Catholic Tradition Newsletter D13, Penance, Laetare Sunday, Saint John Damascene


Vol 15 Issue 13 ~ Editor: Rev. Fr. Courtney Edward Krier 
March 26, 2022 ~ Lenten Feria

1.         Sacrament of Penance
2.         Laetare Sunday
3.         Saint John Damascene
4.         Family and Marriage
5.         Articles and notices
Dear Reader:

The only opposition against the destruction of the family by those promoting a one world anti-Christ tyranny is Russia with its, albeit schismatic and heretical, Christianity. The devil is having a heyday as everyone who claims to be Roman Catholic is praying not for their Russia’s conversion to true Catholicism (which would be politically and ecumenically incorrect) but that the Russian nation be overthrown by LGBTQ+ and New World Order Oligarchs that rule Western Europe, Canada, Australia and the United States of America. I find this, as a faithful Catholic, insane that people are actually praying for the overthrow of Christian morality in the name of godless immorality. For this poor soul, may someone please tell me what happened that faithful Catholics now support the apostate Catholics Biden and Pelosi in wrenching the United States of America from family values and placing it on the path of the LGBTQ+ and Woke anarchism because they want to have Ukraine join the same New World Order! The Ukrainians have persecuted the Latin Rite Catholics for centuries; they make it a business to use surrogate mothers to pop out babies like rabbits in order to traffic them or worse yet; they have a regime promoting homosexuality; and the only ones sickened by the immorality is the Russian Orthodox Clergy and faithful in their midst—not the usurper in the Vatican. For me I can hear even the pious but ignorant Jew, still holding his leaders as the voice of God, crying out in the praetorium of Pontius Pilate: Crucify Him, crucify Him! Not knowing he was actually calling for the death of God. The only hope is that of Our Lord’s words: Father, forgive them for they know not what they do. Come Lord Jesus, before we destroy all resemblance of our humanity!

Yes, let us pray for peace and for the conversion of Russia to the true Faith, not consecrate it to the New World Order through the façade of a false devotion to Mary to entice the faithful to join the scoffers of religion. If one accepts this act under Bergoglio as if he were Pope, then one must renounce the Catholic Church as the one true Church Christ founded and join in the kumbayas of pan-theism which he celebrates. (See:

May Our Lord Jesus Christ and His Holy Mother Mary lovingly look upon those devoted to them, giving them the light of the one true faith with the grace for a true conversion from immorality—immorality is the shattering of one’s relationship with God and cause of one’s eternal perdition.

As always, enjoy the readings provided for your benefit.—The Editor




The Church’s Power to Forgive Sins


The Existence of the Church’s Power to Forgive Sins

§ 4. The Testimony of Tradition

2. Testimony of the Third and Fourth Centuries.

Eusebius (Hist. eccl. V 28, 8-12) relates that the Roman Confessor Natalis, who had lapsed to the Dynamistic Monarchists, and who had become their Bishop, mollified by severe penitential practices “the sympathetic Church of the merciful Christ,” and was re-accepted into the Church community by Pope St. Zephyrinus (199-217).

Tertullian, in his work, De poenitentia, which was composed during the time he was a Catholic, speaks of a two-fold penance, a first penance as a preparation for Baptism (c. 1-6), and a second penance after Baptism (c 7-12). With the Pastor Hermae he teaches that the second penance can be received only once. The penitents must submit themselves to the exhomologesis (c. 9), that is, to public confession and to severe penitential works, and after the performance of the penance are publicly absolved (palam absolvi: c. 10), and re-accepted into the Church community (restitui; c. 8). No sin, not even impurity and idolatry, is excluded from Penance.

