Sunday, September 15, 2019

24th Sunday in Ordinary Time: Time to Change

Today's readings tell us about turning away from sin and repenting. God is there waiting for us. 

The first readings are the story of Moses on the mountain receiving the Commandments as the Hebrews are up to no good down below. They created a molten calf and began to worship it, sacrificed to it and even declared this calf to be the God of Israel. Moses intercedes for them asking God why would He blaze up His wrath against the people He rescued? Here we see that God is merciful. Moses has the audacity to remind God everything He is about and who He has helped.  We are talking about God, The God Yahweh! This shows us how approachable God is. As an atheist, I remember the arguments that the "God of the Old Testament" is this evil, mean, angry God. Clearly, He is not. Scripture tells stories using certain imagery the Hebrews and people of the time understood. We must remember this when we read Scripture in 2019 or in 3019. Whatever the year is. We must understand the context, genre, and audience in whatever passage we are reading. God is indeed merciful and we can argue with God and plead with Him. God is our Father!  How many times have we argued with our parents? Arguing is not necessarily a bad thing, unless it gets violent, which is never good. Emotions are shared. We learn where the other party is during an argument and can hopefully mend things in a civil manner.

Like a Father, God reaches out to us and is merciful. We must respond back like the Responsorial Psalm says, "I will rise and go to my Father."  The Psalm tells us how God is compassion and goodness and that He has mercy on us. He forgives us and washes us from our guilt. This can only happen if we cooperate. We must set aside sin and to do this, we must be humble and ask God to create a clean heart in us. This means making things new. Unfortunately, some people in the Catholic Church rely on misguided compassion, as the late MOther Angelic used to say. They think that we have to be nice to everyone and leave it at that. While we must be nice and kind, this does not mean we should not correct others and helps others when they are caught in a spiral of sin and destruction. This is not being judgmental. While we must meet people where they are at, we must take them away from there as well.

This brings us to the second reading. We read how St. Paul tells us of what he used to be and how he changed. He was a blasphemer, a persecutor and arrogant. Despite all of this, he was treated mercifully by the other Catholic Christians of the time. Grace took hold and he changed. God called him to repent and change. He responded and became one of the greatest evangelists of all time. This brings us to the Gospel where Jesus tells us about the lost sheep. The shepherd leaves the 99 to find that one that is missing.  This is an image of God and how God functions. He is just, but merciful. God will not force Himself on us. He waits for us to accept the gifts of grace He offers and grow in Him. Heaven rejoices when one sinner returns, just one!  This is how big it is when a sinner repents and changes.  Today is catechetical Sunday in the United States. We pray for our catechists that they may be merciful, but also truthful and not afraid to admonish the sinner. A good catechist teaches the truth and does not water anything down. He or she calls students to change their lives and follow the ways of the Lord. When these students capture the truth of the faith and change, heaven rejoices. Let us pray for our catechists, catechumens, and those in sin so that they may come back to the Lord.     

Please help our ministry with your donation by donating at our Paypal on this website or  These donations help us pay the bills for the site and other activities.


A Catechist’s Prayer 
Father of all families, you have called me to serve the family in truth and love as a catechist. May I be faithful to this call, rooted in your Word, and open to the gifts of the Holy Spirit. May I use these gifts, especially the gifts of faith, hope, and love, to serve the family as a witness to you, who are love and life and the source and destiny of all families.

Let your Spirit enlighten my mind and strengthen my heart so that I can be a path of Christ’s love to families, especially those in need, the homebound and aged, the disabled and disheartened. Through the intercession of Mary and Joseph, I pray for the Church, the Bride of Christ, whose mission to build a civilization of love passes through the family. Amen.

Copyright © 2010, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Washington, D.C. All rights reserved. Permission is hereby granted to duplicate this work without adaptation for non-commercial use.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

The Triumph & Exaltation of the Holy Cross

My relic of the True Cross
Today September 14 we celebrate the feast day of the Triumph and Exaltation of the Holy Cross - also known as the Triumph of the Holy Cross. We remember the Holy Cross which brought redemption and salvation to the world. Jesus Christ came from heaven, born of a Virgin, lived among us and died on a Cross for all of us.

The Cross was the death penalty during Jesus' time. It was a punishment made for the worst criminal. God desired to use this instrument to save the world and bring redemption to mankind. Humanity got into trouble by eating of the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. The Cross became the new Tree of Life that would undo this.

St. Helena, mother of Emperor Constantine sought to find the True Cross in Jerusalem. The Cross was buried by Roman officials and was discovered after a Jewish man named Judas guided St. Helena to its location. One tradition states that after the excavation, three crosses were found. One of them had an inscription Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudaeorum or "Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews." Tests were conducted to verify this to be the True Cross. It was taken to people who were sick and they were healed. A dead man was even restored to life after being laid upon the Cross.

Churches were constructed over the sites of the Holy Sepulchre and on Mount Calvary to mark forever the locations of the event of the Crucifixion.  They were dedicated on September 14 in the year 335.  The photo here is of my relic of the True Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

The Cross is an important symbol for Christians.  It is the symbol of salvation.  God became man and suffered a horrible death in order to save His human people.  The Tau symbol (T) was used in the Old Testament as a sign of repentance.  Even Philosopher Plato alluded to the Just Man being Crucified:

To the best of my ability," he replied, "... it becomes an easy matter, I fancy, to unfold the tale of the sort of life that awaits each. We must tell it, then; and even if my language is somewhat rude and brutal, you must not suppose, Socrates, that it is I who speak thus, but those who commend injustice above justice. What they will say is this: that such being his disposition the just man will have to endure the lash, the rack, chains, the branding-iron in his eyes, and finally, after every extremity of suffering, he will be crucified, and so will learn his lesson that not to be but to seem just is what we ought to desire. Republic II. 361D-362A
Was God preparing the Pagan world for the "Just Man" Jesus Christ through the wisdom of Plato?

Let us take this day to reflect on the Cross of Christ.  We all should accept and carry the Crosses our Lord gives us in life.  As a reminder, we should also carry a crucifix on our self.  May via the relic of the True Cross here, the Lord bless every one of my followers, supporters, readers and visitors!

We adore you, O Christ, and we bless You, because by Your Holy Cross, You have redeemed the world.

Bishop 'Living Large' Bransfield

Bishop Michael Bransfield, former bishop of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston is in the news once again. News reports are showing how lavish the bishop lived during his tenure as bishop.  Pope Francis immediately accepted the bishop's resignation as called for by canon law last September. We can see why.  Not only was the bishop accused of sexual harassment by several adult males, but he was living like a king. 

The bishop reportedly spent almost one million dollars traveling on private jets and over $660,000 worth of airfare and hotel stays. Apart from this, during a diocesan pilgrimage to the Basilica of the National Shrine in Washington, DC, the bishop opted to use a private jet, limousine and stayed at a "presidential penthouse" in an expensive hotel. His entourage used a bus and stayed at a hotel for just $190 each. The drive is just five hours, yet the bishop took the jet instead which was a 33-minute trip. The bishop also spent over $60,000 in custom made jewelry from a boutique jeweler in Washington, DC, and several thousand on clothing, liquor and a rented car which was used for a month.  Archbishop Lori of the Baltimore diocese was ordered by Pope Francis to investigate the bishop and his mishandling of funds at the diocese.  Archbishop Lori reported the mismanagement was indeed factual and ordered the bishop to stop functioning publicly as a cleric. His successor would also apply the appropriate punishment to him.  This, of course, is Bishop Mark Brennan who took possession of the diocese on September 3 of this year.

Bishop Bransfield stands accused of sexual harassment by several adult men including young priests who accompanied him on trips to Europe during work and vacation stays. The bishop blames his expensive flights and hotel stays on staff members who booked them for him. There is no word as to whether or not the bishop will be made to repay the diocese back for all the costs. During his tenure, the diocese closed over 20 parishes and schools.

