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Copyright © 2009, B.F.S. All rights reserved. Newsletter - February, 2009 [Plain text version]

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* Greetings & Thanks

* Preparing for a Holy Lent

* MCS News & Notes

* FEATURED ARTICLE: Should We Accept Others "Just as they are"?

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Dear Friend,

Greetings & best wishes to all! We hope this newsletter finds you and yours doing well.

While we're on the subject of greetings, we thought you might be interested in some traditional Christian (Catholic!) greetings. The following are a few of these traditional greetings. Wouldn't it be wonderful if we heard them more frequently?


V. Praised be Jesus and Mary.

R. Today and for ever.


V. Praised be Jesus Christ.

R. Amen. (or R. For ever.)


V. Glory be to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

R. Glory be to the Immaculate Heart of Mary

Why not greet those you love with a traditional Catholic greeting?

We also wanted send our thanks for being a subscriber to the mailing list and for all the feedback we have received from subscribers and other visitors to our site. We truly appreciate your comments.

We send our prayers & best wishes that you will have a very holy Lent and preparation for Lent.

May God bless you always,

Your Friends at

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Preparing for a Holy Lent

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   Septuagesima Sunday: 2/8/09

   Sexagesima Sunday: 2/15/09

   Quinquagesima Sunday: 2/22/09

   Lent Begins On: Ash Wednesday: 2/25/09

   Don't Forget: Plenary Indulgences May Be Available On Fridays In Lent

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"[T]he observance of Lent is an essential mark of Catholicity" (Dom Gueranger)

"Lent is the forty days before Easter Sunday, during which we do penance, fast and pray to prepare ourselves for the resurrection of Our Lord; and also to remind us of His own fast of forty days before His Passion." (Baltimore Catechism)

"Lent, then, is a time consecrated in an especial manner to penance; and this penance is mainly practiced by fasting. Fasting is an abstinence, which man voluntarily imposes upon himself as an expiation for sin, and which, during Lent, is practiced in obedience to the general law of the Church." (Dom Gueranger)

"The observance of Lent is the very badge of Christian warfare. By it we prove ourselves not to be enemies of the cross of Christ. By it we avert the scourges of divine justice. By it we gain strength against the princes of darkness, for it shields us with heavenly help. Should mankind grow remiss in their observance of Lent, it would be a detriment to God's glory, a disgrace to the Catholic religion, and a danger to Christian souls. Neither can it be doubted that such negligence would become the source of misery to the world, of public calamity, of private woe." (Pope Benedict XIV, 1741 A.D.)

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We hope you will find the following resources helpful in preparing for a holy Lent...



* Make Your Own Lent Calendar -

* Living Out The Faith / Becoming a Better Catholic -

* Lent / Easter Activities (scroll down to view Lent/Easter activities) -

* Increase Holiness / Fight Sin -

* 'Educational' Word Search (Lent) -

* Coloring Page - Jesus Washing Apostle's Feet -

* Coloring Page - Last Supper:



* Lenten Prayers (scroll down to "Lenten Prayers") -

* Sorrow for Sin / Mercy / Deliverance Prayers -

* Prayers to Jesus (Prayer in Honor of the Five Wounds, Prayer in Honor of the Precious Blood, etc.) -

* Stabat Mater (Sequence) -

* Stations of the Cross / Way of the Cross -

* Traditional Prayers & Practices (see "Traditional Practices", "Lent/Easter") -

* Devotions / Pious Practices -

* Indulgence Information -



Note: The Church has traditionally required a 40 day Lenten fast.

