Index : A
The preservation of our Catholic faith depends on the written word. This is not an accident of history but a fact of divine providence. Within one generation of Christs death and resurrection, the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke were written and in circulation. By the end of the first century, the 27 books of the New Testament were finished and Gods revelation to the human race was completed.
Let me be clear. It is not only that Catholic leadership is somehow different or distinctive. Catholic protagonists must provide the foundations for the pro-life movement. These foundations are ultimately the Christian faith, whose divinely instituted custodian and interpreter is the Roman Catholic Church. Another premise that should be stated is that the Catholic faith teaches there are two invisible powers constantly at work to influence the minds and wills of human beings. They are the good spirits, whom we commonly call angels; and the evil spirits who are demons.
Learn from Fr. Antoine Thomas (Congregation of St. John) how to plan a children's Holy Hour. "Parents and teachers will welcome Fr. Antoine's instruction as a much-needed
recourse in the spiritual education of their children and students."
"We know adoration is due to God alone because He alone is worthy of veneration as the source and destiny of our being. We have also seen that since God became man in the Person of Jesus Christ, our adoration of Jesus is really the adoration of God in human form. Since Christ in the Blessed Sacrament is here on earth in the fullness of His Divinity united with the humanity He received from Mary, we are to adore Him in the Holy Eucharist. This is the highest form of worship we can render to God and the most powerful source of grace we have on earth in our journey to a heavenly eternity. On all these counts, the Blessed Virgin is our model of what our adoration of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament should be." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church, takes abundantly from Holy Scripture and the inexhaustible apostolic tradition of the Church gathers into one volume the accumulated doctrinal richness which constitutes the patrimony of the Church. Pope John Paul II, "The publication of this text should be considered surely among the most outstanding events in the recent history of the Church."
"A number of people have asked me to clarify the issues involved in my leaving Western Michigan after five years on the faculty of the university in its department of philosophy and religion. I am happy to do so, while suggesting that a more complete picture may be gained from The Hungry Generation (Religious Attitudes and Problems at a State University), which is being published early in 1967." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
I would like to address myself to the subject of liberty or freedom under three aspects which, if you wish, can be three points: liberty as choice, liberty as love, and liberty as sacrifice. Then, as we go along, I will make some short but, I hope, practical applications to our spiritual life.
It is most appropriate that the beginning of the New Year should be the Feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God. The first day of a New Year reminds us of the beginning of things, the beginning of the world and of mankind. We commemorate, therefore, the creation of the world, when God brought the universe into existence out of nothing. This has, in fact, been the Churchs mind from the early centuries. We also commemorate the beginning of the human race, when God brought into the world our first parents; we celebrate the origins of mankind.
I would like to share with you the single most important lesson I have learned in my half-century in the priesthood. What is that lesson? In one sentence, I have learned with St. Paul that there is nothing in life worth living for except to know Jesus Christ and Him crucified.
We know what the word "sacrifice" means. It means the surrender of something precious to the god in whom a person believes. Sacrifices have been part of world religions since the dawn of recorded history. Without exception, the deities of all the religions of the ancient world demanded sacrifices in their honor. The Egyptians and Babylonians, the Greeks and Romans, the deities of pre-Christian India and of the continent of Africa required that their adherents offer what we call sacrifices in their name.
"Interior peace is of two kinds: one in the heart or will and the other
in the mind or intellect. They are closely connected but they are not
the same." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
Asking the average person what prayer means he might say, "it is asking God for what we need." That answer is correct but not adequate. Many people when they pray are asking God for some favor, either what they want or something they wish to avoid. They are sick and they are asking for health. They may be facing a difficult situation and they are asking for light and strength to cope, or confused, they are asking for guidance, or fearful, they are asking for courage. This is true for God often sends us trials to keep us humbly dependent on His help. He well knows that if everything went well too often, we would become independent and not likely to pray.
Our present meditation is on the first Commandment of the Decalogue and specifically on adoration of God. As we begin our reflections on the Decalogue we should first point out that the Decalogue is immense, it embraces, literally all the religious and moral responsibilities of the human race. Remember too that our focus is on the Ten Commandments and Sanctity. Consequently, we shall necessarily have to be selective not so much in what we meditate on but rather, in how much, how much attention we give in what is not just an ocean, but a universe of revealed truth.
The Adore-L listserv is specifically for people who desire to grow in their own devotion to the Eucharist
and to help others to believe and/or increase their devotion as well.
Albigensianism, a Christian heresy prevalent in western Europe, particularly in southern France and northern Italy, during the 12th and 13th centuries. Adherents were variously called Albigenses, from the city of Albi, where they flourished, or Cathari (Greek katharos, pure), from the earlier Manichaean sect, which sought purification from bodily and material things.
The present volume belongs to the third class, as a modern theological appraisal of the Spiritual Exercises intended to facilitate their use in giving retreats, and to give retreatants, whether priests, religious or the laity, a deeper insight into the treasures of the Exercises in order to make them more profitable. Also, retreats already made will take on a new and more incisive meaning. The need for such a volume appears from the practical absence, at least in English, of a professional study of the master-ideas around which the Exercises are built and in which their special value for sanctification reputedly consists.
The Principle and Foundation is not only chronologically the first prayerful consideration of the Spiritual Exercises and logically the basis of all the meditations which follow. It synthesizes St. Ignatius doctrine of Christian perfection. There is an emphasis on mans free cooperation with divine grace, a logical adaptation of the best means to a desired end, and a concept of generosity in dealing with God which many theologians consider the essential elements of Ignatian spirituality.
