Sunday, July 31, 2005
A Prayer for the Souls in Purgatory

A prayer is a vital necessity for the Christian life. But through prayer we also can ease the sufferings of the souls in Purgatory by praying for them.
Eternal Father, I offer Thee the Most Precious Blood of Thy Divine Son, Jesus, in union with the masses said throughout the world today, for all the holy souls in purgatory, for sinners everywhere, for sinners in the universal church, those in my own home and within my family. Amen.
Say this prayer for the souls in Purgatory. Our Lord told St. Gertrude the Great that 1,000 souls would be released from Purgatory every time this is said. This prayer has now even been "extended to living sinners which would alleviate the indebtedness accrued to them during their lives."
Saturday, July 30, 2005
What are Indulgences?

Preface: For a listing of hundreds of prayers with indulgences and special blessings attached to them, be sure to refer to a copy of the Raccolta oftenClick here to order one.

What Are Indulgences?

Pope Paul VI said: “An indulgence is a remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven, which the faithful Christian who is duly disposed gains under certain defined conditions through the Church’s help when, as a minister of redemption, she dispenses and applies with authority the treasury of the satisfactions won by Christ and the saints” (Indulgentiarum Doctrina 1).

An indulgence is a removal of the temporal punishment due to sin. Although you are forgiven in Confession for sins, the punishment stills remains, which would have to be achieved through purification like that accomplished in Purgatory. If an indulgence is performed and earned, then part or all of this punishment is removed. Catechists often use the story of a boy hitting a baseball through his neighbor’s window to explain indulgences. The neighbor forgives the boy for the offense – which corresponds to our forgiveness in the confessional – yet the boy must still make restitution and pay for a new window – which relates to our need for penance to remove the temporal effects of sin.

Remember, indulgences are only possible because of God’s infinite Love, most perfectly displayed upon the Cross. Without Jesus Christ, Who won all the graces we can ever receive through indulgences or otherwise, we would have no chance to be forgiven and obtain salvation. 

How Much Merit Does the Church Have to Give Away in Indulgences?

Holy Mother Church possesses an infinite treasury of merits that can be applied to souls. This treasury is composed of the merits of earlier acts of those who are now in Heaven or who are still on Earth that they did not need at the time of their act (i.e. their souls were already clean from the temporal punishment due to sin). This excess is not ‘lost’ if the person performing the indulged act does not ask God to apply the merits to someone in particular, in which case they remain in the Church’s treasury.

However, these merits are small, in fact infinitely small, in comparison to the merits won by Our Lord on the Cross. By His Sacrifice, Our Lord won for us an infinite treasure of merits which He entrusts to His Bride, the one holy Catholic Church. This treasury as such can never run out. There is no concern that the Church will run out of merits to apply to us for our indulged acts.

How Are Indulgences Classified?

While there are in general only two “kinds” of indulgences (partial and plenary), there are various terms used to classify or distinguish them. The more common ecclesiastical terms include: universal, local, perpetual, temporary, plenary, and partial.

A universal indulgence is granted anywhere in the world, while a local indulgence applies to only a specific place or area. A perpetual indulgence is one that may be gained at any time, while a temporary indulgence is only available for certain times – for example, like certain indulgences for the Holy Souls in November. A plenary indulgence is the complete remission of the temporal punishment due to sin, while a partial indulgence is the remission of only some of the temporal punishment.

Indulgences only remit (or ‘cancel out,’ in more colloquial language) a certain amount of temporal punishment, of which only God knows. If more temporal punishment remains, more indulgences or time in Purgatory (which is also biblical) is required in order to reach the perfection of Heaven.

It is important to realize that although many older holy cards and prayer books indicate a certain length of time of indulgence – for example, 300 days partial indulgence – time as we know it does not exist in Purgatory or Heaven or hell. The Church has never taught that if such a prayer was said, the person would ‘automatically’ get 300 days off their Purgatory time. Ultimately, an indulgence only reduces temporal punishment as God, in His perfect justice and mercy, deems fit. Rather, these time frames corresponded only to penitential practices as were commonly prescribed by the early Church. For example, the 300 days indulgence would correspond to 300 days of earthly fasting and penance. Since it was so misunderstood, most prayer cards no longer print these dates, referring to indulgences instead as either partial or plenary.

The Catechism of St. Pius X states the following:

124 Q. What is an Indulgence?
A. An Indulgence is the remission of the temporal punishment due on account of our sins which have been already pardoned as far as their guilt is concerned — a remission accorded by the Church outside the sacrament of Penance.

125 Q. From whom has the Church received the power to grant Indulgences?
A. The Church has received the power to grant Indulgences from Jesus Christ.

126 Q. In what way does the Church by means of Indulgences remit this temporal punishment?
A. The Church by means of Indulgences remits this temporal punishment by applying to us the superabundant merits of Jesus Christ, of the Blessed Virgin and of the Saints, which constitute what is known as the Treasure of the Church.

127 Q. Who has the power to grant Indulgences?
A. The Pope alone has the power to grant Indulgences in the whole Church, and the Bishop in his own diocese, according to the faculty given him by the Pope.

128 Q. How many kinds of Indulgences are there?
A. Indulgences are of two kinds: plenary and partial.

129 Q. What is a plenary Indulgence?
A. A plenary Indulgence is that by which the whole temporal punishment due to our sins is remitted. Hence, if one were to die after having gained such an Indulgence, he would go straight to Heaven, being, as he is, perfectly exempt from the pains of Purgatory.

130 Q. What is a partial Indulgence?
A. A partial Indulgence is that by which is remitted only a part of the temporal punishment due to our sins.

131 Q. Why does the Church grant Indulgences?
A. In granting Indulgences the Church intends to aid our incapacity to expiate all the temporal punishment in this world, by enabling us to obtain by means of works of piety and Christian charity that which in the first ages Christians gained by the rigour of Canonical penances.

132 Q. What is meant by an Indulgence of forty or a hundred days or of seven years, and the like?
A. By an Indulgence of forty or a hundred days, or of seven years and the like, is meant the remission of so much of the temporal punishment as would have been paid by penances of forty or a hundred days, or seven years, anciently prescribed in the Church.

133 Q. What value should we set on Indulgences?
A. We should set the greatest value on Indulgences because by them we satisfy the justice of God and obtain possession of Heaven sooner and more easily.

134 Q. Which are the conditions necessary to gain Indulgences?
A. The conditions necessary to gain Indulgences are: (1) The state of grace (at least at the final completion of the work), and freedom from those venial faults, the punishment of which we wish to cancel; (2) The fulfilment of all the works the Church enjoins in order to gain the Indulgence; (3) The intention to gain it.

135 Q. Can Indulgences be applied also to the souls in Purgatory?
A. Yes, Indulgences can be applied also to the souls in Purgatory, when he who grants them says that they may be so applied.

136 Q. What is a Jubilee?
A. A Jubilee, which as a rule is granted every twenty-five years, is a Plenary Indulgence to which are attached many privileges and special concessions, such as that of being able to obtain absolution from certain reserved sins and from censures, and the commutation of certain vows.

The Conditions for All Indulgences:
  1. Person must be in the state of grace by the completion of the indulgence.
  2. The person must also want to gain the indulgence.
The Additional Conditions for Plenary Indulgences:
  1. The above conditions as well as the following:
  2. One is free from all attachment from sin, even venial sins
  3. One receives the Sacraments of Penance and the Eucharist (Within 7 days of the indulgence)
  4. One prays for the intentions of the Pope (Apostles Creed, 1 Our Father, and any other prayers)
If a person does not meet the plenary criteria but meets the criteria for a partial indulgence, the individual will obtain the partial indulgence. A plenary indulgence can be gained only once a day unless the person is in danger of death.

