Solemn Declaration by Pope Benedict XII in “Benedictus Deus,” Jan 29, 1336
Papal Coat of Arms of Pope Benedict XII
Hi everyone, it is nice to be back posting once again. I hope all my readers and their families had a wonderful and holy Christmas and new year. May God in His mercy and goodness bless all of us this year of 2015, and may He come quickly!
The headlines of the secular news are filled with despair and hopelessness. Our True Faith and Hope rests in One, Jesus Christ our True King and Lord. We must never lose hope and keep our eyes on Him. So many distractions, including Catholic news in many cases can keep us from what’s truly important; readying ourselves for His glorious return! May we keep our souls focussed on Him this year, and pray to praise , reverence and serve our Lord with a great apostolic zeal this year! May we all be “praises of glory,” as Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity states.
The Danger of One Mortal Sin
This topic is not a popular one, but it is necessary and a true teaching of the Catholic Church. This topic also will be covered in detail, so that we cannot plead ignorance when asked, “what merits entrance into eternal hell?”. The short answer is that one mortal sin is enough for us to merit eternal damnation. How do we know this? Simple answer, because it was Dogmatically defined in 1336 by Pope Benedict XII, to set the record straight. One thing about articles of the Catholic faith that are solemnly defined from the Chair of St Peter. They are true, and unchangeable. We read in Matthew Chapter 16 ”  And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.  And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose upon earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven.
It is our actual eternal salvation we are talking about here, like, forever and ever. This sounds important , no? So many church men and teachers turn their backs and side-step this teaching or actually don’t even believe it. This is deadly, eternally deadly! Let us take a look at exactly what was Dogmatically defined in 1336 by Pope Benedict XII in case it leaves room for interpretation, which I assure you, it does not. Here is what is written from the edict “Benedictus Deus” . This also can be found in Denzingers book Sources of Catholic Dogma article 531. Here goes :
(On hell and the general judgment)
Moreover we define that according to the general disposition of God, the souls of those who die in actual mortal sin go down into hell immediately (mox) after death and there suffer the pain of hell. Nevertheless, on the day of judgment all men will appear with their bodies “before the judgment seat of Christ” to give an account of their personal deeds, “so that each one may receive good or evil, according to what he has done in the body” (2 Cor. 5.10).”
So, this is definitive. Now we need to ask the question what constitutes a mortal sin. We can also answer that question quickly and easily and will do so, here and now. I don’t want anyone wondering about that question because of its gravity.
What is a Mortal Sin?
First off, the term mortal sin is not used as often these days to kind of soften the blow, but it is the proper term for such a subject. The more popular terms for mortal sin today are “serious sin” or “grave sin”. Do not be fooled by these terms, serious or grave sin, they are still mortal sin. Another word that is used is deadly, which is also very true and appropriate.
Quickly here I will give the three elements that makes a sin mortal in nature
1. the matter involved must be serious
2. one must have knowledge that it is wrong
3. one must freely choose or intend to commit the action or omission
Another disclaimer, this topic will be covered in more detail when posting on the Sacrament of Penance in the near future unless Jesus comes first of course ; which would be super awesome! So, if He does come, we will all be a little more ready for Him , right? Another quick note, if you even think you may have one mortal sin either through thought, word or deed ; proceed directly to your nearest priest and confess your sins to the best of your knowledge! I should have said that earlier, but I didn’t.
Ok, back to the three conditions that constitute a mortal sin. First the particular thought, word, action, or inaction must be serious. Secondly, I must know what I am doing is wrong, seriously wrong. I cannot sin through complete ignorance. If I don’t know it is a mortal sin to miss Sunday Mass and Holy days of obligation, than that would not be a sin for me. However, if I know that not attending Mass on Sunday is a mortal sin and choose to go visit family or play hockey or go to that nephews Birthday party instead….. well, not such a smart move their sunshine . Another note, and it is a biggy. If I personally choose to remain ignorant, for fear that finding out the Truth will interfere with my good times. Ouchhhh, God is smarter than that, He has that base covered to. That person, would be guilty of that sin.
Third, I cannot commit a mortal sin unless I freely choose what God has forbidden. If we know the matter is serious, and we willingly choose to go through with the sin anyways, ouchhh, ouchhhh ouch again. This is indeed a mortal sin.
One last thing. God gives us so much grace through His Church and His Sacraments so that we can deal with these situations and temptations of sin. Temptation is everywhere these days, but so is His grace and plenty of it. I am not here to condemn anyone, I am only laying out the long standing Tradition and True teaching of the Catholic Church. One thing I always try to practice myself is to protect my eyes and ears of possible occasions of sin. I don’t listen to certain types of music because they can make me think of unholy things. Same goes with the internet and magazines, newspapers. I willingly try to avoid pictures or images or articles that may lead me into sinful thinking or action. Also, I try and get to confession at least twice a month. It is so important, especially in the climate we live in today.
