Everything You Need to Know About Angels

A couple of really good friends of mine suggested that I watch this talk on Angels. The entire length of the talk is 1 hour and 5 minutes, but its really more 35 minutes of talk with 30 minutes of Q&A. The talk is given by Fr. Chad Ripperger, FSSP. He has his own website Sensus Traditionis where he has uploaded many of his talks. The talk is also at YouTube:

This talk is absolutely, without a doubt, one of the best talks I have ever listened to. It gives all sorts of wonderful details about how awesome Angels are, with especial emphasis on our Guardian Angel. Fr. Ripperger also gives great details on how Demons operate as well.

It really is sad that there aren’t better homilies and talks out there like this. This is wonderful catechesis. Listen to it, share it, preach it.

I’m Not Partaking in the Sign of Peace Anymore

Its that part of the Mass that most people tend to dread. The Sign of Peace. Now, I don’t dread it nor do I get super excited with the warm and fuzzies about it either. But, after attending the Extraordinary Form (Traditional Latin Mass) more regularly recently, I’ve decided that I will not be doing the Sign of Peace.

In all honesty, I just can’t bear to do it anymore. Logically, it makes no sense when you look at what the purpose of the Mass is and what we are doing. We are worshiping the One True God, physically present in the Eucharist, The Son of the Father, the Lord Jesus Christ.

the eucharist

When we administer a friendly handshake with our neighbor, in an effort to show a faux unity, we are no longer worshiping God, but ourselves. We are already united. We are baptized Catholics, hopefully in the state of grace, who are all gathered to worship Jesus Christ. That is true unity. If anything, the Sign of Peace serves more as a distraction from Jesus than anything else.

The timing of the Sign of Peace is very odd. The Sign of Peace takes place shortly after the Priest has finished consecrating the Bread and Wine into the Body and Blood of Christ. We have just spent the last 10 minutes kneeling (hopefully) in adoration, acknowledging that we are witnessing a miracle. The miracle that a humble servant of God has been used by The Almighty, to transform Bread into the Body of Christ and the Wine into the Blood of Christ. No mere man can do this, but only a man who has given up his life for Christ and His Church and consecrated by his Bishop.

After witnessing this miracle, we then get to shake hands with our neighbor. That includes the guy who hasn’t washed his hands since his last shower, the kids who have been picking their noses, and all the sweat and germs that people have accumulated from all of the hymnals and pews. It really is disgusting when you think about it.

The Sign of Peace disrupts the order of the Mass. Mass is not a social gathering that we fulfill once a week in order to make our weekly obligation. The Mass is the time that we come together as a community to individually worship Christ, truly present in the Eucharist. The second we forget this point, is the second that we stop worshiping as Catholics.

The more and more I contemplate this, the more and more I contemplate that it is no longer necessary to even do the Sign of Peace. The Sign of Peace is optional, meaning that we can each optionally choose whether we are going to do it or not. Likewise, Father can make the decision if the congregation will or will not do it as well. During flu season, the Sign of Peace is omitted. If it can be omitted during times of the year when germs and illness are a concern, then it can be omitted throughout the rest of the year for the same reasoning.

The Sign of Peace- Tell me this doesn't look like worship of self.
The Sign of Peace- Tell me this doesn’t look like worship of self.

If you see me at Mass and I don’t acknowledge you during the Sign of Peace with a handshake or a wave or a nod, it isn’t because I do not like you or am trying to avoid you, but that I am keeping my focus on Christ, who is truly among us in this sacred place.

Mortal Sin Against the Fifth Commandment – Injuring Another

The Fifth Commandment: “You Shall Not Kill”

stone-tablet-fifth-commandmentWillfully Injuring Or Trying to Hurt Another Person

It is not exactly the most obvious of mortal sins against this commandment, after all, why is hurting somebody a mortal sin when you don’t kill them?

When you are willfully trying to injure or hurt another person, generally speaking there is hatred in your heart. Remember that hatred is a mortal sin. You then take that hatred and give it a physical manifestation, that is hurting another person or injuring them.

The thing is, when we strike at another individual with this intention, it is not out of love. We are destroying their body. We break their bones, or tear their skin. We draw forth blood, blood that should remain within their bodies.

We are killing parts of their bodies. They may still be alive, but we are killing body parts.

