DOMINUS PARS HÆREDITATIS MEÆ

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Hello father, I recently had a friend of mine tell me there are instances where he confesses things in church, not because he feels they are wrong, but because he's been told not to do it. In such instances, is contrition truly present if understanding and guilt are not felt? Can such a confession still be absolved? Thank you very much father!

Hello,

Although it seems like a simple case of lack of repentance, and therefore an invalid confession, it is hard to say with a young person.

During youth, Freudian psychologists refer to a certain stage of moral formation as the “super-ego.” See this link:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Id,_ego_and_super-ego

When you go along with certain rules or commandments, just because your parents, or teachers, or mentors, tell you that you have to, it is not really your conscience which is discerning right and wrong. Rather, such a person is going along with the rules and seeing certain things as wrong only because “he’s been told not to do it.”

Such a person needs to evolve. One of the leaps of maturity in life is to go from childish and selfish wants and impulses to a new level of consciousness which appreciates the consequences of our actions. The phase of the “id” or selfish cravings, confronts the voice of the “super-ego” or authority and rules, and finally we have a new stage of being grown up.

Freud described this inner person of conviction and mature stability as the “ego.”

In a grown up phase, a person absorbs certain morals, convictions, and values because they have weighed instincts (id) versus instruction (super ego) and have reflected and discerned on what beliefs are being true to self and fair and kind for others (ego).

Perhaps your friend is in that confused state of not knowing what he wants? His approach to confession, while being spiritually dangerous for his soul, is also quite immature and childish. If he is confessing sins that deep down he is not sorry for, he is not fooling anyone but himself. Confession is a medicine against the virus of falsehoods and destructive behavior.

A person who does not take the necessary medicine cannot be cured from their diseases of body. A person who does not make a sincere and mature confession cannot mentally, emotionally, and spiritually grasp the nature of growth and conversion in the spiritual life. They will stay stunted in the stage of a spiritual brat.

If a normal mature person refuses to repent of sin, then the grace of the sacrament is nullified and the confession does not bear fruit. However, in the case of someone who is young and immature, I would not jump to the conclusion that their confessions are invalid. It could be that God grants that person the grace of the sacraments taking into account their stunted spiritual growth.

But as I often say in this blog, one size does not fit all, and I don’t know what description accurately applies to this person’s confessions. God bless and take care, Fr. Angel

What do you think of Richard Dawkins and atheists claiming that "only idiots are theists"

Hello,

Quite frankly, I have zero tolerance with any educated white woman, or white man, pronouncing on my intelligence and cultural poverty and telling me what I should believe, or not believe. Along those lines, I think that Richard Dawkins and his atheist cohorts, in using that language, are dangerous people to be watched out for and put in check.

Bigotry against Christians or “theists” in general, like rape language and other forms of cultural oppression, can be couched in a patronizing, comical, and intellectual package so that it seems innocuous and harmless. It reminds me of the “academic studies” carried out over 100 years ago in American universities which tried to explain “negro feeble mindedness.” Those studies were also couched in learning and science, but they had the intention to ridicule and oppress an entire class of people.

So, there is a certain streak which we see in history with white, educated European males from economically comfortable backgrounds. They had an imperialist, colonialist, and elitist view of their supremacy, in world history. Now add to this historical sickness, the element that Richard Dawkins is English (until recently THE colonial power of Europe), and I really start to see red flags fly up.

In history, at least, white, educated males came ashore to a new country with a paternalistic condescension. It was like, “Oh, dear, you poor savages. Look at your pitiable state. But not to worry, no sir! The white educated male has arrived to be your great white hope. We will make you good Protestants (or Catholics). We will educate you with our fine schools, dress you in real clothes, and teach you how to properly hold a fork. Oh, you poor, foolish savages! What waste, your native customs!”

