This is the fifth talk on the Seven Deadly Sins. This deadly sin that violates the 6th and 9th Commandments was given by Canon Aaron B. Huberfeld, Vicar at St. Francis de Sales Oratory. Following his lead, I won’t speak its name, but will let you read on:
H/T to St. Louis Catholic. Are you unknowingly committing one of these other deadly sins?
Second Sunday of Lent 2011
How to speak of the Unspeakable Vice
At that time Jesus took Peter and James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into a high mountain apart: and He was transfigured before them. And His face did shine as the sun: and His garments became white as snow.
Some of you have been following this series of sermons very closely. The list has been published, so there is no surprise concerning which of deadly sins I’m going to speak about today. But perhaps one or two of you are surprised that I did not begin by quoting today’s epistle. Today St. Paul speaks in very clear terms about our subject. But this is Transfiguration Sunday, and I prefer to begin with the beautiful image of today’s Gospel: that brief moment on Mount Thabor, where Our Lord is transfigured before His closest circle of disciples. Before taking these same three disciples with him to Mount Olivet, where they will see Him in His agony, He grants them the grace to look on Him for one moment in His glory, all resplendent and pure. The scene calls to mind the words of the psalmist: who shall ascend into the mountain of the Lord; or who shall stand in His holy place? The innocent of hands, and pure of heart.
You may recall that, in our program, we now are in the midst of the four most human of the capital vices. The last of these, greed, is a vice which man does not share with any other creature in the universe – he keeps it all for himself. But you’ll hear enough on this subject next week from my dear classmate. Today we must consider the last and worst of the three sins which remind us of what we have in common with the lower creatures. Animals are not capable of sin, but man is capable of becoming a beast.
Before I speak about this sin, I must ask myself, should I speak about it at all? This is the sin of which the Apostle said, let it not so much as be named among you. Our fallen world does little else but speak about it, morning, noon, and night. We have been told for several generations that we must speak about it openly and often, that talking about it is the honest and mature thing to do. In the last fifty years our courts have struck down nearly every law on the books which stood in the way of this sin – in images, words, or deeds. And as for our armed forces, not only are brave soldiers and military chaplains forced to confront the most unnatural and detestable vices, they are now forbidden to speak against them.
You and I, at least, are still free to say what we like. And surely we have a duty to speak out – the salvation of souls is at stake. Our Lady of Fatima said more souls go to hell because of this sin than for any other reason. But what can we say? Those who advertise and glamorize this sin love to hear Christians talk about it, even if we speak against it. The victory is theirs; all that matters is that their ideas, their images, their vocabulary implant themselves in our hearts.
The greatest spiritual authors insist that our strategy for combating this sin in our own soul must be different from the tactic we employ against the others. It is good to stir ourselves up by staring our sloth, our envy, our anger, our gluttony in the face. Here we must stop short. We do not make progress by spending time reflecting on the ugliness and shamefulness of this sin; on the contrary, we risk contaminating ourselves even further. We must strive never to think of it at all – St. Ignatius tells us that in this battle, it’s the coward who takes the field. That is why I am determined not to give this sin any air time today – the less air we give it, the sooner we will snuff it out. But even without speaking directly of it, I can provide you with three sovereign remedies for it. These three remedies apply to everyone, but each is intended for a particular sort of people. What these three groups of people have in common is that they all desire to be pure.
- The first remedy I have in mind, then, is primarily for those who have lost their innocence and are mired in this sin. They want to regain the angelic virtue, but they are unable to feel contrition and make the good confession which will start them down that road. To them I repeat my earlier warning: do not spend time trying to reflect on the ugliness of this sin. Meditate instead on the Four Last Things: death, judgment, heaven, and hell. Eternity is coming closer every day, and this sin is devouring the time that remains to you. It may be deafening the ears of your heart to your vocation in life. It may be keeping you from the happy married life which otherwise would have been yours. Now is the acceptable time; now is the day of salvation. Our good God promises love and forgiveness for those who turn to Him; He does not promise tomorrow.
