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.

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

 

CC in brief — July

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 readers to submit their own questions.

                

 

Why No One should play Dungeons and Dragons

 

Q.  My son has gotten into the game Dungeons and Dragons at his school and from the stories he’s told me about the game, it sounds pretty bad.  I want to give him some definitive reasons he shouldn’t play it, but I don’t know enough about it to tell him not to.  Any help is appreciated.

 

A.  The virtuous life is the happy life on earth and, more importantly, is the road to heaven.  We should not engage in entertainments which work against virtue and our progress toward heaven.

 

One such entertainment is the role-playing game, Dungeons and Dragons, which especially attracts high school boys and less-mature young men.

 

Here are our five biggest reasons this game is bad and everyone should avoid it.

 

1.    Dungeons and Dragons presents a false moral framework for life.  This is done explicitly and implicitly.  Players are allowed to explicitly choose to make their characters evil or morally “neutral” (i.e., “amoral”, “chaotic”) and players are free to live according to whatever moral standards they choose.  Thus, they are allowed to choose, imagine, and cause their characters to sin without limitation or contrition.  This is licentiousness, not true liberty, and it is not the conduct of a friend of God! The evil of that licentiousness is evident if someone puts himself in God’s “shoes”: Suppose a person learned that his family members and best friends spent considerable time enjoying the daydream of torturing and murdering him.  Their pleasurable fantasy would prove that they do not love him and are not his friends.  Similarly, a person would obviously offend God and not be God’s friend, if he spent his recreation time enjoying the daydream of offending God by committing sins.

2.    Besides the sin of willfully taking pleasure in imagining committing sins, such daydreams can also be sins for a second reason: they can lead to committing those sins we are imagining, and could make it easier for us to commit those sins through breaking down any reluctance we might have to committing such sins.  So, e.g., if a young man were to spend a lot of time taking pleasure by imagining shoplifting and how he could do it without getting caught, it would tend to break down his inhibitions and could make him more likely to actually commit that sin.  Thus, such imaginings can be deliberate (and unnecessary) occasions of sin.

 

3.    Besides this false moral framework (discussed above), Dungeons and Dragons promotes and glorifies killing for personal gain and advantage.  Catholics (and all men seeking virtue) should be peaceable and should be builders, not destroyers, as much as possible.  Dungeons and Dragons encourages the opposite: “let’s go kill and be violent”.

 

4.    Dungeons and Dragons presents to the players the false, central goal of living to amass material goods and power, whereas the truth is that those goods play only a small part in the good and happy life.  The truly important parts of life are missing and are “written out” of the game.

 

5.    Dungeons and Dragons promotes interest in (and entrance into) the occult, to learn about, use, and seek spells and magic.

 

The above reasons leave aside many other reasons not to play Dungeons and Dragons, such as:

 

§  Dangers to purity built into the game;

 

§  The wasting of time involved in the game;

 

§  The inherent, additional unwholesomeness of this game as played as a computer game, i.e., when the game is played on that medium.  (Board games are generally better than electronic games.)

 

§  The superiority of “real” activities, such as sports, hiking, rafting, writing and reading activities, art and kraft projects, fishing, long bike rides, swimming, gardening, raising animals, model rockets, taking on extra side jobs to save money for college, etc.

Reasons to pray even in mortal sin

The horror of sin, especially mortal sin

Sin is always a great evil.[1]  All sin is an infinite evil in three ways and all mortal sin is an infinite evil in a fourth way also.[2]  Everything else which we might call a “misfortune” (and which is out of our control), is God’s Will for us and is for our good.  St. Paul assures us that, except for our sins, “all things work together unto the good for those who love God.”  Romans, 8:28 (emphasis added).  Thus, our own sins are the only true evil for us.

