Thursday, June 7, 2018

The Sin of Envy

 The venom of asps is under their lips.” Rom. 3: 13.

The first of all sins may be said to have been committed in heaven itself. It was that of the rebellious angels. Interpreting the various references that are made in Holy Scripture to this sin, theological writers hold that Lucifer, the light-bearer, the brightest and highest of the angelic hosts, was enraged because it was revealed to him that God the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity was to ennoble a nature inferior to that of the angels by becoming man. Stirred up by envy, he dared to raise himself against the will of God. How shall we depict what ensued? How shall we in human words convey ideas of heaven?
Michael and the heavenly hosts who remained faithful rose up with the cry, “Who is like to God,” and thrust these infatuated creatures from the light of Divine Love into the eternal gloom of hell. Thenceforth Lucifer was Satan, and his angel followers, devils. Thenceforward their heaven-born faculties were devoted to evil, to frustrating the designs of God and injuring His creatures in the human nature He was to adopt. The envy that begot the first sin propagated itself and continues to reproduce, through envy, temptation and sins of all kinds.
This envy, this sorrow at another's good, has had a fearful history, which should warn all to beware of receiving its poison into their system. Satan's first act of temptation was performed in the guise of a serpent, and after the manner of a serpent he has been spreading the venom of his envy ever since; and he finds the poison one of his most effective means for accomplishing his dire intentions. To Adam and Eve he suggested envy of God’s perfections. “You shall become as gods, knowing good and evil” (Gerr. 3:5). Cain was angry because his brother was better than he; and consequently Abel’s gifts were more acceptable to God (Gen. 4:7), and so came about the first murder. Esau’s hostility to Jacob arose from envy; Joseph was sold by his brethren; Core, Dathan and Abiron raised sedition against Moses; Saul sought to kill David—and all through envy; nay —did not Pilate himself perceive, when Christ was brought before him by the priests, “that for envy they had delivered Him” (Matt. 27: 18).

Thus, through all the history of mankind the virus of the old serpent has been constantly reinfused into human veins, and it has wrought an incalculable amount of harm. Other passions seem to prompt to individual acts of sin, but this appears as if it were almost an infection, transmitted continuously in the race. It is closely allied both with pride and anger, and together with them may be said to be the parent of many sins. Saint Thomas Aquinas enumerates the following “daughters of envy:” hatred, murmuring, detraction, rejoicing at another's harm, grieving at another’s good; and St. Paul, as St. Cyprian holds, was referring to the envious when he said, The venom of asps is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: Their feet swift to shed blood: Destruction and misery are in their ways: And the way of peace they have not known” (Rom. 3 : 13-18).
St. Cyprian further mentions the following as the fruits of envy; hatred, animosity, avarice, ambition, pride, cruelty, faithlessness, discord, anger, heresy and schism. Truly a numerous brood, even for a reptile; a horrible progeny, even from the old serpent himself. To trace the connection of each with its parent might be a task somewhat too lengthy, but the fearful array even of their names is sufficient to warn us to take all care lest we fall into this vice. The envious man is sometimes, though not necessarily, proud. He may have a high esteem of his own perfections and is therefore more easily blinded to another's worth. An envy of perhaps a more violent form is that of the man who knows himself to be of little worth, yet resents the worthiness of others, as if it were an injury to him.

In either case, the victim of the vice is most miserable. In most vices, there is more or less of the allurement of pleasure, but here the sinner preys upon himself and makes himself the more unhappy because of the happiness of others; more guilty because of another's virtue. He is not unlike the reptile who being unable to revenge himself upon his enemy, stings himself to death. Child of Satan as this vice is, one would think that no other would adopt it. Who but the great enemy of God and man could be grieved because of another's virtue? who but his children? Who but a child of the great enemy could be moved to anger by the holiness of Christ, the purity of the Virgin Mother, the sanctity of the saints? Yet, have we not known them to be hated? Why else were the saints persecuted? Why else was Jesus crucified?
As antidotes against the power of the vice, cultivate meekness. Recall the ineffable sweetness of temper of our Lord, Who “offered His cheek to the smiter,” and who bade us “turn the other cheek to him who strikes us;” Who was “dumb as a lamb before his shearer,” and Who laid down His life for His persecutors. Practise humility, for since a high estimation of our own worth is a ready temptation to unhappiness in the worth or honor in another, it follows that a mean opinion or rather correct valuation of ourselves, and an indifference to the esteem of others, will be an excellent preservative against the danger of envy. Our Lord Himself, though His greatness was infinite, sought not His own honor, and was readily content to be, from Bethlehem to Calvary, the despised and rejected of men.
To us He prescribes— “Go, sit down in the lowest place. He that is lesser among you all is the greater” (Luke 9: 14). Christ is our model and our preceptor, and only in following Him can we hope to escape this, the wiliest, the most insidious of the deceits of the tempter. Practise above all things, charity. St. Paul, writing to the Corinthians, speaks of charity as the very reverse of all those things which St. Cyprian names as the companions of envy. “Charity is patient, is kind; charity envieth not, dealeth not perversely, is not puffed up; is not ambitious, seeketh not her own, is not provoked to anger, thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth with the truth; charity never falleth away, whether prophecies be made void, or tongues shall cease, or knowledge shall be destroyed.” (1 Cor. 13: 4, s, 6, 8.)

