Tuesday, October 30, 2018
St. Alphonsus Rodriguez

St. Alphonsus Rodriguez, whose feast is kept "In Some Places and Congregations" on October 30th, was a lay Jesuit brother. The following is taken from Catholic Online:

He was born in Segovia, Spain, on July 25, 1532, the son of a wealthy merchant, and was prepared for First Communion by Blessed Peter Favre, a friend of Alphonsus' father. While studying with the Jesuits at Alcala, Alphonsus had to return home when his father died. In Segovia he took over the family business, was married, and had a son. That son died, as did two other children and then his wife.

Alphonsus sold his business and applied to the Jesuits. His lack of education and his poor health, undermined by his austerities, made him less than desirable as a candidate for the religious life, but he was accepted as a lay brother by the Jesuits on January 31, 1571. He underwent novitiate training and was sent to Montesion College on the island of Majorca. There he labored as a hall porter for twenty-four years.

Overlooked by some of the Jesuits in the house, Alphonsus exerted a wondrous influence on many. Not only the young students, such as St. Peter Claver, but local civic and social leaders came to his porter's lodge for advice and direction. Obedience and penance were the hallmarks of his life, as well as his devotion to the Immaculate Conception. He experienced many spiritual consolations, and he wrote religious treatises, very simple in style but sound in doctrine. St. Alphonsus died after a long illness on October 31, 1617, and his funeral was attended by Church and government leaders. He was declared Venerable in 1626, and was named a patron of Majorca in 1633. Alphonsus was beatified in 1825 and canonized in September 1888 with St. Peter Claver.


O God, strength of the weak and greatness of the humble, Who didst make Thy servant Alphonsus wonderful by the practice of constant penance and the merit of deep humility, grant that we may mortify our flesh as he did and faithfully carry the cross in the footsteps of Thy Son, and thus attain eternal glory: Who with Thee liveth and reigneth...
Monday, October 29, 2018
The 6 Missions of Northern California: A Pictorial Guide for Catholics

No trip to California would be complete without a visit to its founding missions (21 in all) that span the West Coast.  And while travelers to Southern California often think to visit the missions that span from around Los Angeles and down to San Diego, fewer travelers seem to think of the Northern California Missions.

This summer I set out to visit the missions of Northern California.   And rather than focus on the historical importance of these missions, their role in the lives of the natives, or their history, I set out to experience the Catholic sentiments from these missions.  My journey was not one done as a historian but one performed as a pilgrim.  I encourage you to visit the California missions and not simply contemplate the souls who passed through the doors but to stop and pray.  Thank God for the missions.  Thank God for giving us the Catholic Faith.  And spend some moments in praying for the conversion of sinners and reparation for sin.

As a final note, all photographs are mine and copyrighted by this blog.  Please feel free to share if you attribute the image appropriately.

Mission San Rafael

If you are coming from San Francisco, this Mission is just a short car ride north after going over the famous Golden Gate Bridge.  The mission is smaller than others and features both the mission church (which was rebuilt after the period of secularism by the Mexican Government and after an earthquake) along with a beautiful new Church.  Unlike some of the other missions, there was no entry fee or museum to tour.  Yet, I still stopped to pray for the souls up in Marin County.

Interestingly, for those unfamiliar with the history of this mission, it was a place for the sick to go since the weather up here is so much sunnier and brighter than down in San Francisco.  May we say a short prayer to Our Lady, Refuge of the Sick, and St. Raphael for the souls of the sick and suffering.

The Old Mission Church.  Inside was a Mass being said in Spanish.

The New Church Building. An English Mass was being said in here.

Inside the Old Mission.

Mission Dolores (San Francisco de Asis)

Where did the city of San Francisco (St. Francis) get its name?  It was from the Mission of San Francisco in what is now known as the "Mission District" of the city.  The mission features the original mission church as well as a new, larger basilica.  Inside the basilica are stained glass windows - one to honor each of the California missions.  The stained glass was enchanting and worth the visit alone.  Spend some time here and praying for the intercession of all of these heavenly patrons for the conversion of so many souls lost in sin in San Francisco and California.

The New Basilica

Lord, have mercy on the poor souls!

Inside the original mission

The stained glass was stunning

Mission San Jose

While a short distance from San Jose, the Mission of San Jose is actually located east of the Bay in the city of Fremont.  The mission entrance is actually in the gift shop and there is a nice museum on the right.  Through the left of the gift shop, visit the actual mission church and the cemetery.

The church is beautiful and inside are some truly amazing relics.  You need to come here and kneel down and thank God for His love and His charity for us.  This is not a mission to skip!

Inside this nail is said to contain filings from a nail of the True Cross of Jesus Christ

 Included in this altar are relics of the Roman martyrs and a nail said to contain within its hollow center filings from a nail of the True Cross of Jesus Christ.

Mission Santa Clara

Of the 21 California Missions, Mission Santa Clara is quite convincingly the most well kept of them all since it is on the campus of Santa Clara University, which is run by the Jesuits.  The mission honors St. Clara and was the first California mission constructed to honor a female saint.

Inside the mission of Santa Clara is the tomb and the story of a remarkably holy man: Father Magín Catalá. In particular, the beautiful Crucifix shown above is the miraculous Crucifix in front of which Father would pray and be seen levitating from the ground by witnesses who have sworn under oath to this miracle's authenticity. Father Catalá lived a heroic life of sanctity. As stated in a pamphlet from the Mission: "[He] fasted every day of the year, tasting nothing until noon and then allowing himself but a little milk and cornbread. He never ate flesh, meat, eggs, or fish."  Join me in the prayer for his canonization.

Mission San Francisco Solano

Mission San Francisco Solano is often forgotten as it was the 21st and the final mission in Alta, California.  It also has the distinction of being the most northern mission (it is located in Sonoma, CA which is north of San Francisco), and it is the only mission to be built after Mexico gained independence from Spain.  This change led to many of the missions being secularized and the atheistic government in Mexico to persecute the Church.

Mission San Carlos Borromeo (Carmel Mission)

Last, but certainly not least, is the true spiritual heart of the Missions: the Carmel Mission.  It is here that the body of St. Junipero Serra rests before the main altar where he is buried.  It is also here at this mission where you can find the Caravaca Cross, the personal reliquary cross of St. Junipero Serra, as well as the oldest European styled state of our Lady brought to Carmel by St. Serra - Our Lady of Bethlehem Statue.

I had the grace to be able to visit this Mission, watch a 15-minute video documentary of St. Serra, pray before his tomb, and tour the museum.  Outside the Mission in the city of Carmel was obscene amounts of wealth - Lamborghini, Bugatti, and other luxury cars were in town for a major international luxury car show.  In contrast, before me rested the body of a poor Franciscan who had no possessions and yet who possesses now in Heaven the beatific vision and eternal bliss.

