Lesson #6 — Explanation of the First Week Rules for the Discernment of Spirits

Mary’s School of Sanctity

In our last lesson in Mary’s School, we discussed the Spiritual Exercises in general and began to explain the purpose of the Rules for the Discernment of Spirits. 

In this lesson we will begin our examination of the Rules for the Discernment of Spirits that pertain especially more to the first week of the Exercises, although these Rules apply to the spiritual life in general.  These Rules are invaluable for everyone engaged in the test of this life and fighting in the Church Militant.  Saints and spiritual writers highly recommend that we Catholics become familiar with these Rules as much as possible and review them often.  By doing so we can see the tactics of the evil one and cooperate with the helps God gives us through His Holy Angels.

St. Ignatius’s Rule #1. In the persons who go from mortal sin to mortal sin, the enemy is commonly used to propose to them apparent pleasures, making them imagine sensual delights and pleasures in order to hold them more and make them grow in their vices and sins. In these persons, the good spirit uses the opposite method, pricking them and biting their consciences through the process of reason.

St. Ignatius’s Rule #2. In the persons who are going on intensely cleansing themselves from their sins and rising from good to better in the service of God our Lord, each spirit uses a method contrary to the one he used in the first Rule, for then it is the way of the evil spirit to bite, sadden and put obstacles, disquieting with false reasons, that one may not go on; and it is proper to the good [spirit] to give courage and strength, consolations, tears, inspirations and quiet, easing, and putting away all obstacles, that one may go on in well doing.

These first two Rules are very crucial in seeing the general ways in which the good spirits act and the way the evil spirits act.  One basic fact to remember is that the good spirit always acts in an opposite way than the evil one.  Of course, the devil hates God and is always opposed to God’s Will and will always try to undo God’s Plan.  

Another basic difference between the good spirit and the evil spirit is the fact that the good spirit always fosters sound reasoning and the evil spirit tries to drag the soul away from sound reasoning.  St. Thomas explains in the Summa that in order for man to have moral behavior, that is, moral actions, man must act according to reason.[1]  Therefore, it makes perfect sense that the devil’s main tactic is to get men to not use their reason properly.

So, in the first Rule, the devil wants the mortal sinner to become complacent in his sin, and therefore, the devil will endeavor to keep the sinner in sin.  Whereas the good spirit will try to wake up the sinner to the gravity of his situation in order to draw him to conversion.

In the second Rule, the devil will try to get the person, who is striving to serve God, to fall into discouragement and to not use his reason.  The devil will basically try to get the faithful soul to the point of despair.  On the other hand, the good spirit will encourage the faithful soul to persevere.

St. Ignatius’s Rule # 3.  Of Spiritual Consolation. I call it consolation when some interior movement in the soul is caused, through which the soul comes to be inflamed with love of its Creator and Lord; and when it can in consequence love no created thing on the face of the earth in itself, but in the Creator of them all. Likewise, I call it consolation when the soul sheds tears that move it to love of its Lord, whether out of sorrow for one's sins, or for the Passion of Christ our Lord, or because of other things directly connected with His service and praise.   Finally, I call consolation every increase of hope, faith and charity, and all interior joy which calls and attracts to heavenly things and to the salvation of one's soul, quieting it and giving it peace in its Creator and Lord.

In the third Rule, St. Ignatius explains what he means by consolation.  He wants the soul to understand what consolation is so the soul better understands when consolation is happening and know how to recognize consolation as compared to desolation.  Because one must act well, whether in consolation or desolation, he must see the difference between these two movements in order to determine how to act.  Later, St. Ignatius will discuss how to act when one is in consolation.

St. Ignatius’s Rule # 4. Of Spiritual Desolation. I call desolation everything contrary to the consolation explained in the third rule, such as darkness of soul, disturbance in it, movement to things low and earthly, the unquiet of different agitations and temptations, moving to lack of confidence, without hope, without love, when one finds oneself all lazy, tepid, sad, and as if separated from his Creator and Lord. Because, as consolation is contrary to desolation, in the same way the thoughts which come from consolation are contrary to the thoughts which come from desolation.

In the fourth Rule, St. Ignatius explains what he means by desolation.   Again, St. Ignatius wants the reader to have a clear distinction between the two movements of the soul so one can more easily act appropriately in these two circumstances.

In the fifth and sixth Rules, St. Ignatius explains how to act during desolation.

St. Ignatius’s Rule # 5. In time of desolation never make a change; but be firm and constant in the resolutions and determination that you had on the day preceding such desolation, or in the determination which you had in the preceding consolation. Because, as in consolation it is rather the good spirit who guides and counsels us, so in desolation it is the bad [spirit], who tries to trick us into making a bad decision.[2]

In the fifth Rule, St. Ignatius clearly is giving a very strict warning to make no change when one is in desolation.  He means that one should continue carrying out the resolutions that one had made when he was in consolation.   As we have explained above, because the devil tries to drive man off the course of sound reasoning, the devil will especially pull on the soul when one is in desolation.  The devil will try to get the poor desolate soul to make a bad choice.

The devil knows when a soul is in desolation – the devil’s tactic goes something like this: he plays with the soul and tires it out.  The devil wants the soul to feel so overwhelmed that the person feels desperate. When a person feels desperate enough, he will often end up doing something without thinking of the long-term consequences.  Thus, it is very likely that the desolate soul will make a bad choice.  Then, of course, the devil will tempt the soul to think that since the decision has already been made, it is too late to change the decision or “fix” the mistake.  The devil preys on fallen human nature and the fact that we humans have a difficult time admitting that we were wrong.

In short, St. Ignatius is telling us that being in desolation is very dangerous for the soul because the soul is especially vulnerable – precisely because the devil will lure the soul into some form of pride.  Of course, the remedy that St. Ignatius gives to counteract the pride is to foster humility with additional prayer, penance, and examinations of conscience. See below: 

St. Ignatius’s Rule # 6. Although in desolation we ought not to change our first resolutions, it is very helpful to intensify our good efforts against the temptations that come during desolation, by insisting more on prayer, meditation, on much examination, and more penance.

Thus, knowing that the time of desolation is especially dangerous for souls, St. Ignatius tells us to intensify our strictness against fallen human nature in order to bolster the strength to overcome the evil one’s temptations.

In Rules seven and eight, St. Ignatius gives further considerations which show God’s Mercy and that it is God’s Will that the soul recognizes its weakness.  Not only does one need to see his weakness but also the soul needs to see clearly that one must depend on God.  

St. Ignatius’s Rule # 7. One who is in desolation should consider that our Lord, in order to try him, has left him to his own natural powers to resist the different agitation and temptations of the enemy. He can resist with Divine help, which is always available to him even though he may not clearly perceive it.  Although the Lord has withdrawn from him His great fervor, ardent love, and intense grace, He has nevertheless left him sufficient grace for eternal salvation.

St. Ignatius’s Rule # 8. One who is in desolation must strive to persevere in patience, which is contrary to the vexations that have come upon him.  He should consider, also, that consolation will soon return, and strive diligently against the desolation in the manner explained in the sixth rule.

So, in Rule eight in particular, one must practice trust in God and remind himself that God will not abandon him.  Therefore, St. Ignatius shows the necessity of a person humbling himself in order to persevere in times of desolation.

In our next lesson, we will discuss St. Ignatius’ explanation of why God allows us to be in desolation.  In addition to this, we will look into St. Ignatius’s clear instructions of how to conduct oneself in consolations as well as his three other powerful Rules which help us to know the tactics of the evil one so we can combat him forcefully and conquer.  

In conclusion, we must remember that God wants us to defeat our foes and persevere.  How loving and tender God is to give us the means to cooperate with Him in our salvation!


[1]         Summa, Ia IIae, Q.75, a.2.        

[2]  Bracketed words added for clarity.

Lesson #5 — Introduction to the Spiritual Exercises and Rules for the Discernment of Spirits

Mary’s School of Sanctity

In our last lesson in Mary’s School we took a close look into the life of St. Ignatius.  We saw how God chose this wonderful saint to be the founder of the Society of Jesus, also known as the Company of Jesus [as in a military sense].

The Spiritual Exercises are meant to be done over a period of one month with one retreat master helping one exercitant (which is what St. Ignatius calls the person making the exercises).  These Exercises are referred to as a retreat.  Through the centuries, priests have found a way to allow working men complete the retreat in as little as one week, by paring down the retreat to certain key exercises.

St. Ignatius divides the Spiritual Exercises into four one-week periods (i.e., one month); yet, the actual speed of progressing through the weeks depends on the abilities of the exercitant.   However, the later weeks are more fixed because St. Ignatius intends for the exercitant to spend plenty of time in deeper meditations on the life of Our Lord.

The weeks are broken down generally as follows:

1) The first week corresponds roughly to what is called the purgative way in the spiritual life, which involves purifying the soul and putting one’s life in order.  This week reminds the exercitant why he was created, namely, the end for which he must live.  The aim of this week is to excite sorrow and contrition as the exercitant sees more clearly how he has failed in working for the end in which he was created.  There are meditations about the sin of Adam and Eve, the sin of the angels, man’s personal sins, as well as meditations on death, hell, and God’s judgment of man.[1]   Therefore, this week is designed to purify the soul, root out inordinate attachments to creatures, and enable one to amend his life through grateful surrender to Christ the Redeemer.  

The work of the first week is like removing the weeds from a patch of ground so that we can then plant good plants.  This “clearing the ground” is critical preparation for the remaining three positive and beautiful weeks, in which the exercitant gains the main fruits of the retreat.  Let us read about those now.

2) The aim of the second week is to persuade the exercitant to an interior knowledge and love of the person of Jesus Christ.  In this way he may adapt his life to the model of Christ Himself as the norm of Christian perfection.  There are a series of meditations about the private and public life of Christ.  Further, there are the four famous meditations: on the Call of Christ to His Kingdom, the distinction of the Two Standards—the standard of Christ vs. the standard of Satan, the Three Classes of Men, and the Three Modes of Humility.

In the Call of Christ the King meditation, St. Ignatius arouses the greatest enthusiasm to follow Christ closely in poverty and humility while trying to prepare one’s soul to spread the Catholic Faith.  

The meditation on the Two Standards examines the tricks of the devil in contrast to Christ’s plan for the world.  The exercitant is encouraged to dedicate his life to Christ whether in the religious life or as a layman.  Further, the tactics that the devil uses to draw people away from Christ are explained, as well as the strategies to use in order to remain faithful to Christ.

In the meditation on The Three Classes of Men, St. Ignatius intends to free the exercitant’s will from the false obstacles and illusions of the devil which would prevent the exercitant from making a generous decision to follow Christ intimately.

The meditation called The Three Modes of Humility or subjection to God is intended to purify the heart so that it might reach the highest degree of humility, thus leading the exercitant to choose only that which best leads to his final end, the possession of God.

3) The third week focuses on the Passion of Our Lord.  This week is intended to strengthen the resolutions the exercitant has made to follow Christ more closely.  Through the study of Our Lord’s sufferings the exercitant increases his grateful love and his sorrow for his sins.

4) The fourth week focuses on meditations on the Risen Life of Christ.  This week is intended to produce unselfish love, joy in Christ’s glory, and an unchanging trust in Christ the Consoler.  

The crowning conclusion of the four weeks of meditative exercises is the called the Contemplation to Attain Divine Love.  This meditation brings together all the aspects of the four weeks into a wonderful whole, that is, that one should live his life exclusively for God, in joyous service, finding God in all things and all things for Him.  This we have referred to before as having an Eternal Perspective.[2]

In other words, St. Ignatius desires that the exercitant fully grasp the importance of doing all his actions for the greater honor and glory of God.  This idea is embodied in St. Ignatius’s famous motto, Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam.[3]  St. Ignatius wants the exercitant to become a noble and virtuous soldier of Christ with his eternal salvation ever in mind.

The above is a brief overview of the full Spiritual Exercises and the basic format of what is called an Ignatian Retreat.  These retreats were traditionally given in an appropriate setting for meditation.  The retreatant would withdraw from the world, leaving all worldly concerns for a set period of time.  For laymen, this was generally a week.   The retreats were silent, meaning that the retreatants kept not only exterior silence and also the more difficult interiorly recollection.  There were generally three or four mini-instructions (called conferences) per day.  In these conferences the retreat master [usually a priest] would instruct the retreatants about the contents of the next assigned meditation.  After an appropriate time of instruction, the retreatants were sent to their rooms or the chapel to do the meditation and end with a period of thanksgiving, often called the ‘colloquy’.[4] After the meditation the retreatant would examine how well he did in his efforts of the meditation.  He could write himself some notes containing his thoughts and insights that the Holy Ghost perhaps gave him during the meditation.  There was usually an opportunity to see the retreat master at least once a day and discuss any problems the retreatant was having.

However, in our times of Apostasy, the Good Lord has allowed uncompromising Catholics to suffer the additional cross of not having an uncompromising priest available and the cross of not having the opportunity to attend an uncompromising retreat.   If one wanted to set time aside to be ‘on retreat’, as it were, to do the Spiritual Exercises by himself or in a small group, it would be best to set aside some days where one could simulate the surroundings most conducive to meditation.  Ideally, one would have some simple meals pre-made and make arrangements so one could keep a schedule, keep silence, and do several meditations per day.  Of course, there would be time allotted for a morning Rosary and, ideally, an evening one as well.  Because the Spiritual Exercises are so powerful against the devil and are so efficacious for the perseverance of the soul, it is crucial that we Catholics should seriously consider making time to do these Spiritual Exercises.

Now we turn to another aspect of the Spiritual Exercises that is crucial for perseverance in grace, that is, The Rules for the Discernment of the Spirits.  We will give a brief explanation [introduction] to them here and will treat each of them at length in the upcoming issues of Catholic Candle, before moving on to treat each of the meditations of the Spiritual Exercises themselves. 

Because we are living in the Church Militant and are battling against the “powers of darkness”, as St. Paul calls them, it is important to know the difference in the strategies of the evil angels and of the good ones.  St. Ignatius, through Divine inspiration, explains how to discern between the spirits.  He explains his Rules in two sets, one to be given during the First Week and the other in the Second Week.  Yet the Rules are not intended to be limited to the retreat.  Rather, they are Rules to be used in the spiritual life in general.  Our souls go through continual struggles and the devil is always looking for ways to trap us.  We must likewise remember that our Guardian Angels are looking for ways to assist us and they are always faithful in accomplishing God’s Will.  Even if we do not cooperate with our dear angels, they do not stop doing their God-given task.