This news is troubling indeed. While diocesan or secular clergy do not take vows of poverty, they are expected to live modestly as all Christians are called to live. However, we have seen the same abuse of money in religious orders as well. These kinds of stories remind us how frail human beings are and how susceptible they are to the temptations of this world. If the allegations of sexual harassment are true, it also shows why ordaining homosexuals is not wise. The homosexual life is known to be hedonistic in nature. It thrives on riches and lavish lifestyles. In any event, bishop Bransfield is still a child of God and one of our priests. We have to pray for him and forgive him. Hopefully, he will spend his retirement making amends, both spiritually and financially in order to make things right with himself before God and before others. 

What do you think?  Post below on disqus.  Remember to follow the guidelines for comments.

Friday, September 13, 2019

'BlackFace' Colorado Students

It is Friday the 13th, so why not start the day with some strange news? 

The triggered are out in force again. Someone posted on Facebook a photo of Caucasian college kids with "blackface." Immediately, claims of racism and whatnot were thrown around on the post.

 "Blackface" was used a century ago in movies and other plays to portray African Americans. Some take offense to this portrayal and call it hate or racism, others consider it satire or free speech.

Some have contacted Colorado State University calling for the students to be expelled. However, Colorado State University said that they will not punish the students because the students are in their right to do this under the first amendment. A year ago, Megyn Kelly was fired from her NBC Today show after making comments defending Halloween costumes that portrayed "blackface."

Political correctness is on the prowl again. Whatever happened to Oscar Wilde's words: "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery that mediocrity can pay to greatness?"

I understand some get offended by this. Who likes to be made fun of? Context is key. Were these kids looking to be racist and make fun of African Americans or were they just being silly college kids imitating the Black Panther theme? I posted this comment on the Facebook post where the image originated from in the media and the Facebook profile deleted it.

This tells me the profile is just looking to race bait. I advise all to just report the post as hate and false news. These kinds of posts only look to create trouble and draw attention.  It is not surprising that the post comes from a socialist Democrat looking to start a political career at the high school level.  His Instagram account is full of the typical nonsensical ideas that are pushed as "progress;" namely, bathrooms.  Note how he found my comment offensive which actually deals with progress.   Are not starvation, the homeless, opioid epidemic etc not "progressive issues?"   

Perhaps the Caucasian students in the photo should file a lawsuit against this person or whoever post their image on social media with the narrative that they are racists.  This is libel and dangerous. Those kids could be targeted now by fanatics out there looking to hurt or kill someone. 


Thursday, September 12, 2019

ABC Democratic Debate

Tonight was the third Democratic debate held at Houston, Texas and aired on ABC. It was an interesting debate. Not interesting in that anything impressive happened, but interesting in the fact that the debate showed more how democrats are divided than anything else. It is clear that the Democrats really do not have any clear platform or direction from which their candidate is to stand upon.  We witnessed pretty much an in-fighting between the establishment candidates and the newer progressive insurgent faction. 

Many are saying that both Biden and Warren won, but I think Biden deserves the title.  While Warren did good and held her ground by directing herself solely at voters and not engaging in a debacle with moderators and opponents, Biden was largely the target.  Despite being the target, he too held his own and ignored baits from the likes of Castro who at one point made some indirect shots at his age. This caused the political world to frown upon him calling him disrespectful and dirty. 

At one point of the debate, Castro became aggressive with Biden questioning him on previous comments on healthcare and insinuating that the former vice president is suffering from memory loss. Castro was clearly targeting Biden on reports that the former vice president is too old and is showing signs of forgetfulness. Again, many felt this was a low blow by Castro which hurt his performance. He came across as a condescending bully targeting an elderly man. 

Buttigieg himself was targeted by Castro when the former tried to remind all present that they are all on the same team. Castro replied that this is an election.  In other words, it is cut-throat, not a "kumba ya" scenario. Nevertheless, Buttigieg engaged his audience with his ideas and pretty much ran on his record and personal story. His argument was more emotional than substantial or relevant, politically speaking.  Harris focused on Trump using the movie "The Wizard of Oz" to attack him. She too echoed her previous ideas but failed to supplant them with details as to how she would implement them.  Klobuchar like Buttigieg relied on personal stories to present her case.  She spoke about fighting for longer hospital stays for new mothers which inspired her to run for public office.  Booker took the easy road trying not to cause drama or offend anyone on the stage while relying on his record to make his argument as to why he should be the next president. 

O'Rourke took a stronger stance in regards to gun control by publicly stating that he would take away assault weapons from citizens. This most likely killed his candidacy as many Americans are fond of the second amendment on both party lines.  Sanders came across as an angry grandpa in many of the exchanges, particularly with Biden on healthcare and insurance plans. His ideas were attacked as being radical and expensive. Finally, Yang started the debate by claiming that he will pay 10 families 1,000 dollars a month for a year to prove that his idea of adding an "American stipend" of 1,000 a month will work. This brought about many concerns about the legality of such a proposal. Yang used Asian stereotypes and used jokes which did not hit on target and offended many, I would assume the Asian community.  It seems his candidacy will be over soon unless voters are intrigued enough about his 1,000 salary idea.

An interesting moment of the debate was when Univision Mexican and atheist anchor, Jorge Ramos questioned the candidates on the democratic hypocrisy regarding illegal immigration. He focused more on Biden on this topic due to the fact that under President Obama, more illegals were deported than under any other presidency, including the current one.   

Ironically, many on social media are calling President Donald Trump the winner due to the erratic performances by each candidate of the democratic party.  What do you think? Share your comments below on disqus.  Be sure to follow comment guidelines. 


Wednesday, September 11, 2019

September 11, 18 Years Later

Time flies... it has been 18 years since the horrific attack against the United States of America on September 11, 2001. On this day, cowardly hijackers took over commercial airliners and crashed them into the World Trade Center "Twin Towers," the Pentagon and in a field in Pennsylvania. The latter was due to brave passengers on flight 93 who fought back against the hijackers.

Many remember the day well. It was a clear sunny day. The weather was spring-like. When news of a plane crashed into the first tower, everyone was wondering how this could have happened. They never expected terrorism. Americans were off to start a new decade after enjoying a wondering economy in the '90s. No one really thought about terrorism. It was just about enjoying life, going to school and work and nothing else. There were no social media at the time other than AOL chat rooms, AOL instant messenger, ICQ, and online forums. Teens would go on Teen Chat Center or NewGrounds for their entertainment. There were no mp3 players, only CD and cassette walkmans. Cell phones were limited to bulky carry items that only made costly phone calls. Texting and the internet on phones were not even conceived yet. Apple INC was coming back from nearly being wiped out by Microsoft. Steve Jobs introduced his colorful IMac computers at the time. Playstation 2 was taking the market from Nintendo. Sega and other consoles disappeared from popularity. There as no wifi, no hotspots, no e-readers etc. It was a different time, and in a sense, a different world.

September 11th changed all of this. The site of the Twin Towers ablaze and eventually collapsing, the hit on the Pentagon and the inability of the president to govern would send a strong message to all: America was not ready. If with the cost of a mere plane ticket a person bent on doing evil can paralyze the world's most powerful and richest, then that speaks volumes. America experienced a new type of warfare. This was not like the Japanese attacking Pearl Harbor or anything else. The attack was within and without notice. Government agencies that deal with intelligence failed. All they knew was that operative for Al-Qaida were boarding flights. But, which ones and when? No one knew the answers. As Air Force One sat on a runway in Florida, reports came in that a plane was coming towards it that had its transponders off. Once cleared, Air Force One took off with speeds not typical of a plane its size. Meanwhile, in New York, there was chaos. Manhattan was shut down. People wandered the streets not knowing what was going on other than two planes hit the towers. At the towers, people jumped out windows preferring death on pavement than evaporating in the hot temperatures from the flames. Those present will never forget the sounds of their bodies hitting the pavement. A loud bang followed by a crunching sound. It was just horrendous. Soon thereafter, the towers collapsed, one after another after the passing of some time.

