Words to Live by – from Catholic Tradition

The Power of the Sign of the Cross

Let us remember that each time we make the Sign of the Cross:

  We offer the Passion and Death of Jesus Christ to the Eternal Father;

  We thank Our Lord for dying for us on the Cross; and

  We offer the infinite merits of the Passion for our own souls and for the salvation of the world.

Each time we make the Sign of the Cross this way:

  we console the Heart of Jesus;

  we obtain pardon for our sins; and

  we help to save the world from great evils.

Taken from An Easy Way to Become a Saint, Fr. Paul O’Sullivan, O.P., Tan Books and Publishers, Inc., Rockford, Ill., 1990, Ch. 5. p. 36.

Frequent Crosses Needed to Help Us to Turn From Sin

For earthly happiness and eternal happiness, live your life as prescribed for us by the Creator, Who is all-wise and loving.  He knows what is best for us and gives us everything we need.  We may not always see the wisdom of God’s gifts to us, but be assured they are for the best.

Let us never then attribute our losses, our disappointments, our afflictions, our humiliations to the devil or to men, but to God as their real source.  ‘To act otherwise,” says St. Dorothy, ‘would be to do the same as a dog who vents his anger on the stone instead of putting the blame on the hand that threw it at him.’  So let us be careful not to say, ‘So-and-so is the cause of my misfortune.’

Your misfortunes are the work not of this or that person but of God.  And what should give you reassurance is that God, the sovereign Good, is guided in all His actions by His most profound wisdom for holy and supernatural purposes.”[1]

Here is an admirable Prayer When Receiving Your Daily Cross:

Do with me and mine as Thou please.  I ask and desire only three things: Thy love, final perseverance, and the grace always to do Thy holy will.  And if to love Thee thus, I must endure persecution and suffering, I am perfectly satisfied.

Let us then conclude with St. Augustine:

All that happens to us in this world against our will (whether due to men or to other causes) happens to us only by the will of God, by the disposal of Providence, by His orders and under His guidance; and if by the frailty of our understanding we cannot grasp the reason for some event, let us attribute it to Divine Providence, show Him some respect by accepting it from His hand, believe firmly that He does not send it to us without cause.[2]

 

Some find it hard to believe one has to suffer to avoid sin.  But consider this: If you were very, very successful (e.g., in business), it is easier to see that salvation is likely not your top priority, not if you are constantly seeking more awards and honors and even world-wide recognition. 

Now contrast that with how the Saints wanted to leave the world and live and seek salvation in the desert or in the wilderness.  Thus, they earned Heaven. 

Remember, you have to earn Heaven.

Here are some reflections on earning Heaven and the part suffering plays in that:

Suffering is thought by many to be the great evil of life.  Oh, if they could only avoid it!  The truth is that if they did find a way of avoiding it, that would be the greatest evil of their lives.

All about suffering.  Our Lord has given us a most perfect redemption.  He could have dispensed the law of suffering if He so willed.  Why does God, being of infinite goodness and mercy, ask us to suffer?

He does so for the simple reason that suffering is a very great grace.  

Our suffering is a share, a small but most valuable share, in the Passion of our dear Lord.

It is priceless in value – if we only accept it and offer it in union with Christ’s Passion.

He has suffered unspeakable agonies for each of us.  Are we such arrant cowards as to refuse to suffer a little for Him?

How little gratitude we show for all that He has done for us!  The easiest and best way of thanking Him is to offer our daily crosses and trials for love of Him.

The one big trouble about suffering is that we do not know how to suffer.  We have no idea of its merits.

The secret is to suffer with patience and serenity.  Then suffering loses all its sting, all its bitterness.

We need only remember that it is our sweet Lord Himself Who asks us to bear these daily trials for love of Him, suffering loses its horrors.

God gives us abundant strength and grace to bear our crosses, if we ask Him.

Many good and pious Christians never think of asking God to help them to bear their crosses!  Therefore, their crosses weigh heavily on them.

Our sufferings are the purest gold in our lives.  Five minutes’ suffering is of greater worth than twenty years of pleasure and happiness.

One fact well worth remembering is that our daily sufferings, the least as well as the greatest, if borne well, merit for us a crown of martyrdom.       

Suffering, well borne, makes us saints.[3]

In closing, this might be a thought to bear in mind:

If a little suffering makes you impatient now, what will hell fire do?  In truth, you cannot have two joys: you cannot taste the pleasures of this world and afterward reign with Christ.[4]



[1]           Trustful Surrender to Divine Providence, Father Jean Baptiste Saint Jure, S.J., & Saint Claude De La Colombiere, S.J., Tan Books and Publishers, Inc., Rockford, IL, 1983, pp. 25-26.

[2]               Trustful Surrender to Divine Providence, Father Jean Baptiste Saint Jure, S.J., & Saint Claude De La Colombiere, S.J., Tan Books and Publishers, Inc., Rockford, IL, 1983, pp. 17-18.

[3]               An Easy Way to Become a Saint, Fr. Paul O’Sullivan, O.P.,(E.D.M.)  Tan Books and Publishers, Inc., Rockford, IL, 1990, pp. 68-70.

[4]               Imitation of Christ, Thomas à Kempis; Book I, Ch. 25.

Lesson #32 – Making resolutions and dealing with scruples

                    Mary’s School of Sanctity                   

Lesson #32 The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius – VARIOUS TOPICS: MAKING RESOLUTIONS, AND ST. IGNATIUS’ TREATMENT OF SCRUPLES

Due to limited space, we have decided to defer giving St. Ignatius’s additional meditation points until our next lesson.  This current lesson may be considered as really a combination of instructions that we decided to put at the end of our course on the Spiritual Exercises because we did not want to break up the of flow of the progression of the Exercises especially our study of Our Lord’s Life and Death.

Making resolutions —

After concluding the Spiritual Exercises, it is very profitable for us to make some concrete resolutions to help ourselves to amend our lives in earnest.  The following are some practical resolutions we can all make:

1) Have the spirit of penance as Our Lord admonishes us to do to help us refrain from sin and to make reparation for our past sins.[1]  We must practice penance, both passive penance and active penance.

Passive penance is simply patiently accepting circumstances as they occur in our daily lives, whether we experience some illness or some calamity, etc.  There are plenty of crosses in our daily lives that the Good Lord lovingly sends us in order to teach us virtue.  These crosses are more meritorious than self-imposed penances.

Active penance is a self-imposed penance.  Examples of these are almsgiving and additional fasting.  Practicing mortification of our eyes, our ears, our tongues, (in fact, all of our senses) is an excellent form of active penance.  The saints did many different kinds of penances, including wearing hair-shirts and chains, or flagellations called the “discipline”.  However, there are more ordinary penances that, often, we should embrace, e.g., taking cold showers, refraining from condiments on our food, etc.

By practicing active penances we can help curb our flesh, our self-love, and our fallen human nature, all of which are easily attracted to worldly pleasures.  We must fight against these enemies of our salvation by being constantly vigilant and mortifying ourselves because we are prone to selfishness.

Fr. Hurter has some practical advice on how to be cautious about our souls.  He says we must have a “newness” of heart, tongue, and action. [2]

The newness of our hearts is obtained by focusing on purity, avoiding, of course, mortal sin and also voluntary venial sin, and bridling our passions.  To obtain this newness of heart, the heart “must be new by its right direction to God, by purifying our intentions and motives.”  This newness of heart also entails that we have an increase in fervor, and in this way have a greater zeal in our service of God.  This includes a dedication to “repairing the losses caused by our past negligence.”[3]

When speaking about the newness of tongue, Fr. Hurter recommends that we put five bridles on our tongue, a fivefold silence, and by doing so avoid many faults.

1. The silence of charity. By the use of our tongue we so easily offend against the love of our neighbor.  We scarcely open our mouth without committing sins of the tongue.  We criticize people, make their faults known, or attribute ignoble motives to them; we often begin well by praising a brother: soon, however, the praise turns to blame.  Even pious souls easily forget themselves.  We wish to amuse ourselves, spread news, make ourselves important and interesting, and before we are fully aware of it, we have sinned.  Let us hold on to two golden rules which will be of great use to us.  First rule: “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” (Matt. 19:19) What I do not wish another to say about me, that I ought not to say about him.  Second rule: What I would not say in his presence because it might offend, mortify, or humiliate him, that I ought not to say in his absence.” [4]

2. The silence of patience.”[5] In this type of silence Fr. Hurter explains how we are apt to complain about whatever suffering we experience.  In this complaining, we offend God, our superiors, and our neighbor.   We offend God because we show that we are not resigned to His will.  We offend our superiors because we readily blame them as being severe and unjust.  We offend our neighbor by blaming him for his lack of consideration of us.[6]

We offend by exaggeration, spiteful expressions, rash judgments, and frequently condemning the most innocent doings of others; urging our friends to make similar complaints, and thus cause dissension and discord.  In order to learn this silence of patience, let us often think of Our Divine Savior, Who was accused, calumniated, mocked, and ridiculed before the tribunals, but even in the most agonizing pain did not open His mouth to complain.[7]

3. The silence of humility.  This we practice when we keep silent about our real or supposed advantages, when we do not willingly speak about ourselves, and do not, except for grave reasons, talk about our good works, mindful of the words of Our Lord: “When thou dost an almsdeed, sound not a trumpet before thee, as hypocrites do in the synagogues….Amen I say to you, they have received their reward.” (Matt. 6:2)[8]

4. The silence of purity.” Here Fr. Hurter addresses how our speech must be free from all uncleanness.  In general, as members of society it is appropriate to have proper decorum and decency, but all the more so for those who intend to be true followers of Our Lord Jesus Christ.[9]

5. The silence of prudence.  If we wish to escape vexation, we must be prudent in our speech.  How often is not something said without consideration, then told to others; and then depression, misunderstanding, discord, and enmity spring up.  It often takes weeks and months before the tension is broken and friendly relations are again restored.  We should be careful when giving our opinion about others, and not be too trustful, for even “walls have ears,” as the significant proverb says.  What we believe has been said in private will soon be heralded from the housetops.  Therefore we should always speak so that we need not be afraid of publicity.  Be not hasty in speaking, but deliberate and careful, if you wish to live in peace.  Let us diligently observe this fivefold silence.  We shall never regret having been silent; but we are often sorry for having spoken carelessly.[10]

In his discussion of a newness of action, Fr. Hurter makes three main points:

1. Our actions should all proceed from faith; and as its fruit, they should be ennobled by the motives of faith.  Only what proceeds from faith is pleasing to God: “Without faith it is impossible to please God.”(Heb. 11:6)

2. We must strive to make our actions faultless and our works perfect: “In all thy works keep the preeminence.” (Eccl. 33:23)  We do not offer decayed fruit to an honored guest; much less should we offer as an homage to the Most High works that are defective.  Rather should we endeavor to deserve the praise which the good people gave to Our Lord: “He hath done all things well.” (Mark 7:27)

3. We must be generous towards God.  We must not be satisfied with doing that to which we are bound under pain of mortal, or at least venial sin.  We must do more than strict duty calls for out of pure love.  A heartfelt love among men often performs great deeds; surely then our love of God should not be niggardly and narrow-minded.  Self-interest ought to urge us to be generous towards God, for God will not be outdone in generosity; that would be unworthy of His infinite goodness.[11]

One consoling aspect to keep in our minds at the end of doing all the Spiritual Exercises and in setting about making resolutions to strengthen our desire to serve God well is that the Exercises and our resolutions should engender peace in our souls.

