Archives for 2011

7 Quick Takes Friday (set #43)

7 Quick Takes Friday

This week: God in the streets of New York City. What the mainstream press is talking about when they say “sectarian violence.” The magical stethoscope. Covering the Pope: a guide for journalists. Tracking the anti-Catholic bias of the mainstream media. The Susan B. Anthony list recognizes a true, enduring friendship.

— 1 —

God in the Streets of New York City is another wonderful production of Grassroots Films:

— 2 —

In the mainstream press you will sometimes hear of “sectarian violence”, if anything at all. These are usually code words for Christian persecution. It is widespread and and growing. If you are interested in who is being persecuted and who is doing the persecution, read Raymond Ibrahim’s piece for Catholic Lane.

— 3 —

Magic stethoscope exposes what is really inside:

— 4 —

The Catholic Herald has published How to distort papal media coverage. It is a tongue-in-cheek guide for covering anything related to the Catholic Church and distorting it to make the Church look as bad as possible. It would be hilarious if it were not so very, very true.

Spotted by Father Z

— 5 —

I often lament the sorry state of “journalism” in the mainstream media (MSM). The anti-Catholicism bias is unrelenting, not only in articles related to Christianity or the Church, but in so many unrelated pieces where the “journalist” feels compelled to throw-in an anti-Catholic dig.

There is a website for that. Dave Pierre’s does a great job exposing this blatant bias (as if they cared). Typical is the New York Times (Father Zuhlsdorf calls them “hell’s bible”) coverage of Pope Benedict‘s historic visit to Germany.

— 6 —

We all value a true friend. Someone we can always count on. Someone who can count on our loyalty, no matter what. The Susan B. Anthony List recognizes one such enduring friendship:

Spotted by Matthew Archbold

— 7 —

Saturday Evening Blog Post

Elizabeth Esther kindly hosts a feature she calls The Saturday Evening Blog Post. Published monthly every first Saturday, it features the best post in the preceding month on each of a few dozen Christian blogs. The “best” entries are chosen by the authors themselves (so they should know!).

It is a great way to discover new blogs. Be sure to check-it out. My entry this time was There are no clocks in heaven.

Some random thoughts or bits of information are worthy of sharing but don’t warrant their own full post. This idea was started by Jennifer Fulwiler at Conversion Diary to address this blogging need. So, some Fridays I too participate when I have accumulated 7 worthy items. Thank you Jen for hosting this project!

The body

The Body

A few weeks ago I explored the nature of the soul. Created by God at our conception (or at least, very close to our conception), the human soul is never created without the body (always created at the moment of conception).

This is the difference between us and angels. Angels are pure spirits. They never had and never will (as far as we know) have bodies. We do. We start life with our body, leave it upon our death and are reunited with our glorified bodies at the general resurrection.

Our resurrected body is “us,” not some different body. It is the natural “home” for our soul. It is not however, as it appeared at any point during our mortal life. There is much theology on this, but Catholic Answers apologist Father Vincent Serpa explains it succinctly:

The Church teaches that at the resurrection the bodies of the just will be re-modeled and transfigured to the pattern of the risen Christ. Like his body, our resurrected bodies will be those of a person in his prime. They will be incapable of suffering. They will have a spiritual nature – not that they will be pure spirit, but they will be like that of Jesus, who could penetrate closed doors after he had risen. They will have a new agility in that they will be able to obey the soul with great ease and speed – so that when the spirit is willing, the flesh will no longer be weak! Our bodies will be free from all deformity and will reflect God’s beauty to the degree that our souls do.

Our souls are unique and so is our body. Both are a gift from God. In our mortal state, each body has unique, lifelong DNA from the moment of conception. It is intertwined with and tightly united to our soul. It is the physical temple of the Holy Spirit, belonging to Christ and not our own to use or abuse however we please.

Proper respect for our body means we will care for it as best we are able (hygiene, healthcare, nutrition, exercise, etc.). Likewise, our body is not a sexual playground. We are to live modest, chaste lives – sharing the gift of our body with no one other than a spouse.

