Vol 14 Issue 14 ~ Editor: Rev. Fr. Courtney Edward Krier
April 3, 2021 ~ Vigil of the Resurrection
1. What is the Holy Eucharist
2. Easter Sunday
3. Saint Isidore
4. Family and Marriage
5. Articles and notices
As the Holy Week concludes and the Church begins its celebration of the Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ. I wish to extend to all a most blessed and glorious day of the Feast of the Resurrection. It is truly a glorious day for those who have followed the prescriptions of the Church concerning fasting and abstinence. It is also a glorious day for those who chose to perform a sacrifice and completed it—not only for the supernatural graces that were obtained, but because—with God’s help—one knows that one can deny oneself a passing earthly pleasure for an unending heavenly enjoyment. It is further a glorious day if one realizes that one has been able to take a sin, a fault or a defect from one’s life or character and, freed, can live a new life—and this is the true purpose of the spirit of Lent. Of course if this is not true—that we have not kept the fast or abstinence, we can feel like Peter who though he said, Although all shall be scandalized in thee, I will never be scandalized . . .Yea, though I should die with thee, I will not deny thee (Matt. 26:33, 35), and then denies the Christ thrice before the night is over—but remember he wept over his sin; and so if we failed in our penance and now find ourselves weeping bitterly through repentance, may we now do penance so we do not deny the Christ again. But if we used the Lenten season to let the devil into our heart and commit sin even more, we will feel like Judas—we betrayed Christ, we sold our friendship with Him for 30 pieces of silver and it has, in the rejection of God’s desire for us to be His elect to becoming a mystery of iniquity—an abuse of the love of God that has no rational basis, no cause other then to use the relationship that should be and is understood as self-sacrificing in order to advance our iniquitous way of life. The despair of Judas is seen not that he could not be forgiven but because he sees that the means he used to commit iniquity is so debasing that he is unable to humble himself that he actually committed such a horrendous betrayal. So, too, the one who knowingly uses the time God bestows His special graces in order to betray Him by sinning grievously by one’s haughtiness despairs because one is too proud to admit the grievousness of one’s sins and dies in them unconfessed and unrepentant. May we never be so rash, so blind to the iniquity of our sins—and, worst—so evil that we justify our sins that crucify anew Our loving Redeemer.
Because Lent was for us a time of grace and we saw ourselves grow in grace by the completion of our resolves the Lesson and Gospel mean so much more for us because they speak to us personally and our eyes are open being able to see Our Risen Saviour.
For those who are unable to attend Mass due to the scarcity of priests and distance, you will be remembered as Mass is celebrated here at Saint Joseph in Las Vegas. We pray that travel restrictions will soon be lifted so all the faithful will have access to the Sacraments once again. Until then may we not cease to ask God to look kindly upon us in His mercy and provide us with the benefit of His grace.
As always, enjoy the readings provided for your benefit.—The Editor
WHAT IS THE HOLY EUCHARIST
By Rev. Courtney Edward Krier
The Holy Eucharist is a True Sacrifice
An Explanation of Holy Mass
The Mass of the Catechumens
The Gradual, Alleluia, Tract and Sequence
The Epistle read, the priest now recites the Gradual. The Gradual receives its name as formerly a soloist, on the step (gradus) of the ambo (a raised pulpit for the chanting of the Epistle and Gospel), would sing a Psalm or section of Scripture to provide time to reflect on the Reading before the Gospel was announced.
Ambo, a word of Greek origin, supposed to signify a mountain or elevation; at least Innocent III so understood it, for in his work on the Mass (III, xxxiii), after speaking of the deacon ascending the ambo to read the Gospel, he quotes the following from Isaias (40:9): “Get thee up upon a high mountain, thou that bringest good tidings to Sion: lift up thy voice with strength”. And in the same connection he also alludes to Our Blessed Lord preaching from a mountain: “He went up into a mountain—and opening his mouth he taught them” (Matthew 5:1, 2). (Coleman, Ambo in CE)
In the reading God descends to us, speaks to us, makes known His mysteries and His will to us, addresses exhortations and admonitions to us, terrifies us by threats, and consoles us with His promises; in the chant, on the contrary, we soar upwards to God, make known our devotion and fervor, we praise, thank, love, admire, implore, lament, and rejoice. This harmonious blending of instructive readings with affective singing brings along a beneficial variation in the divine service.