Fr. Hurter gives many considerations about St. Augustine’s explanation concerning true interior peace.  St. Augustine says that four things are required: (1) serenity of mind; (2) tranquility of soul; (3) simplicity of heart and (4) a bond of peace based on brotherly love. 

SERENITY OF MIND

A serene mind results from seeing by faith that God is our loving Father Who provides for us, and knowing that “for those who love God, all things work for the good.” (Rom.8:28)  Therefore, in whatever state of life we have, we can serve God and become perfect and holy.[12] 

The devil tries to get us to distort reality and imagine that we are in a storm, that is, in some calamity.  He would have us blow a situation way out of proportion so we will lose our confidence and peace.  Then, our imagination urges us on to be suspicious of the motives of others, and our emotions follow suit and bad consequences follow.[13]

At other times, he clouds our perspective by blinding us to our own failings or minimizing them, and instead exaggerating faults of others.  When we are like this we do not take corrections well and we see the one correcting us as harsh and severe.  Our soul becomes dark.[14]

Indeed, our imagination often leads us off course.  If we want to retain cheerfulness of spirit, we must not give our imagination too much play, but rather let the Holy Ghost waft over our interior.[15]

TRANQUILITY OF SOUL[16]

 There are three ways that our tranquility of soul may be disturbed.  Dwelling on the past, dwelling on the present, and being anxious about the future.

Many people fret about the past.  They are scrupulous about their past contrition.  They second guess everything.  We must remember that uneasiness without a good reason comes from the devil.  (See St. Ignatius’s notes concerning scruples below.) As long as we can say, “I honestly examined my conscience”, we can be at peace.  We must trust in the Good Lord because we know that He lovingly cares for us.

Present events can also be alarming to us.  Our predominant passions and unregulated inclinations readily cause a storm to rise in the soul.  Hence, self-control must be acquired by a vigilant examination of conscience.

We must also acquire indifference in regards to our inclinations.  If we are not mortified then there will be excitement and disturbances as soon as we meet with something which is opposed to our inclinations.  Furthermore, if we act in a stormy and hasty manner, we can scarcely maintain our interior peace.  We must remember, too, that there is a very close connection between the interior and exterior man.

Another source of undue alarm is when we meddle in other people’s business which does not concern us at all. We must be concerned with our present duty and not concerned about things that we cannot control.

We sometimes allow ourselves to be disturbed by too much anxiety about the future.  The first step in counteracting this is to be childlike in our confidence in the providence of God.

If we picture to ourselves future difficulties, we become sad and discouraged.  We soon find out that when the time comes, the difficulties have vanished.  The things we dread do not come to pass.  If there is a question of something that may concern us in the distant future, we should quiet ourselves with the thought: “God will provide!”

We must be on guard when the imagination pictures improbable events and thus disturbs us with useless anxiety.  If God permits something extraordinary to happen, He will also us give the necessary graces in due time.  For fictitious cases, He need not give grace.  No wonder that we do not know how we should act in such cases.  Let us be calm and satisfied in submitting to the Sacred Heart.[17]

SIMPLICITY OF HEART

This means that one is direct in his meaning and not a hypocrite.

Whoever has such a contradiction between the dictates of his conscience and his external conduct cannot enjoy true peace because true peace consists in perfect harmony.  Simplicity of heart therefore seeks only to please God, and has no other motives.  It is not guided by the principles of this world, or by the wisdom of the flesh, does not lend a willing ear to sensuality, but strives to bring all into unison with the enlightened principles of Our Divine Savior.  Also, He gives us a beautiful example by His mode of life, which is so pure, so noble, so enlightened, so simple, so captivating, and so capable of winning the hearts of men.[18]

THE BOND OF PEACE[19]

This mark of true peace is cordial agreement with one’s brethren and neighbors. Just as Our Lord said, “This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”  Our Lord is compelling us to love with an unconditional love.  He does not want us to count the cost. 

The mutual love that He wanted His apostles to have towards each other He wanted to be an outward sign, a mark. “By this shall all men know that you are My disciples, if you have love one for another.”  (John 13:35)  Likewise, we should earnestly ask ourselves if we have this mark on us, and appreciate it highly.

We can show our love for Our Lord by showing love to our neighbor.  Our Lord tells us that what we do for the least of our brethren, He considers done unto Him. 

This love strengthens our prayers.  Indeed, Our Lord tells us that, “For where there are two or three gathered together in My Name, there I am in the midst of them.” (Matt 18:20) Therefore, we should appreciate prayers said in the company of others.

We should then endeavor to make every effort to acquire this heavenly peace simply because this peace is a foretaste of heaven.


St. Ignatius’ Notes concerning Scruples

The following notes will be of help in discerning and understanding scruples and the snares of our enemy:

1. The name “scruple” is ordinarily given to that which proceeds from our judgment and free will; for example, when I freely judge something to be a sin which is not a sin.  This might happen when someone, after having accidentally stepped on a cross formed by two straws, of his own accord judges that he has sinned.  This is in reality an erroneous judgment and not a real scruple.

2. After I have stepped upon that cross, or after I have thought, said, or done some other thing, the thought comes to me from without that I have sinned. On the other hand, it seems to me that I have not sinned.  Nevertheless, I am disturbed in this matter, doubting and not doubting that I have sinned.  This is truly a scruple and a temptation from the enemy.

3. The first scruple, mentioned in the first note should be much abhorred because it is completely erroneous.  But the second type of scruple mentioned in the second note, is for a certain period of time of no little advantage to the soul that devotes itself to spiritual exercises.  It may even greatly purify and cleanse such a soul, separating it far from all appearance of sin, according to that saying of St. Gregory: “It is a mark of good souls there to recognize a fault when there is none.”

4. The enemy observes very carefully whether one has a delicate or lax conscience.  If the conscience is delicate he strives to make it excessively so in order to disturb and ruin it more easily.  For example, if the enemy sees that a soul consents to no sin, since he cannot make the soul fall into what has the appearance of sin, he strives to make it judge that there is sin where there is none, as in some insignificant word or thought.

If the conscience is lax, the enemy strives to make it still more lax.  Thus, if before it took no account of venial sins, he will strive to have it take no account of mortal sins.  If before, it did take some account of them, now he will strive that it cares much less or not at all about them.

5.  The soul that desires to advance in the spiritual life must always take a course contrary to that of the enemy.  If the enemy seeks to make the conscience lax, he must strive to make it delicate “to excess”; the soul must strive to establish itself solidly in moderation so that it may better maintain its tranquility.

6.  When such a good soul wishes to say or do something that is acceptable to the Church and to the mind of our superiors, something that may be for the glory of God Our Lord, there may come to it from without, a thought or temptation not to say or do it because it is motivated by vainglory or some other specious reason.  On such occasions one must raise his mind to his Creator and Lord, and if he sees that the action is for God’s service, or at least not contrary to it, he ought to act in a manner diametrically opposed to the temptation, as St. Bernard answered a like temptation: “I did not begin this because of you, nor because of you will I desist.”

In our next lesson, we will give St. Ignatius’ additional meditation points on the life of Our Lord.



[1]           St. Augustine says, “Sin must not remain unpunished; it is not becoming, it is not good, it is not right.  Then, as sin must be punished, punish it yourself, that you may not be punished for it.”  As quoted in Considerations from Sketches for the Exercises of An Eight Days’ Retreat, by Hugo Hurter, S.J., Ph.D., D.D., Professor Emeritus of Theology in the Catholic University of Innsbruck, copyright 1918; third edition, 1926, St. Louis, MO and London, p. 92.

[2]           Considerations from Sketches for the Exercises of An Eight Days’ Retreat by Hugo Hurter, S.J., Ph.D., D.D., Professor Emeritus of Theology in the Catholic University of Innsbruck, copyright 1918; third edition, 1926, St. Louis, MO and London, p. 244.

 

[3]           Considerations from Sketches for the Exercises of An Eight Days’ Retreat by Hugo Hurter, S.J., Ph.D., D.D., Professor Emeritus of Theology in the Catholic University of Innsbruck, copyright 1918; third edition, 1926, St. Louis, MO and London, pp. 244-245.

 

[4]              Considerations from Sketches for the Exercises of An Eight Days’ Retreat by Hugo Hurter, S.J., Ph.D., D.D., Professor Emeritus of Theology in the Catholic University of Innsbruck, copyright 1918; third edition, 1926, St. Louis, MO and London, pp. 245-246.

 

[5]           Considerations from Sketches for the Exercises of An Eight Days’ Retreat by Hugo Hurter, S.J., Ph.D., D.D., Professor Emeritus of Theology in the Catholic University of Innsbruck, copyright 1918; third edition, 1926, St. Louis, MO and London, p. 246.

 

[6]              Considerations from Sketches for the Exercises of An Eight Days’ Retreat by Hugo Hurter, S.J., Ph.D., D.D., Professor Emeritus of Theology in the Catholic University of Innsbruck, copyright 1918; third edition, 1926, St. Louis, MO and London, p. 246.

 

[7]           Considerations from Sketches for the Exercises of An Eight Days’ Retreat by Hugo Hurter, S.J., Ph.D., D.D., Professor Emeritus of Theology in the Catholic University of Innsbruck, copyright 1918; third edition, 1926, St. Louis, MO and London, p. 246.

 

[8]           Considerations from Sketches for the Exercises of An Eight Days’ Retreat by Hugo Hurter, S.J., Ph.D., D.D., Professor Emeritus of Theology in the Catholic University of Innsbruck, copyright 1918; third edition, 1926, St. Louis, MO and London, p. 247.

 

[9]              Considerations from Sketches for the Exercises of An Eight Days’ Retreat by Hugo Hurter, S.J., Ph.D., D.D., Professor Emeritus of Theology in the Catholic University of Innsbruck, copyright 1918; third edition, 1926, St. Louis, MO and London, p. 247.

[10]         Considerations from Sketches for the Exercises of An Eight Days’ Retreat by Hugo Hurter, S.J., Ph.D., D.D., Professor Emeritus of Theology in the Catholic University of Innsbruck, copyright 1918; third edition, 1926, St. Louis, MO and London, pp. 247-248.

 

One note about never regretting silence is that one should keep in mind that when one finds himself confused or not sure about a crucial matter in order to be able to take reasonable action, one is obliged in prudence to seek advice of one’s superior or of a virtuous and wise person.  Remember also how St. Ignatius describes in his Rules for the Discernment of Spirits that when one is tempted, one should reveal his temptation to an appropriate person in order to thwart the evil one’s plan to harm the soul.

[11]         Considerations from Sketches for the Exercises of An Eight Days’ Retreat by Hugo Hurter, S.J., Ph.D., D.D., Professor Emeritus of Theology in the Catholic University of Innsbruck, copyright 1918; third edition, 1926, St. Louis, MO and London, pp. 248-249.

 

[12]         Considerations from Sketches for the Exercises of An Eight Days’ Retreat by Hugo Hurter, S.J., Ph.D., D.D., Professor Emeritus of Theology in the Catholic University of Innsbruck, copyright 1918; third edition, 1926, St. Louis, MO and London, p. 250.

 

[13]             Considerations from Sketches for the Exercises of An Eight Days’ Retreat by Hugo Hurter, S.J., Ph.D., D.D., Professor Emeritus of Theology in the Catholic University of Innsbruck, copyright 1918; third edition, 1926, St. Louis, MO and London, pp. 250-251.

[14]            Considerations from Sketches for the Exercises of An Eight Days’ Retreat by Hugo Hurter, S.J., Ph.D., D.D., Professor Emeritus of Theology in the Catholic University of Innsbruck, copyright 1918; third edition, 1926, St. Louis, MO and London, p. 251.