In our next lesson we will begin looking at the fourteen Rules for the Discernment of the Spirits for the First Week.  After that, we will discuss the eight Rules for the Second Week in a future issue of Catholic Candle.

 

 


[1]          In times outside of the Great Apostasy in which we live, (in which most people do not have an uncompromising priest), a general confession would usually be made in this first week.  In fact, St. Ignatius intended that the Exercises be given by an experienced retreat master to those retreatants he was familiar with, and not as something to just be read.  In this series of articles in Mary’s School of Sanctity, we at Catholic Candle are attempting to share this classic work with our readers.  Some of our readers might not know about them.  Likewise, because there is no uncompromising priest available to most of our readers, it is likely that there is nowhere to attend an uncompromising retreat.  By this series we attempt to explain the exercises, drawing from the previous blessings of our having had these retreats available. Of course, sharing this treasure with others increases our own love and appreciation of these Providential Exercises.  These Exercises, once explained, do lend themselves to being done by the laymen.  They are very crucial in our times of the Great Apostasy in order to keep our salvation as our number one goal in life. These explanations of the Exercises will be found together on our website.  They will be available in book form at the end of our discussion about the Exercises for uncompromising Catholics to use as a meditation source and/or guide for a self-directed retreat.

[2] See Catholic Candle’s Objective Truth Series Reflection #18, posted January 1, 2021, at this link: https://catholiccandle.org/category/resources-for-faith-and-practice/on-working-for-holiness/objective-truth-series/

[3] For the Greater Glory of God

[4] The method of meditation and colloquy was described in Mary’s School of Sanctity Lesson #2, at this link: https://catholiccandle.org/2021/09/03/lesson-2-meditation-how-why/

The Conciliar Church “Sacrament” of Reconciliation is Against God

Catholic Candle note:  The article below refers to Rome’s betrayal of the Catholic Faith.  However, a reader would be mistaken if he assumed that Pope Francis’ betrayal somehow means that he is not the pope.

Sedevacantism is wrong and is (material or formal) schism.  Catholic Candle is not sedevacantist.  On the contrary, we published a series of articles showing that sedevacantism is false (and also showing that former Pope Benedict is not still the pope).  

We recommend a small book explaining the errors of sedevacantism.  It is available:

Here is what St. Bernard of Clairvaux, Doctor of the Church, teaches concerning the need to recognize and respect the authority of a superior – such as the pope – even when he is bad:

Even should the life of any superior be so notoriously wicked as to admit of no excuse or dissimulation, nevertheless, for God’s sake, Who is the source of all power, we are bound to honor such a one, not on account of his personal merits, which are non-existent, but because of the divine ordination and the dignity of his office.[1]

However, even while recognizing the pope’s authority and our duty to obey him when we are able, we know we must resist the evil he says and does.  Read more about this principle here: https://catholiccandle.neocities.org/faith/against-sedevacantism.html#section-7

Conciliar “reconciliation” is a humanistic meeting between a “priest” and a lay person to help him reconcile with his fellow man.  In this conciliar mindset, God is neither necessary nor needed and, in effect, reconciling with your fellow man is more important than with God.

The conciliar church is the devil’s counter-church, headquartered in Rome.  In the conciliar mindset, everyone goes to heaven; sin is not a problem.  A standard comment by the “priest” at a conciliar funeral is that the deceased loved one is smiling and looking down on us happily, without a problem, wishing us well and waiting for us to join him in heaven.  So, there is no need for the traditional Catholic Sacrament of Penance if we are all going to Heaven anyway.

Picture this.  If Christ was still on earth when the conciliar church was developing its new “sacrament” of reconciliation, they would have slammed the rectory door so hard and so fast on Christ that they would have given Him a Bloody Nose.  Consequently, if there is “no more sin” in the conciliar church, then God need not be involved.

We should never go to this conciliar “sacrament” of “reconciliation” because:

  • It is a bad fruit of the bad conciliar tree.  There are no good fruits of this tree and there could never be.
  • This “reconciliation” is a “sacrament” of a false religion: the new conciliar church.[2] 
  • It is never – or almost never – administered by a priest whose ordination is not doubtful.  Treating such a “priest’s” ordination as invalid, as we must, we are obliged to also treat his absolution as invalid.[3] 
  • It is a sin of scandal to participate in this conciliar “reconciliation”, just as it is a sin to participate in any other conciliar service.[4] 
  • Because the reconciliation “sacrament” inherently involves a sin of scandal and is a compromise with the modernists, it gives no grace.[5]
  • It is a temptation of false piety[6] to use this “sacrament” because we “have to go to confession somewhere”.  
  • This “sacrament” of “reconciliation” is designed by our enemies – the modernists – for the purpose of weakening our faith in many ways, e.g., by emphasizing the “social” sin against our fellow man, and by deemphasizing the gravity of sin as an offense against God.  

Let's review the traditional Catholic dogma on the Sacrament of Penance.

From My Catholic Faith, Bishop Morrow, Lesson 144, page 300:

What is the sacrament of Penance?  It is the sacrament by which sins committed after Baptism are forgiven through the absolution of the priest. 

In every sacrament three things are necessary: the outward sign, the inward grace, and Divine institution.

Penance has the three essentials of a sacrament:

  • It is a sensible sign; i.e., the words of absolution and the external act of the confession.
  • It was instituted by Jesus Christ on the first Easter Sunday night.
  • It confers grace.  It is the way by which after Baptism sanctifying grace is restored to the penitent who has committed mortal sin.  It increases this grace in the penitent who already possesses it.  It also gives actual graces.

The priest forgives sins with the words: "I absolve thee from thy sins in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost.  Amen."


From the
Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 13, article: Sacraments, page 297:

In every sacrament three things are necessary: the outward sign, the inward sign, and Divine institution.

From Catechism of the Council of Trent, p.263, heading; The Meaning of Penance:

Interior penance consists in turning to God sincerely and from the heart, and in hating and detesting our past transgressions, with a firm resolution of amendment of life, hoping to obtain pardon through the mercy of God.  

Accompanying this penance, like an inseparable companion of detestation for sin, is a sorrow and sadness, which is a certain agitation and disturbance of the soul, and is called by many a passion.  Hence, many of the Fathers (of the Church) define penance as an anguish of soul. 


From
The Catholic Dictionary, Rev. William E. Addis and Rev. Thomas Arnold, page 645:

Priests have received power from Christ to forgive sins in His name and according to His law—i.e., in the case of true repentance.  God alone can remit sins, but He has been pleased to make the priest's absolution the means by which His grace is conveyed.  He said to His Apostles, "Receive the Holy Ghost; whosoever sins ye remit, they are remitted (i.e., forgiven them), and whosoever sins ye retain, they have been retained.  …

The conciliar church got rid of the confession “box”, and in a sense the “priest” locks his office door to keep God out.  Added to this, the “priest” on occasion will have a group reconciliation to be sure everyone gets along with each other.

If you think about the conciliar church, you realize there is no real need for it.  Everyone is saved automatically; getting along with others is most important; there is no need for prayer or concern about God, hell, or purgatory.  This mindset drastically reduces vocations, church attendance, and church finances.

Conciliar church leaders in Rome are not concerned.  They worry about saving the planet, about global warming, protecting the Muslims, and making sure the world appreciates Luther and all he did for the religions of the world.

The conciliar church kept the name Catholic to confuse and keep a billion plus confused Catholics accepting VC II’s anti-God counter-church.

Well, what is in store for uncompromising traditional Catholics?  We have a fight on our hands – a fight for the restoration of the human element of the Church, without any help from the Church leaders.

Don’t despair!  God knows what we need, and be assured He will do what is necessary for us and much more!  Our part is for all, without exception, to lead the holy life God wants us to lead, to be a “light” in the world, and to fight in the army of Christ the King.

It is not that hard, with all of God’s graces and help.  The catacombs will strengthen your faith if you love Christ the King and study the traditional Catholic Faith.


[1]          Quoted from St. Bernard of Clairvaux, Third Sermon for Advent, entitled: On the Three Advents of the Lord and the Seven Pillars which we ought to Erect within us.

[3]          For an explanation of why the conciliar rites of ordination and consecration are doubtful, read these analyses:


Because those conciliar rites are doubtfully valid, they should be
treated as invalid.  https://catholiccandle.neocities.org/faith/new-ordination-doubtful.html


Lesson #4 – an Intro to St. Ignatius, author of the Spiritual Exercises

Catholic Candle note:  Because we live in a time of great apostasy in which the normal channels to receive the sacraments and spiritual direction are not available to most of us, the team at the Catholic Candle will attempt in a series of articles to pass on the treasure of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola.  Firstly, we will set out a biographical account of St. Ignatius in order to appreciate how God’s providence is manifested in giving us these powerful time-tested exercises through St. Ignatius, His chosen instrument.  Secondly, we will give a brief overview of the exercises including an explanation of St. Ignatius’ Rules for the Discernment of the Spirits.  Thirdly, we will treat individual Spiritual Exercises.

 

 Mary’s School of Sanctity

Before we can study the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, it is important to get to know more about him.[1]

  • His early years

St. Ignatius was born in 1491 in a castle in the Biscay region of Spain.  Both his parents were of royal extraction.  His father Don Bertram, lord of Ognez and Loyola, was head of one of the most ancient and noble families.  His mother was Mary Suez de Balde.  They had three daughters and eight sons.  Their youngest child Ignito [St. Ignatius] was witty and had discretion above his years.  He was sociable and obliging, but had a choleric disposition and an ardent passion for glory.

He was raised in the court of Ferdinand V under the care and protection of his patron and kinsman Antony Manriquez, duke of Najara, a nobleman of first rank in Spain.  Antony saw St. Ignatius’ inclinations, led him to the army, and made sure he was trained to be an accomplished officer.

St. Ignatius, who was aware of his older brothers’ valiant service in the wars of Naples, wanted very much to enter the service.  He behaved with great conduct and valor in the army, especially in the taking of Najara, a small town on the frontier of Biscay.  He generously declined taking any part of the booty.  He detested gambling, was dexterous in the management of financial and other affairs, and had an excellent talent for settling the differences among the soldiers.  He was generous even to the enemy, but was addicted to gallantry, and was full of the maxims of worldly honor, vanity, and pleasures.  

  • His initial conversion    

But God had other plans for St. Ignatius.  It came to be that when Charles V succeeded king Ferdinand and was chosen emperor, he was obliged to go to Germany.  Francis I, king of France, resented this appointment as emperor, and became an enemy to Charles.  Francis declared war against Charles.    Francis wanted to retake Navarre.  Thus, it was in 1521 that Francis sent an army into Spain and laid siege to Pampeluna, the capital of Navarre.  St. Ignatius at this time was stationed in Pampeluna by the viceroy.  He was not given a position to command the garrison but tried in vain to convince the garrison to defend the city against the attack.   When St. Ignatius saw that the garrison opened the gates to the enemy, he and the only officer who would follow him, went up into the citadel.  The garrison of this fortress deliberated whether they should surrender; St. Ignatius persuaded them to hold their ground.  The French attacked the fortress with great fury and made a wide hole in the wall with their artillery and attempted to take the fortress by assault.  St. Ignatius appeared in the breach, at the head of the bravest part of the garrison and, with his sword in hand, endeavored to drive back the enemy.  But in the heat of combat, a shot from a cannon broke a stone from the wall and bruised his left leg.  The cannonball, on the rebound, broke and shattered his right leg.  The garrison surrendered when they saw St. Ignatius fall.

The French used their victory with moderation and treated the prisoners well, especially St. Ignatius, in consideration of his quality and valor.  They carried him to the general’s quarters, and soon after sent him, in a litter carried by two men, to the castle of Loyola, which was not far from Pampeluna.  Upon arriving there, St. Ignatius was in great pain because his bones had been set badly on the battlefield.  The surgeons judged it best to break the bone again, which St. Ignatius suffered without any concern.  But a violent fever followed the second setting, which was attended with dangerous symptoms, and reduced him to an extreme degree of weakness, so that the physicians declared that he could not live many days.  He received the sacraments on the eve of the feast of SS.  Peter and Paul, and it was believed he could not hold out till the next morning.  St. Ignatius always had a singular devotion to St. Peter and implored St. Peter’s intercession in the present distress with great confidence.  In the night St. Ignatius thought he saw in a dream St. Peter touch him and cure him.  When he awoke, he was out of danger and his pains left him and his strength began to return so he always looked upon his recovery as a miracle.  

However, he still retained the spirit of the world.  After the second setting of his leg, the bone stuck out under his knee, which was a visible deformity.  St. Ignatius insisted that the surgeons cut off the protuberance simply so he could fit his stocking and boot on handsomely.  He suffered this cutting without being held or bound or even changing his countenance despite this sawing and cutting part of his bone being extremely painful.  Furthermore, because his right leg was shorter than his left, he was put on a kind of rack, was violently stretched for many days to draw out the leg.  This method did not solve the problem, and he was lame his whole life after.

During the cure of his knee, he was confined to bed, though otherwise he was in perfect health.  He found the time tedious and asked for some of his favorite type of book – fabulous romantic histories with knight-errantry.  The castle only had a book containing the life of Christ and the lives of the saints.  At first, he only read these books to pass the time away, but afterward began to relish them.  He spent whole days reading them.  He admired the love of solitude and the love of the cross displayed in the lives of the saints.  He said to himself: “These men were of the same frame I am.  Why then should not I do what they have done?”

He thought of visiting the Holy Land and becoming a hermit, but these pious notions soon vanished.  His passion for glory, and a secret inclination for a rich lady in Castile, with a view to marriage, again filled his mind with thoughts of the world.  Then, returning to the lives of the saints, he perceived in his own heart the emptiness of all worldly glory, and that only God could content his soul.

  • The turning point of his life

He vacillated between these two inclinations for some time, but he observed a difference.  He found that the thoughts which were from God filled his soul with consolation, peace, and tranquility; whereas the others brought indeed some sensible delight, but left a certain bitterness and heaviness in the heart.  He explains this difference in his book of Spiritual Exercises, as a basis for the rules for the discernment of the Spirit of God, and of the world in all the motions of the soul.

