Daily Prayer for Priests

O my Jesus, I beg You on behalf of the whole Church ... give us holy priests. You yourself maintain them in holiness.

O Divine and Great High Priest, may the power of Your mercy accompany them everywhere and protect them from the devil's traps and snares, which are continually being set for the souls of priests.

May the power of Your Mercy, O Lord, shatter and bring to naught all that might tarnish the sanctity of priest, for You can do all things. - St. Faustina (Diary, 1052)

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Will One Mortal Sin Keep Me From Heaven?

 The Question of a Man’s Eternal Destiny Comes Down to This:

by Father Ryan Erlenbush, The New Theological Movement

Ezekiel 18:25-28

When someone virtuous turns away from virtue to commit iniquity, and dies, it is because of the iniquity he committed that he must die.

“Do you really think that God is going to send me to hell just because I skipped Mass one Sunday?! I mean, I was on vacation!”

Father Ryan Erlenbush

Father Ryan Erlenbush

To this, we must respond, “If you die without true repentance, you will surely go to hell.”

Speaking to the prophet Ezekiel, Our Lord makes clear that one mortal sin causes not only the loss of the state of grace, but also the loss of all previous merit. For, by a single mortal sin, by which a just man turneth himself away from his justice and comitteth iniquity, all the good he has done will be set aside and forgotten, and he will not live buthe shall die eternally.

The Question of a Man’s Eternal Destiny Comes Down to This:

Without sanctifying grace habitually present in the soul, no man can possibly be saved. The question of a man’s eternal destiny comes down to this: If he should die in the state of grace, with the divine life present in his soul, he will live eternally in heaven. If he should die in mortal sin, without the divine life present in his soul through grace, he will die eternally in hell.

Let us consider why all the good deeds of a lifetime are not enough to save a man who dies in the state of mortal sin.

If the just man turn himself away from his justice and do iniquity … all his justices which he hath done shall not be remembered. (Ezekiel 18:24)

 

Merit – Condign and Congruous

What may be difficult for some to accept is the fact that all previous merit is lost through a single mortal sin. Some are tempted to state, “Even if I commit a mortal sin, won’t God judge based on my whole life? Won’t he remember the many good things I have done in the past?” However, when we have a proper understanding of merit, it is clear that all previous good works and merits are lost entirely by a single mortal sin.

Merit is divinded into condign and congruous merit. Condign merit is the value of a man’s good works when considered as coming from the Holy Spirit. Congruous merit is the value of those same works considered as coming from the man himself who is a friend of God. Both types of merit can only be gained when a man is in the state of grace – for without sanctifying grace, the Holy Spirit is not present in his soul after the manner which gains condign merit; and further, the man is not a friend of God but his enemy and therefore cannot gain congruous merit.

Why a man loses all previous grace through one mortal sin

Once the divine life is cut off within through a fall to mortal sin, all the growth of that divine life is likewise lost. For this reason, the preceding acts of goodness which were in themselves meritorious even of eternal life are entirely forgotten and set aside by a single mortal sin – even as much as no amount of previous nutrition can be of present benefit to a corpse.

If we make this comparison of the life of the soul to the life of the body, it becomes quite clear that mortal sin (which kills the soul) erases all previous grace. Consider the case of a man who has lived a long and happy life, and taken good care of his body through the years. Now, after that man should die, may any look at the corpse and insist that it must be alive because it had after all lived for so many years and had received such good care over those years? Of course not!

In the same manner, consider a soul which has lived in the state of grace for many years and which has been nourished by the sacraments and other graces. Now, after that soul should fall into mortal sin and die spiritually, may any look at that corpse of a soul and insist that she must yet be alive because she had been in the state of grace for so many preceding years? Of course not!

And if the soul should be found dead by the Judge, his just pronouncement upon her must be nothing else but to admit her spiritual death. And, if a soul is spiritually dead when coming before the Judgment Seat, she will die an eternal death in hell – because only the living may be admitted to the life of heaven.  No amount of previous life will be of any benefit to such a soul, for she is now dead.

Must God restore graces to a soul after repentance?

Further, God has no obligation to restore the soul to her previous state if she should repent after a fall. While we do have hope that, in his mercy, he would do this, it must be clear that he is under no such obligation and that the soul can in no way lay any claim to this gift.

All those merits and good works are lost, by virtue of the death of the soul in mortal sin. If she should repent and turn to the Lord so that she may live, it is quite true that God will forgive and set aside all previous sins, but it does not follow that he will thereby recall all previous good works and merits.

Nevertheless, we may hope that God would do this for the soul. We may hope that, even after a fall, the Good God would lift the soul at least some way back to where she had been – and that he would credit to her at least some of her previous merits.

Devotion to Mary and restoration after a fall

We must be clear: No one has any claim to the restoration of previous merits after a fall into mortal sin. However, St. Louis Marie De Montfort does give an indication of where we ought to turn and in whom we should trust if we desire to keep safe our merits and previous good works even in the midst of our own inconsistency and imperfection. We must turn to Mary.

Consider the following words from “The Secret of Mary” which, although not directly stating that Mary will preserve our merits even if we should fall, at least gives us every reason to have great confidence in the most loving of all mothers:

“In adopting this devotion, we put our graces, merits and virtues into safe keeping by making Mary the depositary of them.