List of Various Indulgences:
  1. Also see a listing of prayers with the ones with indulgences marked
  2. There are indulgences for reading the Bible
  3. Some Rosary Indulgences
  4. The Stations of the Cross have a plenary indulgence attached (see bottom of link's page for more information on obtaining the indulgence)
  5. New Years Day & New Years Eve Indulgences 
  6. Holy Thursday has a special indulgence for praying "Tantum Ergo"
  7. Indulgences for All Saints Day, All Souls Day, and November
  8. Indulgences for Pentecost
  9. Indulgence for the Feast of Portiuncula (August 2nd)
  10. Indulgence for the Solemnity of Christ the King
  11. "A plenary indulgence is granted to the faithful, who in the solemn liturgical action of Good Friday devoutly assist at the adoration of the Cross and kiss it" (Source)
  12. "A plenary indulgence is granted to the faithful, for the recitation of En ego, o bone et dulcissime Iesu after reception of Communion on a Friday during Lent before an image of the crucified Christ"
  13. "A plenary indulgence is granted to the faithful, who devoutly receive the Papal Blessing to the City and to the World (Urbi et Orbi), even if by radio or television"
  14. "A plenary indulgence is granted to the faithful, who spend at least three days in spiritual exercises during a retreat"
  15. "A plenary indulgence is granted to the faithful, who recite The Act of Reparation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus on the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart"
  16. "A plenary indulgence is granted to the faithful for visiting a church or altar on the day of its dedication"
  17. Plenary Indulgence at the Hour of Death 
  18. For teaching or studying Christian Doctrine
  19. Indulgence for reciting the Act of Reparation to the Sacred Heart on the Feast of the Sacred Heart
Thursday, July 28, 2005
Using the Correct terms for the Eucharist

I found this good article today that describes some common mistakes that anyone can make. These errors include believing that after Consecration the bread and wine exist along with Christ; this is called Consubstantiation, which is what Lutherans believe, but is was condemned at the Thirteenth Session of the Council of Trent. We, as Catholics, believe in Transubstantiation, where the bread and wine are no longer bread and wine but the Body and Blood of Christ (CCC 1376). The only thing remaining is the accidents, which is just the appearance of bread and wine.

"Of course, Jesus has not become bread and wine for us (cf. IV.). Instead, the bread and wine have become Jesus for us." (SOURCE)

Image Source: Photograph believed to be in the Public Domain
The Two Pillars

The Vision of St. John BoscoI feel compelled to write this after naming my blog "A Catholic Life" because this story is fundamental in the journey of a Christian life. Everyone will agree that there are many ways to grow in grace. "Grace is first and foremost the gift of the Spirit that sanctifies us", which includes the Spirit working through the Sacraments (CCC 2003). We, unlike the people of the Old Testament, have the greatest grace ever in our hearts at ever Mass when we receive Holy Communion.

Salvation is not possible outside of the Catholic Church (more info). Everyone is called to holiness to be with God through the One True Faith established by Christ, and as today's Gospel illustrates, we must look after ourselves and the state of our soul first and foremost. For the day of the harvest will come, and we must ask ourselves: "If that day was tomorrow, would I be ready?"

I found an article yesterday describing a vision from St. John Bosco, who envisioned the Church as a boat that could only be saved when between two pillars: The Eucharist and Devotion to Mary. This is a vital part of the Christian Life: without the Eucharist we have no hope, and without Mary we lose a powerful intercessor and a loving Mother.

In the dream the boat of the Church was lead by its Pope through the sea with many ships nearing it to attack. Suddenly the Pope falls ill but upon rises up. Then he falls a second time and he dies. The other ships erupt in joy, but a new Pope rises up in the old one's place and steers the vessel between the two pillars -the Eucharist, which the Pillar states is the "Salvation of Souls," and the other pillar is the Immaculate Heart of Mary, which says, "The help of Christians."

Image Source: Believed to be in the Public Domain, Title Unknown
Wednesday, July 27, 2005
Union Between Christ and His Church

I found this in the Catechism of the Catholic Church while looking for quotations concerning Mary. What do you think of this? I think it reaffirms the great importance of the Church first found in Matthew 16:18

The Church—mystery of man's union with God

772 It is in the Church that Christ fulfills and reveals his own mystery as the purpose of God's plan: "to unite all things in him." St. Paul calls the nuptial union of Christ and the Church "a great mystery." Because she is united to Christ as to her bridegroom, she becomes a mystery in her turn. Contemplating this mystery in her, Paul exclaims: "Christ in you, the hope of glory."

773 In the Church this communion of men with God, in the "love [that] never ends," is the purpose which governs everything in her that is a sacramental means, tied to this passing world. "[The Church's] structure is totally ordered to the holiness of Christ's members. And holiness is measured according to the ‘great mystery' in which the Bride responds with the gift of love to the gift of the Bridegroom." Mary goes before us all in the holiness that is the Church's mystery as "the bride without spot or wrinkle." This is why the "Marian" dimension of the Church precedes the "Petrine."

Image Source: Believed to be in the Public Domain, Title Unknown
Weekly Discussion Topics

I am going to take next week off from the weekly discussion topic and see how many people here would like to have this continued. I would like to see how many people like this feature. So, if you like having a weekly discussion topic just let me know by commenting below.

Adult Stem Cell Research

Catholics are not opposed to stem cell research but only embryonic stem cell research. The Archdiocese of Sydney just announced they are contributing $100,000 to adult stem cell research.

Adult stem cell research is also more productive than embryonic stem cell reserach. Look at everything that adult stem cells have done. This list in from the IL Right to Life website:
  • Spinal cord injury repair (using stem cells from nasal and sinus regions)
  • Complete reversal of juvenile diabetes in mice using adult spleen cells, with Harvard now preparing for human patient trials using spleen cells
  • Crohn’s Disease put into remission (using patient’s blood stem cells)
  • Lupus put into remission (using stem cells from patient’s bloodstream)
  • Parkinson’s disease put into remission (using patient’s brain stem cells)
  • Repair heart muscle in cases of congestive heart failure (using stem cells from bone marrow)
  • Repair heart attack damage (using the patient’s own blood stem cells)
  • Restore bone marrow in cancer patients (using stem cells from umbilical cord blood)
  • Restore weak heart muscles (using immature skeletal muscle cells)
  • Put leukemia into remission (using umbilical cord blood)
  • Heal bone fractures (using bone marrow cells)
  • Restore a blind man’s sight (using an ocular surface stem-cell transplant & a cornea transplant)
  • Recovery from a stroke (using stem cells from bone marrow)
  • Treat urinary incontinence (using under arm muscle stem cells)
  • Reverse severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) (using genetically modified adult stem cells)
  • Restore blood circulation in legs (using bone marrow stem cells)
  • Treat sickle-cell anemia (using stem cells from unbilical cord blood)
Tuesday, July 26, 2005
Marian Quotations

What is your favorite Marian quotation? There are so many excellent and loving quotations by Mary. I will just direct my readers to Mary, Mother of God to read some of my articles on her.
Holy Cards

I wanted to share this article that talks about holy cards and what they are for those here that are not Catholic. For a source of many beautiful Holy Cards, please see Holy Cards for Your Inspiration as well as Holy Reflections. Beautiful holy cards are featured on those websites.
Here is part of an article on holy cards:
"From the beginning of the church, it has been important to Christians to maintain practices that help them remember holy men and women whose lives they feel are an inspiration and to whom they can pray for intercession. These practices have included telling stories, singing songs and looking at pictures. Holy cards, which are small cards that bear the image of a saint, angel or scene from the Bible, are part of this tradition" (Catholic Online)

Image Source: Believed to be in the Public Domain, Title Unknown
Saturday, July 23, 2005
Quotations by Pope Benedict XVI

Well, the poll is almost over for this week and the topic will certainly be on Pope Benedict XVI. I wanted to start by writing down some quotations by him that I view as important.