St. Junipero Serra, pray for us!

Tuesday, October 23, 2018
St. Anthony Mary Claret

3rd Class (1962 Calendar): October 23

Today according to the Traditional Calendar of 1962 is the 3rd Class Feast of St. Anthony Mary Claret, Bishop and Confessor.

St. Anthony was born in Sallent, Spain, in 1807. His father was a weaver. He studied to be a Jesuit priest, but was unable to complete his work to be a Jesuit. St. Anthony went on to be ordained as a diocesan priest. Later on he founded Catholic orders dedicated the Blessed Mother, the Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary or the Claretians and also the order for Claretian nuns. Between 1850 to 1857, he was the archbishop in Santiago de Cuba, Cuba. Later on he returned to Spain and became the confessor in the court of Queen Isabella II. Saint Anthony participated in the First Vatican Council in 1868 and 1870. It was said that he cured many people of their illnesses through the power of Christ. He died in 1870 in exile in France. He also did much to help revive the Catalan language.

St. Anthony Mary Claret had the gift of prophecy and performed many miracles. He was opposed by the liberal forces of Spain and Cuba and endured many trials.

There are 3,100 Claretian missionaries working in sixty-five different countries around the world. Founded in Spain by St Anthony Mary Claret in 1849 as the Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the initials of each member is CMF (Cordis Mariae Filius = “Son of the Heart of Mary”)

St. Anthony Mary Claret was beatified in Rome by Pope Pius XI on February 24, 1934. He was canonized 16 years later by Pope Pius XII on May 7, 1950. Pope John XXIII included him in the General Roman Calendar in 1960 and fixed his feast on October 23. October 23rd is also in some places the Feast of the Most Holy Redeemer.


O God, with the virtues of an apostle Thou didst exalt blessed Anthony Mary, and through him build in Thy Church new religious congregations of men and women; grant, we pray, that led by his counsels and helped by his prayers, we may unremittingly work for the salvation of souls. Through our Lord . . .
Friday, October 19, 2018
Aymeric of Piacenza: 12th Dominican Master

Continuing my articles on the Masters of the Dominican Order, we now arrive at the 11th Dominican Master: Bernard de Jusix.   For a quick recap of the previous Masters of the Order, please click here.

Aymeric of Piacenza governed the word from 1304 until 1310.  He succeeded Bernard de Jusix who ruled just a few years.  The governance of Aymeric brought more stability to the order compared with the quick turn-over of the Masters before him. 

Aymeric entered the Order of Preachers and soon after arrived in Milan to pursue his studies where, providentially, he formed a close relationship with the man who would later become Pope Benedict XI in 1303.  Aymeric taught philosophy and theology for 24 years before becoming the Provincial of Greece.  In 1304 in Toulouse at the General Chapter, in an act of humility, he renounced his office.  In the response to such an act, he was unanimously chosen as the successor to  Bernard de Jusix as the Master of the Order.

Highlights from his governance of the order included the relegation of studies in areas most affected by the Fraticelli.  The Fraticelli were known as the "Spiritual Franciscans" who were extreme proponents of the rule of Saint Francis of Assisi, especially with regard to poverty; they regarded the wealth of the Church as scandalous and that of individual churchmen as invalidating their status. The Dominicans countered this movement which was declared heretical in 1296 by Pope Boniface VIII.  He also joined Pope Clement IV in 1309 regarding the examination of the Templars.  Shortly there afterward, he resigned his position in 1310 to avoid the displeasure of Clement IV, whose policy Aymeric did not always agree with. He later died on August 19, 1327.

He is reputed to have authored a treatise against the heretics of his era as well as works on dogmatic and scholastic questions.  Let us pray for the repose of the soul of Aymeric of Piacenza and all Dominicans.  

Pater Noster. Ave Maria. Requiem aeternam.

The source of his life comes from (Ed. Reichert, Rome, 1900), which forms the fifth volume of the "Monumenta Hist. Fratr. Praed." (181-202).
Wednesday, October 17, 2018
Youth Synod 2018: Spiritual Child Abuse

Guest Post by David Martin

The critics of Pope Francis’ Administration have been vindicated big time! The latest profanation spewing forth from the bowels of Rome clearly demonstrates that the abuse of our Catholic youth is being orchestrated right from Vatican headquarters. This video clip of the pope and bishops rocking out to pelvic-thrusting teenage dancers on stage is quite telling. https://remnantnewspaper.com/web/index.php/articles/item/4128-rockin-the-scandal-the-synod-on-young-people

This pagan dancing promoted by the Synodal architects can best be described as “spiritual child abuse.” When Church leaders use their rank to advance designs that are sensual and devilish, it scandalizes the young by warping their conception of the Faith.

How can young people ever conceive the Majesty of Christ in his sanctuary when they're being taught by their elders that the Church is a place for sex-oriented fun? This in turn opens the door for abuses of a more ‘tangible’ nature if in fact it doesn't reflect these abuses already occurring among the hierarchy.

What is especially absurd is that several of the gay-sympathizers implicated in Archbishop Vigano’s expose of the sexual abuse and cover-ups—clerics like Archbishop Maradiaga, Cardinal Cupich, Cardinal Parolin and Archbishop Paglia—are participants in this Youth Synod. What are they doing there? Recommending our Catholic youth to them for guidance makes as much sense as trying to put out a fire with gasoline. What next, shall Nazi’s be featured at a Vatican-sponsored pro-life conference?

What is worse is that Instrumentum Laboris, the working document for Youth Synod 2018 explicitly supports homosexual agenda as seen in paragraph 197:
“Some LGBT youth, through various contributions that came to the Secretariat of the Synod, wish to “benefit from a greater closeness” and experience greater care on the part of the Church, while some ECs [Episcopal Conferences] ask what to propose “to young people who instead of forming a heterosexual couple decide to form a homosexual couple and, above all, wish to be close to the Church.”
Consistent with this is the fact that of all the youth chosen to represent Canada in the Youth Synod, Pope Francis chose four members from Salt and Light Media, a pro-gay organization headed by pro-homosexual priest Fr. Thomas Rosica, who is also on the Synod’s Information Commission.

“It is a great sign of affirmation from Pope Francis and the Church’s recognition of Salt and Light’s mission of bringing the flavour of the Gospel and the light of Christ to the world,” wrote Rosica. https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/pope-selects-only-fr.-rosicas-salt-light-team-as-canadas-youth-at-synod

The bottom line is that the abuse of our Catholic youth is being fostered by the corrupt teachings and agenda of many in the Catholic hierarchy. Yea, it is being fostered by heretics and homosexuals. That Francis should place this stumbling block before the youth defies logic.
“Woe to the world because of scandals.” (Matt. 18:7)

The transparency and general house-cleaning called for by Archbishop Viganò is long overdue. Kudos to him for his action. May the hierarchy follow his lead and get to work at cleaning house.
Pope St. Pontian

Next in the continuing series of posts on the History of the Sovereign Pontiffs, after the death of Pope St. Urban I in 230, St. Pontian was elected as the Supreme Pontiff.

