Traditional Roman Catholic Thoughts

Traditional Roman Catholic Thoughts

Reintroducing Logic and Reason to the Age of Sentimentalism

Mortal Sin Against the Third Commandment

Remember to Keep Holy the Lord’s Day

What is the Lord’s Day? Catholics and most Christians celebrate our Liturgy on Sunday. If you are Catholic, you are able to attend a Vigil Mass (a Mass that occurs the evening before and counts towards the next day’s requirement).

The Jews used to be incredibly strict when it came to this commandment. Are you noticing a pattern? Jews would walk to Temple, they would not do any work, cooking was done the day before, in fact, everything was done the day before. You can not even tear toilet paper, as that is considered work. I am glad that the Catholic Church is much more lenient in this regard. As Jesus said when the Pharisees saw his disciples picking grain “Have you not read what David did when he and his companions were hungry, how he went into the house of God and ate the bread of offering, which neither he nor his companions but only the priests could lawfully eat? Or have you not read in the law that on the sabbath the priests serving in the temple violate the sabbath and are innocent? I say to you, something greater than the temple is here. If you knew what this meant, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned these innocent men. For the Son of Man is Lord of the sabbath.” (Matthew 12:3-8).

We are required as Catholics to do only what we really need to do on Sundays. Any work that is beyond what we need done should be held off until Monday. There are some exceptions to this, which I will discuss below when I get to the example. What is nice is there are only a few things that are considered a mortal sin when it comes to this commandment. So, without further delay, let’s begin!

Missing Mass on Sunday or a Holy Day of Obligation without serious reason
You MUST go to Mass every single week, whether it be Sunday or Saturday evening. Mass is the most important aspect of the Catholic faith, and it is important that we attend. Now, when you attend, that doesn’t mean that you need to receive the Eucharist. Receiving the Eucharist is not what counts our Mass attendance as being valid, but it is our physical presence that counts for our Mass attendance. Holy Days of Obligation are also required. They are called “obligation” for a reason, you are obligated to go. Vigil’s for these days also count, so no big deal if you have to go the evening before.

Now, what if you are sick or have been snow stormed in? Then, you are indeed not required to go to Mass. This is something you should discuss with your pastor about if you have a medical condition that would prohibit you from going on a regular basis, and sometimes your pastor will give you something (a rosary, scripture, the day’s Gospel, etc) to pray upon to become your obligation. But, if you have the stomach flu, on behalf of about 99% of Catholics who would probably agree, please stay home. I don’t want to catch it and you need your rest. Rest today for worship tomorrow.

Doing unnecessary work on Sunday
This is always an interesting one, just due to the entire definition of what is “unnecessary” referring to? I’ve always imagined that “unnecessary” is defined as doing work that is completely not needed to be done. I think this is a variable for each individual and is something that you will have to reflect and pray upon to determine what is necessary for you. Cooking food is something that even if you hate doing, you need to do in order to survive. I suppose if you hate it that much, you can always throw in a TV dinner or frozen pizza in the microwave or oven and be done with it. I for one, really enjoy doing yard work. I love being outside and I find it very relaxing for me. So, since it doesn’t feel like work, I would consider it not work. However, I do eventually get to a point where I get annoyed and don’t want to do it anymore because I’m getting tired. This is usually when I say, alright, this feels like work, I’m done.

I would also argue that sometimes the work just has to get done due to a deadline. I would say that if possible, this should be avoided, as in better time management, but there are circumstances where everything is outside of your control and you should plan better, but, again, this is something that you should probably decide. You also may enjoy it too.

Intentional Failure to fast or abstain on appointed days.
As Catholics, we are required to fast two days out of the year. This equates to 1/2% of the year. We are also required to abstain from meat only 7 or 8 days out of the year. This would equate to 2% of the time if you go with 8. Is it really that difficult to go without meat that 2% of the time? I’ve commented in my Lenten posts that when we fast and abstain we bring ourselves closer to God and we can offer up this suffering and unite it with Christ with His suffering on the cross.

For once, I’m going to call upon the Catechism to help me out here. If you don’t have a Catechism of the Catholic Church, buy one! They are very useful and full of all sorts of information on why Catholics believe what we believe.

Paragraph 2043 states that we as Catholics shall “observe the days of fasting and abstinence established by the Church” ensures the times of ascetics and penance which prepare us for the liturgical feasts and help us acquire mastery over our instincts and freedom of heart.

Whoa! What’s that mean? In short, when we fast and/or abstain, we are offering up our suffering in the form of penance, which will end up allowing us to get ready for any feasts that are about to occur within the Church and on top of that, allow us to claim dominion over our bodily temptations. We control our bodies, not our bodies control us.