* Traditional Prayers & Practices / Fasting (see "Traditional Practices", " Fasting / Abstinence / Partial Abstinence") -

* Fasting / Scriptural References (see "Other Practices / Requirements") [Non-Catholics section (apologetics) - great for Catholics too!] -

* Reflections / Fasting (click "E-F" and then click "Fasting") -

* Fasting / Abstinence Reflections (click "E-F" and then click "Fasting / Abstinence") -

* Reflections: Prayer & Fasting (scroll down and click "Prayer & Fasting") -

* Topical Scripture: Fast / Fasting:

"The forty days' fast, which we call Lent, is the Church's preparation for Easter, and was instituted at the very commencement of Christianity. Our blessed Lord Himself sanctioned it by fasting forty days and forty nights in the desert; and though He would not impose it on the world by an express commandment... yet He showed plainly enough, by His own example, that fasting, which God has so frequently ordered in the old Law, was to be also practiced by the children of the new... [W]e find it mentioned, in the Acts of the Apostles, the disciples of our Lord, after the foundation of the Church, applied themselves to fasting. In their Epistles, also, they recommended it to the faithful. Nor could it be otherwise. Though the divine mysteries whereby our Savior wrought our redemption have been consummated, yet are we still sinners: and where there is sin, there must be expiation." (Dom Gueranger)



* Fulfilled Prophecies in Scripture: Abandonment & Betrayal of Jesus -

* Fulfilled Prophecies in Scripture: Jesus' Passion, Death, & Resurrection -

* The Passion of Jesus (from the Gospels) -

Note: Scroll down page to view (about 1/3 way down page...contains selections on the Passion from all four Gospel accounts)

Also see...

* Jesus' Last Words From The Cross -

* Trials & Sorrows of Jesus -

"When we meditate on the sufferings and all the torments of the Redeemer, nothing is better calculated to stir our souls than the thought that He endured them thus voluntarily. Were anyone to endure all kinds of suffering for our sake, not because he chose them, but simply because he could not escape them, we should not consider this a very great favor; but were he to endure death freely, and for our sake only, having had it in his power to avoid it, this indeed would be a benefit so overwhelming as to deprive even the most grateful heart, not only of the power of returning but even of feeling due thanks. We may hence form an idea of the transcendent and intense love of Jesus Christ towards us, and of His divine and boundless claims to our gratitude." (Catechism of the Council of Trent)


SCRIPTURE (Sin / Judgment / Hell / Repentance)

* Scripture on Sin -

* Repentance (Topical Scripture) -

* Judgment (Topical Scripture) -

* Hell / Eternal Punishment Scripture -

* Tough Love in the New Testament -

* Old Testament Wisdom (Topics Include: Sin, Repentance, Fear of the Lord, etc.) -

For More Scripture, See...

* Scripture by Category -

* A-Z Scripture Index -

* Jesus' Teachings -

* Other New Testament Teachings -

* Old Testament Wisdom -


REFLECTIONS (Quotations from popes, saints, scripture...)

* The Passion / Cross Reflections -

* Love of Jesus (See Christ's Passion / Sufferings) -

* Sin & Vice Reflections -

* Sin, Repentance, Forgiveness Reflections -

* Hell / Eternal Damnation Reflections -

* Increase Holiness Reflections -

Note: For more reflections, try the Reflections A-Z Index (e.g. see topics: penance, repentance, sin, expiation, etc.) at

"Look at His adorable Face. Look at His glazed and sunken eyes. Look at His wounds. Look Jesus in the Face. There, you will see how He loves us." (St. Therese of Lisieux, Doctor of the Church)



* Works of Mercy -

* Good Works Reflections (Necessity of Good Works, Reward for Good Works, etc.) [Volunteers' Corner Reflections] -

* Good Works Reflections (Basics, Benefits of / Rewards for Good Works, Obligation to Perform Good Works, etc.) [Give & Take Reflections] -

* Necessity of Good Works [Non Catholics section (apologetics) - great for Catholics too!] -

"You do right when you offer faith to God; you do right when you offer works. But if you separate the two, then you do wrong. For faith without works is dead; and lack of charity in action murders faith, just as Cain murdered Abel, so that God cannot respect your offering." (St. Bernard)



* General Information on Penance / Confession (a great refresher - a "must read') -

* The Catechism of the Council of Trent on the Sacrament of Penance -

* Reflections: Penance / Confession -

* Defense of Penance / Confession [Non-Catholics Section (apologetics) - great for Catholics too!] -

Also Try: Sections From the Baltimore Catechism -

"(Jesus) said to them again, 'Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.' And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, 'Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.'" (Jn. 20:21-23)