The events of September 11th remind us how fragile a country and government can be. We take for granted the systems man puts into place and believe them to be impenetrable. However, nothing is secure in life. Nothing is foolproof. The effects of September 11th are still be felt today. We now have heavy security at airports and other places of travel. Our current president is trying hard to secure borders so that people like those who hijacked the planes on September 11th cannot enter easily. But more remains to be done.

Communications systems fell apart that day. Phone lines were either busy or mixed with other lines. One would get calls from other states and when one called another, a different phone number would appear on caller ID. Walkie Talkies used by firefighters and police officers were scrambled. They could not communicate with each other. There was chaos everywhere, not just in New York City. The president himself was lost on Airforce One. Communications onboard were not working as expected. His plane was flying around the United States with no sense of direction. This attack hit everyone, top to bottom.

We must not forget the memories of those who perished on this day and the days and years after. People are still dying from the effects of the ashes and other substances in the air. The remains of many of the fallen are still being identified even after so long. Today, firefighter Michael Haub was laid to rest after his remains were identified. To date, only 60% of the 2, 753 victims were identified.

Despite the evil and chaos of that day, we can focus on the good people and good things that came about. First, we remember Father Mychael Judge, OFM of the Franciscan Holy Name province. He was a homosexual priest who ministered to all peoples. As chaplain to the FDNY, he was first at the scene with firefighters at the World Trade Center. As he prayed for those hurt and deceased, some debris hit him killing him instantly despite having a hardhat on. Let us not forget Todd Beamer who was on flight 93 and famously said, "Let's roll" as he and others went after the hijackers. Let us not forget Moira Smith, the only NYPD female officer to perish on the date. Then we have Manal Ezzat, a Muslim woman who took to task to build a chapel at the site where the plane hit the Pentagon. This chapel is used by people of different faiths. St. John Paul II was the pope at the time. He was watching the events on the news and was as shocked as everyone else. He went to the chapel to pray and later on tried to contact president Bush who was unable to be reached. The pope shed tears for all Americans.

The documentary 102 Minutes that Changed America relives the events of that day. One feels like it is happening again just watching it. The look of panic on the people of New York who are often stoic tells it all. The documentary feels surreal as if it were a movie. The scenes of September 11 look like scenes from monster movies like Godzilla or Cloverfield. I believe the latter borrowed from September 11 for its visual effects. Those of us alive and conscience that day made a promise never to forget. We must keep that promise.

I hope the day is set as a federal holiday so that it will be engraved on the memories of all, young and old. It should be taught in schools and moments of silent should be mandatory everywhere. Churches should ring their bells and lead the way. September 11th must never be forgotten.  It was a time that literally brought America to her knees, not in surrender or defeat, but in prayer. Unfortunately, a lot has happened since which has brought about the distrust of religion in America. We must change this.  Prayer must be a major part of the family and society if we are to prevent terrorism. Only prayer changes things.  Many today, including some Democrats mock the idea of prayer.  When mass shootings occur, they say "action not thoughts and prayers."  How ignorant are they to believe this? America has done "action." She has had laws, but laws fail.  Only God works.  Only prayer to God works.  Atheists may also have an issue with this and may go as far as to blame Islam or religion in general for world conflicts.  Studies show that the major conflicts in human history are caused by political tensions, not religion.  While those who perpetrated the attacks on 911 were Muslim, this does not mean Islam is at war with America.  Every group has its fanatics who go to the extreme to push their ideas. 

As we remember today, let us continue our promise never to forget.  Let us do good on this day and every day in honor of the victims. 



Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Protestant Minister Jarrid Wilson Commits Suicide

Life is full of irony at times. Regardless of what religion one belongs to, most of us expect a "man of God" not to commit suicide. Suicide is probably the fastest way to go to hell since one plays God with his or her own life. This act is a slap to the face of God who is the giver of life.

However, the Catholic Church is more lenient in her way of interpreting these incidents. Mental illness is often to cause of suicides around the world. This is, unfortunately, what took the life of a young Protestant megachurch minister.

Jarrid Wilson was a popular young Protestant minister who used used a hipster millenial look to reach young people. I remembered his account followed our @Sacerdotus account years ago. It was probably a special bot used to garner followers. In any event, I engage with anyone who is civil, educated and willing to listen regardless of religious belief or no belief. I never noticed his tweets demonstrating anything but positive messages mixed in with Gospel passages. He was not a "Jack Chick" type of Protestant looking to attack the Catholic Church, from what I gathered.

However, he clearly had some demons he was wrestling with. He often tweeted on mental health issues and was open about his bout with depression. Wilson founded an outreach called "Anthem of Hope which was geared towards helping those with depression and suicidal thoughts. He had tweeted this:

Ironically, the man who sought to help others with depression and suicidal thoughts could not help himself. Jarrid Wilson took his own life leaving his wife and kids behind, not to mention his large social media following who probably found solace in his tweets. Based on his tweet, Wilson did not believe Jesus could take away his pain and depression. Jesus does. His wife posted this on Instagram:

My loving, giving, kind-hearted, encouraging, handsome, hilarious, give the shirt of his back husband went to be with Jesus late last night . No more pain, my jerry, no more struggle. You are made complete and you are finally free. Suicide and depression fed you the worst lies, but you knew the truth of Jesus and I know you’re by his side right this very second . I love you forever, Thomas jarrid Wilson, but I have to say that you being gone has completely ripped my heart out of my chest. You loved me and our boys relentlessly and I am forever grateful that i had YOU as a husband and a father to our boys . You are my forever and I will continue to let other people know of the hope in Jesus you found and spoke so boldly about . Suicide doesn’t get the last word. I won’t let it. You always said “Hope Gets the last word. Jesus gets the last word”. Your life’s work has lead thousands to the feet of Jesus and your boldness to tell other about your struggle with anxiety and depression has helped so many other people feel like they weren’t alone. YOU WERE an ANTHEM OF HOPE to everyone, baby, and I’ll do my best to continue your legacy of love until my last breath . I need you, jare, but you needed Jesus to hold you and I have to be okay with that. You are everything to me. Since the day we met. J & J. Love you more . These are photos of him in his happy place - fishing the day away . I’ll teach our boys all your tricks, babe. Promise. You are my #anthemofhope
A post shared by Julianne Wilson 🌿 (@itsjuliwilson) on

Let us pray for the soul of Jarrid Wilson. We cannot say whether or not he is truly with Jesus, only God knows this. However, we must not judge. This man was mentally ill and had a lot going for him with his family and career. For someone to just kill himself tells me that he was not in his right mind. Depression killed him, not his own hands. God will not hold this against Wilson or anyone who takes his or her life due to mental illness. Sin can only be done by a conscious will. Over the summer, I too lost a friend who was nicknamed "Lace." He was a gay man living with HIV who was sweet and kind to all he came into contact with.

 At the disappearance of his service dog, "Lace" just lost it. He became depressed to the point of taking his life. Again, depression took his life. He like Wilson did not wake up and said to themselves, "I am going to kill myself for the heck of it." These men had hardships in their minds they could not handle. This is not an indication that they were weak men, but that they are human and humans can only bear so much.  I hope atheists will not take advantage of this situation to gloat.  The "Friendly Atheist" and others are known for taking these tragedies and turning them against God and religion.  All scholars and pyschological professionals know that atheism has one of the highests rates of mental illness and suicide.

