Volume 13 No. 2 ~ OF THE CHURCH ~ OF MAN WITH GOD ~ July 2005 A.D.



Publication Notice

Products Request Form


AND TEACH ON EVERY SUBJECT From Metropolitan Archbishop Paul, S.S.B. To the flock entrusted into my care: “The Church has no place in the bedroom,”I once heard a Bishop say. My response was, “God created man and woman and the ‘bedroom’, and all of creation is within His purview 1

RELIGIOUS DIFFERENCES Religion and Bullets What . . . is . . . a religion? Religious differences should and must be expressed - properly. Proper expression of these differences opens doors to areas of common belief . . . Three of the necessary ingredients of religion are worship, prayer, and following the Natural Law. 1

; Humans consistently substitute their own personal judgment in place of God’s Judgment, and their own personal sense of justice in place of God’s Justice. Because of these beliefs, these people do not really pray for anyone, not even themselves. Because of these beliefs these people do not really sacrifice, and therefore do not offer sacrifice to God for anything or anyone . . . We sometimes suffer because we follow our Faith.; SACRIFICE TO SAVE SOULS: SUFFERINGS WHICH ARE; SUFFERINGS WHICH CAN BE OFFERED When Our Saviour was in the garden anticipating His passion, while He was being mutilated, and as He was crucified . . . The Holy Theotokos experienced her own suffering because of the suffering of her Son . . . The sin of Adam, . . . for each sin we commit today, there is not only a corresponding joining of God the Father and God the Holy Spirit in the suffering of Christ, but also a wounding . . . One can therefore intentionally fast and abstain and have that suffering be without spiritual effect . . . One can likewise also experience suffering which they did not chose and have it have no spiritual effect, or have it have spiritual effect . . . Remember, Christ was the Voluntary Sacrificial Victim, but He did not scourge Himself and He did not crucify Himself. It therefore is obvious that we need not restrict ourselves to sacrifices which we impose on ourselves nor are we restricted to severe physical injury; SACRIFICE TO SAVE SOULS: SORROW FOR OUR SINS; SACRIFICE TO SAVE SOULS: FORGIVENESS OF OTHERS; SACRIFICE: REPENT; SACRIFICE: THE RESURRECTION 1


THE BASILIAN FATHERS (The Society of Clerks Secular of Saint Basil)
ST. SEBASTIAN’S and Father Ronald Montanye, S.S.B.;
CANDLES; 4 - 5

THE TIME OF THE HOLY SPIRIT, If you think it would have been desirable to have Our Lord remain here on earth and not ascend into heaven, because if we could see and talk with Him we would have a better world, and we ourselves would be more holy, then you do not have a good perspective of how people function and the great advantage given to us by His ascension. 6


The Feast Of Divine Mercy Christ God did not die for the righteous and holy, for the righteous and holy are in Heaven. He died for the wicked and sinful. Christ God promises that those who do these things and pray the novena, will receive complete remission of sins and punishment; that the divine floodgates through which graces flow will be completely opened to them. 7


The Orthodox - Basilian Catechism

What is the Royal Priesthood of the People 12

When you send us a prayer request


THOSE WHO REFUSE TO BE HELPED Especially if they act in an insane manner Insanity - Repetition of the same act with the expectation of a different result. So, what is one who wishes to help, to do? When Mr. A was a child, he became accustomed to hit Mr. B on the foot with a little toy hammer several times each day. Mr. B, for what ever reason(s), allowed this to continue 20

Psalms Chapter 106 (107)
Confitemini Domino. All are invited to give thanks to God for his perpetual providence over men.. Alleluia. 106:1. Give glory to the Lord, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever. 20

Correspondence from Roman Catholic Metropolitan
Archbishop Alfred Hughes regarding transmitting the request of The Society of Clerks Secular of Saint Basil to be in communion with Rome while remaining Orthodox and autocephalic. 33


From Metropolitan Archbishop Paul, S.S.B.
To the flock entrusted into my care:


“The Church has no place in the bedroom,”I once heard a Bishop say. My response was, “God created man and woman and the ‘bedroom’, and all of creation is within His purview through His instrument, the Church.”

The Bishop was speechless and flustered at my response.

God made all that was, is, and shall be, except for Himself, for by His Nature God is. Therefore, everything, without reservation, is subject to God, for everything which exists is maintained in existence by God.

The One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, being instituted by God as His one and only Church, and His one and only authorized agent, therefore has the exclusive obligation and right to comment on and proclaim the standards for everything, doing so only in accordance with His revealed dogma. There is no new dogma, only perhaps some not yet revealed. And as neither dogma nor God change, so too will the standards be consistent.

+ Paul, S.S.B.

return to contents



Humans consistently substitute their own personal judgment in place of God’s Judgment, and their own personal sense of justice in place of God’s Justice. When this substitution is made, millions of souls are condemned to extended suffering in Purgatory, when it would be possible for that suffering to be diminished and shortened. When this substitution is made, millions of souls go to Hell for all eternity, instead of going to Purgatory or Heaven.

This happens because those who substitute their own judgment for God’s Judgment, say and believe: that someone who is dying was a good person and will therefore go directly to Heaven; that a particular individual has suffered enough and will therefore go directly to Heaven; that God is all merciful and therefore will not send anyone to Hell; that Christ died for our sins and that therefore all atonement has been made for them - which, incidentally, would allow one to sin without restraint - and that there therefore is no Purgatory; that intercessory prayer is foolish because they pray directly to God.

Because of these beliefs, these people do not really pray for anyone, not even themselves. Because of these beliefs these people do not really sacrifice, and therefore do not offer sacrifice to God for anything or anyone.

Yet Christ told us: If any man will follow me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. (Mark 8:34)

To deny oneself is to ignore one’s personal desires inasmuch as they do not correlate with God’s desires. To take up one’s cross is to suffer, to sacrifice, to become sacrifice, to become the sacrifice with Christ as we follow Him, to offer ourselves as Sacrifice united with Christ as He offers Himself as the Sacrifice to God the Father.

When that which is sacrificed is living, the sacrifice suffers in being sacrificed. When Christ God was sacrificed, He suffered; and when we offer ourselves as sacrifice in any manner, we suffer.

We sometimes suffer because we follow our Faith. We also suffer because others inflict evil upon us, sometimes without thought of their actions or the consequences which arise therefrom, sometimes out of nastiness. We can turn these occasions of suffering into sacrifice by offering our suffering to God the Father, in union with the suffering of Christ God.

But we also can create sacrifices and offer them to God in union with the sufferings of Jesus Christ. But like all sacrifices, a true sacrifice entails our suffering in making the sacrifice.

If we offer our sacrifices alone, not in union with the sufferings of Our Lord Jesus Christ, then their effect is that which a human, a creature, can make. But when we offer our sacrifices in union with the Sacrifice of Christ God, the Sacrifice of Calvary, of the Last Supper, of the Divine Liturgy, then our sacrifice is raised in its effect to the Sacrifice with which it is joined; the Sacrifice of the Divine.

This does not mean we should flagellate ourselves or do anything to ourselves that is injurious to ourselves. Self flagellation, self injury, is not sacrifice so much as it is self mutilation - which is destruction or injury of that which God has created. That is immoral.

There are many other valid means of voluntary suffering in sacrifice. We can go hungry occasionally, but not to the extent it is injures to our health. We can eat something we do not like when it is offered to us. We can assist someone else when we really would rather do something other than assist that person - but if we need to do something else we should evaluate what it is we need to do to determine weather is is necessary for us to do and therefore should supersede assisting the other person. That is a decision we make in honest judgment.

It may be difficult to think of prayer as sacrifice, for where is the suffering in prayer? The suffering in prayer is partially in the thought of what is happening or may happen to the ones for whom we pray - and that thought can be agony. What if our best friend, or someone we have never met and will never meet, or some straight forward sinner, goes to Hell because we do not pray for them or because we pray for them in an ineffectual manner? The thought of that causes us agony when we truly contemplate it.

When we pray to Christ God, we can easily meditate on the pain and suffering our sins and the sins of others have caused His most Sacred Heart. Contemplating that hurt causes us at least a measure of discomfort, and at least a measure of sorrow, and in that we unite with Christ God in His Sacrifice.

When we pray intercessory prayer, we in part contemplate the hurt caused to the ones from whom we seek intercession. This is especially true when we pray to the Holy Theotokos, as we contemplate the wounds our sins have made to her Immaculate Heart - for every sin hurts Our Lord Jesus Christ, even today, and every hurt to Our Lord Jesus Christ wounds the Immaculate Heart of His Blessed Mother.


When Our Saviour was in the garden anticipating His passion, while He was being mutilated, and as He was crucified and finally, as He died, He suffered. As Human and as Divine He suffered. And His Blessed Mother suffered. God the Father cried in anguish at the torment of His only begotten Son. God the Holy Spirit quieted all of creation in the agony of the One Which was both Eternally Begotten of the Father and of His overshadowing of the Virgin Mother.

Christ God offered His suffering as sacrifice to the Father. Because of the nature of the Blessed Trinity, and in a manner we can not comprehend, the Father and the Holy Spirit joined in the sufferings of Christ. And while Christ’s sacrifice was His own and His alone, they also joined in and participated in His sacrifice which included His sufferings.

The Holy Theotokos experienced her own suffering because of the suffering of her Son. Her suffering was joined in the sacrifice her Son was making. It too was part of His sacrifice, in a manner similar to the manner in which the suffering of the Father and the Holy Spirit were part of the the sacrifice made by Christ God to the same God the Father.

The sin of Adam, the Original sin of man, instituted the need for the sacrifice of Christ God. And every additional sin committed by man required that Divine sacrifice in reparation. This means each sin we commit today is a cause of the sacrifice and suffering of Christ God in His passion and death. Since Christ is God, and is in the eternal now, each sin we commit today wounds the Sacred Heart of Jesus today, yesterday, and tomorrow. And for each sin we commit today, there is not only a corresponding joining of God the Father and God the Holy Spirit in the suffering of Christ, but also a wounding of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Therefore, she too suffers because of each sin we commit.

If we offer our sacrifices properly, they are offered prayerfully, intentionally, and in union with the sacrifice of Christ God. The sacrifice we witness in our times is the Sacrifice of the Divine Liturgy, which is the same Sacrifice of Calvary, which is the same Sacrifice of the Last Supper.

A sacrifice is made by act of the will of the one offering the sacrifice. Thus, the sacrifice made by Jesus Christ, His offering of Himself, was made by His own will. But His mother suffered in His suffering. Her suffering at His suffering was experienced by her due to her love of her Son. And her suffering was offered as a sacrifice, in union with the suffering of her Son.

In this we have two examples of how to offer sacrifices. One is to make a sacrifice and offer it and the suffering which accompanies it. The other is to offer as a sacrifice, the suffering we experience, even if it is suffering which we did not seek. The important aspect is that the sacrifice be offered in union with the sacrifice of Christ God on the cross.

One can therefore intentionally fast and abstain and have that suffering be without spiritual effect, such as one who fasts and abstains for the purpose of being physically attractive. Or one can intentionally fast and abstain and have that suffering be with spiritual effect, if the one who fasts and abstains does so as a sacrifice offered in union with Christ’s sacrifice.

One can likewise also experience suffering which they did not chose and have it have no spiritual effect, or have it have spiritual effect. If you sustain a painful and serious injury in an accident, you can offer the pain and suffering in union with Christ’s sacrifice and there will be great spiritual benefit. Or you can suffer and not offer the pain and suffering and no one will derive spiritual benefit. Remember, Christ was the Voluntary Sacrificial Victim, but He did not scourge Himself and He did not crucify Himself.

This opens wide sacrificial avenues to us. One may feel foolish tightening a cord about their waist so-as-to cause themselves pain which they can offer. And there is something which seems to be lacking for an adult to give up candy for Great Lent. And we have an almost instinctive feeling that if prayer is a sacrifice then there is something wrong with us because we know prayer is something we should do and should wish to do. We ask, how can something we should wish to do, be a sacrifice? (As a side note: People often forget that in prayer we not only talk with God but also contemplate the sufferings of Our Lord and of the Holy Theotokos and of the saints, and those contemplations cause us some level of anguish, which is pain, and can be a sacrifice if we intentionally offer it as such.)

But suffering which is imposed on us is suffering which is at a level which we do not chose; and it can be quite severe. This type and level of suffering is, for many people, an untapped source of sacrificial offering to God.

As an example: if your spouse or parent abuses you, in that abuse they hurt you. It makes no difference whether the abuse is physical, mental, emotional, spiritual., or some combination of these. The abuse is abuse, and it causes hurt, pain, and suffering. If you wish, you can experience that abuse, hurt, pain, and suffering, with no good spiritual effect. Or, you can be like Christ, and offer that abuse, hurt, pain, and suffering, as a sacrifice - offer it in union with Christ’s Passion and it will become an offering pleasing to God. Offer it and you will realize a little of what Christ suffered for you. In that realization you will strengthen your desire to not sin, because you will realize just a little of what Christ suffered for your sake.

It therefore is obvious that we need not restrict ourselves to sacrifices which we impose on ourselves nor are we restricted to severe physical injury situations which are imposed on us, such as injuries sustained in an accident.

If your employer is a fool or abusive or if your fellow employees abuse their employment, steal, or do not provide an honest day’s work, and these things cause you distress; or you otherwise have a negative work situation - even a partially negative work situation; offer that distress, stress, anguish, abuse, or whatever, as a sacrificial offering to God, in union with Christ’s sacrifice of the Cross. You are going to experience what ever it is anyway, so you may as well make that experience spiritually beneficial. Offer it.


If we are sorry for our sins because we got caught, or solely because we have, are, or will suffer because of our sins, there is no holiness in that sorrow, even if there is suffering. But if we have sorrow for our sins because they hurt Christ, or because they hurt the Ever Virgin Mary who receives her suffering because of her Agape Love in her Son, or because they are transgressions of God’s Will, or because of the passion of Christ God which He endured because of and for the sake of our sins, or for any combination of any of these and any other holy reason or reasons, whether the sorrow is intellectual or emotional or both, we are within the realm of sorrow which falls within the borders of sacrificial suffering.

With sorrow that falls within the borders of sacrificial suffering we can perceive how our sins cause Christ God to suffer. While only the most holy of people experience constant or even consistent anguish at the very thought of how their sins hurt and offend God, when we have holy sorrow for our sins, we have opened the door to our experiencing anguish for having hurt or offended God. We have opened the door to a fleeting glimpse of the effect just one of our sins has had on Christ - a fleeting glimpse of Christ God physically and emotionally abused; of Him being totally abused in every manner possible, just because of one of our sins.

Whether we have already experienced that fleeting glimpse of anguish, or have yet to experience that fleeting glimpse of anguish, the door to it is open. Whether that anguish is intellectual or emotional or both, is immaterial, for the door to experiencing it is open. It may be just a slight level of discomfort, but the door to it is open.

That open door is one entryway to sorrow which is sacrificial sorrow. Sacrificial sorrow usually enters into our thoughts while we are praying. When we pray the prayer before the Icon of Christ, the very beginning, “We reverence thy spotless ikon, O gracious Lord, and ask forgiveness of our transgressions, O Christ our God,” we may just be physically reverential. If we are fortunate, we may have a fleeting thought of our sinfulness and how we really, rarely reverence either Christ or His icon.