In the Gradual chant we give appropriate expression to our lofty dispositions, we utter sentiments of joy or sorrow, various impressions and resolutions which have been awakened in us by the day’s celebration and by the Mass in general, as well as by the reading of the Epistle in particular. In a certain sense, then, we may say that the interposed chant is an echo of the Epistle . . . (Gihr, 491)
On all Sundays and feast days, except those in the pre-Lenten and Lenten Season, another hymn is sung which begins with Alleluia (Hebrew for Praise the Lord). The Alleluia is an introduction to the Gospel. It is expressive of the joy and welcoming of the Gospel message, to which it alludes. An example is again if one considers the Alleluia for the Ninth Sunday after Pentecost: Alleluia, alleluia! V. Rescue me from my enemies, O my God, and defend me from my adversaries. Alleluia! In which the Gospel is the destruction of Jerusalem: For days will come upon thee when thy enemies will throw up a rampart about thee (Luke 19:43) The Sunday after Easter until the Saturday after Pentecost (Easter Season) the Gradual begins with an Alleluia and is combined with the Alleluia to provide what is called the Greater Alleluia. Here the first part, as the Gradual references the Reading and the second part the Gospel. This expresses that the Church has a consistent theme in the Propers and the Readings and Gospels were not randomly chosen—reminding the faithful to give attention to each word and learn what Holy Mother Church intends all her children to understand:
Now therefore, ye children, hear me: Blessed are they that keep my ways. Hear instruction and be wise, and refuse it not. Blessed is the man that heareth me, and that watcheth daily at my gates, and waiteth at the posts of my doors. He that shall find me, shall find life, and shall have salvation from the Lord: but he that shall sin against me, shall hurt his own soul. All that hate me love death. (Prov. 8:32-36)
From Septuagesima till the Easter Vigil and in Requiem and Penitential Masses the Tract replaces the Alleluia. The Tract is understood as sung in uno tractu, i.e., straight through without an answer by the people. (Laux, 77) The somberness of the penitential times, including Ember days, the Alleluia detracts from the spirit of the Liturgy and is replaced by the Tract that expresses penance on penitential days or a prayer in the Requiem Mass.
During the course of the middle ages there arose the custom of adding a Sequence after the Alleluia, becoming popular especially after Blessed Notker Balbulus, a 9th century monk of Saint Gall, composed several Sequences to follow the Alleluia. Hymns were composed for the Divine Office, and it found its introduction into the Mass. Despite the innumerable Sequences written and found in ancient Propers, only five Sequences, master pieces of Sacred Poetry, were allowed to remain in the Roman Missal when the Council of Trent and Pope Saint Pius V restored the Roman Mass: the Victimæ paschali of Easter composed by Wipo the Burgundian (+ after 1048); the Veni, sancte Spiritus of Pentecost attributed to Pope Innocent III (+1216); the Stabat mater for the Seven Sorrows of Mary composed by Jacopone da Todi (+ 1305); the Dies iræ for Requiem Masses composed by Thomas of Celano (+ cir. 1250); the Lauda Sion salvatorem for Corpus Christi composed by St. Thomas of Aquinas (+ 1274).
The priest now returns to the center of the Altar while the server takes the Missal to the Gospel side. Before beginning the Gospel, the priest asks that he be found worthy to announce the Gospel. The priest is to be the sower of the seed (The sower went out to sow his seed . . . Luke 8:5). His words must be living as Saint Paul instructs: Who also hath made us fit ministers of the new testament, not in the letter, but in the spirit; for the letter killeth, but the spirit quickeneth. (2 Cor. 3:6) Therefore he prays:
Cleanse my heart and my lips, O Almighty God, Who cleansed the lips of the Prophet Isaias with a burning coal (cf. Isa. 6:6ff). In Thy gracious mercy deign so to purify me that I may worthily proclaim Thy holy Gospel. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Lord, grant me Thy blessing.
The Lord be in my heart and on my lips that I may worthily and fittingly proclaim His Gospel. Amen.
