sense, with the result that there would remain nothing but this plain simple fact–one to be put on a par with the ordinary facts of history–the fact, namely, that a group of men by their own labor, skill, and talent have continued through subsequent ages a school begun by Christ and his apostles. I firmly hold, then, and shall hold to my dying breath the belief of the Fathers in the charism of truth, which certainly is, was, and always will be in the succession of the episcopacy from the apostles. The purpose of this is, then, not that dogma may be tailored according to what seems better and more suited to the culture of each age; rather, that the absolute and immutable truth preached by the apostles from the beginning may never be believed to be different, may never be understood in any other way.

I promise that I shall keep all these articles faithfully, entirely, and sincerely, and guard them inviolate, in no way deviating from them in teaching or in any way in word or in writing. Thus I promise, this I swear, so help me God.

Yet again we needed a reminder 63 years later…



Issued: June 24, 1973 A.D.

The mystery of the Church, upon which the Second Vatican Council shed fresh light, has been repeatedly dealt with in numerous writings of theologians. While not a few of these studies have served to make this mystery more understandable, others, through the use of ambiguous or even erroneous language, have obscured Catholic doctrine, and at times have gone so far as to be opposed to Catholic faith even in fundamental matters.

To meet this situation, the bishops of several nations, conscious both of their duty of “keeping pure and intact the deposit of faith” and of their task of “proclaiming the Gospel unceasingly,”(1) have, through concurring declarations, sought to protect the faithful entrusted to their care from the danger of error. In addition, the second General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, in dealing with the ministerial priesthood, expounded a number of important points of doctrine regarding the constitution of the Church.

Likewise, the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, whose task it is to “preserve the doctrine of faith and morals in the whole Catholic world,”(2) intends to gather together and explain a number of truths concerning the mystery of the Church which at the present time are being either denied or endangered. In this it will follow above all the lines laid down by the two Vatican Councils.

1. The Oneness of Christ’s Church

One is the Church, which after His Resurrection our Savior handed over to Peter as Shepherd (cf. Jn 21:17), commissioning him and the other apostles to propagate and govern her (cf. Mt 18:18ff.) (and which) He erected for all ages as “the pillar and mainstay of the truth” (cf. 1 Tm 3:15). And this Church of Christ, “constituted and organized in this world as a society, subsists in the Catholic Church, which is governed by the Successor of Peter and the bishops in union with that Successor.”(3) This declaration of the Second Vatican Council is illustrated by the same Council’s statement that “it is through Christ’s Catholic Church alone, which is the general means of salvation, that the fullness of the means of salvation can be obtained,”(4) and that same Catholic Church “has been endowed with all divinely revealed truth and with all the means of grace”(5) with which Christ wished to enhance His messianic community. This is no obstacle to the fact that during her early pilgrimage the Church, “embracing sinners in her bosom, is at the same time holy and always in need of being purified,”(6) nor to the fact that “outside her visible structure,” namely in Churches and ecclesial communities which are joined to the Catholic Church by an imperfect communion, there are to be found “many elements of sanctification and truth (which), as gifts properly belonging to the Church of Christ, possess an inner dynamism towards Catholic unity.”(7)

For these reasons, “Catholics must joyfully acknowledge and esteem truly Christian endowments derived from our common heritage, which are to be found among our separated brethren,”(8) and they must strive for the re-establishment of unity among all Christians, by making a common effort of purification and renewal,(9) so that the will of Christ may be fulfilled and the division of Christians may cease to be an obstacle to the proclamation of the Gospel throughout the world.(10) But at the same time Catholics are bound to profess that through the gift of God’s mercy they belong to that Church which Christ founded and which is governed by the successors of Peter and the other Apostles, who are the depositories of the original Apostolic tradition, living and intact, which is the permanent heritage of doctrine and holiness of that same Church.(11) The followers of Christ are therefore not permitted to imagine that Christ’s Church is nothing more than a collection (divided, but still possessing a certain unity) of Churches and ecclesial communities. Nor are they free to hold that Christ’s Church nowhere really exists today and that it is to be considered only as an end which all Churches and ecclesial communities must strive to reach.

