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Copyright © 2012, B.F.S. All rights reserved. Newsletter - February, 2012 [Plain text version (+ image)]

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* Greetings

* MCS News & Notes

* The Month of February: Dedicated to the Holy Family

* Lenten Resources

* Catholic Family Prayer

* Liturgical Feasts in February

* 'Catholic Trivia'

* Defending the Faith: "Apologetics Brief" - Do You Reject the Concept of Confessing Sins to a Priest?

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Dear Friend,

"May the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great shepherd of the sheep by the blood of the eternal covenant, Jesus our Lord, furnish you with all that is good, that you may do his will. May he carry out in you what is pleasing to him through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen." (Heb. 13:20-21)

Greetings to you as we approach holy season of Lent. This month, the traditional preparatory period for Lent begins on 2/5/12 (Septuagesima Sunday), with Lent itself starting on 2/22/12 (Ash Wednesday). Why not plan to make this your holiest Lent ever? As Pope Benedict XIV has said...

"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.)

We hope you will find the resources below helpful in your Lenten preparations.

May God richly bless you,

Your Friends at

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"Indeed, if one thing more than another presents difficulty to the mind and understanding of man, assuredly it is the mystery of the cross, which, beyond all doubt, must be considered the most difficult of all; so much so that only with great difficulty can we grasp the fact that our salvation depends on the cross, and on Him who for us was nailed thereon." (Catechism of the Council of Trent)

"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)

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MCS News & Notes

* New Shortcuts: We've added two new URL shortcuts: and . For a list of URL shortcuts, please visit

* New Archive Pages: We've added archive pages to the What's New & Notices pages at and (see link at bottom of pages). Please note that only selected items will be archived on these pages.

* New Buttons: We've redone several buttons appearing on the purple border at left and added Android buttons near various app ads. We welcome your feedback on these buttons.

* Did you receive last month's newsletter? Unfortunately, some e-mail services 'penalize' those who change servers. For example, we received more than 100 e-mails back from AOL last month because our IP number changed when we changed servers. Regrettably when changing servers, e-mail sending 'reputations' do not transfer. Unfortunately, there is little we can do about this issue on our end. Although we understand that protecting recipients from being bombarded with unsolicited e-mail is important, we do not understand e-mail systems that simply refuse to deliver legitimate e-mail to their members: (1) without any regard whatsoever for actual e-mail content, (2) without requesting members' permission before rejecting such e-mail, (3) without notifying their members that they have rejected e-mail that has been addressed to them, and (4) without a way for members to receive the e-mail that was sent to them if they chose to do so. In any event, we regret any inconvenience and hope that all subscribers will not have difficulty receiving our e-mail in the future.

* Can you help? At least one parish site and one Knights of Columbus website have already linked to our apps page at . Might your parish also link to us or mention our apps (or site) in the parish bulletin? Please help spread the word so other Catholics can learn of these great Catholic apps. Thank you!

* We love to hear from you! Please submit comments at

- - - - - App News...

* New: Our first Android app, iStations for Android™, has been released and is now available for download at a discounted price of just $1.29 U.S. in the Android Market. This app is a convenient devotional aid for privately praying the Stations of the Cross (Way of the Cross). It features beautiful images, two traditional methods, a handy audio option, easy navigation, and in-app help. It's great for Fridays, Lent, penitential times, times of suffering, family devotions, and daily meditation. Please download it today at the following locations: Android Market (on sale!) - or Amazon Appstore - . For more information & screen shots, please visit

* Android versions of our other apps are still in development. To be placed on our waiting list to be notified when they are available, please go to

* iStations for the iPad®, iPhone®, and iPod touch® is still available for download at the very low price of just $.99 - about the price of a holy card. This app is a convenient devotional aid for privately praying the Stations of the Cross (Way of the Cross). It features beautiful images, two traditional methods, audio option with optional auto-advance, selected prayers in English & Latin, easy navigation, and in-app help. It's great for Fridays, Lent, penitential times & family devotions. Download it today at . For more information & screen shots, please visit

