Lead Us Not Into Temptation

There has recently been some debate on the last line of the Our Father:

And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.—Matthew 6:13

Should the Our Father read “lead us not into temptation” as it has always been translated or the modern “let us not fall into temptation”? Let’s look at the Greek. The Greek of Matthew 6:13a is καὶ μὴ εἰσενέγκῃς ἡμᾶς εἰς πειρασμόν.  Word-by-word, it is καὶ (and) μὴ (not) εἰσενέγκῃς (to bring/lead) ἡμᾶς (us) εἰς (into) πειρασμόν (temptation.)—Matthew 6:13

Notice that the verb εἰσενέγκῃς (pronounced ace-in-egg-ace) is the active verb translated as bring or lead.  On the other hand, the whole idea of “let us not fall into temptation” is still technically an active verb in the English denotation, but very passive in the connotation.  Of course, God tempts no one:  Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and He himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.—James 1:13.

But if God tempts no one, then why would we ever ask God not to lead us into temptation?  Since God always wills our good, wouldn’t it be better to simply ask God not to let us fall into temptation?

No.

Why?  Because Jesus said lead them not into temptation in the Aramaic of the Our Father.  How do I know that Jesus said lead in the Aramaic?  Because the Holy Spirit inspired the Greek to say lead (εἰσενέγκῃς.) But if you won’t grant me the premise of inerrancy in the Scripture, then all blog posts on this topic are giant piles of poop, including this one.  None of it matters.

But since the Bible is true……I’m all the more amazed how many good Bible-believing Catholics continue to ask me (after I explained the Greek to them) if it were still not better to ask of God that He not let us fall into temptation, rather than not leading us to evil, especially since God always wills our good.

Well, Jesus still got it right. Here’s why: “Let us not fall into temptation” is still technically an active verb in the English denotation, but very passive in the connotation.  (Think about it:  let me not…) So, for the sake of brevity, we’re going to label that business of let not fall into temptation as passive.  Of course, lead us not into temptation is a negation of an active verb, but it’s still obviously an active verb being used: lead.

Why in the world does it matter if the verb that we speak to God-the-Father has Him doing something passive or active?  Because a female deity has a passive role, whereas a male deity has an active role. It was the one God of the Universe (not me) who chose to reveal Himself as Father.  And the Father never takes a passive role in our spiritual warfare or our salvation.

You see, to your mother, you might say, “Don’t let me fall into the bathtub.”

To your Dad, while hunting, you might say “Don’t lead me to the beasts I can’t handle.”

Thus, Jesus got it right when he taught us the Our Father.

(Still, I’m pretty sure that the infinite, eternal Divine Word doesn’t need my stamp-of-approval on that.)

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  1. Just for the record, I do not think that these translation problems are new in the Church. The Creed in Greek has Jesus descending into “the depths” (of the Hebrew Sheol) but the ancient Church [erroneously?] translated it into the Latin as “hell” (as in the Hebrew Gehenna.) I am open to correction, but I think this was a horrible translation that even remains in the Traditional Latin Mass in Latin. This ancient error has led modernist theologians to teach that Jesus emptied hell on Holy Saturday. The truth of our dogma, however, is that Christ descended to the limbo of the patriarchs to bring them to heaven. So, people messing up doctrine by getting translation wrong 1500 years ago is still a serious problem. Notice that my blog post does not mention any Pope or Vatican II. This is an ancient problem. So, I’m very much against getting doctrinal language wrong, because when we get doctrinal language wrong, people’s faith gets messed up, too. That’s why I found this worthy of a blog post. Try to see past the current news in my blog posts.

Trent on the Holy Eucharist

“Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and he who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery.”—St. Luke 16:18

“For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself.”—1 Cor 11:29

“For no crime is there heavier punishment to be feared from God than for the unholy or irreligious use of the Eucharist.”—Council of Trent, Chapter 6 on the Eucharist

The Nine Ways of Being an Accessory to Another’s Sin:

  1. By counsel
  2. By command
  3. By consent
  4. By provocation
  5. By praise or flattery
  6. By concealment
  7. By partaking
  8. By silence
  9. By defense of the ill done

On Sedevacantism

Prior to the current and lively discussion on the actual validity of Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation from the Papacy, there was (and is) a group of Catholics called sedevacantists who believe that the Chair of Peter has been empty for nearly 50 years, due to putatively-changed doctrine.  “Sedes” (pronounced sed-ayz) as they are nicknamed in the traditional world, believe that the last valid Pope was Pope Pius XII. Some even deny the validity of his papacy and some even deny the validity his predecessors, going back centuries.  Sedevacantism is Latin for “empty chair,” in reference to the Roman Chair of Peter.  They have very good arguments for their positions, many of which I can not counter.   (For those unfamiliar with this debate, yes—there are actually Catholics who make me look like an ultra-liberal!)

In any case, I have a good friend looking at the sedevacantists. Here is an email I wrote to him to discourage him from joining them. It was only after I hit “send” that I decided it was worth a blog-post, published with his permission, but no names of course:

D,

You write “I simply don’t know what to do at this point.” My answer: Nothing. There’s an old phrase in Canon Law that is: impossibile non tenetur which means one is not held to the impossible in the Catholic life. In other words, God has not made life to be an intellectual riddle that is impossible to solve except for being solved by a few sedevacantists with their big book of old Pope quotes. I fully understand the difference between God’s positive will and His permissive will for this current Church crisis. But both types of providence still fall under God’s sovereignty. If that were not the case, then the only people to be saved would be sedevacantists because they have figured out God’s post V2 code.

It’s all intellectual for them, and really, it’s all intellectual for your quotes to me this past week. Yeah, they are pretty air-tight. So maybe they are totally correct. But sedes are so miserable and mean, that even if they were correct, I’m pretty sure I would not want to go to heaven with them. If only the miserable and mean who have finally cracked the intellectual code of Pope Paul IV and the 1917 code of canon law are going to heaven, then we are all held to the impossible by God and we are essentially nothing more than 5point Calvinists (who the sedes all remind me of.) Also, remember the sedes don’t really have charity (just try to counter me on this!) and if faith without charity means nothing for salvation (1 Cor 13) then no one is going to heaven…in which case every single person is in an impossible situation…and Satan has beat us all into despair via a mind game.

You will never beat Satan at mind games in quoting canon law. I believe sedes are following Satan because Satan can quote Councils and Popes as well as Satan quoted Scripture to Jesus in the desert. But Satan quoted Scripture without obedience and charity. As Calvinists live Sola Scriptura without obedience or charity, so also sedes are Sola Conciliar without obedience or charity.

Every family that goes sede is because the man gets wrapped up into endless syllogisms. I have never met a sede family where the woman, in total love, has a deep understanding of the Church. It is always the mind games of very, very intellectual men who is led by some spirit to lead their whole family into sedevacantism. And their arguments are usually air-tight. But again, Satan can quote Scripture and Popes perfectly.

Be very, very careful to not look at only all your endless arguments but to do St. Ignatius of Loyola’s discernment of spirits. More or less, St. Ignatius teaches that the one gift of the Holy Ghost that Satan can not simulate is peace. Peace is deeper than a feeling. If you are called to lead your family to sedevacantism, you will have an overwhelming peace of the Holy Ghost. (And remember that numerous Popes have set St. Ignatius’ discernment of spirits as the gold standard of retreats and decision making.)

But you will never have peace in sedevacantism, as evidenced by the fact you have never met a peaceful sedevacantist. They are all so jumpy. I used to think they acted neurotic, but now I see that from a secular point of view (not theological) they all act mildly psychotic. There is no peace there. Have you ever met a joyful, peaceful, inspiring sedevacantist?