The doctrinal background of the Spiritual Exercises is the creatures estrangement from the Creator. In the First Week the main theme of the meditations is sin angelic, original and personal with its painful retribution in death, judgment and hell. In the mortal life of Christ, from the Incarnation to the Passion, sin occasioned the coming of the Redeemer who suffered and died for its expiation on the cross. And finally in the Resurrection, we see the conquest of the consequences of sin and the correlative promise of heaven, "where the former things will have passed away and sin will be no more." Thus in a true sense sin was never far from the mind of St. Ignatius in the Exercises, as something to be recognized and feared, deplored and fought against with all the powers that grace and nature can afford.
The contemplation on the Kingdom of Christ has been accurately called the heart of Ignatian spirituality. It epitomizes two ideals to which the exercitant is invited to aspire and which, if he follows, will bring him to "the pinnacle of perfection in the imitation of Christ." The first is a willingness to go beyond mediocrity in the service of Christ, the Son of God; the second a projection of personal love into the world outside, so that other souls may also "yield a higher than ordinary service to Christ their King."
Commentators are agreed that this is one of the great meditations of the Exercises, as evident from the elaborate detail of its composition and from the reference to its importance in other writings of St. Ignatius. It is also unique in having what may be called two corollaries: the Three Classes of Man and the Three Modes of Humility, where the basic principles of the Two Standards are further specified and applied to the exercitants immediate needs. Apart from its intrinsic ascetical value, the meditation on the Two Standards crystallizes the ideals of the Christian apostolate introduced by the call of Christ the King. One of its principal conclusions, therefore, describes the following of Christ as a social and apostolic venture, where a dedicated soul goes beyond the desire for its own sanctification to cooperate with Christ "in propagating His doctrine among all men throughout the world."
The title, "Three Classes of Men", stands for three kinds of persons in any walk of life. They might be three classes of religious or priests, husbands or wives, workers or professional men. However, classified, they represent three levels of volitional disposition to sacrifice whatever is less than God and stands in the way of His more perfect service and love. Viewed from another aspect, they are three states of spiritual detachment which in ascending degree dispose a man for the reception of divine grace. Implicit in the meditation is the belief that no matter how entangled in secular pursuits and impeded in the way of perfection, a person can rise above this condition if he takes the trouble to recognize these impediments and is humble enough to pray for help to overcome them. Meditation on the Three Classes is the second stage in the souls preparation for the Election. In relation to the Two Standards it brings the battle between Christ and Satan out of the realm of theory into practical, everyday life.
The expression "Degrees of Humility" does not occur in either the Spanish autograph or the recognized versions of the original text. The Spanish uses the term maneras or types of humility; the various Latin translations use Species or Modes. There is more than subtilty behind these synonyms. By definition, degree implies a quantitative difference, whereas mode and species are qualitative. Accordingly, the second mode differs from the first, and the third from the first two, not only in having more humility but in being humility of a qualitatively higher kind. In other words, to rise from a lower to a higher type of humility (in the Ignatian sense) means not merely to accumulate more of what we already possess, but to enter into an essentially superior form of moral disposition. Since the term Degrees of Humility is commonly acceptable, there is no problem in using it; as there is also some advantage in knowing the proper meaning which the Exercises attach to this name.
Although the Election is not a special meditation, it is by all odds the most important single exercise of an Ignatian retreat. Whatever precedes, should prepare the exercitant to choose according to the highest motives; what follows will confirm the object of his choice. Some idea may be gained of the importance which St. Ignatius attached to the Election from the amount of space he devoted to its exposition: twenty pages of text in the Monumenta Ignatiana, or more than the Two Standards, Three Classes, and the Three Modes of Humility combined. If there is one basic difference between the Spiritual Exercises and any other retreat method approved by the Church, it is the Election.
The Contemplation for Obtaining Love is the masterpiece of the Spiritual Exercises. It offers an insight into Christian perfection at once so simple and yet profound as to escape the average retreatant unless he makes an effort to understand its theological implications. Much as the Principle and Foundation anticipates in preview all the subsequent meditations, so the Contemplation epitomizes in retrospect and coordinates everything which precedes. But more significantly, where the Foundation describes the love of God for man in creating him for the Beatific Vision, the Contemplation should elicit a corresponding love for God in self-sanctification and labor for His greater glory.
A cursory reading of what St. Ignatius says about examination of conscience reveals a number of simple facts. He recommends two kinds of examen, a general and particular. Where the general examen covers all our defects, the particular concentrates on one fault or sin for a definite length of time. Among the areas to be examined generally, special attention should be paid to our speech, notably idle words and failings against charity. The particular examination is made twice a day and recalled briefly on rising in the morning; by keeping a written account of the number of faults per half day, we can see our improvement (or otherwise) from day to day and take proper measures accordingly.
It would be a mistake to suppose that the theory and practice of prayer found in the Spiritual Exercises refer only to the time of retreat. They have universal application and contain the refined wisdom of one of the Churchs greatest mystics on the subject of the souls communication with God, from the lowliest type of vocal prayer to the highest form of contemplation. Some of the rules and directives like the "Remote and Proximate Preparation" are useful for any kind of prayer at any time. Others like the familiar triad of prelude, points and colloquy are more pertinent to meditation. Still others, described in the Exercises as "The Three Methods of Prayer," are a supplement to ordinary meditation and though primarily intended to help beginners in the spiritual life, they can be profitably used by anyone else.
The solid core of the Spiritual Exercises, around which everything else revolves, is the set of fifty mysteries of the life of Christ normally placed after the key meditations and consequently liable to be taken as an after-thought instead of something essential to an Ignatian retreat. But whenever the Exercises are made for five or more days, most of the meditations will be given on the life of Christ. St. Ignatius choice of mysteries, therefore, and the special emphasis which he gives them are of primary importance in setting the tone and giving orientation to any retreat where the reflections have not been reduced to the absolute minimum.