* Curious about differences between our apps for different platforms? Visit for a list of some differences

* Did you know? The various markets for Android apps differ in their policies and practices. For example, the Amazon Appstore retains editorial control and will only consider 'suggestions' from developers concerning the text that appears to describe apps (this explains some of the 'less desirable' wording for our app in the Amazon Appstore). In contrast, developers retain control in the Android Market. Also, no approval is necessary for apps submitted in the Android Market, whereas Amazon subjects apps to an approval process (it took well over a week for Amazon to approve our first Android app). Other differences also exist. Therefore, users may notice variations between the various marketplaces.

* We have extended sale prices on most of our apps. For more information concerning currently available apps, please visit (shortcut: )

Note: All prices herein are in U.S. dollars, excluding any applicable tax.

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* Please see our Notices page at for dates of anticipated service delays through May 2012

* Help keep us online! You can donate from $1 at [note that we do NOT sell donor information to third parties and we do NOT contact you about your donation unless it is necessary (e.g. processing problems)]. Thank you for your much needed support!

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* Please visit our Notices page for timely news and other important information regarding -

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The Month of February: Dedicated to the Holy Family

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"And his parents went every year to Jerusalem, at the solemn day of the pasch. And when he was twelve years old, they going up into Jerusalem, according to the custom of the feast, And having fulfilled the days, when they returned, the child Jesus remained in Jerusalem. And his parents knew it not. And thinking that he was in the company, they came a day's journey and sought him among their kinsfolks and acquaintance. And not finding him, they returned into Jerusalem, seeking him. And it came to pass, that, after three days, they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, hearing them and asking them questions. And all that heard him were astonished at his wisdom and his answers. And seeing him, they wondered. And his mother said to him: Son, why hast thou done so to us? Behold thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing. And he said to them: How is it that you sought me? Did you not know that I must be about my father's business? And they understood not the word that he spoke unto them. And he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was subject to them. And his mother kept all these words in her heart. And Jesus advanced in wisdom and age and grace with God and men." (Lk. 2:41-52)

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Related Resources...

* Holy Family Topic Page -

* References to the Holy Family in Scripture -

* Family / Families (Reflections) -

* Holy Family Coloring Pages -

* Holy Family (Mazes) -

* Jesus (Topic Page) -

* Blessed Virgin Mary (Topic Page) -

* St. Joseph (Topic Page) -

Looking For Something Else? Try Our Various Indexes For 15,000+ Entries -

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"The home of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph was a very poor but a very peaceful home. And from it we may learn how to regulate our homes, and make them the abodes of virtue and peace." (Missionary Society of St. Paul the Apostle, 1893 A.D.)

"[T]here never was a spot on earth whence so ardent prayer ascended into heaven, as from the house of Nazareth. There the holiest souls poured out their prayers before the Lord. In every Christian house prayer should be the first object of solicitude. 'Let nothing hinder thee from praying always ' (Ecclus. 18: 22.) 'Watch ye, praying at all times.' (Luke 21: 35.) O that prayers would be said in every household! Say your morning and evening prayers. Let parents see to it that their children say their prayers in the morning and in the evening." ('Catholic pulpit excellence', 1891 A.D.)

"Our Lord, His Mother, and His foster-father, St. Joseph, together formed one family which should be the model and veneration of all Christian households." (Manual of the Holy Catholic Church, 1906 A.D.)