* Sin & Vice (Q & A):

* Definitions (e.g. for terms such as Lent, Ash Wednesday, Easter, Passion Sunday, Passiontide, Septuagesima, Sexagesima, etc.) -

* Rome's Lenten Station Churches -

* Cross vs. Crucifix -

* Spiritual Reading - Try

* Baltimore Catechism (especially see lesson 06/Sin, 08/Jesus Passion, confession, commandments, etc.) [view by lesson] -

* User Posts / Lent - Try Catholic Life Section at

Note: Scroll down & click applicable link to view posts or add your own post

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MCS News & Notes

* Great News! We're now accepting user submitted articles! If you've ever wished there was more coverage of a certain topic on our site - e.g. Homeschooling, Parenting, Catholic Fiction, History, Saint Biographies... or ever wished that user-submitted posts could exceed 750 characters - or if you'd like to share your expertise with other visitors, you'll love this new feature. Why not submit your own article today? You don't need to be an "expert", you just need to have something informative or interesting to say. Please give it a try! You may include your name, brief biographical information, e-mail, website address, etc. with your article (if desired - or your article can be listed as "anonymous"). Also note - If you don't want to submit an article yourself, please invite your friends to do so. If you'd like to request an article on a certain topic, please let us know. For more information, please visit

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* Help Promote Vocations! - We've posted the first response to our vocations questionnaire in the Priests / Vocations Section. Many thanks to Sister Paula Gaudet for her generous participation. To read her thoughtful and informative response, visit (click links to view answers). Please also encourage others in religious life to participate so this may become a valuable resource for promoting vocations. For more information visit

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* Online 2009 Calendar: Would you like an easy 2009 calendar for your missal? You can print one for FREE at Note: Scroll down to "Sundays of the Year / Moveable Feasts" for individual calendars from 2000-2050 (5 years per page, contains Sundays / moveable feast information), or scroll down to "Moveable Feasts: 2000 A.D. - 2050 A.D." for a single page listing of moveable feasts from 2000-2050. (Calendars are based on the traditional liturgical calendar)

* 2009 Calendar: Would you like a FREE 2009 plastic wallet-sized calendar? Send a SASE to MCS Calendars, B.F.S., Post Office Box 4292, Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91729-4292. Limit 5 per person. While supplies last. Please mail your request no later than 2/15/09.

* We've made additional improvements to various forms to make them easier to use. We hope you find the changes helpful. Please also note that we're always open to users' suggestions for improving our forms. If you have any suggestions, please let us know.

* We've improved the Reflections A - Z index so it's even easier to find the quotation you are looking for. Now, most index entries contain links to actual quotes. We hope you will find it to be a valuable tool. To view the Reflections A-Z index, visit To view Reflections by section, visit:

* We've also improved the General A-Z Help Index so that it's even easier than ever to use. Most index entries now include active links, so you'll love how easy it is to find what you want! And, with about 10,000 entries, it's comprehensive! Give it a try... It's easy! Example: If you're looking for information on the "Holy Eucharist", simply click "Help" on the left bar (the purple bar). Then, under General A-Z index, select "H". Scroll down to (or use search to find) "Holy Eucharist". You'll be presented with a listing of various items related to this topic, such as those below. However, unlike how these items appear in plain text below, on the index you'll see actual links that may be clicked on. Try it today. Visit (see "General A-Z Index"). Don't forget to bookmark this index as it's a valuable resource!

Sample entries...

The Holy Eucharist - Try "Classic Encyclicals & Other Papal Documents (Alphabetical by Category)"

The Holy Eucharist - Try "Daily Dedications"

Holy Eucharist - Try "Definitions (Catholic Basics Section)"

The Holy Eucharist - Try "Holy Communion" [scroll up or click here]

Holy Eucharist - Try "The Holy Eucharist / Mass (Gen'l. Info.)"

The Holy Eucharist - Try "Mass" [click here for index entries]

The Holy Eucharist - Try "Monthly Dedications"

Holy Eucharist - Try "Priests / Priesthood" [click here for index entries]

Holy Eucharist - Try "Sacraments" [click here for index entries]

The Holy Eucharist / Blessings - Try "The Holy Eucharist / Mass (Gen'l. Info.)"

