The people that John the Baptist preached to were very similar to the people of today.
“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:
- By counsel
- By command
- By consent
- By provocation
- By praise or flattery
- By concealment
- By partaking
- By silence
- By defense of the ill done
This sermon is about how to get your kids to heaven in 15 minutes a day. The featured image is Holy Ghost parish in downtown Denver. Some families of this parish used the Baltimore Catechism in the 1980s, and it paid off.
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
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. ↩
This Holy Mass was offered for the soul of Christopherson Cortes. Ora pro nobis if you’re already at the finish line.
What does it mean to have an undivided heart for the Lord? “The unmarried or betrothed woman is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit.”—1 Cor 7:34
I gave this talk to homeschooling families that have taken literally God’s command to “be fruitful and multiply” as the Old Testament says. But the New Testament generally holds it to be a calling to be fruitful and multiply for the salvation of more souls for Jesus Christ’s kingdom. Therefore, this talk is about why to encourage your children to be very open to the calling of celibacy for the salvation of even more souls than physical generation.
The how to encourage this was mentioned only at the end, during the Question/Answers. I subtitled this talk: Undivided Hearts: Allowing Your Child to Choose the Higher Pathway of Celibacy.
This sermon is about the beauty of marriage by way of the pain of annulments, and it is sure to be controversial. It might sound excessively traditional, but it is based on a key line that I forgot to quote from Pope John Paul II. He said that for a declaration of nullity to be granted, run-of-the-mill difficulties in marriage were not sufficient, but rather, “real incapacity is to be considered [for an annulment analysis] only when an anomaly of a serious nature is present”—Pope John Paul II’s exhortation on Canon 1095, written on 25 February 1987. One example of “an anomaly of a serious nature” would be the couple’s decision during engagement to have no children. That is, they were not just using the Pill (albeit an abortifacient that kills and also a mortal sin for both spouses in the marriage), but rather they had an absolute refusal to be open to children. Such an inherent rejection of children from the wedding day onwards would render an attempted-Catholic marriage nothing (null) from the get-go. Another example of this key line by Pope John Paul II on a declaration of nullity only being considered for “an anomaly of a serious nature” would be the implicit and hidden rejection of the exclusivity of one spouse (usually an unrevealed rejection of monogamy from engagement onwards.) This would have to be something more grave than even several acts of infidelity during the marriage. Again, infidelity (including pornography, see Matthew 5:28) is mortal sin, but it doesn’t break the bond made at the altar, for only death can break that bond. If a man got married, secretly planning to leave his wife in a few years, this marriage should probably be retroactively declared “null” by the Tribunal. (The Tribunal is the marriage arm of a Catholic diocese.)
The point is that ordinary arguments or even lack-of-happiness in a Catholic marriage does not warrant an investigation as to whether there was lack of due discretion in the formation of a Catholic wedding bond. The bond was indeed ratified at the words of the couple at the altar on their wedding day; those bonds were consummated several hours later at the hotel. This bond is to be favored by canon lawyers and priests, without any excessive retroactive analysis of the internal disposition of the two spouses during their engagement unless they are highly unusual Catholics, unless there is “an anomaly of a serious nature” as Pope John Paul II wrote regarding Canon 1095 on 25 February 1987. I have known such highly unusual Catholics whose attempt at marriage does indeed fit the bill of being “an anomaly of serious nature.” They probably deserved their attempted marriage to be declared null, and they received it. However, the thrust of this sermon is to push against the sheer numbers that make a mockery of marriage and do not favor the bond of even the best Catholic families. Trust me: I side with all the Popes and saints of history. Most importantly, I side with Jesus Christ who said: “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. The photo is a picture I took at St. John the Baptist narthex in New Orleans, one of the many saints who died defending the bond of marriage. This sermon was released on the feast of his decapitation.
This subtitle is The 7 Hidden Dangers of Smartphones for Teens. The first of these seven is indeed cyberbullying. Simply read the first one if you were lured-in by the title of this blog post.
Recently, I was at a large family’s home. The kids were all out back blowing bubbles. The older kids, being about 10 years old, twirled foot-long wands out of their dish soap to create bubbles about six inches in diameter. The youngest brother who was playing bubbles with them was only five years old. He simply couldn’t help himself from popping his older sisters’ bubbles. I told him: “Just make your own.” He looked at me with a smile of pure-gold and said, “Yes, sir.” He then tried so hard for the next five minutes to obey me and his sisters’ pleas for longer bubble-longevity. He cranked out a few smaller bubbles. Still, he ended up running back to pop their bigger bubbles. He simply couldn’t help himself! His sisters and I were laughing at how he tried but failed.
