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.

CC in brief – July

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

 

Q. What is meant by calling Mary the “Ark of the Covenant” in her litany?

A. Our Faith is deep and rich and this topic deserves a much longer answer.  However, briefly, the Blessed Virgin Mary is the very fitting vessel who contained God on earth.  She was foreshadowed by the Ark of the Covenant, carried by the Israelites in the Old Testament, as the abode of God in a special way.