Many-limbed for evil as envy is, charity has as many arms strong in virtue; it is therefore the most effectual opponent to aid us in crushing the asp. The love of God and His perfections; the love of holiness and all who practise it; the love of our enemies, peremptorily demanded of all who claim the name of Christian,—these leave no space through which the serpent may enter, leave no room for envy. Shall we who follow Christ give place to His enemy? His love is the antidote for the poison.
          Envy not the glory and riches of a sinner” (Eccl. 9: 16). “Envy not the unjust man, and do not follow his ways” (Prov. 3: 31). Envy not another either the gifts he has received from God,—bodily strength or beauty, riches or family or friends; nor the gifts of soul; intelligence of will, grace or sanctity; for they that do such things shall not obtain the kingdom of God. (Gal. 5: 26.) The angels of God rejoice over one sinner doing penance. Do you then rejoice with them over another’s good, weep for his evil. “Rejoice with them that rejoice, weep with them that weep” (Rom. 12: 15).
~~The American Ecclesiastical Review, Vol. 30(3), 1904.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Feast of Corpus Christi - Thursday, May 31 at 6PM



As is tradition, on Thursday, May 31, 2018, at 6PM, there will be a Solemn Mass to celebrate the Feast of Corpus Christi - on its traditional day.

Immediately following the Mass, there will be an outdoor Procession (with triple Benediction) around midtown Manhattan. This year will be Holy Innocents’ 9th annual outdoor Blessed Sacrament Procession for this traditional celebration.

Newly ordained Fr. Leo Joseph Camurati will be the Celebrant of this Solemn Mass. At the end of the Mass and Procession, Fr. Leo Joseph will confer his priestly blessing.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Absolving Penitents without Admonition