His Protestant ministry website posted this message:

It is with the deepest sadness and shock that I have to report that Jarrid Wilson went to be with the Lord last night.
At a time like this, there are just no words.
The Bible says, “There is a time to mourn.” This is certainly that time.
Jarrid is survived by his wife, Juli, his two sons, Finch and Denham, his mother, father, and siblings.
Jarrid loved the Lord and had a servant’s heart.
He was vibrant, positive, and was always serving and helping others.
Jarrid also repeatedly dealt with depression and was very open about his ongoing struggles.
He wanted to especially help those who were dealing with suicidal thoughts.
Tragically, Jarrid took his own life.
Jarrid joined us as an associate pastor at Harvest 18 months ago and had spoken out many times on this very issue of mental health.
Jarrid and his wife, Juli, founded an outreach to help people dealing with depression and suicidal thoughts called “Anthem of Hope.”
Sometimes people may think that as pastors or spiritual leaders we are somehow above the pain and struggles of everyday people. We are the ones who are supposed to have all the answers. But we do not.
At the end of the day, pastors are just people who need to reach out to God for His help and strength, each and every day.
Over the years, I have found that people speak out about what they struggle with the most.
One dark moment in a Christian’s life cannot undo what Christ did for us on the cross.
Romans reminds us that “nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:39).
At times like this, we must remember that as Christians, we do not live on explanations but on promises. We fall back on what we do know, not on what we don’t know. We do know that Jarrid put his faith in Jesus Christ and we also know that he is in Heaven now.
We stand on the promise of Revelation 21:4 that reminds us that in Heaven there is no more sorrow, suffering, or death.
Please keep Juli and Jarrid’s family in prayer.
The Harvest family has lost a bright light.
Pray for us as we grieve together.
If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, please reach out for help.
You can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Only God knows their hearts and is the judge. May God have mercy of Jarrid Wilson and all those who have committed suicide. May God give those out there who are suicidal strength to overcome their illness. Let us pray for those who found hope in Jarrid's tweets that they may not be discouraged and now feel empowered to commit suicide themselves.


Abel Cedeno Sentenced to 14 Years

The sentencing day is here for Abel Cedeno, 20. Cedeno was found guilty during the summer for the murder of Matthew McCree and the assault of Ariane Laboy. He claimed to be the victim of bullying by the aforementioned due to his sexual orientation. Today, Judge Michael Gross handed down a 14-year sentence to Abel Cedeno and declined youthful offender status due to the seriousness of the charges. Many people have petitioned the judge to consider a lesser status, including long-time politician Ruben Diaz Sr. who has been accused of homophobia in the past.

Originally, Cedeno had been facing 50 years in prison due to the incident. Had he gotten youthful offense status, the sentence could have been about 2 years or less. The mother of Matthew McCree accepted the sentence but wished it would have been 50 years. His aunt showed more emotion and said she has fond memories of McCree, but the one that will stick with her now is seeing his lifeless boy with a huge hole in his chest.

Cedeno apologized at court to the families stating he felt "horrible" and that this is something he has to think about "every day." He said, "I'll have to live with that for the rest of my life, I regret it so much, and I wish that I could take it all back." McCree's mother stated in a press conference afterward that his words were not sincere and were coached by his lawyers.

There is no word as to whether or not this will be appealed. Many on social media feel Abel should have been cleared of all charges.

A fight broke out at the lobby of the courthouse. There is no more information as to why it broke out and with whom.

This story is a tragedy for both sides.  No sane person can take sides on this one.  On one side, a gay youth was bullied and the school did nothing. While on the other side, a family lost a child and another survived an attack and have to live with the injuries, memories, and loss of his best friend.


Thursday, September 5, 2019

Pope: 'It's An Honor that Americans Attack Me'

While on his way to Maputo, Mozambique in Africa, Pope Francis made some comments which have ignited an already brewing war.  He said that he is "honored" to be attacked by Americans. The pope said this after he was presented with a book authored by a French reporter Nicolas Seneze. This book entails the strong opposition his papacy has received from those who call themselves "traditionalists" and the media calls "conservatives."

As the book was handed to him, the pope joked stating, "this is a bomb" alluding to the contents in the book.  The pope then said in Italian,  "Per me è un onore che mi attaccano gli americani (For me it’s an honor that Americans attack me).” The press onboard, including those from the Vatican were dismayed at the words and pressed to get more details.  Vatican spokesman for the press, Matteo Bruni verified the remarks and explained them stating,  “In an informal context, the Pope wanted to say that he always considers criticisms an honor, particularly when they come from authoritative thinkers and, in this case, an important nation.” 

Seneze added that his book details how a wealthy faction in the American Church is seeking to remove the pope or force him to resign. He mentions EWTN Global Catholic Network, LifeSite News and other as the main culprits.

As expected, the remarks set ablaze this faction of so-called "traditionalists" found mostly online. They took to social media and blogs to voice their anger against the Holy Father. Many saw the remarks as a battle cry from the pope and replied to him, "oh, it is on!" 

I cannot speak for the pope or for those in the book, but I can speak to what I have witnessed online.  There is clearly a disregard for the pontificate of Pope Francis on social media by a faction that describes itself as "traditionalists." There is no denying this. In fact, I have lost followers over this. Some have blocked me. I have mentioned this before on previous posts of how after the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, the catholicsphere online dissolved. I remember a time where Catholics would follow each other, share each other's content and even help one another engage atheists, protestants and pro-abortion supporters. After Pope Francis was elected, things began to slow down in this regard. After Amoris Laetitia, it got worse. This was when I began to see accusations of heresy and antipope circle about the catholicsphere online.  Books began to come out with the most recent one by Taylor Marshall which mostly reads like a conspiracy drama-spy novel. Now every word and action by the pope is filtered via the lens of "heretic." The "viva il Papa" phenomenon has died, it seems.

As stated before, followers of mine began to act more like fundamentalists and started to attack Vatican II, the Ordinary Form and even Communion on the hand. It has totally gotten out of hand, in my opinion. It is no wonder why the pope said that the book written by Seneze is "a bomb." Pope Francis should really look at social media and see the angry tweets about him.  How did this happen?  Well, everyone is to blame, I think. First, the pope has not had a good track record in regards to clarity. He makes remarks that seem contradictory or ambiguous. I know that being Latino, he has a way of communicating which mostly Latinos will understand. However, as a global leader, he has to be able to speak to all and set aside the colloquialisms that often cause confusion.  I think this is what began the accusations of heresy. The pope would say something that was not fully understood.  Then the media spun it and it went haywire in the minds of Catholics and others online. However, the pope is not to blame solely. I think those who call themselves "traditionalists" are also to blame. Many of them pretend to hold a claim to Catholicism which is not reflective of their role in the Church. What I mean is that there are some "traditionalists" who feel they are the guardians of the faith and that the faith is only properly understood via their interpretation. I see this a lot, especially with the Liturgy. There are those who will get upset when you cite sources disproving their misconceptions. Instead of relying on facts, they rely on conspiracy theories and misinformation.  One such instance is the idea that the Ordinary Form is an innovation called the "Novus Ordo." Another is that Communion on the tongue is the only proper way to receive Communion. Then there is the endless attacks on Vatican II and the blaming of the council for abuses seen around the globe.

These kinds of attitudes are what led the pope to criticize those in the Church who are "rigid." By rigid, he does not mean those who practice the faith correctly. He means those who are not flexible with their approach to faith.  In other words, like the Pharisees, a rigid Catholic cannot see past the black and white of the law into the gray. A person who received by the hand is automatically irreverent. A gay person is automatically condemned. Women who do not wear a veil are automatically seen as sinful. I can go on and on, but we get the point.  This is what the pope means by those who are rigid. We cannot be so rigid so as to become robots following rules and forgetting about that rules were made to serve the people.  Now not all so-called "traditionalists" are like this.  We have to be clear about this.  There are just some who become fundamentalists to the point of presenting themselves as being more Catholic than the pope.  This is clearly something much deeper, perhaps a mental condition.  In any event, the combination of the pope's poor communication and those Catholics who call themselves "traditionalists" is the root cause of this division, in my opinion. 

