Sermons and Conferences
First Meditation S2
Questions and Answers
by Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
MP3 Disc 2 Received from Breslin
These Sermons were taped by Daniel Peper who
traveled and taped Fr. Hardon from 1990 to 1995
Transcribers note: This is a conference to the Sisters
of the Missionaries of Charity.
Thats a lie. Children make moral judgements even before they
reach what we call the age of reason as mothers tell me. Because the parents
asked me to and the children wanted to Ive heard the confessions of four- year
olders. Now, by the time they reach adolescence it is too late. Too late.
How are we to explain to people that pornography is sinful and evil?
Well, you could
tell them its forbidden by God because, as Christ tells us, we are forbidden
not only to commit sins against chastity externally, but even internally.
However, we have so far seen
by the way, our next conference
is on consecrated poverty.
So there is the fifth commandment and there is the sixth commandment
and ninth. Those two commandments are related as cause and effect. In other
words, un-chastity induces cruelty. Remember when we said that the root of
chastity is charity. And given the limitations of our time, we could say much
more how chastity is at root the virtue of charity. As the person becomes unchaste,
and pornography induces sexual thoughts, sexual desires, and sinful, sexual
actions, stimulates the sexual passions. The more unchaste a person becomes,
the more cruel that person becomes. I didnt learn that last night.
Now there are so many ways of masking cruelty. But, I repeat,
un-chastity leads to cruelty.
How can we prove to people that pornography is bad? It is
pornography that produces a homicidal society. In other words, these two commandments
lead to this one. Unless we observe chastity we will not respect the rights
Did I tell you about Father John Rooke? No? He was from Poland,
a Jesuit. And during our years of studies in Rome, after ordination, he wanted
to learn English and improve his use of English. So wed walk the streets of
learning English. For four and half years he was a prisoner in
Dachau as a Jesuit scholastic. As far as he knew, he was the longest survivor
of Dachau. And the reason was, because he could speak other languages, so the
Nazis used him. Cruelty. His job was wheeling the wheelbarrows of the people
who were killed in the gas chambers and then he would have three, four, or five
bodies on a wheelbarrow and then take them over to the furnace to be burnt.
Before they were burnt, the scalps, especially of the women, were to be torn
off. The hair was used for mattresses. Cruelty. Indescribable. And he said,
they fed us very little, many died of starvation. So far into the night
couldnt sleep for hunger
we would talk: What is it
what is it
these SS guards
and listen, men and women
SS guards be so cruel against
innocent people. It took us several months to find out. Every single one
of those SS guards was a sex pervert.
In other words, you want to prove to somebody that pornography
is bad; many other ways
but one way: A pornographic country becomes a homicidal
country. There is just so much pleasure
this is what we say in psychology
is just so much pleasure that sex can give
and then to get more pleasure you
have to cause pain to another person. There is pleasure in sex perverts from
Thanks for the question.
I believe you teach another danger is to
be well educated or to be in an authority position. These people can also be
materially and spiritually poor. Please elaborate.
Oh, indeed. The greatest danger to a country is for unbelievers
to be in education. And the more educated they are, the more degrees they have,
the more dangerous they are. Because, well, the person is educated. Im a
simple person so we believe them.
Two questions. How would you answer these two questions?
Is every educated person intelligent? No. Not every educated person
is intelligent. Is every intelligent person educated? No. And Ive
said this to many audiences. The Missionaries of Charity that Ive known, and
by now in various countries, I consider well above average in intelligence.
And my job is dealing with intelligent people who are not educated. So what!
You are better off! The number of ignoramuses who have got their degrees is
So, yes. And that means they too can be very poor spiritually
and they need what you can give them.
What kind of offence to God is misuse of our free will
when we dont give it back to God?
Oh, thats simple. Thats the definition of sin. Sin is
not giving back to God the free will that he gave to us. Thats easy.
Can you explain?
Well, thats why we have a free will. We have a mind. Then
we have a will. The mind is to know what God wants and the will is to choose
what our mind tells us God wants. Thats it. That simple.
So many of our people, even our own families,
brothers and sisters, live unchaste lives and have been exposed, if not to pornography,
at least, to suggestive literature, pictures, and so forth from a very young
age. How can we help them to regain their senses when they are surrounded by
bad example from priests, religious, and the laity?