The most tragic of all sin, is mortal sin.[3]  No number of venial sins could ever be as horrific as a single mortal sin.[4]


A person in mortal sin must strive immediately to get back into God’s grace

When a person has the tragedy of being in mortal sin, he cannot merit through anything he says or does.[5]

Obviously, the most important thing he can do is immediately seek to get back in the state of Sanctifying Grace, by making Acts of Contrition as perfectly as possible[6] and by sacramental Confession (if it is available without compromise).[7]  Beware of Bishop Richard Williamson’s evil advice that you should go to confession to any priest who believes in sin.[8]

A person cannot be sure that his act of contrition is perfect enough.  If the person did succeed in making a perfect act of contrition, he is then back in the state of Sanctifying Grace[9] and can immediately begin meriting again, while he seeks to go to confession (to an uncompromising priest, as soon as one is available).

Thus, one reason for a person to continue his prayers, good works, and penances even before going to confession, is because they are meritorious if he is back in the state of grace.

But a person in mortal sin should still strive to do good, even though there is no merit

Even if the person were not back in the state of grace, he should continue praying, doing good works and doing penance, although he would not merit supernaturally for that conduct.  There are five reasons to continue this conduct even while in mortal sin:

1.    This conduct does good on a natural level;

2.    This conduct avoids harm on a natural level;

3.    This conduct enforces habits which are good on the natural level, to help us even when we cannot merit;

4.    This conduct avoids harm to ourselves by avoiding the strengthening of our bad habits or making us more prone to evil which would harm us on a natural and a supernatural level; and

5.    We should always act according to reason and, even when in mortal sin, our reason tells us to pray, perform good works, and do penance.

Below, we discuss each of these five reasons.

1.   This conduct accomplishes good on a natural level.

Such prayers, good works, and penance set a good example, especially for those to whom he is nearest and loves the most.  Does he love his friends and family?  If yes, doesn’t he want to do them good even if he does not benefit from that good?  Of course, he does!  Love is “willing the good for another”.[10]  So, a man who loves even naturally, wills the good for those whom he loves.  So, continuing his prayer, good works, and penance is a good example which does good to his loved ones.  This is especially true for parents and spouses, whose very vocation involves the care of and love of others.

Nor does it suffice to merely pretend to do good so as to give good example.  That pretense is a sin of dissimulation – not leading an honest life – which is a sin against the Divine Law and the Natural Law.

Further, most fakery is discovered and it does even more harm to a person if he is a fraud, especially in the good he does.

2.   This conduct avoids harm on a natural level.

By contrast, the failure to pray, do good works, and do penance can scandalize others, especially those who are nearest and dearest to him.  A period of such bad example from him can ruin his friends and relatives for life, even if the person himself were to return to the state of grace.  Again, a parent in mortal sin might, for example, feel like a hypocrite or unworthy to pray the Rosary with his family, and thus be tempted to not do so.  But it is part of his duty and part of love to show good example to his spouse and children.

3. Prayer, good works, and penance enforce habits which are good on the natural level, to help us even when we cannot merit from them.

Men are creatures of habit.  Even on a natural level, it is easier for a person to later pray, do good works, and do penance meritoriously once back in the state of Sanctifying Grace, if he maintains those natural habits even while unhappily unable to merit due to mortal sin.

Even while a person is (tragically) in mortal sin, he can work on acquiring or strengthening his natural virtues, e.g., patience.  Good conduct while in mortal sin can help a person acquire or strengthen those natural virtues.

4.    This conduct avoids harm to ourselves by avoiding the strengthening of our bad habits or making us more prone to evil which would harm us on a natural and a supernatural level.

Further, failures to continue those good practices lets down our guard and makes us more likely to commit future sins we otherwise would not have committed.

5.    Even when in mortal sin, our reason tells us to pray, perform good works, and do penance.

Our reason is our highest and most God-like part of our nature.  We should always act according to this highest and best part: viz., our reason.

Our power of reason is the way God made us in His own Image.[11]  

Even on a natural level, we know God is the source of all goodness and that we owe Him worship and prayer.[12] 

Even when in the state of mortal sin, a person’s reason tells him to pray, perform good works, and do penance as a matter of justice to God.

