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Guilty of Treason.
Most people with any familiarity with Catholicism wonder what it would be like to be a priest who hears the confession of a murder and what it would be like to have to keep the secret of the confessional when the police are trying to apprehend the guilty party. In this film Alfred Hitchcock explores this situation with an added twist, the murderer is trying to frame the priest to whom he confessed and the police actually think the priest did it.
A movie loosely based on the life of Rodrigo Diaz de Bivar (1043-1099) a Spanish hero during the time of the Reconquista, the centuries-long struggle by Christians to evict their Muslim overlords from the Iberian peninsula. The movie, sharing Charlton Heston and Sofia Loren, is one of the greatest epic films ever made.
The ficitional story of a good priest in contemporary post-Catholic Ireland who is told in the confessional that he will be murdered seven days later. The movie recounts how the priest lives out the next seven days. In this dark but ultimately hopeful film, we see a shining example of what it should mean to be a Catholic priest and the power of mercy.
Many have accused the Vatican of being complicit with Hitler. Nothing could be further from the truth. This true story of an Irish priest who worked in the Vatican during World War II shows how the Church was the thorn in the side of Hitler and a humanitarian force protecting Jews and POWs during the war.
About one hundred years ago, the Mexican government declared war on the Church, seizing her land, taking over her schools and closing her churches. When Catholics resisted, the government used force to try to crush them. Finally Catholics took up arms against the violence of the masons who controlled the government. This movie tells the story of this resistance movement, which eventually ensured the continued survival of the Catholic Church in Mexico.
The story of the last years of Saint Thomas More, Chancellor of England during the reign of Henry VIII. It won an Oscar for best picture in 1966. Based on a play written by the atheist/agnostic Robert Bolt, the austerity of the screenplay captures the personality of the saint.
The Miracle of Our Lady of Fatima.
The Song of Bernadette.
When I saw this film I had my first serious thoughts of becoming a priest. Becket tells the story of a 12th century climber, Thomas Becket, who became the best friend of King Henry II and Chancellor of England. When the Archbishop of Canterbury died, Henry intrigued to have his friend and prime minister elected Primate of England. Henry wanted an archbishop who would work with the English crown. Against all expectations, Thomas Becket took his religious role seriously and defended the rights of the Church against bullying by the state.
We have already raised $50,000 to replace the Saint Mary/Saint Joseph Rectory roof. The asbestos roof is in desperate need of repair. Asbestos abatement may push the cost of the project over 50k. I couldn’t get on top of the roof for obvious reasons, but I was able to get some shots of the superficial damage on the lower parts. Take a look at the tip of the iceberg (nb the datestamp is incorrect, I took the pictures today, August 12, 2016):
Clayton, The Little Oratory.
Barbeau, Father of the Family.
Lovasik, Catholic Family Handbook.
Van Zeller, Holiness for Housewives.
Newland, How to Raise Good Catholic Children.
Newland, We and our Children.
Pierlot, A Mother’s Rule of Life.
Bennett, The Temperament God Gave Your Spouse.
Bennett, The Temperament God Gave Your Kids.
Popcak, When Divorce is not an Option.
Popcak, Parenting with Grace.
Meeker, Boys Should be Boys.
Meeker, Strong Mothers, Strong Sons.
Meeker, Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters.
Lovasik, The Hidden Power of Kindness.
Lovasik, Basic Book of Catholic Prayer.
Marshall, Sword and Serpent.
Marshall, The Tenth Region of the Night.
Lovasik, Clean Love in Courtship.
Kheriaty, A Catholic Guide to Depression.
Weigel, Letters to a Young Catholic.
Gaitley, Thirty-three days to Morning Glory.
Lovasik, Church History.
Bennett, The Temperament God Gave You.
Lovasik, The Basic Book of the Eucharist.