Then at last making a firm resolution to imitate the saints in their heroic practice of virtue, he began to treat his body with all the rigor it was able to bear: he rose at midnight, and spent his retired hours in weeping for his sins.  One night, being prostrate before an image of the Blessed Virgin, in extraordinary sentiments of fervor, he consecrated himself to the service of his Redeemer under her patronage, and vowed an inviolable fidelity.   When he had ended his prayer, he heard a great noise; the house shook, the windows of his chamber were broken, and a rent was made in the wall which remained.  This might have been a sign that God accepted his sacrifice or perhaps it was the effect of the rage of the devil.

Another night, St. Ignatius saw the Mother of God environed with light, holding the Infant Jesus in her arms.  This vision replenished his soul with spiritual delight, and made all sensual pleasure and worldly objects insipid to him ever after.

His eldest brother, at the death of their father, became the lord of Loyola and tried to dissuade St. Ignatius from his intention to quit the world.  But after he was cured of his wounds, St. Ignatius went to Najara under pretence of paying a visit to the duke of Najara.  When he arrived in Najara, he sent his two servants back to Loyola while he turned his course to Montserrat.  

Montserrat was a great abbey of three hundred reformed and austere Benedictine monks.  It was on a mountain of difficult access, about four leagues[2] in circumference and two leagues high, in the diocese of Barcelona.  The monastery was founded for nuns in the year 880 A.D.  but was given to monks in 990 A.D.  At this monastery there lived a very holy old monk named John Chamones who became St. Ignatius’ director and confessor.  After his preparation it took St. Ignatius three days to make his confession because his confession was frequently interrupted by the abundance of his tears.  He made a vow of perpetual chastity, and dedicated himself with great fervor to the divine service.  

St. Ignatius had bought a long coarse coat, a girdle, a pair of sandals, a wallet, and a pilgrim’s staff when he first came to Montserrat in order to disguise himself.  He was intending to make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem.  While he was at the monastery, he remained in this disguise.  He communicated to his director a plan for the austerities he proposed to practice, and was confirmed by his director in his good resolutions.  

St. Ignatius received the Blessed Eucharist early in the morning on the feast of the Annunciation in 1522, and on the same day left Montserrat because he feared to be discovered.  He left his horse at the monastery, and hung up his sword on a pillar near the altar in testimony of his renouncing the secular warfare and entering himself in the warfare of Christ.

He travelled with his staff in hand, bare-headed, and with one foot bare, the other being covered because it was yet tender and swollen.  He was very pleased that he had cast off the dress of the world and had put on that of Christ. He had bestowed his rich clothes on a beggar upon leaving Montserrat; but the poor man was thrown into prison on suspicion of theft.  St. Ignatius was brought back by the magistrates.  He told the truth and cleared the man of the accusation.  However, St. Ignatius did not divulge his own name.  

Three leagues from Montserrat is the village of Manresa.  The village has a Dominican convent and a hospital without walls for pilgrims and sick persons.  He went to this hospital and rejoiced that he was not known and was received among the poor.  He began to fast on bread and water, which he begged for the whole week, except Sundays, when he ate a few boiled herbs, but sprinkled over with ashes.  He wore an iron girdle, a hair shirt, and disciplined himself three times a day.  He slept little and lay on the ground.  He attended the entire divine office and spent seven hours a day on his knees in prayer.  He received the sacraments every Sunday.

In order to add humiliations to his austerities he pretended to act clownish and went begging about the streets with his face covered with dirt, his hair rough, and his beard and nails grown out to a frightful length.  The children threw stones at him and followed him with scornful shouts in the streets.  St. Ignatius suffered these insults without saying one word, rejoicing secretly in his heart to share in the reproaches of the cross.  The more the disgusting was the hospital and the beggars were, the more violence he offered himself, that he might bear them cheerfully.  

The story of the fine clothes given to the beggar at Montserrat got out, and he was soon reverenced as a holy penitent in disguise.  In order to shun this, he hid himself in a dark deep cave in a solitary valley, called the Vale of Paradise, covered with briers, half a mile from the town.  Here he increased in mortifications until they nearly killed him.  He was accidentally discovered and carried back to the hospital in Manresa.

After enjoying peace of mind ever since the time of his conversion, he was now stricken with a terrible trial of scruples.  No amount of prayer, fasting, bodily discipline, and receiving the sacraments gave him any consolation.  His soul was overwhelmed in sadness.  The Dominicans, out of compassion, took him out of the hospital into their convent, and yet his melancholy increased.  He earnestly implored divine assistance, and took no sustenance for seven days until his confessor obliged him to eat.  Soon after this, his tranquility of mind was perfectly restored, and his soul overflowed with spiritual joy.  From this experience he acquired a particular talent for curing scrupulous consciences and a singular light to discern them.

  • Inspiration for the Spiritual Exercises

His prayers were filled with many heavenly raptures.  He began to receive from God a supernatural knowledge and sense of sublime divine mysteries; yet he concealed all from the eyes of men.  He only divulged himself to his two confessors, the pious monk at Montserrat and a Dominican at Manresa.  Nevertheless, the people started to regard him as a living saint to which they particularly testified during violent fevers into which his austerities cast him three times.

It is interesting to note that at this time of St. Ignatius’ life God was preparing him for his great work against the Protestants.[3]  St. Ignatius, by perfect compunction, humility, self-denial, contempt of the world, severe interior trials, and assiduous meditation, was prepared, by the divine grace, to be raised to an extraordinary gift of supernatural prayer.  It is thought that at this time he set down the notes which would eventually become his famous Spiritual Exercises.  Tradition says that Our Lady gave him the substance of these exercises and the Holy Ghost inspired him.  

  • His pilgrimage to the Holy Land   

Because the plague which had been raging in Italy had ceased, St. Ignatius’ long planned pilgrimage to the Holy Land was now possible.  So after ten months in Manresa, St. Ignatius set out for Barcelona.  He boarded a ship in Barcelona.  Five days later, he landed at Gaeta.  He travelled on foot to Rome, Padua, and Venice through villages because the larger towns were shut for fear of the plague.  He spent the Easter at Rome, and sailed from Venice on board the admiral’s vessel, which was carrying the governor to Cyprus.  The sailors were an immoral crew and when St. Ignatius reproved them, they planned to exile him on an island.  However, a gust of wind from the land hindered them from approaching and carrying out their plan.  

He arrived at Cyprus and, by Divine Providence, found a ship with pilgrims about ready to sail to the Holy Land.  He boarded and sailed to Jaffa in August of 1523, after a journey of forty days.  He continued on foot to Jerusalem in four days.  The sight of the holy places filled him with joy, devotion, and compunction.  He desired to stay and to convert the Muslims, yet the provincial in charge over the pilgrims, ordered St. Ignatius to leave Palestine.

  • His seeking an education so he can serve God better

He journeyed back to Europe in winter in extreme cold, poorly clad, and came to Venice at the end of January 1524.  He made his way back to Barcelona.  Because he desired to be able to assist at the altar and help his neighbor spiritually, he began the study of grammar.  However, his mind was so fixed on God that when he tried to conjugate the word amo [which means “I love”], he kept saying “I love God; I am loved by God.” He resisted this as a temptation and persisted in his studies, adding to them contemplation and austerities.  He bore the taunts of the little boys, his schoolfellows, with joy.

One remarkable incident at this period was when St. Ignatius heard that a poor man, Lasano, had hanged himself; St. Ignatius ran to him and cut him down.  To all the bystanders, this man seemed dead.  St. Ignatius prayed next to the man until the man came to himself.  Lasano made his confession, received the sacraments, and soon after expired.  In the city this was considered a miracle.

  • The influence of his good examples on others

After studying in Barcelona, he went to study at the university at Alcala.  He attended lectures in logic, physics, and divinity.  Even though he studied night and day, he learned nothing at all.  He lodged in a chamber of a hospital, lived by begging a small subsistence, and wore a coarse grey habit, in which he was imitated by four companions.  He catechized children, held assemblies of devotion in the hospital, and by his mild reprehensions converted many cowardly people, including one of the richest prelates in Spain.  Some accused him of sorcery, and of a certain heresy which was then prevalent in Spain under the title of the Illuminati or “Men of New Light”.  However, upon being questioned, he was cleared of all the charges.

Because he was teaching the catechism, being a man without learning or authority, he was accused to the bishop’s grand vicar, and thrown into prison for forty-two days.  He was declared innocent on June 1, 1527, but was forbidden to wear any singular habit or to give instruction because he and his companions were illiterate.  St. Ignatius was glad to suffer in prison even though he was innocent.  

He then went about the streets begging money to buy a scholar’s dress and rejoiced at the insults and affronts he was given.  He went to the archbishop of Toledo, who liked him.  The archbishop advised him to go to Salamanca and promised to protect him.

At this time St. Ignatius began to draw many to virtue and many followed him.  This following again exposed him to suspicions of introducing dangerous practices, and the grand vicar of Salamanca imprisoned him.  However, after twenty-two days he declared him innocent and released him.  Upon his release he resolved to leave Spain.

He began to wear shoes from this time on and received money sent to him by his friends.  In the middle of winter, he travelled on foot to Paris and arrived there in the beginning of February, 1528.  He spent two years in perfecting himself in the Latin language.  Then he went through a course of Philosophy.  At first, he lived in Montaigue college but then after being robbed of his money, he lodged at the St. James hospital and begged his bread day to day.  In the vacation time he was obliged to go to Flanders and to England to beg charities from the Spanish merchants that settled there.  From these men and from friends at Barcelona he received sufficient supplies.
 

  • St. Ignatius’ gift of directing souls is recognized

He studied philosophy three and a half years in the college of St. Barbara.  He had convinced many of his schoolfellows to spend the Sundays and holy-days in prayer and to apply themselves more fervently to the practice of good works.  Unfortunately, Pegna, his master at the school, didn’t like these practices, incited Goyea, the principal at the college to have St. Ignatius flogged publicly.  Pegna hoped that this public humiliation would deter others from following St. Ignatius.  The saint offered himself joyfully to suffer all things, and yet, because he didn’t want those he was trying to convert to be scandalized about him being accused of being a corrupter of youth, he went to humbly lay his case privately to the principal of the school.

Goyea took St. Ignatius by the hand and led him out in front of the whole college.  When everybody saw the principal enter, they expected the sign for the punishment, but he threw himself at St. Ignatius’ feet, begging his pardon for having too lightly believed such false reports.  Then rising publicly, he declared that St. Ignatius was a living saint who had no other desire than the salvation of souls, and was ready to suffer joyfully any infamous punishment.  Such a reparation of honor gave St. Ignatius the highest reputation, and even the ancient and experienced doctors asked his advice on spiritual matters.  Pegna himself was ever after his great admirer and friend.  He appointed Peter Faber, a young man of great virtue and gifted intelligence to help St. Ignatius in his school exercises.  With Peter Faber’s help, St. Ignatius finished his philosophy course and his master of arts in three and a half years with high honors.  After this, St. Ignatius took his degree in divinity with the Dominicans.

  • St. Ignatius begins to conquer souls for Christ

This Peter Faber had made a vow of chastity in his childhood.  He kept his vow but was troubled by violent temptations which even rigorous fasting would not alleviate.  He also had temptations to vain-glory and labored under horrific scruples.  St. Ignatius gave him heavenly advice, led Peter through a course of his spiritual exercises, taught him the practices of meditation, how to do a particular examination of his conscience for his predominant fault, and basically through all the means of the interior life.  

Francis Xavier was another conquest of St. Ignatius.  Francis, a young master of philosophy, was full of the vanity of the schools.  St. Ignatius made him sensible that all mortal glory is emptiness; only that which is eternal deserves our regard.  

St. Ignatius was successful in converting many sinners.  One very striking example, was of a particular man who was involved with a woman.  When this young man would not listen to St. Ignatius’ exhortations, the saint stood in a freezing pond up to his neck and yelled to the young man as he was passing by, “Whither are you going?  Do you not hear the thunder of divine justice over your head, ready to break upon you?  Go then; satisfy your brutish passion; here I will suffer for you, to appease heaven.”  The lewd young man, at first frightened, then confounded, turned back and changed his life.

  • The formation of the future Society of Jesus

Four students, all Spaniards and students of divinity at Paris, associated themselves with St. Ignatius in his exercises.  A Portuguese student soon joined them.   These fervent students, who were moved by the pressing instances and exhortations of St. Ignatius, made all together a vow to renounce the world, to go to preach the gospel in Palestine, or if they could not go thither within a year after they had finished their studies, to offer themselves to his Holiness to be employed in the service of God in what manner the Pope would judge best.

They fixed for the end of their studies January 25, 1537 and pronounced their vow aloud in the holy subterranean chapel of Montmartre, after they had all received Holy Communion from Fr. Peter Faber who had recently been ordained a priest. This was done on the Feast of the Assumption of Our Lady in 1534.  St. Ignatius continued frequent conferences and joint exercises, to animate his companions in their good purposes, but was soon ordered by the physicians to try his native air, for a cure of a lingering illness.

He left Paris in the beginning of the year 1525 and was honorably received in Guipuscoa by his eldest brother Garcia, his nephews, and by all the clergy.  However, he refused to stay in the castle.  At the sight of the places where he was reminded of his earlier worldliness, he chastised his body with a rough hair shirt, iron chains, disciplines, and watching and praying.  He recovered his health in a short time and catechized and instructed the poor with incredible fruit.  

In his youth he had robbed an orchard and another man was falsely accused of it and had to pay the damages.  St. Ignatius, in his first discourse, accused himself publicly of this crime and declared that the man who was present had been falsely accused.  In reparation, St. Ignatius gave the man two farms which belonged to him and publicly begged this man’s forgiveness, telling the people that this was one of the reasons he had come there.

In the meantime, Fr. Faber exhorted three others, also doctors of divinity, to join the group that was already started in Paris.  So now there were ten in number, including Fr.  Faber and St. Ignatius.  St. Ignatius, after a tedious and dangerous journey both by sea and land, arrived at Venice about the end of the year 1536.  His nine companions from Paris met him there on January 8, 1537.  They employed themselves in the hospitals.  All but St. Ignatius went to Rome, where Pope Paul III received them graciously, and granted those who were not yet priests, permission to be ordained by any Bishop they chose.  They were accordingly ordained at Venice by the bishop of Arbe.  St. Ignatius was included in this number.  

