Memorare to St. Joseph

Daily prayer for the Synod on the Family:

Remember, O most chaste spouse of the Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who implored your help and sought your intercession were left unassisted. Full of confidence in your power I fly unto you and beg your protection. Despise not O Guardian of the Redeemer my humble supplication, but in your bounty, hear and answer me.

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I am Catholic, I Cannot go to Hell!

My Dear People,

Like Many Cultural Catholics, She Lived All the Pagan Values of Today’s Society

Gloria Polo-Ortiz, a speaker from Columbia SA, shared her near death experience with us a few years ago. She told us of having been struck dead by lightening. Leaving her body, she felt herself rising toward the heavens. Before she reached the eternal light of Heaven, she began to fall backwards into the darkness. Even though she had been baptized and raised Catholic, she never actually embraced or lived her faith. In fact, like many cultural Catholics, she live all the pagan values of today’s society. She never went to confession, and used her faith to promote her professional needs. As she fell closer to Hell, she kept crying out, “I am Catholic, I cannot go to Hell, I went to Church. I performed good deeds.”

As she approached the mouth of Hell, she was suddenly snatched up by an angel and returned to her body. Later, she was shown by Our Lord, that a poor peasant farmer had sacrificed some of his food money to have a mass offered for her soul. Jesus told her that she would have fallen completely into the fires of Hell, had it not been for this man’s heroic merciful act of love for her. This is sobering to say the very least. The Gospel tells us that those who lived pagan lives, and call out, “Lord, Lord”, begging for help, will encounter his Divine Justice. Don’t wait until your deathbed to repent. Convert your lives while there is still time. Live God’s Mercy TODAY!

Entrusting you to the care of Our Lady,

Fr. Mark Bozada

May we always be ready to live in the ocean of Jesus’ Divine Mercy, so as to forego His Divine Justice.

Bishop Conley: Same-Sex Attraction and the Courage to Follow the Gospel

The Courage of Jesus Christ

By Bishop James D. Conley, The Southern Nebraska Register:

The novelist William Faulkner understood the virtue of courage. He understood that to be courageous implies taking a risk; stepping foot into the unknown; pursuing a good even when it might place us in danger.

“You cannot swim for new horizons,” he wrote, “until you have courage to lose sight of the shore.”

Jesus Christ called his disciples to the same kind of courage. He told them to lose sight of the shore’s safety—to “cast out into the deep,” where they would find the abundance of his grace. In him, and because of him, they had the courage to follow Jesus to an abundant life—an extraordinary life—but only because they were willing to risk the unknown.

When Pope St. John Paul II was inaugurated, in 1978, he echoed Jesus’ call for courage. “Do not be afraid to follow Jesus,” he told the world. “Take courage—Corragio!”

It can take courage to follow Christ to the world with the Gospel. But it can take even more courage to open ourselves to Christ—to allow the Gospel to transform our own hearts, to loosen what binds us, to set us free for the abundant life we’re made for. “Do not be afraid to open yourselves to Jesus,” Pope St. John Paul said, have “courage to commit yourselves humbly and patiently to improving yourselves,” in the grace of God.

Nothing can be more daunting than revealing the brokenness and challenges of our lives to the Lord, and asking him to bring us healing and wholeness. Seeking grace is always an act of courage. But acts of courage—losing sight of the shore—lead us to new horizons.

Homosexual Attractions and Seeking God’s Plan

Cardinal Terence Cooke

In 1980, the late Cardinal Terrence Cooke served as a spiritual advisor to men and women with homosexual attractions, seeking to live the fullness of God’s plan for their lives—seeking to be faithful disciples of Jesus Christ. Cardinal Cooke and Father John Harvey began forming groups—which they called “Courage”—of men and women with homosexual attractions, dedicated to chastity, prayer, friendship, and mutual support. Courage groups now meet across the globe, helping to form and support those Catholics with the courage to seek God’s grace, and to follow after the Gospel. We’re blessed, in the Diocese of Lincoln, by the ministry of Courage.

Dan, Rilene, and Paul are three Catholics who’ve experienced healing and mercy through Jesus Christ—and through the ministry of Courage. And last year, they had the courage to share the story of their extraordinary lives in Jesus Christ in “Desire of the Everlasting Hills,” a documentary in which they share their hope in Jesus Christ, and the challenges they’ve faced in the experience of same-sex attraction.

The candid discussion of their lives reveals their humanity, their crosses, and the profundity of their own courage. It also reveals how damaging the homosexual lifestyle can be to men and women with same-sex attraction. And it reveals the need for the Church—and for Catholics—to welcome those with same-sex attraction as human beings, in true friendship, calling to conversion, but also expressing true compassion for the challenges of their lives. Following Jesus takes courage for each one of us—and appreciating the courage of those who follow Jesus despite cultural and emotional pressure to reject the Gospel, is instructive inspirational.

The Church should always be a place of welcome for those in need of healing, mercy, and courage. God’s plan—setting out into the deep—is the best possible plan for each one of us. And inviting men and women with same-sex attraction to know the meaning of the Gospel—and to experience supportive and prayerful chaste communities—is a part of our Christian mission.