When I was a boy, like many boys my age, I sometimes followed my dad around while he worked on home improvement projects. I remember that my father wore a necklace that would sometimes dangle out of his shirt when he would get under a car or work on plumbing under a sink. It held a Saint Christopher Medal that said,
I AM A CATHOLIC, IN CASE OF EMERGENCY, CALL A PRIEST
I was puzzled. “Dad,” I asked, “why would you want to call a priest in case of accident? How could he possibly help you if you wrecked your car?” My father went on to explain to me about the last sacraments, extreme unction and confession. He told me that we Catholics believe that priests have a special role to play in preparing the soul for death and judgment. I think I was about six, so I did not ask many more questions, but from that day I have never doubted this truth of the faith that comes to us from the mouth of Jesus Himself (see John 20:21-23, James 5:14-16, 1 John 5:16). In my case, I was blessed to have a father who passed it on to me at a very young age. “Catholic priests have a special role in helping us to prepare for judgment.”
The 2nd reading and the Gospel speak to us today about the reality of death and judgment. All of us are going to die. When we die, we will have to render an account to God for all of our sins. Saint Paul urges us to wake up to this reality and repent of our sins in the 2nd reading.
It is the hour now for you to awake from sleep. For our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed; the night is advanced, the day is at hand.
Let us then throw off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light;
let us conduct ourselves properly as in the day.
Almost 1600 years ago, an African playboy in his thirties living the high life in Milan who had stopped going to Mass as a teenager picked up a Bible and opened it at random and read these words and it changed his life. He put the book down and went to his priest and asked him what would be necessary for him to return to the sacraments and give his life to Jesus Christ. The playboy’s name was Aurelius Augustinus. We know him as the great bishop Saint Augustine of Hippo. The priest he went to see was the great Saint Ambrose.
“Catholic priests have a special role in helping us to prepare for judgment.”
What my father told me is a hard sell today, isn’t it? One of the first things that our former seminarian James and our former intern, Matthew, observed when they accompanied me on sick calls was that almost universally shut-ins refused when I offered to hear their confessions. I wonder sometimes how discouraging this ambivalence toward confession was in these two young men’s discernment of a vocation to the priesthood. I hope that these experiences of seeing confession rejected did not contribute to them not wanting to be priests.
Earlier this week, Pope Francis wrote a letter to all Catholics. As he always does, he talked about God’s mercy. Our Holy Father called our attention in a special way to our need to go to confession more often:
The celebration of mercy takes place in a very particular way in the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation. Here we feel the embrace of the Father, who comes forth to meet us and grant us the grace of being once more his sons and daughters. We are sinners and we bear the burden of contradiction between what we wish to do and what we do in fact (cf. Rom 7:14-21). Yet grace always precedes us and takes on the face of the mercy that effects our reconciliation and pardon….
I invite priests once more to prepare carefully for the ministry of confession, which is a true priestly mission….
The Sacrament of Reconciliation must regain its central place in the Christian life.
Let’s be clear about this. The idea of talking about confession frequently is really not my own; it comes from the Pope himself. Pope Francis is many things, but I have yet to hear anyone accuse him of being obsessed about rules or rigid about Church discipline. The pope exhorts us to go to confession because he believes it is good for us.
How is confession good for us?
Confession is good for us because sin is real and it harms us and those around us. Sin is not a social construct or a psychological complex. Sin, and mortal sin especially, separates us from God and neighbor and even from our authentic selves. In the 2nd reading, Saint Paul listed several such sins: sexual immorality, drinking too much, pornography and feuding with others.
Some will object, “I don’t need to go to confession because I don’t do anything that bad.” The Bible addresses this objection pretty directly.
If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.”
1 John 1:8-10
The just man falls seven times and rises again, but the wicked falls into ruin.
Here is a list of mortal sins we find named in the Bible
Sex before marriage
Same sex sexual activity
Stirring up contention
Neglecting the Poor
Not welcoming the immigrant
Not visiting the sick and imprisoned
Who of us here can say that we not sinned against any of these in the past year?