Tertullian’s second work on Penance, which was written after his lapse to Montanism, and which bore the title De pudicitia (On Propriety) contains a sharp polemic against the Penance practice of the Catholic Church. Its main object is to demonstrate the unforgivable nature of the sins of adultery and unchastity (fornicatio). In the beginning of his work Tertullian mentions the “edictum peremptorium” of a “Pontifex maximus, quod est episcopus episcoporum,” in which the latter had declared: Ego et moechiac et fornicationis delicta poenitentia functis dimitto (the Pontifex maximus, the bishop of bishops . . . (who declared) “I dismiss by Penance the sins of adultery and /420/ fornication” (1, 6), which, according to Tertullian’s opinion, undermines all Christian chastity and morality. The authorship of this Edict was formerly almost generally ascribed to Pope St. Callistus I (217-222) or to his predecessor St. Zephyrinus (199-217). Modern research tends to attribute it to an African Bishop, probably Bishop Agrippinus of Carthage. Tertullian distinguishes between sins which can be forgiven and sins which cannot be forgiven, and speaks correspondingly of a double penance, one which can bring about forgiveness and one which cannot (c. 2). In the category of sins which cannot be forgiven he puts the three sins, grouped together here for the first time, the so-called capital sins: Idolatry, adultery and murder (c. 5). The Catholic Church, against which he directed his polemic, maintained, on the other hand, that every penance led to forgiveness (c. 3). The unnamed Bishop derived the Church’s power to forgive sins from Mt. 16, 18 et seq. ab (c. 21).

In the same period the milder directive of Pope St. Callistus in the controversy about penance was combated by St. Hippolytus (Philosophumena DC 12). The polemic showed that in Rome all sinners who had done penance were re-accepted into the Church communion. St. Callistus declared that: “by him the sins of all were forgiven them.”

For the Church of the East St. Clement of Alexandria and Origen bear witness that the power to forgive all sins was attributed to the Church. According to St. Clement: “the doors are open to everyone, who in truth of his whole heart returns to God, and God receives with heartfelt joy the son who truly does penance ” (Quis dives salvetur 39, 2; cf. 42). Among the many ways of achieving forgiveness of sins, Origen names in the seventh place, “the hard and laborious forgiveness of sins by penance,” which is attained by confession of sins before “the priest of the Lord” and by severe penitential practices (In Lev. hom. 2, 4). Cf. C. Celsum III 51.

When many Christians lapsed from the Faith during the Decian persecution (249-51), the problem of the treatment of the lapsed became pressing. St. Cyprian, in his work De lapsis and in his epistles, attests that the Church claimed the power of re-admitting those who had lapsed, just like all other sinners who had done penance, into the communion of the Church. Against a tendency to laxity in his clergy he stresses the necessity of penance as a precondition for the re-admission of the lapsed (De lapsis 16). Against the rigorism of Novatian he defends the power of the Church to forgive all sins, including apostasy (Ep. 55, 27).

In the following, centuries testimonies for the ecclesiastical forgiveness of sin multiply. Against the Novatianists the Church doctrine of penance was defended by St. Pacianus (+ 390), Bishop of Barcelona; by St. Ambrose in a special work entitled: De poenitentia; against the Donatists by St. Augustine. Cf. also St. John Chrysostom, De sacerd. III, 5.

From the testimonies cited it is evident that Christian antiquity bears witness to the existence of an unlimited power to forgive sins conferred by Christ on His Church. (To be continued)


The Sunday Sermons of the Great Fathers

M. F. Toal


JOHN vi. 1-15

At that time, Jesus went over the sea of Galilee, which is that of Tiberias. And a great multitude followed him, because they saw the miracles which he did on them that were diseased. Jesus therefore went up into a mountain, and there he sat with his disciples. Now the pasch, the festival day of the Jews, was near at hand. When Jesus therefore had lifted up his eyes, and seen that a very great multitude cometh to him, he said to Philip: whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat? And this he said to try him; for he himself knew what he would do. Philip answered him: two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one may take a little. One of his disciples, Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, saith to him: There is a boy here that hath five barley loaves, and two fishes; but what are these among so many? Then Jesus said: Make the men sit down. Now there was much grass in the place. The men therefore sat down, in number about five thousand. And Jesus took the loaves: and when he had given thanks, he distributed to them that were set down. In like manner also of the fishes, as much as they would.