To be brutally honest, poor white people suffered under this oppression, at times just as bad as darker skinned people. That’s why the American Revolution was led by white men of privilege, but it was actually fought mostly by poorer white classes that yearned for freedom, equality, and independence to choose their own destiny.

And to continue being brutally honest, white men and women, who came from privilege or poverty, and who were fiercely devout Protestants or Catholics, were usually on the right side of history as far as how they treated others. The greatest heroes of independence, or of abolition, or of political and economic salvation, were devout Christians of all stripes who were just as capable of fighting the system in which they could not help but be embedded.

Thus, today, in a more understanding and level playing field, I find fellow Catholics who share my faith and are white to be no less holy, no less virtuous, and no less loving and caring than anyone from a background of a suffering people.

But getting back to the subject—the colonies have been relinquished and the dark skinned natives have been left to their own devices.

But a man like Richard Dawkins still oozes and seeps with that cultural heritage of “I AM GOING TO SAVE YOU.” Why do we need saving? It is still the same reason. We are too stupid. We are not scientific enough. We have not put human reason on an altar of worship and cast off the “imaginary friend in the sky.” Oh my.

We still have not cast off the yoke of “First World” condescension and the pomposity of university elites who free us with their advanced, now “scientific” ideas and refinement.

Richard Dawkins and the new atheists, in some ways, are scarier. Because while their white ancestors talked down to us from their ivory towers of right thinking, at least they came from marriages and families of moral virtue and character. The white colonizer had a wife, and children, and lived a healthy home life of toil, sacrifice, and suffering.

The white, educated male of yesteryear more often than naught had a sincere desire to advance Christianity, and from his failures, could at least be shamed with the precepts of the Christian religion, when he fell short of his ideals.

The white, educated atheist, male or female, often comes from a place of anger and rage at authority and having been “brainwashed.”

They have no religion, and therefore no universal, timeless truth save for the thesis that there is no such thing as universal, timeless truth. When his or her conduct is still that of privilege and imperialist imposition, the atheist can nonetheless not be shamed—for supposedly, moral shame is the byproduct of a religious, feeble mind!

And instead of being called a savage, by an oppressive but yet paternalistic “daddy” figure, now I am being told that I am an idiot for having a spiritual lens and religious structure through which I find meaning for humanity.

The modern atheist, by the way, is anything but paternalistic, because that would presuppose the background of a healthy family life where one seeks to protect and be responsible for one’s charges.

No. Unfortunately, the modern atheist seeks to knock down religious structures and remove spiritual vision from people, with nary a thought to what they will build up in its place. After all, science is not a substitute for the meaning that religion gives to human existence and the need to cope with suffering. That, in my view, is not paternal—it is just anger seeking to have its own way.

Yeah, if atheists want to rant, fine. But insulting the intelligence of entire populations, including that of religious people, is a way to erase and dehumanize them. And that is very dangerous, if you pause to remember how, in history, we have treated dehumanized people.

God bless and take care, Fr. Angel

Hey father I've heard so many different answers to this question and I just want to know, is the gift of speaking in tongues demonic? And is it common within the Catholic Church?

Hello,

Here is a link to my posts about the gift of tongues:

http://fatherangel.tumblr.com/post/52229399263/what-is-the-purpose-of-the-gift-of-tongues

God bless and take care, Fr. Angel

Thanks for replying but if someone is sexually attracted to the same sex but don't commit physical act but lust in his or mind about the same sex it still makes it a sin of being homosexual.

Hello,

That is not called the “sin of being homosexual.” 

That is called the sin of lusting.

Both heterosexuals and homosexuals can commit the sin of lusting after others. Lusting after others is not a sin reserved to homosexuals.

As far as suffering temptations to think about sexual things, that is something you cannot control. Even Jesus got tempted in the desert. The important thing is not to give in to the temptation. God bless and take care, Fr. Angel

Hello, Father. I was wondering what your opinion is on Hans Küng and why he was appointed as peritus for Vatican II? Thanks.

