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.

The Definition of Marriage CANNOT Change: Think About It

If You Change Marriage, Then  You Change EVERYTHING

by Fr. John Hollowell:

As I’ve admitted on here elsewhere, I was a math major.

Euclid’s Geometry is based on five axioms. These axioms are used to build the whole system. If you change one of the axioms (i.e. you say “two parallel lines CAN intersect”) then the ENTIRE system changes, and it looks COMPLETELY different than Euclidean Geometry.Fr. John Hollowell

You can change one of the axioms, but the change echoes throughout the system, producing a completely new system.

Marriage between a man and a woman is an axiom of our society. It is assumed to be true and everything hinges on that as a foundational principle. There are a few other “axiomatic” principles that our society is founded on. The Church notes that a just society is one in which:

1) the dignity of every human life, from conception to natural death, is honored
2) religious freedom is granted
3) the right to work is respected
4) marriage is between a man and a woman


Some people think the Church is against same-sex “marriage” because the Bible and the Church are against same-sex sex. The Church is against same-sex “marriage” because the Church knows the types of decisions that bring societies crashing down – and one of those would be a redefinition of what marriage is.

That’s why the Church says:

“If, from a legal standpoint, marriage between a man and a woman were to be considered just one possible form of marriage, the concept of marriage would undergo a radical transformation, with grave detriment to the common good.” (Compendium of Social Teaching, paragraph 228).

Here’s the point – we’re not saying, as Catholics, that society needs to listen to us because God is great and “you all need to do what God says”…


If you change one of the foundational axioms, you change EVERYTHING…and when you change an axiom, what you soon have is a system that looks NOTHING like what you had before

7 Fallible Tips for Lent

by Father John Hollowell:

I see legalism during Lent sometimes, and I think it can be problematic. Lent should not be about proving to yourself (and definitely not proving to other people) how strong your will is and how disciplined you are. It is about clearing away attachments so that we can more completely attach ourselves to God. With that being said, I offer some tips for Lent

1. Don’t tell people what you are giving up for Lent.

2. Don’t ask people what they are giving up for Lent. Don’t try to guess what someone gave up for Lent either (Dave: “Bill, you want some coffee?” Bill: “No thanks.” Dave: “What, did you give up coffee for Lent?” – don’t be Dave!)

3. If someone breaks #1 or #2 with you, don’t correct them (although if you are giving up a few things, you can just mention one thing you’ve given up to satisfy their curiosity).

4. If someone offers you something that you have given up for Lent, I advise proceeding in one of two ways, depending on the situation

a. If it is a situation where you can casually brush off the offer without drawing attention to it, then just decline the offer
(example: “Dave, I’m going to the concession stand…do you want anything?” Dave: “No I’m fine.” Dave does not have to say “No, I gave up candy and snacks for Lent.”)

b. If it is a situation where you are with a small group of people, or you are at someone’s house for dinner or something like that, and they offer you dessert or something, just take it and don’t tell them “Sorry, I gave that up for Lent.” If someone gives up TV but the whole family is watching TV, don’t go sit in the other room, just watch TV and be with the family.

5. Don’t replace what you are giving up with some other thing that you are attached to

6. Take advantage of the detachment to do something positive like prayer and/or doing something to help the poor.

7. If you normally celebrate Sundays and Solemnities during the year with a spirit of feasting, then continue to celebrate those days during Lent. If that involves breaking something that you’re fasting from, then break your fast. However, if you don’t celebrate Sundays or Solemnities, then don’t break whatever you are fasting from during Lent.

The important thing is to realize that Lent is a time to strip away some attachments and spend time growing closer to Christ not crossing the finish line of Easter 46 days from now with your Lenten promises unbroken at all costs.

Lent is made for man, not man for Lent!

How St. John of the Cross Saved My Life

Being Refined in the Fires of Mt. Carmel

By Father John Hollowell

This is an excerpt from my book on how I came to become a priest.  St. John of the Cross is a saint who I tell people “saved my life”, not because I was going to kill myself or anything like that, but because his teachings helped me move past a very dangerous spiritual mindset that afflicts most people today – the mindset that if God is working in my life, I ought to feel it, and it ought to feel good.

Saint John of the Cross

St. John of the Cross

It must be known that even though these apprehensions can come to the bodily senses from God, one must never rely on them or accept them.  A person should rather flee from them completely.”