I pray that those with same-sex attraction will have the courage to follow the Gospel, and to contact the community of Courage. And I pray that each of us will have the courage to welcome, invite, and respect those who carry heavy burdens, and who are in need of the healing presence of Jesus Christ.

Why Can’t Catholics Support Planned Parenthood?

Catholic Identity, Planned Parenthood, and the Gospel of Life

By Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades, Fort Wayne-South Bend Diocese:

This past week, I was contacted by numerous people who expressed serious concern about a recent public display by some students and faculty at Saint Mary’s College that positively portrayed the services of Planned Parenthood. I was very saddened to learn that this show of support for an organization that is the largest abortion provider in our country occurred at a Catholic college in our diocese. At the same time, I have been heartened by those students, faculty and alumnae of St. Mary’s College who are committed to the cause of life and the authentic good of women and have expressed their opposition to Planned Parenthood and any positive portrayal of this organization.

The actions taken by the students and faculty in support of Planned Parenthood illustrate that even at a Catholic college, there are those who cling to the conviction that Planned Parenthood is an organization dedicated to the well-being of women. While I do not doubt the sincerity of those who hold this view, I do challenge them to seriously re-examine for what this organization stands in light of our common humanity and our Catholic faith.


The Evil Roots of Planned Parenthood

From its very beginning, Planned Parenthood came into existence as a means to promote the eugenicist vision of its founder, Margaret Sanger. Consider the astonishing words with which she expounded this worldview in her book, The Pivot of Civilization, published in 1922:

“The lack of balance between the birth rate of the ‘unfit’ and the ‘fit,’ admittedly the greatest present menace to civilization, can never be rectified by the inauguration of a cradle competition between these two classes. The example of the inferior classes, the fertility of the feeble-minded, the mentally defective, the poverty-stricken, should not be held up for emulation to the mentally and physically fit, and therefore less fertile, parents of the educated and well-to-do classes. On the contrary, the most urgent problem today is how to limit and discourage the over-fertility of the mentally and physically defective. Possibly drastic and Spartan methods may be forced upon American society if it continues complacently to encourage the chance and chaotic breeding that has resulted from our stupid, cruel sentimentalism.”

The fact that Planned Parenthood continues to operate clinics primarily in poor, minority neighborhoods raises the question whether this original vision still largely informs its strategy and its mission today. Planned Parenthood’s own website states that 80 percent of its clients receive “services” to prevent unintended pregnancy, and that the provision of contraception constitutes over a third of all the organization’s activity. From a Catholic point of view, contraception does not constitute true health care because it neither preserves nor restores the proper functioning of the body, but rather, damages one of its natural functions. In fact, there is increasing evidence that when a woman’s fertility is suppressed through the use of synthetic hormones, she is exposed to serious health risks. Especially in light of Pope Francis’ call in Laudato Si for a greater respect for human nature and an integral ecology, can’t this be seen as a lack of stewardship and care for the ecology of our human bodies? Even more problematic is the fact that the most effective contraceptives available today can also function as abortifacients. Is it any wonder that the first feminists condemned both abortion and contraception as offensive and injurious to women? Instead, they called both men and women to mutual respect and self-restraint in marriage as a way to live responsible parenthood. To the extent that Planned Parenthood does provide any legitimate health services for women — such as cancer screenings or testing for sexually transmitted diseases — those services are already widely provided by others. Community health centers, for example, provide free or low-cost services to 22 million patients in urban and rural areas and outnumber Planned Parenthood clinics 13 to 1.


The Relationship between Contraception and Abortion Revealed

Many people have come to believe that contraception is part of the solution to the problem of abortion. What is becoming increasingly clear, however, is just how closely abortion and contraception are connected. Contraception is not part of the solution to the culture of death — it is part of the problem. This is because contraception attempts to sever the link between sex and procreation, which, if unsuccessful, can be definitively accomplished through an abortion. In his 1995 encyclical, The Gospel of Life, Pope John Paul II emphasized this connection:

“Despite their differences of nature and moral gravity, contraception and abortion are often closely connected, as fruits of the same tree. It is true that in many cases contraception and even abortion are practiced under the pressure of real-life difficulties, which nonetheless can never exonerate from striving to observe God’s law fully. Still, in very many other instances such practices are rooted in a hedonistic mentality unwilling to accept responsibility in matters of sexuality, and they imply a self-centered concept of freedom, which regards procreation as an obstacle to personal fulfillment. The life which could result from a sexual encounter thus becomes an enemy to be avoided at all costs, and abortion becomes the only possible decisive response to failed contraception.”

One in three abortions in our nation is currently performed at a facility operated by Planned Parenthood, up from one in five abortions in 2005. In a strategy designed to increase their market share, Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) in 2010 stipulated that, by 2013, every affiliate must have one or more clinics that perform abortions on site. A few affiliates left PPFA rather than comply with this requirement, but most did not. That this strategy was successful is evidenced by the fact that as in 2013 alone — the last year for which complete data is available — Planned Parenthood affiliates performed 327,653 abortions. In fact, 94% of the “services” that Planned Parenthood provides for pregnant women are abortions, either surgical or medical, (by means of the abortion drug RU-486), outnumbering other options 16 to 1. In fact, since 1970, Planned Parenthood facilities have aborted over 5 million unborn children, and abortions currently account for over one-third of the organization’s income.


