Archives for June 2012

The Society of St. Pius X

The Society Of St Pius X

The Society of St. Pius X is an international traditionalist Catholic organization with a non-canonical status. That is, they are not in full communion with Rome. SSPX was formed in 1970 in response to Vatican II, if not the actual documents of Vatican II then in response to the manner in which its general recommendations have been implemented. This is often referred derisively by many (including me) as the “spirit of Vatican II” because it represents extraordinary steps influenced by progressives beyond the actual teaching of the Church. I have written about some of these in my 2 part piece on reform the reform early last year (part 1 and part 2).

Wikipedia has a fairly balanced article on the SSPX.

In addition to the doctrinal and discipline issues raised, SSPX also celebrates Holy Mass much as it was before Vatican II. That is not an issue as Vatican II did NOT in any way replace the traditional Mass, now referred to as the extraordinary form. In point of fact, our Holy Fathers have made this clear in Ecclesia Dei Adflicta, Summorum Pontificum (with accompanying letter) and Universae Ecclesiae. Unlike the SSPX, the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter (FSSP) also celebrates the Tridentine Mass but in full communion with Rome.

Pope Benedict has been working tirelessly (for years now) with the SSPX to heal this split and to restore them to full communion. This is important for Christian unity, but also for another reason – we need them. The SSPX could be a key contributor to the new evangelization, having themselves grown large by boldly teaching traditional Catholic beliefs. They currently have over 550 priests in 30+ countries (active in 30+ more), 200 seminarians (6 seminaries), 88 schools and 2 university level institutes.

From all reports, it looks like a solution is close at hand. Perhaps the biggest issue remaining is their canonical status. That is, how exactly would they exist within the Church? The SSPX is concerned (rightfully so in my opinion) that they could be forced to accept practices at odds with tradition. They need a structure that assures them that will not happen. We need a structure that provides for their contribution to the renewal of the Church.

There is another serious complication. The SSPX has been separate now for over 40 years and not all elements may be willing to reunite. They are organized under 4 bishops, Bishop Bernard Fellay (the society’s superior general), Bishop de Galarreta, Bishops Tissier de Mallerais and Bishop Richard Williamson. Bishop Fellay has led the discussion with Rome and is optimistic. The other 3 much less so. How this may influence SSPX priests, religious, laity and institutions is unknown should a schism occur within the SSPX.

Bishop Fellay speaks frankly with the Catholic News Service (an “editorially independent and a financially self-sustaining division of the USCCB”):

My personal hope is that reunion with the SSPX, in whole or part, can be announced in October to coincide with the 50th anniversary of Vatican II. In my ideal world, related to such an announcement would also be the publication of a Syllabus of Errors on Vatican II. Such a document would clarify Vatican II teaching and identify common errors made in its name. On this point:

Keeping in mind the now decades-long experience of interpretations that are doctrinally and pastorally mistaken and contrary to the bi-millennial continuity of the doctrine and prayer of the faith, there thus arises the necessity and urgency of a specific and authoritative intervention of the pontifical magisterium for an authentic interpretation of the “conciliar texts, with supplementation and doctrinal clarifications; a sort of “Syllabus” of the errors in the interpretation of Vatican Council II. “There is the need for a new Syllabus, this time directed not so much against the errors coming from outside of the Church, but against the errors circulated within the Church by supporters of the thesis of discontinuity and rupture, with its doctrinal, liturgical, and pastoral application.”

Bishop Athanasius Schneider
December 2010

Lord Jesus Christ, at your Last Supper you prayed to the Father that all should be one. Send your Holy Spirit upon all who bear your name and seek to serve you. Strengthen our faith in you, and lead us to love one another in humility. May we who have been reborn in one baptism be united in one faith under one Shepherd. Amen.

7 Quick Takes Friday (set #66)

7 Quick Takes Friday

This week: For Greater Glory opened to rave reviews. One pastor’s good catechetical work in his parish. Recruiting young women to the consecrated life. Do evangelicals need to confess their sins to a priest? Father Andrew Kemberling speaks from the heart on the threat of socialism. The Wisconsin victory for sanity, fairness and justice. Another happy puppy.