Well, first, get them to pray. Of course, pray for them,
which Im sure youre doing. Get these people to pray. Without prayer nothing
else will happen. They must pray. Then, and of course we ourselves, to live,
if necessary, heroically chaste lives to merit the grace they need. Then to
encourage them to have friends who will strengthen their chastity, and not deprive
them of their chastity. This is, maybe, an easy question to answer. It is,
however, hard to solve, as you realize. But it must be done.
God cannot choose his will; it is true.
But when we pray, sometimes we say that God can choose his will rather than
our will. How it could be possible, sometimes, that God can say choose his will
rather than our will?
Well, not sometimes
he always follows his will.
Then what good is prayer? Do we have to inform God what we
need in prayer? No. Why pray? Because, God needs to know what we need now.
He wants us to show how much we need his help to enlighten our mind and strengthen
our wills. And Sisters, and this may be occasioned by people praying, Ive
made so many perpetual novenas and our prayers are not answered. Now maybe
that should be a lesson. Maybe youre not praying for what God wants. What
we should pray for is what we need. And what do we need? What God wants. But,
I dont like it. My dear, thats your problem.
Please, how it is with a preference in service
to be materially and spiritually poor, materially rich and spiritually poor,
materially poor and spiritually rich when we cannot serve everybody and we have
to choose to whom we are able to go. What shall be the criterion for choosing?
Oh, thats easy. Your superiors.
Some of these are hard questions. Thats an easy one!
May you tell us what the Church speaks or
says about Maria Valtorta and about her book, The Poem of the Man God?
That book has been condemned by the Church. And the long,
you know, introduction allegedly claiming that one of the popes approved it.
Not so. That is not a safe book to read.
And Ive read the book. I didnt read every word, but after
youve read a couple hundred pages, you know what its all about. The Christ
in The Poem of the Man God
the Christ is the Christ of Nestorius. Remember,
Nestorius is the heretic who claimed that Jesus was two persons.
Oh, by the way, how many persons are there in Christ? How
many? One. Were making progress.
One passage after another Christ is there speaking or acting
like a human person. No. Christ had a human nature, but he was not a human
person. Maria Valtorta, that book or books are what we call Nestorian Christology.
Fascinating reading. Very attractive reading. But, I answered the question.
Give how one should master their affections,
how to grow in affective maturity, how to master ones affections.
First of all, we have affections so we might use them. So,
no problem having affections. But, as we know, because of our fallen human
nature our affections are not under control by themselves. We have to control
them. How to control them?
First, make an inventory. And if you wish, two columns: People,
I like. People, I dislike. You dont have to put it on paper. And, naturally,
there are some people we like. Naturally, some people we just dont like. It
has nothing to do with love.
Can I love people I dislike? I better! Thats what St. Lukes
Gospel is all about; loving people that you dont like. Now, know who are the
people that people you naturally like. Youll have no trouble mastering your
affections regarding people you dont like. The problem there will be
to show them any affection. But people I like
can the people that I
like be those that I am living with? Yes. Can they be people that are living
a thousand miles away?
So how to master my affections? First of all, control your
thoughts; sacrifice your thoughts about people that you like. But, Father,
are you telling me that I shouldnt love? No, no, no. Youre asking me how
to control. Im telling you how to control. So, and that can mean praying.
There are some people we say so many prayers for
other people we never think
of praying for. So control your thoughts, even in prayer. Secondly, to master
our affections and begins in the mind. Ask myself in Gods presence, how I
can be of spiritual benefit to the person, say, that I like. And it may be
that the person whom I like can be in deep spiritual need. So then, I master
my affections for the people that I like by asking what can I do for that person
or those persons, which would be of spiritual benefit for them. Like what?
Like praying for them. But maybe
. Oh, Sisters
you never guess
Can we ever wish that a person have some, what we call, misfortune;
some problem, some difficulty, some trial, sickness, or something like that?
Is that all right? Yes. Maybe theres someone I might like very much. I maybe
should ask our Lord to send them, well, some trial. Maybe they need it. Oh
Father, what are you talking about? I know what Im talking about.
