Monday, November 30, 2015

ON THE WAY BACK HOME: Chapter 3 - There Can Be But One, True Religion

ON THE WAY BACK HOME: Chapter 3 - There Can Be But One, True Religion:

Chapter 3 - There Can Be But One, True Religion

But why change one's religion?  Why reenter the Catholic Church?  Isn't one religion as good as another?  The plain answer to this important question is an emphatic, No. This saying for the most part is the work of those who in reality are indifferent to all religion, and make this an excuse for their indifference.  A little reasoning should suffice to prove that one religion is not as good as another religion.  If it were there would have been no need of Christianity in the first place.  For there were other religions existing upon earth at the time Christ established His Church.  There were Confucianism and Buddhism and Judaism and Paganism.  Were one religion as good as another, it would have been sufficient for God to have allowed these religions to function without establishing another.  Christ, however, did establish another.

In His dealings with man, God has always been definite and exact.  After the fall of Adam, God promised that in due time He would send a Redeemer to satisfy for man's sin.  But in order to keep the knowledge of the one, true God among men until that time, God called Abraham to be the father of His chosen people.  Hence he established the Jews as the one true and divinely appointed guardian of His law until He should send the promised Messias.  The Jewish Church, then, was the one, true religion up to the time of Christ.  God Himself then gives the answer to the question, "Is not one religion as good as another?"  He Himself established one religion as the true religion up to the coming of Christ.  Christ in His turn established but one Church, and He proclaimed that that Church would last to the end of time.  "Thou art Peter," He says, "and upon this rock I will build my Church and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it."  (Matt. 16, 18.)  Christ said "Church" not "Churches", and He meant church, not churches.  And again He says:  "And there shall be one Fold and one Shepherd."

It is evident from many other considerations that there can be but one, true religion.  As there is only one God, there can be but one, true worship of God.  Truth itself is one, and it cannot be contradictory.  At one and the same time, two and two cannot be four and six and nine.  If it were, what confusion would result in the field of mathematics.  In the field of morality, what terrible evils would result if it were equally good and true to murder one's parents and to protect their lives.  Likewise were it equally true that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and not the Son of God, if it were equally true that Baptism is a Sacrament and absolutely necessary for salvation and neither a Sacrament nor necessary for salvation, what doubt, uncertainty and confusion would arise in the minds of Christians.  The disastrous state of division and disunion that exists in the Christian sects outside the Catholic Church today is partly the result of following the theory that one religion is as good as another.  Christ manifestly would not come upon earth to found fifty-seven different churches teaching different doctrines to confuse men's minds.  He came upon earth to found the one true Church that would be the one sure and safe path to salvation. 

Photo: Morning Mass
Location: San Juan Capistrano Mission, San Antonio, Texas, 1945
Photographer:  Alfred Eisenstaedt

Vatican’s liturgy chief contradicts Pope Francis on Communion for non-Catholics

Vatican’s liturgy chief contradicts Pope Francis on Communion for non-Catholics

"A person cannot decide if he is able to receive Communion. He has to have the rule of the Church."
Speaking with Aleteia reporter Diane Montagna, Cardinal Robert Sarah said, “Intercommunion is not permitted between Catholics and non-Catholics. You must confess the Catholic Faith. A non-Catholic cannot receive Communion. That is very, very clear. It’s not a matter of following your conscience.”
In responding to a Lutheran woman seeking to go to communion with her Catholic husband, Pope Francis said, “There are questions that only if one is sincere with oneself and the little theological light one has, must be responded to on one’s own. See for yourself.”  The pope, who was speaking to a Lutheran community in Rome November 15, added that both Lutherans and Catholics believe the Lord is present in Holy Communion, and that while there are “explanations and interpretations” that may differ, “life is bigger than explanations and interpretations.”
Pope Francis concluded it was not within his competence to allow a Lutheran woman to receive Holy Communion with her Catholic husband, but to answer her question, she should, “Talk to the Lord and then go forward.”
But Cardinal Sarah, who serves as prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments, contradicted this suggestion.  “It’s not that I have to talk to the Lord in order to know if I should go to Communion,” he said. “No, I have to know if I’m in accord with the rule of the Church.
“It’s not a personal desire or a personal dialogue with Jesus that determines if I can receive Communion in the Catholic Church. 
How can I know that the Lord has really said: ‘Come and receive My Body.’ No. A person cannot decide if he is able to receive Communion. He has to have the rule of the Church: i.e., being a Catholic, being in a state of grace, properly married [if married].
The cardinal warned that if Holy Communion is not received correctly it would not be a benefit to unity, but quoting St. Paul he said, “We will eat our condemnation.”
See the full interview at Aleteia here.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

St. Catherine of Alexandria: A Guide in Our Call as Christian Witnesses

St. Catherine of Alexandria: A Guide in Our Call as Christian Witnesses

St. Catherine of Alexandria: A Guide in Our Call as Christian Witnesses

Today the Church celebrates the feast of St. Catherine of Alexandria. She is the patroness of preachers and philosophers. The reason for this will become quite clear. Tradition tells us that Catherine was born in Alexandria and was the daughter of Constus, who was the governor at the time. She was a studious child and greatly enjoyed learning. She received a vision of the Madonna and Child and converted to Christianity. Persecutions were becoming increasingly more brutal under the emperor Maxentius during her lifetime. Being the daughter of the Governor, she went to Maxentius and rebuked him for his cruelty and persecution. It was then that the emperor called his fifty best pagan philosophers and orators to dispute her claims of the validity of Christianity. Instead Catherine won the debate and quite a few of her adversaries converted to Christianity due to her gift of eloquence. Those philosophers and orators who publicly declared themselves Christians after the debate were quickly put to death.
Catherine refused to denounce Christianity and was scourged and imprisoned by the emperor. Many people came to visit her while she was imprisoned, including Maxentius’ wife. It is said that all of her visitors converted to Christianity and were martyred. Maxentius continued to have her tortured, but she refused to renounce the Faith. At one point the emperor proposed marriage and she declined telling him that Jesus Christ was her spouse and she had consecrated her virginity to him. Eventually the emperor had her condemned to death on a spiked wheel, but tradition says it shattered at her touch. She was finally beheaded and martyred at some point in the early 4th Century.
The historicity of St. Catherine has been difficult to pin down. Her story is one that seems to have originated in oral tradition during the Roman persecutions of the late 3rd to early 4th Centuries before Christianity was finally legalized under Constantine. The cult surrounding St. Catherine, not surprisingly, became popular in the Middle Ages. Given her gift of rhetoric, reason, and theological understanding in engaging in discourse with interlocutors, it is not surprising that a time of great learning was when her following developed.  With the reported discovery of her body at Mount Sinai in 800, many pilgrimages began and a great interest in Catherine among the faithful developed. By the end of the Middle Ages a great following was established and she was seen as a powerful intercessor in the Medieval period. She was revered as one of the most important female virgin-martyrs.
In many places her feast was celebrated with the utmost solemnity, servile work being suppressed and the devotions attended by great numbers of people. In several dioceses of France it was observed as a Holy Day of Obligation up to the beginning of the 17th century, the splendour of its ceremonial eclipsing that of the feasts of some of the Apostles. Numberless chapels were placed under her patronage and her statue was found in nearly all churches, representing her according to medieval iconography with a wheel, her instrument of torture.
Regardless of the exact historical details of her life, there is much that can be learned by her life, example, intercession, and pious following.