If you say “No, but that doesn’t matter in the face of all their arguments” then you are left with this:

We are all then called to this Catholic-Calvinism or Sola Conciliar Catholicism of anger, where God has (in His permissive will) wired the universe as a horrible riddle where only loveless sedes are saved and where the average Catholic (who can not read hundreds of pages of 14th century Popes every week to figure out the truth) has a goal of SALVATION HELD TO THE IMPOSSIBLE.

Sounds like a pretty good pathway to despair made perfectly by Satan, if you ask me.

Fulton Sheen’s Little Heroine

The only person to reach more people for Christ on television than Billy Graham was a Catholic bishop named Archbishop Fulton Sheen from Illinois, later bishop in New York. Every Tuesday night, starting in the 1950s, up to 10 million Americans from all faiths tuned in to his TV Show, Life Is Worth Living. Not only Catholics, but many older Jewish people fondly remember tuning in to his Tuesday evening show about God.

Venerable Fulton Sheen also traveled the world and raised millions of dollars for foreign missions in poor countries. He is credited with converting the following to the Catholic Faith: Agnostic writer Heywood Broun, politician Clare Boothe Luce, automaker Henry Ford II, Communist writer Louis F. Budenz, Communist organizer Bella Dodd, theatrical designer Jo Mielziner, violinist and composer Fritz Kreisler, and actress Virginia Mayo.

Now a “Venerable” in the Catholic Church, Ven. Sheen is two moves away from canonization. He will, please God, move from Venerable Fulton Sheen to Blessed Fulton Sheen to finally St. Fulton Sheen.

Who was his hero? Who inspired such holiness? Who inspired him to remain in prayer for the millions of people that he reached for Christ? The answer is: An unnamed Chinese girl.

The following has been on many websites.  The original author is unknown, but the account is verifiable in the life, the words and the annals of Venerable Fulton Sheen.


A couple of months before his death, Bishop Fulton J. Sheen was interviewed on national television. One of the questions was this: “Bishop Sheen, you have inspired millions of people all over the world. Who inspired you? Was it a Pope?”

Bishop Sheen responded that it was not a Pope, a cardinal, another bishop, or even a priest or a nun. It was a little Chinese girl of eleven years of age. He explained that when the Communists took over China, they imprisoned a priest in his own rectory near the Church. After they locked him up in his own house, the priest was horrified to look out of his window and see the Communists proceed into the Church, where they went into the sanctuary and broke into the tabernacle. In an act of hateful desecration, they took the ciborium and threw it on the floor with all of the Sacred Hosts spilling out. The priest knew exactly the number of Hosts in the ciborium: thirty-two.

When the Communists left, they either did not notice, or didn’t pay any attention to a small girl praying in the back of the Church who saw everything that had happened. That night the little girl came back.

Slipping past the guard at the priest’s house, she went inside the Church. There she made a holy hour of prayer, an act of love to make up for the act of hatred. After her holy hour she went into the sanctuary, knelt down, bent over and with her tongue received Jesus in Holy Communion, since (at that time) it was not permissible for laymen to touch the Sacred Host with their hands.

The little girl continued to come back each night to make her holy hour and receive Jesus in Holy Communion on her tongue. On the thirty-second night, after she had consumed the last and thirty-second host, she accidentally made a noise and woke the guard who was sleeping. He ran after her, caught her, and beat her to death with the butt of his rifle.

This act of heroic martyrdom was witnessed by the priest as he watched grief-stricken from his bedroom window.


When Bishop Sheen heard the story he was so inspired that he promised God he would make a holy hour of prayer before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament every day of his life. If this frail, little child could give testimony and witness to the world concerning the real and wonderful Presence of her Savior in the Blessed Sacrament, then the Bishop was absolutely bound by all that was right and true, to do the same. His sole desire from then on was to bring the world to the burning Heart of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.

The little girl showed the Bishop what true courage and zeal really is; how faith could overcome all fear, how true love for Jesus in the Eucharist must transcend life itself. What is hidden in the Sacred Host is the glory of His love. The sun in the sky is symbolic of the Son of God in the Blessed Sacrament. This is why most monstrances are in the form of a sunburst. As the sun is the natural source of all energy, the Blessed Sacrament is the supernatural source of all grace and love.

Open Letter to a Priest

A Catholic married couple with children wrote an anonymous letter to their parish priest, to every priest. They attend the ordinary Mass in English out West. They have been good friends of mine for almost a decade, and they asked me to publish it here.


Open Letter to our spiritual Fathers
Dear Fr. ___________,
I am so very thankful that you have given your life to be our spiritual father. I am grateful for the gifts you make available to us in the sacraments. We know you work tirelessly to keep everything balanced and running smoothly. For that, we are thankful.  But we have to be honest and share our concerns and frustrations:  We have heard more about the LGBTQ community and the acceptance of that more than we have ever heard about our own marriage.
Father, we struggle with communication, we struggle with infertility, we struggle with forgiveness over infidelity, we struggle with finances, we struggle with contraception and Natural Family Planning, we struggle with in-laws, we struggle with so much and yet feel so alone.
Please Father, give us some hope and encouragement; let us know what we are supposed to do. Please don’t have your answer be “you can get an annulment.”  We don’t want to get out of our marriage; we just need you to let us know that sacrifice and suffering are part of marriage. Most of us have not heard what God’s plan for marriage is, yet we have heard that everyone is arguing about what constitutes a sacramental marriage.
It feels like we have been abandoned and left to figure it out in our own. As we strive to live God’s plan, we are burdened with what the society tells us. The culture screams its message, but the silence of the Church is at times louder than the screams.
Help us Father—for we know not what to do.
Love and blessings,
Your Sons and Daughters
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  1. I, Fr. Nix, want to take a brief moment to answer this family and all families who might be reading this couple’s challenging letter for us priests to step up and help you.  The best advice I can give you is to immediately purchase a book called Good Pictures Bad Pictures. It is a children’s book that teaches children between 5 and 10 years of age how to avoid pornography and/or teach the child to turn-off accidentally-found pornography as soon as possible, all the while keeping the book PG-rated, perhaps even G-rated. Most pious families reading this footnote would think that 5 years old is way too young for a talk on how to avoid pornography.  However, the truth is that the authors have had to make the same book for ages 3 years old to 6 years old called Good Pictures Bad Pictures Jr. Most traditional families reading this footnote might also think that  this is a good idea for other families. If you think this, you are absolutely wrong.  Your kids are getting into pornography by the age of 10 at the  very, very latest. Unless you are living in a forest without a single electronic device, your kids are in danger from the age of 3 years old, even in the most pious families. Even if you are in a forest, diabolical forces somehow get a device into the hands of very small kids to get addicted to porn in a preternatural and inexplicable way. This book, Good Pictures Bad Pictures, is first about how to teach your children to avoid porn, but secondly how they can respond in one second to shut down any device where the child finds inappropriate pictures. Again, if you think this is a good idea for other families but not yours, then you are the family most at risk. Any priest will tell you that this plague has reached pandemic proportions. Good priests will tell you that even families who go to the Latin Mass are by no means immune. In some sense, traditional families are the most prey to this pandemic, because pious children find porn almost as quickly as any child from a secular family, but the difference is that Catholic kids are better at hiding their shame, yes, even from the age of 3.   Get this book, because even families with “porn proof” computers have kids who are not “porn-proof.”   Your children are always smarter than your firewall.  If you are a Dad who uses porn—even occasionally—know this:  You are allowing real-live demons to enter your family’s home, the same demons that mysteriously draw your 5 and 10 year olds to start looking at porn. If you think this is an exaggeration, please read my blog post called Why You Should Stop Confessing Pornography.