And when they were filled, he said to his disciples: Gather up the fragments that remain, lest they be lost. They gathered up therefore, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above to them that had eaten. Now these men, when they had seen what a miracle Jesus had done, said: This is of a truth the prophet, that is to come into the world. Jesus therefore, when he knew they would come to take him by force, and make him king, fled again into the mountains himself alone.


On Good Works and Almsdeeds

Manifold and wonderful, Dearly Beloved Brethren, are the divine favours by means of which the rich and inexhaustible divine mercy labours, and never ceases to labour, for our salvation. For this cause the Father has sent His Son, that He might redeem us, giving us life, and preserving us in it; and that He might make us children of God the Son willed to be sent, and to become the Son of man. He stooped down to us, that He might raise up a people who before lay prone. He was wounded, that He might heal our wounds. He became Himself a servant, that He might deliver the enslaved. He submitted to death, that He might confer immortality on mortal men.

Such are the great and manifold gifts of the divine mercy. But yet more, what providence is this, and what clemency, that there has been provided for us a special means whereby we may win salvation, so that on man once redeemed yet ever more anxious care is bestowed to preserve him? For when the Lord at His Coming healed the wounds that afflicted Adam, and cured him of the ancient poison of the serpent, He gave a law to man restored, and bade him sin no more, lest to him who sins a greater ill befall. We have been drawn together, and enclosed as it were in a narrow space, by this rule of blamelessness. Nor had the weakness and folly of frail humanity anything that could help it had not the divine clemency, again making known to us the ways of justice and mercy, opened to us a certain way of guarding our soul’s health, so that whatever the stains we may have contracted after our baptism, we may wash them away by the giving of alms.

The Holy Spirit speaks to us in the Sacred Scriptures and says: By mercy and faith sins are purged away (Prov. xv. 27). Not indeed those offences that were committed before (baptism): for they are purged away by the blood and sanctification of Christ. And again He says: As water quencheth a flaming fire, and alms resisteth sins (Ecclus. iii. 33). Here also is it shown to us, and proved, that as the fire of hell is put out by the laver of saving water, so is the flame of evil-doing extinguished by good works and almsdeeds. And since but once is forgiveness of sin bestowed by baptism, yet steadfast and uninterrupted almsgiving bestows on us again as in baptism, the remission of our offences.

This the Lord also teaches us in the Gospel. For when the Disciples were criticized for eating with unwashed hands He defended them, and said: He that made that which is without, made also that which is within. But give alms, and behold, all things are clean unto you (Lk. xi. 40); teaching us and showing, that it is not the hands that must be washed, but our hearts; and that we must be at pains to remove inward rather than outward stains: for he who has purified himself inwardly has also begun to purify himself exteriorly; for when the soul is made clean, the skin and body begin likewise to be made clean. And again, warning us and teaching us whence we can be made clean, He adds: that we must give alms. He Who is Himself merciful teaches us and exhorts us to be merciful; and because He seeks to save those whom He has at a great price redeemed, He shows how those who after baptism have become defiled can again be made clean.

Let us then, Dearly Beloved, acknowledge this healthful gift of the divine clemency, and let us who are never free of some wound in our conscience cure our souls, purifying and cleansing them of sin by the aid of these spiritual remedies. Do not let anyone flatter himself that he has a pure and stainless heart, so that, confiding in his blamelessness, he considers he has no need to apply a remedy to his wounds; for it was written: Who can say: my heart is clean: I am pure from sin? (Prov. xx. 29). And again John, in his Epistle, states and declares: If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us (I Jn. i. 8).

But if there can be no one without sin, and if anyone who says he is blameless is either conceited or a fool, how necessary then, how considerate, the divine mercy which, knowing that to those who were healed there will afterwards come fresh wounds, has given us these saving remedies to heal us and take care of our wounds again.

