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by Father John Hardon, S.J.

Need for and Outline for Re-Evangelization


It is to provide some basic guidelines for the Catholic laity to restore America to its Christian origins. The premise is on the principles of the Catholic faith. Not to the New World to the discovery of the Americas; and as long as I am sure you know, the next International Eucharistic Congress is in Seville, Spain where Christopher Columbus was first buried. The Holy Father’s wish is that as many Americans as possible – North and South America – participate in the International Eucharistic Congress in Seville which is from the 3rd to the 11th of June, 1992.

This will be my 23rd year in working for the Holy See. I was there last month on business. The Holy Father has no illusions. Among the countries of the New World the most secular is the United States. He has great hope – and I am not exaggerating – he is hoping that a miracle will take place to convert America back to God. We may say that this projected re-evangelization is not optional. On its success depends nothing less – depends nothing less – than the survival of our America are numbered. No way, no way the United States can survive given its present deluge of immorality. God won’t it. We are too influential worldwide as a nation.

In the opening lecture which I will give after this introduction, on the re-evangelization of America; a responsibility of the laity. In order to achieve this – notice – re-evangelization – the language is the Holy Father’s – to achieve this re-evangelization the laity has certain obligations: to understand their Catholic Faith, to live their Catholic Faith faithfully, to pray their Faith by a growing union with God, to share their Faith by personal – should be personal – conversation and active evangelization; and finally and crucially to suffer for their Faith by uniting their trials – physically and spiritual – in union with Christ for the conversion of sinners and the extension of Christ’s kingdom. No Catholic can remain a Catholic faithful person in America today without suffering – no way, no way! Either you pay and you pay dearly – whether you are a Catholic bishop, a Catholic priest, a Catholic religious, a Catholic father and mother, husband and wife, child, student. You name it! Either you pay and you pay dearly or you will compromise your examples of nominal Catholics who are not willing to pay for their Faith.

What is our method or procedure? First, reading carefully the Second Vatican Council document on the “Apostolate of the Laity.” You should all have received copies and the reading assignment – I think I told you – you will be given a quiz and it will be a short quiz. I tried to make it as perceptive as possible. It will last no more than ten minutes and, by the way, don’t be late for class. If you are not all here, I’ll delay giving the quiz until you get here…on that reading just to see whether you have read it and your mind was turned on while you were reading it.

The class lectures following the sequence outlined above on the Catholic re-evangelization of American and then some practical ideas or personal and organized apostolic re-evangelization organization including the retrieval of lapsed Catholics. Here, by the way, I welcome your recommendations. As you know, the new universal Catechism is already published in the original French. However, it has yet to be released to the public. You will be pleased with it when you see it. The English edition should be available, maybe by Christmas. In any case, I need not tell you – we need a massive re-education of millions of American Catholics. Do you believe me? And – I know I am being taped – but I must say it – I have already said it in effect before – including our priests – they need to be re-educated – and I am quoting as I said before, by own Vatican superior who has a right to tell me that – ideas you have for retrieving lapsed Catholics for re-evangelizing our country will be welcome. Any idea, and the more practical the better – whether individually or as a group effort. One of my hopes from this, and Lord willing, the spring semester of these classes to organize – the Holy See is telling me to organize – the laity in a way in that we have not so far been organized in our country. Then questions as usual. I would recommend putting your questions on the 3 x 5 cards and I’ll cover – depending upon how many questions there are – at least the last 20 or some minutes of the present class. The class ends, I believe, at 4:15 P.M. and we’ll start the questions, present plan, at 5 to 4 P.M.

What we are doing, by the way, the last class which is going over those questions; I will have a manuscript for each of these classes. Then I will ask somebody to type the manuscript and then have it available to the class afterwards. Is that fair? As I think I have told you, you don’t give it to the students beforehand. That spoils it. Besides, I won’t just read, I’ll use this as a manuscript to refresh my memory.

Subject: The Re-evangelization of America – a Responsibility of the Laity

We do not normally think of America as a mission country. On the contrary, we have for generations been sending missionaries to other countries – to the people of Asia and Africa – we have mission aid societies, a mission center. Over the years, thousands of American religious and priests and the Holy Father wants an increasing number of dedicated lay Catholic missionaries – let me repeat: the Holy Father wants a growing number of dedicated lay Catholic missionaries to other countries. Part of our responsibility – one reason you may be surprised for this course – however much has happened since the middle even of the 20th Century – we have become more and more secularized. Not too many decades ago we could honestly say as our Supreme Court on one occasion said – can you imagine “the united States is a Christian nation.” Our churches were numerous, our congregations were flourishing, our Catholic school system was the envy of the world. Our Catholic family life was always under severe pressure but it was stable family life and our Christian values of right and wrong were basically sound.