— 1 —

For Greater Glory opened in theaters last Friday to rave reviews. Not by the professional mainstream media reviewers, but by every person I know who has seen it. The movie tells the story of massive persecution of the Church in Mexico in the 1920s. Despite all of the atrocities and numerous martyrs, this attack on religious freedom is not well known. Many have commented on the parallels in the Cristiada’s early period to what we are seeing right now in America.

— 2 —

Father Greg Markey, pastor at St. Mary Catholic Church in Norwalk, CT, has been working to reverse the so-called “spirit” of Vatican II changes in his parish. As I have noted many times (particularly here and here), these are not changes called for or even mentioned in Vatican II but undertaken in its name none-the-less. They are not changes without cost in catechesis, sacredness, reverence, vocations and more. IMHO, correcting this a critical part of the new evangelization. Check-out their parish FAQ page on the liturgy:

  • Why is the liturgy a top priority for St. Mary Church?
  • Why does St. Mary Church have the Traditional Latin Mass?
  • Why does St. Mary Church offer the Mass facing east?
  • Why does St. Mary’s reserve altar serving to boys alone?
  • Why should I consider receiving Communion on the tongue?
  • Why do we use Incense in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass?
  • How can St. Padre Pio help us better understand the Mass?
  • How should you dress for Mass in the summer?
  • Cardinal George and Liturgical Reform
  • Why don’t we use extraordinary (Eucharistic) ministers very often here at St. Mary’s?

St. Mary offers Holy Mass in both the ordinary and extraordinary forms.

— 3 —

Why would a woman become a consecrated sister? Imagine Sisters is “a web and campus-based movement that aims to inspire the imaginations of young women to consider the beautiful call to consecrated life as a sister.”

Spotted by Marcel

— 4 —

Do evangelicals need to confess their sins to a priest? If you are evangelical and the words “of course not” have just popped into your head…   not so fast! Brantly Millegan, an evangelical convert, answers that question very well in a thought provoking blog post. The question is not evangelical specific at all but Brantly knows his audience. Check-out Why evangelicals need to confess their sins to a priest, too.

— 5 —

Father Andrew Kemberling, pastor of St. Thomas More Catholic Church in Centennial, CO was invited recently to give the invocation at their state Republican convention. He spoke of religious liberty and the danger socialism represents to our democracy. Blunt, powerful and to the point:

— 6 —

Very blue Wisconsin had been sinking fast under years of mismanagement and political pandering. In 2010, Scott Walker was elected and dramatically turned it around, in part by reigning in wild excesses granted to public sector unions. Since then, hysteria in the left has been growing – fed by the media and funded by tens of millions from out-of-state unions. A recall election was held on Tuesday. Every dirty trick, every conceivable allegation, and every possible distortion tried. Time tested liberal tactics that have usually worked.

Not this time. The money was more than matched and both sides of the story were heard. Walker handily beat the same opponent he beat before, now by a larger margin. A sizable (38%) of union members themselves voted for him. It is a victory for sanity, fairness and justice. If he survives…   there have been numerous death threats, violent union rallies and talk of riots.

UPDATE: Two informative pieces on this topic appeared in Catholic Exchange – Linda Chavez’ Big Lesson for Labor in Wisconsin Election and Pat Buchanan’s The Bell Tolls for the Government Unions.

— 7 —

Another happy puppy:

This beagle was only a puppy when his soldier left 6 months ago. This video was spotted by Deacon Greg. Elizabeth Scalia noted of it:

There is nothing like the unconditional love of a dog, and nothing like its fierceness when you need it’s protection. It will lay down its life to keep you safe, and when you come home after being away, it does not harass you; it does not shake a finger at you; it does not hold you at arms length until you prove yourself; it simply loves you with all the love it has within, and weeps with joy for your return. It’s the Prodigal Son story, only with an intensity the parable can only hint at.

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!