So, as Catholics we have to abstain from meat on all Fridays during Lent, as well as Ash Wednesday. We are to fast (2 small meals and 1 normal size meal) on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. We are also to fast (NOT EAT OR DRINK ANYTHING (except water or medication that is necessary)) for ONE HOUR before receiving Communion. This includes no gum chewing during Mass. This is a big one, and it is easy to mess up on this one if you aren’t paying attention. One habit I have gotten into since becoming Catholic (partly because I misread the fast) is not eating or drinking anything one hour before Mass even starts! Now, you don’t need to do this, but in the old days of the Church, it was common not to eat anything starting at midnight. So, you couldn’t have food on Sunday morning until you went to Mass. Hence…breakfast…break the fast.

Requiring employees to work on Sunday in non-essential occupations
A few decades ago, probably more than a few by now, it was very common here in America that stores would be closed on Sundays. If you happen to run out of eggs or milk, you were out of luck, you’d have to ask your neighbor if you could borrow some. Today it is quite common that every single business is open. There really is no need for a lot of these businesses to be open either. We live in the 21st century and machines can process and handle most of the businesses that we have. Now, its important to realize that there are some essential occupations such as police, fire, doctors, nurses etc that should work on Sunday, because you can postpone emergencies. However, to require that you have your employees work at the department store or the mall on Sunday, is a bit absurd.

Now, we aren’t supposed to be doing “work” on Sunday’s unless we absolutely need to or if you happen to enjoy it. But, since we are actually working and making money in this case, that constitutes as work-work.
What if you have a weird schedule and you work a weird shift such as Sunday-Thursday? In this instance, you can treat one of the other days off as your Sunday. So, Friday can become your day when you stay at home and recuperate, or maybe Saturday would be better, and you could hit up the Vigil Mass to count for your Sunday obligation while you’re at it.

Depending on your business, you may have to have employees on staff because you have a business that REQUIRES it. In this case, do not force your employees to work Monday-Friday as well. Give them the opportunity so that they have a day off to count as their Sunday. We all need rest and when you work someone to the bone, they will not be happy employees and your business will suffer from it.


This post is one of many in a series on Mortal SinsClick here for more posts explaining and defining mortal sins.

Jeff May 29, 2012 1 Comment Permalink

Offering Our Selves in Prayer for Others

Yesterday at Mass, I had an interesting revelation.

I don’t know about you, but often times I try to make it a habit of trying to pray for people that have wronged me in the past, specifically when I bring it up in a conversation. Of course, I don’t always remember, but I do my best.

I think what frustrates me the most, is that, to be honest, a lot of the time, the person who has offended me is a priest that I’ve had a bad run in with, usually when it comes to confession. It bothers me when they don’t want to hear confessions. As a priest, that is part of their job, and when a sinner asks for confession, they should be readily able to hear the confession, especially since you don’t know if the penitent will be able to make it after they leave. Its one thing when they are busy, say, getting ready for Mass, but in these instances it is not the case. I digress.

I make it a habit to say a quick prayer for this or that priest who didn’t want to hear my confession. But, getting back to the main point, at Mass yesterday, I was thinking about this a bit more.

As Catholics, we are called to pray constantly, offering everything we do up for God. Something that I struggle with is remembering to pray for my friends and family and acquaintances by name, rather than by my usual “I pray for all my friends…”. Now, there isn’t nothing wrong with praying that way, especially when you have a lot of people to pray for, but I was thinking, what about all the people I don’t pray for?

Let’s take the example I gave above a few steps further. Now, instead of praying for someone who wrongs you, let’s make it even more realistic. Maybe, when we talk about anybody, good or bad, we should be praying for them. So, when you are having a conversation with your mom and you’re talking about grandma, positively or negatively, you begin to pray for her, offering up your conversation for her. Now, you’re praying like a Catholic!

Let’s take this even another step further. While you are talking with your mom…start praying for her! Yeah, that’s right! Pray for those who you are having a conversation with. What a concept! This will begin to put you in the shoes of the Saints who constantly prayed for those around them. Think about how much you’d grow in your spiritual life, not only because you are praying more, but you are making an effort to pray for all people around you, whether they are friend or foe, family or acqaintance, needing it or not. You will become a stronger individual and happier. I’m rather certain that those around you engaging in conversation will notice the difference too.

So, give it a try, pray for those around you more often. Then when you go to bed and when you say your prayers (you do say them right?) you don’t need to worry about forgetting about people. Make the extra effort though. It feels good when someone tells you specifically that they prayed for you by name. If you have to, make a list of everyone you need/want to pray for, and do it.