The Throwaway Culture

Pope Francis has called abortion the product of a “widespread mentality of profit, the throwaway culture, which has today enslaved the hearts and minds of so many.” When he addressed the bishops of the United States during his historic visit to our country in September, Pope Francis urged us not to look the other way or remain silent in the face of such evils:

“The innocent victims of abortion, children who die of hunger or from bombings, immigrants who drown in the search for a better tomorrow, the elderly or the sick who are considered a burden, the victims of terrorism, wars, violence and drug trafficking, the environment devastated by man’s predatory relationship with nature — at stake in all of this is the gift of God, of which we are noble stewards but not masters. It is wrong, then, to look the other way or to remain silent.”

The Gospel of Life is a seamless garment covering many issues involving human life and dignity. Respect for human life from the moment of conception is an integral part of the message of salvation and the mission of the Church, and the first principle of its social teaching upon which every other human right is founded. Catholic institutions, including Catholic colleges and universities, must not look the other way or remain silent in the face of attacks against the most vulnerable human beings among us, those as yet unborn. According to the apostolic constitution Ex Corde Ecclesiae, “Catholic ideals, attitudes and principles penetrate and inform university activities” in all aspects of campus life at a Catholic college or university.

Catholic identity is not only about what we stand for; it is also about what we will not stand for. Just as we would be rightly scandalized to see a public display portraying a racist organization like the Ku Klux Klan in a positive light, so too, we expect Catholic colleges to refuse to lend any kind of respectability to organizations like Planned Parenthood that play such a significant role in the culture of death. Authentic freedom, academic or otherwise, is always linked to the service of truth and love. It is also ordered to the formation of the human person in truth and love, formation in which Catholic colleges and universities play a critical role.

Saint John Paul II summoned us to do better by the young adults with whose formation we have been entrusted in this beautiful but difficult area of life: “It is an illusion to think that we can build a true culture of human life if we do not help the young to accept and experience sexuality and love and the whole of life according to their true meaning and in their close interconnection. … Only a true love is able to protect life.”

— Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades


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How the Hell?

How the Hell are we Helping If We Do Not Tell
the Truth About Sexuality and Marriage?

Dear Brethren,

I received a number of emails from friends after Respect Life Sunday saying that they heard little, if anything, about life and family from the pulpit. It is as if some pastors are afraid of preaching the Gospel of Life, or have something more important to talk about even when it is chosen as the day to preach on precisely these issues.

The failure to preach the Gospel of Life is not only a U.S. problem. During HLI’s conferences, I hear the same comments from around the world. I bring this up when I speak to seminarians, priests, and bishops – many times the only message the faithful will hear about these incredibly urgent pastoral and moral questions is at Mass.

Generally, Catholics might hear a homily on abortion once a year. They might hear an occasional reference to euthanasia – a subject some deem easier to preach about – but most usually never hear references to contraception, homosexuality, promiscuity, pornography, cohabitation or divorce.
It is also not helpful when Church leaders accept the false caricature that “the Church is always talking about these issues,” so it’s about time we talked about something else. Apparently “the Church” has not sufficiently talked about issues in a way that helps the political party that now treats abortion as a “human right.”

Fr. Shenan J. Boquet’s, Human Life International Open Letter


A Sucker Punch.

When one cardinal said two years ago that those Catholics who were in second civil unions without annulment of their marriages should not be expected to be heroes by being celibate, many couples who had been abstaining from sex felt like they had been punched in the gut. What had they been sacrificing for? Such a position makes it sound like Jesus’ teaching on marriage is just too hard to follow. We know better than Jesus. We are more pastoral. It is even more hurtful when the cardinal’s superior also seems to accept and repeat this characterization of Church teaching as being uncompassionate.

It is true that priests and bishops are people too. When they preach in a way that displeases people not only might they lose parishioners, they may also lose collection revenue and invite nasty e-mails and face-to-face conversations after Mass. Most of us know the risks too well.


How the Hell

But, my brothers, we have given our lives to a Man who submitted to a gruesome and humiliating death! We follow Our Lord, who died on a cross for us! If we love those whom we are given to serve in our parishes – let me choose my words carefully here – how the hell are we helping them if we do not tell them the truth – the Good News – about sexuality and marriage? These are pastoral issues, and cannot be reduced to some obscure teaching that was meant for another time! Pope Saint John Paul II knew this well:

The Gospel of life is at the heart of Jesus’ message. Lovingly received day after day by the Church, it is to be preached with dauntless fidelity as “good news” to the people of every age and culture. (Evangelium vitae 1)

My God, my God, why have we forsaken you? How did we let ourselves come to the belief that you, Our Lord, meant for our lives to be as easy as possible? That Your Law — what You told us is what those who love you will follow — can only be held up when it happens to find agreement with our fallen culture?