Baltimore Catechism: on the sacrament of penance

Baltimore Catechism

Lesson 17

When Our Blessed Lord redeemed us, He applied the benefits of the Redemption in the Sacrament of Baptism. By this Baptism He freed us from sin and the slavery of the devil; He restored us to God’s grace; He reopened for us Heaven; made us once more children of God: in a word, He placed us in the condition in which we were before our fall through the sin of our first parents. This was certainly a great kindness bestowed upon us, and one would think we would never forget it, and never more lose God’s friendship by any fault of ours; especially when we had seen the great miseries brought upon the world by sin, and had learned something of Hell where we would have been, and of Heaven which we would have lost, if Our Lord had not redeemed us. Our Blessed Lord saw, however, that we would forget His benefits, and again, even after Baptism, go freely into the slavery of the devil. How, then, could we be saved? We could not be baptized again, because Baptism can be given only once. Our good Lord in His kindness instituted another Sacrament, by which we could once more be freed from sin if we had the misfortune to fall into it after Baptism – it is the Sacrament of Penance. It is called the plank in a shipwreck. When sailors are shipwrecked and thrown helplessly into the ocean, their only hope is some floating plank that may bear them to the shore. So when we fall after Baptism we are thrown into the great ocean of sin, where we must perish if we do not rest upon the Sacrament of Penance, which will bring us once more in safety to the friendship of God. How very thankful the poor shipwrecked sailors would be to anyone who would offer them a plank while they are in danger! Do you think they would refuse to use it? In like manner how thankful we should be for the Sacrament of Penance, and how anxious we should be to use it when we arc in danger of losing our souls!

The Sacrament of Penance shows the very great kindness of Our Lord. He might have said: I saved them once, and I will not trouble Myself more about them; if they want to sin again, let them perish. But no, He forgives us and saves us as often as we sincerely call on Him for help, being truly sorry for our sins. He left this power also to His Apostles, saying to them: As often as any poor sinner shall come to you and show that he is truly sorry for his sins, and has the determination not to commit them again, and confesses them to you, I give you the power to pardon his sins in the Sacrament of Penance. The forgiveness of your sins is the chief though not the only blessing you receive in the reception of this Sacrament, through which you derive so many and great advantages from the exhortation, instruction, or advice of your confessor.

Is it not a great benefit to have a friend to whom you can go with the trials of your mind and soul, your troubles, temptations, sins, and secrets? You have that friend – the priest in the confessional. He is willing to help you, for he consecrated his life to God to help men to save their souls. He is able to help you, for he understands your difficulties, sins, and temptations, and the means of overcoming them. He has made these things the study of his life, and derives still greater knowledge of them from hearing the sad complaints of so many relating their secret sorrows or afflictions, and begging his advice.

Then you are sure that whatever you tell him in the confessional will never be made known to others, even if the priest has to die to conceal it. You might tell your secrets to a friend, and if you afterwards offended him he would probably reveal all you told him. The priest asks no reward for the service he gives you in the confessional, but loves to help you, because he has pledged himself to God to do so, and would sin if he did not. Some enemies of our holy religion have tried to make people believe that Catholics have to pay the priest in confession for forgiving their sins; but every Catholic, even the youngest child who has been to confession, knows this to be untrue, and a base calumny against our holy religion; even those who assert it do not believe it themselves. The good done in the confessional will never be known in this world. How many persons have been saved from sin, suicide, death, and other evils by the advice and encouragement received in confession! How many persons who have fallen into the lowest depths of sin have by the Sacrament of Penance been raised up and made to lead good, respectable lives – a blessing to themselves, their families, and society!

187 Q. What is the Sacrament of Penance?
A. Penance is a Sacrament in which the sins committed after Baptism are forgiven.

One who has never been baptized could not go to confession and receive absolution, nor indeed any of the Sacraments.

*188 Q. How does the Sacrament of Penance remit sin, and restore the soul to the friendship of God?
A. The Sacrament of Penance remits sin and restores the friendship of God to the soul by means of the absolution of the priest.