The priest then goes to the Gospel side where the Missal was placed slightly facing toward the epistle side so the priest is facing toward the north (at least what is considered liturgical north for as he and the faithful face the altar they should be looking eastward or at least symbolically—liturgically—in that sense of waiting for Christ Who announced that when He returned it would be from the East: For as lightning cometh out of the east, and appeareth even into the west: so shall the coming of the Son of man be—Matt. 24:27.) Facing the North symbolizes the preaching of the Gospel to the pagan nations of the north and therefore announcing the Gospel to the ends of the world: But I say: Have they not heard? Yes, verily, their sound hath gone forth into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the whole world. (Rom. 10:18) Everyone stands in respect for the Gospel as the priest greets everyone without turning toward them. and the signing the Gospel with the Sign of the Cross he says: Continuation of the Holy Gospel according to Matthew (or Mark, or Luke or John). The server answers for all: Glory to Thee, O Lord. When the reading of the Gospel is completed, the priest kisses the Gospel while the server says: Praise be to Thee, O Christ.
On Sundays and Masses of Precept the priest is then obligated to give a homily (Greek homilia, discourse; cf. Luke 24:14) on the Gospel and instruct the faithful in the teachings of the Church. The Catechism of the Council of Trent was written to assist the priest in the instruction of the faith, divided into three parts: The twelve articles of the Apostles’ Creed; the Seven Sacraments and Prayer; and, the Ten Commandments. Even though one can read books on the faith today, the sermon assists in reminding as also challenging one to live up to the particular message imparted by the priest during the week following.
One reads the following of Saint Paul’s homily in Troas: And on the first day of the week, when we were assembled to break bread, Paul discoursed with them, being to depart on the morrow: and he continued his speech until midnight. (Acts 20:7, 11)
The Nicene Creed was inserted as a profession of faith against Arianism and later heresies. It was expanded by the Council of Constantinople in the year 381 to declare the divinity of the Holy Ghost, denied in the Macedonian heresy. Later the word Filioque (and the Son) was added to have the Creed read [I believe] in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of life, Who proceedeth from the Father and the Son . . . As the Creed was universally said by all on Sundays except in Rome and the territories under the Pope, the Holy Roman Emperor Henry II (a Saint) requested in 1074 that the Pope (Benedict VIII) also add it to the Mass in Rome. Since this time it has become part of the Mass on Sundays and the Feasts of Christ, Mary, the Apostles and Doctors of the Church—otherwise it is omitted. The Credo is intoned at a High Mass by the celebrant alone, to show that the doctrine of the true Church is delivered to the faithful by those only who have received the commission from Christ. (Smyth, 30)
(To be continued)
The Sunday Sermons of the Great Fathers
M. F. Toal
THE GOSPEL OF THE SUNDAY
MARK xvi. I-8
And when the sabbath was passed, Mary Magdalen, and Mary the Mother of James, and Salome, bought sweet spices, that coming, they might anoint Jesus. And very early in the morning, the first day of the week, they come to the sepulchre, the sun being now risen. And they said one to another: Who shall roll us back the stone from the door of the sepulchre? And looking, they saw the stone rolled back. For it was very great. And entering in to the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed with a white robe: and they were astonished. Who saith to them: Be not affrighted; you seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified: he is risen, he is not here, behold the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee; there you shall see him, as he told you.
I. ST AMBROSE, BISHOP AND DOCTOR
The Sunday of the Resurrection
I. You have heard, Brethren, that the holy women who came with sweet spices to the sepulchre saw there an angel; for the Evangelist says: And entering into the sepulchre; they saw a young man sitting on the right side. Who this young man was another Evangelist (Matthew) tells, so that you may not be confused: For an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and coming, rolled back the stone, and sat upon it. Mary Magdalen however, who loved the Lord more dearly, for she had remained at the sepulchre weeping, saw the Lord first of all of them, and told the Apostles. For the Evangelist John says: But Mary Magdalen coming tells the disciples: I have seen the Lord, and these things he said to me. Through this we are counselled that we should come seeking the Lord laden with sweet spices, that is, with the spices of virtue and good works.
2. There are some, Dearly Beloved, who seem to be seeking the Lord, but since they are slothful, and strangers to virtue, they do not deserve to find Him; nor, when found, to see Him. What however were these holy women seeking at the tomb, if not the Body of the Lord Jesus? And you, what is it you are seeking in the Church if not Jesus, that is, the Saviour? But if you wish to find Him, the sun being now risen, then come as these women came; that is, let there be no darkness of evil in your hearts; for the desires of the flesh, and works that are evil, are darkness. They in whose hearts there is darkness of this kind see not the light, and understand not Christ; for Christ is the Light.
Therefore, drive the darkness from you, brethren; that is, all sinful desires, and all evil works, and provide yourselves with sweet spices, that is, earnest prayer, saying with the psalmist: Let my prayer, O Lord, be directed as incense in thy sight (Ps. cxl. 2).