St. Paul writes in the first letter to the Corinthians:

Or know you not, that your members are the temple of the Holy Ghost, who is in you, whom you have from God; and you are not your own? For you are bought with a great price. Glorify and bear God in your body. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Each and every single person, Catholic or Protestant, Muslim or Jew, Pagan or Atheist, has a body, and that body is a temple for the Holy Spirit. They also have the free will to choose to become Catholic to embrace salvation. But regardless, the body is meant as a dwelling place for the Holy Spirit to reside. Attacking another person (especially a Catholic) is desecration of the body. Physically harming a priest, bishop, cardinal or pope gives an automatic excommunication.

Boxing

What about if you are being physically harmed by an assailant? Are you allowed to defend yourself by causing physical harm to them?

Yes. We must look at St. Thomas Aquinas’ principle of double effect. Double effect is comprised of 3 principles being (taken from Wikipedia):

  1. The nature of the act is itself good, or at least morally neutral;
  2. The agent intends the good effect and not the bad either as a means to the good or as an end itself;
  3. The good effect outweighs the bad effect in circumstances sufficiently grave to justify causing the bad effect and the agent exercises due diligence to minimize the harm.

When it comes to self-defense and using the principle of double effect we find that it is okay because:

  1. The act of defending one’s self from physical harm is a good. We have every right to live.
  2. You are intending to defend yourself from the assailant. You are hurting them, but that is not your intention. You are not seeking out their injury.
  3. You are defending yourself and are using your best means to subdue the individual with the minimal damage to them as possible. That is if you have to break their arm in order to prevent further harm to come to you, then that is all you do, nothing more. Each situation is different and maybe pinning them is all you need in one circumstance. But, you are using due diligence to determine and assess your situation.

Defending one’s self is not a mortal sin. But causing physical harm is. Boxing and other forms of martial arts, for the purpose of fighting, seems to be a mortal sin as your intention is to hurt each other and cause physical harm. Taking a self-defense class and practicing on each other would fall under double-effect as you are learning so that you can defend yourself if the situation was needed down the road.

Now, St. John Chrysostom is famous for saying in regards to blasphemy:

And should you hear any one in the public thoroughfare, or in the midst of the forum, blaspheming God; go up to him and rebuke him; and should it be necessary to inflict blows, spare not to do so. Smite him on the face; strike his mouth; sanctify your hand with the blow, and if any should accuse you, and drag you to the place of justice, follow them thither; and when the judge on the bench calls you to account, say boldly that the man blasphemed the King of angels!

Notice that St. John actually encourages you to physically harm someone if they commit blasphemy. These would not be sinful to do, as someone who blasphemies against God causes insult to Him. As the blasphemer is causing insult to God, they are causing damage to themselves, and you are defending the Lord.

Intentionally injuring another person or attempting to is a mortal sin. Go to confession.

Mortal Sin Against the Fifth Commandment – Sterilization

The Fifth Commandment: “You Shall Not Kill”

stone-tablet-fifth-commandmentSterilization

Sterilization is the act in which a man or a woman intentionally go through either a physical or chemical surgery that renders themselves incapable of reproducing. It is essentially the same as if you were to neuter your male pet or spay your female pet.

There are several different methods in which poor souls can sterilize themselves:

Vasectomy (male): When the tubes that carry the sperm are severed. Can be reversed, but is not guaranteed to be successful.

Tubal ligation (female): Similar to above. The tubes are tied so that an egg can not drop and sperm can not get to the egg. Reversal is more successful.

Hysteroscopic sterilization (female): Permanent sterilization. No reversal.

Hysterectomy (female): Removal of the uterus and potentially the womb. This is permanent. There are exceptions to this procedure.

Intentionally sterilizing yourself or forcing another individual to sterilize themselves is a mortal sin because you are killing a part of your body. You are murdering a perfectly healthy aspect as reproduction is the normal and healthy aspect of being a person.

Men are always able to reproduce, and women over time will not be able to reproduce after they go through menopause. This is natural. It is the way God created it.

sterilization

Sterilization removes God from the picture of how your body is going to reproduce. You are saying that you know when you are going to create another person. Since most of sterilizations are permanent, much like murder, you murder your body and lose the most basic aspect of advancing the human race. It also goes directly against God’s commandment in Genesis:

And God blessed them, saying:Increase and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it, and rule over the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the air, and all living creatures that move upon the earth. Genesis 1:28

When He said this to Adam and Eve, remember they were married and this was not a commandment to go and sleep with whoever you want. Sex is for marriage. We will go over this in the 6th Commandment.

