Were the Consecrations of the SSPX Bishops Criminal?

Pope Pius XII

Pope Pius XII

There seems to be a consensus among supporters of the Society of St. Pius X that the excommunication of those involved in the 1988 Écône consecrations was the act of a Modernist church against those stands for tradition. However, Pope Pius XII might have disagreed.

In June 1958, Pope Pius XII issued the encyclical Ad Apostolorum Principis. This encyclical addressed the persecution of the Catholic Church in China. He also mentioned the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association, which was created by the Communists to control Catholics. One of the methods they used for control was to install their own bishops, often forcing lawfully ordained bishops to consecrate Communist-friendly men without papal approval. Many good bishops went along with them because they believed it would benefit the laity in the long run. Here is what Pope Pius XII had to say about consecrations performed without papal approval: (Emphasis is mine.)

30. Assuming false and unjust premises, they are not afraid to take a position which would confine within a narrow scope the supreme teaching authority of the Church, claiming that there are certain questions — such as those which concern social and economic matters — in which Catholics may ignore the teachings and the directives of this Apostolic See.

31. This opinion — it seems entirely unnecessary to demonstrate its existence — is utterly false and full of error because, as We declared a few years ago to a special meeting of Our Venerable Brethren in the episcopacy:

32. “The power of the Church is in no sense limited to so-called ‘strictly religious matters’; but the whole matter of the natural law, its institution, interpretation and application, in so far as the moral aspect is concerned, are within its power.

33. “By God’s appointment the observance of the natural law concerns the way by which man must strive toward his supernatural end. The Church shows the way and is the guide and guardian of men with respect to their supernatural end.”[9]

34. This truth had already been wisely explained by Our Predecessor St. Pius X in his Encyclical Letter Singulari quadam of September 24, 1912, in which he made this statement: “All actions of a Christian man so far as they are morally either good or bad — that is, so far as they agree with or are contrary to the natural and divine law — fall under the judgment and jurisdiction of the Church.”[10]

35. Moreover, even when those who arbitrarily set and defend these narrow limits profess a desire to obey the Roman Pontiff with regard to truths to be believed, and to observe what they call ecclesiastical directives, they proceed with such boldness that they refuse to obey the precise and definite prescriptions of the Holy See. They protest that these refer to political affairs because of a hidden meaning by the author, as if these prescriptions took their origin from some secret conspiracy against their own nation.

36. Here We must mention a symptom of this falling away from the Church. It is a very serious matter and fills Our heart — the heart of a Father and universal Pastor of the faithful — with a grief that defies description. For those who profess themselves most interested in the welfare of their country have for some considerable time been striving to disseminate among the people the position, devoid of all truth, that Catholics have the power of directly electing their bishops. To excuse this kind of election they allege a need to look after the good souls with all possible speed and to entrust the administration of dioceses to those pastors who, because they do not oppose the communist desires and political methods, are acceptable by the civil power.

37. We have heard that many such elections have been held contrary to all right and law and that, in addition, certain ecclesiastics have rashly dared to receive episcopal consecration, despite the public and severe warning which this Apostolic See gave those involved.

Since, therefore, such serious offenses against the discipline and unity of the Church are being committed, We must in conscience warn all that this is completely at variance with the teachings and principles on which rests the right order of the society divinely instituted by Jesus Christ our Lord.

38. For it has been clearly and expressly laid down in the canons that it pertains to the one Apostolic See to judge whether a person is fit for the dignity and burden of the episcopacy,[11] and that complete freedom in the nomination of bishops is the right of the Roman Pontiff.[12] But if, as happens at times, some persons or groups are permitted to participate in the selection of an episcopal candidate, this is lawful only if the Apostolic See has allowed it in express terms and in each particular case for clearly defined persons or groups, the conditions and circumstances being very plainly determined.