Mary: God’s First Love

Although the pro-life movement’s arguments can be proved from science as much as religion, one of the reasons that I am so involved in the pro-life movement is based on this piece of theology: God imagined every person as an unrepeatable blueprint long before their conception. Since God is the exclusive Creator of the Universe, and since God is in eternity (two philosophical necessities to a world with only One God) this means that God imagined the blueprint to each person’s genome long before an individual zygote was ever conceived. Of course, “imagined” and “before” are words that fail us, especially since we are speaking of a God who exists outside of time with a “mind” that is obviously not a physical cerebrum.

It is good that we say in the pro-life movement: “From the moment of conception you were a genetically unrepeatable human being.” But once we add the eternity of God into the mix, it goes even deeper: God had you perfectly planned before He created the Universe. See, if God is eternal, this is not pious or sentimental devotion. God actually loved you into existence during the specific time of history where you are placed (now, if you’re reading this now) but God also had you in mind as the unshakeable version of you. Yes, you are an unrepeatable reality of His own image and likeness which was blueprinted before the galaxy. You were originally the perfect idea of yourself as a “thought” of God before you were ever conceived in your mother’s uterus. In fact, God had you in mind trillions of years before that physical union. “Trillions” is a also weak word to imagine the one and only God who planned you outside of time. So, really God wanted you from forever as an unrepeatable receptacle of His creative Love and as an intimate reflection of His eternal Love.

Imagine a carpenter who is making a door. Philosophers call the wood the “material cause” where the word cause actually means “end” or “goal.” It’s the same as telos in Greek, that towards which a being is aiming its own reality as the goal of its existence (more being than doing.)  So the “cause” is needed at the beginning as the intention, just as a door must actually have a form, not just random wood, but actually a cut and sanded door. (See St. Joseph working in the above image.) This “formal cause” is the telos or end toward which a being has its entire thrust of existence. Even more intimate to its existence is the “final cause,” which is in some sense the carpenter’s blueprint of his work.  It exists in his mind before he actually takes the wood to task. This is why Aristotle wrote that “First in intention is last in execution.” The mental blueprint of the door is the final cause, end, goal, telos of the carpenter’s work, even though the idea and intention existed before the finished product.  So also, each individual human soul had to be blueprinted in God’s mind just before conception.  God Himself is the true meaning of Planned Parenthood.  Everything else is a diabolical mockery.

October is the month of the Holy Rosary. Both the Roman Breviary and the Lesson from the Tradition Latin Mass for the Mass of the Holy Rosary today include some lines from Sacred Scripture that were ascribed to Mary by the Church for a very long time:

The Lord possessed me in the beginning of His ways, before He made any thing from the beginning. I was set up from eternity, and of old before the earth was made. The depths were not as yet, and I was already conceived.—Pv 8:22-24b

The old Roman Breviary also seems to ascribe pre-existence to Mary between the Psalms of Matins today: From the beginning, and before the world, was I created, and unto the world to come I shall not cease to be, and in the holy dwelling place I have ministered before Him.—Sir 24:14

I think many Protestants would be shocked to read that the Liturgy would ascribe to Mary the notion of pre-existence before time. They should be assured that we Catholics believe that Mary was not pre-existent. We do not believe that Mary existed before the galaxy like Her Son did. Jesus is the Divine Word and the Second Person of the Trinity, so He obviously existed before earth. But not Mary. So why then does it ascribe to Mary in both Proverbs 8 above and Sirach 24 that she was before He made anything and even before the world?

The answer is found in the first two paragraphs of this blog post: Mary was an idea of God long before she was conceived.  Yes, she was conceived as the Immaculate Conception during the holy but normal intercourse of her parents, St. Joachim and St. Anne. But her soul had to have been planned before that actual act, just as a formal cause or blueprint in the mind of the Creator of all things must exist. Your soul and my soul was planned on being infused into our bodies as God pre-destined and foreknew us.

Mary was not God. Mary is not God. She is not pre-existent. But the plan predestined for her is the supreme pre-existing blueprint of God’s best plan for not only humanity but all of creation:

“God could make a bigger world or a wider sky, but He could not raise a pure creature higher than Mary.”—St. Bonaventure

This means that besides the sacred humanity of Jesus (yes, Jesus had a created soul and body even though the center of His personhood is purely Divine as God the Son) Mary was the greatest thing God could think of. Besides the created human soul and body of Jesus (that Christ actually created as God!) we can put all of the above paragraphs together to say that the blueprint of Mary’s soul was the greatest thought that God ever had for creation. God outdid Himself in creating Mary. From St. Bonaventure, we might be able to go so far as to say that God Himself could not have had a greater thought than that of planning Mary’s soul. Even if this is going too far, remember that St. Thomas Aquinas (always quite sober on his Marian theology) admits that although only the soul of Jesus had the Holy Spirit to an infinite degree, the perfection and grace of holiness infused into the soul of Mary “bordered on the infinite.” So, if God Himself could not raise a pure creature to a higher degree than Mary, we can easily say without  saccharine sentimentality that Mary was the woman that God dreamed of before all time.

And so, somewhere within the “eons” (so to speak) of this eternal plan of redemption, Christ made her perfect soul and Immaculate body…about 14 years before He made His own human soul and body.

This is why Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen wrote my favorite book on Mary, The World’s First Love. He shows that Mary was God’s First Love. I am convinced Archbishop Sheen must have titled his book The World’s First Love after meditating on those Old Testament readings applied to Mary in the Traditional Latin Mass (Proverbs 8 and Sir 24, as seen above.) In order to contemplate what it means for a planned-but-not-pre-existent creature to hold the Creator for nine months inside her, the old Roman Breviary even ascribes this astonishing line on the Feast of the Rosary to the Blessed Virgin Mary: From the beginning, and before the world, was I created, and unto the world to come I shall not cease to be, and in the holy dwelling place I have ministered before him.—Sir 24:14. That is, Mary was planned to be Christ’s holy dwelling before her creation.

One last time, St. Bonaventure’s quote: “God could make a bigger world or a wider sky, but He could not raise a pure creature higher than Mary.” This means that Mary’s soul was planned before the creation of earth to be so beautiful that it would outdo the combined beauty of the souls of all the saints, all the heroic acts of the martyrs, all the beauty of a newly born baby, all the beauty of uncharted planets with their own unknown Grand Canyons and even more glorious than the invisible world of angels. Such is the soul of Mary.