The healthy, natural, and normal aspect of your reproduction system, despite what society and the culture tell us, is to be able to reproduce. Intentionally destroying this for selfish reasons as not wanting more children is an insult and a blasphemy to God. Similarly to the Original Sin, you become your own god.

In some instances, getting a hysterectomy is not a mortal sin. For example, if a woman develops uterine cancer and she must get a hysterectomy lest she die. This is not a mortal sin as the intention is to save the life of the woman, not to destroy her reproduction cycle. The intention must be to save the life of the patient in any surgery in which sterilization becomes an unavoidable side effect. If the purpose is to intentionally sterilize the patient, it is a mortal sin.

If you have undergone a sterilization procedure for the reason of being sterile, you need to go to confession as soon as possible. You should also attempt to reverse the procedure if you can. Remember also that this post isn’t to condemn, but to lovingly point out error so that you can return to the state of grace and be received into God’s Kingdom.

Friday Abstinence and the Fourth of July

For all of you who are in the United States, this Friday, July 4th is the day that we celebrate our independence.

Many of us will be grilling, drinking, and lighting off those oh so much fun fireworks. Nothing says freedom more than blowing something up.

Fireworks

But, this year, the Fourth of July falls on a Friday. And seeing as Fridays are days of abstinence, the question arises: Am I allowed to eat meat this Friday, seeing as its a national holiday, and an important one at that.

Father Z wrote up a fairly lengthy post on the subject here. To summarize though, it appears that:

1. It is up to the bishop of your diocese to decide whether there will be a dispensation from the obligatory penance in his diocese.

2. The USCCB has determined that the faithful can decide what sort of penance they would like to substitute on Fridays. You are permitted to give up any other food or item you feel would work, or can add an extra rosary or some form of additional prayer.

You will want to check with your diocesan bishop to see if he has relaxed the need for penance. If not, I would abstain from meat if you can. Just think how much tougher it will be. Penance is not supposed to be easy. The harder your penance is, the more grace you obtain.

e26d4-nomeat

If you feel the desire to give up something else, that is up to you, but, try to keep with Catholic tradition and identity by giving up meat.

Have a blessed Fourth of July.

What Vatican 2 Actually Said: No Masses Honoring Groups of People

From the document Sacrosanctum Concilium:

32. The liturgy makes distinctions between persons according to their liturgical function and sacred Orders, and there are liturgical laws providing for due honors to be given to civil authorities. Apart from these instances, no special honors are to be paid in the liturgy to any private persons or classes of persons, whether in the ceremonies or by external display.

What does this mean? Simply put, the Mass is not to be used to honor the people, whether as the Mass itself (changing things to allow for this) or by external display (applause, special mentions, etc).

How often do we see the abuse of applause during Mass? Vatican 2 disapproves. How often do we see all kinds of crazy types of Masses? The High School Graduation Mass? The Kindergarten Mass? The (Insert Group of People to Celebrate For No Apparent Reason But To Honor and Celebrate here) Mass?

The “High School Youth Campout” Mass

This is not what the Second Vatican Council called for, and it is clearly written here.

Do not applaud. Do not go to these Masses if you are able to.

We see a lot in the Church today all of these Masses that celebrate somebody. Yet, here we are, the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, a solemnity with very few actual Mass celebrations. I’ll be honest, I didn’t even know about it until around 10 o’clock when my wife reminded me. We have wonderful celebrations in the Liturgical Calendar to celebrate and have wonderful Masses for them, but we hear nothing about them.

sacred-heart-of-jesus-traditional

It has become all about worshiping and honoring the individual, not the Lord. Well, Vatican 2 wants us to worship God in our Masses, not ourselves.

Corona, More Than Just a Beer

To many, Corona is just a brand of beer. A brand of Mexican beer where you put a lime in the bottle and enjoy on a hot day. But did you know that Corona is actually a Catholic term?

Corona

In the Concise Catholic Dictionary of 1943 (seriously, this book is worth its weight in gold) has three different definitions for the term Corona.