39. Granted this exception, it follows that bishops who have been neither named nor confirmed by the Apostolic See, but who, on the contrary, have been elected and consecrated in defiance of its express orders, enjoy no powers of teaching or of jurisdiction since jurisdiction passes to bishops only through the Roman Pontiff as We admonished in the Encyclical Letter Mystici Corporis in the following words: “. . . As far as his own diocese is concerned each (bishop) feeds the flock entrusted to him as a true shepherd and rules it in the name of Christ. Yet in exercising this office they are not altogether independent but are subordinate to the lawful authority of the Roman Pontiff, although enjoying ordinary power of jurisdiction which they receive directly from the same Supreme Pontiff.”[13]

40. And when We later addressed to you the letter Ad Sinarum gentem, We again referred to this teaching in these words: “The power of jurisdiction which is conferred directly by divine right on the Supreme Pontiff comes to bishops by that same right, but only through the successor of Peter, to whom not only the faithful but also all bishops are bound to be constantly subject and to adhere both by the reverence of obedience and by the bond of unity.”[14]

41. Acts requiring the power of Holy Orders which are performed by ecclesiastics of this kind, though they are valid as long as the consecration conferred on them was valid, are yet gravely illicit, that is, criminal and sacrilegious.

42. To such conduct the warning words of the Divine Teacher fittingly apply: “He who enters not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbs up another way, is a thief and a robber.”[15] The sheep indeed know the true shepherd’s voice. “But a stranger they will not follow, but will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers.”[16]

43. We are aware that those who thus belittle obedience in order to justify themselves with regard to those functions which they have unrighteously assumed, defend their position by recalling a usage which prevailed in ages past. Yet everyone sees that all ecclesiastical discipline is overthrown if it is in any way lawful for one to restore arrangements which are no longer valid because the supreme authority of the Church long ago decreed otherwise. In no sense do they excuse their way of acting by appealing to another custom, and they indisputably prove that they follow this line deliberately in order to escape from the discipline which now prevails and which they ought to be obeying.

44. We mean that discipline which has been established not only for China and the regions recently enlightened by the light of the Gospel, but for the whole Church, a discipline which takes its sanction from that universal and supreme power of caring for, ruling, and governing which our Lord granted to the successors in the office of St. Peter the Apostle.

45. Well known are the terms of Vatican Council’s solemn definition: “Relying on the open testimony of the Scriptures and abiding by the wise and clear decrees both of our predecessors, the Roman Pontiffs, and the general Councils, We renew the definition of the Ecumenical Council of Florence, by virtue of which all the faithful must believe that ‘the Holy Apostolic See and the Roman Pontiff hold primacy over the whole world, and the Roman Pontiff himself is the Successor of the blessed Peter and continues to be the true Vicar of Christ and head of the whole Church, the father and teacher of all Christians, and to him is the blessed Peter our Lord Jesus Christ committed the full power of caring for, ruling and governing the Universal Church….’

46. “We teach, . . . We declare that the Roman Church by the Providence of God holds the primacy of ordinary power over all others, and that this power of jurisdiction of the Roman Pontiff, which is truly episcopal, is immediate. Toward it, the pastors and the faithful of whatever rite and dignity, both individually and collectively, are bound by the duty of hierarchical subordination and true obedience, not only in matters which pertain to faith and morals, but also in those which concern the discipline and government of the Church spread throughout the whole world, in such a way that once the unity of communion and the profession of the same Faith has been preserved with the Roman Pontiff, there is one flock of the Church of Christ under one supreme shepherd. This is the teaching of the Catholic truth from which no one can depart without loss of faith and salvation.”[17]

47. From what We have said, it follows that no authority whatsoever, save that which is proper to the Supreme Pastor, can render void the canonical appointment granted to any bishop; that no person or group, whether of priests or of laymen, can claim the right of nominating bishops; that no one can lawfully confer episcopal consecration unless he has received the mandate of the Apostolic See.[18]

48. Consequently, if consecration of this kind is being done contrary to all right and law, and by this crime the unity of the Church is being seriously attacked, an excommunication reserved specialissimo modo to the Apostolic See has been established which is automatically incurred by the consecrator and by anyone who has received consecration irresponsibly conferred.[19]

You can read the whole encyclical with footnotes here.

