Q&A March AD 2014
Our Lady of the Rosary
Pope Saint Pius X Condemns "evolution of
Cornwell Slander: Confession for
Month of Saint Joseph
Saint Thomas Aquinas
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.)
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.”
Is there any truth in this?
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.
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.
Cornwell mentions 1910, which would be the year in which the Decree
of the Sacred Congregation of the
Discipline of the Sacraments was issued on August 8, 1910.
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
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
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
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 :
What is the sixth Commandment?
The sixth Commandment is: Thou shalt not commit adultery.
What are we commanded by the sixth Commandment?
are commanded by the sixth Commandment to be pure in thought and modest
in all our looks, words, and actions.
What is forbidden by the sixth Commandment?
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.
Does the sixth Commandment forbid the reading of bad and immodest books
The sixth Commandment does forbid the reading of bad and immodest books
What is the ninth Commandment?
The ninth Commandment is: Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife.
What are we commanded by the ninth Commandment?
are commanded by the ninth Commandment to keep ourselves pure in thought
What is forbidden by the ninth Commandment?
The ninth Commandment forbids unchaste thoughts, desires of another's
wife or husband, and all other unlawful impure thoughts and desires.
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.”
Perhaps Cornwell’s most
unlikely claim is about a priest molesting a whole class of girls in plain
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
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.