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Copyright © 2017, B.F.S. All rights reserved. Newsletter - March, 2017 [Plain text version]

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* Greetings

* MCS News & Notes

* The Month of March: Dedicated to St. Joseph

* Resources for Lent

* "Trust your soul to the fatherly care of St. Joseph..."

* Liturgical Feasts in March

* 'Catholic Trivia' [Themed: Sin]

* Defending the Faith: "Apologetics Brief" - Do You Criticize the Catholic Church For Her Use of Ashes on Ash Wednesday?

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Dear Friend,

Greetings to you as we enter the penitential season of Lent. We pray your Lent will be spiritually beneficial and a worthy preparation for the joy of Easter. As our Lord instructs, 'Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.'" (Mt. 16:24)

On our end, we have been very busy as the (much sooner than anticipated) switch to a new server was initiated just a few days after our last newsletter was sent. At the time of this writing, the transition is still in process, with a lot more work left to go. These transitions are always challenging, so any prayers would be greatly appreciated. For more information on the transition, please see below.

We likewise keep all visitors to our site in our prayers.

May God bless & keep you,

Your Friends at

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"Grant us, we beseech Thee, O Lord, the help of Thy grace: that we being duly intent on fasts and prayers, we may be delivered from enemies of soul and body. Through our Lord." (Collect)

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MCS News & Notes

* New Server Update: In our last newsletter we mentioned the future need to switch to a new server. We had hoped that we could postpone the transition until Summer. However, to our surprise, we were 'forced' to start the transition process just a few days after that newsletter was sent out. We had been working with our host to resolve some issues on the old server, particularly with failing backups. Several fixes were tried, but ultimately all were without success. Also, hardening the old server for security suddenly caused a loss of functionality in some key areas. The host's "collectively agreed upon" solution to all issues was to migrate to a new server with a newer OS. Therefore, we had to make a quick change in plans and transition to a new server. Of course, the timing was very undesirable on our end (being so near Lent), but it really couldn't be helped. When the decision was made, we began immediately, hopeful that we could avoid issues to our visitors during Lent. At first we hit a significant delay (on our host's end, which was out of our control) which put us quite behind from the start. Afterwards, we configured & tested the new server, put the new server through multiple security scans, and finally, went live with the new server. Unfortunately, however, we subsequently had to add a missing component to the server (needed by some software we use). This new addition caused compatibility issues that have proven very challenging. As a result, we had to revert back to the old server while we work on resolving remaining issues. Unfortunately, much of the previous work we did to ready the new server will need to be redone before we can place it into service again (e.g. additional configuration changes, more testing & security scanning). At this time, we do not yet have a timeframe for completion. We are optimistic that the sending of this newsletter will not be affected (although we anticipate that the newsletter will be sent out a little early). Next month's newsletter, however, may be another matter (hopefully we will be able to send a 4/17 newsletter, but if we do it is possible/likely that it will be sent out either several days early or a few days late). Also, along with a transition to a new server comes new IP numbers and, unfortunately, new IP numbers mean we do not keep our current email reputation, which tends to mean email delivery issues for a while until we build up a new reputation. Also, please note that during the transition process, there may be functionality issues, and also issues with accessibility, forms, etc. We apologize in advance for any inconvenience. For updates on the transition process, please try our Notices page at . [Note: In the event that we need to post an update(s) and cannot access the server, we may post update(s) on our blog at .] Thank you for your support and prayers during this very challenging transition!

* 'Exclusive New Content': As mentioned last month, we have commissioned some exclusive articles to be penned by an experienced journalist. The journalist, a Catholic who worked for the Orange County Register for 29 years, is now engaging in freelance work. Since that time, we have commissioned an additional 5 articles from this same writer, for a total of 9 articles. We are excited to have this new feature for our site. The articles have been received and should be available for viewing after the server transition is complete (see item above). We plan to include a link for the articles in an upcoming newsletter, but in the meantime, an update may be added to our What's New page at

* Updated Search Category: For easier access, the 'User-Submitted Articles' category on our search page (at ) will be expanded to include the 'MCS Exclusive' articles referenced above.

* Reminder: A plenary indulgence may be available for Fridays in Lent. For more information on indulgences, please see

* Some St. Patrick's Day Resources: Breastplate of St. Patrick - | Shamrock Coloring Page -

* Some Annunciation Resources: Blessed Virgin Mary (Topic Page) - | Annunciation / Incarnation (Reflections) - | Annunciation Coloring Pages -

* Excess Lending Library Titles Update: We are happy to report that all excess Lending Library books that we received have now been forwarded to individuals/priests/parishes/lending libraries. We thank the generous donors for their contributions and hope that all books will be put to good use. When we are able, we plan to update our Lending Library to reflect currently available selections. Unfortunately, we are quite behind at this time, so we do not know when this update will occur.