Question. A certain confessor enjoys quite a reputation for expediting matters in the confessional. As a rule, he pays no attention to the different classes of penitents who approach his confessional. He rarely asks a question; He allows the penitent to tell his sins without interruption, and then if he thinks him at all disposed, he absolves him immediately, without any word of instruction or admonition. On the vigils of great feasts, when the number of penitents is very great, he does not permit his penitents to make a full confession, but when they have told one or the other sin, he admonishes them to tell the rest of their sins in their next confession, and then absolves and dismisses them. He maintains that he is justified in acting thus, because otherwise he would never be able to hear all the people who come to him. To instruct or to admonish penitents in the confessional is not an essential part of the Sacrament of Penance, he says, nor is the confessor strictly bound to interrogate the penitent, provided the penitent confesses “materiam suficientem.” What must be thought of his method of action?
Answer. The practise of this confessor is certainly blameworthy, because he is neglecting certain strict obligations that are binding on the confessor's conscience.
First, as regards the practice of dismissing all penitents indiscriminately, without admonition or instruction. Benedict XIV, in his encyclical letter, Apostolica Constitutio, of July 26, 1749, issued for the jubilee of the following year, admonishes all confessors that they do not discharge the obligations of their office, but, on the contrary, that they are guilty of mortal sin, if, while sitting in the sacred tribunal of Penance, they show no solicitude for their penitents, but, without admonition or instruction, absolve them immediately they have finished the recital of their sins. The words of the Encyclical are as follows:
Ut meminerint suscepti muneris partes non implere, imo vera gravioris criminis reos esse eos omnes, qui cum in sacro Pœnitentiæ tribunali resident, pœnitentes audiunt, non monent, non interrogant, sed expleta criminum enumerations, absolutionis formam illico proferunt.
Every priest who exercises the ministry of the Sacrament of Penance is, according to the uniform teaching of the theologians, a teacher, a physician and a judge. As a teacher he is bound to instruct the penitent concerning the things that are, hic et nunc, required for the worthy reception of the Sacrament, as well as in the things he ought to know, in order to be able to lead a Christian life. As a physician of souls, he is required to investigate the causes of the spiritual illness of his penitents, that is to say, the nature and causes of their sins, in order to apply suitable spiritual remedies in each and every case. And, finally, as every judge is obliged to hear and to study the whole case of the culprit before him, to consider its various phases and to weigh justly all extenuating or aggravating circumstances before he renders a final judgment; so likewise does the office of the confessor require of him, as a judge in the court of conscience, that he study the state of the penitent’s conscience, and consider his dispositions and judge of his firm purpose of amendment, and then only to give or deny him absolution.
Now it is evident that the confessor mentioned in this case does not and cannot fulfil this threefold duty of teacher, physician and judge. His purpose is not to instruct and to heal and to judge; his purpose is to hear and to absolve as many penitents as possible. It stands to reason, of course, that where the number of those desiring to confess is very great, and they are for the most part pious souls, who are accustomed to approach the sacred tribunal of Penance frequently and have at the most only venial sins to confess, and the confessor knows that they are sufficiently instructed concerning the Sacrament of Penance, and rightly disposed, it stands to reason, I say, that the confessor may dispatch his work expeditiously, because such penitents do not need the spiritual care and help of the confessor in order to receive the Sacrament of Penance worthily and with profit.
But to proceed in the same manner with all penitents indiscriminately, whether they be known or unknown to the confessor, even with the ignorant and the poorly instructed, whether they confess mortal sins or venial sins, is certainly not to administer the Sacrament of Penance as we are bound by grave obligations to administer it. For experience proves that there are those who approach this holy tribunal unprepared, who have not sufficiently examined their conscience, who through false shame hesitate to confess certain sins, who are lacking in true contrition, though believing themselves contrite, because they have repeated orally the act of contrition. Now the prudent and careful confessor, whose earnest desire is to fulfil this holy ministry validly and licitly, with fruit and with profit, as the Church ordains that it shall be fulfilled, will endeavor to discover and correct the faults and defects and shortcomings of his penitents, by prudently questioning and instructing and disposing them, lest their confession be fruitless or even sacrilegious.
If the penitent confess mortal sins, he ought to be admonished of their heinousness, in order that he may be moved to realize his spiritual condition and abhor his sins and take the necessary means of shunning them in the future. If such penitents be absolved and dismissed incontinently from the sacred tribunal without a word of admonition or advice, they will very likely consider their sins of little consequence and never come to a realization of the necessity of correcting them, and thus will they speedily fall into them again.
Every confessor who has had experience of souls in the tribunal of Penance appreciates the gravity of this danger. For this very reason the Roman Ritual admonishes confessors to be careful to instruct their penitents regarding the condition of their souls, endeavoring to make them realize the number and gravity of their sins and to dispose them to contrition and a firm purpose of amendment.
“Demum, audita confessione, perpendens peccatorum, quae ille admisit, magnitudinem et multitudinem, pro eorum gravitate, ac penitentis conditione, opportune correptiones ac monitiones, prout opus esse viderit, paterna charitate adhibebit et ad dolorem et contritionem efdcacibus verbis adducere conabitur, atque ad vitam emendandam ac melius instituendam inducet, remediaque peccatorum tradet.”
The great number of penitents waiting to be heard does not excuse the confessor from the obligation of admonishing, correcting and disposing them, so that the reception of the Sacrament of Penance may be of benefit to them. St. Francis Xavier was accustomed to say that it was better to hear a few confessions, and to hear them well, than to hear a great many and to only half hear them. And St. Alfonsus says that it matters little whether there be others waiting to confess or whether some will be obliged to depart without being heard; for on the day of judgment the confessor will have to render an account of those he actually heard, and not of the others.
“Parum refert, quod alii expectant aut inconfessi discedant; confessarius enim de hoc tantum, qui sibi nunc confitetur, non vero de aliis, in die judicii rationem reddere debet” (Praxis confess. n.7).
Again it is quite blameworthy that the confessor, on the eves of great festivals, when the number of confessions is very great, should permit the penitent to confess only one or two sins and then absolve him, with the admonition to confess his other sins in his next confession. It is expressly stated in all moral theologies that the number of penitents desiring to be heard in confession can never be a valid or just reason for making only a partial confession, even though many must depart unheard and unshriven.
Under all such circumstances, a full and integral confession of all mortal sins is required of the penitent, sub gravi. The practice of absolving penitents without permitting them to confess all their mortal sins, because otherwise many must depart without absolution, is expressly condemned by Pope Innocent XI, in the 59th proscribed proposition.
“Licet sacramentaliter absolvere, dimidiate tantum confessos, ratione magni concursus penitentium, qualis v. g. potest contingere in die magnae alicujus festivitatis vel indulgentiæ.”
The reason why this proposition was condemned, says Billuart, is that the harm done by sending some penitents away unheard is not so great, as to justify a partial confession, especially when there is danger of absolving the unworthy, by reason of the precipitation with which the confessions are heard and the omission of a part of one’s sins.
~The Casuist, Volume II, 1908.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Pope Paul VI ...

