Ante-Purgatory: The 3 Ways Those Who Repent Late in Life are Punished in Dante’s Purgatorio

At this death there ensured a struggled between the powers of good and evil for his soul; since he had uttered the name of Mary with his dying breath and shed a tear of true repentance, the heavily faction prevailed and bore his soul off to Paradise.

Ante-Purgatory

 

1. The Excommunicated

In Canto III, Dante and Virgil encounter those souls who were excommunicated. The reason, however, these souls are in purgatory and not hell is because they repented at the very end of their life. In Dante’s Purgatorio, the repentant excommunicants are actually not in purgatory proper – they are in ante-purgatory or that which comes before purgatory. Virgil and the Pilgrim Dante meet a soul named Manfred. The soul explains that the souls of excommunicants who repent late in life must wait in ante-purgatory thirty times as long as they waited to repent on earth. The wait can, however, be shorted by intercessory prayer. Manfred explains his situation in a very beautiful section of verses:

Horrible was the nature of my sins,
but boundless mercy stretches out its arms
to any man who comes in search of it,

[…]

The church’s curse is not the final word
for Everlasting Love may still return,
if hope reveals the slightest hint of green.

True, he who dies scorning the Holy Church,
although he turns repentant at life’s end,
must stay outside, a wanderer on this bank,

for thirty time as long as he has lived
in his presumptuousness-although good prayers
may shorten the duration of his term.

The reason waiting in ante-purgatory is a punishment is because the souls cannot begin their purgation, and it is their purgation that makes them fit to enter into the beatific bliss of heaven. It is possible that Dante has the souls wait “thirty times as long” as they lived in their presumptuous state due to “a provision in Canon Law that calls for a thirty-day period of grace before the ban of excommunication goes into effect.”1

 

2. The Indolent

After climbing through an arduous gap in the mountain, Dante the Pilgrim is told that Mount Purgatory actually becomes easier to climb the higher you go.2 As they continue their ascent, Dante the Pilgrim and Virgil meet the “indolent souls” who constitute the second class of the “Late Repentants” in ante-purgatory. The indolent souls are lazy. Though they were not excommunicated as the first class of Late Repentants, the indolent souls simply waited until their end of their life to repent. They are punished by having to wait outside purgatory proper for as many years as they waited to repent on earth. An indolent soul named Belacqua explains:

Before I start, the heavens must revolve
as many times as while I was alive,
for I put off repenting till the end.

Prayers could, of course, make my time shorter here:
prayers form a heart that lives in grace–the rest
are worthless, for they go unheard in Heaven!”

Note that Dante again includes the benefit of intercessory prayer when speaking of the punishment of these souls. With the indolent, the concept of praying for the poor souls in purgatory is explained in further detail and includes that those prayers must come from an individual on earth who is in a state of grace.3

 

3. The Unshriven: Violent Deaths

As Dante the Pilgrim and Virgil continue on their ascent, they discover a group of souls chanting Miserere. The souls are the third and final class of the Late Repentants. They are those “who died a violent death but managed to repent in the final moments.”4

We are all souls who met a violent death,
and we were sinners to our final hour;
but then the light of Heaven lit our minds,

and penitent and pardoning, we left
that life at peace with God, Who left our hearts
with longing for the holy sight of Him.”

Here they encounter the soul named Buonconte of Montefeltro. Buonconte’s story is notable: “At this death there ensured a struggled between the powers of good and evil for his soul; since he had uttered the name of Mary with his dying breath and shed a tear of true repentance, the heavenly faction prevailed and bore his soul off to Paradise. But a demon took possession of his corpse and played havoc with it: he conjured up a storm and sent the mortal remains plummeting down the raging and swollen river channels.”5 He states:

I made my way, my throat on open wound,
fleeing on foot, and bloodying the plain.

There I went blind. I could no longer speak,
but as I died, I murmured Mary’s name,
and there I fell and left my empty flesh.

The unshriven or unabsolved begin the theme of each group in purgatory having its own prayer. The unshriven sing the Miserere, which is King David’s famous Psalm 50 asking for forgiveness.6 The unshriven souls request that Dante and others pray for them.7 Continuing the theme of intercessory prayer, Dante asks Virgil about the “power of prayer to affect the will of Heaven.”8 Virgil states, “high justice would in no way be debased / if ardent love should cancel instantly / the debt these penitents must satisfy.”9 In contrast, however, Virgil submits there are “those whose sins could not be urged by prayer / because their prayers had no access to God.”10

 

The Gate of Purgatory

"The Portals of Purgatory" by Gustave Dore.
“The Portals of Purgatory” by Gustave Dore.

While still in ante-purgatory, Virgil and Dante the Pilgrim continue to the Valley of the Princes where the “Negligent Rulers” dwell.11 The rulers are singing the Salve Regina. Though not late repentants, the rulers continue a theme of negligence seen in the excommunicants, the indolent, and the unshriven. After a few other encounters, Dante the Pilgrim and Virgil arrive at the Gate of Purgatory. Three steps lead up to the gate. The first is a marble step “polished to the glaze of a looking glass.”12 The second is a black step, “rough and crumbling, fire-corroded stone.”13 And the third and final step – upon which the Gate of Purgatory sat – was “red as the blood that spurts out from a vein.”14 According to Musa, “the three steps are generally taken t0 represent the three stages of repentance: the first step, which is white and mirror-like, stands for self-examination; the second, black, rough step stands for sorrow for sin, or contrition; the third, flaming-red step signifies satisfaction of the sinner’s debt, or penance.”15 On the threshold of the Gate of Purgatory sits an angel clothed in an ash gray robe holding a sword. When Dante approaches, the angel traces seven “P’s” on his forehead. In Latin, the word for sin is peccatum, which foreshadows the seven capital vices that will be purged in purgatory. The angel even warns Dante to be sure to “wash away” the wounds on his journey. The angel then takes keys given to him by St. Peter – one gold and one silver – and opens the Gate of Purgatory. As the gate opens, Dante can hear Te Deum Laudamus being sung.

  1. Purgatory, Trans. Musa, 39 n. 139. []
  2. See Canto IV, line 88-90. []
  3. See Purgatory, 48, n. 133-35. []
  4. Purgatory, 49. []
  5. Purgatory, Canto V, 49. []
  6. Psalm 50 – DR. []
  7. Canto VI, 25-37. []
  8. Purgatory, 57. []
  9. Canto VI, 37-19. []
  10. Canto VI, 41-2. []
  11. Canto VII. []
  12. Canto IX, 94-5. []
  13. Id. 98. []
  14. Id. 102. []
  15. Purgatory, 105. []

Purgatory: 8 Maps of Dante’s Purgatorio

"The Portals of Purgatory" by Gustave Dore.
“The Portals of Purgatory” by Gustave Dore.

Listers, “The “Divina Commedia” is an allegory of human life, in the form of a vision of the world beyond the grave, written avowedly with the object of converting a corrupt society to righteousness: “to remove those living in this life from the state of misery, and lead them to the state of felicity”. It is composed of a hundred cantos, written in the measure known as terza rima, with its normally hendecasyllabic lines and closely linked rhymes, which Dante so modified from the popular poetry of his day that it may be regarded as his own invention. He is relating, nearly twenty years after the event, a vision which was granted to him (for his own salvation when leading a sinful life) during the year of jubilee, 1300, in which for seven days (beginning on the morning of Good Friday) he passed through hell, purgatory, and paradise, spoke with the souls in each realm, and heard what the Providence of God had in store for himself and to world. The framework of the poem presents the dual scheme of the “De Monarchiâ” transfigured. Virgil, representing human philosophy acting in accordance with the moral and intellectual virtues, guides Dante by the light of natural reason from the dark wood of alienation from God (where the beasts of lust pride, and avarice drive man back from ascending the Mountain of the Lord), through hell and purgatory to the earthly paradise, the state of temporal felicity, when spiritual liberty has been regained by the purgatorial pains. Beatrice, representing Divine philosophy illuminated by revelation, leads him thence, up through the nine moving heavens of intellectual preparation, into the true paradise, the spaceless and timeless empyrean, in which the blessedness of eternal life is found in the fruition of the sight of God. There her place is taken by St. Bernard, type of the loving contemplation in which the eternal life of the soul consists, who commends him to the Blessed Virgin, at whose intercession he obtains a foretaste of the Beatific Vision, the poem closing with all powers of knowing and loving fulfilled and consumed in the union of the understanding with the Divine Essence, the will made one with the Divine Will, “the Love that moves the sun and the other stars”.1

Purgatorio
“The “Purgatorio”, perhaps the most artistically perfect of the three canticles, owes less to the beauty of the separate episodes. Dante’s conception of purgatory as a lofty mountain, rising out of the ocean in the southern hemisphere, and leading up to the Garden of Eden, the necessary preparation for winning back the earthly paradise, and with it all the prerogatives lost by man at the fall of Adam, seems peculiar to him; nor do we find elsewhere the purifying process carried on beneath the sun and stars, with the beauty of transfigured nature only eclipsed by the splendour of the angelic custodians of the seven terraces. The meeting with Beatrice on the banks of Lethe, with Dante’s personal confession of an unworthy past, completes the story of the “Vita Nuova” after the bitter experiences and disillusions of a lifetime. The essence of Dante’s philosophy is that all virtues and all vices proceed from love. The “Purgatorio” shows how love is to be set in order, the “Paradiso” shows how it is rendered perfect in successive stages of illumination, until it attains to union with the Divine Love.”2

 

Maps of Mount Purgatorio

Mount Purgatory 1

Mount Purgatory 2

Mount Purgatory 4

Mount Purgatory 5

Mount Purgatory 6

Mount Purgatory 8

Mount Purgatory 3

Mount Purgatory 7

 

Bonus: Maps of Dante’s Universe

Dante Universe 3

Dante Universe 1

Dante Universe 4

Dante Universe 2

  1. Catholic Encyclopedia: Dante Alighieri. []
  2. Id. []

Charioteer of the Virtues: 6 Lessons on Prudence & her Contrary Vices

Listers, Aristotle (“the Philosopher”) defined prudence as  “right reason applied to action.”1 Similarly, the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches, “prudence is the virtue that disposes practical reason to discern our true good in every circumstance and to choose the right means of achieving it.”2 Prudence is an indispensable part of the virtuous life. It stands as a “unique virtue” for the role it plays in both the intellectual and moral life of the virtuous person. It is also a “special virtue” for its role in guiding all virtues to their determined end. Prudence is, without any doubt, absolutely necessary to live the good life, the virtuous life.

 

SPL Catechesis on the Soul & Virtue

 

Lesson One:
Prudence Does Not Always Deal with Morality

Prudence is an intellectual virtue. The intellectual virtues are categorized as either speculative or practical. The speculative virtues perfect a person’s ability to contemplate truth. For example, the intellectual virtue of science helps to perfect a person’s ability to contemplate a specific body of knowledge. A person, a scientist, may through the habit of science perfect his understanding of botany, archeology, or astrophysics. In contrast, the practical intellectual virtues are concerned with external acts. The practical virtue of art is “nothing else but the right reason about certain works to be made.”3 Through the virtue of art, the shipwright perfects his ability to make ships. The other practical virtue is prudence. If art is the “right reason of things to be made,” then prudence is the “right reason of things to be done.”4 A shipwright may have an excellent aptness for creating ships, but that does not make him a prudent shipwright. The prudent shipwright knows what time he should rise for work, how many hours he should engage his craft, and how he should conduct himself in all his affairs.

 

Lesson Two:
Prudence is Distinct from All Other Virtues

If a shipwright crafts the finest ships to ever sail the open seas is he a moral or immoral person? The intellectual virtues do not provide a moral import. A shipwright might create the finest ships but be morally bankrupt, while a morally upstanding person may be a terrible shipwright. In the virtues that deal with morality, there are principally the Theological Virtues – faith, hope, & charity – and the Natural or Cardinal Virtues – prudence, justice, temperance, and fortitude. Just as prudence is concerned with a person’s intellectual acts, so too is prudence concerned with a person’s moral acts. No other virtue shares this scope. In this context, Aquinas calls prudence a “special virtue,” because prudence is the only moral and intellectual virtue.

 

Lesson Three:
Prudence is the Auriga Virtutum

"Detail of the east gallery with busts of Virtues in Canterbury Quad, St John's College, Oxford c.1631-36." Fr. Lawrence, OP. Flickr.
“Detail of the east gallery with busts of Virtues in Canterbury Quad, St John’s College, Oxford c.1631-36.” Fr. Lawrence, OP. Flickr.

Prudence is right reason applied to action. Temperance is the virtue that moderates attraction to pleasurable goods. If a shipwright decides against the proverbial “just one more drink” and retires from the public house, has he acted prudently or with temperance? A common mistake is to regard the other virtues as simply different forms of prudence; thus, justice is prudence regarding order, temperance is prudence regarding pleasure, and fortitude is prudence regarding fear. What then is the proper relationship of prudence to the other virtues? First, prudence does not dictate the end or goal. If the determined end is that the shipwright should not have another drink, that end is determined by temperance. Second, prudence does dictate the means to achieve the end. If the shipwright determines not to have another drink, what is the most prudent means to achieve that end? – or rather, how should he now act? Is it more prudent to simply not order another ale or to leave the pub altogether? Temperance has set the end, now prudence must determine the means to that end. Aquinas quotes Aristotle in stating, “moral virtue ensures the rectitude of the intention of the end, while prudence ensures the rectitude of the means.”5 Each moral virtue sets the end according to right reason, but the means to that end is right reason in action – prudence.6 In this context, the nickname of prudence – the Auriga Virtutum, the Charioteer of the Virtues – is properly understood, because prudence “guides the other virtues by setting [the] rule and measure.”7

 

Lesson Four:
There are Different Species of Prudence

Our Servant King, St Dominic's priory church in London. Fr. Lawrence, OP. Flickr.
Our Servant King, St Dominic’s priory church in London. Fr. Lawrence, OP. Flickr.

Does prudence govern only the good of the individual or is prudence concerned with the good of others? In his Ethics, Aristotle notes that many have argued that prudence only deals with the individual’s good, because “they thought that man is not bound to seek other than his own good.”8 Aquinas holds that this view is “opposed to charity,” because charity demands we seek the good of others.9 Aquinas further holds the view is contrary to reason, because right reason “judges the common good to be better than the good of the individual.”10 Consequently under both charity and reason, prudence deals with “not only the private good of the individual, but also the common good of the multitude.”11 A philosophic principle worth committing to memory – and often used by Aquinas – is that the object of a thing determines the species of a thing. If prudence, therefore, can have as its object the good of many, the good of a few, or the good of one, there must be correlating different species of prudence. According to the Angelic Doctor, there is political prudence, which “is directed to the common good of the state.”12 Second, there is the domestic prudence, which is “directed to the common good of the home.” Third, there is prudence simply or monastic prudence, which “is directed to one’s own good.”13

 

Lesson Five:
Prudence of the Flesh

Aquinas opens his discussion with a simple syllogism. It is impossible for a man to be prudent unless he is good. No sinner is a good man. Therefore no sinner is prudent.14 There is, however, a false prudence. Virtue is “an habitual and firm disposition to do the good.”15 Prudence, as the Charioteer of Virtue, disposes a person toward a good end. What about a prudent robber? A robber that “devises fitting ways of committing robbery”?16 Aquinas posits this as a false prudence, and is the “prudence of the flesh” as described by St. Paul.17 Aquinas further submits there is a second type of prudence – an imperfect prudence. Imperfect prudence would be the shipwright who is prudent toward his particular good, shipbuilding, but lacks prudence toward the “common good of all human life.” Moreover, imagine the brilliant astrophysicists who is also an atheist. Finally, there is true and perfect prudence – the prudence that “takes counsel, judges, and commands aright in respect of the good end of man’s whole life.”18 The true and perfect prudence is prudence simply. To wit, prudence is right reason in action, and sin will always be an irrational act; therefore, sinners are not prudent.