“It is as if we said to her, “See, my dear Mother, here is the good that I have done through the grace of your dear Son. I am not capable of keeping it, because of my weakness and inconstancy, and also because so many wicked enemies are assailing me day and night. Alas, every day we see cedars of Lebanon fall into the mire, and eagles which had soared towards the sun become birds of darkness, a thousand of the just falling to the left and ten thousand to the right. But, most powerful Queen, hold me fast lest I fall. Keep a guard on all my possessions lest I be robbed of them. I entrust all I have to you, for I know well who you are, and that is why I confide myself entirely to you. You are faithful to God and man, and you will not suffer anything I entrust to you to perish. You are powerful, and nothing can harm you or rob you of anything you hold.”

“”When you follow Mary you will not go astray; when you pray to her, you will not despair; when your mind is on her, you will not wander; when she holds you up, you will not fall; when she protects you, you will have no fear; when she guides you, you will feel no fatigue; when she is on your side, you will arrive safely home” (Saint Bernard).

“And again, “She keeps her Son from striking us; she prevents the devil from harming us; she preserves virtue in us; she prevents our merits from being lost and our graces from receding.”

“These words of St Bernard explain in substance all that I have said. Had I but this one motive to impel me to choose this devotion, namely, that of keeping me in the grace of God and increasing that grace in me, my heart would burn with longing for it.”

Fornication, Hell and the Bible

We are in a Sinfully Confused Cultural Setting 

By: Msgr. Charles Pope, Archdiocese of Washington

We live in times in which many call good or “no big deal” what God calls sinful. This is especially true in the area of sexuality, where whole sectors of our society not only tolerate but even celebrate sexual practices that the Scriptures call gravely sinful, and which will lead to Hell if not repented of. Acts of fornication (pre-marital sex) and homosexual acts cannot be considered acceptable by any Catholic or by any person who sincerely accepts the Scripture as the Word of God. And even for those who do not share our faith, acts of fornication and homosexual acts can be plainly seen to cause great harm in the manner in which they spread serious disease, harm marriage and family, lead to abortion, and for the children who do survive abortion, subject them to having single mothers, absent fathers, and a lack of the best environment which they are due.

Fornication is a mortal sin and those who do not repent of it will go to Hell . . .

I want to focus today on the terrible and mortal sin of fornication and present the clear biblical teaching against it. Tomorrow I will do the same regarding homosexual acts. Sadly, many Catholics say their pulpits and classrooms are silent about these issues. The hope in this post today is to present a resounding, biblical trumpet call to purity which leaves no ambiguity as to the sinfulness of sex before marriage. Scripture is clear: fornicators will not inherit the Kingdom of God. That is to say, fornication is a mortal sin and those who do not repent of it will go to Hell.

The Virtue of Chasity

The Virtue of Chasity

The usual conditions for mortal sin apply (grave matter (which fornication is), sufficient reflection, and full consent of the will). However, we ought not lightly conclude that these conditions are seldom met. I have met with many couples preparing for marriage who are sexually active and I have never found them to be surprised that I rebuke them for this. They know it is wrong. The voice of God stills echoes in their consciences. And as for consent of the will, it can be admitted that some fall occasionally in a weak moment. But consistent fornicating, with no measures taken to prevent it, is not “weakness”; it is sinful neglect of prudence and common sense.

We are in a sinfully confused cultural setting . . .

We are in a sinfully confused cultural setting in which many either celebrate or make little effort to avoid what God calls a very serious sin. The Church cannot lack clarity and pulpits and classrooms have often been silent. Such silence has led to parents themselves being silent. And silence has been taken for approval.

But fornication cannot be approved of. It is sinful and may well exclude many unrepentant sinners from Heaven. Our charity for souls must compel our clarity about the grave sinfulness of premarital sex and cohabitation.

Let us turn our attention to the biblical text.

The following quotes from the New Testament are passages that clearly condemn fornication and other unclean or impure actions. Again, fornication is the most common biblical word for premarital sex. The gravity and clarity of such condemnations are helpful in the sense that they help us to take such matters seriously and steer clear of them. However, the condemnations should not be seen in isolation from God’s mercy, as He never fails to forgive those who come to Him with a humble and contrite heart. God hates sin but He loves sinners and is full of mercy and compassion for them. But this mercy must be accessed through repentance.

With this in mind, read the following passages from the New Testament, which condemn fornication and other forms of sexual impurity:

THAT THERE IS A PRESCRIPTION TO GENERAL SEXUAL PURITY

Among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or crude joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. For of this you can be sure: No fornicator, no impure or greedy person—such a man is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with worthless arguments. These are sins that bring God’s wrath down upon the disobedient; therefore, have nothing to do with them (Ephesians 5:3-7).

THAT UNREPENTANT FORNICATORS ARE EXCLUDED FROM THE KINGDOM

1. The one who sat on the throne said to me, “See I make all things new!” Then he said, “Write these matters down for the words are trustworthy and true!” He went on to say: “These words are already fulfilled! I am the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end. To anyone who thirsts I will give to drink without cost from the spring of life giving water. He who wins the victory shall inherit these gifts and he shall be my son. As for the cowards and traitors to the faith, the depraved and murderers, the fornicators and sorcerers, the idol-worshipers and deceivers of every sort – their lot is the fiery pool of burning sulphur, the second death!” (Revelation 21:5-8)

2. Happy are they who wash their robes so as to have free access to the tree of life and enter the city through its gates! Outside are the dogs and sorcerers, the fornicators and murderers, the idol-worshipers and all who love falsehood. It is I Jesus who have sent my angel to give you this testimony about the Churches (Rev. 22:14-16).

3. No fornicator, no impure or greedy person—such a man is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God (Eph 5:5).