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Lenten Resources

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"Grant to us, Lord, we beseech Thee the ready aid of Thy grace; that as we are earnestly occupied, as is meet, with fasting and prayer, we may be set free from all enemies both of body and soul. Through Christ our Lord. Amen." (Collect)

"If we trace back the religious observance of Lent, in the Christian [that is, Catholic] Church, through every age from the present time, we shall find it clearly mentioned in the councils and ecclesiastical writers of every century, up to the very first. These monuments and vouchers, in all parts of the church, evidently carry it as high as any such monuments are extant, that is, to the time when the immediate disciples of the apostles were living, and governed the chief sees... St. Augustine teaches, before the year 430, that the fast of Lent is recommended by the authority of the fasts of Moses and Elias in the old law, and of Christ in the gospel... The ancient Fathers attest that the fast of Lent is an apostolical tradition, or institution; thus, St. Jerome writes to Marcella, before the year 420, 'We fast one Lent by apostolical tradition, the whole world agreeing with us herein.' St. Leo, about 450 says, 'Let the apostolical institution of forty days be spent in fasting.' Serm. vi. de Quadrages. St. Isidore, of Seville, says, about the year 630, 'Lent is kept over the whole world, by an apostolic institution.' Orig. lib. vi. c. 19." ('Catholic Penny Magazine', 1834 A.D.)

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* Lent (Topic Page) -

* Ash Wednesday (Topic Page) -

* Fasting (Topic Page) -

* Lenten Prayers (Topic Page) -

* Way of the Cross (Topic Page) -

* Sin (Topic Page) -

* Penance (Topic Page) -

* Spiritual Growth (Topic Page) -

* Good Friday (Topic Page) -

* Make Your Own Lent Calendar -

* Traditional Practices For Lent / Easter (Incl. Fasting / Abstinence / Partial Abstinence) -

* Lent / Easter Activities (See 'Holiday Activities') -

* Lent / Easter Prayers -

* Stations of the Cross -

* Jesus' Last Words From the Cross -

* Trials & Sorrows of Jesus -

* Fulfilled Prophecies in Scripture (Abandonment & Betrayal of Jesus, Jesus' Passion, Death, & Resurrection) -

* The Passion / Cross (Reflections) -

* Rome's Lenten Station Churches -

* Prayers & Devotions -

* Indulgences -

* Works of Mercy -

* Sin & Vice: Q & A -

* Stabat Mater (Sequence) -

* Collages (Incl. Holy Land, Church of the Holy Sepulchre) -

* Coloring Pages (Incl. Last Supper, Jesus Washing Apostle's Feet) -

Looking For Something Else? Try Our Various Indexes For 15,000+ Entries -

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"You cannot better appreciate your worth than by looking into the mirror of the Cross of Christ; there you will learn how you are to deflate your pride, how you must mortify the desires of the flesh, how you are to pray to your Father for those who persecute you, and to commend your spirit into God's hands." (St. Anthony of Padua, Doctor of the Church)

"Now the whole essence of a Christian life is to reject the corruption of the world and to oppose constantly any indulgence in it; this is taught in the words and deeds, the laws and institutions, the life and death of Jesus Christ, 'the author and finisher of faith.' Hence, however strongly We are deterred by the evil disposition of nature and character, it is our duty to run to the 'fight proposed to Us,' fortified and armed with the same desire and the same arms as He who, 'having joy set before him, endured the cross.' Wherefore let men understand this specially, that it is most contrary to Christian duty to follow, in worldly fashion, pleasures of every kind, to be afraid of the hardships attending a virtuous life, and to deny nothing to self that soothes and delights the senses. 'They that are Christ's, have crucified their flesh, with the vices and concupiscences' - so that it follows that they who are not accustomed to suffering, and who hold not ease and pleasure in contempt belong not to Christ." (Pope Leo XIII, "Exeunte Iam Anno", 1888)

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iStations - For the iPad®, iPhone®, and iPod touch® [Note: Android version also available]

Presented by

"A Convenient Devotional Aid For Catholics"

Please Note: As previously indicated, we usually avoid including additional images in our newsletters in order to maintain a smaller e-mail size. However, we again felt it important to include the images below in order to illustrate the app's features. The images will only display in html mode if they are not turned off. We hope this will not cause any inconvenience.