Such a thought is good, for it brings very starkly to one’s mind how inadequately we actually worship God. We realize, not just know but actually realize, at least partially, how shabbily we treat God. This intellectual realization often triggers sorrow, and that sorrow easily leads to meaningful prayer. Prayer which offers that sorrow in sacrifice to God.

When we experience this real sorrow for our sins, we obtain a deeper comprehension of the effect our sins have on God. We can then began to appreciate what effect our sins have on ourselves as well, and how sins tend to build upon themselves into a life of sin. And even though they be little sins, they still multiply, building on themselves, each hurting Christ who suffers because of each sin, even little sins.

But just as each little sin hurts Christ, so too does each little sorrow for hurting Christ join with the Sacrifice of the Divine Liturgy in making atonement for the hurt caused to our Christ God.

Prayer is prudent because of the relationship it strengthens between God and each person who prays. But because it can trigger sorrow, when it does trigger sorrow, prayer induces sacrificial suffering - sacrifice. And that sorrow induces us to become innocent, as innocent as Christ the Sacrifice

This gives us an obtainable goal: That our own suffering be perfectly united with Christ, so that we join with Him and we too, as united with Him, achieve the status of innocent sacrifice, of innocent sacrificial offering. With achieving that status of innocent sacrificial offering, we experience a part of the same release which Our Saviour experienced in His death. He experience our release from bondage to sin, and we experience the personal release from sin and sinfulness.


Everyone remembers that Job, who was a very just and good man, suffered greatly for God’s purposes. But very few people remember that Job’s friends, who were convinced Job had committed some grave sin, otherwise he would not have been made to suffer (of course they were in error) - that Job’s friends were told by God to bring sacrifices to Job for Job to offer to God FOR HIS FRIENDS. Job offered the sacrifices to God for his friends, and God restored everything to Job many times over what he had lost.

Job prayed for his friends, and God forgave them. But his friends had to provide the sacrificial offerings which Job offered on their behalf.

Christ God offered the perfect Sacrifice - Himself. In Divine Liturgy the Priest offers that same Sacrifice, and those who participate in each Divine Liturgy do not so much participate in the offering as they do receive the benefit of the sacrifice and offering. But, if those who participate in each Divine Liturgy also offer their own sacrificial offerings in union with the Priest offering Christ God, then their personal sacrificial offerings are perfected in Christ.

Christ is the Sacrifice for the living and the dead. In being true Christians, we join with Christ, and also sacrifice for the living and the dead. The living, especially those who have hurt us, and who may continue to hurt us, must not be excluded. Indeed, if they require more sacrifice than others, we should attempt to provide that additional sacrifice, for God gives them additional attention. In providing the additional sacrifice we join the Good Shepherd in leaving the flock to seek the sheep that has strayed. We may not possess the talents of preaching, teaching, or evangelization, but we can sacrifice, and sacrifice is more potent than all of the evangelization that ever existed. We sacrifice for the living to assist them to change, to become more Godlike.

The dead who are in Christ, but not yet in Heaven, can not change themselves. But our sacrifices will assist them in their purification which is something they can not do for themselves.

When we offer sacrifice for those who have harmed us we emulate Christ God in the most perfect manner; for He offered Himself as Sacrifice for each and every individual human, as well as all of humankind. And every human, except His Blessed Mother, Christ Himself, and those who die before sinning, has actively offended and harmed Him through their sins.

But not in spite of the harm we have done to Him, but because of the harm we have done to Him, Christ sacrificed Himself for us out of Charity for us; in His Divine Love for us.

Very few of us will be blessed with severe abuse because of our Christianity. For most of us, the abuse we experience because of our Christianity will be lack of promotion in our employment or even being or becoming unemployed because we will not violate a commandment such as keeping the Lord’s day holy, or not engaging in immoral activities in the course and scope of our employment. Some may experience ridicule because of their Christianity. And all will be tempted to abandon some aspect of their Christianity so they can obtain some temporal advantage.

While these are nothing when compared with the sufferings of being torn apart with hooks, or beaten, burned, and otherwise tortured, they are still sufferings which can be offered in sacrifice. And the first for whom we should offer these sacrifices are those who inflict the sufferings upon us; for not only do they need the sacrifice, but without their sins whereby they persecute us, we would not have the opportunity to offer as sacrifice, the sufferings they cause.

When we offer this type of suffering as sacrifice we remove the desire for retaliation against those who cause us to suffer, and this is good, for it brings us closer to God and The Way. In this we forgive them, and this is good, for do we not pray: “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us”?

Thus it is that in offering as sacrifice, our sufferings at the hands of others, not only do we assist those who cause us suffering to leave their evil ways, and not only do we forgive them, but we also receive as part of our reward for offering that sacrifice and for that forgiveness, forgiveness and remission of our own sins through our union with Christ God in His sacrifice.

So when a family member demeans you just because they are nasty, or you lose a job because you will not do evil, or when you or a family member is injured or a family member killed by a criminal, temper your sorrow by offering the suffering you experience as a sacrifice for the offender. Make the offering perfect by offering it in union with the sacrifice of Christ Jesus, thus forgiving the offender and better enabling the offender to receive salvation. Thus you will become more perfect, and approach closer to permanent union with and in the Blessed Trinity.


The will of God is our sanctification. This can be taken to have two meanings, and it is meant in both ways. God wants us to become sanctified, and we attain sanctification when we follow God’s will. To achieve this we must know how to possess our vessel, ourselves, in sanctification and honor, not being subject to the passions but subjecting the passions; yet being passionate.

Moses and Elias talk with Christ God because they possessed and retain the quality which is most pleasing to God. They are contrite of heart, even to this day. In their being contrite of heart they acknowledged their shortcomings, their sins, and sought to both become sinless and to repair the damage wrought by their sins. Because they are contrite of heart, they are humble of spirit, and their being humble of spirit allowed and induced them to acknowledge their sins. Thus they attained sanctification, and they received sanctification.

Satan talks with God, but not face to face. But Satan is not contrite of heart. He is not humble of spirit. And he does not admit that he sins, for to Satan, in opposing God, he believes he is asserting his own independence, and his superiority to everything especially the Son of God Who Satan perceives as being corrupted and diminished by having a human nature - Christ God’s divine nature notwithstanding.

When the contrite heart offers itself to God, it is always accepted by God because it is the ultimate offering which a creature can make. While it is true that Priests offer the Divine Sacrifice of Christ God in the Divine Liturgy, in the Divine Liturgy the Priest is in the “shoes of Christ”, and on the Cross with Christ, and the Priests hands become Christ’s hands, as the Priest-Christ offers God to God. When he offers Christ God to the Father, the Priest also offers himself to the Father, because in his contrite heart he is one with Christ God the Priest. But if the Priest is not contrite of heart, then a sorrow occurs.

A Priest is required if there is to be an offering of Christ God to God the Father. But the only offering that Priest can make on his own which will always be accepted by God the Father is the Priest’s own contrite heart. This, a contrite heart, is the only offering which any creature can make which will always be accepted by God. And every creature: can _ make _ this _ offering.

The contrite heart is a repentant heart. It is a soul filled with sorrow for its sins, perhaps partially out of fear, but, hopefully, simply because the sins it has committed are a rejection of The One Who Has Been So Good To Us. Because its sins hurt The One Who Has Been So Good To Us. Thus it is that the contrite heart offers itself to God, just as the Son of God offered Himself to God. And that offering is always accepted by God, for while they are not the same, yet they are both the most which the individual human and the individual, Jesus Christ, can offer.


When Our Lord prayed in the Garden, He sweat blood from His whole body. He suffered, and that suffering was part of His passion, which was made for our redemption.

We, as part of His Body in the temporal world, will also suffer. No matter what we do to avoid suffering, we will suffer. If we are foolish, we just suffer, with no true benefit. But if we are wise, we unite our suffering by asking God to unite our suffering with the suffering of Christ, as sacrifice, for our own salvation and the salvation of others.

We must always keep before us the purpose and the guaranteed result, not of suffering, but of sacrificial suffering; of our sacrifice. That guaranteed result is our own resurrection with Christ.

Our own resurrection begins with our resurrection from sin and the death which accompanies sin. In Baptism you pass from death to life. You can never become un-Baptized, but you can give up that life received in Baptism. Baptism opens the door to God’s treasury of Grace, the treasury of His very Divine Essence. We receive this life-giving Essence by following The Way, primarily trough reception of the Sacraments, and especially through reception of the Sacred Eucharist. This is the beginning of our resurrection from sin, despair, and eternal damnation without God, to goodness, hope and joy, and eternal happiness with God.

We are resurrected into a new person; a person of Faith, Hope, Charity, and all the accouterments of Faith, Hope, and Charity. We are raised from existence into life; from an existence without God into God’s very Life which is not just immortal, but which is eternal.

The devils are foolish. What the devils rejected was eternal life. They rejected eternal life in favor of immortality without God. But we can be wise, and elect eternal life with God for ourselves.

Humans in this life tempt themselves by their very nature, which is a fallen nature. Devils also tempt humankind, and on occasion, even possess some humans. But after their bodies die humans can no longer tempt themselves, nor can the devils tempt them or possess them, for the spirits, the souls, are the only part of the human which remains in existence until the resurrection at the Last Judgment.

There will be resurrection of all the dead at the Last Judgment. All will receive their bodies, perfected, so that they can receive perfect reward for their journey of life. That perfect reward will be perfect punishment for those who have rejected God, and perfect happiness for those who have accepted God.

Those who seek to have perfectly developed bodies have an expression, “No pain, no gain.” They believe that unless one exercises to the point where pain is experienced, there will be no benefit, because muscles must be broken down to some extent before they can be reformed into the shape and configuration which is thought to be “beautiful”. These body builders suffer and offer that suffering as the required sacrifice for their concept of their own physical beauty. With that physical beauty comes physical strength, so that if the body builder is struck in the abdomen, their muscles tighten to deflect the blow. As they gain physical strength, they reach a status where the blow is not even noticed.

The person who wishes to build themselves into someone who is beautiful to God must, in a similar manner, break down their inclinations so that their sinful inclinations are reformed into holy inclinations. As they become more beautiful to God, their spiritual strength increases, so that when temptation strikes, their spiritual reflexes tighten their spiritual defenses and deflect the temptation. As they gain in spiritual strength, they reach a status where the temptation is not even noticed.

Though few people attain such spiritual strength in this life, we each can hope to reach this level of spiritual development. It is within our grasps in this life. If we were to really try with all of our might, we each could become as holy as the most holy person, endowed with spiritual strength which could accomplish anything in God. God gives this goal to all of us. Most of us who attain or will attain this goal of spiritual strength and holiness, only attain it after the sufferings of Purgatory. But there are a few who gain insight to this while they are still here on earth. These enter into the spiritual exercises in this life, and in those spiritual exercises they suffer, offer that suffering as sacrifice, become ever increasingly strong spiritually, in a cycle of sacrificial suffering, spiritual strengthening and holiness.

They approach resurrection of their human nature into union with the Divine through Christ God by perfecting His suffering sacrifice for them, in themselves, through Christ.

As their fallen nature becomes ever increasingly resurrected, their concern for the spiritual welfare of others also increases, so they become driven to pray and sacrifice for others: for the living and the dead. Thus they join with the resurrected Christ God, the new Adam, resurrecting all who will receive Christ.

Ref: 1 Cor. 9:24-27; 10:1-5; Mat. 20:1-16; Mark 8:34; 2 Cor 11: 19-33; 12:1-9; Luke 8:4-15; 1 Cor 13:1-13; Luke 18:31-43; 2 Cor 6:1-10; Mat. 4:1-11; 1 Thes. 4:1-7; Mat. 17:1-9; Luke 4:18; Ps 33:19./33:21, Ps 50:19; Is 57:15, Is 61:1, 66:2; Daniel 3:39; Ephes. 5:1-9; Luke 11:14-28; St. Augustine

+ + +

return to contents

Religion and Bullets
What . . . is . . . a religion?

Religious differences should and must be expressed - properly. Proper expression of these differences opens doors to areas of common belief and areas wherein those of differing beliefs can work together for the good of mankind and individuals. Proper expression requires the differences be thoughtfully and honestly explored. Proper exploration requires one’s own religious beliefs be studied, a foundation for them established, and the religious beliefs of others which differ from one’s own be studied, become known, and their foundations established.

One who is firm in his religious beliefs should not tolerate other beliefs being imposed upon him or on those of similar or like beliefs, or on those of different beliefs - nor should he attempt to or even contemplate imposing his beliefs on those whose beliefs differ from his own. While this intolerance does not preclude theological and dogmatic discussions amongst those of differing beliefs, it is absolutely necessary for the preservation of the free will given to each individual by God, and the expression of that free will.

However, proper intolerance not only does not preclude working together, it requires there be the ability for those of differing beliefs, to work in harmony, side by side. For without this ability, there ceases to exist the ability to properly exercise free will. Without this proper intolerance the Natural Law, as described below, is not being followed.

Where individuals or groups are unable to work together, and differences in religion are cited as the cause or foundation of this inability, study will both show and prove that religious differences are actually a crutch being used in an attempt to validate the inability to work together. The inability will have a great probability of being actually founded in an attempt to dominate, not in religious matters, but pure, plain, simple domination. There probably will be elements of selfishness - whether it be termed self interest, self pleasure, hatred, or something else is immaterial for it will be, in truth, selfishness.

All true religions, without regard to their foundations, origins, focus, or the object or objects of their worship, share certain common elements. These common elements include a projection of what most individual persons desire for themselves within a social structure. That projection is made to all other persons. If the projection is possible, the desire is accepted. If the projection is not possible, the desire is rejected. Thus, most individuals desire that they not be killed. This desire is projected to all others, so that it is established that no one is allowed to kill another, and this is possible. Most individuals desire that their property not be stolen from them. This desire is projected to all others, so that it is established that no one is allowed to steal, and this is possible. Most individuals desire to seek assistance from one more powerful than they when the need arises, and, in anticipation of that desire and need, seek to pray to a god or gods or a comparable entity, and to establish a relationship with that entity. This desire is projected to all others, it is possible, and thus is established the ability to worship and to pray in accordance with one’s beliefs; and this also is possible. Most individuals do not wish to be hurt by another or others. This desire is projected to all others, and thus it is established that no one is allowed to harm another, and this is possible.

But, if stated truthfully, most individuals would like to not have to work, to be able to potter (like making pottery) around and do what ever they like, and not have to worry about food, shelter, health, and the necessities of life, while having what ever they desired. If this were applied to all others, it could not be achieved, for there would be no source from which to obtain that which is required. If it were applied to even one individual, it would mean that something would have to be taken from one or more individuals. Thus, this can not be projected to all others, and therefore can not be.

These common elements can be called The Natural Law (though not all of the Natural Law is encompassed in the above elements, its scope can be determined analogously from the above), and are common to all true religions. Those who profess as a religion, that which seeks to dominate, especially where such domination restricts or eliminates the common elements which can be projected from the individual to all others, do not profess a religion. Rather, they profess their desire to dominate, to enslave, to control, for they seek to please themselves and only to please others in-so-far-as it serves to further their goal of pleasing themselves. It may be said that the religion of such people is themselves or their self interest, but to so state is to destroy the meaning of the word religion.

Most religions have been used at one time or another to justify domination or attempts to dominate.