Remember, the Truth is the Truth. Peoples “opinions” really don’t matter much when it comes to our final judgement. Hell is just as real as Heaven. Let us choose Heaven, the ball is in our court folks!
May Almighty God bless us and protect us from the world, the devil and ourselves
” From thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead ”
Chapel of Bones in Alcantarilha, Portugal
As we begin to take a look at the Seventh Article of the Apostle’s Creed, I ask you to take a few minutes to meditate, or ponder the moment of your death, sitting, or standing before Almighty God, about to be judged, for how you spent your life here on earth. Just a couple of thoughts before we begin. First, we all will die and most do not know exactly when. Second, we ALL will be judged for how we lived our life, like it or not, we cannot evade this. We must accept that all of us are actually born to die in a sense, but it’s how we live, that will decide how we will spend our life in eternity.
I have just ended my 30 day Ignatian retreat with the Marian Catechist Apostolate. As a result of the spiritual exercises, I was able to ponder such subjects of life, death, heaven, hell and purgatory. One of the insights I acquired during these exercises is the relationship between free-will and time, curious. We are all taught that one gift that God has given us that is uniquely ours is that of our free-will. It occurred to me, that another gift that God has given us that is uniquely ours, is time. Both of these gifts, if used wisely, with Gods grace, should be gifted back to Our Lord, freely on our part. It also occurred to me, how I have abused this precious gift of time that God has so graciously gifted me with. Sometimes, I thank Him for the generous extension He has given me. A result of others prayers, I am certain, especially my dear mother. So, when thinking of the end it also occurred to me that our actual ETERNAL FUTURE, depends upon our present here in time. From the finite to the eternal. This is very serious business folks. Every moment matters and our eternal future is riding on our Yes to Gods will and the time He allows us here on this earth. Eternity is a long, long, long, long, long……..long time, eventhough we will be outside time, that is how long eternity is. Its even longer than that! So let us all stop wasting our time and give some of it at least, back to God, along with our wills.
So, on with the catechesis shall we. We have two kinds of judgement, and we will be taking a look at the first type in this post. The two types are called the Particular Judgement that happens immediately after we die, and we have what is called the General Judgement at the end of the world.
St Paul in the Book of Hebrews in Chapter 9: “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, and after this the judgment”. We will be immediately judged according to how we lived our lives as soon as we die. It is very important to remember that our stay here on earth is limited, and is used to test our entrance into the heavenly kingdom. God, is so merciful! He sends us so many messengers, and so many graces. He wants us to be with Him in Heaven, but we also need to show that we want to be with Him in Heaven as well. All of the Sacraments of the Catholic Church are specifically God given, to help us to gain eternity with Him in Heaven. Not only that, but the Sacraments also give us a taste of Heaven on earth, especially in the Holy Eucharist.
When we die, in the most simplest terms, our souls leave our bodies. We will be judged according to our works, more specifically on our charity. Have we sacrificed our time and our lives for others, for God. Have we tried to pray for those who have offended, or hurt us. Have we turned away from temptations that would lead us away from God. Have we taken that extra minute to spend with family, with a stranger, with that annoying man or woman? Was I constantly picking away at how this or that person lived out their Catholic Faith? These are some of the questions I ask myself at times. Believe me, I fail at these questions many times, I’m just grateful for some bit of awareness.
This is our chance, actually, this is our Grace, not chance. This is our time here on earth, that God has specifically chosen for us to be in. This is nothing to complain about. We are here, right now, to give Glory to God! We are all called to be little “praises of Glory” as Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity says. All the graces are available, right here, right now. The exact same graces are here now that were here during St Teresa of Avila’s time, as St Athanasius’ time, Saint Francis of Assisi’s time…… the Grace is available! We are called to be saints, here and now in this moment of time that God has graced us with.
So let us not fear death, but pray for a happy death ; a life lived for God, with His Grace, and the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church as my compass. Rest assured, if we are obedient to His will, to the best of our ability, we shall be eternally happy. If we live a life of selfishness and refuse His grace til the moment we die, we shall be eternally in misery. The choice is obvious, isn’t it? Lets stop wasting time and try and take part in Gods Holy Will. It is wise to remember what it reads in Holy Scripture, from the Book of Ecclesiasticus 7: “In all thy works remember thy last end, and thou shalt never sin. “
May Almighty God protect us from the World , the devil, and ourselves
For the Greater Praise of Glory!
What is Catechesis?
Is Catechesis important?