The Violence of Contraception

Why are we not protecting married couples from the violence of contraception — the divorce of unitive and procreative aspects of the beautiful gift of sexuality? Why are we afraid of helping our brothers and sisters to live in truth, according to their dignity?

What is our role and duty in Christ – in truth and charity?

No one has said that we must only preach about life and family issues. Anyone who claims differently is ignorant or is trying to manipulate the listener. As priests we must prayerfully discern how to bring the Word of God directly to those we serve in a way that they can hear. We absolutely must remind the faithful of their obligation to serve in solidarity with those in need, to be generous with their material gifts. We owe it to our congregations to remind them of the goodness of Truth and Beauty – the goodness of life, of God’s creation and our responsibility to be stewards of what we’ve been given. We have to remind people that our faith cannot be reduced to rules, but is based on Love.

But we must never accept the false representation of Church teaching on life and marriage as lacking compassion, or pretend it was made for another time. We must not be afraid to tell the truth about life and family, as there are no more immediate or urgent pastoral issues that our families are dealing with at home or in the public square.

Preaching on these issues on Respect Life Sunday is a bare minimum – a starting point. We are forming hearts and minds so that the faithful can in freedom choose wisely and lovingly when the moment of heroism – even everyday heroism for those with great challenges – comes their way. It is not “pastoral” to ignore the loving doctrine we have been given and offer solutions that soothe and confuse. This is not love.

Link to article on

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Father Shenan J. Boquet
President, Human Life International

5 Facts You Never Knew About Gluttony

by Fr. Francis J. Hoffman, JCD, Relevant Radio: Gluttony is one of the seven capital vices, and according to St. Thomas Aquinas it is the “inordinate desire” for the pleasures of food and drink. Dante defines gluttony as an “excessive desire for pleasure.” More contemporary writers note that this sin also includes excessive indulgence in entertainment.

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Certainly overeating is a form of gluttony, because you eat more than you need. Just because a person is overweight does not mean he is a glutton. He may eat very little yet still gain weight because of a low metabolic rate or lack of exercise, or simply because he eats the wrong kinds of food. But generally speaking, a person who is corpulent has to wage a battle against gluttonous desires.

Here’s what we might call the “classic portrait” of gluttons: They desire food, but they rarely enjoy it because food has become a chore for them. They are always thinking about food and tend to organize their thoughts and daily tasks around food.

5 Facts You Never Knew About Gluttony

  • Those who style themselves gourmets or fine connoisseurs of wine and the like may be on the border of gluttony, because what primarily interests them is pleasure and not the higher things, such as the contemplation of God.
  • Moreover, gluttony is the forerunner of impurity, as St. Josemaria Escriva and other spiritual writers have wisely pointed out.
  • The classic glutton is not attractive and is given to burping, slurping, gulping food, talking too loud, rarely listening. Gluttony typically leads to loquaciousness and vulgarity in speech. It dulls the mind and incites unquenchable desires.
  • The malice of gluttony, or the overindulgence in pleasure, is that it tends to weaken the will and suffocate the soul. The gluttonous mind simply cannot focus on God.
  • The glutton is almost addicted to the avoidance of suffering and instinctively runs away from hard work and sacrifice, making it difficult to embrace Our Lord’s teaching: “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it” (Mt 16:24).

If a person commits a mortal sin of gluttony, it separates him from Christ just as any other mortal sin would: The soul is deprived of grace. It’s hard to say just what amount of food ingested on a single occasion would be mortally sinful, but if the amount of food or alcohol consumed causes a person to become sick, it’s likely the line has been crossed.

Of course, the mortal status of the act may also depend on other conditions. For example, it would be a different matter if we were talking about a man who was literally starving but discovered food, then wolfed it down so quickly that he made himself sick.

What would be a good penance for gluttony? I can think of a number of things: Eat Brussels sprouts once a day for a week, or simply give up snacks between meals.


Fr. Francis J. Hoffman, JCD (aka “Fr. Rocky”) is a priest of Opus Dei and Executive Director of Relevant Radio. His “Question and Answer” column appears in Our Sunday Visitor’s The Catholic Answer Magazine.

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The Three Sins of Priests

By :

The Book of the Prophet Malachi is set forth as a kind “riv” (a Hebrew word for a lawsuit, indictment, or controversy) by God. The Lord sets forth a legal case of sorts, which convicts ancient Israel of numerous deficiencies and calls for their repentance. The case that God presents shows a body of evidence that is just as true today as it was then. God has plenty to say and we have much to hear, much to repent of.

Prophet Malachi

I am going to examine the Book of the Prophet Malachi in two successive posts. Today’s post is about the sins of the priests. Tomorrow’s post will focus on the
sins of the people.

As we look to the sins of the priests enumerated here, please understand that neither the biblical text nor my commentary should be construed to mean that all or even most priests are like this. But, sadly, the sins and shortcomings of the clergy are far too common. As priests must strive to be better and more holy, so also must the laity remember to pray for us.