Christianity was used to war against Islam during the Crusades, but Islam was used to war against and to conquer large portions of the Asian and Western worlds. Christianity was used as an excuse to persecute Jews, blaming them for the death of Christ, when according to Christian dogma, Christ’s suffering and death were necessary for salvation, and in His last breaths, He forgave those who crucified Him. Preservation of Judaism and those of Jewish descent was used to establish a network which ignored secular government boundaries after the disparsa, in effect, establishing an empire within many empires - but it was necessary for the preservation of that people in light of the attempts to destroy that very people and their religion. Later, for the preservation of that same people, religion was used to justify Jews taking land, property, and lives from other people, mainly Moslem and Christian Arabs. Buddhist and Hindus have a reputation of being peaceful religions, and so they are. But persons who profess one and the other religion have used their respective religions as the basis for gross discrimination and harmful conduct against others, and for killing of members of their own religions, especially in matters of “honor” where honor actually is not a factor - but control, domination, is. Primitive and sophisticated pagan religions - including those who worship ancestors and those who worship a multitude of gods - follow aspects of the Natural Law, but often adapt to inhumane treatment inflicted upon their own members by assimilating it into their own religions. And all peoples of every religion generally share fear of those not like themselves, and often respond with violence to those with whom they are not familiar or who are not of their own clan or people.

Yet, all religions share the Natural Law. Those with written books which state what is to be followed and what is not to be followed, what is to be done and what is to be avoided, how to worship God, or to appease the gods, and what should be avoided to avoid angering God, or the gods, will find the Natural Law stated or re-stated in their religious book or books. In some form it will be there. In some form it is there.

Thus, in each of these written religious books, will be found a projection to humankind as a whole, that which most individuals desire for themselves, where it is possible for that projection to be effected to everyone.

Islam is a current source of religious fear. Yet Islam, true Islam, follows the Natural Law. When the Koran (Quran) is cited, especially Sura IX (9.5) which states, "And when the sacred months are passed, kill those who join other gods with God (Christians are considered as joining other gods with god because of their belief in the Blessed Trinity - Ed.) wherever ye shall find them; and seize them, besiege them, and lay wait for them with every kind of ambush: but if they shall convert, and observe prayer, and pay the obligatory alms, then let them go their way, for God is Gracious, Merciful; " and, Koran Sura XLVII (47) [47.4] "When ye encounter the infidels, strike off their heads till ye have made a great slaughter among them, and of the rest make fast the fetters.", followers of Islam state it should be remembered that this was written to apply to the Peninsular War. Therefore, when queried about this Sura, Moslems should not deny its existence, or attempt to restate what it says. They should explain that it applied to a specific situation and time in history and is not supposed to apply to any other time or situation. And they should see to it that it is not applied to any other situation, that it never again be applied.

Thus those who use Islam as justification for attempts at dominance are not following Islam. It would behoove true Moslems to state this, and to follow their religion - for Islam does in effect state that the Natural Law must be followed and applied to all, Moslem and Infidel alike.

Jews who use the promise God made to Moses and Josue, that they should have, “every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, as I have said to Moses. From the desert, and from Libanus unto the great river Euphrates, all the land of the Hethites, unto the great sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your border.” (Josue 1:3-4) forget that their ancestors in title declined to meet both the consideration (price) required for obtaining the land, and the title requirements; that of removal of the original inhabitants and to not intermingle and intermarry with the original inhabitants, and to not follow other religions but follow their own, the true God. Thus they lost the right to the land. And it was taken from them because of their disobedience and it can not be returned for Jewish Sacred Scripture has no provisions for its return.

Thus those who use Judaism as justification for attempts at dominance are not following Judaism. It would behoove true Jews to state this, and to follow their religion - for Judaism does in effect state that the Natural Law must be followed and applied to all, Jew and Gentile alike.

Those who use Christianity as justification for violence, hatred, retribution, persecution, or anything other than love and Charity (Agape Love) will find no foundation for their attempts to justify such a stance. Indeed, Christianity is hard pressed to find justification for self protection or self defence, and mainly finds it in an obligation to protect the defenseless or those in harm’s way. Christ’s teachings do not provide a basis for persecution of the Jews or anyone else. Even though some of the Jews said Christ’s blood should be on their heads, Christ’s teachings say that if there is to be retribution for this, it is God’s province to meet out retribution, not human’s, that forgiveness is preferred, and that a hope must exist that forgiveness will be accepted.

Thus those who use Christianity as justification for attempts at dominance are not following Christianity. It would behoove true Christians to state this, and to follow their religion - for Christianity does in effect state that the Natural Law must be followed and applied to all, Christian and non-Christian alike.

The proper arena for expressing or exploring religious differences is in inquiry and discussion; in a open offer to those not of one’s beliefs, to learn of one’s beliefs; in providing books and information which can be obtained on request, and in making it known that such are available. But this does not include forcing another to read those books, or to learn the tenants of one’s religion, or even to make inquiry regarding one’s religion.

Pointing out what one perceives as deficiencies, faults, inconsistencies, errors, and such, in another religion, is proper. But not at the point of a weapon. Naming one who does not believe as one believes, as a heretic, infidel, gentile, pagan, or something else, also is proper, for those terms have definite meanings within each religion. But the Natural Law precludes overt action against, or neglect of the needs of, those who do not believe as one believes. And this requirement that “true believers” not act adversely against those of different beliefs, because of the difference in beliefs, is written in the sacred book or books of every religion which has a written book or books. It also is established in the traditions which govern every religion which does not have written guidelines.

One does not even need to respect another’s religion. But that lack of respect should never be expressed, even privately, for once expressed, lack of respect induces the one to whom the lack was expressed, to publicly express that lack of respect. Lack of respect of another’s religion is a form of torment, and no one has the right to torment another as regards their religion, for no one has the right to torment another - it is forbidden by the Natural Law.

Likewise, one can not ridicule another religion. To publicly ridicule another religion is to “bait” another into violence or into conduct forbidden by both religions under the Natural Law. It provokes another to act in a manner contrary to the provoker’s own religion.

Three of the necessary ingredients of religion are worship, prayer, and following the Natural Law.

An association (or an individual) which follows the Natural Law without worship and prayer, has or follows a philosophy, but that philosophy is not a religion. It is quite common for a society to follow the Natural Law, but not to worship, or to not pray. But such societies quickly discard various “inconvenient” parts or aspects of the Natural Law, developing a hierarchy of dominance, usually through conformity to the opinions of the celebrities and perceived “sophisticates” of that society. Very often that society will influence the weaker willed of an entire people or nation or group of peoples or nations. As more and more aspects of the Natural Law are discarded by such societies, the hierarchy of dominance and conformity to anti Natural Law principles gain strength, resulting in a form of anarchy. This anarchy generally does not destroy the society, but it does always lead to the destruction of any nation or large groups of people which follows it. This is because such nations become weak with their over self indulgence, making them subject to successful attack from exterior forces.

Individuals who adopt this form of philosophy do so to the determent of their religious beliefs. Slowly, one by one, their religious convictions are cast aside. Usually their religious practices are discarded unless societal considerations and expectations require their presence at some form of religious practices.

(As an aside - However, if the philosophy which is adopted is one formed by the individual, by the individual alone, and not formed into a philosophical society but remains the private philosophy of the individual, then it is possible for the individual to retain all of the Natural Law in that philosophy. It is possible for the individual to even retain some form of prayer, and even some form of worship, though these last two will be weak.)

This form of philosophy, which has replaced all or most of an individual’s or a society’s religion, will be defended by the individual or the society with more vehemence than their religion. But those who do not hold the philosophy should not accord the philosophy the same respect which should be accorded to a religion. The philosophy should be attacked on its foundation, which precludes worship, or precludes prayer, and precludes portions of the Natural Law. If the philosophy is attacked by using that which distinguishes it from the religion which it purports to be, such attacks have an opportunity of not offending those who actually do follow the religion which the philosophy imitates.

We can find a multitude of instances where religions disregard application of the Natural Law to those not of that particular religion, and of policies of religions which effect the same disregard. Where these instances and policies existed, and exist, they were and are in opposition to the foundations of the applicable religion. When this occurs, what passes for the religion may not actually be the religion which it pretends to be. It may be a philosophy masquerading as a religion.

This masquerade can fool both clergy and laity.

As an example, a Muslim Arab has worked for many years in a certain Christian monastery in Jerusalem. He respected and loved the religious of the monastery, and they respected and loved him. One day the man told the monastics: “Our chiefs have met and have decided that all the ‘infidels’ must be killed, but do not fear because I will kill you without making you suffer.” (From the testimony of Metropolitan Archbishop of Izmir (Turkey) and of all Asia Minor, Guiseppe Germano Bernardini, in intervention at the Vatican’s European Synod, on October 13, 1999.)

Another example: Rick Mathes (former associate of the Nixon administration who, apparently really has “gotten religion”), at an annual training session required for maintaining his state security clearance, after listening to an Islamic Imam, asked the Imam, “Please correct me if I’m wrong, but I understand that most Imams and clerics of Islam have declared a holy jihad [holy war] against the infidels of the world. And, that by killing an infidel, which is commanded to all Muslims, they are assured a place in heaven. If that’s the case, can you give me the definition of an infidel?”

The Imam replied, “Non-believers!”

Mathes responded, “So. Let me make sure I have this straight. All followers of Allah have been commanded to kill every-one who is not of your faith so they can go to heaven. Is that correct?”

The Imam replied, “Yes.”

Contrast these with this:

In Damascus, Syria, Moslems regularly pray with Orthodox and Roman Catholic Christians at the house of Myrna and Nicholas Nazour. One of the prayers which all commonly pray together is the Roman Catholic version of the Rosary. Men and women pray together, all intermingled, intermixed.

If Islam is a religion, then those Moslems who ignore the Natural Law, those who told the man who works for the monastery, and the Imam who admitted he and other Islamic leaders and clerics, and those leaders and clerics, who advocated killing everyone who is not Moslem - these are not following a religion.

But the Moslems who pray with Christians at the Nazour house, these are following a religion - Islam.

If in fact and in truth, Islam supports and requires the killing as stated above, then Islam is not a religion, but is only a philosophy.

The country if Israel has a policy that, when a terrorist attacks Israel or Israelies, the family home of that terrorist is destroyed, and if family members are injured or killed during that destruction, so what. This destruction is without regard as to whether or not the family knew or participated in the terrorism.

Another policy of the country of Israel is taking of land owned by Arabs, both Moslem and Christian Arabs, without compensation, whenever and wherever the Israeli government deems it desirable, for what ever reason it deems it desirable.

Some Israelis approve of these policies, and some oppose them as being unjust, and some oppose them as being against the Law of Moses.

Those who oppose them are following the Natural Law, and as such, may or may not be practicing a religion. Those who oppose them and also pray and worship God, follow and practice a religion.

The Law of Moses requires the “stranger” who resides with Jews to be treated fairly, and in legal matters, that he be treated the same as a Jew is treated.

But, if in fact and truth, support for these Israeli government policies can be found in the Jewish / Hebrew religion, then it is not a religion, but is only a philosophy.

Actions proposed in the name of Christianity are much easier to classify as being in accordance with or in opposition to Christianity, because there are no ambiguities in Christianity as regards treatment of people. There are no provisions for making war in Christianity, nor are there any for treating any person different from the manner we are to treat ourselves or wish ourselves to be treated. It is difficult to find sanction for execution of even the most heinous criminals, and war finds its justification not in an order to engage in war but in an obligation to protect those who can not defend themselves.

But this has not prevented heinous deeds and policies being made in the name of Christianity. In the name of Christianity, Jews have had their property taken and have been physically injured and killed; people of ethnic groups and cultures (and “races”) different from those in positions of power have been enslaved, tortured, killed, robbed, and suffered every form of attack, in the name of Christianity. But all of these are forbidden by Christianity.

Those who have committed these deeds are not Christians, and those who find support for these positions and deeds have created a philosophy which they call Christianity, but which has no support in the teachings of Christ or the Apostles and the early Fathers of the Church.

So, with Christianity, there not only is reference to the Natural Law, to determine whether or not what purports to be Christian actually is Christian; but there also is reference to expressed, explicit, and unambiguous teachings which demand certain mental and spiritual characteristics and acts, and which prohibit certain mental and spiritual characteristics and acts.


return to contents




JULY 25, 1968

To His Venerable Brothers the Patriarchs, Archbishops, Bishops and other Local Ordinaries in Peace and Communion with the Apostolic See, to the Clergy and Faithful of the Whole Catholic World, and to All Men of Good Will.

Honored Brothers and Dear Sons, Health and Apostolic Benediction.

The transmission of human life is a most serious role in which married people collaborate freely and responsibly with God the Creator. It has always been a source of great joy to them, even though it sometimes entails many difficulties and hardships.

The fulfillment of this duty has always posed problems to the conscience of married people, but the recent course of human society and the concomitant changes have provoked new questions. The Church cannot ignore these questions, for they concern matters intimately connected with the life and happiness of human beings.


2. The changes that have taken place are of considerable importance and varied in nature. In the first place there is the rapid increase in population which has made many fear that world population is going to grow faster than available resources, with the consequence that many families and developing countries would be faced with greater hardships. This can easily induce public authorities to be tempted to take even harsher measures to avert this danger. There is also the fact that not only working and housing conditions but the greater demands made both in the economic and educational field pose a living situation in which it is frequently difficult these days to provide properly for a large family.

Also noteworthy is a new understanding of the dignity of woman and her place in society, of the value of conjugal love in marriage and the relationship of conjugal acts to this love.

But the most remarkable development of all is to be seen in man's stupendous progress in the domination and rational organization of the forces of nature to the point that he is endeavoring to extend this control over every aspect of his own life--over his body, over his mind and emotions, over his social life, and even over the laws that regulate the transmission of life.

New Questions

3. This new state of things gives rise to new questions. Granted the conditions of life today and taking into account the relevance of married love to the harmony and mutual fidelity of husband and wife, would it not be right to review the moral norms in force till now, especially when it is felt that these can be observed only with the gravest difficulty, sometimes only by heroic effort?

Moreover, if one were to apply here the so called principle of totality, could it not be accepted that the intention to have a less prolific but more rationally planned family might transform an action which renders natural processes infertile into a licit and provident control of birth? Could it not be admitted, in other words, that procreative finality applies to the totality of married life rather than to each single act? A further question is whether, because people are more conscious today of their responsibilities, the time has not come when the transmission of life should be regulated by their intelligence and will rather than through the specific rhythms of their own bodies.

Interpreting the Moral Law

4. This kind of question requires from the teaching authority of the Church a new and deeper reflection on the principles of the moral teaching on marriage--a teaching which is based on the natural law as illuminated and enriched by divine Revelation.

No member of the faithful could possibly deny that the Church is competent in her magisterium to interpret the natural moral law. It is in fact indisputable, as Our predecessors have many times declared, (l) that Jesus Christ, when He communicated His divine power to Peter and the other Apostles and sent them to teach all nations His commandments, (2) constituted them as the authentic guardians and interpreters of the whole moral law, not only, that is, of the law of the Gospel but also of the natural law. For the natural law, too, declares the will of God, and its faithful observance is necessary for men's eternal salvation. (3)

In carrying out this mandate, the Church has always issued appropriate documents on the nature of marriage, the correct use of conjugal rights, and the duties of spouses. These documents have been more copious in recent times. (4)

Special Studies

5. The consciousness of the same responsibility induced Us to confirm and expand the commission set up by Our predecessor Pope John XXIII, of happy memory, in March, 1963. This commission included married couples as well as many experts in the various fields pertinent to these questions. Its task was to examine views and opinions concerning married life, and especially on the correct regulation of births; and it was also to provide the teaching authority of the Church with such evidence as would enable it to give an apt reply in this matter, which not only the faithful but also the rest of the world were waiting for. (5)

When the evidence of the experts had been received, as well as the opinions and advice of a considerable number of Our brethren in the episcopate--some of whom sent their views spontaneously, while others were requested by Us to do so--We were in a position to weigh with more precision all the aspects of this complex subject. Hence We are deeply grateful to all those concerned.