The Rules for the Discernment of Spirits reveal St. Ignatius as a diagnostician of the spiritual life, whose principles of analysis were born of the interior struggle he experienced at Loyola, which ended in his conversion and began his dedication to the service of God. They were further refined, also from experience, during the subsequent years of conflict with the powers of evil battling for the mastery of his soul and against the apostolic work he had launched to check the forces of the Protestant rebellion.
A superficial reading of the Rules for Thinking with the Church may leave us with the impression that they are only a set of commonplace norms for living a Catholic life or a kind of dispensable addition to the Exercises. In reality they are a classic summation of the Ignatian spirit and so important that without them a retreat will be only partially effective in orientating a soul in its relations to God.
Man is created to praise, reverence, and serve God our Lord, and by this means to save his soul. The other things on the face of the earth are created for man to help him in attaining the end for which he is created. Hence, man is to make use of them in as far as they help him in the attainment of his end, and he must rid himself of them in as far as they prove a hindrance to him. Therefore, we must make ourselves indifferent to all created things, as far as we are allowed free choice and are not under any prohibition. Consequently, as far as we are concerned, we should not prefer health to sickness, riches to poverty, honor to dishonor, a long life to a short life. The same holds for all other things. Our one desire and choice should be what is more conducive to the end for which we are created.
It has always been the chief concern of the Sovereign Pontiffs to commend, and highly to praise, to promote, and strongly to encourage, all that notably makes for the goodness and perfection of Christian life. Now a place in the front rank of all that helps towards this end has been won by those Spiritual Exercises which St. Ignatius, by a certain divine instinct, introduced into the Church. For although, in the goodness and mercy of God, men have never been wanting to set forth aptly deep thoughts upon heavenly things before the eyes of the faithful, yet Ignatius was the first to begin to teach a certain system and special method of going through spiritual retreats. He did this in the little book which he wrote when he was still a quite uneducated man, and to which he himself gave the name "Spiritual Exercises." This method was such as wonderfully to help the faithful to hate sin, and to plan out their life holily after the model of our Lord Jesus Christ.
A federation of conservative Protestant denominations, the American Council of Christian Churches was founded in 1941 by Carl McIntire, a former Presbyterian minister. Its avowed aim is to preserve the basic tenets of what the member bodies consider the essentials of Reformation Protestantism. McIntire and his followers organized the American Council as a rival body to the National Council of Churches, which they believed to be infected with Modernism and communism.
A recent addition to the family of Lutheran denominations, the American Lutheran Church was born in 1960 as a result of the merger of three separate churches: the American Lutheran, whose name was perpetuated in the new church, Evangelical Lutheran, and United Evangelical Lutheran, each with a history of previous mergers.
We hope to better understand not just the individual Protestant denominations but Protestantism as it has developed in the last five centuries. We wish to see what Protestantism and Catholicism have in common; this will of course differ, depending on the respective Protestant denominations. We want to see how we can cooperate with Protestants in a variety of social and humanitarian programs without compromising on our own principles of faith, morals and sacramental liturgy. We should learn what Protestants need in order to grow in their own faith and love of Jesus Christ, since we have so much to offer them from our own Catholic heritage. And finally we need the grace to know how authentic ecumenism can be fostered by building on the rock foundation of the Church which Christ brought into being by His death on Calvary.
My purpose in the next few pages is to get just one idea across---a crucial one on which everything else depends: to show that religious life in the United States today is going through the most serious crisis in its history. I am not ready to say the crisis is either good or bad. Only the future can tell. I am not even prepared to say what brought the crisis about. I am only sure that a crisis exists and that we ought to do something about it.
In the history of the Church, community life has existed from apostolic times. The community of Christians living at Jerusalem after the Lords Ascension set the pattern for the future, and no community since then can afford to ignore this biblical paradigm. St. Luke, disciple of the peregrinating St. Paul, has left us a cameo description of how this first community lived.
There is so much to say about religious life in the Catholic Church that it must seem like an intrusion to talk about anything else. But I think we can wait a bit before going on with our subject. There can be real profit in looking for a while at the equivalent of the religious life as it is practiced outside of Roman Catholicism, and has been, in same instances, for centuries before the time of Christ. What we want, of course, is all the light available on the essence of the religious state.
Some of this evaluation and examination is essential to the success of this work; however, the purpose is more refined. We want to convince ourselves that community life without institutional form is a nameless utopia; that some kind of structure is essential to community life as seen in the whole of the Churchs past history; and, that the task before us is not to remove these forms. That would destroy the religious life! But it is to improve them, up-date them, and make them more compatible with the crying need of today: a communal life that does not stifle personality but helps it grow in mature sanctity and makes for a more effective apostolate.
In any discussion of the religious life two words are invariably associated: vocation and vows. They should be associated because they belong together. However, there are two other words that should join their company: commitment and apostolate. These form what I consider the inseparable combination: vocation and commitment, vows and apostolate. The interrelation of these four concepts is not a human invention, nor even an ecclesiastical construct, but derives from the divine plan of salvation and rests on nothing less than the supernatural providence of God.
The religious life and the Eucharist are so closely related that the one can scarcely be conceived without the other. In the history of the Church, religious life began with the Eucharist; different orders and congregations took their root in the devotion of their founders to the Eucharist and, in the course of time, the spiritual vigor of religious communities and their apostolic effectiveness have been measured by the Eucharist. As the one flourished the other flourished, and as the one waned and grew less significant, the other also became weak or even died altogether.
Until recently the subject of Confession among religious was not much discussed. The Churchs legislation that "religious should approach the Sacrament of Confession at least once a week" was taken for granted. (Canon 595,3). Occasionally an article or even a book might be published on the subject, like Die Hauml;ufige Beicht (Frequent Confession) by the Benedictine Archabbot of St. Martins Abbey in Germany. But the focus was on how to make frequent Confession more profitable. It was not whether weekly Confession was profitable. That was assumed, and perhaps presumed too lightly.