Finally, when our mortal body dies, dignity and respect must continue. It must be buried or interred within a mausoleum. Cremation is permissible, but under no circumstance may remains be scattered, turned into jewelry or the like.

The human body shares in the dignity of “the image of God”: it is a human body precisely because it is animated by a spiritual soul, and it is the whole human person that is intended to become, in the body of Christ, a temple of the Spirit:

Man, though made of body and soul, is a unity. Through his very bodily condition he sums up in himself the elements of the material world. Through him they are thus brought to their highest perfection and can raise their voice in praise freely given to the Creator. For this reason man may not despise his bodily life. Rather he is obliged to regard his body as good and to hold it in honor since God has created it and will raise it up on the last day.

CCC 364

7 Quick Takes Friday (set #42)

7 Quick Takes Friday

This week: Changing minds on abortion, a powerful approach. A story after judgment – all are surprised, both the damned and the saved. Celebrating World Contraception Day. MD does not mean “Medical Deity.” Electron Boy (a/k/a Erik Martin), RIP. The “understandable” effect of China’s one child policy. The mainstream media, slowly backing away…

— 1 —

Ray Comfort has produced a movie and a book to help people understand why abortion is always wrong. This 33 minute 180 Movie (i.e. to turn around, 180 degrees) makes a good case by leading abortion supporters step-by-step until they finally “get” it:

— 2 —

I wrote recently is hell empty? (my opinion: nope). Father Longenecker recounted Padre Pio’s opinion on his feast day: “They’ll believe in hell when they get there.”

Fr. Longenecker also recalled a related conversation he once had, so insightful that I just have to repeat it here:

I’m reminded of one of the great judgment carvings which is on the South portal at Chartres. It is one of those scenes with Christ enthroned in glory, St Michael weighing the souls in judgment and the demons taking some below and angels lifting others up above.

I was visiting there and the old Englishman who used to give tours said, “Notice that both the damned and the saved have expressions of surprise on their faces.

The damned are surprised to be going to hell because they were proud and self righteous (and didn’t think they were headed for hell) or scornful and unbelieving (and didn’t believe such a place existed) The saved are surprised because they were humble and didn’t think they would make it into heaven.

— 3 —

We learned from the Girl Scouts that sex, in every form imaginable, is great fun at every age. The only downside is a medical condition known as “pregnancy” which, if left untreated (Planned Parenthood), will lead to the unhappy burden of “children”. There is a wonderful solution – contraception. Yea!

Spotted by Marcel

— 4 —

It is amazing how often doctors are wrong about “problem” pregnancies. When a less-than-perfect (in their view) child is expected, some push one “solution” – abort him or her. gives one example:

The Smith family’s experience is just one example out of countless others that show many doctors think the initials MD after their name stand for “Medical Deity.” What Bernadette and Phil’s first doctor basically said was, “Since your baby might die, let’s kill her by abortion to make sure she dies.” Just stop and think of how barbaric this so-called “professional advice” is. They present intentional killing as a good and caring thing to do.

Read the full article at The Little Baby Who Can: Rejecting Abortion in Trisomy 18.

— 5 —

Erik Martin was born 14 years ago with only half a heart, no spleen and sensory problems. Three years ago he was diagnosed with paraganglioma, a rare and untreatable cancer. Last Friday, Erik succumbed to his illness.

Those in the Seattle area may know him better as Electron Boy. The Make-A-Wish Foundation staged an elaborate fantasy event for him in April 2010 to save the city. Hundreds of people, equipment, celebrities and famous locations all took part to create this special day:

Spotted by Mark Shea

— 6 —

Vice President Joe Biden (Democrat, Catholic) gave a speech at Sichuan University in Chengdu, China on August 21st. In that speech, he not only failed to condemn China’s “one child policy” (i.e. forced abortions), but gave acceptance:

Your policy has been one which I fully understand – I’m not second-guessing – of one child per family.

As the VP to the most pro-abortion president ever, this is not surprising.

