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Sunday 9 November 2014

Second repost on culpability and ignorance

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Friday, 27 July 2012

Types of sins and culpability mark two--perfection

Readers have asked me to look at Garrigou-Lagrange more directly with his definitions of sins. I did a few this past week and here are some more. He divides sins into classifications. After all this negativity, I shall go back to the virtues, which are much more interesting and fun for me.

These categories are connected to Thursday's response as well. The Dominican writes:

The sin of ignorance is that which springs from voluntary and culpable ignorance, called vincible ignorance. The sin of frailty is that which arises from a strong passion which diminishes liberty and impels the will to give its consent. As for the sin of malice, it is committed with full liberty, quasi de industria, intentionally and often with premeditation, even without passion or ignorance. We shall recall what St. Thomas teaches about each of them.

This first demarcation reveals that frailty or weakness is culpable, which is hard for modern men and women to understand. We make psychological excuses for many things.

I am not going into all the categories of ignorance, but I want to highlight one. Here is Garrigou-Lagrange again: 

Voluntary or vincible ignorance cannot completely excuse sin, for there was negligence; it only diminishes culpability. Absolutely involuntary or invincible ignorance completely exculpates from sin; it does away with culpability. As for concomitant ignorance, it does not excuse from sin, for, even if it did not exist, one would still sin.

Invincible ignorance is called "good faith." That ignorance be truly invincible or involuntary, it is necessary that the person cannot morally free himself from it by a serious effort to know his duties. It is impossible to be invincibly ignorant of the first precepts of the natural law: Do good and avoid evil; do not do to others what you would not wish them to do to you; you shall not kill; you shall not steal; one God alone you shall adore. At least by the order of the world, the starry sky, and the whole creation, man can easily obtain a knowledge of the probability of the existence of God, supreme Ordainer and Legislator. When he has this probability, he must seek to become more enlightened and must ask for light; otherwise he is not in genuine good faith or in absolutely involuntary and invincible ignorance. As much must be said of a Protestant for whom it becomes seriously probable that Catholicism is the true religion. He must clarify his idea by study and ask God for light. Unless he does this, as St. Alphonsus says, he already sins against faith by not wishing to take the means necessary to obtain it.

If one does not desire to be free of sin, that in itself is a problem. As the author states, issues involving the human capacity of knowing natural law never excuse a person. I hope this is not confusing. In other words, as I have stated before, all people must learn what they need to know to be free of a vice and pray for help. Counseling and the sacramental life are necessities, not luxuries.

Fraility also involve choice: A sin of frailty is one which springs from a strong passion, which impels the will to give its consent. With this meaning, the Psalmist says: "Have mercy on me, a Lord, for I am weak." (17) The spiritual soul is weak when its will yields to the violence of the movements of the sensible appetites. It thus loses rectitude of practical judgment and of voluntary election or choice, by reason of fear, anger, or concupiscence. Thus, during the Passion, Peter yielded through fear and denied our Lord three times. When, by reason of a lively emotion or of a passion, we are inclined toward an object, the intellect is induced to judge that it is suitable for us, and the will to give its consent contrary to the divine law.(18)
But we must distinguish here the so-called antecedent passion, which precedes the consent of the will, and that called consequent, which follows it. Antecedent passion diminishes culpability, for it diminishes the liberty of judgment and of voluntary choice; it is particularly apparent in very impressionable people. On the contrary, consequent or voluntary passion does not lessen the gravity of sin, but augments it; or rather it is a sign that the sin is more voluntary, since the will itself arouses this inordinate movement of passion, as happens in a man who wishes to become angry the better to manifest his ill will.(19) Just as a good consequent passion, such as Christ's holy anger when He was driving the merchants from the Temple, increases the merit, so an evil consequent passion augments the demerit.

I repeat that there is always culpability, but sometimes this is lessened. Before I get to sins of malice, which we mostly understand, let us look at this warning from the text. 