 

[15]         Considerations from Sketches for the Exercises of An Eight Days’ Retreat by Hugo Hurter, S.J., Ph.D., D.D., Professor Emeritus of Theology in the Catholic University of Innsbruck, copyright 1918; third edition, 1926, St. Louis, MO and London, p. 252.

 

[16]         The following section is paraphrased from Considerations from Sketches for the Exercises of An Eight Days’ Retreat by Hugo Hurter, S.J., Ph.D., D.D., Professor Emeritus of Theology in the Catholic University of Innsbruck, copyright 1918; third edition, 1926, St. Louis, MO and London, pp. 252-253.

[17]         Considerations from Sketches for the Exercises of An Eight Days’ Retreat by Hugo Hurter, S.J., Ph.D., D.D., Professor Emeritus of Theology in the Catholic University of Innsbruck, copyright 1918; third edition, 1926, St. Louis, MO and London, pp. 252-254.

[18]         Considerations from Sketches for the Exercises of An Eight Days’ Retreat by Hugo Hurter, S.J., Ph.D., D.D., Professor Emeritus of Theology in the Catholic University of Innsbruck, copyright 1918; third edition, 1926, St. Louis, MO and London, pp. 255-256.

 

[19]         This section is a paraphrase of Considerations from Sketches for the Exercises of An Eight Days’ Retreat by Hugo Hurter, S.J., Ph.D., D.D., Professor Emeritus of Theology in the Catholic University of Innsbruck, copyright 1918; third edition, 1926, St. Louis, MO and London, pp. 256-257.

The U.S. Economy compared to Leftist Spin about the Economy

Catholic Candle note: Below is an article concerning the U.S. economy in particular, and, by analogy, pertaining to the economies of other Western countries.

Catholic Candle usually writes on topics more directly related to the Catholic Faith, as well as Catholic philosophy and Catholic practice.  But there is an ongoing cultural and political revolution all around us, and this revolution has other aspects too.  That is why we also write on topics that could be called “political”, in order to shine a light on current evils in government and society.  Here are examples of such Catholic Candle articles:

  The COVID-19 “Vaccine’s” Harms Continue to Be Further Revealed: https://catholiccandle.org/2024/02/20/in-case-you-missed-it-february-2024/

  Glacier-Melting Alarmism: https://catholiccandle.org/2024/01/23/glacier-melting-alarmism/

  The Leftist Attack on the Moral Fiber of Society: https://catholiccandle.org/2023/10/29/the-leftist-attack-on-the-moral-fiber-of-society/

  The “Deadly Heat” Alarmism: https://catholiccandle.org/2023/08/24/the-deadly-heat-alarmism/

  The False Principle of “Diversity and Inclusion”: https://catholiccandle.org/2022/01/05/the-false-principle-of-diversity-and-inclusion/

  “Big Data” – a New Version of an Old Danger of Manipulation and Deception: https://catholiccandle.org/2021/12/11/h/

  Black Lives Matter is Showing its “True Colors” – and They are Red: https://catholiccandle.org/2021/10/03/black-lives-matter-is-showing-its-true-colors/

  The Evil & Dangers of Yoga: https://catholiccandle.org/2021/09/05/the-evil-dangers-of-yoga/

  Wikipedia – a Deceptive Tool of the Leftists:  https://catholiccandle.org/2021/08/02/wikipedia-a-deceptive-tool-of-the-leftists/

 

  The Current Leftists Follow the Usual “Tyrant’s Playbook”: https://catholiccandle.org/2021/05/03/the-current-leftists-follow-the-usual-tyrants-playbook/

 

  Empathy – a Tool for Good or for Evil: https://catholiccandle.org/2021/04/02/empathy-a-tool-for-good-or-for-evil/

 

  Reject the COVID Vaccines!  https://catholiccandle.org/2021/01/01/reject-the-covid-vaccines/

 

  Face masks present grave health risks & are to control people, not a virus: https://catholiccandle.org/2020/12/01/856/

Catholic Candle holds that the globalists are positioning the U.S. economy and other economies in the Western World to be pushed into collapse if and as needed, to compel people to accept a future globalist tyranny.

Thus, we have an eye on the economy in order to monitor (in a general way) its condition and its readiness for use as a weapon compelling acceptance of a globalist tyranny.

 

The Condition of the U.S. Economy and Comparing it to Leftist Spin about the Economy

The National Debt

We live in dramatic times!  For “starters”, let us note that the National Debt Clock (using government data) currently shows the federal debt to be about $34½ trillion!  Here is a screen shot of the “U.S. Debt Clock” from a few days ago:

That is such a huge number it is hard to grasp in “everyday” terms.  One of the Catholic Candle Team checked this same “debt clock” almost 15 years ago, on March 6, 2009.  On that day, the “debt clock” was $10.95 trillion.  So, for comparison purposes, in nearly 15 years, the U.S. National Debt has increased more than $23 trillion!

The St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank has graphs showing the growth of the U.S. National Debt.  Here is the graph which we downloaded a few days ago:

This graph available here: https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/GFDEBTN

This graph shows the same thing as the debt clock, viz., on roughly March 6, 2009 the graph shows (roughly) the National Debt of $11 trillion.

Look how the National Debt has skyrocketed in the last 15 years especially!  The above graph starts at roughly 1965.  From that date, it took (roughly) 20 years to reach the first $1 trillion, and (roughly) ten more years to add another $5 trillion to that amount (with a total debt of $6 trillion at about 1995).  Then it took about 13 years to add another $5 trillion to that (to a total of about $11 trillion in 2009).  In the 15 years since 2009, the National Debt has increased more than $23 trillion!

Such increases in our country’s debts are unsustainable.  Drunken sailors spend their money more carefully than our government!  Where is this all leading?  Ask yourself that.


The Annual Federal Deficit

Here is a little more information to help us to extrapolate where this is heading. 

Every year, the U.S. government makes fiscal matters much worse by adding to the National Debt.  And the government is adding to the total debt at a faster rate.  The U.S.’s annual budget deficit (i.e., the amount by which federal spending exceeds federal revenue) is currently 16% higher than it was a year ago.[1] 

The federal deficit for the first third of the current fiscal year is $532 billion.[2]  Multiplying this number by three (in order to “annualize” this deficit) shows that we are running an annual deficit of about $1.6 trillion ($532B x 3 = $1.596 trillion).  This shows the U.S. is running a larger budget deficit compared to the average of the last 15 years.

The St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank calculates the current annual federal budget deficit as larger than that – viz., approximately $1.7 trillion (viz., $1.695T).  See the upper left-hand corner of the graph below.

This graph is found here: https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/FYFSD

Notice on the St Louis Fed’s graph that, although the average of the last 15 years is $1.5T, the larger deficits are more recent.  Although the largest federal budget deficits were during the COVID scare, nonetheless, after this so-called “pandemic”, the deficit spending level continues to be larger than the largest deficits before that.  Again, the federal government’s current annual budget deficit is roughly $1.6T or $1.7T  So the U.S. government is adding a huge amount to the enormous existing federal debt.  So, extrapolating to this time next year (2025) the National Debt will be $36.2 trillion (or more).  And so on.


U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP)

Is there any good news about the economy as a whole?  Perhaps you have heard that the most recent numbers for GDP (Gross Domestic Product) were higher than expected.  The mainstream media treated this as a good thing.  For example, one leftist news source, CNN, called the current GDP number “shockingly robust”.[3]  Strong GDP growth would have been good under other circumstances but not under the present ones.  Let us explain. 

The GDP is an important measure of national economic activity.  It is supposed to measure increase or decrease of the nation’s wealth by measuring economic activity.  But the GDP does this imperfectly and is, literally, simply measuring spending.  When this spending reflects increases (or decreases) of economic activity related to homes constructed and factories built, cars made, crops grown, etc., then GDP is a reasonably good proxy to measure the increase (or decrease) in the nation’s wealth.

But at present, this higher GDP largely reflects more government spending.  The government makes almost nothing and so its expenditures, for the most part, do not reflect things built and produced.  Government expenditures commonly reflect lots of waste.  For example, the government wasted hundreds of billions of dollars doling out COVID relief money which was stolen by fraudsters.[4]  Even the non-fraudulent trillions of COVID freebies the government handed out were not productive but largely paying for people to stay home.

Yet, even when the government spending is wasted or spent unproductively, it is counted as part of the GDP as long as the government money is spent/paid.[5]  So if the government spent money hiring persons to dig holes and then fill them in again (an unproductive activity), this would be counted as an increase in GDP, since money was spent on this.

With lots of wasteful government spending, it not only increases the federal debt and deficit but it is also counted as an increase of GDP and so is counted as a sign of a supposed “healthy economy”.

Besides out-and-out government waste, the government also spends huge amounts of money on non-productive activities, e.g., hiring more bureaucrats, passing more laws, enacting more regulations, increasing social welfare spending, etc

Further, our corrupt government’s spending so often does great harm.  Our Corrupt Government is about the only thing concerning which it would be better if we do not receive our “money’s worth”.  So often, we would be better off if our corrupt government just burned money instead of spending it.

So, unlike when the private sector manufactures, mines, or otherwise produces goods, the increase in GDP because of a strong increase of government spending is a bad thing, not a good thing, especially when it is deficit spending (as it is).

Thus, we have the government wasting money and causing much harm by spending money that it does not even have, and which it borrows.

Common sense shows the evil of this situation.

This federal spending is not like a family increasing its spending (investing) in order to buy a house, a farm, or a car.  The increases in spending of the federal government are for its “living expenses”, e.g., current welfare payments, current healthcare welfare payments (Obamacare etc.), current freebies for everything from unnecessary grants to foreign aid. 

This is like a family continually spending beyond its means for current expenditures in its monthly bills, e.g., food and rent.  The government’s spending is like a business which is borrowing to meet its current payroll and to pay rent for its factory building.  Such a business, or family, or the government is living beyond its means and is heading toward ruin.  We see that the government is spending like that now.


Is There a “Biden Bull Market”?

Let us briefly examine what the mainstream media says is the current “bull market” during the Biden presidency.  A “bull market” is a stock market that is rising because of a healthy and strong economy.

The mainstream media call the current stock market a “bull” market attempting to paint the economy as strong.  But “regular people” experience something largely the opposite.  That is why, for example, a few days ago The New York Times, in its election coverage, proclaimed that, despite the robust economy the voters are not giving Biden the credit for this

In other words, according to the media, Biden’s economy is really good but the voters somehow don’t realize this “fact” and so aren’t grateful to him.  The mainstream media misuses the economic data to claim there is a “Biden bull market”. 

Regardless of what the media claims, inflation is causing prices to go ever higher and people know this fact when they go to the grocery store, the gas station, etc.  Consumer prices have risen 20% in the last four years, according to government-issued statistics.[6]  There is good reason to believe that the government inflation numbers are a lie and a deceptive minimizing.  The apparently-more-accurate estimates show that last year’s inflation rate was about 18% and that the rate was 24% over the last four years.[7]

In that same four-year period, the costs which producers pay is up 35%.[8]  This gap between consumer and producer inflation is a typical pattern because, when producers’ costs go up, the producers initially absorb some of the increase in order to avoid angering consumers and losing market share.  So, although the producer inflation rate is now higher than the consumer rate, producers can only absorb the cost differential for so long.  Inevitably, consumer inflation will “catch up” to producer inflation eventually.