Finally, Dearly Beloved, never has the divine warning ceased and grown silent, since in the Holy Scriptures, both of the Old and the New Testament, the people of God are ever and in all places urged to do works of mercy; and whosoever is instructed unto the hope of the kingdom of heaven is bidden in the prophesying and exhortation of the Holy Spirit to give alms. God ordained and commanded Isaiah: Cry, He says, cease not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew the people their wicked doings, and the house of Jacob their sins (Is. lviii. 1). And when He commanded him to reproach them for their sinfulness, and when in the full force of His wrath He had made known their iniquities, and had declared that neither by entreaties nor by prayers nor by fasting could they make satisfaction for their sins, nor could they by clothing themselves in sackcloth and ashes soften the anger of God, yet, in the end, proving to us that God can be appeased by almsgiving alone, He goes on to say: Deal thy bread to the hungry, and bring the needy and the harbourless into thy house: when thou shalt see one naked, cover him, and despise not thy own flesh. Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thy health shall speedily arise, and thy justice shall go before thy face, and the glory of the Lord shall gather thee up. Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall hear: thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am (Is. lviii. 7-9).

The means to propitiate God are given us in God’s very words. The divine teachings make clear to us what sinners must do: make satisfaction to God by good works; and that sins are purged away by the rewards of mercy. And in Solomon we read: Shut up alms in the heart of the poor, and it shall obtain help for thee against all evil (Ecclus. xxix. 15). And again: He that stoppeth his ear against the cry of the poor, shall also cry himself and not be heard (Prov. xxi. 13).

Nor will the man who could have been merciful, and was not, receive mercy from God; nor will he, even through prayer, win anything from the divine compassion, who hardened his own heart to the prayer of the poor. The Holy Spirit has declared this to us in the psalms, saying: Blessed is he that understands concerning the needy and the poor, for in the day of evil the Lord shall deliver him (Ps. xl. 2).

Daniel, mindful of these warnings, when Nabuchodonosor was terrified by his evil dream, offered

him this means of receiving divine help to prevent the disaster, saying to him: Wherefore, O King, let my counsel be acceptable to thee, and redeem thou thy sins with alms, and thy iniquities with works of mercy to the poor: perhaps he will forgive thy offences (Dan. iv. 24). But the king paying no heed to his counsel suffered the afflictions and disasters of his dream, when he could have avoided them and escaped them had he redeemed his sins with almsgiving.

And the Angel Raphael bears witness to the same, and exhorts us to give alms freely and generously, saying to us: Prayer is good with fasting and almsdeeds; for alms delivereth from death, and the same purgeth away sins (Tob. xii. 8, 9). He shows us that prayer and fasting is not enough, and that they are to be assisted by almsdeeds; that supplication alone avails little to obtain what we ask, unless joined to good works and acts of mercy. The Angel reveals, and makes clear to us, and confirms to us, that our requests become efficacious through almsgiving, that our life shall be delivered from dangers by almsgiving, that our soul shall be delivered from death through almsgiving.

And, Dearly Beloved, we do not say this to you without being able to confirm from the witness of Truth what the Angel Raphael made known to us. For his testimony is confirmed from an event fully recorded in the Acts of the Apostles, which proves to us that we can be freed, not alone from the second, but even from the first death, by means of almsgiving.

When Tabitha, who was much given to good works and almsgiving, became ill and died (Acts ix. 36-41), Peter was summoned to her lifeless body. And when he with apostolic zeal had come in great haste, there round about stood the widows, weeping and praying, who showed him the cloaks and tunics and all the garments they had in the times past received from her. They pleaded for the departed, not alone with their voices, but also with her own good works.

Peter believed that what was so asked for might be obtained, and that the help of Christ would not be wanting to the widows: for he too had been clothed as the widows had been. When therefore he had gone on his knees and prayed, and, as a fitting advocate of the poor and of the widows, had offered to the Lord the prayers entrusted to him, he cried out: Tabitha, in the Name of Jesus Christ, arise. Nor did He Who had said in the Gospel: Anything you shall ask in My Name I will give to you, fail Peter. For immediately He came to his aid. And because of this death is suspended, and the spirit restored, and to the wonder and admiration of them all, the revived body is reawakened once more to the light of this world. So much could the rewards of merit achieve, so much did good works avail. She who had generously given the means to sustain life to the widows in need merited through the prayers of the widows to be recalled to life.