3. Take further note of what you have heard read: namely, that Mary Magdalen, persevering by the tomb, found Him Whom she had been seeking; For he that shall persevere unto the end, he shall be saved (Mt. x. 22). Accordingly it is necessary that you drive evil from you, and so it is expedient for you that you persevere steadfastly in whatever good you have begun, if you desire to see the Lord and come to your heavenly home.
4. Now since you are celebrating the holy Pasch, you should know, brethren, what the Pasch is. Pasch means, the crossing-over; and so the Festival is called by this name. For it was on this day that the Children of Israel crossed over out of Egypt, and the Son of God crossed over from this world to His Father. What gain is it to celebrate the Pasch unless you imitate Him Whom you worship; that is, unless you cross over from Egypt, that is, from the darkness of evildoing to the light of virtue, and from the love of this world to the love of your heavenly home?
For there are many who celebrate this holy festival, and honour this solemnity, and yet do so unworthily and because of their own wickedness: because they will not cross over from this world to their Father, that is, they will not cross over from the desires of this world, and from bodily delights, to the love of heaven. O unhappy Christians, who still remain in Egypt, that is, under the power of the devil, and taking delight in this evil!
Because of these things I warn you, Brethren, that you must celebrate the Pasch worthily, that is, that you cross over. Whosoever among you who are in sin, and celebrate this festival, let you cross over from evil doing to the life of virtue. Whosoever among you are just-living, let you pass from virtue to virtue; so that there shall be none among you who has not crossed over.
5. And as the Jews, when they celebrated the Pasch were wont to eat unleavened bread during these seven days, so every Christian who eats the flesh of the True Lamb, which is Christ, should live in a simple and holy manner all the days of his life: which continue throughout seven days. Be careful that the old leaven no longer remains in you, Brethren, as the Apostle warns us, where he says: Purge out the old leaven (I Cor. v. 7); that is, your former manner of life. For if you turn from all evil, which is signified by the old leaven, and faithfully observe what you promised in your Baptism, then you will be indeed true Christians. May He grant you this Who lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen.
II. ST GREGORY NAZIANZENUS
On the Holy Pasch (And his own Reluctance)
I. This is the Day of the Resurrection; and for me a fitting beginning. Let us be all united in heart, and let us give glory to God on this solemn festival (Is. lxvi. 5). Let us address as brothers even those who hate us, as also those who love us, and have helped us, and have suffered anything on our behalf. Let us forgive all things in the Resurrection. Let us forgive one another: I who have suffered this honourable violence, and you who have inflicted it; should you be angry with me because of my reluctance (i.e., to accept the priestly dignity). For it may be that my reluctance is more acceptable to God than the readiness of others. For it is good to be retiring, even with God, as Moses was (Ex. iv. 13), and after him Jeremias; and then to run obediently when He calls, as Aaron did, and Isaias (Jer. i. 6; Ex. iv. 27; Is. vi. 8), provided that the one and the other are done in a right spirit: the one because of one’s own weakness, the other because of the Majesty of Him Who calls.
II. The divine mystery (ordination to the Priesthood) hath anointed me. For a while I withdrew from the mystery, to reflect and to look into my own heart. Again I unite myself with the mystery: bringing with me this great day as the shining support of my own timidity and weakness, so that He Who on this day rose from the dead may give life to my spirit also, and clothe me with the new man (Eph. iv. 23, 24); and may he also bestow me on the new creatures; that is, on those who are born of God, as a good moulder of them and teacher for Christ: one both ready to die with Him, and one now rising together with Him.
III. Yesterday the Lamb was slain, and the doorposts sprinkled with His Blood; while Egypt mourned for her firstborn. But the Destroying Angel and his sacrificial knife, fearful and terrifying, passed over us (Ex. 12): for we were protected by the Precious Blood. This day we have wholly departed from Egypt, and from Pharaoh its cruel tyrant, and his oppressive overseers; we are freed from labouring with bricks and straw (Ex. 5), and no one forbids us celebrate the festival of our passing over, our Pasch, and to celebrate, not with the leaven of malice, and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth (I Cor. v. 8), and carrying with us nothing of the ancient and evil leaven of Egypt.