 * Service Delays: Due to medical reasons, please continue to expect some sporadic delays in all correspondence & services (including processing of posts) for the foreseeable future. We apologize for any inconvenience and thank you for any prayers.

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- - - - - App News...

* Perfect for Lent! If you don't already own iStations, why not purchase it for use this Lent (and beyond)? iStations is a great devotional app which is perfect for those times when you can't make it to your parish for the Stations of the Cross. The app includes two traditional methods of praying the Stations of the Cross, a convenient audio option with optional auto-advance, beautiful images, easy navigation, and selected prayers in English & Latin. Get your copy today! Download it at or [an iOS version is presently available at ]

 * Also Perfect for Lent: If you could use a quick & easy - but powerful - devotion to grow closer to Christ, please consider purchasing our latest apps, My Crucifix & My Crucifix for iPad®, which are still available for sale at a discounted price. For more information, screenshots & to purchase, please try the following links...

Download My Crucifix For the iPad®, iPhone®, and iPod touch® at

Download My Crucifix For the iPad® at

Your purchase helps keep online. Thank you for your support!

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* If you have any thoughts to share regarding our apps, please contact us using the e-mail address provided in the app or online at

* For more information concerning currently available apps, please visit (shortcut: ), or visit the applicable app store

Note: Any prices included herein are in U.S. dollars, excluding any applicable tax.

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* Please see our Notices page at for dates of anticipated service delays through August 2017.

* To shop at in support of, please use this link: (shortcut ). You can shop here for books, household & office products, Catholic items, electronics, and much more. Already shop at It doesn't cost any extra to shop at Amazon using this link, yet we can benefit from your purchases. Thank you for your support!

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* Please visit our Notices page for timely news and other important information regarding -

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The Month of March: Dedicated to St. Joseph

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"Eleazar became the father of Matthan, Matthan the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary. Of her was born Jesus who is called the Messiah." (Mt. 1:15-16)

"Foster-father of the Son of God, pray for us. Watchful defender of Christ, pray for us. Head of the Holy Family, pray for us." (From the Litany of St. Joseph)

"Some saints are privileged to extend to us their patronage with particular efficacy in certain needs, but not in others; but our holy patron St. Joseph has the power to assist us in all causes, in every necessity, in every undertaking." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

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Related Resources...

* St. Joseph (Topic Page) -

* St. Joseph (Reflections) -

* Prayers to St. Joseph -

* 'Quamquam Pluries' (Pope Leo XIII, On Devotion to St. Joseph) -

* The Holy Family (Topic Page) -

* St. Joseph (Coloring Page) -

=> Note: The Novena to St. Joseph, said daily from 3/11 through 3/19, may be found here -

Looking For Something Else? Try Our Various Indexes For 15,000+ Entries -

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"When hunger came to be felt throughout the land of Egypt and the people cried to Pharaoh for bread, Pharaoh directed all the Egyptians to go to Joseph and do whatever he told them." (Gen. 41:55)

"Would that I could persuade all men to be devoted to this glorious Saint [St. Joseph], for I know by long experience what blessings he can obtain for us from God." (St. Therese of Avila, Doctor of the Church)

"There is no doubt then that this Joseph to whom the mother of the Savior was espoused, was a man good and preeminently faithful. A prudent and faithful servant he was, I say, whom the Lord placed beside Mary to be her protector, the nourisher of His human body, and the single and most trusty assistant on the earth in His great design." (St. Bernard, Doctor of the Church)

"The reasons why St. Joseph must be considered the special patron of the Church, and the Church in turn draws exceeding hope from his care and patronage, chiefly arise from his having been the husband of Mary and the presumed father of Jesus... Joseph was in his day the lawful and natural guardian, head and defender of the Holy Family... It is thus fitting and most worthy of Joseph's dignity that, in the same way that he once kept unceasing holy watch over the family of Nazareth, so now does he protect and defend with his heavenly patronage the Church of Christ." (Pope Leo XIII)

"Jesus deigned to be subject to Joseph here below; now that he is in heaven, he would glorify the creature to whom he consigned the guardianship of his own childhood and the honor of his Mother. He has given him a power which is above our calculations... [The Church invites us] to have recourse, with unreserved confidence, to this all-powerful protector. The world we live in is filled with miseries which would make stronger hearts than ours quake with fear; but let us invoke St. Joseph with faith, and we shall be protected. In all our necessities, whether of soul or body - in all the trials and anxieties we may have to go through - let us have recourse to St. Joseph, and we shall not be disappointed. The king of Egypt said to his people when they were suffering from famine: Go to Joseph! (Gen. xli 55) The King of Heaven says the same to us: the faithful guardian of Mary has greater influence with God than Jacob's son had with Pharaoh." (Dom Gueranger)