Hello,

Bishops were invited to Vatican II with the proviso that they could be accompanied by personal theologians (“peritus” in Latin is an “expert”) if they wished.

In addition, the bishops of various regions were asked for recommendations of theologians who would attend Vatican II and be available to give advice during the drafting of documents and discussions before and after.

The German bishops recommended Fr. Hans Küng because he had studied with the Jesuits at the Gregorian University in Rome, and did very well, and later went on to write a doctoral thesis at the Sorbonne in Paris, on Karl Barth, a famous Lutheran theologian. At the time of Vatican II, he was teaching at Tubingen in Germany, where he became friends with Fr. Joseph Ratzinger.

Küng’s knowledge of Lutheran theology and ecumenical contacts were highly valued at a Council where Catholic ecumenical relations would be discussed and written about. This is why, I believe, he was invited to act as a theologian at the Council.

It was not until after Vatican II and the birth control encyclical “Humanae Vitae” that he became “radicalized” and eventually wrote and published works where he rejected the infallibility of the Pope. It has pretty much been downhill since then.

As an aside, his many books and writing career have made him a decent amount of money, and his dissent and radicalism from various Catholic doctrines, in a sense, was an excellent marketing tool for the sale of his works. He was known at one time for riding around Europe in flashy cars and living a life of not too much poverty.

That sounds kind of mean for me to say that, but I am just being very honest. Being a smart dissenter or rebel in the Catholic Church can pay very well if you know how to put yourself out there. It’s kind of chic and novel and people will follow you as your groupies and think they are so much more sophisticated than conservative Catholics. God bless and take care, Fr. Angel

Hi Father, I hope you are doing well. I have a question for you and I hope you can answer it. What is the significance of Vatican II?

Hello,

I can’t answer that question for everyone, or even for the Catholic Church, since I do not speak for the Church like a bishop would in an official capacity. 

But my personal opinion is that Vatican II is a reconciliation of the ancient faith and Tradition of Catholicism with modernity. “Modernism” was condemned by St. Pius X as a theory which said we cannot know God through direct revelation, only through indirect experiences and feelings of spiritual encounter.

But modernity is a word that describes the world we now know: the world of new inventions, a post-Industrial Age economy, global communications and the loss of the government as a Monarchical State. The culture of modernity is one of independence, self-expression in all forms of art, the guarding of privacy, and a sense of seeking gratification and freedom from inconvenience, pain, and discomfort.

Modernity brings with it the loss of the Catholic Church’s privilege, a special status afforded to it over 1,000 years ago by the Roman Emperor Theodosius and later confirmed by King Pepin of the Franks when he created the Papal States and the Papal Monarchy. Without the previous means to coerce the culture of modernity to an obedience to Christ and Christian Doctrine, how is the Catholic Faith to be defended and spread?

These, and many other existential anxieties, were pressing against the Church at the dawn of 1959, when Pope St. John XXIII officially announced plans to call another General Council of the Church.

Now, from the old black and white photos of the pre-Vatican II era, showing the triumphant, powerful Catholic Church in ascendancy, you would have the opposite picture of the Catholic religion. You would say, “The Catholic Church is unstoppable. It does not need to call a General Council!’

The public press of the Church was all golden, with packed churches, joyful public processions, and gatherings where the clergy and religious were bedecked with happy smiles and festive raiment of capes and colors. But appearances can deceive. The reality was that in certain parts of the Catholic world, the medieval, rigorous discipline and authority was presiding over growth, such as in the United States.

However, underneath that growth, there were powerful currents which advocated divorce, alternative families, abortion, contraception, and actively worked to strip churches of privilege and power. In universities and nightclubs, in concert venues and political powerhouses, the agreement was that the old ways of the Church and of religion in general were a relic of past oppression.

The answer was to actively work to marginalize the clergy and religion to the sidelines, in all aspects of culture and public life, and to convince a once religious populace that they could have a life of more material comforts and freedom as long as they would stand up to authority and discard the faith and obedience of their parents. 