Commemoration (1954 Calendar): November 19

Pope St. Pontian reigned as the Vicar of Christ on earth from 230-235. He holds the distinction of being the first pontiff to abdicate - one of only a few popes to have ever resigned the Holy Office.

He devoted much of his reign to upholding the condemnation of the heretical aspects of Origenism and struggled against the schismatic movement which supported the antipope Hippolytus. In 235, Pontian was arrested by Roman officials at the instigation of the persecution of the Church by Emperor Maximinus I Thrax. With Hippolytus, Pontian was exiled to the infamous mines of Sardinia.  In order to make certain that the Church was not deprived of its leadership while he was in exile, St. Pontian stepped down, the first pope ever to do so, so that a new successor could govern the People of God. Both he and Hippolytus both died on Sardinia. Their remains were returned to Rome under Pope St. Fabian.

Interestingly, Hippolytus is also a saint and a source of inspiration for us to pray for the conversion of those in schism.  When St. Callistus was elected pope, St. Hippolytus accused him of being too lenient with penitents and had himself elected antipope by a group of followers. He felt that the Church must be composed of pure souls uncompromisingly separated from the world: St. Hippolytus evidently thought that his group fitted the description. He remained in schism through the reigns of three popes until 235 when he also was banished to the island of Sardinia. Shortly before or after this event, he was reconciled to the Church and died in exile with Pope St. Pontian.

Regarding the heresy of Origenism, which was led by Origen, a Church Father, who despite his piety and great learning in some respect, ultimately fell away from the Truth.  

Thus, we see in the lives of those around St. Pontian the schismatic who is reconciled as well as the Church Father who is lost.  And in St. Pontian we see a man who stayed firm throughout.  It all matters how we end - the state of our soul at death determines our eternal destiny.  So let us pray for the conversion of all and not worry on our past sins which have been forgiven in confession.  Our only goal should be to press ahead to Heaven by staying close to the Church, the Sacraments, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and interior conversion.

St. Pontian, pray for us!


We have offered our gifts to You, O Lord. Let Your light graciously shine upon Your Church, so that this flock may everywhere prosper, and its pastors under Your guidance, may be truly pleasing to You. Through our Lord . . .
Sunday, October 14, 2018
3 Traditional Catholic Radio Stations

Magnificat Radio

This station is run by a family who attends the Society of St. Pius X in the Midwest.  They also share very short but helpful reflections on the feastdays of the liturgical year on their Facebook page.  Follow their page to receive them.


Thie channel offers various Traditional Catholic talks.

Sensum Fidelium YouTube Channel

While not a radio station, Sensum Fidelium publishes excellent, traditional sermons nearly daily on YouTube.  Listen to the latest sermons for timely reflections pertinent to a Traditional Catholic.
Thursday, October 11, 2018
Video: The Latin Mass - Immaculate Heart of Mary Oratory

Earlier this year I reviewed 6 Latin Mass Locations in the San Francisco / San Jose Bay Area.  One of those Mass locations is the Immaculate Heart of Mary Oratory in San Jose.  The above is a new video recently published to promote the Traditional Mass in San Jose, and it is exceptionally well done!  Please watch and share.
Wednesday, October 10, 2018
The Souls of the Christian Apostolate

Please check out this new organization and pray for their success: The Souls of the Christian Apostolate

The organization is based on the book Soul of the Apostolate by Dom Chautard. For those looking for a summary of this book, Bishop Robert Vasa offers a summary of the book in audio available here: Bishop Vasa's Audio Sermon of the Soul of the Apostolate
Tuesday, October 9, 2018
Feastday of St. John Leonard

SemiDouble (1954 Calendar): October 9

October 9th is the feast of St. John Leonard who was beatified in 1861 and canonized in 1938 by Pope Pius XI. Pope Pius XII extended his feast to the Universal Church in 1940.

From Lives Of The Saints By Alban Butler, Benziger Bros. Edition:

The parable of the Mustard Seed growing into a great tree is verified not only in the life of the Church but often in the work of saintly priests. It is vividly true in the career of the Saint honored today. Born in 1543 in Italy, where he died sixty-six year later, John Leonard was first a pharmacist’s helper in Lucca. It was not until he was twenty-six that he began to study for the priesthood. He was forty at the time of his ordination and for the next twenty-five years he engaged in many apostolic labors.  

The heresies of his day were robbing the young, particularly, of their birthright of the true faith. For them he established a Congregation, the Clerks Regular of the Mother of God. It was, like so many zealous endeavors, threatened with dissolution but was saved by the direct action of the Pope. Burning with great zeal for souls, he wanted to go to the foreign missions but St. Philip Neri, who looked upon him as a real reformer, told him that his mission was to the people of Italy. This vocation at home, however, did not dampen his ardor for the fields afar and, through another priest, he managed to arrange a group to form young men to go as priests to pioneers in the work of the Propagation of the Faith.  

Pope Pius IX beatified St. John Leonard, and he was canonized by Pope Pius XI in 1938.  

Reflection. —In our day, many people who in their early youth either felt no attraction to a life of zeal for others or were unable through circumstances to fulfill such a desire come “better late than never” to serve God and neighbor. These are generous souls who go forward despite difficulties. See what the world would have missed had St. John Leonard been discouraged.  

Body of St. John Leonardi (c) A Catholic Life Blog, 2016.

O God, You filled the blessed confessor John with a wondrous zeal to spread the faith among pagans, and through him You established in Your Church a new congregation to instruct the faithful. Grand that his teachings may lead us, Your servants, to the reward of eternal life. Through our Lord . . .
Sunday, October 7, 2018
Apologetics: Learning the True Faith in an Age of Apostacy

Reverend Fathers, esteemed guests, and friends, I’m grateful for the opportunity to address you today and present this talk on Apologetics: Learning the True Faith in an Age of Apostasy.  As I first accepted the opportunity to speak here, I was reflecting on the title for my talk and came across the wise words of Fr. Gommar Depauw who wrote, “Today’s condition of the Catholic Church is beyond the point of doctrinal heresy, factual schism and even apostacy.  It is in a state of chaos and utter collapse resulting from the systematic destruction of first our liturgical and other traditions, and now our very beliefs and morals.” Our beliefs as Catholics are under a full assault.

Truly, if someone asks me what worries me, what keeps me up at night, it’s precisely what we are talking about here today at this conference.  The Faith today is assaulted by more false ideologies from both within and without the Church than arguably ever before in Her history.  These are truly times that the world has never seen.