 

Lesson Six:
Imprudence & Negligence are Special Sins

"Detail of the Rood in St Paul's church, Knightsbridge by Bodley." - Fr. Lawrence, OP. Flickr.
“Detail of the Rood in St Paul’s church, Knightsbridge by Bodley.” – Fr. Lawrence, OP. Flickr.

Imprudence is a sin and manifests in two different ways: as a privation or as a contrary.19 As a privation, a person lacks the prudence they ought to have. As a contrary, the person’s actions go directly against prudence. For example, the imprudent man who despises wise counsel.20 Where as prudence is considered a special virtue, so too is imprudence a special sin. Aquinas explains, “for just as all the virtues have a share of prudence, in so far as it directs them, so have all vices and sins a share of imprudence, because no sin can occur, without some defect in an act of the directing reason, which defect belongs to imprudence.”21 For example, if the shipwright has too many ales at the public house, is he imprudent or acting with intemperance? The shipwright is both, because intemperance has set the end and imprudence has set the means. Just as prudence is a special virtue, imprudence is a special sin.22 The second vice opposed to prudence is negligence. The virtue of solicitude is a care or concern for something, it watchfulness, and it is being alert. It is a part of prudence.23 Negligence is a lack of solicitude – it is an omission, a failure to act. Consequently, negligence is opposed to prudence, right reason applied to action, because there is no action. In this way, negligence is also a special sin as it affects the act of reason itself. The special sins are also known as general sins, because their scope extends past any particular matter. For example, lust is particularly oriented toward sexual matters, but negligence affects reason itself; thus, the vice of negligence can extend “to any kind of moral matter.”24

  1. ST. II-II.47.2 Sed Contra, citing Ethics VI 5 []
  2. CCC § 1806 []
  3. ST. I-II.57.3, see also for an extended conversation on the intellectual virtues, 8 Traditional Catholic Answers about Virtue. []
  4. Id. []
  5. II-II.47.6. Sed contra []
  6. Aquinas on Prudence as the Means: “But it belongs to the ruling of prudence to decide in what manner and by what means man shall obtain the mean of reason in his deeds. For though the attainment of the mean is the end of a moral virtue, yet this means is found by the right disposition of these things that are directed to the end.” II-II.47.7 []
  7. CCC § 1806, furthermore, “it is prudence that immediately guides the judgment of conscience. The prudent man determines and directs his conduct in accordance with this judgment. With the help of this virtue we apply moral principles to particular cases without error and overcome doubts about the good to achieve and the evil to avoid.” []
  8. II-II.47.10 – Aquinas citing Ethics, vi. 8 []
  9. Id., see Aquinas citing St. Paul, I Cor. 13:5, 10:33. []
  10. Id. []
  11. Id. []
  12. Id. a. 11. []
  13. Id. a. 11, see also a. 12, further defining political prudence. There is “legislative prudence,” which belongs to the rulers, and “political prudence,” which is “about individual actions.” Consequently, political prudence is in both the rulers and the ruled. []
  14. ST II-II.47.13, sed contra. []
  15. CCC § 1803 []
  16. II-II.47.13 []
  17. See Rom. 8:6. []
  18. Id. []
  19. II-II.53.1. []
  20. Id. []
  21. Id. a. 2 []
  22. Special Sins Under Imprudence: First, there is “thoughtlessness.” Thought, according to Aquinas, “signifies the act of the intellect in considering truth about something.” II-II.53.4. Thoughtless is the vice, the bad habit, of failing to judge rightly “those things on which right judgment depends.” Second, there is the vice of inconsistency. Aquinas teaches that inconsistency demonstrates a “withdrawal from a definite good purpose.” Id. a. 6. Aquinas reasons that a man does not step back from a previously attained good unless it is for some inordinate desire; thus, inconsistency is accomplished through a “defect of reason.” []
  23. See II-II.47.9 []
  24. II-II.54.1-2. []

The Daughters of Lust: 5 Questions on How They Pervert the Soul

Lust is a vice that can easily consume a person’s soul. The consequences are dire. Our Lady of Fatima proclaimed, ‘more souls go to Hell because of sins of the flesh than for any other reason.’ Understand the vice of lust and her daughters so that the Catholic soul may stand guard against them.

Listers, if a person invites lust into his heart, the daughters of lust will soon follow and nest deep within it. A vice is not a single act. Both vice and virtue are habits. Habits are described by both Aristotle and Aquinas as a species of the category of “quality,” and qualities are difficult to change. When a person habituates themselves to the evil that is lust, that repetitive action changes the quality of their soul. Lust is a vice that can easily consume a person. The consequences are dire. Our Lady of Fatima proclaimed, “more souls go to Hell because of sins of the flesh than for any other reason.”1 Understand the vice of lust and her daughters so that the Catholic soul may stand guard against them.

 

1. What are the Daughters of Lust?

St. Thomas Aquinas relies on the authority of Pope St. Gregory the Great to enumerate the so-called daughters of lust. In his Books of Morals, Pope St. Gregory speaks of pride as the Queen of Sins who after conquering a heart invites her generals to dwell within it. The generals of the queen of sins, according to Gregory the Great, are the seven capital vices: (1) vain glory, (2) envy, (3) anger, (4) melancholy, (5) avarice, (6) gluttony, (7) lust. In turn, once one of the capital vices enters the heart, it calls forth its army of corresponding sins. Aquinas speaks of the army of lust as the daughters of lust. According to Pope St. Gregory the Great, the capital vice of lust spawns eight daughters:

  1. Blindness of mind
  2. Thoughtlessness [Inconsiderateness]
  3. Inconstancy
  4. Rashness [Precipitation]
  5. Self-love
  6. Hatred of God
  7. Love of this World [Affection for this present world]
  8. Abhorrence or Despair of a Future World [Dread or despair of that which is to come]

The capital vice of lust and her corresponding daughters convince the conquered heart to continue to engorge itself on pleasurable goods, especially sexual pleasures.

 

2. What are the powers of the soul?

A man passes by a bakery and smells the sweet buttery scent of fresh baked bread. Immediately, he feels an attraction toward the bread, but he chooses to continue on passed the bakery. What drama has unfolded in the man’s soul? The soul is composed of lower and higher powers. In the lower powers is the sense appetite. The sense appetite comprehends a sensible good through the senses and inclines the soul toward that good. The man apprehended fresh bread and his sense appetite moved him toward it; however, the man did not follow the movement of his appetite. It is the higher powers of the soul – reason and the will – that should order the lower powers; thus, the man’s inclination toward the bread was controlled by his reason and will.2 So too does this order of the soul occur with goods characterized by sexual pleasure. The soul apprehends the good through the senses and is inclined toward the sexual pleasure, but reason and will must order the inclination according to virtue. The capital vice of lust exists when there is a perversion of the relationship between the higher and lower powers of the soul toward a sexual pleasure.

 

3. How do the Daughters of Lust disorder the soul?

St. Thomas Aquinas explains how the vice of lust and her daughters disorder the soul.

When the lower powers are strongly moved towards their objects, the result is that the higher powers are hindered and disordered in their acts. Now the effect of the vice of lust is that the lower appetite, namely the concupiscible, is most vehemently intent on its object, to wit, the object of pleasure, on account of the vehemence of the pleasure. Consequently the higher powers, namely the reason and the will, are most grievously disordered by lust.

The sense appetite or lower appetite of the soul is generally divided into two parts: the concupiscible appetite and the irascible appetite. The former, concupiscence, is the soul’s inclination toward things which are pleasant and an aversion toward those things which are unpleasant. Consequently, the man’s concupiscible appetite would both draw him toward the sweet smell of fresh bread and push him away from the sordid stench of a sewer. Note also that the initial reaction to the object in question is often involuntary. The irascible appetite may draw the soul toward an arduous good (a good that is difficult to obtain) or may push the soul away from an evil that is difficult to escape. Consequently, the irascible appetite may spark in the soul a surge of courage to conquer an evil or it may spark fear if it is an evil from which the soul should flee.3

Lust deals with a disorder of the concupiscible appetite. Specifically, the concupiscible appetite’s inclination toward a sexual pleasure. In general, as Aquinas stated, lust disorders the soul by having the lower power of the concupiscible appetite toward a sexual pleasure overrun the higher powers of reason and the will. Below are the specifics on how each daughter of lust corresponds to a darkening of the will and reason.

 

4. How do the Daughters of Lust pervert reason?

The Angelic Doctor lays out four different ways reason acts and how, if corrupted by lust, a daughter of lust perverts the act.

(1) Now the reason has four acts in matters of action. First there is simple understanding, which apprehends some end as good, and this act is hindered by lust, according to Daniel 13:56, “Beauty hath deceived thee, and lust hath perverted thy heart.” On this respect we have “blindness of mind.”

(2) The second act is counsel about what is to be done for the sake of the end: and this is also hindered by the concupiscence of lust. Hence Terence says (Eunuch., act 1, sc. 1), speaking of lecherous love: “This thing admits of neither counsel nor moderation, thou canst not control it by counseling.” On this respect there is “rashness,” which denotes absence of counsel, as stated above (Question 53, Article 3).

(3) The third act is judgment about the things to be done, and this again is hindered by lust. For it is said of the lustful old men (Daniel 13:9): “They perverted their own mind . . . that they might not . . . remember just judgments.” On this respect there is “thoughtlessness.”

(4) The fourth act is the reason’s command about the thing to be done, and this also is impeded by lust, in so far as through being carried away by concupiscence, a man is hindered from doing what his reason ordered to be done. [To this “inconstancy” must be referred.] [The sentence in brackets is omitted in the Leonine edition.] Hence Terence says (Eunuch., act 1, sc. 1) of a man who declared that he would leave his mistress: “One little false tear will undo those words.”

In short, (1) understanding is perverted by blindness of mind (2) asking for counsel is perverted by rashness (3) judgment is perverted by thoughtlessness and (4) the command to act is perverted by inconstancy.4

 

5. How do the Daughters of Lust pervert the will?

The Universal Doctor lays out how the will submitting to lust spawns the daughters of lust.

(1) On the part of the will there results a twofold inordinate act. One is the desire for the end, to which we refer “self-love,” which regards the pleasure which a man desires inordinately, while on the other hand there is “hatred of God,” by reason of His forbidding the desired pleasure.

(2) The other act is the desire for the things directed to the end. With regard to this there is “love of this world,” whose pleasures a man desires to enjoy, while on the other hand there is “despair of a future world,” because through being held back by carnal pleasures he cares not to obtain spiritual pleasures, since they are distasteful to him.

Note that not all pleasurable goods are disordered, but if man seeks pleasurable goods in an inordinate manner he becomes selfish. In turn, selfishness leads to a hatred of God and his order of creation. Similarly, the man who wills inordinate pleasurable goods simultaneously demonstrates a love of this world and his despair of the future world to come.

Lastly, note that a vice is not a single act. A vice is a habit and a habit is a species of quality – specifically the quality of a man’s soul, and both Aristotle and Aquinas agree that a quality is difficult to change. Therefore, the more lust is allowed to pervert the soul, the greater it will entrench itself and the more the daughters of lust will nest.

  1. Fatima Quote: Read the cited quote and more about Our Lady of Fatima at 4 Things You Must Know about Our Lady of Fatima. []
  2. Further Reading on the Powers of the Soul: For those interested, please consult a Thomistic explanation of the sense appetite, the Catholic Encyclopedia article on Concupiscence, and St. Thomas Aquinas’ explanation of the power of sensuality. []
  3. Concupiscible & Irascible: Aquinas further categorizes these appetites into different passions. The term passion means something that acts upon the soul in distinction to the will first moving the soul toward an object; thus, if a man sees a beautiful woman he may be struck with a passion that affects his soul and inclines the soul toward the woman. Aquinas lists specific passions for each appetite. Under the concupiscible appetite, he lists love (good as such) and hatred (evil as such), desire (good is absent) and aversion (evil is absent), joy (good is present) and sadness (evil is present). Under the irascible appetite, he lists hope (an absent but attainable good) and despair (an absent an unattainable good), courage (a conquerable evil), fear (an unconquerable evil), and anger (present evil). For more see Concupiscence and the Sense Appetite. []
  4. Are All Sexual Acts Lustful? – The obvious answer is no, but Aquinas’ answer is worth reading – especially when attempting to explain the movement of the soul toward pleasurable goods which are in fact good and virtuous. He states, “A sin, in human acts, is that which is against the order of reason. Now the order of reason consists in its ordering everything to its end in a fitting manner. Wherefore it is no sin if one, by the dictate of reason, makes use of certain things in a fitting manner and order for the end to which they are adapted, provided this end be something truly good.” For more on lust in general, visit Lust & the Common Good. []

15 Quotes from Cardinal Ratzinger’s Letter to the Bishops on Homosexuality

“The Church, in rejecting erroneous opinions regarding homosexuality, does not limit but rather defends personal freedom and dignity realistically and authentically understood.”

 

Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith
Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons
Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger
October 1, 1986.

 

The Purpose of the Letter

1. “The issue of homosexuality and the moral evaluation of homosexual acts have increasingly become a matter of public debate, even in Catholic circles. Since this debate often advances arguments and makes assertions inconsistent with the teaching of the Catholic Church, it is quite rightly a cause for concern to all engaged in the pastoral ministry, and this Congregation has judged it to be of sufficiently grave and widespread importance to address to the Bishops of the Catholic Church this Letter on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons.”

 

An Objective Disorder

2. “Although the particular inclination of the homosexual person is not a sin, it is a more or less strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil; and thus the inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder.”

 

Inner Unity of the Creator

3. “Human beings, therefore, are nothing less than the work of God himself; and in the complementarity of the sexes, they are called to reflect the inner unity of the Creator. They do this in a striking way in their cooperation with him in the transmission of life by a mutual donation of the self to the other.”

 

Sodom

4. “There inevitably follows a loss of awareness of the covenantal character of the union these persons had with God and with each other. The human body retains its “spousal significance” but this is now clouded by sin. Thus, in Genesis 19:1-11, the deterioration due to sin continues in the story of the men of Sodom. There can be no doubt of the moral judgement made there against homosexual relations. In Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13, in the course of describing the conditions necessary for belonging to the Chosen People, the author excludes from the People of God those who behave in a homosexual fashion.”

 

St. Paul on Homosexuality

5. “In Romans 1:18-32, still building on the moral traditions of his forebears, but in the new context of the confrontation between Christianity and the pagan society of his day, Paul uses homosexual behaviour as an example of the blindness which has overcome humankind.”