2. The Infallibility of the Universal Church

“In His gracious goodness, God has seen to it that what He had revealed for the salvation of all nations would abide perpetually in its full integrity.” (12) For this reason He entrusted to the Church the treasury of God’s Word, so that the pastors and the holy people might strive together to preserve it, study it and apply it to life.(13)

God, who is absolutely infallible, thus deigned to bestow upon His new people, which is the Church, a certain shared infallibility, which is restricted to matters of faith and morals, which is present when the whole People of God unhesitatingly holds a point of doctrine pertaining to these matters, and finally which always depends upon the wise providence and anointing of the grace of the Holy Spirit, who leads the Church into all truth until the glorious coming of her Lord.(14) Concerning this infallibility of the People of God the Second Vatican Council speaks as follows: “The body of the faithful as a whole, anointed as they are by the Holy One (cf. 1 Jn 2:20, 27), cannot err in matters of belief. Thanks to a supernatural instinct of faith which characterizes the people as a whole, it manifests this unerring quality when, ‘from the bishops down to the last member of the laity’ (St. Augustine, De Praed. Sanct., 14, 27), it shows universal agreement in matters of faith and morals.”(15)

The Holy Spirit enlightens and assists the People of God inasmuch as it is the Body of Christ united in a hierarchical communion. The Second Vatican Council indicates this fact by adding to the words quoted above: “For, by this instinct of faith which is aroused and sustained by the Spirit of truth, God’s People accepts not the word of men but the very Word of God (cf. 1 Thes 2:13). It clings without fail to the faith once delivered to the saints (cf. Jude 3), penetrates it more deeply by accurate insights, and applies it more thoroughly to life.”(16)

Without doubt the faithful, who in their own manner share in Christ’s prophetic office,(17) in many ways contribute towards increasing the understanding of faith in the Church. “For,” as the Second Vatican Council says, “there is a growth in the understanding of the realities and the words which have been handed down. This happens through the contemplation and study made by believers, who treasure these things in their hearts (cf. Lk. 2:19, 51), through the intimate understanding of spiritual things they experience, and through the preaching of those who have received through episcopal succession the sure charism of truth.”(18) And the Supreme Pontiff Paul VI observes that the witness the pastors of the Church offers is “rooted in Sacred Tradition and Holy Scripture and nourished by the ecclesial life of the whole People of God.”(19)

But by divine institution it is the exclusive task of these pastors alone, the successors of Peter and the other Apostles, to teach the faithful authentically, that is with the authority of Christ shared in different ways; so that the faithful, who may not simply listen to them as experts in Catholic doctrine, must accept their teaching given in Christ’s name, with an assent that is proportionate to the authority that they possess and that they mean to exercise.(20) For this reason the Second Vatican Council, in harmony with the first Vatican Council, teaches that Christ made Peter “a perpetual and visible principle and foundation of the unity of the faith and of communion”(21); and the Supreme Pontiff Paul VI has declared: “The teaching office of the bishops is for the believer the sign and channel which enable him to receive and recognize the Word of God.”(22) Thus, however much the Sacred Magisterium avails itself of the contemplation, life and study of the faithful, its office is not reduced merely to ratifying the assent already expressed by the latter; indeed, in the interpretation and explanation of the written or transmitted Word of God, the Magisterium can anticipate or demand their assent.(23) The People of God has particular need of the intervention and assistance of the Magisterium when internal disagreements arise and spread concerning a doctrine that must be believed or held, lest it lose the communion of the one faith in the one Body of the Lord (cf. Eph 4:4, 5).

3. The Infallibility of the Church’s Magisterium

Jesus Christ, from whom derives the task proper to the pastors of teaching the Gospel to His people and to the entire human family, wished to endow the pastors’ Magisterium with a fitting charism of infallibility in matters regarding faith and morals. Since this charism does not come from new revelations enjoyed by the Successor of Peter and the College of Bishops,(24) it does not dispense them from studying with appropriate means the treasure of divine Revelation contained both in Sacred Scripture which teaches us intact the truth that God willed to be written down for our salvation(25) and in the living Tradition that comes from the Apostles.(26) In carrying out their task, the pastors of the Church enjoy the assistance of the Holy Spirit; this assistance reaches its highest point when they teach the People of God in such a manner that, through the promises of Christ made to Peter and the other Apostles, the doctrine they propose is necessarily immune from error.