- Secondly, there are those who have returned to God. They are now fighting this sin, and they are resolved to avoid the occasions of it. The first remedy may have helped them thus far, but now they may begin to apply in earnest the second remedy: control of the senses. The devil wreaks havoc on the human race by his exploitation of the senses, especially the sense of touch. Even before the occasions of sin present themselves, we must rise early and take the field by reminding our senses that it is our will that rules the soul. Always maintain good posture, especially in God’s house, but everywhere else as well, even when alone. Always take the time to dress carefully and correctly. Remember the good, Catholic way of enjoying food which we have so recently heard about from the pulpit. At least try to limit your daydreaming, and shun all forms of curiosity with wandering eyes, ears and hands.
- Finally, there are those who, by the grace of God, have never lost their innocence, or if they lost it, they have, through prayer and penance, returned to the happy society of pure souls. These souls must never cease to apply and reapply the first and second remedies. But for them, and for all of us, there is a third medicine. We must never cease to nourish our souls by considering the joys and the glories of the virtue of chastity. Whether we look to the school of prayer that is the religious life, to the boundless zeal of holy priests and missionaries, or to the love and generosity of spouses, we find in the hearts of all those who are pursuing the devout life a quiet virtue which gently reminds them that, although they are body and soul, they are soul before body.
I would like to close with a word to all parents here. I know how earnestly you all labor to preserve this great virtue in your households. I know that you cherish your children’s innocence, and that you would defend it with your very lives. Do not lose heart! Continue to fight the good fight of faith! I know well that you are ridiculed, that the world mocks you every day. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven. You and your children have a gladness, a youthfulness, an indomitable strength which the world can never know.
May St. Joseph, great lover of chastity, grant us the grace to serve Jesus and Mary with unspotted minds and hearts, so that, when this short life is finished, we may be counted worthy to ascend the Lord’s holy mountain, and find the joy which He promised us in that Sermon on the Mount: blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God
Pope Benedict – Protect Human Life, Marriage and the Family
Pope Warns and Catechizes Latin Bishops
by Hilary White
ROME, (LifeSiteNews.com) – The Catholic bishops of Latin America must protect families and children from “education programs which trivialize sexuality” and “false ideologies” Pope Benedict XVI said in an address this week.
The Latin American bishops’ conferences must focus on “promoting a culture of life and working to ensure the rights of families are recognized and respected,” the pope said. The wellbeing of families in the region, he added, is also under threat from “rapid cultural changes and social instability,” poverty and migration of people.
Pope Benedict was addressing an assembly of bishops who serve as the heads of local Catholic organizations across Latin America that are dedicated to promoting family life. The prelates are meeting this week in Bogota, Colombia, with Cardinal Ennio Antonelli, the head of the Pontifical Council for the Family.
Christine Vollmer, head of Venezuela’s Alliance for the Family, told LifeSiteNews.com that she is pleased with the pope’s forthright statement of support for the struggles of families in Latin America.
“It is wonderful that the Holy Father understands our needs here in Latin America, and that the bishops are really studying the problems and putting them as a first priority,” said Vollmer, who is also a founding member of the Pontifical Academy for Life.
“The Pope is completely right,” she said. It is “cultural poverty” that is “the worst thing and the one undermining not only marriage but their faith as well.”
“The cultural and educational poverty” that is rife in Latin America, “has left millions completely imprisoned in a life style which is barely human. It is much more grave than monetary poverty.”
In his letter, Benedict also said: “No effort is in vain if it helps to ensure that each family, founded on the indissoluble bond between a man and a woman, carries out its mission as a living cell of society, seedbed of virtues, school of constructive and peaceful coexistence, instrument of harmony and a privileged area in which, with joy and responsibility, human life is welcomed and protected, from beginning to natural end.”
The pope said that he particularly wanted to encourage parents in their “right – and their fundamental duty – to educate the new generations in faith and in the values that dignify human existence.”
Vollmer agreed with Pope Benedict, saying, “The example and a culture of virtue is no longer there for young people. All the ‘models’ are dreadful, coming out of TV, MTV, video games and Hollywood.”
Vollmer is the co-author of a catechetical and relationship education program for young people that uses the teaching of the Catholic Church as its foundation and which is being used in schools across Venezuela.
The curriculum, called Alive to the World (Aprendiendo a Querer), covers children from age 6 to age 18 and focuses on the life of virtue. It is being promoted by the Catholic Church as a morally healthy alternative to standard secularist “sex-education” programs, but is even becoming popular in non-Catholic, state-run schools where improvements in behavior have been noted following its implementation.