IV. Yesterday I was crucified with Christ; today I am glorified with Him. Yesterday I died with Him; today I am given life with Him. Yesterday I was buried with Him; today I rise again with Him. Today let us offer Him (cf Ex. xxiii. 15; xxxiv. 20; Deut. xvi. 16) Who has suffered and Who has risen for us—you think perhaps I was about to say, gold, or silver, or precious things, or shining stones of rare price, the frail material of this earth, which will remain here, and of which the wicked and those who are slaves of earthly things and of the prince of this world possess the greatest part—rather, let us offer Him ourselves, which to God is the most precious and becoming of gifts. Let us offer to His Image what is made in the image and likeness of this Image. And let us make recognition of our own dignity. Let us give honour to Him in Whose Likeness we were made. Let us dwell upon the wonder of this mystery, that we may understand for what Christ has died.
V. Let us become like Christ, since Christ became like us. Let us become Gods because of Him, since He for us became man. He took upon Himself a low degree that He might give us a higher one. He became poor, that through His poverty we might become rich (II Cor. viii. 9). He took upon Himself the form of a servant (Phil. ii. 7) that we might be delivered from slavery (Rom. viii. 21). He came down that we might rise up. He was tempted that we might learn to overcome. He was despised that we might be given honour. He died that He might save us from death. He ascended to heaven that we who lie prone in sin may be lifted up to Him.
Let each one of you give all to Him: offer all to Him Who gave Himself in exchange for us: as the price of our Redemption (Mt. xvi. 22; xx. 28). But should anyone come to understand this mystery in Christ, and that what He did He has done for him, he shall give nothing unless he gives his own self.
VI. And the Good Shepherd, He Who laid down His life for you, offers you a second shepherd (e.g., himself, as coadjutor to his father, the elder Gregory); for this is what he, your own good shepherd, hopes for you, and prays and begs for you who are his care; and he becomes the staff of your old age, and the staff of your souls (Tob. x. 4). To this inanimate temple he adds a living one; to this soaring splendid shrine he adds this other poor one (himself), which, whatever it may be, was also raised with much toil and labour: would that I could say that it was worthy of that labour!
And all that is his he has given you. O worthy generosity! Rather, that I may speak more truly, O paternal love! His age, and his youth, a temple and a priest, the Testator and the heir; and the words on which you are nourished: not idle words, rashly and lightly poured out upon the air, going over the minds of those who listen, but those the Spirit writes, and engraves on tables of stone, and upon the fleshy tables of the heart (Ezech. xxxv. 26; II Cor. iii. 2, 3); and not lightly written there, and easily erased, but written deep, and not with ink, but with the grace of God.
VII. All this then this venerable Father Abraham (Gregory the Elder) offers you, this patriarch, the beloved and revered head, a dwelling-place of goodness, a true measure of virtue, a model of the priesthood, who this day offers to God a willing sacrifice, his only son: who is of the Promise (Gen. xxii; Gal. iii. 16). Let you, for your part, offer in a true spirit to God and to us due submission, as to your shepherds; you who dwell in a place of pasture, and are reared on the waters of refreshment (Ps. xxii. 1, 2), and knowing your shepherd, and being known by him, follow him when he calls as your shepherd, entering freely by the door.
Follow no strange shepherd; climbing like a thief and a robber into the fold. Pay no heed to strange voices; deceiving you and cutting you off from the truth, scattering you upon the mountains, and into the deserts, and among dangers, and through places where the Lord does not come (Ezech. xxxiv. 5, 6), seeking to lead you far from the true faith—which is in the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, Whose Voice you have heard, and may you ever hear!—plundering you through false and corrupted teaching, and seducing you from your First and True Shepherd.
Let us all then, shepherds and flock, pasture and be pastured, far from such evil as this, as from rank and poisoned herbiage; and may we all ever be one in Jesus Christ, both now and in the peace of that life beyond. To Him be glory and honour for ever and ever. Amen.
St. Isidore, Bishop, Confessor, Doctor of the Church
1. St. Isidore, born about 560, in Cartagena, belonged to a noble Spanish family. He had a brother who became St. Leander, Archbishop of Seville, another, Fulgentus, who was Bishop of Astigi, and a sister, the Lady Abbess Florentina. Isidore received his early education from Leander, and it became his vocation to transmit the treasures of the decadent Roman culture to the rising Germanic world. He was a master in all the fields of knowledge of his time and was an extremely active writer, so that the scientific and literary work of the approaching Middle Ages was considerably influenced by him. In the year 600 he succeeded his brother as Bishop of Seville. His chief task in this capacity was to deepen the Catholicity of the West Goths, whom his brother had converted from Arianism. He promoted the sciences, founded schools and monasteries, and labored for the conversion of the Jews in his diocese. Isidore presided at the important synods of Seville in 619, and of Toledo in 633. He died on April 4, 636, was canonized in 1598, and was declared a Doctor of the Church by Pope Innocent XIII in 1722.