In this same last four years, the nation’s money supply has increased a whopping 39%![9]  This extraordinary increase shows us where our economy is heading.  This large increase in the money supply must result in greater inflation in the future.  When everyone has more money without changing the amount of goods available for purchase, then this circumstance MUST cause inflation.  For example, if suddenly, everyone received $1,000,000 with no increase in goods available, then people would be willing to pay a lot more for any given item.  Prices would go up.  This is inflation.  One way the economists speak of this situation is that “there are more dollars chasing the same quantity of goods”.

With all of this inflation, let us ask ourselves how this impacts Biden’s supposed “bull” market, i.e., the recent increase in the stock market.  Of course, with each dollar being inflated and worth less, the price of stocks must increase just to stay even in terms of “real dollars”.  This is like the fact that if there is a doubling of the money supply with no additional goods produced, then we would expect that the stock market would compensate and, over time, roughly double the price of the stock shares for sale, just to keep the shares valued at the same price in terms of “real dollars”.

Further, the current supposed “bull” market is a reversal of the previous Biden “bear” market and makes up for the stock market “tanking” and being about 15% lower in about October 2022 compared to when Biden took office.  In other words, most of the increase during the Biden “bull” market is merely making up for the 15% decline earlier in Biden’s tenure.[10]  So after taking account of the current stock market rise which merely returns the market to the pre-Biden level, and then after adjusting the market for inflation, the stock market’s increase is anemic and is a smaller annual increase than the average annual increase over the last 30 years. 

In contrast to Biden’s supposed current “bull” market, during Trump’s presidency, the S & P 500 stock index increased 36% in real, inflation-adjusted terms.  Below is a graph comparing how the stock market performed during the Trump and Biden presidencies, after adjusting for inflation:

This graph is available here: https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2024/feb/21/what-bull-market-two-thirds-of-stock-market-rise-u/

So, we see that, as the economists say, “there is no such thing as a free lunch”.  When the federal government prints trillions of dollars “out of thin air”, this results in “more dollars chasing the same number of goods”.  This resulted in inflation and these inflated dollars caused, in part, the Biden fake “bull” market.


Conclusion

The U.S. economy is on a path to ruin.

The leftist agenda is bad for the economic health of the country and this Biden “bull” market is just another leftist lie.

We live in a strange and daunting time, so we must place ourselves in God’s Hands, by acts of our wills and intellects. 

Also, we must pray for our country, help each other, and pray for each other!

If we use this present time the way God wants us to use it, then this is a time of great blessings and merit!



Women should Wear Dresses and Skirts, Not Pants – Part 2

Catholic Candle note: The article below is part 2 of an article the first part of which is found here: https://catholiccandle.org/2024/02/19/women-should-wear-dresses-and-skirts-not-pants/


This article is a companion article to our article about Mary-like Neckline Modesty, which can be found here: https://catholiccandle.org/2023/05/21/marylike-neckline-modesty/

Both of these articles apply to girls as well as women and assist them in fulfilling the role and great work for which God created women.  Read more about this role and great work here: https://catholiccandle.org/2019/12/02/the-role-and-work-that-god-gave-to-woman/

Part 2

Recap of part 1

In part one of this article, we saw five reasons why men (as well as women) need to understand the Catholic standards of modesty for women (and men).

The article then lists four reasons why women should not wear pants:

1.    It is objectively a sin against the revealed Divine Law for a woman to wear pants;

2.    It is objectively a sin of lewdness[1] under the Natural Law for a woman to wear pants, even apart from the issue of pants being more revealing of a woman’s body;

3.    A woman who wears pants objectively commits a sin of feminist usurpation of man’s role and “nature” and denial of her own “nature” and role in God’s plan; and

4.    A woman wearing pants objectively sins because pants are immodest for her due to their revealing too much of her figure.

Then the article looks at the first of those reasons.  Below, is the remaining three reasons why women should wear dresses and skirts and not pants.


2.     It is a Sin against the Natural Law for
Women to Wear Pants.

A person could suppose that it might have been permissible for women to wear pants and other men’s clothes (or for men to wear women’s clothes) if God had not forbidden this in the revealed Law in Sacred Scripture.  But that supposition is false because such cross-dressing is forbidden by the Natural Law, too.[2]

This prohibition under the Natural Law is especially because wearing the clothes of the other sex causes lewdness.  Here is how St. Thomas Aquinas, greatest Doctor of the Catholic Church, teaches this truth:

It is in itself sinful for a woman to wear man’s clothes, or vice versa, especially since this can cause lewdness.[3]

Pants are men’s clothes and it is a sin for women to wear pants just as it is a sin for a man to wear a dress because dresses are a woman’s clothes.  This particular reason why it is sinful for women to wear the clothes of the opposite sex does not depend on how much such clothes reveal a woman’s body.  For example, even if she should wear a complete men’s suit with a dress shirt buttoned up to her neck,  nevertheless, it is inherently sinful to do so.

It would also be a sin of cross-dressing for a man to wear a dress even if it were a “very modest” dress, precisely because it is woman’s attire.  The same example (a man wearing a dress) is all-the-more cringe-worthy if the dress is pink calico with lots of lace and frills as well as accompanied by broaches, pearl necklaces, and 4-inch-high spike heels.  But those conditions and accessories are not necessary circumstances for the man to have committed the sin of cross-dressing (although such feminine accessories might increase the sin).

This is because, as St. Thomas explains, such cross-dressing is a cause of lewdness and sensuality.  This lewdness arises because it is lewd for a man to insert his body into women’s clothes (i.e., for him to commingle his body with women’s clothes).  Similarly, it is lewd for a woman to insert her body into a man’s clothes or commingle her body with man’s clothes.

Again, this reason we are discussing now (why it is a sin for men and women to cross-dress) does not pertain to whether a woman’s figure is more revealed in pants (which it is) but pertains to the fact that pants are men’s clothes.  In other words, it is a sin for a woman to wear men’s clothes regardless of whether such clothes would immodestly reveal her body.

This is the second reason it is a sin for women to wear pants.

 



[1]           Lewdness (noun): indecency or obscenity; vulgar sexual character or behavior.  https://www.dictionary.com/browse/lewdness

[2]           The Natural Law is what we know is right (or wrong) by the light of the natural reason God gave us.  One example of the Natural Law is that we must never tell a lie.  We naturally know this because we know that the purpose of speech is to convey the truth and so we naturally know that telling a lie is abusing the purpose of speech. 

Here is how St. Thomas explains what the Natural Law is:

[L]aw, being a rule and measure, can be in a person in two ways: in one way, as in him that rules and measures; in another way, as in that which is ruled and measured, since a thing is ruled and measured, in so far as it partakes of the rule or measure.  Wherefore, since all things subject to Divine providence are ruled and measured by the eternal law, as was stated above [in Summa, Ia IIae, Q.91, a.1]; it is evident that all things partake somewhat of the eternal law, in so far as, namely, from its being imprinted on them, they derive their respective inclinations to their proper acts and ends.  Now among all others, the rational creature is subject to Divine providence in the most excellent way, in so far as it partakes of a share of providence, by being provident both for itself and for others.  Wherefore it has a share of the Eternal Reason, whereby it has a natural inclination to its proper act and end: and this participation of the eternal law in the rational creature is called the natural law.  Hence the Psalmist after saying (Psalm 4:6): "Offer up the sacrifice of justice," as though someone asked what the works of justice are, adds: "Many say, Who showeth us good things?" in answer to which question he says: "The light of Thy countenance, O Lord, is signed upon us": thus implying that the light of natural reason, whereby we discern what is good and what is evil, which is the function of the natural law, is nothing else than an imprint on us of the Divine light. It is therefore evident that the natural law is nothing else than the rational creature’s participation of the eternal law.

Summa, Ia IIae, Q.91, a.2, respondeo.

[3]           Summa, IIa IIae, Q.169, a.2, ad 3.

 

Words to Live by – from Catholic Tradition

Trust in Divine Providence

The Voice of Christ:

My child, allow me to do what I will with you.  I know what is best for you.

The Disciple:

Lord, what You say is true.  Your care for me is greater than all the care I can take of myself.

Imitation of Christ, Thomas à Kempis; Book III, Ch. 17.

 

Women should Wear Dresses and Skirts, Not Pants

Catholic Candle note: The article below is a companion article to our article about Mary-like Neckline Modesty, which can be found here: https://catholiccandle.org/2023/05/21/marylike-neckline-modesty/

Both of these articles apply to girls as well as women and assist them in fulfilling the role and great work for which God created women.  Read more about this role and great work here: https://catholiccandle.org/2019/12/02/the-role-and-work-that-god-gave-to-woman/

 

We live in a pagan world (as we see all around us).  Even many Catholic women adopt the evil fashions they see all around them.  Let us inquire whether women should ever wear pants.

But first, let us inquire whether this issue is one that only women need to know about.


Is it Important for Men (as well as Women) to Know the Catholic Standard of Modesty for Women?

Men and women should all care about feminine modesty and know the standards of Catholic modesty.  It is obvious that a woman should understand and live the Catholic standard of modesty so that she can please God, edify her neighbor, be a good example, teach her daughters, and avoid sin.

But there are five reasons why men should know these standards too:

1.    It is important for men and boys to know the standards of female modesty because they have a duty to avert their eyes from women’s and girl’s attire which does not comply with such modesty standards.
This is obvious.  The main reason why women and girls have standards of modesty (and must not “wear whatever they want to”) is because there are men and boys who will look at them. 
Women must cover up for the sake of the men.  This is common decency and is a minimum charity that they owe to their (male) neighbors.  Women would be callously disregarding the salvation of men (and themselves) if women dressed without concern for the temptations their attire would cause in men.
This is like the fact that a person must not wildly swing a butcher knife “whenever he wants to” without regard for the risk of injuring those around him.  In fact, immodesty is more dangerous than the butcher knife because immodesty can kill the soul whereas a butcher knife can only kill the body. 
Of course, it is also true that men must dress modestly for the sake of the women too.  This is men’s minimum charity toward their (female) neighbors.  However, there are three reasons that female immodesty is a greater problem:

  Women are the more beautiful sex and so are more attractive;

  Men are more prone than women are to sins of impurity by looking impurely at the opposite sex, as is evident by the fact that the filthy practice of viewing pornography is a sin which is far more frequently committed by men rather than by women; and

  Men and women both are more inclined to weaken on women’s standards of modesty than on men’s modesty.  This is because women have a stronger focus on pleasing men by their (i.e., women’s) appearance, and men have less of a focus on pleasing women by their own (i.e., the men’s) appearance but have a greater tendency to be pleased by women’s appearance (than are women focused on and pleased by men’s appearance).  Here are three signs that this is true:

first, women desire and usually have a far larger wardrobe and wear far more jewelry than men do;


second,
women take many other pains to look attractive for men, such as wearing makeup, getting their hair curled or permed, etc., and
third, men’s clothes and shoes are more practical and serviceable.  By contrast, women’s clothes and shoes are much more likely to be less comfortable because they are more designed to please men rather than for comfort.  (For example, women’s shoes are designed to make a woman’s foot look smaller.) 
 

2.    It is important for an unmarried man who is called to the married vocation (and not to the life of consecrated virginity) to have prominently featured in his “blue print” of the future spouse he seeks, that she possess and love this great treasure of the Catholic standard of holy modesty; 

3.    It is important for a man to know the Catholic standard of feminine modesty so that he can give moral support and defend the modesty of good women against scoffers, mockers, and other enemies of Our Lord.  (For example, it is all too often that women who take modesty seriously are made to feel prudish and isolated, especially by other women who have a more liberal dress code.)  Men should be gallant and gentlemanly.  They should defend women, especially good women who are living the standards of modesty and other virtues;

 

4.    It is important for a man to know the Catholic standard of feminine modesty because he will be responsible for guiding his wife and daughters (when God sends him his own family) and will be ultimately responsible for this standard being implemented in his own home and family; and

 

5.    It is important for a man to know the Catholic standard of feminine modesty so he can love this beautiful virtue and admire and appreciate the Mary-like women and girls who practice it.