Mortal Sin Against the Second Commandment

The Second Commandment.

“You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.”

What does ‘vain’ mean? Vain is defined in 4 ways:
1. Having no real value.
2. Marked by futility or ineffectualness.
3. Foolish, silly.
4. Having or showing undue or excessive pride in one’s appearance or achievements.

As Catholics, we use the first three definitions on how we look at vain for the commandment. So, as long as we are using God’s name to give Him glory, it is perfectly acceptable to say His name. The Jews took it very seriously and even the mention of God’s name would have resulted in death. They would stone (throw stones at) the culprit to death.

So, after understanding what vain means, the Second Commandment is fairly straight forward. Do not use God’s name in a bad way. So, without further delay, let’s look at some mortal sins that demonstrate this.

Using God’s name as a curse
Anytime that we use God’s name and we are not giving Him glory, we are using His name in vain. Anytime that we say “Oh my God” or “Jesus Christ” and we are saying it in a negative way, we are disobeying God. In our society, it is incredibly common to hear these swears in a very casual way. Far too often we hear “Oh my God” used as if it wasn’t a big deal, and it really is. We are not giving God praise, nor are we complimenting Him. It is all waste. Now, if you happen to struggle with this, I encourage you to be more self-aware of what you say. Replace them with “Oh my gosh” or “Jeez o Petes” or whatever suits your fancy. It will take awhile to break the habit, but you will become more aware of what you are saying. It may go from saying it and realizing it a minute or two afterwards, to saying it and realizing it immediately, to eventually you will start saying better things instead.

Committing perjury occurs when you lie under oath in the court of law. In America, when you are sworn in to give your testimony, you swear upon God’s name that you are telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God. You have now sworn upon God’s name that you will tell the truth. When you intentionally tell a lie under this oath, you have now caused ineffectiveness against the Lord’s name.

Telling a lie in confession or withholding a serious sin
In confession, you are not only telling your sins to the priest, but you are telling them to Jesus. The priest is inpersona christi or in the person of Christ. Now, God knows all of your sins, so, what is the big deal if I don’t confess everything? It turns out, that you are not trusting in God and you are being prideful when you withhold a sin. Not only that, but when you lie, you are adding more sin on top of what you currently have and negate the effects of the confession.

The act of seriously insulting or showing contempt or lack of reverence from God. When we are insulting God in this way, we are doing it out of spite, hate, contempt, etc. God, being our Lord and Creator, deserves all of our respect, even if we feel that He doesn’t deserve it. God is all Good. You can’t have any good in the world without the goodness of God. Thus, when you deny this goodness, you are in essence denying God.

Serious slander or insult of a sacred person or other holy person
Similar to above, we are insulting someone that deserves respect. Someone who is sacred (such as a Saint) or another holy individual (a Blessed, Venerable, Servant of God, etc) has proven that they are a good person. Now, we aren’t talking about harmless jokes that aren’t a big deal. We are talking about anything that is just wrong. For example, mocking someone for something they didn’t do or even worse, accusing one of something highly immoral that they couldn’t have done.

As I’ve said before, if after reading this you have realized that you have gone committed these sins, GET TO CONFESSION! Now, I’m not writing this to condemn. I want you to become a better person. The potential of losing a chance at eternal life and salvation because of not knowing what is a sin, would be sad and dreadful.

If you found this inspiring, share it!


This post is one of many in a series on Mortal SinsClick here for more posts explaining and defining mortal sins.

Obama Supports Gay Marriage

I know in the past that I have said that I would not get involved in politics too much in this blog, but I have finally had it. I can no longer stand by as a practicing Roman Catholic and allow my opinion within the public sector to be kindly disregarded. As a Catholic and as an American, I have the right to vote with my conscience (for now).

Today, President Barack Obama came out in open support of homosexual marriage. This is huge news for the pro-gay marriage crowd, and further proof that his views are that of a revolving door. He’s only changed his mind about half a dozen times in the last 12 years on this issue. In 1996 he said “I favor legalizing same-sex marriages, and would fight efforts to prohibit such marriages.” In 2004 (when he started campaigning for President) “What I believe is that marriage is between a man and a woman”. In 2008 (in time to sucker in some votes) “I believe marriage is the union between a man and a woman. Now for me as a Christian, this is a sacred union”. Only two years ago in 2010 “My feelings about this are constantly evolving. I struggle with this.” To finally “I think same sex couples should be able to get married”.

