Archives for April 2013

Baltimore Catechism: on which the Holy Eucharist was instituted

Baltimore Catechism

Lesson 23

251 Q. Why did Christ institute the Holy Eucharist?
A. Christ instituted the Holy Eucharist: (1) To unite us to Himself and to nourish our souls with His divine life. (2) To increase sanctifying grace and all the virtues in our souls. (3) To lessen our evil inclinations. (4) To be a pledge of everlasting life. (5) To fit our bodies for a glorious resurrection. (6) To continue the sacrifice of the Cross in His Church.

“To nourish.” The Holy Eucharist does to our souls what natural food does to our bodies. It strengthens them and makes up for the losses we have sustained by sin, etc. “A pledge,” because it does not seem probable that a person who all during life had been fed and nourished with the sacred body of Our Lord should after death be buried in Hell. “To fit our bodies,” because Our Lord has promised that if we eat His flesh and drink His blood, that is, receive the Holy Eucharist, He will raise us up on the last day, or Day of Judgment. (John 6:55).

*252 Q. How are we united to Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist?
A. We are united to Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist by means of Holy Communion.

253 Q. What is Holy Communion?
A. Holy Communion is the receiving of the body and blood of Christ.

Holy Communion is therefore the receiving of the Sacrament of Holy Eucharist.

254 Q. What is necessary to make a good Communion?
A. To make a good Communion it is necessary to be in a state of sanctifying grace, to be fasting for one hour, and to have a right intention.

“Fasting” – that is, not having taken any food or drink for one hour before the time of Communion. (Water and true medicine do not break the fast and may be taken at any time.) What, then, are you to do, if, without thinking, you break your fast? Do not go to Communion at that Mass; you can remain in church and receive Communion at the following Mass. Never, never, on any account, go to Holy Communion when you have broken your fast. Never let fear or shame or anything else make you do such a thing. It is no shame to break your fast by mistake; but it is a great sin to knowingly go to Communion after breaking your fast.

“A right intention” – holy and spiritual motive, such as, to obey Our Lord’s command, to receive strength to resist temptation, or to be united with Our Lord.

255 Q. Does he who receives Communion in mortal sin receive the body and blood of Christ?
A. He who receives Communion in mortal sin receives the body and blood of Christ, but does not receive His grace, and he commits a great sacrilege.

“The body and blood,” because the appearance of bread and wine is there after consecration, and he receives it. He who receives the Holy Eucharist in mortal sin receives Our Lord into a filthy soul. If a great and highly-esteemed friend was coming to visit your house, would you not take care to have everything clean and neat, and pleasing to him? And the greater the dignity of the person coming, the more careful you would be. But what are all the persons of dignity in the world – kings or popes – compared with Our Lord, who leaves the beauties of Heaven to come to visit our soul? and the purest we can make it is not pure enough for Him. But He is kind to us, and is satisfied with our poor preparation if He sees we are doing our very best. But oh, what a shame to receive Him into our soul without any preparation! and more horrible still, to fill it with vile sins, that we know are most disgusting to Him! No wonder, therefore, that receiving Holy Communion unworthily is so great a crime, and so deserving of God’s punishment. Why should not the heavenly Father punish us for treating His beloved Son with such shameful disrespect and contempt?

*256 Q. Is it enough to be free from mortal sin, to receive plentifully the graces of Holy Communion?
A. To receive plentifully the graces of Holy Communion it is not enough to be free from mortal sin, but we should be free from all affection to venial sin, and should make acts of lively faith, of firm hope and ardent love.

*257 Q. What is the fast necessary for Holy Communion?
A. The fast necessary for Holy Communion is the abstaining for one hour from everything which is taken as food or drink.

“Food or drink.” If you swallowed a button, for example, it would not break your fast, because it is not food or drink.

*258 Q. Is anyone ever allowed to receive Holy Communion when not fasting?
A. Anyone in danger of death is allowed to receive Communion when not fasting.

“Not fasting.” But then the Holy Communion is called by another name; it is called the Viaticum, and the priest uses a different prayer in giving it to the sick person. When a person dies, he goes, as it were, on a journey from this world to the next. Now, when persons are going on a journey they must have food to strengthen them. Our Lord wished, therefore, that all His children who had to go on this most important of all journeys – from this world to the next – should be first strengthened by this sacred food, His own body and blood. The Latin word for road or way is via, and Viaticum therefore means food for the way. Not only are persons in danger of death allowed to receive when not fasting, but they are obliged to receive; and the priest is obliged under pain of sin to bring Holy Communion to the dying at any hour of the day or night.