You and I are all being individually called upon to live radically Catholic lives.  And unlike ages past, the Faith today is fading so quickly it will be left to a small remnant to keep it alive.  And you, my friends, are part of that remnant.  We are the last vestiges of the Catholic Faith left in the world and it is our duty to know it, live it, and defend it. The words of St. Paul as recorded in Romans 10:14 are a driving force in my life.  For those who haven’t memorized that passage, in it St. Paul wrote, “How then shall they call on him, in whom they have not believed? Or how shall they believe him, of whom they have not heard?”

This is no small task that the Lord has charged us with.  These are times unlike She has seen in Her history but therein lies the ability to do these actions well to make reparation for our sins and those of others, and by living as true Catholic missionaries in our daily lives, we will render homage to God and help keep the remnant of the Catholic Faith from extinction.  What we need is for you, especially our young Catholics, to be Catholic apologists who are grounded in the teachings of the Faith and who can boldly and bravely spread and defend Her teachings.

My talk here today will focus on three primary issues.

First, I’d like to discuss what is apologetics and why it is so badly and desperately needed today.

Secondly, I’d like to turn to what is the Catholic Faith, what tools do we have to defend the Faith, and what are some of the modern assaults in this age of apostacy against Her eternally true and unchanging teachings.  In particular, I’d like to address some of the modern errors in this age of apostacy that are so prominent yet are countered by so few of the clergy.

And finally, and most importantly, what are we going to do about it.  I’m going to present a list of real, concrete actions that I’m going to encourage all of you to take.  More than ever before, the crisis in doctrine and in the Faith has led to worldwide apostacy even in the very Church founded by our Divine Redeemer.  And as result, more than ever before, the average layman is being called on to be a missionary and to publicly defend, serve, and spread the True Faith of Jesus Christ.

Part 1: What is Apologetics and Why Do We Need Young Catholic Apologists Today

First, I’d like to share that it is my great joy to be able to be with so many young people today who understand the importance of the True Faith.  First, if I may, a little information about me for context. I have been involved in Catholic action and catechesis now for about 15 years.  My youthful years in high school, college, and my 20’s were really defined by my Catholic identity.  In fact, tomorrow is my 30th birthday so I can say for one more day I’m a member of your group of young Catholics.

I raised in a non-religious household but, by the grace of God found the Catholic Faith and was baptized into the faith at the age of 16 back in 2004.  In 2005 I started the online blog “A Catholic Life” which I still run to this day.  My work with A Catholic Life is to help foster an appreciation for the Faith, to share valuable resources and traditional devotions and prayers, and to be an advocate for change to help the Church in our world that is opposed to Her sovereign, Her majesty, and Her beauty.  I credit the website FishEaters.com, which you may know, for introducing me very early on after my Baptism to the Traditional Catholic Faith and information on the Latin Mass.

Over the years since 2004 I’ve had my share of successes and shortcomings as I have endeavored to defend the Faith and convert souls to our holy religion.  For most of my high school years, I spent the evenings after school on the computer where I defended Catholic doctrines on Yahoo Answers, the Catholic Community Faith Forums, and a few other online forums.

Fast forward to 2010 now.  I was entering my senior year in college and at that time, I was elected the President of CatechismClass.com, an online-based religious education course provider.  Since taking over CatechismClass.com, which was founded by Fr. James Zatalava, a priest in Pennsylvania, our apostolate began to offer a number of programs ranging from traditional online RCIA classes for catechumens, children’s faith formation courses for parishes and individual homeschoolers, a best-selling godparent/parent baptism preparation class, and elective courses for adults who simply want to better learn the Faith in order to love and pass on true doctrine to others. We have taken a defiantly traditional stance since I took over the reigns and have grown our reach by double digits every single year now for all 8 years in a row.  I also have happily been invited to a number of parishes over the years to speak on a variety of topics for the Catholic world.

As a result, I can speak from personal experience about the satisfaction of engaging in apologetics as a young Catholic.

So, what is apologetics? If you have ever been a member of a jury in a criminal case, or if you have ever watched a real or fictional trial in movies or on TV you have witnessed apologetics in action.  Attorneys make use of apologetics to convince the jury that the person accused of a crime (the defendant) is either guilty or not guilty.  If the jury believes the proofs and the arguments proposed by the prosecutor, the defendant is found guilty, and the Judge will impose a sentence commensurate to the crime for which the person is found guilty.  If, on the other hand, the jury believes the evidence and the arguments given by the defense attorney, the defendant is found not guilty, and is free to walk out of the courtroom a free man. The closing remarks by the prosecutor and by the defense counsel in fact are called “closing arguments.”

These arguments and evidences prominent in the courtroom are actually present in all disciplines.

The politician sets forth arguments and reasons to convince voters to vote for him or her.
The scientist makes a scientific statement he posits as true only after he has evidence – proofs – to back the statement.
A construction contractor, making a bid to build a bridge, includes in that bid the reasons why his bid is better than others.  He might cite better building materials or a better, safer design.  Those seeking the bid will certainly consider the cost of using one particular contractor over all others, but the lowest bid is certainly not the only consideration those seeking the bids will consider – or at least it shouldn’t be if we are talking about bridge construction!

These proofs and evidences – forms of argument – are, to use a fancy word, apologies.  Not the “I’m sorry” type of apology; but rather a defense for a statement or position in a matter.  In Christianity, the term apologetics refers to the discipline of putting forth arguments as to why our religion is the only true faith.  These arguments set forth by the apologist ideally lead the listener to become Catholic.

Some people feel ashamed of admitting to that last part today.  They think that religious discussion should only be to bring each side to an understanding of the other.  But our work here and in life is not to engage in never-ending world religious studies.  Our mission is to go out and convert souls and spread the teachings of the Lord as our Lord Himself asked in His final words before His Ascension when the Master Himself said: “Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.  Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world” (Matthew 28:19-20).

Apologetics is not arguing.  It is not vain.  It is not presumptuous.  Rather, apologetics is concerned with charity.  Firstly, it is concerned that God is to be worshipped, adored, and loved to the highest possible degree.  This is in accordance with the 1st Commandment.  And secondly, it is concerned with the salvation of our neighbor.  Truly one of the most charitable actions we can do is to help others along their path to salvation.

As traditional Catholics – we know that it is necessary for salvation to be Catholic.  Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus is a defined dogma of the faith. As Pope Innocent III declared at the Fourth Lateran Council in 1215: "There is but one universal Church of the faithful, outside which no one at all is saved."  There was a wonder book published by Mediatrix Press a few years ago that contains the Small Catechism of St. Peter Canisius, who was instrumental in fighting Protestantism when it first came about.  Indeed, it was the first Catechism ever produced. And the first question in this catechism is “Who is to be called a Christian.”