When you say one “Hail Mary,” you approach this Immaculate soul to intercede for you. Whether you go to the old Mass or new Mass or you’re not even Catholic, you can still fulfill the prophesy that all generations would call Mary blessed (Luke 1:48.) With the Rose garden of the Rosary this month of October, you will see (even if you are not a Catholic) that it is no wonder that Mary’s intercession prompted the very first miracle at the wedding feast at Cana (John 2.) Just try to ask her intercession and you will see: Mary is the mother of Catholics, the mother of Protestants, the mother of Muslims and the mother of Jews. Mary is the loving Mother of both transvestites and saints. Mary is the Mother of atheists and Mary is the mother of Jesus. Try the Rosary and you too will see: How could God refuse the request of the most perfect and powerful soul that He Himself has ever created? 1


  1. St. Junipero Serra wrote this beautiful prayer: “O Purest Queen of heaven and earth, most perfect work of the Holy Trinity, since from all eternity the Father chose you for His daughter, the Son selected you to be His Mother and the Holy Spirit selected you as His spouse, there could not be the slightest imperfection, not even the smallest shadow of original sin on your soul. As the first fruit of the redemption, your soul was free, beautiful and free from the initial moment of your conception. Receive, O Mother, in virtue of this singular mystery, my short but prayerful offering, or, to put it another way, the humble utterance of your lowly servant. I would like to offer you all the gold of the Indies and all the riches of the entire world. But what greater treasure could there be than a soul redeemed by the Precious Blood of your most Holy Son? Listen to this prayer, uttered by one of little virtue, for together with it I append the most fervent affections which the most gifted among your servants have offered you. In return, all I want is that for today, all the days of my life and at the moment of my death, I might have the grace of choosing you as mother, advocate and patroness. I ask that you take me under the mantle of your protection and, after gazing at me with your merciful eyes, you free me from human miseries, so that my soul may be happy with you in heaven. Amen. [3 Hail Mary’s in honor of the Trinity for the privileges accorded by the Father to His Daughter, the Son to His Mother and the Holy Spirit to His spouse.] God hails you, Mary, Mother of God and Spouse of the Holy Spirit, temple and chalice of the Holy Trinity, Mary conceived without original sin.”

Hugh Hefner Part II

My last blog post called How Many Will Be Saved?  had a lot of shares but also a lot of critique.  This makes for good Catholic dialogue.  I want to respond in a short blog post to a few objections.

St. Augustine wrote: “There are two things that kill the soul: Despair and false hope.”—St. Augustine, Sermo 87.8. Another word for “false hope” is presumption. The reason I included in my blog post all the saints’ quotes on hell was not to judge Hugh Hefner but to show how many American Catholics live in presumption of last-minute imperfect contrition. So, if someone were to read those saints’ quotes about hell and subsequently scamper from false hope to despair, it’s is proof that the third way has not been tried, namely, a realistic but supernatural hope in salvation. Roughly summarized from St. Thomas Aquinas, supernatural hope is the reliance on God to attain the rigorous good of heaven. Rigorous does not mean heaven is painful, but that it is a big deal for a human to be plugged into an infinite power pack of love forever, that is, the Blessed Trinity. Such is heaven, a supernatural good beyond even the best human abilities.

Comments about my article that spanned much farther on the internet than just my Facebook page have tried to make me feel guilty or judgmental for my blog post. I’m not going to feel guilty, for their response actually reveals to me how many American Catholics have put a false-hope in family members dying in imperfect contrition without the sacraments.  It’s important to teach your children that the Council of Trent teaches that death-bed imperfect contrition (accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior with sorrow for sins but without perfect love of God or sacramental confession) is actually not enough for salvation.  It is the teaching  of the Church we need the sacraments, so don’t kill the messenger who loves you enough to tell you.

But now I will say a word about my thoughts on Hugh Hefner. First, I can’t judge him and I don’t know where he is now, but please realize that I am a priest, and I go to many death beds of  Catholics who are dying without any contrition, perfect or otherwise. How do I know this? Because most death-bed events I have gone to has a patient who has not been to confession for 20 years…and they refuse it with me too.   (Not to toot the horn of Latin Mass Catholics, because they know I can be a harsh preacher against the sins of traditionalists, but almost all traditional Latin Mass Catholics go to confession on their death beds.  This says something about the lost catechesis of the past 50 years.)

So, why do most normal baby-booming Catholics refuse confession?  Is it because they don’t actually believe in sin. Let that sink in: Most dying baby boomers I have been to as a priest really believe they are dying without any sin on their soul, for they don’t believe that sin is an actual reality.  1

To be saved from mortal sin on your death bed, you would need to believe that sin actually exists in order to accept either the gift of imperfect contrition with the sacraments or perfect contrition without the sacraments (the latter being much more rigorous to attain, not easier.) To attain heaven, we should be using the means of the Catholic Church, not Protestantism that believes that a single mental act at the end of life is enough for salvation. No, I don’t know for sure that Hugh Hefner was not the recipient of perfect contrition, but if I see people his age constantly refuse the simple gift of imperfection contrition, this is proof to me how few of my critics really have any wisdom about how rare and astronomically soul-changing the gift of perfect contrition is upon the soul.  Christ coming to Hugh Hefner by means of perfect contrition is the only thing that could have saved him, and there is no evidence of it. 2

So, the reason so many people got up in arms against me reveals to me how many people needed to hear this truth about what to do before your deathbed begins: Go to baptism or confession. That way, Jesus can forgive you ten times the life of sin of the orgy-throwing, abortion-promoting pornographer Hugh Hefner. If you think I’m going to feel guilty about warning Catholic Americans against presumption for helping people to interpret sacramental imperfect contrition (not to mention perfect contrition!) you are wrong. I would be the first priest in the world to go to the bedside of a Hugh Heffner and hear his confession.

And I would even hope in his salvation.

So, if you have a relationship with Christ and you are going to the sacraments, please stop whining about my saints’ quotes.

But if you are an amateur theologian who thinks God in His love must surely grant perfect contrition to all public pornographers and abortion-promoters, see here:

Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.—Galatians 6:7

Having come from medicine, I believe the sacraments are like medicine, really necessary for our salvation to move us from a life of the flesh to the Spirit.  This is real stuff in the soul and body.  I don’t have much time for high-minded, Pharisaical loopholes about most of the world fitting into the extremely rare grace of perfect contrition at a legalistic level.  For example, as an ex-paramedic, what do you think I would think of a trauma surgeon who would say “Yeah, room one is a gun shot wound to the chest, but there is a chance he will live…yeah, patient in Trauma 2 has a critical closed head injury from a high-speed motor cycle accident, but there is a chance he will live…yeah, patient in room 3 has a disecting aortic aneurysm but there is a chance she will live without surgery.”

You see, we are not Protestants who believe salvation is a chance mental act that happens without the surgery of the sacraments.  We are Catholics who know that salvation requires baptism by water or baptism by blood (martyrdom before water baptism could be given) or baptism by desire, in this case, the extremely rare case of perfect contrition like the thief on the cross next to Christ.  But because few of our souls have the capability for so much love to be poured into it as the thief on the cross did in perfect contrition, God has given us the means of salvation that I have seen so many people reject: The sacraments.

By baptism or confession, Jesus could have easily forgiven the sins of Hugh Hefner, even though Hefner corrupted literally the whole world with pornography, abortion and abuse of women. Yes, I believe one single confession to a priest would have still forgiven even Hugh Hefner: Such are the depths of God’s untrackable, unspeakable, unfathomable mercy upon even the worst of sinners (like me.)  And so, let’s talk about hope not in last-minute, legalistic, Protestant mind games, but let’s be covered with the all powerful blood of Jesus in the sacraments, and get those sacraments to as many people as possible.


  1. St. Alphonsus Liguori, a saint and doctor of the Church, teaches that there is no veniality to the sixth and ninth commandment.  Since most Catholics live and die with a tremendous number of unconfessed sexual sins in their past, it is safe to say that most Catholics are dying in grave sin if not mortal sin.

