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Q&A  March AD 2014
Our Lady of the Rosary
Parish Bulletin

Pope Saint Pius X Condemns "evolution of truth."

Cornwell Slander:  Confession for Children

Month of Saint Joseph

Saint Thomas Aquinas

Lenten Observance

Q&A Archives

Our Lady of the Rosary
Pope Saint Pius X condemns the evolution of truth:

    Syllabus of Errors of the Modernists #58. “Truth is no more immutable than man himself, since it evolved with him, in him, and through him.” (Condemned proposition.)[1]


Our Lady of the Rosary
Cornwell Slander:  Confession for Children

    Question:  The Daily Mail Online had an article claiming that Pope Saint Pius X “turned the confessional box into a paradise for paedophiles: … Pope Pius X decreed in 1910 that children must make first confession at 7 'Prompted sex complexes' and created opportunities for paedophile priests.”[2]  Is there any truth in this?

    Answer:  The article’s author, John Cornwell appears to be the same anti-Catholic writer who published the absurd calumny of Pope Pius XII entitled Hitler’s Pope. [3]   Cornwell, an ex-seminarian, turned agnostic, and back to Catholic again devotes a great deal of ink to recounting the supposed failings of the pre-Conciliar Catholic Church.  While there is the possibility that some priests might make use of the confessional for immoral purposes, there is absolutely no evidence that this was intended or caused by Pope Saint Pius X.

    To begin with, it is not clear just what Cornwell is attacking.  There is no citation of an encyclical, decree, or allocution, in which the Pope purportedly “declared that all Catholics, including children, should confess weekly rather than once or twice a year, as was traditional.”  In fact, weekly Confession has never been mandatory, and the once or twice a year was an absolute minimum for Catholics who had reached the use of reason, and who had serious sins to confess.[4]  Cornwell mentions 1910, which would be the year in which the Decree Quam singulari of the Sacred Congregation of the Discipline of the Sacraments was issued on August 8, 1910.[5]  The decree was approved by the Pope, but was the work of the Sacred Congregation.  One should be able to expect more careful citations of a “wannabe” historian.

    Quam singulari deals more with the reception of Holy Communion by the young, even reminding its readers that for centuries very young children were permitted to receive from the time of their Baptism.  The Congregation’s concern was that children were being deprived of the graces necessary to preserve their innocence during the years beginning their maturity.

    It happened that children in their innocence were forced away from the embrace of Christ and deprived of the food of their interior life; and from this it also happened that in their youth, destitute of this strong help, surrounded by so many temptations, they lost their innocence and fell into vicious habits even before tasting of the Sacred Mysteries….

    But worse still is the practice in certain places which prohibits children who have not yet made their First Communion from being fortified by the Holy Viaticum, even when they are in imminent danger of death….

 Such is the injury caused by those who insist on extraordinary preparations for First Communion, beyond what is reasonable; and they doubtless do not realize that such precautions proceed from the errors of the Jansenists who contended that the Most Holy Eucharist is a reward rather than a remedy for human frailty. The Council of Trent, indeed, teaches otherwise when it calls the Eucharist, “An antidote whereby we may be freed from daily faults and be preserved from mortal sins.”

    Far from ordering Confession and Communion at age seven, the Congregation wisely quoted the Catechism of the Council of Trent:

     At what age children are to receive the Holy Mysteries no one can better judge than their father and the priest who is their confessor. For it is their duty to ascertain by questioning the children whether they have any understanding of this admirable Sacrament and if they have any desire for it.”

    The Cornwell article contains a number of inconsistencies.  There is a picture of a priest hearing the confession of a young man, in a confessional that looks nothing like that “dark box” described by Cornwell.   There is no serious physical separation between priest and penitent, and the customary grille is replaced by a yellow curtain, pulled back to suggest that the priest is leering at the penitent.—Yes, such a thing could exist, somewhere, but it was certainly not the pre-Conciliar norm.

    Cornwell has Catechetical instruction putting dark ideas into children’s minds:

   Childhood confession, and the ideas it put into young heads, was oppressive. Instructions for the sacrament began at the age of five or six….

    We were taught that sins which broke the ten commandments or the Church's rules were 'mortal'. In other words these sins killed the soul and earned punishment in the eternal fires of Hell.  Unless they were forgiven in the dark box.

    One has only to read The Baltimore Catechism #1—particularly the sections on the sixth and ninth Commandments—to see just how “lurid” First Communion instruction was :

369. Q. What is the sixth Commandment?

    A. The sixth Commandment is: Thou shalt not commit adultery.

370. Q. What are we commanded by the sixth Commandment?

    A. We are commanded by the sixth Commandment to be pure in thought and modest in all our looks, words, and actions.

371. Q. What is forbidden by the sixth Commandment?

    A. The sixth Commandment forbids all unchaste freedom with another's wife or husband; also all immodesty with ourselves or others in looks, dress, words, and actions.