"'Rock' [music]. . . is the expression of elemental passions, and at rock festivals it assumes a cultic character, a form of worship, in fact, in opposition to Christian worship. People are, so to speak, released from themselves by the experience of being part of a crowd and by the emotional shock of rhythm, noise, and special lighting effects. However, in the ecstasy of having all their defenses torn down, the participants sink, as it were, beneath the elemental force of the universe."

"An adult faith does not follow the waves of fashion and the latest novelty."

"We are moving toward a dictatorship of relativism which does not recognize anything as for certain and which has as its highest goal one's own ego and one's own desires."

I believe those three comments show something very important about Our Holy Father; he is very concerned with the Church and is determined to keep us together by Sacred Tradition and Holy Scripture. I believe that secularism is growing too acceptable in the world, and I think the Pope also is concerned that too many are leaving the Church behind - the Church that Christ started out of love for us.


"Pray for me, that I may not flee for fear of the wolves."

I think this shows his humility and determination to serve Christ although he calls for our prayers. I think more people should also pray for him that he may help lead the Church. For more quotations see EWTN & All Great Quotes. If you wish to continue reading on updates concerning the Holy Father, read the mainpage of my blog and check out Pope Benedict XVI, a page on my blog.
Friday, July 22, 2005
Learning to Forgive

Forgiveness may be one of the hardest aspects of the Christian/Catholic life. Not only must we go to Confession to be forgiven our sins, but we must also forgive those that harm us. As Christ said, "Love thy enemies", but this radical gospel calling is still possible although to answer Christ's calling He must be the visible center of our faith and life.

Forgiveness is something that came from the Cross, where Christ died the death for sins and in doing so redeemed everyone of us. However, we must still repent for our sins, confess them, and forgive others. The road to Heaven is far from easy. Jesus made Heaven possible; He didn't open the door for the unrepentant. At this time, I must also reiterate the value of indulgences.

"Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned," but "God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world but that the world might be saved through Him" (Romans 5:12, John 3:17). Remember, "His mercy endures forever" (Psalm 118:4).

6 steps into forgiveness:

1) We can spend a few minutes every day looking at a cross and considering that Jesus gave up his very life to win forgiveness for us.

2) We can pray constantly to be filled with his perspective of love. Looking at others with eyes of mercy goes a long way toward undercutting the tendency to revenge.

3) We can pray and intercede for those who have wronged, offended, abused, or hurt us. Doing this frees us to love as God loves. God's grace has power not only to change us but also those who have done us injury as well.

4) We can try to perform at least one act of kindness toward someone who has hurt us or who rubs us the wrong way.

5) We can ask the Holy Spirit to cultivate within us an attitude of forgiveness.

6) We can get more serious about following the promptings of the Holy Spirit — especially those that touch on relationships we find difficult. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you find the way to peace, restoration, and reconciliation.

(Source: Catholic Exchange)

Image Source: Believed to be in the Public Domain, Title Unknown
Thursday, July 21, 2005
Book Report: Memory and Identity
I recently read "Memory and Identity," but I was only able, though, to read the first three parts (about 70 pages) since I have another book I have to read. For the pages I did read, I separated my reports below.

Part One: Good and Evil
Part Two: Freedom
Part Three: Native Land
"Memory and Identity" Part III

This is my summary/opinions for Part Three of "Memory and Identity" by Pope John Paul ll. After this part I had to quit reading the book, though, because I have another book I have to read very, very soon for someone else. Here is my final report for "Memory and Identity".

Part 3:

When we speak of our native land it is more than just a territory; it includes the country’s values and culture. For Pope John Paul ll, we saw how vitally important this was to him, and with Pope Benedict XVI in “Memoirs”, I saw such a fervent love for his own homeland and fellow countrymen. However, in Germany, as Pope Benedict XVI expressed, not all values were good, and this realization of what is good and not is only through God. If we don’t have God then we become our own gods and decided what is good and what is not while no definite opinion remains.

On page 62, Pope John Paul ll wrote “Christ’s teachings contain the most profound elements of a theological vision of both native land and culture.” He went on to write much about these examples, but I also thought of something while reading this: we all are attached to our native land and its values, but we must only remain attached to the values which God would condone; the values mentioned must be in God’s will, which can be summed up as love itself.

Culture is also changing where we develop new lands such as a Christian land, which began from Christ himself. We also believe in Christ’s second coming where we hopefully will reach Heaven where our new homeland, our refuge, exists. Pope John Paul ll loved his homeland of Poland, but he also loved its values as those values God would condone. But, we don’t need to leave our current country and go to Poland; we only need to be with God, and Christ is present first and foremost in the Blessed Sacrament. Christ gave us the Catholic Church, where “catholic” means “universal” showing that Christ is with us through His Church to the end of the ages (Matthew 16:18).

Overall, I found the book very refreshing although at times repetitive. I give it a 6.0/10, and would encourage it.
"Memory and Identity" Part II

Part Two summary/opinions of "Memory and Identity" by Pope John Paul II:

In the chapter “Lessons of Recent History”:

Through faith and love good conquers evil, and this occurred in the Communist lands. One thing I am reminded of is the pullout of the Germans from Austria in a rosary miracle. This again reaffirms that God is mercy and love and can turn all evil into good, which is the underlying theme of the book.

The Paschal Mystery proves that good all triumphs, and just as St. John the Baptist called before Christ, I see St. Faustina calling out before World War II for us to go to Christ through the Divine Mercy Chaplet (55).

Mercy and love go hand in hand. All those that request mercy and show love will be given it. God is the perfect mercy and perfect justice, his “His mercy endures forever”, and I would say before His justice is always His mercy.

Freedom can only be reacted through truth, and it is this realization in the perfect truth of Jesus Christ that God frees us from sin and suffering. I think we should mention the atonement of sins at this point.

On page 40, it states, “Freedom is for love: its realization can even reach heroic proportions.” I believe true freedom is found only in God because if we are free from sin then we truly are free. Many people today enjoy the beatific vision (sainthood), and this includes those that have given their lives for the faith, martyrs. These martyrs, though, still possessed a strong freedom. The world today believes freedom is in doing what you want, but I view freedom as one world: Sainthood, where we are truly free from Sin, Satan, and death. Some will say we are not free if bound in servitude to the Gospel, but in Heaven all bondage ends and we enjoy the freedom of Christ on the Cross. Christ was held firmly to the Cross by our sins, but all the freedom Christ had He gave for us so that we might have eternal life.

Simply, there is no freedom without truth, and this truth is only found in the perfect truth of Jesus Christ. This realization of truth leads us to the virtues of the faith and in turn we show love and mercy. This love is characteristic of what freedom is according to Aristotle: “…is a property of the will which is realized through faith.” If we have realized the real truth then we must be in God’s grace and serving Him; each of the two greatest Commandments include one word “love”.
"Memory and Identity" by Pope John Paul ll

I'm currently reading this book and will be posting thoughts by Our Holy Father along with my opinions for the next few days. Here is my summary/opinion of part one:

Before anything else, I must state an important conclusion I realized through this book. When we speak of good, we must understand God equals the supreme good; all things God has done and creates is good and perfect serving a definite purpose, and if we are to rate any action in relation to good or lack there of good (evil), we must have a definite value of the perfect good, which is God. I can therefore conclude that sin, an offense against God, is evil because it is against God’s perfect will. I also can conclude that this action of sin is evil, defined as a complete lack of good (the Supreme good being God), so evil must also be the lack of God. Therefore any sin, no matter how small, infinitely offends Our Good God.