“Absolution” means the words the priest says at the time he forgives the sins. Absolve means to loose or free. When ministers or ambassadors are sent by our government to represent the United States in England, France, Germany, or other countries, whatever they do there officially is done by the United States. If they make an agreement with the governments to which they are sent, the United States sanctions it, and the very moment they sign the agreement it is signed and sanctioned by the authority of our government whose representatives they are, and their official action becomes the action of the United States itself. But when their term of office expires, though they remain in the foreign countries, they have no longer any power to sign agreements in the name and with the authority of the United States.

You see, therefore, that it is the power that is given them, and not their own, that they exercise. In like manner Our Lord commissioned His priests and gave them the power to forgive sins, and whatever they do in the Sacrament of Penance He Himself does. At the very moment the priest pronounces the words of absolution on earth his sentence is ratified in Heaven and the sins of the penitent are blotted out.

It may increase your veneration for the Sacrament to know the precise manner in which absolution is given. After the confession and giving of the penance, the priest first prays for the sinner, saying: “May Almighty God have mercy on you, and, your sins being forgiven, bring you to life everlasting. Amen.” Then, raising his right hand over the penitent, he says: “May the Almighty and merciful Lord grant you pardon, absolution, and remission of your sins. Amen.” Then he continues: “May Our Lord Jesus Christ absolve you, and I, by His authority, absolve you from every bond of excommunication and interdict, as far as I have power and you stand in need. Then I absolve you from your sins, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.” At these last words he makes the Sign of the Cross over the penitent. In conclusion he directs to God a prayer in behalf of the penitent in the following words: “May the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the merits of the Blessed Virgin Mary and of all the saints, and whatsoever good you may have done or evil you may have suffered, be to you unto the remission of your sins, the increase of grace, and the recompense of everlasting life. Amen.” Then the priest says, “God bless you,” “Go in peace,” or some other expression showing his delight at your reconciliation with God.

*189 Q. How do you know that the priest has the power of absolving from the sins committed after Baptism?
A. I know that the priest has the power of absolving from sins committed after Baptism, because Jesus Christ granted that power to the priests of His Church when He said: “Receive ye the Holy Ghost. Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; whose sins you shall retain, they are retained.”

Every Christian knows Our Lord Himself had power to forgive sins: – (1) because He was God, and (2) because He often did forgive them while on earth, and proved that He did by performing some miracle; as, for example (Mark 2; John 5), when He cured the poor men who had been sick and suffering for many years, He said to them, “Thy sins are forgiven thee; arise, take up thy bed, and walk,” and the men did so. Since Our Lord had the power Himself, He could give it to His Apostles if He wished, and He did give it to them and their successors. For if He did not, how could we and all others who, after Baptism, have fallen into sin be cleansed from it? This Sacrament of Penance was for all time, and so He left the power with His Church, which is to last as long as there is a living human being upon the earth. Our Lord promised to His Apostles before His death this power to forgive sins (Matt. 18:18), and He gave it to them after His resurrection (John 20:23), when He appeared to them and breathed on them, and said: “Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained.”

*190 Q. How do the priests of the Church exercise the power of forgiving sins?
A. The priests of the Church exercise the power of forgiving sins by hearing the confession of sins, and granting pardon for them as ministers of God and in His name.

The power to forgive sins implies the obligation of going to confession; because, as most sins are secret, how could the Apostles know what sins to forgive and what sins to retain – that is, not to forgive – unless they were told by the sinner what sins he had committed? They could not see into his heart as God can, and know his sins; and so if the sinner wished his sins forgiven, he had to confess them to the Apostles or their successors. Therefore, since we have the Sacrament of Penance, we must also have confession.

191 Q. What must we do to receive the Sacrament of Penance worthily?
A. To receive the Sacrament of Penance worthily we must do five things:

(1) We must examine our conscience. (2) We must have sorrow for our sins. (3) We must make a firm resolution never more to offend God. (4) We must confess our sins to the priest. (5) We must accept the penance which the priest gives us.