It was working. Entire swaths of European Catholicism had begun to abandon the Catholic Faith. Eastern Europe and all of Orthodox Russia had fallen to Soviet communism, which quite successfully exterminated all religion from public life and education. In China, Chairman Mao brought to an end all hopes of the Catholic Church to evangelize and spread the Faith. In Southeast Asia, atheism and Marxism was spreading like wildfire and Catholic Vietnam fell to the Vietcong in 1954, with only the South being able to keep the Faith for a few more years.

The same left-wing politics of liberation and freedom from Catholicism began to invade Catholic Latin America, while American millions poured into Protestant evangelization to slowly break down the Catholic hegemony from Mexico to Argentina.

Yes, Catholicism had its beautiful Latin liturgy, Gregorian chant, and rigorous discipline, with Thomistic philosophy and theology to give reason and logic to the Catholic intellectual edifice. But if one tallies up the numbers in a war, the numbers of losses and attrition were actually staggering in this sense:  Where Catholicism was already existing, it was holding steady or growing, but the attacks against it were growing in intensity and huge areas for possible missionary growth were being lost because of the spread of militant atheism on a geopolitical, global level.

And this was the kernel of the attack: “Your religion, Catholicism, has no appeal to a new generation who study modern philosophers, who live by modern politics, who now are free to find new meanings in new, alternative lifestyles. All you can do is repeat medieval philosophy and medieval doctrines, which we’ve already heard and have become bored listening to.”

The Catholic Church, on a certain level, was successfully portrayed as being a repeating tape recording of past formulas and answers. It was a broken record. Her enemies said the Church has no capacity to face modern problems. In fact, the Catholic Church, her enemies said, is incapable of even caring about modern problems. She doesn’t care, as long as she can play “dress up” and continue doing medieval ceremonies—sort of like an old lady who has a nervous breakdown and thinks that she’s living in 1948.

In the face of the attacks of modernity and the real questions that were raised by the oncoming revolutions of culture, Pope St. John XXIII convened Vatican II.

The significance of the Council was a resounding Catholic display of confronting these modern accusations of the new philosophers and the new politics and the new governments of the world. It was an outcry from the Church saying loud and clear, “WE DO CARE about the problems and anxieties of modern Catholics trying to live in today’s culture and face today’s problems.” 

Vatican II did not want to define any new doctrines or change her moral beliefs in any way. Rather, the significance of Vatican II was to see if there was a way that the world’s bishops could take Catholic morals and doctrines and pastorally apply them to the anxieties and difficulties of modernity.

The intentions were all very good. The message brought to the average person, however, was all bad, in the sense that people were given the erroneous impression that the Catholic Church was apologizing for, or going back, on its Tradition and faith. But thank God, there were many good bishops, priests, and religious, who took the pastoral orientations of Vatican II and applied them creatively to all areas of ministry, liturgy, and evangelization. God bless and take care, Fr. Angel

carpeumbra:

Women priests give $1,000 to shelter after Cincinnati archdiocese withdraws donation

catholicsforjusticeinthechurch:

"The Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests donated $1,000 to a Catholic Worker house that shelters homeless women after the Cincinnati archdiocese retracted its funding because a woman priest led a prayer service at the shelter…

'We spent the money in June with the promise that it would be reimbursed at the start of the new fiscal year July 1, and we submitted the receipt on July 5,' said Mary Ellen Mitchell, one of the founders of Lydia's House. 'We found out Wednesday, July 16, of this week that [the archdiocese] wouldn't do the reimbursement.'”

-In an act that proves that the hierarchy cares more about associating with women’s ordination rather than keeping their promise to help homeless women and children.

That’s kinda disgusting that the Archdiocese would WITHDRAW financial help from the poor and suffering because of politics.

They need the money, period.

Everybody needs money. I need money, but that doesn’t entitle me to expect money if I am not up front and honest in my intentions.