He owes this to God even if he does not merit from this worship and prayer.  This debt to God is right and reasonable.  A person must pay his debt to God even if he were not to merit, just as a child must show respect for his parents, keep his room neat, and do his schoolwork even though he did not receive a reward for doing so.  Thus, reason tells a person that he must pray even if he is in mortal sin.

A person’s reason tells him to continue doing good works – they are a natural good and a man in mortal sin should follow his reason doing good works even when he cannot merit supernaturally from those good works.

Even on a natural level, we know that we must conform our lower passions to our reason and our will, and that this task requires that we mortify our passions and do penance.


Committing mortal sin is a “wake-up call” which should immediately cause us to increase our prayers and good works.

Not only should a person not stop praying and doing good works following commission of a mortal sin, but he should immediately increase his prayers and good works. 

His sin is a reminder of his weakness.  The best remedy for this weakness is prayer.  When a person sins, it is unreasonable (and is a further sin) to not take concrete means to avoid similar falls in the future.  So, the more “wake-up calls” (i.e., sins) a person commits, the more he should realize his need for more prayer – and take those means.


Conclusion

Sin is the only true evil.  Mortal sin is the gravest evil and destroys a person’s ability to merit.  However, even a man in mortal sin should continue his prayers, good works, and penances, to avoid further harm to himself and others and to make it easier to do good in the future. 

 



[1]           Here is how St. Alphonsus de Liguori, Doctor of the Church, teaches this truth:

 

A single venial sin is more displeasing to God than all the good works we can perform.

 

Uniformity with God’s Will, §6.

 

            Here is how St. John of the Cross, Doctor of the Catholic Church, teaches this truth:

 

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 Cardinal Newman compares the smallest sin to the greatest human suffering:

 

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.

 

[2]           Read the explanation of this truth here: https://catholiccandle.neocities.org/faith/the-infinite-evil-of-sin.html


[3]           Read the explanation of this truth here: https://catholiccandle.neocities.org/faith/the-infinite-evil-of-sin.html


[4]           Read the explanation of this truth here: https://catholiccandle.neocities.org/faith/the-infinite-evil-of-sin.html

[5]           Read the explanation of this truth here: https://catholiccandle.org/2021/06/14/sanctifying-grace-companion-charity/

[6]           The Catholic Encyclopedia teaches:

 

Perfect contrition, with the desire of receiving the Sacrament of Penance, restores the sinner to grace at once.  This is certainly the teaching of the Scholastic doctors (Peter Lombard in P.L., CXCII, 885; St. Thomas, In Lib. Sent. IV, ibid.; St. Bonaventure, In Lib. Sent. IV, ibid.).

 

Catholic Encyclopedia, 1908, Volume 4, article: Contrition, page 339.

 

After this first attempt at a perfect act of contrition, he should continue to attempt to make further perfect acts of contrition.

Regardless of the state of his soul, everyone should strive greatly, every day, to make perfect acts of charity and perfect acts of contrition for his past sins.  A man in mortal sin should do this even more urgently.

 

Read this article about making perfect acts of contrition:

 

Ø  https://catholiccandle.org/2021/04/02/rome-has-the-churches-but-traditional-catholics-have-the-faith/

 

[8]           Read an explanation of the evil of his advice here: https://catholiccandle.neocities.org/priests/williamson-confess-priest-believes.html

 

[9]           Of course, he is still obliged to go to confession when he has the chance to do so, to an uncompromising priest.

 

[10]         Here is how St. Thomas Aquinas, greatest Doctor of the Church, explains this truth:

 

According to the Philosopher (Ethic. viii, 2,3) not every love has the character of friendship, but that love which is together with benevolence, when, to wit, we love someone so as to wish good to him.  If, however, we do not wish good to what we love, but wish its good for ourselves, (thus we are said to love wine, or a horse, or the like), it is love not of friendship, but of a kind of concupiscence. For it would be absurd to speak of having friendship for wine or for a horse.