The Holy Eucharist (Books) - Try "Catholic Book Review & Exchange"

Holy Eucharist, Christ Let Those Who Wouldn't Accept Leave Him - Try "The Holy Eucharist / Mass (Gen'l. Info.)"

Holy Eucharist Contains Christ Whole and Entire, Each Element of the - Try "The Holy Eucharist / Mass (Gen'l. Info.)"

The Holy Eucharist Contains (Is) Christ's True Body, Blood, Soul, & Divinity - Try "The Holy Eucharist / Mass (Gen'l. Info.)"

Holy Eucharist, Effects of the Sacrament of the - Try "The Holy Eucharist / Mass (Gen'l. Info.)"

Holy Eucharist, 'Extraordinary Ministers' of the - Try "Lay 'Eucharistic Ministers': Why Not?"

Holy Eucharist, Form / Matter of the Sacrament of the - Try "The Holy Eucharist / Mass (Gen'l. Info.)"

The Holy Eucharist / Grace - Try "The Holy Eucharist / Mass (Gen'l. Info.)"

Holy Eucharist, Institution of the - Try "The Holy Eucharist / Mass (Gen'l. Info.)"

The Holy Eucharist is Both a Sacrament and a Sacrifice - Try "The Holy Eucharist / Mass (Gen'l. Info.)"

The Holy Eucharist is Not a Mere Type or a Symbol - Try "The Holy Eucharist / Mass (Gen'l. Info.)"

The Holy Eucharist is Our Highest Good - Try "The Holy Eucharist / Mass (Gen'l. Info.)"

The Holy Eucharist / Mass (Gen'l. Info.)

Holy Eucharist / Mass (Prayers, Novenas & Hymns)

The Holy Eucharist Must Be Received Worthily - Try "The Holy Eucharist / Mass (Gen'l. Info.)"

Holy Eucharist, Must Discern the Body & Blood of Christ in the - Try "The Holy Eucharist / Mass (Gen'l. Info.)"

Holy Eucharist, Necessity of Receiving the - Try "The Holy Eucharist / Mass (Gen'l. Info.)"

Holy Eucharist, Obligation - Try "Precepts of the Church"

Holy Eucharist, On the - Try "Selections From the Baltimore Catechism"

Holy Eucharist, Ordinary Ministers of the Sacrament of the - Try "The Holy Eucharist / Mass (Gen'l. Info.)"

Holy Eucharist, Prerequisites for the Sacrament of the - Try "The Holy Eucharist / Mass (Gen'l. Info.)"

Holy Eucharist, Reasons for the Institution of the - Try "The Holy Eucharist / Mass (Gen'l. Info.)"

The Holy Eucharist / Remission of Venial Sin - Try "The Holy Eucharist / Mass (Gen'l. Info.)"

The Holy Eucharist (Scripture References) - Try "Biblical References For Various Catholic Beliefs"

The Holy Eucharist Should Not Be Handled By Laity - Try "Communion in the Hand: Why Not?"

The Holy Eucharist Should Not Be Handled By Laity - Try "Lay 'Eucharistic Ministers': Why Not?"

The Holy Eucharist, Species - Try "The Holy Eucharist / Mass (Gen'l. Info.)"

The Holy Eucharist, Species of Wine - Try "Communion Under Both Species: Is it Required?"

Holy Eucharist, The Catechism of the Council of Trent on the

Holy Eucharist, The Church Revolves Around the - Try "The Holy Eucharist / Mass (Gen'l. Info.)"

Holy Eucharist, Things Signified by the - Try "The Holy Eucharist / Mass (Gen'l. Info.)"

Holy Eucharist, Those Who Don't Distinguish the Body and the Blood of the Lord in the - Try "The Holy Eucharist / Mass (Gen'l. Info.)"

Holy Eucharist Was Instituted, On the Ends for Which the - Try "Selections From the Baltimore Catechism"

Holy Eucharist, When to Receive the - Try "The Holy Eucharist / Mass (Gen'l. Info.)"