It is no mean thing to challenge an emperor who is known to put Christians to death. St. Catherine saw the injustice of the system and chose to do what she could about the evil she witnessed. While not all of us are called to march into the offices of heads of state, truth-be-told, we wouldn’t even get close to them these days, we must remember that we are called to defend the faith in charity and truth. There will be moments in our lives when we must ‘give an account for what we believe’ and that is very true in a culture that is becoming increasingly more intolerant of Christians. The Solemnity of Jesus Christ, King of the Universe was this past Saturday. Who do we say Jesus is? Is He the King of the Universe and the King of our own lives? There will be times when we must answer the charges, ignorance, or even hatred of others towards our Catholicism with great courage. Catherine of Alexandria is a great example of this courage in the face of persecutors and those who do not, or will not, understand.


Not every Christian is called to be a scholar, but every Christian is called to study and know the Faith they profess. Catherine’s example is a reminder to us that study is of great service in our own spiritual lives, as well as in those times we must engage with others. Study is something that should be done daily. In fact, Advent is a wonderful time to focus on studying the eschatology of our Faith and the Incarnation. It is in that season we wait for the Second Coming and the birth of the Word made flesh in a manger. Study allows us to grow in a deeper understanding and can also enrich our prayer life.


We live in a world where traditionally Catholic countries are falling into secularism while other countries, especially in Africa, are rising up in the Faith. There is a great need to evangelize a culture that has lost sight of Christianity and has replaced it with a listless nihilism. The symptoms of this abandonment should be obvious to us in light of what we see on the news daily and in much of the garbage that passes as television these days. We live in a culture that cannot even see that it is suffering and without purpose. It is our call as members of the laity to bring the world into conformation with the Blessed Trinity through His Catholic Church. And why wouldn’t we want to? We have been given the peace and joy that surpasses all understanding. We have been given Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, fully present in the Holy Eucharist. We have the answer to all of the pain, violence, and despair in the world. It is a gift that once poured into ourselves overflows out to all the people we meet in our daily lives.
Those who visited and were open to the truth professed by St. Catherine of Alexandria encountered Christ. They saw Him through her life. They converted to the Faith and they even gave their very lives as martyrs. Martyrdom does not come down from a water-down, bland version of Christianity. The courage to die for Christ is a profound grace, but it also comes from a great love, a real encounter. Those Christians dying on the beach in Libya not too long ago gave their lives because they knew Christ is King. They knew in the end; He is all that matters. How are we witnessing in our own lives? How are we bringing others to Christ in a world with so much darkness in it? St. Catherine gave every waking moment and every encounter to Christ and because of it, many came to Christ. It is time for us to rise up and bring others to Christ. Loving others means helping them to find the ultimate longing of their hearts and the very purpose of their lives, which is found in Jesus Christ and His Church. Let St. Catherine of Alexandria be a guide and intercessor in your life as you encounter others and live a life of holiness.
St. Catherine of Alexandria, ora pro nobis.


Constance T. Hull is a wife, mother, homeschooler, online high school theology teacher, and a graduate student. She is pursuing her Master's degree in Theology and considers herself to be a Thomist wanna-be. Her desire is to live the wonder so passionately preached in the works of G.K. Chesterton and to share that with her daughter and others. While you can frequently find her head inside of a great work of theology or philosophy, she considers her husband and daughter to be her greatest teachers. She is passionate about beauty, holiness, the Sacraments, theology, philosophy, and Catholic Culture.  You can reach her at

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Homosexuality Is Not Sexuality - Crisis Magazine

Homosexuality Is Not Sexuality - Crisis Magazine

Homosexuality Is Not Sexuality

(c) The Royal London Hospital Museum & Archives; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation
Events of recent memory have left my head spinning in disbelief—”Caitlyn,” same-sex so-called “marriage,” three women “marrying” in South America, and, yes, “gay Catholics” and “chaste gay couples.” With me, you may wonder how all this has emerged in a short few decades of social upheaval.
I may have an answer: Society has constructed an unreal cultural landscape in which things that are not sexuality are passed off as sexuality. 
Even a majority of Catholics are, perhaps unwittingly, swallowing this unreality, hook, line, and sinker.
The fabric of this false landscape is language—language that frames everyone and everything in a way that fundamentally relativizes the truth about human nature and God’s real plan for us and our sexuality. I’d assert that this process all started with a single word: homosexuality.
Think about it. By all accounts, the word “homosexuality,” used in contrast to its also-coined counterpart “heterosexuality,” is just about 150 years old. Before this time in human history, there was no such thing as the conceptual construct of “orientation.” Sexual attractions did not define the human person, and people did not presume to assail God’s plan for human sexuality by categorizing attractions in a way that reduces God’s plan to one mere possibility among an ever-growing number of other “identities” and so-called “sexualities.”