If there is one theological development that has come out of the Second Vatican Council, it is the concept of the Church as the universal sacrament of salvation. This means more than saying that the Church professes to have a sacramental system, from Baptism to Holy Orders. The Catholic Church claims to be itself the great Sacrament of the New Law. The logic behind this profession stems from the general principle that although God can perform by His own power all that is effected by created natures, nevertheless, in the counsels of His providence He has preferred to help men by the instrumentality of other mens work; so also He makes use of human aid for that which lies beyond the limits of nature, for the salvation and sanctification of souls.
We come to the last phase of our analysis of religious life and personality development. The plan is to see under one theme those features that give strong external witness of religious dedication and communal living, and are a special sign of religious obedience. Why concentrate on silence, habit and daily order? Because these three have always characterized religious life as approved by the Church and they are intrinsic to any authentic religious life that develops in the future.
Secularism, as distinct from mere secularity, so concentrates on this-worldly values and this-worldly objects of space and time that the things of Godor of mans seeking to please God now and reach God in eternityare ignored or considered irrelevant to the task at hand. At best, religious values are humored as a concession to human weakness and the issues of faith are treated as interesting but frankly unimportant by comparison with the real values of life which are accessible to human reason and do not depend on some supposed communication from the gods.
The following manuscript is a Ph.D. dissertation written during the years 1969-1971 under the direction of Father John A. Hardon, S.J. It deals with scriptural, patristic and conciliar evidence supporting the Roman Catholic doctrine of papal primacy. Of all the doctrines that divide non-Catholic Christians from the Roman Catholic Church, it is the question of papal primacy which occupies first place. Without a doubt it is the chief stumbling block to unity with that Church which maintains the Bishop of Rome is the successor to St. Peter, the chief of the Apostles. That is to say, that the Bishop of Rome enjoys that primacy over the Church granted by Jesus to St. Peter and to his successors, the Bishops of Rome.
The roots of modern Anglican attitudes towards the papal magisterium are largely found in the Oxford Movement of the nineteenth century (1833-1845). The movements adherents and successors, often referred to as Anglo-Catholics or High Churchmen, displayed a great reverence for the first eleven centuries of Christianity. They noted that, unlike the later centuries, the Church during this period was undivided. Consequently, its teachings were kept in their integrity and were spoken with one voice, especially by means of the universal episcopate when gathered in ecumenical councils.
The affirmation of the historical episcopate in the Third Lambeth Conference symbolized an appreciation of episcopal authority generally lacking in Anglicanism before the nineteenth century. Earlier, the Crown was normally looked upon as ultimate authority in ecclesiastical affairs.
This chapter will examine Anglican scholarship written between 1908 and 1930. Also examined will be statements of the Sixth (1920) and the Seventh (1930) Lambeth Conferences. Generally speaking, we will see that both scholars and the councils continued to express goodwill towards the Church of Rome. Although this did not necessarily imply a change of attitude towards the papacy itself. With respect to the latter, the concept of a primacy of honor, with one notable exception, continued to prevail. With regard to the Petrine office also, most scholars continued to stress an honorific primacy. However, towards the end of the period under consideration, one author described what appeared to be an authoritative primacy and two explicitly perceived such a primacy.
In this chapter, we will analyze Anglican works dealing with the papacy written between 1930 and 1948. One of these is especially important for the purpose of our study since its author Trevor Jalland dismissed many of the earlier held Anglican concepts of the papal magisterium. Attention will also be paid in the chapter to documents issued by the Eighth Lambeth Conference which, due to the intervention of World War II, was not held until 1948.
Views of papal authority paralleling those held by Trevor Jalland were also present during the years 1948-1968. Therefore, we will see in this chapter a continuation of the trend in Anglican scholarship in which the papacy was described in terms more closely resembling the doctrine of the papacy held by Roman Catholicism. We will also see a remarkable contrast between the attitudes of the Ninth (1958) and Tenth (1968) Lambeth Conferences towards the papacy. Unlike the former, the 1968 Conference, influenced by the Vatican II doctrine of episcopal collegiality, proposed a re-examination of the question of papal authority by all concerned with the unity of the Body of Christ.
In the preceding chapters, we have analyzed on a chronological basis Anglican concepts relating to the papal magisterium which were presented by both individual scholars and individual Lambeth Conferences. Also within the framework of the period covered by each chapter, we have noted some of the interrelationships of these concepts. But so far no attempt has been made to evaluate the concepts, and their various interrelationships, in their total perspective. Nor has any attempt been made to evaluate their implications with respect to the question of Anglican-Roman Catholic unity. Therefore, it is with these ends in mind that the present chapter is written.
Within our study, we have seen that the doctrine of the magisterial primacy of the papacy, reiterated and developed by Vatican I in 1870, challenged the Anglo-Catholic belief in the magisterial primacy of the episcopal college. Consequently, many Anglo-Catholics felt obliged to demonstrate the shortcomings of the Roman Catholic position by an appeal to Scripture and to ancient tradition.
The Vatican I teaching relating to the primacy of the papal magisterium was, for the most part, unfavorably received in the Anglican Communion during the hundred years following its promulgation. This attitude was found, for example, in the episcopal Lambeth Conferences and in Anglican scholarship, both of which served to strengthen further resistance to the councils teaching.
"Take advantage of your short time on earth. Do those things that will lead you to eternal life. Come to Me frequently
before the Blessed Sacrament, especially, when you are hurting with worry, fear, anxiety and pain and suffering of any kind."