St. John of Damascus, Confessor and Doctor of the Church

1. St. John was born about 676, the Son of a high official of the Caliph of Damascus. His father, an exemplary Christian and a noble man, gave the boy a good education. In 690 he succeeded his father as president of the public administration of Caliph, and served for some years. Meanwhile, John decided to enter the monastery of St. Saba, near Jerusalem. As monk and priest he took up the fight against the Iconoclasts, both in preaching and in writing. A number of his treatises in defense of Catholic doctrine have been preserved. He was the first to present the Church’s teachings in condensed form. His death probably occurred in 750. In 1890 Pope Leo XIII elevated him to the dignity of a Doctor of the Church.

2. “The Lord guided his faithful servant straight to his goal. . . . Knavery went about to get the better of him, but the Lord stood by him and prospered him . . . . When the innocent man was sold for a slave, wisdom did not desert him, did not leave him in the hands of his persecutors, but went down with him into his dungeon. Fast was he bound but she had not finished with him till she gave him dominion over a whole kingdom. . . . So she brought home the lie to those who had traduced him, and won him everlasting fame” (Lesson). What the Scripture here says about the patriarch Jacob and the Egyptian Joseph, the liturgy applies to St. John of Damascus. He had to suffer much at the hands of the Iconoclasts (image-breakers) and, especially because of the Emperor, who ordered that all pictures and statues be removed from churches, chapels, and private homes, to be burned. This act moved John to write; “Since I see that the Church is being shaken by a violent storm, I cannot remain silent, unworthy as I am. I fear God more than the Emperor.” To the faithful he cried out: “If anyone preaches to you anything besides the doctrine of the Church, the Fathers, and the Councils, stop up your ears.” To the Emperor himself he declared: “Prince, we obey you in worldly matters, but we cannot obey an imperial edict that contradicts the holy customs of our ancestors.”

Thereupon the Emperor forged a letter purporting to have been written by St. John and addressed to him. In this letter the Emperor is being urged to bring in his army to attack Damascus and free the Christians from the hands of the Caliph, that is, of the Mohammedans. When the Caliph saw this letter he immediately ordered that John’s right hand be cut off and that he be put to death. However, John’s fervent prayers to the Mother of God brought the miraculous restoration of his hand. (Note allusions to this legend in the Mass texts.) The Caliph recalled the death sentence because he was convinced of John’s innocence. Thus did God “keep him safe from his enemies.” But the Iconoclasts did not cease to slander this courageous defender of the true Faith. Emperor Constantine Copronymus, successor to Leo, called a synod in the hope of forcing the bishops to condemn the veneration of images. St. John was represented as an enemy of Christ and of the empire, a falsifier, an idolater, and a teacher of godlessness. “They will persecute you just as they have persecuted me . . . they will treat you thus because you bear my name.” “No servant can be greater than his master” (cf. John 15: 20) .

“She [wisdom] brought home the lie to those who had traduced him, and won him everlasting fame” (Lesson). It was the wisdom of God that moved the Fathers of the Council of Nicea (787) to restore the much-maligned John to honor. They condemned the Iconoclast emperors and the bishops who sided with them. Their approval of St. John was unanimous, in the words: “John, like the Apostle Matthew, left all things to follow the Savior. He preferred the insults of the Cross to the riches of Arabia; he chose trials for Christ’s sake in preference to the pleasures of the world. He carried his cross with Christ, and, in the interests of the cause of Jesus Christ, he issued a resounding battle cry from the distant Orient. The Violence, the infidelity, the heretical teachings of the Innovator of Constantinople enkindled his anger.” Then, after recounting the various controversies that St. John participated in while defending the veneration of images, the Fathers concluded with the sentence: “These are an everlasting monument to St. John of Damascus.” The Church in the Orient agreed with the Council, and it still accords him high honor and admiration in its liturgy. The Western Church, likewise, joins in the veneration of this courageous fighter as a saint and Doctor of the Church. All Catholics are grateful to the Saint for his opposition to error and despotism, and his undaunted defense of the cause of Christ and His saints.