The comment that the pope sees it an honor to be attacked was a bit too much. It comes across as defiant and arrogant to some, and understandably so.  If the pope feels honored to be attacked by Americans, then he should have been more specific and not leave it open to interpretation.  Many are interpreting it as a battle cry.   Moreover, I know the pope was referring to "Americans" mentioned in the book by Seneze, but these so-called "traditionalists"  who do not like his pontificate come from all over. 

What do you think?  Post below on disqus.  Be sure to follow the rules on commenting.       


Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Harry Potter Books Banned by Priest

Just in time for the new school year, Harry Potter is in the news again, but not for literature related reasons.  A Catholic priest in Nashville, Tennessee has removed and banned books from a school library at St. Edward Catholic Church.  This is not the first time accusations against Harry Potter books have been presented by religious groups. Fr. Gabriel Amorth, one of the chief exorcists of Rome said in 2011 that Harry Potter can lead to evil.

Fr. Daniel ReeHill, pastor of St. Edward Catholic Church claims that the Harry Potter book series misrepresents the idea of magic.  Magic is presented as being both "Good and evil."  He claims that the spells or curses used in the book series are actual spells and curses used by Wiccans or those who are into the occult.

Harry Potter was written by J.K. Rowling and have sold over 500 million copies worldwide.  The book follows a young wizard named Harry Potter who attends the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

Reehill sent an email to staff at St. Edward Catholic school, he wrote:

"The Harry Potter series of books have been removed from the St. Edward school library for several reasons. These books present magic as both good and evil, which is not true, but in fact a clever deception. The curses and spells used in the books are actual curses and spells; which when read by a human being risk conjuring evil spirits into the presence of the person reading the text.
I have consulted several exorcists, both in the United States and in Rome, and they have recommended removing the books from circulation, the books also use nefarious means to attain the goals of the characters, including the 'good' characters. A morally good act requires the goodness of the object, of the end, and of the circumstances together. The Harry Potter books do not follow this premise; rather they promote a Machiavellian approach to achieving the ends they desire with whatever means are necessary.
The books also glorify acts of divination; of conjuring the dead, of casting spells among other acts that are an offense to the virtue of religion – to the love and respect we owe to God alone. Many reading these books could be persuaded to believe these acts are perfectly fine, even good or spiritually healthy. St. Edward is committed to advancing the Catholic faith and teaching the standards of sound doctrine to instill strong Catholic moral values. Books and other materials which present a possible threat to our faith will not be promoted by our church or school."

Father Reehill also cited the Catholic Church's catechism which states:

The Catechism, the teaching of the Church, states that, "All forms of divination are to be rejected: recourse to Satan or demons, conjuring up the dead or other practices falsely supposed to 'unveil' the future. Consulting horoscopes, astrology, palm reading, interpretation of omens and lots, the phenomena of clairvoyance, and recourse to mediums all conceal a desire for power over time, history, and, in the last analysis, other human beings, as well as a wish to conciliate hidden powers. They contradict the honor, respect, and loving fear that we owe to God alone." (CCC 2116)

What do you think about this story?  Post below on disqus. Be sure to follow the guidelines for posting a comment.  Here is my opinion.  As a bibliophile, I cringe at the thought of book banning or book burnings.  Books are sacred things. They help us learn and force our brains to think critically and internally.  I am a fast learner but have noticed that I learn better when I read things instead of listening to someone teaching me something. Reading has helped open my mind to many things, including God and religion.

I understand what Fr. Reehill is coming from, but I feel his concerns are reactionary and exaggerated. Harry Potter is simply a fictional work, nothing else.  In order to get possessed or have some demonic presence attach itself to someone, that someone must invite it in freely.  Reading a book does not do this.  While not mathematically accurate, I would say that 99% of the time, kids reading Harry Potter are not even aware of evil, spells etc in the same way adults are, especially religious ones.  By simply reading something with content that relates to spells and curses, one does not invite evil in.  If this were the case, then we all would invite evil every time we read the mentioning of Satan in Scripture.  The Catechism of the Catholic Church itself specifically states what we are to avoid.  Reading books is not mention.  What is mentioned is the consultation of horoscopes, astrology, palm reading etc.

Harry Potter, while silly and full of magical content is just innocent reading which engages the imagination. With the onset of the internet and cell phones, reading has gone down.  Harry Potter has helped alter this trend. Many kids are not hooked on reading. This is a good thing.  Think about it. Satan wants the downfall of human beings. How does helping kids read and learn help in his endeavor?  I assume keeping humans ignorant is the way to go if satan wants to make humanity fall more.

As for the spells in the books being real, I cannot truly say for sure that this is accurate. I am not sure where this claim comes from. If a priest says that the spells in Harry Potter are real, one must ask: How does he know?  This means he is reading actual spell books or is associating with witches.  I have yet to see evidence that shows the spells in Harry Potter are actual spells.  If they are, why has there not been a copyright infringement lawsuit filed by the creators or writers of these spells?

I think Harry Potter is harmless reading.  Parents should decide what they want their kids to read. As long as a child is actively religious, there is no need to fear spells and the like.  The latter does not work anyhow.  No power exists alongside that of God's.  A spell has no power. It is just empty words.  Only God has power.  Satan itself cannot act unless it is with permission from God!

The Church has to be careful with engaging in book censorship or burning again.  History shows that the Church has attempted to censor works of literature out of paranoia. This is not a good attitude to take in the 21st century. We do not want to repeat history. Censorship shows paranoia and insecurity.

I think atheist reading material is more dangerous than Harry Potter books. Atheist reading content makes you stupid. I have never seen a kid get possessed after reading Potter. But I have seen friends become cognitively lethargic after reading Dawkins, Krauss etc.


Monday, September 2, 2019

Holy Communion: Hand vs Tongue Discussion

Recently, I engaged fellow Catholics who tweeted articles or opinion tweets on the reception of Holy Communion.

The first one is here where a Catholic posted a list of how devotion to the Holy Eucharist can increase and be more dignified.

The original Tweet was from Fr. Matthew "The Autistic Priest." He had deleted it.  However, the replies to it remain. You can see the replies here:

I agreed with most of the suggestions but had an issue with the misconceptions regarding the reception of Holy Communion.  Eventually, a priest joined in the discussion. Days later, I replied to another tweet glamorizing an article by "Father Z." The article pretty much condemned Communion via the hand in favor of Communion on the tongue. Unlike with the priest who showed restraint and professionalism, this layperson eventually blocked me after his tweets were refuted with the facts which he could not counter. You can follow the thread here:

These exchanges show the mass amount of misinformation being circulated online. Priests like "Father Z" and other websites like LifeSite, OnePeterFive, and others present a biased view on the reception of the Holy Communion. This view cherry-picks quotes and adds conjecture to them which creates a narrative that ignores the facts. The intention is clear: Demonize the reception of the Eucharist via the hand. Call it blasphemous or "protestant." Blame it for the recent report that belief in the True Presence is on the decline. Present Communion on the Tongue as the only valid form while ignoring Church history and the Liturgy.

These "arguments" have existed since after Vatican II when the so-called "Traditionalist" movement began to take hold. However, what is the truth?

Well, first of all. I advise those reading this and those serious about the truth to take "Father Z" and company with a grain of salt, so to speak. These websites exist to push personal views and bias. Just because one wears a cassock, collar or call him or herself a Catholic writer does not mean he or she is an informed expert or is presenting the facts free from opinion.  This is why in my content, I present both sides and present the facts so that readers and listeners can decide for themselves.