My purpose in this opening class is to ask four questions and try within the period at our disposal to answer them. First, why – why does America have to be re-evangelized – as the Pope was telling the American bishops? Second, what does re-evangelization mean? Third, how is the re-evangelization of our country to be done and fourth, who is mainly responsible for this re-evangelization?

First, why does American have to be re-evangelized?
If it isn’t, America as a nation will disappear. It has to be re-evangelized because America has become de-Christianized. Now, in my opinion, it is not an opinion, it is a provable fact. There are certain basic premises of Christianity which are easily identified even where a person is not professedly Catholic. There are principles of faith and norms of morality that who should claim to be Christian still believe in, and in greater or less measure, put into practice. Plus, a Christian believes in the existence of a personal God who is the creator of the human race; a Christian believes that God became man in the person of Jesus Christ; thus Christmas Day is the birthday of Christ, the Son of the Virgin Mary and Good Friday is the commemoration of His death by crucifixion on Calvary. Easter Sunday is the feast of Christ’s resurrection from the dead. Sometime ago I was talking to a Methodist bishop of Chicago. He was, by the way, from Kalamazoo originally, but we knew each other. He came to Chicago – a Methodist bishop of northern Indiana – about 400 Methodist churches under his jurisdiction. He said, “I watched TV on Easter morning. I stayed there much of the day – I kept an eye – not one program on one Chicago TV station – would even imply that Easter Sunday was the anniversary of Christ’s resurrection from the dead.” So he said, “I mobilized my Methodists and I can tell you the next Easter Sunday because we threatened these TV stations with foreclosure – I am happy to say that Easter Sunday – now you can tell – oh, yes – Easter Sunday is the anniversary of Christ’s resurrection from the dead.”

A Christian believes there are certain moral laws that are divinely binding on all people. That premarital sex relations are fornication. That extramarital sex activity is adultery. A Christian believes that marital relations between husband and wife are sacred. That artificial birth control is a sin; a Christian believes that sex activity between two men or two women is sodomy and a crime that characterizes the pagan nations of antiquity and destroyed their civilization. No society has ever survived homosexuals in power. They are in power – I mean it, I’ve got no prophetic powers – I hope I make it to the year 2000. A Christian believes that the willful destruction of unborn human life is murder. A Christian believes that marriage is a lifetime commitment. And that divorce with remarriage is forbidden by Jesus Christ, even among Christians who are not Catholic. Marital instability was frowned upon and an embarrassment to Protestants. For Catholics there never was any question of a temporary marriage or a part-time commitment and there was no organized movement for the annulment of marriages. I repeat: the days of America are numbered. The Catholic Church cannot survive. No wonder they are closing so many churches. Because many of the once believing Catholics are no longer Catholics.

A Christian welcomed children and Christian families were sizable and the population growth was substantial and our schools were flourishing. Something drastic has happened! Every one of the features identified as typical of a Christian civilization is – to say the least – on trial. Our Holy Father – in speaking to the bishops from Western Countries – is telling them in the plainest possible language: there are people in Germany, in France, in England and surprisingly, in Spain, and Italy and, not surprisingly the United States – you people must be re-evangelized. And, it is harder, it is harder, to re-evangelize than to evangelize in the first place. Born pagans – who have never been Christians – are easier to convert to Christianity than those who have been Christians and, as we say, mistakenly abandoned – nobody abandons the Catholic Faith – they give it away – they don’t lose it.

Second question: What does re-evangelization mean?
We better know – I made my first trip to the country where my parents were born – Slovakia – last month. I was forbidden to enter the country till two years ago when the Soviet government pulled out – because I was legally a Soviet citizen. But I would not in conscience visit just my relatives. It had to be some other justifiable reason. There was. To begin making contact which they made on their side with the liberated countries. You name it, they need it! And the poorest cities – the villages – have kept the Faith. The only way you could get any education beyond the early grades in Czechoslovakia which had become Communist and you couldn’t get a decent job unless you were a card carrying Communist. Yet so many remained faithful.

What then does re-evangelization mean? And we are worse off – I mean it – and so many millions that have been enslaved by Communism for up to 70 years. It means reconversion. It means bringing people whose ancestry was Christian and who even have been baptized, who may have been professed Catholics but who no longer believe in the basic truths revealed by Christ and taught by the Church for 1900 years.