The Magisterium's Reply

6. However, the conclusions arrived at by the commission could not be considered by Us as definitive and absolutely certain, dispensing Us from the duty of examining personally this serious question. This was all the more necessary because, within the commission itself, there was not complete agreement concerning the moral norms to be proposed, and especially because certain approaches and criteria for a solution to this question had emerged which were at variance with the moral doctrine on marriage constantly taught by the magisterium of the Church.

Consequently, now that We have sifted carefully the evidence sent to Us and intently studied the whole matter, as well as prayed constantly to God, We, by virtue of the mandate entrusted to Us by Christ, intend to give Our reply to this series of grave questions.


7. The question of human procreation, like every other question which touches human life, involves more than the limited aspects specific to such disciplines as biology, psychology, demography or sociology. It is the whole man and the whole mission to which he is called that must be considered: both its natural, earthly aspects and its supernatural, eternal aspects. And since in the attempt to justify artificial methods of birth control many appeal to the demands of married love or of responsible parenthood, these two important realities of married life must be accurately defined and analyzed. This is what We mean to do, with special reference to what the Second Vatican Council taught with the highest authority in its Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the World of Today.

God's Loving Design

8. Married love particularly reveals its true nature and nobility when we realize that it takes its origin from God, who "is love," (6) the Father "from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named." (7)

Marriage, then, is far from being the effect of chance or the result of the blind evolution of natural forces. It is in reality the wise and provident institution of God the Creator, whose purpose was to effect in man His loving design. As a consequence, husband and wife, through that mutual gift of themselves, which is specific and exclusive to them alone, develop that union of two persons in which they perfect one another, cooperating with God in the generation and rearing of new lives.

The marriage of those who have been baptized is, in addition, invested with the dignity of a sacramental sign of grace, for it represents the union of Christ and His Church.

Married Love

9. In the light of these facts the characteristic features and exigencies of married love are clearly indicated, and it is of the highest importance to evaluate them exactly.

This love is above all fully human, a compound of sense and spirit. It is not, then, merely a question of natural instinct or emotional drive. It is also, and above all, an act of the free will, whose trust is such that it is meant not only to survive the joys and sorrows of daily life, but also to grow, so that husband and wife become in a way one heart and one soul, and together attain their human fulfillment.

It is a love which is total--that very special form of personal friendship in which husband and wife generously share everything, allowing no unreasonable exceptions and not thinking solely of their own convenience. Whoever really loves his partner loves not only for what he receives, but loves that partner for the partner's own sake, content to be able to enrich the other with the gift of himself.

Married love is also faithful and exclusive of all other, and this until death. This is how husband and wife understood it on the day on which, fully aware of what they were doing, they freely vowed themselves to one another in marriage. Though this fidelity of husband and wife sometimes presents difficulties, no one has the right to assert that it is impossible; it is, on the contrary, always honorable and meritorious. The example of countless married couples proves not only that fidelity is in accord with the nature of marriage, but also that it is the source of profound and enduring happiness.

Finally, this love is fecund. It is not confined wholly to the loving interchange of husband and wife; it also contrives to go beyond this to bring new life into being. "Marriage and conjugal love are by their nature ordained toward the procreation and education of children. Children are really the supreme gift of marriage and contribute in the highest degree to their parents' welfare." (8)

Responsible Parenthood

10. Married love, therefore, requires of husband and wife the full awareness of their obligations in the matter of responsible parenthood, which today, rightly enough, is much insisted upon, but which at the same time should be rightly understood. Thus, we do well to consider responsible parenthood in the light of its varied legitimate and interrelated aspects.

With regard to the biological processes, responsible parenthood means an awareness of, and respect for, their proper functions. In the procreative faculty the human mind discerns biological laws that apply to the human person. (9)

With regard to man's innate drives and emotions, responsible parenthood means that man's reason and will must exert control over them.

With regard to physical, economic, psychological and social conditions, responsible parenthood is exercised by those who prudently and generously decide to have more children, and by those who, for serious reasons and with due respect to moral precepts, decide not to have additional children for either a certain or an indefinite period of time.

Responsible parenthood, as we use the term here, has one further essential aspect of paramount importance. It concerns the objective moral order which was established by God, and of which a right conscience is the true interpreter. In a word, the exercise of responsible parenthood requires that husband and wife, keeping a right order of priorities, recognize their own duties toward God, themselves, their families and human society.

From this it follows that they are not free to act as they choose in the service of transmitting life, as if it were wholly up to them to decide what is the right course to follow. On the contrary, they are bound to ensure that what they do corresponds to the will of God the Creator. The very nature of marriage and its use makes His will clear, while the constant teaching of the Church spells it out. (10)

Observing the Natural Law

11. The sexual activity, in which husband and wife are intimately and chastely united with one another, through which human life is transmitted, is, as the recent Council recalled, "noble and worthy.'' (11) It does not, moreover, cease to be legitimate even when, for reasons independent of their will, it is foreseen to be infertile. For its natural adaptation to the expression and strengthening of the union of husband and wife is not thereby suppressed. The fact is, as experience shows, that new life is not the result of each and every act of sexual intercourse. God has wisely ordered laws of nature and the incidence of fertility in such a way that successive births are already naturally spaced through the inherent operation of these laws. The Church, nevertheless, in urging men to the observance of the precepts of the natural law, which it interprets by its constant doctrine, teaches that each and every marital act must of necessity retain its intrinsic relationship to the procreation of human life. (12)

Union and Procreation

12. This particular doctrine, often expounded by the magisterium of the Church, is based on the inseparable connection, established by God, which man on his own initiative may not break, between the unitive significance and the procreative significance which are both inherent to the marriage act.

The reason is that the fundamental nature of the marriage act, while uniting husband and wife in the closest intimacy, also renders them capable of generating new life--and this as a result of laws written into the actual nature of man and of woman. And if each of these essential qualities, the unitive and the procreative, is preserved, the use of marriage fully retains its sense of true mutual love and its ordination to the supreme responsibility of parenthood to which man is called. We believe that our contemporaries are particularly capable of seeing that this teaching is in harmony with human reason.

Faithfulness to God's Design

13. Men rightly observe that a conjugal act imposed on one's partner without regard to his or her condition or personal and reasonable wishes in the matter, is no true act of love, and therefore offends the moral order in its particular application to the intimate relationship of husband and wife. If they further reflect, they must also recognize that an act of mutual love which impairs the capacity to transmit life which God the Creator, through specific laws, has built into it, frustrates His design which constitutes the norm of marriage, and contradicts the will of the Author of life. Hence to use this divine gift while depriving it, even if only partially, of its meaning and purpose, is equally repugnant to the nature of man and of woman, and is consequently in opposition to the plan of God and His holy will. But to experience the gift of married love while respecting the laws of conception is to acknowledge that one is not the master of the sources of life but rather the minister of the design established by the Creator. Just as man does not have unlimited dominion over his body in general, so also, and with more particular reason, he has no such dominion over his specifically sexual faculties, for these are concerned by their very nature with the generation of life, of which God is the source. "Human life is sacred--all men must recognize that fact," Our predecessor Pope John XXIII recalled. "From its very inception it reveals the creating hand of God." (13)

Unlawful Birth Control Methods

14. Therefore We base Our words on the first principles of a human and Christian doctrine of marriage when We are obliged once more to declare that the direct interruption of the generative process already begun and, above all, all direct abortion, even for therapeutic reasons, are to be absolutely excluded as lawful means of regulating the number of children. (14) Equally to be condemned, as the magisterium of the Church has affirmed on many occasions, is direct sterilization, whether of the man or of the woman, whether permanent or temporary. (15)

Similarly excluded is any action which either before, at the moment of, or after sexual intercourse, is specifically intended to prevent procreation--whether as an end or as a means. (16)

Neither is it valid to argue, as a justification for sexual intercourse which is deliberately contraceptive, that a lesser evil is to be preferred to a greater one, or that such intercourse would merge with procreative acts of past and future to form a single entity, and so be qualified by exactly the same moral goodness as these. Though it is true that sometimes it is lawful to tolerate a lesser moral evil in order to avoid a greater evil or in order to promote a greater good," it is never lawful, even for the gravest reasons, to do evil that good may come of it (18)--in other words, to intend directly something which of its very nature contradicts the moral order, and which must therefore be judged unworthy of man, even though the intention is to protect or promote the welfare of an individual, of a family or of society in general. Consequently, it is a serious error to think that a whole married life of otherwise normal relations can justify sexual intercourse which is deliberately contraceptive and so intrinsically wrong.

Lawful Therapeutic Means

15. On the other hand, the Church does not consider at all illicit the use of those therapeutic means necessary to cure bodily diseases, even if a foreseeable impediment to procreation should result there from--provided such impediment is not directly intended for any motive whatsoever. (19)

Recourse to Infertile Periods

16. Now as We noted earlier (no. 3), some people today raise the objection against this particular doctrine of the Church concerning the moral laws governing marriage, that human intelligence has both the right and responsibility to control those forces of irrational nature which come within its ambit and to direct them toward ends beneficial to man. Others ask on the same point whether it is not reasonable in so many cases to use artificial birth control if by so doing the harmony and peace of a family are better served and more suitable conditions are provided for the education of children already born. To this question We must give a clear reply. The Church is the first to praise and commend the application of human intelligence to an activity in which a rational creature such as man is so closely associated with his Creator. But she affirms that this must be done within the limits of the order of reality established by God.

If therefore there are well-grounded reasons for spacing births, arising from the physical or psychological condition of husband or wife, or from external circumstances, the Church teaches that married people may then take advantage of the natural cycles immanent in the reproductive system and engage in marital intercourse only during those times that are infertile, thus controlling birth in a way which does not in the least offend the moral principles which We have just explained. (20)

Neither the Church nor her doctrine is inconsistent when she considers it lawful for married people to take advantage of the infertile period but condemns as always unlawful the use of means which directly prevent conception, even when the reasons given for the later practice may appear to be upright and serious. In reality, these two cases are completely different. In the former the married couple rightly use a faculty provided them by nature. In the latter they obstruct the natural development of the generative process. It cannot be denied that in each case the married couple, for acceptable reasons, are both perfectly clear in their intention to avoid children and wish to make sure that none will result. But it is equally true that it is exclusively in the former case that husband and wife are ready to abstain from intercourse during the fertile period as often as for reasonable motives the birth of another child is not desirable. And when the infertile period recurs, they use their married intimacy to express their mutual love and safeguard their fidelity toward one another. In doing this they certainly give proof of a true and authentic love.

Consequences of Artificial Methods

17. Responsible men can become more deeply convinced of the truth of the doctrine laid down by the Church on this issue if they reflect on the consequences of methods and plans for artificial birth control. Let them first consider how easily this course of action could open wide the way for marital infidelity and a general lowering of moral standards. Not much experience is needed to be fully aware of human weakness and to understand that human beingsand especially the young, who are so exposed to temptation--need incentives to keep the moral law, and it is an evil thing to make it easy for them to break that law. Another effect that gives cause for alarm is that a man who grows accustomed to the use of contraceptive methods may forget the reverence due to a woman, and, disregarding her physical and emotional equilibrium, reduce her to being a mere instrument for the satisfaction of his own desires, no longer considering her as his partner whom he should surround with care and affection.

Finally, careful consideration should be given to the danger of this power passing into the hands of those public authorities who care little for the precepts of the moral law. Who will blame a government which in its attempt to resolve the problems affecting an entire country resorts to the same measures as are regarded as lawful by married people in the solution of a particular family difficulty? Who will prevent public authorities from favoring those contraceptive methods which they consider more effective? Should they regard this as necessary, they may even impose their use on everyone. It could well happen, therefore, that when people, either individually or in family or social life, experience the inherent difficulties of the divine law and are determined to avoid them, they may give into the hands of public authorities the power to intervene in the most personal and intimate responsibility of husband and wife.

Limits to Man's Power

Consequently, unless we are willing that the responsibility of procreating life should be left to the arbitrary decision of men, we must accept that there are certain limits, beyond which it is wrong to go, to the power of man over his own body and its natural functions--limits, let it be said, which no one, whether as a private individual or as a public authority, can lawfully exceed. These limits are expressly imposed because of the reverence due to the whole human organism and its natural functions, in the light of the principles We stated earlier, and in accordance with a correct understanding of the "principle of totality" enunciated by Our predecessor Pope Pius XII. (21)

Concern of the Church

18. It is to be anticipated that perhaps not everyone will easily accept this particular teaching. There is too much clamorous outcry against the voice of the Church, and this is intensified by modern means of communication. But it comes as no surprise to the Church that she, no less than her divine Founder, is destined to be a "sign of contradiction." (22) She does not, because of this, evade the duty imposed on her of proclaiming humbly but firmly the entire moral law, both natural and evangelical.

Since the Church did not make either of these laws, she cannot be their arbiter--only their guardian and interpreter. It could never be right for her to declare lawful what is in fact unlawful, since that, by its very nature, is always opposed to the true good of man.

In preserving intact the whole moral law of marriage, the Church is convinced that she is contributing to the creation of a truly human civilization. She urges man not to betray his personal responsibilities by putting all his faith in technical expedients. In this way she defends the dignity of husband and wife. This course of action shows that the Church, loyal to the example and teaching of the divine Savior, is sincere and unselfish in her regard for men whom she strives to help even now during this earthly pilgrimage "to share God's life as sons of the living God, the Father of all men." (23)


19. Our words would not be an adequate expression of the thought and solicitude of the Church, Mother and Teacher of all peoples, if, after having recalled men to the observance and respect of the divine law regarding matrimony, they did not also support mankind in the honest regulation of birth amid the difficult conditions which today afflict families and peoples. The Church, in fact, cannot act differently toward men than did the Redeemer. She knows their weaknesses, she has compassion on the multitude, she welcomes sinners. But at the same time she cannot do otherwise than teach the law. For it is in fact the law of human life restored to its native truth and guided by the Spirit of God. (24) Observing the Divine Law.

20. The teaching of the Church regarding the proper regulation of birth is a promulgation of the law of God Himself. And yet there is no doubt that to many it will appear not merely difficult but even impossible to observe. Now it is true that like all good things which are outstanding for their nobility and for the benefits which they confer on men, so this law demands from individual men and women, from families and from human society, a resolute purpose and great endurance. Indeed it cannot be observed unless God comes to their help with the grace by which the goodwill of men is sustained and strengthened. But to those who consider this matter diligently it will indeed be evident that this endurance enhances man's dignity and confers benefits on human society.