Others might say, ” I can confess my sins directly to God. I don’t need a priest.” This objection is not only profoundly unbiblical, it was unheard of in the first 1,500 years of the Christian Church. The near disappearance of sacramental confession in the past 500 years has been a scourge on the Church. It led to a breakdown of Church discipline and faith in Protestant countries. The last 50 years have seen a collapse in Catholics going to confession. Today, only 2% of Catholics regularly use this sacrament. 75% never do. We cannot be surprised that nearly the same number of Catholics, 75%, skip Mass on any given Sunday.
Why should these statistics give us pause? Because as my father said, “priests have a special role to play in preparing the soul for death and judgment.” When we neglect confession as a Church, our souls die unabsolved and evil metastasizes in the Church. Vows are broken, parishes close, families are torn apart and the devil laughs as souls willingly follow him into the pit of hell. And that is what we have witnessed in recent decades in the Catholic Church in these United States.
What father can bear to look at his children suffering and not be moved by his love to raise his voice and say, “You do not have to keep living like this”? This is precisely what Pope Francis is saying to us when he encourages us to go to confession. He wants us to be healed and forgiven, able to love God, our neighbor and ourselves and be ready to go when Christ calls us to Him in heaven.
If you have not been to confession in more than 6 months, please take an examination of conscience with you as you walk out today. As you know, there is always confession after Mass. If you prefer an outside confessor, the times of confessions in nearby parishes are printed in the bulletin. On December 1 at Saint Joseph and December 20 at Saint Mary both at 6:30, we will have a penance service.
Jesus is clear in the Gospel, “at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.” For many of us, our summons to heaven will come at a time that we least expect it. May it please God that we have availed ourselves of the ministrations of a priest shortly before Our Lord calls us home. For priests have a special role to play in preparing the soul for death and judgment.
I saw this fact play out very powerfully in the death of a young man whom I believe is in heaven interceding for me with God in a special way whenever I preach on confession. As you know, Nathan Trappuzano was murdered on April 1, 2014, a matter of hours after going to confession. As tragic as his death was, for he left behind a 8 months pregnant wife, it has unleashed a flood of goodness. His widow founded a foundation that bears his name to assist fatherless children. His story of faith and mercy has touched the lives of thousands. His widow stood before her fallen husband’s unrepentant murderer and extended forgiveness to him at his sentencing.
My dad was right, “priests have a special role to play in preparing the soul for death and judgment.” And when we go to confession with an open heart, we bring a piece of heaven down to earth.
Papa Francisco, Misericordia et Miseria
La celebración de la misericordia tiene lugar de modo especial en el Sacramento de la Reconciliación. Es el momento en el que sentimos el abrazo del Padre que sale a nuestro encuentro para restituirnos de nuevo la gracia de ser sus hijos. Somos pecadores y cargamos con el peso de la contradicción entre lo que queremos hacer y lo que, en cambio, hacemos (cf. Rm 7,14-21); la gracia, sin embargo, nos precede siempre y adopta el rostro de la misericordia que se realiza eficazmente con la reconciliación y el perdón. Dios hace que comprendamos su inmenso amor justamente ante nuestra condición de pecadores. La gracia es más fuerte y supera cualquier posible resistencia, porque el amor todo lo puede (cf. 1 Co 13,7)…
A los sacerdotes renuevo la invitación a prepararse con mucho esmero para el ministerio de la Confesión, que es una verdadera misión sacerdotal…
El Sacramento de la Reconciliación necesita volver a encontrar su puesto central en la vida cristiana;
1 Juan 1
8 Si decimos: “No tenemos pecado”, nos engañamos y la verdad no está en nosotros.
9 Si reconocemos nuestros pecados, fiel y justo es él para perdonarnos los pecados y purificarnos de toda injusticia.
10 Si decimos: “No hemos pecado”, le hacemos mentiroso y su Palabra no está en nosotros.
porque el justo, aunque caiga siete veces, se levantará,mientras que los malvados se hunden en la desgracia.