It would seem clear that Pope Pius XII would not approve consecration of bishops without papal approval because it shows a lack of respect for the office of the Pope and it damages the unity of the Church.

As always, please pray for the reunion of SSPX with the Church. I firmly believe that when they return they will be a great force for good.

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Happy Easter!!!


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Fifth Word – I thirst (John 19:27)


I thirst (John 19:27)

During Our Lord’s Passion, He was twice offered a drink. This first was a mixture of wine and myrrh. This Our Lord refused because it was commonly given to condemned criminals to deaden pain. His Passion and Death would have been rendered worthless if He had allowed anything to mitigate the pain He was about to suffer. The second drink He was offered was sour wine or vinegar. This He drank. In doing so, He drank deeply of the cup which He had begged His Father to remove from Him in the Garden. He drank the last dregs of the cup of our punishment.

Lord God, Your Only Begotten Son drank deeply of the cup of iniquity for my sake. If I were to try to drink the same draft by myself, I would not be able to survive. It is only with Thy help that I can hope to drink of my own bitter draught and survive. Help me to turn away from the sweetness of the world and accept the bitter drink that is punishment for my sins. I beg You to send me the grace and strength required to accept this bitter cup. Let not my will be done, but Thine. Amen.

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Sixth Word – It is consummated. (John 19:30)


It is consummated. (John 19:30)

With these three words, the Savior of this world declared that His Mission to Redeem mankind had been completed. This mission of redemption had begun in a cave in Bethlehem and now it was completed as the King of this world and the next hung on a cross to free us from our sins. God used this words before when He first created the world in the book of Genesis. Now, He recreated it by washing away the stain of man’s sin with His all purifying Precious Blood. Let us now follow His example as best we can be turning away from sin. Let us have nothing more to do with sin. so that we may be worthy of eternal glory with Our Lord and His Mother in Heaven.

Lord Jesus Christ, give me the grace to declare my former, sinful ways finished. Help me to turn my back on sin and repent, so that I may never more hurt Your most Precious Heart. Strengthen my resolve to put aside sin and reach instead for Heaven, my true home, so that I may spent eternity praising Thee forever. Amen.

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Seventh Word – And Jesus crying with a loud voice, said: Father, into Thy Hands I commend My Spirit. And saying this, He gave up the ghost. (Luke 23:46)

As He neared the end of His Passion, suffered for our sake, Jesus delivered His final words declaring that death had not power over Him. The Master and Creator of this world could never be subject to death, for He is the Master of all things. Having already declared His Mission finished, Our Lord now had to return to His Father in Heaven, where He now reigns and rules.

Lord God, help me to never fear death. Help me to live a life in accordance with Your Will, so that Heaven may be my destination. Amen.

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Repentance by St. John Vianney

St. John Vianney, patron of  priests

St. John Vianney, patron of priests

The following is a sermon given by St. John Vianney on the subject of repentance. I thought it would be a worthwhile follow up to yesterday’s article.

“Woe is me, for I have sinned so much during my life”–Confessions of St. Augustine.

Thus spoke St. Augustine, when he thought over his past life, which he had spent incessantly in the abominable vice of impurity. As often as the thought occurred to him, his heart was torn and devoured by repentance. “Oh, my Lord,” he exclaimed, “I have lived without loving Thee; oh, my Lord, how many precious years have I lost! Deign, O Lord, I implore Thee, to efface from Thy memory my past faults!” Oh precious tears, O salutary contrition, which made of such a great sinner so great a saint!