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iStations App Screenshots

Description: iStations is a convenient devotional aid for privately praying the Stations of the Cross (Way of the Cross)

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Features (v. 1.0):

* Beautiful images

* Two traditional methods, including a Franciscan method

* Audio option (convenient toggle button plays/stops audio for default method)

* 'Always accessible' prayers button for viewing selected English/Latin prayers (including the Stabat Mater)

* Three ways to navigate from station to station: Use the main menu, use 'next'/'previous' buttons - or iStations can navigate automatically when using the audio option (if desired)

* In-app help

* Links for additional resources

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Great for:

* Fridays

* Lent

* Penitential times

* Times of suffering

* Times of temptation

* Before or after Confession

* Preparing to participate in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass

* Family devotions

* Daily meditation

* Any other appropriate time+

[+ Please Note: This app is NOT for use in church]

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Devices Supported: iPad, iPhone, iPod touch [Android version also available]

Limited Time Offer! Just: $0.99 U.S. (plus tax, if applicable) [Android version on sale from $1.29]

Available For Download At:

Android Version Available For Download At: [Or At Amazon's Appstore: ]

More Information: [For Android version, please visit ]

Online Feedback:

Terms of Use:

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You Can Help!

* Buy the app (see links above)

* Tell your friends & fellow parishioners

* Like the app? Please review it!

* Let us know what you think. We welcome & value your feedback!

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Catholic Family Prayer

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Note: In 1889, Pope Leo XIII granted an indulgence of 200 days to those who recited the following prayer. [Reminder: Sweeping changes were made to indulgences in the wake of the Second Vatican Council. For more information, please visit ]

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God of goodness and mercy, we commend to Thy all-powerful protection our home, our family, and all that we possess. Bless us all as Thou didst bless the holy family of Nazareth.

O Jesus, our most holy Redeemer, by the love with which Thou didst become man in order to save us, by the mercy through which Thou didst die for us upon the cross, we entreat Thee to bless our home, our family, our household. Preserve us from all evil and from the snares of men; preserve us from lightning and hail and fire, from flood and from the rage of the elements; preserve us from Thy wrath, from all hatred and from the evil intentions of our enemies, from plague, famine, and war. Let not one of us die without the holy sacraments. Bless us, that we may always openly confess our faith which is to sanctify us, that we may never falter in our hope, even amid pain and affliction, that we may ever grow in love for Thee and in charity toward our neighbor. O Jesus, bless us, protect us.

O Mary, Mother of grace and mercy, bless us, protect us against the evil spirit; lead us by the hand through this vale of tears; reconcile us with thy divine Son; commend us to Him, that we may be made worthy of His promises.

Saint Joseph, reputed father of Our Saviour, guardian of His most holy Mother, head of the holy family, intercede for us, bless and protect our home always.

Saint Michael, defend us against all the wicked wiles of hell.

Saint Gabriel, obtain for us that we may understand the holy will of God.

Saint Raphael, preserve us from ill-health and all danger to life.

Holy guardian angels, keep us day and night in the way to salvation.

Holy patrons, pray for us before the throne of God.

Bless this house, Thou, God our Father, Who didst create us; Thou, divine Son, Who didst suffer for us on the cross; thou, Holy Spirit, Who didst sanctify us in Baptism. May God, in His three divine Persons, preserve our body, purify our soul, direct our heart, and lead us to life everlasting.

Glory be to the Father, glory be to the Son, glory be to the Holy Ghost. Amen.

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For more prayers, please visit

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Liturgical Feasts in February

The following is a listing of all liturgical feast dates for February as they appear at

Note: (T) = Traditional, (N) = New (Novus Ordo)

Reminder: Feasts may be superseded / transferred / etc.