Then in a community: How to master my affections for my fellow
religious? Well, see in the last week, ask yourselves: With whom have I spent
how much time? Its remarkable. Unless we examine our conscience, we wont
realize we are very choosy in whom we speak with. So, the best way, and this
is years of experience, the best way to master affections is to sacrifice the
manifestation of my affections. Let me repeat. The best way of mastering
my affections is to sacrifice the manifestation of my affections. But if I
love somebody very much, shouldnt I show my affection? Well, yes and no.
Youre asking how can I master my affections? So, not to talk to the person
that I most in the community would want to talk to. But, Father, it will kill
me. Well, if you die it will be in a good cause. And maybe, just a smile
or manifestation of affection. Look, as Missionaries of Charity, you dont
have anything much to give, you see. Thanks for these varied pieces of paper.
But, little notes, little billy dos. We call them billy dos. Little
notes or just a holy card. Oh, how we treasure that holy card. And then it
may be with love and then the name at the bottom. Am I making sense? I know
of no better way to master our affections than to sacrifice our manifestation
of affection. You see, affection, if its real is inside. Inside. And so many
people love other people selfishly. Am I clear? Selfishly. Its what the
other person can give them. And they call it love.
What time do I
is it 10:00? What is it? My Jesuit Superiors
never tell me that. I tell you what. We have Mass at eleven, dont we? Now,
what if we
nobody has dosed off&3133;so youre wide awake. Do you have some scheduled
prayers before Mass? What if
look Im willing to do it
either at 10:30 or
we have at least fifteen or twenty minutes before Mass.
We meet so many people whose conscience
is dead. They dont know that an action can be sinful. How can we help them?
Well, what Ive said before, I would say here. Get them to
pray. Because nothing that we can do, nothing we can do for anyone, compares
with what God can do for them. Get people to pray. They dont like to pray.
Would you mind if I prayed with you? At least theyre embarrassed over the
telephone. I start praying. Then, at least, they mumble something. Get them
Secondly, youll find out, their conscience is dead, because
theyre living in sin. And theres nothing that so dulls the mind, the conscience,
as sin. But I would say this. Do not practice a mistake in charity of thinking
that because you are telling them that something is wrong, or correcting them,
or reprimanding them, that youre failing in charity. No! The correction of
sinners is one of the Spiritual Works of Mercy. Remember? And youd better
practice it. Tell them theyre doing wrong. Tell them how unhappy you are.
Tell them youre praying for them. And you want to, even, that youre practicing
some mortification for them.
Father, we are told that Jesus on earth
had human and divine nature. If he has two wills, human and divine, did he use
both of his wills during his life on earth?
Oh, yes. He used them both.
Can you give us an example?
Every time that Christ opened his mouth. Because his two natures
were united, his divine will, shall I say, told his human will, Now, you say
so and so. So he said so and so. But he worked miracles. Clearly he worked
the miracles as God, but through his human will, who then as we know chose for
whom he would work the miracles. Always.
Do the Missionaries of Charity get all the good Catholic
women? If not, will you ask the Sisters to pray that Mary our Mother will spare
Oh. I began; Id better finish it.
If not, would you ask the Sisters to pray
that Mary, our mother will spare one good woman to lead Daniel to heaven?
You dont mind that question, do you? Daniel
am I being
does want to marry. Daniel is the man taking care of this machinery.
And, oh, last summer I gave a retreat to women and one of the young women
wants to marry
but she said, Father, where can I find a good man? So from
the Retreat House we called up Daniel. That, Sisters, is an act of great charity.
Would you pray? Daniel. Cant lose!
If someone wants to receive Holy Communion
in the hospital, can we give it or must we inform and ask the priest?
Well, we touched on this before. Sisters, the number of people
who are not priests handling the Holy Eucharist is not good for the Priesthood.
Of course, in a case of real need, an emergency, I would say yes, if you have
the faculties to give Communion yourselves. But the priests need, oh how they
need, to exercise their priesthood.
Which kind of argument would you use to
persuade prisoners to take off bad pictures from their walls?
Well, first, two suggestions. Have some good pictures they
can put on the wall. Does that make sense? Some good pictures. And not even
necessarily holy pictures. Maybe you could do this in stages. First, a good
and then maybe even a holy picture. But then, look,
Sisters as women, you should cultivate the art of influencing people, especially
men, to come closer to God. Tell them how pained you are. It makes a man feel.