When we are about to go to confession the first thing we should do is to pray to the Holy Ghost to give us light to know and remember all our sins; to fully understand how displeasing they are to God, and to have a great sorrow for them, which includes the resolution of never committing them again. The next thing we should do is:

(1) “Examine our conscience”; and first of all we find out how long a time it is since our last confession, and whether we made a good confession then and received Holy Communion and performed our penance. The best method of examining is to take the Commandments and go over each one in our mind, seeing if we have broken it, and in what way; for example: First. “I am the Lord thy God; thou shalt not have strange gods before Me.” Have I honored God? Have I said my prayers morning and night; have I said them with attention and devotion? Have I thanked God for all His blessings? Have I been more anxious to please others than to please God, or offended Him for the sake of others? Second “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.” Have I cursed? Have I taken God’s name in vain or spoken without reverence of holy things? Third. “Remember thou keep holy the Sabbath day.” Have I neglected to hear Mass through my own fault on Sundays and holy days of obligation? Have I kept others from Mass? Have I been late, and at what part of the Mass did I come in? Have I been willfully distracted at Mass or have I distracted others? Have I done servile work without necessity? Fourth. “Honor thy father and thy mother.” Have I been disobedient to parents or others who have authority over me – to spiritual or temporal superiors, teachers, etc.? Have I slighted or been ashamed of parents because they were poor or uneducated? Have I neglected to give them what help I could when they were in need of it? Have I spoken of them with disrespect or called them names that were not proper? Fifth. “Thou shalt not kill.” Have I done anything that might lead to killing? Have I been angry or have I tried to take revenge? Have I borne hatred or tried to injure others? Have I given scandal? Sixth. “Thou shalt not commit adultery.” Have I indulged in any bad thoughts, looked at any bad pictures or objects, listened to any bad conversation, told or listened to bad or immodest jokes or stories, or, in general, spoken of bad things? Have I done any bad actions or desired to do any while alone or with others? Seventh. “Thou shalt not steal.” Have I stolen anything myself or helped or advised others to steal? Have I received anything or part of anything that I knew to be stolen? Do I owe money and not pay it when I can? Have I bought anything with the intention of never paying for it or at least knowing I never could pay for it? Have I made restitution when told to do so by my confessor; or have I put it off from time to time? Have I failed to give back what belonged to another? Have I found anything and not tried to discover its owner, or have I kept it in my possession after I knew to whom it belonged? Have I cheated in business or at games? Eighth. “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.” Have I told lies or injured anyone by my talk? Have I told the faults of others without any necessity? It is not allowed to tell the faults of others – even when you tell the truth about them – unless some good comes of the telling. Ninth. “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife.” This can come into our examination on the Sixth Commandment. Tenth. “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s goods.” This can come into our examination on the Seventh Commandment.

After examining yourself on the Commandments of God, examine yourself on the Commandments of the Church.

First. “To hear Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation.” This has been considered in the examination on the Third Commandment. Second “To fast and abstain on the days appointed.” Have I knowingly eaten meat on Ash Wednesday or the Fridays of Lent, or not done some chosen penance on the other Fridays of the year, or not fasted on Ash Wednesday or Good Friday, unless I had good reason not to do so on account of poor health or other reason? Third. “To confess at least once a year.” Is it over a year, and how much over it, since I have been to confession? Fourth. “To receive Holy Eucharist during the Easter time.” Did I go to Holy Communion between the first Sunday of Lent and Trinity Sunday? If not, I have committed a mortal sin. Fifth. “To contribute to the support of our pastors.” Have I helped the church and reasonably paid my share of its expenses – given to charity and the like, or have I made others pay for the light, heat, and other things that cost money in the church, and shared in their benefits without giving according to my means? Have I kept what was given me for the church or other charity, or stolen from the church and not stated that circumstance when I confessed that I stole? Sixth. “Not to marry persons who are not Catholics, or who are related to us within the third degree of kindred, or privately without witnesses, nor to solemnize marriage at forbidden times.” Have I anything to tell on this Commandment?

After examining yourself on the Commandments of God and of His Church, examine yourself on the capital sins, especially on “Pride.” Have I been impudent and stubborn, vain about my dress, and the like? Have I despised others simply on account of poverty or something they could not help? “Gluttony.” Have I ever taken intoxicating drink to excess or broken a promise not to take it? Have I knowingly caused others to be intoxicated? “Sloth.” Have I wasted my time willfully and neglected to do my duty at school or elsewhere? After examining yourself on the Commandments and capital sins, examine yourself on the duties of your state of life. If you are at school, how have you studied? You should study not alone to please your parents or teachers, but for the sake of learning. If you are at work, have you been faithful to your employer, and done your work well and honestly?