After their ordination, they retired to a cottage near Vicenza, to prepare themselves in solitude by fasting and prayer for the holy ministry of the altar.  The rest said their first Masses in September and October, but St. Ignatius prepared a whole year before saying his first Mass.

  • The Society of Jesus becomes official

After this they dispersed themselves into several places about Verona and Vicenza, preaching penance to the people, and living on a little bread which they begged.  Because the emperor and the Venetians had declared war on the Turks, their pilgrimage to the Holy Land became impracticable.  The year elapsed before St. Ignatius, Fr.  Faber, and Fr. Lainez [one of the Spaniards] threw themselves at the feet of the Pope and offered to do whatever work he judged best for them.  St. Ignatius had told his companions at Vicenza that if anyone should ask the name of their institute, they might answer, “the Society of Jesus” because they were united to fight against heresies and vice under the standard of Christ. On the road from Vicenza to Rome, when he was praying in a little chapel between Sienna and Rome, he, in an ecstasy, seemed to see the eternal Father, who affectionately commended him to His Son.  Jesus Christ appeared at the same time, also shining with an unspeakable light but loaded with a heavy cross, and sweetly said to St. Ignatius: “I will be favorable to you at Rome.”        

The Pope indeed received them graciously.  He appointed Fr. Faber to teach scholastic divinity at the Sapienza at Rome, Fr. Lainez to explain the Holy Scripture, and St. Ignatius to labor to reform the morals of the people by means of his spiritual exercises and instructions.

St. Ignatius, in order to perpetuate the work of God, called to Rome all his companions, and proposed to them his design and motives of forming themselves into a religious order.  After recommending the matter to God by fasting and prayer, all agreed on the proposal, and resolved, first, besides the vows of poverty and chastity, already made by them, to add a third of perpetual obedience, the more perfectly to conform themselves to the Son of God.  They agreed that they should be under a general and then directly under the Pope.  It was further agreed that they should own no real estate property or revenues either in particular or in common.  

Three cardinals opposed the Order, saying that there were already too many orders, but suddenly changed their opinion and Pope Paul III approved the Order under the title, “The Society of Jesus” in a bull issued September 27, 1540.   St. Ignatius was chosen the first general, but agreed only at the urging of his confessor.  He entered upon his office on Easter-day, 1541, and the members all made their religious vows according to the bull of their institution.

St. Ignatius then set himself to write a constitution or rule for this Society.  St. Ignatius set down that the first purpose of the Order is the sanctification of their souls by joining together the active and contemplative life.  Their second purpose is to labor for the salvation and perfection of their neighbor, especially by catechizing the ignorant but also by the instructing the youth.  Their third purpose is the direction of consciences, missions, and similar things.

  • St. Ignatius as General of the Society of Jesus

It is interesting to note the humility of St. Ignatius.  He tried on several occasions to resign as general.  Finally, the Pope forbade him to attempt this.  Thence he was general of the Society for the rest of his life.  As the general he had prudence and charity.  He judged wisely when it was beneficial to defend his institution from the calumnies and violent persecutions.  For example, when Henry II asked for the Society to come into France, the parliament of Paris rebuked the King.  Even the faculty of the Sorbonne virulently opposed the Jesuits coming to France.  The fathers at Rome thought it necessary to answer these censures, but St. Ignatius would have nothing printed about it.  He said that it was better to commit their cause to God and that the slanders about them would fall to pieces.  The result was exactly as St. Ignatius predicted.  On other occasions, he modestly defended his institution.

St. Ignatius always showed the affection of a most tender parent towards his brethren.  He won the hearts of all his religious.   His commands seem rather entreaties.  He was gifted to see everyone’s particular genius.  The mildness with which he tempered his reproofs gave sweetness to his corrections, while at the same time won the affection of others.  

He explained to his religious that when they strictly guarded their exterior actions, it showed how well they guarded their interior actions.  Furthermore, he showed that this means was absolutely necessary for regulating the interior life and governing the senses and the passions.

He was most gentle with the sick and took delight in attending to them himself.

  • Special precautions against worldliness that St. Ignatius set in the Rules of the Society

The virtue of obedience was highly esteemed in the Society.  When they first came, they were told to leave their self-will and private judgment behind them.  St. Ignatius told his members that if they were outdone in fasting or watching, they must yield to none in obedience.  Regarding their vows, the Jesuits took not only vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, but also a fourth vow of undertaking any missions, whether among the faithful or infidels, if enjoined by the pope.

Also, the virtue of humility was given prime importance.  One of the rules for the Society was the rule of Manifestation, by which everyone was bound to disclose his interior inclinations to his superior.  Another rule was that every Jesuit renounces his right to his own reputation with his superior.  This included every Jesuit giving his fellow Jesuits permission to disclose any of his faults to the superior.

St. Ignatius instructed the members to be careful above all things to preserve modesty and humility, and to shun all contentiousness or empty display of learning.  Likewise, he told them to dedicate their lives to labor for the greater honor and glory of God.

In fact, St. Ignatius was so cautious about the humility of the members that he asked the pope explicitly that the Jesuits be excluded from all ecclesiastical dignities, namely, not be made bishops.  He said that this would be a means to preserve them in a spirit of humility and poverty, which is the very soul and perfection of their state.  He also said that being missionaries, it was more advantageous to the church that they should remain always ready to fly from pole to pole, as the public necessities should require.  Thus, he obliged all professed Jesuits to bind themselves by a simple vow never to seek prelatures, and to refuse them when offered, unless compelled by a precept of the pope to accept them.  

There was an instance of one of his priests trying to convert the royalty in Spain in order to win their favor to his ministry.  St. Ignatius rebuked him sharply telling him to fear damnation through contact with the great ones of the world.  He used to say that prosperity caused in him more fear than joy; that when a persecution ceased, he should be apprehensive lest the Society should somewhat relax in the observance of its regular discipline; that good fortune is never to be trusted; and that we have most to fear when things go according to our own desires.  

St. Ignatius himself was all on fire with an “excess” of charity and had a restless desire of gaining souls to God.  He wore himself out in the service of his neighbor, always laboring to extirpate vice, and to promote virtue in all.
 

  • St. Ignatius’ remarkable virtues were manifested to all

Once when St. Ignatius heard someone explain that the gift of contemplation was given to one who was certainly a man of prayer, St. Ignatius corrected him by saying, “Call him rather a man of the most perfect self-denial.”

It is interesting to note that St. Ignatius himself was this type of man because his heart was emptied of itself.  He had the habitual practice of exterior mortification of his senses, an interior mortification of his will and passions.  He embraced humility with the utmost ardor.

He made it a science to hide his virtues and the favors that God was continually bestowing on him.  Yet, in spite of his modesty in not revealing to others the wonderful things that God had and was doing for him, many testified that he had a light shining from his face.  St. Philip Neri, a friend of St. Ignatius, used assure his friends that he had seen St. Ignatius‘ face shining with bright rays of light.

St. Ignatius had a remarkable grace of devotion.  When he was saying Holy Mass and reciting the divine office, there would be a shower of tears streaming from his eyes.

  • His death and words of advice for those who seek the shortest way to perfection

When St. Ignatius was asked what was the shortest way to perfection, he replied, “to endure for the love of Christ many and grievous afflictions.  Ask this grace of Our Lord; on whosoever He bestoweth it, He does him many other signal favors, that always attend this grace”.

St. Ignatius died on July 31, 1556, at the age of 65.  The people esteemed him a saint both when he was alive and after his death because of the many miracles which were attributed to him.

  • Conclusion

Let us be grateful to God for giving us such a wonderful saint to esteem and imitate.  In our next lesson we will look at an overview of the Spiritual Exercises and begin to discuss St. Ignatius’ Rules for the Discernment of Spirits which are so crucial in the battle we fight in the trenches of the Church Militant.  


[1] The following biographical synopsis is a compilation of the information given in Butlers Lives of the Saints, Vol.  3 under July 31St, copyright 1844.

[2]  A league is any of various units of distance from about 2.4 to 4.6 statute miles.  Webster’s  Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary ; copyright 1987.

[3] Dom Guéranger, in his Liturgical Year, says in his entry for July 31, that “The development of St. Ignatius’ vocation to holiness followed step by step the defection of Luther.  In the spring of 1521 Luther had just quitted Worms, and was defying the world from the Castle of Wartburg, when St. Ignatius received at Pampeluna the wound which was the occasion of his leaving the world and retiring to Manresa.”

Life and Salvation in the Catacombs Without the Sacraments


Besides Baptism and Marriage, there are no sacraments available to faithful and informed Catholics (at least in most places in the world) because there are so few uncompromising priests.  When a Catholic first encounters this situation, he fears that salvation is almost impossible.  But in reality, he receives many additional graces because he accepts no compromises to the Faith, and he is standing up for Christ the King.

The devil knows this and he will mount a strong attack, using his greatest efforts.  Satan has more time to deal with faithful and informed Catholics because he has already won over most followers of the conciliar church.  But, by using the extra help that faithful and informed Catholics can receive, the devil is vanquished.

Faithful and informed Catholics are more conscientious and understand the true Traditional Catholic Faith much better.  In the present Great Apostasy, they start to understand how even each venial sin drives a nail into Our Lord’s Hands and Feet.

In the catacombs, faithful and informed Catholics start to realize that even the smallest sin is a real problem for salvation, so they “mind their Ps and Qs” even in the most trivial matters.  This imitates St. Francis of Assisi who, as legend says, would go out of his way not to accidentally step on the smallest bug (representing the fact that we should fight even the smallest faults).  

As The Imitation of Christ teaches:

When a man reaches a point where he seeks no solace from any creature, then he begins to relish God perfectly.[1]

Faithful and informed Catholics have much to do to get their minds and consciences informed.  Through such efforts, they can have moments of contemplation in which they would rather die than commit a venial sin.  

They really appreciate the Faith much more and do not take it for granted.  I’m just amazed at all the help and grace one will receive in the catacombs with an informed conscience and a great love for Christ.  Such a Catholic is vigilant to avoid committing even the smallest sins.  This is hard to believe, but true.

Uncompromising Catholics don’t have pangs of conscience because they do not take “soft” positions on faith and morals.  They live a happy and holy life.  But of course, they always try to increase in their love for Christ, strive for humility, and make efforts to expand and enrich their prayer life.  They especially make an effort to avoid distractions while praying.  They recite many Spiritual Communions during the day, which is the strong point in their prayer life.  Of course, it goes without saying that they are lovingly fulfilling all obligations of their state in life.

In the 1950s, before the “catacombs” of the current Great Apostasy, the availability of Saturday afternoon confession was always in the back of many Catholics’ minds when tempted to sin.  They might easily salve their consciences that they will soon be back in the state of grace and God will “understand”.  WRONG!  God will not “understand”!  

Certainly, a great, additional help to avoid this lukewarm attitude is the weekly Devotion to Our Mother of Perpetual Help.  This beautiful devotion was all but eliminated as the result of Vatican II and its conciliar church.  I kept a pre-Vatican II prayer card from the old days (which included the whole 15-minute’s worth of prayers).  I don’t know where else these prayers are available today.  But if you email a request to Catholic Candle, we will send it to you.  As Our Lord teaches: “ask and you shall receive”.


[1]          The Imitation of Christ, by Thomas à Kempis, Book I, Chapter 25.

Words to Live by – from Catholic Tradition

Reminder during this month of the Holy Rosary

I know no surer way of discovering whether a person belongs to God than by finding out if he loves the Hail Mary and the Rosary.  …  When the Hail Mary is well said, that is, with attention, devotion and humility, it is, according to the saints, the enemy of Satan, putting him to flight; it is the hammer that crushes him, a source of holiness for souls, a joy to the angels and a sweet melody for the devout.  It is the Canticle of the New Testament, a delight for Mary and glory for the most Blessed Trinity.  

The Hail Mary is dew falling from heaven to make the soul fruitful.  It is a pure kiss of love we give to Mary.  It is a crimson rose, a precious pearl that we offer to her.  It is a cup of ambrosia, a divine nectar that we offer her.

Quoted from St. Louis de Montfort, True Devotion to Mary, ¶¶ 251 & 253.

Lesson 3: How Does Contemplation Compare with Meditation?

 Mary’s School of Sanctity

In our last lesson we learned what meditation is and the importance of setting aside some time every day to meditate.  In this class we will see the difference between meditation and contemplation and look briefly on why we should beg God to grant us the gift of contemplation because we cannot do this contemplation by ourselves.

In meditation we are doing the considering, with God’s help of course, because without God we can do nothing. The considerations inspire acts of the will or affections, in which we say something to God.

In contemplation our prayer is more God’s work, and He is directing the soul and thereby drawing the soul closer to Him by degrees.  We do not and cannot give ourselves this state of soul.

We can beg for the gift of contemplation.  St. Theresa of Avila mentions in her Autobiography that we should ask for this blessing.


What Mystical Contemplation is not: Contrasting it with Ignatian Contemplation

In the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola, which we will be discussing in the upcoming months in Mary’s School of Sanctity, St. Ignatius divides the exercises he gives into two types.  He calls the first type meditation and the second contemplation.  However, he does not mean mystical contemplation here, because contemplation, in the mystical sense, is something that God brings a soul to, and not something that we simply turn on and off.  In other words, we can enter into the mental prayer of meditation because we are doing the considering and applying what we consider in order to make acts of our will, namely, pray.  Whereas, in mystical contemplation, God does the action and the soul is passive because God is drawing the soul up to Him.  When St. Ignatius speaks of contemplation, he is directing the person making the Spiritual Exercises [whom St. Ignatius calls the exercitant] to meditate on the life of Our Lord and in these meditations the exercitant is going to consider one mystery of Our Lord’s life, for example, the Annunciation [or Incarnation].

St. Ignatius has the exercitant take this one mystery and makes a picture in his imagination.  Then, in the scene just made, he will consider the event by pondering what he sees in his scene and what he hears going on in the event.  Then he considers what lessons the Holy Ghost wants to show him or maybe he will consider what virtues are being practiced in the event being pondered.  Then the exercitant proceeds through the time set for this type of meditation, making acts of will like he did with the regular meditation, ending his prayer session with some prayers of thanksgiving.