With that in mind, let’s consider the sins of the priests (as listed by Malachi) in three basic areas.

I. Shoddy Sacraments

“A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If then I am a father, where is my honor? And if I am a master, where is my fear? So says the Lord of hosts to you, O priests, who despise my name. You say, ‘How have we despised thy name?’ By offering polluted food upon my altar. And you say, ‘How have we polluted it?’ By thinking that the Lord’s table may be despised. When you offer blind animals in sacrifice, is that no evil? And when you offer those that are lame or sick, is that no evil? Present that to your governor; will he be pleased with you or show you favor? says the Lord of hosts. And now entreat the favor of God, that he may be gracious to us. With such a gift from your hand, will he show favor to any of you? says the Lord of hosts. 10 Oh, that there were one among you who would shut the doors, that you might not kindle fire upon my altar in vain! I have no pleasure in you, says the Lord of hosts, and I will not accept an offering from your hand. 11 For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name is great among the nations, and in every place incense is offered to my name, and a pure offering; for my name is great among the nations, says the Lord of hosts. 12 But you profane it when you say that the Lord’s table is polluted, and the food for it may be despised (Malachi 1:6-12).

Those are strong words indeed. And while the injunction regarding blemished and polluted animals has changed, the intrinsic problem too often remains: the shoddy celebration of the Liturgy and the sacraments.

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One of the most common complaints from the faithful regards priests who violate liturgical norms and/or allow others to do so. Few things offend charity and unity as much as the open and often egregious violation of liturgical norms. And while it is true that some violations are smaller matters in themselves, why not just celebrate the Liturgy as it is set forth in the books? There are of course options, and not every complaint of the faithful is accurate or fair, but God’s people have endured several decades of exotic and often egocentric liturgical experiments, which are not approved and which take the focus off God and the proper worship due Him.

Not every priest can clear up every problem in the Liturgy the day he walks through the door, but proper liturgical formation of God’s people with due regard to charity and patience is an essential task for the pastor of souls. And the priest should begin with himself. The liturgy, both in terms of its mechanics and its deeper spiritual significance, should be his study and his great love.

Another problem that can emerge is inattentiveness to the dignity and beauty of the Mass and the sacraments. Beauty and decorum are important ways that we communicate our love for God and one other. Priests should be properly vested, prayerfully prepare their sermons, and avoid mannerisms that are inappropriate or overly casual. Opulence is not necessary, but priests should ensure that liturgical appointments are clean, in good repair, and of proper dignity.

Decades ago, poor immigrant communities were responsible for building of some of the most beautiful churches. They also supplied some of the finest liturgical implements and art. It is important that we keep what they have bequeathed to us in good repair. Further, priests can and should teach today’s faithful to follow the example of these recent ancestors of ours by seeking to build and maintain worthy Churches, erected for the glory of God not just the utility of man. In the recent past, many of the faithful have been shocked and hurt by senseless “wreckovations” of sanctuaries and altars. Thanks be to God that many today are growing in appreciation for the older churches and are seeking to preserve them.

If God was offended by the offering of a lame or sick animal, why should we think He is pleased with “just any old stuff” in the Sacred Liturgy? God does notneed our gold chalices or our tall churches, but He knows how we are made. And the shoddy, perfunctory, “anything goes” celebration of the Sacred Liturgy says something about our hearts, our priorities, and what we value.

Priests above all must avoid all conscious violation of liturgical norms, make central the devoted study of liturgy, and inspire respect among the faithful for the Sacred Liturgy. St. Paul summarizes well his liturgical teaching of 1 Cor 11-14 by saying, But all things should be done decently and in good order (1 Cor 14:40).

II. Burdens not blessings? Behold your Barrenness!

13 ‘What a weariness this is,’ you say, and you sniff at me, says the Lord of hosts….2“And now, O priests, this command is for you. If you will not listen, if you will not lay it to heart to give glory to my name, says the Lord of hosts, then I will send the curse upon you and I will curse your blessings; indeed I have already cursed them, because you do not lay it to heart. Behold, I will rebuke your offspring, and spread dung upon your faces, the dung of your offerings, and I will put you out of my presence. So shall you know that I have sent this command to you, that my covenant with Levi may hold, says the Lord of hosts. My covenant with him was a covenant of life and peace, and I gave them to him, that he might fear; and he feared me, he stood in awe of my name (Malachi 1:13, 2:1-5).

The priests of that ancient Jewish time had families, and God warned that if the fathers did not obey, the children would surely suffer many curses. And while priests today do not have children of their own, thousands call us “Father”!

And here in our times is the warning of God that the sins and omissions of the priests surely have brought trouble upon the faithful. We have been through a period in which too many priests have been rebellious, unfaithful to Church teaching, slothful, unprepared to preach, un-prayerful, irreverent, and even guilty of grave sins and violations of their state in life. Far too many priests and religious have also left the sacred call they agreed to live for life.

All of this has resulted in many troubles for the faithful. Some have been left discouraged and angry, most are poorly catechized and ill-informed on critical moral issues. Many are confused by priests and bishops who have openly dissented and, as the text says, who do not listen to God or lay to heart His teaching and stand in awe of God’s name.