Is it October 10th that I am speaking in Lansing to the Michigan Right to Life? They called me up to remind me “Be sure to show up! They want to see me at the hotel the night before – breakfast at 7:30 A.M. After breakfast I am to speak on “The Future is Ours!” So I said, you know, I told the woman who called me up, you know I am a Catholic priest. I suppose I am to speak, well, like a Catholic priest and talk about the Catholic principles of the pro-life movement. “Oh no,” she says, “oh no! You’ve got a mixed audience.” Oh – how well I have been trained as a Jesuit! I’ll speak as a militant Roman Catholic!

Re-evangelization means more than converting people from the life of sin. The hardest and most important conversion we need in the United States is conversion of the mind. The minds of millions have been perverted by our multi-billion dollar American educational system.

It means converting their minds to accept on divine authority what God has revealed. It means bringing unbelievers who have thrown away their Christian heritage to become believers. And by the way, I would like to share this with you; there is a man who came to visit me from Tulsa, Oklahoma. He has organized a movement called “Say Yes to Jesus.” Sounds like Billy Graham; though he is a Catholic he even got shirts “Say Yes to Jesus.” And he’s organizing youth rallies in different large cities of the country and during these rallies he would even have the Blessed Sacrament exposed and he gets priests to hear Confessions! Isn’t that great? A layman – a prominent business man of Tulsa. He came to see me. I said, “Wonderful idea, but what’s your follow-up? “That’s why I’m here!” I promised to provide him with personnel unpaid – pardon me – unpaid, well in the money of this world, but paid by the Divine Treasurer in supernatural currency which I call Divine Grace. Do you think Lansing could stand a rally? Detroit, do you think Detroit could stand a youth rally? And he tells me, I have to say this, and he’s meeting his worst opposition from the clergy.

The very term “re-evangelization” is new to our vocabulary and the reason is not hard to find. Our century is witnessing the most widespread and devastating loss of Faith among Christians, including Catholics – hear it – in the history of Christianity. There has never been such widespread apostasy among once believing Catholics as of the 20th century. Never? Never! And one reason of course, is the media. We must make sure we know what we are saying. In the Western world there has been a massive abandonment of Christian belief and a correspondent abandonment of Christian morality. When a priest – may God forgive him – in an international magazine on the spiritual life writes a learned, dripping with footnotes article defending homosexuality, the Western world is indeed de-Christianizing. Recently, I received a telephone call from a priest in California who asked whether Catholics in a given western state could vote yes on a ballot which allowed direct abortion under certain circumstances. You have the choice to vote unrestricted abortion. In other words, American citizens are no longer being given the option to vote against all direct killing of the unborn.

I was in Washington, as I said, just this week-end. I am in there a lot. Lived there for four years, and over the years I have been working with those working with the government. I can tell you – the voting, we still say mistakenly in a democratic society we have a choice, and in many cases we don’t even have a moral choice. The choice they give is often between the bad and the worst.

We return to our question: What does re-evangelization mean? And we repeat – re-evangelization means restoring the Christian Faith to millions in our country who no longer believe that God became man in the person of Jesus Christ. They just don’t. You read the big thick book called Jesus Christ by the Dominican theologian Schillebex – if you read that and you still believe in series that I was asked to analyze for the Holy See. Bad, very bad! Widely used in one Catholic school after another in our country. Eight years of indoctrination in what we call Nestorian Christianity. That Christ had the same sex passions that we do. That is not only heresy or a lie. That is perversion!

Many of our once believing Catholics no longer believe that Christ died on the cross for the redemption of the human race; that Christ rose from the dead. A German bishop – not to be identified – he was elevated to the hierarchy and I have reason to think that he is now more Catholic than he was before he became a bishop. He wrote a very learned book in German published in different languages on Jesus Christ: the Resurrection is merely and only and exclusively something which those who want to believe in but we cannot establish that Christ really, truly rose from the dead in a human body. Millions of Catholics no longer believe that Christ instituted the sacraments.

It was here after one of our Sunday classes a lady came to me and told me she had just witnessed a baptism at which the priest baptizing the child before the baptism told everybody, “I want to make sure you understand that baptism does not remove original sin. Am I clear? Baptism does not remove original sin.” This can raise some very serious problems! Including, including how validly some priest are administering the sacraments. Now just because a priest does not believe that baptism removes original sin by itself does not invalidate his administration of the sacrament. But it does raise problems and that is why I was called twice by the Holy Father’s secretary, as I’ve told you last year, to do something! Do something to restore and, therefore, re-evangelize the Catholic faithful in your country in the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament.” One Catholic Church after another looks like a Quaker meeting hall. There are dioceses, I am told, where the bishop forbids the people to kneel during the consecration. I think I told you what I do with a group of men that I spoke here at Domino’s Farms on one Good Friday lecture that I gave them. “How many of you men will genuflect before the Blessed Sacrament? Well, who does not genuflect?” A dozen hands went up. “How many of you will always genuflect before the Blessed Sacrament?” About 50 hands went up. “Come, how many – how many of you?” Finally, every hand. Remember, for a man, this is a contract. The scandal, as I am sure you know, of the massive desecration of the Real Presence means we’ve lost their Faith in Jesus Christ being on earth in the Eucharist. Need I go on to explain why it needs – it sure does – re-evangelization.