The above bubble-story is true, but it could also be an analogy for something more serious that is happening to teens everywhere: To tell a teenager to avoid bad things and bad people on a smartphone is akin to telling a five year old not to pop giant bubbles. They just can’t do it. Many good parents have handed over a smartphone to their kids, covering their tracks with overly-moralized instructions. The weak ones are addicted by the end of the day. The strong ones are exhausted by the end of the day. I have worked with many families that range from non-Catholic to devout Catholic. Yet almost all these parents make same mistake: Parents give their teen (or worse, a child) a smartphone by explaining internet safety. It’s a nice start, but it fails to understand that the real dangers lurk not in who your kids’ search for, but who is searching for your kids.
1) Cyberbullying. Growing up, I weighed 2/3 of what my friends weighed, so I got bullied occasionally on the playground. But I always had a way out. Cyberbullying targets do not have a way out. Cyberbullying is making fun of someone on social media. It is particularly harmful because of the backdrop of loneliness and isolation in families today. Global broadcasting against them on social media makes teens feel like the whole world is against them. This is obviously devastating to their social lives and psyches. Many teens are targeted for cyberbullying, but one that I will always remember is Kiana. Kiana was a cheerleader in my home state of Colorado. She was bullied online by “friends” who were jealous of her. They repeatedly made fun of her weight and told her to hang herself. Eventually, she obeyed their instructions and she hung herself. Her Dad found her barely alive. She was airlifted from the southern suburbs to Denver Children’s Hospital. She survived, but with severe brain damage, secondary to lack of oxygen before her father found her. This is her today:
Someone snapped that picture of us all, about two years after the tragedy. Kiana was not raised Catholic, but we still met later through mutual friends. I never expected to use the above picture for a blog post, but her mother gave me permission to write about this when I told her my concern about teens and technology. After coming out of the hospital, Kiana and her family got a Colorado law passed against cyberbullying. Subsequently, Kiana has told her story to Denver News stations. Thus, this blog is not revealing anything private.
Of course, the reason we are all smiling in that picture is because Kiana is alive, and because she is a beautiful child of God. Her parents are wonderful and loving people. We all wish she had never been cyberbullied, but the whole family is attempting to overcome the tragedy in making a conscious efforts to live as the phrase says: “It is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness.”
I never asked her parents if the cyberbullying happened on a smartphone or a desktop, and that is irrelevant to this post. In fact, I am not judging parents as wonderful as the parents of Kiana. I am simply writing this so that my readers might know that even the best kids from the best families get cyberbullied. Kiana was a cheerleader in a nice suburb of Denver and yet probably no one knew she was getting cyberbullied. Readers might protest: “But my kids have never told me anything like that.” Exactly. They don’t tell anyone, for they are embarrassed to share. And then they hurt themselves. I recently asked a friend who works at a pediatric ICU if he has seen anything like teen suicides. He told me he had seen innumerable teen suicide attempts, some as young as 8 years old, sometimes by hanging. Of course, Satan is behind this hatred of our children. But on a natural level, I think that a lot has changed in America since I left Emergency Medical Services in 2004. In those days, I was only seeing adult suicides, never child suicides.
But nowadays, the loneliness and isolation of social media locks kids into a world that they cannot escape from. Since they can not escape from the virtual world without escaping from the real world, they do just that: They escape from the real world by committing suicide. Few of the parents of these suicides thought that their kids had a problem. Even the best kids in the world tend to hide their deepest feelings of inadequacy from their parents. Sometimes, kids simply believe that their parents are too busy. Or, sometimes parents see a little depression but remove themselves from the parent-role under the false pretext of inadequacy themselves. Maybe parents are afraid that they don’t have answers as brilliant as Dr. Phil. But the key to success is not having great answers. Simply “good” answers will do. In fact, the key to success is even more simple: Turn off the phones and turn your families on. Just be there for your kids. Just listen to them, even if you have lame answers. That’s all your kids are looking for, anyway. You can’t do that if you’re all looking at your own private device. Get rid of the smartphones if you want to avoid cyberbullying.