 

Four Reasons Women Should Not Wear Pants

There are four reasons why it is a sin for women to wear pants:

1.    It is objectively a sin against the revealed Divine Law for a woman to wear pants;

2.    It is objectively a sin of lewdness[1] under the Natural Law for a woman to wear pants, even apart from the issue of pants being more revealing of a woman’s body;

3.    A woman who wears pants objectively commits a sin of feminist usurpation of man’s role and “nature” and denial of her own “nature” and role in God’s plan; and

4.    A woman wearing pants objectively sins because pants are immodest for her due to their revealing too much of her figure.

Below, we consider each of these reasons.


1.     It is Objectively a Sin against the
Revealed Divine Law for Women to Wear Pants.

God has revealed His law that it is evil for a woman to wear a man’s clothes (and also for men to wear women’s clothes).  Here are the words of God’s law:

Let not a woman wear men’s clothes nor a man use women’s clothes.  For they are abominable with the Lord who do such things.

 

Deuteronomy, 22:5.

One article of man’s clothing is pants.  Although at any time in history, one can find deviant persons wearing clothes which are taboo in order to get attention or to shock those around them, nonetheless, it only relatively-recently that the enemies of Christ succeeded to such an extent in their cultural revolution that society more generally was desensitized to women wearing pants so that it became no longer shocking to most people.  This occurred roughly in the revolutionary 1960s, when society also became desensitized to other evils such as to tattoos[2], to cremation[3], to rock and roll “music”, and to wives and mothers being career women[4].  These things are still sins despite most people accepting them.

One history of women wearing pants (published by Time Magazine), noted that the popular fashion magazine, Vogue, did not print a picture of a woman wearing pants until 1939 and that people were shocked by that picture.  Here is that entry in that history:

It wasn’t until 1939 that Vogue pictured its first woman wearing slacks in a spread, at a time when those garments still weren’t widely worn by women and had the power to shock.[5]

Citing a book on women’s clothes and their style during the 1900s, another history called it “radical” that society began to accept women wearing pants.  Here are the words of this history:

“One of the most radical developments for women was the gradual acceptance of trousers, which were no longer considered either eccentric or strictly utilitarian,” write historians Valerie Mendes and Amy de la Haye in their book, 20th Century Fashion.[6]

This history correctly calls this change “radical” because, as a third history remarks, “wearing trousers was considered shocking by many women at the beginning of the 20th century”.[7]

Lastly, a fourth history (of women wearing pants) points specifically to the cultural revolution of the 1960s as the turning point in which women in pants had become common enough that there was no longer much outrage at the practice.  Here is how that history phrases it:

By the time the counter-culture movement of the 1960s had reached its height, a woman in pants wasn’t much to be outraged by, even if in workplaces pants remained the preserve of men for a while longer.[8]

In a 1977 New York Times retrospective on feminism’s effect on women’s “fashion”, the newspaper explains that:

The early 1970s was the period [in which] … women seeking to express their individuality wore pants.[9]

This, of course, is because such women thought themselves to be showing “individuality” because women wearing this men’s garment was still uncommon then.

This 1977 New York Times article continued, pointing particularly to the influence of a fashion corrupter named Calvin Klein, who led this revolution in women’s “fashion”:

Calvin Klein was instantly successful with clothes that were influenced by menswear — pants, tailored coats and jackets. “Ten years ago [i.e., 1967] a woman wore pants as a way of showing daring and security in herself,” he says ….[10]

The reason why it was considered “daring” for a woman to wear pants in the 1960s and early 1970s, is because society considered her to be provocative by wearing men’s clothes.

So, we see that our culture was not degraded enough until roughly the 1960s or 1970s, and only then was society callous enough to no longer be shocked by women wearing these men’s garments.

It is true that a person could wonder whether women wearing pants was accepted in other parts of the world earlier.  It seems that in some places in the world, where a false and corrupt “religion” formed a different and corrupt “culture”, women wearing pants was accepted earlier because the “culture” was worse. 

However, in former Christendom (the Western World), which had been formed by the Catholic Faith, and by true Catholic culture, women wearing pants was not generally accepted earlier.  It was only when (former) Christendom had slid far enough into degradation that people were no longer shocked by women wearing pants.  Again, this was roughly in the 1960s – 1970s.  Only then had Our Lord’s enemies sufficiently prevailed in their cultural revolution.


(To be Continued)

 

 



[1]           Lewdness (noun): indecency or obscenity; vulgar sexual character or behavior.  https://www.dictionary.com/browse/lewdness

[2]           Society began to view tattoos as neither shocking nor deviant at roughly the same time (the revolutionary 1960s) as society began considering women wearing pants as acceptable and not shocking.  Read this article here: https://catholiccandle.neocities.org/faith/tattoos-are-a-sin-to-obtain-and-a-sin-to-display

[3]           Society began to view cremation as neither pagan nor barbaric at roughly the same time (the revolutionary 1960s) as society began considering women wearing pants as acceptable and not shocking.  Read this article here: https://catholiccandle.neocities.org/faith/cremation-is-barbaric

[4]           Society began to view it as acceptable for wives and mothers to abandon their role in life at roughly the same time (the revolutionary 1960s) as society began considering women wearing pants as acceptable and not shocking.  Read this article here: The Role and Work that God Gave to Woman, https://catholiccandle.org/2019/12/02/the-role-and-work-that-god-gave-to-woman/

 

[6]           History of Women Wearing Pants, found here: https://qz.com/quartzy/1597688/a-brief-history-of-women-in-pants

[8]           History of Women Wearing Pants: https://qz.com/quartzy/1597688/a-brief-history-of-women-in-pants

The Conciliar Church is Anti-God and Anti-Catholic

The conciliar church scrapped the perfect Faith and perfect Church, founded by Christ while He was on earth, and started a false, anti-Catholic church.  It kept the name “Catholic” to deceive the laity – and most clergy, for that matter.

Lest one should be tempted to believe the changes were minor, and therefore, unimportant, let us once again review some of these changes.  Besides considering the Mass a meal, rather than a Holy Sacrifice, the conciliar church has its own:

  false doctrines (e.g., the teachings of VC II);  

  false and sacrilegious worship (e.g., Novus Ordo mass);

  places for these sacrileges (viz., the conciliar churches stolen from the Catholic church);

  false priesthood (with its new concept of priesthood; doubtfully valid ordinations, etc.);

  false laws (e.g., within the 1983 Code of Canon Law);

  false catechisms (e.g., the new conciliar Catechism of the Catholic Church);

  false bibles (e.g., instead of the Latin Vulgate and its English translation, the Douay Rheims Bible);

  new, politically-correct “Decalogue” (i.e., a new “10 Commandments”);

  new, politically-correct “beatitudes”;

  new Mysteries of the Rosary (the so-called “luminous mysteries”);

  new (supposed) “saints” and new canonization process (e.g., so-called “Saint” John Paul II), the first pope whom the conciliar church (supposedly) “canonized” but certainly not the last;

  new (supposed) “sacraments” with conciliar names and formulae (e.g., Catholics have the Sacrament of Penance; conciliars have its substitute called “Reconciliation”, and on occasion it’s “group Reconciliation”); and

  new (supposed) “miracles” and “apparitions”.

In the aggregate, these changes accomplished what they were meant to accomplish; they deceived laity and clergy alike, who were confused into believing that the conciliar, counterfeit “church” is the Roman Catholic Church, founded by Christ.

The scope of this evil deed is beyond comprehension by most.  There were hundreds of millions of devout Catholics in the world before the Second Vatican Council, which was promoted by Popes John the XXIII and Paul VI.  The conciliar church was developed by the Council and completely took the Faith from the hearts of those Catholics who, sadly, had no idea they were “joining” a new church.  Because it still called itself Catholic, it raised few alarms.

But as we know, the conciliar church was Catholic in name only.  In reality, it is anti-Catholic.  So, now those hundreds of millions of Catholics are members of the anti-Catholic conciliar church and have little or no connection with genuine Catholicism.

It is obvious that the devil is behind this; he is a master of deception.  And this time his deception is far worse than his efforts in starting the Protestant sects in the 1500s.  He has not destroyed the Catholic Church, but he has taken the substance of the true Faith and Catholic practice out of the hearts of hundreds of millions of Catholics and made them instead into lax, non-practicing, or apostate (former) Catholics. 

The conciliar church is a wasteland and complete disaster.  To prove my point: can anyone name one good thing the conciliar church has done?  I didn’t think so.

Remember:  there’s no salvation outside the Catholic Church.

 

In case you missed it — February 2024

Catholic Candle update to the article below: After the publication of the thorough, major study discussed in the article below, the journal which published the study apparently faced tremendous political pressure and caved into that pressure without giving any serious scientific reasons (in our opinion) for retracting the peer-reviewed study that it had published.  (Indeed, we had originally marveled at the bravery of this journal because of the pressure that we anticipated the journal would receive.)

The study’s authors gave an excellent response to that political retraction, which you can read here: https://www.lifesitenews.com/opinion/dr-mccullough-slams-journal-for-retracting-major-study-calling-for-end-to-covid-jab-rollout/

In Catholic Candle’s opinion, that retraction for political reasons does not affect the scientific cogency of the study, or our recommendation of this study, or the force of the article below.  Instead, this retraction seems to simply be a further example of how the truth is censored when it opposes the leftists’ political agenda.

The COVID-19 “Vaccine’s” Harm
Continues to Be Further Disclosed

As Catholic Candle has shown in a January 2021 article, the first reason to avoid the COVID-19 mRNA gene therapy (which is falsely called a “vaccine”) is because it is a mortal sin of cooperating in the murders of innocent aborted babies who these pharmaceutical companies chose to use to develop the vaccine.[1]

As shown in this same article, the “new” liberal SSPX reversed it prior Traditional Catholic position and now follows the modernist Vatican in accepting the use of abortion-tainted injections including this evil Covid “vaccine”.[2]  As shown in this article, the SSPX previously condemned its current position.

In Catholic Candle’s January 2021 article, we warn of other harms which are also caused by this COVID-19 “vaccine”.[3] 

Since Catholic Candle published that article three years ago, there has been much additional evidence published about the harm caused by this COVID-19 “vaccine”.[4] 

Another study was just published on January 24, 2024.  Among its many important conclusions is:

applying these reasonable assumptions, the estimated harms of the COVID-19 mRNA injectables outweigh the rewards by nearly 14-fold.[5]

This entire study is filled with information showing the sloppiness, concealment of the truth, and other evils of the leftists pressing people to receive this evil gene therapy.  We recommend reading the entire study.  However, here we quote the conclusion section:

Conclusions

Careful, objective evaluation of COVID-19 mRNA product safety is crucial for upholding ethical standards and evidence-informed decision-making. Our narrative review concerning the registrational trials and the EUA’s [i.e., Emergency Use Authorization] aftermath offers evidence-informed insights into how these genetic vaccines were able to enter the market.  In the context of the two pivotal trials, safety was never assessed in a manner commensurate with previously established scientific standards either for vaccines or for GTPs [viz., gene therapy products], the more accurate classification of these products. Many key trial findings were either misreported or omitted entirely from published reports. The usual safety testing protocols and toxicology requirements were bypassed by the FDA and vaccine manufacturers, and the premature termination of both trials obviated any unbiased assessment of potential SAEs [i.e., serious adverse events ] due to an insufficient timeframe for proper trial evaluation.  It was only after the EUA that the serious biological consequences of rushing the trials became evident, with numerous cardiovascular, neurological, reproductive, hematological, malignant, and autoimmune SAEs identified and published in the peer-reviewed medical literature. Moreover, the COVID-19 mRNA vaccines produced via Process 1 and evaluated in the trials were not the same products eventually distributed worldwide; all of the COVID-19 mRNA products released to the public were produced via Process 2 and have been shown to have varying degrees of DNA contamination. The failure of regulatory authorities to heretofore disclose process-related impurities (e.g., SV40) has further increased concerns regarding safety and quality control oversight of mRNA vaccine manufacturing processes.

