Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Will not sin or Will try not to sin...

I will not sin again

I will try not to sin again

When saying the act of contrition during Confession, I use the simple act of contrition which I was taught many years ago in preparation for 1st Confession:

O my God, because You are so good, I am heartily sorry that I have sinned against You and with the help of Your grace, I will not sin again.

I have always understood that the last words of this prayer,  I will not sin again, show my intention at the moment of confession, to reject sin. At this precise, holy moment, it is my will that I do not commit any further sins.
Some years ago when I was saying this act of contrition at confession, the priest corrected me saying that as I would commit sins in the future, it would be better to substitute I will try not to sin again for the original words I will not sin again. This substitution would better reflect that owing to  my fallen nature as a sinner, the likelihood is that that I will commit sins in the future.

I have found it difficult to go with this correction:  'try not to' seems a weaker intention than 'will not',  and, to receive absolution , the penitent needs to express a firm intention (at the point of confession) to avoid sin (in the future), doesn't he?
In saying will not, the penitent fully intends at the present moment, not to fall into future sin, even though he realises that he may eventually succumb to temptation......in which case he would seek the Sacrament of Confession at the earliest opportunity, and having confessed, make an act of contrition, in which he would restate his intention not to sin again.

Monday, 23 May 2011

Mary's Meals - feeding over half a million children

Mary's Meals - The Difference A Meal Makes from Mary's Meals on Vimeo.

Check out the new website of this excellent charity.

The Pastoral care of couples who are cohabitating...

                                                 Archbishop Sheehan

I probably wouldn't have come across this letter had it not been pointed out to me, (thanks J), and it is a great letter because it gives clear, authoritative and succinct direction (no waffle) to any Catholic party affected by the monster that has insinuated itself into the precious, intimate, God ordered relationship, that we call the vocation of marriage,  between man and woman.

Most Reverend Michael J. Sheehan, Archbishop of the Diocese of Santa Fe,  has written to his flock on the subject of the pastoral care of couples who are cohabitating.

Here's a snippet, with some emphasis and (comment in brackets) from me.

  " there are only two lifestyles that are acceptable to Jesus Christ for His disciples: a single life of chastity or the union of man and woman in the sacrament of Matrimony. (the Bishop reminds us that it's about conforming ourselves to Christ, not Christ to us. I note that matrimony itself is also understood as a chaste lifestyle unmarked by adultery, infidelity)
There is no third way possible for a Christian. The Bible and the Church teach that marriage is between one man and one woman and opposes same sex unions." (You are either married or you are not)

" We have three groups of people who are living contrary to the Gospel teaching on marriage: those who cohabit, those who have a merely civil union with no previous marriage; and those who have a civil union
who were married before.These people are objectively living in a state of mortal sin and may not receive Holy Communion.They are in great spiritual danger.(Does that sound urgent?)

At the best and this is, sadly, often the case, they are ignorant of God's plan for man and woman.(And they are ignorant because...) At the worst, they are contemptuous of God's commandments and His Sacraments.
(how often is  this 'contemptuous'  related to this  'ignorance'?)

  Archbishop Sheehan reminds his flock that "Christ loves all these people and wishes to save them not by ignoring their sin or calling evil good but by repentance and by helping them to change their lives in accordance with His teaching."
Christ cannot ignore sin: it is dangerous and, unchecked, leads to a separation of the soul from the life giving source of grace, God. Without God, separated from Him,  we have nothing, we are nothing.Our situation could not be worse.
The tool that is used to make judgements about, and discern, what is good and what is evil, is the conscience, given to us by God for that purpose.We have a duty to educate our conscience in accordance and in the light of the teaching of the Church. 
Calling evil good, evil which the Church has always taught is evil, creates confusion and  distortion in the conscience.Anyone who, in the name of the Church, distorts its teaching, in such a way as to make what is evil appear as a  good, does a grave injustice to those who hear him.

These are serious matters, and the Archbishop is right to show such concern for his people by employing
 a  truly pastoral approach which encourages people to look at  their situations, in the context of the  truth about marriage, instituted by God, and taught by the Church through the ages.We can and should, hope and pray that more Bishops will emulate him.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Monday, 9 May 2011

Admissions criteria in Catholic Schools: Round II?

Damian Thompson has an interesting piece concerning the admissions (oversubscription) criteria of a leading Catholic school -The London Oratory School.
It seems that the London Oratory School  revised its oversubscription criteria.

So,where the Oratory School previously had followed the advice of the Diocese of Westminster's Education bosses,(see what  Cardinal Vaughan  School's parents thought of  this advice, here and here), it seems it will now be asking prospective parents about their committment to  parish life, over and above Sunday Mass attendance. The idea, I think, would be that parents and families who are demonstrably committed to the Catholic faith, might be prioritised ahead of those who are, well, er, not.

The London Oratory School, unlike Cardinal Vaughan School, is not run by the Diocese of Westminster Education Department, which presumably  puts it in a stronger position  to make its own mind up,  when it comes to decisions about whom to admit.
At least, I hope so.

Monday, 2 May 2011

While I was waiting for the rice to cook....

.....I picked up a Catholic diary, one of those pocket sized, plastic covered mini books which are distributed by parishes all over the UK, at about Christmas time.
They usually contain some helpful information including which cycle the Sunday readings/weekday readings are from, feastdays, days which are marked 'Feria', the address of the local church and its Mass/confession times, Parish Priest contact details and in this case, notable dates for the year 2011.

Among the notable dates are bank holidays, important days within the liturgical calendar such as Easter Sunday, days of national importance such as the Queen's birthday and .......the first day of Ramadan.

So there you have it: there is no excuse for Catholics in my area at least, to neglect the Muslim season of Ramadan, which apparently begins on 1/8/11, even if they did think they were going on holiday!

Blessed John Paul II

"Blessed are you, beloved Pope John Paul II, because you believed! Continue, we implore you, to sustain from heaven the faith of God’s people. Amen." -from the closing words of Pope Benedict's beatification homily

Thanks to the Catholic Herald