— 7 —

Tom Purcell notes even the media is beginning to question the president’s leadership. Quoting the Loyal Democrat Today (a/k/a New York Times):

Those of us who were bewitched by his eloquence on the campaign trail chose to ignore some disquieting aspects of his biography: that he had accomplished very little before he ran for president, having never run a business or a state; that he had a singularly unremarkable career as a law professor, publishing nothing in 12 years at the University of Chicago other than an autobiography; and that, before joining the United States Senate, he had voted “present” (instead of “yea” or “nay”) 130 times, sometimes dodging difficult issues.


Some random thoughts or bits of information are worthy of sharing but don’t warrant their own full post. This idea was started by Jennifer Fulwiler at Conversion Diary to address this blogging need. So, some Fridays I too participate when I have accumulated 7 worthy items. Thank you Jen for hosting this project!

Loss of innocence

Loss Of Innocence

My family has always supported scouting. By “scouting,” I mean the real deal – the Boy Scouts of America and the Girl Scouts of the USA. We knew these organizations to be excellent partners in forming Christian values. We trust them.

The Boy Scouts, like the Catholic Church, has taken a lot of flak for standing firm against a secular, relativistic society. Shockingly, the Girl Scouts have not. In fact, they have every intention to embrace the toxic sexual perversions of the secular world (if you think that is over-the-top, see below).

We partner with many organizations. We have relationships with our church communities, with YWCAs, and with Planned Parenthood organizations across the country, to bring information-based sex education programs to girls.

Kathy Cloninger
Girl Scouts CEO
(see video)

As America’s largest abortion provider, I believe that Planned Parenthood is the face of evil. Their apologists will often point out that Planned Parenthood is not just about abortion. Fair enough. They also provide contraceptives and promote sexual immorality that leads to abortion. This is where their partnership with the Girl Scouts comes in.

PP, together with the Girl Scouts, endeavor to provide sex education to your children. PP’s provocative brochure entitled Healthy, Happy and Hot has been distributed to thousands of young girls and it is every bit as bad as it sounds (WARNING: graphic content follows, inappropriate at any age):

Sex can feel great and can be really fun! Many people think sex is just about vaginal or anal intercourse. But, there are lots of different ways to have sex and lots of different types of sex. Sex can include kissing, touching, licking, tickling, sucking, and cuddling. Some people like to have aggressive sex, while others like to have soft and slow sex with their partners. There is no right or wrong way to have sex. Just have fun, explore and be yourself!

Improve your sex life by getting to know your own body. Play with yourself! Masturbation is a great way to find out more about your body and what you find sexually stimulating. Don’t stop there: find out how your partner’s body works, what makes them feel good and what gives them pleasure. Talking with your partner about what you each like and what feels good is the best way to have great sex.

Your skin is the largest erogenous zone on your body, and your mind plays a big role in your desire for sex and sexual pleasure. Caress and lick your partner’s skin. Explore your partner’s body with your hands and mouth. Mix things up by using different kinds of touch from very soft to hard. Talk about or act out your fantasies. Talk dirty to them. Tickle, tease and make them feel good.

Do you feel comfortable reading the above text? Is it the kind of thing you expect your 8-16 year old daughter to receive at her scout meeting?

Some Catholic dioceses around the country still support Girl Scout troops. I am certain that all troops led by faithful Catholics and other like-minded Christians would never distribute this filth to their girls. Yet, these troops support Kathy Cloninger and the national body. Their girls participate in events with other troops with different values. All material from Girl Scouts of the USA must be viewed as suspect in light of this and the very up-front intentions of their leadership.

This alarms the Boy Scouts. In fact, they saw it coming. Two years ago the BSA took the unusual step of outright support for the American Heritage Girls. They are “a Christ-centered leadership and character development ministry.” In short, they are what the Girl Scouts once were.

Catholic dioceses around the country now support American Heritage Girls. If yours has not yet dropped the Girl Scouts, ask why not. Your parish, or a nearby parish, may support AHG even if your diocese does not. If worse comes to worse, consider an AHG troop at another Christian church in your area. Unlike GSUSA, nothing about the AHG is contrary to Catholic teaching.