This occurs when the bishops scattered throughout the world but teaching in communion with the Successor of Peter present a doctrine to be held irrevocably.(27) It occurs even more clearly both when the bishops by a collegial act (as in Ecumenical Councils), together with their visible Head, define a doctrine to be held,(28) and when the Roman Pontiff “speaks ex cathedra, that is, when, exercising the office of Pastor and Teacher of all Christians, through his supreme apostolic authority he defines a doctrine concerning faith or morals to be held by the universal Church.”(29)

According to Catholic doctrine, the infallibility of the Church’s Magisterium extends not only to the deposit of faith but also to those matters without which that deposit cannot be rightly preserved and expounded. (30) The extension however of this infallibility to the deposit of faith itself is a truth that the Church has from the beginning held as having been certainly revealed in Christ’s promises. The First Vatican Council, basing itself upon this truth, defined as follows the matter of Catholic faith: “All those things are to be believed by divine and Catholic faith which are contained in the written or transmitted Word of God and which are proposed by the Church, either by a solemn judgment or by the ordinary and universal Magisterium, to be believed as having been divinely revealed.”(31) Therefore the objects of Catholic faith – which are called dogmas – necessarily are and always have been the unalterable norm both for faith and theological science.

4. The Church’s Gift of Infallibility Not To Be Diminished

From what has been said about the extent of and conditions governing the infallibility of the People of God and of the Church’s Magisterium, it follows that the faithful are in no way permitted to see in the Church merely a fundamental permanence in truth which, as some assert, could be reconciled with errors contained here and there in the propositions that the Church’s Magisterium teaches to be held irrevocably, as also in the unhesitating assent of the People of God concerning matters of faith and morals.

It is of course true that through the faith that leads to salvation men are converted to God,(32) who reveals Himself in His Son Jesus Christ; but it would be wrong to deduce from this that the Church’s dogmas can be belittled or even denied. Indeed the conversion to God which we should realize through faith is a form of obedience (cf. Rom 16:26), which should correspond to the nature of divine Revelation and its demands. Now this Revelation, in the whole plan of salvation, reveals the mystery of God who sent His Son into the world (cf. 1 Jn 4:14) and teaches its application to Christian conduct. Moreover it demands that, in full obedience of the intellect and will to God who reveals,(33) we accept the proclamation of the good news of salvation as it is infallibly taught by the pastors of the Church. The faithful, therefore, through faith are converted as they should to God, who reveals Himself in Christ, when they adhere to Him in the integral doctrine of the Catholic faith.

It is true that there exists an order as it were a hierarchy of the Church’s dogmas, as a result of their varying relationship to the foundation of the faith.(34) This hierarchy means that some dogmas are founded on other dogmas which are the principal ones, and are illuminated by these latter. But all dogmas, since they are revealed, must be believed with the same divine faith.(35)

5. The Notion of the Church’s Infallibility Not To Be Falsified

The transmission of divine Revelation by the Church encounters difficulties of various kinds. These arise from the fact that the hidden mysteries of God “by their nature so far transcend the human intellect that even if they are revealed to us and accepted by faith, they remain concealed by the veil of faith itself and are as it were wrapped in darkness.”(36) Difficulties arise also from the historical condition that affects the expression of Revelation.

With regard to this historical condition, it must first be observed that the meaning of the pronouncements of faith depends partly upon the expressive power of the language used at a certain point in time and in particular circumstances. Moreover, it sometimes happens that some dogmatic truth is first expressed incompletely (but not falsely), and at a later date, when considered in a broader context of faith or human knowledge, it receives a fuller and more perfect expression. In addition, when the Church makes new pronouncements she intends to confirm or clarify what is in some way contained in Sacred Scripture or in previous expressions of Tradition; but at the same time she usually has the intention of solving certain questions or removing certain errors. All these things have to be taken into account in order that these pronouncements may be properly interpreted. Finally, even though the truths which the Church intends to teach through her dogmatic formulas are distinct from the changeable conceptions of a given epoch and can be expressed without them, nevertheless it can sometimes happen that these truths may be enunciated by the Sacred Magisterium in terms that bear traces of such conceptions.