 

Only in the Marital Act

6. “It is only in the marital relationship that the use of the sexual faculty can be morally good. A person engaging in homosexual behaviour therefore acts immorally.”

 

Homosexuality is Not a Complementary Union

7. “Homosexual activity is not a complementary union, able to transmit life; and so it thwarts the call to a life of that form of self-giving which the Gospel says is the essence of Christian living. This does not mean that homosexual persons are not often generous and giving of themselves; but when they engage in homosexual activity they confirm within themselves a disordered sexual inclination which is essentially self-indulgent.”

 

The Church as Defender

8. “The Church, in rejecting erroneous opinions regarding homosexuality, does not limit but rather defends personal freedom and dignity realistically and authentically understood.”

 

The Deceitful Propaganda

9. “But she [the Church] is really concerned about the many who are not represented by the pro-homosexual movement and about those who may have been tempted to believe its deceitful propaganda. She is also aware that the view that homosexual activity is equivalent to, or as acceptable as, the sexual expression of conjugal love has a direct impact on society’s understanding of the nature and rights of the family and puts them in jeopardy.”

 

Deplorable Violence

10. “It is deplorable that homosexual persons have been and are the object of violent malice in speech or in action. Such treatment deserves condemnation from the Church’s pastors wherever it occurs. It reveals a kind of disregard for others which endangers the most fundamental principles of a healthy society. The intrinsic dignity of each person must always be respected in word, in action and in law.But the proper reaction to crimes committed against homosexual persons should not be to claim that the homosexual condition is not disordered.”

 

The Faithful Homosexual

11. “What, then, are homosexual persons to do who seek to follow the Lord? Fundamentally, they are called to enact the will of God in their life by joining whatever sufferings and difficulties they experience in virtue of their condition to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross.”

 

The Chaste Life

12. “Christians who are homosexual are called, as all of us are, to a chaste life. As they dedicate their lives to understanding the nature of God’s personal call to them, they will be able to celebrate the Sacrament of Penance more faithfully and receive the Lord’s grace so freely offered there in order to convert their lives more fully to his Way.”

 

Duty of the Bishops

13. “The Bishops have the particularly grave responsibility to see to it that their assistants in the ministry, above all the priests, are rightly informed and personally disposed to bring the teaching of the Church in its integrity to everyone.”

 

Pastoral Care

14. “We encourage the Bishops, then, to provide pastoral care in full accord with the teaching of the Church for homosexual persons of their dioceses. No authentic pastoral programme will include organizations in which homosexual persons associate with each other without clearly stating that homosexual activity is immoral. A truly pastoral approach will appreciate the need for homosexual persons to avoid the near occasions of sin.”

 

Catechetical Programs

15. “We encourage the Bishops to promote appropriate catechetical programmes based on the truth about human sexuality in its relationship to the family as taught by the Church. Such programmes should provide a good context within which to deal with the question of homosexuality.”

 

More Lists on Homosexuality & Related Issues

 

Listers, how does your diocese or parish compare to the instructions given by the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith? These exhortations are over twenty-five years old. Have they been followed? Systematically ignored?

36 of the Most Necessary Questions on Our Lord’s Passion and Death

“We call that day good on which Christ died because by His death He showed His great love for man, and purchased for him every blessing.”

Listers, the following lesson is taken from the Baltimore Catechism. The Baltimore Catechism was the standard catechism for teaching the faith and catechizing children from 1885 to Vatican II. Its basic question-and-answer approach is the most natural learning style for the human mind and it simplifies even the most complex theological questions. All the lists taken from the Baltimore Catechism may be found here.

The Passion of Our Lord

 

 

BALTIMORE CATECHISM #3

LESSON 8

ON OUR LORD’S PASSION, DEATH, RESURRECTION AND ASCENSION
Part A: 369-404

Q. 369. What do we mean by Our Lord’s Passion?

A. By Our Lord’s Passion we mean His dreadful sufferings from His agony in the garden till the moment of His death.

 

Q. 370. What did Jesus Christ suffer?

A. Jesus Christ suffered a bloody sweat, a cruel scourging, was crowned with thorns, and was crucified.

 

Q. 371. When did Our Lord suffer the “bloody sweat”?

A. Our Lord suffered the “bloody sweat” while drops of blood came forth from every pore of His body, during His agony in the Garden of Olives, near Jerusalem, where He went to pray on the night His Passion began.

 

Q. 372. Who accompanied Our Lord to the Garden of Olives on the night of His Agony?

A. The Apostles Peter, James and John, the same who had witnessed His transfiguration on the mount, accompanied Our Lord to the Garden of Olives, to watch and pray with Him on the night of His agony.

 

Q. 373. What do we mean by the transfiguration of Our Lord?

A. By the transfiguration of Our Lord we mean the supernatural change in His appearance when He showed Himself to His Apostles in great glory and brilliancy in which “His face did shine as the sun and His garments became white as snow.”

 

Q. 374. Who were present at the transfiguration?

A. There were present at the transfiguration — besides the Apostles Peter, James and John, who witnessed it — the two great and holy men of the Old Law, Moses and Elias, talking with Our Lord.

 

Q. 375. What caused Our Lord’s agony in the garden?

A. It is believed Our Lord’s agony in the garden was caused:
By his clear knowledge of all He was soon to endure;
By the sight of the many offenses committed against His Father by the sins of the whole world;
By His knowledge of men’s ingratitude for the blessings of redemption.

 

Q. 376. Why was Christ cruelly scourged?

A. Christ was cruelly scourged by Pilate’s orders, that the sight of His bleeding body might move His enemies to spare His life.

 

Q. 377. Why was Christ crowned with thorns?

A. Christ was crowned with thorns in mockery because He had said He was a King.

 

Q. 378. Could Christ, if He pleased, have escaped the tortures of His Passion?

A. Christ could, if He pleased, have escaped the tortures of His Passion, because He foresaw them and had it in His power to overcome His enemies.

 

Q. 379. Was it necessary for Christ to suffer so much in order to redeem us?

A. It was not necessary for Christ to suffer so much in order to redeem us, for the least of His sufferings was more than sufficient to atone for all the sins of mankind. By suffering so much He showed His great love for us.

 

Q. 380. Who betrayed Our Lord?

A. Judas, one of His Apostles, betrayed Our Lord, and from His sin we may learn that even the good may become very wicked by the abuse of their free will.

 

Q. 381. How was Christ condemned to death?

A. Through the influence of those who hated Him, Christ was condemned to death, after an unjust trial, at which false witnesses were induced to testify against Him.

 

Q. 382. On what day did Christ die?

A. Christ died on Good Friday.

 

Q. 383. Why do you call that day “good” on which Christ died so sorrowful a death?

A. We call that day good on which Christ died because by His death He showed His great love for man, and purchased for him every blessing.

 

Q. 384. How long was Our Lord hanging on the cross before He died?

A. Our Lord was hanging on the Cross about three hours before He died. While thus suffering, His enemies stood around blaspheming and mocking Him. By His death He proved Himself a real mortal man, for He could not die in His divine nature.

 

Q. 385. What do we call the words Christ spoke while hanging on the Cross?

A. We call the words Christ spoke while hanging on the Cross “the seven last words of Jesus on the Cross.” They teach us the dispositions we should have at the hour of death.

 

Q. 386. Repeat the seven last words or sayings of Jesus on the Cross.

A. The seven last words or sayings of Jesus on the Cross are:

1. “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do,” in which He forgives and prays for His enemies.
2. “Amen, I say to thee, this day thou shalt be with Me in Paradise,” in which He pardons the penitent sinner.
3. “Woman, behold thy Son” — “Behold thy Mother,” in which He gave up what was dearest to Him on earth, and gave us Mary for our Mother.
4. “My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” from which we learn the suffering of His mind.
5. “I thirst,” from which we learn the suffering of His body.
6. “All is consummated,” by which He showed the fulfillment of all the prophecies concerning Him and the completion of the work of our redemption.
7. “Father, into Thy hands I commend my spirit,” by which He showed His perfect resignation to the Will of His Eternal Father.

 

Q. 387. What happened at the death of Our Lord?

A. At the death of Our Lord there were darkness and earthquake; many holy dead came forth from their graves, and the veil concealing the Holy of Holies, in the Temple of Jerusalem, was torn asunder.

 

Q. 388. What was the Holy of Holies in the temple?

A. The Holy of Holies was the sacred part of the Temple, in which the Ark of the Covenant was kept, and where the high priest consulted the Will of God.

 

Q. 389. What was the “Ark of the Covenant”?

A. The Ark of the Covenant was a precious box in which were kept the tablets of stone bearing the written Commandments of God, the rod which Aaron changed into a serpent before King Pharaoh, and a portion of the manna with which the Israelites were miraculously fed in the desert. The Ark of the Covenant was a figure of the Tabernacle in which we keep the Holy Eucharist.

 

Q. 390. Why was the veil of the Temple torn asunder at the death of Christ?

A. The veil of the Temple was torn asunder at the death of Christ because at His death the Jewish religion ceased to be the true religion, and God no longer manifested His presence in the Temple.

 

Q. 391. Why did the Jewish religion, which up to the death of Christ had been the true religion, cease at that time to be the true religion?

A. The Jewish religion, which, up to the death of Christ, had been the true religion, ceased at that time to be the true religion, because it was only a promise of the redemption and figure of the Christian religion, and when the redemption was accomplished and the Christian religion established by the death of Christ, the promise and the figure were no longer necessary.

 

Q. 392. Were all the laws of the Jewish religion abolished by the establishment of Christianity?

A. The moral laws of the Jewish religion were not abolished by the establishment of Christianity, for Christ came not to destroy these laws, but to make them more perfect. Its ceremonial laws were abolished when the Temple of Jerusalem ceased to be the House of God.

 

Q. 393. What do we mean by moral and ceremonial laws?

A. By “moral” laws we mean laws regarding good and evil. By “ceremonial” laws we mean laws regulating the manner of worshipping God in Temple or Church.

 

Q. 394. Where did Christ die?

A. Christ died on Mount Calvary.

 

Q. 395. Where was Mount Calvary, and what does the name signify?

A. Mount Calvary was the place of execution, not far from Jerusalem; and the name signifies the “place of skulls.”

 

Q. 396. How did Christ die?

A. Christ was nailed to the Cross, and died on it between two thieves.

 

Q. 397. Why was Our Lord crucified between thieves?

A. Our Lord was crucified between thieves that His enemies might thus add to His disgrace by making Him equal to the worst criminals.

 

Q. 398. Why did Christ suffer and die?

A. Christ suffered and died for our sins.

 

Q. 399. How was Our Lord’s body buried?

A. Our Lord’s body was wrapped in a clean linen cloth and laid in a new sepulchre or tomb cut in a rock, by Joseph of Arimathea and other pious persons who believed in Our Divine Lord.

 

Q. 400. What lessons do we learn from the sufferings and death of Christ?

A. From the sufferings and death of Christ we learn the great evil of sin, the hatred God bears to it, and the necessity of satisfying for it.

 

Q. 401. Whither did Christ’s soul go after His death?

A. After Christ’s death His soul descended into hell.

 

Q. 402. Did Christ’s soul descend into the hell of the damned?

A. The hell into which Christ’s soul descended was not the hell of the dammed, but a place or state of rest called Limbo, where the souls of the just were waiting for Him.

 

Q. 403. Why did Christ descend into Limbo?

A. Christ descended into Limbo to preach to the souls who were in prison — that is, to announce to them the joyful tidings of their redemption.

 

Q. 404. Where was Christ’s body while His soul was in Limbo?

A. While Christ’s soul was in Limbo His body was in the holy sepulchre.

Early Church: 12 Quotes on Homosexuality and Other Sexual Sins

“[H]aving forbidden all unlawful marriage, and all unseemly practice, and the union of women with women and men with men…”

1. The Didache

“You shall not commit murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not commit pederasty, you shall not commit fornication, you shall not steal, you shall not practice magic, you shall not practice witchcraft, you shall not murder a child by abortion nor kill one that has been born” (Didache 2:2 [A.D. 70]).1

 

2. Justin Martyr

“[W]e have been taught that to expose newly-born children is the part of wicked men; and this we have been taught lest we should do anyone harm and lest we should sin against God, first, because we see that almost all so exposed (not only the girls, but also the males) are brought up to prostitution. And for this pollution a multitude of females and hermaphrodites, and those who commit unmentionable iniquities, are found in every nation. And you receive the hire of these, and duty and taxes from them, whom you ought to exterminate from your realm. And anyone who uses such persons, besides the godless and infamous and impure intercourse, may possibly be having intercourse with his own child, or relative, or brother. And there are some who prostitute even their own children and wives, and some are openly mutilated for the purpose of sodomy; and they refer these mysteries to the mother of the gods” (First Apology 27 [A.D. 151]).

 

3. Clement of Alexandria

“All honor to that king of the Scythians, whoever Anacharsis was, who shot with an arrow one of his subjects who imitated among the Scythians the mystery of the mother of the gods . . . condemning him as having become effeminate among the Greeks, and a teacher of the disease of effeminacy to the rest of the Scythians” (Exhortation to the Greeks 2 [A.D. 190]).

“[According to Greek myth] Baubo [a female native of Eleusis] having received [the goddess] Demeter hospitably, reached to her a refreshing draught; and on her refusing it, not having any inclination to drink (for she was very sad), and Baubo having become annoyed, thinking herself slighted, uncovered her shame, and exhibited her nudity to the goddess. Demeter is delighted with the sight—pleased, I repeat, at the spectacle. These are the secret mysteries of the Athenians; these Orpheus records” (ibid.).

“It is not, then, without reason that the poets call him [Hercules] a cruel wretch and a nefarious scoundrel. It were tedious to recount his adulteries of all sorts, and debauching of boys. For your gods did not even abstain from boys, one having loved Hylas, another Hyacinthus, another Pelops, another Chrysippus, another Ganymede. Let such gods as these be worshipped by your wives, and let them pray that their husbands be such as these—so temperate; that, emulating them in the same practices, they may be like the gods. Such gods let your boys be trained to worship, that they may grow up to be men with the accursed likeness of fornication on them received from the gods” (ibid.).

“In accordance with these remarks, conversation about deeds of wickedness is appropriately termed filthy [shameful] speaking, as talk about adultery and pederasty and the like” (The Instructor6, ca. A.D. 193).

“The fate of the Sodomites was judgment to those who had done wrong, instruction to those who hear. The Sodomites having, through much luxury, fallen into uncleanness, practicing adultery shamelessly, and burning with insane love for boys; the All-seeing Word, whose notice those who commit impieties cannot escape, cast his eye on them. Nor did the sleepless guard of humanity observe their licentiousness in silence; but dissuading us from the imitation of them, and training us up to his own temperance, and falling on some sinners, lest lust being unavenged, should break loose from all the restraints of fear, ordered Sodom to be burned, pouring forth a little of the sagacious fire on licentiousness; lest lust, through want of punishment, should throw wide the gates to those that were rushing into voluptuousness. Accordingly, the just punishment of the Sodomites became to men an image of the salvation which is well calculated for men. For those who have not committed like sins with those who are punished, will never receive a like punishment” (ibid., 8).