* Our special free ad promotion has expired, however we have added discount ad coupons to our site. For ad coupons, visit

* Until further notice, organizations & businesses qualifying for a free listing in the MCS Directory do not need to wait for a particular day to submit their ad request. Instead, they may now submit their request on any day. For more information regarding a free listing in the MCS Directory for qualifying businesses & other organizations, visit

* Also visit the "Notices" page for "most popular" pages as well as timely news and other important information regarding -

* Did you have any difficulties with links in last month's newsletter? It has come to our attention that some visitors were unable to access certain pages referred to in the newsletter because their e-mail client considered certain punctuation marks (e.g. period / comma) as part of URL (web address). Please note that this was not an error on our part, but a problem with the rendering of the address on the part of the e-mail client. For example, some e-mail clients interpret the URL in the following sentence as "" (with a period) rather than "" (without a period): "This is a sample sentence ending in" Unfortunately, there is little we can do to prevent this other than avoiding the use of punctuation after links, which we have tried to do in this newsletter. Also, we have added an instructional message that we hope may be useful if you encounter an error. Should you encounter this error, try removing the period / comma from the end of the web address and you should be able to access the page. Also, if you missed any links from last month's newsletter, please note that it is archived at

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FEATURED ARTICLE: Should We Accept Others "Just as they are"?

Of course Lent is a good time for self-improvement, but shouldn't we also try to help / correct others? Is it really charitable to accept others "just as they are"? Is it ever right to "judge" others?

First, we must note that our faith tells us it is a spiritual work of mercy to "admonish the sinner".

Note: For 'spiritual works of mercy', visit

Secondly, we should consider that...

* While we must love all people regardless of who or what they are, we are NOT called to accept sinful behavior. In fact, the Bible instructs us to "hate what is evil" (Rom.12:9), and sin is certainly the greatest evil.

* While Christ forgave sinners, he never allowed them to continue in their sins. In fact, Christ instructed "Go, (and) from now on do not sin any more." (Jn. 8:11)

* Holy Scripture tells us to admonish one another, not to 'accept sinners as they are'. ["Be on your guard! If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him." (Our Lord Jesus Christ, Lk. 17:3)]. Note that in some cases, Scripture even advises certain persons to publicly reprimand sinners (see 1 Tm. 5:50).

* Holy Scripture tells us to not associate with sinners, not to 'accept sinners as they are'. [e.g. "We instruct you, brothers, in the name of (our) Lord Jesus Christ, to shun any brother who conducts himself in a disorderly way and not according to the tradition they received from us" (St. Paul, 2 Thes. 3:6) & "Purge the evil person from your midst." (St. Paul, 1 Cor. 5:13) & (Jesus said,) "...If he refuses to listen to them, tell the church. If he refuses to listen even to the church, then treat him as you would a Gentile or a tax collector." (Mt. 18:17) & "If anyone does not obey our word as expressed in this letter, take note of this person not to associate with him, that he may be put to shame. Do not regard him as an enemy but admonish him as a brother." (St. Paul, 2 Thes. 3:14-15)]

* False tolerance is not charitable to the sinner or to others. In fact, Scripture warns us that "Bad company corrupts good morals" (1 Cor. 15:33) and that "A little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough" (Gal. 5:9).

* "Fraternal correction is a matter of precept, in so far as it is an act of virtue" (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church)

* While one may think it is not loving to fail to accept someone 'as they are', the truth is that it would not be very loving to allow someone to perish without trying to help them. How loving would it be to let someone fall over a cliff because one didn't want to point out that their feet were hanging three inches over the edge?

* By tolerating a person's sinful behavior, one may actually be affirming others in their sins. And, it may make it less likely that they will fight their sinful behavior.

* It may, in fact, be sinful to 'accept' someone's sinful behavior. Doing so may be one way of being an accessory to another's sin.

