Catholic Church history reveals that during times of strong faith, superstition decreases. Also, during times of weak-faith, superstition increase. I believe modernist Catholics (not Medieval Catholics) are the most superstitious of all Catholics in history. One proof of this how many Catholics took an experimental mRNA injection made from aborted babies just to keep death away. (Even WaPo recently ran a story that those double-and-triple vaxxed were those still struggling with COVID-19, meaning it didn’t even keep away the one bogeyman it promised to eschew.)
But that is not the topic of today’s blog post. Today’s blog is in regards to how most modernist Catholics approach the life-and-death sacraments with great superstition. I’ll also give some solutions on how to increase the “faith of our fathers” in your own life.
For years now, I have been seeing modernist Catholics hesitant to baptize a struggling newborn because of one of two reasons. Either 1) They believe baptism is not truly necessary for salvation or 2) They believe that baptizing the baby will somehow allow it to die. (In fact, I usually find it’s a combination of both superstitions.) The attitude is almost like: “If we can just mind-will this baby into a regular-baptism within the parish walls, then all will be good where will be cakes and presents and grandparents.” This is a truly foolish and superstitious attitude since baptism is necessary for salvation and also because baptism helps save not only the soul, but also the body, at times.
One ecumenical Council declared it’s mortal sin to wait more than a week to baptize a baby. So, why not just baptize at the slightest sign of distress? Most saints were baptized the day of their birth, at least following the early Christian days of so many pagan conversions. Even then, early Catholics probably baptized babies the day of birth.
There is also superstition placed before the hospital sacraments for end-of-life issues. As I have said in sermons before, upwards of 95% of the anointing calls I ran to normy Catholics (when I was a Novus Ordo diocesan priest) were to comatose patients who had not confessed in decades. Literally decades. (I’m clearly not revealing anything from the confessional since comatose patients can’t confess! I got this information from their family members.) Upon arrival in the hospital, I would kindly ask the adult children of the dying man why they waited to bring a priest until after he could confess his sins. The answer would usually go something like this: “Oh, don’t worry, Father…My Dad hasn’t been to Mass or confession in 40 years, but he’s a really good man. So, don’t worry. He doesn’t need confession.”
Keep in mind that extreme unction relieves not only venial sins, but also mortal sins. However, extreme unction only relieves sins if the dying person has practiced the faith and had frequent use of the sacraments, including use of confession while he was still conscious. Therefore, extreme unction does absolutely nothing for a lapsed-Catholic or a non-Catholic. The only way for a lapsed-Catholic or a non-Catholic to gain salvation after going unresponsive and being without the sacraments for years is to be given the gift of perfect contrition for his or her sins. Perfect Contrition (Sorrow) for one’s sins is love of Jesus Christ for His sake more than fear of hell. Being saved by perfect contrition is still being saved by Grace. But is it hard to attain? I don’t know. And for that reason, I don’t want to bank on it when I am dying. I’d rather confess my sins frequently with as much contrition as possible.
Modernist Catholics only call the priest to comfort the living in the hospital room, not to bring salvation to the dying. Why? Because normy Catholics have been taught by clergy since Vatican II that everyone goes to heaven, regardless of faith or repentance or sacraments.
Twenty years ago, my own grandfather was dying in Chicago when I was in seminary in Denver. He was 100% Irish but strangely agnostic. I tried to get a priest in there, but one of my uncles stopped this saying “He’ll die of fright if he sees a priest in there at this stage!” (See how the Irish become terribly superstitious when they do not have supernatural faith?) And, sadly, my grandfather died without any sacraments.
But right there we have the same superstition as those who fear baptizing a baby in the NICU: Somehow the sacraments might curse my loved one into dying before his time. It’s absolutely preposterous as a natural level and it’s extremely foolish at a supernatural level for anyone who believes (as most the saints taught) that most Catholics (not to mention most non-Catholics) go to hell. This isn’t my teaching, and it’s not just the teaching of Western saints. Go read St. John Chrysostom how many people he thought were saved in his own city of Constantinople. (I’m saying unbaptized babies probably go to limbo, but adults dying with neither faith nor sacraments have not a destiny so blessed.)
The obvious solution to both of these is to get rid of superstition and baptize a baby in distress as soon as possible. In the case of an older dying Catholic, the solution is to go to confession as soon as possible. Your soul is more important than your body. Also, your body joins your soul in heaven or hell at the General Judgment, so keep in mind your body on salvation too. How do we know that not only those in heaven but even those in hell get their bodies back? Jesus Christ said Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear His voice and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment.—John 5:28-29.
Please, please, please stop thinking that the sacraments will kill your loved ones. It sounds crazy, but this is the wacky fear I keep seeing in poorly-formed Catholics all over this country. It is a worse superstition than anything Medieval Catholics ever imbibed. The truth is still obviously this: The sacraments bring you to life, not to death. Even if the sacraments effected eternal life at the cost of temporary death, it would still be worth it. But that is not how God wired them.
St. Charles Borromeo wrote a very powerful prayer that is a recommendation to one’s guardian angel for a happy hour of death that I suggest you pray every day. (There’s a modernist rendition of it that puts hyper-emphasis on the sacraments in place of perfect contrition, and also omits his assertion of no-salvation-outside-the-Church.) But I give you the original here, and I encourage you to copy it to your note-app on your phone:
Recommendation to One’s Guardian Angel for a Happy Hour of Death—by St. Charles Borromeo
My good Angel, I know not when or how I shall die. It is possible I may be carried off suddenly, and that before my last sigh I may be deprived of all intelligence. Yet how many things I would wish to say to God on the threshold of eternity. In the full freedom of my will today, I come to charge you to speak for me at that fearful moment. You will say to Him, then, O my good Angel, That I wish to die in the Roman Catholic Apostolic Church in which all the saints since Jesus Christ have died, and out of which there is no salvation. That I ask the grace of sharing in the infinite merits of my Redeemer and that I desire to die in pressing to my lips the cross that was bathed in His blood. That I detest my sins because they displease Him, and that I pardon through love of Him all my enemies as I wish to be pardoned. That I die willingly because He orders it and that I throw myself with confidence into His adorable Heart awaiting all His Mercy. That in my inexpressible desire to go to Heaven I be disposed to suffer everything it may please His sovereign Justice to inflict on me. That I love Him before all things, above all things and for His own sake; that I wish and hope to love Him with the Elect, His Angels and the Blessed Mother during all eternity. Do not refuse, O my Angel, to be my interpreter with God, and to protest to Him that these are my sentiments and my will. Amen.