Value of Self-Discipline

21. The right and lawful ordering of birth demands, first of all, that spouses fully recognize and value the true blessings of family life and that they acquire complete mastery over themselves and their emotions. For if with the aid of reason and of free will they are to control their natural drives, there can be no doubt at all of the need for self-denial. Only then will the expression of love, essential to married life, conform to right order. This is especially clear in the practice of periodic continence. Self-discipline of this kind is a shining witness to the chastity of husband and wife and, far from being a hindrance to their love of one another, transforms it by giving it a more truly human character. And if this self-discipline does demand that they persevere in their purpose and efforts, it has at the same time the salutary effect of enabling husband and wife to develop to their personalities and to be enriched with spiritual blessings. For it brings to family life abundant fruits of tranquility and peace. It helps in solving difficulties of other kinds. It fosters in husband and wife thoughtfulness and loving consideration for one another. It helps them to repel inordinate self-love, which is the opposite of charity. It arouses in them a consciousness of their responsibilities. And finally, it confers upon parents a deeper and more effective influence in the education of their children. As their children grow up, they develop a right sense of values and achieve a serene and harmonious use of their mental and physical powers.

Promotion of Chastity

22. We take this opportunity to address those who are engaged in education and all those whose right and duty it is to provide for the common good of human society. We would call their attention to the need to create an atmosphere favorable to the growth of chastity so that true liberty may prevail over license and the norms of the moral law may be fully safeguarded.

Everything therefore in the modern means of social communication which arouses men's baser passions and encourages low moral standards, as well as every obscenity in the written word and every form of indecency on the stage and screen, should be condemned publicly and unanimously by all those who have at heart the advance of civilization and the safeguarding of the outstanding values of the human spirit. It is quite absurd to defend this kind of depravity in the name of art or culture (25) or by pleading the liberty which may be allowed in this field by the public authorities.

Appeal to Public Authorities

23. And now We wish to speak to rulers of nations. To you most of all is committed the responsibility of safeguarding the common good. You can contribute so much to the preservation of morals. We beg of you, never allow the morals of your peoples to be undermined. The family is the primary unit in the state; do not tolerate any legislation which would introduce into the family those practices which are opposed to the natural law of God. For there are other ways by which a government can and should solve the population problem--that is to say by enacting laws which will assist families and by educating the people wisely so that the moral law and the freedom of the citizens are both safeguarded.

Seeking True Solutions

We are fully aware of the difficulties confronting the public authorities in this matter, especially in the developing countries. In fact, We had in mind the justifiable anxieties which weigh upon them when We published Our encyclical letter Populorum Progressio. But now We join Our voice to that of Our predecessor John XXIII of venerable memory, and We make Our own his words: "No statement of the problem and no solution to it is acceptable which does violence to man's essential dignity; those who propose such solutions base them on an utterly materialistic conception of man himself and his life. The only possible solution to this question is one which envisages the social and economic progress both of individuals and of the whole of human society, and which respects and promotes true human values." (26) No one can, without being grossly unfair, make divine Providence responsible for what clearly seems to be the result of misguided governmental policies, of an insufficient sense of social justice, of a selfish accumulation of material goods, and finally of a culpable failure to undertake those initiatives and responsibilities which would raise the standard of living of peoples and their children. (27) If only all governments which were able would do what some are already doing so nobly, and bestir themselves to renew their efforts and their undertakings! There must be no relaxation in the programs of mutual aid between all the branches of the great human family. Here We believe an almost limitless field lies open for the activities of the great international institutions.

To Scientists

24. Our next appeal is to men of science. These can "considerably advance the welfare of marriage and the family and also peace of conscience, if by pooling their efforts they strive to elucidate more thoroughly the conditions favorable to a proper regulation of births." (28) It is supremely desirable, and this was also the mind of Pius XII, that medical science should by the study of natural rhythms succeed in determining a sufficiently secure basis for the chaste limitation of offspring. (29) In this way scientists, especially those who are Catholics, will by their research establish the truth of the Church's claim that "there can be no contradiction between two divine laws--that which governs the transmitting of life and that which governs the fostering of married love." (30)

To Christian Couples

25. And now We turn in a special way to Our own sons and daughters, to those most of all whom God calls to serve Him in the state of marriage. While the Church does indeed hand on to her children the inviolable conditions laid down by God's law, she is also the herald of salvation and through the sacraments she flings wide open the channels of grace through which man is made a new creature responding in charity and true freedom to the design of his Creator and Savior, experiencing too the sweetness of the yoke of Christ. (31)

In humble obedience then to her voice, let Christian husbands and wives be mindful of their vocation to the Christian life, a vocation which, deriving from their Baptism, has been confirmed anew and made more explicit by the Sacrament of Matrimony. For by this sacrament they are strengthened and, one might almost say, consecrated to the faithful fulfillment of their duties. Thus will they realize to the full their calling and bear witness as becomes them, to Christ before the world. (32) For the Lord has entrusted to them the task of making visible to men and women the holiness and joy of the law which united inseparably their love for one another and the cooperation they give to God's love, God who is the Author of human life.

We have no wish at all to pass over in silence the difficulties, at times very great, which beset the lives of Christian married couples. For them, as indeed for every one of us, "the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life." (33) Nevertheless it is precisely the hope of that life which, like a brightly burning torch, lights up their journey, as, strong in spirit, they strive to live "sober, upright and godly lives in this world," (34) knowing for sure that "the form of this world is passing away." (35)

Recourse to God

For this reason husbands and wives should take up the burden appointed to them, willingly, in the strength of faith and of that hope which "does not disappoint us, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us ~}36 Then let them implore the help of God with unremitting prayer and, most of all, let them draw grace and charity from that unfailing fount which is the Eucharist. If, however, sin still exercises its hold over them, they are not to lose heart. Rather must they, humble and persevering, have recourse to the mercy of God, abundantly bestowed in the Sacrament of Penance. In this way, for sure, they will be able to reach that perfection of married life which the Apostle sets out in these words: "Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the Church. . . Even so husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no man ever hates his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, as Christ does the Church. . . This is a great mystery, and I mean in reference to Christ and the Church; however, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband." (37)

Family Apostolate

26. Among the fruits that ripen if the law of God be resolutely obeyed, the most precious is certainly this, that married couples themselves will often desire to communicate their own experience to others. Thus it comes about that in the fullness of the lay vocation will be included a novel and outstanding form of the apostolate by which, like ministering to like, married couples themselves by the leadership they offer will become apostles to other married couples. And surely among all the forms of the Christian apostolate it is hard to think of one more opportune for the present time. (38)

To Doctors and Nurses

27. Likewise we hold in the highest esteem those doctors and members of the nursing profession who, in the exercise of their calling, endeavor to fulfill the demands of their Christian vocation before any merely human interest. Let them therefore continue constant in their resolution always to support those lines of action which accord with faith and with right reason. And let them strive to win agreement and support for these policies among their professional colleagues. Moreover, they should regard it as an essential part of their skill to make themselves fully proficient in this difficult field of medical knowledge. For then, when married couples ask for their advice, they may be in a position to give them right counsel and to point them in the proper direction. Married couples have a right to expect this much from them.

To Priests

28. And now, beloved sons, you who are priests, you who in virtue of your sacred office act as counselors and spiritual leaders both of individual men and women and of families--We turn to you filled with great confidence. For it is your principal duty--We are speaking especially to you who teach moral theology--to spell out clearly and completely the Church's teaching on marriage. In the performance of your ministry you must be the first to give an example of that sincere obedience, inward as well as outward, which is due to the magisterium of the Church. For, as you know, the pastors of the Church enjoy a special light of the Holy Spirit in teaching the truth. (39) And this, rather than the arguments they put forward, is why you are bound to such obedience. Nor will it escape you that if men's peace of soul and the unity of the Christian people are to be preserved, then it is of the utmost importance that in moral as well as in dogmatic theology all should obey the magisterium of the Church and should speak as with one voice. Therefore We make Our own the anxious words of the great Apostle Paul and with all Our heart We renew Our appeal to you: "I appeal to you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree and that there be no dissensions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment." (40)

Christian Compassion

29. Now it is an outstanding manifestation of charity toward souls to omit nothing from the saving doctrine of Christ; but this must always be joined with tolerance and charity, as Christ Himself showed in His conversations and dealings with men. For when He came, not to judge, but to save the world, (41) was He not bitterly severe toward sin, but patient and abounding in mercy toward sinners?

Husbands and wives, therefore, when deeply distressed by reason of the difficulties of their life, must find stamped in the heart and voice of their priest the likeness of the voice and the love of our Redeemer.

So speak with full confidence, beloved sons, convinced that while the Holy Spirit of God is present to the magisterium proclaiming sound doctrine, He also illumines from within the hearts of the faithful and invites their assent. Teach married couples the necessary way of prayer and prepare them to approach more often with great faith the Sacraments of the Eucharist and of Penance. Let them never lose heart because of their weakness.

To Bishops

30. And now as We come to the end of this encyclical letter, We turn Our mind to you, reverently and lovingly, beloved and venerable brothers in the episcopate, with whom We share more closely the care of the spiritual good of the People of God. For We invite all of you, We implore you, to give a lead to your priests who assist you in the sacred ministry, and to the faithful of your dioceses, and to devote yourselves with all zeal and without delay to safeguarding the holiness of marriage, in order to guide married life to its full human and Christian perfection. Consider this mission as one of your most urgent responsibilities at the present time. As you well know, it calls for concerted pastoral action in every field of human diligence, economic, cultural and social. If simultaneous progress is made in these various fields, then the intimate life of parents and children in the family will be rendered not only more tolerable, but easier and more joyful. And life together in human society will be enriched with fraternal charity and made more stable with true peace when God's design which He conceived for the world is faithfully followed.

A Great Work

31. Venerable brothers, beloved sons, all men of good will, great indeed is the work of education, of progress and of charity to which We now summon all of you. And this We do relying on the unshakable teaching of the Church, which teaching Peter's successor together with his brothers in the Catholic episcopate faithfully guards and interprets. And We are convinced that this truly great work will bring blessings both on the world and on the Church. For man cannot attain that true happiness for which he yearns with all the strength of his spirit, unless he keeps the laws which the Most High God has engraved in his very nature. These laws must be wisely and lovingly observed. On this great work, on all of you and especially on married couples, We implore from the God of all holiness and pity an abundance of heavenly grace as a pledge of which We gladly bestow Our apostolic blessing.

Given at St. Peter's, Rome, on the 25th day of July, the feast of St. James the Apostle, in the year 1968, the sixth of Our pontificate.




LATIN TEXT: Acta Apostolicae Sedis, 60 (1968), 481-503.

ENGLISH TRANSLATION: The Pope Speaks, 13 (Fall. 1969), 329-46.


(1) See Pius IX, encyc. letter Oui pluribus: Pii IX P.M. Acta, 1, pp. 9-10; St. Pius X encyc. letter Singulari quadam: AAS 4 (1912), 658; Pius XI, encyc.letter Casti connubii: AAS 22 (1930), 579-581; Pius XII, address Magnificate Dominum to the episcopate of the Catholic World: AAS 46 (1954), 671-672; John XXIII, encyc. letter Mater et Magistra: AAS 53 (1961), 457.

(2) See Mt 28. 18-19.

(3) See Mt 7. 21.

(4) See Council of Trent Roman Catechism, Part II, ch. 8; Leo XIII, encyc.letter Arcanum: Acta Leonis XIII, 2 (1880), 26-29; Pius XI, encyc.letter Divini illius Magistri: AAS 22 (1930), 58-61; encyc. letter Casti connubii: AAS 22 (1930), 545-546; Pius XII, Address to Italian Medico-Biological Union of St. Luke: Discorsi e radiomessaggi di Pio XII, VI, 191-192; to Italian Association of Catholic Midwives: AAS 43 (1951), 835-854; to the association known as the Family Campaign, and other family associations: AAS 43 (1951), 857-859; to 7th congress of International Society of Hematology: AAS 50 (1958), 734-735 [TPS VI, 394-395]; John XXIII, encyc.letter Mater et Magistra: AAS 53 (1961), 446-447 [TPS VII, 330-331]; Second Vatican Council, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the World of Today, nos. 47-52: AAS 58 (1966), 1067-1074 [TPS XI, 289-295]; Code of Canon Law, canons 1067, 1068 §1, canon 1076, §§1-2.

(5) See Paul VI, Address to Sacred College of Cardinals: AAS 56 (1964), 588 [TPS IX, 355-356]; to Commission for the Study of Problems of Population, Family and Birth: AAS 57 (1965), 388 [TPS X, 225]; to National Congress of the Italian Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology: AAS 58 (1966), 1168 [TPS XI, 401-403].

(6) See 1 Jn 4. 8.

(7) Eph 3. 15.

(8) Second Vatican Council, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the World of Today, no. 50: AAS 58 (1966), 1070-1072 [TPS XI, 292-293].

(9) See St. Thomas, Summa Theologiae, I-II, q. 94, art. 2.

(10) See Second Vatican Council, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the World of Today, nos . 50- 5 1: AAS 58 ( 1 966) 1070-1073 [TPS XI, 292-293].

(11) See ibid., no. 49: AAS 58 (1966), 1070 [TPS XI, 291-292].

(12) See Pius XI. encyc. letter Casti connubi: AAS 22 (1930), 560; Pius XII, Address to Midwives: AAS 43 (1951), 843.

(13) See encyc. letter Mater et Magistra: AAS 53 (1961), 447 [TPS VII, 331].

(14) See Council of Trent Roman Catechism, Part II, ch. 8; Pius XI, encyc. letter Casti connubii: AAS 22 (1930), 562-564; Pius XII, Address to Medico-Biological Union of St. Luke: Discorsi e radiomessaggi, VI, 191-192; Address to Midwives: AAS 43 (1951), 842-843; Address to Family Campaign and other family associations: AAS 43 (1951), 857-859; John XXIII, encyc. letter Pacem in terris: AAS 55 (1963), 259-260 [TPS IX, 15-16]; Second Vatican Council, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the World of Today, no. 51: AAS 58 (1966), 1072 [TPS XI, 293].

(15) See Pius XI, encyc. letter Casti connubii: AAS 22 (1930), 565; Decree of the Holy Office, Feb. 22, 1940: AAS 32 (1940), 73; Pius XII, Address to Midwives: AAS 43

(1951), 843-844; to the Society of Hematology: AAS 50 (1958), 734-735 [TPS VI, 394-395].

(16) See Council of Trent Roman Catechism, Part II, ch. 8; Pius XI, encyc. letter Casti connubii: AAS 22 (1930), 559-561; Pius XII, Address to Midwives: AAS 43 (1951), 843; to the Society of Hematology: AAS 50 (1958), 734-735 [TPS VI, 394-395]; John XXIII, encyc.letter Mater et Magistra: AAS 53 (1961), 447 [TPS VII, 331].

(17) See Pius XII, Address to National Congress of Italian Society of the Union of Catholic Jurists: AAS 45 (1953), 798-799 [TPS I, 67-69].

(18) See Rom 3. 8.

(19) See Pius XII, Address to 26th Congress of Italian Association of Urology: AAS 45 (1953), 674-675; to Society of Hematology: AAS 50 (1958), 734-735 [TPS VI, 394-395].

(20) See Pius XII, Address to Midwives: AAS 43 (1951), 846.

(21) See Pius XII, Address to Association of Urology: AAS 45 (1953), 674-675; to leaders and members of Italian Association of Cornea Donors and Italian Association for the Blind: AAS 48 (1956), 461-462 [TPS III, 200-201].

(22) Lk 2. 34.

(23) See Paul Vl, encyc. letter Populorum progressio: AAS 59 (1967), 268 [TPS XII, 151].

(24) See Rom 8.

(25) See Second Vatican Council, Decree on the Media of Social Communication, nos. 6-7: AAS 56 (1964), 147 [TPS IX, 340-341].

(26) Encyc. letter Mater et Magistra: AAS 53 (1961), 447 [TPS VII, 331].