4. I warn you, as I have warned you before: those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God! (Gal 5:21)

THAT SINS OF THE FLESH CRUSH THE SPIRIT WITHIN US

My point is that you should live in accord with the Spirit and you will not yield to the cravings of the flesh. The Flesh lusts against the spirit and the spirit against the flesh; the two are directly opposed. This is why you do not do what your will intends. If you are guided by the spirit you are not under the law. The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery, idolatry, sorcery, hostilities, bickering jealousy, outbursts of rage, selfish rivalries, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, orgies and the like. I warn you, as I have warned you before: those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God! (Galatians 5:16-21)

THAT EVEN OUR THOUGHT LIFE IS SUMMONED TO PURITY

1. You have heard the commandment “You shall not commit adultery.” What I say you to is, Anyone who looks lustfully at a woman has already committed adultery with her in his thoughts. If your right eye is your trouble, gouge it out and throw it away! Better to lose part of your body than to have it all cast into Gehenna. Again, if your right hand is your trouble, cut it off and throw it away! Better to lose part of your body than to have it all cast into Gehenna (Matthew 5:27-30).

2.From the mind stem evil designs – murder, adulterous conduct, fornication, stealing, false witness, blasphemy. These are the things that make a man impure (Matt. 15:19-20).

3. Wicked designs come from the deep recesses of the heart: acts of fornication, theft, murder, adulterous conduct, greed, maliciousness, deceit, sensuality, envy, blasphemy, arrogance, an obtuse spirit. All these evils come from within and render a man impure (Mark 7:21).

THAT SEXUAL IMPURITY IS A FORM OF WORLDLINESS AND IDOLATRY –

Put to death whatever in your nature is rooted in earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desires and that lust which is idolatry. These are sins which provoke God’s wrath (Colossians 3:5-6).

THAT MY BODY IS NOT MY OWN TO DO WITH MERELY AS I PLEASE –

Can you not realize that the unholy will not fall heir to the Kingdom of God? Do not deceive yourselves: no fornicators, idolaters, or adulterers, no sodomites, thieves, misers, or drunkards, no slanderers or robbers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you; but you have been washed, consecrated, justified in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God. Do you not see that your bodies are members of Christ? Would you have me take Christ’s members and make them members of a prostitute? God forbid! Can you not see that the man who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? Scripture says, “The two shall become one flesh.” But whoever is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. Shun lewd conduct. Every other sin a man commits is outside of his body, but the fornicator sins against his own body. You must know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is within – the Spirit you have received from God. You are not your own. You have been purchased at a price. So glorify God in your body (I Cor. 6:9-11, 15-20).

THAT THE CALL TO CHRISTIAN PURITY IS NOT MERELY A HUMAN OPINION; IT IS GOD’S DECLARED TRUTH. FURTHER, SEXUAL SIN IS A FORM OF INJUSTICE -

Now my brothers, we beg and exhort you in the Lord Jesus that, even as you learned from us how to conduct yourselves in a way pleasing to God – which you are indeed doing – so you must learn to make still greater progress. You know the instructions we gave you in the Lord Jesus. It is God’s will that you grow in holiness: that you abstain from sexual immorality, each of you guarding his member in sanctity and honor, not in passionate desire as do the Gentiles who know not God; and that each must refrain from overreaching or cheating his brother in the matter at hand; for the Lord is the avenger of all such things, as we once indicated to you by our testimony. God has not called us to sexual immorality but to holiness; hence whoever rejects these instructions rejects, not man, but God who sends the Holy Spirit upon you (I Thess. 4:1-8).

THAT FORNICATION AND OTHER SEXUAL SINS ARE NUMBERED AMONG THE MORE SERIOUS SINS –

We know that the Law is good, provided one uses it in the way law is supposed to be used — that is, with the understanding that it is aimed, not at good men but at the lawless and unruly, the irreligious and the sinful, the wicked and the godless, men who kill their fathers or mothers, murderers, fornicators, sexual perverts, kidnappers, liars, perjurers, and those who in other ways flout the sound teaching that pertains to the glorious gospel of God — blessed be he — with which I have been entrusted (I Timothy 1:8-11).

THAT FORNICATION AND ADULTERY DISHONOR MARRIAGE –

Let Marriage be honored in every way and the marriage bed be kept undefiled, for God will judge fornicators and adulterers (Heb 13:4).

Therefore do not be deceived; fornication is a serious sin. It is a mortal sin. It is a sin that excludes one who does not repent of it from Heaven. It offends God, harms children and the family, spreads disease, encourages abortion, is an injustice against children and society, dishonors marriage, and merits strong punishment, as God’s Word declares.

Do not despair of God’s mercy, but do repent. Mercy is accessed only by repentance. Little more needs to be said. It is wrong—seriously wrong—to fornicate. Repent at once and without delay.

Homosexual Acts Cannot Ever Be Approved By The Church!

Sins Against Purity Are Not Limited To Those With Homosexual Tendencies!

By:  Msgr. Charles Pope
FatimaPicture

Editor’s Note:  As Our Lady of Fatima Warned in 1917 “More Souls Go To Hell For Sins of the Flesh Than For Any Other Reason.”

In recent years, homosexuality has frequently been in the news. An increasingly nationwide effort to make homosexual acts something to celebrate has gained great ground and sowed serious confusion even among those who describe themselves as Christian and Catholic. Hence, it is necessary once again to instruct on this matter and to reassert what Scripture plainly teaches and why the Church cannot affirm what the world demands we affirm.