The answer in the words of St. Peter Canisius is “Whoever has been initiated by the Sacrament of Baptism of Jesus Christ, true God and man, and confesses the salutary doctrine in His Church, and not those who adhere to any sects or beliefs foreign to the Catholic Church.”  So, when we say that apologetics is about defending Christianity, we have to understand that Catholicism and Christianity are one and the same.  The notion that protestants are Christians is a false teaching condemned by the Church and clearly condemned in the words of St. Peter Canisius.  Catholics are Christians, Orthodox are schismatics, and Protestants are heretics. This is simply the truth.  We mean no malice by these words but wish to merely point out these other groups are not members of the Christian Church and must repent and submit to the Lord’s Church.

As a result, apologetics is a spiritual work of mercy if it has as its aim instructing the ignorant and admonishing the sinner rather than merely trying to win arguments or engage in so called religious dialogue.  Heaven is not the prize of the philosopher or the intellectualist – it is the prize of a soul who is grounded in charity.

Part 2: What is the True Faith

In my work at CatechismClass.com, we produce several programs of study that help our readers learn the Catholic Faith.  The Catholic Faith that I teach and defend daily is founded on two tenets – the two sources of Divine Revelation: Holy Scripture and Sacred Tradition.  That’s it.  As the book “My Catholic Faith” succinctly summarizes: “Divine Revelation comes down to us by two means: through Holy Scripture, written down under divine inspiration, and through Tradition, handed down orally from Apostolic times.”

Those are the two means of divine revelation we have to know the Faith, but we have tools to help us further understand the Faith that has been revealed by God.  One of those tools is our ability as human beings to reason.  Some things can be known by reason alone.  For example, it can be known by reason alone that God exists.  This is affirmed explicitly at the Council of Trent.  As we examine the created world, as we consider the perfection of creation, as we understand that there had to be a First Cause who started all things, we can use our reason to understand that there must be a divine being.  Reason doesn’t inform us who that being is.  It just helps us understand that something doesn’t come from nothing.  That is our reason working. Reasoning should also be informed by strong, scholastic philosophy.

Another tool at our disposal to bring us to know these truths is the immense generosity and magnanimity of God in His miracles.  The Miracles of God further prove the divine origin of the Catholic Faith.  So, by two such tools, namely the use of reason and of external proofs of miracles, we can come to believe what the Church teaches.  And again, Her teachings come from God Himself in Divine Revelation which have as their origin either Sacred Scripture in the Bible or Sacred Tradition that has been passed down to us from apostolic times.

Another way to describe our tools is in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas who appealed to his contemporaries using both philosophy (which directly relates to our ability to reason) and Theology (which concerns divinely revealed truths). Philosophy is as useful as Theology for an apologist.  And it’s interesting to note that some of the most basic human questions like "Does God Exist" are philosophical questions - not theological questions.  Being well grounded in Scholasticism and in Catholic doctrine are both foundational to being an apologist.

Let’s look at another example: The Oneness of the Church.  The Bible clearly records how Jesus established one visible Church on earth, not a collection of separate “churches” with competing doctrines.  Matthew 16:18-19, John 10:16, and Ephesians 4:3-6 all support the oneness of the Church.  Ephesians 4:5 states, “One Lord, one faith, one baptism.”

And reason would teach us this fact too. Since each protestant denomination and other non-Catholic religion teaches a set of doctrine that contradicts the Catholic Church and all other denominations and religions, there can be only one religion on this earth that is right, at most.  It is either none or one.  It is not two or three since two conflicting bodies of doctrine can not be both true at the same time.  That is contrary to what being true means.  If the Church was not one, She would have different bodies of doctrine that would have to contradict at least one point of the other Church.  But, Our Lord promised in Sacred Scripture that He would preserve the Church from error and be with Her for all times.  Therefore, it follows that the Church must be one.

And moreover, miracles further confirm this.  The Catholic Church is the great bastion of miracles.  Do we have reported Eucharistic miracles in Lutheran churches or Anglican ones?  No.  Yet in the Catholic Church we do, and we have over 500 people have had the visible (or invisible) wounds of Christ known as the Stigmata on their body including St. Catherine of Siena, St. John of God, St. Francis, Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich, St. Marie of the Incarnation, and St. Pio of Pietrelcina.  We also have over 150 incorruptible saints whose incorruptibly defies all of science.  We have the frequent liquefaction of the blood of St. Januaris which still occurs to this day. And we have dozens of confirmed and verified apparitions in history not only of our Blessed Mother but also of St. Michael the Archangel and other saints.

And all of this has been examined by modern science which continues to find these miracles as unexplainable.  God, in His goodness and generosity, showers us with proofs of the accuracy of the Catholic Church’s doctrines.  And this too is why satan is not attacking Lutherans, or Baptists, or Muslims.  He is attacking the Catholic priesthood, he is infiltrating our seminaries and leading men ordained to the priesthood of Jesus Christ to betray their office and sexual assault children – an absolutely diabolical and unspeakable blasphemy.  And satan does this because in the Catholic Church is the truth.  Why would he waste his time on attacking those souls who are already under his rule?

To summarize, the dogma of the Church’s oneness, which is divinely revealed through Scripture and Tradition, is well established and understood by virtue of both reason and miracles.  And this is merely one element of the True Faith.  Yet the use of reason and miracles to support them holds true for many, many others.  Further reading of St. Thomas Aquinas in the Summa Theologiae or his Summa Contra Gentiles all explain with great examples the basis and the arguments in support of the Church as being one.  If you are not familiar with these books, look them up and read them.

Let’s consider an additional example and apply this formula of Sacred Tradition and Scripture coupled with the tools of reason and miracles.

For instance, it is a doctrine of our Faith that the Lord chose the apostles and the power He gave them is transmitted down through apostolic succession to our bishops today.  You must believe this.  And yet we all surely know souls that deny this infallible truth.

Jesus gave the Church one important mission: to proclaim His good news to the whole world as affirmed in Matthew 28:18-20 and Mark 16:15-16.  Our Blessed Lord chose special men (the apostles) and not just anyone who believed in Him, to accomplish this mission.  The verses supporting this are numerous and include John 15:16, Luke 22:29-30, John 10:16, Luke 22:32, and more.

The Holy Scriptures even describe how Jesus gave the Apostles the power to forgive sins in John 20:23, offer sacrifice in the form of the Holy Eucharist in 1 Corinthians 11:23-24, speak with His voice in Luke 10:16, legislate in Matthew 18:18, and discipline in Matthew 18:17.

And without going into too much detail on Catholic Tradition, there are lengthy documents supporting apostolic succession from Pope St. Clement I from 80 AD, St. Irenaeus in 189 AD, Tertullian in 200 AD, St. Jerome in 396 AD, and St. Augustine in 397 AD. In fact, the principles of apostolic succession are the most upheld teaching in all the Church Fathers and many protestant seminaries forbid the Church Fathers and I’ve heard some protestant lectors even doubt the existence of them in order to keep their students’ minds away from these sources of truth.