2) Pornography According to Covenant Eyes, 90% of boys and 60 percent of girls are exposed to Internet porn by age 18. According to InternetSafety101, searches for “teen porn” tripled to 500,000a day (!) from 2005 to 2013. A single site released their 2015 statistics, which state that a total of 4.3 billion hours of porn was watched there in 2015. Do you realize the difference between a million and a billion? It would take you about a week to count to a million. It would take you over 30 years to count to one billion! Now, 4.3 billion hours of porn were watched at one porn site in 2015. There are only 7 billion people on this planet. That means that on average, every human being on this planet spent 40 minutes of his year on that single porn site. Of course, not everyone is looking at pornography, but a disproportionate number of those people using porn are teenagers. From great families. It’s so simple: If you give your kids a black-porn machine to keep in their pocket and bed, they will use it. If they don’t search for porn, porn will find them. I don’t know why this happens to teens and even children more than adults, but they are so susceptible to getting found by bad websites. Why gamble with your kids’ souls? That is exactly what you are doing if you give them a smartphone. (If you or someone you love is addicted to porn, scroll to the bottom of my blog post here to read some heavy-duty advice on to come off porn quickly and effectively.)
3) Sexting: Something “good kids” would never do, or maybe just sometimes: This is another term I did not learn until I was a priest, but this is when boyfriends and girlfriends text semi-nude or full-nude pictures to each other. Sometimes it’s just a body part. Besides being a mortal sin, here’s another reason to avoid it: Even the images that self-destruct after being sent can be saved by the recipient if he knows how to do a “screen save.” Another teen can save those forever, or embarrass the sender by putting it on the internet. Many boyfriends have embarrassed their ex-girlfriends this way, leading to more suicides of these poor girls (and sometimes boys.) Again, I promise you that your kids are not “too good” to get into this stuff. Some flip phones don’t have the ability to send pictures, so go for a flip-phone instead. (Funny we all grew up without flip-phones and even went to universities without them.)
4) Trafficking and kidnapping is a real danger to even the best kids on social media. Traffickers find kids, especially girls, through social media. See HERE and HERE and HERE to see how and why. Although social media can lead to outright kidnapping in other countries, the means in the United States are more subtle: Most traffickers in the United States lure in lonely girls through what those in the rescue movement call “Loverboy syndrome.” For example, a 24 year old male acts like he is the only one who understands a lonely 14 year old girl. She falls in love with him. He brings her to a hotel where her life is history. Other kids are trapped by traffickers through a job application or modeling job that they do not tell their parents about. Others teens find a “sugar daddy” to pay online for something they need, but the transaction must be done in person. Of course, the child is kidnapped at that first meeting. This doesn’t just happen to “those types of families.”
“But my kid would never…” There are thousands of child sex-slaves in the United States. None of those kids had planned sex-slavery as a life. I once asked the FBI director of child cyber crimes in Chicago what it felt like to put away a criminal into prison. I thought he would give a tough guy answer to me about “throwing away the key.” Instead, he simple said: “It’s like taking a spoonful of water out of Lake Michigan.” In other words, he meant that there is an endless list of men abusing children, and one criminal behind bars makes almost no difference. But you can make a difference by not letting your kids on social media until they are 18.
5) Multi-tasking on devices destroys brain-matter.The University of Tokyo reports that “higher media multi-tasking activity is associated with smaller gray-matter density in the anterior cingulate cortex.” Another study at the University of London “found that participants who multitasked during cognitive tasks experienced IQ score declines that were similar to what they’d expect if they had smoked marijuana.” (emphasis mine) Larry Kim at the Observer notes that “a study from the University of Sussex ran MRI scans on the brains of individuals who spent time on multiple devices at once (texting while watching TV, for example). The MRI scans showed that subjects who multitasked more often had less brain density in the anterior cingulate cortex. That’s the area responsible for empathy and emotional control.”
It’s a good thing that none of your teens text while watching TV! Otherwise we might start to see a nation of kids with a lower IQ and lower empathy. Marijuana and smartphones will lead the next generation of teens to create a world that looks like Idiocracy or any of the other dystopian films that are turning out to be strangely prophetic in a secular sort of way.