(27) See encyc. letter Populorum progressio, nos. 48-55: AAS 59 (1967), 281-284 [TPS XII, 160-162].

(28) Second Vatican Council, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the World of Today, no. 52: AAS 58 (1966), 1074 [TPS XI, 294].

(29) Address to Family Campaign and other family associations: AAS 43 (1951), 859.

(30) Second Vatican Council, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the World of Today, no. 51: AAS 58 (1966), 1072 [TPS XI, 293].

(31) See Mt 11. 30.

(32) See Second Vatican Council, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the World of Today, no. 48: AAS 58 (1966), 1067-1069 [TPS XI,290-291]; Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, no. 35: AAS 57 (1965), 40-41 [TPS X, 382-383].

(33) Mt 7. 14; see Heb 12. 11.

(34) See Ti 2. 12.

(35) See 1 Cor 7. 31.

(36) Rom 5. 5.

(37) Eph 5. 25, 28-29, 32-33.

(38) See Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, nos. 35, 41: AAS 57 (1965), 40-45 [TPS X, 382-383, 386-387; Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the World of Today, nos. 48-49: AAS 58 (1966),1067-1070 [TPS XI, 290-292]; Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity, no. 11: AAS 58 (1966), 847-849 [TPS XI, 128-129].

(39) See Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, no. 25: AAS 57 (1965), 29-31 [TPS X, 375-376].

(40) 1 Cor 1. 10.

(41) See Jn 3. 17.

Source: The Vatican


return to contents

(The Society of Clerks Secular of Saint Basil)

ST. SEBASTIAN’S and Father Ronald Montanye, S.S.B.

Fr. Montanye is moving Saint Sebastian’s to a new location. The new facility is near an abortion clinic, which may serve to assist the pro-life people who attempt to make God’s desires known to those who would kill little babies. The neighborhood is one which may find welcome, the presence of a house of worship based in the Sacraments, one where there s a Priest who seeks to serve God and no other.


It is planned that Father Deacon Dismas will be ordained to the Priesthood on Sunday, 26 June 2005 A.D. at 10:00 AM Divine Liturgy, at Holy Innocents (New Orleans / Harahan). It is planned that he arrive at Holy Innocents Saturday, for “rehearsal”. All are invited to attend and participate - but we realize that with your regular Sunday commitments this will not be possible for most if not all of you. Fr. Dismas will serve the community in New Carney, Texas, near Houston.


Many of us put food on the table, obtain shelter, and the necessities of life, through secular employment. We support ourselves through employment or self employment. For these Priests it sometimes is difficult to pray Divine Liturgy daily. Indeed, sometimes some Priests are unable to even provide regularly scheduled Sunday Divine Liturgy for the public because of their employment obligations.

But when such a Priest retires from the secular work force, there is opened the most wonderful opportunity, provided the Priest has at least nominal physical ability. For even though the pressures of being able to economically survive may be seemingly overwhelming, there no longer is the obstacle of employment pressures which often disrupt one’s prayer life.

It costs nothing to pray. In the world of mankind there is no money which must be paid so-as-to pray. In the world of mankind there is no money which is lost when one prays, if one is retired from the secular work force.

There is a monetary cost to praying the Divine Liturgy. But that cost can be made to be extremely small. A bottle of inexpensive wine suitable for Sacramental use can be obtain very inexpensively, and only a few drops are needed. Water can be obtained from public drinking fountains or from natural sources. Bread for the Eucharist need not be obtained from commercial church supply house sources, but can be made very inexpensively, or suitable bread obtained if carefully selected from regular commercial sources, and only a little used at any one time with the remainder stored for future use, so that it is conserved. And candles can be omitted if there just is no money with which to obtain them. These are the only consumables, the only things which must be replaced from time to time, to pray the Divine Liturgy. So a very small sum of money can be used to provide the consumables required for hundreds of praying of the Divine Liturgy.

If you think you do not have enough money to purchase even the barest of these, but you do smoke cigarettes, give up two days worth of cigarettes (one day’s worth in New York or Europe) and you can purchase supplies sufficient for months of praying the Divine Liturgy.

You already have the Altar Missal if you pray the Divine Liturgy in English - we have supplied it to you.

You probably have vestments, chalice, and paten, but if you do not, and can not purchase or otherwise obtain these, use something - quite literally anything that will hold liquid - made of metal for a chalice and something to hold the bread for consecration so crumbs will not be lost. And pray the Divine Liturgy.

Yes, pray the Divine Liturgy. Do not just say it. Pray it. Praying the Divine Liturgy is the most important thing you can do. Praying the Divine Liturgy is the most powerful act you can perform, the most powerful act you can make, the most powerful thing you can do.

Your praying the Divine Liturgy can release such Divine Essence, such Grace, upon the most heinous of sinners, so that sinner repents with perfect contrition - even though that sinner is no where near you when you pray the Divine Liturgy.

The Divine Liturgy is your source of spiritual strength, life, sustenance, comfort, and your very essence.

If you do not pray the Divine Liturgy, then what difference is there between you and the man “over there”. The difference between you and the man “over there” will be that he can not pray the Divine Liturgy, but you can. He can not help himself and all other persons in the special way the Divine Liturgy provides, and you can but do not. When he dies, God will not say to the man “over there”, “You abandoned Me and My means for sanctification and salvation of mankind”, but He will say that to you.

Your Priesthood gives you the most extraordinary opportunity. The opportunity every day, to talk with God, all Three Persons of the Blessed Trinity, in the most intimate setting, physically present. And if you are the only living human person there during that Divine Liturgy, you can take your time, go slow, listen to what you are praying, absorb the prayers or some of them, realize each of them in a light different from the last time you prayed them - even if that was yesterday. And you can, if it is just you, you can verbally talk with God and listen to Him as He talks with you.

And if there are others there, well, then you really can not remain kneeling for too long at the triple Amen after the Epiklesis. You can not just kneel there and rest your face on the flesh of Christ’s feet on the cross, or lingeringly feel our Father tenderly stroke your face, or release yourself into the Heart of the Holy Spirit within your own bosom. No, you must arise, and take care of the children, the flock, which the Good Shepherd has entrusted to you for the duration of that Divine Liturgy.

When you are released from the cares of earing a living, even though your retirement from the work force may reduce your financial abilities, the door to increased spiritual abilities, to opportunity to enlarge your spiritual work, is cast wide open.

If you are amongst the unfortunate who can not work, have no income, and are destitute, you may have difficulty finding an advantage, especially if you are hungry and without means of praying the Divine Liturgy.

But if you have at least the bare minimum needed for sustenance, then you can easily pray the Divine Liturgy and in praying it, you can find the greatest of wonders.


It often occurs that there is more than one Saint whose feast is celebrated on a particular day. Occasionally you can combine the Collects and Secrets and use one of the Lessons and Gospels, but this can be very difficult.

Occasionally you can pray more than one Divine Liturgy on that day, but this can be very irregular and really should not be done. An exception is, that you may pray Divine Liturgy for a particular day in accordance with the Liturgical Calendar, and also pray a Requiem in conjunction with a funeral.

An easier way is to rotate the feast days. Thus, if there are two saints who share the same feast day, pray one’s feast day this year, and the other’s the next year. How do you keep them straight; how do you remember which one you prayed last year? The easiest way I have found is to take one of those little yellow stick-em papers, write PRAY NEXT on the part on the side opposite where the sticky stuff is, cut the paper into a small strip, and stick it over or next to the Saint whose feast you are to celebrate next year.

When next year comes, you have this yellow strip of paper telling you to pray that Saint’s feast.

And those sticky papers seem to retain their stickiness for years.


If you have priced book stands at a church supply house, for your altar missal, you probably have suffered “sticker shock”.

Barnes & Noble, the book sellers, has a wood book stand of sufficient size for an altar missal, for around $35.00 US.


If you are in a tropical climate, somewhere where your church interior is exposed to temperatures in excess of 95 F (34.6 C), you may have experienced altar candle sticks drooping, bending, and even popping out of the candle holder due to the expanding air trapped in the base of the candle holder.

If so, this is a good opportunity to change to the ruby (red) vigil candles and their glass candle holders. You can obtain glass vigil candle holders that have a stem which will fit into the “stick” candle holder base, but since there are various sizes of candle holder bases and the ruby colored glass vigil holders have different stem sizes, it is a good idea to bring your regular candle holder base with you when obtaining the glass vigil holders.

The best glass vigil candle holders have a “rubber” grommet, to hold them tight in the candle base.

God Bless,

+ Paul


return to contents


If you think it would have been desirable to have Our Lord remain here on earth and not ascend into heaven, because if we could see and talk with Him we would have a better world, and we ourselves would be more holy, then you do not have a good perspective of how people function and the great advantage given to us by His ascension.

When Our Lord walked the earth hundreds of thousands of people saw Him and saw His miracles, and but a few accepted Him as God and Savior without reservation. It would be the same today.

But in ascending to heaven Our Lord showed His faithful what was the future of the faithful, and in His ascension the way for the Holy Spirit was made ready so the Holy Spirit would come to teach and guide mankind, and be our advocate.

So now we have all three Persons of the Blessed Trinity giving us love, help, and guidance. This, the time after the Ascension, is the time of the Holy Spirit, and it has been His time for almost two thousand years.

The priest invokes the Holy Spirit to change bread and wine into the body and blood of Jesus Christ, to grant absolution and forgiveness of sins, to anoint, baptize, and heal body and soul; and all who pray invoke the Holy Spirit to pray as well as in prayer itself.

Faith is a gift from the Father, and that faith is in Jesus Christ, His teachings, and His promises. But faith without deeds in accordance with that faith is meaningless. It is through the Holy Spirit that we actuate faith, that we act on faith, that we live in accordance with faith. It is through the assistance of the Holy Spirit that we do what faith dictates and requires.

After the resurrection of Our Lord, the Apostles and Disciples had faith and the knowledge which accompanies it, but they did not have fullness of knowledge which comes with that faith, nor did they have the ability to act on that faith and to live that faith. Until the Holy Spirit came, Our Lord’s followers were immobilized, unable to do anything but meet with themselves in closed and locked rooms. But after He came they were able to live their vocations.

We should remember this, that it was only after receiving the Holy Spirit, and accepting Him and working with Him, that the Apostles and Disciples were able to fulfil their vocations. This is true for us as well. If we seek and acquire the Holy Spirit, and work with Him, follow His teachings and guidance, we will be able to fulfill our vocations in all aspects. This means we will be able to properly care for our families and friends, find employment, and most importantly, attain eternal salvation. Even those matters which involve another’s free will are accomplished through the Holy Spirit.

Thus, if you are estranged from someone, reconciliation is through the Holy Spirit. This reconciliation may be fulfilled after your death and the death of the one with whom you are at odds, but without the Holy Spirit reconciliation is impossible. You must pray to the Holy Spirit for this reconciliation, and follow where He leads you, whether it be in doing something or in doing nothing.

If you seek gainful and meaningful employment, it is obtained through the Holy Spirit, even though it is dependent on the free will of others, and God does not interfere with the free will of others. The Holy Spirit accomplishes this in a myriad of ways, in concert with you doing your part, and your part is not just in praying for what you seek, but in holy pursuit of what you seek.

And so its it with everything, absolutely everything, that is good: we must make our lives in harmony with the Holy Spirit.

Ref: James 1:22-27; John 16:23-30


return to contents


Do we greet the Holy Spirit in the same manner that a bird sings greeting to the morning sun and the beginning of day with a song of joy, or do we greet Him as a bird cries to the sky in fear and alarm as when storm clouds approach to cover the sky and the wind gives it warning, or do we anticipate Him coming as does a fool who sees a traveler or a visitor and anticipates stealing his treasure, as it is with those who seek to obtain the gifts of the Holy Spirit not understanding it is impossible to manipulate God?

Ten days after the Lord God Jesus Christ ascended into heaven, the Lord God Holy Spirit descended upon the Theotokos, Apostles, Disciples, and followers of Our Saviour. They knew He was coming, for Our Saviour told them He was coming, but what did they expect? What did they anticipate? Were they ready for Him?

Except for the Theotokos, they did not know what to expect, for, other than the Theotokos, none of them had ever experienced the Holy Spirit in such a direct manner. The most they could expect was Goodness, and that they received.

They anticipated to be enabled to carry out our Savior’s teachings and to teach them more fully to all of mankind; but they had no concept of what that would involve other than it would be work that was just as hard as any other work in which they had engaged. They knew our Savior was born of the Theotokos, ever a virgin, conceived by the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit, and in this they knew of His almighty power and that it would be applied to and through them in various means.

But they were, definitely were, ready for Him.

They did not seek their own well-being, their own glorification, their own power, their own enrichment, or even their own individual self. They sought to do the Will of God, and they knew it was only by the Holy Spirit that they would be able to do the Will of God.

There is no difference today. It is only by the Holy Spirit that we can do the Will of God, and it is only by doing the Will of God that we can be eternally united with God.

We are fortunate, for all of mankind prior to the coming of our Saviour had to await His coming, before the Holy Spirit would make His full manifestation. Since the Descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles at Pentecost, the Holy Spirit has manifested Himself in a myriad of ways and manners, and has also made it possible for us to acquire Him by intense and purposeful prayer and the seeking of a holy life. He does not withhold Himself from those who justly and righteously seek Him; though the manner in which He gives Himself and absorbs us into Him may be difficult to comprehend, for He is God and we mere mortals do not have the ability to comprehend the manner of His functioning.

Just as it was that the Church began to fully function only with the coming of the Holy Spirit, so too can we only be truly complete followers of our Savior upon acquisition and receipt of giving ourselves to the Holy Spirit. Then we will sing the joyful songs of life to the Son of God.

Ref: 1 Peter 4:7-11; John 15:26-27


return to contents

The Feast Of Divine Mercy

Christ God did not die for the righteous and holy, for the righteous and holy are in Heaven. He died for the wicked and sinful. And the wicked and sinful are all who are living who have attained even the slightest level of reason. When we are no longer living, when we are dead, we will no longer be wicked and sinful. We will be either evil, or holy, or in the final purification process which makes us holy.

Suffering can and does touch the Divine Nature of Christ God, for each sin, which is a rejection of God and of His Charity, His Agape Love, His Divine Love, each sin hurts Him in a manner we can not comprehend. But His Divine Nature is not subject to death. It is not subject to the Passion of His death. So Christ God took to Himself in the womb of the Blessed Ever Virgin Mary, the same human nature which He gave to us. He did this so that He would be subject to The Passion and The Death, and thus could offer The Passion and The Death of our eternal salvation.

His Resurrection destroyed death. The glorification of His human nature destroyed suffering. His destruction of suffering and death made suffering and death things which only exist in time but not in eternity.

For us to receive these gifts we have to accept them. For us to accept them we must, we absolutely are required to, follow the teachings of Christ God. Christ’s teachings are stated in the dogma of the Church. The dogma of the Church therefore does not and can not change, for God does not change and His teachings do not change.

Though Christ does not change, He does continually provide us with new opportunities to accept Him and to follow Him. One of these is His revelations through our Roman brothers, to Sister Faustina of The Congregation of Our Lady of Mercy, in the Feast of Divine Mercy.