The above method is generally recommended as the best in the examination of conscience. But you need not follow these exact questions; you can ask yourself any questions you please: the above questions are given only as examples of what you might ask, and to show you how to question yourself. It is useless to take any list of sins in a prayerbook and examine yourself by it, confessing the sins just as they are given. If you do take such a list and find in it some questions or sins that you do not understand, do not trouble yourself about them. In asking yourself the questions, if you find you have sinned against a Commandment, stop and consider how many times. There are few persons who sin against all the Commandments. Some sin against one and some against another. Find out the worst sin you have and the one you have most frequently committed, and be sure of telling it.

(2) “Have sorrow for our sins.” After examining your conscience and finding out the sins you have committed, the next thing is to be sorry for them. The sorrow is the most essential part in the whole Sacrament of Penance. In this Sacrament there are, as you know, three parts: contrition, confession, and satisfaction – and contrition is the most important part. When, therefore, we are preparing for confession, we should spend just as much time, and even more, in exciting ourselves to sorrow for our sins as in the examination of our conscience. Some persons forget this and spend all their time examining their conscience. We should pray for sorrow if we think we have none. Remember the act of contrition made at confession is not the sorrow, but only an outward sign by which we make known to the priest that we have the sorrow in our hearts, and therefore we must have the sorrow before making the confession – or at least, before receiving the absolution. Now what kind of sorrow must we have? Someone might say, I am not truly sorry because I cannot cry. If some of my friends died, I would be more sorry for that than for my sins. Do not make any such mistakes. The true and necessary kind of sorrow for sin is to know that by sin you have offended God, and now feel that it was very wrong, and that you have from this moment the firm determination never to offend Him more. If God adds to this a feeling that brings tears to your eyes, it is good, but not necessary.

(3) Remember real sorrow for sin supposes and contains “a firm resolution” never to sin again. How can you say to God, “O my God, I am heartily sorry,” etc., if you are waiting only for the next opportunity to sin? How can we be sorry for the past if we are going to do the same in the future? Do you think the thief would be sorry for his past thefts if he had his mind made up to steal again as soon as he had the chance? Ah, but you will say, nearly all persons sin again after confession. I know that; but when they were making their confession they thought they never would, and really meant never to sin again; but when temptation came, they forgot the good resolution, did not use God’s help, and fell into sin again. I mean, therefore, that at the time you make the act of contrition you must really mean what you say and promise never to sin, and take every means you can to keep that promise. If you do fall afterwards, renew your promise as quickly as possible and make a greater effort than before. Be on your guard against those things that make you break your promise, and then your act of contrition will be a good one. A person may be afraid that he will fall again, but being afraid does not make his contrition worthless as long as he wishes, hopes, and intends never to sin again. We should always be afraid of falling into sin, and we will fall into it if we depend upon ourselves alone, and not on the help which God gives us in His grace.