Mystical contemplation, however, is solely God’s work where God directs the soul.  This is a passive prayer.  The mystical doctor St. John of the Cross discusses the stages that the soul goes through as God directs her (viz., the soul) to this higher state of prayer. It is by slow degrees that the power to meditate disappears and a simple affectionate look, (without any scaffolding of considerations or too complicated details) becomes the only prayer possible.  When the soul reaches this higher stage of the spiritual life, where God has drawn her, then she finds she can no longer meditate.  During the prayer of contemplation, the intellect becomes more and more powerless and the will suffers a sort of purification because the will has the desire to love God more and more and wants to tell Him of its love. [1]

St. Theresa of Avila explains she suffered for many years because she found that she could no longer meditate.  In her book The Relations, she says:

The method of prayer I observe at present is this: when I am in prayer, it is very rarely that I can use the understanding because the soul becomes at once recollected, remains in repose, or falls into a trance, so that I cannot in any way have the use of the faculties and the senses, – so much so, that the hearing alone is left; but then it does not help me to understand anything.[2]

St. John of the Cross further explains:

In the third place, the most certain sign of this state is, when the soul delights to be alone, waiting lovingly on God, in interior peace, quiet, and repose, without any particular considerations; without acts and efforts of the intellect, memory, and will, at least in a discursive way, that is without passing by consideration from one subject to another.[3]

St. John of the Cross further explains that after a period of time, the will is fixed on God and a persistent need of a more intimate union with God takes hold of the soul.  There is a longing, like home-sickness, that transforms the soul and the soul finds that it cannot do without God, and would like to be inflamed with divine love – i.e., to possess God because merely to love Him no longer satisfies her, she aspires to union with Him.  

St. John of the Cross teaches that there are moments of quiet union, and once the soul has experienced these, then she wants to return to these moments again and again.  God works with the soul, thus purifying her and is drawing her to closer and closer union with Him, and ultimately, to a mystical marriage.  He explains how our souls are all called to be the brides of Christ in this mystical marriage.[4]  Unfortunately, however, we put obstacles in the way.

It is clear to see how the gift of mystical contemplation is something for which we should beg God.  Contemplation is the life of heaven begun here on earth, and we should desire to have this life.  Let us thank Mary for this invaluable lesson on exactly what contemplation is, and beg Our Queen, Our Mother, and Our heavenly Teacher to intercede for us and obtain for us this stupendous gift for our poor unworthy souls.  In this way we can be intimately united with her Divine Son.  

We now bring Our Mistress our lowly apple of a poem to show our gratitude for being in her classroom.


Mary, Queen of Contemplation

O Mary to us please relate,

What it means to contemplate,

Thou to whom God this gift did give,

 In the first moment thou didst live.

Teach us Mother oh most fair,

To want this precious gift most rare,

That we not throw within our way,

An obstacle to cause delay,

And interferes with God’s desire,

To enkindle us with His Fire,

That leads us to be, His dear bride,

And keep us ever at His side.

Thou understand the lofty heights,

That the Lord giveth with His lights,

Which only when we contemplate,

 Our poor human minds satiate.

So thank you tender Mother true,

For letting us be taught by you,

You are the best teacher by far,

Be thou ever our guiding star!

 


[1]         Summary of the explanation given in the Ways of Mental Prayer, Tan Books and Publishers, Inc. Rockford, Illinois, 1982; third part on Mystical Prayer, chapter 3.

[2]         St. Theresa of Avila, The Relations, ch. 1, line 1.

[3]         St. John of the Cross, Ascent to Mount Carmel, bk. 2; chapter 13.

[4]         Concerning this mystical marriage between Christ and the soul, read these articles: https://catholiccandle.org/2021/07/09/spiritual-nuptials/ & https://catholiccandle.org/2019/06/20/our-souls-should-be-docile-brides-of-christ/

The Devil + V.C. II = the Conciliar Church


If you read the
Catholic Candle every month, this indicates that you are among the relatively few who are trying to be faithful and informed Catholics after the Second Vatican Council.  Ever since the devil was cast into hell, his goal has been to oppose God and God’s Plan.  When Christ founded His Church, the devil planned to develop a counter-church in opposition to the True Church founded by Christ as the only means of salvation.

The devil has had some success in the past.  One success is Lutheranism.  The number of Lutherans in the world is about 80 million, a membership which far exceeds that of any other Protestant denomination.

The devil also succeeded with all of the other Protestant groups, which together claim approximately 800 million so-called-“christians” (including the Lutherans), who were led by scores of heretical leaders promoting their own novel ideas.  

After the above successful attempts at leading men astray, the devil concluded that he must corrupt Rome from the top down, and be sure to keep the name Catholic for his new church if there was to be a chance for real success.

So, the devil set out many years ago to thoroughly corrupt Rome, with the help of a group of like-minded followers, the Masons.  By 1960, he decided he had infiltrated Rome to such an extent that he could call and control a Vatican Council and launch his anti-Catholic conciliar church.

Well, by the end of the 1960s, after VC II, he had his counter-church, with all the changes (some of which are listed below) that he needed, plus keeping the Catholic name to seduce 1.3 billion Catholics into accepting his Conciliar church and into rejecting Christ's Own church.

This Conciliar church deceptively uses the name "Catholic" and has its own:

  • false doctrines (e.g., the teachings of VC II)';
  • false and sacrilegious worship (e.g., Novus Ordo mass);
  • places for 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., replacing the Douay Rheims Bible);
  • new, politically-correct "Decalogue" (i.e., 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: for Catholics, it’s Confession; for the conciliars, it’s “Reconciliation”, and on occasion it’s “group Reconciliation”; and
  • new (supposed) “miracles” and “apparitions”.

It’s hard to completely comprehend the extent of the devil’s success. Think about it. Over a billion confused Catholics worldwide who reject dogmas infallibly taught by the one true Church of Christ and who accept the corrupt conciliar church which is headquartered in Rome.  And yet, the N-SSPX wants acceptance and recognition from this church.

Yes, roughly 99% of those who profess to be Catholic belong to the Conciliar church, which gives no grace, thus making it seemingly impossible for them to reverse course and to begin to profess all of the traditions of the true, uncompromising Catholic Church.  The enormity of the devil’s success is hard to believe, but it is true.  Also true, is that when people lose their Faith, they usually don’t even realize it.

Besides the interior loss of Faith and grace, when Catholics and Catholic institutions accepted the Conciliar Church, this caused the evils listed below, which occurred between 1965 to 2016:

  1. 50% decrease in the number of those who are supposedly “priests” (their ordinations, though, are doubtful), compared to the number of valid priests at the end of Vatican II;
  2. 50% decrease in the number of those “ordained” to the priesthood (these ordinations, though, are doubtful), compared to the number of valid ordinations at the end of Vatican II;

  1. 74% decrease in the number of religious sisters;

  1. 66% decrease in the number of religious brothers; and
  2. 600% increase in the number of parishes without a resident priest pastor.[1] 

Well, let’s talk about life as Catholics striving always to be faithful to the traditions of the Catholic Church.  We are fighting from the catacombs against the Conciliar church.  We have a fight on our hands, but we are not alone because God is with us, supplying extra grace to strengthen us when needed.  Plus, we have the consoling knowledge that the gates of hell shall not prevail against His Church.  

In the decades since Vatican II, very many souls have been lost.  However, the pope and the bishops of the world will consecrate Russia to Mary’s Immaculate Heart, and then the true Catholic Church show Her great glory.


[1]          Taken from Frequently Requested Church Statistics, published by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, Oct. 5, 2018.

Black Lives Matter is Showing its “True Colors”

Catholic Candle note:  The article below follows up our previous article showing how closely the ideas and actions of the group, Black Lives Matter, follow the ideas and actions of Satan and Karl Marx.  https://catholiccandle.org/2021/03/03/black-lives-matters-program-is-the-same-as-that-of-satan-and-marx/

Following up our prior article, we return briefly to the topic of the Marxist group, Black Lives Matter (“BLM”).  Last summer, BLM revealed more about itself, when it posted on the social media site, Instagram, concerning the anti-communist protest in Cuba.  BLM’s Instagram post showed that it considers promotion of Marxism to be more important than its supposed advocacy for black people.

Last summer, the people of Cuba protested more boldly and in larger numbers than at any time in the last 25 years.[1]  Along with the people’s many chants of “liberty”, there were also chants such as “down with the dictatorship”, “we want freedom”, and “we are no longer afraid”.[2] 

The Cuban communist government appeared somewhat unprepared for this major protest but, before long, they arrested and beat many people and dispersed the rest of them.[3]

This large protest by the people of Cuba appears to have been an outlet for their great suffering over decades.  Here are the conditions which the Cuban people have suffered over the decades:

Since the [Cuban communist] revolution [in 1959], most businesses are owned and run by the government and the workers are employees of the government. For the most part, the government prohibited people from owning or operating a business.  Government ownership is inefficient and causes the economy to perform poorly.  The average monthly wage (in July 2013) was about $19.  The government rations food in Cuba and there have been many serious food shortages and even starvation.  Until the government’s recent loosening (somewhat) of its attempts to control all aspects of its people’s lives, it was illegal to have a vegetable garden or raise food in any way.  In Cuba, it is still illegal for a private person to own land, and he cannot build a family home without governmental permission.  If the government gives this permission, it is still illegal to sell this home or own it.  The government has promised since 2009 to end these restrictions, but it has not yet happened.

Since Cuba’s revolution, much of the population has wanted to leave the country but is prevented from doing so by the government.  More than one million people have risked their lives to (successfully) escape Cuba, and tens of thousands have died attempting to escape. Most of these people have made the trip north to Florida in homemade boats and rafts, through shark-infested waters.

Cuba’s economy was a failure under communism, but the people managed to survive because the island received much material aid from the Soviet Union (another godless, communist country).

This aid ceased in the early 1990s and Cuba suffered a severe economic depression, from which it has not entirely recovered. For this reason, forced by severe economic problems, the government of Cuba began to relax some of its iron grip on the nation’s businesses. It began to seek foreign tourism as a means of getting money with which it could buy foreign food.[4] 

It is pitiable how these poor Cuban people suffer as slaves under their unjust, oppressive, and godless government.  Regrettably, that is what happens in all communist countries, not only in Cuba, but also in communist China and the rest.  (To take another example, in Hong Kong, the Chinese Communist Party has been ruthlessly cracking down on the people and has jailed and beaten nearly all of the leaders of the resistance, including non-communist members of Hong Kong’s parliament.)[5]

So far, the above-mentioned events are merely the typical scenario of brutal communist repression and they are almost not even “news”, just like it is not news that rats eat garbage in the alleys of big cities.  The interesting thing about these particular current events in Cuba was the reaction of Black Lives Matter.[6]

After the people’s large protest in Cuba and then the Cuban communist government’s repressive crackdown, Black Lives Matter took to Instagram to praise Cuba’s communist leaders (who are not themselves black), saying that:

Cuba has historically demonstrated solidarity with oppressed peoples of African descent, from protecting Black revolutionaries like Assata Shakur through granting her asylum, to supporting Black liberation struggles in Angola, Mozambique, Guinea Bissau and South Africa.[7]

Those so-called “Black liberation struggles” to which BLM refers, in Angola, Mozambique, Guinea Bissau and South Africa, are all communist revolutions in those countries.[8]

Assata Shakur, whom BLM refers to as a Black revolutionary, is an American Black Liberation Army member and Black Panther Party member, who was involved in a number of bank robberies and shootouts with police, in her quest to “raise money” (i.e., steal money) for the Black Liberation Army.  She admitted that she committed those robberies and she was in U.S. prison, convicted of murder, when she escaped and was granted asylum in communist Cuba.[9]

Black Lives Matter’s pro-Cuba Instagram post also attacked the U.S. in these words:

Black Lives Matter condemns the U.S. federal government’s inhumane treatment of Cubans ….[10]

BLM’s praise of the ruthless Cuban communist leaders[11] is ironic and would seem ridiculous when one considers that BLM is praising non-black leaders who are oppressing the Cuban people, about one third of whom are black or part-black.[12] 

However, when we look at the big picture, BLM is really focused on promoting communist causes.  Its support of black people is simply a convenient façade.  BLM’s loyalty is to Marxism, not to the black people as such.  This is like BLM’s unflagging support for murdering innocent babies in abortion, although more black babies are murdered in this way than babies of any other race.[13]

From the above, we can see that Black Lives Matter is a tool of the communists (and of the devil).[14]  This helps us to better see the purpose of the Marxist riots, protests, and pressure which BLM has been applying to the U.S. and throughout the Western World, especially beginning in 2020.

We must pray and fight this godless movement![15]  We are Soldiers of Christ in the Church Militant.  The first duty of a Soldier of Christ is to deny the enemy access into our own homes, by excluding the mainstream media’s lies and the world’s evil entertainments.  

Next, we must daily fight in the battle against God’s enemies, in the four-fold way He has given us to fight.  Here are four things all of us can do:

  • Sanctify ourselves;
  • Pray hard for sinners and pray for the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary through the consecration of Russia to Her Immaculate Heart by the pope and bishops of the world;
  • Be a good example to others by our own conduct; and
  • Spread and speak the truth in your “little corner of the world”.

We briefly discuss each of these points here: https://catholiccandle.org/2021/05/03/the-current-leftists-follow-the-usual-tyrants-playbook/

We must never stop fighting and must never make a (dishonorable) peace with the world.  We should accept no final result but complete victory for Christ the King!

Let us go forth to battle!


[4]         Quoted from: Latin America: A Sketch of its Glorious Catholic Roots and a Snapshot of its Present, by the Editors of Quanta Cura Press, p.11, © 2016 (bracketed words added to show context; bold emphasis added).