  2. Even Pope John Paul II who apparently entertained (outside an encyclical) the possibility of all being saved, warned in an extremely important encyclical on the moral life (Veritatis Splendor) against the idea that a general choosing of goodness could trump the decisions we make in the body as vital to salvation. He called this error “fundamental option theology”: “Some authors, however, have proposed an even more radical revision of the relationship between person and acts. They speak of a “fundamental freedom”, deeper than and different from freedom of choice, which needs to be considered if human actions are to be correctly understood and evaluated. According to these authors, the key role in the moral life is to be attributed to a “fundamental option”, brought about by that fundamental freedom whereby the person makes an overall self-determination, not through a specific and conscious decision on the level of reflection, but in a “transcendental” and “athematic” way. Particular acts which flow from this option would constitute only partial and never definitive attempts to give it expression; they would only be its “signs” or symptoms. The immediate object of such acts would not be absolute Good (before which the freedom of the person would be expressed on a transcendental level), but particular (also termed “categorical” ) goods. In the opinion of some theologians, none of these goods, which by their nature are partial, could determine the freedom of man as a person in his totality, even though it is only by bringing them about or refusing to do so that man is able to express his own fundamental option. A distinction thus comes to be introduced between the fundamental option and deliberate choices of a concrete kind of behaviour. In some authors this division tends to become a separation, when they expressly limit moral “good” and “evil” to the transcendental dimension proper to the fundamental option, and describe as “right” or “wrong” the choices of particular “innerworldly” kinds of behaviour: those, in other words, concerning man’s relationship with himself, with others and with the material world. There thus appears to be established within human acting a clear disjunction between two levels of morality: on the one hand the order of good and evil, which is dependent on the will, and on the other hand specific kinds of behaviour, which are judged to be morally right or wrong only on the basis of a technical calculation of the proportion between the “premoral” or “physical” goods and evils which actually result from the action. This is pushed to the point where a concrete kind of behaviour, even one freely chosen, comes to be considered as a merely physical process, and not according to the criteria proper to a human act. The conclusion to which this eventually leads is that the properly moral assessment of the person is reserved to his fundamental option, prescinding in whole or in part from his choice of particular actions, of concrete kinds of behaviour.”—Pope John Paul II, Veritatis Splendor #65, 6 August 1993.

How Many Will Be Saved?

“And a certain man said to him: ‘Lord, are they few that are saved?’ But He said to them: ‘Strive to enter by the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, shall seek to enter, and shall not be able.'”—Luke 13:23-24.

Hugh Hefner died today, and even bloggers like Fr. Dwight Longenecker at patheos are promoting a very different attitude towards Hefner than the tradition of the Catholic Church.  I don’t know where Hefner is any more than Fr. Longenecker, and I’m not saying Fr.  Longenecker has a theology that is wrong,  but his attitude towards heaven and hell is very, very different from that of Jesus Christ in the New Testament and the saints in every century.

I don’t have a better insight than any priest, but I do know that we simply need to return to the Deposit of the Faith in both Scripture and Tradition to find what is taught De Fide (by defined dogma.) Even most of my faithful readers will be surprised to read that we can know De Fide that hell is not empty.  We will look first at public revelation and later private revelation, as only the former is De Fide.

First, Our Savior Jesus Christ said “Not every one who says to me ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the kingdom of heaven.”—Matthew 7:21a. This is not simply a “warning” like most modern theologians say. Christ looked through time as the Son of God and said very clearly that some Christians who will profess Him as Lord, but they will go still go to hell forever. Why? The answer is found in the full phrase: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”—Matthew 7:21.

Of course, Jesus “desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth”—1 Tim 2:4, but the problem is not in the heart of God. God wills even the worst sinners to be saved. The problem is Satan who has tricked us into original sin and actual sin to the point that we refuse the Divine Rescuer, Who, please God, will never say to us: “I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.”—Mt 7:23.  Obviously, the first answer to all of this is to know Jesus Christ intimately.  If we do come to know Him, we will be led to the same love of God and fear of God that we read below in the lives of the saints.

But first, the Council of Trent, an infallible council of the Catholic Church gives a definitive statement on whether hell is empty or not: “But though He died for all, yet all do not receive the benefit of His death, but those only to whom the merit of His passion is communicated; because as truly as men would not be born unjust, if they were not born through propagation of the seed of Adam, since by that propagation they contract through him, when they are conceived, injustice as their own, so if they were not born again in Christ, they would never be justified, since in that new birth there is bestowed upon them, through the merit of His passion, the grace by which they are made just.”—Council of Trent, Chapter 3, Session 6, 13 January 1547 under Pope Paul III.

Therefore, no one can say: “The Church admits that hell exists but we don’t know if anyone is there.” (Fr. Longenecker never wrote this, but I hear it all the time from priests and modernist theologians.)  But such a statement would indeed be a material heresy, considering that the Council of Trent infallibly stated that “not all receive the benefit of His death.” (It would be a formal heresy to say such a thing after reading this blog post!)

Let us look to what has been referred to as “The Magisterium of the Saints.” The “Magisterium of the Saints” is not as De Fide (defined dogma of the faith) as the above quotes from inerrant Sacred Scripture or an infallible council like Trent. However, those canonized men and women had to be found nearly flawless in their theology to be canonized. Furthermore, the canonized saints’ private revelations of the afterlife have to be pretty spot-on to make the honors of the altar. As far as visions of the afterlife in the following quotes from the saints, you will notice how many saints give actual percentages as to how many are saved, and ask yourself if Hugh Hefner showed any signs of being in these numbers below:

  • “Out of one hundred thousand sinners who continue in sin until death, scarcely one will be saved.'”—St. Jerome, Western Doctor and Father of the Church
  • “What do you think? How many of the inhabitants of this city may perhaps be saved? What I am about to tell you is very terrible, yet I will not conceal it from you. Out of this thickly populated city with its thousands of inhabitants not one hundred people will be saved. I even doubt whether there will be as many as that!'”—St. John Chrysostom, Eastern Doctor and Father of the Church, speaking about Constantinople when it was still a Christian city.
  • “Our chronicles relate an even more dreadful happening. One of our brothers, well-known for his doctrine and holiness, was preaching in Germany. He represented the ugliness of the sin of impurity so forceful that a woman fell dead of sorrow in front of everyone. Then, coming back to life, she said, ‘When I was presented before the Tribunal of God, sixty thousand people arrived at the same time from all parts of the world; out of that number, three were saved by going to Purgatory, and all the rest were damned.'”—St. Leonard of Port Maurice
  • “Woe to you who command others! If so many are damned by your fault, what will happen to you? If few out of those who are first in the Church of God are saved, what will happen to you? Take all states, both sexes, every condition: husbands, wives, widows, young women, young men, soldiers, merchants, craftsmen, rich and poor, noble and plebian. What are we to say about all these people who are living so badly? The following narrative from Saint Vincent Ferrer will show you what you may think about it. He relates that an archdeacon in Lyons gave up his charge and retreated into a desert place to do penance, and that he died the same day and hour as Saint Bernard. After his death, he appeared to his bishop and said to him, ‘Know, Monsignor, that at the very hour I passed away, thirty-three thousand people also died. Out of this number, Bernard and myself went up to heaven without delay, three went to purgatory, and all the others fell into Hell.'”—St. Leonard of Port Maurice
  • “So many people are going to die, and almost all of them are going to Hell! So many people falling into hell!”—Bl. Jacinta of Fatima
  • “If you would be quite sure of your salvation, strive to be among the fewest of the few. Do not follow the majority of mankind, but follow those who renounce the world and never relax their efforts day or night so that they may attain everlasting blessedness.”—St. Anselm, Doctor of the Church
  • “With the exception of those who die in childhood, most men will be damned.”—St. Regimius of Rheims.

These quotes come from Fewness of the Saved Saints’ Quotes, a post that contains 101 quotes describing the population of heaven versus hell, at the writing and description of only canonized saints. Honestly, I hope those numbers are wrong, but I can no longer say that the above saints are “Jansenist” or “sedevacantist.”  I can no longer claim that those quotes are “Jansenist” or “sedevacantist” because those quotes span 2,000 years, coming from saints in the East and the West, long before the advent of either of those errors.