 

4. Tertullian

“[A]ll other frenzies of the lusts which exceed the laws of nature, and are impious toward both [human] bodies and the sexes, we banish, not only from the threshold but also from all shelter of the Church, for they are not sins so much as monstrosities” (Modesty 4 [A.D. 220]).2

 

5. Novatian

“[God forbade the Jews to eat certain foods for symbolic reasons:] For that in fishes the roughness of scales is regarded as constituting their cleanness; rough, and rugged, and unpolished, and substantial, and grave manners are approved in men; while those that are without scales are unclean, because trifling, and fickle, and faithless, and effeminate manners are disapproved. Moreover, what does the law mean when it . . . forbids the swine to be taken for food? It assuredly reproves a life filthy and dirty, and delighting in the garbage of vice. . . . Or when it forbids the hare? It rebukes men deformed into women” (The Jewish Foods 3 [A.D. 250]).3

 

6. Cyprian of Carthage

“[T]urn your looks to the abominations, not less to be deplored, of another kind of spectacle. . . . Men are emasculated, and all the pride and vigor of their sex is effeminated in the disgrace of their enervated body; and he is more pleasing there who has most completely broken down the man into the woman. He grows into praise by virtue of his crime; and the more he is degraded, the more skillful he is considered to be. Such a one is looked upon—oh shame!—and looked upon with pleasure. . . . Nor is there wanting authority for the enticing abomination . . . that Jupiter of theirs [is] not more supreme in dominion than in vice, inflamed with earthly love in the midst of his own thunders . . . now breaking forth by the help of birds to violate the purity of boys. And now put the question: Can he who looks upon such things be healthy-minded or modest? Men imitate the gods whom they adore, and to such miserable beings their crimes become their religion” (Letters 1:8 [A.D. 253]).

“Oh, if placed on that lofty watchtower, you could gaze into the secret places—if you could open the closed doors of sleeping chambers and recall their dark recesses to the perception of sight—you would behold things done by immodest persons which no chaste eye could look upon; you would see what even to see is a crime; you would see what people embruted with the madness of vice deny that they have done, and yet hasten to do—men with frenzied lusts rushing upon men, doing things which afford no gratification even to those who do them” (ibid., 1:9).

 

7. Arnobius

“[T]he mother of the gods loved [the boy Attis] exceedingly, because he was of most surpassing beauty; and Acdestis [the son of Jupiter] who was his companion, as he grew up fondling him, and bound to him by wicked compliance with his lust. . . . Afterwards, under the influence of wine, he [Attis] admits that he is . . . loved by Acdestis. . . . Then Midas, king of Pessinus, wishing to withdraw the youth from so disgraceful an intimacy, resolves to give him his own daughter in marriage. . . . Acdestis, bursting with rage because of the boy’s being torn from himself and brought to seek a wife, fills all the guests with frenzied madness; the Phrygians shriek, panic-stricken at the appearance of the gods. . . . [Attis] too, now filled with furious passion, raving frantically and tossed about, throws himself down at last, and under a pine tree mutilates himself, saying, ‘Take these, Acdestis, for which you have stirred up so great and terribly perilous commotions’” (Against the Pagans 5:6–7 [A.D. 305]).

 

8. Eusebius of Caesarea

“[H]aving forbidden all unlawful marriage, and all unseemly practice, and the union of women with women and men with men, he [God] adds: ‘Do not defile yourselves with any of these things; for in all these things the nations were defiled, which I will drive out before you. And the land was polluted, and I have recompensed [their] iniquity upon it, and the land is grieved with them that dwell upon it’ [Lev. 18:24–25]” (Proof of the Gospel 4:10 [A.D. 319]).

 

9. Basil the Great

“He who is guilty of unseemliness with males will be under discipline for the same time as adulterers” (Letters 217:62 [A.D. 367]).

“If you [O, monk] are young in either body or mind, shun the companionship of other young men and avoid them as you would a flame. For through them the enemy has kindled the desires of many and then handed them over to eternal fire, hurling them into the vile pit of the five cities under the pretense of spiritual love. . . . At meals take a seat far from other young men. In lying down to sleep let not their clothes be near yours, but rather have an old man between you. When a young man converses with you, or sings psalms facing you, answer him with eyes cast down, lest perhaps by gazing at his face you receive a seed of desire sown by the enemy and reap sheaves of corruption and ruin. Whether in the house or in a place where there is no one to see your actions, be not found in his company under the pretense either of studying the divine oracles or of any other business whatsoever, however necessary” (The Renunciation of the World [A.D. 373]).

 

10. John Chrysostom

“[The pagans] were addicted to the love of boys, and one of their wise men made a law that pederasty . . . should not be allowed to slaves, as if it was an honorable thing; and they had houses for this purpose, in which it was openly practiced. And if all that was done among them was related, it would be seen that they openly outraged nature, and there was none to restrain them. . . . As for their passion for boys, whom they called their paedica, it is not fit to be named” (Homilies on Titus 5 [A.D. 390]).

“[Certain men in church] come in gazing about at the beauty of women; others curious about the blooming youth of boys. After this, do you not marvel that [lightning] bolts are not launched [from heaven], and all these things are not plucked up from their foundations? For worthy both of thunderbolts and hell are the things that are done; but God, who is long-suffering, and of great mercy, forbears awhile his wrath, calling you to repentance and amendment” (Homilies on Matthew 3:3 [A.D. 391]).

“All of these affections [in Rom. 1:26–27] . . . were vile, but chiefly the mad lust after males; for the soul is more the sufferer in sins, and more dishonored than the body in diseases” (Homilies on Romans 4 [A.D. 391]).

“[The men] have done an insult to nature itself. And a yet more disgraceful thing than these is it, when even the women seek after these intercourses, who ought to have more shame than men” (ibid.).

“And sundry other books of the philosophers one may see full of this disease. But we do not therefore say that the thing was made lawful, but that they who received this law were pitiable, and objects for many tears. For these are treated in the same way as women that play the whore. Or rather their plight is more miserable. For in the case of the one the intercourse, even if lawless, is yet according to nature; but this is contrary both to law and nature. For even if there were no hell, and no punishment had been threatened, this would be worse than any punishment” (ibid.).

 

11. Augustine

“[T]hose shameful acts against nature, such as were committed in Sodom, ought everywhere and always to be detested and punished. If all nations were to do such things, they would be held guilty of the same crime by the law of God, which has not made men so that they should use one another in this way” (Confessions 3:8:15 [A.D. 400]).

 

12. The Apostolic Constitutions

“[Christians] abhor all unlawful mixtures, and that which is practiced by some contrary to nature, as wicked and impious” (Apostolic Constitutions 6:11 [A.D. 400]).

  1. Quotes Original Source: SPL did not compile this list of quote, it was sent into us. The original source is most probably Catholic Answers. []
  2. Tertullian Schism: In middle life (about 207), he was attracted to the “New Prophecy” of Montanism, and seems to have split from the mainstream church. In the time of Augustine, a group of “Tertullianists” still had a basilica in Carthage which, within that same period, passed to the orthodox Church. It is unclear whether the name was merely another for the Montanists[15] or that this means Tertullian later split with the Montanists and founded his own group. Jerome[16] says that Tertullian lived to a great age, but there is no reliable source attesting to his survival beyond the estimated year 225 AD. In spite of his schism from the Church, he continued to write against heresy, especially Gnosticism. Thus, by the doctrinal works he published, Tertullian became the teacher of Cyprian and the predecessor of Augustine, who, in turn, became the chief founder of Latin theology. SOURCE []
  3. Novatian, Schismatic and Antipope: Novatian (circa 200–258) was a scholar, priest, theologian and antipope who held the title between 251 and 258.[1] According to Greek authors, Pope Damasus I and Prudentius gave his name as Novatus. He was a noted theologian and writer, the first Roman theologian who used the Latin language, at a time when there was much debate about how to deal with Christians who had lapsed and wished to return, and the issue of penance. Consecrated as pope by three bishops in 251, he adopted a more rigorous position than the established Pope Cornelius. Novatian was shortly afterwards excommunicated: the schismatic church which he established persisted for several centuries (see Novatianism). Novatian fled during a period of persecutions, and may have been a martyr. SOURCE []

SIN: 44 Questions on Sin and its Different Types

“To make a sin mortal, three things are necessary: a grievous matter, sufficient reflection, and full consent of the will.”

Listers, the following lesson is taken from the Baltimore Catechism. The Baltimore Catechism was the standard catechism for teaching the faith and catechizing children from 1885 to Vatican II. Its basic question-and-answer approach is the most natural learning style for the human mind and it simplifies even the most complex theological questions. All the lists taken from the Baltimore Catechism may be found here.

Many “theologians” now teach that post-Vatican II there is no longer any “mortal sin.” The good Cardinal Arinze examines this claim – his first few comments are worth the entire video.

 

 

SPL has referenced Sin in many lists. Most notable are 9 Ways of Being an Accessory to Another’s Sin and Do Good Works Merit the Soul in Moral Sin? And 10 Other Questions on Indulgences. An excellent companion list – also from the Baltimore Catechism – is how a soul is brought back to life after sin, Sacraments of the Dead: 12 Questions on Sacrilege and Grace.

 

Baltimore Catechism No. 3 – Lesson 6
LESSON SIXTH
On Sin and Its Kinds ON SIN AND ITS KINDS.

 

Q. 274. How is sin divided?

A. (1) Sin is divided into the sin we inherit called original sin, and the sin we commit ourselves, called actual sin. (2) Actual sin is sub-divided into greater sins, called mortal, and lesser sins, called venial.

 

Q. 275. In how many ways may actual sin be committed?

A. Actual sin may be committed in two ways: namely, by willfully doing things forbidden, or by willfully neglecting things commanded.

 

Q. 276. What is our sin called when we neglect things commanded?

A. When we neglect things commanded our sin is called a sin of omission. Such sins as willfully neglecting to hear Mass on Sundays, or neglecting to go to Confession at least once a year, are sins of omission.

 

Q. 277. Is original sin the only kind of sin?

A. Original sin is not the only kind of sin; there is another kind of sin, which we commit ourselves, called actual sin.

 

Q. 278. What is actual sin?

A. Actual sin is any willful thought, word, deed, or omission contrary to the law of God.

 

Q. 279. How many kinds of actual sin are there?

A. There are two kinds of actual sin — mortal and venial.

 

Q. 280. What is mortal sin?

A. Mortal sin is a grievous offense against the law of God.

 

Q. 281. Why is this sin called mortal?

A. This sin is called mortal because it deprives us of spiritual life, which is sanctifying grace, and brings everlasting death and damnation on the soul.

 

Q. 282. How many things are necessary to make a sin mortal?

A. To make a sin mortal, three things are necessary: 1.a grievous matter, sufficient reflection, and full consent of the will.

 

Q. 283. What do we mean by “grievous matter” with regard to sin?

A. By “grievous matter” with regard to sin we mean that the thought, word or deed by which mortal sin is committed must be either very bad in itself or severely prohibited, and therefore sufficient to make a mortal sin if we deliberately yield to it.

 

Q. 284. What does “sufficient reflection and full consent of the will” mean?

A. “Sufficient reflection” means that we must know the thought, word or deed to be sinful at the time we are guilty of it; and “full consent of the will” means that we must fully and willfully yield to it.

 

Q. 285. What are sins committed without reflection or consent called?

A. Sins committed without reflection or consent are called material sins; that is, they would be formal or real sins if we knew their sinfulness at the time we committed them. Thus to eat flesh meat on a day of abstinence without knowing it to be a day of abstinence or without thinking of the prohibition, would be a material sin.

 

Q. 286. Do past material sins become real sins as soon as we discover their sinfulness?

A. Past material sins do not become real sins as soon as we discover their sinfulness, unless we again repeat them with full knowledge and consent.

 

Q. 287. How can we know what sins are considered mortal?

A. We can know what sins are considered mortal from Holy Scripture; from the teaching of the Church, and from the writings of the Fathers and Doctors of the Church.

 

Q. 288. Why is it wrong to judge others guilty of sin?

A. It is wrong to judge others guilty of sin because we cannot know for certain that their sinful act was committed with sufficient reflection and full consent of the will.

 

Q. 289. What sin does he commit who without sufficient reason believes another guilty of sin?

A. He who without sufficient reason believes another guilty of sin commits a sin of rash judgment.

 

Q. 290. What is venial sin?

A. Venial sin is a slight offense against the law of God in matters of less importance, or in matters of great importance it is an offense committed without sufficient reflection or full consent of the will.

 

Q. 291. Can we always distinguish venial from mortal sin?

A. We cannot always distinguish venial from mortal sin, and in such cases we must leave the decision to our confessor.

 

Q. 292. Can slight offenses ever become mortal sins?

A. Slight offenses can become mortal sins if we commit them through defiant contempt for God or His law; and also when they are followed by very evil consequences, which we foresee in committing them.

 

Q. 293. Which are the effects of venial sin?

A. The effects of venial sin are the lessening of the love of God in our heart, the making us less worthy of His help, and the weakening of the power to resist mortal sin.

 

Q. 294. How can we know a thought, word or deed to be sinful?

A. We can know a thought, word or deed to be sinful if it, or the neglect of it, is forbidden by any law of God or of His Church, or if it is opposed to any supernatural virtue.

 

Q. 295. Which are the chief sources of sin?

A. The chief sources of sin are seven: 1.Pride, Covetousness, Lust, Anger, Gluttony, Envy, and Sloth, and they are commonly called capital sins.

 

Q. 296. What is pride?

A. Pride is an excessive love of our own ability; so that we would rather sinfully disobey than humble ourselves.

 

Q. 297. What effect has pride on our souls?

A. Pride begets in our souls sinful ambition, vainglory, presumption and hypocrisy.

 

Q. 298. What is covetousness?

A. Covetousness is an excessive desire for worldly things.

 

Q. 299. What effect has covetousness on our souls?

A. Covetousness begets in our souls unkindness, dishonesty, deceit and want of charity.

 

Q. 300. What is lust?

A. Lust is an excessive desire for the sinful pleasures forbidden by the Sixth Commandment.

 

Q. 301. What effect has lust on our souls?

A. Lust begets in our souls a distaste for holy things, a perverted conscience, a hatred for God, and it very frequently leads to a complete loss of faith.

 

Q. 302. What is anger?

A. Anger is an excessive emotion of the mind excited against any person or thing, or it is an excessive desire for revenge.

 

Q. 303. What effect has anger on our soul?

A. Anger begets in our souls impatience, hatred, irreverence, and too often the habit of cursing.

 

Q. 304. What is gluttony?

A. Gluttony is an excessive desire for food or drink.

 

Q. 305. What kind of a sin is drunkenness?

A. Drunkenness is a sin of gluttony by which a person deprives himself of the use of his reason by the excessive taking of intoxicating drink.

 

Q. 306. Is drunkenness always a mortal sin?

A. Deliberate drunkenness is always a mortal sin if the person be completely deprived of the use of reason by it, but drunkenness that is not intended or desired may be excused from mortal sin.