It would be a gross error to think that only the sin of malice can be mortal because it alone implies the sufficient advertence, the full consent, together with the serious matter, necessary for the sin which gives death to the soul and renders it worthy of eternal death. Such an error would result from a badly formed conscience, and would contribute to increase this deformity. Let us remember that we can easily resist the beginning of the inordinate movement of passion, and that it is a duty for us to do so and also to pray for help, according to the words of St. Augustine, quoted by the Council of Trent: "God never commands the impossible, but, in commanding, He warns us to do what we are able and to ask Him for help to do that which we cannot." (22)

This is the rub...we must not cover over our own tendencies and weaknesses. As one of my readers noted remembering Barney in The Andy Griffith Show, "Nip it. Nip it in the bud!"

to be continued...

Repost on Blasphemy

Sunday, 13 July 2014

On Blasphemy

St. John Vianney describes a “bad death”. He points out that some people say a quick death is bad, or one from a painful disease, or one from an executioner.

The Cure notes that most martyrs were killed by executioners. He notes that St. Francis de Sales die quickly, immediately. He writes that St. Roch and St. Francis Xavier died of the plague.

The only bad death is dying in sin. I dread seeing all the missed opportunities for grace and holiness. I dread not seeing, until my particular judgment, the horrible seriousness of my many sins. As the saint describes, we shall see our sins “in the broad light of day” not in confusion or darkness. We shall see what we did not want to face.

If we keep saying “no” to grace, grace will not suddenly be given to us at death, as we have turned against God so many times. God’s mercy and justice decide our deaths, not us.

The Cure writes this: “Voltaire, realizing that he was ill, began to reflect upon the state of the sinner who dies with his conscience loaded with sins. He wished to examine his conscience and to see whether God would be willing to pardon him all the sins of his life, which were very great in number. He counted upon the mercy of God, which is infinite, and wit this comforting thought in mind, he had brought to him one of those priests whom he had so greatly outraged and calumniated in his writings. He threw himself upon his knees and made a declaration to him of his sins and put into his hands the recantation of all his impieties and his scandals. He began to flatter himself on having achieved the great work of his reconciliation. But he was gravely mistaken. God has abandoned him; you will see how. Death anticipated all spiritual help. Alas! This unfortunate blasphemer felt all his terrors reborn in him. He cried out, ‘Alas, am I then abandoned by God and men?’….

No priests came. He went mad at death, and despaired. Voltaire’s friends who wanted him to die as he had lived, secular, hating God and the Church, denied entry to anyone who could have helped him.

I know a man who wanted to become a Catholic as he was dying. His family could not get a priest to come to his hospital room and to hear his confession. I sincerely hope God granted him baptism of desire, but why did he wait until the very end?

I pray for a happy death. St. Joseph, hear this prayer.

By the way, St. John Vianney reminds us that ignorance of sin, of God’s standards of morality, is our fault.

I have spoken with someone recently who told me that ignorance of sin would cover the sins of two people steeped in sin. No, this is simply not true. We have all the information written in our hearts in natural law. We have all the information we need plus the grace sufficient for salvation. This is our Catholic teaching.

How interesting that so many Catholics do not know that there is a natural law philosophy connected to the theology of the Catholic Church.  It is also interesting that the vast majority of the Catholics I have spoken with in the last six months have not read any, none, of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

This is so serious a sin of omission on the part of Catholics that it needs to be addressed from the pulpit. Why do not priests encourage the reading and study of the CCC?

I am sure St. John Vianney would have encouraged his parishioners to study this book. And, if he would have had it at his disposal, he would have referred to it.

I want to quote one more section from the sermons and then move on.  This selection is from a sermon on blasphemy and some people may be surprised at the list of sins which this great saint lists under this sin.

“I tell you, therefore, that we blaspheme: 1. When we say that God is not just in making some people so rich that they have everything in abundance while so many others are so wretched that they have difficulty in getting bread to eat. 2. When we say that He is not as good as people say, since He allows so many people to remain weak and despised by others while there are some who are loved and respected by everyone. 3. Or if we say that God does not see everything, that he does not know what is going on in the world. 4. if we say that ‘If God shows mercy to So-and-So, He is not just because that man has done too much harm. 5. Or again, when we come up against some loss or setback and we lose our temper with God and say such things as: ‘Ah, but I certainly have bad luck! God cannot do any more to me! I believe that He does not know I am in the world, or if He does know, it is only so that He can make me suffer!’ It is also blasphemy to criticize the Blessed Virgin….”