A couple of questions have been asked already and I haven’t even begun this post. The answers to these questions may be obvious to some, but for others they are very important ; especially if you claim the name “Catholic” or are just interested in the Church at all. It is so important to know what it is to be Catholic and what we as Catholics actually believe. The best way to learn is through what we call “catechesis“. The word “ catechesis ” actually means to impart knowledge, or to teach by imparting knowledge. The traditional way of imparting knowledge is through a question and answer format, originally done through word of mouth by first Christ and than the Apostles. As the Apostle to the Gentiles St Paul said to the Romans in the 10 th Chapter of his Epistle “ Faith then cometh by hearing; and hearing by the word of Christ.”
Now, for those who may not know, we as Catholics did not just make-up catechesis and catechisms. In fact, catechesis takes its roots from Judaism. The Hebrews taught catechesis in the home where the father would primarily teach the Jewish religion to his children. The Hebrews also taught religion in school. Thirdly, the Hebrews would learn about their faith in the synagogues and the Temple by the priests and Levites and rabbi’s. Now, does any of this sound familiar? We still have a similar system today ; however, we need to look at the order again. Where we as Catholics are failing, yes I said failing, is in teaching or catechizing our children in the home ; especially the fathers! It is vitally important for parents to be THE PRIMARY EDUCATORS of CATHOLIC EDUCATION to their children. As the child grows, so do the lessons on catechesis. A child’s understanding of their faith must grow in keeping with their secular education. Otherwise the faith, as we have all seen from the emptying Churches, will certainly be abandoned as a remnant of their childhood.
Where do we find the teachings of the Church? I thought you would never ask… Here on this website is a good beginning, but I would suggest that every family own at least one good Church approved Catechism. My favourite Catechism is The Catechism of the Council of Trent . It is easy to read and very straight forward, and it leaves no room for ambiguity or confusion. Some catechisms do lead to confusion, so stick with the good ones, I will list a few here.Please don’t just go and buy any book that says catechism on it, some of them are just downright terrible. Any books at the Marian Catechist store are very good especially if authored by our founder, Servant of God Father John Hardon. He actually has a question and answer Catholic Catechism that is excellent to start with, and can be kept in your pocket or lunch box to be read on breaks or lunch… wink, wink! Apologetics and Catholic Doctrine by Archbishop Michael Sheehan is also an excellent Catechism and gets into more intermediate Catechesis. It is a great read and re-read, mine is highlighted from front to back! The one that my wife reads, but I would also highly recommend, especially for those that aren’t big on reading is My Catholic Faith . This is especially good to use with children and converts to the religion, it is a wonderful Catechism. Of course, last but not least is the official Catechism of the Catholic Church . It can also be found online at the Vatican website here http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/_INDEX.HTM. Some of these books are not available on the Branches website yet, but we do have them at the store, so please come in and take a look!!!
Why is Catechesis so important in these times? Once again, glad you asked. Because the younger generation hasn’t been properly catechized at home first, at school second , or at Church in many instances. The flock has scattered, and is leaving or has left the Church en-masse! That being said their are still small faithful pockets where Catechesis thrives, but we need much more of that. That is where the lay catechist comes in, like you and I. I can’t and I won’t get into exactly how things went very wrong in many places throughout the world, especially here in Canada and catechesis changed from God centred to self centered, but somewhere that shift did indeed happen. Now, we must focus on the solution ; what we need to do together is get back down to the Truth of Jesus Christ and His One Holy Catholic Apostolic Church!!! As our International director at the Marian Catechist Apostolate His Eminence Cardinal Raymond Burke says, “ catechesis is a school of faith that is a deepening of Christian life in all its aspects: knowledge , prayer and worship, and witness.” Cardinal Burke also states , ” the object of catechesis, communion with our Lord Jesus Christ, and, therefore to present the Catholic faith in it entirety, especially the entire truth of the mystery of Christ.” Did the Cardinal say the entire truth? I think he did say the entire truth! I couldn’t have stated it better myself. We need the Truth and the whole uncorrupted Truth, not just the teachings on heaven. The World needs the Truth, it is starving for the Truth. The world thinks that Oprah Winfrey is a spiritual teacher, come on people! People are seeking for the truth in all the wrong places, we have it right here in the Catholic Church. We need to share the Truth with others and be that arrow or sign pointing to Jesus Christ and His One Holy Catholic Apostolic Church!!!
….. So please, parents and fathers of young children, it is never to early to start catechizing your children. Secondly, for those of you who are teachers, it is vitally important when teaching the Catholic Faith to children or students of any age , that your teaching is sound and faithful. Thirdly I will address the Pastors……… please know your faith inside and out, all of it, so that you can properly hand it on to the next generation of future catechists and maybe a future parent, priest, bishop or who knows, maybe oneday we will have a Pope from Canada :-).
If you have any questions about the Church and Her teachings on Holy Scripture and Holy Tradition, please leave a comment or send me an email. One more thing, don’t forget to subscribe to www.canadiancatechist.com .