Catholics are not normally much interested in revivalist movements among Protestants, and are certainly not concerned whether such movements have the Churchs approval. A Catholic, for example, may read with perfect detachment about the crowds of a hundred thousand who listen to Billy Grahams sermons. Graham is a Baptist, preaching to Protestants, and evidently doing them much good. But when a spiritual revivalism like Moral Rearmament is addressed to people of all faiths, and members of the Catholic Church, including lay leaders and theologians, co-operate in the movementit is not only news but a matter for study and critical reflection.
The penance assigned by the priest is an integral part of the Sacrament of Confession. According to the Church's Code of Canon Law "the confessor is to enjoin salutary and suitable penances in keeping with the quality and number of sins, but with attention to the condition of the penitent; the penitent is obliged to perform the penances personally" (Canon 98). Over the centuries of the Church's teaching, Christ requires three duties of those who receive the Sacrament of Penance.
"Let us pick up on the word media, a force so prevalent in our society today. In 1971, Ugo Modotti, a Camaldolese abbot, was sent to America by Pope Paul VI to summon a group of ten, both clergy and laity, including myself, to establish a Catholic media organization. We all met with the abbot three times in the next year. We spent two or three days in meetings. And the Holy Father's mission was very clear: American Catholics must get some control of the media of social communication; otherwise, the pope feared for the survival of the Church in our country."
How do media portrayals of priests color the publics perception of them - considering both the news media and fictional portrayals on television and in the films? Media portrayals of priests are consciously biased against the Catholic priesthood. With rare exception, the secular media portray the Catholic priest as: unhappy in his priesthood, dissatisfied with the Churchs law requiring celibacy, and critical of the Pope and the Vatican. Those who leave the active priesthood are given wide coverage and almost unlimited opportunity to ventilate their criticism of the Catholic Churchs antiquated authoritarianism. Catholic priests who are in the active priesthood but hostile to the Churchs teaching are canonized by the secular media. They are especially given free rein to tear down the Churchs unchangeable teaching on abortion, contraception, and homosexuality.
In the present day the Church is going through a revolution imposed from the outside. Not just Catholicism or even Christianity, but ideas that are basic even to rational sanity are being challenged by those who control the media. And depending on how influential they are, the Church is in corresponding trial. Because the United States is the most socially media conscious country in the world, the Church in the United States is going through her heaviest crisis. What the Church has taught for 2000 years-- is being opposed, questioned and challenged by alien ideas on the part of those who control the media and the result has been widespread indoctrination contrary to the teachings of Christ.
John A. Hardon, S.J., has fought the good fight for some time. He has published
more than twenty five books (some translated into Japanese, German,
and Spanish), written innumerable articles, founded several Catholic organizations,
and contributed to six encyclopedias. Recently, he spoke at the Call to
Holiness Conference in Michigan. He has been a leader in Catholic media,
and a shining light for faithful Catholics in the U.S. and around the world
all of this with great humility and generosity of spirit. In this
interview with CRISIS, Fr. Hardon speaks on Catholics in the media,
millennial suffering, his spiritual regimen, and the Catholic call to live,
faithfully and courageously, the gospel.
"Since Cardinal Roger Mahony published his pastoral letter on the Sunday Liturgy, September 4, 1997, it has provoked widespread discussion throughout the country. This is not surprising, because the document both symbolizes the liturgical conflicts in the Catholic Church and raises issues that touch on the foundations of historic Christianity. It is not my purpose here to go into a detailed analysis of the pastoral letter. I will only deal with one fundamental question, and do my best to answer it: What is the overriding impression of the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist which this document leaves on an enlightened Catholic reader?" - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
In making this analysis, it seemed best to first set forth the dominant problems, along with an explanation of why they are problems. Then some solutions will be offered to each set of problems. And finally, the problems and their hopeful solutions will be arranged in the order of what is considered their priority on the practical level. Each problem area will be given a title to help focus attention on its basic features.
"Once we enter the New Testament, we can almost say that angels are an essential part of the fulfillment of the Messianic prophecies of the Old Law. After all, it was a fallen angel who first tempted our first parents to sin. We should therefore expect the good angels to bring comfort and consolation to the human race expecting its Redeemer." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
"Among the evangelists, St. Matthew is the most detailed in describing the role of the angel on Easter Sunday. As we have been doing, we will first quote the account as described by the first evangelist; then something of its profound meaning as the historic foundation of our faith; and finally apply the angels message to ourselves." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
"It is impossible to exaggerate the widespread interest in angels in a country like the United States. Our task is to sift this avalanche of literature and media production. How much of it is psychological emotion or even positive error? And how much is consistent with the teaching of authentic Christianity?" - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
"St. Luke devotes a whole chapter in the Acts of the Apostles to the angelic visitation of the Gentile Cornelius in the baptism of his whole family. This chapter marks the turning point in Christian history. For twenty centuries, the Chosen People of Israel were prepared for the coming of the Messiah. In Gods providence, they were to have accepted the Redeemer. They were in turn to be the agents, shall we call them missionaries, sent by Yahweh to bring the good news to the whole world." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
"Gabriel the archangel told our Lady that she was to conceive and bear a son who would be the Son of the Most High. Unlike Zachary, Mary did not doubt. She did not suspend her judgment. She accepted what she was told as being true. However, she did ask a question, How should this happen since I do not know man. In another words, Mary, Our Lady, had consecrated her virginity to God. She logically asked how would this conception take place. Though betrothed to Joseph, she would remain a virgin. The angels answer is an essential part of our Christian faith." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
"We commonly and correctly think of the angels as messengers from God to us. So they are. But before being messengers from God, the angels are adorers of God. Their principal role in heaven is to adore the Holy Trinity. This role of adoration runs through the whole Bible from Genesis to the book of the Apocalypse." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
"Surely, the most dramatic appearance of the angels in Sacred Scripture occurred on Christmas morning. St. Luke, at once the evangelist of Mary, the evangelist of the Holy Spirit, and the evangelist of the angels, had just finished describing the birth of the Savior. Christ was born in silence, but Christs birth was to be known to the whole world." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