One more sin of blasphemy I want to mention if the sin of “final impenitence”. St. John Vianney writes that“Impenitence is a spirit of blasphemy, since the remission of our sins is achieved through love-which is the Holy Ghost.”

And I was out in this as the forecast was wrong!

Free Will Posts Not To Miss or Forget

Sorry, wifi problems

Will write when I can on free will, culpability, blasphemy and sacrilege.

In the meantime check these out:

Etheldredasplace: Free Will 101 Part One
04 Sep 2014
I am beginning to think that the last two generations have no idea what free will exactly is. The society and cultures of the West want to blame parents, circumstances of life, financial recessions, even holidays for people ...
13 Feb 2014 In order to have free will, people must have a center of their being which is independent. Mortal sin makes us thralls, ...
04 Feb 2014
We are at the point where technology is creating the future not predicting the future. Someone said today that free will is gone in most people in the States, and possibly in the EU. Think about this...................who has free will?
07 Apr 2013
One of the themes of this blog has been the interaction of grace and free will. Thankfully, we have a long tradition of the writings of the Doctors of the Church and others on this subject. The reason I bring it up again is that there ...

04 Sep 2014
I cannot possibly summarize the sections in Ripperger on free will, but I want to share a bit from the section on choosing evil. The will normally chooses what is perceived as a good. But, what about people who make evil ...
04 Sep 2014
... control over their choices. I am repeating this list as it seems to me that the issue of having a free will must be addressed in order to break through the false idea that we are merely thrown about by passions. More again later.
04 Sep 2014
1731 Freedom is the power, rooted in reason and will, to act or not to act, to do this or that, and so to perform deliberate actions on one's own responsibility. By free will one shapes one's own life. Human freedom is a force for ...
12 Sep 2014
is those mysteries that are non-evident and unseen (fides est de non visis) for we are certain beforehand that Providence is directing all things infallibly to a good purpose, and we are more convinced of the rectitude of His ...

22 Aug 2013
God gave us free will, which sets us apart from the animals, and is part of how we are made in His Image and Likeness. We are called, especially those of us who are baptised, to know, to love, to serve God in this world and to ...
23 May 2013
The Evil of Relativism-the denial of free will and hell. Posted by Supertradmum. I cannot believe this. I am astounded. A religious person, in a habit, said that there was no difference between good and evil in a person.
09 Oct 2014
The second head is the denial of free will, in my opinion, one of the most prevalent of heresies, which undermines each person's ability to choose truth over error. Psychology has damaged this teaching of free will; we all can ...
25 Jan 2013
In his Retractiones, Augustine insists that his earlier work On Free Will was simply not concerned with predestination, but with anthropology over against the Manichees.[3] For Augustine, the two debates can be distinct, for, ...

09 Sep 2013
Posted by Supertradmum. Concluding this little three part series on the sin of presumption, I want to stress that this sin involves not only pride, but the denial of free will, reason, and revelation. Presumption also denies natural ...
24 Aug 2014
Some people do not want God in their lives, nor do they want God's Will in their lives. Those who choose to go against the graces which God gives them block prayers. Free will trumps our prayers for some people. We can ...
23 Jul 2014
(2) God wills all men to be saved and no on to perish...nor after the fall of the first man is it His will forcibly to deprive man of free will. (3) That those, however, who are walking in the path of righteousness in their innocence, He ...
13 Sep 2014
Man's meritorious work may be considered in two ways: first, as it proceeds from free-will; secondly, as it proceeds from the grace of the Holy Ghost. If it is considered as regards the substance of the work, and inasmuch as it ...

19 Mar 2014
God has a perfect will and plan for us and a permissive will, which allows evil things to happen. This permissive will forms the mystery of suffering and the allowance of evil, from the free choices of men and women. However ...
16 Jan 2014
The first is the denial of free will. People chose to make bad choices daily. There is a growing number of Catholics on twitter, in blogs and in daily speech who reveal that they do not understand two things about free will.