"You well understand, Venerable Brethren, that these considerations are confirmed by the opinion held by a large number of the Fathers, to which the sacred liturgy gives its sanction, that the Joseph of ancient times, son of the patriarch Jacob, was the type of St. Joseph, and the former by his glory prefigured the greatness of the future guardian of the Holy Family. And in truth, beyond the fact that the same name - a point the significance of which has never been denied - was given to each, you well know the points of likeness that exist between them; namely, that the first Joseph won the favor and especial goodwill of his master, and that through Joseph's administration his household came to prosperity and wealth; that (still more important) he presided over the kingdom with great power, and, in a time when the harvests failed, he provided for all the needs of the Egyptians with so much wisdom that the King decreed to him the title 'Savior of the world.' Thus it is that We may prefigure the new in the old patriarch. And as the first caused the prosperity of his master's domestic interests and at the same time rendered great services to the whole kingdom, so the second, destined to be the guardian of the Christian religion, should be regarded as the protector and defender of the Church, which is truly the house of the Lord and the kingdom of God on earth. These are the reasons why men of every rank and country should fly to the trust and guard of the blessed Joseph." (Pope Leo XIII, "Quamquam Pluries", 1889 A.D.)

Prayer of St. Bernadine of Siena to St. Joseph: "Be mindful of us, O blessed Joseph, and intercede for us with thy foster-Son by the pleading of thy prayer: do thou, in like manner, render the blessed Virgin Mary thy Spouse, gracious unto us, for she is the Mother of Him, who with the Father and the Holy Ghost liveth and reignest world without end. Amen."

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Resources for Lent

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"Grant, we beseech Thee, O Lord, that the sacrifice of Lenten observance which we offer to Thee may both make our souls more acceptable to Thee and give us the strength to restrain ourselves more readily. Through our Lord." (Secret)

"Lent is the forty days before Easter Sunday, during which we do penance, fast and pray to prepare ourselves for the resurrection of Our Lord; and also to remind us of His own fast of forty days before His Passion." (Baltimore Catechism) 

"The observance of Lent is the very badge of Christian warfare. By it we prove ourselves not to be enemies of the cross of Christ. By it we avert the scourges of divine justice. By it we gain strength against the princes of darkness, for it shields us with heavenly help. Should mankind grow remiss in their observance of Lent, it would be a detriment to God's glory, a disgrace to the Catholic religion, and a danger to Christian souls. Neither can it be doubted that such negligence would become the source of misery to the world, of public calamity, of private woe." (Pope Benedict XIV, 1741 A.D.)

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Related Resources...

* Lent (Topic Page) -

* Ash Wednesday (Topic Page) -

* Fasting (Topic Page) -

* Lenten Prayers (Topic Page) -

* Way of the Cross (Topic Page) -

* Sin (Topic Page) -

* Penance (Topic Page) -

* Spiritual Growth (Topic Page) -

* Good Friday (Topic Page) -

* Make Your Own Lent Calendar -

* Traditional Practices For Lent / Easter (Incl. Fasting / Abstinence / Partial Abstinence) -

* Lent / Easter Activities (See 'Holiday Activities') -

* Lent / Easter Prayers -

* Stations of the Cross -

* Jesus' Last Words From the Cross -

* Trials & Sorrows of Jesus -

* Fulfilled Prophecies in Scripture (Abandonment & Betrayal of Jesus, Jesus' Passion, Death, & Resurrection) -

* The Passion / Cross (Reflections) -

* Rome's Lenten Station Churches -

* Prayers & Devotions -

* Indulgences -

* Works of Mercy -

* Sin & Vice: Q & A -

* Stabat Mater (Sequence) -

* Collages (Incl. Holy Land, Church of the Holy Sepulchre) -

* Coloring Pages (Incl. Last Supper, Jesus Washing Apostle's Feet) -

Note: The MCS Daily Digest at (shortcut: ) is also an excellent resource for Lent. The MCS Daily Digest may contain Catholic calendar information corresponding to the date (including reminders about feast days/holy days, fasting, etc.), various quotations (e.g. from scripture, Jesus, popes & saints), Q & A, 'Today in Catholic History' items, and more... This is a great page to bookmark - and it also makes a great home page. Don't miss a day!