Let’s now turn to our ability to reason.  We could show our friends and acquaintances that Apostolic Succession is one of the four marks of the Church and it is well established in both Sacred Scripture and in the Traditions of the Church, though, of course, something need not be explicitly mentioned in Scripture since not every last doctrine was written down, but nevertheless apostolic succession is addressed in both Scripture and Tradition.  And we could then tell our friends that reason proves this must be true.

If the Lord promised His Church would be without error and if the Lord established the Sacrament of Holy Orders and if the Lord promised His Church would be one and united in the truth, it follows that there must be a group with a connection directly back to these apostles.  And if apostolic succession wasn’t important, why would the apostles have gone to such lengths to elect St. Matthias to replace Judas, and why would the Scriptures contain so many sentences on this event if it wasn’t important for the Early Church?

Dave Armstrong wrote an article on this topic for the National Catholic Register and in it he writes, “Most Christians [He is including protestants here] agree that St. Peter was the leader of the early Church and the disciples: whether they believe he was a “pope” or not. It stands to reason, then, that there would continue to be a leader, just as there was a first President when the laws of the United States were established at the Constitutional Convention in 1787.

“Why have one President and then cease to have one thereafter and let the executive branch of government exist without a leader? Everyone understands that there is then a succession of Presidents and that it doesn't end with the first one and the prototype.

“So why do people think so differently when it comes to Christianity, which is in need of a governing body and person at the top of the chain of authority, just as any effective organization whatever has? Catholics are, therefore, applying common sense: if this is how Jesus set up the government of His Church in the beginning, then it ought to continue in like fashion, in perpetuity.

“The Church supposedly had a supervisor for ten, twenty years, but then never did again? That makes no sense. What would be the point? We don’t apply such reasoning to virtually any other collective.”

And such an analysis is the use of reason supporting apostolic succession.

And this is also affirmed by our other tool – miracles.  On August 6, 1945, the first nuclear bomb ever used was detonated over Hiroshima, Japan, killing 140,000 people. Everything within a mile of the blast was annihilated with nothing left standing, no survivors. That is, almost everyone…

Yet, just eight blocks from ground zero (to be exact 1 kilometer or 6/10 of a mile) there was a two story house left standing intact with no damage to it, not even the windows were broken. When inquiry was made as to what was different about the building it was discovered that there was a community of eight Jesuit priests living there who said the Rosary each day.

Fr. Hubert Schiffer who headed the community was virtually untouched by the nuclear blast with no radiation found in his body, and he publicly testified to this miracle at the Eucharistic Congress in Philadelphia in 1976. In an interview with Fr. Paul Ruge he describes the horrific nightmare of August 6, 1945:

"Suddenly, a terrific explosion filled the air with one bursting thunder stroke. An invisible force lifted me from the chair, hurled me through the air, shook me, battered me, whirled me 'round and round' like a leaf in a gust of autumn wind."

Fr. Ruge relates that the next thing he remembered was that he opened his eyes and found himself laying on the ground. He looked around and there was NOTHING in any direction: the railroad station and buildings in all directions were leveled to the ground. The only physical harm to himself was that he could feel a few pieces of glass in the back of his neck. As far as he could tell, there was nothing else physically wrong with himself.

Shortly thereafter Fr. Hubert was told by medical authorities that he would eventually die of cancer because of all the radiation exposure, yet he lived another 30 years in full health with no cancer or effects from the radiation. The same is said of the other seven survivors of the priestly community. Aside from some slight surface abrasions or scratches they all lived out their days in full health with no cancer or side effects from radiation.

According to Dr. Stephen Rinehart, a nuclear physicist with the U.S. Department of Defense who had studied this phenomenon intently, they should have been dead in a flash.

It was a group of Catholic priests saved.  Priests with a connection back to apostolic times.  It was not a protestant church.  It was not a Buddhist temple.  It was a group of Catholic priests.  How many of you here have heard of the Rosary Miracle of Hiroshima before?

Yet, so many miracles underscore the divine foundations of the Faith.  And this is just one of the many external proofs I cite to people when defending the Faith in our present apostacy. Spend time learning about miracles. Be informed to defend the Faith.

I encourage all of you to be apologists and make use of both reason and miracles to support any element of the Catholic Faith, which will have its basis in either Sacred Tradition or Scripture or both.

Now that we’ve examined two particular dogmas of the Faith, I’d like to step back and examine the Faith on a broader level.

Let’s ask, “what is the Faith”?  I’m sure you naturally all want to better learn the Faith – or at least I hope you do – but what is the faith exactly? The Faith is the summation of all that the Holy Church teachings infallibly. That includes the 10 Commandments and what follows from them, Christian morality, the Creed, the doctrine of the Sacraments, the truths of the Holy Mass, etc.

As part of my adult faith formation course that I administer on CatechismClass.com, I conclude the program with a lesson that summarizes the 255 Infallible Dogmas of the Faith.  Make a note to go online and search for the 255 infallible dogmas of the Faith to get a good, concise summary of what we as Catholics must believe.  There is a great summary of this online that lists all of these 255 dogmas and then 102 certain truths that have not yet been formally defined but which nevertheless are a part of the body of Faith.  And I encourage you to pick a few off of this list, study them, and practice how you would use reason, miracles, and an explanation of Scripture and Church Tradition to explain them to someone who didn’t understand them or who even denied them.

I’m sure that if you are here then you love the Church and you love our Lord.  But I ask each of you to ask yourselves if you are doing enough to show your love of Him to others and to spread His teachings (which He commanded to be taught and preserved and passed down).  Alas, it is impossible to defend and serve the Faith if you are ignorant of it.

In fact, one of our foremost duties as young Catholics is to study the Catholic Faith.  And this studying doesn’t end at your Confirmation.  I personally spend at least 30 minutes a day still studying the Faith.  And that consists of reading the Church Fathers, or a good book on the Faith by Angelus Press, or some of the lives of the Saints, or a passage from the Imitation of Christ, and so on.  It doesn’t have to be the same thing everyday.  You can have a few books and rotate through them over the course of the week to keep it dynamic.  But studying has to be taken seriously if you want to save souls.  I ask that you spend a little time each Sunday reflecting on your week and what you have done well and where you can improve upon when it comes to sharing and living out the Faith.

When it comes to studying, the issues we should be examining include the many errors that are widely taught today and which our clergy and our fellow Catholics are not countering strongly enough.  These modern errors are particular issues we have to study so we can combat them in this age of apostasy.  Some of these errors include religious indifferentism, the separation of Church and state; Communism, Socialism, and Freemasonry; subjectivism; attacks on the rights of God and a misunderstanding of human rights; and the pervasive error that dogmas may evolve over time.   I’d like to address just a few today.