 

Q. 307. What are the chief effects of habitual drunkenness?

A. Habitual drunkenness injures the body, weakens the mind, leads its victim into many vices and exposes him to the danger of dying in a state of mortal sin.

Q. 308. What three sins seem to cause most evil in the world?

A. Drunkenness, dishonesty and impurity seem to cause most evil in the world, and they are therefore to be carefully avoided at all times.

 

Q. 309. What is envy?

A. Envy is a feeling of sorrow at another’s good fortune and joy at the evil which befalls him; as if we ourselves were injured by the good and benefited by the evil that comes to him.

 

Q. 310. What effect has envy on the soul?

A. Envy begets in the soul a want of charity for our neighbor and produces a spirit of detraction, back-biting and slander.

 

Q. 311. What is sloth?

A. Sloth is a laziness of the mind and body, through which we neglect our duties on account of the labor they require.

 

Q. 312. What effect has sloth upon the soul?

A. Sloth begets in the soul a spirit of indifference in our spiritual duties and a disgust for prayer.

 

Q. 313. Why are the seven sources of sin called capital sins?

A. The seven sources of sin are called capital sins because they rule over our other sins and are the causes of them.

 

Q. 314. What do we mean by our predominant sin or ruling passion?

A. By our predominant sin, or ruling passion, we mean the sin into which we fall most frequently and which we find it hardest to resist.

 

Q. 315. How can we best overcome our sins?

A. We can best overcome our sins by guarding against our predominant or ruling sin.

 

Q. 316. Should we give up trying to be good when we seem not to succeed in overcoming our faults?

A. We should not give up trying to be good when we seem not to succeed in overcoming our faults, because our efforts to be good will keep us from becoming worse than we are.

 

Q. 317. What virtues are opposed to the seven capital sins?

A. Humility is opposed to pride; generosity to covetousness; chastity to lust; meekness to anger; temperance to gluttony; brotherly love to envy, and diligence to sloth.

Is It Not Unjust to Punish Us for the Sins of Adam and Eve? – 25 Questions on Our First Parents

“This sin is called original because it comes down to us from our first parents, and we are brought into the world with its guilt on our soul.”

Listers, the following lesson is taken from the Baltimore Catechism. The Baltimore Catechism was the standard catechism of teaching the faith and catechizing children from 1885 to Vatican II. Its basic question-and-answer approach is the most natural learning style for the human mind and simplifies even the most complex theological questions. All the lists taken from the Baltimore Catechism may be found here. The following is part II of how SPL has broken down the Baltimore Catechism’s lesson on our first parents. The first part can be found at Could the Soul “Evolve” from Inferior Animals? – 16 Questions on Adam and Eve.

 

Baltimore Catechism No. 3 – Lesson 5

LESSON FIFTH
On our First Parents and the Fall – Part II

 

Q. 249. Did Adam and Eve remain faithful to God?

A. Adam and Eve did not remain faithful to God, but broke His command by eating the forbidden fruit.

 

Q. 250. Who was the first to disobey God?

A. Eve was the first to disobey God, and she induced Adam to do likewise.

 

Q. 251. How was Eve tempted to sin?

A. Eve was tempted to sin by the devil, who came in the form of a serpent and persuaded her to break God’s command.

 

Q. 252. Which were the chief causes that led Eve into sin?

A. The chief causes that led Eve into sin were: (1) She went into the danger of sinning by admiring what was forbidden, instead of avoiding it. (2) She did not fly from the temptation at once, but debated about yielding to it. Similar conduct on our part will lead us also into sin.

 

Q. 253. What befell Adam and Eve on account of their sin?

A. Adam and Eve, on account of their sin, lost innocence and holiness, and were doomed to sickness and death.

 

Q. 254. What other evils befell Adam and Eve on account of their sin?

A. Many other evils befell Adam and Eve on account of their sin. They were driven out of Paradise and condemned to toil. God also ordained that henceforth the earth should yield no crops without cultivation, and that the beasts, man’s former friends, should become his savage enemies.

 

Q. 255. Were we to remain in the Garden of Paradise forever if Adam had not sinned?

A. We were not to remain in the Garden of Paradise forever even if Adam had not sinned, but after passing through the years of our probation or trial upon earth we were to be taken, body and soul, into heaven without suffering death.

 

Q. 256. What evil befell us on account of the disobedience of our first parents?

A. On account of the disobedience of our first parents, we all share in their sin and punishment, as we should have shared in their happiness if they had remained faithful.

 

Q. 257. Is it not unjust to punish us for the sin of our first parents?

A. It is not unjust to punish us for the sin of our first parents, because their punishment consisted in being deprived of a free gift of God; that is, of the gift of original justice to which they had no strict right and which they willfully forfeited by their act of disobedience.

 

Q. 258. But how did the loss of the gift of original justice leave our first parents and us in mortal sin?

A. The loss of the gift of original justice left our first parents and us in mortal sin because it deprived them of the Grace of God, and to be without this gift of Grace which they should have had was to be in mortal sin. As all their children are deprived of the same gift, they, too, come into the world in a state of mortal sin.

 

Q. 259. What other effects followed from the sin of our first parents?

A. Our nature was corrupted by the sin of our first parents, which darkened our understanding, weakened our will, and left in us a strong inclination to evil.

 

Q. 260. What do we mean by “our nature was corrupted”?

A. When we say “our nature was corrupted” we mean that our whole being, body and soul, was injured in all its parts and powers.

 

Q. 261. Why do we say our understanding was darkened?

A. We say our understanding was darkened because even with much learning we have not the clear knowledge, quick perception and retentive memory that Adam had before his fall from grace.

 

Q. 262. Why do we say our will was weakened?

A. We say our will was weakened to show that our free will was not entirely taken away by Adam’s sin, and that we have it still in our power to use our free will in doing good or evil.

 

Q. 263. In what does the strong inclination to evil that is left in us consist?

A. This strong inclination to evil that is left in us consists in the continual efforts our senses and appetites make to lead our souls into sin. The body is inclined to rebel against the soul, and the soul itself to rebel against God.

 

Q. 264. What is this strong inclination to evil called, and why did God permit it to remain in us?

A. This strong inclination to evil is called concupiscence, and God permits it to remain in us that by His grace we may resist it and thus increase our merits.

 

Q. 265. What is the sin called which we inherit from our first parents?

A. The sin which we inherit from our first parents is called original sin.

 

Q. 266. Why is this sin called original?

A. This sin is called original because it comes down to us from our first parents, and we are brought into the world with its guilt on our soul.

 

Q. 267. Does this corruption of our nature remain in us after original sin is forgiven?

A. This corruption of our nature and other punishments remain in us after original sin is forgiven.

 

Q. 268. Was any one ever preserved from original sin?

A. The Blessed Virgin Mary, through the merits of her Divine Son, was preserved free from the guilt of original sin, and this privilege is called her Immaculate Conception.

 

Q. 269. Why was the Blessed Virgin preserved from original sin?

A. The Blessed Virgin was preserved from original sin because it would not be consistent with the dignity of the Son of God to have His Mother, even for an instant, in the power of the devil and an enemy of God.

 

Q. 270. How could the Blessed Virgin be preserved from sin by her Divine Son, before her Son was born?

A. The Blessed Virgin could be preserved from sin by her Divine Son before He was born as man, for He always existed as God and foresaw His own future merits and the dignity of His Mother. He therefore by His future merits provided for her privilege of exemption from original sin.

 

Q. 271. What does the “Immaculate Conception” mean?

A. The Immaculate Conception means the Blessed Virgin’s own exclusive privilege of coming into existence, through the merits of Jesus Christ, without the stain of original sin. It does not mean, therefore, her sinless life, perpetual virginity or the miraculous conception of Our Divine Lord by the power of the Holy Ghost.

 

Q. 272. What has always been the belief of the Church concerning this truth?

A. The Church has always believed in the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin and to place this truth beyond doubt has declared it an Article of Faith.

 

Q. 273. To what should the thoughts of the Immaculate Conception lead us?

A. The thoughts of the Immaculate Conception should lead us to a great love of purity and to a desire of imitating the Blessed Virgin in the practice of that holy virtue.

Could the Soul “Evolve” from Inferior Animals? – 16 Questions on Adam and Eve

The Garden of Paradise was a large and beautiful place prepared for man’s habitation upon earth. It was supplied with every species of plant and animal and with everything that could contribute to man’s happiness.

Listers, the following lesson is taken from the Baltimore Catechism. The Baltimore Catechism was the standard catechism of teaching the faith and catechizing children from 1885 to Vatican II. Its basic question-and-answer approach is the most natural learning style for the human mind and simplifies even the most complex theological questions. All the lists taken from the Baltimore Catechism may be found here.

 

Baltimore Catechism No. 3 – Lesson 5

LESSON FIFTH
On our First Parents and the Fall – Part I

 

Q. 233. Who were the first man and woman?

A. The first man and woman were Adam and Eve.

 

Q. 234. Are there any persons in the world who are not the descendants of Adam and Eve?

A. There are no persons in the world now, and there never have been any, who are not the descendants of Adam and Eve, because the whole human race had but one origin.

 

Q. 235. Do not the differences in color, figure, etc., which we find in distinct races indicate a difference in first parents?

A. The differences in color, figure, etc., which we find in distinct races do not indicate a difference in first parents, for these differences have been brought about in the lapse of time by other causes, such as climate, habits, etc.

 

Q. 236. Were Adam and Eve innocent and holy when they came from the hand of God?

A. Adam and Eve were innocent and holy when they came from the hand of God.

 

Q. 237. What do we mean by saying Adam and Eve “were innocent” when they came from the hand of God?

A. When we say Adam and Eve “were innocent” when they came from the hand of God we mean they were in the state of original justice; that is, they were gifted with every virtue and free from every sin.

 

Q. 238. How was Adam’s body formed?

A. God formed Adam’s body out of the clay of the earth and then breathed into it a living soul.

 

Q. 239. How was Eve’s body formed?

A. Eve’s body was formed from a rib taken from Adam’s side during a deep sleep which God caused to come upon him.

 

Q. 240. Why did God make Eve from one of Adam’s ribs?

A. God made Eve from one of Adam’s ribs to show the close relationship existing between husband and wife in their marriage union which God then instituted.

 

Q. 241. Could man’s body be developed from the body of an inferior animal?

A. Man’s body could be developed from the body of an inferior animal if God so willed; but science does not prove that man’s body was thus formed, while revelation teaches that it was formed directly by God from the clay of the earth.1

 

Q. 242. Could man’s soul and intelligence be formed by the development of animal life and instinct?

A. Man’s soul could not be formed by the development of animal instinct; for, being entirely spiritual, it must be created by God, and it is united to the body as soon as the body is prepared to receive it.2

 

Q. 243. Did God give any command to Adam and Eve?

A. To try their obedience, God commanded Adam and Eve not to eat of a certain fruit which grew in the garden of Paradise.

 

Q. 244. What was the Garden of Paradise?

A. The Garden of Paradise was a large and beautiful place prepared for man’s habitation upon earth. It was supplied with every species of plant and animal and with everything that could contribute to man’s happiness.

 

Q. 245. Where was the Garden of Paradise situated?

A. The exact place in which the Garden of Paradise — called also the Garden of Eden — was situated is not known, for the deluge may have so changed the surface of the earth that old landmarks were wiped out. It was probably some place in Asia, not far from the river Euphrates.

 

Q. 246. What was the tree bearing the forbidden fruit called?

A. The tree bearing the forbidden fruit was called “the tree of knowledge of good and evil.”

 

Q. 247. Do we know the name of any other tree in the garden?

A. We know the name of another tree in the Garden called the “tree of life.” Its fruit kept the bodies of our first parents in a state of perfect health.

 

Q. 248. Which were the chief blessings intended for Adam and Eve had they remained faithful to God?

A. The chief blessings intended for Adam and Eve, had they remained faithful to God, were a constant state of happiness in this life and everlasting glory in the next.

  1. SPL Note on Evolution: It should be remembered that the Baltimore Catechism was published in 1885 – science has made significant headway in the area of evolution since then. []
  2. SPL Note on Evolution II: Assume that evolution is an undeniable scientific fact, even with that granted the soul cannot “evolve;” thus, there would have to be a moment in time where God went from guiding evolution via nature to divinely intervening to create man with an immortal soul capable of free will – for holiness or sin. This moment in time and the story surrounding it is most certainly the Adam and Eve story. []

The Path to Hell is Paved with the Skulls of Bishops: 8 Quotes and Sources

“The floor of hell is paved with the skulls of bishops.” – St. Athanasius, Council of Nicaea, AD 325 attributed.

Listers, priests and bishops having been erring as long as humans have occupied those offices. However, the quotes that most strongly articulate this truth are shrouded in ambiguity regarding their primary sources. SPL has complied the most common germane quotes shared on Catholic blogs and given a citation for each one – often clarifying a misquote or giving context for an attributed quote. Please feel free to add any other quotes that complement this list or help articulate the sources.

 

“The road to Hell is paved with the bones of priests and monks, and the skulls of bishops are the lamp posts that light the path.”

– or –

“The road to hell is paved with the skulls of erring priests, with bishops as their signposts.”
St. John Chrysostom attributed.1

 

“I do not think there are many among Bishops that will be saved, but many more that perish.”
St. John Chrysostom, Extract from St. John Chrysostom, Homily III on Acts 1:12.2

 

“The floor of hell is paved with the skulls of bishops.”
St. Athanasius, Council of Nicaea, AD 325 attributed.3

 

“The road to hell is paved with the skulls of bishops.”
Saint John Eudes, attributed.4

 

“It must be observed, however, that if the faith were endangered, a subject ought to rebuke his prelate even publicly.”
St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica II, II, q. 33, a. 45

 

“Augustine says in his Rule: ‘Show mercy not only to yourselves, but also to him who, being in the higher position among you, is therefore in greater danger.’ But fraternal correction is a work of mercy. Therefore even prelates ought to be corrected.”
St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica II, II, q. 33, a. 4, Sed Contra.

 

“It is better that scandals arise than the truth be suppressed.”
Pope St. Gregory the Great 6

 

“But, when necessity compels, not those only who are invested with power of rule are bound to safeguard the integrity of faith, but, as St. Thomas maintains: ‘Each one is under obligation to show forth his faith, either to instruct and encourage others of the faithful, or to repel the attacks of unbelievers.'”
Pope Leo XIII7

  1. Chrysostom Quote: Ole “Golden-mouth” is the primary recipient of the attributed quote. The origin of the actual quote is obscure, but several theories abound. The most interesting are that the flourishing rhetoric of St. Chrysostom and Dantean imagery came together in the Middle Ages or that the quote was actually a misrepresentation of Chrysostom’s words from the protestant leader John Wesley. SOURCE []
  2. Chrysostom 2nd Quote: Homily III on Acts 1:12 []
  3. Athanasius Quote: Attributing the quote to Athanasius is a natural connection given the fact the man fought against the heresy of Arianism – a heresy that is estimated to have swallowed almost 80% of the Catholic bishops. []
  4. Eudes Quote: It is believed that St. Eudes is referencing the quote in the belief it was said by St. Athanasius []
  5. Aquinas Quote: The quote is also often cited as,”When there is an imminent danger for the Faith, Prelates must be questioned, even publicly, by their subjects.” The entire fourth article of the cited question addresses the issue of “Whether a man is bound to correct his prelate?” []
  6. Gregory Quote: While prolifically quoted amongst blogs and Catholic debates, a source for this quote is elusive. If any listers can furnish a source and a citation, SPL would appreciate it. []
  7. Pope Leo Quote: The quote is taken from SAPIENTIAE CHRISTIANAE and is often quoted on Catholic blogs as: “when circumstances make it necessary, it is not prelates alone who have to watch over the integrity of the faith.” []

Lust and Our Common Good: 4 Observations by St. Thomas Aquinas

The question Is lust a sin? seems absurd, but by asking these questions and answering them in thomistic fullness the Angelic Doctor is able to lead us into profound observations.