Looking For Something Else? Try Our Various Indexes For 15,000+ Entries -

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"Then Jesus said to his disciples, 'Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.'" (Mt. 16:24)

"Take the holy crucifix in your hands, kiss its wounds with great love, and ask Him to preach you a sermon. Listen to what the thorns, the nails, and that Divine Blood say to you. Oh! What a sermon." (St. Paul of the Cross)

"If the good God sends us crosses, we resist, we complain, we murmur; we are so averse to whatever contradicts us, that we want to be always in a box of cotton: but we ought to be put into a box of thorns. It is by the Cross that we go to Heaven." (Catechism of the Cure of Ars)

"Indeed, if one thing more than another presents difficulty to the mind and understanding of man, assuredly it is the mystery of the cross, which, beyond all doubt, must be considered the most difficult of all; so much so that only with great difficulty can we grasp the fact that our salvation depends on the cross, and on Him who for us was nailed thereon." (Catechism of the Council of Trent)

"Oh, how bitterly shall we regret at the hour of death the time we have given to pleasures, to useless conversations, to repose, instead of having employed it in mortification, in prayer, in good works, in thinking of our poor misery, in weeping over our poor sins; then we shall see that we have done nothing for Heaven. Oh, my children, how sad it is! Three-quarters of those who are Christians labor for nothing but to satisfy this body, which will soon be buried and corrupted, while they do not give a thought to their poor soul, which must be happy or miserable for all eternity. They have neither sense nor reason: it makes one tremble." (Catechism of the Cure of Ars)

"Now the whole essence of a Christian life is to reject the corruption of the world and to oppose constantly any indulgence in it; this is taught in the words and deeds, the laws and institutions, the life and death of Jesus Christ, 'the author and finisher of faith.' Hence, however strongly We are deterred by the evil disposition of nature and character, it is our duty to run to the 'fight proposed to Us,' fortified and armed with the same desire and the same arms as He who, 'having joy set before him, endured the cross.' Wherefore let men understand this specially, that it is most contrary to Christian duty to follow, in worldly fashion, pleasures of every kind, to be afraid of the hardships attending a virtuous life, and to deny nothing to self that soothes and delights the senses. 'They that are Christ's, have crucified their flesh, with the vices and concupiscences' - so that it follows that they who are not accustomed to suffering, and who hold not ease and pleasure in contempt belong not to Christ." (Pope Leo XIII, "Exeunte Iam Anno", 1888 A.D.)

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Other Useful Lenten Resources...

iStations - A handy devotional app for Android (or for the iPad® / iPhone® / iPod touch®) which is perfect for those times when you can't make it to your parish for the Stations of the Cross. Get your copy today! Download it at or [an iOS version is presently available at ]

My Crucifix For the iPad®, iPhone®, and iPod touch® - A quick & easy (but powerful!) devotion to grow closer to Christ. Download at (iPad® version available at )

Your purchase helps support - Thank you for your support!

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"Trust your soul to the fatherly care of St. Joseph..."

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The following is taken from a 19th century publication entitled "Little Manual of the Sacred Heart". The original work has an imprimatur.

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St. Joseph is the patron of the Catholic Church, the high steward and the dispenser of the treasures of heaven. Do we wish to obtain any grace from God, let us by all means call on him. What is impossible in the ordinary course of Providence becomes easy through St. Joseph's intercession. For, how could our Lord refuse anything in heaven to him whom he wished to obey here on earth? The consideration that St. Joseph is as kind as he is powerful, will contribute to increase our confidence in him. As being the foster-father of the Son of God, the chaste Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the Patron of the entire Church, he looks upon all its children as his own. Having treated our Lord with such paternal care, and the Blessed Virgin with such unvarying fidelity, could he ever refuse his help to those whom Mary tenderly loves, and for whom Jesus suffered and died?

Trust your soul to the fatherly care of St. Joseph, and ask every day from God the grace of a happy death, through the merits and intercession of him who had the happiness of dying assisted by Jesus and Mary.

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Ancient Prayer To St. Joseph: "O St. Joseph, whose protection is so great, so strong, so prompt before the throne of God, I place in thee all my interests and desires. O St. Joseph, assist me by thy powerful intercession and obtain for me all spiritual blessings through thy foster Son, Jesus Christ Our Lord, so that, having engaged here below thy heavenly power, I may offer thee my thanksgiving and homage. O St. Joseph, I never weary contemplating thee and Jesus asleep in thine arms. I dare not approach while He reposes near thy heart. Press Him in my name and kiss His fine head for me, and ask Him to return the kiss when I draw my dying breath. St. Joseph, patron of departing souls, pray for me."

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Note: For more reflections, please try here -

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Liturgical Feasts in March

The following is a listing of all liturgical feast dates for March as they appear at

Note: (T) = Traditional, (N) = New (Novus Ordo)

Reminder: Feasts may be superseded / transferred / etc.