An essential fact is that the Scriptures are very clear in unambiguously, uncompromisingly declaring homosexual acts as a serious sin and as disordered. “Disordered” here means that they are acts that are not ordered to their proper end or purpose. Sexual acts are, by their very nature, ordered to procreation and to the bonding of the mother and father who will raise the children conceived by their sexual intimacy. These ends or purposes have been intrinsically joined by God, and we are not to separate what what God has joined.  In the Old Testament, Scripture describes the sinful and disordered quality of homosexual acts by the use of the word “abomination,” and in the New Testament, St. Paul calls homosexual acts “paraphysin” (contrary to nature).

Attempts by some to reinterpret Scripture to mean something else are fanciful, at best, and  use theories that require twisted logic and questionable historical views in an attempt to set aside the very plain meaning of the texts.

Likewise in the wider culture, among those who do not accept Scripture, there has been an increasingly insistent refusal to acknowledge what the design of the human body plainly discloses: that the man is for the woman, and the woman is for the man. The man is not for the man, nor the woman for the woman. This is plainly set forth in the design of our bodies. The outright refusal to see what is plainly visible and literally built into our bodies is not only a sign of intellectual stubbornness and darkness (cf Rom 1:18, 21), but it also leads to significant issues with health, even to deadly diseases.

And we who believe in the definitive nature of scriptural teaching on all aspects of human sexuality are not merely considered out-of-date by many in our culture, but are being increasingly pressured to affirm what we cannot reasonably affirm. Cardinal Francis George recently expressed the current situation in this way:

In recent years, society has brought social and legislative approval to all types of sexual relationships that used to be considered “sinful.” Since the biblical vision of what it means to be human tells us that not every friendship or love can be expressed in sexual relations, the church’s teaching on these issues is now evidence of intolerance for what the civil law upholds and even imposes. What was once a request to live and let live has now become a demand for approval. The “ruling class,” those who shape public opinion in politics, in education, in communications, in entertainment, is using the civil law to impose its own form of morality on everyone. We are told that, even in marriage itself, there is no difference between men and women, although nature and our very bodies clearly evidence that men and women are not interchangeable at will in forming a family. Nevertheless, those who do not conform to the official religion, we are warned, place their citizenship in danger [1].

Whatever pressures many may wish to place on the Church to conform, however they may wish to “shame” us into compliance by labeling us with adjectives such as bigoted, homophobic, or intolerant, we cannot comply with their demands. We must remain faithful to scriptural teaching, to our commitment to natural law, and to Sacred Tradition. We simply cannot affirm things such as fornication and homosexual acts and reject the revelation of the body as it comes from God.

What some call intolerance or “hatred” is, for us who believe, rather, a principled stance wherein we see ourselves as unable to overrule the clear and unambiguous teaching of Holy Scripture. And this teaching exists at every stage of revelation, from the opening pages right through to the final books of Sacred Writ. The Church has no power to override what God has said; we cannot cross out sentences or tear pages from the Scripture. Neither can we simply reverse Sacred Tradition or pretend that the human body, as God has designed it, does not manifest what it clearly does.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church announces this principled stance with eloquence and with an understanding of the difficulties encountered by those with same-sex attraction:

Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.” They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved. 

The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.

Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection (CCC 2357-2359).

We can speak no other way. We do not detest those of same sex-attraction, but we as a Church owe them the same truth we have always proclaimed as coming from God, and out of respect we must  hold them to the same standards of chastity by which all must live.

There can be no sexual intercourse for any who are not in a valid heterosexual marriage. We cannot give approval for it; we do not have the power to do this, no matter how insistent, forceful, or even punitive the demands that we do so become. This will not change because it cannot change.

Homosexuals are not being singled out in this matter. As we saw in yesterday’s post, fornication (pre-marital sex) is also set forth by scripture and tradition as a very serious mortal sin (cf Eph 5:5- 7; Gal 5:16-21; Rev 21:5-8; Rev. 22:14-16; Mt. 15:19-20; 1 Cor 6:9-20; Col 3:5-6; 1 Thess 4:1-8; 1 Tim 1:8-11; Heb 13:4). It cannot be approved no matter how widespread its acceptance becomes. One standard of sexual norms applies to all people, whatever their orientation.

Sadly those of unalterable same-sex attraction have no recourse to marriage. But all of us bear burdens of one sort or another, and not everyone is able to partake in everything life offers. For the sake of holiness, heroic witness is necessary, and many of those with same-sex attraction do live celibately and give admirable witness to the power of grace.

God must have the final word in this. And so I present to you here some selections from Sacred Scripture that clearly teach against homosexual acts. The witness of Scripture in this regard is very consistent across all the ages of biblical Revelation. From the opening pages of Holy Writ to the final books, homosexual acts, along with fornication and adultery, are unambiguously forbidden and described as gravely sinful. In addition, homosexual acts, because they are contrary to nature and to the revelation of the body and the nature of the sexual act, are often described as acts of depravity or as an “abomination.” Some consider such words unpleasant or hurtful. I understand, but they are the words that Scripture uses. Here is a sample of Scriptural teaching against homosexual acts:

  1. You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination (Leviticus 18: 22).
  2. If a man lies with a male as with a female, both of them have committed an abomination (Lev 20:13).
  3. Likewise, the story of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah depicts, among other things, the sinfulness of homosexual activity. It is too lengthy to reproduce here in its entirety, but you can read about it in Genesis 19.
  4. For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness of men who by their wickedness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them…in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse; they became futile in their thinking and their senseless minds were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools…For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. Their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural, and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in their own persons the due penalty for their error. And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a base mind and to improper conduct (Romans 1:18ff).
  5. Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanders nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6-9).
  6. The law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, the sexually immoral, for those who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine, in accordance with the gospel of the glory of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted.(1 Timothy 1: 8-11).