Perfection Series VII: Part V

Finally, let us reflect that in Holy Communion we unite ourselves not only to Jesus but also to all the members of the Mystical Body of Christ, especially to the souls most dear to Jesus and most dear to our heart. It is in Holy Communion that we realize fully the words of Jesus, “I in them ... that they may be perfect in unity” (John 17:23). The Eucharist renders us one, even among ourselves, His members, “all one in Jesus” as St. Paul says (Gal. 3:28). Holy Communion is truly all love of God and neighbor. It is the true “feast of love,” as St. Gemma Galgani said. And in this “feast of love” the soul in love can exult singing with St. John of the Cross, “Mine are the heavens and mine is the earth, mine are men, the Just are mine and sinners are mine. The Angels are mine, and also the Mother of God, all things are mine. God Himself is mine and for me because Christ is mine and all for me.”

This selection from the book in this series reminds us all that we are united to others and that our reception of Communion is not merely a private devotion, but connects us to the entire Mystical Body of Christ.

Therefore, receiving is worthily becomes an act of charity for the entire Church and not just for our own benefit. As we grow in love, so the Church grows in love as well.

All of the members of the Church, the Church Militant, the Church Suffering in purgatory, and the Church Triumphant are joined in Holy Communion.

St. Bonaventure made himself an apostle of this truth and he spoke of it in vibrant tones, “O Christian souls, do you wish to prove your true love towards your dead? Do you wish to send them the most precious help and golden key to Heaven? Receive Holy Communion often for the repose of their souls.”
For the souls in Purgatory, then, Holy Communion is the dearest personal gift which they can receive from us. Who can say how much Holy Communions are helpful in their liberation? One day St. Mary Magdalene of Pazzi's dead father appeared to her and he said that one hundred and seven Holy Communions were necessary for him to be able to leave Purgatory. In fact, at the last of the one hundred and seven Holy Communions offered for him, the saint saw her father ascend into Heaven.
When Jesus is mine, the whole Church exalts, the Church in Heaven, in Purgatory and the Church on earth. Who can express the joy of the Angels and Saints at every Holy Communion devoutly received? A new current of love arrives in Paradise and it makes the blessed spirits vibrate every time that a creature unites himself to Jesus to possess Him and be possessed by Him. A Holy Communion is of much greater value than an ecstasy, a rapture or a vision. Holy Communion transports the whole of Paradise into my poor heart!
St. Philip Neri loved the Eucharist so much that, even when he was gravely ill, he received Holy Communion every day, and if Jesus was not brought to him very early in the morning he became very upset and he could not find rest in any way. “I have such a desire to receive Jesus,” he exclaimed, “that I cannot give myself peace while I wait.” The same thing took place in our own time to Padre Pio of Pietrelcina, since only obedience could make him wait until 4 or 5 a.m. to celebrate Mass. Truly, the love of God is a “Devouring Fire” (Deut. 4:24).

Perfection Series VII: Part Four

Staying with Father Manelli's book, one sees the centrality of the Eucharist for holiness.

In light of the Synod discussions, perhaps this section provides readers with some clarity.

To receive Christ in mortal sin is to commit sacrilege. The darkness of these sins take repentance and the moving away from the sources of sin, as well as Confession.