Oh, how quickly does a really contrite heart regain the friendship of God! Ah, would to God, that every time we let our sins pass before our mind’s eye we could say with the repentant St. Augustine: “Ah, woe is me. I have sinned much during my life; have mercy on me, O Lord!” How soon would we alter our mode of living! Yes, my brethren, let us all who are here present, confess with the same fervent repentance and sincerity, that we are great sinners who deserve to experience the full wrath of God. And let us praise God’s infinite mercy, who gives us abundantly of His treasures to solace us in our misery.

If our sins have been ever so great, and our life has been ever so dissolute, we are sure of His pardon, if we follow the example of the prodigal son and throw ourselves with a contrite heart at the feet of the best of fathers. Now let me show to you, my Christian friends, that our repentance must have this quality before it can procure for us pardon for our sins: The sinner must, in consequence of his repentance, hate his sins sincerely, and detest them.

To make you fully understand what repentance, i.e., the pain which our sins should cause our conscience, means, I would have to show you on the one hand the abhorrence which the Lord has for them, and the torments which He had to suffer to gain pardon for them from God the Father, and on the other hand the blessings we lose by committing sin, and the evils which we bring down upon ourselves in the next world; but no man will ever be able to understand this fully.

Where shall I lead you, my brethren, to show you this repentance? Into the solitude of the desert, perhaps, where so many saints spent twenty, thirty, forty, fifty, or even eighty years of their lives, bemoaning faults which were no faults in the eyes of the world. No, your heart would not be moved by such as these. Or shall I lead you to the entrance of hell, so that you may hear the woeful cries and howls, and gnashing of teeth, which is caused by the repentance of their sins; but though bitter and hard to bear, their pain and repentance is useless. No, my brethren, you would not learn here the real repentance which you should feel over your sins. Oh, if I could only lead you to the foot of the cross which is still reddened with the precious Blood of our Lord, shed to wash away our sins! Oh, if I could only lead you into that garden of sorrow, where our Lord shed for our sins, not ordinary tears, but blood, which flowed forth from all the pores of His body! Oh, if I could only show Him to you laden with the cross, staggering along the streets of Jerusalem, at every step He stumbles and is driven on by kicks. Oh, if I could only lead you to Mount Calvary, where our Lord died, for the sake of our salvation.

But even if I could do all that, it would be necessary that God should give you the grace of inflaming in your heart the burning love of a St. Bernard, who broke out in tears at the mere sight of the cross. Oh, beautiful and precious repentance, how happy is he who harbors thee in his heart! But to whom am I addressing myself: where is he who feels it in his heart? Alas, I do not know. Is it to that headstrong sinner who has abandoned his God and neglected his soul for twenty or thirty years?

No, that would be like trying to soften a rock by pouring water over it. Or to that Christian who has neglected missions, and ceased prayers, and despised the admonitions of his spiritual adviser? No, that would be like trying to heat water by adding ice to it. Or, perhaps, to those persons who feel satisfied if they make their Easter duty , and then, year in and year out, continue in the same sinful course of living. No, those are the victims which are fattened to serve as food for the eternal flames. Or to those Christians who go to Communion every month, and fall back into their sins every day? No, for they are like the blind, who do not know what they do, or what they ought to do.

To whom shall I address myself, then? Alas, I do not know. Oh, my Lord, where shall I look for it, where shall I find it? Yes, my Lord, I know whence it comes and who bestows it. It comes from heaven, and Thou dost bestow it, O Lord. Oh, my Lord, we implore Thee, bestow it upon us, the repentance which crushes and devours our heart; this beautiful repentance which disarms God’s justice and changes an eternity of misery into eternal bliss. Oh, beautiful virtue, how necessary thou art, and how seldom to be found! And yet, without it there can be no pardon, no heaven, and, more than that, without it all is in vain: penance, charity, alms, or anything else we might do to gain the eternal reward.