Though, evil and good are opposite, all things were both created perfect until they where stained with original sin due to the sin of Adam. Both those that are good and those that are evil, though, still serve a purpose and live together as in the parable of wheat and weeds; “God is mercy” as St. Faustina said, so there never exists a loss of hope to be forgiven for our sins, which Christ bore on the Cross.

Other fundamental concepts I studied included St. Augustine’s view of original sin: “self-love to the point of contempt for God”, which is fought through “love for God to the point of contempt of sin” (6, 7). The Holy Spirit is a powerful armor against hell, which shows us evil and how to fight it; through the outpouring of grace, we are able to live in life through the Holy Spirit’s involvement. As is written on page 7, if we turn away the Spirit of God, we can not be forgiven for this offense because it is showing that we don’t want pardon of our offenses (Matthew 12:31). The Father of lies, satan, was also created good but became evil through pride, and in the Garden of Eden, he set us forth to suffer like him and be cast away. Yet, he failed in his attempt as God has redeemed us; satan views himself to be equal to God, which is the definition of pride. Only through denial of self can we seek God that is why I believe pride to be the greatest of all sins because it prevents our redemption.

On page 8, Pope John Paul ll brings up the philosophical thought of Descrates, which is “I think, therefore I am”. This shows resemblance to how some view science, where it must prove God. But, science is merely the study of God’s creation not the study of God. As the next several pages show, if man uses this thought, he then views himself to be a deity (Genesis 3:5), but then who can decide what is right and wrong? In truth, only God’s opinion is absolute, so if people view themselves equal to God or if they view God as less than the perfect, supreme Creator then we have the rising of evil empires and ideas which include also include abortion.

To finish part one, on page 15, Pope John Paul ll talked about the evil being necessary for mankind. As I thought about this I concluded, without the cross there would be no hope of eternal salvation. Everything God creates is good; “I created both good and destruction. I am the Lord”. If God can take the greatest evil in human history – the condemnation of God to death and turn it into the greatest joy, then that is a miracle beyond words. The Cross continues to live on today as it is through the Cross that eternal life is reached, and we must all live the life Christ calls us to by loving everyone even our enemies so that we fight evil through good (Romans 12:21).

Furthermore, Pope John Paul ll stated that Redemption is the divine limit imposed on evil because it is through evil that the Cross shines. We are only saved through grace, the grace on the Cross, so through evil there is always a Cross. This brings to mind the fact Redemption is a task that must be worked on as we must pick up our daily crosses. All saints have had to bear his or her cross through life, but evil is powerless over the Resurrection.

Pope John Paul ll continued by saying there are 3 stages to follow Christ:

1. Observance of the Commandments
2. Development of virtues
3. Experience a love for God with growing intensity.

These are called the purgative way, the illuminative way, and the unitive way.
A Catholic Supreme Court Justice

I have just read that if Justice John Roberts is confirmed to the United States' Supreme Court, he will be the fourth Catholic on the court at the present time. His position on abortion is a little unsure, but his wife is a member of Feminists for Life. I think that he would serve our country well, but I certainly would like to hear his answers to abortion; I certainly hope he would vote against Roe vs. Wade, which legalized the murder of an unborn child.

I'm currently reading "Memory and Identity" by Pope John Paul ll, and in that book he talked about ideologies of evil including WWII struggles, the Cold War, and abortion. The book is fairly good, and I will be posting summaries and notes from it on my site for the next few days.

Image Source: Believed to be in the Public Domain, Title Unknown
Wednesday, July 20, 2005
Call No Man Father Meaning

What did our Lord Jesus Christ mean when He said to "call no man father"? This is often a charge levied against Catholics by Protestants who view the Catholic practice in direct contradiction to the Lord’s own command in the Gospel according to St. Matthew. The full passage, in its context, is as follows:

“Then Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to his disciples, Saying: ‘The scribes and the Pharisees have sitten on the chair of Moses. All things therefore whatsoever they shall say to you, observe and do: but according to their works do ye not; for they say, and do not. For they bind heavy and insupportable burdens, and lay them on men's shoulders; but with a finger of their own they will not move them. And all their works they do for to be seen of men. For they make their phylacteries broad, and enlarge their fringes. And they love the first places at feasts, and the first chairs in the synagogues, And salutations in the market place, and to be called by men, Rabbi. But be not you called Rabbi. For one is your master; and all you are brethren. And call none your father upon earth; for one is your father, who is in heaven. Neither be ye called masters; for one is your master, Christ’” (Matthew 23:1-10).

The Lord in the same statement tells us to call no man “father,” “teacher” (i.e., Rabbi), or “master.” Yet we refer to our earthly fathers as “father” and no one objects to that. And no one objects to calling our instructors as “teachers,” even though this would seem to be literally against the Lord’s words. 

A closer examination of the Sacred Scriptures reveals that our Lord refers to Abraham as “father” in the parable of the rich man in both Luke 16:24 and John 8:56. St. Stephen in the Acts of the Apostles refers to Abraham as “Father Abraham” in Acts 7:55. And St. Paul writes on the spiritual fatherhood of priests in his first letter to the Corinthians: “I do not write this to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children. For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel” (1 Corinthians 4:14-15).

The Scripture commentary on therefore explains the meaning of this passage by saying: “The meaning is that our Father in heaven is incomparably more to be regarded, than any father upon earth: and no master to be followed, who would lead us away from Christ. But this does not hinder but that we are by the law of God to have a due respect both for our parents and spiritual fathers, (1 Cor. 4:15) and for our masters and teachers.”

Our Lord Jesus Christ, St. Paul, and St. James all referred to Abraham as "father". St. John on two occasions refers to Church leaders in his letters as "fathers", and St. Paul refers to himself as "father" in 1 Corinthians. The Lord was telling His followers in 23rd chapter of the Gospel according to St. Matthew to not to give to another the authority that which God is entitled. Notice He said to call no one "teacher" also in the line after "Call no man Father". Therefore, the accusation that Catholics sin by referring to priests as “Father” is far from sinful. It is entirely baseless and comes from a superficial reading of Scripture and ignorance of the Lord’s own words before and after that line.
New Supreme Court Nominee: John Roberts

Last night, President George W. Bush nominated John Roberts, a conservative justice. At one point in the past, Justice Roberts said Roe vs. Wade should be overturned, but he has once called it "the settled law of the land". I am not rejecting or supporting him yet until questions are asked of him, and I will write more later as I feel his position on abortion and other issues becomes more clear.

Image Source: In the Public Domain (Wikipedia)
Tuesday, July 19, 2005
Birth Control Update

Our discussion topic two weeks ago was on contraception, but I found this article and wanted to point it out. According to this study, at least 23 women so far have died from using the birth control patch with thousands of others suffering horrible complications.

Source: LifeSite
Harry Potter

Just last Saturday the latest Harry Potter installment: "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" arrived on store shelves and literally began flying off. Sunday on the news, I heard that 250,000 are being sold every hour!

Well, recently a letter from Pope Benedict has emerged that cautions people not to read Harry Potter because it "distort Christianity in the soul". I, however, am reading the book and am almost done, but I would like to reiterate Our Holy Father's concerns. This is a book that requires a mature audience that understands fact from fiction. I don't believe this book should be banned, but I strongly encourage parents to remind their children these books are fiction and not something to be embraced as a ideology.