  1. Five mysteries of the Rosary.
  2. Candles or vigil lights arranged in a circle.
  3. The circlet of hair on the head of a tonsured cleric.
St. Anthony always had a Corona on him.
St. Anthony always had a Corona on him.

Just too cool if you ask me. Make sure you do a Corona every single day. A Corona of the Rosary that is.

An Act of Perfect Contrition

A reader posed a question on my post in which I talk about the need for frequent confession:

Precisely HOW does one make an “act of PERFECT Contrition”? I have read a very old booklet on this subject, and it states that we must acknowledge, even if we don’t Feel any emotions thereto, the many occasions of the Love of God in our lives and in that of humanity as a whole, as a specific statement in our act of contrition, and not just focus on the just punishments. Is this right? If not, what is the right way to make an act of perfect contrition? The priests I ask say they do not know or that one isn’t necessary or that all that’s needed is to pray “Jesus Son of the Living God have Mercy on Me a Sinner”???

The Concise Catholic Dictionary of 1943 actually has the definition, much to my surprise. The CCD states specifically in the definition of contrition:

“Sorrow and detestation of sin which has been committed together with the purpose of sinning no more. It is perfect contrition if it is based on love of God, imperfect contrition (attrition) if based on a lower motive.”

Prodigal Son

Perfect contrition is when you express sorrow and detestation of sin that you have committed because of your love for God. I would say that it sounds like we do not necessarily need to express sadness or feelings because we want to, but ultimately because we have offended God, who is all good and deserving of all of our love.

I would further say that an act of perfect contrition needs to be based purely on our love of God and how we have destroyed our relationship with Him.

The example given in this pamphlet seems to be off. It appears to conflict with the very definition of what perfect contrition is if we only focus on the “love of God and the good of humanity”. I honestly don’t even see how that would lead one to sense the need to even confess.

From what I can tell based on what perfect contrition is, it appears that the priests you have asked are mistaken. To their credit, they probably have not been formed properly during their time in seminary. This is such a sad state of affairs. Pray for them.

Imperfect contrition itself is not bad, but it is not perfect or rightly ordered. Attrition is better than not having any remorse whatsoever. In the confessional, attrition will do just fine.

Realize that you have offended God and are not in the state of grace. Go to confession, confess your sins, and make the act of contrition. In your heart, resolve that you are doing it out of love for God and have the intention that you will never sin again.

Go to confession as often as you need to.

In the Catechism of the Council of Trent, there is a couple of full pages on true contrition. You can find a link to an online version here. Starting at the section entitled “The First Part of Penance” up to “The Second Part of Penance”.

What Vatican 2 Actually Said: Preach the Faith

We’ve all heard many people argue that the Second Vatican Council changed a lot of things. But did it really?

Now before you spam my comment box that it did indeed, I would like to point out that yes, some things did change. That is not the purpose of this series. The purpose of this series is to correct those who constantly insist that “Vatican 2 did away with that”.

I have found that many traditionalists have not read the documents. This is not a statement saying that all traditionalists have not read the documents. Just an opinionated statement in which many have not read them. I for one have not read the documents.

Since many traditionalists haven’t read the documents, we generally have a difficult time refuting some of the claims, having not read the documents or even portions of them. Well, go read them, and start implementing these documents the way they were meant to.

The Sermon on the Mount Carl Bloch, 1890

First and foremost, let’s look at Sacrosanctum Concillium (Constitution of the Sacred Liturgy) on what it has to say on preaching the faith (emphasis mine):

9. The sacred liturgy does not exhaust the entire activity of the Church. Before men can come to the liturgy they must be called to faith and to conversion: “How then are they to call upon him in whom they have not yet believed? But how are they to believe him whom they have not heard? And how are they to hear if no one preaches? And how are men to preach unless they be sent?” (Rom. 10:14-15).

Therefore the Church announces the good tidings of salvation to those who do not believe, so that all men may know the true God and Jesus Christ whom He has sent, and may be converted from their ways, doing penance. To believers also the Church must ever preach faith and penance, she must prepare them for the sacraments, teach them to observe all that Christ has commanded, and invite them to all the works of charity, piety, and the apostolate. For all these works make it clear that Christ’s faithful, though not of this world, are to be the light of the world and to glorify the Father before men.