Since early 2021, excess deaths, cardiac events, strokes, and other SAEs have often been wrongly ascribed to COVID-19 rather than to the COVID-19 mRNA vaccinations.  Misattribution of SAEs to COVID-19 often may be due to the amplification of adverse effects when mRNA injections are followed by SARS-CoV-2 subvariant infection.  Injuries from the mRNA products overlap with both PACS [“post-acute COVID-19 syndrome”] and severe acute COVID-19 illness, often obscuring the vaccines’ etiologic contributions. Multiple booster injections appear to cause immune dysfunction, thereby paradoxically contributing to heightened susceptibility to COVID-19 infections with successive doses. For the vast majority of adults under the age of 50, the perceived benefits of the mRNA boosters are profoundly outweighed by their potential disabling and life-threatening harms. Potential harms to older adults appear to be excessive as well. Given the well-documented SAEs and unacceptable harm-to-reward ratio, we urge governments to endorse and enforce a global moratorium on these modified mRNA products until all relevant questions pertaining to causality, residual DNA, and aberrant protein production are answered.[6]

Catholic Candle readers know that the most important reason to refuse the COVID-19 “vaccine” is because it gravely harms souls, viz., it is a mortal sin because of its link to murder.  But we should thank God for also protecting us from this evil concoction because it is such a grave harm to bodies as well.

Truly, as St. Paul infallibly teaches us, all things work together unto the Good for those who love God!  Romans, 8:28.

 



[5]           Appendix 2, of this study; Mead M, Seneff S, Wolfinger R, et al. (January 24, 2024) COVID-19 mRNA Vaccines: Lessons Learned from the Registrational Trials and Global Vaccination Campaign. Cureus 16(1): e52876. doi:10.7759/cureus.52876, found here: https://www.cureus.com/articles/203052-covid-19-mrna-vaccines-lessons-learned-from-the-registrational-trials-and-global-vaccination-campaign#!/ (emphasis added).

 

[6]           Conclusion section of this study: Mead M, Seneff S, Wolfinger R, et al. (January 24, 2024) COVID-19 mRNA Vaccines: Lessons Learned from the Registrational Trials and Global Vaccination Campaign. Cureus 16(1): e52876. doi:10.7759/cureus.52876, found here: https://www.cureus.com/articles/203052-covid-19-mrna-vaccines-lessons-learned-from-the-registrational-trials-and-global-vaccination-campaign#!/ (emphasis added).

We Should Not Dress Like Cultural Revolutionaries!

One aspect of the weakness of character which marks most people today, is that they devote all of the time that they can, not to real human activity worthy of a free man and child of God (viz., the intellectual and the spiritual life), but instead to bodily rest and bodily pleasure (which are lower things we have in common with brute beasts).

Such people have no sense of the propriety of their attire but always seek comfort – as long as that comfort is in a manner which conforms with the opinions of the “crowd”.  When they go to church (if they do go to church[1]) or when they attend a special dinner with friends, most people dress like slobs nowadays.  But, again, they dress like slobs only in a way which conforms with the approval of the “crowd”, by wearing the particular sloppy clothes that conform to what everyone else approves.

Such clothes tend to be vulgar, base, and banal in those circumstances.  Thus, many people wear ripped trousers – but those trousers must be jeans (or jean-type pants).  These people would not be “caught dead” in ripped pants which are not acceptable to their peer group!

They wear conforming casual clothes to the office too.  Only certain clothes are acceptable and they know what sloppy, casual clothes they should wear because everyone follows and imitates the same “fashion” guidelines.

Universally, from the beginning of history, clothes have shown a person’s office or station in life.  So, those persons who perform rugged manual labor dress appropriately for that hard work.  Throughout history, those who do intellectual non-physical work for a living (e.g., thinking, speaking, writing, making decisions, or managing people), dressed in a way showing their occupations.  Kings, presidents, lawyers, judges, mediators, etc. did not dress in clothes that are suitable for being a farmer, a black smith, a mechanic, etc.  They wore clothes showing their office or station in life, through wearing the fabrics and the cut of the clothes that show they are not dressed for manual labor.

Here is how this truth is explained by St. Thomas Aquinas, greatest Doctor of the Catholic Church:

Those who are placed in a position of dignity, or again the ministers of the altar, are attired in more costly apparel than others, not for the sake of their own glory, but to indicate the excellence of their office or of the Divine worship.[2]

 

Similarly, in former times, when people went to church, they wore formal clothes (their best clothes), which were not suitable for hard manual labor.  They wore their best clothes to show respect for God, as St. Thomas explains immediately above.

Down through the ages, when people attended a symphony performance or an intellectual activity like a lecture, they dressed up, showing respect for the activity (cultural or intellectual) and for the persons attending with them.  When invited to dinner at someone’s home or when a young man took a young lady to dinner, he dressed up (as did she) to look their best and show respect for each other and for the importance of the activity in which they were engaged (viz., seeking a spouse and life-long companion with whom to start a family).

In short, the reason why we should dress well is to honor the others we are meeting and show that we esteem their dignity and/or that of the occasion.  We also show that there is a hierarchy of occasions.  By contrast, when we dress like slobs, we show that the other person (who has to look at us) or the occasion is not worth our efforts or our better clothes.

As the world around us gets ever-more corrupt, we see the pronounced trend of people dressing in whatever way makes them most comfortable. That is, they dress down and thereby inherently show another person that they disregard him and that their own comfort and gratifying their passions is more important to them than the other person.  In better times, people showed proper respect by dressing well (as was the reasonable custom, etiquette, and propriety) when coming into the presence of persons of a higher station of life.

But revolutionaries and communists sought (and seek) to destroy this order in society.  So, the Chinese communists wore “Mao suits” earlier in their revolutionary times.  These suits were poorly-tailored, and in the same medium gray color, to falsely pretend that everyone is equal.  Similarly, starting in the 1960s in the U.S., the cultural revolutionaries wore blue jeans even to high cultural events because they aimed at destroying the propriety of attire that society respected (showing contempt for custom) and sought to portray a false appearance of equality.

We live in a time of deliberate destruction of those morals and good customs which were developed over the centuries of Catholic culture and civilization.  We must be counter-revolutionaries!  We should do what is in our power to stand up for virtue and reason, against the cultural revolutionaries who are destroying Western Civilization.  This culture – though much of it has been destroyed since the height of Christendom – is worth fighting for! 

We must strive to be the sort of soldiers of Christ that God and our reason show us that we must be.  In this way, we will have spent our lives doing something truly worth living for, and if God wills, also dying for!  Let us do this together! 



[1]           Catholic Candle recognizes that most faithful and informed Catholics have no access to an  uncompromising Mass and uncompromising priest.  That is true of the Catholic Candle Team members too.  We are in the same “boat” as you are!  So, we are certainly not advocating that faithful and informed Catholics go to a compromise group or priest in order to “get my Mass” or “get my sacraments”.  However, in this present article, when referring to people always seeking comfort, we refer to persons who don’t bother to go to church rather than to those persons who stay away from compromise churches out of love for Our Lord and our holy Catholic Faith.

 

We urge you not to attend compromise groups to get the Sacraments, even where they are valid Sacraments.  We at Catholic Candle sanctify the Sunday at home using this method:  https://catholiccandle.neocities.org/faith/sanctifying-sunday-no-mass.html

 

The Sacraments of compromise groups do not please God.

https://catholiccandle.org/2020/04/02/a-compromise-groups-masses-and-sacraments-do-not-give-grace-because-the-end-does-not-justify-the-means/

 

Even if we don’t “feel” content with our feelings, nonetheless with our will and intellect (the important faculties) we should be perfectly content without the Mass and Sacraments when this is God’s will for us, that is, when they are not available without  compromise.  https://catholiccandle.neocities.org/faith/complete-contentment-without-the-mass-when-it-is-not-available-without-compromise.html

 

This is a time of great blessings!  We hold that this is a glorious time to be Catholic and to live for Christ the King!  https://catholiccandle.neocities.org/faith/it-is-a-blessing-to-live-during-this-great-apostasy.html

[2]           Summa, IIa IIae: Q.169, a.1, ad 2.

Lesson #31 – Method of making choices and Examination

                    Mary’s School of Sanctity                   

Lesson #31  The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius — EXPLANATION ON A METHOD FOR MAKING CHOICES AND ON HOW TO DO A SPECIAL EXAMINATION OF CONSCIENCE AND HIS NOTES ON PENANCE

Having finished the last meditation set out by St. Ignatius, we would now like to share some of his additional gems, namely, his words of advice concerning how one should make choices; his method on how one can make a special examination of one’s conscience geared to the exercitant during a thirty-day retreat; and likewise on the penance he recommends during the retreat.

First let us address St. Ignatius’s advice concerning making choices.  He says:

INTRODUCTION TO MAKING A CHOICE OF A WAY OF LIFE

In every good choice, in so far as it depends upon us, the direction of our intention should be simple.  I must look only to the end for which I am created, that is, for the praise of God Our Lord and for the salvation of my soul.  Therefore, whatever I choose must have as its purpose to help me to this end.  I must not shape or draw the end to the means, but the means to the end.  Many, for example, first choose marriage, which is a means, and secondarily to serve God Our Lord in the married state, which service of God is the end.  Likewise, there are others who first desire to have benefices [an ecclesiastical office], and afterward to serve God in them.  These individuals do not go straight to God, but want God to come straight to their inordinate attachments.  Acting thus, they make a means of the end, and an end of the means, so that what they ought to seek first, they seek last.  My first aim, then, should be my desire to serve God, which is the end, and after this, to seek a benefice or to marry if it is more fitting for me, for these things are but means to an end.  Thus, nothing should move me to use such means or to deprive myself of them except it be only the service and praise of God Our Lord and the eternal salvation of my soul.

Next, St. Ignatius gives:

A CONSIDERATION TO OBTAIN INFORMATION ON THE MATTERS IN WHICH A CHOICE SHOULD BE MADE

This contains four points and a note:

First point: All matters in which we wish to make a choice must be either indifferent or good in themselves.  They must meet with the approbation of our Holy Mother, the hierarchical Church, and not be bad or repugnant to her.

Second point: There are some things that are the objects of an immutable choice, such as the priesthood, matrimony, etc.  There are others in which the choice is not immutable, as for example, accepting or relinquishing a benefice, accepting or renouncing temporal goods.

Third point: Once an immutable choice has been made there is no further choice, for it cannot be dissolved, as is true with marriage, the priesthood, etc.  It should be noted only that if one has not made this choice properly, with due consideration, and without inordinate attachments, he should repent and try to lead a good life in the choice that he has made.  Since this choice was ill-considered and improperly made, it does not seem to be a vocation from God as many err in believing, wishing to interpret an ill-considered or bad choice as a divine call.  For every divine call is always pure and clean without any admixture of flesh or other inordinate attachments.