Note: For more information on ways one may be an accessory to another's sin, visit

Furthermore, those who use the argument that we shouldn't "judge" someone who is obviously sinning ignore the fact that Scripture could not call us to admonish others if we could not "judge" that they should be admonished - and Scripture itself says: "But I now write to you not to associate with anyone named a brother, if he is immoral, greedy, an idolater, a slanderer, a drunkard, or a robber, not even to eat with such a person. For why should I be judging outsiders? Is it not your business to judge those within?" (1 Cor. 5:11-12) Surely, we CAN and must objectively judge actions (but not motives).

Other commentary on this topic...

* "It is a sin leading to death when sinners remain uncorrected" (Second Council of Nicaea)

* "Beseech, accuse, correct, rebuke and fear not: for ill-judged silence leaves in their error those who could be taught, and this is most harmful both to them and to you who should have dispelled the error." (Pope Pius VI, "Inscrutabile", 1775 A.D.)

* "Those who take notice of what is evil in their neighbors, and yet refrain their tongue in silence, withdraw, as it were, the aid of medicine from observed sores, and become the causers of death, in that they would not cure the venom which they could have cured. The tongue, therefore, should be discreetly curbed, not tied up fast." (Pope St. Gregory the Great, Doctor of the Church)

* "Our predecessor Felix III in this regard[:] 'An error which is not resisted is approved; a truth which is not defended is suppressed... He who does not oppose an evident crime is open to the suspicion of secret complicity.'" (Pope Leo XIII, "Inimica Vis", 1892 A.D.)

* "Is it possible that we can see a soul in danger of being lost, and remain indifferent? Have we forgotten the divine promise, told us by the apostle: 'He that causeth a sinner to be converted from the error of his way, shall save his soul from death, and shall cover a multitude of his own sins'?" (Gueranger)

* "If, assuredly, the alms with which we relieve the needs of the poor are highly praised by the Lord, how much more precious in His eyes, then, will be the zeal and labor expended in teaching and admonishing, by which we provide not for the passing needs of the body but for the eternal profit of the soul! Nothing, surely, is more desirable, nothing more acceptable to Jesus Christ, the Savior of souls, Who testifies of Himself through Isaias: 'To bring good news to the poor he has sent me.'" (Pope St. Pius X, "Acerbo Nimis", 1905 A.D.)

* "No sooner has one forgotten that the eternal salvation of our neighbor has to be our main concern for him, than the real love of neighbor becomes impossible. No sooner does one cease to understand that love of neighbor does not seek fulfillment of all his wishes, than this love becomes a weakness and a way of giving in. No sooner does one forget the words of St. Augustine, 'Interficere errorem, diligere errantem' ('kill the error, love him who errs'), than one loses all understanding for real love of neighbor. Love of neighbor can only be rightly understood when we realize that we live in a situation in which we are bound to reject all moral mistakes and even many non-moral disvalues, in which we have to struggle against error and evil - struggle against them with all our might - but in which love of neighbor extends even to him who errs, who is evil, even to him who is the enemy of God." (Von Hildebrand)

It clearly can be charitable to rebuke a sinner. However the more difficult matter is determining when, how, and whether or not to offer this correction in any given case.

In addition to the items indicated above, Scripture provides more guidance on how to correct - e.g. that we should correct with gentleness and kindness. For example, consider these passages:

* In a gentle sprit - "Brothers, even if a person is caught in some transgression, you who are spiritual should correct that one in a gentle spirit, looking to yourself, so that you also may not be tempted." (St. Paul, Gal. 6:1)

* With kindness - "A slave of the Lord should not quarrel, but should be gentle with everyone, able to teach, tolerant, correcting opponents with kindness. It may be that God will grant them repentance that leads to knowledge of the truth, and that they may return to their senses out of the devil's snare, where they are entrapped by him, for his will." (St. Paul, 2 Tm. 2:24)

Finally, we must keep in mind that not all correction is beneficial. In fact, one of the biggest difficulties regarding fraternal correction is determining whether or not one should rebuke in any given case. In some cases, one may have a grave duty to correct, whereas in other cases it is more appropriate to refrain from rebuke. Some considerations include:

* Degree of relationship with the other person (e.g. family vs. stranger, teacher vs. student, etc.)

Note: St. Thomas Aquinas teaches that we are not bound to "seek out" strangers for correction, but "it suffices that we bestow them [correction] when the [appropriate] opportunity occur".