St. John of the Cross
The Ascent of Mount Carmel.
At the beginning of my second year of seminary, I happened to be in the bookstore buying my books for the year.  The bookstore at St. Meinrad is a very dangerous place for me.  The bookstore has tons of books that are not required for class, and a lot of them are titles that interest me.  I can hardly go into the bookstore without walking out with a few books under my arm, and my wallet 50 dollars lighter.  That fall day, however, a book caught my eye that really impacted me in a tremendous way.
The book I picked up that day was The Collected Writings of St. John of the Cross.  I was drawn to it because I remembered from George Weigel’s Witness to Hope that Pope John Paul II learned Spanish so that he could read St. John of the Cross in its original language.  I was pretty impressed that a person would learn a language for the purpose of reading the writings of one saint.  The book in our bookstore was actually St. John’s two famous works together, The Dark Night of the Soul and The Ascent of Mt. Carmel.  I decided that I would read a bit of the book to kick off my holy hour each day. 
So it was that St. John of the Cross began to lead me into a much deeper spirituality than I had ever dreamed of for myself.  St. John gave me two priceless gifts.  The first gift he gave me was an answer to my question about my conversion experience a few years ago when I was teaching at Chatard.  As recounted in an earlier chapter, I had a profound vision that lasted intensely throughout the night, and then began to fade over the course of about a week.  Something that had bothered me from that point on was the question of what I had done wrong to make those feelings go away.  I felt like either I had done something wrong, or, on the other hand, I had done something right that I should be doing again to help trigger the same sequence of events, so that I could rest in that vision again.
I knew God had directed me to St. John of the Cross, when, as I was praying a holy hour early in the school year, I read the following from St. John, “The safest and most suitable method of procedure is to oblige souls to flee prudently from these supernatural things.” (The Ascent of Mt. Carmel, Book Two, Chapter 20).  St. John goes on to say that:
The more importance one gives to these communications the further one strays from faith, the way and means.  Furthermore, persons receiving these apprehensions often develop secretly a special opinion of themselves – that now they are important in God’s eyes.  Such a view is contrary to humility…these sensory things are an impediment to the spirit because they detain the soul and prevent the spirit from soaring to the invisible.
Such a burden was lifted off of me, and I felt like I could spiritually breathe again.  It was such a gift to know that I wasn’t doing something wrong, and that I just had to move on from my experience of the vision.  Related to the grace of finally being able to understand what was going on with the vision I had a few years ago was the second gigantic gift that I felt like the Good Lord blessed me with through my reading of St. John of the Cross.  The main point of St. John’s two books are very simple: religion isn’t something that has to be felt.  If Christians today were familiar with St. John of the Cross, so much of the garbage that passes as spirituality would die out instantly.  Today, it isn’t even up for discussion – religion has to be entertaining.  When Catholics are asked why they don’t attend Mass they most often note that it is boring.  The Rosary, because it is repetitive, seems to most psychologists today (Dr. M. Scott Peck among them) as not a sign of devotion but as a mental illness.  It is taken, as the Gospel today, by many people that religion has to be felt.  That’s why we have the pyrotechnics at church, the Starbucks in the narthex, the screaming preachers, the slide show PowerPoint presentations, etc. 
Elsewhere, St. John of the Cross talks about meditation as prayer.  He notes that this is really only a stage for beginners, and that we are called to move beyond this.  About trying to conjure images and have experiences in prayer St. John notes a person must,
Leave this sense in darkness if it is to reach divine union.  For these images, just as the corporeal objects of the exterior senses, cannot be an adequate, proximate means to God…These considerations, forms and methods of meditation are necessary to beginners…yet these means must not be so used that one always employs them and never advances.
St. John, in The Dark Night of the Soul, also speaks this when he talking about people receiving Communion.  I know I resonated deeply with having tried to do exactly what he warns against for many years.  St. John says,
In receiving Communion they spend all their time trying to get some feeling and satisfaction rather than humbly praising and reverencing God dwelling within them.  And they go about this in such a way that, if they do not procure any sensible feeling and satisfaction, they think they have accomplished nothing.
The dark night of the soul is essentially the stage where a person is moving from needing consolations and needing to have experiences in prayer to a point where none of that is needed.  St. John spoke to me in the following passage noting the transition from one to the other.  He said,
Spiritual persons suffer considerable affliction in this night, owing not so much to the aridities they undergo as to their fear of having gone astray…they believe there will be no more spiritual blessings for them and that God has abandoned them…if there is no one to understand these persons, they either turn back and abandon the road or lose courage.
St. John essentially saved my life, in a spiritual sense.  Growing up in the American ethos dominated by Protestantism, the idea that I was supposed to feel something in prayer was ingrained in me.  St. John really showed me a Catholic understanding of prayer and of what my little “vision” experience was really all about. 
St. John of the Cross – pray for us!

Defending the Holy Father’s “Who am I to judge?”

Fr. John Hollowell answer’s the proverbial statement, “Don’t judge me!”

This is a great short video, well worth sharing.