A Flash-Flood of UnrealityFast-forward to the present. The 150-year-old crack in the dam has become a gaping fissure that allows modern minds and hearts to be flooded with some muddied and foul waters. Now everything is up for grabs because both our behaviors and our identities have become as fluid as the floodwater. Culture now grants us absolute permission to equivocate authentic sexuality with myriad counterfeits. This permission is safeguarded by coining even more terminology designed to protect the original insult to truth about sexuality, bringing about deeper and more deadly moral collapse.
This original “either/or-ing” of human sexuality—”orientation”—has made a mess of things. Now the meaning of God’s original plan for us is obscured and, worse, viewed as pure bigotry. Now it’s absolutely okay to be gay or straight or queer or genderfluid, or, or… Now we deal with sexual “minorities” who claim “erasure,” “homophobia,” and “othering” if you commit the cardinal social sin of … heteronormativity!
Now men who “feel” like women (and vice versa) must be affirmed rather than healed. Now men who know they are men are merely “cisgendered” out of relativistic respect for those who are “transgendered”—all because fluidity—not authentic sexuality—must be maintained at all costs. Now, even “gay sex” is treated as real sex rather than the unreal and aberrant mutual masturbation of deeply confused souls.
By saying all this, by the way, I’m the worst form of “hater”—worthy of condemnation and perhaps prosecution and imprisonment.

Let Sexuality Speak for ItselfToo often, we get caught up in the wrongness of the unreality without focusing on letting the reality—sexuality—speak for itself. It’s time to get back to basics—time to re-set the high bar of God’s plan as a high bar rather than as one mere “flavor” of sexual “identity” or “orientation” or behavior among many “okay” options. So, let’s answer this question: To what is sexuality ordered? In doing so, it should become crystal clear why homosexuality is not, in fact, sexuality. In the following assertions you’ll notice that I avoid using the terms “homosexuality” and “heterosexuality” in favor of “same-sex attraction” and “sexuality,” for the sake of illuminating the realityof what is described by the terms.

Sexuality is ordered toward complementarityThis is so simple that even the youngest child “gets” this. There are two and only two sexual “identities”—man and woman, boys and girls. And they are made for each other. Complementarity is really “complete-mentarity.” As a man I do not possess what it means to be a woman, and vice versa. We complete each other. Same-sex attraction involves objective redundancy, not complementarity.

Sexuality is ordered toward total self-giftOnce we understand complementarity, we can understand that this “completion” necessarily involves a covenantal exchange of persons. Sexuality is not merely about an exchange of pleasure, or rights, or services, etc. It’s a gift of self that requires two things. First, self-mastery or self-possession. We cannot give what we do not possess. Second, a capacity to receive the other’s total self-gift. With SSA, “you cannot receive that which you already possess.” A man cannot receive a total self-gift of the person, body and soul, from another man. It’s impossible. The “ache” of sexual desire is the longing for completion that comes from the covenantal, personal exchange of man with woman.

Sexuality is ordered toward consummation. The mutual, complementary, total self-gift finds its fullest expression in the indissoluble unity of body and soul that takes place when husband and wife (not just sex-less “spouses” but male with female) come together in marital relations. With same-sex attraction, no such pathway toward consummation is even conceivable. Sexual acting out between two men or two women is brute parody of the reality of consummation.

Sexuality is ordered toward the good of permanence. The magnitude of the meaning of “consummation” cannot be exaggerated. There is no such thing, this side of Heaven, as a temporary “total self-gift.” The pathway to permanence arises precisely because a husband and wife (a man with a woman) are capable of willing the covenantal bond that can and must last for as long as they both shall live. It can and must find permanent expression (until death) in the mutual gift of self expressed fully in marital relations. Again, this is utterly inaccessible to two men or two women. Two people with SSA may say they “choose” permanence, but it’s an objectively “human-willed” and not “God-ordained” choice because they are incapable of “enfleshing” an authentic and total covenantal exchange of persons.

Sexuality is ordered toward the good of fidelity. Part of the “permanence” of total self-gift is the exclusivity of “forsaking all others.” Again, it’s irrational to suggest that someone can make a total self-gift to more than one person. Sexuality is ordered toward “the one.” Thus, another tenet of the unreal secular embrace of “orientation” is exposed here—namely, that sexuality is not concerned with any abstract or generic information about the kind of person that attracts you. Sexuality is about prayerfully discerning who the one real person might be with whom you can mutually make a covenantal self-gift. The abstraction of “orientation” is a distractionfrom the real purpose of sexuality. SSA again provides no avenue for the exclusivity that total self-gift requires.

Sexuality is ordered toward the good of children. Finally, sexuality offers the human person the possibility of “imaging” God’s love and likeness in a unique way—through pro-creation, creating “with” God. This is not merely about raising children (though the “education” of children is certainly just as much a primary end here as is procreation), but about raising up children with God. Our “consummation” of covenantal self-gift is, like the Blessed Trinity’s own, fruitful, moving beyond the “selves” of husband and wife and toward an immortal form of “consummation”—a child. In Heaven, by God’s design and plan, there will be one lasting fruit of earthly marital union: our children. Same-sex attraction obviously is utterly sterile, not in any way ordered toward this immensely meaningful finality of authentic sexuality.

Let’s Get RealNeither same-sex attraction nor the coined term “homosexuality” can rightly be considered either a form of, or a participation in, real sexuality. The reality that is same-sex attraction exists in total opposition to the reality that is sexuality. Perhaps this is why one finds this sentence in the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

Sexuality is ordered toward the conjugal love of a man and a woman. (CCC 2360)
Maybe this is also why the next paragraph in the Catechism (CCC 2361) quotes a crucial phrase from St. John Paul II’s Familiaris Consortio (FC 11):
Sexuality, by means of which man and woman give themselves to one another through the acts which are proper and exclusive to spouses, is not something simply biological, but concerns the innermost being of the human person as such. It is realized in a truly human way only if it is an integral part of the love by which a man and woman commit themselves totally to one another until death.
More important: Can we all pray that more people will stop cooperating in the failed social experiment of homosexuality, heterosexuality, orientation, etc.? The only “truly human” way to “real-ize” (as in make real) our sexuality is when it is properly ordered toward marital love.