3. Both gratitude and joy are implied when, with St. John in mind, we sing: “Thou dost hold me by my right hand and lead me to a way of thy own choosing, and take me up to thyself in glory” (Introit).

At the time when Pope Gregory II had just written a stern letter to Emperor Leo the Isaurian, reminding him that the civil power was not competent to judge matters of faith; when Patriarch Germanus of Constantinople had just been deposed because of his opposition to the iconoclastic notions of the same Emperor, then it was that the Minister of the Caliph of Damascus, St. John, boldly joined forces with the Holy Father and the Patriarch as a champion of the purity of doctrine, saying: “I fear God more than the Emperor. The thought that the evil comes from such a high place impels me the more urgently to oppose it, for I know how apt weak subjects are to be misled by the prominence of princes.” St. John was deeply interested in the cause of Christ, in the salvation of souls, in the purity of faith. He was prepared to sacrifice everything, if only the Faith and Christ may triumph. St. John exhibited both sanctity and integrity in living as he believed and taught. It is such monks, priests, and Christian laymen that our own times need.

Collect: Almighty, ever-living God, who didst endow blessed John with heavenly learning and admirable strength of mind to uphold the veneration of sacred images, grant us, by his intercession and example, to imitate the virtues and experience the protection of the saints whose images we hold in honor. Amen.

(Benedict Baur)




By Charles Hugo Doyle (1949)


One of the most rational and striking articles I ever read on petting appeared in the December, 1947, issue of “Your Life,” entitled “Public Petting Wastes Romance,” and written by Miriam Allen De Ford. After denouncing the prevalent habit of public petting in parks, cars, and theaters, the author states that “such intimate contacts in public often inflame passions which demand quick satisfaction in private. Secondly, they stir up sleeping dogs of desire in the onlooker. And thirdly, it is always open season on a girl who thinks so little of appearances and reputation as to be guilty of flaunting her love life so openly.”

Moreover, since so many young people have no home where they can do their courting, it often leads to serious frustration and nervous tension, which is the stuff of which neuroses are made.

Miss De Ford then referred to the great physical dangers that result from any sort of amorous kissing on the part of teen-agers (and unmarried adults). Speaking of the great epidemic of “unsolved murders in which women and girls—by no means always women of bad repute—have been found horribly beaten and mutilated, the girl who permits and participates in ‘necking’ anywhere and everywhere, without regard to self-control or the standards of civilized society, and then suddenly attempts to draw the line and dam off the forces she has aroused, may find herself in terrible peril.”

“One of the worst aspects of this practice,” concludes Miss De Ford, “is the effect it has on the very young, both by precocious stimulation, and by spreading the belief that it is necessary for them to allow it in order to be ‘popular.’ When mere children become convinced that companionship with children of the opposite sex implies promiscuous endearments, they are lighting a fire in which they will be burnt out long before their real season of love-making has arrived.” The moral side of this question will be treated later in this chapter.

Let us now turn our attention to the important consideration of the four maturities demanded of those who would begin serious company-keeping with a view to subsequent marriage—namely, physical maturity, intellectual maturity, emotional maturity, and vocational maturity.

Physical maturity

When we speak of physical maturity in relation to marriage, we speak of the obvious. Exhaustive comment on this topic is definitely unnecessary. All know that the period in life at which a person of either sex becomes functionally capable of germination is called puberty. It is equally common knowledge that pubescence usually is achieved in girls at twelve and in boys around fourteen and that whenever it does arrive, the sensory stimuli scream for attention. What not a few individuals fail to realize is that how these stimuli are met and held in check will play an important part in future behavior.

Many a romance has been doomed to failure from its inception by a suitor who failed to make the will rule the physical. The swelling river, so long as it is made to flow in its appointed channel within its own banks, can have its rushing waters harnessed so as to be a source of benefit and power to mankind. When the river overflows its banks and floods the surrounding land, it can bring death in its wake. So, too, with the physical stimuli of man. Harnessed, they can be real sources of power, but let run rampant they can cause sorrow and regret, and can destroy reputations and souls.