Tell them how pleased you would be. And now you have to get your superiors
permission, and Im saying this out loud. You might have a little bag with you
and then, Would you mind if I borrowed this picture? Have another one to
replace it. And then, of course, forget to return it.
Our likeness to God is in our free will and reason. What
about mentally sick people?
Well, Im sure there are people who are totally, completely
deranged mentally. Ive never met one. No matter how mentally sick they are,
theyve got a free will. Five years I was Chaplain at a mental hospital; all
supposedly mentally sick. The root of we call mental sickness, in my judgement,
is mainly moral by their free will. They have a free will. And theyre open
to being trained, educated. For years I helped out at a place for retarded
girls; young girls, retarded. Got all kinds of ideas of what we call mental
sickness. They have a free will.
How does one know when to defend oneself and when to just
take an unjust accusation?
Heres the norm that St. Ignatius gives: If somebody insults
me or acts unjustly towards me, how much should I take? I can take
all, I must have the grace to take it. But secondly, one condition that my
is not a sin
can be a sin
to not answer, say, an insult. Yes. Yes. Supposed
Im charged with something of which Im innocent. I may be willing to accept
the accusation in humility. It would be a sin for me not to defend myself.
Am I clear? So the silence cannot be sinful. First condition. Secondly. It
cannot be detrimental either to the person who insulted or harmed me or detrimental
to my own apostolic work.
Over the years, Ive had many accusations levelled against
me. And many times I have had to defend myself because my work for the Church
would suffer. Or the person would be harmed.
Do you believe that some pop music is satanic in origin?
I think most pop music is satanic in origin.
Can we recognize it?
Well, by now, as you know, its non-melodic noise. One of
my definitions of pop music: Non-melodic noise.
How can we help young people who listen
to this music all day and all night?
and this can be a wonderful apostolate
satisfying music. I dont necessarily mean, the Adoro Te. But, good,
secular music that will be satisfying. Yes.
And by the way, I made a study of this pop music. Most of
it is satanic, and it comes mainly from polytheistic cultures where they have
evil deities. In other words, its the kind of music they play in honour of
their evil deities, which for us, of course, would be in honour of the devil.
And it has a devastating influence on the human mind and the human will.
For legitimate separation, do the couple need permission
from the Church?
Well, canonically, if the separation is permanent, yes. Of
course, it has to be very grave cause, like for example, infidelity.
But even if its a temporary separation, they should have, if not permission,
at least the counsel of a balanced priest. For permanent separation,
permission should come from the Bishop.
How can we explain to people who are not Catholic that
contraception is wrong?
Three arguments against contraception for people who are not
Number one: Contraception is bad for the body. It damages
the womans body. Always, always. Always, always.
Secondly, the offspring, the children, are also damaged. We
are talking about medical contraception effects the reproductive organs and
affects the children.
Thirdly, there is nothing that divides the love of husband
and wife more than contraception. They may both agree on it. But my favourite
definition of contraception is: mutual masturbation. Each person is indulging
in their own sex pleasure and using the other person to heighten that pleasure.
But, and this is years in the priesthood, there is no way, no way, that a husband
can trust his wife, even though they agree on the contraception
can never really trust his wife that she will be faithful to him if she uses
contraceptives. And same for the wife not trusting the husband.
All contraceptive societies in history, all of them, lead
to abortion. All nations in the history of the world that practice abortion
Contraception leads to abortion. Thats the fourth reason.
The third reason is contraception is the main reason for infidelity.
Because once people are accustomed to use contraceptives, even in marriage
is working away, two, three weeks, or whatever, from his wife
to contraceptives. He can have sex relations and nothing happens, except that
hes been unfaithful. In other words to preserve marriage, contraception is
hostile, fatal to the stability of marriage. Either they stop contraception
or the marriage is in danger of not surviving.
Well, there are few more left. Sisters, you are very generous
with your questions. Shall we go on?
This is our eighteenth conference, and it is on voluntary
consecrated poverty. When God became man, he divinised, if we could use that
verb, he divinised everything in human nature. The human race was no longer
the same when God became man and entered the world. Mankind took on a super
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