"The existence of Angels; their spiritual nature; the fall of the evil Spirits of their own free will; the role of the devil in the fall of man, are doctrines of faith proclaimed by the Church and by the 4th Lateran Council, 2nd Council of Lyons, the Councils of Florence, and Trent, and the 1st Vatican Council." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
"The angels therefore belong to the mystery of Christianity. Deny their existence, function, or our devotion to the angels and it would be heresy. This is why it is so important to see what Divine Revelation in Sacred Scripture tells us about the angels." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
"Our plan is to focus on successive periods in Catholic history to learn what the Church we belong to has been telling the faithful about the angels. One of the main factors which has evoked Church teaching has been the rise of error in angelology. After all, in Gods providence this is one reason why He allows error. It serves as a stimulus for a deeper understanding of revealed truth." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
"The focus of our reflections will be in the nature of meditations on the close relationship between the humanity of Christ and the mission of the angels in the redemption of the world." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
"No sooner had Jesus given His last instruction to the disciples than He left them to return to the Father, but now in His glorified humanity, but as the Church tells us, with the wounds in His hands and feet and the open wound in His side. The story of Christs visible stay on earth would not be complete if the angels were not identified with His Ascension into heaven." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
It is not without deep reason that St. Luke is called the "Evangelist of the Holy Spirit." When Our Lady asked the angel at the Annunciation how she was to conceive a son since she was vowed to virginity, the angel assured her that, "the Holy Spirit shall come upon thee and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
"The opening words of the angels greeting of Mary is not really a greeting. Ave is no mere hello or good morning or how are you. As we know from Sacred Scripture as a form of salutation, it is a prelude of respect. It is an introduction to a solemn mission from God. It is an expression of profound reverence, reverence by an angel of God to the one who was to become the mother of God." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
"The sacrament of Anointing is the new name given by the Second Vatican Council to the sacrament of Extreme Unction. As might be expected, all the founders of Protestantism denied that Christ instituted this sacrament. At most, they would admit that Anointing of the Sick was a charism of bodily healing. That is why the Council of Trent in the sixteenth century issued no less than four infallible declarations defining both Christs institution of Anointing and its three-fold purpose of conferring grace, remitting sin, and giving strength of body and soul to the sick who receive this sacrament." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
A religious system developed by Rudolf Steiner (l86l-1925) from Theosophy as a means of arriving at true knowledge and of final liberation from enslavement to the material world. Anthroposophy, as a theory of knowledge, claims that man originally shared in the spiritual consciousness of the cosmos and that his present mode of knowledge is only a dreamlike vestige of a primordial cognitive state.
The Apostles Creed was originally a profession of faith required of converts to Christianity before they were baptized. As a formula of belief, it goes back in substance, if not in words, to the twelve Apostles.
"When we say apostolate we mean dedication to winning souls for Christ. The word itself means being sent for the purpose of bringing souls to Christ if they are not united with Him already or closer to Christ if they are already in His friendship." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
"Over the centuries, the Church has exhorted the faithful to do everything they can for the priests who trace their priestly ancestry to Christs ordination of the apostles at the Last Supper on Holy Thursday night. Catholics are to pray for priests. They are to make sacrifices for priests. They should have Masses said for priests. They should encourage priests to remain faithful to their high vocation and do everything in their power to ensure the sanctity of priests." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
Religious life is not an abstraction. We can talk about it in the abstract, but it is not lived out in the abstract. It is either lived out in a specific community with a specific apostolic purpose, or it soon becomes a religious community only in name.
Focusing on four specific aspects of the overall theme of how the apostolate is essential to every vocation, the first area is the meaning of vocation in general, in a very broad perspective. Then, the meaning of vocation and the special following of Christ. Third, the relationship of a vocation to the religious life and the apostolate. And finally some theological implications.
The apostolate of "Families to Families" is the mission that Catholic families have received from the Vicar of Christ - to preserve, to protect, to heal, to reform, and to restore sound family life in the modern world. Notice that we say it is a mission, hence apostolate, that Catholic families have received from the Vicar of Christ. Pope John Paul II speaks of the Catholic familys "responsibility for transforming society." He says that the Catholic family "is called upon to take part actively and responsibly in the mission of the Church." The Holy Father further declares that Catholic families are to evangelize by proclaiming the Gospel to other families, not only in their own territory, but even to people in other parts of the same country and to families in distant lands.
"My intention in the present talk, therefore, is to do two things. First say something about the fact that the apostolate of the laity is different, since the [Vatican II] Council and because of the Council, and secondly show how it is different. I would like to conclude with some practical implications." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
I suggest that we look at the following aspects of our subject
keeping in mind that our focus of attention is on Christ, the first religious,
and that, like Him, religious are to both practice the counsels and
give witness to the world." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
"When did Christ redeem the world? When He died on Good Friday. How did Christ redeem the world? By His Passion and Death on Calvary. Why do we make the Sign of the Cross? To remind ourselves we have been redeemed by the Cross." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
My purpose in this short column is to ask three simple questions and answer them in a few words: How have women been the spiritual mothers of the Church since apostolic times? Why are women desperately needed as apostles of the faith in our day? What are some practical recommendations to Catholic women for the future?
What is the Apostleship of Prayer? As it was originally conceived and as it has developed historically the Apostleship of Prayer is a league with three essential elements. First, the Apostleship is a league established to promote the habit of regular prayer; second, it places a special emphasis on devotion to the Sacred Heart; and third, it is directed to the extension of Christs Kingdom in the world.
The apostolic responsibility is the duty we have to be channels of grace to everyone whom God puts into our lives. The Apostolate is the duty we have to be channels of divine grace to others.
