Catholics & Comic Relief – No Go! 

From LifeNews.com

This Friday is Red Nose Day, the biannual fundraising extravaganza for Comic Relief. There has been controversy about the event this year, with MP  David Lammy saying that Stacey Dooley was promoting a “white saviour” mentality with her Instagram photo of her holding a child in Uganda. There are certainly questions to be asked about the portrayal of Africa in fundraising efforts, but for pro-lifers, another question often comes up – does Comic Relief support abortion?  Click here to read more…

Comment: 

It should be obvious to any Catholic reading the LifeNews report that no Catholic could possibly, in good conscience support, in any way, the Comic Relief/Red Nose Day enterprise. 

Unfortunately, dressed up as fun and frolics,  it is attractive to young people keen to feel they are doing something worthwhile by raising funds for “charity” while, at the same time, enjoying themselves.  It is commonplace for Catholic schools to support Red Nose Day.

Is there an alternative?  Well, one Parish Priest in Glasgow turned Hallowe’en away from ghosts and ghouls, into a Saints & Angels event where children were invited to attend a parish party dressed as their favourite saint or as an angel, so it should not be beyond the bounds of the Bishops’ imagination to come up with a Catholic anti-dote to this annual “Comic Relief/Red Nose Day” fundraiser where money is going to various charities to which no Catholic should donate, not least the notorious Planned Parenthood abortion provider. 

Any ideas? 

The Morality of Driverless Cars…

Comment:

Today, the Westminster Chancellor reveals his budget. He is expected to prioritise investment in driverless cars.  Reportedly, these will be on the road by 2021.

Should a Catholic buy a driverless car? Check out the short, 4 minutes video clip to consider some of the ethical and moral issues involved.  Would you buy one?  Take the passenger seat?  Me? I’d sooner walk…

Is Watching TV Sinful?

television“A child came to confession one day and accused himself of having serious temptations against the angelical virtue, perhaps even of having given in, by thoughts and, who knows, maybe in actions.

However, the priest sought the cause of such a misfortune: “So, do you have television at home?” he asked.  The child had to admit it and that he did watch the cursed box, sometimes behind his parents’ back, sometimes with them, as a family, and that was the cause of his temptations.

The priest gave the unfortunate and sorrowful child the holy absolution, but could he give it to his parents?

Dear Christian parents, are you CONSCIOUS of your terrible responsibility?  Do you realize that due to the weakness of accepting and of keeping at home that tool, a source of corruption of minds and souls, you are the cause of unsuspected damages to innocent souls?  Because of your cowardice, souls, tender and pure, are stained by the infamous sin?  These children will stand up at the last judgment and will accuse you of having been the cause of their damnation….

Let us remember the Saviour’s grave words: “He that shall scandalise one of these little ones that believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone should be hanged about his neck and that he should be drowned in the depth of the sea” (Matt.XVIII,6).

Do you understand, by this sad example, what is an occasion of sin?  Our catechism teaches us that we must avoid not only sin, but also the occasion of sin and that it is as grievous to put ourselves (or to put others) in the occasion of sin as it is to commit the sin itself, when we know by experience that we will fall into that sin.  (…).

Let us suppress courageously all the occasions of sin for ourselves and for those under our care.  Let us determine at this time to get rid of the dirty box.  Give it back to your dealer and let there be no more mention of it.  Instead, you should re-establish the nice family oratory, you should enthrone the statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and that of Our Blessed Lady.  And long live Jesus Who will have freed you from a nasty slavery!”

By a Catholic Bishop

Examination of conscience for Catholic Parents:

Have you voluntarily exposed yourself to the occasion of sin by sinful curiosity, by watching impure movies, or indecent plays or videos?

Have you listened with willful pleasure to immodest language on TV?

Have you harmed anyone’s soul by giving scandal, destroying this soul by bad example?

Have you, by your wicked words, deeds or bad example, ruined innocent children?

Have you exposed your children to impure temptations resulting from watching TV?

Have you kept a TV in your home knowing it is an occasion of sin for you and your children?

Have you allowed your children to watch TV, especially without your knowledge and consent?

Importance and Power of Motion Pictures:

As long ago as 1936, Pope Pius XI, warned of the dangers of the cinema.  “It admits of no discussion that the motion picture has achieved these last years a position of universal importance among modern means of diversion.  There is no need to point out the fact that millions of people go to the motion pictures every day; that motion picture theatres are being viewed in ever increasing number in civilized and semi-civilized countries; that the motion picture has become the most popular form of diversion which is offered for the leisure moment not only of the rich but of all classes of society.

At the same time, there does not exist today a means of influencing the masses more potent than the cinema.  The reason for this is to be sought in the very nature of the motion pictures projected upon the screen, in their popularity and in the circumstances which accompany them.

The power of the motion picture consists in this, that it speaks by means of vivid and concrete imagery which the mind takes in with enjoyment and without fatigue.  Even the crudest and most primitive minds which have neither the capacity nor the desire to make the efforts necessary for abstraction or deductive reasoning are captivated by the cinema.  In place of the effort which reading or listening demands, there is the continued pleasure of a succession of concrete and, so to speak, living pictures.

(…) Since then the cinema, being like the school of life itself, which, for good or for evil, teaches the majority of men more effectively than abstract reasoning, it must be elevated to conformity with the aims of a Christian conscience and saved from depraving and demoralizing effects.

Everyone knows what damage is done to the soul by bad motion pictures.  They are occasions of sin; they seduce young people along the ways of evil by glorifying the passions; they show life under a false light; they cloud ideals; they destroy pure love, respect for marriage, affection for the family.  They are capable also of creating prejudices among individuals and misunderstandings among nations, among social classes, among entire races.

The motion picture is viewed by people who are seated in a dark theatre and whose faculties, mental, physical and often spiritual, are relaxed.  One does not need to go far in search of these theatres: they are close to the home, to the Church and to the school and they thus bring the cinema into the very centre of popular life.

Moreover, the acting out of the plot is done by men and women selected for their artistic ability and for all those natural gifts and the employment of those expedients which can become, for youth particularly, instruments of seduction.  Further, the motion picture has enlisted in its service luxurious appointments, pleasing music, the vigour of realism, every form of whim and fancy.  For this very reason, it attracts and fascinates particularly the young, the adolescent and even the child.  Thus at the very age when the moral sense is being formed and when the notions and sentiments of justice and rectitude, of duty and obligation and of ideals of life are being developed, the motion picture with its direct propaganda assumes a position of commanding influence.

It is unfortunate that, in the present state of affairs, this influence is frequently exerted for evil.  So much so that when one thinks of the havoc wrought in the souls of youth and of childhood, of the loss of innocence so often suffered in the motion picture theatres, there comes to mind the terrible condemnation pronounced by Our Lord upon the corruptors of little ones: “whosoever shall scandalize one of these little ones who believe in Me, it were better for him that a mill stone be hanged about his neck and that he be drowned in the depths of the sea.”  (Matt. XVIII, 6).

Pope Pius XI: Encyclical Vigilanti Cura, June 29, 1936

The Dangers of Television:

“But television, besides the element it shares in common with the other two inventions We have spoken of for the spreading of information, has a power and efficacy of its own.  Through the medium of television viewers are enabled to see and hear far-distant events at the very moment at which they are taking place and in this way the illusion is created that they are actually present and taking part in them.  This sense of intimacy is greatly enhanced by the home surroundings.

The special power which television has of giving pleasure within the family circle is to be reckoned its most important feature (…).  If there is any truth at all in that text: ‘a little leaven currupteth the whole lump’ and if the physical development of young people can be arrested by an infectious germ and prevented from reaching full maturity, how much more havoc can be wrought upon the nerve-centres of their religious life by some insidious element in their education sapping their moral vitality!  It is a matter of common experience that children are frequently able to resist the violent onset of diseases in the world at large, whereas they have no strength to avoid the disease that is latent in the home.  It is wrong, therefore, to endanger in any way the sanctity of the home and the Church who as her right and duty demand, has always striven with all her power to prevent these sacred portals from being violated under any pretext by the evils television shows.

Unless wise counsels exert an immediate restraining influence on the use of this art, the damage will be done; a damage which will affect not merely individuals, but the whole of human society – and indeed it is not an easy matter to assess the amount of damage that may already have been caused.”

Pope Pius XII:  Encyclical Miranda Prorsus, (Sept. 8, 1957)  Source

Comment

Increasingly, I meet parents who have stopped using TV except as a means of viewing DVDs.  Is this something all Catholics ought to do? 

Are Very Few Catholics Saved?

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The Little Number of Those Who Are Saved
by St Leonard of Port Maurice

The extract below from the famous sermon of  St Leonard is published in the Education section of our xurrent newsletter. It will be continued in our next edition. In the meantime, we thought it would be interesting to discuss it here. Does the evidence offered by St Leonard for his startling claim about the little number of those who are saved, really stack up – or should we rely on the great mercy of God to keep us out of Hell?

Introduction

Saint Leonard of Port Maurice was a most holy Franciscan friar who lived at the monastery of Saint Bonaventure in Rome. He was one of the greatest missionaries in the history of the Church. He used to preach to thousands in the open square of every city and town where the churches could not hold his listeners. So brilliant and holy was his eloquence that once when he gave a two weeks’ mission in Rome, the Pope and College of Cardinals came to hear him. The Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin, the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and the veneration of the Sacred Heart of Jesus were his crusades. He was in no small way responsible for the definition of the Immaculate Conception made a little more than a hundred years after his death. He also gave us the Divine Praises, which are said at the end of Benediction. But Saint Leonard’s most famous work was his devotion to the Stations of the Cross. He died a most holy death in his seventy-fifth year, after twenty-four years of uninterrupted preaching. One of Saint Leonard of Port Maurice’s most famous sermons was “The Little Number of Those Who Are Saved.” It was the one he relied on for the conversion of great sinners. This sermon, like his other writings, was submitted to canonical examination during the process of canonization. In it he reviews the various states of life of Christians and concludes with the little number of those who are saved, in relation to the totality of men. Below, some extracts from this great missionary’s vibrant and moving sermon.