The Catholic bishops of the Latin American region have a strong track record of defending life and family from attacks that have for years come from United Nations-based pro-abortion and anti-family organizations.
The pope encouraged the bishops to “find ways to collaborate with all men and women of good will in order to continue to protect human life, marriage and the family throughout the region.”
Hat-tip to http://www.courageouspriest.com/
on MARCH 30, 2011 ·
. . . I wrote of it in “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas 17 Times.” Still, the apathy of many Catholics about the tenets of their faith has only furthered the atheist agenda, not to mention their relative score. Before we all sign up for remedial CCD classes, it might boost our Catholic spirits to know that American Protestants fared no better than Catholics on the Pew Center study. Their score was also a solid “F.” Jews did better overall than Catholics and Protestants, but also flunked, and Mormon scores were just under the atheists’ barely passing “D.” Americans as a whole averaged a score of 50%. There are no bragging rights anywhere. . . .
Sent on behalf of
|Fr. Peter Kim Woo|
The priest from Korea: My life was changed in Međugorje
At the time when I started reading that book, my life was not very bright and easy. I was even depressed. My mother suffered a lot because of my condition. To help me, she suggested that I come to Međugorje. I came, and my spirituality started changing. The change was huge, but yet I had burning desire to become a famous singer one day. In those days when I arrived to Međugorje, I used to cry every day, especially during the Adoration, after hearing the sound of violin.” Fr. Peter returned to Korea and started reconsidering the choice of music in his life. He was not sure whether that was a profession worth for the whole lifetime. Upon his return, he met a person that he prayed a lot with, and that person told him that he had a religious vocation. He continued with his everyday duties, but deep in his heart he was able to hear the Lord calling him: “Dae Woo” He felt a fear from accepting that call, thinking that if he answered Lord’s invitation, that his music days would be over. He used to cry often in front of the Lord, begging Him to help him change his life. This young priest told us how he decided to enter the Franciscan Order: “I prayed to the Lord and to Our Lady saying to them – ‘If it is your will for me to have a religious vocation, please help me, give me an obvious sign so I would know whether to persist in that decision.’ I prayed in those moments and the Holy Bible opened at the Psalm 110 that says: ‘You are a priest forever for ever, in the order of Melchizedek’ I closed the Bible and felt as if my heart was going down in those moments. After so many inner struggles, I put the other things in my regular life in the order and I knocked at the doors of one Franciscan monastery. I decided to become a Franciscan in 2000.” He said that Međugorje is a place of great grace, a special place that enabled him to change his life. He never thought of becoming a priest prior to his visit to Međugorje.
In the Anderson, South Carolina Independent Mail. http://www.independentmail.com/news/2011/mar/31/police-investigating-break–a…
Police investigating break-in at Anderson church
ANDERSON — Anderson police are investigating a break-in at St. Mary of the Angels Catholic Church in Anderson.
A church member went to St. Mary to unlock it around 6:35 a.m. today and found damage to a window.
A window was broken and some cabinet doors were damaged. Desk drawers had been opened and items strewn around the space.
The office of Father Aubrey McNeil, pastor of the church, was broken into, and the key to the church tabernacle taken, officials said.
Bread used in communion and distributed at Mass was taken from the tabernacle, but it does not appear that anything else was, officials said.
Mass cannot take place at the church until officials there find out from the bishop for the Diocese of Charleston how to proceed because communion material was disturbed.
McNeil said to his knowledge the break-in is the first at the church since it opened in 1943.
Please pray for the person(s) who did that and please perform some penitential act today in reparation for the desecration of the Eucharist.
USCCB News Release
March 30, 2011
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Bishops’ Doctrine Committee Faults Book by Fordham Professor
Sister Elizabeth Johnson’s Quest for the Living God distorts Catholic concept of God
Book does not recognize divine revelation as the standard for Catholic theology
Differs from authentic Catholic teaching on essential points
WASHINGTON (March 30, 2011)—The U.S. bishops’ Committee on Doctrine authorized a statement March 24, critiquing Quest for the Living God: Mapping Frontiers in the Theology of God, a book by a Fordham University Professor, Sister Elizabeth A. Johnson, a member of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Brentwood, New York.