"My fourth reflection upon Pope John Paul IIs encyclical letter Ecclesia de Eucharistia, 'On the Eucharist in Its Relationship to the Church,' centers on the third chapter of the encyclical letter, 'The Apostolicity of the Eucharist and of the Church.' In chapter two, Pope John Paul II presented the Holy Eucharist as the source of the strength and the growth of the Church. The relationship between the Church and the Holy Eucharist is, in fact, so intimate that the marks of the Church one, holy, catholic and apostolic also describe the Holy Eucharist. In chapter three, our late Holy Father devotes his attention to the apostolic character of the Holy Eucharist, because of its particular importance to our understanding the Holy Eucharist in our time (no. 26)." - Archbishop Raymond L. Burke
CEC should have distinguished two basic forms of public revelation, namely oral and written---and called the first Sacred Tradition and the second Sacred Scripture.
We will take this meditation in steps, first to see and say something about the history of Tobit, who was identified as the father, and Tobias identified as the son. Then a reflection on one chapter of this inspired book in which the Archangel Raphael speaks at length. The longest recorded speech of an angel is in this chapter twelve in the book of Tobias. Then we will make some applications for our own spiritual life drawing on both the experience of Tobias and his family, and especially on what the archangel told Tobias and through him is telling all of us.
When Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen was ordained, he made a promise to make a Holy Hour daily before the Blessed Sacrament.
For sixty years of his priesthood, he kept that promise. It was during his Holy Hour that he learned to listen and abandon himself
totally to God's call. He always encouraged this practice in others, even non-Catholics. His strong convictions on the benefits of
time spent in Eucharistic adoration were a powerful example to religious and laity alike.
This apostrophe on the duty and dignity of the Christian apostolate is a faithful description of Bishop Sheen himself, whose zeal in advancing the Kingdom of Christ in America made him "the most widely publicized "converter" in the Church, perhaps the most famous preacher in the United States, and certainly America's best known Catholic priest."
"Our present reflection, however, now goes back into history. It is a little known fact that Christianity provided the foundations of faith in the sanctity of human life to the human race and, I would add, and not only for believing Christians. Christianity provided those foundations for all mankind. The Roman Empire into which Christianity was born practiced abortion and infanticide on a wide scale." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
"Arianism, a fourth-century heresy which denied the divinity of Jesus Christ. Its author was Arius (256-336), a priest of Alexandria, who in 318 began to teach the doctrine which now bears his name. According to Arius there are not three distinct persons in God, co-eternal and equal in all things, but only one person, the Father." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
"The single most important element in training children is to form their consciences. How can this be done effectively? To form a child's conscience is an art. This subject is immense. We will touch on four areas. 1. The meaning of art, 2. The meaning of conscience, 3. The forming of the conscience of a child, and 4. And most practically; rules and norms for forming the conscience of a human being from infancy on through one's life." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
"The secret to sanctity is strong motivation. We must be deeply convinced that following Christ is worth the effort. And we must be powerfully inspired to rise above mediocrity to serve Our Lord generously all through life. Among the strongest motives we have for growing in sanctity is the historical fact of Christs Ascension into heaven." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
What is the Churchs teaching on capital punishment? Is it permissible for priests to decide that kneeling during Holy Mass is now optional for the congregation? What is wrong with using inclusive language in the translations of Scripture, the liturgy, and papal documents?
Our Lord said that unless we eat His flesh and drink His blood we will not have eternal life. Is it possible to become holy without receiving the Holy Eucharist? What is the Church’s position regarding the role of mothers in staying home to take care of their children?
Mary's Perpetual Virginity - Did Our Lady vow perpetual virginity before she was espoused to St. Joseph? Does justification come from faith alone? What do works have to do with justification? When and how should the laity speak up when it comes to the liturgical, doctrinal, and catechetical abuses of priests? May we write our bishops? Our parish priest said God is not a male and we should be able to pray "Our Mother who art in heaven." How far can we go with seeing God as our mother?
At what point in Jesus' life did he know that he was the Son of God? I was told at a confirmation retreat that Jesus was just like us and had to discover who He was. I understand that a Roman Catholic sister who teaches seminarians has said, "To say that Scripture is the word of God is nothing more than a metaphor." Is this not an insult to the Holy Spirit? Does the resurrected, glorified body have any substance? How is this possible since our bodies decompose after we die? A local priest publicly denies that transubstantiation takes place. Is it not true in this case that he excludes from his intention the transubstantiation of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ and therefore his Masses are invalid?
My question is whether sufficient grace for salvation is given to everyone? Why are Catholics sometimes permitted to receive Holy Communion under both species and sometimes only permitted to receive the consecrated Host? Is it morally licit to invest in the stock market? Short term or long term?
The English translation of the Nicene Creed used at Holy Mass states: We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the Only Son of God eternally begotten of the Father
begotten, not made, one in Being with the Father. Please explain the terms eternally begotten and begotten, not made. During the Eucharistic prayer, after the Consecration we proclaim the Mystery of Faith, which may be one of four possible phrases. Is it ever permitted for the priest to substitute another phrase or refrain from a hymn? Can the phrase in Eucharistic Prayer IV
a man like us in all things but sin
be rendered correctly as
a person like us
? Is it morally permissible to give birth control pills to mentally retarded women who could be induced or forced into sex?
How are we to understand St. Paul's teaching that wives are to be submissive to their husbands? What are the rights and responsibilities of a godparent? What is the difference between the old Vulgate of St. Jerome and the new Vulgate?