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March 4 - St. Casimir of Lithuania (T)

March 4 - St. Lucius I, pope (T)

March 4 - St. Casimir (N)

March 6 - Sts. Perpetua & Felicitas (T)

March 7 - St. Thomas Aquinas (T)

March 7 - Sts. Perpetua & Felicity (N)

March 8 - St. John of God (T)

March 8 - St. John of God (N)

March 9 - St. Frances of Rome (T)

March 9 - St. Frances of Rome (N)

March 10 - Forty Martyrs of Sebaste (T)

March 12 - St. Gregory the Great, pope (T)

March 17 - St. Patrick of Ireland (T)

March 17 - St. Patrick of Ireland (N)

March 18 - St. Cyril of Jerusalem (T)

March 18 - St. Cyril of Jerusalem (N)

March 19 - St. Joseph, spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary (T)

March 19 - St. Joseph, husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary (N)

March 21 - St. Benedict (T)

March 22 - St. Catharine Flisca Adorna (T)

March 22 - St. Isidore the Farmer (T)

March 23 - St. Turibius de Mongrovejo (N)

March 24 - St. Gabriel the Archangel (T)

March 25 - Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (T)

March 25 - Annunciation of the Lord (N)

March 27 - St. John Damascene (T)

March 28 - St. John Capistran (T)

Please Note: Above may exclude moveable feasts. For moveable feasts, see below & try here: . For other feasts, try the MCS Daily Digest each day at


3/1/17 - Ash Wednesday [Beginning of Lent]

3/5/17 - First Sunday of Lent [Quadragesima Sunday (T)]

3/8/17 - Ember Wednesday in Lent (T)

3/10/17 - Ember Friday in Lent (T)

3/11/17 - Ember Saturday in Lent (T)

3/26/17 - Fourth Sunday of Lent [Laetare Sunday (T)]

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'Catholic Trivia'

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Note: This month there are 25 themed trivia items. [Theme: Sin]

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1. Who said...? "Committing sin makes us strangers to God and leagues us with the devil."

2. What is actual sin and how is actual sin committed?

3. Can any circumstance make a sin licit?

4. What must we do above all to obtain forgiveness of our sins?

5. Can sins be forgiven without contrition?

6. Which are the chief means by which we satisfy God for the temporal punishment due to sin?

7. Since God is merciful, why is sin punished?

8. Does any sin go unpunished?

9. What injury does mortal sin do the soul?

10. Do the unrepentant who die in a state of mortal sin go to hell? For those who die in mortal sin, will faith or works of mercy ever free them from eternal punishment?

11. Is a single (unrepented) mortal sin enough to condemn a soul forever?

12. What are the six sins against the Holy Spirit?

13. In what ways can one be an accessory to another's sin?

14. What are the chief sources of actual sin?

15. Is it true that whatever is done through ignorance must not be considered as sin?

16. Is there Confession after death?

17. What does the Second Council of Nicaea say is a "sin leading to death"?

18. Who said...? "If we sin deliberately after receiving knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains sacrifice for sins but a fearful prospect of judgment and a flaming fire that is going to consume the adversaries. Anyone who rejects the law of Moses is put to death without pity on the testimony of two or three witnesses. Do you not think that a much worse punishment is due the one who has contempt for the Son of God, considers unclean the covenant-blood by which he was consecrated, and insults the spirit of grace? We know the one who said: 'Vengeance is mine; I will repay,' and again: 'The Lord will judge his people.' It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God."

19. Did St. Paul instruct Timothy in 1 Tm. to avoid rebuking those who sin or to rebuke them privately?

20. If one is guilty of a mortal sin, can he/she receive the Eucharist if he/she is really and truly contrite? And, if someone receives Holy Communion in mortal sin, do they receive the Body and Blood of Christ?

21. Does Church law prohibit those who "obstinately persist in manifest grave sin" from receiving Holy Communion?

22. What is contrition, or sorrow for sin?

23. In Confession, is it sufficient to detest some or most of our sins?

24. Can the Church forgive every sort of sin? More than once?

25. What does St. Aphraates say about those who are too ashamed to confess their sins?



1. St. Basil the Great, Doctor of the Church

2. "Actual sin is any willful thought, desire, word, action, or omission forbidden by the law of God." (Baltimore Catechism) As stated in the Baltimore Catechism, "Actual sin may be committed in two ways: namely, by willfully doing things forbidden, or by willfully neglecting things commanded."