* Whether correction of the other person is likely to make them worse or better

"Therefore one ought to forego fraternal correction, when we fear lest we may make a man worse." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"Fraternal correction is a matter of precept, in so far as it is an act of virtue, and it will be a virtuous act in so far as it is proportionate to the end. Consequently whenever it is a hindrance to the end, for instance when a man becomes worse through it, it is longer a vital truth, nor is it a matter precept." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

* Whether the timing is appropriate

"An admonition can be inopportune, and a man may be wise to hold his peace." (Sirach 20:1)

"Now fraternal correction is directed to a brother's amendment: so that it is a matter of precept, in so far as it is necessary for that end, but not so as we have to correct our erring brother at all places and times." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

* How the other person might react to correction

"Augustine says (De Verbis Domini, Sermone 16,4) on the words, 'Rebuke him between thee and him alone' (Matthew 18:15): 'Aiming at his amendment, while avoiding his disgrace: since perhaps from shame he might begin to defend his sin; and him whom you thought to make a better man, you make worse.' Now we are bound by the precept of charity to beware lest our brother become worse." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"[T]he correction of the wrongdoer is twofold. One, which belongs to prelates, and is directed to the common good, has coercive force. Such correction should not be omitted lest the person corrected be disturbed, both because if he is unwilling to amend his ways of his own accord, he should be made to cease sinning by being punished, and because, if he be incorrigible, the common good is safeguarded in this way, since the order of justice is observed, and others are deterred by one being made an example of. Hence a judge does not desist from pronouncing sentence of condemnation against a sinner, for fear of disturbing him or his friends. The other fraternal correction is directed to the amendment of the wrongdoer, whom it does not coerce, but merely admonishes. Consequently when it is deemed probable that the sinner will not take the warning, and will become worse, such fraternal correction should be foregone, because the means should be regulated according to the requirements of the end." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

* Whether the person offering correction is guilty of the same (or worse) offenses

"When we have to find fault with anyone, we should think whether we were never guilty of his sin; and then we must remember that we are men, and might have been guilty of it; or that we once had it on our conscience, but have it no longer: and then we should bethink ourselves that we are all weak, in order that our reproof may be the outcome, not of hatred, but of pity. But if we find that we are guilty of the same sin, we must not rebuke him, but groan with him, and invite him to repent with us." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

"And it is to be noted, that whenever He intends to denounce any great sin, He begins with an epithet of reproach, as below, You wicked servant, I forgave you all that debt; and so here, You hypocrite, cast out first. For each one knows better the things of himself than the things of others, and sees more the things that be great, than the things that be lesser, and loves himself more than his neighbor. Therefore He bids him who is chargeable with many sins, not to be a harsh judge of another's faults, especially if they be small. Herein not forbidding to arraign and correct but forbidding to make light of our own sins, and magnify those of others. For it is necessary that you first diligently [examine] how great may be your own sins, and then try those of your neighbor; whence it follows, and then shall you see clearly, to cast the sliver out of your brother's eye." (St. John Chrysostom, Doctor of the Church)

"[T]o correct a wrongdoer belongs to a man, in so far as his reason is gifted with right judgment. Now sin...does not destroy the good of nature so as to deprive the sinner's reason of all right judgment, and in this respect he may be competent to find fault with others for committing sin. Nevertheless a previous sin proves somewhat of a hindrance to this correction, for three reasons. First because this previous sin renders a man unworthy to rebuke another; and especially is he unworthy to correct another for a lesser sin, if he himself has committed a greater... Secondly, such like correction becomes unseemly, on account of the scandal which ensues therefrom, if the corrector's sin be well known, because it would seem that he corrects, not out of charity, but more for the sake of ostentation... Thirdly, on account of the rebuker's pride; when, for instance, a man thinks lightly of his own sins, and, in his own heart, sets himself above his neighbor, judging the latter's sins with harsh severity, as though he himself were just man." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

* One's motive for correction

Are we correcting out of pride? Are we truly concerned about his spiritual welfare?