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February 1 - St. Brigid (T)

February 1 - St. Ignatius of Antioch (T)

February 2 - Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary (T)

February 2 - The Presentation of the Lord (N)

February 3 - St. Blase of Sebaste (T)

February 3 - St. Ansgar (N)

February 3 - St. Blase of Sebaste (N)

February 4 - St. Andrew Corsini (T)

February 5 - St. Agatha of Sicily (T)

February 5 - St. Philip of Jesus (T)

February 5 - St. Agatha of Sicily (N)

February 6 - St. Dorothy (T)

February 6 - St. Titus of Crete (T)

February 6 - St. Paul Miki & companions (N)

February 7 - St. Romuald (T)

February 8 - St. John of Matha (T)

February 8 - St. Jerome Emiliani (N)

February 8 - St. Josephine Bakhita (N)

February 9 - St. Apollonia (T)

February 9 - St. Cyril of Alexandria (T)

February 10 - St. Scholastica (T)

February 10 - St. Scholastica (N)

February 11 - Our Lady of Lourdes (T)

February 11 - Our Lady of Lourdes (N)

February 12 - The Seven Founders of the Servite Order (T)

February 14 - St. Valentine (T)

February 14 - Sts. Cyril & Methodius (N)

February 15 - Sts. Faustinus & Jovita (T)

February 17 - Seven Founders of the Order of Servites (N)

February 18 - St. Mary Bernard (Bernadette) Soubirous (T)

February 18 - St. Simeon (T)

February 21 - St. Peter Damian (N)

February 22 - St. Paul (T)

February 22 - St. Peter's Chair at Antioch (T)

February 22 - Chair of St. Peter, apostle (N)

February 23 - St. Peter Damian (T)

February 23 - St. Polycarp (N)

February 24 - St. Matthias, apostle (T)

February 27 - St. Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows (T)

Please Note: Above may exclude moveable feasts. For moveable feasts, see below & try here: . For other feasts, try the MCS Daily Digest each day at


2/5/12 - Septuagesima Sunday (T)

2/12/12 - S exagesima Sunday (T)

2/19/12 - Quinquagesima Sunday (T)

2/22/12 - Ash Wednesday

2/26/12 - First Sunday of Lent (Quadragesima Sunday)

2/29/12 - Ember Wednesday in Lent (T)

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'Catholic Trivia'

1. What does St. Bonaventure say conduces to the sanctity of a soul?

2. Whoever wants to be a lover of the world makes himself what?

3. What do the initials CSSML stand for and where do they appear?

4. Complete the sentence: "Those whom I love, I ___"

5. What does póntifex máximus mean?

6. Who said the following...? "For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified."

7. In the traditional liturgical calendar, what octaves can a double of the first class have?

8. Name four places in Scripture where Jesus says divorce / remarriage is adultery

9. What is the third Sunday before Ash Wednesday (traditional liturgical calendar) which begins the preparatory period for Lent?

10. What is Pope Gregory XVI referring to in the following passage? "Now We consider another abundant source of the evils with which the Church is afflicted at present... This perverse opinion is spread on all sides by the fraud of the wicked who claim that it is possible to obtain the eternal salvation of the soul by the profession of any kind of religion, as long as morality is maintained. Surely, in so clear a matter, you will drive this deadly error far from the people committed to your care. With the admonition of the apostle that 'there is one God, one faith, one baptism' may those fear who contrive the notion that the safe harbor of salvation is open to persons of any religion whatever. They should consider the testimony of Christ Himself that 'those who are not with Christ are against Him,' and that they disperse unhappily who do not gather with Him. Therefore 'without a doubt, they will perish forever, unless they hold the Catholic faith whole and inviolate.' Let them hear Jerome who, while the Church was torn into three parts by schism, tells us that whenever someone tried to persuade him to join his group he always exclaimed: 'He who is for the See of Peter is for me.' A schismatic flatters himself falsely if he asserts that he, too, has been washed in the waters of regeneration. Indeed Augustine would reply to such a man: 'The branch has the same form when it has been cut off from the vine; but of what profit for it is the form, if it does not live from the root?'" (Pope Gregory XVI)