3. "No circumstance, no purpose, no law whatsoever can make licit an act which is intrinsically illicit, since it is contrary to the Law of God which is written in every human heart, knowable by reason itself, and proclaimed by the Church." (Pope John Paul II)

4. We must be sorry for all our sins. Mortal sins must be confessed, but even then we must have true sorrow for sin: "[S]orrow for sin and a firm purpose of avoiding sin for the future are two conditions indispensable to contrition" (Catechism of the Council of Trent); "In going to confession we should certainly be very solicitous to have a true sorrow for our sins, because this is of all things the most important; and if sorrow is wanting the confession is no good." (Catechism of St. Pius X)

5. No. "God will not forgive us any sin, whether mortal or venial, unless we have true contrition for it." (Baltimore Catechism)

6. "The chief means by which we satisfy God for the temporal punishment due to sin are: prayer, fasting, almsgiving, all spiritual and corporal works of mercy, and the patient suffering of the ills of life." (Baltimore Catechism)

7. "A judge justly punishes one who is guilty of wrongdoing; and if he does not punish him he is himself a wrongdoer. In punishing him the judge is not the cause either of the wrongdoing or of the vengeance taken against the wrongdoer, the cause being the wrongdoer's freely chosen actions." (St. John Damascene, Doctor of the Church, c. 8th century A.D.)

8. No. All sin must be punished, either by ourselves or by God. As Holy Scripture says, "Do not plot to repeat a sin; not even for one will you go unpunished." (Sirach 7:8) As St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church, states: "Every sin is a debt which we contract towards Almighty God, and His justice demands payment down to the very last farthing."

9. According to the Catechism of Pope St. Pius X: "(1) Mortal sin deprives the soul of grace and of the friendship of God; (2) It makes it lose Heaven; (3) It deprives it of merits already acquired, and renders it incapable of acquiring new merits; (4) It makes it the slave of the devil; (5) It makes it deserve hell as well as the chastisements of this life."

10. The constant teaching of the Church is expressed by Pope Innocent IV in his letter to the Bishop of Tusculum is: "But if anyone dies unrepentant in the state of mortal sin, he will undoubtedly be tormented forever in the fires of an everlasting hell." As St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church", states: "[A]ll whosoever die in mortal sin, neither faith nor works of mercy will free them from eternal punishment, not even after any length of time"

11. Yes. "It is of faith that Heaven exists for the good and Hell for the wicked. Faith teaches that the pains of Hell are eternal, and it also warns us that one single mortal sin suffices to condemn a soul forever because of the infinite malice by which it offends an infinite God." (St. Anthony Mary Claret) [Note: This refers to an unrepented mortal sin. Every mortal sin - no matter how evil - can be forgiven for those truly contrite]

12. The six sins against the Holy Spirit (Holy Ghost) are: 1. Presumption; 2. Despair; 3. Resisting the Known Truth; 4. Envy of Another's Spiritual Good; 5. Obstinacy in Sin; 6. Final Impenitence [Ref.: A Catechism of Christian Doctrine ("Penny Catechism")]

13. There are a variety of ways of being an accessory to another's sin, including: By counsel; By command; By consent; By provocation; By praise or flattery; By concealment; By being a partner in the sin; By defending the ill done; By providing the sinner refuge from justice; By silence [Ref.: Catholic Dictionary, A Catechism of Christian Doctrine ("Penny Catechism")]

14. "The chief sources of actual sin are: pride, covetousness, lust, anger, gluttony, envy, and sloth, and these are commonly called capital sins." (Baltimore Catechism)

15. No. As CONDEMNED by the Council of Sens, c.1140 A.D.: "That they have not sinned who being ignorant have crucified Christ, and that whatever is done through ignorance must not be considered as sin." (Council of Sens, Condemned Error of Peter Abelard, c.1140 A.D.)

16. No. "Observe that on earth He forgives sins. For while we are on earth we can blot out our sins. But after that we are taken away from the earth, we shall not be able to confess, for the gate is shut." (St. Theophylact)

17. "It is a sin leading to death when sinners remain uncorrected" (Second Council of Nicaea)

18. St. Paul, Heb. 10:26-31

19. No. St. Paul instructed Timothy as follows in 1 Tm.: "Reprimand publicly those who do sin, so that the rest also will be afraid." (1 Tm. 5:20)

20. As stated by the Council of Trent: "No one who has a mortal sin on his conscience shall dare receive the Holy Eucharist before making a sacramental confession, regardless of how contrite he may think he is. This holy council declares that this custom is to be kept forever by all Christians". As the Baltimore Catechism states, "He who receives Communion in mortal sin receives the Body and Blood of Christ, but does not receive His grace, and he commits a great sacrilege."

21. Yes. According to Can. 915: "Those upon whom the penalty of excommunication or interdict has been imposed or declared, and others who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin, are not to be admitted to Holy Communion." (1983 Code of Canon Law) Note that this prohibition corresponds with Holy Scripture which states that "Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will have to answer for the body and blood of the Lord." (St. Paul, 1 Cor. 11:27)

22. "Contrition, or sorrow for sin, is a hatred of sin and a true grief of the soul for having offended God, with a firm purpose of sinning no more." (Baltimore Catechism)

23. No. According to the Catechism of the Council of Trent, "We must, then, in the first place, detest and deplore all our sins. If our sorrow and detestation extend only to some sins, our repentance is not salutary, but feigned and false. Whosoever shall keep the whole law, says St. James, but offend in one point, is become guilty of all (James ii. 10)."