2. “The Lord moved him to speak before the assembled people, filling him with the spirit of wisdom and discernment” (Introit). The eighth Synod of Toledo in 653 declared: “Isidore was an inspired teacher of our times—the newest ornament of the Catholic Church, the last of the Fathers, the most learned man of our time.” By means of his mastery of all subjects and by his literary activity, he became the great schoolmaster of the Middle Ages, the “minister of eternal salvation,” as the Collect says. He was particularly successful in influencing the thinking and life of the Germans by ridding them of the remnants of heathen views and customs and making them more Christian. As bishop, Isidore promoted the scientific and religious formation and elevation of his clergy, spurring them on by his own example to virtuous living. Having built monasteries he also wrote a rule for his monks. His influence, naturally, was felt beyond the borders of his diocese and his country. Indeed, he belongs to the Church of all centuries.
“You are the salt of the earth; if the salt loses its taste, what is there left to give taste to it?” (Gospel). St. Isidore was filled with ardent love for Christ and for truth. He could not rest until he had removed the remnants of Arianism and paganism from his flock and had won all for Christ. It was perfectly evident to him that there could be only one Truth and that this was to be found in Christ alone and in the Church founded on Peter. Whatever was in harmony with this one Truth must be true and salutary; whatever departed from this Truth must be untrue and pernicious. In this conviction Isidore threw all his strength, his knowledge, and the full authority of his powerful personality into the fight against error and for the teaching of Christ. He was a bishop after the heart of the Apostle: “Preach the word, dwelling upon it continually, welcome or unwelcome; bring home wrongdoing, comfort the waverer, rebuke the sinner, with all the patience of a teacher. The time will surely come, when men will grow tired of sound doctrine . . . turning a deaf ear to the truth . . . . It is for thee to be on the watch, to accept every hardship, to employ thyself in preaching the gospel, and perform every duty of thy office, keeping a sober mind” (Epistle). What he preached, that he practiced, mindful of the closing words of today’s Gospel: “The man who keeps them [the commandments of God] and teaches others to keep them will be accounted in the kingdom of heaven as the greatest.”
3. The outstanding characteristic of Bishop Isidore was his energetic zeal for the purity of Catholic doctrine. He never compromised with heresy; if he could not convert the heretics, he did his best to induce or force them to leave his diocese and the country. It was his ardent zeal for the holy Faith that urged him on in teaching and converting the erring, in preaching the word of God, in publishing numerous treatises, and in writing pastoral letters. He wanted everyone to possess the precious treasure of the true Faith, for he believed that Christ meant what He said: “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; he who refuses belief will be condemned” (Mark 16:16). St. Isidore’s zeal for the Faith should be an example to us.
The Bishop was great, even in his last hour. Realizing that he was about to pass from this life, he had himself brought to the altar of his cathedral. After he had begged God’s forgiveness for his sins, in the sight of all the people, he ascended the episcopal throne, put on a penitential garment, and had ashes strewn on his head. Then he made a public confession and asked the bishops present to absolve him. Quite naturally the people were moved to tears by this spectacle. Having received the Holy Viaticum, he urged all present to pray for him, admonished them to practice charity toward one another; he ordered that all debts due him should be canceled and that all his money should be distributed among the poor. Finally, he blessed the crowd and had himself brought back to his room. After three days of unceasing prayer, he passed into eternity.
Collect: O God, who didst give blessed Isidore to Thy people as a minister of eternal salvation, grant, we pray Thee, that we may be worthy to have as our advocate in heaven him who on earth taught us the way of life. Amen.
PLAIN TALKS ON MARRIAGE
FULGENCE MEYER , O.F.M.
Sins against Holy Marriage
Exemptions and Excuses
The reasons which excuse from the obligation of rendering the marriage duty are various. Above all, if one party commits adultery, and this is established beyond question, it thereby permanently forfeits all its right to the marital act, and the innocent party need never render it again. This is the theory, and strict justice.