Again, I don’t know if Hugh Hefner is in purgatory or hell, but I have a pretty good guess, and I do no one any favors by promoting this presumption that Hugh having a last-minute emotional movement to have a sweet thought about God can erase 50 years of oppression of women and getting half the globe of men addicted to pornography.  Yes, I have a pretty good guess where such a man resides.  God could have forgiven all of his sins by repentance, baptism or confession.  But there’s no evidence that Hugh wanted any of those.  No, I don’t know for sure, but I’m going to follow a preponderance of evidence.  I write this post not to rip on Hefner, but to bring sobriety to the living that God can forgive any sin in the confessional, so go to confession.  1

Finally, Fr. Longenecker mentioned Divine Mercy, and I agree that next to the Bible, there is no greater written revelation of the Love and Mercy of God than the Divine Mercy Diary of the 20th century nun, St. Faustina of Poland.

But he left out the part where St. Faustina was also given a vision of a highly-populated hell so that people might understand that we face a populated hell and that this aspect of Our Faith is an intricate part of what Divine Mercy saves us from.  In the Divine Mercy Diary, St. Faustina had to describe the human souls already in hell:

Each soul undergoes terrible and indescribable sufferings, related to the manner in which it has sinned. There are caverns and pits of torture where one form of agony differs from another. I would have died at the very sight of these tortures if the omnipotence of God had not supported me. Let the sinner know that he will be tortured throughout all eternity, in those senses which he made use of to sin. I am writing this at the command of God, so that no soul may find an excuse by saying there is no hell, or that nobody has ever been there, and so no one can say what it is like. I, Sister Faustina, by the order of God, have visited the abysses of hell so that I might tell souls about it and testify to its existence. I cannot speak about it now; but I have received a command from God to leave it in writing. The devils were full of hatred for me, but they had to obey me at the command of God. What I have written is but a pale shadow of the things I saw. But I noticed one thing: that most of the souls there are those who disbelieved that there is a hell. When I came to, I could hardly recover from the fright. How terribly souls suffer there! Consequently, I pray even more fervently for the conversion of sinners. I incessantly plead God’s mercy upon them. O my Jesus I would rather be in agony until the end of the world, amidst the greatest suffering, than offend You by the least of sin.—St. Faustina, Divine Mercy Diary 741

Notice again that according to Jesus’ revelation to St. Faustina, “most of the souls [in hell] are those who disbelieved that there is a hell.”  We can conclude in all fairness that the same destiny awaits the souls of clerics and theologians who lead lay people to the same practical conclusion (even if not theological error) by teaching them: “There is a hell, but we are not sure if anyone is in it.”  2


  1.  Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma by Ludwig Ott is a compilation of all the De Fide dogmatic statements of the Catholic Church, including the topic of perfect and imperfect contrition on pages 427-428. The Council of Trent teaches that if a person is dying on his death bed in mortal sin, the only way he can go to heaven is by baptism or confession or perfect contrition. A baptized Catholic who is dying in mortal sin with imperfect contrition but finds no priest for confession, according to Trent, will not be saved.  I know this will rub many readers the wrong way, but it rubs poorly only because we are so influenced by Protestantism. Remember, Protestantism holds salvation to be a mental-act. A single mental-act is not sufficient for salvation in any age of the Catholic Church, even the early Church, unless it be accompanied by martyrdom (baptism by blood) or perfect contrition, that is: a perfect love of God where the penitent is sorry for his sins not because of a fear of hell, but because of pure love of God. The crucified thief next to Jesus had perfect contrition, a perfect love of Christ, and therefore went to heaven without need for water baptism. But King Henry VIII, after destroying the Catholic Church in England, had quite a different ending. Apparently, he had a last-minute frantic desire to confess to a priest on his death bed! However, his court could not find him a priest, for King Henry had killed most validly-ordained Catholic priests. Thus, the wicked King apparently died with imperfect contrition and a desire for the sacraments, but this was not sufficient for salvation according to Trent. The Divine Mercy Diary does say, however, that anyone who is dying will be saved if the Divine Mercy chaplet is prayed over him or her, assumedly by himself or another, assumedly for Catholics and non-Catholics alike.  Christ’s promise to St. Faustina on this is extremely generous and therefore doubted by many traditionalists who don’t believe in Divine Mercy.  But I do believe in Divine Mercy, and I even tried to pray this Divine Mercy chaplet over dying people even a decade ago as a paramedic.  This was of course best prayed after patients were transferred to ED staff from EMS as we men can only do one thing at once.  

  2. Someone on my Facebook page publically asked me how to not get depressed after this blog post.   I wrote her back:  “It’s good news because Savior actually means ‘rescuer.’  If everyone is going to heaven, then we don’t need a rescuer.  But if the status-quo is actually separation-from-God, then Christ is our only hope, and He gives us the perfect and sure way to heaven.  The quotes from the saints show that most people choose their own way, and not He who is The Way and The Truth and The Life.  But, if you choose Him and His Church, if you love him and are confessing your sins, then it is exactly as the Apostle John says:  ‘Perfect love casts out all fear.’  Hugh Hefner chose a pathway of abusing women and no sacraments.  That’s why I don’t hold out much hope for salvation for him.  But Jesus wants you in heaven more than I want you in heaven, more than you WANT to be in heaven!  So take courage and walk this pilgrimage to heaven, for his ‘yoke is easy and burden light.’ It really is.”

Leave Fr. James Martin Alone!

For the few of you who actually live human lives without social media, and don’t know who Fr. James Martin SJ is, here you go:  Fr. Martin is a highly influential Jesuit Catholic priest who is editor at large of America Magazine, located just off Columbus circle and Central Park in Manhattan. On 12 April 2017, Fr. Martin was also promoted as a consultor to the Vatican’s Secretariat for Communications. Now, I rarely name people by name in my blog posts, but this priest has over half a million Facebook followers. Fr. Martin has a wide footprint in the social justice world, but the most controversial of his teachings is that he implies on a weekly basis that sodomy can sometimes be morally acceptable for two Catholics.  1

Of course, that teaching is against every drop of Divine Revelation coming from the Holy, Triune God “who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”—1 Tim 2:4. So, I do not agree with Fr. James Martin’s extremely-clear implication that there are certain times when two monogamous same-gender lovers can proceed into disordered actions (even provided their spiritual director declare their consciences clear!) We know this is wrong not only because of Divine Revelation, but the Holy Spirit speaking through the Apostle Paul teaches that one need not even be a Jew or a Christian to know that homosexual actions are wrong. Please experience the beauty of this quote even if you don’t think you like St. Paul:

For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For His invisible attributes, namely, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to Him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened….For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.—Romans 1:19-21, 26-28.

That chapter from Romans is saying that the beauty of creation is enough to show man and woman that those pieces do not go there, even before one gets to the topic of any religion. Thus, Fr. James Martin is teaching not only against Divine Revelation, but against the very nature of the universe.