In view of the above, it must be stated that the dogmatic formulas of the Church’s Magisterium were from the beginning suitable for communicating revealed truth, and that as they are they remain forever suitable for communicating this truth to those who interpret them correctly.(37) It does not however follow that every one of these formulas has always been or will always be so to the same extent. For this reason theologians seek to define exactly the intention of teaching proper to the various formulas, and in carrying out this work they are of considerable assistance to the living Magisterium of the Church, to which they remain subordinated. For this reason also it often happens that ancient dogmatic formulas and others closely connected with them remain living and fruitful in the habitual usage of the Church, but with suitable expository and explanatory additions that maintain and clarify their original meaning. In addition, it has sometimes happened that in this habitual usage of the Church certain of these formulas gave way to new expressions which, proposed and approved by the Sacred Magisterium, presented more clearly or more completely the same meaning.

As for the meaning of dogmatic formulas, this remains ever true and constant in the Church, even when it is expressed with greater clarity or more developed. The faithful therefore must shun the opinion, first, that dogmatic formulas (or some category of them) cannot signify truth in a determinate way, but can only offer changeable approximations to it, which to a certain extent distort of alter it; secondly, that these formulas signify the truth only in an indeterminate way, this truth being like a goal that is constantly being sought by means of such approximations. Those who hold such an opinion do not avoid dogmatic relativism and they corrupt the concept of the Church’s infallibility relative to the truth to be taught or held in a determinate way.

Such an opinion clearly is in disagreement with the declarations of the First Vatican Council, which, while fully aware of the progress of the Church in her knowledge of revealed truth,(38) nevertheless taught as follows: “That meaning of sacred dogmas…must always be maintained which Holy Mother Church declared once and for all, nor should one ever depart from that meaning under the guise of or in the name of a more advanced understanding.”(39) The Council moreover condemned the opinion that “dogmas once proposed by the Church must, with the progress of science be given a meaning other than that which was understood by the Church, or which she understands.”(40) There is no doubt that, according to these texts of the Council, the meaning of dogmas which is declared by the Church is determinate and unalterable.

Such an opinion is likewise in contrast with Pope John’s assertion regarding Christian doctrine at the opening of the Second Vatican Council: “This certain and unchangeable doctrine, to which faithful obedience is due, has to be explored and presented in a way that is demanded by our times. One thing is the deposit of faith, which consists of the truths contained in sacred doctrine, another thing is the manner of presentation, always however with the same meaning and signification.”(41) Since the Successor of Peter is here speaking about certain and unchangeable Christian doctrine, about the deposit of faith which is the same as the truths contained in that doctrine and about the truths which have to be preserved with the same meaning, it is clear that he admits that we can know the true and unchanging meaning of dogmas. What is new and what he recommends in view of the needs of the times pertains only to the modes of studying, expounding and presenting that doctrine while keeping its permanent meaning. In a similar way the Supreme Pontiff Paul VI exhorted the pastors of the Church in the following words: “Nowadays a serious effort is required of us to ensure that the teaching of the faith should keep the fullness of its meaning and force, while expressing itself in a form which allows it to reach the spirit and heart of the people to whom it is addressed.”(42)

6. The Church Associated with the Priesthood of Christ

Christ the Lord, the High Priest of the new and everlasting covenant, wished to associate with His perfect priesthood and to form in its likeness the people He had bought with His own blood (cf. Heb. 7:20-22, 26-28; 10:14, 21). He therefore granted His Church a share in His priesthood, which consists of the common priesthood of the faithful and the ministerial or hierarchical priesthood. These differ from each other not only in degree but also in essence; yet they are mutually complementary within the communion of the Church.(43)

The common priesthood of the laity, which is also rightly called a royal priesthood (cf. 1 Pt 2:9; Rev. 1:6; 5:9ff.) since through it the faithful are united as members of the messianic people with their heavenly King, is conferred by the sacrament of Baptism. By this sacrament “the faithful are incorporated into the Church and are empowered to take part in the worship of the Christian religion” in virtue of a permanent sign known as a character; “reborn as children of God they are obliged to profess before men the faith which they have received from God through the Church.”(44) Thus those who are reborn in Baptism “join in the offering of the Eucharist by virtue of their royal priesthood. They likewise exercise that priesthood by receiving the sacraments, by prayer and thanksgiving, by the witness of a holy life, and by self-denial and active charity.”(45)