...Confession made before Holy Communion to render a soul already in the state of Sanctifying Grace more pure and more beautiful, is something precious even though not required. It is precious because it clothes the soul with a more beautiful “wedding garment” (cf. Matt. 22:12) with which it may take its place at the table of the angels. For this reason the most conscientious souls have always made frequent use (at least once a week) of the sacramental cleansing of absolution, even for venial sins. If you want great purity of soul in order to receive Jesus, no purity shines brighter than that which one obtains when he makes a good confession, where the cleansing Blood of Jesus renders the repentant soul divinely bright and beautiful. “The soul that receives the Divine Blood becomes beautiful, as being clothed in a more precious garment, and it appears so beautifully aglow that if you could see it you would be tempted to adore it,” declared St. Mary Magdalene di Pazzi.
St. Ambrose said that persons who commit this sacrilege “come into church with a few sins, and leave it burdened with many.” St. Cyril wrote something yet stronger: “They who make a sacrilegious Communion receive satan and Jesus Christ into their hearts — satan, that they may let him rule, and Jesus Christ, that they may offer Him in sacrifice as a Victim to satan.” Thus the Catechism of the Council of Trent (De Euch., v.i) declares: “As of all the sacred mysteries ... none can compare with the ... Eucharist, so likewise for no crime is there heavier punishment to be feared from God than for the unholy or irreligious use by the faithful of that which ... contains the very Author and Source of holiness.”
"There does not exist on earth a punishment which is great enough to punish it sufficiently!” , for which Jesus said to St. Bridget, sacrilege to confess oneself first before receiving Holy Communion, otherwise one commits a most grave sin of indispensible and necessary In this regard it is well to recall the teaching of the Church. Holy Communion must be received only while one is in the grace of God. Therefore, when one has committed a mortal sin, even if one has repented of it and has a great desire to receive Holy Communion, it is
For this reason St. Francis de Sales taught his spiritual children, “Go to Confession with humility and devotion ... if it is possible, every time that you go to Holy Communion, even though you do not feel in your conscience any remorse of mortal sin.”
St. Anthony Mary Claret illustrates this fact very well: “When we go to Holy Communion, all of us receive the same Lord Jesus, but not all receive the same grace nor are the same effects produced in all. This comes from our greater or lesser disposition. To explain this fact, I will take an example from nature. Consider the process of grafting, the more similar the one plant is to the other, the better the graft will succeed. Likewise, the more resemblance there is between the one that goes to Communion and Jesus, so much the better will the fruits of Holy Communion be.” The Sacrament of Confession is in fact the excellent means whereby the similarity between the soul and Jesus is restored.
To examine themselves, to repent, to accuse themselves in Confession and to ask pardon of God, and in this way, every day profit from the Sacrament of Confession, was something natural for the saints. How fortunate they were to be capable of so much! The fruits of sanctification were constant and abundant because the purity of soul with which each saint welcomed into himself Jesus, “the Wheat of the elect,” (Zach. 9:17) was like the good ground “... which brings forth fruit in patience” (Luke 8:15).
The saints applied to perfection the directive of the Holy Spirit, “Let everyone first examine himself, and then eat of that Bread and drink of that Chalice; because he who eats and drinks unworthily, eats and drinks unto his own condemnation” (1 Cor. 11:28-29).
Also, St. Alphonsus, St. Joseph Cafasso, St. John Bosco, St. Pius X, and Padre Pio of Pietrelcina went to Confession very often. And why did St. Pius X wish to lower the age for First Holy Communion to seven years, if not to allow Jesus to enter into the innocent hearts of children, which are so similar to angels. And why was Padre Pio so delighted when they brought him children five years old who were prepared for First Holy Communion?
St. Camillus de Lellis never celebrated Holy Mass without first going to Confession, because he wanted at least “to dust off” his soul. Once, at sundown, in a public square in Livorno, before taking leave of a priest of the same religious order, foreseeing that he would not have a priest to confess to on the following morning before his Mass, paused, took off his hat, made the sign of the Cross and went to Confession right there in the square to his confrere.
.... For this reason St. Hugh, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Francis de Sales, St. Ignatius, St. Charles Borromeo, St. Francis Borgia, St. Louis Bertrand, St. Joseph of Cupertino, St. Leonard of Port Maurice and many other saints went to Confession
“Oh, if we could only understand Who is that God Whom we receive in Holy Communion, then what purity of heart we would bring to Him!” exclaimed St. Mary Magdalen of Pazzi.
What is there to say about the great purity of soul with which the saints approached to receive the Bread of Angels? We know that they had a great delicacy of conscience which was truly angelic. Aware of their own misery, they tried to present themselves to Jesus “holy and immaculate,” (Eph. 1:4) repeating with the Publican, “O God, be merciful to me a sinner” (Luke 18:13), and having recourse with great care to the cleansing of Confession.

A Treat for An Intense Sunday

The Passion of the Church: Forgiveness does not replace justice

Papal Flight Tuesday, 11 May 2010

On that day, Father Lombardi interviewed the Pope Emeritus, then Benedict XVI. Some of us paid attention to what the pope said at the time and repeated it.