Third, the next question is How is this Re-evangelization of our country to be done?
The answer is simple. Simple to put in words but not easy to put in practice. Re-evangelization is to be done in the same way as evangelization. Only you must work harder! Re-evangelization, therefore, is more demanding than evangelization of pagans. It is always harder to reconvert a former believer than it is to convert a non-Christian to Christianity or a non-Catholic to the Catholic Church. Re-evangelization is more difficult, it is less it’s appealing, is more costly in time, effort, and energy, and human resources. Then, I’m planning for the rest of the semester: How do we re-evangelize? We re-evangelize, that means we restore the Christian and Catholic Faith in our country, by doing five things:

  1. First, we learn our Catholic Faith!
    And the ignorance in allegedly learned circles of the Catholic Faith is abysmal.

  2. Secondly, by living our Catholic Faith.
    If we are going to convert others we had better be living bona fide authentic Catholic lives ourselves; otherwise people will say, “Well, if what you are telling me is the truth, then why has it been lost on you?”

  3. Thirdly, we must pray our Catholic Faith.
    And I mean pray. And I mean pray!. Back to my five days in a country rather where my parents were born – in the village from where my mother came – 500 people – I found out they are all related – every one of them. You meet somebody on the street – you don’t say hello or good morning. You say “Praise be Jesus Christ.” And the answer is, “Now and forever.” They pray! There is such a thing as praying all day. I knew I made a mistake coming to class here. Pray! We’ll talk about this!

  4. Fourth, share the Catholic Faith.
    I would welcome, by the way, any literature you can provide. In fact, we may even have some exhibits here for class of the way others are promoting whatever they are promoting – the Mormons, the Jehovah’s Witness, the Hari-Krishnas: Take the New Age people – they are there peddling their wares and have penetrated, as you know, many, if not most Catholic dioceses in America. You’ve got to learn some of their techniques. How zealous they are! How aggressive they are! I did tell you, didn’t I, of the two Mormons – two young men well dressed, meets me in Manhattan – came from the mother church in Salt Lake City to convert Father Hardon. I told them I was flattered! You’ve got to work on people. You’ve got to be shrewd. By the way, St. Ignatius in the 16th century – he was shrewd. So, whatever I have inherited from him – shrewdness – so share the Faith. You don’t hit people over the head, “You gotta become a Catholic!” No, you smile. They’re nice. When I began teaching at Western Michigan they forbade me, as I think I told you, to exercise any of my priestly ministry outside the classroom. There they told me not to evangelize. Well – so I got myself a job as a Catholic chaplain at the state hospital and when I finally cleared things with the Bishop and the superintendent, 14 people showed up for my first Mass in kind of a small auditorium they have there. So I thought to myself, and I asked the administrators – there must be more than 14 Catholics out of 3000 residents in the state hospital. I found there were over 600. You know what happened? The Protestants were paying mazuma. They were paying the people their money to come to their Sunday services. I had no money so I had to use other “Jesuitical” means. I told you what we did, didn’t I? Oh – I got the Protestants of Kalamazoo to form a committee. Of course, you know who was chairman of that committee – to build an inter-faith chapel on the premises of the state hospital. I told you about this, didn’t I? Oh yes! We got money from – we got $400,000. And, of course, remember, this was engineered by a person who had other plans in view. So in the contract, as long as Kalamazoo’s state hospital exists, it’s in writing, there must be a Catholic chapel within that larger chapel where the Blessed Sacrament’s permanently reserved. Isn’t that neat! Then we have the church filled. So we must share and share shrewdly.

  5. Finally, suffer!
    Let me just say a word about the last item. We usually think of suffering for our Catholic Faith. Well! That’s still true! But there is also such a thing as suffering the Catholic Faith. Meaning what? Meaning as Christ could not have been plainer in telling us! Finish the sentence as a class; “If you wish to be my disciples, you must”— “take up your cross daily and follow Me.” In other words, to be a Catholic, you’ve got to suffer! Well, let me change it. Can I use the blackboard or will that spoil it? Is that o.k. or is that too far away? I can use it. Is there chalk there? Pardon me! (inaudible …) There’s first such a thing as pain. Pain is whatever is contrary to the created will. We’ve touched on this before but here it comes to the very heart of what we are teaching. Whatever is contrary to what we want is pain. And the least pain we can suffer on earth is pain of the body. Whatever is contrary to our will is pain. You married people; you want your married partner to love you – if – I don’t say the married partner does not love you if you even think that maybe perhaps he or she does not love you – you already have pain. However, animals suffer pain but animals do not suffer.