As such, the flock is often cursed by this poor priestly leadership and example. Eighty percent of Catholics no longer attend Mass. Many of those who do attend are barely in communion with the Church’s teaching, and struggle to live the glorious vision set forth in the Gospel.

Sadly, this text from Malachi echoes a similar text from Zechariah, Strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered (Zech 13:7). This is why the sins of the priests are so serious and why the faithful must pray especially for them. For indeed not only are priests subject to targeted attack by Satan, they are also especially susceptible to grandiosity, pride, and the sin of craving human respect.

Pray that priests do not become weary of exhortation, or speak of their office as a “burden.” Pray, too, that they do not succumb to modern and soft notions that the Gospel is too “burdensome” for the faithful to live, and therefore fail to preach it or to encourage the faithful.

This leads to the third sin of the priests that is mentioned by Malachi.

III. Sacerdotal Silence

True instruction was in [Levi’s] mouth, and no wrong was found on his lips. He walked with me in peace and uprightness, and he turned many from iniquity. For the lips of a priest should guard knowledge, and men should seek instruction from his mouth, for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts. But you have turned aside from the way; you have caused many to stumble by your instruction; you have corrupted the covenant of Levi, says the Lord of hosts, and so I make you despised and abased before all the people, inasmuch as you have not kept my ways but have shown partiality in your instruction.” (Malachi 2:6-9)

Silent pulpits are all too common in the Church today. Some priests prefer to “play it safe,” fearing to preach about the issues of the day out of human weakness. Other priests do not believe certain teachings themselves or think them impractical in modern times. Still others, as the text says, have turned aside from the truth, preaching and teaching outright dissent. As such, the text further says, they cause many to stumble by preaching corruption.

It is tragic as well that so many are permitted to mislead the faithful and are not disciplined for it by their religious superiors.

The text says that a priest should guard knowledge. That is, he should protect it from those who would distort it and should refute error. He must also guard it from misunderstanding and see that it is presented in the balance of others truths in the Scripture and in Tradition. St. Paul says of a presbyter (a priest), He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it (Titus 1:9).

The text of Malachi also warns against partiality, wherein a priest picks and chooses what truths he will teach or emphasize. St. Paul said to the elders at Miletus, Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all, for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:26-27). Yes, the whole counsel, the complete truth, is to be taught by the priest.

Malachi rebukes the priests of his day for their partial preaching and, sadly, some of these rebukes must still be made. Encourage your priests when they speak confidently and clearly. Thank them and give them support, even if they challenge you. The job of a priest is not to be popular but to be a prophet. It’s tough work and it doesn’t always bring cheers. But even the prophets need support from the 7000 who have still not bent the knee to Baal or kissed him (cf 1 Kings 19:18). Pray for priests and encourage them to announce the whole counsel of God.

These are some of the sins of the priests that God sets forth. Let us not forget that the world also has many hard-working, dedicated, loyal, and holy priests. Yet, as these texts remind us, too easily priests can lose their way; forgetting the glory of the liturgies they celebrate; referring to their office and the gospel as burdensome; and growing too silent out of either fear or laziness.

Pray for priests!


Introducing A True Masterpiece Honoring Our Mother Mary

The 2016 Madonna Calendar

Attention Lovers of Our Mother Mary:

Today the Courageous Priest family-run apostolate has been graced with the opportunity to share with you something special. Back by popular demand, we are offering you a 2016 Madonna Wall Calendar showcasing the works of 18th century French artist William Adolphe Bouguereau.

Honestly, it is a rare beauty, like a remember seeing the Grand Canyon with the awe and the peacefulness.

I fondly remember hearing a Dominican Sister of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist say that when you see true beauty, it turns your heart to the Heavenly Father’s House. Well, that is what Bouguereau has done. His masterpieces of Our Mother Mary without a doubt turn the heart to Heaven.

What Makes This Madonna Calendar So Special?

Well it is a calendar about our Mother Mary. But, honestly, when you open the package the typical response is a heartfelt “WOW!” The quality of this calendar is rare.

  • Touching it, you can actually feel the quality, like hands caressing silk.
  • You can really see the quality and professionalism. Remember the time when you were on vacation with your loved ones and you witnessed the most talented artisan creating the most remarkable craft?  It is like that.


And most importantly it speaks to your heart.

I witnessed that when Jeff first viewed the calendar. He stopped. Took a deep breath and exclaimed, “John, this one!” I knew exactly what he was talking about. He was overwhelmed with the beautiful image of Our Mother Mary. That’s Our Mother speaking to the heart.

I personally think Our Lady is very pleased with this calendar made in her honor.

You will love this! This Madonna calendar honors both the new and traditional liturgical calendars, which mostly means Saints removed from the old calendar are recognized on this one. Without a personal doubt, I believe God the Father honors both calendars. It is such a good feeling to see powerful saints, like St. Philomena and St. Christopher, back in their proper places on the calendar. It’s just like rekindling a good friendship lost long ago.