Fourth point: If one has made a proper and well-considered choice that is mutable, and has not been influenced either by the flesh or the world, there is no reason why he should make a new choice.  But he should perfect himself as much as possible in the choice he has made.

NOTE

It is to be noted that if this mutable choice is not well-considered and sincerely made, then it will be profitable to make the choice anew in the proper manner if one wishes to bring forth fruits that are worthwhile and pleasing to God Our Lord.

Then St. Ignatius sets forth when a wise choice can be made by the following:

THREE OCCASIONS WHEN A WISE AND GOOD CHOICE CAN BE MADE

THE FIRST OCCASION is when God Our Lord moves and attracts the will so that the devout soul, without question and without desire to question, follows what has been manifested to it.  St. Paul and St. Matthew did this when they followed Christ Our Lord.

THE SECOND OCCASION is present when one has developed a clear understanding and knowledge through the experience of consolations and desolations and the discernment of diverse spirits.

THE THIRD OCCASION is in a time of tranquility.  Here one considers first for what purpose man is born, which is to praise God Our Lord and to save his soul.  Since he desires to attain this end, he chooses some life or state within the bounds of the Church that will help him in the service of God Our Lord and the salvation of his soul.  I said “a time of tranquility,” when the soul is not agitated by diverse spirits, and is freely and calmly making use of its natural powers.

IF A CHOICE HAS NOT BEEN MADE ON THE FIRST OR SECOND OCCASION, BELOW ARE GIVEN TWO METHODS OF MAKING IT DURING THE THIRD OCCASION

The first method of making a wise and good choice contains six POINTS:

THE FIRST POINT: To place before my mind’s eye the thing about which I wish to make a choice.  It may be an office or a benefice to be accepted or refused, or anything else that is the object of a mutable choice.

THE SECOND POINT: I must have as my aim the end for which I am created, which is the praise of God Our Lord and the salvation of my soul.  At the same time I must remain indifferent and free from any inordinate attachments so that I am not more inclined or disposed to take the thing proposed than to reject it, nor to relinquish it rather than to accept it.  I must rather be like the equalized scales of balance, ready to follow the course which I feel is more for the glory and praise of God Our Lord and the salvation of my soul.

THE THIRD POINT: I must ask God Our Lord to deign to move my will and to reveal to my spirit what I should do to best promote His praise and glory in the matter of choice.  After examining the matter thoroughly and faithfully with my understanding, I should make my choice in conformity with His good pleasure and His most holy will.

THE FOURTH POINT: I will use my reason to weigh the many advantages and benefits that would accrue to me if I held the proposed office or benefice solely for the praise of God Our Lord and the salvation of my soul.  I will likewise consider and weigh the disadvantages and dangers that there are in holding it.  I will proceed in like manner with the other alternative, that is, examine and consider the advantages and benefits as well as the disadvantages and dangers in not holding the proposed office or benefice.

THE FIFTH POINT:  After having thus weighed the matter and carefully examined it from every side, I will consider which alternative appears more reasonable.  Acting upon the stronger judgment of reason and not on any inclination of the senses, I must come to a decision in the matter that I am considering.

THE SIXTH POINT: After such a choice or decision has been reached I should turn with great diligence to prayer in the presence of God Our Lord and offer Him this choice that His Divine Majesty may deign to accept and confirm it, if it be to His greater service and praise.

The second method of making a wise and good choice contains four RULES and a note:

THE FIRST RULE is that the love which moves me and causes me to make this choice should come from above, that is from the love of God, so that before I make my choice I will feel that the greater or lesser love that I have for the thing chosen is solely for the sake of my Creator and Lord.

THE SECOND RULE is to consider some man that I have never seen or known, and in whom I wish to see complete perfection.  Now I should consider what I would tell him to do and choose for the greater glory of God Our Lord and the greater perfection of his soul.  I will act in like manner myself, keeping the rule that I proposed for another.

THE THIRD RULE is to consider that if I were at the point of death, what form and procedure I would wish to have observed in making this present choice.  Guiding myself by this consideration, I will make my decision on the whole matter.

THE FOURTH RULE is to examine and consider how I shall be on the Day of Judgment, to think how I shall then wish to have made my decision in the present matter.  The rule which I should then wish to have followed, I will now follow, that I may on that day be filled with joy and delight.

NOTE

Taking the above-mentioned rules as my guide for eternal salvation and peace, I will make my choice and offer myself to God Our Lord, following the sixth point of the first method for making a choice (above).

Here is a method St. Ignatius explains as to how the exercitant can make a special examination of conscience while making his thirty-day retreat.

PARTICULAR EXAMINATION OF CONSCIENCE TO BE MADE EVERY DAY [geared to be done during a thirty-day retreat, but this can be adapted for outside of retreat]

This Exercise is performed at three different times, and there are two examinations to be made.

THE FIRST TIME: As soon as he arises in the morning the exercitant should resolve to guard himself carefully against the particular sin or defect which he wishes to correct or amend.

THE SECOND TIME: After the noon meal he should ask God Our Lord for what he desires, namely, the grace to remember how many times he has fallen into the particular sin or defect, and to correct himself in the future. Following this he should make the first examination demanding an account of his soul regarding that particular matter which he proposed for himself and which he desires to correct and amend.  He should review each hour of the time elapsed from the moment of rising to the moment of this examination.  He should make note on the first line (of a chart that he keeps for himself) and make a mark for each time that he has fallen into the particular sin or defect.  He should then renew his resolution to improve himself until the time of the second examination that he will make.

THE THIRD TIME: After the evening meal he will make a second examination, reviewing each hour from the first examination to this second one, and on the second line (of his chart), he will again make a mark for each time that he has fallen into the particular fault or defect.

          FOUR ADDITIONAL DIRECTIONS

The following directions will help to remove more quickly the particular sin or defect.

1) Each time that one falls into the particular sin or defect, he should place his hand on his breast, repenting that he has fallen.  This can be done even in the presence of many people without their noticing it.

2) Since the first line of the chart represents the first examination, the second line, the second examination, at night the exercitant should observe whether there is an improvement from the first line to the second, that is, from the first examination to the second.

3) He should compare the second day with the first, that is to say , the two examinations of the present day with the two examinations of the preceding day, and see if there is a daily improvement.

4) He should also compare one week with another and see if there is a greater improvement during the present week than in the past week. 

Fr. Hurter gives a more extensive explanation of the purpose of this particular examen:

Everyone has a more or less characteristic fault into which he falls more frequently than into others; it is more noticed by his companions than his other faults; it is the root of many other faults, and if it be eradicated, the faults which sprang from it will cease.  A man’s capital fault may be compared to the capital of an enemy’s country, which is the key entry point that an experienced general would use to enter into the entire region in time of war.  Thus, a person will make great progress in perfection if he attacks and overcomes his capital faults.  He digs out the fertile roots of many other faults.  If we have succeeded in doing away with our more noticeable faults, we can change our particular examen and aim at cultivating the more necessary virtues.[1]

Fr. Hurter explains the importance of being strict with oneself when fighting his particular fault.  St. Ignatius suggests one good way to do this is to strike one’s breast and say an ejaculation such as, “My Jesus, mercy,” when one becomes aware of having fallen into the fault.  He says that we have to make a firm resolution to combat the particular fault and direct our daily meditations and other prayers to this actual battle in order to strengthen our efforts.  He says, “By the attentive use of the means we shall gradually mend our ways with regard to the more radical faults, and plant the most beautiful virtues in the garden of our heart, thereby reaching the basic virtues and great purity of soul.”[2]

The above advice is designed to be used while the exercitant is on retreat; however, one can use these methods to conquer his predominant fault at any time.  It is a great blessing to discover one’s predominant fault and if one has not found it, he should earnestly entreat God to enlighten him so he may find it.  Once one has found his predominant fault, he should try with all of his might to conquer it, of course, with God’s all-powerful aid.

Now let us turn to what St. Ignatius says about penances done during retreat.

ST. IGNATIUS’S DIRECTIONS ON PENANCES

He first addresses the importance of keeping silence. In general, he speaks about keeping exterior and interior silence when making the Spiritual Exercises.  These Exercises were designed to be done for the period of a month.  The exercitant keeps exterior silence including restraining his eyes and keeping a guard of himself, remaining in a serious frame of mind.  For example, he can even go so far as to deprive himself of light in his room when he is trying to excite feelings of pain, sorrow, and tears for his sins.  The exercitant refrains from speaking to anyone besides the retreat master.

The interior silence is kept by the exercitant focusing on the subjects of the meditations and not allowing his mind to wander from the topic at hand.  This interior silence is intended to help the exercitant stay recollected so he can make the Exercises better and they can assist him in finding what he desires for his soul.   

In addition to his instructions on silence, St. Ignatius speaks of interior penance as follows:

The interior penance is sorrow for one’s sins and a firm resolution to not commit them.  Exterior penance is a fruit of interior penance, and is the punishment we inflict upon ourselves for the sins we have committed. We perform these penances in three ways:

a. Regarding food.  It will be noted that when we deny ourselves what is superfluous, it is not penance but temperance.  It is penance when we deny ourselves what it is proper for us to have, and the more we deny ourselves, the greater and better is the penance, provided we do not harm ourselves or cause ourselves serious illness.

b. Regarding sleeping.  Here again it is not penance when we deny ourselves the superfluity of delicate and soft things.  But it is penance when we deny ourselves what is suitable for us.  Again, the more we deny ourselves, the greater is the penance, provided we cause ourselves no injury or serious illness.  Nor should we deny ourselves our due amount of sleep unless we have the bad habit of sleeping too much.  It may then be done to arrive at a proper mean.

c. By chastising the flesh, thereby causing sensible pain.  [Here St. Ignatius mentions particular austerities.]

What seems the most suitable and safest thing in doing penance is for the pain to be felt in the flesh, without penetration to the bones, thus causing pain but not illness.

OBSERVATIONS ON PENANCE

1. Exterior penances are performed principally to produce three effects:

          a. To satisfy for past sins.

          b. To overcome ourselves, so that sensuality will be obedient to reason and our lower inclinations be subject to higher ones.

          c. To seek and find some grace or gift that we obtain, as for instance, a deep sorrow for our sins and to grieve for them for the pains and sufferings that Our Lord endured in His passion, or for the solution of some doubt that is troubling us.

When St. Ignatius discusses the types of exterior penances, he stresses doing the penance that obtains for the exercitant the desired goal, whether it be tears of compunction or the curbing of one’s passions, etc., and that the exercitant should alternate penances as needed in order to obtain the desired goal.  It should be noted, though, that he advises that the penances which refer to the chastising of the body are not to be done in public.

RULES TO BE OBSERVED IN THE FUTURE IN THE MATTER OF FOOD

1. There is less need to abstain from bread for it is not the kind of food over which the appetite is usually inclined to be uncontrolled, or over which temptation is so insistent as with other kinds.

2. Abstinence is more appropriate with regard to drink than in eating bread.  Therefore, one must consider carefully what would be beneficial to him and therefore permissible, and also what would be harmful, and so to be avoided.

3. With regard to foods, greater and more complete abstinence must be practiced because here temptation is likely to be more insistent and the appetite inclined to be excessive.  In order to avoid overindulgence, abstinence may be observed in two ways: by accustoming oneself to eat coarse foods, or if delicacies are taken, to eat them sparingly.

4. While taking care not to become sick, the more one abstains in the quantity of food suited to him, the sooner he will arrive at the mean he should observe in eating and drinking. There are two reasons for this: first, by thus helping and disposing himself he will more frequently feel the interior directions, consolations, and divine inspirations that will show him the mean that is proper for him.  Secondly, if he finds that with such abstinence he lacks sufficient health and strength for the Spiritual Exercises, he will easily be able to judge what is more suitable for sustaining his body.