So why then the title of this blog post, “Leave Fr. James Martin alone!”? Endure this one boring doctrinal paragraph before getting to a whole new battery of overdone similes and metaphors that I’ll hopefully never pull out again. Doctrinally, the heresy of modernism has nothing to do with being a modern Christian in an age of technology. What Pope St. Pius X named as the heresy of modernism is essentially the denial of the supernatural and a religion that is anthropocentric (human-centered) not theocentric (God-centered.) When did it start? Some people say modernism influenced the minds of Catholics in the West beginning with the Enlightenment in the 18th century. Others will say it started with the Protestant revolt in the 16th century. Others say it started with Vatican II. Others who are very clever will trace it all the way back to Francis Bacon or maybe Adam and Eve at the fall. Or Satan. That debate is unending.  But really, from all of my study on this, I don’t believe that the heresy of modernism entered seminaries until sometime just before World War I. Then, Pope St. Pius X first excommunicated Fr. Alfred Loisy (a Scripture professor at a French seminary) in 1908 for denying the divinity of Christ, denying parts of Divine Revelation and overturning the supernatural side of the sacraments and the miracles of the Bible. Notice that Fr. Loisy was not discussing liturgical innovations or challenging the Church’s teaching on contraception. Rather, the root of modernism is a very denial of Divine Revelation. Fr. Loisy himself wrote:

“Christ has even less importance in my religion than he does in that of the liberal Protestants: for I attach little importance to the revelation of God the Father for which they honor Jesus. If I am anything in religion, it is more pantheist-positivist-humanitarian than Christian.”—Mémoires II, p. 397.

I’m not saying that Fr. James Martin would ever write this. So, don’t jump to any conclusions quite yet. Follow me here: Fr. Loisy did not really believe in the Bible. I know that sounds more like an evangelical sticking-point than a Catholic sticking-point to some, but Fr. Loisy kicked off this modernism thing by implying to many others in the Church that really God did not mean what He said. It started to sound a lot like the enemy of human nature: “‘Did God actually say, “You shall not eat of any tree in the garden”?’”—Genesis 3:1. Notice that Satan weasels his way into the heart of Adam and Eve not by the temptation of the sin, but first by the temptation against Divine Revelation: Did God really say in the Bible? This is the root of the heresy of modernism.

Now, we have had nearly 100 years of modernism creeping into the Church. The reason I say “Leave Fr. James Martin alone” is because Fr. Martin was simply the first one courageous enough to rainbow-color in the lines of the adult coloring-book handed to him by superiors who didn’t want to take the hits of not really believing any of the hard parts of Christianity.   In some sense, it is not the fault of Fr. Martin for swinging at a pitch right down the middle, a pitch given by parishes and “Catholic” Universities to Fr. Martin, all surreptitiously promoting sodomy and letting this poor man take the hits for his courageous stance, if it can be called that. I rather pity the man. Here he is at my alma mater, Boston College:

Fr. Martin is the lightning rod that cowardly liberal Catholics have hoisted high above themselves to take all the hits from mean conservatives, all the while shielding their conscience behind each other in what they all call collegiality.  But Fr. Martin also seems to be the surrogate case of conscience to the right. We have a group of barely-awake neo-conservatives who have finally reached their boiling point after sleeping through decades of putatively-orthodox Catholics promoting the exact same heresy of modernism, just non-pelvis issues against the Magisterium, like the timelessness of the liturgy.

Fr. Martin only did one thing new: He brought modernism out of the closet, pun intended, and implied that a gentle God would not send people to hell for sodomy. It’s sick, I know, but in that sense, Fr. Martin is nothing more than the intellectual boy-toy for the big, silent players in this war for souls.  These are those men who have not only allowed such a mind to develop, not only fomented such a heart under their tutelage, but finally promoted him as their unarmed little flag-bearer in the culture wars of the Catholic Church. I for one, think it’s cowardly to shoot the little drummer-boy in war.

Also, remember that community organizers like Saul Alinsky actually want half of the population to love them and half of the population to hate them.  This schism causes chaos.  So, the more ink you waste on Fr. James Martin, the more you cause chaos.

If you want something good on this topic of homosexuality, go to see the website of my friend, Joseph Sciambra. Joseph was a gay porn star in San Francisco turned traditional Catholic and he even goes to the Latin Mass. He is not schismatic.  He does not hate people who identify as gay.  He actually loves people at BDSM parades more than anyone I know.  However, my friend’s website might seem extreme to even mildly-orthodox Catholics, for Joseph claims that no one is actually gay! Still, Joseph has helped me give spiritual direction to some of my dearest spiritual directees and friends who have struggled with same-sex attraction. Again, his site might seem extreme to you at first, but realize that his website has more daily visitors than even Jason Evert, the juggernaut of Catholic chastity talks (a married man whom I admire greatly, too.) I give my friend Joseph a “pass” to my excoriation to leave Fr. James Martin alone, as this is his full-time ministry.

But the rest of you should really go further down the rabbit hole of modernism to ask: Do I really believe everything taught by God in the Bible? If not or if so, you might be able to find yourself in this awesome and accurate categorization of modern American Christians coming from Matt Walsh recently:

1) The Apostates. These are the Christians who have renounced Christ without fully realizing that they have renounced Him, and are now skipping merrily into the eternal clutches of the Devil.
2) The Apathetic. These are the Christians who may basically accept the faith on some level, but they have given up attempting to live according to it, or else they have never really tried.
3) The Struggling. These are the Christians who believe, who try with all their might to live as though they believe, but who are besieged on all sides by the forces of darkness. These Christians have placed their hope in the Lord, but their lives on this Earth, in this depraved culture, are filled with fear, confusion, and pain.

Which one are you?  I really, really love Walsh’s categorization of modern American Christians because it allows for no self-righteousness.  It shows that no one is perfect, that the best of us struggle with something, even if not same-sex-attraction. I would sell down the river those struggling with same-sex attraction and relegate them to the category of “apostate” if I gave them a pass from struggling.  Why?  Because “struggling” is what it means to carry your cross of chastity with Jesus Christ in a community that actually wants you “to work out your salvation with fear and trembling.”—Phil 2:12.

I will not allow my friends struggling with same-sex attraction to slip into the category of “apostate” or “apathetic Christian.” This is what Fr. James Martin does to so-called gays, and it is ironically discrimination against them. Notice one last time that the best of these three groups of Matt Walsh is the “struggling.” We all struggle with something to make our lives square away with the rigorous demands of Divine Revelation. And when we try, we find it’s not so rigorous.  Rather, His yoke is easy and His burden light.  We are not perfect, but we try. You can’t really struggle against your own sins by following Christ if you’re spending too much time on Fr. James Martin (or listening to him) so leave him alone.


  1. He recently said at an interview after speaking at Villanova the following about same-gender couples in regards to the sign of peace at Mass: “So I hope in ten years you will be able to kiss your partner or soon to be your husband. Why not? What’s the terrible thing?”—Full Story

What Muslim Invaders Could Not Accomplish

I am rarely shocked by what I see in the media, but this one got me:

This 60 second video is Dutch children learning to pray to Allah in a small mosque in the Netherlands.  So, the full title of this blog post will be “What Muslim invaders could not do against Europe, Europe did to herself.” But it is actually a hopeful blog post with a strong resolution.  I want to get a little into the world of Divine Providence to ask why God would allow this. I don’t know the mind of God, but I think I may have a decent answer.

Let’s consider that the only country in Europe which was conquered by the Muslims was Spain. Mohammed died in 632 AD but within that same century, his Muslim invaders were astonishingly capable of conquering the majority of modern-day Spain. But in 718 AD, King Pelayo, a 33 year old ruler of a small region in Northwest Spain, began to fight back. Pelayo was nothing more than the leader of a small tribe, much like William Wallace trying to fight the English. But by winning the small but decisive Battle of Covadonga, this young King Pelayo inspired a whole country to win Spain back to Christ, out of the hands of Muslim invaders.