Remember that while puberty is usually reached at between twelve and fourteen, the development is not completed until one is twenty-one. It is a progressive affair and takes time. Above all, nature must not be tampered with. Bad habits acquired in junior or senior high school years may carry over into marriage and may even rob marriage of the complete physical satisfaction the innocent mate has a right to expect.

Nature punishes always, and pardons never, when her laws are violated or disregarded. Dr. James Foster Scott, writing on the subject of the solitary vice, says that “it produces its own train of personal neuroses, diseases and degenerations, injuring the soul, the character, perverting the instincts, ruining the nervous system and by striking at the very foundations from whence love comes, it unfits the victim for the high functions of marriage. It is a ‘furious task-master,’ universally berated, and its perpetrator is universally despised.”

Modern psychiatrists believe that the solitary vice is an expression of a fixation on self and thus is a narcissus complex. Self-abuse, when it becomes a deep-rooted habit, may render one incapable of heterosexual love and thus must be regarded as pathological.

Before quitting this topic of physical maturity it might not be amiss to point out that good health in both partners ought to be an important concern. Persons suffering from active tuberculosis, chronic and serious heart conditions, brain and nervous ailments as well as kidney disorders and diabetes, ought to seek the advice of their doctor before attempting marriage.

Above all, these matters ought to be talked over by the interested principals. It would be criminal for a person afflicted with a communicable sex disease to marry because of the serious injustice to the other party. A confessor would be obliged to refuse absolution to a penitent determined to contract a marriage under such circumstances. A cure, if possible, must be effected before the marriage, or the disease must be made known to the other party. However, if one must choose between a leper with high moral principles and deep faith, and a shop-worn Miss America, or a muscle-bound Adonis without faith or morals, I’d say, take the leper.

Intellectual maturity

Intellectual development must also be attained along with the physical development as a required condition for a good proximate preparation for marriage. The eminent scholar and author, the Reverend Edward Leen, defines education—that is, Christian education—as “that culture of the mind, the will and the emotions, which, whilst adapting a man for the exercise of a particular calling, disposes him to achieve an excellent personal and social life within the framework of that calling.” In other words, he defines the object of education as nothing else than human happiness. Van Dyke expresses nearly the same idea in his definition of education, for he says: “Education is to create men who can see clearly, image vividly, think steadily, and will nobly.” God help the young man or woman who thinks of marriage without being able to see clearly, image vividly, think steadily, and will nobly!

“The human soul,” says Ruskin, “in youth, is not a machine of which you can polish the cogs with any kelp or brickdust near at hand. The whole period of youth is one essentially of formation, edification, instruction; intaking of stores, establishment in vital habits, hopes and faiths. There is not an hour of it but is trembling with destiny.”

His Holiness Pope Pius XI, in his great Encyclical letter “Divini Illius,” writes these important words: “When literary, social and domestic education do not go hand in hand, man is unhappy and helpless.”

The foregoing quotations will but strengthen the claim we make for the importance of intellectual development and maturity as a basis for a happy marriage. “The discipline by which it is gained, and the tastes which it forms,” says Newman, “have a natural tendency to refine the mind and to give it an indisposition, nay more than this, a disgust and abhorrence, towards excesses and enormities of evil, which are often or ordinarily reached at length by those who are not careful from the first to set themselves against what is vicious and criminal. It generates within the mind a fastidiousness, analogous to delicacy, generally lively enough to create a loathing of certain offences or a detestation and scorn of them as ungentlemanlike, to which ruder natures are tempted or even betrayed.” It is noteworthy that Cardinal Newman was speaking of Catholic educational development, for always remember that Basil and Julian were fellow students at the Schools of Athens; one became the Saint and Doctor of the Church, the other her scorning and relentless foe.

The better the intellectual development, the better chance there is for happiness in marriage. The more Catholic is that intellectual marriage. Remember this when you come to make the choice of a mate!

(To be continued.)


Father Krier will be in Albuquerque, New Mexico, April 5. He will be in Pahrump, Nevada, April 7 and Eureka, Nevada, on April 21.


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