372. Q. Does the sixth Commandment forbid the reading of bad and immodest books and newspapers?

    A. The sixth Commandment does forbid the reading of bad and immodest books and newspapers.


382. Q. What is the ninth Commandment?

    A. The ninth Commandment is: Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife.

383. Q. What are we commanded by the ninth Commandment?

    A. We are commanded by the ninth Commandment to keep ourselves pure in thought and desire.

384. Q. What is forbidden by the ninth Commandment?

    A. The ninth Commandment forbids unchaste thoughts, desires of another's wife or husband, and all other unlawful impure thoughts and desires.[6]

    Wild stuff, No?  An even briefer, “First Communion” version edition of the Catechism was used in many places.

    Cornwell goes on:

    What possible sins could a Catholic child commit to deserve Hell for all eternity? Many of these 'mortal' sins were to do with breaking the Church's rules - such as being late for Mass on Sunday, or missing Mass; or breaking the Holy Communion fast.

    I don’t recall it being a mortal in to be late for Mass, but, inadvertently of course, Cornwell here makes the case that the youngster needs to have the guidance of a priest:  “Father, I am not sure … tell me, did I sin by being six minutes late?  “by taking a cookie from the jar?”  “when I got mad with the dog for eating my homework?”  Isn’t this sort of advice why we call the priest “Father”?

    After I had recited my laundry list of petty sins, he asked if I was ever tempted to ‘commit a sexual sin by myself'.

    This is not supposed to be what was going on!  Canon Law specifically forbids the confessor from asking “curious questions, particularly about the sixth commandment of the Decalogue, and particularly when they inquire about such things with young people who are ignorant of them.”[7]

    Perhaps Cornwell’s most unlikely claim is about a priest molesting a whole class of girls in plain sight:

    Some priests took extraordinary risks. In 1988, an entire class of girls at a Catholic school in Monageer, Ireland, complained that they had been sexually molested by a Father Grennan when he heard their confessions in the sanctuary of the parish church. He told the girls in the pews to keep their eyes shut.

    Surely, that had to be pretty common!

    There has to be some degree of frank discussion between priest and penitent—this is implicit in the authority granted by Jesus Christ to “forgive” or “retain” the sins of penitents.[8]  Cornwell has no advice to offer on how to keep bad men out of the priesthood, and from hearing confessions.  Certainly, it would be far too politically incorrect for him to suggest that homosexuals or anyone else be excluded.  And what about the confessions of adult women—how are they to be protected from predator priests?  Women and children should not have to fear the Sacraments!  How can there be priests who so totally reject objective morality?

    Perhaps that question was answered by Pope Saint Pius when he issued his encyclical condemning modernism. [9] Modernism reduces all religious ideas—morality as well as beliefs—to “sentiments,” “feelings,” and opinions—all things are subject to “dialogue”—all things are “relative.”  With modernism there is no objective morality, any more than there is objective truth.  Pope Saint Pius strove diligently, but in vain, to free the Church of modernists.  Had his efforts been more well respected, many of the afflictions of the Conciliar Church would not be with us today—the Marxist and pervert infiltrators of the Church would have been expelled.

I don’t expect Mr. Cornwell to express such a concept anytime soon.


Our Lady of the Rosary
March: The Month of Saint Joseph,

Foster Father of Our Lord, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary,
Patron of the Universal Church

A Sermon of Saint Bernard, Abbot.
Second sermon on Luke (i: 26)

    What and what manner of man the blessed Joseph was, we may gather from that title wherewith, even if only as a deputy, God deemed him fit to be honored: he was both called, and supposed to be the Father of God. We may gather it from his very name, which, being interpreted, signifies "Increase." Remember likewise that great Patriarch who was sold into Egypt, and know that the Husband of Mary not only received his name, but inherited his purity, and was likened to him in innocence and in grace.

    If then, that Joseph that was sold by his brethren through envy, and was brought down to Egypt, was a type of Christ sold by a disciple, and handed over to the Gentiles, the other Joseph flying from the envy of Herod carried Christ into Egypt. That first Joseph kept loyal to his master, and would not carnally know his master's wife; that second Joseph knew that the Lady, the Mother of his Lord, was a virgin, and he himself remained faithfully virgin toward her. To that first Joseph it was given to know dark things in interpreting of dreams; to the second Joseph it was given in sleep to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven.

    The first Joseph laid by bread, not for himself, but for all people; the second Joseph received into his keeping that Living Bread Which came down from heaven, not for him only, but for the whole world. We cannot doubt but that that Joseph was good and faithful to whom was espoused the Mother of the Savior. Yea, I say, he was a faithful and wise servant, whom the Lord appointed to be the comfort of His own Mother, the keeper of His own Body, and the only and trusty helper in the Eternal Counsels.