 

Summa, IIa IIae, Q.23, a.1, sed contra and respondeo (emphasis added).

[11]         Summa, Ia, Q.93, a.2, found here: https://www.newadvent.org/summa/1093.htm#article2

 

[12]         Summa, Ia IIae, Q.109, a.3.

CC in brief — May

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 an extremely short answer to a reader’s question.  We invite readers to submit their own questions.

                

CC in brief

 

Q.  Why does the N-SSPX now lean liberal with its followers?

 

A.  If a traditional Catholic or a Society doesn’t fight against liberalism every day, gradualism will take over and they will become liberal after a time.  The New SSPX no longer fights against liberalism daily as Archbishop Lefebvre did.  They may merely mention the problem of liberalism, but are not fighting against it. 

 

CC in brief — April

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 an extremely short answer to a reader’s question.  We invite readers to submit their own questions.

CC in brief

QI’m so confused.  Is there a mass that I can attend, i.e. SSPX or SSPV?  Should I simply stay home and pray the traditional Rosary?

A. We are in the same position you are, with no Mass to attend, since there are no uncompromising priests, at least in most places in the world.  We strongly encourage you to do what we do: we stay home and sanctify the Sunday there, reading the Mass prayers, a good sermon, etc.  We use the program set out here: https://catholiccandle.neocities.org/faith/sanctifying-sunday-no-mass.html

Even if we don’t “feel” content in our feelings or emotions, nonetheless with our will and intellect (the important faculties) we should be perfectly content without the Mass and Sacraments when they are not available without compromise.  Read this morale-boosting explanation here:  https://catholiccandle.neocities.org/faith/complete-contentment-without-the-mass-when-it-is-not-available-without-compromise.html

 We urge you not to attend compromise groups to get the Sacraments, even where they are valid Sacraments.  The Sacraments of compromise groups do not please God.  https://catholiccandle.org/2020/04/02/a-compromise-groups-masses-and-sacraments-do-not-give-grace-because-the-end-does-not-justify-the-means/

The SSPX is a compromise group and is liberal (as is Bp. Williamson’s group). To see concrete evidence of the “new” SSPX’s increasing liberalism, click on the “Society of St. Pius X” tab at this link: https://catholiccandle.neocities.org/#gsc.tab=0

Most of the SSPV have doubtful ordinations and all of them are in schism.  Read more about the schism of sedevacantism in a book available here: https://catholiccandle.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/sedevacantism-material-or-formal-schism.pdf  If you prefer, you can buy this book (which is sold at cost) here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08FP5NQR6?ref_=pe_3052080_397514860#reader_B08FP5NQR6

 

 

 

CC in brief — March 2021

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 an extremely short answer to a reader’s question.  We invite readers to submit their own questions.

 

 

CC in brief

 

Q. My husband says it was wrong for the Southern States of the U.S. to attempt to secede – that is, to revolt – from the Federal, national government, in the civil war of the 1860s.  Is my husband correct?

 

A. There are many things to consider in assessing whether the Southern States were permitted to secede from the Union.  For example, was it prudent to secede based on the chances of success?  However, in this short CC in Brief, we leave such other considerations aside.  Although it is true that revolution is always evil,[1] nonetheless, the question arises whether the Southern States’ secession was revolution or was it the exercise of a right given by the Union’s founding agreement.  

 

The U.S. Constitution is the agreement between the states which governed their mutual relationship.  That agreement is silent on this issue, unlike, e.g., the European Union’s charter which explicitly allowed for a country to exit the EU as Britain did.[2]

 

One could suppose that the fact that the original 13 American colonies revolted against Britain implies that the U.S. Constitution might implicitly allow secession of any states which chose to sever ties with the U.S. federal government, just as those colonies severed ties with England.  Further, it certainly seems that there could be an element of hypocrisy in the successors of the American revolutionaries refusing to allow secession from their own Union, although they demanded this secession from England.  Nonetheless, the Southern States’ right to secede (or not) would “boil down” to whether secession was implicitly allowed (or implicitly forbidden) under the U.S. Constitution.