This great gift requires we place our trust in God, carry out acts of mercy, be in the state of Grace having received the sacrament of penance, and drink of the Fountain of Life by receiving Holy Communion. To prepare for the Feast of Divine Mercy we must make a novena of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy beginning on Good Friday, and each day thereafter through the Octave of Pascha, which is the Feast, the Sunday of Divine Mercy. While praying the novena each day, we must have a special intention for those in need of turning to Christ or who otherwise need special consideration in His guidance. A good example would be, to pray for college students who are in the midst of material temptation on one day; for grammar and high school students who by official acts of government are deprived of exposure to God, on another day. Another good example is, to pray for those who think they are Christians, but do not have and do not believe in the Sacraments, and therefore are not Christians, and another, for those who do not believe in intercessory prayer and therefore do not seek the help of the Blessed Theotokos. On the last day, the Feast of Divine Mercy, the intention should be for those who are lukewarm in Faith, for those for whom God is not a significant part of their life.

And on this last day, the Feast of Divine Mercy, in addition to praying the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, we must go to confession and receive absolution, attend Divine Liturgy and receive Holy Communion.

Christ God promises that those who do these things and pray the novena, will receive complete remission of sins and punishment; that the divine floodgates through which graces flow will be completely opened to them.

This is not magic, where stupid people believe if you make the right sounds and gestures then, wala, something happens. This is a Divine promise, but as with all Divine promises there is the requirement you do your part. There is the requirement you act in Faith, and that your mind, soul, attitude, desires, department, emotions, will, intellect, and every part and aspect of you that you can effect be brought by you (with God’s help) into conformity with God’s will.

But it is a golden opportunity which presents itself to us every year. It is the opportunity to bypass the purification we can expect will be needed after death, the purification which both Saint Peter and Saint Paul state to expect; and to receive that purification in this life. And most important, it is something which we actually can do.

In doing it we will change. It may take days, weeks, months, years, even decades - but we will change if we persist. That change will be to overcome sin, to closer approach holiness, to distance ourselves further from wickedness, to become closer to God, to become more acceptable to God.

We have pamphlets on the Chaplet of Divine Mercy and holy cards with the Image of Mercy and the Chaplet which are free (send a SASE). And we have information on it on our web site.

You are urged to begin the novena on Good Friday and to continue it to the end. It is too late this year, so do it next year, but begin praying the Chaplet today. On the Sunday of Divine Mercy, the Octave of Pascha, we will be available every year for confession before and after Divine Liturgy, and will pray the Chaplet before and after Divine Liturgy for those who may forget to pray it on the last day. It is that important.

Ref: Phili 2:5-11; The Passion according to Saint Matthew


return to contents



34. Jesus Rises from the Dead

AS the morning of the third day dawned Jesus rose from the dead, and came forth from the grave in all His glory. At the same time there was a great earthquake. An angel of the Lord came down from heaven, rolled away the stone from the sepulcher and sat upon it. His countenance was as lightning, and his garment as white as snow. When the guards saw the angel, they were struck with terror, and fell to the ground as if they were dead.

2. At the same hour some pious women went out to the grave to annoint the body of Jesus. When they came to the sepulcher they saw that it was empty. And the angel said to them: "Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He is risen, He is not here. Go, tell all His disciples and Peter."

1. When did Jesus rise from the dead?
What of the angel?
What happened to the guards?
2. Who went to the sepulcher at the same hour?
What did the angel say to them?

35. Jesus Appears to His Disciples

ON the evening of the same day the apostles and some other disciples were gathered together in the supper-room at Jerusalem. As they were in fear of the Jews, they had closed the doors. And suddenly Jesus appeared among them, and said to them: "Peace be to you. It is I, fear not." Then the disciples rejoiced to see their Lord and Master.

2. But Jesus spoke again: "Peace be to you. As the Father has sent Me, I also send you." Then breathing upon them He said: "Receive ye the Holy Ghost. Whose sins ye shall forgive, they are forgiven them: and whose sins ye shall retain, they are retained." Then Jesus vanished out of their sight.

1. Where were the disciples gathered on the evening of that same day?
2. How did Jesus give them power to forgive sins?


return to contents

The Orthodox - Basilian
Catechism No. 1

Q. 327. Could not false accounts of these miracles have been written after the death of Our Lord?
A. False accounts of these miracles could not have been written after the death of Our Lord; for then neither His friends nor His enemies would have believed them without proof. Moreover, the enemies of Christ did not deny the miracles, but tried to explain them by attributing them to the power of the devil or other causes. Again, the Apostles and the Evangelists who wrote the accounts suffered death to testify their belief in the words and works of Our Lord.

Q. 328. Did Jesus Christ die to redeem all men of every age and race without exception?
A. Jesus Christ died to redeem all men of every age and race without exception; and every person born into the world should share in His merits, without which no one can be saved.

Q. 329. How are the merits of Jesus Christ applied to our souls?
A. The merits of Jesus Christ are applied to our souls through the Sacraments, and especially through Baptism and Penance, which restore us to the friendship of God.

Q. 330. What do you believe of Jesus Christ?
A. I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the second Person of the Blessed Trinity, true God and true man.

Q. 331. Cannot we also be called the Children of God, and therefore His sons and daughters?
A. We can be called the Children of God because He has adopted us by His grace or because He is the Father who has created us; but we are not, therefore, His real Children; whereas, Jesus Christ, His only real and true Son, was neither adopted nor created, but was begotten of His Father from all eternity.

Q. 332. Why is Jesus Christ true God?
A. Jesus Christ is true God because He is the true and only Son of God the Father.

Q. 333. Why is Jesus Christ true man?
A. Jesus Christ is true man because He is the Son of the Blessed Virgin Mary and has a body and soul and spirit like ours.

Q. 334. Who was the foster father or guardian of Our Lord while on earth?
A. St. Joseph, the husband of the Blessed Virgin, was the foster-father or guardian of Our Lord while on earth.

Q. 335. Is Jesus Christ in heaven as God or as man?
A. Since His Ascension Jesus Christ is in heaven both as God and as man.

Q. 336. How many natures are there in Jesus Christ?
A. In Jesus Christ there are two natures, the nature of God and the nature of man.

Q. 337. Is Jesus Christ more than one person?
A. No. Jesus Christ is but one Divine Person.

Q. 338. From what do we learn that Jesus Christ is but one person?
A. We learn that Jesus Christ is but one person from Holy Scripture and from the constant teaching of the Church, which has condemned all those who teach the contrary.

Q. 339. Was Jesus Christ always God?
A. Jesus Christ was always God, as He is the second person of the Blessed Trinity, equal to His Father from all eternity.

Q. 340. Was Jesus Christ always man?
A. Jesus Christ was not always man, but became man at the time of His Incarnation.

Q. 341. What do you mean by the Incarnation?
A. By the Incarnation I mean that the Son of God was made man.

Q. 342. How was the Son of God made man?
A. The Son of God was conceived and made man by the power of the Holy Spirit, in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Q. 343. Is the Blessed Virgin Mary truly the Mother of God?
A. The Blessed Virgin Mary is truly the Mother of God, because the same Divine Person who is the Son of God is also the Son of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Q. 344. Did the Son of God become man immediately after the sin of our first parents?
A. The Son of God did not become man immediately after the sin of our first parents, but was promised to them as a Redeemer.

Q. 345. How many years passed from the time Adam sinned till the time the Redeemer came?
A. Using Biblical chronology, about 4,000 years passed from the time Adam sinned till the time the Redeemer came.

Q. 346. What was the moral condition of the world just before the coming of Our Lord?
A. Just before the coming of Our Lord the moral condition of the world was very bad. Idolatry, injustice, cruelty, immorality and horrid vices were common almost everywhere.


return to contents

What is the Royal Priesthood of the People

Sacred Scripture often makes reference to Christians being members of a priesthood. All Christians, people who believe Christ is the Son of God, God, the second Person of the Blessed Trinity and who are followers of Christ, are said to be priests.

Many take this to mean that each Christian can confect the Sacraments; that any Christian can change bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ, that the laity is equal to the Priesthood in all things and that the only function of the Priest is to be a prayer leader.

But this is not what is meant by the priesthood of the people.

Every Christian is a priest in that every Christian offers his and her self to God as a sacrifice in union with Christ at the Last Supper and on the cross

In making this offering of self, each Christian follows Christ and does what Christ did. As Christ offered Himself, He was both the Priest making the offering, and the Offering, the Sacrifice, itself. So too, is each true Christian. So too does each true Christian, in offering his and her self, become the priest making that offering of self.

But this is not the same as the ordained Priest confecting the Blessed Sacrament.

The individual Christian can offer his and her self with Christ on the cross. But it is in the Divine Liturgy that all are united with Christ at the Last Supper and on the cross. It is in the Divine Liturgy prayed by the ordained Priest, that the Blessed Sacrament is confected, and we eat His flesh and drink His blood that we may have life in us. It is in the Divine Liturgy that the individual offering of self is perfected in the Holy Sacrifice of the Divine Liturgy.

Now this cautionary note:

Do not, repeat, do not, fasten two wood boards together in the form of a cross, and then nail your self to that cross or have someone nail you to that cross. Also, do not injure yourself or have yourself injured, and do not kill yourself or have yourself killed - such is not making sacrifice nor are such injuries or death accepted by God.

For those who think, it may seem strange that this cautionary note is stated or even remotely deemed necessary: there are many who do not think, or who do not comprehend, or who do not think clearly. This note is for them.


return to contents


He is called the Spirit of God, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, the steadfast Spirit, the guiding Spirit; but His principal, most accurate, and most personal title is the Holy Spirit.

He makes us like Himself by communion with Himself, for He is the living water. He is the source of our life, like sunlight without which we will die, the light which falls on everyone, lighting the way for everyone, but who can be avoided by those who desire to avoid Him, and thus they walk in darkness.

The Holy Spirit illuminates The Way taught by Christ, and that Way was taught by Christ on the instruction of the Father. Without the Holy Spirit, we are unable to see the path to salvation, and stray, but with His light we see clearly where we are to go, what we are to do, follow, and accept, and also see clearly that which we are to avoid.

Just as water brings life, so too does the Holy Spirit bring life; and just as water can destroy that which resists it, so too does the Holy Spirit destroy all who resist Him.

Just as natural water comes from many sources, from the sky, the mountains, snow and ice, springs, and under ground rivers, so too does the Holy Spirit come to us from many places. The Holy Spirit can come to us like a massive hurricane, or a tornado, or a thunder storm, with howling winds and flashing, monstrous bolts of lightening, and booming thunder. He can also come to us as a gentle rain falling from a cloudless sky on a warm summer day - a mysterious blessing without apparent cause.

He can be like flood waters in a mountain canyon, sweeping everything, good and evil, before Him, or he can be like a mighty river, deep and swift, yet irrigating the farms of our souls wherein grows the food of life, Jesus Christ, and replenishing the land of our hearts with new soil in which the seeds of virtue will grow strong.

The Holy Spirit is like the water dripping in a cave, one drop falling every hour, and over time, making some persons to be like stalactites clinging to heaven, and others to be like stalagmites, thrusting up towards heaven from the slimy depths of depravation.

The Father has set the standards which we are to follow. The Son has shown us how to attain those standards and has atoned for our failures if we steadily follow Him. The Holy Spirit unites us with Our Saviour in Charity, makes it easy for us to grow in holiness through possession of Himself and through His possession of us, and it is through the same Holy Spirit that we are invincibly fortified against the wiles of Satan and the baseness of mankind and nature.

We can be good if we follow the natural law which God the Father established and which Our Savior enacted in the creation, but it is through the Holy Spirit that we become more than good, we become Holy. Remember, a good person may or may not attain eternal salvation, but a holy person will attain eternal salvation. Holiness therefore should be our goal, for a holy person is also a good person, but a good person is not always a holy person.

We often hear prayers that the Holy Spirit will unite the races and nations of the earth to proclaim the glory of God. Such prayers are foolish, for they focus on man. Instead, those praying for world peace should pray for world peace, and those praying for the salvation of mankind should pray for the salvation of mankind, and those who pray for unity of mankind should instead pray that all of mankind become holy, for all who are holy are united both in this life and in the next, and that union is union in, with, and through Christ, in the unity of the Holy Spirit.

We are like a bowl of freshly milled flour. Each of us is a separate particle, sifting one over the others. The Holy Spirit is the water which unites us into one mass of dough. The risen Christ is our leavening, and our life on earth transforms us either into under-baked or over-baked trash, or into the Bread of Heaven.

Finally, always remember that it is through the Holy Spirit that we live at peace in and with God.

Ref: Acts 2:1-11; John 14:23-31


return to contents

Especially if they act in an insane manner
Insanity - Repetition of the same act with the expectation of a different result.
So, what is one who wishes to help, to do?

When Mr. A was a child, he became accustomed to hit Mr. B on the foot with a little toy hammer several times each day. Mr. B, for what ever reason(s), allowed this to continue as Mr. A grew from immature adolescence to immature middle age. As Mr. A grew older, he changed from a little toy hammer, to a full sized carpenter hammer, and then to a 20 pound mall (sludge hammer).

As a result of the constant, daily beating of his foot, Mr. B eventually became so crippled that he could no longer walk without assistance - not to mention he lived in constant pain to which he became acclimated. He eventually required a walking stick, then crutches, and eventually could no longer walk even with these aids.

Ms. C, observing Mr. B’s inability to walk, offered her assistance, which Mr. B accepted. He was able to walk only while leaning on Ms. C’s shoulder. His weight was difficult for Ms. B to carry, but carry it she did as best she could.

However, Mr. B continued to allow Mr. A to beat on his foot with the hammer. The damage to Mr. B’s foot continued and increased unabated. Eventually he became so crippled that Ms. C was only able to help him walk very short distances.

When it was mentioned to Mr. B, that if he would simply tell Mr. A to stop hitting his foot with the hammer, that once the constant infliction of damage to his foot ceased, his foot would heal, and he would be able to walk unassisted, Mr. A became hostile.

In truth, Mr. B could have requested Mr. A cease hitting his foot at any time. If Mr. A would have refused, Mr. B had legal recourse which would have immediately removed Mr. A’s ability to hit Mr. B’s foot with the hammer. That legal recourse could also have been used to force Mr. A to provide walking assistance to Mr. B, and also used to provide Mr. B with balm for his pain. Once the daily damage to his foot ceased, Mr. B’s foot would have begun to heal. Ms. C would have been better able to assist Mr. B as his foot healed. Eventually Mr. B would have been able to return to use of the crutches, and then progressed to use of a walking stick, and eventually been able to walk unassisted. Because of the residual damage to his foot, he never would be able to walk as well as he would had the damage never been inflicted, or had it been halted when Mr. A was very young. But heal his foot would, were the constant infliction of damage made to cease.

Since Mr. B refused to stop Mr. A from pounding Mr. B’s foot, Ms. C’s assistance to Mr. B eventually became ineffective.

Ms. C then became in the same position as Mr. B, in this manner. Mr. B, though he had the ability to assist himself, refused to assist himself by stopping Mr. A. Ms. C’s attempts to assist Mr. B became ineffective because Mr. B refused to stop Mr. A. If Ms. C continues to attempt to help Mr. B to walk, neither she nor Mr. B will move, because Mr. B refuses to stop Mr. A from hitting his foot.

So, if Ms. C wishes to move from where she is, she either has to stop trying to carry Mr. B, or Mr. B has to stop Mr. A from hitting his foot.

If Ms. C does not move, she will die. If Mr. B does not move, he will die. But if Mr. A stops hitting Mr. B’s foot, Mr. A himself will also become better.

Insanity is . . .


return to contents

Psalms Chapter 106 (107)

Confitemini Domino.