But we may ask, “What does this word ‘repentance’ mean, and how can we tell whether we have it or not?” My brethren, if you will listen to me, I will explain to you how you can find our whether you have it or not, and if you have it not, how you may obtain it. Now, if you ask me what repentance is, I tell you that it is an anguish of the soul and a detestation for past sin, and a firm resolve never to sin again. Yes, my brethren, this is the foremost of all conditions which God makes before pardoning our sins, and it can never be dispensed with. A sickness which deprives us of speech, may dispense us from confession; a sudden death may dispense us from the necessity of giving satisfaction for our sins during life, but with repentance it is different.

Without it, it is impossible, absolutely impossible, to obtain forgiveness. Yes, my brethren, I must say with deep regret that the want of repentance is the cause of a great number of sacrilegious confessions and Communions, and what is still more to be regretted is the circumstance that many do not realize what a sad state they are in, and live and die in it. Now, my friends, if we have the misfortune to conceal a sin in confession, this sin is constantly before our eyes like a monster which threatens to devour us, and it causes us to soon go to confession again, so as to free ourselves from it. But it is different with repentance; we confess, but our heart does not take part in the accusation which we make against ourselves. We approach the Holy Sacrament with as cold, unfeeling, and indifferent a heart as if performing an indifferent act of no consequence.

Thus we live from day-to-day, from year to year, until we approach death, when we expect to find that we have done something to our credit, only to discover nothing but sacrileges, which we have committed by our confessions and Communions. Oh, my God, how many Christians there are who will discover at the hour of their death nothing but invalid confessions! But I will not go further into this matter, for fear that I may frighten you, and yet you ought really to be brought to the verge of despair, so that you may stop immediately, and improve your condition right now, instead of waiting until that moment when you will recognize your condition, and when it will be too late to improve it.

But let us continue with our explanation, and you will soon learn, my brethren, whether you had the repentance in all your confessions, which is so absolutely necessary for the forgiveness of sin.

I said that repentance is an anguish of soul. It is absolutely necessary that a sinner weep over his sins either in this world or the next. In this world we can wipe out our sins by repentance, but not in the next. We should be very grateful to our dear Lord that the anguish of our soul is sufficient for Him to let it be followed by eternal joy, instead of making us suffer that eternal repentance and those awful tortures which would be our lot in the next life, that is, hell. Oh, my God, with how little art Thou satisfied!

Now, let me tell you that this anguish of soul must have four qualities; if any one of these qualities is wanting, we can not obtain forgiveness for our sins. the first quality is that it must come from the bottom of the heart. It need not necessarily show itself in tears; they are good and useful, but they are not essential. It is a fact that when St. Paul and the penitent thief turned to God, it is not reported that they wept, and yet their anguish of soul was sincere. No, my friends, you must not rely on tears alone. they are often deceiving, and many persons weep in the confessional and fall back into the same sin at the first opportunity. The anguish of soul which God demands of us, is like the one of which the prophet says:

“Rend your heart and not your garments. A sacrifice to God is an afflicted spirit; a contrite and humble heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise.”

Why does God require that our heart should feel this anguish? Because it is in the heart we commit our sins. “It is in the heart,” says the Lord, “where all bad thoughts, all sinful desires, originate.” Therefore, if our heart is guilty, the heart must suffer, or God will never forgive us. The second quality of this anguish which we must feel over our sins, is that it must be supernatural; that means, that the Holy Ghost and not natural causes must call it forth. To be troubled about a sin one has committed because it would exclude us from paradise and lead us into hell, is a supernatural motive, of which the Holy Ghost is the originator, and will lead to true repentance. But to be troubled about a sin because of the shame which will be the consequence, or the misfortune it will cause us, that is merely a natural sorrow, which does not merit pardon. It is perfectly plain, then, that the anguish of soul caused by our sins, must arise from our love of God and our fear of His chastisement. He who, in his repentance, thinks only of God, feels a perfect repentance. But he who only repents of his sins merely on account of the temporal punishments which they will bring upon him, has no proper repentance and is not justified in expecting forgiveness of his sins. The third quality of repentance is that it must be unlimited, that is, the anguish it calls forth must be greater than any other sorrow, as, for instance, at the loss of our parents, or our health, or in general at the loss of anything that is dearest to us in this life. The reason why our sorrow must be so great, is because it must be equivalent to the loss it will cause us, and the misfortune it will bring us after our death. Imagine, then, how great an anguish ought to be ours over a sin which deprives us of all the glories of heaven, alienates our dear Lord from us, and casts us into hell, which is the greatest of all misfortunes.