An excellent resource on this issue is Girl Scouts – Why Not? I wrote about another informative website in 7 Quick Takes Friday last June: Speak Now: girl scouts (created by 2 young, ex-Girl Scouts). Finally, Abby Johnson (an ex-PP director) also wrote about this outrage for

UPDATE: Some additional comments…

The GSUSA and their supporters deny everything, alleging a smear campaign (ask yourself: why in the world would anyone do that?). Letters from GS state organizations do the same. Many people note that the leadership of their local troop is wholesome – I believe them. Yet, the reigns of the organization are now firmly in the hands of those in strong conflict with core Christian values. The evidence is irrefutable and manifests itself in both direct and subtle ways even at the local level (printed materials, badges, etc.).

Compare this to the American Heritage Girls. Do you know how much controversy there is surrounding them? ZERO. Are parents and girls pleased with that organization? Just ask any of them! AHG was created specifically because of the moral decay in GSUSA leadership. They are now what the Girl Scouts once were.

Websites reporting on the sad fall of the Girl Scouts…

Excellent videos (new as of July 2012)

Not convinced and need more proof?

There is more on the Girl Scouts Why Not? YouTube channel.

For more information, also see these articles…

Baltimore Catechism: on the Church

Baltimore Catechism

Lesson 11

Before speaking of the Church I wish to give you a short account of the true religion before the coming of Our Lord. When Adam was created in a state of grace, God communicated with him freely; he knew God even better than we do now. But after their sin our parents fell from the friendship of God. Cain – one of Adam’s sons – murdered his brother Abel, and for this he and his posterity were cursed by God, and all his descendants became very wicked. (Gen. 4:11). The other children of Adam remained faithful to God as long as they kept away from the children of Cain; but just as soon as they associated and intermarried with them, they also became wicked. This should teach us to avoid evil company, for there is always more likelihood that the good will become bad than that the bad will be converted by the good. You know the old saying, that if you take a basket of good apples and place a bad one among them, in a short time they will be spoiled.

After the deluge Noah and his family settled once more upon the land, and for a time their descendants remained faithful to God; but later they became wicked and undertook to build a great tower (Gen. 11), which they thought would reach up to Heaven. They believed, perhaps, that if ever there should be another deluge upon the earth, they could take refuge in the tower. But God was displeased with their conduct and prevented them from completing the tower by confusing their tongues or language so that they could not understand one another. Then those who spoke the same language went to live in the same part of the country, and thus the human race was scattered over the earth, and the different nations had different languages.

After a time they were all losing the knowledge of the true God and beginning to worship idols. God did not wish that the whole human race should forget Him, so He selected Abraham to be the father and head of one chosen people who should always worship the true God. He sent Abraham from his own country into another, and promised him great things, and renewed to him the promises of the Redeemer first made to Adam and Eve. After the death of Abraham, God raised up, from time to time, prophets to tell the people His holy will, to warn them of their sins and the punishment they would receive, and to remind them of the promised Messias. Prophets are men that God inspires to tell the future. They tell what will happen often hundreds of years after their own death. They do not guess at these things, but tell them with certainty. At times, statesmen can foresee that there will be a war in a country at a certain time; but they are not prophets, because they only guess at such things, or know them by natural signs; and very often things thus foretold do not occur. True prophecy is the foretelling of something which could not be known by any means but inspiration from God.

Neither are persons who call themselves fortune-tellers prophets, but only sinful people, who for money tell lies or guess at the future. It is a great sin to go to them or listen to them, as we shall see later in another question.

At the time promised, God sent His Son – Our Lord – to redeem the world and save all men. He came to save all men, and yet He remained upon earth only thirty-three years. We can easily understand that by His death He could save all those who lived before He did; but how were they to be saved who should live after Him, down to the end of the world? How was His grace to be given to them? How were they to know of Him, or of what He taught? All this was to be accomplished by His Church.