5. While one is eating, he may consider that he sees Christ Our Lord at table with His Apostles, how He eats and drinks; how He looks and how He speaks, and he will strive to imitate Him.  He will thus keep his understanding occupied principally with Our Lord, and less with the sustenance of his own body.  Thus, he may adopt a better method and order in the manner in which he should govern himself.   

6. At other times, while eating, he may consider the lives of the saints or some other pious contemplation, or he may consider some spiritual work that he has to perform.  If he is occupied with such matters, he will take less delight and sensual pleasure in the nourishment of his body.

7. Above all, he must take care that his mind is not entirely occupied in what he is eating, and that he is not carried away by his appetite into eating hurriedly.  Let him rather master himself both in the way that he eats and the amount that he takes.

8. To avoid excess, it is very useful after dinner or after supper, or at another time when one feels no desire to eat, to make a determination for the next dinner or supper, and so for the subsequent days, on the amount of food that is proper for him to eat.  Let him not exceed this amount, no matter how strong his appetite or the temptation.  Rather, it is the better to overcome every disorderly appetite and temptation of the enemy.  If he is tempted to eat more, he should less.

Although these eight rules are meant for the duration of a retreat, they can be adapted for outside of a retreat.

In our next lesson we will complete our treatment of St. Ignatius’s Spiritual Exercises, which include his advice concerning scruples and his additional meditation points on the life of Our Lord.  We will also include some thoughts about resolutions we can take based on the Spiritual Exercises.



[1]           Considerations from Sketches for the Exercises of An Eight Days’ Retreat by Hugo Hurter, S.J., Ph.D., D.D., Professor Emeritus of Theology in the Catholic University of Innsbruck, copyright 1918; third edition, 1926, St. Louis, MO and London, Pages 89-91.

 

[2]            Considerations from Sketches for the Exercises of An Eight Days’ Retreat by Hugo Hurter, S.J., Ph.D., D.D., Professor Emeritus of Theology in the Catholic University of Innsbruck, copyright 1918; third edition, 1926, St. Louis, MO and London, Pages 90-91.

Words to Live by – from Catholic Tradition

 

St. John Chrysostom, Doctor of the Church, quotes this phrase from Colossians, 3:16: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you abundantly, in all wisdom”.

 

From this verse, St. John Chrysostom teaches how the priceless treasure of wisdom, helps us in our time of tribulation:

 

As the rich in money can bear fines and damages, so he that is rich in the doctrines of philosophy will bear not poverty only, but all calamities also easily, yea, more easily than that one [viz., those “rich in money”].

 

For as for him, by discharging the fine, the man who is rich [in money] must needs be impoverished, and found wanting, and if he should often suffer in that way, will no longer be able to bear it, but in this case [viz., the man rich in this philosophy] it is not so; for we do not even expend our wholesome thoughts when it is necessary for us to bear aught [i.e., anything] we would not choose, but they abide with us continually.

 

And mark the wisdom of this blessed man [viz., St. Paul].  He said not, “Let the word of Christ” be in you, simply, but what? “dwell in you”, and “richly”.

 

St. John Chrysostom, Sermon 9 on Colossians, 3:16 (bracketed words added to show context).

 

 

Greta Thunberg and the “Doom Coming Soon” Alarmism

There is a young woman named Greta Thunberg who is an international celebrity climate activist who is heavily sponsored and promoted by the world’s major governments and quasi-governmental bodies[1], and is honored by prestigious organizations,[2] and is highly extolled by the mainstream media.[3] 

She is thoroughly imbued with the myth of climate catastrophe and is influential because of her international acclaim.

Greta is a dupe and a tool of the leftists.  She is not well informed but has nonetheless devoted her life to expressing her concern about impending climate devastation and the need to “save the planet”.  For example, she tweeted in 2018 that mankind would be wiped out if we did not stop all fossil fuel use by 2023.  Here is the tweet[4]:

Greta’s above link to an article on gritpost.com cites to a prominent Harvard University professor named James Anderson, who is an atmospheric chemistry (supposed) expert.  Professor Anderson gave this dire warning that humanity will go extinct unless man stops burning all fossil fuels by 2023.

Obviously though, however much Greta was sincerely terrified in 2018 and convinced that everyone is going to die soon unless all burning of fossil fuels stops within five years (by 2023), nonetheless, she sees later that she looks foolish now (in 2024) to have predicted that all mankind will soon be dead.  So sometime after March 7, 2023, Greta deleted her tweet.[5] 

But Greta is like the rest of the climate alarmists.  Do you think she admitted she was wrong?  No.  Did she acknowledge she was foolish?  Certainly not.  Like all of the rest of these climate “Chicken Littles”, she merely conceals her irrational scaremongering quietly and goes on to predict the next catastrophe a few years further into the future. 

This is like those “all-wise clairvoyants” in a companion article to this one[6], who declared that the glaciers would be entirely gone by 2020.  It is like those “prophets of alarm” in the 1970s[7] who declared that a permanent New Ice Age would soon arrive.

Thus, Greta shows these common traits shared with the other climate alarmists:

1.    Make a wild prediction of doom;

2.    Later, quietly conceal the false prediction when it becomes obvious to everyone that it is ludicrous; and

3.    Then make the next reckless forecast.

Besides this pattern of scaremongering, the second trait that Greta exemplifies is that young liberal women as a group have a substantially higher incidence of (so-called) “mental” problems (such as diagnosed, clinical depression), as contrasted not only to young conservatives of either sex, but also as compared to even young liberal men.[8]

Greta is an example of this, too.  She is a young liberal woman and has stated publicly that she has multiple diagnosed (so-called) “mental disorders” including clinical depression.[9]

All of these considerations remind us how the Dear Lord has blessed faithful and informed Catholics!  Truly, the full Traditional Catholic Faith is a treasure beyond price and is completely undeserved by us!

Let us thank our generous Lord for this great gift!  Let us guard this gift and do all we can do to strengthen it.  The Good Lord is now giving us this time to strengthen our Faith because, it seems, we will need that stronger Faith in the times to come!



[1]           For example, she has addressed the United Nations twice, addressed the British, European, and French parliaments, met with the Chancellor of Germany, met with Pope Francis, was invited to give testimony before a committee of the U.S. House of Representatives, and gave a speech at the World Economic Forum.

[2]           For example, she was made an honorary fellow of the Fellowship of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society and was nominated four times for the Nobel Peace Prize.


[3]           She was included in Time’s 100 most influential people, as well as was the youngest person ever to be made Time Magazine’s Person of the Year.  She was also included in the Forbes list of The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women.


[7]           Read this article: Recalling a 1970s Climate-Change Hoax: https://catholiccandle.org/2022/10/25/recalling-a-1970s-climate-change-hoax/

Life, Death, and Salvation Without a Priest

As you know, God wants us to be happy on earth, and in Heaven with Him after we die.  He suffered and died for us for that very reason.  But why, oh why, does He leave us Catholic Candle readers without a good, uncompromising priest? 

God knows best and knows what we need to achieve our goal of salvation.

St. Augustine says:

All that happens to us in this world against our will (whether due to men or to other causes) happens to us only by the will of God, by the disposal of Providence, by His orders and under His guidance; and if from the frailty of our understanding we cannot grasp the reason for some event, let us attribute it to Divine Providence, show Him respect by accepting it from His Hand, believe firmly that He does not send it to us without cause.”[1]

Divine Providence has placed many people around the world, at various times, in situations in which they had no Sacraments or Mass at all, (e.g., Japanese Catholics for 300 years).  And God has willed other people to live where there were many  valid Sacraments, but all of them were bad and had to be avoided (e.g., in St. Hermenegild’s Arian Spain and in many places in Revolutionary France).  God sometimes wills Catholics to be without the Mass and Sacraments out of love for Him and for the sake of the Catholic Faith and morals.  Of course, even during such times, it is imperative for Catholics to still practice the Catholic Faith and to pray and practice Catholic virtues.

So, let’s examine some of the many things that God has done for our salvation.  We can begin with the fact that He gave us a perfect religion and all that it offers.  The first necessity is, of course, Baptism, which can be performed by the parents, or others if necessary.[2]

Let us look next at the help we receive from the Ten Commandments and from  our conscience, (often called the Voice of God because it bids us to do right and avoid wrong).[3]

In spite of the certainty that readers of the Catholic Candle are conversant with the Ten Commandments, we nevertheless review them here:

     I.        I am the lord thy God; thou shalt not have strange gods before Me.

  II.        Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.

III.        Remember thou keep holy the Lord’s day.

 IV.        Honor thy father and thy mother.

   V.        Thou shalt not kill.

 VI.        Thou shalt not commit adultery.

VII.        Thou shalt not steal.

VIII.        Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.

 

 IX.        Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife.

   X.        Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s goods.                    

God also gave us other specific instructions, some of which are obligatory under the Natural Law and some are not.  For example, the Natural Law requires us to make sacrifices to the Creator but does not specify that we abstain from meat in particular or on what specific days to do so.  Through Her own commandments, the Church has fortunately commanded us in specific ways how we must fulfil the natural law. The main Commandments of the Church are these six:

1.    To assist at Mass on all Sundays and Holy Days of obligation, (when there is one available without compromise, of course.)

2.    To fast and abstain on the days appointed.

3.    To confess our sins at least once a year.  (Again, we do this when possible without compromise).

4.    To receive Holy Communion during Easter time. (We do this when possible without compromise.)

5.    To contribute to the support of the Church. 

6.    To observe the laws of the Church concerning marriage.

There are other commandments besides these six, such as the law that specifies that membership in Masonic or other anti-Catholic organizations is forbidden, or that cremation is similarly prohibited, but these are some of the principal ones.[4]

The important point is that a loving God gave us these guidelines to help us get to Heaven. He even went a step further when He said that under certain conditions, a dying person might avoid hell and even purgatory. 

It is the teaching of great masters of the spiritual life that a person who, at the point of death, makes an act of perfect conformity to the will of God will be delivered not only from hell but also from purgatory, even if he has committed all the sins in the world.[5]

“The reason,” says St. Alphonsus, “is that he who accepts death with perfect resignation acquires similar merit to that of a martyr who has voluntarily given his life for Christ, and even amid the greatest sufferings he will die happily and joyfully”.[6]

Of course, it goes without saying that without a priest and without the Sacraments, we must pray very much, study the Faith diligently, make a better effort to sacrifice, and live by our informed conscience.



[1]           Trustful Surrender to Divine Providence, Fr. Jean Baptiste Saint-Jure, S.J. and St. Claude de la Colombiere, S.J., Tan Books and Publishers, Rockford, Ill., 1983,  pp. 17-18.

[2]           My Catholic Faith, Bishop Louis LaRavoire Morrow, My Mission House, 1949,  p. 255.

[3]           My Catholic Faith, Bishop Louis LaRavoire Morrow, My Mission House, 1949, p. 171.

 

 

[4]           My Catholic Faith, Bishop Louis LaRavoire Morrow, My Mission House, 1949, p. 237.

[5]           Quoted in Trustful Surrender to Divine Providence, Fr. Jean Baptiste Sainte-Jure, S.J. and St. Claude de la Colombiere, S.J., Tan Books and Publishers, Rockford, Ill. 1983, p.71.

[6]           Quoted in Trustful Surrender to Divine Providence, Fr. Jean Baptiste Sainte-Jure, S.J. and St. Claude de la Colombiere, S.J., Tan Books and Publishers, Rockford, Ill. 1983, p.71.