    What is suffering? Suffering is a rational experience of pain. It is the experience of pain by a rational being. Because what is most painful about pain is not the pain – quote pain – it is my mind reflecting on the fact that I am suffering, that I’ve got the pain. I know what’s going on in me and I don’t like it. And the more I think about it the harder it becomes. I know people who are tempted to question even the existence of a God. What kind of a God is this that I am suppose to believe in? A God who allows innocent children to suffer! But that’s not all. Every human being suffers. Every human being! From the moment we are born, in fact – you have the use of reason already in a mother’s womb. I keep telling people unless we are totally anesthetized before we leave this world, we leave it in a spasm of pain. So everybody suffers but not everybody suffers willingly. So what is willing suffering? Suffering that I am willing to endure. That’s patience.

    Patience is the willing resignation to pain, the main resistance to the pain that I am experiencing. But that is still not the highest, but for our purpose the deepest meaning. We can suffer without wanting to and do everything in our power to resist. The pain doesn’t go away, in fact, stupidly the pain gets worse. You’ve got two kinds of pain; you’ve got the pain of whatever source is causing the suffering and you’ve got the pain of resisting the pain. Be smart, be patient! But that’s not enough! For us who believe in God becoming man, it is not only that we suffer willingly; it is that we choose to suffer. And that is sacrifice!

    When we say that one of the ways that we are to re-evangelize, which means to reconvert our nation – mostly Christianity and to the Catholic Faith – is suffering. I mean not only suffering for the Faith but suffering the Faith. Living a Faith which not only experiences pain, but realizes what I’ve been enduring, wants to endure it but even – what are we saying – chooses to suffer. And – here – you better be you better be not just a Catholic but a very deeply intelligent Catholic – I mean it – to believe – only experience can teach it! No books you can read will prove it to you. The deepest joy on earth is to choose to suffer out of love for God. You don’t find that in Adler or Freud or modern psychologists. All of this is locked up in what we are talking about. Namely, that by our suffering we evangelize of for our purpose re-evangelize those who have abandoned their Faith because how many people have told me it is the lives we live as Catholics that are the most powerful magnets for attracting other people to the Faith we profess. But you have to profess it, not just with your lips – oh no – you’ve got to profess it not only in your life but by your patient and, indeed, sacrificial, loving – not only acceptance – but even choice of suffering because then, then we make sense to the unbelieving world that Christianity must – it must be very deep. Look at what it does to human beings. It changes them from selfish persons to those who out of love for God even choose to suffer because they love Him. One more part, in about 7 minutes we finish at a quarter after 4. My clock says 18 to…does your clock too?

Fourth Question: Who is Mainly Responsible for this Re-evangelization of America?
Let me tell you whatever class you may have sat in on or whom I have taught, I can tell you this one is for real! Somebody had better do something to restore the Catholic Faith in our country. Who? There’s no doubt. The answer should be: It is the Catholic laity! And so why? And I have six reasons:

  1. The laity are empowered by the sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation to evangelize and re-evangelize other people. Nary in 2000 years of the Church’s legislation have the rights and responsibilities of the laity – I repeat – evangelize – for our purpose, re-evangelize, than the present Code of Canon Law. It is the laity!

  2. The laity are the most numerous members of the Mystical Body of Christ. And nobody has to delegate you or appoint you. This, by the way, is one of the major developments of doctrine in the Catholic Church introduced by the much maligned Second Vatican Council. There’s no longer a need for being – well – officially delegated, say by a bishop. No! All the lay person has to do or a group of lay people is to want to do what they believe before God – would be, say teaching the Faith, evangelization and all the bishop has to do, all he needs to do is to tolerate them in the diocese. Isn’t that neat? Oh wow – it works! Your numbers – organize! mobilize!

  3. Why are the laity mainly responsible? They are in direct contact and in daily association with a de-Christianized world in which we live. In other words, you can immediately have impact on those with whom you are dealing. As I was talking to one of the representatives in Washington, of one of the political parties and candidates, and I found out that one of the secretaries for one of the candidates is not a Catholic. So I said, “Why not?” “She’s not interested.” So I got the phone number. I’m going to call her up. Can’t lose!

    You’re in contact immediately with the people who have the power – political power, financial power, legal power.