114 Q. Which are the means instituted by Our Lord to enable men at all times to share in the fruits of the Redemption?
A. The means instituted by Our Lord to enable men at all times to share in the fruits of the Redemption are the Church and the Sacraments.

Our Lord instituted the Church to carry on the work He Himself was doing upon the earth – teaching the ignorant, visiting the sick, helping the poor, forgiving sins, etc. He commanded all men to hear the Church teaching, just as they would hear Himself. But suppose some persons should establish a false Church and claim that it was the true Church of Our Lord, how could people know the true Church from false churches? When a man invents anything to be sold, what does he do that people may know the true article – say a pen? Why, he puts his trademark upon it. Now the trademark is a certain sign which shows that the article bearing it is the genuine article; and if others use the trademark on imitation articles, they are liable to be punished by law. Now Our Lord did the same. He gave His Church four marks or characteristics to distinguish it from all false churches. He said, “My Church will be one; it will be holy; it will be catholic; it will be apostolic; and if any church has not these four marks, you may be sure it is not My Church.” Some false church may seem to have one or two, but never all the marks; so when you find even one of the marks wanting, you will know it is not the true Church established by Christ. Therefore, all the religions that claim to be the true religion cannot be so. If one man says a thing is white and another says it is black, or if one says a thing is true and another says it is false, they cannot both be right. Only one can be right, and if we wish to know the truth we have to find out which one it is. So when one religion says a thing is true and another religion says the same thing is false, one of them must be wrong, and it is our duty to find out the one that is right. Therefore, of all the religions claiming to be the true religion of Our Lord, only one can be telling the truth, and that one is the religion or Church that can show the four given marks. The Roman Catholic Church is the only one that can show these marks, and is, therefore, the only true Church, as we shall see in the next lesson.

“Fruits of His redemption” – that is, to receive the grace merited by Our Lord when He redeemed us by His death.

115 Q. What is the Church?
A. The Church is the congregation of all those who profess the faith of Christ, partake of the same Sacraments, and are governed by their lawful pastors under one visible head.

“Congregation.” Not the building, therefore; because if Mass was offered up in an open field, with the people kneeling about, it would still be the church of that place. The buildings that we use for churches might have been used for anything else – a public hall, theater, or school, for example; but when these buildings we call churches are blessed or consecrated, they become holy. They are holy also because the Gospel is preached in them, the Sacraments are administered in them, and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is offered in them. But they are holy especially because Our Lord dwells in them in the tabernacle, where He lives and sees and hears just as truly as He did when He was man upon earth.

In the early ages the Christians had no churches – they met secretly in private houses. Later, when the cruel pagan emperors began to persecute and put to death the Christians, they made large tunnels under ground and in these places they heard Mass and received the Sacraments. These underground churches were called the catacombs, and some of them may still be seen at Rome. In these catacombs, too, the Christians buried their dead, especially the bodies of the holy martyrs. On their tombs – generally of stone – Mass was celebrated.

In every altar the table, or flat part on which the priest celebrates Mass, should be of stone; but if the altar is made of wood, then at least the part just in front of the tabernacle must be of stone and large enough to hold say two chalices – that is, about ten or twelve inches square. In this stone are placed some relics of the holy martyrs. A piece is cut out of the stone and the relic placed in the opening. Then the bishop puts the little piece of stone back into its place over the relic, seals the opening, blesses the stone, and gives it to the Church. This is called the altar stone. You cannot see it because it is covered with the altar cloth; but unless it is in the altar the priest cannot say Mass. This stone reminds us of the stone tombs of the saints upon which Mass was celebrated.