I spoke with seminarians, who knew that the enemies were and are within the Church. These seminarians also knew and know that the laity must learn the Faith themselves and not rely on the clergy, who may be, in their parishes and dioceses, false leaders.

If the laity are not listening, it is the laity's own fault. Are you doing penance for the present pope, Pope Francis? A long time ago, God told me I had no right to criticize priests unless I was praying daily for them.

Here is a snippet from the interview on the plane.

Consequently, I would say that, here too, beyond this great vision of the suffering of the Pope, which we can in the first place refer to Pope John Paul II, an indication is given of realities involving the future of the Church, which are gradually taking shape and becoming evident. So it is true that, in addition to moment indicated in the vision, there is mention of, there is seen, the need for a passion of the Church, which naturally is reflected in the person of the Pope, yet the Pope stands for the Church and thus it is sufferings of the Church that are announced. The Lord told us that the Church would constantly be suffering, in different ways, until the end of the world. The important thing is that the message, the response of Fatima, in substance is not directed to particular devotions, but precisely to the fundamental response, that is, to ongoing conversion, penance, prayer, and the three theological virtues: faith, hope and charity. Thus we see here the true, fundamental response which the Church must give – which we, every one of us, must give in this situation. As for the new things which we can find in this message today, there is also the fact that attacks on the Pope and the Church come not only from without, but the sufferings of the Church come precisely from within the Church, from the sin existing within the Church. This too is something that we have always known, but today we are seeing it in a really terrifying way: that the greatest persecution of the Church comes not from her enemies without, but arises from sin within the Church, and that the Church thus has a deep need to relearn penance, to accept purification, to learn forgiveness on the one hand, but also the need for justice. Forgiveness does not replace justice. In a word, we need to relearn precisely this essential: conversion, prayer, penance and the theological virtues. This is our response, we are realists in expecting that evil always attacks, attacks from within and without, yet that the forces of good are also ever present and that, in the end, the Lord is more powerful than evil and Our Lady is for us the visible, motherly guarantee of God’s goodness, which is always the last word in history.

Blesseds Jacinta and Francisco, pray for us.

"A City Built by Gentlemen for Gentlemen"

Two Englishmen from Norfolk and I were discussing manners on a long bus ride today. They are doing a walking tour of Malt, and we had a great time discussing walking in Exmoor, Dartmoor and other gorgeous places in England. They had done a walking tour of Cumbria, which I have always wanted to do, and, God willing, will do one day.

A situation, which is, sadly, too common in Malta, arose when a young man of about fourteen had to be "bullied" into giving up his seat for an elderly woman.

Now, on most days, young men do not give up their seats to elderly women. Old woman stand, holding on, while some of the drivers careen around corners, and one must have sea-legs to withstand the angles. Adult men do not give up their seats for women.

Manners are missing.

Manners are also missing with smokers, a breed much more common in Europe than in America. Smokers walk on the sidewalks smoking, not caring if their cigarettes brush up against one. Smoking is too common, and there seem to be no manners concerning blowing smoke in people's faces.

Now, the two gentlemen from Norfolk were telling me that Cyprian young people also lack manners. They walked through Cyprus as well.

The lack of manners is directly connected to the lack of Christianity. Narcissism and rudeness rule the day, in persons who have never been taught to think of others first, or honor old age.

Asian girls give up their seats in the bus to the old. Asian girls, by whom I mean young women from Japan and Korea, who are here either as tourists or who go to the international schools which teach English, are extremely polite and well-bred.

They are not Christian, but have a long cultural history of honoring the aged. We have lost the sense of respect for the old.

And, women and babies....

The two men on the walking tour blamed parents and so do I.  Manners are learned in the home. Manners need to be practiced daily, as part of the larger lifestyle of considering other people's needs before one's own.

The two men also noted a difference in ethnic groups regarding manners. Daily, I pass a group of men who hog the pavement when I walk from Adoration to the bus stop. They will not move over for me or most people. They are not Maltese.

This island has a motto for Valletta-"the city built by gentlemen, for gentlemen". How I wish that were true today.