  4. The laity are in positions of influence. In the world and on the world such as new priests or religious could possibly have. They are in charge of newspapers, magazines. Sometime ago I was in New York, St. Agnes Church, with Father George Rutler. You probably know Father Rutler, oh Father Rutler; he’s the Assistant Pastor. And I had some work in Manhattan – so I left my suitcases in the rectory to save myself luggage, came back before I took the flight out of New York. So we met, Father Rutler and I, and he introduced me to a couple he was giving instructions to, the editor and his wife of Sports Illustrated. And so he said, “Oh, by the way, look what we are using for instructions, The Catholic Catechism of the Catholic Church.” So you people are in contact with people of great influence. Use that influence. That’s why you’ve got it! If you’ve got money, that’s why you’ve got money. You’ve got money to be more powerful in sharing your Faith with others.

  5. The laity realize as mothers and fathers of families, as persons in the world, how business and politics, how deeply the de-Christianization of America has become. You should have no illusions, you are right there.

  6. Finally, the laity have the immediate experience of dealing with the secularized world in our day. They know, you know, how to cope with this world, how to affect it, how to change it, and with God’s grace, how to convert it back to Jesus Christ.

I was giving a lecture in Salt Lake City some years ago. One of the participants was a Catholic professor at the university. He told me, “Father, I’ve decided to withdraw my children from going to the public schools here in Utah because they are being Mormonized.” Well! I’m just dropping a hint. But the power that we have to Christianize, even Catholicize, the people that we associate with like – for example, recently a girl at the Northwest Airlines did me a service so I thanked her and then said, “I’ll say a Rosary for you.” She said, “I should.” So I gave her my Rosary. “Oh, I don’t want your Rosary.” Look, look, do you say the Rosary?” “But I don’t know how.” “All right, I’ll send you directions.” So I sent her a Rosary, and, of course, a copy of the Pocket Catholic Catechism. I mean this is just good business. This is basic. Am I making sense?

And it is time for questions. Are there any questions? Pass them up. Please, I’ll try to avoid walking in front of the camera and pass them to the front.

  1. What is the number of the Canon that commands the laity to evangelize and re-evangelize our society?

    I would have to look it up. Cecilia, would you please remind me to look this up and find the Canon for next time.

  2. Where/when we choose to suffer, do we seek our suffering or do we choose to accept our present suffering out of love for God?

    Well, I’m sorry to have to tell you; it’s both! I don’t mean you stay up nights wondering what kind of suffering can I endure tomorrow, or call somebody up: Would you provide me with some pain! Most people are so obliging!

    First of all, certainly we choose to accept the suffering that God sends us. But there are many times, even during the day, that we have an option of choosing two courses of action. One is easier, one is harder. Providing there is no sin in choosing the harder and our effectiveness in the apostolate would not suffer to choose what is more difficult. By the sixth month of the novitiate – for the first six months in the novitiate we sat at table. Six men to a table. If you sat last, it was your own fault. You got what was left…if there was anything left on the platter. By the seventh month I became more and more spiritualized. There is an advantage in taking the last place…because we learned to save the best or the better piece…if anybody looked at a platter, those with the biggest piece of meat is on that platter. That’s obvious! A child knows it! So am I making sense?

  3. Can you explain – what is the Nestorian heresy?

    The Nestorian heresy is the heresy invented by Nestorius, the archbishop patriarch of Constantinople, who taught and he required all of his priests to teach that Christ was two persons – a divine person and a human person. The divine person who may be the son of God, but a human person. He was a human being so that Mary gave birth to and conceived a human person. So the human and divine person in Christ were very close. Oh so close – so much so that you might say that Jesus was divine. But he had, he had not just a human nature but a human personality so that his human person was capable of sin.

    I think I told you people there are writings of Martin Luther that have never even been printed. They are so obscenely blasphemous, describing Christ’s sinning. “The Last Temptation” that movie, is only a mild, a mild commentary on Martin Luther’s Nestorian Christology. And that is the Christology, I repeat, of the New Creation series with a bright shiny imprimatur from the Archbishop of Dubuque.

  4. Are we most painful in surrendering our own self will? Upon doing so, isn’t one then cluttered with peace knowing you are doing God’s will.

    Yes, but the secret is to give in – to surrender! And how we hold on – you’d give up anything except that will of ours. And the trifling things on which some people’s will can be set. Yes, great peace – in fact, that’s the only peace of heart that Catholic theology knows. Peace of heart defined on Catholic terms is the peace experienced by our human will conforming to the Divine Will.

  5. When someone refers to charismatic phenomena I agree that no good effects could come from such phenomena if it is evil. What should our argument be for them?