Listers, a portion of St. Thomas Aquinas’ brilliance is attributed to his ability to state that which we all already know but struggle to articulate. The question Is lust a sin? seems absurd, but by asking these questions and answering them in thomistic fullness the Angelic Doctor is able to lead us into profound observations. Similar to his treatment on the capital vice of gluttony, the beloved “Dumb Ox” echoes the seriousness in which Christ took the reality of sin and how it perverts what is good and reasonable in humanity.

St. Thomas Aquinas, the Angelic Doctor, whose virtue warms the world.

1. What is the proper matter of lust?

The Common Doctor begins his treatment of lust by discerning its “matter” or what properly composes the vice of lust.

As Isidore says (Etym. x), “a lustful man is one who is debauched with pleasures.” Now venereal pleasures above all debauch a man’s mind. Therefore lust is especially concerned with such like pleasures.

The Angelic Doctor turns to the authority of St. Isidore of Seville (d. AD 560)1 and agrees the lustful man is “debauched with pleasures.” However, exactly what pleasures compose the matter of lust? Lust is contrary to the virtue of temperance, which holds us to right reason in the midst of that which would lure us away – yet how is it different than greed or gluttony?

Even as temperance chiefly and properly applies to pleasures of touch, yet consequently and by a kind of likeness is referred to other matters, so too, lust applies chiefly to venereal pleasures, which more than anything else work the greatest havoc in a man’s mind, yet secondarily it applies to any other matters pertaining to excess. Hence a gloss on Galatians 5:19 says “lust is any kind of surfeit.”

To wit, lust applies primarily to venereal pleasures and secondarily to other pleasures.

The Sacrament of Holy Matrimony

2. Are all sexual acts lustful?

Listers, Aquinas commonly submits questions that seem strange or even absurd. Some questions seem superfluous and others seem so obvious that they need not be asked. However, the Summa Theologica is not an encyclopedia, but a pedagogical series of questions that build upon one another. This question’s official title is Whether no venereal act can be without sin? and it lays the groundwork to understand the more complex questions and answers.

A sin, in human acts, is that which is against the order of reason. Now the order of reason consists in its ordering everything to its end in a fitting manner. Wherefore it is no sin if one, by the dictate of reason, makes use of certain things in a fitting manner and order for the end to which they are adapted, provided this end be something truly good.

Virtue is a good habit or that which disposes us to good acts through the perfection of our powers. One such power is our reason and virtue perfects the power of our reason, e.g., temperance holds us to reason when faced with pleasures that would lure us from reason.2

Vices are those habits which would disorder our reason. If temperance is the virtue that holds us to right reason even in the midsts of allurement – in distinction to fortitude which holds us to reason in the midst of fear – the the vice of lust seeks to pervert that which is good and reasonable through venereal matters.3

Now just as the preservation of the bodily nature of one individual is a true good, so, too, is the preservation of the nature of the human species a very great good. And just as the use of food is directed to the preservation of life in the individual, so is the use of venereal acts directed to the preservation of the whole human race.

Hence Augustine says (De Bono Conjug. xvi): “What food is to a man’s well being, such is sexual intercourse to the welfare of the whole human race.” Wherefore just as the use of food can be without sin, if it be taken in due manner and order, as required for the welfare of the body, so also the use of venereal acts can be without sin, provided they be performed in due manner and order, in keeping with the end of human procreation.

Sex is good and serves a mighty and noble purpose within the human race. Lust however seeks to corrupt man’s reasoning toward sex and distort its goodness.

 

Lust in Dante’s Inferno by Gustave Dore

3. Why is lust a sin?

In his question Whether the lust that is about venereal acts can be a sin? the Common Doctor of the Church builds upon the foundation already laid.

The more necessary a thing is, the more it behooves one to observe the order of reason in its regard; wherefore the more sinful it becomes if the order of reason be forsaken. Now the use of venereal acts, as stated in the foregoing Article, is most necessary for the common good, namely the preservation of the human race.

Wherefore there is the greatest necessity for observing the order of reason in this matter: so that if anything be done in this connection against the dictate of reason’s ordering, it will be a sin. Now lust consists essentially in exceeding the order and mode of reason in the matter of venereal acts. Wherefore without any doubt lust is a sin.

Evil is not a thing in itself, but is rather a lack or an absence of what is good. Aquinas would say evil is the privation of the good. In that line of thinking, if right reason is a good and sin is an evil then being sinful is irrational and a strike against reason. Lust then carries a particular weightiness about it due to human sexuality’s strong connection with the common good. The seriousness imported by the corruption of lust is the basis of Aquinas’ next question.

 

Virtue perfects our reason and the vices incline humanity to the irrational and the disorder. It is humanity’s choice. Dante’s inferno – “Dante and Virgil in hell” (1850) by William Bouguereau.

4. Is lust a capital vice?

Flowing with the logical progression of St. Thomas’ previous questions, it is no surprise that Aquinas cites the authority of Pope St. Gregory the Great in naming lust a capital or “deadly” vice.

Gregory (Moral. xxxi, 45) places lust among the capital vices.

As stated above, a capital vice is one that has a very desirable end, so that through desire for that end, a man proceeds to commit many sins, all of which are said to arise from that vice as from a principal vice. Now the end of lust is venereal pleasure, which is very great. Wherefore this pleasure is very desirable as regards the sensitive appetite, both on account of the intensity of the pleasure, and because such like concupiscence is connatural to man. Therefore it is evident that lust is a capital vice.

Like virtues, vices are habits and habits are a quality that define who we are. As virtues produce in us many good works so too do vices become sordid sources of many sins. Lust is a capital vice because it manifests sins within the matter of man’s strong desire for venereal pleasures and that venereal pleasure in and of itself is a good when properly ordered to reason.

  1. Isidore: Born at Cartagena, Spain, about 560; died 4 April, 636. Isidore was the son of Severianus and Theodora. His elder brother Leander was his immediate predecessor in the Metropolitan See of Seville; whilst a younger brother St. Fulgentius presided over the Bishopric of Astigi. His sister Florentina was a nun, and is said to have ruled over forty convents and one thousand religious. Source []
  2. What is a habit? –  The Philosopher (Aristotle) “defines habit, a ‘disposition whereby someone is disposed, well or ill;’ and he says that by ‘habits we are directed well or ill in reference to the passions.’ For when a the mode is suitable to the thing’s nature, it has the aspect of good: and when it is unsuitable, it has the aspect of evil.” (I-II.49)

    A Habit or Act? –  Virtue “denotes a certain perfection of a power. Now a thing’s perfection is considered chiefly in regard to its end. But the end of power is act. Wherefore power is said to be perfect, according as it is determinate to its act.” Power (potential) finds its end in an act. Virtue perfects the power; thus, the act is perfected. Justice is not an act, but by the habit of justice one may act justly. – More on Virtue from Aquinas []

  3. Temperance v. Fortitude: In clarification by contrast, temperance would be the virtue that keeps us from adultery, masturbation, and any disordered sexual pleasure, while fortitude holds us to reason in the midst of fear, e.g., on the battlefield, when scared to do what is right and good, etc. []

Aquinas: 9 Thoughts on Whether Gluttony Is a Mortal Sin

The Baltimore Catechism states a “mortal sin is a grievous offense against the law of God.” The catechism continues: “this sin is called mortal because it deprives us of spiritual life, which is sanctifying grace, and brings everlasting death and damnation on the soul.” Is gluttony a mortal sin?

Listers after an excellent discourse on why gluttony is a sin in article one, the Angelic Doctor discusses whether or not gluttony is a mortal sin. The Baltimore Catechism states a “mortal sin is a grievous offense against the law of God.” The catechism continues: “this sin is called mortal because it deprives us of spiritual life, which is sanctifying grace, and brings everlasting death and damnation on the soul.”1 Gluttony is a sin because it is an inordinate desire towards food and drink and we say “inordinate” because it is outside the scope of reason. Actions within the order of reason are virtues; thus, an action outside the order of reason is a vice or sin. Aquinas’ question is whether it is a mortal sin?

Article Two
Whether gluttony is a mortal sin?

How to Read the Summa Theologica
Aquinas’ structure of the Summa Theologica is unique to our modern customs. The Common Doctor proposes a question and in this case it is Whether gluttony is a mortal sin? He then provides a few – in this case four – arguments that he believes to be false answers. He will then present a sed contra or a “On the contrary” statement which is a summary or the principal point of answering the question correctly. Immediately following the sed contra, the saint will give the main body of his answer and then handle each of the incorrect answers individually. It should be noted that the Summa is not an encyclopedia, but rationally ordered development of questions that building upon one another.

Below the entirety of St. Thomas’ second article on gluttony is presented.
SPL has added the titles, their numbers, and the footnotes for clarification.

The four incorrect position St. Thomas will refute below.

1. Not contrary to the Decalogue

Objection 1. It would seem that gluttony is not a mortal sin. For every mortal sin is contrary to a precept of the Decalogue: and this, apparently, does not apply to gluttony. Therefore gluttony is not a mortal sin.

2. Not contrary to Charity

Objection 2. Further, every mortal sin is contrary to charity, as stated above (Question 132, Article 3). But gluttony is not opposed to charity, neither as regards the love of God, nor as regards the love of one’s neighbor. Therefore gluttony is never a mortal sin.

3. Augustine: A “lesser sin”

Objection 3. Further, Augustine says in a sermon on Purgatory [Cf. Append. to St. Augustine’s works: Serm. civ (xli, de sanctis)]: “Whenever a man takes more meat and drink than is necessary, he should know that this is one of the lesser sins.” But this pertains to gluttony. Therefore gluttony is accounted among the lesser, that is to say venial, sins.

4. Gluttony is a mortal sin

Objection 4. On the contrary, Gregory says (Moral. xxx, 18): “As long as the vice of gluttony has a hold on a man, all that he has done valiantly is forfeited by him: and as long as the belly is unrestrained, all virtue comes to naught.” But virtue is not done away save by mortal sin. Therefore gluttony is a mortal sin.2

 

St. Thomas Aquinas responds to the four above incorrect answers on gluttony as a mortal sin.

5. Gluttony in respect to man’s end

I answer that, As stated above (Article 1), the vice of gluttony properly consists in inordinate concupiscence. Now the order of reason in regulating the concupiscence may be considered from two points of view. First, with regard to things directed to the end, inasmuch as they may be incommensurate and consequently improportionate to the end; secondly, with regard to the end itself, inasmuch as concupiscence turns man away from his due end.3

Accordingly, if the inordinate concupiscence in gluttony be found to turn man away from the last end, gluttony will be a mortal sin. This is the case when he adheres to the pleasure of gluttony as his end, for the sake of which he contemns God, being ready to disobey God’s commandments, in order to obtain those pleasures. On the other hand, if the inordinate concupiscence in the vice of gluttony be found to affect only such things as are directed to the end, for instance when a man has too great a desire for the pleasures of the palate, yet would not for their sake do anything contrary to God’s law, it is a venial sin.

6. Decalogue pertains to justice

Reply to Objection 1. The vice of gluttony becomes a mortal sin by turning man away from his last end: and accordingly, by a kind of reduction, it is opposed to the precept of hallowing the sabbath, which commands us to rest in our last end. For mortal sins are not all directly opposed to the precepts of the Decalogue, but only those which contain injustice: because the precepts of the Decalogue pertain specially to justice and its parts, as stated above (Question 122, Article 1).

7. Contrary to Charity

Reply to Objection 2. In so far as it turns man away from his last end, gluttony is opposed to the love of God, who is to be loved, as our last end, above all things: and only in this respect is gluttony a mortal sin.

8. St. Augustine commenting on the venial

Reply to Objection 3. This saying of Augustine refers to gluttony as denoting inordinate concupiscence merely in regard of things directed to the end.4

9. Vices which arise from gluttony

Reply to Objection 4. Gluttony is said to bring virtue to naught, not so much on its own account, as on account of the vices which arise from it. For Gregory says (Pastor. iii, 19): “When the belly is distended by gluttony, the virtues of the soul are destroyed by lust.”

 

Lists
St. Thomas Aquinas

Patrimony of Wisdom: St. Pius X’s Exhortation to study Aquinas
The Sun that Warms the World – St. Thomas Aquinas
What Vatican II Actually Said About St. Thomas Aquinas
The 3 Part Catechesis on St. Thomas Aquinas by Pope Benedict XVI
All lists tagged Aquinas and all tagged Summa Theologica.

 

  1. SOURCE: Baltimore Catechism No. 3 Lesson 6 – On Sins and Its Kinds []
  2. Objection and Contrary? – The question on whether gluttony is a mortal sin displays a rare occurance where the last objection also is the “sed contra” or on the contrary. This means the given opinion is contrary to the above false answers, but is itself false or incomplete. In this case it appears that St. Gregory’s comment is being used to say gluttony is only a mortal sin – while Aquinas demonstrates gluttony can be either venial or mortal. []
  3. What is the “End of Man“? – “By the “end of man” we mean the purpose for which he was created: namely, to know, love, and serve God.” []
  4. Augustine: The quote of Augustine is referring to venial sins (cf. Aquinas’ first way of an act being incompatible with man’s end), but the fact an act can be venial does not negate the potential for it to become mortal. []

8 Thoughts on Whether Gluttony Is a Sin

Listers, the following is taken in full from St. Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Theologica II-II.148.1 On Gluttony. The Summa Theologica is widely considered the magnum opus of the Angelic Doctor’s short life. The work is broken down into a question and answer format and its importance is best summed up by the fact it was laid on the altar at the Council of Trent.

Listers, the following is taken in full from St. Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Theologica II-II.148.1 On Gluttony. The Summa Theologica is widely considered the magnum opus of the Angelic Doctor’s short life. The work is broken down into a question and answer format and its importance is best summed up by the fact it was laid on the altar at the Council of Trent. Aquinas writes under the true belief that theology – more specifically the Sacred Doctrine of the Catholic Church – is the Divine Science and the Queen of the Sciences. In that proper understanding of theology the Angelic Doctor writes with a scientific accuracy marked by defined terms and an unwavering attention to detail. The fruits of understanding his writings are worth the labors.

“He (Thomas Aquinas) enlightened the Church more than all the other Doctors together; a man can derive more profit from his books in one year than from a lifetime spent in pondering the philosophy of others.”
Pope John XXII, Consistorial address of 1318

Pope Benedict XVI has recently highlighted the importance of Aquinas’ writings in his three part catechesis on the Common Doctor: Eucharistic Soul: 9 Statements by Pope Benedict XVI on St. Thomas AquinasOur Guide Through Modernism: 12 Teachings from Pope Benedict XVI on Aquinas, and Pope Benedict XVI’s 11 Introductory Steps to Understanding the Writings of Aquinas.