And this is the testimony of Sacred Scripture. To these could be added other passages, along with a long list of quotes from the Fathers and from Sacred Tradition, with Councils and other teaching documents from the earliest days of the Church until today.

To those who like to object that Jesus himself never spoke of homosexual acts, I would give these three responses:

  1. It was not a disputed matter among the Jews to whom he preached.
  2. Jesus said to his apostles, “He who hears you hears me.” And therefore Jesus does speak through St. Paul and the other epistle writers.
  3. The same Holy Spirit that authored the Gospels also authored the Epistles. There are not different authors or levels of authority in Sacred Writ. What St. Paul says is no less authoritative or inspired than what the evangelists recorded.

The teaching of the Church regarding the sinfulness of homosexual acts, fornication, and adultery cannot change, attested to as they are in Sacred Scripture and Tradition. The Church can only offer the truth to all the faithful and to all in this world, along with her promise of God’s mercy to those who seek repentance and who now desire to live chastely. To those who refuse, she continues to give warning and to pray both for conversion and for rescue from the deceptions of the world and the evil one.

Cardinal George summarized well both the reason we cannot approve homosexual acts and the solution of celibacy for those of same-sex attraction: The biblical vision of what it means to be human tells us that not every friendship or love can be expressed in sexual relations [2]. Clear and concise. Thank you, Cardinal George.

For more information and support for those who have same-sex attraction, see here: Courage

Originally posted at:  blogadw.org

18 Sins that Must Be Confessed for Salvation

Father Chris Pietraszko: “To the Catholic who knows this
and does not do it, Salvation is Impossible.”

By Father Chris Pietraszko:

Just so you know:
It is the obligation of a Catholic to make confession at least one time a year, to attend mass every Sunday, to receive Communion at least one time a year, to attend confession when weighed down by mortal sin, to never receive the Eucharist with mortal sin, to confess all mortal sins to the best of one’s memory.

To the priest and the religious, he or she must pray the Liturgy of the Hours every day lest it become a mortal sin.

What Counts for Mortal Sin?

Mortal sin is in reference to sins that surpass slight sins. They are seriously wrong. It also involves freedom to consent to such sin and knowledge that the act is wrong (even if it be merely known by the heart without proper terminology).

18 Sins that must be Confessed (note the word may) …

Such sins may include: Masturbation, Pornography, pre-marital sex, gossip of a grave matter, abortion, theft that surpasses 100 dollars (over-time or in one instance), physical violence causing grave injury, adultery, absence of forgiveness for another (wrath), excessive eating to a grave degree, heresy, schismatic behavior, disobedience to one’s ordinary/superior, missing Sunday Mass, receiving Eucharist with mortal sin, not confessing all your sins (purposefully holding back), excessive drinking of alcohol, drug-abuse.

To the Catholic who knows this and does not do it, salvation is impossible.

Work out your salvation with fear and trembling. God forgives all things, and for this we are grateful, but if we are not sorrowful for our sin, we do not ask for forgiveness (in a genuine manner) and therefore never receive forgiveness since our heart is never truly open to it.

These are the rules, the expectations. Many do not understand “why” they are there, because this is only the Law. But if you understand the Spirit, one can see quickly how humility, love of God and neighbor makes all such things necessary.

Bishop Robert Morlino: The Art of Fraternal  Correction

The Art and Science of Admonishing a Sinner: “It must be done.”

A letter by Bishop Robert Morlino to his flock.
Dear Friends,

Conscience should always drive us toward perfection. “Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect (Mt 5:48),” is the parting exhortation from our Lord in this past Sunday’s Gospel. A correctly formed conscience never says to you, “How little can I do and still call myself a Catholic?”

 

Conscience doesn’t make us minimalistic . . .

Bishop Robert Molina

Bishop Robert Molina

Conscience does not open the door to be a minimalist. It is not a tool for our saying, “How can I give myself permission to do the minimum?”

Conscience opens the door to perfection, to the heroic, to the maximum, because the well-formed conscience serves as that truth-seeking radar, by which we choose to follow the law of the Lord.

As I said, we very much need to spread the word about conscience, and the readings of this past Sunday really help us with one detail of how to do that.

If we’re going to spread the good word about conscience, that means we’re going to have to correct others, especially our brothers and sisters who are Catholic. We know that this is not easy.

What is easy, when we seek to inform the consciences of others, is to seem as if we are judging the person themselves. We have to avoid that judgment of the individual, but we must not hesitate to help them, by offering the truth about their actions.

 

Correcting others is a ‘hard thing’ . . .

The first reading of this past Sunday reflects upon just how hard that is, as the Lord says to Moses, “Though you may have to reprove your fellow citizen, do not incur sin because of him. . . You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

It’s a hard thing to correct others, because you might incur sin. That’s the reason why we have to be delicate and sensitive and careful about correcting others. But in truth, that’s not the reason that there’s so little correction given one to another, today.

The correction is not given because we’re afraid that if we correct them, they may not like us. Or, we’re afraid that if we make a claim that this or that behavior is wrong, we’ll be labeled as “politically incorrect.” (Because, of course, there is no objective good or bad… and we all know that here in the dictatorship of relativism.)