I've even heard that there has been a rise in people to the Wiccan beliefs due to Harry Potter, and I strongly encourage everyone before reading it to read it for fun and not begin believing it is fact. I know this seems like a strength that many of us would never do, but I've heard many arguments; and if people begin to read Harry Potter and believe it, then Christianity has truly been "distorted". I think it's a good book, but with seeing people dressed up in costumes and actually believing wizards and witches are real, a problem has emerged.

Anyone here reading the book?
Saturday, July 16, 2005
Definition of Prayer

The Catechism of St. Pius X:

2 Q. What is prayer?

A. Prayer is an elevation of the mind to God to adore Him, to thank Him, and to ask Him for what we need.

3 Q. How is prayer divided?

A. Prayer is divided into mental and vocal prayer. Mental prayer is that made with the mind alone; and vocal prayer is that expressed in words accompanied by attention of mind and devotion of heart.

4 Q. Can prayer be divided in any other way?

A. Prayer may also be divided into private and public prayer.

5 Q. What is private prayer?

A. Private prayer is that which each one says individually for himself or for others.

6 Q. What is public prayer?

A. Public prayer is that said by the Sacred Ministers in the name of the Church and for the salvation of the faithful. That prayer also which is said in common and publicly by the faithful, in processions, pilgrimages and in God’s house, may also be called public prayer.

7 Q. Have we a well-founded hope of obtaining by means of prayer the helps and graces of which we stand in need?

A. The hope of obtaining from God the graces of which we stand in need is founded on the promises of the omnipotent, merciful and all-faithful God, and on the merits of Jesus Christ.

8 Q. In whose name should we ask of God the graces we stand in need of?

A. We should ask of God the graces we stand in need of in the Name of Jesus Christ, as He Himself has taught us and as is done by the Church, which always ends her prayers with these words: Through our Lord Jesus Christ.

9 Q. Why should we beg graces of God in the Name of Jesus Christ?

A. We should beg graces of God in the Name of Jesus Christ because He is our Mediator, and it is through Him alone that we can approach the throne of God.

10 Q. If prayer is so powerful how is it that many times our prayers are not heard?

A. Many times our prayers are not heard, either because we ask things not conducive to our eternal salvation, or because we do not ask properly.

11 Q. Which are the chief things we should ask of God?

A. The chief things we should ask of God are His own glory, our eternal salvation and the means of obtaining it.

12 Q. Is it not also lawful to ask for temporal goods?

A. Yes, it is lawful to ask God for temporal goods, but always with the condition that these be in conformity with His Holy will and not a hindrance to our salvation.

13 Q. If God knows all that is necessary for us, why should we pray?

A. Although God knows all that is necessary for us, He nevertheless wills that we should pray to Him so as to acknowledge Him as the Giver of every good gift, to attest our humble submission to Him, and to merit His favours for ourselves.

14 Q. What is the first and best disposition to render our prayers efficacious?

A. The first and best disposition to render our prayers efficacious is to be in the state of grace; or if we are not in that state, to desire to put ourselves in it.

15 Q. What other dispositions are required in order to pray well?

A. To pray well we specially require recollection, humility, confidence, perseverance and resignation.

16 Q. What is meant by praying with recollection?

A. It means remembering that we are speaking to God; and hence we should pray with all respect and devotion, as far as possible avoiding distractions, that is, every thought foreign to our prayers.

17 Q. Do distractions lessen the merit of prayer?

A. Yes, when we ourselves bring them about, or when we do not promptly drive them away; but if we do all we can to be recollected in God, then our distractions do not lessen the merit of our prayer, and may even increase it

18 Q. What is required to pray with recollection?

A. Before prayer we should banish all occasions of distraction, and during prayer we should reflect that we are in the presence of God who sees and hears us.

19 Q. What is meant by praying with humility?

A. It means sincerely acknowledging our own unworthiness, powerlessness and misery, and as well as this observing a respectful posture.

20 Q. What is meant by praying with confidence?

A. It means that we should have a firm hope of being heard, if it is to God’s glory and our own true welfare.

21 Q. What is meant by praying with perseverance?

A. It means that we should not grow tired of praying, if God does not at once hear us, but that we should ever continue to pray with increased fervour.

22 Q. What is meant by praying with resignation?

A. It means that we should conform our will to the will of God, even when our prayers are not heard, because He knows better than we do what is necessary for our eternal salvation.

23 Q. Does God always hear prayers when well said?

A. Yes, God always hears prayers when well said; but in the way He knows to be most conducive to our eternal salvation, and not always in the way we wish.

24 Q. What effects does prayer produce in us?

A. Prayer makes us recognise our dependence on God, the Supreme Lord, in all things; it makes us think on heavenly things; it makes us advance in virtue; it obtains for us God’s mercy; it strengthens us against temptation; it comforts us in tribulation; it aids us in our needs; and it obtains for us the grace of final perseverance.

25 Q. When should we especially pray?

A. We should especially pray when in danger, in temptation, and at the hour of death; moreover, we should pray often, and it is advisable we should do so morning and night, and when beginning the more important actions of the day.

26 Q. For whom should we pray?

A. We should pray for all; first, for ourselves, then for our relatives, superiors, benefactors, friends and enemies; for the conversion of poor sinners, and of those outside the true Church, and for the Holy Souls in Purgatory.
Thursday, July 14, 2005
Birth Control Raises Risk of Heart Attack

I read a news article today that there is a 200% increase of a heart attack when one uses birth control. Since last week we talked on contraception as the discussion topic, I thought this should be brought up. The news article is Lifesite News.

"A new study has shown that women are at 200% greater risk of heart attack and stroke with the ‘low-dose” pill, especially for those women with pre-existing medical conditions. A group of researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University and the Université de Sherbrooke have examined the cases of contraceptive-related complications in women between 1980 and 2002." (Source: Life Site News)
Wednesday, July 13, 2005
Homosexual Marriage in Uganda

I heard about this piece of news today and wanted to post it. Following the legalization of homosexual marriage in Spain, I learned that Uganda has actually criminalized same sex marriage.

The amendment specifies that "marriage is lawful only if entered into between a man and a woman." It also states that "it is unlawful for same-sex couples to marry." One-hundred eleven members of parliament voted in favor of the amendment while 17 opposed it and 3 abstained.

The penalties for violating the amendment have not yet been set, but will be determined at a later date when the penal code is revised to accommodate the change in the Constitution.

Source: Catholic World News
The Mass

"If we really understood the Mass, we would die of joy." (St. John Vianney)

"The celebration of Holy Mass is as valuable as the death of Jesus on the cross" (St. Thomas Aquinas)

"Man should tremble, the world should vibrate, all Heaven should be deeply moved when the Son of God appears on the altar in the hands of the priest" (St. Francis of Assisi)

The Mass is the form of worship given to us by Christ at the Last Supper. During the Mass we pray not only through our soul but our body, which is why we bow, kneel, and stand at certain points. At every single Mass, the greatest miracle on earth occurs when bread and wine become Christ at the consecration by the power of God. The bread and wine become the Eucharist, the real Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Christ.

The Purpose of the Mass:

First and foremost, the Mass is a Sacrifice. Holy Mass is the Sacrifice of Christ on the Cross.  It is a sacrifice that is always efficacious for us as it does not depend on the merits of the priest or of the congregation. In the Mass, the Lord is both priest and victim. He is present on the altar of Sacrifice and even the priest acts in persona Christi in offering up to the Eternal Father the unblemished Sacrifice during the Canon of the Mass. We can further receive grace by partaking of the Holy Eucharist, if we are Catholics in the state of grace, though our doing so is not the purpose of the Mass or the reason why we must go to Mass on Holy Days.