He never lived to see the day. When Pelayo died, his son picked up his sword to continue to fight sharia law. When King Pelayo’s son died, his grandson picked up the cause to win back Spain to Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church. And so on, including his great grandson, and his great-great grandson. In fact, this war then lasted 700 years, the longest war in the history of the world. Don’t be fooled by your 7th grade history book that called this a “War of Religion.” The best name for this war is what the Spanish all called it through the Middle Ages: “La Reconquista,” or the reconquering of Spain. This was to win the land back for Christ from violent invaders. Remember that these Muslim invaders never had a right to establish a violent sharia law in a free Christian country.

Finally, after 700 years of battles peppered throughout Iberia, a distant relative of that same line of Pelayo would finally unite Spain to eject the Muslims: Queen Isabel of Spain, or as she was known “Isabel, la Católica.” Yes, a woman won the longest war in history. (She is my favorite non-canonized woman in history.  In fact, my favorite biography is this 400 page book by Warren Carroll, titled Isabel of Spain:  The Catholic Queen.  You will read how Isabel would ride a horse through the night in the rain to quell an uprising—by her mere presence—and yet she was feminine enough to knit her children’s own clothes.)  It is important to note that in that long biography, Warren Carroll makes it very clear that Queen Isabel ensured that Spanish Catholicism remain totally free of bad doctrine and bad worship.

Returning to the story, in 1491, Queen Isabel (and her not-as-inspiring husband King Ferdinand) demanded that Muhammad XII surrender the city of Granada. When he refused, Granada was sieged by her Castilians, the decisive and final battle to eject Muslims from Spain. On 2 January 1492, Muhammed XII finally surrendered Granada as seen in this picture. It was the same year that the same Queen Isabel funded Columbus to sail the ocean blue.

By the 16th century, Queen Isabel would be dead, but her unification of Spain and the opening of the Western Hemisphere by boat seemed to be what God Himself inspired in the 15th century in order to accomplish His great plan of Spanish saints across the 16th century: St. Ignatius of Loyola, St. Francis Xavier, St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross to name a few. Before the close of that same century, thousands upon thousands of Jesuits and Franciscans would bring the saving doctrine and sacraments of Jesus Christ to the farthest pagan peoples of the world, spanning from Brazil to Japan. Of course, many of the Spanish and Portuguese traders went for gold and women and fame, not souls.

But I want to consider briefly the endless stream of brothers and priests who travelled to bring Jesus Christ and His love across the whole globe: These Spanish saints and martyrs of 16th century Spain learned to endure such physical pain for Christ precisely because of their ancestors’ 700 year war with the Muslims. God had used even the pain of La Reconquista to forge the wills of the Spanish to become the first nation to tackle demon-ridden lands and establish the reign of Christ the King. (This is why all of South America now speaks Spanish or Portuguese, and also why even lands as far East as the Philippines have Spanish names.) Perhaps the Spanish friars would have never had the steel to endure endless days and nights on the high seas for Christ, had they not learned the value of “Catholicism under fire” from their fathers. These saints and martyrs also maintained the doctrine and liturgy of apostolic times. They knew that if they changed doctrine or liturgy, there would be no glorious crown in being a “heretical martyr” for Christ, if even such a thing exists.

The fact that the “War of the Reconquering” took 700 years tends to make post-modern minds (like mine) wonder why God would allow so much suffering for a Spanish people who only wanted to follow Christ and His Church. But if you look closer at those 700 years, the Muslims were never really allowed by Divine Providence to conquer the people or the purity of Catholic doctrine or worship.  Only the land was conquered, not their hearts. The hearts and minds of the Spanish remained free and attached to Christ. (I’m happy to cover the Crusades and Inquisition in another blog post. Knowledge of these things does not diminish my conclusion at all.) All in all, God never fully permitted Islam to take over Iberia. From this, God forged the strongest Catholic nation in history to bring the Gospel to more countries than ever in history.

Now, consider the video at the top. In that video, Dutch children learned to pray to Allah. Never in Spain’s history (except possibly by kidnapping and brainwashing) had we ever seen children happily praying to Allah. This is why I subtitled the blog post “What Muslim invaders could not do against Europe, Europe did to herself.”

The story of Divine Providence is more inspiring that that subtitle, and here’s why: It hit me when I saw that Dutch video that God will never let us to fail if we do our best. It is almost like God blesses misplaced effort. The battle belongs to God, but He has shared it. Imagine a father tells his son to go to the forest to fight a bear. His father hides himself in the bramble even though his son does not know his father is there for him. As long as the son fights hard, his father (hidden in the bramble) will shoot the bear if his son simply does his best, even if the battle does not go well for his son. (I’m not saying God sets up Muslims for Christians to shoot, so don’t take this limping analogy too far!) What I mean, however, is that this seems to be how Divine Providence works: We can not fight Satan successfully on our own, but God still requires our measly-100% for Him to step in and win the battle. This also explains the whole tension between faith and good works: Only God’s grace can accomplish even the smallest good work, but God wants us to give our weak 100%—dare nec computare— “to give without counting the cost,” as St. Ignatius wrote.

Only when  a Europe of the 20th century chose a watered-down Catholicism did we see God permit Muslim invaders to finally take over in the 21st century. I realize that the Netherlands have not been Catholic for centuries, but I have also lived in the suburbs of Paris as a teenager. (There, I was mugged at knifepoint by a Muslim teenager outside my home.) I am not as scandalized by being mugged at knifepoint as I am at how few French Catholic go to Mass and how many French “Catholics” use contraception. Now that I see what is happening in Europe, I don’t expect much from contracepting France as she is outbred by Muslims. Even if God allowed physical pain through the middle ages, it seems that God would never allow the first daughter of the Church (France) to have more people at Friday Mosque than Sunday Mass unless she willing chose to enter a state of apostasy and rebellion against Divine Revelation. Perhaps this began at the French Revolution, but even then, the few Catholics who suffered for Christ maintained a purity of doctrine and liturgy. Something else happened the past 50 years:

We Catholics opened ourselves to a full conquering of Satan by denying God in our modernist heresy and bad liturgy of the 20th century. No physical fight against the modern Muslims invading lands like France will likely be of any value if we do not do our best to eradicate bad liturgy and heresy.  If we don’t stay faithful to Divine Revelation as given in Scripture and the great gift of the fullness of the Holy Mass, we will not have Divine Providence on our side, for we will be offending God more than even Muslims offend the Triune God.  I hold to that last sentence with no hyperbole.

Yes, we must now do our best to fix our home before we defend it. There is only one way back: La Reconquista of worship by acceptance of Divine Revelation (primarily in Scripture, as shown by Pope Leo XIII in Providentissimus Deus) and worship of God, as He Himself has always set-forth for His sons and daughters.  This is necessary if we want the freedom of the kingdom of Jesus Christ.  If we do our best (even our measly-best!) in siding with God by accepting in love what He has given us in apostolic teaching and worship, then we are guaranteed total success in the Catholic Church, even if it causes physical pain. Why? Because faithfulness on our part guarantees that Our Father fight for us.  God does it on God’s time, as long as we are faithful in our times.


Afterword:

Yesterday was the anniversary of the 9/11 Muslim terrorist attacks against the United States.

Today in the old Roman calendar is the feast of the Holy Name of Mary. Today’s Third Class Feast takes its name from a Christian battle against Muslims for Europe in 1683 in Vienna, for Christians called on the Holy Name of Mary. Pictured here is a Polish Winged Hussar trampling down an Ottoman Turk in that battle.

In two days, both the new calendar and the old calendar, we will celebrate the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.  Pictured is the cross from the rubble of lower Manhattan, after the attacks in 2001: