17/10: Feast of the “First Fridays’ Saint”!

SAINT MARGARET MARY ALACOQUE, VIRGIN—1690  Feast: October 17

In seventeenth-century France the faith of the people had been badly shaken; there was rebellion against the Church and neglect of its teachings; the rise of Protestantism and the spread of the heresy of Jansenism[1] both had a part in the weakening of the structure built up through the ages. But as every threat brings its response, so now there rose up fresh, strong forces to counter these trends. Three famous religious, who are today venerated as saints, were particularly effective: John Eudes and Claude de la Columbiere were French Jesuit priests and writers; Margaret Mary Alacoque was a simple nun of the order of the Visitation. Their special work was to popularize the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. To represent this trio and this movement, we have chosen Margaret Mary Alacoque.  

Click on image to read the 12 Promises of the Sacred Heart

Click on image to read the 12 Promises of the Sacred Heart

She was born in 1647 at Janots, a small town of Burgundy, the fifth of seven children, of Claude and Philiberte Alacoque. Her father was a prosperous notary; the family owned a country house and farmland, and had some aristocratic connections. Margaret’s godmother was a neighbor, the Countess of Corcheval. As a small child Margaret spent a great deal of time with her, but these visits were brought to a sudden end by the death of the countess. The father died of pneumonia when Margaret was about eight, and this was another severe shock to the little girl. Claude had loved his family dearly but had been short-sighted and extravagant. His death put them in hard straits. However, Margaret was sent to school with the Urbanist Sisters at Charolles. She loved the peace and order of the convent life, and the nuns were so impressed by her devotion that she was allowed to make her First Communion at the age of nine. A rheumatic affliction kept her bedridden for four years. During this time she was brought home, where some of her father’s relatives had moved in and taken over the direction of the farm and household. She and her mother were disregarded, and treated almost as servants. This painful situation grew more acute after Margaret’s recovery, for the relatives tried to regulate all her comings and goings. Not allowed to attend church as often as she pleased, the young girl was sometimes seen weeping and praying in a corner of the garden. It grieved her deeply that she could not ease things for her mother. Her eldest brother’s coming of age saved the day, for the property now reverted to him, and the family again had undisputed possession of their home.

Philiberte expressed a hope that Margaret would marry; the girl considered the step, inflicting severe austerities upon herself during a period of indecision. At the age of twenty, inspired by a vision, she put aside all such thoughts and resolved to enter a convent. While awaiting admission, she tried to help and teach certain neglected children of the village. At twenty-two she made her profession at the convent of the Visitation at Paray-le-Monial. The nuns of the Order of the Visitation, founded in the early years of the seventeenth century by St. Francis de Sales, were famed for their humility and selflessness. As a novice Margaret excelled in these virtues. When she made her profession, the name of Mary was added and she was called Margaret Mary. She began a course of mortifications and penances which were to continue, with more or less intensity, as long as she lived. We are told that she was assigned to the infirmary and was not very skillful at her tasks.

Some years passed quietly in the convent, and then Margaret Mary began to have experiences which seemed to be of supernatural origin. The first of these occurred on December 27, 1673, when she was kneeling at the grille in the chapel. She felt suffused by the Divine Presence, and heard the Lord inviting her to take the place which St. John had occupied at the Last Supper. The Lord told her that the love of His heart must spread and manifest itself to men, and He would reveal its graces through her. This was the beginning of a series of revelations covering a period of eighteen months. When Margaret Mary went to the Superior, Mother de Saumaise, with an account of these mystical experiences, claiming that she, an humble nun, had been chosen as the transmitter of a new devotion to the Sacred Heart, she was reprimanded for her presumption. Seriously overwrought, Margaret Mary suffered a collapse, and became so ill that her life was despaired of. Now the Mother Superior reflected that she might have erred in scorning the nun’s story and vowed that if her life were spared, she would take it as a sign that the visions and messages were truly from God. When Margaret Mary recovered, the Superior invited some theologians who happened to be in the town -they included a Jesuit and a Benedictine-to hear the story. These priests listened and judged the young nun to be a victim of delusions. Their examination had been a sheer torture to Margaret Mary. Later a Jesuit, Father Claude de la Columbiere, talked to her and was completely convinced of the genuineness of the revelations. He was to write of the nun and to inaugurate this devotion in England.

For many years the nun suffered from despair, from self-inflicted punishments, and also from the slights and contempt of those around her. In 1681 Father Claude returned to the convent and died there the following year. Margaret Mary was appointed assistant and novice-mistress by a new Mother Superior who was more sympathetic towards her. Opposition ceased-or at least was restrained-after an account of Margaret Mary’s visions was read aloud in the refectory from the writings left by Father Claude, who had taken it upon himself to make known to the world the nun’s remarkable experiences. That she was finally vindicated was to her a matter of indifference. When she was forty-three, while serving a second term as assistant superior, Margaret Mary fell ill. Sinking rapidly, she received the Last Sacraments, saying, “I need nothing but God, and to lose myself in the heart of Jesus.”

Although the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus was practised before this time, it now gained a strong new impetus through the work of Father John Eudes and the writings of Father Claude. The Sacred Heart is regarded as “the symbol of that boundless love which moved the Word to take flesh, to institute the Holy Eucharist, to take our sins upon Himself, and, dying on the Cross, to offer Himself as a victim and sacrifice to the eternal Father.” The cult first became popular in France, then spread to Poland and other countries, including, at a later period, the United States. The first petition to the Holy See for the institution of the feast was from Queen Mary, consort of James II of England. The month of June is appointed for this devotion, and since 1929 the feast has been one of the highest rank.  Source

Comment

I sometimes wonder if there are  many modern Catholics who still value devotions such as the Nine First Fridays.  Does anyone know?  What about the Catholics in your circle of family and friends – do they ever mention “doing the First Fridays”?  Do the diocesan priests ever preach about this devotion? Have YOU made the Nine First Fridays? If not, why not?

Was William Shakespeare A Catholic?

Click here to read a report of the Vatican’s view that William Shakespeare was, very likely, a “crypto-Catholic”

Father Stephen DeLallo, SSPX, presents the opposite case, as set out in the Catholic Encylopaedia – The Religion of William Shakespeare

 

Hamlet Act 1, Scene 2

Hamlet Act 1, Scene 2

 

(1) Arguments against Catholicity taken from the Catholic Encyclopedia:

 1) His own daughters were baptized in the parish Anglican Church as he himself had been, and were brought up as Protestants, the older daughter, Mrs. Hall, being apparently rather Puritan in her sympathies

 2) In 1608, he stood as godfather to a child of Henry Walker (who was an eminent London musician)

 3) In 1614 he entertained a protestant preacher at his house

 4) He was very familiar with the Bible in a Protestant version

 5) The various legatees and executors of his will cannot be identified as Catholics

 6) He seems to have remained on terms of intimacy with Ben Johnson, despite the latter’s disgraceful apostasy from the Catholic Faith which he had embraced for a time

 7) During his residence in London from 1598 – 1604, he lived at the house of Christopher Mountjoy, a refugee French Huguenot who maintained close relations with the French Protestant Church in London

 8) Even if his sympathies were with the Catholics, he made little or no attempt to live up to any Catholic moral convictions, as is seen in the immorality in many of his writings, and in various historical testimonies about his personal depraved morals

 (2) Complete Article from the Catholic Encyclopedia

 Of both Milton and Shakespeare, it was stated after their deaths, upon Protestant authority, that they had professed Catholicism. In Milton’s case (though the allegation was made and printed in the lifetime of contemporaries, and though it pretended to rest upon the testimony of Judge Christopher Milton, his brother, who did become a Catholic) the statement is certainly untrue (see The Month, Jan., 1909, pp. 1-13 and 92-93).

 This emphasizes the need of caution — the more so that Shakespeare at least had been dead more than seventy years when Archdeacon R. Davies (d. 1708) wrote in his supplementary notes to the biographical collections of the Rev. W. Fulman that the dramatist had a monument at Stratford, adding the words: “He dyed a Papyst”. Davies, an Anglican clergyman, could have had no conceivable motive for misrepresenting the matter in these private notes and as he lived in the neighbouring county of Gloucestershire he may be echoing a local tradition. To this must be added the fact that independent evidence establishes a strong presumption that John Shakespeare, the poet’s father, was or had been a Catholic. His wife Mary Arden, the poet’s mother, undoubtedly belonged to a family that remained conspicuousl yCatholic throughout the reign of Elizabeth. John Shakespeare had held municipal office in Stratford-on-Avon during Mary’s reign at a time when it seems agreed that Protestants were rigorously excluded from such posts. It is also certain that in 1592 JohnShakespeare was presented as a recusant, though classified among those “recusants heretofore presented who were thought to forbear coming to church for fear of process of debt”. Though indications are not lacking that John Shakespeare was in very reduced circumstances, it is also quite possible that his alleged poverty was only assumed to cloak his conscientious scruples.

A document, supposed to have been found about 1750 under the tiles of a house in Stratford which had once been John Shakespeare’s, professes to be the spiritual testament of the said John Shakespeare, and assuming it to be authentic, it would clearly prove him to have been a Catholic. The document, which was at first unhesitatingly accepted as genuine by Malone, is considered by most modern Shakespeare scholars to be a fabrication of J. Jordan who sent it to Malone (Lee, Life of William Shakespeare, London, 1908, p. 302). It is certainly not entirely a forgery (seeThe Month, Nov., 1911), and it produces in part a form of spiritual testament attributed to St. Charles Borromeo. Moreover, there is good evidence that a paper of this kind was really found. Such testaments were undoubtedly common among Catholics in the sixteenth century. Jordan had no particular motive for forging a very long, dreary, and tedious profession of Catholicism, only remotely connected with the poet; and although it has been said that John Shakespeare could not write (Lee, J.W. Gray, and C.C. Stopes maintain the contrary), it is quite conceivable that a priest or some other Catholic friend drafted the document for him, a copy of which was meant to be laid with him in his grave. All this goes to show that the dramatist in his youth must have been brought up in a very Catholic atmosphere, and indeed the history of the Gunpowder Plot conspirators (the Catesbys lived at Bushwood Park in Stratford parish) shows that the neighbourhood was regarded as quite a hotbed of recusancy.

 On the other hand, many serious difficulties stand in the way of believing that William Shakespeare could have been in any sense a staunch adherent of the old religion. To begin with, his own daughters were not only baptized in the parish church as their father had been, but were undoubtedly brought up as Protestants, the elder, Mrs. Hall, being apparently rather Puritan in her sympathies. Again Shakespeare was buried in the chancel of the parish church, though it is admitted that no argument can be deduced from this as to the creed he professed (Lee, op. cit., p. 220). More significant are such facts as that in 1608 he stood godfather to a child of Henry Walker, as shown by the parish register, that in 1614 he entertained a preacher at his house “the New Place”, the expense being apparently borne by the municipality, that he was very familiar with the Bible in a Protestant version, that the various legatees and executors of his will cannot in any way be identified as Catholics, and also that he seems to have remained on terms of undiminished intimacy with Ben Johnson, despite the latter’s exceptionally disgraceful apostasy from the Catholic Faith which he had for a time embraced. To these considerations must now be added the fact recently brought to light by the researches of Dr. Wallace of Nebraska, that Shakespeare during his residence in London lived for at least six years (1598-1604) at the house of Christopher Mountjoy, a refugee French Huguenot, who maintained close relations with the French Protestant Church in London (Harper’s Magazine, March, 1910, pp. 489-510). Taking these facts in connection with the loose morality of the Sonnets, of Venus and Adonis, etc. and of passages in the play, not to speak of sundry vague hints preserved by tradition of the poet’s rather dissolute morals, the conclusion seems certain that, even if Shakespeare’s sympathies were with the Catholics, he made little or no attempt to live up to his convictions. For such a man it is intrinsically possible and even likely that, finding himself face to face with death, he may have profited by the happy incident of the presence of some priest in Stratford to be reconciled with the Church before the end came. Thus Archdeacon Davies’s statement that “he dyed a Papyst” is by no means incredible, but it would obviously be foolish to build too much upon an unverifiable tradition of this kind. The point must remain forever uncertain.

As regards the internal evidence of the plays and poems, no fair appreciation of the arguments advanced by Simpson,Bowden, and others can ignore the strong leaven of Catholic feeling conspicuous in the works as a whole. Detailed discussion would be impossible here. The question is complicated by the doubt whether certain more Protestant passages have any right to be regarded as the authentic work of Shakespeare. For example, there is a general consensus of opinion that the greater part of the fifth act of “Henry VIII” is not his. Similarly, in “King John” any hasty references drawn from the anti-papal tone of certain speeches must be discounted by a comparison between the impression left by the finished play as it came from the hands of the dramatist and the virulent prejudice manifest in the older drama of “The Troublesome Reign of King John”, which Shakespeare transformed. On the other hand, the type of such characters as Friar Lawrence. or of the friar in “Much Ado About Nothing”, of Henry V, of Katherine of Aragon, and of others, as well as the whole ethos of “Measure for Measure”, with numberless casual allusions, all speak eloquently for the Catholic tone of the poet’s. mind (see, for example, the references to purgatory and the last sacraments in “Hamlet”, Act I, sc. 5).

 Neither can any serious arguments to show that Shakespeare. knew nothing of Catholicism be drawn from the fact that in “Romeo and Juliet” he speaks of “evening Mass” Simpson and others have quoted examples of the practice of occasionally saying Mass in the afternoon, one of the places where this was wont to happen being curiously enough Verona itself, the scene of the play. The real difficulty against Simpson’s thesis comes rather from the doubt whether Shakespeare was not infected with the atheism, which, as we know from the testimony of writers as opposite in spirit as Thomas Nashe and Father Persons, was rampant in the more cultured societyof the Elizabethan age. Such a doubting ors keptical attitude of mind, as multitudes of examples provein our own day, is by no means inconsistent with a true appreciation of the beauty of Catholicism, and even apart from this it would surely not be surprising that such a man as Shakespeare should think sympathetically and even tenderly of the creed in which his father and mother had been brought up, a creed to which they probably adhered at least in their hearts. The fact in any case remains that the number of Shakespearean utterances expressive of a fundamental doubt in the Divine economy of the world seems to go beyond the requirements of his dramatic purpose and these are constantly put into the mouths of characters with whom the poet is evidently in sympathy. A conspicuous example is the speech of Prospero in “The Tempest”, probably the latest of the plays, ending with the words:

 “We are such Stuff

 As dreams are made on, and our little life

 Is rounded with a sleep”.

 Whether the true Shakespeare speaks here no one can ever tell, but even if it were so, such moods pass and are not irreconcilable with faith in God when the soul is thrown back upon herself by the near advent of suffering or death. A well-known example is afforded by the case of Littré.  End of Catholic Encyclopaedia article.

Comment:

Historians and other societal “experts” consider that the religious references and beliefs expressed in literature, drama etc. make an important contribution to us in our attempts to understand the past. Many have researched the religion of Shakespeare, therefore, given his standing in the world of English language and literature as a poet, playwright and actor.  But, does it really matter whether or not Shakespeare held to Catholic beliefs, albeit secretly? If, as many argue, it is important to contextualise the religious references in his work, why is it important?  Do these references really tell us much about the history of the Reformation period?  Do  you think that William Shakespeare was a Catholic? If so, what makes you so sure?  

Fatima Prophesy, Bows & Arrows…

Extract from the published part of the Third Secret of Fatima taken from Vatican website…

OurLadyofFatimaAnd we saw … a Bishop dressed in White ‘we had the impression that it was the Holy Father’. Other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious going up a steep mountain, at the top of which there was a big Cross of rough-hewn trunks as of a cork-tree with the bark; before reaching there the Holy Father passed through a big city half in ruins and half trembling with halting step, afflicted with pain and sorrow, he prayed for the souls of the corpses he met on his way; having reached the top of the mountain, on his knees at the foot of the big Cross he was killed by a group of soldiers who fired bullets and arrows at him  Source (Emphasis added)       

Now read the following extract from An excerpt of a speech given by Christopher Ferrara at the Fatima Center Only the Pope Can Save Washington Conference, September 22 – 24, 2015 published in the Fatima Crusader (Winter 2015)

Unparalleled Church Crisis

Certainly that element of the Secret that predicts an unparalleled crisis in the Church – I mean the text the Vatican has withheld, wherein the Blessed Virgin explains the meaning of the obscure vision published in 2000 – would have been clearer in 1960. In that year revolution was beginning in both the Church, with the calling of the Second Vatican Council, and the world at large, which underwent an accelerated descent into total depravity. (Anyone who is old enough to remember those days will recall that the Sixties were a time in which it seemed that both the Church and society had crossed over a threshold into a state of affairs the once Christian West had never seen before.)

Today, so many large pieces of the puzzle have fallen into place that even the smallest pieces are now readily fitted into the picture. For example, the Synod on the Family, where we see precisely that “the greatest persecution of the Church does not come from enemies outside, but arises from sin in the Church.” …

And yet, one small but seemingly important piece of the puzzle has always seemed odd and completely out of place to me. It is Sister Lucia’s revelation that in the vision of the “Bishop dressed in White” the future Pope’s executioners “fired bullets and arrows at him.” Arrows? What is the meaning of this reference to such primitive weaponry? One might be tempted to think that surely Lucia must have stumbled here, that Our Lady could not possibly mean literally that a future Pope would be hunted down and killed by men wielding bows and arrows.

Here too, however, developments over the passage of time seem to have allowed us to fit even this odd little piece into the bigger picture – with a resounding and quite chilling confirmation of what is actually the great significance of a seemingly incongruous detail. “We Will Conquer Your Rome, Break Your Crosses, Enslave Your Women” … ISIS

Consider first a recent article in the ISIS magazine Dabiq, quoting a fanatical Imam who “prophesies” as follows: “We will conquer your Rome, break your crosses, and enslave your women, by the permission of Allah, the Exalted.”

Next consider a recent article in the Italian daily Il Giornale, which may well provide one of those precise historical clues that clarify a prophecy as its fulfilment nears (like the ripening fig tree that heralds the coming of Spring, to use Our Lord’s parable of the advent of the Last Days).

The article reports on an “e-book” being distributed to Muslim militants that provides instructions to prepare for the conquest of Rome by learning to use various weapons, including “home-made bows and arrows.” The idea is to stockpile weapons whose possession is not currently illegal so that they can be employed in urban guerrilla warfare. As the instruction manual states: “The advent of the war for the conquest of Rome will consist primarily of the urban guerilla in the cities and streets of Europe.”

Suddenly the reference to a Pope of the future being slain by bullets and arrows falls into place in the grand puzzle that is being completed before our eyes. Can we be certain this is so? Without the Virgin’s own explanation of the vision – for which the Vatican has substituted the ludicrous “interpretation” of the Vatican Secretary of State – we obviously cannot be. Then again, it is always prudent to examine the signs of the times when Heaven itself has given us a warning of impending disaster – a disaster to which nearly the entire hierarchy remains oblivious as they persevere in the ruinous course of the past fifty years of drift and decay in the Church and widening apostasy in the worldSource

bow-and-arrow

Comment:

It is true that we really only begin to make sense of prophecies as they unfold; hence, when news came that Pope Benedict, on abdication, intended to retain the papal dress, those familiar with the Fatima prophecies immediately recalled that part of the prophecy where the children saw “a bishop dressed in white” and their “impression that it was the Holy Father” – quite different from their other clear references to the Pope.  

Christopher Ferrara, rather surprisingly in my view, appears to assume that this “Bishop dressed in white” who is to be killed IS the reigning Pope, but with two “Bishops dressed in white” currently in Rome, surely a doubt arises as to the identity of the Bishop of the vision – certainly, if this event is to occur during the lifetimes of Pope Francis and the abdicated Pope Benedict. 

However,  the fact that Muslim militants are being exhorted to learn to use and to stockpile bows and arrows, enables us –  in the current frenzy of Islamist attacks in Europe – to make sense of the reference to “arrows” in the Fatima prophecy which has long puzzled us all.  And to consider the rather obvious question: Is the Islamists’ ambition to conquer Rome not far off?

Is there, in fact, a connection between (a) the increasing numbers of ISIS terrorist attacks in Europe (b) the Fatima warning about the death of the “Bishop dressed in white” (c) the exhortation to Muslim militants to learn to use and to stockpile “arrows” and (d) the forthcoming 100th anniversary of the Fatima prophecies in 2017?  I can’t help thinking the answer is obviously “yes” – but what do you think? 

Militant Humanism On The Move…

HUMANISTS have launched a legal challenge to give pupils the right to opt out of religious observance in Scottish schools.

The Humanist Society Scotland (HSS) is to seek a judicial review at the Court of Session in Edinburgh after the Scottish Government rejected calls for a change to the current rules which permit only parents to opt out on their children’s behalf. The move follows a recent review by the United Nations Children’s Rights Committee which recommended the parental right to opt out of religious observance should be extended to young people.

militant-atheists-cp

Click here to read report in full in Herald Scotland

 

Comment:

It’s really comical to think that humanists are spending a stack of money to remove religion from the lives of young people, when the Scottish Bishops and Catholic education “experts” are making a very good job of it themselves.  You have to laugh. 

However, two matters spring to mind on reading the above Herald report. Firstly, whatever happened to tolerance and diversity?  Are parents who don’t want their children indoctrinated with LGBT propaganda to have the same right to opt out, as that proposed for religious observance by the Anything-But-Religion-Goes Brigade? Secondly, I object to the term “humanism” – it’s male dominated.  Why, in the 21st century, is the term not modified to something like “huWOMANism?”  Are “huWOMENists” less important than huMANists?  

To what, I ask myself, is the world coming?  Your thoughts welcome… 

Morality: You Are What You Read…

animatedboyreadingbook

The article below is a lengthy, detailed study of

Catholic Moral Principles
Concerning the Reading of Literature
by Fr Stephen DeLallo SSPX

 (Revised: Sept. 8, 2016) 

Comments invited. It would be especially interesting to hear from priests, parents and teachers on this crucially important subject… 

  1. Introduction:

The Catholic Moral Principles outlined below can help Catholics – especially parents and teachers – to discern what kind of literature the youth are allowed to read as good Christians. It is necessary to be guided by the teachings of the Catholic Church and great saints rather than to rely on one’s own ideas and opinions. The Church is a 2000-year-old Mother with great prudence and wisdom.

Since college and university students are normally more mature and responsible than high school students, they are able to read literary works with more mature themes, provided there is no near occasion of sin. Of course, they also must follow the Catholic principles of morality with regard to literature – thus avoiding any literature with passages that describe or promote impurity and moral depravity, especially if they include vulgar and filthy words or conversations.

U P D A T E 16th September, 2016 :  note, the section on Occasions of Sin has been revised slightly by Fr DeLallo because he thinks readers will find it more helpful. 

  1. Concerning Occasions of Sin:

    In McHugh and Callan, Vol. 1, pp. 88-89, we read four main points:

1) “Occasions of sin are external circumstances, i.e., persons, places or things, which tempt one to sin. Occasions of sin are of various kinds: (a) they are proximate (near) or remote, according as it is morally certain or only likely that they will lead to sin; (b) they are necessary or free, according as one is able or not able to abandon them without difficulty.”

In his “Handbook of Moral Theology” (p. 127, #710), Fr. Dominic Prummer, O.P. says: “A remote occasion of sin is one which offers a slight danger or sin in which a person rarely commits sin. A proximate occasion is a grave external danger or sinning, either for all men or only for certain types. The gravity of the danger depends on: a) general experience (such as the reading of an extremely obscene book), b) the frequency of relapse into the same sin (e.g., an inn for a habitual drunkard), c) the character of the penitent (e.g., a girl for an unchaste youth) … A proximate occasion is either free or necessary. It is free if it can be avoided easily (e.g., an inn); it is necessary if it cannot be avoided (e.g., a minor’s parental home).”

In the Baltimore Catechism No. 3, question 76, we read: “The near occasions of sin are all persons, places or things that may easily lead us into sin. There is a grave obligation to avoid the near occasion of mortal sin. If circumstances force us into the near occasion of sin, we are obliged to make use of the necessary safeguards, such as prayer and the frequent reception of the sacraments of Penance and Holy Eucharist.”

In practice, it is a near occasion of sin when a person has a well-grounded fear according to experience that in this situation he will most likely fall into sin. It is a remote occasion of sin when a person has a sincere conviction that he is strong enough to resist the temptation. In his manual of “Moral Theology,” Fr. Heribert Jone, O.F.M. says that it is normally permitted to place oneself in a remote occasion of sin for a reasonable cause (p. 428, # 607). However, he also points out that “there are various intermediary stages between the remote and proximate occasion. The greater the danger of sinning, the more serious must be the reason to justify one in not avoiding the occasion of sin” (p. 429, # 608).

* St. Alphonsus Liguori says in a sermon for the 1st Sunday after Easter: “Being compelled by exorcisms to tell the sermons which displeased him the most, the Devil confessed that it was the sermon on avoiding the occasions of sin.”

2) “It is not lawful to remain in a free occasion of sin, for to do so is to expose oneself rashly to the danger of sin.”

3) “It is not lawful for one who is in a necessary occasion of sin to neglect means that are adapted to preserve him from the moral contagion by which he is surrounded; for to neglect spiritual safeguards and protections in such a case is to refuse to resist temptation. The means that should be used depend on circumstances, but prayer and firm resolve to avoid sin should be employed in every case.”

4) “The gravity of the sin committed by one who freely remains in an occasion of sin, or who does not use the requisite spiritual helps in a necessary occasion depends on various factors: (a) if the sin to which he is tempted is light (venial), he does not sin gravely; (b) if the sin to which he is tempted is serious (mortal) and the occasion is proximate, he sins gravely; (c) if the occasion is remote, he sins venially.”

  1. Principles concerning the Danger of Sin and the Near Occasions of Sin:
  1. Note Concerning Scandal and Obscenity: The following summary of Catholic moral principles concerning scandal and obscenity can also be used to clarify what is meant by near (proximate) occasions of sin, especially with regard to purity and chastity. This information is also taken from the same Manual of Moral Theology by McHugh O.P. and Callan O.P., Vol. 1, pp. 587-590:

1) Meaning of obscenity:No. 1455: Obscenity: Obscenity is a quality of words, acts or objects by which impure thoughts are conveyed, or impure desires or actions suggested. We may consider it either internally (i.e., in the intention of the person who uses the words, acts or objects) or externally (i.e., in the nature of the things themselves which are used) …

“No. 1455b: External obscenity is the tendency of words, acts or objects themselves to call up impure images in the mind, or to excite impure desires or actions in those to whom they are presented. The use of such words, acts, etc., is therefore a mortal sin. For, if the thing said or done is wrong in itself (such as obscene language), it is a scandalous sin against purity; if it is wrong on account of those who will be influenced (such as a talk on sex matters to immature or weak persons), it is a sin of scandal. Hence, a good or even religious motive (such as instruction, refutation of error, health, or mysticism) does not excuse the employment of what is clearly obscene, for the end does not justify the means.

2) When is something obscene? No. 1456: It is not always easy to determine in particular cases when a thing is obscene from its very nature, but the following general principles can be given:

“1456a” Pictures, statues and other images are obscene, when they represent scenes of immoral or sexual acts, or lascivious attitudes or posture…

“1456b: Female dress or adornment is lascivious, when there is a notable display of the person through abbreviated skirts, necks, and sleeves; or a suggestiveness expressed in transparency of material or a closeness of fit that brings out the lines and curves of the figure; or in an extremity of fashion whose striking color or design will make the wearer conspicuous and direct special attention to her physical charms.”

“1456c: Plays on the stage or moving picture screen are obscene by reason of the lesson taught (as when purity is derided or impurity condoned), by reason of the thing represented (as when the main theme is impurity, or when acts of impurity are represented or suggested, or when sexual passion is emphasized), or by reason of the players (as when they are noted for immorality, or when their dress is indecent, or their language objectionable)

“1456d: Dances are obscene in themselves when the postures, movements, or contact of the dancers is indecent; they are obscene by reason of the dancers, when these are indecently attired. Public dance halls, cabarets, road houses, and night clubs – where there is no supervision and young girls come unattended to dance until late hours with men unknown to them, and where there is intoxication and boisterousness – are the natural haunts of the obscene dance, but it may be found even in more respectable places.

“1456e: Books or other writings contain obscenity when they inculcate or recommend impure acts, or advise how these may be committed; when they treat sins of impurity or narrate immoral facts or stories in such a manner as to make vice seem alluring or pardonable to the intended reader; when an erotic composition by language, allusions, details, sympathetic treatment, etc., gives prominence to animal passion.”

* Note: St. Paul says in Ephesians Ch. 5:3-6: “But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not so much as be named among you, as becometh saints: or obscenity, or foolish talking, or scurrility, which is to no purpose; but rather giving of thanks. For know this and understand, that no fornicator, or unclean, or covetous person (which is a serving of idols), hath inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no man deceive you with vain words. For because of these things cometh the anger of God upon the children of unbelief.”

  1. Note Concerning Old Testament Stories: The principles outlined above also show why Old Testament stories in the Bible that narrate immorality, e.g., King David and Bathsheba, the evil priests and Susanna, the sin of Onan, etc., are not in the category of indecent literature. For such biblical stories are simply narrating sinful behavior, and are not written in a manner to make the sinful behavior tempting, alluring, acceptable or excusable. Rather, in these biblical stories, the reader is shown that the evil actions of immoral people will be punished by God, both in this world and the next.

On the other hand, in indecent and filthy literature, sinful and impure behavior is portrayed to the reader, and acted out by the players in the story, as something desirable, alluring and enjoyable – and sometimes acceptable and excusable. Consequently, it is a serious error, and a grave offense against the infinite holiness of God, the Author of Sacred Scripture, to attempt to justify the reading of indecent and impure literature stories by saying they are similar to biblical stories of the Old Testament that narrate sinful behavior and God’s punishment.

In addition, since it is God Who has willed that some stories be in Sacred Scripture that narrate immoral behavior, then by that very fact, God Himself will always grant sufficient grace to the qualified reader so that such stories will not be a near occasion of sin. For God is infinitely holy and never leads a person into sin or temptation: “Let no man, when he is tempted, say that he is tempted by God. For God is not a tempter of evils, and he tempteth no man” (James 1:13).

  1. Adherence to the Catholic Moral Principles concerning literature is especially important today when we consider the methods used in schools over the past fifty years to corrupt Christian morals. For decades before Vatican II, Modernists, Communists and Freemasons infiltrated Catholic schools and seminaries, frequently in the role of psychotherapists and psychologists, in their long term goal to destroy the Catholic Church.
  2. St. Pius X was already battling Modernists who were infiltrating seminaries during his pontificate in the early 1900s, when he wrote his famous encyclical Pascendi against Modernism on Sept. 8, 1907. With the assistance of Cardinal Merry Del Val, he made continuous efforts to expose and remove the secret enemies of Christ who, disguised as priests and professors, were sowing the seeds of modernism in various colleges and seminaries. Because of this, the Modernists were angry with Pius X and accused him of being severe and uncharitable towards their friends – which was one of the arguments used against Pius X in the process of his canonization. (See “St. Pius X: Sodalitium Pianum,” The Angelus, Nov. 2003, pp. 5-10).

The enemies of Our Lord know that the most effective way to destroy the Church is to undermine the Catholic formation of seminarians, for in this way they will destroy the priesthood. Consequently, one of St. Pius X’s main concerns was to protect the seminaries, in order to insure the proper spiritual and doctrinal formation of candidates to the priesthood.

Archbishop Lefebvre, also recognizing the importance of safeguarding the Catholic priesthood, made the formation of priests the first and principal goal of the Society of St. Pius X. In his book, They Have Uncrowned Him, he exposes and refutes the errors of Freemasonry which have invaded the Church, especially since Vatican II. Thus, on page 11 he tells his readers: “It is enough to tell you, dear readers, that even if I do not always name it, Freemasonry is at the center of the topics of which I am going to speak to you in all the following chapters.”

  1. Note on the I.H.M. Nuns: In the late 1960s, we also saw the destruction of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Order (I.H.M.), which was the largest order of teaching nuns in the United States at that time. This work of destruction was accomplished by the use of non-directive psychotherapy under the direction of two renowned psychologists of the time, Dr. Carl Rogers and Dr. William Coulson.

In an interview by Dr. William Marra, called “The Story of a Repentant Psychologist” (which can be found on the EWTN website, and in a special issue of the Latin Mass Magazine in 1994), Dr. Coulson says: “We inundated that system with humanistic psychology. We called it Therapy for Normals, TFN. The IHMs had some 60 schools when we started; at the end, they had one. There were some 560 nuns when we began. Within a year after our first interventions, 300 of them were petitioning Rome to get out of their vows. They did not want to be under anyone’s authority, except the authority of their imperial inner selves.”

Dr. Coulson and Dr. Rogers, along with 58 other “facilitators”, organized small encounter/sensitivity groups. The participants were encouraged to express their real, innermost feelings as they interacted with the others participants. Coulson says: “They were more open with one another, they were less deceitful, they didn’t hide their judgments from one another. If they didn’t like one another they were inclined to say so; and if they were attracted to one another, they were inclined to say that, too.”

By means of this sensitivity training, participants were told that they had the answers within themselves; they are their own authority, and that they were to appeal solely to their consciences: “What does this mean to you?”; “I cannot pass judgment on your feelings.” However, since one’s innermost feelings also include suppressed inclinations of sensuality, the encounter groups also sparked disordered familiarities and immoral behavior – including homosexual behavior, as Dr. Coulson admits in his interview with Dr. Marra.

According to Coulson, he and Dr. Rogers also used this sensitivity training on other Religious Orders: “We corrupted a whole raft of Religious Orders on the west coast in the ‘60s by getting the nuns and priests to talk about their distress… We did similar programs for the Jesuits, for the Franciscans, for the Sisters of Providence of Charity, and for the Mercy Sisters.”

  1. Historical Review of Modernist and Liberal Subversion in Education:

Catholics should remember that before Vatican II, the whole Church was traditional Catholic. Therefore, it stands to reason that the enemies of Christ, who infiltrated the Church before Vatican II, have still been infiltrating the traditional Catholic Church since Vatican II, continuing their work to destroy the Church. And they will be using the same methods of subversion that they used before Vatican II and during the 1960s and 1970s, especially the clever tactic of confusing and brainwashing good people to help them in their work.

During the 1960s, countless parents saw the faith of their children undermined by liberal priests, brothers and nuns in Catholic schools. The method was always the same: teachers would mix truth with error (e.g., Adam and Eve were only a myth; Easter is the celebration of the blooming flowers and trees coming to life in springtime, etc.). And they would instruct the children not to tell their parents, saying that their parents were old fashioned and wouldn’t understand.

In public and Catholic high schools, literature and poetry were introduced that contained texts describing immorality and sensuality, and sometimes with references to homosexuality. In the classroom, students were told not to say anything to their parents because they wouldn’t understand. To defend their literature program, teachers explained that students should know about the grave moral evils in the world in order to be better prepared to confront them after high school. Besides, they argued, it’s not good to shelter kids from the evils they are going to see anyway when they go into the world.

If parents objected or complained, teachers would make veiled remarks to belittle or ridicule their authority in front of the students in the classroom. They accused parents of being old fashioned, uneducated, extreme, moralists, scrupulous or puritanical. Sometimes they were accused of having some kind of sensual or psychological disorder which made them see temptations that “normal” people don’t see – thus insulting their intelligence and moral integrity. Also, if a student complained to his parents, teachers would make remarks in the classroom to embarrass him or make him look dumb in front of the other students. This method of intimidation would cause the other students to be afraid to complain to their parents about anything in the class.

Due to the opposition of many parents, many teachers tried to limit or eliminate the influence of parents in the education of their children at school. But by doing this, they were actually promoting one of the Marxist goals in education: Children should be raised and educated away from the negative and suppressive influence of their parents. (See the 1963 U.S. Congressional Record: “45 Communist Goals for America, #41”)

The teachers were often witty and fun, and tried to establish a good rapport with their students, encouraging them to use their own intelligence and freedom to think for themselves in deciding what was right and wrong, e.g., by asking them: “How do ‘you’ feel about this?” or “What do ‘you’ think about this?”

In Catholic Youth Organizations (CYO), teachers would present moral cases and dilemmas to small groups of Catholic teenagers, who were then asked to give the answer they thought was best according to their conscience, and according to the circumstances in the case, i.e., “the situation.” But the correct Catholic answer was not clearly explained at the end of the discussion. Rather, each student was encouraged to follow the answer that seemed right to him.

By using these methods of sensitivity training and situation ethics, students were slowly conditioned to doubt or reject the traditional moral values taught by their parents, thus creating division and discord in the family. This method of conditioning students to modify or “reinterpret” their traditional moral values is called values clarification. All these methods of behavior modification were part of the Communist plan to corrupt and destroy the traditional Christian family in America.

*Note: Sensitivity Training is a communist technique designed to convince children that they are the main authority in their own lives. In practice, we can see three main steps: (1) direct students to get in touch with their own feelings about moral or doctrinal questions, e.g., “How do ‘you’ feel about this?” or “What do ‘you’ think about this?” (2) desensitize students to impurity by slowly familiarizing them with reading material (and movies) that contain indecencies and scenes of immorality, so that eventually they won’t seem so bad; and (3) direct teachers to establish a friendly rapport with the students so that they will develop a strong sense of loyalty to the teacher, thus defending him and his teaching methods.

This work of corruption was especially effective in Catholic schools because parents and students who objected were told to be quiet and obey, and trust their priests and religious superiors, because “they have the grace of state” to make the right judgments in these matters. Those who continued to show opposition were accused of being uneducated, uncharitable, Pharisees, and causing division in the parish. Of course, all Catholics know that the grace of God does not take away free will. This is why there is a crisis in the Church today! Bishops, priests and religious superiors have resisted and disobeyed the “grace of state” given to them by God, and by embracing modernist and liberal doctrines, they have betrayed Our Lord and His Church in matters of faith and morals.

  1. The Warning of Our Lord Jesus Christ: Mark 9: 42: “And whosoever shall scandalize one of these little ones that believe in me; it were better for him that a millstone were hanged around his neck, and he were cast into the sea.” Therefore, all teachers, whether religious or laity, who place literature with indecent texts into the hands of the youth are guilty of scandalizing children.

*Not infrequently people hear Sunday sermons about the dangers of the internet, smartphones and tablets because of the occasions of sins of impurity. But it’s precisely those teachers who promote the use of literature with indecent texts in the classroom who are at least partially responsible for sparking the curiosity about sins of impurity in the minds of the youth, which in turn may lead them to the bad use of smartphones, tablets and computers.

*St. Alphonsus Liguori says in a sermon for the 1st Sunday after Easter: “Being compelled by exorcisms to tell the sermons which displeased him the most, the Devil confessed that it was the sermon on avoiding the occasions of sin.”

 The Role of Literature in Catholic Education

 In general, the Catholic Church approves the reading and study of good literature because: (1) it introduces students to the transcendent realities of truth, beauty and goodness, with the ultimate goal of raising their minds and hearts to God and to the truths of the Catholic Faith. In this way, natural truth and goodness are always considered in their relation to supernatural realities; (2) it presents truth and knowledge in an organized and structured manner, thereby training students to think in a logical, rational way. This improves their ability to think abstractly about important concepts, such as truth and justice, love and compassion, honor and loyalty, bravery and fortitude, etc., and their opposing vices; (3) it trains students in “critical thinking,” i.e., disciplined thinking that is clear and rational, based on synthesizing and analyzing evidence to formulate correct judgments; (4) it helps students in the formation of good moral judgement, by allowing them to experience various life situations through characters in a story, to witness praise for virtue and punishment for vice, and to think what they should do as Catholics if they were in similar situations; (5) in the practical order, good literature improves the students’ vocabulary, reading comprehension, reading ability and language growth, thus improving their ability to express themselves more clearly and intelligently in writing and conversation.

However, with regard to literature stories that praise virtue and condemn vice, the Church has always warned against reading any literature that would be a near occasion of sin. Consequently, it is not allowed to read literature that contains texts which illustrate or describe scenes of sensuality or moral depravity, or which relate various details of sins of impurity – especially if they contain vulgar and filthy words and conversations. According to the Church and all the saints, it would be a serious sin to place oneself in the near (or proximate) occasion of sins of impurity.

When speaking about the Liberal Arts education at St. Mary’s College in St. Marys, Kansas, Archbishop Lefebvre once said (in 1984): “Dear friends, I have learned that for the first time, St. Mary’s will present her students for graduation. It is truly an event with merit to be noted in the annals of the College. This is the fruit of the conjunction of the patient and devoted work of many people. I am thinking not only of the professional body, but also of all the families…  This conjunction could not have taken place without the ideal which is pursued at the College of St. Marys: ideal of the Christian and Catholic formation and education under the regard of God, of the Cross of Jesus, and of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Patron of the College… This event, which you are celebrating, must be the occasion to thank God, and to beseech Him to continue to aid the College, in order that it might form children worthy of the Catholic Church and courageous citizens of your country.” (See: St. Mary’s College yearbook, “The Sword,” 1983-84).

  1. St. Basil the Great, in his “Address to Young Men” on Reading Greek Literature: “Since it is through virtue that we must enter upon this life of ours, and since much has been uttered in praise of virtue by the poets, much by historians, and much more still by philosophers, we especially ought to apply ourselves to such literature. For it is no small advantage that a certain intimacy and familiarity with virtue should be engendered in the minds of the young, seeing that the lessons learned by such are likely, in the nature of the case, to be indelible, having been deeply impressed on them by reason of the tenderness of their souls” (#4).

And again, St. Basil says: “But we shall take rather those passages of theirs in which they have praised virtue or condemned vice. For just as in the case of other beings, enjoyment of flowers is limited to their fragrance and color; but the bees, as we see, possess the power to get honey from them as well, so it is possible here also for those who are pursuing, not merely what is sweet and pleasant in such writings, to store away from them some benefit also for their souls;

“Inasmuch as the subjects they deal with are of every kind, you ought not to give your attention to all they write without exception; but whenever they recount for you the deeds or words of good men, you ought to cherish and emulate these and try to be as far as possible like them; but when they treat of wicked men, you ought to avoid such imitation, stopping your ears no less than Odysseus did, according to what those same poets say, when he avoided the songs of the Sirens. For familiarity with evil words is, as it were, a road leading to evil deeds.” (#4).

  1. Pope Pius XI, in “Christian Education of Youth,” Dec. 31, 1929: “In such a school, in harmony with the Church and the Christian family, the various branches of secular learning will not enter into conflict with religious instruction to the manifest detriment of education. And if, when occasion arises, it be deemed necessary to have the students read authors propounding false doctrine for the purpose of refuting it, this will be done after due preparation and with such an antidote of sound doctrine, that it will not only do no harm, but will be an aid to the Christian formation of youth.” (#86)

“In such a school moreover, the study of the vernacular and of classical literature will do no damage to moral virtue. There the Christian teacher will imitate the bee, which takes the choicest part of the flower and leaves the rest, as St. Basil teaches in his discourse to youths on the study of the classics. Nor will this necessary caution, suggested also by the pagan Quintilian, in any way hinder the Christian teacher from gathering and turning to profit, whatever there is of real worth in the systems and methods of our modern times, mindful of the Apostle’s advice: “Prove all things: hold fast that which is good” (#87).

III. Exposing the Errors of Naturalists, Modernists and Liberals

 Modernists and Liberals say that the youth should read and study classic literature which illustrates and describes scenes of indecency and moral depravity, so they can see for themselves the evil consequences of original sin, and thereby be better prepared to resist these sins and practice virtue in the modern world. Besides, they say, it’s wrong to shelter young people from the world they have to live in.

  1. First of all, this opinion is directly opposed to the teaching of Pope Pius XI in his encyclical on Christian Education of Youth, when he says: “Another very grave danger is that naturalism which nowadays invades the field of education in that most delicate matter of purity of morals. Far too common is the error of those who, with dangerous assurance and under an ugly term propagate a so-called sex-education, falsely imagining they can forearm youths against the dangers of sensuality by means purely natural, such as a foolhardy initiation and precautionary instruction for all indiscriminately, even in public; and, worse still, by exposing them at an early age to the occasions, in order to accustom them, so it is argued, and as it were to harden them against such dangers.” (#65)

“Such persons grievously err in refusing to recognize the inborn weakness of human nature, and the law of which the Apostle speaks, fighting against the law of the mind; and also in ignoring the experience of facts, from which it is clear that, particularly in young people, evil practices are the effect not so much of ignorance of intellect as of weakness of a will exposed to dangerous occasions, and unsupported by the means of grace” (#66).

Liberal teachers often insist that these texts of Pius XI do not apply to them, claiming that they are only teaching “classic literature” in the classroom, not sex education. However, teaching literature with sexual themes, describing scenes of sensuality, indecency and moral depravity, is a form of sex education in the classroom. This is why Pope Pius XI’s texts concerning sex education in “Christian Education of Youth” do apply to the teaching of this kind of literature to the youth.

Marxists in Russia also advocate sex education through literature. The Russian Commissioner for Children’s Rights, Pavel Astakhov, who reports directly to President Vladimir Putin, stated in his Sept. 2013 interview with Rossiya 24 TV News: “I am against any kind of sex education among children. It is unacceptable to allow things that could corrupt children. The best sex education there is, in fact, is Russian literature and literature in general. Children should read more. Everything is there, all about love and about relationships between sexes.”

Two renowned Marxist theorists, Antonio Gramsci of Italy (1891-1937) and Georg Lukacs of Hungary (1885-1971), taught that the main obstacle standing in the way of a Communist new world order was the Christian foundation and culture of the western world. Consequently, they taught that, rather than trying to use military and violent means, Marxists must work to influence, de-Christianize and transform western culture, beginning with the family and then progressing through churches and schools, especially by means of literature, art, science, music and entertainment. This Marxist method is often referred to as “Cultural Marxism” of the Frankfort School.

  1. Secondly, this opinion logically falls into two errors. The first error says that it is sometimes permitted to do evil in order to accomplish good, which was condemned by St. Paul, in Romans 3:8. The second error is Naturalism, which, by denying or ignoring the wounds and consequences of original sin, promotes the reading of famous literature and poetry for the sake of its eloquence and style, in spite of descriptions of indecencies and moral depravity in the text. By definition, Naturalism excessively praises and exalts the natural goodness and dignity of man, and man’s great works of literature, poetry and art, above the Law of God and Christian moral guidelines. The movement of Naturalism was the first stage of attack against Christendom during the Renaissance of the late Middle Ages.
  2. Thirdly, this method to corrupt the youth is similar to the method of Lucifer when tempting Adam and Eve. For in offering them the forbidden fruit, Lucifer said: “Your eyes shall be opened: and you shall be as Gods, knowing good and evil” (Gen. 3:5). Thus, he offered them the knowledge of both good and evil, under the pretext that they would be more knowledgeable, more intelligent, superior, and better prepared to live in the world. This appealed to their intellectual pride, and caused a disordered curiosity for the knowledge of evil.
  3. Fourthly, the use of literature which places an emphasis on the evil and wickedness of man’s fallen nature tends to promote a spirit of pessimism and despair. Writers who do this may sometimes be overwhelmed by the grave moral evils in today’s world, and seem to have lost hope in the power of God’s grace to convert and change sinners in a supernatural way. Instead, they are under the delusion that by focusing on and broadcasting the crimes, perversions, and horrors of modern man, they can shock and enlighten people to make them abandon their evil lives and to convert to Christ.

However, in reality, this is not the case. For, even though it is necessary to expose and condemn with prudence the evils in society which pose a grave danger to the salvation of souls, true disciples of Christ do not focus on them, for a disordered fixation on evil neither spiritually nor psychologically disposes souls to seek interior peace in the truths of the Catholic Faith. Rather, it will more likely cause them to react in a negative manner, by causing frustration, depression or despair, and sometimes anger and violence, about the social evils they cannot prevent—all of which is directly opposed to the spiritual life and the practice of virtue.

This negative spirit in literature also seems to be influenced by Protestantism, which actually revived the pessimism and despair found in the ancient doctrines of Manichaeism and Gnosticism (e.g., the medieval Cathars and Albigensians). For, according to Martin Luther, man’s fallen nature has been completely corrupted by Original Sin (not gravely wounded, as in Catholic doctrine), and it remains completely corrupt even after the grace of Baptism. Even with the redemptive grace of Christ Our Redeemer, man is still unable to avoid sin and attain true interior sanctity; grace simply covers up his sinfulness. In a similar way, Gnosticism and Manichaeism teach that man’s corporeal nature, and matter itself, is intrinsically evil, and everything in the corporeal world is evil. (See Characters of the Inquisition, by William Thomas Walsh, pp. 221-22).

In 1954, the bishops of Germany issued a joint pastoral letter taking up the problems of contemporary Catholic literature. After noting that modern literature in general is “chiefly attracted by the negative side of reality,” they said: “The reader must not be allowed to gain the impression that men are hopelessly and irredeemably victimized by the powers of darkness.” (See: Fr. M. Joseph Costelloe, S.J., Sex in Contemporary Literature: Modern Classics and Condemned Literature, 1960).

  1. Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, in his book “They Have Uncrowned Him” (p. 4), says: “Naturalism is found beforehand in the Renaissance, which, in its effort to recover the riches of the ancient pagan cultures, and of the Greek culture and art in particular, came to glorify man, nature and natural forces to an exaggerated degree. In exalting the goodness and the power of nature, one devalued and made disappear from the minds of man the necessity of grace; the fact that humanity is destined for the supernatural order and the light brought in by revelation.

“Under a pretext of art, they determined to introduce then everywhere, even in the churches, that nudism – we can speak without exaggeration – which triumphs in the Sistine Chapel. Without doubt, looked at from the point of view of art, those works have their value; but they have, alas, above all a carnal aspect of exaltation of the flesh that is really opposed to the teaching of the Gospel: ‘For the flesh covets the spirit,’ says St. Paul, ‘and the spirit militates against the flesh’.”

To defend the use of this kind of literature program mixed with indecency and immorality, Modernists and Liberals argue that it is important to address the corruption of man in the natural order first, in order to restore order and balance to man’s natural life as the necessary preparation for grace and the supernatural work of God in his soul.

This opinion, however, is false and contrary to Catholic teaching. Archbishop Lefebvre always condemned “the false principle that states ‘Let us restore the natural order so that it might become supernatural’, saying that this false principle is ‘disastrous for the true apostolate…. Christ our Lord never taught us such a principle since He Himself was the restoration of order in the natural and supernatural domains. His grace both heals us and raises us up’.” (See “Marcel Lefebvre,” by Bishop Tissier de Mallerais, p. 280).

The same Archbishop also reprimands the liberal opinion which holds that young people should be taught about vice in order to be more protected against it as they get older. Concerning this error, and in view of protecting the dignity of marriage in the minds of the young, the Archbishop says: “So many errors are common on this subject, even in Christian circles! New methods are advocated on the grounds that it is desirable for a child to know about vice in order to be the more securely protected against it; but do you inoculate young bodies with adult vaccines? Such methods seriously, and often irreparably, scandalize impressionable young souls.” (See “Pastoral Letters,” p. 20).

Additionally, in his book, An Open Letter to Confused Catholics (p. 110), the Archbishop warns the faithful to beware of modernists who “advise children to listen to what atheists have to say, because they have much to learn from them; and besides, if they do not believe in God they have their reasons, and these are worth knowing!”

In his book, “They Have Uncrowned Him,” the Archbishop points out that modernists are infected by this same error in their method of trying to convert non-believers to the Faith. He says: “Therefore, according to them, in order to convert those who do not believe in the supernatural, an abstraction must be made of the revelation of Our Lord, of grace, of miracles—if you are dealing with atheists, do not speak to them of God, but put yourself onto their level, at their pitch; go into their system! By this means, you are going to become a Marxist-Christian: it will be they who will convert you!” (pp. 112-113).

In the work of restoring Christian society, the Archbishop says in his book “A Bishop Speaks” (pp.70-71): “A Christian civilization has existed; we no longer have to invent one. It has existed: we have only to bring it back to life. We must not hesitate to rebuild society on Our Lord Jesus Christ. There is no other foundation for our morals, our personal life, our family life, and our public life.” And then the Archbishop warned: “We must build in a spirit of faith upheld by prayer. We must not be content with half-measures and ourselves take refuge in compromise. If we do not build on the rock of Catholicity, with our Lord Jesus Christ as the cornerstone, we shall begin to shuffle and find ourselves, with Liberalism and Neo-Modernism, at the gates of Communism.

 Cardinal Henry Manning of England writes, in 1861: “In the 15th century, the study and cultivation of classical literature excited in the minds of the leading men of European countries a sort of admiration, which I may call a worship, of the models of pagan antiquity, of its philosophy and its policy, of its patriots and of its public morality. That which is styled the Renaissance or the New Birth of the Christian world, profoundly infected the men of that day. This antichristian reaction has spread down to the present time. People were deceived into thinking that the Renaissance was the measure of all that is cultivated and civilized. This was the first step to the rejection of Christian civilization.

“It introduced paganism into books, into language, into art, into education. On the testimony of multitudes of men, the education of Christian nations has been based and formed upon what is called classical literature. The examples, maxims, principles, the deeds, the crimes – personal, private and public – glorified in classical literature, have been taken in unconsciously by boys in their early education for these three hundred years. In Italy and France, this is already bearing its fruit.” (See “Fourfold Sovereignty of God,” pp. 88-89).

  1. Cardinal Bernard William Griffin, Archbishop of Westminster, says in The Pastoral Letter for Advent, 1953: “In recent years We have been much concerned at certain trends in contemporary literature. Many novels are published today, which show a total disregard of elementary standards of decency. Even if their content be not pornographic within the meaning of the law, they are at best a danger to the morals of their readers and represent an abuse of that freedom of expression which is bestowed by the absence of censorship by the civil authority. It is often alleged in justification that their authors are endeavoring to be realist and to reflect an existent state of affairs. There can be no justification for publishing material which, if not directly immoral, is calculated to prove an occasion of sin to the vast majority of readers. Sins against the sixth commandment may be in thought and in word as well as in deed.

“It is sadly true that a number of Catholic writers appear to have fallen into this error. Indeed, novels which purport to be the vehicle for Catholic doctrine frequently contain passages which by their unrestrained portrayal of immoral conduct prove a source of temptation to many of their readers. Though it may well be that such literature can be read in safety by the select few, so great is the danger to the virtue of the majority that its general publication is most undesirable. The presentation of the Catholic way of life within the framework of fiction may be an admirable object, but it can never justify as a means to that end the inclusion of indecent and harmful material” (quoted by Fr. M. Joseph Costelloe, S.J., Sex in Contemporary Literature: Modern Classics and Condemned Literature, 1960).

  1. According to Catholic principles of moral theology, and the common teaching of the saints and Fathers of the Church, when it concerns sins against the 6th and 9th commandments, a person must resist and avoid temptations of impurity, not read or study sensual or immoral stories about them. The reason is because Mankind is a fallen race, and by the wounds of original sin, all people have disordered inclinations towards sensual pleasure. As a consequence, a person becomes more attracted to temptations of impurity the more he thinks about the sensual object. It is the error of Naturalism to ignore or deny this.

To heal the wounds of original sin, we must turn to God, Who in His infinite goodness and mercy, will always give us the grace we need to overcome sin and temptation, as long as we don’t willfully seek temptation by placing ourselves in the near occasion of sin. By the grace of Christ and the supernatural helps of the Church, such as frequent confession and Holy Communion, and by true devotion to Mary – especially by praying the daily rosary, wearing the scapular and making the five First Saturdays, the Catholic family will be protected against the evils of the modern world, and will be a reflection of the love of God for all to see.

  1. Traditional Catholic Moral Theology Manuals teach: (a) “Opposition to temptations of the flesh must be sufficient to remove the temptation, when the temptation is due to the continuance of one’s own sinful or unjustified act; for one is obliged to cease from sin or the unreasonable. This happens: (i) when the temptation is directly voluntary – for example, one who wishes to experience temptation and therefore reads a very seductive book must give over this reading; or (ii) when the temptation is not directly voluntary and is without sufficient reason – for example, one who experiences carnal temptation due to a book which he reads from idle curiosity must desist from the book. “

(b) “Opposition to temptations of the flesh must be such as is sufficient to keep one from consent, that is, to protect one against the proximate danger of sin. That resistance is harmful which strengthens the temptation. Hence, resistance by direct attack or by formal rejection is oftentimes to be omitted in favor of resistance by flight or by contempt. It is a common teaching of the Fathers and Doctors, confirmed by experience, that dwelling on reasons and means of repelling passion often adds to its strength, and that resolving mightily and expressly to crush a weak and passing temptation often serves only to give it longer life.” (e.g., see “Manual of Moral Theology,” by McHugh O.P. and Callan O.P., 1958, p. 525, #2499 and #2500).

  1. Note on the French Troubadours: One of the greatest forces that introduced paganism and immorality into medieval literature and poetry were the French troubadours. In the book “St. Ignatius of Loyola, the Pilgrim Years,” by James Brodrick, S.J., 1956, pp. 37-38, we read: “A huge tidal wave of romanticism flooded over Spain at the triumphant conclusion of the Moorish wars. It had long been gathering ever since, in the 12th and 13th centuries, Provençal troubadours, and trouvères from northern France, had wandered with their songs and tales along the famous road to Compostela. It was they who brought to Spain the legend of the Holy Grail, the whole Breton cycle of tales centering on King Arthur and his Round Table, and of course, the Chanson de Roland…

“The troubadours did an immense disservice to social life and to religion by adding the element of gallantry to the old consecrated conception of chivalry, such as found in El Cid… The most deadly wound which the wandering minstrels inflicted on the older and nobler ideal of chivalry was their divinization of woman-in-the-abstract, and their exaltation of what they called courtly love. This has been well described as a gigantic system of bigamy, requiring every lady to have both a husband and a paramour, and every knight a goddess other than his wife, to be obeyed unhesitatingly no matter what she commanded, and upheld against all competitors.”

The troubadours had a considerable influence on the development of medieval literature, and were among the first promoters of medieval music in the vernacular. They lived in southern France and played in many of the courts in Provence and Languedoc – the land of the gnostic Cathars and Albigensians. Their musical poetry recounted stories of chivalry and courtly love. Many songs were addressed to a married lover, perhaps because of the practice of “arranged marriages” at the time.

The “courtly love” promoted by troubadours was actually contradictory, as it sought to reconcile sensual desire and spiritual attainment – which was largely due to the influence of the dualist philosophy of the Cathars. The Cathars professed a form of Gnosticism called neo-Manichæism, which, like Gnosticism, was an intellectual religion that taught salvation through knowledge. Manichaeans were normally literary and well-educated, and since they considered ignorance to be a sin, they tended to despise the uneducated and simple people. (See: “Manichaeism” in the Catholic Encyclopedia).

In the New World Encyclopedia, we read that courtly love is “a love at once illicit and morally elevating, passionate and self-disciplined, humiliating and exalting, human and transcendent.” And in the Encyclopedia Britannica, we read: “The courtly lover existed to serve his lady. His love was invariably adulterous, marriage at that time usually the result of business interest or the seal of a power alliance. Ultimately, the lover saw himself as serving the all-powerful god of love and worshipping his lady-saint. Faithlessness was the mortal sin.”

The troubadours were also instrumental in spreading the gnostic errors of the Cathars and Albigensians. In “History of the Catholic Church” by Mourret-Thompson, Vol. 4, Nov. 22, 1940, we read: “Scattered in different sections of France and Italy, the neo-Manichaean heresy spread especially in Provence… The poetry of the troubadours, which in Provence was then a sort of prelude to the literary awakening of Europe, became its harmonious mouthpiece” (pp. 524); and: “The songs of the troubadours of Provence, which were destined later to awaken the lyrical genius of St. Francis of Assisi, were powerful instruments of propaganda for the heresy… Through the minstrel’s songs a hundred times repeated, as well as by the regular preachers of the sect, the people accepted the doctrine of the ‘double’ God” (p. 525).

The style of the troubadours spread to northern France, where it inspired the trouvère movement. It also spread to Spain, Italy and Germany. They were dispersed from southern France during the Church’s crusade against the Albigensians (1209-1229). Some famous troubadours were Guillaume d’Aquitaine (1071-1127) and Arnaut Daniel (flourished 1180–1200).  The most famous trouvère was Chrétien de Troyes, a late 12th century French poet famous for his stories on the Legend of King Arthur, and for creating the character Lancelot.

*The Holy Office, in May 1927: Ten years after the promulgation of the 1917 Code of Canon Law, “the Holy See expressed deep concern on a number of occasions over the increase of licentious literature. The most important of these pronouncements is contained in the Instruction of the Holy Office on Sensual and Sensual-Mystic Literature of May 3, 1927, which has been prefixed to subsequent editions of the Roman Index. After decrying the damage to souls wrought by ‘literature which exploits sensuality and lust, or even a certain lascivious mysticism,’ the instruction notes that ‘literary works, which exert so great an influence upon many, especially the young, would be able to afford innocent pleasure and even elevate the morals of the readers if only they kept within the bounds of decency’.” (see Sex in Contemporary Literature, 1960, by M. Joseph Costelloe, S.J., Ph.D.).

*The 1948 Edition of the Church Index again speaks against Sensual-Mystic Literature in its Instruction, which is directed to “all archbishops, bishops and other church administrators throughout the world. It points out the dangers in current literature which exploit sensuality and obscenity under the guise of culture. Many of these works are in the form of romances which deny all moral standards and ‘the authors…do not hesitate to give to their sensuality the appearance of rectitude by blending it with sacred things’.” (See “What is the Index,” 1952, p. 48, by Redmond A. Burke, C.S.V., PhD).

  1. Pope Pius XI: “Christian Education of Youth,” Dec. 31, 1929:

(35) “By nature parents have a right to the training of their children, but with this added duty that the education and instruction of the child be in accord with the end for which by God’s blessing it was begotten. Therefore, it is the duty of parents to make every effort to prevent any invasion of their rights in this matter, and to make absolutely sure that the education of their children remain under their own control in keeping with their Christian duty, and above all to refuse to send them to those schools in which there is danger of imbibing the deadly poison of impiety.”

(57) “Every Christian child or youth has a strict right to instruction in harmony with the teaching of the Church, the pillar and ground of truth. And whoever disturbs the pupil’s Faith in any way, does him grave wrong, inasmuch as he abuses the trust which children place in their teachers, and takes unfair advantage of their inexperience and of their natural craving for unrestrained liberty, at once illusory and false.”

(58) “It must never be forgotten that the subject of Christian education is man whole and entire, soul united to body in unity of nature, with all his faculties natural and supernatural, such as right reason and revelation show him to be; man, therefore, fallen from his original estate, but redeemed by Christ and restored to the supernatural condition of adopted son of God, though without the preternatural privileges of bodily immortality or perfect control of appetite. There remain therefore, in human nature the effects of original sin, the chief of which are weakness of will and disorderly inclinations.”

(60) “Every form of pedagogic naturalism which in any way excludes or weakens supernatural Christian formation in the teaching of youth, is false. Every method of education founded, wholly or in part, on the denial or forgetfulness of original sin and of grace, and relying on the sole powers of human nature, is unsound.”

(65) “Another very grave danger is that naturalism which nowadays invades the field of education in that most delicate matter of purity of morals. Far too common is the error of those who, with dangerous assurance, and under an ugly term propagate a so-called sex-education, falsely imagining they can forearm youths against the dangers of sensuality by means purely natural, such as a foolhardy initiation and precautionary instruction for all indiscriminately, even in public; and, worse still, by exposing them at an early age to the occasions, in order to accustom them, so it is argued, and as it were to harden them against such dangers.”

(66) “Such persons grievously err in refusing to recognize the inborn weakness of human nature, and the law of which the Apostle speaks, fighting against the law of the mind; and also in ignoring the experience of facts, from which it is clear that, particularly in young people, evil practices are the effect not so much of ignorance of intellect as of weakness of a will exposed to dangerous occasions, and unsupported by the means of grace.”

(67) “Such is our misery and inclination to sin, that often in the very things considered to be remedies against sin, we find occasions for and inducements to sin itself. Hence it is of the highest importance that a good father, while discussing with his son a matter so delicate, should be well on his guard and not descend to details, nor refer to the various ways in which this infernal hydra destroys with its poison so large a portion of the world; otherwise it may happen that instead of extinguishing this fire, he unwittingly stirs or kindles it in the simple and tender heart of the child. Speaking generally, during the period of childhood it suffices to employ those remedies which produce the double effect of opening the door to the virtue of purity and closing the door upon vice.”