* Whether the sin is well ingrained in the person

"... we prefer to withstand the very beginnings rather than to administer the medicine after the disease has grown inveterate." (Pope Pius XII, "Humani Generis", 1950 A.D.)

* Whether the other person's behavior affects them only or others as well

* Whether one has an obligation to correct a particular person. Is the person your child? Your subject?

"[C]orrection is twofold. One is an act of charity, which seeks in a special way the recovery of an erring brother by means of a simple warning: such like correction belongs to anyone who has charity, be he subject or prelate. But there is another correction which is an act of justice purposing the common good, which is procured not only by warning one's brother, but also, sometimes, by punishing him, that others may, through fear, desist from sin. Such a correction belongs only to prelates, whose business it is not only to admonish, but also to correct by means of punishments." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

* Whether the person should be corrected privately or publicly

When sins are private, we should remember that "we have a duty to safeguard our brother's good name". In some cases, Scripture tells us that certain members of the Church may engage in a public denunciation (1 Tim. 5:20). Clearly, such denunciations must be handled by the appropriate persons, and they must be done properly and in charity.

* Whether fraternal correction can rightly be omitted

"Fraternal correction may be omitted in three ways. First, meritoriously, when out of charity one omits to correct someone. For Augustine says (De Civitate Dei i,9): 'If a man refrains from chiding and reproving wrongdoers, because he awaits a suitable time for so doing, or because he fears lest, if he does so, they may become worse, or hinder, oppress, or turn away from the faith, others who are weak and need to be instructed in a life of goodness and virtue, this does not seem to result from covetousness, but to be counseled by charity.' Secondly, fraternal correction may be omitted in such a way that one commits a mortal sin, namely, 'when' (as he says in the same passage) 'one fears what people may think, or lest one may suffer grievous pain or death; provided, however, that the mind is so dominated by such things, that it gives them the preference to fraternal charity.' This would seem to be the case when a man reckons that he might probably withdraw some wrongdoer from sin, and yet omits to do so, through fear or covetousness. Thirdly, such an omission is a venial sin, when through fear or covetousness, a man is loath to correct his brother's faults, and yet not to such a degree, that if he saw clearly that he could withdraw him from sin, he would still forbear from so doing, through fear or covetousness, because in his own mind he prefers fraternal charity to these things. It is in this way that holy men sometimes omit to correct wrongdoers." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

* Etc.

Although we should not offer correction indiscriminately, there are occasions when it should be offered. We must also carefully consider the appropriate time, method, and place for correction. It is also important to realize that some negative outcomes may occur when correction is employed (strained relations, bad feelings, animosity, etc.) - even including possible cases of physical harm towards the one offering correction. All such factors should be carefully analyzed in contemplating the correction of others.

Some final closing thoughts:

* "To reprove the faults of others is the duty of good and kindly men." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

* "Correction helps those who are in error and helps others not fall into it"

* We must worry more about the salvation of men than their feelings - "It is sometimes necessary to do what is best for him rather than what he would like most"

* "Shall we be more concerned with keeping the peace than saving his soul?"

"Catholic doctrine tells us that the primary duty of charity does not lie in the toleration of false ideas, however sincere they may be; nor in theoretical or practical indifference toward the errors and vices in which we see our brethren plunged, but in the zeal for their intellectual and moral improvement as well as for their material well-being. Catholic doctrine further tells us that love for our neighbor flows from our love for God, Who is Father to all, and the goal of the human family; and in Jesus Christ whose members we are, to the point that in doing good to others we are doing good to Jesus Christ Himself. Any other kind of love is sheer illusion, sterile and fleeting." (Pope St. Pius X, "Notre Charge Apostolique", 1910 A.D.)

"My brothers, if anyone among you should stray from the truth and someone bring him back, he should know that whoever brings back a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins." (Jms. 5:19-20)


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"...the Innocent One would then overcome [the evil one]…and thus would make captive the captivity that was brought about by sin, and would liberate us from a captivity that, by reason of sin, was a just one, by deleting the promissory note of death and by redeeming sinners, who were to be justified by the unjust shedding of His just blood." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church, circa 407 A.D.)

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