1. "Whosoever wishes to increase always in virtue and grace, should meditate without ceasing of the Passion of Jesus; for nothing conduces more to sanctify a soul than the frequent remembrance of the sufferings of Christ." (St. Bonaventure)

2. "Adulterers! Do you not know that to be a lover of the world means enmity with God? Therefore, whoever wants to be a lover of the world makes himself an enemy of God." (Jms. 4:4) [DR Trans.: "Adulterers, know you not that the friendship of this world is the enemy of God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of this world becometh an enemy of God." (Jms. 4:4)]

3. The initials CSSML stand for "Crux Sacra sit mihi Lux" ("May the Holy Cross by my Light"). They appear on the medal of St. Benedict.

4. "Those whom I love, I reprove and chastise. Be earnest, therefore, and repent." (Rv. 3:19)

5. Póntifex máximus is Latin for "supreme pontiff" (the Pope)

6. St. Paul in 1 Cor. 2:2

7. In the traditional liturgical calendar, a double of the first class can have: a privileged octave (of the first, second, or third order), a common octave, or a simple octave

8. Jesus says divorce / remarriage is adultery in Mt. 5:32, Mt. 19:9, Mk. 10:11-12, and Lk. 16:18

9. Septuagesima Sunday

10. Indifferentism


For more information concerning the topics above, try our General A-Z Index at

Like trivia? You might enjoy our crossword puzzles located at

You might also be interested in the Q & A and historical information which may be found each day on the MCS Daily Digest at

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Defending the Faith: "Apologetics Brief" - Do You Reject the Concept of Confessing Sins to a Priest?

It is good for Catholics to be able to defend their faith against attacks (or even simple questions) from those outside the Church. We therefore hope you may find the following "apologetics brief" helpful.

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Note: Text below is taken from

The following may be used as discussion points when discoursing with those outside the Church (or even among Catholics).

Topic: Do You Reject the Concept of Confessing Sins to a Priest? (Note: Topic is directed at Protestants)


* Considering that Christ has invested certain men with the power to forgive sins or retain sins ["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. 20:22-23)], how do you suppose these men could do this if they did not know which sins any particular person has committed? Do you imagine that God gave them the power to read minds?

* How do you suppose a person could be given a fitting remedy if the disease is unknown? "[T]he minister [cannot] apply a fitting remedy, unless he be acquainted with the sin, which knowledge he acquires through the penitent's confession." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

* How do you suppose our "spiritual diseases" could be cured if we do not disclose them to the physicians appointed by Christ? Remember that although Christ could heal you of your bodily ills directly, His ordinary providence utilizes the efforts of men. Or would you also deny that He uses men to heal you of bodily diseases?

* Can you not see that Confession brings great benefits to society [especially restitution and the deterrence from future sin (since one who commits sin must confess it and must do penance)]?

* Can you not see that Confession is good for one's spiritual and mental health (people need to actually hear the words that they are forgiven of their sins)?

* Do you also reject the Old Testament basis for the confession of sins (e.g. Lev. 5:5, Num. 5, 2 Sam. 12:13)? "He who conceals his sins prospers not, but he who confesses and forsakes them obtains mercy." (Prov. 28:13)

* If you reject confession of sins to priests under the New Testament, does this mean you also reject the Old Testament practice of priests declaring persons clean or unclean? Or do you also argue that this was left to God alone?

* Why do you reject the confession of sins to men when Scripture shows that persons "confessed" their sins to St. John the Baptist (see Mt. 3:6, Mk. 1:5) "It is necessary to confess our sins to those to whom the dispensation of God's mysteries is entrusted. Those doing penance of old are found to have done it before the saints. It is written it the Gospel that they confessed their sins to John the Baptist; but in Acts they confessed to the Apostles, by whom also all were baptized." (St. Basil the Great, Doctor of the Church, c. 371 A.D.)