Editor’s note: The image above is a detail from “The Marriage of the Prince and Princess of Wales” painted by William Powell Frith in 1878.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Living the Motto of the Saints

Living the Motto of the Saints

Living the Motto of the Saints

“Salvation comes from our God, who is seated on the throne, and from the Lamb!”
“Never give up!” That is a very popular message on t-shirts here in the Philippines. I don’t know the history of this message on the shirts and why is it so popular. But this message always leaves me thinking, “This is the motto, the slogan, and the mindset of the Saints!” The saints are not those who never had failures in life or who never had grave sins in their lives or who never had struggles and sufferings in this life. The Saints are not those with a perfect history or a blissful future. The Saints are simply those who just chose never to give up.
Never gave up on what? Today’s First Reading from Revelations addressed to Christians being persecuted in the Roman empire of the first century A.D shows us three things in which the saints never gave up. First of all, they never gave up on belonging completely to God. They had been marked as belonging to God before the times of devastation, “Do not damage the land or the sea or the trees until we put the seal on the foreheads of the servant of God.” God claimed them as His own even as they faced hardship. They never stopped acting out of the conviction that they and everything that they had now belonged to God.
Secondly, they never gave up on hoping and expecting all things from God. We find this in the song of the saints in heaven, “They cried out, ‘Salvation comes from our God, who is seated on the throne, and from the Lamb.’” Salvation and the means to attain it all came from God.
Thirdly, they never gave up on the life of bearing witness to Jesus Christ even in all the trials and distresses of life. “These are the ones who have survived the time of great distress; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” Like Jesus, the faithful witness, they too bore witness to Him even to the point of death as they shared in the power of His blood shed for them.
By virtue of our being incorporated into Christ in Baptism, we are really marked as belonging to God as His own Children won by the blood of Christ. In the words of St. John in the Second Reading, “Beloved, see what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called children of God. Yet so we are.” By virtue of this indelible mark on us as God’s children, God will never give up on us no matter our sins, failures, pains, worries, etc. This is not a feel good statement but one that should lead us not to give up on hoping in God completely and in witnessing to Jesus in all things. “Everyone who has this hope based on Him makes himself pure, as He is pure.”
St. John’s vision of the saints as “a great multitude, which no one could count, from every nation, race, people, and tongue,” give us added reason not to give up – there is room for us too among the saints no matter what life has been like for us. We can receive forgiveness for all past sins through a good confession no matter how grievous or how many the sins may be. We can receive the grace to start again from prayer and from the sacraments especially the Eucharist. We can break from sinful addictions and tendencies and persevere in a life of sanctity in this world. We can receive the awesome and encouraging examples and supporting prayers of our saint brothers and sisters.
Jesus invites us to the blessed life of the saints through the Beatitudes in today’s Gospel. But we cannot live the beatitudes if we do not have the never-give-up attitude of the saints, never giving up on belonging completely to God, never giving up on hoping on God alone for everything, and never giving up on witnessing to Jesus in our life. How can we be poor in spirit or meek if we give up on belonging to God as His beloved children? How can we strive for a clean heart in this world of impurity if we give up on giving witness to Christ? How can we hunger and thirst for righteousness or bear persecution for the sake of righteousness if we give up on expecting all things necessary for this from God?
The life of Mary, Queen of all Saints, shows us that the saints are those who never gave up because they knew that God never gave up on them. Mary knew that she had been marked as belonging to God and that God would never give up on her as per the words of the Angel Gabriel, “Do not be afraid Mary, you have found favor with God.” She never gave up on hoping to receive all things from God as she sang in her magnificat, “My soul rejoices in God my Savior.” She never gave up on giving witness to Him as she did at the wedding of Cana, “Do whatever He tells you.” At the Cross, during the darkest moment of her Son’s life on earth, Mary never gave up on belonging to Him, she never gave up on hoping and believing in a Resurrection and she never gave up on bearing witness to Jesus at a time when Jesus’ closest friends were too ashamed to associate with Him.
I have no doubt in my mind that Mary is in the business of making saints today because she helps us to cultivate this never-give-up attitude if we approach her with the right disposition to learn from her and to be the saints that we have been chosen and marked to be as God’s beloved children. When we turn to her in sincere prayer, she gives us a motherly reminder that we and all that we are belong to God now by virtue of our baptism, she shares with us that intense hope of hers that expects all things from God and she inspires us to continuously bear witness to Christ Jesus her Son even in the darkest moments. This is how we too will mature in our never-give-up attitude in imitation of the saints.
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, we live in world of pain and sin, where evil seems to triumph over good sometimes, where prayers seem to make little or no difference and God sometimes appear so far away from us, where it is more convenient to blend with the crowd than to bear the light of Christ in the world, etc. The temptation to give up is so strong. Today’s solemnity should remind us of our saintly brothers and sisters who passed through all these too and are saints today because they never gave up. We too can and should do the same.
Every Eucharist has two effects – a deepening of our consecration to God and a message of hope. As our belonging to God is strengthened in this Eucharist, we also hear the message of hope in Jesus’ words of consecration spoken over the bread and wine, “This is my body….This is my blood.” The message of hope is loud and clear – God never gives up on us as His own. If we too choose never to give up, we will live the motto of the saints here on earth and we too shall sing with them the hymn of the saints for all eternity, “Salvation comes from our God, who is seated on the throne, and from the Lamb!”
Glory to Jesus!!! Honor to Mary!!!

Fr. Nnamdi Moneme OMV is a Roman Catholic Priest of the Oblates of the Virgin Mary currently on missionary assignment in the Philippines. He serves in the Congregations' Retreat Ministry and in the House of Formation for novices and theologians in Antipolo, Philippines. He blogs at

Thursday, October 29, 2015

The Saints and Overcoming Grief

The Saints and Overcoming Grief

The Saints and Overcoming Grief

You will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice;
you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy….
I will see you again and your hearts will rejoice,
and no one will take your joy from you.
John 16:20, 22

A talented painter once gave an unforgettable performance in front of an admiring audience. With rapid strokes of his brush, he quickly and skillfully painted a beautiful country scene, replete with green meadows, golden fields of grain, farm buildings in the distance, peaceful trees, and a friendly blue sky punctuated with soft, white clouds. As he stepped back from his easel, the audience burst into appreciative applause — only to be silenced by the art­ist, who announced, “The picture is not complete.”

He turned and began rapidly covering the canvas with dark, somber paints. The peaceful country scene was replaced with blotches of morose, unappealing colors, all seemingly thrown on the canvas in random disorder; only a patch of the blue sky and the peaceful countryside remained. “Now,” he asserted, “the pic­ture is finished, and it is perfect.” The stunned audience looked on in disbelief; no one understood what had just happened. Then the painter turned the canvas on its side, and the onlookers let out a collective gasp of amazement, for now there appeared before their eyes a stunningly beautiful, dark waterfall, cascading over moss-covered rocks and creating a rich symphony of color.