What is really funny about the timing of everything is that I was actually thinking about writing up a post regarding how Catholic In Name Only Vice President Joe Biden and Education Secretary Arne Duncan came out this week in ardent support of gay “marriage”. There was much talk and speculation on how President Obama was going to toe the line for the election coming up. How can he pull off not being supportive of it when all of the people he surrounds himself with can’t be quiet about it? Well, apparently they felt that the best way to handle the situation was to just stop trying to pretend that he isn’t for it and well, support it.

As Catholics, we can not be in support of homosexual “marriage”. This is something that the Church has come out against and it is not something that we can discuss in the sense of changing the view of the Church. Similar to abortion and euthanasia there is no “changing the minds” and going for it. This being said, I pose the question, “how come Biden’s bishop has not come out publicly to denounce him and ex-communicate him?” What does it take to get the bishops attention and ex-communicate those who publicly come out and do damage to the Church? Speaking as a convert, politicians like Joe Biden do a lot of harm to those who are not in the Church. He acts as the spokesman, and it paints the Church in a bad light. Not to mention our enemies of the Church will still be enemies because no matter what the Church supports, it is not good enough for them.

I’m really tired of how this President has continuously stomped on the rights of people and those with faith. Catholics can not support a presidential candidate who goes against every core conviction that the Catholic Church has upheld. Obama has pushed for abortion, contraception, abortifacients, homosexual marriage and even as a senator he supported infanticide. This man can not call himself a Christian. You can not call yourself a Christian or even a Catholic if you vote for him.

Marriage is between a man and a woman. What I really don’t get about the pro-gay marriage crowd is theire constant ATTACK against marriage and the family. I call it an attack because that is precisely what it is. Marriage has always been a religious institution. What does this mean? This means that it is administered by religious officials. This also means that whatever religion you are practicing, you are to follow their rules when you get married. For example, within the Archdiocese of St. Paul/Minneapolis, engaged couples must 1) Go on a weekend engaged couples retreat where you listen to talks on how to behave as a married couple (this was very beneficial). 2) Attend an NFP course which consists of 3 classes. 3) Take an inventory, which is a questionnaire regarding thoughts on what you and your future spouse think and then discuss the results of this inventory with a married couple. 4 sessions. 4) Meet with your priest or deacon 4 times. If you do not do any one of these 4 things, the Archdiocese will not allow you to be married. The Archdiocese has every right to make these rules up. This 4 items do help, especially when you attend with an open heart and mind. Every religion has different requirements to get married.

But wait? Where are the crowds that say this isn’t fair? What about equality between two people who want to get married? Well, that’s right, you don’t hear about this at all. In fact, I’ve never heard anyone argue that the Church should allow a man and a woman to just get married without taking courses. Its because nobody cares about this, the “equality” crowd use equality as a term to get by without having to explain themselves. Its a shield term. You can’t argue with me if I say you are against equality and that you don’t want people to be treated fairly. Its very similar to playing the race card.

Similar to drivers licenses, marriage is a privilege, not a right, no matter how loud you shout that it is. Had the government not interfered with marriage in the first place, we would not be in this situation because each faith would say “yes” or “no”.

Another argument that I have heard being thrown around way too often is how people have come from a traditional mom and dad home and have come out screwed up from this. Well, sadly this happens, but putting a man and a man together or a woman and a woman will only intensify this. I do feel bad for people who come from broken homes, but society continually perpetuates the broken home lifestyle, because our society capitalizes from it. The family is supposed to be where good values, education, faith, morals and love are passed through, but far too often today, the family is torn apart and nothing is being passed on.

This may come to a surprise to most people, but, not everyone is perfect. Only God is in all three persons. Everyone is going to come out scarred from their family life because everyone sins and when we do, we hurt those around us. Any time a husband is rude to his wife and their children see, they are scarred. Any time a mother and father beat each other, or turn to alcoholism or any other sin or vice, it scars the family. Heck, any time that someone in the family does something someone else in the family doesn’t like, scarring occurs. It is our jobs as Christians and Catholics to grow from these scenarios. That is the entire purpose of our lives is to continually grow with Christ as our guide and our source to achieve our only level on personal holiness that allows us to become Saints on Earth. It is rare, especially in this day and age that a person can come out of a family not scarred in some way or form. It is what we do with that scarring that makes us a better person or not. Christ can heal our wounds and we can learn that we don’t want to be a part of this bad behavior that our families have displayed. You just have to have trust and faith.

Love is only love when it is practiced in its true sense. Similar to a doctor who tells you that you must stop eating bad foods because you can die from it, the Church is there to tell you what you shouldn’t do because you will die from it as well. You may not die physically, but you will die spiritually. When we allow someone to commit sin by legalizing it, we are not helping them, but we are hurting them and allowing them to continually damage themselves by not giving them the proper treatment.