But, you may ask, how are we to know whether we possess this true repentance? Nothing is easier. If you have real repentance, you will neither act, nor think, as you did before, and you will change your mode of life completely; you will hate what you have loved and you will love what you have despised and avoided. For instance, if you had to confess that in action and speech you were of a hasty temper, you would hereafter be remarkable for your gentleness of behavior, and your consideration for all. You need not trouble yourself whether you have made a perfect confession, as errors are easily committed, but the consequence of your confession should be that the people say of you: “how he has changed; he is not the same man. A wonderful change has taken place in him!” Oh, my Lord, how rare are the confessions which cause such a great change! The fourth and last quality is that repentance must be comprehensive. We see in the lives of the saints, in regard to the comprehensiveness of repentance, that we can not receive pardon for one mortal sin, even if we have properly repented the same, if we do not feel the same repentance for all our mortal sins.

History furnishes us with an example which shows us how absolutely necessary the saints considered this anguish over our sins, to obtain forgiveness. One of the papal officers fell sick. The Holy Father, who had a high esteem of his bravery and sanctity of life, sent one of his cardinals to express his sympathy, and to give him absolution. “Tell the Holy Father,” said the dying man to the Cardinal, “that I am very thankful to him for his tender regard, but tell him also that I would be infinitely more thankful to him if he would pray to God to obtain for me the grace of a true repentance for my sins. Oh!” he cried, “what good is anything to me if my heart does not break with anguish at the thought that I have offended so good a God. Oh, Lord, if it be possible, make the repentance over my sins equal to the offense which I have given you!”

And this disposition is obtained by prayer–earnest, fervent prayer. “Create a clean heart in me, O God: and renew a right spirit within my bowels. Cast me not away from thy face, and take not Thy Holy Spirit from me,” etc. (Ps.1.12). Joined to this repentance will naturally be a firm resolve not to commit the sin again; and this is the contrite and humble heart which God will not despise.

Such a one He will receive again as His child, and restore to him all the privileges of a child of God, and heir to the Heavenly Kingdom.

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Repentance: the Forgotten Virtue

ProdigalSonDuring the season of Lent, we are called to purge our souls of sin. The Church provides us with many prayers to help us accomplish this goal, including the Stations of the Cross. However, most of the modern versions of these prayers are devoid of any mention of repentance. This is very problematic for me because as St. John Vianney said:

“Without it (repentance), it is impossible, absolutely impossible, to obtain forgiveness.”

In the newer Stations of the Cross, there are frequent requests of the Lord to cleanse our hearts or help me to be grateful for what you did. However, there is no commitment from the person praying to do better or even sorrow for those sins which cause Jesus such great pain.

Let me give you an example of what I mean. First is a quote from the First Station of a modern Stations of the Cross.

Jesus, you stand all alone before Pilate. Nobody speaks up for you. Nobody helps defend you. You devoted your entire life to helping others, listening to the smallest ones, caring for those who were ignored by others. They don’t seem to remember that as they prepare to put you to death.

As a child, sometimes I feel alone. Sometimes I feel that others don’t stand up for me and defend me when I am afraid. Sometimes I don’t feel like I am treated fairly, especially if I am scolded or corrected.

As an adult, sometimes I feel abandoned and afraid as well. Sometimes I too, feel like I am treated unfairly or blamed for things unfairly. I have a hard time when people criticize me at home or at work.