(4) “Confess our sins.” Having made the necessary preparation, you will next go into the confessional; and while you are waiting for the priest to hear you, you should say the Confiteor. When the priest turns to you, bless yourself and say: “Bless me, father, for I have sinned. It is a month or a week (or whatever time it may be) since my last confession, and I have since committed these sins.” Then tell your sins as you found them in examining yourself. In confession you must tell only such things as are sins. You must not tell all the details and a long story with every sin. For example, if a boy should confess that he went to see a friend, and after that met another friend, and when he came home he was asked what had kept him, and he told a lie. Now, the going to see the friend and the meeting of the other friend, and all the rest, was not a sin: the sin was telling the lie, and that was all that should have been confessed. Therefore, tell only the sins. Then tell only your own sins, and be very careful not to mention anyone’s name – even your own – in confession. Be brief, and do not say, I broke the First Commandment or the Second by doing so and so; tell the sin simply as it is, and the priest himself will know what Commandment you violated. Again, when you have committed a sin several times a day do not multiply that by the number of days since your last confession and say to the priest, I have told lies, for example, four hundred and forty-two times. Such things only confuse you and make you forget your sins. Simply say, I am in the habit of telling lies, about so many, three or four – or whatever number it may be – times a day. Never say “sometimes” or “often” when you are telling the number of your sins. Sometimes might mean ten or it might mean twenty times. How then can the priest know the number by that expression? Give the number as nearly as you can, and if you do not know the whole number give the number of times a day, etc. Never say “maybe” I did so and so; because maybe you did not, and the priest cannot judge. Tell what you consider your worst sin first, then if there be any sin you are ashamed to tell or do not know how to tell, say to the priest: “Father, I have a sin I am ashamed to tell, or a sin I do not know how to tell”; and then the priest will ask you some questions and help you to tell it. But never think of going away from the confessional with some sin that you did not tell. The devil sometimes tempts people to do this, because he does not like to see them in a state of grace and friends of God. When you are committing the sin, he makes you believe it is not a great sin, and that you can tell it in confession; but after you have committed it he makes you believe that it is a most terrible sin, and that if you tell it, the priest will scold you severely. So it is concealed and the person leaves the confessional with a new sin upon his soul – that of sacrilege. When Judas was tempted to betray Our Lord, he thought thirty pieces of silver a great deal of money; and then, after he had committed the sin, he cared nothing for the money, but went and threw it away, and thought his sin so dreadful that he hanged himself, dying in despair.

It is not necessary to tell the priest the exact words you said in cursing or in bad conversation, unless he asks you; but simply say, Father, I cursed so many times. Do not speak too loud in the confessional, but loud enough for the priest to hear you. If you are deaf, do not go into the confessional while others are near, but wait till all have been heard and then go in last, or ask the priest to hear you someplace else.

(5) Listen attentively to hear what “penance” the priest gives you, and say the act of contrition while he pronounces the words of absolution; and above all, never leave the confessional till the priest closes the little door or tells you to go. If the priest does not say at what particular time you are to say your penance, say it as soon as you can.

When you have, told all your sins, you will say: “For these and all the sins of my whole life, especially any I have forgotten, I am heartily sorry, and ask pardon and penance.” Listen to the priest’s advice, and answer simply any question he may ask you. If you should forget a mortal sin in confession and remember it the same day or evening, or while you are still in the church, it will not be necessary to wait and go to confession again. It is forgiven already, because it was included in your forgotten sins; but you must tell it the next time you go to confession, saying before your regular confession: In my last confession I forgot this sin. Of course if you tried to forget your sins your confession would be invalid. It is only when you examine your conscience with all reasonable care, and then after all forget some sins, that such forgotten sins are forgiven.

Never talk or quarrel for places while waiting for confession, and never cheat another out of his turn in going to confession. It is unjust, it makes the person angry, and lessens his good disposition for confession. It creates confusion, and annoys the priest who hears the noise. If you are in a hurry, ask the others to allow you to go first; and if they will not be contented and wait, and if you cannot wait, go some other time, unless you are in the state of mortal sin. In this case you should go to confession that day, no matter what the inconvenience. Spend your time while waiting in praying for pardon and sorrow. Never keep the priest waiting for you in the confessional; pass in as soon as he is prepared to hear you.

192 Q. What is the examination of conscience?
A. The examination of conscience is an earnest effort to recall to mind all the sins we have committed since our last worthy confession.

“Worthy confession,” because if we made bad confessions we must tell how often we made them, and whether we received Holy Communion after them or not, and also all the sins we told in the bad confessions, and all others committed since the good confession. If, for example, a boy made a good confession in January, and in confession in February concealed a mortal sin and went to confession after that every month to December, he would have to go back to his last good confession, and repeat all the sins committed since January, and also say that he had gone to confession once a month and made bad confessions all these times.

*193 Q. How can we make a good examination of conscience?
A. We can make a good examination of conscience by calling to memory the Commandments of God, the precepts of the Church, the seven capital sins, and the particular duties of our state in life, to find out the sins we have committed.