With the "imminent" decree of canonization for Pope Paul VI, below are two articles/blog posts about the man and his role in the liturgical changes: 
1) This article seems to provide excuses for Paul VI's actions with regards to liturgical changes, with which --it would appear--, he was not in agreement:
2) This blog post opposes the conclusions reached in the first one, particularly given the fact that Paul VI never publicly condemned or reversed any of the changes that bore his very signature:

It does seem "odd" that someone who does not want certain things to happen ends up being the one whose signature officially approves the unwanted things. ... It seems difficult to think that Paul VI willingly and knowingly approved what he thought deserved condemnation. After all, when he wanted to reprimand somebody or condemn something, he made it happen ... all one has to do is see how Archbishop Lefevbre was treated, or anyone who publicly opposed the changes Paul VI had already approved, not to mention how wonderfully Paul VI spoke of the fruits that would emerge from the new horizons that he was foreseeing.
Moreover, the way in which Paul VI dealt with Cardinal Mindszenty is still something that scandalizes any serious Catholic with a little bit of Catholic sense left in him -- it was a complete betrayal of the fight that the Cardinal had put up against communism for decades in order to ensure the survival of the Catholic faith under such savage regime.
Besides Humanæ Vitæ, can anyone really bring up anything else (positive) for which Paul VI's pontificate was known? Has the Catholic Church ever based Her decree of canonization on one (1) thing done by the person being added to the catalogue of Saints? Should every person believed to be in Heaven be declared a Saint ... should every Pope? We can think of a few Popes who are still (and have long been) waiting to be canonized, Popes with a better track record, as Popes and as fervent and devout men of prayer and undeniable holiness, than Paul VI.
It might be a good thing (some people might say) that the cult of canonized Saints is not a "big deal" in general. Very few canonized Popes receive much popular attention from the devout faithful after they are added to the catalogue of Saints (St. Pius V and St. Pius X) being very well known exceptions. And, let's be serious: Paul VI was not a Pius V, nor a Pius IX, nor a Pius X, nor a Gregory VII, either in his personal life nor in the exercise of the Pontificate entrusted to him.  

Paul VI celebrating the (immemorial?) New Order of Mass. At the time this photo was taken, the New Order was only a few years old, and its creators were still alive and kicking. 
[Protestant] Contributors to the creation of the New Mass ... forget about the way in which the New Order is ("unfortunately") celebrated ... what about the creation process? Who was involved? Why were non-Catholics part of that process?

One could complain about the way in which some priests celebrate the traditional Mass, but when would one find anybody seriously complaining about who created the traditional Mass (or how it came about), or even better, who could pinpoint the time/place when the traditional Mass was created and by whom?   
 Paul VI with Michael Ramsey, "Archbishop" of Canterbury.
Paul VI giving the said "Archbishop" of Canterbury the episcopal ring he used when he was Archbishop of Milan ... a strange present for somebody the Church has formally decreed possesses no Apostolic succession! Stranger still is from *whom* the present came. Such a meaningless dramatic gesture!
Paul VI meeting with Orthodox leaders.
In an attempt to show humility (?) and moved by strong emotions (?), Paul VI kneels to kiss the feet of Metropolitan Meliton ... we can think of another "famous" kiss (a little over two thousand years ago) that was a betrayal of betrayals.