6) Smartphone Isolation and Self-Injury. As mentioned above, using multiple devices may reduce “emotional control.” Usually self-injury means cutting oneself, but there are other forms, including burning. I have discovered in my priesthood that it is usually not suicidal. At least 7% of University students do some form of self-injury according to the National Institute of Health study here. But I have also read on self-injury websites that up to 25% of all University women in the United States do some form of self-injury. I think it is closer to the latter. Of course, I would never blog about anything confessional, but I can share a conversation that I had with a teenage boy when I was running a youth group from when I was a seminarian (before I was a priest.) I asked this 12 or 13 year old boy why he cut his arms up. I will never forget his answer. He said: “Because I can’t talk to anyone about anything.”
Indeed, his cut arms were pressure-release valves for his interior frustration of having no one to talk to. No friends. No parents who cared. It’s like the Goo-Goo Dolls line, “You bleed just to know you’re alive.” If the anterior cingulate cortex of the brain is harmed by devices’ overuse and that is the area responsible for empathy and emotional control, then the conclusion is obvious: Isolated children with smartphones will not be able to control their emotions. But they can control a knife on their arms. Again, this is not suicidal. It is an exterior manifestation of interior frustration that could sometimes (but not always) be alleviated by putting down the video games and getting outside to just play. At the very least, turn off the phones and turn on life. That is the only answer.
7) You don’t need a smartphone and neither do your kids. Remember Pascal’s wager on the existence of God? If God exists and you believe, you get heaven. If not, you get hell. If God doesn’t exist and you believe, you lose a little fun on earth. If not, you only gain a little fun on earth. Apply a wager like that to your kid having a smartphone: If you give your kid a smartphone and she fails at temptation, she is addicted or stalked or cyberbullied. If she navigates temptation well with her smartphone, she is exhausted at the end of the day (but still dumber) and slightly more popular with the social status of having an iPhone.
However, If you don’t give your kid a smartphone and she protests, then she is correct about some increasing mild social pressure to have a smartphone or inability to complete a certain internet homework assignments on the go (yeah right.) If you refrain from smartphones in your family and she turns out psychologically and spiritually balanced, it means (from the six things I listed above) that she endured mild social ostracizing (for not having a smartphone) all for the sake of being: Not cyberbullied, not addicted to pornography, not sexting boys you never met, not getting trafficked into sex-slavery, and…she lives with a lesser chance of cutting her arms.
Is the wager worth it? Why bring your kids into the near-occasion of sin, and then tell them to avoid sin?
As I finished this article, I thought of renaming it “Why no one needs a smartphone.” We adults also need to ask if our soul in heaven is worth constant connectivity on earth. In 2003, I had one of the first phones with email and internet. The next year was my first year in seminary, so we had to give up all technology. In 2005, I got a simple flip phone, which I used all through the next five years. In fact, I used a flip phone for the first five years of my priesthood. I have been a priest seven years. The past two years I got a smartphone only for my blogging, videos and podcasts. My point is this: If I can go as an active priest until I am 36 with a flip phone, and still be available for emergencies, then most people don’t need a smartphone. In fact, I look forward to the day that I get rid of mine all together.
“If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out.”—Mt 5:29. This is not to be taken literally, except for the fact that sin functions like addiction, and addiction can only be broken by a self-discipline so serious that it often feels like a violence to the soul. “From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and the violent take it by force.”—Mt 11:12. Like any act of violent warfare, one can never negotiate with a terrorist, and this is true in spiritual warfare too. It might lead to many fights in the house to rid the family of smartphones, but addicted kids are crying out for discipline and boundaries, even if his or her initial response speaks to the contrary. Even if it leads to temporary arguments on homework assignments that can only be completed with a smart phone (yeah right) I still would hold on to this: No education or social status is worth your kids’ souls, bodies, or mental health.
In fact, if that smartphone causes you adults to sin, remember that no psuedo-availability to your job could possibly be worth the loss of your own soul. “If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell.”