In the Old Testament, priests of the Old Testament would frequently offer animal sacrifice to God in atonement for their sins as was prescribed by the law of Moses. However, as children of the New Testament, we offer to God the only true Sacrifice - Jesus Christ – which is offered in the Mass by priests of the New Testament. Jesus is the Lamb of God because He was the sacrifice that paid the price for all our sins.

The Four Necessary Components of the Mass:

As the Council of Trent has affirmed, the Mass is the "true and proper sacrifice." As with any sacrifice, there are four necessary components: a sacrificial gift (res oblata), a sacrificing minister (minister legitimus), a sacrificial action (actio sacrificica), and a sacrificial end or object (finis sacrificii).

First, the res obltata, or sacrificial gift, must be physical and real. In the Old Testament it consisted of animals offered up to God. Today at the Mass we offer to the Father one sacrifice - His Son.

Second, only a qualified person can offer the sacrifice, and that is a priest. In the Old Testament priests were to come only from the Tribe of Levi, in particular from the House of Aaron. Similarly, priests of the Holy Catholic Church must be males. The priest not only offers the Sacrifice of Jesus truly present, but the priest acts in the person of Christ (persona Christi) so it is actually Christ who offers the Sacrifice through the physical body of the priest. Thus, when the priest says the words of Consecration, it is not the priest speaking but rather Jesus speaking through the priest.

Third, the sacrificial action of the Old Testament was the spilling of the blood of animals. In the New Testament, it is Jesus' voluntary surrender of His Blood and the offering of His life.

Finally, the object of Sacrifice is to be offered solely to God for His honor and glory. Such an offering is lifted into the realms of the Divine.

The New Testament Fulfills the Old:

Just as Melchizadek brought forth bread and wine ("bringing forth bread and wine, for he was a priest of the Most High God..."), Jesus instituted the Eucharist as a Sacrifice at the Last Supper. Thus, we again see the importance of the continuity of the Old and New Testaments. Jesus did not come to destroy the Old Covenant but instead, to fulfill it (Matthew 5:17) and establish a new and greater one with His Body as the true and lasting Sacrifice.

The tearing of the temple veil is the final sign of the Sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross. The veil in Old Testament was of thick linen that separated the Holy of Holies from the rest of the temple. In particular, it was so holy that a priest could only walk in the temple one day a year on Yom Kippur. And he would even have a rope tied around his ankle. If the priest died in the temple, he was pulled from the temple using the rope because if someone were to enter the temple after him, he would die. The tearing of the veil (Matthew 27:51) signified a new Sacrifice and the completion of the redemptive work of Christ. Now mankind could enter in God's presence and offer to God their sufferings and prayers if they were united spiritually with the Cross. The protestant notion that the temple signified the end of all Sacrifices is false. The Old had ended. As the Early Church shows, the Sacrifice of the Mass was celebrated by the Apostles themselves as the New Sacrifice.

The time has come when the words of Malachi 1:11 have been fulfilled: "For from the rising of the sun even to the going down, my name is great among the Gentiles, and in every place there is sacrifice, and there is offered to my name a clean oblation: for my name is great among the Gentiles, saith the Lord of hosts."

The Mass as a Sacred Meal:

The Mass is a sacred Meal, where we actually receive Christ's Body and Blood. Look back to John 6:52-59, and I will specifically show the last verse:

"For my flesh is meat indeed: and my blood is drink indeed" (John 6:59). This shows that we are entirely dependent on Christ. Without taking part in His Sacrifice and consuming it, He said, "You shall have no life within you." (John 6:53). Jesus even said, "I am the Bread of Life" (John 6:48). As we live in Communion with Christ, we live as part of the larger Church, which is referred to as the Body of Christ. However, in early Christianity, the Romans persecuted the Christians believing them to be cannibals and not understanding the meaning of the sacrifice. Yet, this new Sacrifice is the mixing of the Old and New, where the body and blood of an animal are replaced by the bread and wine, which mystically become Christ's Body and Blood.

That is why the Mass is unlike any other form of worship because we literally receive Jesus Christ. Only an ordained priest, through the power of God, can preside at the consecration when the bread and wine become the Body and Blood. Therefore, we should make every attempt to attend the Holy Mass.

The Parts of the Mass:

Note: This is an overview of the Traditional Latin Mass (aka Tridentine Mass). All quotations in this section, unless otherwise stated, are from the 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal (Angelus Press Publishing).

The pictures below show the Mass celebrated in the Tridentine Mass according to the Rite of 1962, also called the Tridentine Latin Mass or the Mass of John XXIII, with the priest facing East in an ad orientem posture. Traditionally priests face East, which is the direction from which Christ shall return in the Second Coming. In addition, each part of the priest's vestment is symbolic of Jesus' Passion and Suffering. Genuflecting and bowing are also important in the Mass.

The Mass starts with the priest processing in. In this way, the Mass begins with the procession symbolizing Jesus' triumphant ride into Jerusalem. "The Mass begins with the sign of the cross, the sign of Redemption." The priest says, "Introibo ad altare Dei" (I will go up to the altar of God) to which the servers respond "Ad Deum qui laetificat juventutem mean" (To God who giveth joy to my youth). Next, the priest and servers pray in dialogue Psalm 42. "The celebrant longs to ascend to the altar of God, there to perform his holy office and to draw near to the Lord God, even to union with Him in the Eucharist. He confides himself to the mercy of God, source of light, salvation, and peace". As the priest and servers repeat the "Introibo...", which preceded Psalm 42, the priest then says, "Adjutorium nostrum in nomine Domini" (Our Help is the name of the Lord) to which the servers respond "Qui fecit caelum et terram" (Who made Heaven and Earth), directly quoting from the Psalms.

The priest alone then prays the Confiteor, admitting his own sinfulness. "The Confiteor creates an interior silence from the beginning of the Mass, as Priest and faithful turn away from their temporal concerns to face the reality of Calvary, for which their sins are responsible. It is the first expression of that humility which will accompany us through the Sacrifice of the Mass". After the priest's prayers the servers then similarly pray the Confiteor. After a brief dialogue of prayers between the priest and the servers, the priest ascends to the altar. "With the priest, we enter into the silence of Christ in His permanent sacrifice. The Mass does not divide sins into categories: we ask God to take away all of our sins and imperfections because they are an obstacle to love of Him." As the priest ascends, he prays that he be worthy to enter the holy of holies. The priest then beseeches the Lord to forgive his sins through the merits of the saints, whose relics are in the altar.

Next, the priest prays the Introit. "The Introit is part of the preparation for the sacrifice; we begin by praising God. The chants of the Introit, Gradual, Offertory, and Commuion harmonize with the variable prayers and instructions, so that the idea of the feast or the though of the day pervades the whole Mass." Next the Kyrie is prayed. The words "Kyrie, eleison (thrice repeated); Chrite, eleison (thrice repeated); Kyrie eleison (thrice repeated)" translate in English to "Lord, have mercy; Christ, have mercy; Lord, have mercy". Each set of three is addressed to a separate person of the Blessed Trinity, and these prayers are said in a dialogue between the priest and the servers. 

Next, the Gloria is prayed. "The Gloria is also part of our preparation, reminding us of the heavenly glory to which, after this vale of tears, we are tending." After the ending of the Gloria, the priest will address the people "Dominus vobiscum" (the Lord be with you). "The Priest's kiss of the altar, which represents Christ, immediately precedes the Dominus vobiscum. The Priest breathes in, so to speak, the love and spirit of Jesus Christ which he, in turn, bestows upon the people using the words of the Angel Gabriel to our Lady." Next, is the Collect. "The final part of the preparation is the prayer which the Priest makes for the people, that they may be made worthy of such great mysteries."