A fundamental error with modernism and those who adhere to it, is that they refuse to embrace extra ecclesiam nulla salus ("outside of the Church there is no salvation"). Pope Innocent III declared at the Fourth Lateran Council in 1215: "There is but one universal Church of the faithful, outside which no one at all is saved." His Holiness Innocent III unequivocally declared that all men must belong to the Church founded by our Lord Jesus Christ in order to be saved. Period.

Subsequently, Pope Boniface VIII made the matter even more clear when in 1302 he declared, "We declare, say, define, and pronounce that it is absolutely necessary for the salvation of every human creature to be subject to the Roman Pontiff" (Unam Sanctam, 1302). Listen to those words carefully: absolutely necessary.

And these remarks are not the only ones pronounced by the Holy Catholic Church. The Church continues to teach that outside of the Church there is no salvation. Period. The Church is unchanging in matters of Faith and Doctrine. If it is true that in the past salvation was possible only for Catholics and if this is not true now, then the Faith has changed. But the Faith cannot change because God doesn’t change. As the Scripture affirm: "Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever."

Back when Catholic Bishops better proclaimed the Catholic Faith, Archbishop John Hughes of New York who was Archbishop from 1842 until 1864 said, “The goal of the Catholic Church is to convert all pagan nations and protestant nations.  There is no secrecy in this; it is the commission of God to his one true Church. Everyone should know that we have for our mission to convert the world, including the inhabitants of the United States; the people of the cities, the peoples of the country, the officers of the Navy and the Marines, the commanders of the Army, the Legislature, the Senate, the Cabinet, the President and all.”

And we do this because our Lord commanded us to convert all peoples and nations.  Why?  Because He is the only means to be saved.  Acts 4:12 – “For there is no other name under heaven given to men, whereby we must be saved.”

To support religious indifferentism violates the First Commandment since, by such support, we deny that there is One God, through whom salvation alone comes.

True enculturation is the answer. We do not force our Lord and the Faith to conform to our cultures.  Rather, we all conform to our Lord Jesus Christ.  We live our own unique traditions in a way that conforms to the saving truths of the Faith. And in such a way, we preserve the beauty of diverse human experiences and cultures but do so only if they conform to the religion established by God Himself. There is a reason we have different Rites of Mass in the Church or why we have different feastdays in certain countries.  Even the exact vestments for Mass can differ region to region. But we are nevertheless united in the same body of doctrine: One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism.

And another one of the modern errors that we see attacking the faith today is the pernicious idea that dogmas may evolve.  This is a core element of the heresy of modernism as condemned by St. Pius X.

The idea that Catholic dogma can change and that what was once true is no longer true is entirely and unequivocally false.  Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.  If we believed in the unity of the Trinity, the sinlessness of Mary, the necessity of Baptism, the evil of divorce, etc. in times past, those truths remain today.  While certain external practices can change like the exact date of feast days or the color of vestments, the essential truths on religion and morality cannot change by the very definition of what a dogma is.

Pope St. Pius X promulgated his papal encyclical letter Pascendi dominici gregis directed against the heresy of Modernism on September 8, 1907. He wrote strongly against this heresy as well in a Syllabus on the Errors of the Modernist and one of those elements stated, “It is an error to believe that Christ did not teach a determined body of doctrine applicable to all times and to all men, but rather that He inaugurated a religious movement adapted, or to be adapted, to different times and different places.”

Pope St. Pius X then on September 1, 1910, required that every bishop, priest, religious superior, seminarian and professors of Theology and Philosophy swear the oath against modernism. One element of that Oath stated, “I entirely reject the heretical misrepresentation that dogmas evolve and change from one meaning to another different from the one which the Church held previously.”

One definition of Catholic Modernism is the attempt to re-interpret the teachings of the Catholic Church by taking into account new philosophical and scientific thought and concepts.  But the truths of the Faith as affirmed by the Church and as contained in the Creed and in all of Her teachings cannot and will not change.  And reason would teach us such too since something that is as universally true as the authority of Scripture, the nature of Christ, or the necessity of Baptism is a truth that will never change.

So to conclude this second part, the Catholic Faith is the True Faith.  It is the only Faith based in an actual adherence to the truths contained in Sacred Scripture and in accordance with the actual history of the Church.  Catholics are the only Christians.  And, the modern attempts to attack Christian morality, to propose non-Catholics may receive Holy Communion without converting, to attack the long-held practice of priestly celibacy, and the like need to be eradicated.  The Church needs soldiers.  The Church – Eternal Rome – needs you.

Part 3: Our Response to Learning the Faith

In our world today, as the Faith is under unprecedented assault, it is our responsibility to defend it.  It is our duty as Catholics – confirmed soldiers of Christ the King – to do battle on behalf of the True Faith.

To those who think we should not do actions, I wish to share with you the words of St. Anthony of Padua who said, “Actions speak louder than words; let your words teach and your actions speak.  We are full of words but empty of actions, and therefore are cursed by the Lord, since He Himself cursed the fig tree when He found no fruit but only leaves.  It is useless for a man to flaunt his knowledge of the law if he undermines its teaching by his actions.”  And it was St. Pius X, the great Pope against the errors of the Modernists, who asserted, “The greatest obstacle in the apostolate of the Church is the timidity or rather the cowardice of the faithful.”

I appeal to you – I beg you – to engage in profound and daily Catholic action in catechesis.  The great St. Pius X also wrote in his encyclical Acerbo Nimis in 1905: “This we solemnly affirm: the majority of those who are condemned to eternal punishment fall into this everlasting misfortune through ignorance of the mysteries of the Faith which must necessarily be known and believed by all who belong to the Elect.”  Souls depend on us.  Again the words of St. Paul, “How can they believe in One whom they have not heard?”

Therefore, we are bound to act.

First and foremost, study.  Study for 30 minutes a day and study good Catholic books.  I have often been asked for good book recommendations for Bibles, Catechisms, Catholic History books, Mariology resources, and the like over the years.  I’ve put together a list of my recommendations and you can view that.  If you go to CatechismClass.com and in the information links at the bottom of the page above the footer will be a Recommended Books Links.

Some of the items on that list that I strongly recommend adding to your library include "My Catholic Faith" by Angelus Press, "This is the Faith" by Canon Francis Ripley, and "The Catechism of the Crisis in the Church" by Fr. Matthias Gaudron.  And there are many others in various categories but those are solid books that will help you lay a strong foundation to learn the Faith in this age of apostacy.

Secondly, and even more importantly, pray.  We should have frequent recourse to the Holy Ghost and pray that we learn what we should learn for the glory of God so that we might better know Him, love Him, and serve.  As the very first question and answer in the Baltimore Catechism affirms, our purpose in life is to “know, love, and serve God in this life and to be with Him for all eternity.”  And if we are not studying, we are not knowing Him.  And if we do not frequently have recourse to prayer, to the Sacraments, and to a life that adheres to the Ten Commandments, we can not love Him.  Prayer is absolutely essentially for everyone in this room.