Brand new this year, the calendar includes the daily readings.  This calendar is a spiritual work horse.

As our “Thank You” to you, . . .

 Your entire family, living and deceased, will be included in the 900 Christmas Mass Novena beginning on Christmas Eve which is offered by the Seraphic Mass Association.  Yes that is correct, 900 Capuchin Masses including you in their special Mass intentions.


You can click the image to see a better picture.



“I absolutely love the calendar – the Pictures are just beautiful! Glad I bought it ! Thanx” – Patti W.

“Dear John and Regan, the calendar arrived today and it is everything said and more. Thank you” – Walter B. from Florida

“Can’t wait for my 2 calendars! I am so excited.” – Brian K. Australia

“The beautiful calendar arrived yesterday. It is everything you promised and then some. Some 22 years ago I discovered William Bourguereau and his gently beautiful paintings. Softness which comes from love of The Lord and of Our Blessed Mother is in all of his works. I am delighted that you have made a whole collection of his paintings available in the calendar. What a lovely way to start each new day…and a new month.” June S. from Idaho

“Your beautiful calendars arrived today. The pictures, as you said, are good enough to frame.” – Denise O. from Missouri


How much is it?

Your typical professional-quality calendars range from $14.95 to $21.95 with a higher than expected shipping and handling cost. Yes, you can find some for less, but we are asking you to help support the Courageous Priest family run apostolate. We don’t ask for donations, but we do ask for your purchase. We want it to be a fair price, so we are offering it for $14.95 plus shipping and handling. We hope that is fair enough.

To be honest, the last time was a crazy big event with us selling a whopping 800 calendars.

At our request the supplier made the calendar smaller to fit a more economical shipping rate. That one little change has allowed us to lower the price by $4.00. That makes us both happy.

Please act now, as this an introductory offer and the prices will raise on November 23rd. For any questions, or to order by check, please call 573-735-2002.  

Click HERE to support Courageous Priest and Buy the 2016 Madonna Calendar

Important: No International orders. Sorry for the inconvenience, but shipping for international orders are running $10 to $36 extra.

20% Large Order Discount Available

This lovely calendar is perfect for the home or office and makes a great gift for Christmas or any occasion.   We are having people contacting us so they can order more for their loved ones.   So, here is what we are going to do for you.  When you buy 5 or more calendars you receive 20% off. Can you believe we had one generous soul order 50!

Click HERE to Buy 5 or more at 20% Off

Sharon from North Carolina said.

“After having just received one of your exquisite calendars of the Blessed Mother with the artwork of Bouguereau. We knew we’d enjoy having 5 more to give as gifts.”

Oh yeah, we have a guarantee.

We Guarantee Your Satisfaction – Buy it Risk-Free. You either absolutely love it or return it with a no-questions asked full refund. We want you 100% satisfied.

So, there you have it. Would you please do Courageous Priest and yourself a favor and buy this before the introductory low rate ends November 23rd.  We cannot tell you how much we greatly support your generosity.

May God, who is rich in Mercy, bless you.

John Quinn and Jeff Gares
Co-founders, Courageous Priest

P.S. We are serious about the introductory offer. If you wait, you will lose out on this special introductory offer. So don’t wait, go ahead and please click on the “Buy Now” button. For questions or to order by check, please call 573-735-2002.

P.P.S. And don’t forget about the the 900 Christmas Mass Novena  your family will be automatically enrolled.

P.P.P.S.   Don’t forget your friends and family. Over half of our purchases are going to loved ones.  And 20% off is hard to find on calendars before Christmas. Please click here for multiple orders.
2014 Madonna Calendar


Click HERE to support Courageous Priest and Buy the 2016 Madonna Calendar


Click HERE to Buy 5 or more at 20% Off


If the Old Testament Laws have Changed…Why Not Homosexuality Too?

Courageous Priest News: Have your heard what people are saying about the Madonna Calendar, a true masterpiece honoring our Mother Mary?


Click Here

“I absolutely love the calendar – the Pictures are just beautiful! Glad I bought it ! Thanx” – Patti W.

“Dear John and Regan, the calendar arrived today and it is everything said and more. Thank you” – Walter B. from Florida

“Can’t wait for my 2 calendars! I am so excited.” – Brian K. Australia

“The beautiful calendar arrived yesterday. It is everything you promised and then some. Some 22 years ago I discovered William Bourguereau and his gently beautiful paintings. Softness which comes from love of The Lord and of Our Blessed Mother is in all of his works. I am delighted that you have made a whole collection of his paintings available in the calendar. What a lovely way to start each new day…and a new month.” June S. from Idaho

“Your beautiful calendars arrived today. The pictures, as you said, are good enough to frame.” – Denise O. from Missouri

We have a low introductory rate to encourage early buyers. Please support our family apostolate and buy the 2016 Madonna Calendar.  Thanks!