The artist intended his amazing and unexpected demonstration to be a commentary or reflection on the reality of sorrow: one beau­tiful scene of life was transformed into another, even as observers wrongly believed something wonderful was forever lost. The mean­ing of this story is simple: God is the Artist who created our lives, and who desires to make them into something permanent and glo­rious; and sorrow and loss are often His instruments in bringing about this change. From our limited perspective, we believe that the original picture is fine as it is, and that any change, especially a painful one, can only be for the worse. The Lord, however, sees and understands the possibilities of life and eternity far more com­pletely than we ever will, and if we allow it, He is able to use all the events and experiences of our lives — even the dark and somber ones — to bring about something of lasting and unequaled beauty.

Grief over any serious loss — especially the death of a loved one — is a very heavy cross to bear, and we’re certainly not ex­pected to see right away how the dark colors of our mourning can be transformed into the joyous hues of eternity. The Lord doesn’t ask that we understand, only that we trust. This, too, can be quite difficult. Even some of the saints found their grief to be nearly overwhelming, but they persevered in their faith and eventually found peace and even joy in their sorrow. This is a hope that Jesus offers to us as well.

St. Francis de Sales came from a large family, and although he was often somewhat melancholy, he experienced great happiness in spending time with those he loved. This was especially true in regard to his youngest sister, Jeanne, who was born three days before his Ordination to the priesthood. Hers was the first Bap­tism St. Francis performed, and he always had a special fondness for her, so it was a terrible blow when she died suddenly and unexpectedly at the age of fifteen, while visiting the home of St. Jane Frances de Chantal and her family. Francis, by then a bishop, expressed his profound grief in these words: “I am nothing if not a man. My heart has been broken in a way that I could not have be­lieved possible.”

St. Jane, who understandably felt very guilty over the girl’s death (even though it was in no way her fault), had herself drunk deeply from the cup of sorrow some years earlier. Her beloved husband, Christophe, was shot by a friend in a hunting accident. He was carried home, but there was nothing the doctors could do for him, and after nine painful days, he died. During this no­vena of suffering, Christophe resigned himself to the will of God and freely forgave his friend. Jane, however, was unable to react in such a holy manner. In her desperation she bargained with God: “Take everything I have, my relatives, my belongings, my chil­dren, but leave me my husband!” This prayer, of course, was not answered, and it was many years before the future saint (under the influence of St. Francis de Sales) was able to forgive her husband’s hunting partner from her heart.
The grief St. Jane experienced made it possible for her years later to write this advice to her own daughter, who was herself grieving over the death of a husband: “My greatest wish is that you live like a true Christian widow, unpretentious in your dress and actions, and especially reserved in your relationships. . . . I know very well, darling, of course, that we can’t live in the world with­out enjoying some of its pleasures, but take my word for it, dearest, you won’t find any really lasting joys except in God, in living vir­tuously, in raising your children well, in looking after their affairs, and in managing your household. If you seek happiness elsewhere, you will experience much anguish, as I well know.”

Another saint well acquainted with grief and loss, one we would rightly call a “man of sorrows,” was Alphonsus Rodriguez. He was fourteen when he lost his father; when he was twenty-six, his wife died in childbirth. A few years later, his mother and his young son died, and shortly after this, his business failed. The grieving saint wrote, “I put myself in spirit before our crucified Lord, looking at Him full of sorrow, shedding His Blood and bear­ing great bodily hardships for me. As love is paid for in love, I must imitate Him, sharing in spirit all His sufferings. I must consider how much I owe Him and what He has done for me. Putting these sufferings between God and my soul, I must say, ‘What does it mat­ter, my God, that I should endure for Your love these small hard­ships? For You, Lord, endured so many great hardships for me.’ Amid the hardship and trial itself, I stimulate my heart with this exercise. Thus, I encourage myself to endure for love of the Lord, who is before me, until I make what is bitter sweet.”

This heroic act of resignation helped St. Alphonsus Rodriguez bear a very heavy cross of grief, although later in life, as a Jesuit lay brother, he still had much to suffer (including spiritual aridity, vio­lent temptations, and even demonic assaults).

A somewhat similar approach was used by St. Teresa of Avila, who was only thirteen when her mother died. Teresa consoled herself by thinking each night of our Lord’s agony in the Garden of Gethsemani. In her grief, she also turned to the Virgin Mary. She later wrote, “When I began to realize what I had lost, I went in my distress to an image of our Lady and with many tears besought her to be mother to me. Although I did this in my simplicity, I believe it was of some avail to me; for whenever I have commended myself to this sovereign Virgin, I have been conscious of her aid; and eventually she brought me back to myself.”
Sorrow is often unavoidable in this life, but our response of faith and hope in eternal life can bring us a measure of peace. God knows everything we feel; no tear is unnoticed, and none need be wasted, for as St. Pio once said to a grieving person, “Your tears were collected by the angels and were placed in a gold chalice, and you will find them when you present yourself before God.”
Nothing of value is permanently lost — especially not our loved ones, and the love we share with them — if we have faith in God. As St. Paulinus of Nola writes, “Granted our love may weep for a time, but our faith must ever rejoice. We should long for those who have been sent before us, but we should not lose hope of gaining them back.”

Our Christian Faith teaches us that the separations from our loved ones caused by death are temporary; we’re also taught that humbly bearing our burdens — including the burden of grief — is a valuable and even heroic way of growing in God’s grace. As St. Teresa of Avila notes, “We always find that those who walked clos­est to Christ, our Lord, were those who had to bear the greatest trials.” Our suffering and grief can lead us to everlasting joy, for as St. John Vianney tells us, “You must accept your cross; if you carry it courageously, it will carry you to Heaven.”

As much as we’d like to when we’re grieving, we cannot undo the past, but the saints assure us that turning to the Lord in our sorrows and placing our hopes in Him can give us strength here and now, and help prepare us for a future of new life and joy.