Moreover, Christ, the Head of the Church, which is His Mystical Body, appointed as ministers of His priesthood His Apostles and through them their successors the bishops, that they might act in His person within the Church,(46) and also in turn legitimately hand over to priests in a subordinate degree the sacred ministry which they had received.(47) Thus there arose in the Church the apostolic succession of the ministerial priesthood for the glory of God and for the service of His people and of the entire human family, which must be converted to God.

By means of this priesthood bishops and priests are “indeed set apart in a certain sense in the midst of God’s people. But this is so, not that they may be separated from this people or from any man, but that they may be totally dedicated to the work for which the Lord has raised them up”(48) namely, the work of sanctifying, teaching and ruling, the actual execution of which is more precisely specified by the hierarchical communion.(49) This many-sided work has as its basis and foundation the continuous preaching of the Gospel,(50) and as a summit and source of the entire Christian life the Eucharistic Sacrifice.(51) Priests, acting in the person of Christ the Head, offer this Sacrifice in the Holy Spirit to God the Father in the name of Christ and in the name of the members of His Mystical Body.(52) This sacrifice is completed in the holy supper by which the faithful, partaking of the one body of Christ, are all made into one body (cf. 1 Cor 10:16ff.).

The Church has ever more closely examined the nature of the ministerial priesthood, which can be shown to have been invariably conferred from apostolic times by a sacred rite (cf. 1 Tm. 4:15; 2 Tm. 1:6). By the assistance of the Holy Spirit, she recognized more clearly as time went on that God wished her to understand that this rite conferred upon priests not only an increase of grace for carrying out ecclesiastical duties in a holy way, but also a permanent designation by Christ, or character, by virtue of which they are equipped for their work and endowed with the necessary power that is derived from the supreme power of Christ. The permanent existence of this character, the nature of which is explained in different ways by theologians, is taught by the Council of Florence(53) and reaffirmed by two decrees of the Council of Trent.(54) In recent times the Second Vatican Council more than once mentioned it,(55) and the second General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops rightly considered the enduring nature of the priestly character throughout life as pertaining to the teaching of the faith.(56) This stable existence of a priestly character must be recognized by the faithful and has to be taken into account in order to judge properly about the nature of the priestly ministry and the appropriate ways of exercising it.

Faithful to Sacred Tradition and to many documents of the Magisterium, the Second Vatican Council taught the following concerning the power belonging to the ministerial priesthood: “Though everyone can baptize the faithful, the priest alone can complete the building up of the Body in the Eucharistic Sacrifice.”(57) And again: “The same Lord, in order that the faithful might form one body in which ‘all the members have not the same function’ (Rom. 12:4), appointed some ministers within the society of believers who by the power of Orders would be capable of offering the Sacrifice and of forgiving sins.”(58) In the same way the second General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops rightly affirmed that only the priest can act in the person of Christ and preside over and perform the sacrifical banquet in which the People of God are united with the oblation of Christ.(59) Passing over at this point questions regarding the ministers of various sacraments, the evidence of Sacred Tradition and of the sacred Magisterium make it clear that the faithful who have not received priestly ordination and who take upon themselves the office of performing the Eucharist attempt to do so not only in a completely illicit way but also invalidly. Such an abuse, wherever it may occur, must clearly be eliminated by the pastors of the Church.


It was not the intention of this Declaration, nor was it within its scope, to prove by way of a study of the foundations of our faith that divine revelation was entrusted to the Church so that she might thereafter preserve it unaltered in the world. But this dogma, from which the Catholic Faith takes its beginning, has been recalled, together with other truths related to the mystery of the Church, so that in the uncertainty of the present day the faith and doctrine the faithful must hold might clearly emerge.

The Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith rejoices that theologians are by intense study exploring more and more the mystery of the Church. It recognizes also that in their work they touch on many questions which can only be clarified by complementary studies and by various efforts and conjectures. However, the due freedom of theologians must always be limited by the Word of God as it is faithfully preserved and expounded in the Church and taught and explained by the living Magisterium of the pastors and especially of the Pastor of the entire People of God.(60)

The Sacred Congregation entrusts this Declaration to the diligent attention of the bishops and of all those who in any way share the task of guarding the patrimony of truth which Christ and His Apostles committed to the Church. It also confidently addresses the Declaration to the faithful and particularly, in view of the important office which they hold in the Church, to priests and theologians, so that all may be of one mind in the faith and may be in sincere harmony with the Church.

Pope Paul VI, by divine providence Supreme Pontiff, in the audience granted to the undersigned Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on May 11, 1973, has ratified and confirmed this Declaration in defense of Catholic doctrine on the Church against certain errors of the present day and has ordered its publication.

Given in Rome, at the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, on June 24, 1973, the feast of St. John the Baptist.

Franjo Cardinal Seper,

Abp. Jerome Hamer,



1. Paul VI, Apostolic Exhortation Quinque iam anni, AAS 63 (1971), p. 99.

2. Paul VI, Apostolic Constitution, Regiminis Ecclesiae Universae, AAS 59 (1967), p. 897.

3. Vatican Council II: Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium, 8; Constitutiones Decreta Declarationes, editio Secretariae Generalis, Typis Polyglottis Vaticanis, 1966, p. 104ff.

4. Vatican Council II: Decree on Ecumenism, Unitatis Redintegratio, 3; Const. Decr. Decl., p. 250.

5. Ibid., 4; Const. Decr. Decl., p. 252.

6. Vatican Council II: Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium, 8; Const. Decr. Decl., p.106.

7. Ibid., Const. Decr. Decl., p. 105.

8. Vatican Council II: Decree on Ecumenism, Unitatis Redintegratio, 4; Const. Decr. Decl., p. 253.

9. Cf. ibid., 6-8; Const. Decr. Decl., pp. 255-258.

10. Cf. ibid., 1; Const. Decr. Decl., p. 243.

11. Cf. Paul VI, Encyclical Letter, Ecclesiam Suam, AAS 56 (1964), p. 629.

12. Vatican Council II: Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation, Dei Verbum, 7; Const. Decr. Decl., p. 428.

13. Cf. Ibid., 10; Const. Decr. Decl., p. 431.

14. Cf. Ibid., 8; Const. Decr. Decl., p. 430.

15. Vatican Council II: Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium, 12; Const. Decr. Decl., p. 113ff.

16. Ibid., Const. Decr. Decl., p. 114.

17. Cf. Ibid., 35; Const. Decr. Decl., p. 157.

18. Vatican Council II: Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation, Dei Verbum, 8; Const. Decr. Decl., p. 430.

19. Paul VI, Apostolic Exhortation, Quinque iam anni, AAS 63 (1971), p. 99.

20. Cf. Vatican Council II: Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium, 25; Const. Decr. Decl., p. 138ff.

21. Ibid., 18; Const. Decr. Decl., p. 124ff. Cf. Vatican Council I: Dogmatic Constitution, Pastor aeternus, Prologue; Conciliorum Ecumenicorum Decreta 3, ed. Istituto per la Scienze Religiose di Bologna, Herder, 1973, p. 8. (DS 3051).

22. Paul VI, Apostolic Exhortation, Quinque iam anni, AAS 63 (1971), p. 100.

23. Cf. Vatican Council I: Dogmatic Consitution, Pastor aeternus, ch. 4; Conc. Oec. Dec. (3), p. 815ff. (DS 3069, 3074); Decree of the Holy Office Lamentabili, 6, AAS 40 (1907), p.471 (DS 3406).

24. Vatican Council I: Dogmatic Constitution, Pastor aeternus, ch. 4; Conc. Oec. Decr. (3), p 816 (DS 3070). Cf. Vatican Council II: Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium, 25, and Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation, Dei Verbum, 4; Const. Decr. Decl., p. 141 and 426.

25. Cf. Vatican Council II: Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation, Dei Verbum, 11; Const. Decr. Decl., p. 434.