    Now that’s not true. In other words, there are good actions; my heavens, good actions that can have bad effects. And there are bad actions that can have good effects. For example, I steal from a rich person. I mean steal. There is some poor person I want to help. There is some poor person I want to help. It happens to be me. So there is a rather good being done. Sin of stealing was being committed, but well, I’m better off. That’s a benefit. Or something which is evil can have good effects and something good can have bad effects. For example, for me as a priest, to stand up for my Faith. I think I told you that I am on the faculty of the University of Ottawa where one of the students wrote a doctoral thesis defending polygamy. Remember! Well, I was appointed one of the three readers by the Dean. And when you are appointed a reader for a dissertation, you have got to take it. And your tenure on the faculty depends on your taking that job of reading and passing judgment on the thesis. I tried to dissuade the priest – the priest who wrote his doctoral thesis defending polygamy. I went to the Dean and said, “Now look, I tried to dissuade the writer of this thesis but evidently I didn’t succeed. I would like to be excused from being the reader, the required reader for this thesis. “So I was told, “If you decline your being the reader and judge of this dissertation, you can no longer be on this faculty.” So I said, “Thanks.” I didn’t even take the thesis back to my room. I left it on the Dean’s desk; finished the semester. I have never taught one class at the University of Ottawa since. There can be bad consequences to good actions. Does that make sense?

  6. How do we find out more about Martin Luther and his blasphemous writing so a person can show a Lutheran this issue?

    I would recommend to all of you getting at least either the one copy edition or, I think it is the 6th volume edition of Grisar, G-r-i-s-a-r, Grisar. He happens to be a Jesuit. He wrote what I consider the best life of Martin Luther in existence. Totally documented! Not a single thing that Grisar says – it is not a quote directly from Martin Luther’s writings or from his biographers, his actions. Grisar’s life of Martin Luther is a must for every Catholic! Read it!

  7. Is Abraham the father of Muslims as well as Christians?

    Well, the Muslims consider him – yes – their father. However, as you know, the Muslims because they deny Christ’s divinity, they claim there were three principle prophets that Allah, that is god, sent into the world – Moses, Jesus and Mohammed. Even as Mohammed, pardon me, even as Moses foretold Jesus, which he did, so by the claims Jesus foretold Mohammed. He had to turn a few somersaults to do it, but he does it. So, yes, Abraham would be their believing father, believing exactly in one god because the world in which Mohammed was born was a world of polytheism of many gods.

  8. Who or what can a person say to a charismatic Catholic to tell them the movement is not Catholic?

    I just came across, last night, preparing my classes today of an article in a magazine in Rome. Remind me to make copies of that article on the charismatic movement and its non-Catholic foundations. The book was kind – what else could it be – to Charismatics. And I’ll be very happy to distribute copies. I’m sure you don’t mind if I have things – whatever 25 cents or 30 cents or whatever it costs for the Xeroxing. Is that o.k.? So, I have a vow of poverty. I don’t have a cent to my name.

  9. What can a person say to an M.D. friend, an evangelical Lutheran, who believes in birth control? Why it is a sin or wrong and where the Bible teaches it?

    Well, the best place, of course, in the Bible is in the Old Testament – the sin of Onam. In other words – remember his brother died, married his brother’s wife and then practiced what is called Onamism – withdrew during intercourse and he was killed by God for doing that. Well, some of these so-called exegetes – who remembers – who remembers the word that is the opposite of exegete? Who remembers? Isogete! Please? Isogete! They read things into the Bible. They claim it wasn’t because he committed or sinned by practicing contraception because he did not allow his brother’s wife to have another child. So, however, from the very beginning contraception was forbidden by the Church! And there again, because I have written much more than I have published, I do have some unpublished manuscripts, even a page or two, on the Church’s teaching from the very beginning – 1st century – on the sinfulness of contraception.

  10. Can you suggest a book for a non-Catholic friend who has many questions about our Catholic Faith? She thinks we are in error.

    Well, I tell you what. The best way to start with such a person is to have them first raise the objections. So then you know what they should read because there are all kinds of books. So may I ask this person to provide a problem by next week. This is a personal request from myself. I would very much talk to this person – and – over the telephone, or at least meet the person. I’ll provide – well, she has many questions – let her ask the questions. I’ll be happy to provide the answers. O.K.?

  11. Can a priest be a godfather?

    Yes. He’d better use his head. The most famous case I know of was a chaplain in the Viet Nam War. Godfather? He adopted a child, Vietnamese child, and the child took his name. Well, and…a boy, now! Just entered the seminary and was at Detroit University. So, yes.

  12. How does the natural law affect the culpability of our actions? Does it inform us? Cardinal Arinze taught that anyone who has an abortion or who performs one or who supports such a person would be excommunicated automatically. Please explain how this is true.