Email subscribers please click here to watch the video. Thanks

Really? NARAL Says That Gosnell Horrors Are Product Of The Pro-Life Movement.

NARAL…The Demonic Incarnate!

hollowwellFather John Hollowell – So most of you are aware by now that Kermit Gosnell, the man who was accused of killing countless children after they were born in the most horrendous ways was convicted yesterday on three counts of murder (Or, as some news outlets phrased it “killing fetuses”…sigh…deliver us Lord from all evil)

NARAL, a collection of washed up sixties protestors clinging to the notion that a woman is more free if she can have her child chopped up in her womb, issued a statement yesterday saying that the Gosnell murders were the fault of the pro-life movement making abortion harder to get.

As a follower of NARAL and Planned Parenthood (the Axis of Evil) on Twitter, they ACTIVELY FIGHT every attempt to somehow regulate the abortion industry and make it safer.  They tweet out screams for their followers to either a) contact their congressman and fight the proposed bill of the day or b) get prepared to live in the 1800’s again.

The Axis of Evil makes EVERY law that is proposed sound as if it will be an attack on women and will prevent them from being truly liberated.

On the flip side, the pro-life movement has been pushing for restricting and regulating the abortion industry, and such regulations would have made the Gosnell much less likely.  However, as it currently stands, the abortion industry is one of the least regulated industries in our country.  You should expect more regulatory hurdles to maintain a lemonade stand in the USA than you should expect if you hope to chop up children in mother’s wombs.

The other reason NARAL’s comments yesterday betray the insanity and lunacy to which they have fallen is that no REASONABLE person would read the accounts of how Gosnell tortured and murdered children born alive and say, “if only abortion were more accessible, this wouldn’t happen.”  Gosnell was a psychopath, and his crimes had NOTHING to do with the fact that abortion “is not available enough.”

NARAL is on the run, and the dinosaurs who run NARAL know that no young people are coming forward to join their washed up cause, and as someone who considers NARAL the demonic made flesh, I personally enjoy seeing statements like the one they made yesterday because it is the equivalent of watching a house divided against itself crash in on itself and burning to the ground amidst a see of insanity and madness.

Originally posted at: On This Rock

The Annulment Process

black and white sacred heartSometimes A Wound Has To Be Reopened In Order To Be Authentically Healed!

On This Rock BlogSpot.com

By, Fr. John Hollowell – “Hey Father, what’s up with annulments?” One of those dreaded questions but also something that is just another opportunity for a priest to suck it up and say to himself, “Uncomfortable – yes, but is this also an opportunity to bring healing and grace to people – definitely a yes as well!”

Let’s first of all turn to the perception of the annulment process. The Church, so it goes, has taken Jesus, a pretty cool laid back guy who talks mostly about loving everyone and bashing and breaking rules, and then along came the Church, which suddenly set up a gigantic bureaucracy and erected gigantic hurdles and unnecessary rules, laws, and regulations, all of which make Jesus seem a lot more difficult to
approach. The annulment process is often viewed as the most obvious example of Church bureaucracy, and, so it goes, this could NEVER have been what Jesus intended, and so if I had a divorce and remarried, then God understands.

First of all as a response, I think it is important to read a past post on this topic by clicking here.  Secondly, let’s look at Jesus’ words on the topic in Matthew 19: “I say to you, whoever divorces his wife (unless the marriage is unlawful) and marries another commits adultery.” Notice Christ’s words – divorce and remarriage = adultery. He doesn’t blink. His Apostles follow up with basically, “wow, that’s hard.” Jesus doesn’t blink or back down.

What we need to ask ourselves is this – is the stereotype of the Church true, or is it perhaps actually the case, as G.K. Chesterton noted, that the Church actually SOFTENS the words of Jesus in certain key situations?

Often times, in order to dismiss the Church, people use the “bureaucracy” argument to justify their decision to not go through the
process, but I think people need to be steered in the direction of Matthew 19:9 and spend some time really praying over that passage and asking themselves if the stereotype of the Church as the dictatorial gatekeeper to “cuddly Jesus” is based in reality.

The annulment process, contrary to perception, is actually ALL about healing. People often tell me “I’m over her or him since our divorce” but I just don’t think that is usually the case. There is a BIG difference between Saying “I’m over so and so” and actually BEING over so and

The process seems intimidating as well because it is often lengthy. However, it takes a lot to gather all the necessary information. Some people especially bristle at the idea of having to get written statements from exes and their families and so forth – people say that they’d just rather not go through that and open up old wounds. Sometimes, when a wound is infected and never properly healed, it must be reopened in order to be authentically healed, and that is the case with the annulment process as well.

The Church also teaches that those who have remarried without first getting an annulment are not in a state in which to receive the sacraments. That is also perceived as very harsh, but it is something that should hopefully be an impetus to couples to first get right with God.