26. Cf. ibid., 9ff.; Const. Decr. Decl., pp. 430-432.

27. Cf. Vatican Council II: Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium, 25; Const. Decr. Decl., p. 139.

28. Cf. ibid., 25 and 22; Const. Decr. Decl., pp. 139 and 133.

29. Vatican Council I: Dogmatic Constitution Pastor aeternus, ch. 4; Conc. Oec. Decr. (3), p. 816 (DS 3074). Cf. Vatican Council II: ibid., 25, Conc. Oec. Decr. (3), pp. 131-141.

30. Cf. Vatican Council II: Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium, 25; Const. Decr. Decl., p. 139.

31. Vatican Council I: Dogmatic Constitution, Dei Filius, ch. 3; Conc. Oec. Decr. (3), p. 807 (DS 3011). Cf. C.I.C., can. 1323, Sect. 1 and can. 1325, Sect. 2.

32. Cf. Council of Trent., Sess. 6: Decree on Justification, ch. 6; Conc. Oec. Decr. (3), p. 807 (DS 3008); cf. also Vatican Council II: Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation, Dei Verbum, 5; Const. Decr. Decl., p. 426.

33. Cf. Vatican Council I: Constitution on the Catholic Faith, Dei Filius, ch. 3; Conc. Oec. Decr. (3), p. 807 (DS 3008); cf. also Vatican Council II: Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation, Dei Verbum, 5; Const. Decr. Decl., p. 426.

34. Cf. Vatican Council II: Decree on Ecumenism, Unitatis Redintegratio, 11; Const. Decr. Decl., p. 260.

35. Reflections and Suggestions Concerning Ecumenical Dialogue, IV 4 b, in the Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity: Information Service, n. 12 (December 1970, IV), p. 8.

36. Vatican Council I: Dogmatic Constitution Dei Filius, ch. 4; Conc. Oec. Decr. (3), p. 808 (DS 3016).

37. Cf. Pius IX, Brief Eximiam Tuam, AAS 8 (1874-75), p. 447 (DS 2831); Paul VI, Encyclical Letter, Mysterium Fidei, AAS 57 (1965), p. 757ff. and L’Oriente cristiano nella luce di immortali Concilii, in Insegnamenti di Paolo VI, vol. 5, Vatican Polygot Press, p. 412ff.

38. Cf. Vatican Council I: Dogmatic Constitution Dei Filius, ch. 4; Conc. Oec. Decr. (3), p. 809 (DS 3020).

39. Ibid.

40. Ibid., can 3; Conc. Oec. Decr. (3), p. 811 (DS 3043).

41. John XXIII, Alloc. in Concilii Vaticani inauguratione, AAS 84 (1962), p. 792. Cf. Vatican Council II: Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, Gaudium et spes, 62; Const. Decr. Decl., p. 780.

42. Paul VI, Apostolic Exhortation Quinque iam anni, AAS 63 (1971), p. 100ff.

43. Cf. Vatican Council II: Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium, 10; Const. Decr. Decl., p. 110.

44. Ibid., 11; Const. Decr. Decl., p. 111.

45. Ibid., 10; Const. Decr. Decl., p. 111.

46. Cf. Pius XI, Encyclical Letter, Ad Catholici sacerdotii, AAS 28 (1936), p. 10 (DS 3735). Cf. Vatican Council II: Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium, 10, and Decree on the Priestly Life and Ministry, Presbyterorum ordinis, 2; Const. Decr. Decl., p. 110ff., 622ff.

47. Cf. Vatican Council II: Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium, 28; Const. Decr. Decl., p. 625.

48. Vatican Council II: Decree on the Priestly Life and Ministry, Presbyterorum ordinis, 3; Const. Decr. Decl., p. 625.

49.Cf. Vatican Council II: Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium, 24, 27ff.; Const. Decr. Decl., p. 137, 143-149.

50. Vatican Council II: Decree on the Priestly Life and Ministry, Presbyterorum Ordinis, 4; Const. Decr. Decl., p. 627.

51. Cf. Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium, 11; Const. Decr. Decl., p. 111ff. Also Council of Trent, Sess. 22: Doctrina de Missae Sacrifico, ch. 1 and 2; Conc. Oec. Decr. (3) pp. 732-734 (DS 1739-1743).