 

Article One
Whether gluttony is a sin?

 

How to Read the Summa Theologica
Aquinas’ structure of the Summa Theologica is unique to our modern customs. The Common Doctor proposes a question and in this case it is Whether gluttony is a sin? He then provides a few – in this case three – arguments that he believes to be false answers. He will then present a sed contra or a “On the contrary” statement which is a summary or the principal point of answering the question correctly. Immediately following the sed contra, the saint will give the main body of his answer and then handle each of the following incorrect answers individually.

Below the entirety of St. Thomas’ first article on gluttony is presented.
SPL has added the titles and their numbers.

1. Food cannot defile a man

Objection 1. It would seem that gluttony is not a sin. For our Lord said (Matthew 15:11): “Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man.” Now gluttony regards food which goes into a man. Therefore, since every sin defiles a man, it seems that gluttony is not a sin.

2. Pleasure and necessity cannot be distinguished

Objection 2. Further, “No man sins in what he cannot avoid” [Ep. lxxi, ad Lucin.]. Now gluttony is immoderation in food; and man cannot avoid this, for Gregory says (Moral. xxx, 18): “Since in eating pleasure and necessity go together, we fail to discern between the call of necessity and the seduction of pleasure.” And Augustine says (Confess. x, 31): “Who is it, Lord, that does not eat a little more than necessary?” Therefore gluttony is not a sin.

3. The first movement of sin

Objection 3. Further, in every kind of sin the first movement is a sin. But the first movement in taking food is not a sin, else hunger and thirst would be sinful. Therefore gluttony is not a sin.

 

The guardian of the Third Circle of Hell, Cerberus and beyond him the gluttons.

St. Thomas responds

4. Sed Contra: The inward enemy

On the contrary, Gregory says (Moral. xxx, 18) that “unless we first tame the enemy dwelling within us, namely our gluttonous appetite, we have not even stood up to engage in the spiritual combat.” But man’s inward enemy is sin. Therefore gluttony is a sin.

5. An irrational inordinate desire

I answer that, Gluttony denotes, not any desire of eating and drinking, but an inordinate desire. Now desire is said to be inordinate through leaving the order of reason, wherein the good of moral virtue consists: and a thing is said to be a sin through being contrary to virtue. Wherefore it is evident that gluttony is a sin.

6. The desire defiles, not the food

Reply to Objection 1. That which goes into man by way of food, by reason of its substance and nature, does not defile a man spiritually. But the Jews, against whom our Lord is speaking, and the Manichees deemed certain foods to make a man unclean, not on account of their signification, but by reason of their nature [Cf. I-II, 102, 6, ad 1]. It is the inordinate desire of food that defiles a man spiritually.

7. Knowledge of the excess

Reply to Objection 2. As stated above, the vice of gluttony does not regard the substance of food, but in the desire thereof not being regulated by reason. Wherefore if a man exceed in quantity of food, not from desire of food, but through deeming it necessary to him, this pertains, not to gluttony, but to some kind of inexperience. It is a case of gluttony only when a man knowingly exceeds the measure in eating, from a desire for the pleasures of the palate.

8. Sin rests in the sensation, not the necessity

Reply to Objection 3. The appetite is twofold. There is the natural appetite, which belongs to the powers of the vegetal soul.1 On these powers virtue and vice are impossible, since they cannot be subject to reason; wherefore the appetitive power is differentiated from the powers of secretion, digestion, and excretion, and to it hunger and thirst are to be referred. Besides this there is another, the sensitive appetite, and it is in the concupiscence of this appetite that the vice of gluttony consists. Hence the first movement of gluttony denotes inordinateness in the sensitive appetite, and this is not without sin.

  1. SOUL: Read SPL’s list on the Vegetal Soul []

Why Did God Make You? – And 24 Other Basic Catholic Questions

Listers, the following lesson is taken from the Baltimore Catechism. The Baltimore Catechism was the standard catechism of teaching the faith and catechizing children from 1885 to Vatican II. Its basic question-and-answer approach is the most natural learning style for the human mind and simplifies even the most complex theological questions.

Listers, the following lesson is taken from the Baltimore Catechism. The Baltimore Catechism was the standard catechism of teaching the faith and catechizing children from 1885 to Vatican II. Its basic question-and-answer approach is the most natural learning style for the human mind and simplifies even the most complex theological questions. SPL has also reproduced 29 Questions Explaining Indulgences and 46 Questions to Help Explain the Sacraments. Those who missed Part I of The End of Man can visit What Is Meant By the “End of Man” and 10 other Questions.

 

LESSON FIRST
On the End of Man
Part II
137-161

 

Q. 137. How is the soul like to God?

A. The soul is like to God because it is a spirit that will never die, and has understanding and free will.

 

Q. 138. Is every invisible thing a spirit?

A. Every spirit is invisible — which means can not be seen; but every invisible thing is not a spirit. The wind is invisible, and it is not a spirit.

 

Q. 139. Has a spirit any other quality?

A. A spirit is also indivisible; that is, it can not be divided into parts, as we divide material things.

 

Q. 140. What do the words “will never die” mean?

A. By the words “will never die” we mean that the soul, when once created, will never cease to exist, whatever be its condition in the next world. Hence we say the soul is immortal or gifted with immortality.

 

Q. 141. Why then do we say a soul is dead while in a state of mortal sin?

A. We say a soul is dead while in a state of mortal sin, because in that state it is as helpless as a dead body, and can merit nothing for itself.

 

Q. 142. What does our “understanding” mean?

A. Our “understanding” means the “gift of reason,” by which man is distinguished from all other animals, and by which he is enabled to think and thus acquire knowledge and regulate his actions.

 

Q. 143. Can we learn all truths by our reason alone?

A. We can not learn all truths by our reason alone, for some truths are beyond the power of our reason and must be taught to us by God.

 

Q. 144. What do we call the truths God teaches us?

A. Taken together, we call the truths God teaches us revelation, and we call the manner by which He teaches them also revelation.

 

Q. 145. What is “Free Will”?

A. “Free Will” is that gift of God by which we are enabled to choose between one thing and another; and to do good or evil in spite of reward or punishment.

 

Q. 146. Have brute animals “understanding” and “free will”?

A. Brute animals have not “understanding” and “free will.” They have not “understanding” because they never change their habits or better their condition. They have not “free will” because they never show it in their actions.

 

 

Q. 147. What gift in animals supplies the place of reason?

A. In animals the gift of “instinct” supplies the place of reason in guiding their actions.

 

Q. 148. What is instinct?

A. “Instinct” is a gift by which all animals are impelled to follow the laws and habits that God has given to their nature.

 

Q. 149. Have men as well as brutes “instinct”?

A. Men have “instinct,” and they show it when placed in sudden danger, when they have not time to use their reason. A falling man instantly grasps for something to support him.

 

Q. 150. Why did God make you?

A. God made me to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this world, and to be happy with Him forever in the next.

 

Q. 151. Why is it necessary to know God?

A. It is necessary to know God because without knowing Him we cannot love Him; and without loving Him we cannot be saved. We should know Him because He is infinitely true; love Him because He is infinitely beautiful; and serve Him because He is infinitely good.

 

Q. 152. Of which must we take more care, our soul or our body?

A. We must take more care of our soul than of our body.

 

Q. 153. Why must we take more care of our soul than of our body?

A. We must take more care of our soul than of our body, because in losing our soul we lose God and everlasting happiness.

 

Q. 154. What must we do to save our souls?

A. To save our souls, we must worship God by faith, hope, and charity; that is, we must believe in Him, hope in Him, and love Him with all our heart.

 

Q. 155. What does “worship” mean?

A. “Worship” means to give divine honor by acts such as the offering of prayer or sacrifice.

 

Q. 156. How shall we know the things which we are to believe?

A. We shall know the things which we are to believe from the Catholic Church, through which God speaks to us.

 

Q. 157. What do we mean by the “Church, through which God speaks to us”?

A. By the “Church, through which God speaks to us,” we mean the “teaching Church”; that is, the Pope, Bishops, and priests, whose duty it is to instruct us in the truths and practices of our religion.

 

 

Q. 158. Where shall we find the chief truths which the Church teaches?

A. We shall find the chief truths which the Church teaches in the Apostles’ Creed.

 

Q. 159. If we shall find only the “chief truths” in the Apostles’ Creed, where shall we find the remaining truths?

A. We shall find the remaining truths of our Faith in the religious writings and preachings that have been sanctioned by the authority of the Church.

 

Q. 160. Name some sacred truths not mentioned in the Apostles’ Creed.

A. In the Apostles’ Creed there is no mention of the Real Presence of Our Lord in the Holy Eucharist, nor of the Infallibility of the Pope, nor of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, nor of some other truths that we are bound to believe.

 

Q. 161. Say the Apostles’ Creed.

A. I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified; died, and was buried. He descended into hell: the third day He arose again from the dead: He ascended into heaven, sitteth at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty: from thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Holy Catholic Church, the communion of Saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

The 9 Ways of Being an Accessory to Another’s Sin

The “9 Ways of Being an Accessory to Another’s Sin” is taken from the 1962 Roman Missal under the heading of “The Most Necessary Prayers.”

Listers, the “9 Ways of Being an Accessory to Another’s Sin” is taken from the 1962 Roman Missal under the heading of “The Most Necessary Prayers.” The list is commonly used as part of the Catholic’s examination of conscience before receiving the Eucharist. The list is simple, but a necessary guidepost for those striving after the Christ-centered life of virtue.

Accessory to Another’s Sin

I. By counsel
II. By command
III. By consent
IV. By provocation
V. By praise or flattery
VI. By concealment
VII. By partaking
VIII. By silence
IX. By defense of the ill done

 

Further drawing from the 1962 Missal, St. Peter’s List has published a list of morning prayers and a list of night prayers. Those wishing to know more about the Missal and its essential role in the family can turn to The Domestic Church: 7 Steps to a Proper Catholic Home.

Indulgences: 29 Questions On This Grace of Holy Mother Church

“An Indulgence is the remission in whole or in part of the temporal punishment due to sin.”

Listers, the following lesson is taken from the Baltimore Catechism. The Baltimore Catechism was the standard catechism of teaching the faith and catechizing children from 1885 to Vatican II. Its basic question-and-answer approach is the most natural learning style for the human mind and simplifies even the most complex theological questions.

FIRST PART
Do Good Works Merit the Soul in Mortal Sin?
And 10 Others Questions on Indulgences

Q. 839. What is an Indulgence?

A. An Indulgence is the remission in whole or in part of the temporal punishment due to sin.

 

Q. 840. What does the word “indulgence” mean?

A. The word indulgence means a favor or concession. An indulgence obtains by a very slight penance the remission of penalties that would otherwise be severe.

 

Q. 841. Is an Indulgence a pardon of sin, or a license to commit sin?

A. An Indulgence is not a pardon of sin, nor a license to commit sin, and one who is in a state of mortal sin cannot gain an Indulgence.

Continue Reading…

 

Our Lord and King, Christ Jesus.

SECOND PART
To Deny Indulgences Is to Deny the Merit of Jesus Christ:
11 Questions on Merit and Grace

Q. 850. How do we know that these Indulgences have their effect?

A. We know that these Indulgences have their effect, because the Church, through her councils, declares Indulgences useful, and if they have no effect they would be useless, and the Church would teach error in spite of Christ’s promise to guide it.

 

Q. 851. Have there ever existed abuses among the faithful in the manner of using Indulgences?

A. There have existed, in past ages, some abuses among the faithful in the manner of using Indulgences, and the Church has always labored to correct such abuses as soon as possible. In the use of pious practices we must be always guided by our lawful superiors.

 

Q. 852. How have the enemies of the Church made use of the abuse of Indulgences?

A. The enemies of the Church have made use of the abuse of Indulgences to deny the doctrine of Indulgences, and to break down the teaching and limit the power of the Church. Not to be deceived in matters of faith, we must always distinguish very carefully between the abuses to which a devotion may lead and the truths upon which the devotion rests.

Continue Reading…

 

Domenico di Michelino, La Divina Commedia di Dante (Dante and the Divine Comedy). Fresco in the nave of the Duomo of Florence, Italy. H. 232 m (7 ft. 7 ¼ in.), W. 2.90 m (9 ft. 6 in.). via Wikipedia

THIRD PART
Move Past the Protestant Propaganda
8 More Questions on Indulgences

Q. 861. What works are generally enjoined for the gaining of Indulgences?

A. The works generally enjoined for the gaining of Indulgences are: The saying of certain prayers, fasting, and the use of certain articles of devotion; visits to Churches or altars, and the giving of alms. For the gaining of Plenary Indulgences it is generally required to go to confession and Holy Communion and pray for the intention of the Pope.

 

Q. 862. What does praying for a person’s intention mean?

A. Praying for a person’s intention means praying for whatever he prays for or desires to obtain through prayer — some spiritual or temporal favors.

 

Q. 863. What does an Indulgence of forty days mean?

A. An Indulgence of forty days means that for the prayer or work to which an Indulgence of forty days is attached, God remits as much of our temporal punishment as He remitted for forty days’ canonical penance. We do not know just how much temporal punishment God remitted for forty days’ public penance, but whatever it was, He remits the same now when we gain an Indulgence of forty days. The same rule applies to Indulgences of a year or any length of time.

Continue Reading…

Move Past the Protestant Propaganda: 8 More Questions on Indulgences

“The works generally enjoined for the gaining of Indulgences are: The saying of certain prayers, fasting, and the use of certain articles of devotion; visits to Churches or altars, and the giving of alms. For the gaining of Plenary Indulgences it is generally required to go to confession and Holy Communion and pray for the intention of the Pope.”

Listers, the following lesson is taken from the Baltimore Catechism. The Baltimore Catechism was the standard catechism of teaching the faith and catechizing children from 1885 to Vatican II. Its basic question-and-answer approach is the most natural learning style for the human mind and simplifies even the most complex theological questions.

 

The Entire Baltimore Catechesis on Indulgences
Do Good Works Merit the Soul in Mortal Sin? And 10 Others Questions on Indulgences
To Deny Indulgences Is to Deny the Merit of Jesus Christ: 11 Questions on Merit and Grace

 

LESSON TWENTY-FIRST
On Indulgences
Questions 861-868

 

Q. 861. What works are generally enjoined for the gaining of Indulgences?

A. The works generally enjoined for the gaining of Indulgences are: The saying of certain prayers, fasting, and the use of certain articles of devotion; visits to Churches or altars, and the giving of alms. For the gaining of Plenary Indulgences it is generally required to go to confession and Holy Communion and pray for the intention of the Pope.

 

Q. 862. What does praying for a person’s intention mean?

A. Praying for a person’s intention means praying for whatever he prays for or desires to obtain through prayer — some spiritual or temporal favors.