    Well, Cardinal Arinze taught?...the Catholic Church teaches! So they are really two questions. How does the natural law affect the culpability of our actions? Does it inform us? Of course. For example, for many of us, before we reach the age of reason we are naturally possessive. Do you know that? I’ve watched babies in their little penitentiary or play pen. Another child puts the hand in and picks up the rattle. There is a scream! The baby, say 3 months old, would not know how to spell the word “steal.” He has not reached the age of reason. So what! Instinctively we want to hold on to what is ours. Well! We ought to know there are other human beings besides ourselves. If we don’t want people to take away from us, reason tells us we shouldn’t take from others. But if we scream when someone takes from us, maybe they’d scream if we take from them. Yes, it does inform us. Now, Cardinal Arinze – yes, is it true? Yes! Now, of course, to be excommunicated a person must be a Catholic to begin with. Because excommunication, it carried also the penalty that not everybody could forgive that sin. Whereas I think I’ve mentioned last semester that now it being such a common sin the excommunication now can be lifted by any priest with faculties from the diocese.

  13. I attend a “Catholic” college and blasphemous and heretical literature is normally posted on bulletin boards. Would it be stealing or charity for me to make them disappear?

    Well, I like that language! It would be Christian charity if you made them disappear. But, of course, you’ve got to protect – you must protect – your own, well, position as a student. But to answer the question – please do not show this tape in that college.

  14. When a pregnant woman receives the Holy Eucharist, what effects of grace does this reception have on the soul of this child?

    It affects the child. It confers a part of the grace on that unborn child. It is not unimportant. And the confessional – same thing. Graces through the mother on that unborn child.

  15. Lately I heard by some people that servile work may be done for one hour on Sunday. Is this true?

    Catholic moralists over the centuries have always said that a certain amount of servile work may be done. And, say – up to an hour is one norm. However, I think I have a better explanation on what I have been taught. First of all, as you know, servile work is that work which the body, the muscles are mainly used. So the work can be called muscular work. Consequently, there is another kind of work called work – intellectual work that may be done on Sundays. I have written too many manuscripts on Sundays – never thought I was sinning by working on Sunday. But even with servile work – servile work may be done not just for one hour – may be done where either charity or necessity requires it. And thus, say, now you cooks – you might say, well, in washing the dishes – you don’t usually save the dishes for Monday. Am I correct? You wash them on Sunday. Now I know that is servile work. But I would call that both a necessity and charity.

  16. In the present deluge of immorality, when will it become apparent – that continence in the Catholic Canon which has governed man’s behavior?

    Oh, that continence is in the Catholic Canon Law. It will become apparent when more Catholics, beginning with more bishops, priests and religious practicing continency. Am I clear? I couldn’t be more clear. Now the teachers and custodians of Catholic morality themselves live morally good lives, including morally chaste lives.

  17. Minding the current rise of heresy and the participation of even priests and religious in the acceptance of homosexuality, the changes in the Mass, and the so-called modern morality, why is the Devil so apparently strong today?

    For three reasons. And the Devil is extraordinarily strong and successful today: First, as penalty for sins committed – in other words – we believe in the solidarity in virtue and solidarity in sin. We believe that the present generation can be suffering for the sins of the past generation. First reason!

    Second reason, God is allowing the Devil to be so successful because those who should be guiding the Church in sound morality are not doing so! In other words, the Catholic Church depends, absolutely depends on the authority established by Christ when he ordained the apostles at the Last Supper. And, therefore, the Devil is so successful because the Devil, remember, he succeeded with one apostle, Judas. Judas was possessed by the Devil. Do you hear me? And he lowered himself to be possessed by the Devil to betray Christ. There are Judases in the Catholic Church today. And I am quoting Pope Paul VI. He knew exactly what he was saying.

    Thirdly, and consolingly, God allows such massive evil in today’s world being perpetrated by the Devil because God, in his Infinite Providence, was – plans to give extraordinary blessings on the generation before us – the century to come. In other words, in the spirit of St. Paul, where sin has more abonded – get the “more” – the grace will (get the future tense) – the grace will even more abound. The 21st century, says the Holy Father, will be the holiest and most Catholic century of the Church’s history. But we’ve got to do our part. And I know I am talking to the right audience.

Thanks for being here. Shall we close with a prayer? Oh my! It is only 18 minutes after. I was supposed to have finished 15 minutes after. How about Latin? We say the Pater Nostra at Mass. Let’s say the Ave Maria in Latin. In Nomine et Patris et Filius et Spiritus Sanctos. Amen. Ave Maria (…in Latin).

Copyright © 1998 Inter Mirifica

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