The Teaching of the Fathers of the Church

It is not vain curiosity but salutary precaution to proclaim from the height of the pulpit certain truths which serve wonderfully to contain the indolence of libertines, who are always talking about the mercy of God and about how easy it is to convert, who live plunged in all sorts of sins and are soundly sleeping on the road to hell. To disillusion them and take them from their torpor, today let us examine this great question: Is the number of Christians who are saved greater than the number of Christians who are damned? Pious souls, you may leave; this sermon is not for you. Its sole purpose is to contain the pride of libertines who cast the holy fear of God out of their heart and join forces with the devil who, according to the sentiment of Eusebius, damns souls by reassuring them. To resolve this doubt, let us put the Fathers of the Church, both Greek and Latin, on one side; on the other, the most learned theologians and erudite historians; and let us put the Bible in the middle for all to see. Now listen not to what I will say to you – for I have already told you that I do not want to speak for myself or decide on the matter – but listen to what these great minds have to tell you, they who are beacons in the Church of God to give light to others so that they will not miss the road to heaven. In this manner, guided by the triple light of faith, authority and reason, we will be able to resolve this grave matter with certainty. Note well that there is no question here of the human race taken as a whole, nor of all Catholics taken without distinction, but only of Catholic adults, who have free choice and are thus capable of cooperating in the great matter of their salvation. First let us consult the theologians recognized as examining things most carefully and as not exaggerating in their teaching: let us listen to two learned cardinals, Cajetan and Bellarmine.

They teach that the greater number of Christian adults are damned, and if I had the time to point out the reasons upon which they base themselves, you would be convinced of it yourselves. But I will limit myself here to quoting Suarez. After consulting all the theologians and making a diligent study of the matter, he wrote, “The most common sentiment which is held is that, among Christians, there are more damned souls than predestined souls.” Add the authority of the Greek and Latin Fathers to that of the theologians, and you will find that almost all of them say the same thing. This is the sentiment of Saint Theodore, Saint Basil, Saint Ephrem, and Saint John Chrysostom. What is more, according to Baronius it was a common opinion among the Greek Fathers that this truth was expressly revealed to Saint Simeon Stylites and that after this revelation, it was to secure his salvation that he decided to live standing on top of a pillar for forty years, exposed to the weather, a model of penance and holiness for everyone. Now let us consult the Latin Fathers. You will hear Saint Gregory saying clearly, “Many attain to faith, but few to the heavenly kingdom.” Saint Anselm declares, “There are few who are saved.” Saint Augustine states even more clearly, “Therefore, few are saved in comparison to those who are damned.” The most terrifying, however, is Saint Jerome. At the end of his life, in the presence of his disciples, he spoke these dreadful words: “Out of one hundred thousand people whose lives have always been bad, you will find barely one who is worthy of indulgence.”

The Words of Holy Scripture

But why seek out the opinions of the Fathers and theologians, when Holy Scripture settles the question so clearly? Look in to the Old and New Testaments, and you will find a multitude of figures, symbols and words that clearly point out this truth: very few are saved. In the time of Noah, the entire human race was submerged by the Deluge, and only eight people were saved in the Ark. Saint Peter says, “This ark was the figure of the Church,” while Saint Augustine adds, “And these eight people who were saved signify that very few Christians are saved, because there are very few who sincerely renounce the world, and those who renounce it only in words do not belong to the mystery represented by that ark.” The Bible also tells us that only two Hebrews out of two million entered the Promised Land after going out of Egypt, and that only four escaped the fire of Sodom and the other burning cities that perished with it.

All of this means that the number of the damned who will be cast into fire like straw is far greater than that of the saved, whom the heavenly Father will one day gather into His barns like precious wheat. I would not finish if I had to point out all the figures by which Holy Scripture confirms this truth; let us content ourselves with listening to the living oracle of Incarnate Wisdom. What did Our Lord answer the curious man in the Gospel who asked Him, “Lord, is it only a few to be saved?” Did He keep silence? Did He answer haltingly? Did He conceal His thought for fear of frightening the crowd? No. Questioned by only one, He addresses all of those present. He says to them: “You ask Me if there are only few who are saved?” Here is My answer: “Strive to enter by the narrow gate; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able.” Who is speaking here? It is the Son of God, Eternal Truth, who on another occasion says even more clearly, “Many are called, but few are chosen.” He does not say that all are called and that out of all men, few are chosen, but that many are called; which means, as Saint Gregory explains, that out of all men, many are called to the True Faith, but out of them few are saved. Brothers, these are the words of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Are they clear? They are true. Tell me now if it is possible for you to have faith in your heart and not tremble. END