24."Yes, the Church can forgive all sins, no matter how many or how grave they may be, because Jesus Christ has given her full power to bind and to loose." (Catechism of Pope St. Pius X). "For there is no sin, however great or horrible, which cannot be effaced by the Sacrament of Penance, and that not merely once, but over and over again." (Catechism of the Council of Trent)

25. "For anyone who has been wounded in a battle ought not be reluctant to put himself in the care of a wise physician, because he was overcome and lost the battle. And when he has been healed, he will not be rejected by the king, but will again be counted and reckoned in his army. So also he that has been struck by Satan ought not be ashamed to bewail his folly, and to give it up, and to seek a remedy in repentance... [If] anyone is ashamed, he will not be able to be cured, since he does not wish to make his ills known to the physician" (St. Aphraates, c. 336-345 A.D.)


For more information concerning the topics above, try the Sin Topic Page at and also try our General A-Z Index at

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You might also be interested in the Q & A and historical information which may be found each day on the MCS Daily Digest at

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Defending the Faith: "Apologetics Brief" - Do You Criticize the Catholic Church For Her Use of Ashes on Ash Wednesday?

It is good for Catholics to be able to defend their faith against attacks (or even simple questions) from those outside the Church. We therefore hope you may find the following "apologetics brief" helpful.

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Note: Text below is taken from

The following may be used as discussion points when discoursing with those outside the Church (or even among Catholics).

Topic: Do You Criticize the Catholic Church For Her Use of Ashes on Ash Wednesday? [Note: Topic is directed at certain Protestants]


* If you criticize the Catholic Church's use of ashes on Ash Wednesday, do you also criticize those in Scripture who used ashes (e.g. Jdth. 9:1, Job 42:6, Jonah 3:6, etc.)? Why do you criticize the use of ashes when we see them used both in the Old Testament and in Apostolic times?

* Why is it that Job, Judith, Esther, Daniel, etc. thought using ashes was an acceptable (or even necessary) practice, but you don't?

* If it is always wrong to use ashes, why do we not see God flatly condemning this practice? If it is wrong, why does Our Lord Himself refer to the use of ashes? (Note: See Mt. 11:21, Lk. 10:13)

* Do you condemn the Church for using ashes without knowing why she does this? Do you not realize this helps bring home the truth that persons are "but dust and ashes" and that they will return to dust (thereby encouraging repentance)?

* Are you aware that the use of ashes is *not* a universal requirement of the Catholic Church? Did you know that Ash Wednesday is not a holy day of obligation? In the past, ashes were imposed "only on public penitents. In those austere days of ecclesiastical discipline, public expiation was always exacted as a reparation for public scandal. Those who sought reconciliation with God after grievous sin were required to appear at the door of the church in penitential garb on Ash Wednesday morning." As time went on, other devout souls who were not public sinners wished to join the penitents in the 'humiliation of Ash Wednesday' so that "gradually, it became the custom for all Catholics, including the clergy, to receive the ashes on that day." [Source: Fr. J. Sullivan]

* Are you aware that the presence of ashes on Ash Wednesday may help Catholics by reminding them of their grave obligation to fast on this day? Are you aware that the wearing of ashes on the forehead also serves as a public proclamation of one's faith that sometimes subjects Catholics to ridicule by others? Or are you under the mistaken impression that Catholics tend to derive some 'worldly benefit' from wearing ashes on their foreheads?

* Do you think pride is involved in the wearing of ashes on the forehead? Pride for what? Ashes are symbolic of repentance, sin, and even death. How exactly does admitting you are a sinner who will return to dust make you prideful? It's not like it's difficult to get ashes or requires great effort. Certainly, they are not 'pretty' to look at (in an earthly sense). Even those in mortal sin can get them and it only takes a few moments. And, of course, they are free. So what's to be 'proud' about? Ashes are not given to serve pride or to "make a show", but rather "to soberly remind man that he is but dust and ashes" and to signify repentance. They should bring forth humility, which you can surely see is praised in Holy Scripture.

* Are you aware that Catholics don't think ashes have any inherent power (or 'magic')? They are also not a sacrament. Ashes may be used to signify repentance, but they should not be confused with repentance itself. Further, the Church does not teach that mere external acts can be a substitute for true repentance. In fact, receiving ashes may be accounted as a "farce" if it is not accompanied by proper dispositions.