For Further Reflection

“It is a loving act to show sadness when our dear ones are torn from us, but it is a holy act to be joyful through hope and trust in the promises of God. . . . Thankful joy is more acceptable to God than long and querulous grief.” — St. Paulinus of Nola

“No picture can be drawn with only the brightest colors, nor har­mony created only from treble notes. . . . Our whole life is tem­pered between sweet and sour, and we must look for a mixture of both.” — Bl. Robert Southwell

“The more we are afflicted in this world, the greater is our assur­ance in the next; the more we sorrow in the present, the greater will be our joy in the future.” — St. Isidore of Seville

Something You Might Try

  • Elizabeth of the Trinity advises, “During painful times, when you feel a terrible void, think how God is enlarging the ca­pacity of your soul so that it can receive Him — making it, as it were, infinite as He is infinite. Look upon each pain as a love-token coming directly from God in order to unite you to Him.” We needn’t believe that God causes our grief, but we can be sure that, if we allow it, He uses our sorrow, thereby giving us a greater capacity for the future happiness that awaits us. The Lord doesn’t ask that you stop grieving; He asks only that you trust in Him and believe that the day will come when you will once again rejoice.
  • When her husband died after a long illness, leaving her with five young children, a grieving St. Elizabeth Ann Seton prayed, “I know that these contradictory events are permitted by Your wis­dom, which solely is light. We are in darkness and must be thank­ful that our knowledge is not wanted to perfect Your work.” As your grief begins to pass, look for opportunities to allow God’s light to shine in your life. Consider joining a support group — people with whom you can share tears and laughter. Look for an organization or group (perhaps in your parish) that needs volun­teers; activities of this sort can be a way of finding new meaning and making new friends. Cultivate a deeper relationship with Jesus and with Mary, who knew what it was to grieve, and to remain faithful in spite of grief. Being open to God’s grace in these ways can slowly begin to replace darkness and mourning with light and peace.
Editor’s note: This article is adapted from a chapter in Fr. Esper’s More Saintly Solutionswhich is available from Sophia Institute Press
Fr. Joseph M. Esper


Fr. Joseph Esper studied at Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit and at St. John’s Provincial Seminary in Plymouth, Michigan. He was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Detroit in 1982. He has lectured at Marian conferences, spoken on Catholic radio, and written more than a dozen articles for This Rock, The Priest, Homiletic, Pastoral Review, and other publications. From his experience as a parish priest, Fr. Esper offers today’s readers practical, encouraging, and inspiring wisdom.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Sum up what Obama has done to destroy America!

Jeff Foxworthy’s ‘idiots’ joke BEST way to sum up what Obama has done to America

Comedian Jeff Foxworthy took a huge swipe at the Obama administration in his own signature style.
Although it’s been out there for a few months, a Foxworthy fan re-posted the dig to the jokester’s Facebook page as a nudge — maybe to get him to officially add it to his stand-up routine.
It goes like this:
If you can get arrested for hunting or fishing without a license, but not for entering and remaining in the country illegally — you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots. …
If you have to get your parents’ permission to go on a field trip or to take an aspirin in school, but not to get an abortion — you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.
If you MUST show your identification to board an airplane, cash a check, buy liquor, or check out a library book and rent a video, but not to vote for who runs the government — you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.
If the government wants to prevent stable, law-abiding citizens from owning gun magazines that hold more than ten rounds, but gives twenty F-16 fighter jets to the crazy new leaders in Egypt — you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.
If, in the nation’s largest city, you can buy two 16-ounce sodas, but not one 24-ounce soda, because 24-ounces of a sugary drink might make you fat — you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.
If an 80-year-old woman or a three-year-old girl who is confined to a wheelchair can be strip-searched by the TSA at the airport, but a woman in a burka or a hijab is only subject to having her neck and head searched — you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.
If your government believes that the best way to eradicate trillions of dollars of debt is to spend trillions more — you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.
If a seven-year-old boy can be thrown out of school for saying his teacher is “cute,” but hosting a sexual exploration or diversity class in grade school is perfectly acceptable — you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.
If hard work and success are met with higher taxes and more government regulation and intrusion, while not working is rewarded with Food Stamps, WIC checks, Medicaid benefits, subsidized housing, and free cell phones — you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.
If the government’s plan for getting people back to work is to provide incentives for not working, by granting 99 weeks of unemployment checks, without any requirement to prove that gainful employment was diligently sought, but couldn’t be found — you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.
If you pay your mortgage faithfully, denying yourself the newest big-screen TV, while your neighbor buys iPhones, time shares, a wall-sized do-it-all plasma screen TV and new cars, and the government forgives his debt when he defaults on his mortgage — you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.
If being stripped of your Constitutional right to defend yourself makes you more “safe” according to the government — you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.
What a country!