 



[1]           Read the analysis of this issue here: https://catholiccandle.org/2021/02/01/revolution-is-in-the-air/

 

[2]           Cf., Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union.

 

If You Can Say the Our Father without Distraction, I Will Give You My Horse

“Our Father Who art in heaven hallowed be Thy name … The saddle and the bridle also?”

I’m certain that most of you have heard that story told of St. Bernard of Clairvaux, and his offer to a man who boasted he was never distracted in prayer.  The story relates how that man was distracted during his prayer by the scope of St. Bernard’s offer. 

I remind you about this to point out that distraction in prayer is the work of Satan, and a big problem for all of us.  How can we correct the problem and give greater significance and meaning to our prayers?  After praying on the problem, I had an idea that could help.

Now if distraction during prayer is not a problem for you, you are one in a million and you can stop reading now.  But if you do have a problem, read on.  I believe praying with energy and “hand action” demonstrates where your heart and thoughts are.  Much the same as when we make the Sign of the Cross.  Our hands go from head to heart to shoulders, demonstrating our thoughts and devotion to the Crucifixion of Our Lord.  Why not use the same energy and attention-provoking action when praying … say, the Rosary?

At Fatima Our Lady stated there will come a time when you will have only the Rosary and her Immaculate Heart.  She could be referring to now as we suffer through the great crisis in the Church.

The action I am suggesting should be “hidden”.  You wouldn’t want to distract others praying with you.  If you can, schedule your prayer at a time when no outside noise and activity will distract you.

Let’s start with the Rosary.  Pray all prayers except the Hail Marys with your hands open, facing up, about one foot apart, forming a “holy channel” to heaven, much as the priest does saying some parts of the Mass.  The Rosary is in one hand, keeping track of your progress.  At the Hail Marys, your hands are back to the usual position, but at the words "Fruit of thy womb, Jesus" you bow your head and your free hand touches your chest when you say “Pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death,” demonstrating you are a sinner and that the Blessed Mother’s prayers now and at the hour of our death are most necessary.

Praying with this thought-provoking extra effort and energy, and with your attention for sure on the significance of each Mystery, should reduce your thoughts drifting to the distracting events in your life.   

Keep in mind that you are talking to your Creator, and that distraction calls for an additional effort to keep your mind focused.  While visiting Fatima and a friend who moved there with his family, I recall him saying, “when the Blessed Mother asked us to pray the Rosary, she meant all 15 Mysteries each time”, or so he believed.

When you pray the rosary and other prayers, I recommend that you try this method to help you pray more earnestly and with more recollection.  You will see your efforts have borne fruit when your prayers are a more intimate conversation with Our Lord and His Mother.

CC in brief — January 2021

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 an extremely short answer to a reader’s question.  We invite readers to submit their own questions.

 

 

CC in brief

 

Q.  Why does the SSPX now lean liberal with its followers?

 

A.  If traditional Catholic individuals or groups don’t fight against liberalism every day, gradualism will take over and they will become liberal over time.  The “new” SSPX no longer fights against liberalism daily as Archbishop Lefebvre did.  They might merely mention the problem of liberalism, but they do not fight against it. 

 

 

Catholic Candle note: Here are some articles cataloging some of the liberalism of the “new” SSPX:

 

  https://catholiccandle.org/category/resources-for-priests/society-of-st-pius-x/

 

  https://catholiccandle.neocities.org/#gsc.tab=0  (from this page on our old website, click on the folder labeled “Society of St. Pius X”).

 

CC in brief — December 2020

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 an extremely short answer to a reader’s question.  We invite readers to submit their own questions.

CC in brief

Q:        A Catholic friend (who considers herself conservative) told me that “we should not do penance during Advent because it is a time for rejoicing”.  Is she correct? 