Communion in Hand vs Communion on the Tongue/Communion on the Tongue while Kneeling:

So what is the truth? Is Communion on the hand irreverent, a blasphemy, profane, heretical or Protestant? Is Communion on the Tongue alone or accompanied by genuflection or full kneeling true reverence and the only form of reception? The answer is short and simple and has been decided by the Catholic Church. Both are valid and depend on the communicant in regards to showing reverence. This is why the Church allows both!

Since the early days of the Catholic Church, Communion was given on the hand. There is no way to get around this fact. Father Z, Taylor Marshall, and others may claim otherwise, or may even put in doubt quotes from saints and Church Fathers like St. Cyril of Jerusalem, but the truth remains. To suggest that Communion in the hand was not the norm in the early Church is ludicrous and shows a deep ignorant of Church history and Liturgical history. Most likely, those that are adamant on claiming the COmmunion in the hand was not the norm are simply pushing their agenda by imposing on the facts their bias. This is academic dishonesty. We all must accept the facts as they are even when they disagree strongly with our personal bias or preferences. That is part of being an educated and mature adult.

St. Dionysius of Alexandria, pope of one of the oldest Christian churches or dioceses wrote of someone who stood by the table to receive Holy Communion via the hand, "one who has stood by the table and has extended his hand to receive the Holy Food (Eusebius, Hist. Eccl., VII, ix)."  This makes sense since Jesus did say to "take and eat (Matthew 26:26; 1 Corinthians 11:23)." The apostles and early Christians as Jews celebrated the Eucharist in the same manner as Jesus did by borrowing from the Passover seder.  In the seder, the meal is not given to participants in their mouths. They "take and eat" the matzah.

Now some have argued that Jesus spoke to "priests" here or the apostles, so the words "take and eat" were only meant for them since ordinarily, only priests can handle the Holy Communion. Others, such as Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion and even Deacons can only handle the Blessed Sacrament in extreme cases. However, this is a poor understanding of the passages surrounding the Last Supper and the institution of the Holy Eucharist. The words "take and eat," etc, are meant for all believers in Christ. This is an invitation from Christ to partake in the Holy Eucharist. This is what the catechism states in paragraph 1384:

"Take this and eat it, all of you": communion
1384 The Lord addresses an invitation to us, urging us to receive him in the sacrament of the Eucharist: "Truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you."217

Moreover, the words of consecration are not what confer the Sacrament of Holy Orders. It is the laying of hands with the formula which confers the priesthood on men who prepared for it. So as you can see, the argument that the words "take and eat" is meant only for priests is no Catholic teaching and really does not make any sense.  Furthermore, we from in Catechetical Lecture 23:21 where St. Cyril of Jerusalem directs to receive Holy Communion via the hand. His description is exactly how we are taught to receive Communion today; that is, by putting one hand under another so as to receive the host in a dignified and reverent manner while replying "amen" and then using one hand to consume the host via the mouth.  He writes:

"In approaching therefore, come not with your wrists extended, or your fingers spread; but make your left hand a throne for the right, as for that which is to receive a King. And having hollowed your palm, receive the body of Christ, saying over it, “Amen.” So then, after having carefully hallowed your eyes by the touch of the holy body, partake of it; giving heed lest you lose any portion thereof; for whatever you lose, is evidently a loss to you as it were from one of your own members.."

So again, we see evidence and confirmation from our ancestors that Communion on the hand was the norm and was even encouraged. This does not mean that receiving on the tongue is wrong. Some quote St. Basil and use his quote to claim that Communion on the hand was restricted universally except during persecution. However, this is how it reads.

To the Patrician Cæsaria, concerning Communion.
It is good and beneficial to communicate every day, and to partake of the holy body and blood of Christ. For He distinctly says, He that eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life. John 6:54 And who doubts that to share frequently in life, is the same thing as to have manifold life. I, indeed, communicate four times a week, on the Lord's day, on Wednesday, on Friday, and on the Sabbath, and on the other days if there is a commemoration of any Saint. It is needless to point out that for anyone in times of persecution to be compelled to take the communion in his own hand without the presence of a priest or minister is not a serious offense, as long custom sanctions this practice from the facts themselves. All the solitaries in the desert, where there is no priest, take the communion themselves, keeping communion at home. And at Alexandria and in Egypt, each one of the laity, for the most part, keeps the communion, at his own house, and participates in it when he likes. For when once the priest has completed the offering, and given it, the recipient, participating in it each time as entire, is bound to believe that he properly takes and receives it from the giver. And even in the church, when the priest gives the portion, the recipient takes it with complete power over it, and so lifts it to his lips with his own hand. It has the same validity whether one portion or several portions are received from the priest at the same time."  - Letter 93

St. John Damascene also gives witness:

"Wherefore with all fear and a pure conscience and certain faith let us draw near and it will assuredly be to us as we believe, doubting nothing. Let us pay homage to it in all purity both of soul and body: for it is twofold. Let us draw near to it with an ardent desire, and with our hands held in the form of the cross let us receive the body of the Crucified One: and let us apply our eyes and lips and brows and partake of the divine coal, . . .
(St. John Damascene, An Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, Book IV, Chapter 13)"

The book Augustine Through the Ages: An Encyclopedia describes how Communion was received in the early Church, it states:

"Distribution of the bread and wine took place at the chancel rail, where the people came forward to stand and receive from the hands of the bishop and/or deacons. Bread was placed into the joined hands with the words, ‘The Body of Christ,’ to which the recipient responded: ‘Amen’ . . . The cup was offered to each by another minister, with a similar exchange.( Augustine Through the Ages: An Encyclopedia, general editor: Allan D. Fitzgerald, Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B Eerdmans Pub. Co., 1999; “Eucharistic Liturgy,” p. 338; this article written by Robin M. Jensen and J. Patout Burns)"

However, Communion on the tongue came into practice in later centuries and did not become officially universal until the 6th century in Rome and the 9th century in Gaul (Van der Stappen, IV, 227; cf. St. Greg., Dial., I, III, c. iii). A document on the Vatican website for the OFFICE FOR THE LITURGICAL CELEBRATIONS OF THE SUPREME PONTIFF confirms this:

"The most ancient practice of distributing Holy Communion was, with all probability, to give Communion to the faithful in the palm of the hand. The history of the liturgy, however, makes clear that rather early on a process took place to change this practice.
From the time of the Fathers of the Church, a tendency was born and consolidated whereby distribution of Holy Communion in the hand became more and more restricted in favor of distributing Holy Communion on the tongue. The motivation for this practice is two-fold: a) first, to avoid, as much as possible, the dropping of Eucharistic particles; b) second, to increase among the faithful devotion to the Real Presence of Christ in the Sacrament of the Eucharist."

Father Edward McNamara from the Legionaries of Christ and professor of Liturgy at Regina Apostolorum university wrote on an article on Zenit the following: "From the historical point of view, we can say that there is strong evidence that the practice existed in early centuries in some areas of the Church." Communion on the tongue was introduced in response to abuses against the Eucharist. Pagans and others would often steal the sacred food believin it to possess some magical powers or abilities. In order to prevent this, the practice of Communion on the tongue started to become more common leading to it becoming the universal norm from Trent until Vatican II.  St. Paul VI, later on, gave permission to bishops conferences to decide how the faithful can communicate in regards to Holy Communion.