What Jesus teaches us in the 5th Chapter of St Matthew is the Truth. Here is some great Catechesis from the Master Catechist Himself. Here are a few verses that I hope will inspire you like they do to me. So get out there and share your faith with the world ! “ You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt lose its savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is good for nothing any more but to be cast out, and to be trodden on by men.  You are the light of the world. A city seated on a mountain cannot be hid.  Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel, but upon a candlestick, that it may shine to all that are in the house.
 So let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven”
May God Bless us and protect us from the world , the devil and ourselves,
Third Article of Apostles Creed continued…..Mary’s Sinlessness
Mary had absolutely no inclination to sin, she was free of concupiscence. If we remember from an earlier post, concupiscence is the inclination to sin. We as fallen humans all have it even after being baptized, however, for Mary, God preserved her from all sin. Well, her and Jesus of course. How would it even be possible for Jesus to be born from a sinful human mother. Would that not mean, if that be the case, that the Second Person of the Divine Trinity would have actually been able to sin or even contracted original sin. This just could not be. We explained more of this in the post on the Immaculate Conception. We have to also remember what the Angel Gabriel stated when he saluted Her in Luke 1 “ And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.” Well, if you have been fully graced,like the greek translates it, their can be no room for sin. If something is full, that more than implies that nothing is lacking. I heard an excellent analogy and I cannot remember where from, but I care to share it with you because it makes tremendous sense when catechising on Mary’s sinlessness.It is possible that I actually read this analogy somewhere in St Alphonsus Liguori’s book ” Glories of Mary .” This book stays at my bedside and is a treasure in itself, everyone should own a copy of this book. Now, on to the analogy ; would it make any sense at all to build a house, but, before you actually moved in to your new house, that you would hand over the keys to the worst criminal known to the world, the devil himself? If Mary had original sin, which she did not, nor any inclination to sin ever, would that analogy not be fitting? God would never hand the keys to the greatest thief and murderer ever, especially before He, in all actuality, moved into His home for 9 months. Of course He wouldn’t do that.
The Council of Trent said of Mary’s sinlessness , “ No justified person can for his whole life avoid all sins, even venial sins, except on the ground of a special privilege fro God such as the Church holds was given to the Blessed Virgin” ( D 833 ). So therefore ,In consequence of a Special Privilege of Grace from God, Mary was free from every personal sin during her whole life.
Some of this teaching on Mary’s sinlessness may be hard for some to reconcile with our common idea of “free will”. I know at first, when I reverted back to the Church, I had to find a way of understanding free will in relationship to being sinless.Once again, I believe it was from reading books by Frank Sheed and also books by Reginald Garrigou Lagrange that it all started to make absolute perfect sense. True freedom and free will is not only to choose between what is right and wrong, or to obey or disobey. True freedom of will is to choose the greatest of goods. To choose even between good, better, and best. When it comes to Mary, she always chose absolute best. In this way, her free will was even freer than ours. She didn’t have that war of spirit and flesh to contend with like we do. She could always choose the greatest of goods. Is it not fittining that Jesus’ Mother had this great gift? Of course it is most fitting.
In more advanced catechetical teaching we will eventually study these topics more in depth and look at merit, grace and virtues in regards to Our Lady. As always feel free to comment, critique, or just say hello in the comment box at the top of the post. And I would like to thank http://topcatholicblogs.com/ for adding me to their blog list under New Addition . May God protect us always from the world, the devil, and ourselves. In JMJ, Lee
PLEASE NOTE, URGENT PRAYER REQUEST taken from website http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/
– FSSP Priests attacked in Phoenix, Arizona, 1 murdered, 1 critically wounded
– Fr. Walker, rest in peace
The Mater Misericordiae Mission, the Latin Mass community
of the Diocese of Phoenix, Arizona, run by the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter (FSSP), was the scene of a terrible tragedy on Wednesday night, following the breaking and entering of their church by armed burglars.
Father Kenneth Walker, FSSP, Associate Pastor, was murdered. Requiescat in pace. Please, pray also for the consolation of his family: his parents, brothers and sisters. Father Walker was 28.
Father Joseph Terra, FSSP, Pastor, was severely wounded by the criminals, and is (at least to our knowledge as of this moment) hospitalized in critical, but stable, condition. Please, pray for his health and his complete recovery, through the mercy of God Almighty.
Finally, let us also pray for their parishioners, the members of the Fraternity of Saint Peter, and all who are affected by this ordeal.Let us pray for the law enforcement officers, may they accomplish justice according to God’s will, with the help of Our Lady, Mirror of Justice.
Let us pray for the criminals, may they find conversion and salvation on this earth and avoid eternal damnation.