All are invited to give thanks to God for his perpetual providence over men..


106:1. Give glory to the Lord, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.

106:2. Let them say so that have been redeemed by the Lord, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy: and gathered out of the countries.

106:3. From the rising and from the setting of the sun, from the north and from the sea.

106:4. They wandered in a wilderness, in a place without water: they found not the way of a city for their habitation.

106:5. They were hungry and thirsty: their soul fainted in them.

106:6. And they cried to the Lord in their tribulation: and he delivered them out of their distresses.

106:7. And he led them into the right way, that they might go to a city of habitation.

106:8. Let the mercies of the Lord give glory to him: and his wonderful works to the children of men.

106:9. For he hath satisfied the empty soul, and hath filled the hungry soul with good things.

106:10. Such as sat in darkness and in the shadow of death: bound in want and in iron.

106:11. Because they had exasperated the words of God: and provoked the counsel of the most High:

106:12. And their heart was humbled with labours: they were weakened, and there was none to help them.

106:13. Then they cried to the Lord in their affliction: and he delivered them out of their distresses.

106:14. And he brought them out of darkness, and the shadow of death; and broke their bonds in sunder.

106:15. Let the mercies of the Lord give glory to him, and his wonderful works to the children of men.

106:16. Because he hath broken gates of brass, and burst iron bars.

106:17. He took them out of the way of their iniquity: for they were brought low for their injustices.

106:18. Their soul abhorred all manner of meat: and they drew nigh even to the gates of death.

106:19. And they cried to the Lord in their affliction: and he delivered them out of their distresses.

106:20. He sent his word, and healed them: and delivered them from their destructions.

106:21. Let the mercies of the Lord give glory to him: and his wonderful works to the children of men.

106:22. And let them sacrifice the sacrifice of praise: and declare his works with joy.

106:23. They that go down to the sea in ships, doing business in the great waters:

106:24. These have seen the works of the Lord, and his wonders in the deep.

106:25. He said the word, and there arose a storm of wind: and the waves thereof were lifted up.

106:26. They mount up to the heavens, and they go down to the depths: their soul pined away with evils.

106:27. They were troubled, and reeled like a drunken man; and all their wisdom was swallowed up.

106:28. And they cried to the Lord in their affliction: and he brought them out of their distresses.

106:29. And he turned the storm into a breeze: and its waves were still.

106:30. And they rejoiced because they were still: and he brought them to the haven which they wished for.

106:31. Let the mercies of the Lord give glory to him, and his wonderful works to the children of men.

106:32. And let them exalt him in the church of the people: and praise him in the chair of the ancients.

106:33. He hath turned rivers into a wilderness: and the sources of waters into dry ground:

106:34. A fruitful land into barrenness, for the wickedness of them that dwell therein.

106:35. He hath turned a wilderness into pools of waters, and a dry land into water springs.

106:36. And hath placed there the hungry; and they made a city for their habitation.

106:37. Anti they sowed fields, and planted vineyards: and they yielded fruit of birth.

106:38. And he blessed them, and they were multiplied exceedingly: and their cattle he suffered not to decrease.

106:39. Then they were brought to be few: and they were afflicted through the trouble of evils and sorrow.

106:40. Contempt was poured forth upon their princes: and he caused them to wander where there was no passing, and out of the way.

106:41. And he helped the poor out of poverty: and made him families like a flock of sheep.

106:42. The just shall see, and shall rejoice, and all iniquity shall stop her mouth.

106:43. Who is wise, and will keep these things; and will understand the mercies of the Lord?

+ + +

return to contents

Correspondence from Roman Catholic Metropolitan Archbishop Alfred
Hughes regarding transmitting the request of The Society of Clerks Secular
of Saint Basil to be in communion with Rome while remaining Orthodox and autocephalic.



return to contents


(The Editors reserve the right to reject any submissions, and to edit as necessary. Letters must be typed, single space, signed, and include the sender's name address, and day and evening telephone numbers - If your typed letter is acompanied by an ASCII DOS Text copy on a floppy, we will thank you with extra prayers - Ed.)

return to contents


The direct connection to the computer which functions as the message, file, and communications center for The Society of Clerks Secular of Saint Basil, is:

Issues of REUNION, in color, in Adobe PDF and HTML, are available at:

On Line Chat Room: at the main web site log-in http://www.reu.org You have to register with the system before you can use it, and it is best to send e-mail to set a "chat schedule".

Current Active Mailing Lists Originating From BasilNet
The Society of Clerks Secular of Saint Basil - The Basilian Fathers

Each ML has its own rules, which are posted in the ML on a regular basis. Abbreviated commands are also in the signature of each ML message sent via e-mail. You must have permission from the appropriate ML administrator to gate a ML.


Prayer requests operates under a simple premise. When we pray for each other we fulfill a portion of our Christian duty. Prayers for the living and for the dead are allowed and welcome. Those who make prayer requests agree to include the prayer requests of all who make them here. Prayer requests MUST be moral and for moral purposes . . . hopefully morality will not have to be defined at length (i.e.: use common sense).

Participants and subscribers agree to honor the moral prayer requests posted, and to pray for those intentions and persons for at least one week.


Every day we try to post a Chapter of one of the Books of the Bible on the ML for discussion. This began with Genesis, Chapter 1, and continued to the end of Genesis, and so on to the next Book. Discussion is not limited to the Chapter posted each day. We use the Douay-Rheims translation which, while it sometimes has editorial comments biased against the Orthodox Church, is a basically a good, non political translation.


A place to exchange sermons by Christians. POSTERS must be, and certify they are: male; duly ordained Priests, Deacons, Ministers, or seminarians of, a Christian Church, Jurisdiction, or Religion; that the Creed of the Council of Nicea is the Creed, or expresses the basic dogma, of the Church of which each participant is a member. Rabbi may participate and post. (Us Christians may learn something). ANYONE may RECEIVE the ML.

When you post in this ML you must provide your church/religious affiliation in the post.


The STUDIES ML is a list which studies Orthodoxy and the Theology/Dogma of the Holy Catholic Apostolic Church. We attempt to have the text of what ever book/publication we are using posted in pertinent parts during the discussions. This is a slow moving ML, primarily because most people do not wish to or have the time to or are not inclined to read and study as is required for participation in a ML such as this. However, for those who do, it is well worth the effort.


This is a mailing list designed to promote and further reunification of the Holy Orthodox Catholic and Apostolic Church with the Holy Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church and all other Jurisdictions of the Body of Christ; and to bring each and every human being into union with Christ Jesus our Lord. Activity - very light.


This ML sends REUNION (publication) to its subscribers, without the pictures and graphics which are in the paper publication. The ML does support discussion, and discussions encouraged. Mainly used for those who desire to receive the Newsletter but do not have access to the WWW (each issue is available on-line), those for whom telephone access to the BBS part of the system is not readily available, and those to whom we can not send a free print copy.

If you are already registered to use the message and file center for the Basilian Fathers, you may link to the listserver directly by logging in, selecting SUBSCRIBE MAILING LISTS in the menu and entering your e-mail address for the ML to which you wish to subscribe. If you are not already registered as a "user" you may go to the log-in menu, register, and then use the automatic system.
You can e-mail commands to the listserver using the addresses and commands below:

BasilNet ReuNet HIOC BBS Listserver E-mail Commands

If you experience problems with the ML or listserver you may contact the system administrator (sysop) via e-mail to Sysop@reu.org

User Commands

Subscribe to an email list.
To subscribe to a mailing list, send a message to:
In the message area put:
subscribe studies
subscribe sermons
subscribe prayers
subscribe bible-day
subscribe one-body

Unsubscribe from an email list.

Make yourself inactive on the list. This is good for when you leave on vacation, or just don't want any email for a while.

Make yourself active on the list again.

Request an information file from the server. The list administrator may set up files for you to retrieve that may contain various information. Do not use a file extension.

help Retreives this information.

Retrieves information on email lists hosted by this server

Please note: our e-mail system uses spam filters which are set very strictly, to the extent they even block out entire networks if those networks have a history of sending, relaying, or otherwise being involved in sending spam to our system. Many of the words in our spam filter are sometimes used in non-spam e-mail. If your e-mail is bounced, you may log on to the BBS and contact whomever it is you desire directly in Conference mail area 0 (zero), so we can add your e-mail address to our filter by-pass.


return to contents


REUNION is a religious publication with offices at the address given below. Circulation is approximately . All contents are copyright ©, May 30, 2005 A.D., REUNION, unless separately copyrighted, and may be reproduced without permission provided credit is given. All by-lined articles may be used by the author without permission at any time. Literary contributions are welcome; no fee will be paid for same; editorial control will be maintained by REUNION. All submissions for publication are made subject to these provisions, and must bear the name, address, telephone number, and signature of the contributor.
The sole purpose of this publication is to comply with the teachings and instructions of Jesus Christ, second person of the Trinity God, and to further His kingdom.

*** SUBSCRIPTIONS: REUNION is published in both print and electronic (computer/BBS) format. Publication dates are irregular. It is available free for downloading from REUNION NETWORK (see information below), or by e-mail mailing list subscription (which is free) to REU_PUB@REU.ORG with the message SUBSCRIBE REU_PUB YOUR NAME. Just because an issue is published in REUNION BBS does not mean it will be print published also. Print publication distribution is to (in order of prefernce): financially contributing parishioners of Holy Innocents Orthodox Church (Harahan / New Orleans) or of St. Mary Magdalene Orthodox Church (Waveland, Miss.); publication swaps; those who pick up a copy and those who request a "free" subscription (if any are left); **** those who make a donation of $30.00 (or more) to Holy Innocents Orthodox Church will be mailed each print published issue of REUNION for one calendar year from the date the donation is received. A donation does not create an obligation for us to publish.
We try to publish between four and twelve issues per year, and to print publish each electronically published issue, but do not guarantee to do so due to staffing and finances.
Telephones / electronic addresses:
Holy Innocents (504) 738-3502;
311 Hickory Avenue
Harahan, Louisiana 70123 USA
FAX by arrangement
BBS telnet reu.org
Changes regarding receipt of REUNION, including cancellation, should be noted on the form opposite and sent in with your address label.
+ Paul, S.S.B.
Publisher .

+ The Basilians - The Basilian Fathers +

If you wish to receive REUNION please see **** above,
and fill in your name and address below and send to:
Holy Innocents Orthodox Church
311 Hickory Avenue
Harahan, Louisiana 70123




State_________ Zip____________

return to contents

(The Society of Clerks Secular of Saint Basil)


If you wish someone to be included in our payer and Divine Liturgy intentions, please just fill in the form below and send it to us - but do not send any money. Prayers are free, the cards cost money.

Dear Father,
Please include and remember

_____________________________________________ in
the Divine Liturgy and Prayers for the (living - dead) at Holy
Innocents Orthodox Church and its sister and mission places
of worship during the next thirty days, beginning
_____________________, 20_______, on the occasion of
If special date enter MM/DD: ________/_________
Requested by (optional)
(City, State Zip)

Please mail this slip to:
Holy Innocents Orthodox Church
311 Hickory Avenue
Harahan, Louisiana 70123
or telephone (504) 738-3502
[Please note that prayer requests are also normally posted in REUNION BBS http://www.reu.org with world wide access and in the Prayers mailing list]

When you send us a prayer request, and it is for someone who is ill, please let us know if the illness is life threatening, or if it is not life threatening. If the illness is terminal but death is not imminent, let us know. If death is imminent - appearing to be within a few days or immediate, let us know. And if death appears to be coming “right now”, let us know. There are different Divine Liturgies for each of these situations.

And remember to request prayers of thanksgiving. God likes to be thanked when you are blessed with a good spouse, or a raise, or good children.


return to contents








Country (if not USA)_____________________________________

SHIP TO (If same as above, please enter "same" on Name line):





Country (if not USA)_____________________________________

Each of these publications is available on our web site for free download. Since you can obtain them free, if you wish to obtain a copy of any of these publications from us, it is obvious that you wish to do so for the purpose of making an donation - which we deeply appreciate.

Propriety requires the total requested donation amount accompany your products request. Send product request with donation in US funds to:

Holy Innocents Orthodox Church
311 Hickory Ave.
Harahan, Louisiana 70123
CATCSM2.PUB The Orthodox - Basilian Catechism No. 1 $ 15.00 . .
MISSALET.PUB Gregorian Divine Liturgy (Western Rite) Pew Size $ 7.00 . .
REQUIEMMS.PUB Gregorian Western Rite Divine Liturgy for the Dead - Requiem - Pew Size $ 7.00 . .
WEDDINGMS.PUB Gregorian - Western Rite Betrothal Liturgy and the Wedding or Marriage Liturgy combined with the Western Rite Divine Liturgy - Pew size $ 7.00 . .
ORDAINITIONSMS.PUB Rites of Office: Taper-bearer, Setting Apart of Readers, The Manner of Ordination of Sub-deacons And of Deacons (And of Elevation of Archdeacons), And Priests (And of Making Archpriests, Institution of Abbot and Elevation of Archimandrite and Mitered Archpriests), and of Consecrating a Bishop Within the Gregorian Divine Liturgy - as used by the Society of Clerks Secular of Saint Basil, Pew size $ 7.00 . .
DEACONSLITURGYMS.PUB Gregorian - Western Rite Deacon's Liturgy / Liturgy of the Presanctified - Pew size $ 7.00 . .
PALMSUMS.PUB Gregorian Divine Liturgy for the Second Sunday of Passion Time Palm Sunday - Pew size $ 10.00 . .
TRIDUUMMS.PUB The Triduum (Parts One and Two) Liturgies for Holy Thursday and Good Friday Pascha (Easter) Being in a Separate Volume - Pew size $ 10.00 . .
PASCHAMS.PUB THE TRIDUUM (Part Three) LITURGIES FOR PASCHA (EASTER) Including those for Holy Saturday Evening the Liturgies for Holy Thursday and Good Friday being in another volume. - Pew size $ 10.00 . .
BAPTSMMS.PUB The Office of Holy Baptism Including Prayers at the Reception of Catechumens and the Office of Holy Chrismation with Litanies as Used by the Society of Clerks Secular of Saint Basil - Pew size $ 7.00 . .
CH_BI_H5.PUB Child's Bible History - A Bible History for Children $ 7.00 . .
STATIONBENE.PUB Stations of the Cross and Adoration and Benediction of the Blessed Mystery According to the Western Rite of the Holy Eastern Orthodox Church - Pew size $ 5.00 . .
SSBHISTORY.PUB THE SOCIETY OF CLERKS SECULAR OF SAINT BASIL (The Basilian Fathers) HISTORY OF ITS FORMATION (History of the Formation of The Society of Clerks Secular of Saint Basil) - Second Edition $ 15.00 . .
. . . . .
CD with the above publications plus the Altar Book (Missal) in Adobe PDF format and several additional files and programs. This is not a "self starting" CD. $ 10.00 . .
. . . . .
. . . . .
. . . . .
. SUB TOTAL . . .
. . . . .
. TOTAL . . $


Value $ up to $10.00 Add $4.00
Value $10.01 to $25.00 Add $6.00
Value $25.01 to $50.00 Add $8.00
Value $50.01 to $75.00 Add $10.00
Value $75.01 to $100.00 Add $12.00
Value $100.01 to $150.00 Add $16.00

Outside of USA please telephone or
send e-mail or regular mail inquiry.

*Subject to change without notice

return to contents

End Vol. 13 No. 2 REUNION