When I speak of a great journey from this world to the next, from earth to Heaven, you must not understand me to mean that it is a great many miles from earth to Heaven, or that it takes a long time to go to the next world. No. We cannot measure the distance, nor does it take time to get there. The instant we die, no matter where that happens, our soul is in the next world, and judged by God.

*259 Q. When are we bound to receive Holy Communion?
A. We are bound to receive Holy Communion, under pain of mortal sin, during the Easter time and when in danger of death.

*260 Q. Is it well to receive Holy Communion often?
A. It is well to receive Holy Communion often, as nothing is a greater aid to a holy life than often to receive the Author of all graces and the Source of all good.

*261 Q. What should we do after Holy Communion?
A. After Holy Communion we should spend some time in adoring Our Lord, in thanking Him for the graces we have received and in asking Him for the blessings we need.

New Evangelists Monthly – April 2013, Issue #4

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7 Quick Takes Friday (set #94)

7 Quick Takes Friday

This week: Carmina Burana as Carl Orff never envisioned it (this is a hoot). The nature of marriage (apparently most people have no clue). Infanticide, not a bridge too far for Planned Parenthood. A Planned Parenthood in Delaware streams seriously injured patients to local hospitals. They also do not like this to be noticed. New protections for life in Spain (not what you might hope). PETA vs. Planned Parenthood, who kills the most?

— 1 —

Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana has been re-imagined as an Ode to Sleep Deprived Parents. The Sydney Symphony ran a “Say it with Carmina” contest and selected this entry. You will recognize the tune and love the lyrics:

— 2 —

The nature of marriage, a reminder for those who have forgotten…

Spotted by The Anchoress

— 3 —

A lobbyist for Planned Parenthood has testified before the Florida legislature to promote “post birth abortion” (a/k/a infanticide). What is really amazing, is that some people *still* think this organization is all about women’s health.

— 4 —

On the issue of killing people, do not assume that PP harms only babies. Every woman who undergoes the violence of abortion suffers long-term mental and physical consequences. Some suffer immediate trauma, such as these 2 incidents at the *same* Planned Parenthood abortuary in Delaware within 10 days of each other:

— 5 —

Incidents, such as the above, occur all the time and tarnish the false image Planned Parenthood tries to project. I expect that they will build future facilities with fully enclosed ambulance bays in order to conceal the loading of victims. Until then, they will just have to improvise:

— 6 —

In a bold move, Spain has enacted a new law to protect life from the moment of conception and ban fetal experimentation. Before you rejoice, this law protecting life applies only to monkeys. Humans, alas, are not afforded these same protections. It must be a matter of priority. Catholic Lane has the story: Planet of the Apes.

— 7 —

Speaking of monkey business, Matthew Archbold noticed that PETA kills 90% of those entrusted to its care. This is shocking to those who believed that their focus was life, not death. The interesting part is (depending on how you look at the numbers – a quibble only of degree) that PP does the same thing, but worse. “Planned Parenthood is kicking PETA’s a$$ when it comes to killing those whom it claims to defend.” See Matt’s piece PETA Takes Heat, Planned Parenthood Keeps on Keepin’ On.

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!

Elsewhere: 10 great things about Catholicism


There is much written about the Church of Our Lord. Everything from history (in Protestant influenced history books) to current events (in the liberal, anti-Catholic mass media). Much of it is uninformed or agenda driven crap problematic reporting.

The New York Times for example, known for its attacks against the Church, proves this wisdom: never ascribe to malice that which can be explained by incompetence. A classic example was their reporting on Easter Sunday (they “mischaracterized” Easter as the celebration of Jesus’ resurrection into heaven instead of his resurrection from the dead). Basic stuff.

Good books are available for those seeking more than slanted or ignorant, secular viewpoints. One such is Triumph: The Power and the Glory of the Catholic Church, A 2,000-Year History by H. W. Crocker III. Author Crocker has recently made a “top 10” list on Catholicism for Catholic Exchange. Items everyone would include like truth and hope are there, as well as some surprising ones like the inquisition and crusades. I like that Crocker tackles them head-on, briefly explaining why they are far from the embarrassments typically portrayed.

What’s so great about Catholicism? Here are ten things – in countdown order – to which one could easily add hundreds of others.

10. Hope

Classical paganism, as we know, always ended in despair — a noble despair sometimes, but despair nevertheless. Eastern religions don’t offer much in the way of hope, as they are tied to doctrines of fate, cycles of history, and a nirvana of extinction. Reformation Protestantism is pretty despairing, too, with Calvin’s belief that it would have been better for most people if they had never been born, predestined as they are for damnation. Secularism and materialism are no better, as wealthy secular societies tend to have the highest rates of suicide.