The Church – that is, the Christians – was persecuted for about three hundred years after the death of Our Lord. These persecutions took place at ten different times and under ten different Roman emperors. Orders were given to put to death all the Christians wherever they could be found. Some were cast into prison, some exiled, some taken to the Roman Coliseum – an immense building constructed for public amusements – where they were put to death in the most terrible manner in the presence of the emperor and people assembled to witness these fearful scenes. Some were stripped of their clothing and left standing alone while savage beasts, wild with hunger, were let loose upon them. Sometimes by a miracle of God the animals would not harm them, and then the Christians were either put to death by the sword, mangled by some terrible machine, or burned. In these dreadful sufferings the Christians remained faithful and firm, though they could have saved their lives by denying Our Lord or offering sacrifice to idols. The few who through fear did deny their faith are now forgotten and unknown; while those who remained steadfast are honored as saints in Heaven and upon earth; the Church sings their praises and tells every year of their holy lives and triumph over all their enemies.

Even some pagans who came to see the Christians put to death were so touched by their patience, fortitude, courage, and constancy, that they also declared themselves anxious to become Christians, and were put to death, thus becoming martyrs baptized in their own blood. How many lessons we may learn from all this: (1) How very respectful we should be in the Church, which is holy for all the reasons I have given. (2) What a shame it is for us not to hear Mass when we can do so easily. Our churches are never very far from us, and generally well lighted, ventilated, furnished with seats and every convenience, and in these respects unlike the dark, damp, underground churches of the early Christians. Moreover, we may attend our churches freely and without the least danger to our lives; while the Christians of the early ages were constantly in dread and danger of being seized and put to death. Even at the present day, in many countries where holy missionaries are trying to teach the true religion, their converts sometimes have to go great distances to hear Mass, and even then it is not celebrated in comfortable churches, but probably on the slope of a rugged mountain or in some lonely valley or wood where they may not be seen, for they fear if they are captured – as often happens – both they and their priest will be put to death. You can read in the account of foreign missions that almost every year some priests and many people are martyred for their faith. Is it not disgraceful, then, to see some Catholics giving up their holy faith and the practice of their religion so easily – sometimes for a little money, property, or gain; or even for a bad habit, or for irreligious companions and friends? What answer will they make on the day of judgment when they stand side by side with those who died for the faith?

“All those who profess the faith,” etc. The Pope, bishops, priests, and people all taken together are the Church, and each congregation or parish is only a part of the Church.

“Partake” – that is, receive. “Lawful pastors” – that is, each priest in his own parish, each bishop in his own diocese, and the Pope throughout the world. “Visible head” – that is, one who can be seen, for invisible means cannot be seen.

116 Q. Who is the invisible head of the Church?
A. Jesus Christ is the invisible head of the Church.

“Invisible head.” If, for example, a merchant of one country wishes to establish a branch of his business in another, he remains in the new country long enough to establish the branch business, and then appointing someone to take his place, returns to his own country. He is still the head of the new establishment, but its invisible head for the people of that country, while its visible head is the agent or representative he has placed in charge to carry on the business in his name and interest. When Our Lord wished to establish His Church He came from Heaven; and when about to return to Heaven appointed St. Peter to take His place upon earth and rule the Church as directed. You see, therefore, that Our Lord, though not on earth, is still the real head and owner of the Church, and whatever His agent or vicar – that is, our Holy Father, the Pope – does in the Church, he does it with the authority of Our Lord Himself.

117 Q. Who is the visible head of the Church?
A. Our Holy Father the Pope, the Bishop of Rome, is the vicar of Christ on earth and the visible head of the Church.

The “Bishop of Rome” is always Pope. If the Bishop of New York, or of Baltimore, or of Boston, became Pope, he would become the Bishop of Rome and cease to be the Bishop of New York, Baltimore, or Boston, because St. Peter, the first Pope, was Bishop of Rome; and therefore only the bishops of Rome are his lawful successors – the true Popes – the true visible heads of the Church. The bishops of the other dioceses of the world are the lawful successors of the other Apostles who taught and established churches throughout the world. The bishops of the world are subject to the Pope, just as the other Apostles were subject to St. Peter, who was appointed their chief, by Our Lord Himself.

“Vicar” – that is, one who holds another’s place and acts in his name.

*118 Q. Why is the Pope, the Bishop of Rome, the visible head of the Church?
A. The Pope, the Bishop of Rome, is the visible head of the Church because he is the successor of St. Peter, whom Christ made the chief of the Apostles and the visible head of the Church.