52. Cf. Paul VI, Sollemnis Professio Fidei, 24, AAS 60 (1968), p. 442.

53. Council of Florence: Bulla unionis Armenorum, Exsultate Deo, Conc. Oec. Decr., (3) p. 546 (DS 1313).

54. Council of Trent: Decree on the Sacraments, can. 9 and Decree on the Sacrament of Order, ch. 4 and can. 4; Conc. Oec. Decr. (3) p. 685, 742, 744 (DS 1609, 1767, 1774).

55. Cf. Vatican Council II: Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium, 21 and Decree on the Priestly Life and Ministry, Presbyterorum ordinis, 2; Const. Decr. Decl., pp. 133, 622ff.

56. Cf. Documents of the Synod of Bishops: I. The Ministerial Priesthood, part one, 5, AAS 63 (1971), p. 907.

57. Vatican Council II: Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium, 17; Const. Decr. Decl., p. 123.

58. Vatican Council II: Decree on the Priestly Life and Ministry, Presbyterorum ordinis, 2; Const. Decr. Decl., p. 621ff. Cf. also: 1) Innocent III, Letter Eius exemplo with Professio fidei Waldensis imposita, PL, vol 215, col. 1510 (DS 794); 2) Lateran Council IV: Constitution De Fide Catholica; Conc. Oec. Decr. (3), p. 230 (DS 802); passage quoted on the Sacrament of the Altar to be read together with the following passage on the sacrament of Baptism; 3) Council of Florence: Bulla uniionis Armenorum, Exsultate Deo; Conc. Oec. Decr. (3), p. 546 (DS 1321); passage quoted on the Minister of the Eucharist to be compared with nearby passages on the Ministers of the other sacraments; 4) Council of Trent, Sess. 23: Decree on the Sacrament of Order, ch. 4; Conc. Oec. Decr. (3), p. 742ff. (DS 1767, 4469); 5) Pius XII, Encyclical, Mediator Dei, AAS 39 (1947), pp. 552-556 (DS 3849-3852).

59. Documents of the Synod of Bishops: I. The Ministerial Priesthood, part one, 4, AAS 63 (1971), p. 906.

60. Cf. Synod of Bishops (1967), Relatio Commissionis Synodalis constitutae ad examen ulterius peragendum circa opiniones periculosas et atheismum, II, 4: De theologorum opera et responsabilitate, Vatican Polygot Press, 1967, p. 11 (L’Osservatore Romano, Oct. 30-31, 1967, p. 3).

Are you a Radical? … You SHOULD be!

8 May 2010

The time for sitting on the fence is nearly over … the day is far spent, the sun will soon set … where will YOU BE? What side will YOU be on? Do you say you’re a staunch Catholic, but are afraid to get INVOLVED? Afraid of what others will THINK OF YOU? Well, where would we be today if the APOSTLES would have thought that? Were they not radicals in their day? Did they not die for love of God and what they devoutly believed? We live in a world where we want it all and we want it NOW and we want it HANDED TO US ON A SILVER PLATTER without ANY EFFORT on our part … HORSE MANURE!!!

Wake up folks … pick a side and ACT … the VERY LEAST EVERYONE can do is pray the daily ROSARY as our Lady begs! You want to do more? …. That’s great!
Those that can speak … DO SO! Those that can write, get out your pens! Those that can teach … BEGIN NOW! BUT Let’s ALL so SOMETHING … we ARE standing on a precipice … we’re all going to have to take that final step into eternity at some point either alone in death or collectively if Jesus returns in our lifetimes.

Either way, there’s only TWO possible directions we can go in once we take that step … UP or DOWN. We make our choice HERE. As with contrition, to be sorry for sin because of fear of loss of heaven is ‘acceptable’ … but how much better to be sorry for LOVE OF GOD for His Own Sake? Think folks … and thank the Apostles every day for what they insured would be passed down to us … Pray for your Bishop’s and Priest’s, that they receive the grace to permit them to be the shepherds that the Lord would have them be … after His Own Heart!

God bless us all and God bless the USA!

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