The Catholic Worker, is one of thousands and thousands of places where the poor are offered help across this country. However, by advertising itself as “Catholic” the Worker house is expected to collaborate with the local Catholic community in the unity of faith and morals.

That is why the Catholic money which is offered to them is given to them and not to other Protestant ministry for the poor, that actually might be doing even better work with the poor. Charity begins at home, and you help your own first.

But what if your own tell you that they are no longer of one mind and heart with you? Okay, that’s fine, it’s a free country, and you can act like you’re now a Unitarian or even of no faith at all. But then don’t expect me to open my wallet and give to your organization, especially when you mislead people to think you are a “Catholic” ministry and now you are more of a liberal social justice ministry that does what it wants.

Dorothy Day was alive when women priests were being ordained in several Christian denominations, and I have no doubt with her ecumenical contacts that she was invited to a number of women’s ordinations. No doubt at all. But she never attended them. Nor did she invite women priests to play Catholic priest at the Catholic Worker houses. 

That is the farce going on. Something is being done in her name which is not her spirit and heart. But don’t take my word for it. Listen to what she wrote in 1966:

Perhaps I have sounded too possessive about the Catholic Worker itself and had no right to speak for the publication, but only for myself. I do know that Peter Maurin would have agreed with me. Most cradle Catholics have gone through, or need to go through, a second conversion which binds them with a more profound, a more mature love and obedience to the Church.

I do know that my nature is such that gratitude alone, gratitude for the faith, that most splendid gift, a gift not earned by me, a gratuitous gift, is enough to bind me in holy obedience to Holy Mother Church and her commands.

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/deaconsbench/2014/05/catholic-worker-hosts-woman-priest-what-would-dorothy-day-think/

God bless, Fr. Angel

Would it be sinful to watch the God Delusion documentary?

Hello,

I am laughing because I’ve watched the God Delusion and I just thought it was funny. It’s like having a long therapy session with an atheist laying on the couch who tells you 200 reasons why he hates his mother and wishes she was raped, tortured, and slowly put to death. 

Go ahead and knock your socks off. I don’t think it is a sin to listen to someone’s rants, if you have the time and patience for that. Have fun. Just realize that in his quest to show how divisive and destructive religion is, Richard Dawkins mixes in as much mental and psychological meltdown as he does twisted fact.

Also, serious students who research history, as opposed to those who have read a few books and taken some classes in world history, can barely make it through the documentary because of outright falsehoods or what is worse than a falsehood, the twisting of a fact.

And as far as the divisiveness of religion, let me just say that “getting rid of the imaginary friend in the sky” does nothing to unite human beings or take away division. In a “perfect atheist world” we would still be humans, and still kill each other and destroy civilizations. And as far as the destructiveness of religion, same thing. Human beings do not need religion, either as individuals or as governments, in order to be destructive. God bless and take care, Fr. Angel

hello father, is there any translation of the Bible favoured by the Church? I tend to use the King James, New Revised Standard and English Standard Versions. What would you recommend?

Hello,

Although it’s not the best translation, the New American Bible is still my favorite. I would cut and paste more from the NAB when I post Scripture, if the online version didn’t have so much code to clear up. But yeah, the NAB is what I read when I do prayer and study with the Word of God. God bless and take care, Fr. Angel

What can you tell me about Catholic Relief Services? Do they uphold the teachings of the Catholic church? Is it a reputable place to donate money?

Hello,

Catholic Relief Services is a very large outreach organization with offices and workers in many countries of the world.

Catholic Relief Services were founded by the U.S. bishops and bishops sit on their board of directors.

They utilize the help of other organizations in various countries and give them grant money.

For instance, they might sign a partnership with a group that distributes mosquito nets and malaria medicine in a poor country. Later, it is found out that the same group promotes birth control. Even though CRS money was only used to purchase the nets and medicine, it is now seen as pro-contraception.