Notice what that says? The Church is to announce the good tidings of salvation that Jesus Christ has given us through His sacrifice. And in announcing that, those who are not Catholic can convert and repent of their past sins by doing penance and joining the Church. Those of us who are Catholic must be preached to about faith and penance as well, as we still must atone for our past transgressions. The Church must prepare us to receive the Sacraments, as well as to teach us ALL THAT CHRIST HAS COMMANDED.

How many times have you been ridiculed for teaching what Jesus taught? I know I have often. You may have even been told that the Second Vatican Council did away with it. Its not important anymore. Well, in case you have noticed, it is still just as important and needed today as it was through out the entirety of the Church. This was most definitely a continuation of what the Church has always taught, what Christ has taught.

But wait, what does this have to do with the Liturgy? Because the Liturgy in which we celebrate the Mass is the foundation of our faith. In knowing the true God and Jesus Christ, we witness Him in the Eucharist, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. We convert away from our old selves, and turn our gaze upon our mighty and ever lasting God.

In the Mass, during the homily, Father teaches us how to live our lives according to that of what God wants. Ultimately, the Liturgy is where we meet Christ, and in Christ, He changes us. When we receive Him in the Eucharist during Communion, we are in Him, and He is in us. It is a perfect communion where Heaven and Earth collide. We are one with Him.

the eucharist

Professing our faith has every bit to do with the Liturgy, because in our Liturgy, we demonstrate what we believe. Through reverence, we show those that would observe us, that we truly believe that Christ is present in the Eucharist, that God is present in our Churches, and the Holy Ghost is there.

Where the Catholic Church is, there you will find God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son, the Holy Ghost, Our Mother Mary and all the angels and saints. Where the Catholic Church is, there is home.

Discerning God’s Will In Difficult Decisions

For the Catholic who is attempting to discern God’s Will, it is difficult to determine when we are going after our will and not God’s.

Ultimately, every decision we make should be in accordance to God’s Will. Now, sometimes our will matches that of God’s, but many times it doesn’t.

From what I have discovered along my journey through the Catholic faith, there are times when I know that God wants me to do something and it is obvious. I simply put my options before God during some time of silence, and it becomes ever apparent what God’s Will is. This practice eventually becomes so easy that you don’t even have to ask, you just know. This occurs when you have a regular prayer life with God and are obedient to Him. The signs become apparent.

However, there comes that time, when decisions are no longer obvious. The gut reaction is to think “God has abandoned me, what do I do?” This is just what happens within our fallen nature as humans. Keep your chin up, it isn’t as bad as you think.

Generally when this happens, it is a sign that you have matured in your faith. God has shown you His Will up to this point and based on what He has shown you, it is now up to you to determine what is His Will and what is not.

Let’s look at it in another light. A young child is in constant need of their father to point out good and bad. Yes, you can have this, no you can’t have this. Don’t do this, do this. The child may or may not come to his father for this guidance, but the father is there nonetheless to ensure that he is not getting himself in trouble. When he gets older, his father isn’t always going to stand over him to make sure that he is doing everything that he needs to do. Now, depending on what is going to occur, he may intervene, but he will gradually let go in order to let him decide what is right and wrong based on what he has taught him.

This is exactly how Our Father in Heaven operates. When we are immature in our faith, we need constant guidance in order to ensure we aren’t getting ourselves in trouble. Similarly, when we have matured, He will be watching us (as God always does), but we have to make the tough decisions ourselves.

We will make poor decisions in our life, but ultimately God will still love us and be there for us in those times. It is critical to note that God never wants us to choose any action that is evil or sinful. Sinful amusements are never in tune with God’s Will simply because God never wants us to sin, as sin cuts us off from Him. If the choice you do make is a sinful choice, go to confession.

There will be times too that God will allow an opportunity in which it appears to have a lot of pros and very few cons, but He wants us to stay either where we at, or take the option that isn’t obvious. Time in prayer will help alleviate this. If you are having difficulty, talk to a trusted spiritual director.

Prayer: How to do it!

Spend much time in prayer, and get a trusted spiritual adviser. Having someone who is more experienced in the faith and closer to God will help you in figuring out those situations where there is no easy answer. Pray, fast and always stand vigilant.