So, that’s why a lot of people don’t do any correcting. They’re afraid of not being liked. They’re afraid of not being politically correct, which costs a great deal in our particular environment. But in the first reading, God makes us aware of the real difficulty with correcting others.

 

Many difficulties in correcting others . . .

It’s not a matter of being afraid of what others think, nor of being afraid to be politically incorrect. But correcting others is really hard even for true believers, because there is a danger of falling into sin ourselves. In order to correct another, we really have to purify ourselves and our intentions first.

In other words, it’s very easy for a good person to correct another, and at the same time experience a lot of self-satisfaction. “I’m correcting you out of love… and at the same time I’m thanking God that I don’t need to be corrected in that area . . . I’m doing great.” That’s a sin!

Beware of self-righteousness . . .

If I take the occasion of correcting another to enjoy how righteous I am before God, that’s a sin. And because of original sin, falling into that attitude is easy. It’s hard to correct another without thinking, “Thank God nobody has to correct me about that.” If I correct somebody that way, I incur my own sin.

And it’s easy to do this even when we like someone, but we have to be especially careful if we don’t naturally like somebody, because it can turn into a situation of putting someone down at the same time.

“I hope I can correct you in front of other people, so that it’s an unmistakable put-down and I can express my negativity about you…” We may be right with regard to our specific correction, but we’ve just committed our own sin in public and wounded the Body of Christ.

And it’s no wonder that people think that whenever anyone corrects another’s behavior, they are judging the other’s heart, because so often they are.

 

Correction by true believers is hard to find . . .

Correction by a true believer is not easy to find in the Church. That’s why there’s so much confusion, because really true believers, really good people, are hesitant to correct. And they don’t correct because they’re afraid of falling into sin in the process of correcting.

They’re not superficial, thinking, “somebody might not like me, or I won’t be considered politically correct.” They don’t correct because they fear falling into sin themselves, and so sometimes even among true believers it doesn’t get done.

(The only correction in the diocese that I know of that is done regularly — and it goes on all the time — is that people correct their priest and that priests and people correct the bishop. It seems to be open season for correction on priests and bishops. Not much else, in the way of correction, gets done.)

 

Genuine, faithful correction ‘must be done’ . . .

But this genuine, heart-felt, faithful correction of others about the right to life, about what marriage really is, about freedom of conscience, has to be done far and wide, and especially in the diocese.

And I do my best, but you have to be the army that goes out and helps me with this. And so, we have to keep in mind Sunday’s first reading; we all have to purify ourselves in order to correct another.

And the second reading from this past Sunday gives us a marvelous thought, a marvelous conviction that will help us to correct another with love and sensitivity, rather than for any other motive (1 Cor 3:16-23). The conviction is this: we all belong to God by virtue of our belonging to Christ.

 

Keep in mind that ‘all belong to Christ’ . . .

Before we approach someone else, we have to think to ourselves that, in truth — whether they believe it or not, whether they know it or not — it is the desire of Almighty God that they belong to Him. Because of the salvation won for us through Christ, everything we need for that salvation belongs to us and to all people; whether they believe or not or whether they know it, it belongs to all people.

And every one of those people belongs to Christ, and Christ belongs to God. When we approach another, we must keep in mind, “I belong to Christ, you belong to Christ, and we both belong to God.”

 

How to treat those who must be corrected . . .

With this in mind, how are we going to treat that person as we offer correction? We are going to reorient our correction such that our intention is to remind them that they do belong to God and that, “Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord.”

We have to address the fact that he or she needs correction, yes; we can’t run away from it in fear. But, we also have to treat them as one who, like ourselves, belongs to Christ.

The mysticism of seeing the other person through the eyes of Christ, whether they believe they belong to Him or not, whether they know it or not, is the place from which we can enter into the dynamic of fraternal correction that is so needed in today’s Church.

 

Our obligation to Spiritual Works of Mercy . . .

Let us all remember our obligation to perform those Spiritual Works of Mercy too: to instruct the ignorant, and to counsel the doubtful.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. Let us reflect upon our duty to help inform consciences in love — especially as we come quickly upon Lent.

May God bless every one of you. Praised be Jesus Christ!

It Is Time to Rethink the Pill and Artificial Birth Control

How Artificial Birth Control Greatly Damages Your Entire Relationship

By Fr. Clayton Thompson:

Blogger Note:  Father’s article is addressed to men.  It is an excellent article to share and perfectly relates to women.  Please prayerfully read this article.

Remember that awkward moment when you got “the talk”? If you did get it, odds are it ranks among one of the more uncomfortably unforgettable moments of both your life and the life of the one who explained the intricacies of the birds and the bees to you. My dad gave me the talk while we were working on a furnace together. I fulfilled my customary role of flashlight-holder while he rambled on about the mechanics of sexual intercourse – the thing was that his head wasn’t even visible while he did so, as he was laying on the floor, head on the underside of the machine. I was grateful for that: no eye contact; my dad likely was, too. Yet, when all was said and done, one task got done the right way – the family was warm again – but the other was left horribly unfinished.

Odds are that most of our upbringings left us without a real, convincing understanding of the relationship between sex and love. Most of us got just the basics of how the biological act works, if we got the talk at all. Adding salt to the wound, the cultural surrounding continues to offer an impoverished understanding of both sex and love, leaving us rather confused and disoriented. In the midst of this void, we have a real need for clarity and truth.