 Our Lady of the Rosary
Saint Thomas Aquinas (March 7th)

    Thomas of Aquino, was the son of Landulph, Earl of Aquino, and Theodora of Naples, and even as an infant gave token of the love which he afterwards bore to the Mother of God. When he was only four years old, he was given into the keeping of the Benedictine monks of Monte Cassino. He was thence sent to Naples to study, and there, while very young, entered the Order of Friars Preachers. This displeased his mother and brothers, and he left Naples for Paris. When he was on his journey his brothers met him, and carried him off by force to the castle of Monte San Giovanni, where they imprisoned him.  Here they used every means to break him of his intention, and at last brought a woman into his room to try to overcome his purity. The lad drove her out with a fire-brand.  When he was alone he knelt down before the figure of the Cross, and there he fell asleep. As he slept, it seemed to him that angels came and girded his loins and from this time he never felt the least lustful inclination. His sisters came to the castle to beseech him to give up his purpose of leaving the world, but he so worked on them by his godly exhortations, that both of them ever after set no value on earthly things, and busied themselves rather with heavenly.

    Being let down from a window, Thomas escaped the castle, and returned to Naples. Thence he went first to Rome, and then to Paris, in company of Brother John the German, then Master-General of the Friars Preachers. At Paris he studied Philosophy and Theology under Albert the Great Doctor. At the age of twenty-five years he took the degree of Master, and gave public disquisitions on the Philosophers and Theologians with great distinction. He never set himself to read or write till he had first prayed, and when he was about to take in hand a hard passage of the Holy Scriptures, he fasted also.  Hence he was wont to say to Brother Reginald his comrade, that whatever he knew, he had learnt, not so much from his own labour and study, as from the inspiration of God. At Naples he was once kneeling in very earnest prayer before an image of Christ Crucified, when he heard a voice which said Thomas, “thou hast written well of Me what reward wilt thou that I give thee?” He answered: “Lord, thyself.” He studied most carefully the works of the Fathers, and there was no kind of author in which he was not well read. His own writings are so wonderful, both because of their number, their variety, and the clearness of his explanations of hard things, that his rich and pure teaching, marvellously consonant with revealed truth, is an admirable antidote for the errors of all times.

    At the command of Pope Urban IV he composed the Church Office for the feast of Corpus Christi. The Pope could not persuade him to accept any dignity.  Pope Clement IV also offered him the Archbishopric of Naples, but he refused it. He did not neglect the preaching of the Word of God. While giving a course of sermons in the Basilica of St Peter, during the octave of Easter, a woman who had an issue of blood was healed by touching the hem of his garment. He was sent by blessed Gregory X to the Council of Lyons, but fell sick on his way to the Abbey of Fossa Nuovo, and there during his illness he made an exposition of the Song of Songs. He died there on the Nones of March, in the year of salvation twelve hundred seventy four, at fifty years of age. He was distinguished for miracles even after his death, and on proof of these Pope John XXII added his name to those of the Saints in the year thirteen hundred twenty three. His body was afterwards carried to Toulouse by command of blessed Urban V. He has been compared to an angel, both on account of his innocence and of his intellectual power, and has hence been deservedly termed the Angelic Doctor. The use of this title as applied to him was approved by the authority of holy Pius V. Pope Leo XIII. cheerfully agreeing to the prayers and wishes of nearly all the bishops of the Catholic world, and in conformity with a vote of the Congregation of Sacred Rites, by his Apostolic letters declared and recognized Thomas of Aquino as the patron in heaven of all Catholic schools, as an antidote to the plague of so many false systems, especially of philosophy, for the increase of scientific knowledge, and for the common good of all mankind.


Our Lady of the Rosary
Lenten Observance

    The Holy Season of Lent extends from Ash Wednesday until the Vigil of Easter, March 5th until April 19th this year.  Lent is traditionally observed as a season of private and public prayer, spiritual reading, good works, and self discipline through fasting and abstinence.

    Lenten weekdays are generally fasting days—unless the calendar indicates the (relatively infrequent) observance of a saint's feast, such as that of Saint Joseph, or the Annunciation of Our Lady.  Fasting implies the taking of one full meal, and two smaller meals—collations, or “snacks” to use the modern term.  Eating or drinking between meals should be avoided, although water does not break the fast.  Likewise, unsweetened coffee or tea.

    Ash Wednesday, all Fridays, the Ember Days, and the Vigil of Easter (until the end of the Vigil Mass)  are days of abstinence from meat and poultry.  They are also days of fasting.

    Abstinence from personal enjoyments—e.g. candy, cigarettes, liquor, movies, television, etc.—is also recommended.  By learning to control legitimate desires, one gains strength to deal with the illegitimate ones that eventually come along.

    Nothing in the Lenten Observance is intended to harm the health of the observant Catholic.  If you have any question as to how these practices apply in your own personal situation, please discuss it with your Confessor.  Those below twenty-one or over fifty-nine are excused from the Lenten fast, but not from the requirement to abstain from meat on the appointed days.

    Remember also, that Catholics are obliged to make a good Confession and receive Holy Communion at least once (!) during the Easter Season.  In these United States, the season extends from the First Sunday of Lent until Trinity Sunday, March 9th  until June 15th this year.


[4]   Fourth Lateran Council (1215), canon 21.

[6]   Baltimore Catechism No.1, Third Plenary Council of Baltimore, 1885, Reprinted 1977 by TAN Books and Publishers, Rockford IL.

[7]   o.c. 888 §2;  n.c. 878-879.

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