 

Q. 863. What does an Indulgence of forty days mean?

A. An Indulgence of forty days means that for the prayer or work to which an Indulgence of forty days is attached, God remits as much of our temporal punishment as He remitted for forty days’ canonical penance. We do not know just how much temporal punishment God remitted for forty days’ public penance, but whatever it was, He remits the same now when we gain an Indulgence of forty days. The same rule applies to Indulgences of a year or any length of time.

 

Q. 864. Why did the Church moderate its severe penances?

A. The Church moderated its severe penances, because when Christians — terrified by persecution — grew weaker in their faith, there was danger of some abandoning their religion rather than submit to the penances imposed. The Church, therefore, wishing to save as many as possible, made the sinner’s penance as light as possible.

 

Q. 865. To what things may Indulgences be attached?

A. Plenary or Partial Indulgences may be attached to prayers and solid articles of devotion; to places such as churches, altars, shrines, etc., to be visited; and by a special privilege they are sometimes attached to the good works of certain persons.

 

Q. 866. When do things lose the Indulgences attached to them?

A. Things lose the Indulgences attached to them:

When they are so changed at once as to be no longer what they were; When they are sold. Rosaries and other indulgenced articles do not lose their indulgences, when they are loaned or given away, for the indulgence is not personal but attached to the article itself.

 

Q. 867. Will a weekly Confession suffice to gain during the week all Indulgences to which Confession is enjoined as one of the works?

A Weekly confession will suffice to gain during the week all Indulgences to which confession is enjoined as one of the works, provided we continue in a state of grace, perform the other works enjoined and have the intention of gaining these Indulgences.

 

Q. 868. How and when may we apply Indulgences for the benefit of the souls in Purgatory?

A. We may apply Indulgences for the benefit of the souls in Purgatory by way of intercession; whenever this application is mentioned and permitted by the Church in granting the Indulgence; that is, when the Church declares that the Indulgence granted is applicable to the souls of the living or the souls in Purgatory; so that we may gain it for the benefit of either.

 

The above list concludes the Baltimore Catechism’s treatment of Indulgences – please reference the lists in the introduction for the entirety of the lesson.

5 More Short Stories That Every Catholic Should Read

Fiction has a savage appeal to authors and readers because they get entertainment out of some character’s suffering or unhappiness.

Listers, fiction has a savage appeal to authors and readers because they get entertainment out of some character’s suffering or unhappiness. However, to the credit of all fans of the written word, they also derive entertainment in a resolution, but that always means that something must first be resolved. Why are we, members of humanity, so obsessed with this tension between conflict and resolution? I was discussing this very topic with a group of friends recently, and we concluded that the story is not good if it does not capture some aspect of our conflict with sin. Fiction is one way humanity proclaims its utter brokenness. As Catholics we always struggle with concupiscence. Even though Christ died for our sins, we still feel we are unworthy of his redeeming grace. Even some of the words we say at Mass reflect this:

“Lord, I am unworthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.”

Fiction, I think, is a reflection of this struggle between concupiscence and grace. We struggle with sin, which is our conflict, yet we fly to the Lord in the Sacraments and find our resolution. So, our obsession with suffering in fiction exists because we are ever looking for a hope for our redemption. I often wonder about the day when there will no longer be a conflict with sin (i.e. the completion of the Kingdom of God). The conclusion I came to is that fiction will no longer be necessary. The only thing that will exist is the poetry of praise, the great Gloria. However, as we all are still alive in this corrupted world, we still need fiction. We need that brief glimpse of redemption through suffering. Fiction points to this ideal of justice and resolution that people, Catholic or not, perpetually seek.

Therefore, I submit to you all, listers, my promised part 2 of short stories that every Catholic should read (if you haven’t read part 1 of this posting you can view it here ). Please do not presume that all of these authors are Catholic or remotely Christian. However, each of the following stories testify to the human’s struggle with concupiscence and our desire for eternal freedom from sin. Please note that these books are listed in no particular order. Now on to the stories…

#6 “The Hint of an Explanation”

by Graham Greene


Known for his intense writing style and thrilling historical mysteries, Graham Greene is one of the best authors to describe the epic struggle of man against his lesser angels. Many of Graham Greene’s writings are particular provocative, which is probably why Hollywood turned many of his stories into film (so if you read something by him other than this story, reader beware). However, “The Hint of an Explanation” is not so much provocative as it is particularly terrifying for those who love the Eucharist (and probably why Hollywood decided not to make this particular story into a feature film). The story takes place on a train where the main character, an agnostic, starts a conversation with a Roman Catholic stranger about what God allows. The Roman Catholic says that it is impossible to understand why somethings happen, especially occasions of corruption, but he says there are moments in life when there are hints as to why God allows them to occur. He then describes his own personal story of one of these hints. The gripping story the Roman Catholic stranger weaves takes you to a heart-wrenching moment when his younger self  is offered a terrifying and yet tempting bargain.

#7 “Lions, Harts, Leaping Does”

by J. F. Powers

As a married Catholic, I often forget about the struggles of parish priests, monks, and others who live the consecrated life. I mistakenly think of them effortlessly following  the rules of poverty, chastity, and obedience. Sometimes when I read The Imitation or The Interior Castles, I envy their access to God and their relationship with the Almighty. However, when I find myself slipping into this envious mindset, I look to J. F. Powers to set the record straight. Known for his realistic portrayal of priests, J. F. Powers discusses the often ignored topic of the struggles of the clergy. Often addressing the misnomers of clergy life, he describes the issues, the annoyances, the struggles, and the uncertainties that often might plague priests and monks. “Lions, Harts, Leaping Does” is one such story. Brother Didymus, a Franciscan monk, struggles with the issue of false humility when he refuses to go see perhaps for the last time his aging brother. This story is a beautiful tale of the internal struggles of elderly monk. It certainly made me appreciate the precarious line that those of the consecrated life often have to toe. This story has helped me appreciate more fully the sacrifice that our priests, monks, and nuns for the sake of the Kingdom of God.

#8 “The Last Ugly Person”

by Roger B. Thomas


Although not as well known as the rest of the authors in this list, Roger B. Thomas holds his own. His writing style is poignant and emotive, not to mention the fact that the late Dr. Ralph McInerny put his stamp of approval on him. In a country that is so confoundedly image obsessed, “The Last Ugly Person” perhaps is one way to keep yourself inoculated from the temptation of vanity and pride. “The Last Ugly Person” is about a dystopian society where beauty, or rather a certain perception of beauty, is law. Those who don’t fall under the rules of beauty and acceptability, the Uglies, start to mysteriously disappear. As their numbers tick away, the struggling vagabonds are forced to rely on strangers to help them survive their wickedly and deceptively beautiful surroundings.

#9 “The Story of the Bad Little Boy”

by Mark Twain


Like most of Mark Twain’s stories, “The Story of the Bad Little Boy” is written in a laughing, sarcastic, and lyrical manner that upon further reflection will lead you to see a striking and disturbing reality. The story is based on those little Sunday school instructional tracts that churches used to hand out to children about proper behavior. This story refutes the premise of those pamphlets that good little boys are always rewarded and bad little boys are always punished. Upon first reading you will find yourself bursting with laughter at the fiendish misdeeds of naughty little Jim, and afterwards you will marvel that what appears to be exaggeration is really the awful truth: “Nice guys finish last.” I suggest you pair this story with “The Story of the Good Little Boy” because they are both extremely short and the meanings of both are enhanced when read consecutively. My recommendation is to read these stories during the election season.

#10 “The Passing of the Third Floor Back”

by Jerome K. Jerome

This last selection could be described as a situation in which grace collides with human folly. Also written as a widely popular play, “The Passing of the Third Floor Back” is a tale about a stranger who rents a room at a boarding house in London. He discovers that his fellow inhabitants are egregiously twisted in their own personal failures. However, as he meets with each individually, his presence and kind words create a curious effect on them. This beautifully written story testifies to the hope and the promise of grace to the worn and gnarled souls of all who are crippled by sin. I recommend this story to be read a couple hours before Confession.

 

 

 

Listers, please click the title of the short story to view the work on Amazon. Thank you.

The Authors and Catholicism: Although the majority of the authors in this list are Roman Catholic, there are a couple who are not Catholic. Regardless, all of the selected stories’ subject matter fall into line with the Catholic teaching.

Other Lists by JE Foyer
5 Short Stores that Every Catholic Should Read
6 Children’s Picture Books Perfect for a Catholic Family Bookshelf
8 Quotes from Christian Authors about the Importance of Good Fiction

To Deny Indulgences Is to Deny the Merit of Jesus Christ: 11 Questions on Merit and Grace

“The Church, by means of Indulgences, remits the temporal punishment due to sin by applying to us the merits of Jesus Christ, and the superabundant satisfactions of the Blessed Virgin Mary and of the saints.”

Listers, the following lesson is taken from the Baltimore Catechism. The Baltimore Catechism was the standard catechism of teaching the faith and catechizing children from 1885 to Vatican II. Its basic question-and-answer approach is the most natural learning style for the human mind and simplifies even the most complex theological questions.

More on Indulgences
Do Good Works Merit the Soul in Mortal Sin? And 10 Others Questions on Indulgences

 

LESSON TWENTY-FIRST
On Indulgences
Questions 850-860

 

Q. 850. How do we know that these Indulgences have their effect?

A. We know that these Indulgences have their effect, because the Church, through her councils, declares Indulgences useful, and if they have no effect they would be useless, and the Church would teach error in spite of Christ’s promise to guide it.

 

Q. 851. Have there ever existed abuses among the faithful in the manner of using Indulgences?

A. There have existed, in past ages, some abuses among the faithful in the manner of using Indulgences, and the Church has always labored to correct such abuses as soon as possible. In the use of pious practices we must be always guided by our lawful superiors.

 

Q. 852. How have the enemies of the Church made use of the abuse of Indulgences?

A. The enemies of the Church have made use of the abuse of Indulgences to deny the doctrine of Indulgences, and to break down the teaching and limit the power of the Church. Not to be deceived in matters of faith, we must always distinguish very carefully between the abuses to which a devotion may lead and the truths upon which the devotion rests.

 

Q. 853. How does the Church by means of Indulgences remit the temporal punishment due to sin?

A. The Church, by means of Indulgences, remits the temporal punishment due to sin by applying to us the merits of Jesus Christ, and the superabundant satisfactions of the Blessed Virgin Mary and of the saints; which merits and satisfactions are its spiritual treasury.

 

Q. 854. What do we mean by the “superabundant satisfaction of the Blessed Virgin and the Saints”?

A. By the superabundant satisfaction of the Blessed Virgin and the saints, we mean all the satisfaction over and above what was necessary to satisfy for their own sins. As their good works were many and their sins few — the Blessed Virgin being sinless — the satisfaction not needed for themselves is kept by the Church in a spiritual treasury to be used for our benefit.

 

Q. 855. Does the Church, by granting Indulgences, free us from doing Penance?

A. The Church, by granting Indulgences, does not free us from doing penance, but simply makes our penance lighter that we may more easily satisfy for our sins and escape the punishments they deserve.

 

Q. 856. Who has the power to grant Indulgences?

A. The Pope alone has the power to grant Indulgences for the whole Church; but the bishops have power to grant partial Indulgences in their own diocese. Cardinals and some others, by the special permission of the Pope, have the right to grant certain Indulgences.

 

Q. 857. Where shall we find the Indulgences granted by the Church?

A. We shall find the Indulgences granted by the Church in the declarations of the Pope and of the Sacred Congregation of Cardinals. These declarations are usually put into prayer books and books of devotion or instruction.

 

Q. 858. What must we do to gain an Indulgence?

A. To gain an Indulgence we must be in the state of grace and perform the works enjoined.

 

Q. 859. Besides being in a state of grace and performing the works enjoined, what else is necessary for the gaining of an Indulgence?

A. Besides being in a state of grace and performing the works enjoined, it is necessary for the gaining of an Indulgence to have at least the general intention of gaining it.

 

Q. 860. How and why should we make a general intention to gain all possible Indulgences each day?

A. We should make a general intention at our morning prayers to gain all possible Indulgences each day, because several of the prayers we say and good works we perform may have Indulgences attached to them, though we are not aware of it.

Do Good Works Merit the Soul in Mortal Sin? And 10 Others Questions on Indulgences

“An Indulgence is the remission in whole or in part of the temporal punishment due to sin.”

Listers, the following lesson is taken from the Baltimore Catechism. The Baltimore Catechism was the standard catechism of teaching the faith and catechizing children from 1885 to Vatican II. Its basic question-and-answer approach is the most natural learning style for the human mind and simplifies even the most complex theological questions.

 

LESSON TWENTY-FIRST
On Indulgences
Questions 839-849

 

Q. 839. What is an Indulgence?

A. An Indulgence is the remission in whole or in part of the temporal punishment due to sin.

 

Q. 840. What does the word “indulgence” mean?

A. The word indulgence means a favor or concession. An indulgence obtains by a very slight penance the remission of penalties that would otherwise be severe.

 

Q. 841. Is an Indulgence a pardon of sin, or a license to commit sin?

A. An Indulgence is not a pardon of sin, nor a license to commit sin, and one who is in a state of mortal sin cannot gain an Indulgence.

 

Q. 842. How do good works done in mortal sin profit us?

A. Good works done in mortal sin profit us by obtaining for us the grace to repent and sometimes temporal blessings. Mortal sin deprives us of all our merit, nevertheless God will bestow gifts for every good deed as He will punish every evil deed.

 

Q. 843. How many kinds of Indulgences are there?

A. There are two kinds of Indulgences — Plenary and Partial.

 

Q. 844. What is Plenary Indulgence?

A. A Plenary Indulgence is the full remission of the temporal punishment due to sin.

 

Q. 845. Is it easy to gain a Plenary Indulgence?

A. It is not easy to gain a Plenary Indulgence, as we may understand from its great privilege. To gain a Plenary Indulgence, we must hate sin, be heartily sorry for even our venial sins, and have no desire for even the slightest sin. Though we may not gain entirely each Plenary Indulgence we seek, we always gain a part of each; that is, a partial indulgence, greater or less in proportion to our good dispositions.

 

Q. 846. Which are the most important Plenary Indulgences granted by the Church?

A. The most important Plenary Indulgences granted by the Church are:

The Indulgences of a jubilee which the Pope grants every twenty-five years or on great occasions by which he gives special faculties to confessors for the absolution of reserved sins; The Indulgence granted to the dying in their last agony.

 

Q. 847. What is a Partial Indulgence?

A. A Partial Indulgence is the remission of part of the temporal punishment due to sin.

 

Q. 848. How long has the practice of granting Indulgences been in use in the Church, and what was its origin?

A. The practice of granting Indulgences has been in use in the Church since the time of the apostles. It had its origin in the earnest prayers of holy persons, and especially of the martyrs begging the Church for their sake to shorten the severe penances of sinners, or to change them into lighter penances. The request was frequently granted and the penance remitted, shortened or changed, and with the penance remitted the temporal punishment corresponding to it was blotted out.

 

Q. 849. How do we show that the Church has the power to grant Indulgences?

A. We show that the Church has the power to grant Indulgences, because Christ has given it power to remit all guilt without restriction, and if the Church has power, in the Sacrament of penance, to remit the eternal punishment — which is the greatest — it must have power to remit the temporal or lesser punishment, even outside the Sacrament of Penance.