“Of Rome.” That is why we are called Roman Catholics; to show that we are united to the real successor of St. Peter, and are therefore members of the true apostolic Church.

*119 Q. Who are the successors of the other Apostles?
A. The successors of the other Apostles are the bishops of the holy Catholic Church.

We know the Apostles were bishops, because they could make laws for the Church, consecrate other bishops, ordain priests, and give Confirmation – powers that belong only to bishops, and are still exercised by them.

*120 Q. Why did Christ found the Church?
A. Christ founded the Church to teach, govern, sanctify, and save all men.

“Teach” religion. “Govern” in things that regard salvation. “Sanctify,” make good. “Save” all who wish to be saved.

*121 Q. Are all bound to belong to the Church?
A. All are bound to belong to the Church, and he who knows the Church to be the true Church and remains out of it, cannot be saved.

Anyone who knows the Catholic religion to be the true religion and will not embrace it cannot enter into Heaven. If one not a Catholic doubts whether the church to which he belongs is the true Church, he must settle his doubt, seek the true Church, and enter it; for if he continues to live in doubt, he becomes like the one who knows the true Church and is deterred by worldly considerations from entering it.

In like manner one who, doubting, fears to examine the religion he professes lest he should discover its falsity and be convinced of the truth of the Catholic faith, cannot be saved.

Suppose, however, that there is a non-Catholic who firmly believes that the church to which he belongs is the true Church, and who has never – even in the past – had the slightest doubt of that fact – what will become of him?

If he was validly baptized and never committed a mortal sin, he will be saved; because, believing himself a member of the true Church, he was doing all he could to serve God according to his knowledge and the dictates of his conscience. But if ever he committed a mortal sin, his salvation would be very much more difficult. A mortal sin once committed remains on the soul till it is forgiven. Now, how could his mortal sin be forgiven? Not in the Sacrament of Penance, for the Protestant does not go to confession; and if he does, his minister – not being a true priest – has no power to forgive sins. Does he know that without confession it requires an act of perfect contrition to blot out mortal sin, and can he easily make such an act? What we call contrition is often only imperfect contrition – that is, sorrow for our sins because we fear their punishment in Hell or dread the loss of Heaven. If a Catholic – with all the instruction he has received about how to make an act of perfect contrition and all the practice he has had in making such acts – might find it difficult to make an act of perfect contrition after having committed a mortal sin, how much difficulty will not a Protestant have in making an act of perfect contrition, who does not know about this requirement and who has not been taught to make continued acts of perfect contrition all his life. It is to be feared either he would not know of this necessary means of regaining God’s friendship, or he would be unable to elicit the necessary act of perfect contrition, and thus the mortal sin would remain upon his soul and he would die an enemy of God.

If, then, we found a Protestant who never committed a mortal sin after Baptism, and who never had the slightest doubt about the truth of his religion, that person would be saved; because, being baptized, he is a member of the Church, and being free from mortal sin he is a friend of God and could not in justice be condemned to Hell. Such a person would attend Mass and receive the Sacraments if he knew the Catholic Church to be the only true Church.

I am giving you an example, however, that is rarely found, except in the case of infants or very small children baptized in Protestant sects. All infants rightly baptized by anyone are really children of the Church, no matter what religion their parents may profess. Indeed, all persons who are baptized are children of the Church; but those among them who deny its teaching, reject its Sacraments, and refuse to submit to its lawful pastors, are rebellious children known as heretics.

I said I gave you an example that can scarcely be found, namely, of a person not a Catholic, who really never doubted the truth of his religion, and who, moreover, never committed during his whole life a mortal sin. There are so few such persons that we can practically say for all those who are not visibly members of the Catholic Church, believing its doctrines, receiving its Sacraments, and being governed by its visible head, our Holy Father, the Pope, salvation is an extremely difficult matter.

I do not speak here of pagans who have never heard of Our Lord or His holy religion, but of those outside the Church who claim to be good Christians without being members of the Catholic Church.