Help me be grateful for what you did for me. Help me to accept criticism and unfairness as you did, and not complain. Help me pray for those who have hurt me.

Now, here is the First Station as written by St. Francis of Assisi (one of my favorites).

Jesus, most innocent, who neither did nor could commit a sin, was condemned to death, and moreover, to the most ignominious death of the cross. To remain a friend of Caesar, Pilate delivered Him into the hands of His enemies. A fearful crime — to condemn Innocence to death, and to offend God in order not to displease men!

O innocent Jesus, having sinned, I am guilty of eternal death, but Thou willingly dost accept the unjust sentence of death, that I might live. For whom, then, shall I henceforth live, if not for Thee, my Lord? Should I desire to please men, I could not be Thy servant. Let me, therefore, rather displease men and all the world, than not please Thee, O Jesus.

I hope you will agree that the second version (written by St. Francis) has a better chance of awakening feelings of remorse and repentance in the sinner’s soul.

Now, some people have complained to me that the Stations of the Cross written by St. Francis are too dark. I would reply in two ways. First, St. Francis is a saint, so this kind of meditation must be beneficial. Second, in a world that is so filled with wars, murder and evil; acknowledging our sinfulness and trying to please God is dark?

The real problem is not that the Franciscan Stations are dark, it is the fact that they remind people that they are sinful human beings who deserve only death but who are saved from this death by Christ’s death on the Cross. Modern man does not like to be reminded that he is sinful and must change his ways. He would rather continue on as he is and possibly repent at the end of his life. But that may be too late.  St. Augustine of Hippo said:

“I know, and as I do every one knows, who has used a little more than ordinary consideration, that no man who has any fear of God omits to reform himself in obedience to His words, but he who thinks that he has longer time to live. This it is which kills so many, while they are saying, “Tomorrow, Tomorrow;” and suddenly the door is shut. He remains outside with the raven’s croak, because he had not the moaning of the dove. “Tomorrow, Tomorrow;” is the raven’s croak. Moan plaintively as the dove, and beat your breast; but while you are inflicting blows on your breast, be the better for the beating; lest you seem not to beat your conscience, but rather with blows to harden it, and make an evil conscience more unyielding instead of better. Moan with no fruitless moaning.”

The saints knew well how beneficial repentance is. Here are some of their quotes for our mutual edification, as well as several quotes from the Bible.

“Repentance raises the fallen, mourning knocks at the gate of Heaven, and holy humility opens it.” – St. John Climacus – “The Ladder of Divine Ascent” (Step 25)

“I wealthiest am when richest in remorse.” – St. Robert Southwell

“And after that John was delivered up, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying: The time is accomplished, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent, and believe the gospel.” – St. Mark 1:14-15

“The Lord delayeth not His promise, as some imagine, but dealeth patiently for your sake, not willing that any should perish, but that all should return to penance.” – 2 St. Peter 3:9

“Where sin was hatched, let tears now wash the nest.” – St. Robert Southwell

“What man of you that hath an hundred sheep: and if he shall lose one of them, doth he not leave the ninety-nine in the desert, and go after that which was lost, until he find it? And when he hath found it, lay it upon his shoulders, rejoicing: And coming home, call together his friends and neighbours, saying to them: Rejoice with me, because I have found my sheep that was lost? I say to you, that even so there shall be joy in heaven upon one sinner that doth penance, more than upon ninety-nine just who need not penance.” – St. Luke 15: 4-7

“Repentance is the second grace and is begotten in the heart by faith and fear. Fear is the paternal rod which guides our way until we reach the spiritual paradise of good things. When we have attained thereto, it leaves us and turns back.” – St. Isaac the Syrian – “Ascetical Homilies”

“It is true that God promises forgiveness if we repent, but what assurance have we of obtaining it tomorrow?” – St. Louis de Blois

“No one is as good and merciful as the Lord. But even He does not forgive the unrepentant.” – St. Mark the Ascetic

Let us take to heart these wise words of those who have gone before us in faith. Let us awaken in ourselves sufficient remorse and repentance for our sins that we may never offend God and may one day be worthy of eternal life.