[6]         Incidentally, Patrisse Cullors, one of the BLM founders, recently announced that she is “stepping away” from BLM for now, in order to write a book.  She stated that this move was long planned.  But she announced this move shortly after she and BLM recently received unexpected angry reactions to reports on conservative media that she quietly bought four mansions during the last few years, in different cities, costing a total of $3.2M.  https://nypost.com/2021/04/10/inside-blm-co-founder-patrisse-khan-cullors-real-estate-buying-binge/amp/

[7]          Quoted from BML’s Instagram account found here:  https://www.instagram.com/p/CRU5kYYp-UU/

[8]          Read these articles here:


[9]         See., e.g., https://www.foxnews.com/us/assata-shakur-cuba-black-lives-matter ; James, Matthew Thomas; James, Joy James, eds. (2005). The New Abolitionists: (Neo)slave Narratives And Contemporary Prison Writings. SUNY Press. p. 77; Howell, Ron (Oct. 11, 1987) "'On the Run With Assata Shakur' – Newsday.

[10]          Reach the entire BLM Instagram post here:  https://www.instagram.com/p/CRU5kYYp-UU/

[11]          Black Lives Matter paid tribute to Fidel Castro, the communist Cuban revolutionary and leader, when he died in 2016, saying “Rest in Power”.  https://twitter.com/Blklivesmatter/status/802568605212647425?s=20

[12]   According the most recent demographic statistics we have, from 2002, 10% of Cubans are black and one quarter are part-black.  https://cubanaturetravel.com/demographics

The Evil & Dangers of Yoga

Philosophy Notes

Catholic Candle note:  In order to warn our readers about the prevalent errors of our times, we have included this article to contrast true meditation with eastern false meditation.

Just as the Mystics of the Catholic Church teach us about the three stages of the spiritual life, namely, the purgative, the illuminative, and the unitive; the devil tries to mock these stages.  So he uses false religions to mimic the mystical life and perfection of the soul.

In our modern times the devil uses the same old tricks and doesn’t have to come up with new ones.  Just as in the Old Testament there were many nations with false gods and false religious practices, so even now, there is still the worship of false gods and the use of religious practices.

One false religious practice prevalent today is Yoga.  In order to understand the evil and dangers of the practice of Yoga, it is crucial to understand some of its history.

Actually Yoga is a prayer method of meditation from Hinduism or Brahminism.  It is interesting to note that Buddhism, which also uses a method of meditation, also comes from Brahminism.[1]

The Catholic Encyclopedia explains how Brahminism is also called Vedism and dates back to 1500-400 B.C. The Vedas (veda means wisdom) are four primitive books: the Riga-Veda, the Sama-Veda, the Yajur-Veda, and the Atharva-Veda.  These books contain ancient hymns to many false gods, ritualistic prayers, exorcisms, and magical incantations largely inherited from primitive Aryan days.[2]

Next the Encyclopedia tells of the Brahmanas (dating back to 1000-600 B.C.) which are a series of explanations of the contents of the Vedas. These Brahmanas were composed for the priests, the Brahmins.  In addition, there were the Upanishads, a group of treatises, (dating back to 800-400 B.C.) which gave the pantheistic speculations on the nature of deity and the end of man.   Lastly, there were books called Sutras, to accompany the Vedas, to explain the proper observance of the rites and customs. These works and two epics (the “Ramayana”, written in 400-300 B.C. and “Mahabharata”, written about 500-400 B.C.), make up the most important Brahmin literature.

In the early period of Veda, the religion was based on many deities great and small which were the personified forces of nature.  The priests were called Brahmins. There were not temples at this time and the heads of the households would perform their oblations at their homes.  The priests would assist in the more complex offerings.[3]  These circumstances remind one of the Mosaic Law, and knowing that this religion is a false one, it is easy to see how the devil inspired this cheap mimicry of the Old Testament true religion.

Among the other pagan practices, the Hindus worshipped their dead relatives with the thinking that even though the relatives were in heaven, their happiness was determined by the devotion of those left behind.  In addition to this, they worshipped nature.  For example, the cow was reverenced, as well as trees and serpents.[4]

In general, Brahminism was constantly evolving which is another key sign that it is a religion inspired by the devil.  In the period in which the Sutras and Upanishads were formed, a two-fold change came about.  The Catholic Encyclopedia states,

On its practical side there was an exuberant growth of religious rites and of social restrictions and duties, while on the theoretical side Vedic belief in the efficacy of personal deities was subordinated to a pantheistic scheme of salvation.  Thus the earlier religion developed on the one hand into popular, exoteric Brahminism, and on the other hand into priestly, esoteric Brahminism.  The former is reflected in the Brahmanas and Sutras; the latter in the Upanishads.[5]

The Brahmins imposed a strict code for the people to follow, with many rites for purifying, with complicated liturgies and practices for both the priest and the laity.  Some of these were clearly diabolical, for example, smearing themselves with cow-dung, and strange things like the sipping of water and the suppressing of breaths.

The priests were very exacting and taught that punishments would be severe if the people didn’t do the most rigorous penances.  The priests taught a doctrine of karma (action) which was connected with the idea of rebirth (reincarnation).  The lasting bliss of heaven was held out to the just; the wicked were punished with different fates.  There might be long periods in hell or there might be a more or less extensive series of rebirths in the forms of plants, animals, and men.  A man may have to pass by slow transition through the rest of the ascending scale till his rebirth as a man of honorable estate was attained.[6]

This doctrine of rebirth gave rise to absurdities like, for instance, not being allowed to kill insects.  Water had to be strained so that minute life wouldn’t be destroyed.  Carpentry, basket-making, and leather-working could not be done because it would mean killing of a plant or animal.  Ironically, on the other hand, they had strict rules for being respectful to parents and superiors, being honest, being chaste (even though allowing polygamy), being temperate, and giving alms. They had a system of castes— warriors, priests, farmers, and servants.  Only the two upper castes (classes) were allowed to learn from the ‘sacred’ Vedas books.

The priests, the Brahmins, when their sons were grown up, abandoned their homes and spent the rest of their lives in retirement apart from the villages.  These were like begging monks and ate only the simplest of foods. They subjected themselves to extraordinary fasts and mortifications.[7] They were known as Sannyasis or Yogis and their penitential life was not to make up for past sins, but as a means of acquiring abundant religious merits and superhuman powers.

Coupled with these mortifications, was the practice of Yoga.  The Catholic Encyclopedia describes this practice as follows:

They would sit motionless with legs crossed and, fixing their gaze intently on an object before them, would concentrate their thought on some abstract subject till thy lapsed into a trance.  In this state they fancied they were united with the deity, and the fruit of these contemplations was the pantheistic view of religion which found expression in the Upanishads, and left a permanent impress on the Brahmin mind.[8]

Since there was a popular trend among the people to monotheism in their Vedic hymns, the Brahmins decided to make another adaptation to the religion.  The Brahmins invented Prajapati (later they changed his name to Brahmā), who was supposed to be a personal god who was the lord of creatures, omnipotent, supreme, and masculine.  He was considered to be the creator of all things.  For this reason the other gods of their pantheon were worshipped as manifestations of Brahmā. Because their religion held that it was impossible to create something out of nothing, all things visible and invisible were considered as emanations from Brahmā.  They also believed that every form of conscious individuality, whether human or divine, implies a union of spirit and matter.  Yet the Brahmins who studied the Upanishads, taught that the ultimate source of all things was not the personal deity, Brahmā, but was the formless, impersonal, characterless, unconscious, great, all-pervading spirit known as Brahmă.  Thus, they believed that the heavens, and the earth, men and gods, even the personal deity Brahmā, were destined in time to lose their individuality and be absorbed into the great all-pervading spirit.  The conclusion of this thinking is that the manifold external world had no real existence and that only Brahmă existed.[9]

This impersonal pantheism of the Brahmin ascetics led to a new conception of the end of man and of the way of salvation. The old way they had taught was to escape rebirths and to store up merits of good deeds so that they could earn an eternal bliss of which they could really be conscious.  But now, they taught that the only way to escape from constant ‘rebirths’ was through the saving recognition of one’s identity with Brahmă.  As soon as one could say with conviction, “I am Brahmă,” then the bonds that tied him to the illusion of personal immortality, and consequently to rebirth, were broken.  The Catholic Encyclopedia phrases it as follows:

Thus, cultivating, by a mortified life, freedom from all desires, man spent his years in peaceful contemplation till death put an end to the seeming duality and he was absorbed in Brahmă like a raindrop in the ocean.

The encyclopedia explains (in 1913) that this is still the teaching of the Brahmins up until the then present day.

However, human nature being what it is, it is understandable that the impersonal Brahmă was not a favorite with the majority of the people in India. This was the case not only because the impersonal Brahmă was incapable of hearing the prayers of the people, but because the people did not like the fact that their final end was one of losing any conscious existence.  The Brahmins still were concerned chiefly with meditating on their identity with Brahmă, and practicing mortification to secure their freedom from all desires. Yet, the common people were looking for a way to secure for themselves eternal conscious bliss. The result was the popular development of special cults to two of the old gods; each was now raised to the position of supreme deity, and credited with the power to secure a lasting life of happiness in heaven.

These two cults seem to have arisen in the fifth or fourth century B.C., and these cults were rival cults.  One cult was of the ancient storm-god, Rudra, who was destructive in tempest and lightning, and renewing life in the showers of rain. This god, better known under the name of Śiva, meaning ‘the blessed’, is popular because he was associated as the destroyer, the reproducer, and was the archetype of the lonely ascetic.

The other cult was of the god Vishnu, who was originally one of the forms of the sun-god.  He was seen as a mild, beneficent deity whose genial rays brought gladness and growth to living creatures.

Then the pantheism in the mind of a Hindu saw all things as emanations of the supreme deity Śiva or Vishnu.  Each cult worshipped one of these two and each of these gods was thought to have a special heaven, where his devotees would find after death an unending life of conscious happiness.[10]

Because the Brahmins saw that these two cults were becoming more and more popular and that their teachings about Brahmā were falling out of favor with the people, they once again saw that it was expedient to invent some concept to help the people keep an allegiance to Brahmā.  They now taught that the supreme god Brahmā was associated with Vishnu and Śiva as a triad of equal and more or less interchangeable deities. Brahmā held the office of creator, or rather evolver. Vishnu was the preserver, and Śiva was the dissolver. This so-called trinity was called Trimurti (meaning tri-form).

More astonishing still was that the common people created the belief that Śiva had two sons, named Ganesa (who was the lord of troops and of mischievous imps) and Scanda (the god of battle).

In addition to this, the common people took two of the legendary heroes of the remote past, Rama and Krishna, and raised them to the rank of gods. The people started to refer to them as incarnations of Vishnu.  Each incarnation was regarded as a sort of savior.  In fact, these two incarnate saviors became so popular that the people lost sight of Vishnu.  We Catholics can see a plain parallel to the concept of Our Lord being Our Savior and it doesn’t surprise us that the devil would mock Christ in this false religion.  The Vishnaites became divided into two rival schisms — those who worshipped Rama, the Ramaites, and those who worshipped Krishna, the Krishnaites.  There were two epic stories written about each of them.  The one about Krishna was written in the seventh century A.D.  It is not surprising that the epic about Krishna has many similarities with the life of Christ, which certainly shows that they copied parts of the life of Our Lord.

The Catholic Encyclopedia explains how the successive wave of foreign conquerors of India caused a steady weakening of the Brahmin influence.  As a consequence of these foreigners in India, the population became more heterogeneous.  Both Śivaism and Vishnuism departed more and more from traditional Brahminism.  Each cult had a decided dissenting attitude toward the older religion and toward each other.  This change brought about the people accepting immoral rites and base superstitions.  Although asceticism was pushed to a fanatical extreme, the religion’s false version of charity was used as an excuse for gross impurity.[11]  

The caste-distinctions were now broken down and the people asserted that men and women were equal, at least in public worship. The Brahmin rites were replaced, for the most part, with ones peculiar to the cults of Śiva and Vishnu and the two ‘incarnations’ of Vishnu.  These rites were held to be all-sufficient for salvation.  Hence, temples, idols, and impure symbols of these gods arose up everywhere.  Each rival cult held their cult to be supreme and tried to get others to submit to their cult while at the same time holding the other’s cult in contempt.   

The Catholic Encyclopedia further explains these sectarian degradations were caused by the latest innovation of worshipping the female side of these deities. The people insisted in having each of their gods have a wife.

Today the two main cults still exist, but have split into many schismatic divisions that are tolerant of each other.  Both lay an emphasis on frequently reciting the names of their gods.  Each person wears a string of beads around his neck to help him recite the names often.  (This is the devil’s insult of the rosary.)  Each person, when young, is initiated into one of these cults and given a ‘sacred’ motto called a mantra.  The daily recital of the mantra was required to serve as a profession of faith.  Another customary practice was to brand the body of the worshipper with the symbols of the sect.

One final point of importance regarding the particulars of this false religion is how the odd practices of this religion are a further proof of the devil’s influence to mock truth and to degrade man into not using reason.  This is, namely, the ridiculousness of their highest form of worship.  For the Śivaites, this rite would involve the Śivaite carrying a white pebble shaped into an impure symbol and he would mutter his mantra while sprinkling it with water and then applying cooling bilva leaves to it.

The Vishnuite rite was less degrading but more childish. This involved worshipping a statue of Vishnu, Rama, or Krishna.  The image is awakened daily, undressed, bathed, decked with rich robes, decorated with jewelry and a crown, fed with choice foods, honored with flowers, lights, and incense, and then entertained with vocal and instrumental music and dancing girls.

But why study the particulars of Hinduism?  Precisely to see how perverse and ridiculous this religion is, that is, how the devil inspires this sort of thing.  Furthermore, to be able to understand why the traditional Church’s condemnation of their false meditation (Yoga) should be remembered in our times of Apostasy when so many ignorant or naïve people get involved with Yoga.  But before addressing the modern trend to practice Yoga, let us first look at two associated errors.

The Church condemns Quietism and Theosophy.

There are two errors which are connected with Brahminism and have been condemned by the Church, namely quietism and theosophy.