To end this rather long post, get out there and spread the word. President Obama must not be elected this year. Spend the moment with your friends and tell them why. Explain how another 4 years of President Obama will completely cripple our economy, remove all religions (not just Catholicism), deprive the country of whatever morals we have left and allow the government to rob us of every last dime that we make.


One thing I enjoy doing is thinking up ways that the Church can be improved. Now, I’m not saying that the Church is wrong, but, I do think that there is always room for improvements. Specifically, I want to look at some of the ministries that the Church has or has not.

First and foremost, I think that the Church really needs to spend more time on Young Adult ministries. Generally, Young Adult is defined as singles between the ages of 18-35 years old. As a former member of a successful YA group, it was really nice to make nice friends who shared my Catholic faith and happened to be at the same stage of life as me. I have made some really good friends who I still keep in contact with even though I have moved several states away and some of these friends have also moved throughout the country as well. This is an absolute necessity to the Church in my opinion and I’ll explain why.

Catholic children either go to Catholic schools or they go to religious education or Sunday school classes. Now in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, students go through religious education from Kindergarten all the way through 11th grade. At 12th grade they are no longer required to go through any form of structured religious education. This is fine. Now, we look at college. Sometimes you have a Catholic Church near the campus, but I do think it is a safe assumption that they are not always on the traditional point of view. You can still have a good education depending on who you meet, but at least in some ways you still have something there. Possibly. The average Catholic has no strong structural religious education between this time until the time that they are married and have children. At this time there are more formal adult education programs that the Church offers, but still not as much as what the children have.

Young Adult is where you can keep a lot of the future Catholics within the Church happy and healthy spiritually. A lot of times as well, Young Adults may find their future spouse within their group. I know many friends who met their spouse through our Young Adult group and are currently very happy. This is because I believe most practicing young Catholics, want to marry another practicing young Catholic. It is also important to note that this allows you to be friends with your spouse first, which is an incredibly important part of your marital relationship. Your spouse should be your best friend. But, I digress. Young Adults are the future of the Church. If you want a strong Church, you need to keep those who are still young and interested in all things relating to the Church involved so that they may become stronger and holier.

Second, a ministry that helps with keeping members feel welcomed within the Church. I have heard that Mormons have a ministry in every single one of their churches that involves keeping members feel welcome within the community. This is important in every Catholic Parish throughout the Catholic Church. For those Catholics who are not actively involved and are just going to Church once a week for Mass, may not feel connected to the parish. Now, its possible too that when they don’t have this connection, they feel like they aren’t getting anything out of the Church, or, the Church doesn’t care for them. This isn’t true of course, but when you don’t feel like the Church cares for you, your perspective is completely different. We need to get these Catholics involved within the Church and know that they are welcomed, valued and cared for.

Protestant churches do a very good job at making members feel connected, and we need to tap into this. This ministry would also involve talking to parishioners and letting them know that they are being prayed for and then they also have actual members within the community that they know and can even form relationships with. Strong Catholic relationships are important at helping others grow in their faith. I know for me personally that some of my best friendships and relationships have been when I have been challenged to grow in my faith and I have felt welcome within the parish community as a whole. This is going to be a very important ministry as it will help keep Catholics who are currently coming to Church on a regular basis, coming back for more and allowing them to continue to be stronger in their faith.

Its also important to note that even if they have stopped coming to Mass, that they know that they are still being felt welcoming and hopefully this will encourage them to come back. It also gives the opportunity to help evangelize those that don’t understand parts of the faith that are preventing them from coming back for more. Religious education is important and when people have questions and they aren’t getting answers, they will look elsewhere if it happens to seem like an answer to that question.

Third, a ministry that helps place RCIA candidates in other ministries within the Church. When people go through RCIA and decide that they want to convert from their previous faith or lack thereof (in my situation), or are being confirmed, they are usually on fire for the faith. They are so excited and the Holy Spirit really works hard with in them that they want to help out within the Church to share their new knowledge and new understanding of Catholicism. We need these new Catholics who have a different perspective of life, to be placed throughout the Church, where change and fire can help the Church to grow so much more. If you have ever spent any time talking to these people, they are so excited to be Catholic and are so full of faith. We need to harness this because I firmly believe that those who come into the Church are more likely to help spread Catholicism.

We need to be Catholics who are on fire for their faith. When we are Catholics who are on fire for our faith, we lead by example and those who are non-Catholic, or non-practicing Catholic, see the Catholic Church for what it really is. We need some change within the Church that is going to help keep us Catholic and will help bring our non-Catholic brothers and sisters home.