Thirdly, I ask that you carry prayer cards, booklets, and Sacramentals in your bags on a daily basis.  Post them on bulletin boards around town, in coffee shops, or leave them in movie theaters or laundromats. Be creative to spread the teachings of Christ.  Carry as well in your bags extra blessed Rosaries and Miraculous Medals so you can give them out to souls that you may engage in apologetic discussions while going about your day.  I keep a handful of pamphlets in my glove compartment on “Reasons to Return to Catholic Faith” and a handful more on “Why Be Catholic.”  I ordered them from online from the website by St. Paul’s Street Evangelization so that I can pass them out.

Fourthly, keep a handful of blessed green scapulars as well so you can leave them in places.  The green scapular is often hidden under pillows or mattresses of those we are praying to convert.  I’ve placed green scapulars under chair cushions in interfaith prayer rooms at universities and in the homes of friends that are not Catholic.  And just pray each day the Green Scapular Prayer which is simply: "Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us now and at our hour of death."

Fifth, be bold.  One such thing I do is destroy bad books.  Picture yourself in your local Goodwill store, thrift shop, or garage sale. Venture over to the book section and scan through the religious books in the stacks. You’ll undoubtedly find little in Catholic thought. Instead you’ll find protestant books on the Rapture, protestant books containing all sorts of heresies and false teachings, Protestant Bibles, Jewish prayer books, New Age or Occult manuscripts, and much more.  My heart goes out to the people who search in such places for God. These souls – like everyone – are searching for God. And they will likely not find Him in the midst of protestant heresy and paganism.

I was at a Goodwill store back in 2013 and browsing their book section when I decided to take action. I repositioned the Catholic books, which included a book by St. Alphonsus and a few prayer books in a way that they were eye level for those browsing the section.

I then placed into my basket a handful of the heretical books which included works by protestants on the Rapture as well as protestant Scripture commentaries. I purchased them for $0.86 each and took them home and included them as kindling for a bonfire I had that night. These books were unfit to be produced. They would have led souls into heresy.

How many Catholic souls have been lost because of bad books? How many searching souls have been led into false churches and false religions because of these errors? I encourage you to likewise remove profane and irreligious posters from public places and purchase and destroy evil books.  Once again, let’s recall to mind the words of St. Pius X who said, “The greatest obstacle in the apostolate of the Church is the cowardice of the faithful.”  Let us not be cowards but courageous soldiers of Christ the King.  The cost of our cowardice is the damnation of souls.

Sixth, learn the true meaning of Holy Scripture.  We have surely heard protestants twisting Scripture verses to fit their views and know that protestants largely support the error of sola scriptura, by Scripture alone.  Of course, Scripture itself condemns this since it blatantly states at the end of the Gospel of John that not all things are written in Scripture.  Yet, nevertheless, we can do great work for souls by learning the true meaning of Scripture verses.  Get a copy of the Douay Rheims Bible, the most accurate translation of St. Jerome’s Latin Vulgate, and pair that with Haydock’s Catholic Bible Commentary.  You can pick up a copy or view the text online as the book is viewable online in its entirety.  Again, it’s called the Haydock’s Catholic Bible Commentary.

And finally, in all of this, live a holy life. We must be uncompromising in doctrine but unblemished in our conduct and in our acts of charity to God and to neighbor.  Let us never grow despondent and may we never despair or become jaded by what happens in the world and in our Church.  God does not require us to be successful but only faithful.  We must strive to save our own souls first as the Scriptures state in referring to removing the plank from our own eyes before we can do so with others.  And we can do so by being firmly grounded in Catholic doctrine, availing ourselves of the Sacraments, staying close to Tradition, and having a deeply engrained prayer life.  Yet, through this all, we must never be a cause for scandal. Souls will only after great labor be converted by our work with apologetics. But souls will in only a few moments be lost if they see us living out a life that is not unblemished and in perfect conformity to the Faith we profess.  Keep this in mind in all of your actions – no matter how small in public – souls can be lost by scandal. And let us never have this sin on our souls.

May the words of St. Padre Pio help guide us and remind us that we must strive for holiness if we are to be successful in our work with others.  The Saint said, “Holiness means loving our neighbor as our self for love of God. In this connection holiness means loving those who curse us, who hate and persecute us and even doing good to them. Holiness means living humbly, being disinterested, prudent, just, patient, kind, chaste, meek, diligent, carrying out one’s duties for no other reason than that of pleasing God and receiving from Him alone the reward one deserves.”

Therefore, I implore you to never fall into bursts of anger, exhibit envy, be caught in immodesty, or any other action that would cause scandal to our Holy Religion.  I’m sure many of you are familiar with the five proofs of God’s existence by St. Thomas Aquinas. The five ways do not prove the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, but they do demonstrate that what is commonly called “God” is necessary if we are to account for motion, causality, possibility, being, and design.  And those proofs are quite philosophically sound so why then do atheists reject them?  Are atheists just all poor at reasoning?  No.  Rather, the atheist denies the existence of God for moral reasons, not for philosophical ones.  Usually, heretics and atheists are what they are because of scandal.  That is why we must live our lives with great personal sanctity. All of our actions at Mass, in prayer, or in a church we must be unblemished.  St. Maximilian Kolbe’s words on this may serve as our guide when he said, “When you kneel before an altar, do it in such a way that others may be able to recognize that you know before whom you kneel.”

As a Third Order Dominican Tertiary, I wear the Dominican Scapular under my clothing.  When I received that scapular a few years ago from the hands of Fr. Albert, I heard the prayer that goes as follows: “May the Lord also sprinkle you with hyssop, who are about to be clothed with our garments, and may you be so cleansed that, clean and whiter than snow in mind, you may so avail in the outward bearing of our garb as to be, by the example of your good works, the dour of life unto life to all with whom you will hold converse, lest perhaps, by your evil works, our ministry be blamed.”  I think of those words often as I reflect on my own external actions.

And those words can apply to all of us.  May we be so clean in mind and soul so those with whom we converse will see in us the glory of the Catholic Faith lest by our evil words, bad works, or bad doctrine, our Divine Lord and His Redeemer be blamed.

I conclude with the words of Fulton J Sheen, the great Catholic apologist of the last century who famously remarked, ““Who is going to save our Church? Not our Bishops, not our priests and religious. It is up to the laity. You have the minds, the eyes, the ears to save the Church. Your mission is to see that your priests act like priests, your bishops like bishops and your religious act like religious.”  So you see, there is not a better time to learn, teach, and live the Faith than in our present age of apostasy.

Thank you and God bless.

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