A letter from the Congregation for Divine Worship to presidents of bishops’ conferences on May 29, 1969: AAS 61 (1969) 546-547; Notitiae 5 (1969) 351-353:
“In reply to the request of your conference of bishops regarding permission to give communion by placing the host on the hand of the faithful, I wish to communicate the following. Pope Paul Vl calls attention to the purpose of the Instruction Memoriale Domini of 29 May 1969, on retaining the traditional practice in use. At the same time he has taken into account the reasons given to support your request and the outcome of the vote taken on this matter. The Pope grants that throughout the territory of your conference, each bishop may, according to his prudent judgment and conscience, authorize in his diocese the introduction of the new rite for giving communion. The condition is the complete avoidance of any cause for the faithful to be shocked and any danger of irreverence toward the Eucharist. The following norms must, therefore, be respected.
“1. The new manner of giving communion must not be imposed in a way that would exclude the traditional practice. It is a matter of particular seriousness that in places where the new practice is lawfully permitted every one of the faithful has the option of receiving communion on the tongue and even when other persons are receiving communion in the hand. The two ways of receiving communion can without question take place during the same liturgical service. There is a twofold purpose here: that none will find in the new rite anything disturbing to personal devotion toward the Eucharist; that this sacrament, the source, and cause of unity by its very nature, will not become an occasion of discord between members of the faithful.
“2. The rite of communion in the hand must not be put into practice indiscriminately. Since the question involves human attitudes, this mode of communion is bound up with the perceptiveness and preparation of the one receiving. It is advisable, therefore, that the rite be introduced gradually and in the beginning within small, better-prepared groups and in favorable settings. Above all, it is necessary to have the introduction of the rite preceded by an effective catechesis so that the people will clearly understand the meaning of receiving in the hand and will practice it with the reverence owed to the sacrament. This catechesis must succeed in excluding any suggestion that in the mind of the Church there is a lessening of faith in the Eucharistic presence and in excluding as well as any danger or hint of danger of profaning the Eucharist.
“3. The option offered to the faithful of receiving the Eucharistic bread in their hand and putting it into their own mouth must not turn out to be the occasion for regarding it as ordinary bread or as just another religious article. Instead, this option must increase in them a consciousness of the dignity of the members of Christ’s Mystical Body, into which they are incorporated by baptism and by the grace of the Eucharist. It must also increase their faith in the sublime reality of the Lord’s body and blood, which they touch with their hand. Their attitude of reverence must measure up to what they are doing.
“4. As to the way to carry out the new rite: one possible model is the traditional usage, which expresses the ministerial functions, by having the priest or deacon place the host in the hand of the communicant ….
“5. Whatever procedure is adopted, care must be taken not to allow particles of the Eucharistic bread to fall or be scattered. Care must also be taken that the communicants have clean hands and that their comportment is becoming and in keeping with the practices of the different peoples.
“6. In the case of communion under both kinds by way of intinction, it is never permitted to place on the hand of the communicant the host that has been dipped in the Lord’s blood.”

The congregation returned to this issue in the instruction Immensae Caritatis, January 29, 1973: AAS 65 (1973) 264-271; Notitiae 9 (1973) 157-164:

“Part 4. Devotion and reverence toward the Eucharist in the case of communion in the hand
“Ever since the Instruction Memoriale Domini three years ago, some of the conferences of bishops have been requesting the Apostolic See for the faculty to allow ministers distributing communion to place the eucharistic bread in the hand of the faithful. The same Instruction contained a reminder that ‘the laws of the Church and the writings of the Fathers give ample witness of a supreme reverence and utmost caution toward the Eucharist’ and that this must continue. Particularly in regard to this way of receiving communion, experience suggests certain matters requiring careful attention.
“On the part of both the minister and the recipient, whenever the host is placed in the hand of a communicant there must be careful concern and caution, especially about particles that might fall from the hosts.
“The usage of communion in the hand must be accompanied by relevant instruction or catechesis on Catholic teaching regarding Christ’s real and permanent presence under the eucharistic elements and the proper reverence toward this sacrament.
“The faithful must be taught that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior and that therefore the worship of latria or adoration belonging to God is owed to Christ present in this sacrament. They are also to be instructed not to omit after communion the sincere and appropriate thanksgiving that is in keeping with their individual capacities, state, and occupation.
“Finally, to the end that their coming to this heavenly table may be completely worthy and fruitful, the faithful should be instructed on its benefits and effects, for both the individual and society, so that their familial relationship to the Father who gives us our ‘daily bread,’ may reflect the highest reverence for him, nurture love, and lead to a living bond with Christ, in whose flesh and blood we share.”

Regarding receiving Holy Communion, the Church states:
“Although each of the faithful always has the right to receive Holy Communion on the tongue, at his choice, if any communicant should wish to receive the Sacrament in the hand, in areas where the Bishops’ Conference with the recognitio of the Apostolic See has given permission, the sacred host is to be administered to him or her. However, special care should be taken to ensure that the host is consumed by the communicant in the presence of the minister, so that no one goes away carrying the Eucharistic species in his hand. If there is a risk of profanation, then Holy Communion should not be given in the hand to the faithful.
(From the CONGREGATION FOR DIVINE WORSHIP AND THE DISCIPLINE OF THE SACRAMENT - INSTRUCTION Redemptionis Sacramentum; On certain matters to be observed or to be avoided regarding the Most Holy Eucharist)

St. Pope John II would revisit the topic again but would acknowledge the abuses which have occurred.

In 1980 St. John Paul II wrote in the apostolic letter Dominicae Cenae:

“In some countries, the practice of receiving Communion in the hand has been introduced. This practice has been requested by individual episcopal conferences and has received approval from the Apostolic See. However, cases of a deplorable lack of respect towards the Eucharistic species have been reported, cases which are imputable not only to the individuals guilty of such behavior but also to the pastors of the church who have not been vigilant enough regarding the attitude of the faithful towards the Eucharist. It also happens, on occasion, that the free choice of those who prefer to continue the practice of receiving the Eucharist on the tongue is not taken into account in those places where the distribution of Communion in the hand has been authorized. It is therefore difficult in the context of this present letter not to mention the sad phenomena previously referred to. This is in no way meant to refer to those who, receiving the Lord Jesus in the hand, do so with profound reverence and devotion, in those countries where this practice has been authorized.”

The General Instruction of the Roman Missal says the following:

“160. […] It is not permitted for the faithful to take the consecrated Bread or the sacred chalice by themselves and, still less, to hand them on from one to another among themselves. The faithful receive Communion kneeling or standing, as established by the episcopal conference. However, when they receive Communion standing, it is recommended that the faithful make appropriate reverence, according to the norms established, before receiving the Sacrament.
“161. If Communion is given only under the species of bread, the Priest raises the host slightly and shows it to each, saying, The Body of Christ. The communicant replies, Amen, and receives the Sacrament either on the tongue or, where this is allowed, in the hand, the choice lying with the communicant. As soon as the communicant receives the host, he or she consumes the whole of it. If, however, Communion is given under both kinds, the rite prescribed in nos. 284-287 is to be followed.”

Now that we know the history of both practices. We can focus on why there is a big debate over the use of them.  Some who claim to be "traditionalists" argue that receiving the host on the hand is irreverent. They argue that this has triggered a lack of respect and devotion to the Holy Eucharist.  While there is no scientific study that confirms this, Communion in the hand has opened the door to abuses. We have already read above what St. John Paul II said on this, as well as, the concerns of the early Church and St. Paul VI's demands that Communion on the hand is done properly so as to avoid sacrilege and other abuses.

To reality is that what triggers abuse and sacrilege against the Holy Eucharist is not receiving via the hand, but poor catechesis. When people do not learn who the Eucharist is, then they will not come forward with reverence and adoration. Think of it as when a child sees the Queen of England of the Pope. A child just sees an older woman and man "dressed funny." A child does not care for pomp and circumstance. This is because they do not have the knowledge of what a monarch is, how to respond to a monarch and the maturity to put it all together. The same with a Catholic who is not prepared in the faith. He or she will not care for the host. The host is just a small round white wafer and nothing more. This is why catechesis is important. The seeds of faith must be watered well in catechism programs and at homilies during Mass. Parishes must have perpetual adoration, Eucharistic processions and other activities that are focused on the Eucharist. This will bring the human psychology to focus on the Eucharist and process the importance of Him who is the Eucharist.