* Since Christ has stated that certain authorized persons have the power to forgive sins, why do you deny this? Do you think it pleases Him that you prefer to go to Him directly when He was the very one who established men as the dispensers of His forgiveness (see Jn. 20:22-23)? Imagine if you had a supervisor (Joe) who instructed you to contact a certain person (Bob) for assistance with a particular matter, but you instead ignored your supervisor's instruction and kept going directly to Joe instead of Bob each time that the matter came up. Do you actually think Joe would be pleased that you were ignoring (disobeying) his explicit instructions? Why is it you think Christ invested certain persons with the power to forgive sins (see Jn. 20:22-23) if He didn't want people to go to them for forgiveness? Do you imagine that you are pleasing Him by rejecting the very means He Himself established?

* If you argue that "there is one mediator between God and men" (1 Tim. 2:5), how can you explain the clear mandate in Scripture that...?

"Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained." (Jn. 20:23)

"Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." (Mt. 16:19)

"Amen, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." (Mt. 18:18)

Why are you unwilling to admit that authorized men have a "ministry of reconciliation" (2 Cor. 5:18) and are "ambassadors for Christ" (2 Cor. 5:20)? Why are you unwilling to admit that what Christ said is true [namely, "Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained." (Jn. 20:23)]? Do you actually suppose Christ speaks without meaning?

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"Invested, then, as they are, by our Lord with power to remit and retain sins, priests are evidently appointed judges of the matter on which they are to pronounce; and since, according to the wise remark of the Council of Trent, we cannot form an accurate judgment on any matter, or award to crime a just proportion of punishment without having previously examined and made ourselves well acquainted with the case, it follows that the penitent is obliged to make known to the priests through the medium of confession, each and every sin." (Catechism of the Council of Trent)

"We read in Leviticus about lepers, where they are ordered to show themselves to the priest, and if they have leprosy, then they are to be declared unclean by the priest. It is not that the priests make them lepers and unclean; rather, it is the priests who separate the leper from the one who is not a leper, and they can distinguish the clean from the unclean. Just as in the Old Testament the priest makes the leper clean or unclean, so in the New Testament the bishop binds or looses not those who are innocent or guilty, by reason of their office, when they have heard various kinds of sins, they know who is to be bound and who is to be loosed." (St. Jerome, Doctor of the Church, c. 398 A.D.)

"The manifold mercy of God came to the assistance of fallen men in such a way that the hope of eternal life might be recovered not only by the grace of baptism, but also by the remedy of penance, that those who have violated the gifts of regeneration, condemning themselves by their own judgment, might attain to the remission of their sins; the help of divine goodness having been so ordered that the indulgence of God cannot be obtained except by the supplications of the priests. For 'the Mediator of God and of men, the man Christ Jesus' [cf. 1 Tim. 2:5] has entrusted this power to the leaders of the Church, that they might both grant the action of penance to those confessing, and admit the same [persons] cleansed by salutary satisfaction to the communion of the sacraments through the gate of reconciliation." (Pope St. Leo the Great, Doctor of the Church, 459 A.D.)

"These words [of absolution from the priest in Confession] fall, it is true, from the lips of one who, in his turn, must needs beg the same absolution from another priest. This does not debase the merciful gift; but makes it, rather, appear greater; since beyond the weak creature is seen more clearly the hand of God through whose power is wrought this wonder. As an illustrious layman has written, treating with rare competence of spiritual things: '...when a priest, groaning in spirit at his own unworthiness and at the loftiness of his office, places his consecrated hands upon our heads; when, humiliated at finding himself the dispenser of the Blood of the Covenant; each time amazed as he pronounces the words that give life; when a sinner has absolved a sinner; we, who rise from our knees before him, feel we have done nothing debasing... We have been at the feet of a man who represented Jesus Christ... we have been there to receive the dignity of free men and of sons of God.'" (Pope Pius XI, "Ad Catholici Sacerdotii", 1935 A.D.)