Following this, the priest will read the Epistle, usually from the Epistles of St. Peter or St. Paul, on the Epistle side of the altar. Following this, the priest prays a variable prayer, the Gradual and Alleluia, which reflect the nature of the celebration of the day. In times of morning, the tract is prayed instead. "The Gradual signifies our progress in life; the Alleluia, spiritual joy; and the Tract, in mournful offices, expresses the sighing of the soul." Praying that he may be made worthy to proclaim the Gospel. As the priest prays, the Missal is moved by the server to the Gospel side. Following this, the Faithful stand to hear the words of the Holy Gospel proclaimed in Latin. These reading are usually repeated at the beginning of the sermon, which immediately follows the Gospel but is only required to take place on Sunday and high holy days.

Next, the Nicene Creed is prayed on certain holy days, always including Sundays. At the words, "by the power of the Holy Spirit . . . made man," all the faithful kneel, in which we humble ourselves at the memory of the Incarnation of our Lord. "After the Gospel has been read, the Creed is sung, in which the people show that they assent by faith to Christ's doctrine... It forms a link between the Mass of the Catechumens and the Mass of the Faithful: it is at once the blossom and fruit of the preceding Scriptural readings and the foundation stone and basis for the sacrifice which is about to begin. The Creed is for Catholics our great Act of Faith in which is contained the twelves articles of our Holy Religion."

Nextly, the Offertory begins. The priest will offer the bread and then separately, the wine just as Christ did at the Last Supper. "In the Offertory, Christ unites our desires and prayers to His own offering of Himself to the Father. As our intentions are joined to the Passion of Christ, they assume the value of the Passion in the eyes of God." Before the wine is offered to the Father, though, the priest adds a drop of water into the holy chalice. "The wine represents the divine nature, water represents our human nature, so that the mixing of the water and wine signifies the Incarnation of Christ; yet it also points to His Passion, in which water and blood poured from His pierced Heart." At a High Mass, as opposed to a Low Mass, the altar is now incensed. The priest then will wash his hands in holy water, symbolic of Pontius Pilate washing his hands of Jesus, the Innocent Victim. As he washes his hands in water, the priest prays Psalm 25. This is called the Lavabo, coming from the first word of Psalm 25:6.

After a prayer to the Holy Trinity and an appeal to the Faithful to pray that the Sacrifice is worthily accepted by God, the priest prays the Secrets. "The petitions contained in the Secret prayer refer particularly to the gifts that have been presented and the sacrifice which is about to take place."

Next, the priest prays the Preface, which varies from celebration to celebration as there are several prefaces, depending upon the Season and Feast in the Church. The Preface will begin with the words "Vere dignum et justum est" (It is truly meet and just). Next is prayed the Sanctus. "The Preface called us to lift up our hearts, and the people now praise the Divinity of Christ alongside the Angels: "Holy, Holy, Holy". These words were addressed to Christ as He once rode triumphantly into Jerusalem.

Then the priest will preside at the Consecration. This Part of the Mass, the Canon is prayed silently and includes many prayers, gestures of reverence, and signs of transubstantiation (i.e. ringing of the bells).

The Eucharistic host, now truly the Body and Blood of Christ, is elevated. Both the consecrated Bread and Wine are equally the Jesus. Both of them are His true Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity even though they are under two different forms. They are no longer bread or wine.

In the Canon of the Mass, the Eucharistic Lord is offered to the Father. For the Sacrifice of the Mass is truly the same Sacrifice of the Cross. It is not a new or different sacrifice. The Canon involves numerous holy prayers, each with great symbolic importance. There are nine occasions on which the Sign of the Cross is made, each symbolic of the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is far too symbolically in-depth for a sufficient explanation of this holiest part of Mass to be explained here.

Next, the Our Father is prayed. "St. Gregory the Great placed this prayer after the Canon as its completion. In the ancient Church, it was considered the only preparation worthy of Holy Communion."

Then the Agnus Dei is prayed as the Lord is exclaimed as the Lamb of God three times. "In the Old Law, a lamb was one of the usual animals of sacrifice. Jesus Christ is the one true Lamb, who atoned for and effaced the sins of the world in His blood." The people will quietly approach the altar and receive the Lord in Holy Communion while kneeling, typically at a Communion Rail. As only consecrated hands may touch the Eucharist, the Faithful may not touch the True Presence of our Lord. The Faithful receive only after the Priest himself receives the Eucharist under both species (bread and wine). For his reception of Holy Communion, he prays several prayers, some of which are quotations from the Psalms.

The priest will offer the prayer called the Communion and the Post Communion, which guide our prayers of Thanksgiving for the great Sacrifice of the Mass. The priest blesses the Congregation in the name of the Holy Trinity and prays the Last Gospel, coming from John 1:1-14. The priest leaves again in procession, symbolic of the Risen Christ.

After a Low Mass, the priest also prays three Hail Marys, the Salve Regina, and the Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel. This is a basic overview of the Traditional Latin Mass.

Basic Information on the Mass:
Tridentine Mass Videos:
Latin Mass Locations:
Recommended Reading on the Mass and Liturgy and Liturgical Year:
"The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass gives boundless honor to the Most Blessed Trinity because it represents the passion of Jesus Christ and because through the Mass we offer God the merits of Our Lord's obedience, of His sufferings and of His Precious Blood. The whole of the heavenly court also receives an accidental joy from the Mass.

Several doctors of the Church—together with St. Thomas Aquinas—tell us that, for the same reason, all the blessed in Heaven rejoice in the communion of the faithful because the Blessed Sacrament is a memorial of the passion and death of Jesus Christ, and that by means of it men share in its fruits and work out their salvation" (St. Louis de Montfort).
Tuesday, July 12, 2005
Purpose/Mission Statement

Mission Statement:

A Catholic Life seeks a return to and preservation of authentic Roman Catholicism, as practiced in the decades before the Second Vatican Council.


"There are not one hundred people in this world who dislike Catholicism, but there are millions who dislike what they mistakenly believe Catholicism to be." - Archbishop Fulton Sheen

Detailed History:

First off, I am a Roman Catholic aspiring to live in greater holiness in order to serve Our Lord, Jesus Christ. I began attending Mass in 2002 and instantly realized that the Church of Jesus Christ is the Catholic Church. After attending RCIA, I entered the Catholic Church in 2004, and right now I have further come to realize that I believe in and wish to preserve the Traditional Catholic Religion, as most expressed before the Second Vatican Council.

I created this site to be in accordance with the Holy Catholic Church and clear up misconceptions about the Church as well as to help proclaim the Gospel under the Command of Christ (cf. Matthew 28:18-20). This blog will present recent news on the Catholic faith along with prayers and information on promoting the Culture of Life and the true Catholic Faith.

My Philosophy as adapted from Concerned Roman Catholic for America, Inc.:
I will not allow the Holy Catholic Church to be torn apart and assaulted by the forces of Modernism, Syncretism, Heresy, and the gross immorality of some of its clergy in the name of the "Spirit of Vatican II". I will not allow our Catholic youth to be robbed of their faith or have their innocence destroyed in the name of "tolerance", "ecumenism", "diversity" or any other politically correct ideology of the day. I am here to promote true Catholicism as taught by those orthodox, faithful members of the clergy. I am here to be a light shining in the darkness of sin that is destroying the Internet through such means as pornography and atheism...