(80) “For the mere fact that a school gives some religious instruction (often extremely stinted), does not bring it into accord with the rights of the Church and of the Christian family, or make it a fit place for Catholic students. To be this, it is necessary that all the teaching and the whole organization of the school, and its teachers, syllabus and text-books in every branch, be regulated by the Christian spirit, under the direction and maternal supervision of the Church; so that Religion may be in very truth the foundation and crown of the youth’s entire training; and this in every grade of school, not only the elementary, but the intermediate and the higher institutions of learning as well.

“To use the words of Leo XIII: ‘It is necessary not only that religious instruction be given to the young at certain fixed times, but also that every other subject taught, be permeated with Christian piety. If this is wanting, if this sacred atmosphere does not pervade and warm the hearts of masters and scholars alike, little good can be expected from any kind of learning, and considerable harm will often be the consequence’.”

(86) “And if, when occasion arises, it be deemed necessary to have the students read authors propounding false doctrine, for the purpose of refuting it, this will be done after due preparation and with such an antidote of sound doctrine, that it will not only do no harm, but will be an aid to the Christian formation of youth.”

(87) “Greater stress must be laid on the employment of apt and solid methods of teaching, and, what is still more important, on bringing into full conformity with the Catholic faith, what is taught in literature, in the sciences, and above all in philosophy, on which depends in great part the right orientation of the other branches of knowledge.”

(88) “Perfect schools are the result not so much of good methods as of good teachers, teachers who are thoroughly prepared and well-grounded in the matter they have to teach; who possess the intellectual and moral qualifications required by their important office; who cherish a pure and holy love for the youths confided to them, because they love Jesus Christ and His Church, of which these are the children of predilection; and who have therefore sincerely at heart the true good of family and country.”

(91) “Worthy of all praise and encouragement therefore are those educational associations which have for their object to point out to parents and educators, by means of suitable books and periodicals, the dangers to morals and religion that are often cunningly disguised in books and theatrical representations. In their spirit of zeal for the souls of the young, they endeavor at the same time to circulate good literature and to promote plays that are really instructive, going so far as to put up at the cost of great sacrifices, theaters and cinemas, in which virtue will have nothing to suffer and much to gain.”

(92) “This necessary vigilance does not demand that young people be removed from the society in which they must live and save their souls; but that today more than ever they should be forewarned and forearmed as Christians against the seductions and the errors of the world, which, as Holy Writ admonishes us, is all “concupiscence of the flesh, concupiscence of the eyes and pride of life.”

  1. Additional Citations from the Church and Saints:

 1) The Council of Trent says: “Ancient books, however, that were written by pagans are allowed on account of the elegance and perfection of their style, but on no account are they to be read by youths.” (See “Tridentine Index, 1564, 7th Rule” on Forbidden Books).

Also, in the Catechism of the Council of Trent, we read: “Next to the sexual excitement, usually provoked by too studied an elegance of dress, follows another, which is indecent and obscene conversation. Obscene language is a torch which lights up the worst passions of the young mind; and the Apostle has said, that evil communications corrupt good manners. Immodest and passionate songs and dances are most productive of this same effect and are, therefore, cautiously to be avoided.

“In the same class are to be numbered soft and obscene books which must be avoided no less than indecent pictures. All such things possess a fatal influence in exciting to unlawful attractions, and in inflaming the mind of youth. In these matters the pastor should take special pains to see that the faithful most carefully observe the pious and prudent regulations of the Council of Trent.”

2) Pope Leo XIII: “Classical works of ancient or more recent authors, if they are infected with this stain of turpitude, on account of the elegance and perfection of their style are permitted only to those who are excused by reason of their office or teaching; but on no account are they to be given to youths or young men to translate or read unless they have been carefully expurgated” (in his Apostolic Constitution “Officiorum ac Munerum”, Jan. 25, 1897).

3) Pope Pius XII, in his Aug. 7, 1940 Address to Newly Married Couples, gave this example: “‘I am no longer a child,’ a young lady will explain, ‘and I know life, and have therefore the wish and the right to know it still better.’ But does not the poor girl realize that her talk is like that of Eve when confronted with the forbidden fruit? And does she think that to know, love, and enjoy life it is necessary to investigate all its abuses and ugliness? ‘I am no longer a child,’ a young man also will say, ‘and at my age, sensual descriptions and voluptuous scenes have no effect.’ Is he sure? If it should be true, it would be an indication of an unconscious perversion, the result of bad reading already indulged . . . The danger of bad reading is, under some aspects even worse than that of evil companions, because it can make itself more treacherously familiar.”

4) St. Clement of Alexandria: “It is imperative that we neither listen to nor look at nor talk about obscene things . . . Writings that treat of evil deeds must be considered indecent talk, such as the description of adultery or pederasty or similar things” (in “Paedagogus” 2.6).

5) St. Bernard of Clairvaux: “To preserve chastity and at the same time to expose oneself to the proximate occasion of sin, is a greater miracle than to raise a dead man to life.” (See St. Alphonsus Liguori, Sermon for the 1st Sunday after Easter).

6) St. Thomas Aquinas, in his commentary on Eccl. 3:27 (“A stubborn heart shall fare evil at the last; and he that loveth danger shall perish therein”) says: “When we expose ourselves to danger, God abandons us.”

7) St. Philip Neri: “In the war against the vice of impurity, the victory is gained by cowards—that is, by those who fly from the occasions of this sin. But the man who exposes himself to it, arms his flesh and renders it so powerful, that it will be morally impossible for him to resist its attacks.” (See St. Alphonsus Liguori, Sermon for the 1st Sunday after Easter).

8) St. Alphonsus Liguori, in his Sermon on the 1st Sunday after Easter, declares: (a) “When a dangerous occasion is present, it violently excites our corrupt desires, so that it is then very difficult to resist them: because God withholds efficacious helps from those who voluntarily expose themselves to the occasions of sin;” (b) “When the occasion in which we are placed is really necessary, the Lord always helps us to avoid sin; but we sometimes imagine certain necessities which are not sufficient to excuse us;” (c) “Being compelled by exorcisms to tell the sermons which displeased him the most, the Devil confessed that it was the sermon on avoiding the occasions of sin.”

Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam

to-the-greater-glory-of-god

Devotion To St Joseph’s Most Chaste Heart – Approved Apparitions…

StJoseph&ChildMany know about approved apparitions of our Blessed Mother. But only a handful realize that there were apparitions in Itapiranga, Brazil from 1994-1998 in which St. Joseph appeared along with Mary and Jesus.

In January 2010, after much study, prayer, reflection, observation and seeing the growth in the faith life of thousands, the local ordinary, Bishop Carillo Gritti declared a Decree of Worship favoring the Itapiranga appearances and in an earlier document called it of “supernatural origin.”

In another document he stated that considering the manifestations of the Virgin from 2005-10, who has called upon devotion to the three Sacred Hearts: Jesus, Mary and Joseph, a first step has been taken to build a new sanctuary with the certainty that it will be a place for pilgrimages, and the conversions that only God by the intercession of Mary can operate has been thus far for him and enlightened souls, reason enough to see in these visions and messages the finger of God (translated form the Portuguese).   Click here to read the rest of the article 

Comment:

I hadn’t known about these approved apparitions until a couple of days ago, but it strikes me that devotion to the Most Chaste Heart of St Joseph is not only a most appropriate devotion, but most necessary – especially for young boys and men – in our sexually promiscuous times.  Share your thoughts… 

Update

Please read the comments below from Westminster Fly.  It seems these alleged apparitions may not be true, after all.  Seems the alleged seer is a globe-trotter, having “apparitions” on demand, just like the Medjugorje bunch, so I apologise for posting this thread uncritically;  in this time of crisis, we need to question everything in the post-Vatican II Church, and that includes apparently approved “apparitions”.  

29th June: Feast of SS Peter & Paul

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation? Or distress? Or famine? … For I am certain of this; that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor might, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.          (St Paul : Romans: 8:35)


From the Gospel of St Matthew…

At that time, Jesus came into the quarters of Caesarea Philippi, and He asked His disciples, saying Whom do men say that the Son of Man is? But they said “Some, John the Baptist, and other some, Elias, and others, Jeremias or one of the prophets. Jesus saith to them: but whom do you say that I am? 

St Peter
Simon Peter answered, and said: “Thou art Christ, the Son of the living God.”

And Jesus answering said to them: Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jona, because flesh and blood hath not revealed it to thee, but My Father Who is in heaven: and I say to thee that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it; and to thee  will give the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven.  (Matthew: 16:13-19)

 

Comment:

This is a Feast Day thread with a difference.  It is posted to mark the Feast, with bloggers encouraged to discuss all and any relevant issues connected with this holy day, as usual,  and to post favourite prayers, hymns, stories, even jokes (in the “good clean fun” category). That’s what we normally do on Feast days. 

In addition, however, this time, I wish to draw attention to the fact that a home-schooling family asked me if it would be possible to draw on the great knowledge of the Faith displayed by our bloggers, to answer some questions about key teachings on this centrally important Feast of the Church;  the doctrine of indulgences was mentioned since they’d been learning about indulgences in a lesson recently – and, naturally, I said “yes, of course”.  Ask away! 

I will email the link to that family and then it’s over to our committed team of bloggers to deliver the goods and services… 

Happy Feast day to all readers, bloggers and visitors to this site!