Let us pray for all of the families out there who are wrestling with the annulment process! Also, those who are going through
it should know that it is EXTREMELY inspiring to priests to see couples who have remarried but are working on an annulment stepping aside from the Sacraments for a time while they get right with Christ and His Church through the annulment

Catholics that have divorced and remarried prior to receiving an annulment can still work towards an annulment and, upon receiving one, can have their new marriage blessed by the Church and thus resume receiving the Sacraments.

Finally, here is a great essay from a young adult on her sometimes rocky but ultimately worthwhile experience with the annulment process.
Click here to read.

We Hate Children! We Hate Life!

Holy Innocents“Better Gun Laws.  Better Mental Healthcare…Give Me A Break!”

By Fr. John Hollowell

Some have asked for my thoughts on the tragedies of today, and so I share them for what they are worth.

It seems like a line was crossed today that, in our country at least, has never been crossed to date.  Columbine was horrendous and was a paradigm shift for the nation, but given our collective experiences as teenagers growing up, and given the fact that most everyone still carries scars from teenage hazing and bullying in some form or another, I think most people at least could fathom the source of the hatred, the evil, and the revenge that we saw in Columbine.  From Stephen King’s “Carrie” to Ralphie in “A Christmas Story”, we’ve grown up knowing that bullying does real harm and pushes people to the breaking point.

But a classroom of little children…it doesn’t register on any level, nor should it.

So now the carousel of blame starts spinning – people pointing at things external to fix…”better gun laws”, “better mental health care”, “better health insurance”…give me a break!  I could care less, one way or the other, on gun control, but anyone who thinks that these types of measures would have prevented today is really hoping to avoid the issue that really matters.

The dignity of the person.

In our culture, the dignity of the human person has been spat upon, mocked, and destroyed.  There is no “dignity of the human person” to speak of anymore.  Anytime someone stands up to speak about “the dignity of the human person” they are shouted down in the public square and mocked for using words from an archaic culture that we have, so we’re told, moved beyond and surpassed.

A human person today only has dignity if others will it to be so – a child grasping for breath on the abortionist’s table is granted dignity solely based on the wishes of the mother.  The abortionist, and our President, like the emperors in the Colosseum of Rome, wait for the thumb up or down of the mother to decide whether the child lives or dies.

Embryos sit in freezers across the country, parents have their reproductive systems mangled in order to have pleasure without the burden of children, wars are now fought, like video games, through the lenses of drones, we tell third world countries that “children are the problem” and so if you want any of our food to eat, you are going to have to stop having children…

Today, in Connecticut, a big fat mirror was held up to our nation, and a monster from the depths of Hell illustrated and showed us exactly what we don’t want to see in ourselves…we hate children, we hate life, and human dignity is on life support in this country.

The Joker in “The Dark Knight” utters a seriously frightening, and seriously prophetic line about us:

“Nobody panics when things go “according to plan.” Even if the plan is horrifying! If, tomorrow, I tell the press that, like, a gang banger will get shot, or a truckload of soldiers will be blown up, nobody panics, because it’s all “part of the plan”. But when I say that one little old mayor will die, well then everyone loses their minds!”

We’re accustomed to the plan of 4,000 abortions a day, it has become part of our character as a nation, and it has faded away into being simply “a part of the plan.”

The dignity of the children lost today did not come simply from the fact that their parents happened to want them!!  Their dignity came from the fact that God wanted them, and willed them into existence…that is the sole source of human dignity, and we are meant to marvel at the dignity of such miraculous creation, the miraculous nature of it all only amplified by the fact that all of us have been blessed with a role to play in nurturing and bringing into existence the miracles that are human persons!

We have been anti-life and anti-child and anti-human dignity for a long time in this country, and it is time to stand up and say ENOUGH!!!

We must rise up and demand a return to respect for the dignity of the human person!!!!  We must rise up and say that a child is not a choice, a child does not derive his/her dignity from the choice of another human person, a child does not derive his/her dignity based on whether they are born into poverty or not…we must rise up and say every human person has an unassailable dignity, and that dignity is given to each human person by God, with a capital G,…and if we refuse to do that, if we refuse to acknowledge how utterly evil and depraved this nation is becoming, and if we fail to acknowledge how putrid “the plan” has become that we call every day life in America, and we keep blaming guns and health care insurance, then we should never expect a return to sanity.

Please hit your knees for the families and the loved ones left behind in Connecticut and say a lot of prayers for our country.  Today, a new line was crossed; what remains to be seen is whether we will wake up because of it, or if we will continue to bury our heads in the sand and act like we don’t know what is going on.

All Holy Innocents, pray for us!