I object to individuals or groups of individuals being given access to Catholic schools, churches, conferences and Church property to promote any belief, teaching, or idea contrary to Catholic teaching as defined by two thousand years of Tradition and Church teaching. I expect every Catholic priest to follow the disciplines of the Catholic Church as he solemnly vowed to do. I expect every bishop to do all he can to safeguard the souls of our children by exercising his authority to ensure proper teaching within Catholic schools and parish religion programs. And I insist that Catholic colleges and universities either teach the True Faith or cease calling themselves Catholic. I assert that homosexual men and pedophiles are not to be admitted to the seminary and that women and married men should never become priests. I object to the use of extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion since it has always been taught that only the hands of the ordained minister should touch the Eucharist. I assert that it is a sin to attend Protestant services or worship services of other religions. And I desire for all priests to be taught Latin in the seminary and Gregorian Chant to return in all our churches.

I object to any priest treating the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass as his personal possession by adding, changing, or removing any part of the Mass on his own authority. Furthermore, I assert that the right of every Catholic priest to celebrate the Traditional Latin Mass must be recognized, and I consider it a grave scandal that such a right is not recognized while at the same time countless liturgical and theological novelties are promoted by many in the hierarchy.
I encourage everyone here, Catholics and non-Catholics, to participate on my blog. I'd love to hear your comments and or suggestions if they are presented in a polite manner.

Let me remind everyone that opinions in the comments section do not necessarily adhere to Magesterium's teachings. The information and opinions presented on this blog do not necessarily reflect the opinions of all Catholics or the Vatican itself. I wanted to thank everyone who comes here regularly for participating in this blogging endeavor.

Purgatory is "the place and state in which souls suffer for a while and are purged after death, before they go to Heaven, on account of their sins. Venial sins, which have never in life been remitted by an act of repentance or love or by good deeds, and grave sins, the guilt of which with its eternal punishment has indeed been removed by God after an act of repentance but for which there is still left a debt of temporal punishment due to His justice on account of the imperfection of that repentance, must be purged away after death by the pain of intense longing for God, whose blissful vision is delayed, and also, as is commonly taught, by some pain of sense inflicted probably by material fire." (Definition from A Catholic Dictionary, 1951)

This is from the Church's Teaching Authority:

"Even as in the same fire gold glistens and straw smokes, so in the same fire the sinner burns and the elect is cleansed." Pope St. Gregory I, 6th century, quoted from St. Augustine (De Civ. Dei i, 8)

"If they have died repentant for their sins and having love of God, but have not made satisfaction for things they have done or omitted by fruits worthy of penance, then their souls, after death, are cleansed by the punishment of Purgatory; also . . . the suffrages of the faithful still living are efficacious in bringing them relief from such punishment, namely the Sacrifice of the Mass, prayers and almsgiving and other works of piety which, in accordance with the designation of the Church, are customarily offered by the faithful for each other." Council of Florence (1438-1443)

"Among them is also the fire of purgatory, in which the souls of just men are cleansed by a temporary punishment, in order to be admitted into their eternal country, into which nothing defiled entereth. The truth of this doctrine, founded, as holy Councils declare,' on Scripture, and confirmed by Apostolic tradition, demands exposition from the pastor, all the more diligent and frequent, because we live in times when men endure not sound doctrine." Catechism of Council of Trent, The Creed - Article V, Different Abodes Called Hell

"Prayers for the dead, that they may be liberated from the fire of purgatory, are derived from Apostolic teaching" Catechism of Council of Trent, Prayer

"We also beg of God that we be not cut off by a sudden death; that we provoke not His anger against us; that we be not condemned to suffer the punishments reserved for the wicked; that we be not sentenced to endure the fire of purgatory, from which we piously and devoutly implore that others may be liberated." Catechism of Council of Trent, The Lord's Prayer, Seventh Petition


And making a gathering, he twelve thousand drachms of silver to Jerusalem for sacrifice to be offered for the sins of the dead, thinking well and religiously concerning the resurrection, And because he considered that the who had fallen asleep with godliness, had great grace laid up for them. It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins. 2 Maccabees 12:43,45,46

"Every man's work shall be manifest; for the day of the Lord shall declare it, because it shall be revealed in fire; and the fire shall try every man's work, of what sort it is. If any man's work abide, which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work burn, he shall suffer loss; but he himself shall be saved, yet so as by fire." 1 Corinthians 3:13-15

How can we Assist the Souls Suffering in Purgatory?

"I was in Purgatory tonight. It was as if I were being led into an abyss, where I saw a large hall. It is touching to see the Poor Souls so quiet and sad. Yet their faces reveal that they have joy in their hearts, because of their recollection of God's loving mercy. On a glorious throne, I saw the Blessed Virgin, more beautiful than I had ever beheld Her. She said, 'I entreat you to instruct people to pray for the suffering Souls in Purgatory, for they certainly will pray much for us out of gratitude. Prayer for these holy souls is very pleasing to God because it enables them to see Him sooner...'" (From the Revelation of Blessed Anna Katarina Emmerich)

We should pray fervently and frequently for the souls in Purgatory.  Start by adding the St. Gertrude Prayer to your daily prayers:
"Eternal Father, I offer Thee the Most Precious Blood of Thy Divine Son, Jesus, in union with the Masses said throughout the world today, for all the Holy Souls in Purgatory, for sinners everywhere, for sinners in the universal church, those in my own home and within my family. Amen."
O holy souls, as one truly devoted to you, I promise never to forget you and continually to pray to the Most High for your release. I beseech you to respond to this offering which I make to you, and to obtain for me, from God, with Whom you are so powerful on behalf of the living, that I may be free from all dangers of souls and body.

I beg both for myself and for my relations and benefactors, friends and enemies, pardon for our sins, and the grace of perseverance in good, whereby we may save our souls. Obtain for us peace of heart; assist us in all our actions; succor us promptly in all our spiritual and temporal needs; console and defend us in our dangers.

Pray for our Holy Father, the Pope; for the exaltation of Holy Church; for peace between nations; for Christian rulers; and for tranquility among peoples; and grant that we may one day all rejoice together in Paradise. Amen.
Additionally, it should be widely promoted for the Faithful to ask the clergy to offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass with the intention of freeing the souls in Purgatory.  Many souls are released from Purgatory by the graces from the Mass.  Furthermore, we should seek to gain Indulgences for the souls in Purgatory.  The easiest way to do this is by obtaining a Raccolta (see links at bottom of this post) which lists the indulgenced prayers and the conditions for obtaining the indulgence.

Furthermore, the souls in Purgatory are greatly aided when we offer our Holy Communions for them.  Make it a practice to offer your Holy Communion at least once weekly for the souls in Purgatory.

In the past, I have reflected on Praying the Stations of the Cross - which also happen to have indulgences attached to them - and at this time I would also encourage you to pray the Stations for the souls in Purgatory.  Similarly, through almsgiving, penance, and fasting with the intention of freeing souls in Purgatory, we can directly help the suffering souls in the Church Suffering.  And these souls, when freed from their purgation, shall certainly pray for our salvation.

Raccolta (Listing of Indulgences in Latin and English):

For a listing of hundreds of prayers with indulgences and special blessings attached to them, be sure to refer to a copy of the Raccolta often.  Click here to order one.
Common Questions:


Copyright Notice: Unless otherwise stated, all items are copyrighted under a Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. If you quote from this blog, cite a link to the post on this blog in your article.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links on this blog are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. As an Amazon Associate, for instance, I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases made by those who click on the Amazon affiliate links included on this website. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”