* Have you ever pondered the fact that Scripture speaks of sparing persons who had sorrow for sin and were marked on the forehead? (Note: See Ezekiel, Chapter 9)

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"The present rite of the Church of signing the foreheads of her children with blessed ashes, in the beginning of the Lenten fast, is a remnant of the ancient penitential discipline. In the good old times, when the faithful were more fervent, when they understood better the malice of sin, and had a deeper horror of it, public penance for certain crimes was ordained by the Church, and, for the most part, willingly accepted and faithfully performed. The sorrowing sinner looked upon admission to the penitential course as a precious boon, as a hope held out of his reinstatement in the enjoyment of those spiritual goods which he had forfeited by his transgression." (Fr. W. Barry)

"The sign of the holy ashes on our heads should remind us of the destiny of our earthly bodies--dust and worms. If we realize well this solemn truth, we shall undertake readily and joyously our Lenten work of fasting and praying, hoping for a recompense beyond the grave, when corruption will be changed into incorruption, when this mortal body will be clothed with immortality." (Fr. W. Barry)

"It was the ordinary time for sinners entering a course of public canonical penance, into which they were initiated by the prayers of the Bishop with his clergy, and the imposition of his hands, when he laid ashes on the heads of the penitents. This is the origin of the ceremony of putting ashes on our foreheads on this day, as an emblem and exterior mark of the interior consecration of our hearts to the exercises of penance. It is not a superstitious practice, but an holy ceremony used by the church from its most early times, and recommended by the example of the patriarchs and prophets recorded in the holy scriptures" (Butler)

"It is not therefore an idle ceremony, but a token or mark that we are consecrated to the practice of severe penance for our sins. To receive this ceremony without the spirit and sentiments of penitence is no better than gross hypocrisy, disobedience and mockery." (Butler)

"On Ash Wednesday the Church begins the penitential season of Lent, the forty days of mortification during which her children are called upon to remember that they must chastise their bodies and bring them into subjection; that he who neglects to do penance is in danger of perishing; and that at all times the Christian must remember his last end and his return to the dust from which he was taken. As we are all conscious that by nature we are 'children of wrath,' we are urged to appease the offended majesty of God by the practice of penance and mortification; and the Church teaches us this solemn duty by the impressive ceremony of the imposition of ashes on Ash Wednesday." (Fr. J. Sullivan)

"The name dies cinerum (day of ashes) which it bears in the Roman Missal is found in the earliest existing copies of the Gregorian Sacramentary and probably dates from at least the eighth century. On this day all the faithful according to ancient custom are exhorted to approach the altar before the beginning of Mass, and there the priest, dipping his thumb into ashes previously blessed, marks the forehead - or in case of clerics upon the place of the tonsure - of each the sign of the cross, saying the words: 'Remember man that thou art dust and unto dust thou shalt return.' The ashes used in this ceremony are made by burning the remains of the palms blessed on the Palm Sunday of the previous year." (Catholic Encyclopedia)

"But Simon began, though secretly, to go amongst his friends and acquaintances, and to malign [the Apostle St.] Peter more than before. Then all spat in his face, and drove him from the city, saying: 'You will be chargeable with your own death, if you think of coming hither again, speaking against Peter.' These things being known at Laodicea, Peter ordered the people to meet on the following day; and having ordained one of those who followed him as bishop over them, and others as presbyters, and having baptized multitudes, and restored to health all who were troubled with sicknesses or demons, he stayed there three days longer; and all things being properly arranged, he bade them farewell, and set out from Laodicea, being much longed for by the people of Antioch. And the whole city began to hear, through Niceta and Aquila, that Peter was coming. Then all the people of the city of Antioch, hearing of Peter's arrival, went to meet him, and almost all the old men and the nobles came with ashes sprinkled on their heads, in this way testifying their repentance, because they had listened to the magician Simon, in opposition to his preaching." (Attr. St. Clement of Rome)

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For more apologetics resources, please visit

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In Closing...

"Grant us, dear Joseph, to run life's pathway in innocent fashion: May we for ever be safe under thy blest patronage." (Roman Missal)

"O God, who by sin art offended and by penance appeased, mercifully regard the prayers of Thy suppliant people, and turn away the scourges of Thy wrath, which we deserve for our sins. Through our Lord." (Collect)

"Though thou hast recourse to many saints as thine intercessors, go especially to St. Joseph, for he has great power with God." (St. Teresa of Jesus, Doctor of the Church)

"Be vigilant at all times and pray that you have the strength to escape the tribulations that are imminent and to stand before the Son of Man." (Lk. 21:36)

"It is also true that we should practice mortification in many things to make reparation for our sins. There is no doubt that the person who lives without mortifying himself is someone who will never succeed in saving his soul." (St. John Vianney)

"The cross is the ladder to Heaven." (Catechism of the Cure de Ars)

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