Halloween: Neither A Trick Nor A Treat

Halloween: Neither A Trick Nor A Treat

Halloween: Neither A Trick Nor A Treat

Old and New ExperiencesThere are certain joyful events in our life which are deeply embedded in our memory. Some of those events are associated with particular celebrations or holidays. One such holiday is Halloween which has become part of every American child’s life experience. Interestingly, though, this holiday did not originate in America. It has come to us from Britain and Ireland, where ancient Celtic tribes observed a harvest feast on October 31 to mark the end of their old year, and the beginning of winter, and their new year on November 1. The Celts believed that in the late hours of October 31, the souls of the dead would come back to haunt their former homes, and those who now lived in them. Consequently, people would put on masks and other costumes, so that the dead would not be able to recognize them.
Fixing Things UpThis pagan view of the dead, as menacing ghosts who come to scare the living, was completely foreign to Biblical teaching, and Divine Revelation, as it has come down to us from our Lord through the Apostles in the Catholic Church. With the spread of Christianity, one of the ways to stem such pagan beliefs about the deceased was to move the Feast of All Saints (which had been celebrated on various dates) to November 1 with the commemoration of the souls in Purgatory (All Souls Day) on November 2. This change in the Catholic calendar took place gradually in the second half of the first millennium. Christians have always honored the saints who are in Heaven, and at the same time, have prayed for the souls of the deceased who were not yet in Heaven, but remained in Purgatory for the purpose of their total purification. Nevertheless, even with the Feast of All Saints and All Souls Day firmly established in the Church’s calendar, popular folklore would retain some elements from the pagan Celtic October 31 harvest feast. Moreover, people even started referring to this observance as “All Hallows’ Eve”—the Evening before All Saints. This is how the ancient pagan celebration took on a Catholic name, while never really having anything to do with Catholicism. As time went by, the Celtic harvest feast was transformed into the present children’s version of Halloween: little boys and girls (and sometimes adults) would wear masks and dress up in costumes of devils, goblins, witches, black cats, and vampires to represent evil spirits which—as the Celts believed—would come to haunt people. This way Halloween has simply become nothing more than an expression of children’s imagination, and an occasion for fun and games. So that’s all there is to it. Right? 
Not QuiteEverything which has been said thus far is part of the general knowledge about Halloween which is easily accessible. Even if some people are unaware of the historical background of the holiday, they can look it up in any encyclopedia, or on the Internet. But there is one important source of information about Halloween that very few people tap into. It is called: Exorcists.
Why Exorcists? As soon as a lot of people hear the word “exorcist,” the first thing which comes to their mind is a Hollywood movie with this title, or maybe a thriller they watched somewhere. Even many Catholics do not realize that exorcists are Roman Catholic priests, appointed officially by the Diocesan Bishop to help people who are possessed or infested by the devil. Diabolical possession is something so serious and difficult to overcome, that only a priest-exorcist who has the authority to expel evil spirits can help get rid of it. Exorcisms performed by such priests consist of a series of prayers and blessings whose purpose is to force the devil out of a possessed person’s body. But exorcisms are nothing new: they are well attested to in Scripture. In addition, experience shows that cases of diabolical possession have sky-rocketed in our times all over the world. 
So What Do Exorcisms Have To Do With Halloween?Some priest-exorcists have been sharing their vast experience with the wide public, and have made it known that during exorcisms, Satan usually speaks through the possessed person. The devil makes known certain things which a lot of people would normally not be aware of. One of the important pieces of information which has been gathered during exorcisms has to do with Halloween. As it turns out, the night between October 31 and November 1 is a time when, all over the world, Satanic practice is on the increase, because on that night, the greatest number of satanic rituals are performed, especially so-called demonic “black masses” which are celebrated with the use of animal or even human sacrifice. So someone may say: “Okay, fair enough, but I have nothing to do with it. My children have nothing to do with it. How does this concern me and my children, if what we are doing on Halloween is just a game with my kids wearing all kinds of funny costumes?”
The Core of the Problem Dressing up in costumes that stand for demons, goblins, witches, and vampires is not the same as putting on a mask with the face of J. F. Kennedy, or a shirt similar to the one used by Elvis Presley. Exorcists have been finding out that when we start playing with something that resembles Satan, and his demons, we open ourselves to these malevolent creatures’ influence, which is not just something psychological or intellectual in nature.1 Satan sees such behavior as an invitation on our part: an open door to his evil spiritual influence on the minds and souls of human beings. As exorcists confirm unequivocally, even if we are not consciously seeking demonic influence, it is still possible for us to be dangerously affected by it. Actually, it is a lot easier for the devil to enter into the mind of those who think nothing of things that “innocently” resemble the devil. So while it is true that there is an unhealthy intellectual and psychological aspect which negatively influences children dressing up in costumes of demons, witches, goblins, and vampires, there is an even more serious area which we should be concerned about: the spiritual aspect of demonic activity which appears innocent and harmless. It becomes more dangerous, because the innocent appearance of evil desensitizes us to what we are dealing with. Let us never forget that it is not only members of Satanic cults who enter into a spiritual relationship with Satan. A spiritual relationship with the devil can take place in various degrees. It does not always have to end up in diabolical possession. But, as exorcists warn, exposing kids to something which has some kind of a demonic connotation, draws the risk of entering into a relationship with the devil. It is like a slightly open window that a thief sees from a distance: for him it a signal which he interprets as an invitation to enter into the house. Dressing up children in costumes of all kinds of evil spirits and creatures, hanging pumpkins outside the house with evil faces carved on them, is like sending an invitation card to the devil by express mail. We can be assured that the devil will get interested in the invitation. But once he comes, it will not be that easy to fend him off.
So What Shall We Do?We can try to imagine the following situation. Let’s say we see a freshly baked delicious cake, but we do not know that someone laced it with poison. We start eating it. Will the fact that we are not aware of the poison prevent us from getting sick, or even dying? Of course not. The poisonous effects will take their course regardless of our will or our awareness of what’s inside the cake. This is precisely what happens with Halloween, but with one exception. We are fortunate to have the information which more and more priest-exorcists are sharing about its tremendous danger. Knowing what we know now, who in his right mind would want to dress up his children in costumes of demonic creatures? Parents’ concerns should go in a totally different direction. Have we ever wondered why so many young people start drinking, taking drugs, fall into depression, end up in a bad company, and even commit suicide? Parents often say: “What have we done wrong? We have always tried to give our children a lot of love; we taught them respect and proper behavior. So what went wrong?”
While each situation could be analyzed separately, parents may be wise to ask themselves whether throughout the years that their children were growing up, they might have senselessly and naively exposed them to Satan’s influence which had appeared as something innocent, but was actually infiltrating their kids’ minds and souls more and more. We must never take the devil lightly. Playing with fire is neither a game nor a joke. But knowing this is not enough to protect ourselves from demonic influence. It is also necessary to be in the state of grace, and to be strengthened by the frequent reception of the Sacraments – especially Holy Communion and Confession. It is also important to wear the Miraculous Medal of the Blessed Virgin Mary and to have Holy Water in the house. We know for certain that the devil stays away from homes which have a crucifix in a prominent location on the wall and saints’ images hanging in various places in the house—with a pride of place given to the image of the Divine Mercy, the Sacred Heart, and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. All these things are crucially important in order to create an environment where all the members of the household are protected. Exorcists tell us that Satan does not visit homes where family members pray the Rosary together, where the Bible as well as the Catechism are read regularly, and where all in the family practice their faith diligently.
St. Paul’s ReminderSt. Paul writes in his Letter to the Ephesians that:
 …our struggle is not with flesh and blood, but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens. Therefore, put on the armor of God, that you may be able to resist on the evil day and, having done everything, to hold your ground. (Eph. 6:12-13). 
Let’s face it: the “world” is at war with Christ, but it’s not just the world that we see on TV news reports. There is also an invisible evil world out there that we have to know about, and we cannot be naïve about its impact. Satan exists, but in order to harm us, he first has to create the impression that he exists only in our imagination, as a naughty creature with harmless horns, and a long tail. While it is true that there is no such thing as ghosts, or spirits of dead people coming to haunt us, it is also true that there are demons who are not the souls of the dead, but evil spirits whose only aim is to ruin us spiritually.
Doing The Right ThingIt is good to hear that more and more parishes and Catholic schools in America move away from Halloween for the above reasons, and put a greater emphasis on All Saints Day. On this occasion children are encouraged to dress up as the true heroes of history: saints and biblical figures. Nevertheless, while this is a good idea, it is also important for priests, religious, and parents to remember that this is a separate celebration from Halloween. Unfortunately, when children are exposed to minimum, or no spirituality in the home, it is no wonder that they are going to feel bad, and be surprised when other children, whom they know celebrate Halloween, while their own parents tell them that Halloween is not something good. Children will spontaneously, and more easily understand, that there is something wrong with Halloween when they start praying the Rosary, read the Bible, hear more about their patron saints, as well as guardian angels and, most importantly, when they look at their parents and see how devoutly they practice their Catholic faith. This is how the grace of God will work its way, not only into the child’s mind, but also into the child’s soul.
Teaching by Courageous ExampleOn September 13, 2015, a 43-year-old South African martyr, and a convert to Catholicism, by the name of Benedict Daswa, was declared blessed. He was a husband and a father of eight children. As a teacher and a school principle, he worked hard to spread the Catholic faith primarily through a virtuous life. Known for his opposition to occult practices, which were prevalent in the area where he lived, Benedict risked retaliation from those who insisted on adhering to devil worship. On February 2, 1990, while returning to his house, he was ambushed by a group of such people, who savagely clubbed him to death. As Benedict was dying, they gathered around him, and in an effort to increase his suffering, poured boiling water on his bleeding head, into his ears, nostrils, and mouth.
Sometimes, we may be under a lot of pressure to adhere to practices which have become so common that a mere opposition to them may draw a lot of criticism. All of us would like to have peace of mind, but at what cost? Blessed Benedict Daswa was a layman who would be the first one to remind priests, religious, and parents about the duty to be watchmen who have their eyes open. A good watchman sees danger when it approaches, but also has the courage to speak out, and resist anything that’s unbecoming to our Catholic faith. Let’s be prudent and vigilant. Let’s not be naïve at the face of the slightest semblance of evil. We cannot afford to be so. Our destiny ,and the destiny of our young people, may be at stake, both in this life and in the next.
  1. There are Catholic apologists, and other writers, who often refer to an interview with the Italian exorcist, Father Gabriele Amorth, which took place fifteen years ago. At that time, when asked about Halloween, he said that “if English and American children like to dress up as witches and devils on one night of the year—that is not a problem. If it is just a game, there is no harm in that.” While I have not met Father Amorth in person, I know from priests who have met him that he has changed his opinion on this matter. He now insists—on the basis of exorcisms which he has performed—that Halloween is highly esteemed by Satan, because it brings him a great joy. 