Another example is that CRS provides disaster relief. If there is a disaster in an African nation, and CRS does not have access to those villages, CRS may give money to a non-profit or NGO, non-governmental organization so that food and medicine can reach those people.

Later on, CRS finds out that the same group also distributes condoms, although the CRS money was only used for food and medicine. Now, CRS is seen as engaged in condom distribution. And with employees scattered throughout the globe, it may happen that some CRS spokesperson will speak highly of a family planning program that CRS does not agree with as an organization.

Another criticism is that CRS executives are paid huge salaries. Well, that happens in any large, international organization. These are lay staffs and they do not take a vow of poverty.

As they fund raise and bring in lots of money, they give themselves better salaries—but that is true of any lay Catholics who work for a group that does a lot of fund raising. However, 92% of all donations sent to them is used for charity. That’s no a bad record by any means.

CRS and the bishops have been working to address these situations and the record speaks clearly that hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent by CRS for disaster relief in every major disaster you’ve heard about on the news. 

My policy is to support CRS financially and through our parish collections in spite of whatever organizational failures they have had in partnering with non-Catholic groups. There is no other international charity that comes close to doing the work they have done to help people in times of desperate crisis. God bless and take care, Fr. Angel

Hello sir. My name is Taylor and I wanted to ask you a few questions. Now, I've grown up in the Church, (not the Catholic Church.) and I understand you are Catholic, yes? Now there are many things people say about Catholics that I personally don't understand. 1. Is it true they put Jesus' mom, Mary, before Him? 2. Does the Pastor...Or Father of the church have to forgive the sins and not God? 3. Do they worship Idles? || Please answer! Thank you!

Hello,

The people who are telling you these things are ignorant and don’t have much education about the Catholic Faith.

You can get away from ignorance by not listening to such people, and doing your own study and finding out the answers.

Here is a website called Catholic Answers and they answer all of your questions:

http://www.catholic.com/browse/Apologetics/all/all/all

God bless and take care, Fr. Angel

Homosexuality is a sin, and your Catholic tradition is sending you and thousands to hell. It is clearly written in Romans that JEWS are the ones to which God entrusted the scriptures. Repent brother , there is still time. Open your eyes to the truth.

Why do you say that homosexuality, instead of homosexual acts, is a sin? Saying that condemns people who did not choose to be homosexual.

Why do you think Catholics are going to hell? There is no place in my Bible where Jesus says, “Catholics are going to hell.” Last I checked, Jesus is the Judge, not you.

Why do you think Jews (or JEWS, if all caps is supposed to mean something) have been entrusted the scriptures?

Does that mean New Testament also? You do know the Jews don’t recognize Jesus or the New Testament, by the way?

If you want someone to repent, Jesus said,

You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye (Matthew 7:5).

Open your heart. Or you will be the reason many people think about Christians that:

These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me (Matthew 15:8).

Father, yesterday in mass I saw an adult man chewing gum and later receive communion. In fact, he was still smacking his lips while in line to receive the Eucharist. I was very disturbed by this blatant lack of respect and felt compelled to talk to the priest after mass. What's the best way I can approach the priest on matters like these? I don't want to be spontaneous and throw him off guard but I want to express to him that this behavior needs to be confronted.

Hello,

Tell the priest what you have written in this message. And then tell Father that you are not trying to be judgmental or critical, but that you want to see the community grow in reverence. Suggest that in addition to a bulletin announcement, the priest could also make an announcement at the Masses about what you saw, and that chewing gum is not appropriate during the liturgy.

If you want to, you can even offer to help by writing up an announcement yourself for the bulletin, that the priest could review and edit before he prints. Since there is a concern about dumping this in Father’s lap right after Mass, call the office and make an appointment to see the priest. Just tell the secretary it’s about a “personal matter” but that you will only need 10 or 15 minutes of the priest’s time. God bless and take care, Fr. Angel