If the Messiah has come and fully paid for the sin of Adam, why is it that the lamb does not lie down with the lion, and that wars, hatred, and hunger continue? Should not have paradise been restored? Would you comment on how affective immaturity, force of acquired habit, conditions of anxiety, or other psychological or social factors that lessen or even extenuate moral culpability (CCC #2352) relates to the gravity of the sin of masturbation? May the Rosary be prayed by priest and people before the Blessed Sacrament exposed in a monstrance upon the altar as has been done traditionally for years? Some liturgists claim that by praying the Rosary thus, the people are not focusing their prayer directly upon Christ in the Holy Eucharist. Is the charismatic practice known as baptism in the Holy Spirit 1) an integral part of either the sacrament of Baptism or Confirmation, 2) a new sacrament, 3) a part of the liturgy, or 4) an authentic Catholic practice?
To restore chastity in the modern world is it not necessary that first there be a return to modesty, especially among women? One of the many theological novelties is process theology. Proponents argue that God is in process, that God changes, as evidenced by the Incarnation. What exactly is process theology? What is the best explanation of Joseph's decision to put Mary away quietly after she was with child? The most comforting reason that I have heard is that St. Joseph realized that something miraculous had occurred and therefore out of humility he decided he was unworthy to be associated with Mary. I have been taught that in Holy Communion we receive the Risen Body of Christ. But the Catechism of the Catholic Church states (no.1365) In the Eucharist, Christ gives us on the cross, the very blood which he poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.
When we are judged by Our Lord after our death, must we account for every thought, word, or action of our lives? Is it right to say that, Belief in a caring God is more important than the church we belong to or squabbles about doctrine? Though the Church no longer requires women to wear a head covering in church, would it not be a commendable act for women to do so as St. Paul advises?
What are the limitations on St. Paul's admonition that wives obey their husbands? What are we to believe about the eternal destiny of the souls of aborted babies? Is it morally permissible to clone animals?
Recently, I asked God to spare the life of a seriously ill family member. She died. Since we must accept God’s willwhen is it proper to petition God? Why are some petitions efficacious, but not others? Your answer will help me during this difficult time. Should priests bestow the Apostolic Blessing when they administer the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick? What does the Church teach regarding evolution?
Does Satan have power to put thoughts in our minds? How can we discern the influence of the evil one in our lives? What is meant by the Real Presence? What is meant by transubstantiation?
How can evil exist if God did not create it? Could you provide me a list of good Catholic books to read? Please explain how and when pride is sinful?
Could you inform us why Yoga is incompatible with Catholicism? It is still common at children's Masses for the priest to invite the children present to come up to stand around the table. Is this permissible?
Are the angels part of the Mystical Body of Christ? Vatican I said that God “can be known with certainty by the natural light of human reason from the things that He created.” Did the fathers of Vatican I recommend any particular path of reason for doing that? Is this teaching Catholic dogma? Does having Mass said for someone make the Mass any more efficacious for the intended person than my personal attendance and prayerful offering of the Mass and Holy Communion on his behalf?
What makes a Mass invalid or illicit? Please explain the difference between an invalid and an illicit Mass. A priest has told me that the Church no longer believes in limbo. I believe the Catechism of the Catholic Church states that we can only trust in the mercy of God when an infant dies without Baptism. What is the position of the Church regarding infants who die without Baptism? Do you have any suggestions for a person who wants to learn Latin?
Is it true that unless all the steps of the ritual for the Sacrament of Penance instituted in 1976 are followed, including the reading of Scripture by either the priest or the penitent, the Sacrament is illicit (though valid)? A priest has said that the Vatican decreed that no hymns only Gregorian chant may be sung at Mass. Is this right? Does the Church require that there be at least one sponsor (godparent) for baptism?
How does someone who is mute or deaf go to Confession? What are the ways in which venial sin can be forgiven? What are the missions of the Second and Third Person of the Blessed Trinity?
Is it correct to say that pets do not go to Heaven after death because animals do not have immortal souls? Are religious medals for pets wrong? Do they lead to misunderstanding about animals, souls, and Heaven? What is the difference between the human soul and spirit? Is it good to place the tabernacle in a room adjoining the main church instead of in a central place of honor in the sanctuary? A priest told us that "it is an ancient tradition for the tabernacle to be located in a chapel separate from the main body of the church; St. Peter’s in Rome does not have a tabernacle in the center of the church."
How were Enoch and Elijah's being taken directly into Heaven different from Our Lady’s Assumption into Heaven? Was the Blessed Virgin Mary impeccable? Was Mary married to Joseph according to the Jewish Law before the Annunciation?
Can a penitent release his confessor from the seal of confession regarding his own confession? Must a concelebrating priest consume both Eucharistic species for his Mass to be valid? Are there any other sins besides stealing when the penitent must make restitution in order to receive a valid absolution?
According to the Churchs Code of Canon Law, "the confessor is to enjoin salutary and suitable penances in keeping with the quality and number of the sins, but with attention to the condition of the penitent; the penitent is obliged to perform the penances personally" (Canon 98). - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
"The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin means that after Her life on earth, Mary was taken body and soul into Heaven. Unlike other saints, therefore, Our Lady is in Heaven not only with Her soul but also with Her glorified body. Pope Pius XII defined this doctrine as a "divinely revealed dogma" on November 1, 1950." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
"In the Anglo-Saxon world, we are so preoccupied with the material world that surrounds us, that we have practically come to identify reality with matter. A standard dictionary definition tells the readers that "matter" is "to be of importance," or "as distinguished from nonsense or drollery." For too many people to talk about angels is nonsense." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
"We may begin by defining Communism as the social doctrine which affirms the community of goods and denies the right to ownership of private property. As analyzed in numerous papal documents since Pope Pius IX in 1846, Communism is based on a philosophy, a theory of history, and a definable strategy or methodology
We are now in a position to look more closely at the first of the three devastating effects of Communism, namely the destruction of the human person." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
In 1962 the Augustana Evangelical Lutheran Church (Swedish background) merged with the United Lutheran Church (German background), the American Evangelical Lutheran Church (Danish background) and the Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Church to form the Lutheran Church in America.