In the statement, the Committee asserts that the “basic problem with Quest for the Living God as a work of Catholic theology is that the book does not take the faith of the Church as its starting point. Instead, the author employs standards from outside the faith to criticize and to revise in a radical fashion the conception of God revealed in Scripture and taught by the Magisterium.”
The statement notes that Sister Johnson attempts to justify her revisions of traditional Catholic theology by arguing that this tradition has become contaminated by ideas from Enlightenment thinkers, who are responsible for the conception of God in what she calls “modern theism.”
“Against the contamination of Christian theology after the Enlightenment by modern theism, Sr. Johnson claims to be retrieving fundamental insights from patristic and medieval theology. As we have seen, however, this is misleading, since under the guise of criticizing modern theism she criticizes crucial aspects of patristic and medieval theology, aspects that have become central elements of the Catholic theological tradition confirmed by magisterial teaching,” the statement says.
The Committee contrasts Sister Johnson’s assertion that the Church’s names for God are metaphors that do not apply to the reality of God with the traditional Catholic understanding. The Church teaches, based on patristic and medieval theology, that certain names truly apply to God by analogy and are not merely metaphors.
“While Sr. Johnson is well within the Catholic theological tradition when she maintains that human language is never adequate to express the reality of God, she departs from that tradition when she makes the more radical claim that human language does not attain to the reality of God,” the statement says.
The Committee also criticizes her characterization of the Church’s names for God as humanly-constructed metaphors that can be replaced by novel human constructions that are intended to help transform society in a positive way by promoting the socio-political status of women.
“What is lacking in the whole of this discussion is any sense of the essential centrality of divine revelation as the basis of Christian theology,” the statement says. “The names of God found in the Scriptures are not mere human creations that can be replaced by others that we may find more suitable according to our own human judgment. The standard by which all theological assertions must be judged is that provided by divine revelation, not by unaided human understanding."
The committee issued the statement because of the book’s unacceptable departures from the Catholic theological tradition and "the fact that the book is directed primarily to an audience of non-specialist readers and is being used as a textbook for study of the doctrine of God."
”For these reasons … the Committee on Doctrine finds itself obligated to state publicly that the doctrine of God presented in Quest for the Living God does not accord with authentic Catholic teaching on essential points,” the statement says. The full statement is available online at www.usccb.org/doctrine/statement-quest-for-the-living-god-2011-03-24.pdf
Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington offered introductory remarks on the committee’s action, March 30, when the statement became public and referred to a canon law concerning use of the imprimatur.
“The Bishops’ Committee on Doctrine is first and foremost concerned about the spiritual welfare of those students using this book who may be led to assume that its content is authentic Catholic teaching,” he said. “Although an imprimatur is not required for all books that treat Sacred Scripture and theology, it is still a recommended practice (see c. 827 §3). By seeking an imprimatur, the author has the opportunity to engage in dialogue with the bishop concerning the Catholic teaching expressed in the book. Thus, clarifications concerning the text can be made prior to its publication. It would have been helpful if Sister Elizabeth Johnson had taken advantage of this opportunity.”
He added that “The Bishops’ Committee on Doctrine is always open to dialogue with theologians and would welcome an opportunity to discuss Sister Elizabeth’s writings with her.”
Cardinal Wuerl’s introductory remarks are available online at www.usccb.org/doctrine/statement-quest-for-the-living-god-remarks-2011-03-30.pdf.
Quest for the Living God is copyrighted 2007 and published by Continuum. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Doctrine includes Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl of Washington, chairman; Bishop Leonard P. Blair of Toledo, Ohio; Archbishop Daniel Buechlein, O.S.B., of Indianapolis; Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles; Bishop William Lori of Bridgeport, Connecticut; Bishop Robert McManus of Worcester, Massachusetts; Bishop Kevin Rhoades of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Indiana; Bishop Arthur Serratelli of Paterson, New Jersey; and Archbishop Allen Vigneron of Detroit.
Keywords: Quest for the Living God, Sister Elizabeth Johnson, Fordham University, U.S. Bishops, doctrine, Archbishop Donald Wuerl, theology, names of God, Bishop Leonard Blair, Bishop William Lori, Archbishop José Gomez, Bishop Robert McManus, Bishop Kevin Rhoades, Bishop Arthur Serratelli, Archbishop Allen Vigneron
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Another example of a modernist theologian going mad! Thank the Bishops for standing up to fight these errors and proclaiming the truth!