*194 Q. What should we do before beginning the examination of conscience?
A. Before beginning the examination of conscience we should pray to God to give us light to know our sins and grace to detest them.

Elsewhere: God first


Christianity 101: God above all else. Yet, many people place God lower on their list — if He makes the list at all. Priorities are often given to money, drugs (including alcohol), spectator sports, participant sports, crafts, unions, jobs, sex and many other areas of interest. When God goes head-to-head with political convictions, many people will sadly choose their politics. I wrote about this in 2010: Idolatry (hint: it’s not just golden calfs).

As Catholics, our number one social issue is life itself and therefore faithful Catholics do not support abortion in any way whatsoever. This is non-negotiable. It is a grave sin to have an abortion or to facilitate them. That includes not only abortion clinic staff, but politicians who pass laws to fund or increase access to such clinics. Voters for those politicians are sinful through their complicity.

Catholics belong to both major parties. Neither is perfect, but the Democratic party has moved to positions which are inflexibly contrary to the Church. The Church is not wrong. We reject their support for abortion, support for “gay marriage,” centralized decision making in opposition to subsidiarity and their serious attack upon our religious liberty.

Contrary to common wisdom, not all Catholic Democratic politicians have completely discarded their faith in favor of politics. A few have tried to restore the party to its moral roots by working within it. Jo Ann Nardelli is one such person. She is a Democratic committeewoman, the president and founder of the Blair County Federation of Democratic Women, Vice President of the PA State Women’s Caucus and 1st Vice President of the PA State Federation of Democratic Women (in line for their presidency in 2014).

Matthew Archbold picks-up the story for the National Catholic Register:

Nardelli has always been a pro-life Democrat and felt that there was always room for that position in the party. But she said that for the past few years she’s felt that the party was drifting further and further away from her. She said she never shied away from speaking about her Catholic faith or her pro-life views as a Democrat.

She said that for years she hoped that she could change the party from within, make it more in line with traditional values. “I thought I could make a difference to change our party. It didn’t work,” she said. “I noticed it that it’s been going more and more to the left. This is not my father’s party. I did not leave the party, the party left me.”

In a letter of resignation to the Democratic party, Nardelli cited her Catholic faith.

“I respect all of you and all that I have achieved in the past. Due to personal matters and faith beliefs at this time, it is only fair to resign,” she wrote. “I will miss you all very much as you are all a part of my family; however, it is time to move forward with my life in a direction that is more in line with my faith.”

She announced her decision at a press conference at the courthouse in Hollidaysburg and standing next to her was Monsignor Anthony Little of the local parish of Saint Patrick’s in Newry.

She said it started a few weeks ago, ironically as she and her husband were getting ready for Mass and watching Meet the Press when Joe Biden, a Catholic, cited his support for gay marriage.

This shocked her. She said she’d always related to Biden. She said he reminded her of her father. But this announcement shocked her. And then, shortly after, President Obama announced that he’d “evolved” into supporting gay “marriage.”

And then as a Democratic committeewoman she received her agenda from the party espousing the same position. “To stand up and agree and sign off on this I couldn’t do it,” she said. “So I talked to our priest.”

I am conflicted by this. On the one hand, bravo for Jo Ann Nardelli! NOT because this is a political action against one party or in favor of another. Bravo because she is placing her faith, her Church – God – first. The downside is there will now be one less voice of truth and reason that could save the Democratic party from itself.

Read the entire piece: Democrat Committeewoman Resigns from Party, Cites Her Catholic Faith.

Some of the many news reports are here, here, here, here and here.

“I, the LORD, am your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that place of slavery. You shall not have other gods besides me. You shall not carve idols for yourselves in the shape of anything in the sky above or on the earth below or in the waters beneath the earth; you shall not bow down before them or worship them. For I, the LORD, your God, am a jealous God, inflicting punishment for their fathers’ wickedness on the children of those who hate me, down to the third and fourth generation; but bestowing mercy down to the thousandth generation, on the children of those who love me and keep my commandments.