Yet the innocent party will usually consider whether forgiveness will not be more called for than insistence on absolute justice; especially when it reflects on the words of Jesus: “Forgive, and you shall be forgiven. For with the same measure that you shall mete withal, it shall be measured to you again” (Luke, 6, 37, 38). By one carnal intercourse after it obtained knowledge of the crime committed by the partner, the innocent party condones it forever, and may never again allege it as a cause for the refusal of the marriage duty; unless, of course, the other would repeat the sin of adultery after the condonation of it.
Actual serious illness, or a well-grounded fear of contracting a serious disease, are sufficient reasons to decline the nuptial request, for in this supposition it would not be reasonable, as it always must be to deserve recognition. The same holds good if, because of the time or place, there is danger of scandal; or if the request is altogether immoderate in its frequency, and is consequently unreasonable of itself, and is likely to prove injurious to the body and mind of one or both parties. In all things nature has certain limits which are never transgressed with impunity. The request of a drunken mate need not be honored, for it is unreasonable, and a child conceived in the period of intoxication of one of the parents starts its existence on this earth with a handicap. If a man grossly neglects to support his family properly, his wife is justified in refusing the marriage duty until he changes his conduct; for it is unreasonable to ask her to bring children into the world whilst he evidently has no mind to provide for them. In cases of doubt in this very serious and delicate matter, it is wise to submit the case candidly to one’s confessor; in the meanwhile it is usually better and wiser to yield at a sacrifice rather than to risk withholding a right belonging to another.
Sins Against Holy Marriage
“Lord, Thou knowest, that not for fleshly lust do I take . . . a wife, but only for the sake of posterity, in which Thy Name may be blessed for ever and ever” (Tob., 8, 9).
THE sin I am now going to mention is among married people perhaps the most common on the one hand, and the most insidious on the other; it is insidious, because it is common; and it is common because it is insidious. It is unfortunately making greater inroads into the Catholic population of our country from day to day, and its fatal virus seems preferably to inoculate the Catholics who in a worldly sense are having success and prosperity, who get up in the world and shine in society. In other words, when Catholics have more reason to thank God for His goodness towards them, they appear inclined to serve Him less. His great goodness often makes them meanly selfish.
The Sin of Many Names
The sin I have reference to goes by divers names. It is called birth-control, race suicide, contraception, the sin of prevention, of being careful, of improper marital relations, of withdrawal, of mutual self-abuse, of wasting nature, of spilling the seed, and the like. In theological parlance it is spoken of as onanism, so called after Onan, who is mentioned in the first book of the Bible as having committed this terrible sin. It is perpetrated variously; yet the purpose is always the same, namely to prevent conception whilst performing the rites of marriage. Sometimes the man, then again the woman uses an instrument that renders conception impossible during the marriage relations; at times, too, the woman, immediately after the intercourse employs the syringe or interior douche to achieve the same object. Whatever is done, and however it is done: when nature is purposely defeated of its design in marriage, whilst the privileges of matrimony are being enjoyed, the parties concerned are guilty of mortal sin every time they thus wantonly waste the God-given powers of nature.
Nature Is Outraged
I say “every time”; for there never can be any justification for this act under any circumstances imaginable. It is an unnatural act, or a sin against nature: hence of itself, and in its very essence detestable and wicked. No priest, no bishop, no pope can declare it lawful or excusable in any condition or conjuncture of life. God Himself can not give anyone the faculty to commit such an act, since it is contrary to nature; and God, the author of nature, can not militate against Himself. No stress of poverty, therefore, no delicacy of constitution on the part of the woman, no prediction of the doctor as to her sure death if she should attempt to bring another child into the world, no siege of disease on the part of the breadwinner of the family and consequent economical struggle: in a word, no reason whatsoever is or can be a just cause for the conduct referred to: for what is intrinsically unnatural can never be rendered allowed or tolerable.
The Vomitorium of the Romans
The primary natural purpose of the marriage act is the procreation of offspring. It is therefore obviously unnatural to perform the act in such a way as to frustrate this purpose. An illustration may again be taken from the satisfaction of the first and strongest human passion, the appetite for food. The first purpose of the consumption of food is nourishment of the body. To obstruct this purpose wilfully whilst eating or drinking is an unnatural misdemeanor. The old Romans, in the height of their luxury, are recorded to have been guilty of this sin. At their sumptuous banquets, they would eat unto satiety, and forthwith they would use a feather or some other means to disgorge at once every thing they had eaten, so they could begin to eat soon again. Everybody instinctively feels that this was an outrage of nature, which intends, not that the pleasure of eating be an end in itself, but that it conduce to the health and maintenance of the body; hence such a brutish behavior is extremely nauseating. Yet it is no different from the abuse of nature that is perpetrated by sinful birth-control, in which the mere pleasure of the marriage act is sought to the wilful exclusion of the very purpose of the pleasure. Nature has a very distinct end in view in attaching so vehement a pleasure to the marriage act; and whoever frustrates this end while reaping the pleasure contravenes nature, and will sooner or later suffer its revenge. Nature is a hard creditor, and is inexorable in its demand of full payment for every outrage committed against it. The very fact that animals, which are guided by the instinct of nature throughout, never resort to this abominable practice, is additional evidence that it is against nature, and consequently worse than brutish.