According to the Catholic Encyclopedia quietism is

The doctrine which declares that man’s highest perfection consists in a sort of psychical self-annihilation and a consequent absorption of the soul into the Divine Essence even during the present life.[12]

Quietism is not the same thing as (and should not be confused with) the prayer of quietude or the prayer of quiet.  The Catholic Encyclopedia makes the following distinction about “quietude”:

In the state of “quietude” the mind is wholly inactive; it no longer thinks or wills on its own account, but remains passive while God acts within it. Quietism is thus generally speaking a sort of false or exaggerated mysticism, which under the guise of the loftiest spirituality contains erroneous notions when, if consistently followed, would prove fatal to morality.[13]

Whereas the prayer of quiet is considered in Catholic mystical theology as one of the degrees of contemplation, quietism is not Catholic at all and is condemned as heretical.  In fact, in its essential features, Quietism is a characteristic of the religions of India — Brahminism and its derivative, Buddhism.  Brahminism aims at a sort of self-annihilation, and Buddhism aims at attaining a state of indifference in which the soul enjoys an imperturbable tranquility.  Other forms of quietism sprang up in history, e.g., in Spain a man named Michael de Molinos developed a strict quietism.  (He was condemned by Pope Innocent XI in 1687.)[14]

Man naturally desires to be united to God and to see the Beatific Vision.  God made us with this desire.  However, the heresy of quietism involves this union as a sort of forcing ourselves on God[15] and is a denial that God chooses His Elect.  As St. Thomas Aquinas teaches, first God chooses a soul, then He loves that soul, and then He makes that soul worthy of His Love.  Yet, the different forms of quietism perverted this order in some way, e.g., either by man somehow becoming absorbed in an impersonal “God”, or that man had as his supreme aim in life on earth, the contemplation of some kind of vague uncreated “light” whereby he was intimately united with “God”.  The means for attaining to such contemplation was prayer, complete repose of body and will, and a process of auto-suggestion.[16]

The Church condemned the errors that man in the present life can attain such a degree of perfection as to become utterly impeccable; that the “perfect” have not need to fast or pray, but can freely grant the body whatsoever it craves; that they are not subject to any human authority or bound by the precepts of the Church.  In other words, that a man can become so perfect in this life that he no longer has a need of external worship, of sacraments, or of prayer; they owe no obedience to any law, since their will is identical with God’s will; and they may indulge their carnal desires to any extent without staining the soul.[17]

The various forms of quietism insist that passivity, more or less, is the essential condition of perfection; and all of them have been condemned by the Church.  This also refutes the Protestant thinking of salvation by faith alone.  We know, as St. James tells us in his epistle, “Faith without works is dead.”  We also know, as St. Paul teaches us, “to work out our salvation in fear and trembling.” Therefore, we must be active in the work of our salvation and not have the attitude that no cooperation is expected from us.

Whereas, the error of quietism had to do with becoming one with God[18], not really out of love for God and with a true amendment of life.  An additional error of Theosophy shows confusion about what man can know about God and the manner in which he learns more about God.

The Catholic Encyclopedia clarifies this by the following:

Theosophy, knowledge of things Divine, is a term used in general to designate the knowledge of God supposed to be obtained by the direct intuition of the Divine essence.  In method it differs from theology, which is the knowledge of God obtained by revelation, and from philosophy, which is the knowledge of Divine things acquired by human reasoning.

It is often incorrectly confounded with mysticism, for the latter is properly the thirst for the Divine, the aspiration for the invisible, and hence a natural manifestation of the religious sentiment.

By intuition or illumination the initiated Theosophists are considered to be in harmony with the central principle of the universe. This knowledge of the secret forces of nature, of the true relation between the world and man, frees them from the ordinary limitations of human life, and gives them a peculiar power over the hidden forces of the macrocosm.[19]

There is a direct connection of this error with Hinduism of India as the birthplace of all theosophic speculation.  As covered above, the Hindu religion tries to get the soul to a state where it reunites with a universal soul.   Even though the Hindus teach reincarnation or rebirths, the end result is the final absorption into the universal spirit, thus the individual soul will not exist anymore.

The Catholic Encyclopedia explains this idea in a few more details about Yoga as follows:

Yoga, i.e. “one who fits himself, or exercises”, refers to exercises practiced to free the soul from the body, which to it is like a string to a bird.  Some of these exercises were: to rid one’s self of moral faults; to sit in certain painful postures, check the breath, and reduce thought to minimum by staring at the tip of the nose; to place the soul in a particular part of the body; to starve and learn to subsist on air, or even without it; to concentrate thought by meditation, i.e. to think about nothing, Thyana, the highest state of which is the cataleptic[20] trance samadyi, in which the mind is suppressed but the soul is in full activity.  In this state the person is mahatma, i.e. masterful and can enjoy a temporary release from the body which it leaves to go roaming about, performing wonderful feats on material nature and controlling other less powerful souls.  This latter was the secret of the Yoga’s real power and was supposed to be done by a transfer of soul.  When the soul re-enters the body, the Yoga wakes and is like other people.  By repeated exercises the soul can become so strong that it secures perpetual release from the body, thus, according to the older Yoga teaching, it flies to heaven where it enjoys great happiness, riding in a celestial car attended by lovely women and music; but with the latter Yogas, on breaking all bodily bonds it formed immediate absorption into the Supreme Soul.

Thus it is very clear to see just how diabolical this practice is.  One can easily see how the devil could take possession of the soul practicing such dangerous meditation. 

The Catholic Encyclopedia explains that theosophic teaching was also associated with the neo-Platonists.  In addition to this, it was associated with the Gnostic systems and that the Jewish Kabbala had a theosophy mixture of magic and occultism. This occurred especially during the Renaissance. 

In 1875, Madame Blavatsky started the foundation of the Theosophical Society in New York City.  In 1895 her frauds were exposed by St. John’s College, in Cambridge.  Despite this, the false teachings of Theosophy continued and were propagated by Blavatsky’s disciples.

The Catholic Encyclopedia explains and warns that Theosophy is not only a false religion, but also a philosophy of life.  Its basic teaching is the universal brotherhood of humanity.  Hence, it preaches toleration to all persons and to all varieties of belief.  They believe that the universal brotherhood rests on the “solidarity” of all living, of all that is, in the one life and one consciousness. For them all forces are external and there is no supernatural, except the superhuman and supersensuous, i.e. powers greater than those normally exercised by man, which, however, can be developed.  Because for them solidarity means the common life pervading all things and they use this as a basis for morality, hence a wrong done to one is done to all.[21]

We should shun Yoga, Quietism & Theosophy.

In our times it is easy to see the dangers of these false beliefs. Yoga is pushed as simply an innocuous method to relieve stress or as a relaxation technique. Unfortunately, even the Conciliar Church promotes it and so-called Catholic hospitals often offer Yoga classes.  All you need to know about the goals (and who controls) the anti-Catholic Conciliar Church is found in the fact that the Conciliar Church promotes Yoga.

Yet, one can see by the descriptions given above, that emptying oneself and letting down the guard over his mind is like giving Satan an invitation to enter.  Really, just knowing that this kind of meditation was condemned by the Church and that it is not Catholic, should be enough for sincere Catholics to avoid Yoga and shun it.  Likewise, one should warn his friends and associates about the moral dangers of practicing Yoga.

We saw above how Hinduism is the parent of quietism and that quietism has the same basic beliefs as modern day Hinduism, namely, reincarnation, trying to gain spiritual powers to control things outside oneself, and the non-immortality of the soul by the soul being absorbed into some great spirit.  Also, one can see the influence of theosophy in our modern politics, media, and academia.  With the great push for a one-world Marxist government, the worship of ecology, and the ‘political correctness’ of not condemning blatant immorality, is like the ‘solidarity’ the theosophists revere.  Plainly we can see that the dark forces of the demons are striving more than ever to influence humans away from trying to save their souls.  Let us be informed Catholics so we can recognize the perils around us and take appropriate action to avoid the dangers of false religions and warn our families, friends, and acquaintances about Yoga and these other evil practices.



[1]           This information is taken from the Catholic Encyclopedia, 1913 edition under Brahminism.  Also, the article about Buddhism in Vol. III explains how Buddha (the historical details of his life are sketchy) did not like the idea of meditating to become one with a universal spirit and thus lose one’s individual soul and have no identity anymore. Consequently, he made up a state of soul called Nirvana.  He taught that one, by getting rid of all desire, all ill-will, and delusion, could obtain an eternal rest, which he called Nirvana. The encyclopedia explained that it is not clear whether Nirvana meant annihilation or not, as the historical records are unclear on this point. It should be noted that Buddhism is a demonic mockery of Catholic monastic life.

 

[2]           Ibid.

[3]           The Catholic Encyclopedia article about Brahminism, 1913 edition, vol. II.

 

[4]           Ibid.

 

[5]           Ibid.

[6]           Ibid.


[7]           This is an interesting way for the devil to mock Catholic mendicant monks.


[8]           Ibid.

[9]           This section is a summary of the longer explanation given in the article on Brahminism in Vol. II.  Note: The letters ă and ā are bolded to make the only difference in the names noticeable.

[10]         Summarized from the Catholic Encyclopedia’s article on Brahminism. It is interesting to note that because God wrote into the heart of man a natural tendency to believe the reality that God gives eternal rewards/punishments based on man’s actions in his life, even these pagans with the false religion of Hinduism felt the need to have this truth be a public teaching in their religion.

[11]         Summary of information in the 1913 Catholic Encyclopedia article on Brahminism.

[12]         See the Catholic Encyclopedia 1913 edition article about Quietism in Vol. XII.

 

[13]         Ibid.

 

[14]         Ibid.

 

[15]         It must also be noted at this point that the Hindu concept of God is not anything like the Catholic concept.

 

[16]         This information is a summary of the Catholic Encyclopedia 1913 edition, Vol. XII, the article on Quietism.

 

[17]         Ibid.  This way of thinking was condemned by the Council of Vienne in 1311-12.

 

[18]         It must be noted here too that their concept of God is not the same as the Catholic concept.

[19]         Taken from the Catholic Encyclopedia 1913 edition, Vol. XIV; the article on Theosophy.

 

[20]         [cataleptic = a condition of peculiar muscular rigidity in which the body and limbs keep any position in which they are placed.]

[21]         Summarized based on the Catholic Encyclopedia 1913 edition article on Theosophy in vol. XIV.

CC in brief — September

Catholic Candle note: Catholic Candle normally examines particular issues thoroughly, at length, using the teachings of St. Thomas Aquinas and the other Doctors of the Church.  By contrast, our feature CC in brief, gives a short answer to a reader’s question.  We invite any reader to submit his own question.

 

 

CC in brief

 

Strategy for Obtaining a “Conscience Exemption”

When Confronted with a COVID Vaccine Mandate

 

Q.  To get a “conscience exemption” from a COVID vaccine mandate, should we use this Vatican teaching (quote below)?

 

The Vatican has instructed the faithful that: “As regards the diseases against which there are no alternative vaccines which are available and ethically acceptable, it is right to abstain from using these vaccines if it can be done without causing children, and indirectly the population as a whole, to undergo significant risks to their health.”[1]

 

A.        We, at Catholic Candle, would never accept the COVID vaccine under any conditions!  Further, we would never use the above, dangerous, conciliar Vatican teaching to justify our refusing the vaccine.

 

First, to use this Vatican teaching plays the game on the conciliar playing field, i.e., it accepts the conciliar principle for making the decision.  In contrast to the Vatican’s teaching (above), we hold the Traditional Catholic principle that no one may use abortion-related vaccines even if, hypothetically, many people would die (including us) if that vaccine were not used.  The end does not justify the means, even when our life is at stake.

 

Second, if we were to rely on the Vatican’s principle (quoted above), this would suggest that we consider the conciliar popes to be worthy authorities on matters of Faith and morals.  Although they are our valid popes[2] – one after the other – they are unworthy, bad fathers.  Despite those popes holding the office of pope, we would never quote them as authorities for true Catholic Faith or morals.[3]

 

When we refuse the vaccine, we would rely on the argument that we are Traditional Catholic and that fact means that we reject the modern conciliar teachings.  We hold fast to the Tradition of the Church on all matters of Faith and morals, including the Traditional teaching that such abortion-connected vaccines are always evil and never permissible for any reason.[4]

 

Not only do we reject that Vatican’s principle (above) because it is wrong and sinful, but we also think it sets the person up for failure to obtain a “conscience exemption” from the vaccine. 

 

When one of the Catholic Candle Team was at Notre Dame, that university ordered him to get a rubella (abortion-developed) vaccine.  The school used against him the Vatican language quoted above (about weighing the consequences of great danger to public health if he did not get the vaccine).  The school told him that, under this Vatican language, those public health consequences required him to get the vaccine. 

 

We think that a vaccine-objector cannot win this argument (based on the Vatican’s conciliar teaching quoted above) because it sets up both sides to weigh whether the end justifies the means in the particular case, and predictably, the pro-vaccine group (requiring the vaccine) will always say that the consequences are huge and that the end (public health) does justify the means (getting the vaccine).

 

The Catholic Candle Team member replied to the school, saying what any faithful and informed Catholic should reply:

 

You don’t understand.  I reject that post-Vatican II teaching.  I am Traditional Catholic and I follow the pre-Vatican II teaching that it is never permissible to get an abortion-connected vaccine. 

 

Notre Dame kept insisting that he get the vaccine as the deadline approached, to see if he would back down.  But when he did not back down, they granted him a waiver at the last minute.

 

 



[1]           Quoted from: Moral Reflections on Vaccines Prepared from Cells Derived from Aborted Human Fetuses, Pontifical Academy for Life, June, 2005.

[2]           See the explanation here, that the post-conciliar popes are valid popes: https://catholiccandle.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/sedevacantism-material-or-formal-schism.pdf

 

Words to Live by – from Catholic Tradition

 

St. Alphonsus de Liguori, Doctor of the Church:

He who advances most in meditation makes the greatest progress in perfection.  In mental prayer the soul is filled with holy thoughts, with holy affections, desires, and holy resolutions, and with love for God.  There man sacrifices his passions, his appetites, his earthly attachments, and all the interests of self-love.

The Great Means of Salvation and of Perfection, Part II, Section 1, #II, in a section called: Mental Prayer is Indispensable in Order to Attain Perfection.

 

 

 

Model Letter Explaining Refusal of a COVID Vaccine

Catholic Candle note: In our current corona-scare and on-going leftist takeover, Catholics are being pressured and “required” to receive a COVID vaccine.  We must die rather than commit this heinous sin!  Below we provide a model letter you could use when explaining why you refuse this vaccine.