An Honest, Objective Look at the Church’s Teaching on the Immorality of Artificial Birth Control

And it’s in this light that I’d like to invite you to take an honest, objective look at the Church’s teaching on the immorality of artificial birth control. Often times, if we’re presented with an argument supporting the Church’s stance here, it’s given awkwardly and insufficiently. The common explanation basically runs like this: “You have to let God in and allow him to decide when and whether you have a baby, being open to life as a gift from Him.” This, understood in the proper light, is a true statement. It is also immensely unconvincing.

Doesn’t God Care about Responsible Parenthood?

In fact, there seem to be many other things which God ought to be more concerned about in this regard: Doesn’t he care about responsible parenthood, having only the children we can support? Doesn’t God allow us and want us to use science to advance man’s dominion over creation and to better human existence? Doesn’t he call us to be stewards of the earth and our family? Doesn’t he know that having one more kid would kill me and my wife?

In the end, it seems that the Church has to pony up a little here and give an explanation that’s more understandable and convincing. The present article hopes to contribute to this discussion.

The Three Parts of Human Sexuality, the View of the Church and Society

First, however, we need to understand something about how the Church views human sexuality versus how the society views human sexuality. We’ll look at it in three parts:

What is sex?

The Church: Sex is a beautiful gift of God, especially when considered on the level of a human being, who is a person capable of reasoning, freely choosing, and loving

The Society: Sex is a biological act that satisfies a basic need that must be met in whatever way possible, according to the desire of the individual

What does sex mean?

The Church: Sex is meaningful. It has a twofold, objective meaning: First, it expresses in a bodily way the deepest possible love that exists between a man and a woman. It says, in its action, “I give myself entirely to you in love.” This is a beautiful gift: the ability to express in the body a spiritual love. Secondly, sex is the way that a human being participates in the procreative work of God. The child conceived through sexual intimacy is only conceived along with God: while the couple offers the material body of the child, he alone fashions its soul. God is intimately involved in a couple’s intimacy. This twofold meaning gives direction to human sexuality.

The Society: Sex is meaningless. It has meaning only if I give it meaning. Sex is what I choose to make it. In itself, sex has no objective significance; however an individual chooses to use his sexual faculty is his prerogative; he decides how to satisfy this bodily need.

How is sex related to love?

The Church: Human sexuality is inseparable from love. If the act of sexual intimacy does not occur within the context of love, it fails to live up to its objective meaning. No one can perform an action that says, “I give myself entirely to you in love,” and at the same time not mean it without severely abusing the gift of sex and himself in the process. True love is committed, undying, self-sacrificial love: a type of love that is found in its totality in a marital relationship.

The Society: Sex is only connected to love if you want it to be. Ideally, it’s connected to love; however, if the urge needs to be satisfied, better just to scratch the itch.

Is Sex  Meaningful or Meaningless?

The basic question that arises, then, is whether sex is meaningful or meaningless. For an experiential answer, find a 15-year-old girl whose 17-year-old boyfriend swindled her, got her into bed, and then dumped her and then ask what she thinks: meaningful or meaningless? It’s either one or the other. Without really believing everything above that the Church teaches about sex, we fall into a meaningless, empty view of sexuality that leaves us impoverished. Only living by an authentic view of sex really fulfills an individual.

And here is where the discussion of artificial birth control fits in.

Clearly, artificial birth control closes the most intimate action between a man and woman to the second meaning of human sexuality mentioned above (procreation). And in doing so, it destroys the first meaning: no one can say “I give myself entirely to you in love,” and at the same time withhold the gift of one’s fertility and openness to life. The gift is no longer complete and it becomes a lie: you’re not giving yourself completely.

Artificial Birth Control Greatly Damages Your Entire Relationship

But even more, the use of artificial birth control greatly damages your entire relationship. Because sex has become a lie, the focus of sex shifts, too: from being focused on the love you have for the other person, the focus now becomes yourself, the pleasure you experience, the satisfaction of the urge. No longer is sex an act of love, it’s an act of use. In turn, failing to express a total gift of self in your most intimate life together by refusing to be open to children worms its way through your entire relationship; it changes the way you think of her; it becomes a failure to give of yourself in your marriage itself. And failing to make a total gift of self in marriage leads only to distress, divorce, and suffering.

So, men, while she’s using the pill [or any form of artificial birth control], you’re using her. She’s become a thing, a thing meant to satisfy you. And she’ll never become a person to you again until you get her off of it.

If the most intimate part of your life, the part that expresses the depth of your love in bodily form has become self-centered and pleasure-seeking (which is what artificial birth control makes it), your relationship as a whole will be devastated. It becomes as meaningless and empty as your sex life; you become objects of use to one another and no longer persons worthy of love, worth suffering for, worth dying for.

So, brothers, it’s time to reevaluate. Look into Natural Family Planning (NFP) for responsible ways of managing birth according to your resources, while remaining open to life and love within your marriage. It’s effective (about 98%, perfect use, depending on the method – same as the pill, perfect use). So, check it out; and join the fight to turn from a relationship of use to a real, fervent, fulfilled relationship of love with your wife.

God Can Only Be Found In Reality! What 10 Priests Say About Video Games

10 Priests Were Recently Asked To Write Roughly 4 Sentences On The Topic of Video Games. Here Is What They Said…

What 10 Priests Say About Video Games

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fr. Edward Connolly from Pennsylvania
Reality is where I work out my salvation. Reality is where I meet Mom and Dad, Brother and Sister, Son and Daughter, Wife or Husband, God and Neighbor and, come to think of it, Myself. Video games are Alternate Reality. There I can pretend that I don’t have Mom, Dad, Brother, Sister, Son, Daughter, Wife or Husband, God or Neighbor. Only Myself. It’s kind of like Hell.