A:        There is a grain of truth in what your friend says, but she is “more wrong than right”.  Advent is a time of anticipation (and preparation) for the joyful time of Christmas.  We see this in the Church’s hymns: Advent is the time of Oh Come, oh Come Emmanuel, not the time of Joy to the World.

So, there is an element of spiritual longing and a spiritual joy prominent on Gaudete Sunday.  However, Advent is a time of penance to prepare for the coming of Our Infant King.  Purple, the color of penance, is the liturgical color.   In Her liturgy, the Church emphasizes St. John the Baptist, with his calls for penance and preparing our hearts.

Like the secular world, the conciliar church seeks feasting with no fasting.  All of us, Traditional Catholics included, do much less penance than we should.  So, although Lent is a more penitential time than Advent, we should generously embrace Advent’s penitential spirit.

Lastly, we note that it is unfitting to have our Christmas parties during Advent instead of Christmastide, or to put our Christmas decorations up well before the Christ Child comes.

 

CC in brief — November 2020

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 an extremely short answer to a reader’s question.  We invite readers to submit their own questions.

CC in brief

Q.  There are various groups, e.g., PETA (which stands for “People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals”) that seem to condemn as wrong the killing of animals.  Can we sin by being cruel to animals?

A.  We can only sin against a person, not directly against property.  Animals (i.e., brute beasts) are property, usually belonging to a particular person.  We can no more sin against an animal than we could sin against other kinds of property, viz., a plant or a non-living body.  However, if we mistreat any kind of property this can be a sin against its owner.  For example, if we cut down the tree in our neighbor’s yard, this can be a sin against him. 

Further, any harm we do to any kind of property can be a sin against God, the Creator, in two ways:

1.    It can be a sin of wasting the good gifts of God, if we unreasonably destroy them. 

2.    If we needlessly cause an animal (even a pest) to suffer, not for the purpose of killing it, but purely for the sake of causing that animal to suffer, e.g., to torture a housefly simply because we want it to suffer, that is a sin of showing contempt for their Creator and is a sin against God.

CC in brief — October 2020

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 an extremely short answer to a reader’s question.  We invite readers to submit their own questions.

Q:  In the Our Father, it says “lead us not into temptation”.  Why would God lead us into temptation?  (And if these words do not actually mean “lead us”, why does the Our Father say “lead us”?)

A: Sacred Scripture sometimes speaks of God doing what He permits to be done.  For example, in the Book of Exodus, God says He will harden Pharao’s heart, whereas God permitted Pharao to harden his own heart.  Exodus, 4:21.  In these words of the Our Father, we are asking God to not permit us to be conquered by temptation and so to commit sin.

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 an extremely short answer to a reader’s question.  We invite readers to submit their own questions.

Q.  We call Our Lady the “Mother of God”.  But God is eternal and has no beginning.  Why don’t we call her the “Mother of Jesus” instead?

A.  Although it is correct to call Our Lady the “Mother of Jesus”, she is also truly the Mother of God.  Our Lord is a Divine Person, not a human person.  Mary is the mother of a Person – and that Person is God.

CC in brief – August

Catholic Candle note: Catholic Candle normally examines particular issues thoroughly, at length, especially using the teachings of St. Thomas Aquinas and the other Doctors of the Church.  At the urging of one of our readers, we are trying new feature: CC in brief, giving an extremely short answer to a reader’s question.  We invite readers to submit their own questions.

Q. In the Apostles Creed, it says Christ "descended into hell."  What exactly does that mean?  And if it doesn’t actually mean hell, why does it say “hell”?

A. “Hell” refers to those places where the souls of the decease are detained, that have not been admitted to heaven.  “Hell” includes the place of eternal punishment suffered by the damned, but also includes Purgatory, the Limbo of the Babies and the Limbo of the Fathers.  Our Lord descended into hell to free the souls of the just, who were waiting for Him in the Limbo of the Fathers.