But in the Catholic Church, there is hope. Salvation is open to every man willing to take it. And though Jesus warned His apostles that following His way meant enduring inevitable persecution and hatred, He also gave them this promise: The gates of hell would not prevail against the Church. Even outsiders recognize this. Who ever heard of a deathbed conversion to Methodism? Hope comes from the Real Thing.

9. The Inquisition

The Inquisition? Yes, let’s not be shy. The Inquisition is every Catholic-basher’s favorite tool of abuse – though it is one that is very much not in the basher’s favor. There were several Inquisitions. The first in order of importance in Catholic history was the Inquisition against the Albigensians – a heresy that encouraged suicide, euthanasia, abortion, sodomy, fornication, and other modern ideas that were distasteful to the medieval mind. The struggle against the Albigensians erupted into war – and a war that could not be carefully trammeled within crusading boundaries. So Pope Gregory IX entrusted the final excision of the Albigensian heresy to the scalpel of the Inquisition rather than the sword of the Crusader.

Did this Inquisition of the 13th century strike fear into the people of western Europe? No. Its scope was limited; its trials and punishments more lenient to the accused than were those of its secular counterparts. Inquisitional punishment was often no more than the sort of penance – charity, pilgrimage, mortification – that one might be given by a priest in a confessional. If one were fortunate enough to live in England, northern France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Scandinavia, or, with the exception of Aragon, even, at this time, Spain, the risk that one might be called before an inquisitional trial was virtually zero. The focus of the Inquisition was in the Albigensian districts of southern France; in Germany, where some of the worst abuses occurred; and in those parts of chaotic Italy rife with anticlerical heresy. In all cases, inquisitional courts sat only where Church and state agreed that peace and security were threatened. Nevertheless, the courts were abused. The Church could not modify an ironclad rule of life as true in the 13th century as it is today: Every recourse to law and the courts is a calamity. But the Church then, and people today, seemed to assume it is better than vigilantes and war. There’s no accounting for some tastes.

More famous, certainly, is the Spanish Inquisition. The Spanish Inquisition was a state-run affair, where the Church’s role was to act as a brake of responsibility, fairness, and justice on the royal court’s ferreting out of quislings (who were defined, after centuries of war against the Muslims, as those who were not sincere and orthodox Catholics). Recent scholarship, which has actually examined the meticulous records kept by the Spanish Inquisition, has proven – to take the title of a BBC documentary on the subject – The Myth of the Spanish Inquisition. We now know, beyond all doubt, that the Monty Python sketch of inquisitors holding an old lady in “the comfy chair” while they tickle her with feather dusters is closer to the truth than images of people impaled within iron maidens. (One of the standard works of scholarship is Henry Kamen’s The Spanish Inquisition: A Historical Revision, Yale University Press.) In the course of an average year, the number of executions ordered by the Spanish Inquisition – which covered not only Spain but its vast overseas empire – was less than the number of people put to death annually by the state of Texas. And this at a time when heresy was universally considered a capital crime in Europe. The myth of the Spanish Inquisition comes from forged documents, propagandizing Protestant polemicists, and anti-Spanish Catholics, who were numerous. The fact is, far from being the bloodthirsty tribunals of myth, the courts of the Spanish Inquisition were probably the fairest, most lenient, and most progressive in Europe.

8. The Crusades

7. The Swiss Guards and the French Foreign Legion

6. Art

5. Freedom

4. The Saints

3. Unity

2. The Sacraments

1. Truth

Nothing else would matter about Catholicism if it weren’t true. But it is our firm belief as Catholics that it is true. And, indeed, I believe that the historical case for the Catholic Church is virtually irrefutable, as irrefutable as it was to Cardinal Newman. And there is something else. We know that the Church affirms that its members and servants are all subject to original sin. But while men might falter, the teaching of the Church does not. That has been our rock, tested through the tempests of centuries and undiminished through time.

Innumerable secular and other forces are against us. Even within our own midst we have been painfully reminded of the work that needs to be done to cleanse and purify our Church. Evil stalks the world. But then, it always has. And the Church has survived, and in the heat of persecution, it has grown in numbers and strength. Let us remember that fact. And let us always keep in mind the immortal words of Auberon Waugh: “There are countless horrible things happening all over the country, and horrible people prospering, but we must never allow them to disturb our equanimity or deflect us from our sacred duty to sabotage and annoy them whenever possible.”

Amen to that. Keep the faith, dear readers, and remember that our ultimate destination is heaven.

Read the whole article at Ten Great Things About Catholicism.

I do not know all that I would choose for my own top-10 list, but I agree with Crocker on #1 — truth. The Church is certainly not perfect and others may have parts of the truth, but only the Catholic Church was instituted by Christ and is protected by the Holy Spirit until the end of time. Chesterton said it very well:

There are a thousand reasons to leave the Church and only one reason to stay:   it’s true.