Fr. Peter Junipero Hannah from California
I recall when I was a kid the first Nintendo system came out, and I saved allowance to buy it since my parents did not have a high opinion of such diversions. After the purchase, they suspected my extended use was frying my brain, and I recall defending it to them on the grounds that it improved hand-eye coordination. I now think this argument a load of hooey (I probably knew that then too), and find myself after twenty-five years to have arrived at—surprise—roughly my parents’ views. I wonder how much better off intellectually, artistically, and even physically and morally, young people (especially boys) would be if they unplugged and gave their adventurous youthful vigor to more worthy pursuits.

Fr. Matthew Schneider, LC from Rome
Video games are not necessarily evil—I remember playing video games with friends: my nerd friends and I would play Warcraft II after school. Games like that teach strategy and planning but are also a great way to relax; they’re similar to Axis & Allies. Even today, I like to play Wii from time to time (my sister and foster-niece practice Mario Kart more and always cream me)—however, today video games can cause trouble in three ways: 1. Games that have inappropriate content such as a recent game where you had to fight terrorists in an airport surrounded by civilians (you inevitably shoot at least one) and with graphic death sequences; 2. Where video games put you as the bad guy such as the GTA series; and 3. Simply playing too much where this recreation keeps us from important duties such as work, school, or exercise. If you avoid all 3, enjoy video games in moderation.
[Note: for those of you unfamiliar, Warcraft II is a strategy game where you control a town and army of orcs or humans; World of Warcraft is a completely different game which easily falls into problem #3 because of its addictive nature.]

Msgr. Charles Pope from Washington, D.C.
Video Games are entertaining to be sure. But they are poor training for life which does not unfold at the pace of these games. Much of the ADHD diagnosed today is more likely a poor attention span that results from hyper-stimulation intrinsic to many of these games. One may wonder how a steady diet of these frantic, loud and sometimes violent games can dispose one to pray and listen for the still, quiet voice of God.

Fr. Ezra Sullivan from Rome
Like television, many people make arguments in favor of video games that have little to do with the real purpose of the game. For instance, people say they can learn about history by watching television; or they can perfect eye-hand coordination by video games. But everyone knows that the real point of video games is to have fun by escaping reality. That sort of fun is like a highly-toxic medicine: it should be taken in small, rare doses, if at all.

Fr. Donald Calloway from Massachusetts
Children should be outside playing, doing physical activity, and not sitting in front of a screen all day playing the part of a cyber hero in someone else’s fantasy world. As a norm, adults should not be playing video games; their leisure moments should be more dignified and age appropriate. It’s so sad today to see how many grown men live in a fantasy world of video games; waste of time and money. No woman I know delights in dating and/or marrying a man who sits on his duff all day pushing buttons frantically like a lunatic.

Fr. Christopher Pollard from Virginia
How many hours of Tetris are too many? When you close your eyes yet the pieces are still falling and the music is still playing. After college I banished games from my computer. Now it’s a lot easier to pray when I close my eyes.

Fr. Thomas Longua from Texas
Do the research. There are serious consequences mentally and physically. Morally: ask an exorcist about what he has to deal with because his patients are hooked on these things.

Fr. Edward Murphy from Florida
The very concept of virtual reality is causing our children to have a significant disconnect with reality as we know it now. When our youth are obsessed with video games, they fantasize about things that are inane, ludicrous and violent. Why, we may ask, do we continue to see the pattern of mass shootings in schools and universities? It is a known fact that many of these senseless acts of violence can be attributed to our young people living in a fantasy world.

Fr. John Hollowell from Indiana
The sci-fi thriller “The Matrix” was a film about an alternate world that seemed real to those living in it. One of the characters was rescued from the “fake world” but wanted to go back in. I see this in many young people today – video games are so realistic that people often times desire to “live” in them, but this can only be damaging. God is encountered only in reality, and so those who are enslaved by electronic realities can not encounter God unless they return to the real world where God is to be found.

Originally posted at: Catholic Household

 

10 Sins That Must Be Confessed Before Receiving the Holy Eucharist

 Fr. Hollowell: Should You Stop Receiving Holy Communion?

 

By Fr. John Hollowell:

No Holy Communion for you

Do you need to go to confession first?

You can’t receive the Eucharist if you’ve:

1) Missed a weekend or Holy Day Mass without a valid reason
2) Having sex outside of marriage, with yourself (masturbation) or someone else
3) desecrated the Eucharist
4) haven’t been to confession in a year
5) Use artificial birth control – condoms, pills, patches, IUD’s, etc
6) sponsor or help in any way with an abortion or any destruction of an embryo
7) Murder
8) Hate/Anger
9) Lust after someone
10) Pride, Greed, Sloth, Envy

etc. etc. The list is not exhaustive, and any sin that we have meditated on before hand, understood its gravity and still chosen to do it can be a deadly sin.

Blogger Note:   Numbers 8 through 10 would depend mostly upon the gravity of the sin.

C.C.C. 1857    For a sin to be mortal, three conditions must together be met: “Mortal sin is sin whose object is grave matter and which is also committed with full knowledge and deliberate consent.”131

1 Corinthians 11:27  27 Therefore whosoever shall eat this bread, or drink the chalice of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and of the blood of the Lord.

Don’t step out of bounds…and by all means…if you do…get back in bounds through confession! Don’t desecrate the Eucharist and receive it as some sort of prize you’ve earned simply by showing up for Mass!

 

Slight editing.