Saying Yes to Real Love

By Fr. Christopher Pietraszko, Fr. Pietraszko’s Corner: Sometimes people will quote scripture with regard to the penal laws in the old-testament, punishing people’s sins that are quite common-today.  Amongst them is homosexual acts.  Secularists and progressive Christians will point to the apparent hypocrisy of a Church that calls those living according to their sexual desires that do not follow the order of God’s design to repentance, while not also calling those who break other laws in the old testament that seem trivial today.  As a result of such arm-chair theologians we get seemingly ironic yet ignorant memes such as the one in this blog-post.Lev Meme

Part of the theological problem is people have too few categories to assess the law and to understand it.  Such an over-simplistic (dumbed-down faith) results from not catechizing people of common-sense distinctions with regard to the moral law and the juridical precepts which St. Thomas Aquinas and the Church clearly indicate were not intended to be perpetual, while the natural law is immutable.  That is to say some laws were given by God for a time, and others are immutable.  In the old-testament, often this distinction is not being clearly made, as the author lists the punishment for disobedience to all laws in general.

Thanks be to God, for the non-fundamentalist tradition of the Catholic Church.  The Church makes the distinction between the Natural Moral Law and various juridical precepts.  The natural-moral law is engraved into the very nature of man, and is immutable, while various juridical laws that were meant to maintain the integrity of the Jewish people as a distinct civilization were conditioned upon the time and circumstance, yet nonetheless willed by God.


3 Reasons Why People Do Not Make a Distinction Between
the Natural Moral Law and Various Juridical Precepts

The problem that I run into is that you will rarely find people that are willing to take the time to understand this distinction.  Firstly because their interest is in supporting a conclusion by whatever means necessary, including a straw-man argument.  Secondly, because so few teachers of the faith are able to articulate the distinction well enough for people.  Thirdly and most importantly, most people have a post-modern understanding of law, where they understand Law in general to be an imposition upon nature, rather than something flowing out of nature itself.  That is to say, too often people perceive God’s moral law, (Divine or Natural) to be a “positive-law” that is arbitrarily imposed upon man, rather than for the objective purpose of helping man flourish. Moses

Those who seek to do away with the law because they feel as if our modern era has progressed beyond it have likely bought into this notion of a “positive-moral law” given to us by God.  The irony is that such people claim to be following the “spirit of the law.”  When in reality, to gaze upon the moral law as if it is something imposed upon nature, rather than flowing out of it, for its own fulfillment and flourishing indicates the very opposite truth:  a failure to internalize the spirit of the moral law.  That is to say, in deeply penetrating the nature of God’s law as pointing towards true fulfillment in the divine design and nature of man, we now live in accord to the Spirit.  As a result we will look upon the natural moral law as immutable and the juridical laws as changeable.

But if we view God’s moral law as a positive law that constantly changes, then you must also ascribe to the notion that God is violently at work against us, to supress and repress our nature as such, rather than to heal it.  Yes, it is true that our nature is fallen, and God does seek to tell us to avoid that irrational disorder within us all (concupiscence), but He also seeks to restore us to our true nature, and to never repress or supress this divine design within us.  We give great glory and praise to God when we compliment Him on His wonderful design, and we bear grave insult to Him when we try to refashion it according to our own ignorance and disordered desires.

As Pope Francis put it at the end of the synod on Families:

Indeed, it means upholding all the more the laws and commandments which were made for man and not vice versa (cf. Mk 2:27).
In this sense, the necessary human repentance, works and efforts take on a deeper meaning, not as the price of that salvation freely won for us by Christ on the cross, but as a response to the One who loved us first and saved us at the cost of his innocent blood, while we were still sinners (cf. Rom 5:6).
The Church’s first duty is not to hand down condemnations or anathemas, but to proclaim God’s mercy, to call to conversion, and to lead all men and women to salvation in the Lord (cf. Jn 12:44-50).”


Saying Yes to Real Love

The Church is not so much condemning a person when it uses the language “disordered” to describe the attractions that a person has.  In fact, it is being consistent since every single human being is afflicted with concupiscence, and therefore all people have a variety of disordered desires.  The person themselves is not a disorder, but the person “has” a disorder.  So what?  Everyone has an inclination to sin.  The path to a fruitful and joyful life is not to be enslaved to irrational desires.  Rather it is to be who you are:  male or female and all that implies.  It is not up to us to change the grand design of God, nor to throw away those whose desires do not line up to their desires.  Furthermore, it is harmful to us to act contrary to who we are or to say that we are our desires.  Rather we are to call everyone to make a great sacrifice to say “no” to themselves so that they can say “yes” to what real love looks like.  It is ironic that in the world today the Church is told it does not accept these people.  But in reality, we are the only one’s truly accepting who they are, even while some such persons reject who they are objectively because of how they feel.  It is emotivism.

This true-acceptance of the person is impossible for legalists, even if they are “progressive” or “traditional.”  By the way it isn’t “traditional” to break with the Spirit of the Law, nor do we make any progress when we do this…. Whatever side we fall on, treating God’s moral law as anything but what comes natural to us according to our design leads to legalism.  And from legalism we get harsh, angry bigots or lawless, angry dissenters.  Both are to be rejected.  Capiche?