We understand that some non-Catholics and liberals might be offended by the strength of the letter below.  Nonetheless, if we were to “soften” the letter it would be less effective in receiving a COVID vaccine exemption and also less likely to “plant seeds” of the Catholic Faith which could possibly sprout into a future conversion.  It takes strong “medicine” to penetrate into the souls of persons in the world who are not searching for the truth and who are completely immersed in the sensibilities of the world!

Let us remember the advice of St. Thomas Aquinas, Greatest Doctor of the Catholic Church:

If someone is scandalized by hearing the truth, it is better that such scandal would occur than that the truth not be declared. 

Catena Aurea on St. Luke’s Gospel, ch.17, §1, St. Thomas Aquinas, quoting and following the Venerable Bede, Doctor of the Church.

Suggested Model Letter Explaining the Refusal of a COVID Vaccine Mandate

To whom it concerns:

I am a Traditional Catholic, adhering to the teachings of the Catholic Church as they have been always taught prior to Vatican II (in the 1960s).

Having carefully examined the issue of the morality of the COVID-19 vaccines, I firmly conclude that it is impossible for me to accept this vaccine under the sincerely and firmly held Catholic principles which have governed my entire life.

Below, I explain my Catholic principles and their application regarding the COVID vaccines.
 

The Evil of using Vaccines made through the Murders of Babies

There are three reasons I hold that it is wrong to accept these vaccines developed or manufactured using the cell lines of murdered babies (abortion):

1.    Using those vaccines promotes future murders.

2.    Using those vaccines rewards persons connected with the murders.

3.    I would incur guilt for those murders, by the inherent consent which would be involved in accepting any one of those vaccines.

Below, I discuss each of these reasons.

1.   Using abortion-connected vaccines promotes future murders.

Using the cell lines from murdered babies encourages future murders whenever pharmaceutical companies deem it to be convenient and profitable to commit more murders for use in vaccine research or production. 

Because people did not refuse vaccines coming from babies murdered in the 1970s (viz., the 1970s-era cell lines)[1], this caused drug companies, labs, and researchers to feel “free” to commit more murders to create new cell lines.  For example, a new cell line from a new murdered baby, was announced in 2015.[2] 

Accepting those vaccines manufactured through murdered babies, promotes future murders (and every murder of an innocent human is a murder too many)!  Thus, if I would accept a vaccine produced through murder, I would be encouraging the drug companies to commit additional murders to keep vaccine production high.

2.   Using those vaccines rewards persons connected with the murders.

It is wrong to use vaccines produced from murdered babies because using these vaccines enables manufacturers to profit through the murders.  I must refuse to help drug companies make evil profitable!

3.   I would incur guilt for the babies’ murders by my consenting to use any one of those vaccines.

I would become culpable for someone else’s sin by consenting to it.[3]  When St. Paul teaches us this truth about sharing someone else’s sin by consent, he mentions murder in particular.  Here are his words:

Being filled with … murder, …  they who do such things, are worthy of death; and not only they that do them, but they also that consent to them that do them.

Romans, 1:29-32 (emphasis added).[4]

St. Paul shows that consenting to murder is a grave sin and shows this by teaching that such consent makes us “worthy of death”.

A person is guilty of a murder by his consent when he acquiesces[5], even passively[6], or accedes, even reluctantly,[7] to the murder.  If I were to use a vaccine which comes from murder, I would be (at least) passively accepting – i.e., giving in[8] to – the murders that make those vaccines available. 

A person can incur guilt by consenting even after the murder.

Some ways of sharing in someone else’s sin can only occur before the sin is committed, e.g., commanding or advising that the sin should be committed.  See, the above list (from The Penny Catechism) of ways to share someone else’s sin. 

However, consent to a sin is different.  A person can consent to (i.e., acquiesce in) a murder either before or after it is committed, and so can incur guilt either way.

St. Thomas Aquinas, the greatest Doctor of the Catholic Church, teaches that a person can incur guilt by consenting to a murder which has already been committed.  He applies this principle (of guilt through post-murder consent) to a person who joins the Jewish religion after Christ’s murder.  Here are St. Thomas’ words:

When a person becomes a Jew, he becomes a participant in the killing of Christ. 

St. Thomas Aquinas, Lectures on St. Matthew’s Gospel, ch.23, §1861 (emphasis added).

By using those vaccines manufactured through the murders of babies, a person thus incurs guilt by consenting to (i.e., acquiescing in) the murders of those babies even though those murders were already committed.


The passage of time does not remove the implicit consent, and thus, the sin, of association with murders.

A superficial objection could be raised that the vaccines were made from murdered babies more than five decades ago and surely that is “so long ago” that we should disregard the murders because they are too distant in time.

That is wrong.  God does not cease to treat a murder as murder merely because of the passage of time.[9]  Those who commit murder and those that consent to it, remain culpable.  The mere passage of time does not remove the inherent guilt.  The punishments of hell are forever because the damned do not repent and the simple passage of time does not erase guilt (even a billion years in hell).

Just as God does not overlook culpability for murder simply because of the passage of time, man does not do so either.  In the civil society, there is typically no statute of limitations for murder.[10]  In other words, no murder is ever so remote in time that it is no longer culpable and punishable.

The murdering of the babies which was committed in order to “harvest” their cell lines, was premeditated and is first degree murder.  The passage of time does not change the guilt of those murders and does not eliminate the guilt of a person who consents to them.

No matter how much time passes, Catholics who are faithful to the Traditional teachings of the Church will never accept a vaccine developed through the murder of a baby!


The end does not justify the means.

Another superficial objection could be raised that vaccines do much good and that they save so many lives that this “outweighs” the murders through which the vaccines are produced.  However, faithful and informed Catholics must never be complicit in evil because of “good” that can come from it.  The end does not justify the means!


We are not justified in consenting to even the smallest of sins, much less, consenting to murder.

The evil at issue here is murder.  That is a very grave evil.  But even if a person were to suppose that receiving vaccines derived from the cell lines of murdered babies were “only” a small (“venial”) sin, even the very smallest sin is an infinite evil in three ways.[11]  We should be ready to die rather than commit any sin. 

Here is how St. Alphonsus de Liguori, Doctor of the Church, warns against committing even the smallest sin:

A single venial sin is more displeasing to God than [i.e., outweighs] all the good works we can perform.

St. Alphonsus de Liguori, Uniformity with God’s Will, §6 (bracketed word added for clarity).

Here is how St. John of the Cross, Doctor of the Church, warns us that the road to hell begins with small sins:

Our Lord said in the Gospel: “He that is unfaithful in little will be unfaithful also in much.”  For he that avoids the small sin will not fall into the great sin; but great evil is inherent in the small sin, since it has already penetrated within the fence and wall of the heart; and as the proverb says: Once begun, half done.

Ascent of Mount Carmel, Book III, ch.20, section 1.

Here is how John Henry Cardinal Newman declares that the smallest sin is worse than all the physical suffering in the world:

The Catholic Church holds it better for the sun and moon to drop from heaven, for the earth to fail, and for all the many millions on it to die of starvation in extremest agony, as far as temporal affliction goes, than that one soul, I will not say, should be lost, but should commit one single venial sin, should tell one willful untruth, or should steal one poor farthing without excuse.

 Apologia Vita Sua, by John Henry Cardinal Newman, Image Books, Doubleday, Garden City, New York, © 1956, p.324.


Conclusion of this section

In summary, some vaccines are produced through cell lines obtained from murdered babies.[12]  There are three reasons I cannot accept the COVID vaccines:

1.    Using these vaccines promotes future murders.

2.    Using these vaccines rewards those connected with the murders.

3.    I would become culpable for the murders, by my consent.

 

The Currently Available COVID-19 Vaccines are all Abortion-Connected and are all sinful to receive.

1.    The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is tested using the HEK293 cell line.[13]  The abbreviation “HEK293” refers to “Human Embryonic Kidney 293, identifying the organ of the particular murdered baby, who in this case was a baby girl aborted in the Netherlands in the 1970s.[14]  Although each “cell line” is from a particular murdered baby, the cell line production process requires many babies dissected alive without anesthetic in order to successfully obtain a single such human “cell line”.[15]

2.    The Moderna COVID-19 vaccine used the parts grown from the same kidney from the same murdered baby girl.[16]

3.    The Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine used the parts of the same kidney from the same murdered baby girl.[17]

4.    The Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine uses the PER.C6 cell line.  This is the body of a different murdered baby.  This vaccine uses the retinal tissue of an 18-week baby boy who was murdered in the Netherlands in 1985.[18]

5.    The COVID-19 vaccine being developed by Sanofi/Translate Bio uses the parts of the kidney from the murdered baby girl identified as HEK293.[19]

I would commit a serious sin by accepting any of these COVID-19 vaccines because they were developed using abortion.

For these reasons, based on my sincerely and long-held Traditional Catholic principles which govern my entire life, I cannot and will not accept a COVID vaccine.

Four Catholic Candle tips:

1.    Be bold!  Don’t minimize the problem with the vaccine out of human respect for your employer.  For example, don’t change the word “baby” to “fetus” to avoid offending your employer.

2.    It is a type of intellectual laziness to say: “Just give me something to sign that will succeed in getting the waiver for me.”  Master every aspect of the contents of the letter.  You won’t do well if you don’t thoroughly understand the content of the letter you are sending.
 

3.    Do not even consider a compromise, i.e., meeting the employer “half-way”.  Not only is that a sin – and a compromise between light and darkness, between God and Baal – but if your employer knows you would even consider a compromise, it will make it less likely you would obtain your conscience objection waiver.  Thus, e.g., if your employer proposed: “would you meet us half way and get one of the two shots (of the two-shot regimen)?  If you even respond: “let me think about it”, you are signaling that you are not firm in your conviction.  This is clear because anyone who would say “let me think about cooperating in the murder of babies” is not really firm against it.

4.    As always, feel free to use Catholic Candle as a resource.  Ask us questions.  Tell us how we can help you!  That is why we are here!   



[3]              Here is a summary of this basic truth from a common catechism (The Penny Catechism):

328. When are we answerable for the sins of others? We are answerable for the sins of others whenever we either cause them, or share in them, through our own fault. 

329. In how many ways may we either cause or share the guilt of another’s sin? We may either cause or share the guilt of another’s sin in nine ways: 

 

1.    By counsel.

 

2.    By command.

3.    By consent.

4.    By provocation.

5.    By praise or flattery.

6.    By concealment.

7.    By being a partner in the sin.

8.    By silence.

9.    By defending the ill done.

 

Quoted from The Penny Catechism, Nihil Obstat, Joannes M.T. Barton, S.T.D., L.S.S., Censor deputatus, Imprimatur, Georgius L. Craven, Epus Sebastopolis, Vicarius Generalis, Westmonasterii, die 20a Junii, 1958, p.57 (emphasis added).

 

[4]           Here is the longer quote from St. Paul:

 

Being filled with all iniquity, malice, fornication, avarice, wickedness, full of envy, murder, contention, deceit, malignity, whisperers, detractors, hateful to God, contumelious, proud, haughty, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, foolish, dissolute, without affection, without fidelity, without mercy.  Who, having known the justice of God, did not understand that they who do such things, are worthy of death; and not only they that do them, but they also that consent to them that do them.

 

Romans, 1:29-32

 

[5]           One of the definitions of consent is: “acquiescence to or acceptance of something done or planned by another”.  https://www.thefreedictionary.com/consent

[6]           One of the definitions of acquiescence is: “passive assent or agreement without protest”.  https://www.thefreedictionary.com/acquiescence

 

[7]           Two of the definitions of accede are: “to consent” and “to give in”.  https://www.thefreedictionary.com/accede

[8]           Two of the definitions of accede are: “to consent” and “to give in”.  https://www.thefreedictionary.com/accede

[9]           St. Thomas Aquinas teaches the principle that a person is culpable for consenting to a murder even when that murder had been committed many centuries earlier.  St. Thomas applies this principle to a person who joins the Jewish religion long after Christ’s murder.  Here are St. Thomas’ words:

 

When a person becomes a Jew, he becomes a participant in the killing of Christ. 

 

St. Thomas Aquinas, Lectures on St. Matthew’s Gospel, ch.23, §1861.

 

Thus, St. Thomas teaches that even the passage of a long, long time (1200 years, in St. Thomas’ time) after the murder, does not remove the culpability for consenting to it.  In other words, there is no “end date” for culpability by consenting to murder after it was committed. 

 

Note also regarding St. Thomas’ own example, that he places culpability upon consent to the murder of Christ (through conversion to Judaism), not upon ethnic lineage of a person.  Thus, this culpability does not touch the Apostles or any other ethnically Jewish persons who did not (do not) consent to the murder of Christ.

 

[10]             Here is how one legal commentary summarized the state of the law:

 

               Some crimes have no statutes of limitations.  As an example, murder typically has

               none.

 

https://resources.lawinfo.com/criminal-defense/criminal-statute-limitations-time-limits.html

 

Here is how the New York courts explain that murder does not become a non-prosecutable crime because of the passage of time:

 

Statutes of limitations are laws which say how long, after certain events, a case may be started based on those events.  If the statute of limitations has run out, a case should not be started in court. If a case is started after the statute of limitations has run out, it is called time barred.  A defendant or respondent can ask the court to dismiss the case if it is time barred by the statute of limitations.

 

Statute of limitations laws are based on fairness. Over time, memories fade, evidence is lost, and witnesses disappear.  People get on with their lives and don’t expect court cases from events in the past – unless a really horrible crime has been committed.

 

The amount of time by when a person or agency can start a case is different depending on the claim. For example, cases about real property have a long time period, while slander and libel have short time periods.  Some crimes, like murder, are so terrible that they often have no limitations period.

 

Except for when a government agency is sued, there is almost always at least one year from the date of an event to start a case no matter what type of claim it is. You should have no statute of limitations worries if you file your case within this one-year period.

 

https://nycourts.gov/CourtHelp/GoingToCourt/statuteLimitations.shtml

[11]         For a full explanation of this truth that all sin is an infinite evil in three ways and mortal sin is an infinite evil in a fourth way too, read this article: https://catholiccandle.neocities.org/faith/the-infinite-evil-of-sin.html

 

[12]         Here is a list of vaccines connected with murder and a list of ethical alternatives, if they exist: https://cogforlife.org/wp-content/uploads/vaccineListOrigFormat.pdf