St. Louis De Montfort teaches that Lucifer and all the angels were given a preview that one day, a creature would contain more glory than the angels. That creature is the Blessed Virgin Mary. So infuriated was Satan that a creature would be higher than him, that Lucifer (now Satan) led a third of the angels to rebel against God. St. Michael ejected the rebel spirits to the earth. So, eons later, Satan went to pursue Mary and her child: “And when the dragon saw that he had been thrown down to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child.”—Apocalypse 12:13
Both before and after Satan’s failure at spiritually overcoming the woman and the child, he decided to turn against the image and likeness of God on earth—man and woman. Like Mary, we are each born with God’s image upon our souls. Unlike Mary, we are born without God’s likeness, due to original sin. However, baptism restores God’s likeness in us, bringing us to be children of God in both His image and likeness. This spiritual reality is so Trinitarian that St. Francis of Assisi used to genuflect before newly-baptized babies. The soul reflects God, even in a Triune nature (intellect, memory and will.) Physically, however, there is something in the human face that also reflects the glory of God:
This is a child born to a couple that I married in my University ministry. He was made in God’s image and likeness, but his likeness was remade the day of his baptism because this was lost after this most-important event of creation: “And God made man, according to the image of God he made him, male and female he made them.”—Genesis 1:27. The word in the Greek Septuagint (Septuagint being the Old Testament translation from Hebrew to Greek done by 70 elders) uses the words according to the image of God as three words even more power-packed and short in the Greek, κατ᾿ εἰκόνα Θεοῦ. When εἰκόνα is written in Latin letters it becomes eikona, where we get the word “icon.” Man and woman are icons of God. Satan hates a face like that.
Suffering under Nazi Germany, an Austrian couple, Erik and Christiane Von Kuehnelt-Leddihn, wrote a book called Moscow 1979. In it, a bishop in Russia talks to a dead body, but that dead body becomes possessed by Satan. Satan explains through that body his actual tactic for reaching humanity in 20th century:
I am not mean! I’m only radical. ‘Radical’ – that is to say ‘from the roots.’ And sex is the root of all life. Nothing pleases me more than to turn the natural instinct for creation of new bodies and souls into the vilest filth. I hate those human beings who are allowed to take part in God’s creation. At least it is some consolation for me if human beings play tricks on God …if experimental biology is victorious over the curse of Eve, cheating women out of the joy of suffering for the sake of a new being. I don’t want the Creation! And if I’m not able to exterminate it, at least I can twist it, smear it, distort it!
I’m not using this picture for shock-value. But I have to be very honest: I used to see people in circles like this as the enemy of the Catholic Church. Oh sure, I admitted that God loved them, but I saw them as the enemy in a culture war. Now, as things get so twisted, I see they are deceived. How prophetic that in 1940 those Austrians saw that “experimental biology” would be the goal of Satan in communism and secularism: “And if I’m not able to exterminate it, at least I can twist it, smear it, distort it!”
This gang member is obviously deceived by Satan. No, beauty is not in the eyes of the beholder. There is objectivity to beauty, as there is truth. And what I see is boys-become-semi-men who were so abused (not necessarily sexually, but in some way abused) finishing the job of twisting what the Ugly One had begun against them. Yet, they don’t know to whom they belong as hostages. Or maybe they do, since many gang members add satanic tattoos. But still they are hostages, and Jesus told St. Faustina: The greater the sinner, the greater he has a right to my mercy.
A young woman from an Eastern-block country recently wrote me about her conversion from atheism to Catholicism. She told me how many tears she has wept for what Communism did to not only her country, but what Communism has done to her new-found Catholic Church. One particularly sad story was the story of an 18 year old homosexual man in the rural area of her country. When he failed at chastity, the rural priests helped him back up, and again when needed. He was succeeding, albeit with difficulty. Then, he moved to a large city in “middle-Europe” as she calls it. There, in that large city, he found a Catholic priest with very different advice than he had ever heard: The priest told him that he could continue his homosexual behavior, as long as it is done “in good faith.”
Now the young man has AIDS. He no longer goes to Church and lives with his boyfriend.
Jesus is infinite Truth and Jesus is infinite Mercy, so please, you priests who are telling gay men and women that they don’t have to live chastity: You are killing people. Not just spiritually as we “trads” say, but now we have proof you are killing people physically. The outcome of your trashing of Catholic teaching is not only hell (which I can’t prove outside of Divine Revelation) but AIDS (which the above story proves.) When we distort Christian doctrine, we distort peoples’ souls and bodies. Jesus and the Catholic Church have the best plan for every person on the planet, so please stop discriminating and show some compassion for the image and likeness of God that He died to restore. Jesus was disfigured on the cross so that none of the above disfigurement would ever have to happen. Thus, we priests have no right to sacrifice our children on the altar of popularity. They are God’s children, made in His image and likeness.
Are you saved from eternal death by your conscience or by Jesus Christ? The primacy of conscience is the New Jansenism.