Thursday, October 22, 2015

VIDEO: Cardinal Arinze: People in objectively sinful situation can’t receive Communion ‘in good conscience’

VIDEO: Cardinal Arinze: People in objectively sinful situation can’t receive Communion ‘in good conscience’

Arinze, who is the prefect emeritus of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, was reacting to an argument made last week by a Synod Father that the divorced and remarried, and even homosexual couples, should be permitted to receive Holy Communion, if they have "come to a decision" to do so "in good conscience.”
Arinze said that one’s conscience must to be trained in the ways of the Lord to make correct judgements.
“Conscience, according to Catholic teaching, is the dictate — immediate — of what is to be done or not to be done. Conscience directs the individual. Nevertheless, conscience has to be educated to see the ways of God, the Commandments of God, as authentically interpreted by the Church, which means conscience has to be educated, has to be trained,” he said.
Arinze went on to quote portions from the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) that deals with conscience and to provide commentary on what the passages mean.
CCC Paragraph 1790: “A human being must always obey the certain judgment of his conscience. If he were deliberately to act against it, he would condemn himself. Yet it can happen that moral conscience remains in ignorance and makes erroneous judgments about acts to be performed or already committed.”
Arinze: “Which means, conscience does not make objective right and wrong, but only directs the person in what the person should do or not do. That conscience has to be educated, trained, if you wish,” he said.
CCC Paragraph 1791: “This ignorance can often be imputed to personal responsibility. This is the case when a man ‘takes little trouble to find out what is true and good, or when conscience is by degrees almost blinded through the habit of committing sin.’ In such cases, the person is culpable for the evil he commits.”
Arinze: “That means it isn't enough that conscience says, ‘I can do this’ if that conscience has been made blind by repeated acts that are evil. Then the person is responsible for that erroneous conscience. That is also clear,” he said.
CCC Paragraph 1792: “Ignorance of Christ and his Gospel, bad example given by others, enslavement to one's passions, assertion of a mistaken notion of autonomy of conscience, rejection of the Church's authority and her teaching, lack of conversion and of charity: these can be at the source of errors of judgment in moral conduct.”
Arinze: “You can see then, if a person is always stealing, if a person is always telling lies, if a person is always committing acts against chastity, the person may begin to get accustomed to such acts and no longer call them by their names. But a priest or bishop has to help them, to call good ‘good’ and evil ‘evil.’ Which means, although conscience should be followed, conscience should be educated,” he said.
Arinze said that there are “objective norms of right and wrong,” no matter what the personal conscience may dictate to an individual.
“Suppose I say in my conscience, ‘I follow what conscience says.’ And I see that car and I'd like it. And my conscience tells me it would be nice for me to take that car. And I go and take it. Or, I go to the bank and take a big swipe of money. Is it enough that I say, ‘My conscience is right, it didn't blame me?’”
“The police would not be amused and the judge would clap you in prison, you and your conscience. You see? Conscience has to be educated. The objective norm of right and wrong is God's eternal wisdom, inserted in human nature, which we call natural law,” he said.
When asked what a minister of the sacrament of Holy Communion should do when approached by people living in an objectively sinful situation who say they feel right in their consciences to approach the sacrament, Arinze responded that such people need help to “realize their condition.”
“There is such a thing as objective evil and objective good. Christ said he who [divorces his wife] and marries another, Christ has one word for that action, ‘adultery.’ That's not my word. It is Christ's word himself, who is humble and meek in heart, who is eternal truth. So, he knows what he's saying.”
“Now, the best way we can help a person is with truth. So, it will be necessary in some charitable way, nice way, to help such people to realize their condition. It is not enough to leave them with their conscience,” he said.
The cardinal used the analogy of a medical doctor aiding a wounded patient to make his point.
“A good doctor who receives a patient with a big wound, a sore, knows what is to be done. Maybe clean some parts. Maybe some injections. Maybe medicines are to be administered.”
“But if the doctor says, ‘the patient says he doesn't like these measures, he's happier with a bandage’ and gets a nice bandage and bandages the wound, is he a good doctor? Does the wound get healed because the patient's conscience tells him that this is the nicest way to approach it?
“You see, reality does not respect what [a person and his conscience] thinks. So the doctor should treat that wound with the best medical science.”
“That's the way the doctor will show mercy to the patient,” he said.