Lista biblica de pecados mortales
Sexo antes de matrimonio
Actividad sexual con el mismo sexo
El no ayudar a los pobres
El no dar bienviendo al extranjero
El no visitar de los enfermos y encarcelados
1 Cor 6:9-10 Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor homosexual offenders, nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were.
Gal 5:19-21 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Eph 5:3-6 But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. For of this you can be sure: No sexually immoral, impure or greedy person—such a person is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore do not be partners with them.
Rev. 22:12-16 “Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. “Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood. “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.”
Matt 25:41-46 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
8. The celebration of mercy takes place in a very particular way in the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation. Here we feel the embrace of the Father, who comes forth to meet us and grant us the grace of being once more his sons and daughters. We are sinners and we bear the burden of contradiction between what we wish to do and what we do in fact (cf. Rom 7:14-21). Yet grace always precedes us and takes on the face of the mercy that effects our reconciliation and pardon. God makes us understand his great love for us precisely when we recognize that we are sinners. Grace is stronger than sin: it overcomes resistance, because love conquers all (cf. 1 Cor 13:7).
In the sacrament of Forgiveness God shows us the way to turn back to him and invites us to experience his closeness anew. This pardon can be obtained by beginning, first of all, to live in charity. The Apostle Peter tells us this when he writes that “love covers a multitude of sins” (1 Pet 4:8). Only God forgives sins, but he asks that we be ready to forgive others even as he has forgiven us: “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us” (Mt 6:12). How sad it is when our hearts are closed and unable to forgive! Resentment, anger and revenge gain the upper hand, making our lives miserable and blocking a joyful commitment to mercy….
10. I invite priests once more to prepare carefully for the ministry of confession, which is a true priestly mission. I thank all of you from the heart for your ministry, and I ask you to be welcoming to all, witnesses of fatherly love whatever the gravity of the sin involved, attentive in helping penitents to reflect on the evil they have done, clear in presenting moral principles, willing to walk patiently beside the faithful on their penitential journey, far-sighted in discerning individual cases and generous in dispensing God’s forgiveness. Just as Jesus chose to remain silent in order to save the woman caught in adultery from the sentence of death, so every priest in the confessional should be open-hearted, since every penitent is a reminder that he himself is a sinner, but also a minister of mercy….
The Sacrament of Reconciliation must regain its central place in the Christian life. This requires priests capable of putting their lives at the service of the “ministry of reconciliation” (2 Cor 5:18), in such a way that, while no sincerely repentant sinner is prevented from drawing near to the love of the Father who awaits his return, everyone is afforded the opportunity of experiencing the liberating power of forgiveness…
12. Given this need, lest any obstacle arise between the request for reconciliation and God’s forgiveness, I henceforth grant to all priests, in virtue of their ministry, the faculty to absolve those who have committed the sin of procured abortion. The provision I had made in this regard, limited to the duration of the Extraordinary Holy Year, is hereby extended, notwithstanding anything to the contrary. I wish to restate as firmly as I can that abortion is a grave sin, since it puts an end to an innocent life. In the same way, however, I can and must state that there is no sin that God’s mercy cannot reach and wipe away when it finds a repentant heart seeking to be reconciled with the Father. May every priest, therefore, be a guide, support and comfort to penitents on this journey of special reconciliation.
For the Jubilee Year I had also granted that those faithful who, for various reasons, attend churches officiated by the priests of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X, can validly and licitly receive the sacramental absolution of their sins. For the pastoral benefit of these faithful, and trusting in the good will of their priests to strive with God’s help for the recovery of full communion in the Catholic Church, I have personally decided to extend this faculty beyond the Jubilee Year, until further provisions are made, lest anyone ever be deprived of the sacramental sign of reconciliation through the Church’s pardon…