“A Detestable Thing”
God’s invariable attitude towards the sin of contraception is clearly delineated in the book of Genesis (38, 8 sqq.). You will not take it amiss if I describe it to you in the very words of the Bible. The brother of Onan had died without leaving issue. “Juda therefore said to Onan his son: Go in to thy brother’s wife and marry her, that thou mayest raise seed to thy brother. He knowing that the children should not be his, when he went in to his brother’s wife, spilled his seed upon the ground, lest children should be born in his brother’s name. And therefore the Lord slew him, because he did a detestable thing.” That happened about four thousand years ago. Since then, however, the nature of the sin has not changed, and God is still the same. Nor does it make a bit of difference that this sin is widespread and quite universally practiced. It remains the same detestable thing, and provokes the same anger of God. At the time of Sodom and Gomorrha and, anteriorly, of the deluge, practically everybody indulged in the excesses of the flesh: yet the universality did not diminish, let alone disarm, the wrath of God.
“A Blessing and a Curse”
As He said to the Jews of old, God says as it were to the married couple at the very beginning of their nuptial life: “Behold I set forth in your sight this day a blessing and a curse: a blessing, if you obey the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you this day: a curse, if you obey not the commandments of the Lord your God, but revolt from the way which now I show you” (Deut., 11, 26-28). If they intend to use their marriage rights He offers them the invaluable blessing of good and healthy children, who will be their joy, consolation and pride, who will cement more and more their conjugal love, and represent its best and most precious fruit. But in case they refuse this blessing, God threatens them with His curse: the curse of misfortune and disease, the curse of ill-luck and poverty, the curse of mutual estrangement and domestic infelicity, the curse of lukewarmness in the faith and of a sacrilegious reception of the sacraments, the curse, often, of complete and final apostasy from the Church, and absolute defection from God.
The following continues to identify the Conciliar Church as stepping deeper and deeper into liberal Protestantism that is not a divine faith but a mixture of religious sentimentality and sociology that gives one the satisfaction of being a humanist while not denying the existence of a god that is philosophically undeniable. It is beyond my comprehension that those who believe in a divinely revealed religion, as we Roman Catholics do, cannot distinguish the natural religion they promote from a supernatural religion we are to believe. The Council of Trent is to be believed as an unerring Council that condemned Protestantism—yet Vatican II pushes its followers into the very errors Catholics were told they could not believe or they would be declared anathema. My emphasis is added to these announcements—the Editor
St. Philip the Apostle Church in Pasadena invites everyone to an online Good Friday Service. It will be held on Friday, April 2, at 7:00 p.m. The event will include Fr. Chris Iwancio as the speaker; worship, testimony, music, and the Stations of the Cross. It can be viewed on YouTube or Facebook. For more information, please access: reinspirelive.com
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 31, 11:00 AM – 1:30 PM
Georgetown University’s Berkley Center – Being a Eucharistic People in Digital Space
Please join Georgetown University’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs and the North American Academy of Ecumenists on Wednesday, March 31 at 11 am PDT for a webinar entitled “Being a Eucharistic People in Digital Space: Liturgy in the Time of COVID” featuring ecclesiologists from Roman Catholic, Pentecostal, Protestant, and Orthodox Christian traditions who are reflecting upon practicing the Eucharist and worship in the context of the pandemic.
First, theological considerations will be framed around the essential question: what constitutes a Eucharistic assembly? Participants will then address practical considerations, including grassroots and liturgical initiatives. Finally, Aaron Hollander, associate editor of Ecumenical Trends, will consider where to go from here and what the future of Eucharist and worship more broadly might be.
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Father Krier will be in Mexico April 5-9. He will be in Pahrump (Our Lady of the Snows) April 15 and in Eureka (Saint Joseph) April 22.
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