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Fourth Word – My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me? (Matthew 27:46)

"My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?" (Matthew 27:46)

“My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46)

To ensure that He suffered every torment that normal man is prone to, Christ allowed Himself to experience despair. Up to this point, Jesus had suffered mainly physically. These torments had left His body racked with pain and agony. But now it was time for the ultimate pain, the pain a soul feels when it is separated from God.

The soul is spiritual being in the image of God. The human soul is like a plant is nourished by the bright sunlight of God. The human soul needs this light to grow and flourish. However, unlike a plant, the human soul does not die when it is separated from God because it cannot die. Instead the soul endures great and debilitating agony. It was this kind of agony that Our Lord willingly accepted on the Cross.

O sinful man, how can you claim that Our Lord does not understand the pain you are going through? He has suffered every imaginable punishment. He has felt the rejection of His own people. He has endured the dreadful physical pains of a brutal scourging and ignominious death on a Cross. He had endure the despair of a soul separated from God. He understands pain, agony, loss and despair. And He wishes to console you. He stands with arms out stretched on the Cross, looking to comfort you in all your distress.

Lord Jesus Christ, You know better than anyone what suffering I am enduring. I beg you to give me the grace and strength to endure these hardships, that I may offer them as penance for my sins. Help me to never refuse my cross, so that by taking it up daily I may be worthy of You one day. Amen.

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Thrid Word – Woman, behold thy son…Behold thy mother. (John 19:26-7)


Woman, behold thy son…Behold thy mother. (John 19:26-7)

Sinful man, behold the sorrowful face of Our Blessed Mother. She, who through her acceptance of God’s will brought the Son of God into the world, now sees Him stretched between heaven and earth suffering unbearable torments for your sake. This Mother, who accepted God’s Gift to the world with great joy, is now overcome with great sorrow to see Him who is Innocent put to death for our sakes. Weep. o sinful man, for you and your sinful habits are the cause of her sorrow.

Looking down on His Most Holy Mother, the Savior of the world gives her a parting gift: sinful mankind. With four words He gives us who have crucified Him into her care, so that she may care for us with the same kindness and dedication as she had for Him. The sorrow at losing her only Son is replaced with the sorrow of a mother who is forced to watch as her children blindly go down the path to destruction.

But Our Saviour is not finished. Turning to St. John and speaking through him to us, He reminds and warns us to honor His mother. How can we return to sin when we remember that our sin hurts Our Blessed Mother twice? First, we hurt her when our sin adds to Our Lord’s suffering. Second, just like any other mother, Our Blessed Mother is saddened to the point of tears when we turn from the narrow path that leads to Salvation and instead take the wide path that leads to Eternal Damnation.

O, Most Blessed Mother, I beg that you forgive me for all that I have done to offend thee and thy Most Holy Son. I beg you further to intercede for your Son on my behalf. I deserve Eternal Punishment for my continual offenses against both thee and they Son. Take me by the hand so that I may never again offend thee and help me to grow in virtue that I may make reparation for my offences Amen.

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Archbishop Sample and the Latin Mass

One of the youngest supporters of the Latin Mass in the church hierarchy is Archbishop Alexander Sample of Portland, Oregon. Back when he was bishop of Marquette, Michigan, Archbishop Sample went out of his way to learn how to say the Latin Mass after Pope Benedict XVI issued the motu poprio Summorum Pontificum. Now that he’s been move to one of the most liberal archdiocese in the country, he hasn’t stop. As recently as March 1, the archbishop offered a High Mass. Here is the homily from that Mass. It’s inspiring to hear these words from a 53-year-old archbishop.

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