"This truth is clearly conveyed by our Lord Himself, when, by a most beautiful metaphor, He calls the power of administering this Sacrament, the key of the kingdom of heaven. Just as no one can enter any place without the help of him who has the keys, so no one is admitted to heaven unless its gates be unlocked by the priests to whose custody the Lord gave the keys. This power would otherwise be of no use in the Church. If heaven can be entered without the power of the keys, in vain would they to whom the keys were given seek to prevent entrance within its portals. This thought was familiar to the mind of St. Augustine. Let no man, he says, say within himself: 'I repent in secret to the Lord. God, who has power to pardon me, knows the inmost sentiments of my heart.' Was there then no reason for saying 'whatsoever you loose on earth, shall be loosed in heaven'; no reason why the keys were given to the Church of God? This same doctrine is taught by St. Ambrose in his treatise On Penance, when refuting the heresy of the Novatians who asserted that the power of forgiving sins belonged solely to God. Who, says he, yields greater reverence to God, he who obeys or he who resists His commands? God commands us to obey his ministers; and by obeying them, we honor God alone." (Catechism of the Council of Trent)

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In Closing...

"Jesus reigns over the family when it, modeled after the holy ideals of the sacrament of matrimony instituted by Christ, maintains unspotted its true character of sanctuary. In such a sanctuary of love, parental authority is fashioned after the authority of God, the Father, from Whom, as a matter of fact, it originates and after which even it is named. (Ephesians iii, 15) The obedience of the children imitates that of the Divine Child of Nazareth, and the whole family life is inspired by the sacred ideals of the Holy Family." (Pope Pius XI, "Ubi Arcano Dei Consilio", 1922)

"Family life in the dignity and sacredness which properly belong to it is the blessing and fruit of Christianity, one of mankind's earliest means of sanctification. From the beginning, God established the marriage state - and, through it, family life - as the foundation and corner-stone of human society. But the divine designs having been frustrated or destroyed by man's wickedness and impiety, the only begotten Son of God descended from heaven and made himself a member of a human family in order to purify all the families of earth from sin, and restore them to their pristine dignity. Yes, by becoming man, Christ gave to the family a higher dignity, making it, through his grace, a type of his Church. The more an anti-Christian spirit prevails, the greater and more baneful will be its effects upon family-life. What wonder, then, that, at the present day, unbelief is sapping the very foundations of the Christian household, until we behold it tottering and crumbling before our very eyes!" ('Catholic pulpit excellence', 1891)

"Let us take our stand in front of that earthly and divine home of holiness, the House of Nazareth. How much we have to learn from the daily life which was led within its walls! What an all-perfect model of domestic society! Here we behold simplicity and purity of conduct, perfect agreement and unbroken harmony, mutual respect and love - not of the false and fleeting kind - but that which finds both its life and its charm in devotedness of service. Here is the patient industry which provides what is required for food and raiment; which does so 'in the sweat of the brow,' which is contented with little, and which seeks rather to diminish the number of its wants than to multiply the sources of its wealth. Better than all, we find there that supreme peace of mind and gladness of soul which never fail to accompany the possession of a tranquil conscience. These are precious examples of goodness, of modesty, of humility, of hard-working endurance, of kindness to others, of diligence in the small duties of daily life, and of other virtues, and once they have made their influence felt they gradually take root in the soul, and in course of time fail not to bring about a happy change of mind and conduct." (Pope Leo XIII, "Laetitiae Sanctae", 1893)

"O Lord Jesus Christ, who, becoming subject to Mary and Joseph, didst hallow home life by singular virtues; by the help of both, do thou grant that we may be taught by the example of thy Holy Family, and have fellowship with it for evermore: Who livest." (Collect, Feast of the Holy Family)

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