Receiving Holy Communion on the hand or mouth does not take away from the Communion. It is we who must have the right predisposition before receiving. Pope Francis said, "The Church desires fervently that the faithful also receive the Body of Christ in the consecrated hosts during Mass; and the sign of the Eucharistic banquet is more complete if Holy Communion is given under both species, knowing that Catholic doctrine teaches that under one species all of Christ is received. According to the ecclesial practice, the faithful approach the Eucharist normally in the form of a procession and receive Communion standing or on the knees, as determined by the Episcopal Conference, receiving the Sacrament in the mouth or, where allowed, in the hand, as preferred.”  Notice how our current pontiff stresses the importance of receiving fervently and encourages either practice, mouth or hand.  He clearly sees that the reception is not the problem otherwise he would have stated his preference.

We must be ready to receive and do so with clean hearts, minds and hands. The United States bishops write: "Those who receive Communion may receive either in the hand or on the tongue, and the decision should be that of the individual receiving, not of the person distributing Communion. If Communion is received in the hand, the hands should first of all be clean. If one is right handed the left hand should rest upon the right. The host will then be laid in the palm of the left hand and then taken by the right hand to the mouth. If one is left-handed this is reversed. It is not appropriate to reach out with the fingers and take the host from the person distributing." The evidence from the early Church shows proof that Communion in the hand was not seen as irreverent.
The same applies to those receiving on the tongue. The predisposition must be one that is pure and in a state of grace. We must avoid turning Holy Communion into a mechanical experience where we receive like robots without internalizing whom we are receiving.  To claim that receiving Communion via the hand is wrong or even "Protestant" is simply just ignorance.  Ignorance of Church history, Scripture, and the Liturgy. 

Some have even claimed that St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta condemned receiving Holy Communion on the hand. This quote is circling many websites run by so-called "traditionalists" who attack Communion via  the hand:
The truth of this matter is that St. Teresa of Calcutta never made this statement.  It is falsely attributed to her.  Some variations even claim St. Teresa of Calcutta said that receiving Communion on the hand is worse than the sin of abortion.  To quote President Trump, this is fake news!  According to the site, they state the following: "This statement does not seem authentic to us. We have never heard Mother Teresa saying these words nor read them in her writings.In fact, there is a photo of St. Teresa of Calcutta apparently receiving via the hands.  See:

Arguments for and Against Communion on the Hand or Communion on the Tongue/While Kneeling:

Against Communion on the Hand:
Some claim that receiving on the hand would scatter Eucharist particles all over.  At Mass, every particle of the host must be consumed. This includes the precious blood as well.  We often see well-trained priests or deacons meticulously purify each vessel of the Eucharist (chalice, paten, ciboria, pyxes etc).  This is done to show the sacredness and importance of the Eucharist.  Understandably, we can see how Communion in the hand can spread particles around.  This is a good argument against Communion in the hand, but not a very strong one if you study physics.  In physics, we learn that it takes a strong force to separate molecules.  Simply placing a host on a hand will not do this.  The only way a host can leave behind particles is if it were crushed or already breaking down.  The True Presence can only remain in bread that is consecrated by a priest at Mass.  If molecules that make up the host break apart, then the substance has changed. It is no longer bread. We must keep this in mind in regards to small particles of the host.  Therefore, we must engage in OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder) when it pertains to the Eucharist or we will go mad.  Lastly, there is the Coulomb repulsion. We really do not touch anything in this universe because of this field.  This field is what allows what we call the sensation of touch.  Electrons create a field around atoms as they move about.  Our nerves interpret these fields and their charges as "touch."  The brain deciphers based on the charges of the electrons what is it that we are perceiving via our nervous system.  So technically speaking, the Eucharist is safe within the atoms and the Coulomb repulsion that contains them.   

Another argument against Communion on the hand is it fosters irreverence. In other words, people will receive the host without respect or adoration.  It becomes another "hand out" to them.  This is also a good argument against Communion in the hand.  However, there is really no scientific study to confirm this.  We can only go on observation. I have noticed people come up and stick out their hand as if they were asking for alms.  Some try to snatch the host from the priest, deacon or extraordinary minister of the Holy Eucharist.  I personally have never witnessed someone take the host without consuming the sacred food.  However, I do recall an usher finding a partially dissolved host in a missalette one time. We took care of both in accordance with Roman tradition.  While these abuses are awful, I cannot truly say this was the result of Communion in the hand.  The reason why I state this is because I see many people receiving by the hand reverently.  We cannot judge the practice based on one or two incidents of abuse when the majority of Catholic who receive via the hand do so reverently.  As stated in this post, St. Cyril endorsed receiving Holy Communion by the hand.  His endorsement describes a regal manner of receiving by setting up the hand as a throne.  The problem is not the practice of how we receive Holy Communion, but catechesis.  Unfortunately, our catechetical programs have not been the best in recent decades. Those who got possessed by the so-called "spirit of Vatican II," misinterpreted the council and made their own nonsense up.  We are now suffering the consequences of this stupidity.

Other arguments again receiving via the hand is the position.  That is to say, standing. Some feel that standing before the Blessed Sacrament is disrespectful. This argument is more cultural than anything else.  Not everyone interprets standing as disrespectful. Some cultures interpret as respectful. In the west, standing is done to show respect to leaders, judges, the flag, anthem and so on.  Again, the predisposition of the person receiving is really what should be scrutinized, not the actual position of reception.  Let us not forget that some people may not be able to kneel due to some physical problem. Are these people being less respectful to the Eucharist because of this?  I would hope we all would say not at all.  Aside from this, there is the argument that Communion on the hand somehow makes the laity equal to priests since priests should only hand the host.  This argument has a little more strength liturgically than the other arguments.  A priest's hands are consecrated during ordination with chrism. They are set apart from the hands of the non-ordained.  So it makes sense that only they should handle the sacred food.  However, let us not forget Jesus' words to "take and eat."  Those words pretty much make it impossible to bar the laity or anyone else from taking the Eucharist by hand.  By taking, I mean receiving by hand, not actually going to the Tabernacle to eat from the ciboria. 

Against Communion on the Tongue
Just like with Communion on the hand, there are some who feel receiving in the mouth is wrong.  One of the major arguments against this practice is the portrayal of the communicant as an infant being fed. Some feel that this form of receiving Communion is condescending towards adults.  What adult likes to be fed like an infant or baby?  The argument is understandable, but really is more about culture than anything else.  The argument is really not strong because Jesus di call us to be like children (Matthew 18:3).

Another common argument against Communion on the tongue is hygiene. A priest only washes his hands at the offertory.  This washing is only done with simple water and no soap.  Many times, the deacon and or extraordinary ministers of the Holy Eucharist wash their hands prior to the Communion rite.  There simply is no rubric for this or time. Medically speaking, we know the dangers of unwashed hands.  Billions of germs live on the hands.  The hands are the part of the body that come into contact with mostly everything we come across within everyday living.  Humans are humans and can do nasty things with their hands, both consciously and unconsciously.  This is a strong argument against Communion on the tongue, but would also apply to Communion on the hand.  There is really no way to prevent the spread of germs in any scenario.  Even in the operating room, we hear of patients going home with massive infections such as MRSA. This happens even with the meticulous cleansing rituals doctors and surgeons perform on themselves.   I would simply advise priests etc to wash with some kind of strong antibacterial soap prior to Mass so as to keep at bay the growth of germs on the hands.  Moreover, I would advise them to avoid contact with other people and their own bodies so that hands are not contaminated.

Some other arguments against receiving on the tongue are pretty minor. I have heard complaints about the bad halitosis of communicants, herpes or some other things on the mouths of communicants, getting bitten and so on.  While I have not personally experienced theses, other than bad halitosis, there is really not much anyone can do about this.  Some people simply have bad hygiene or health problems. We should not judge.  Lastly, some argue that receiving on the tongue is abusive because the mouth can engage in many sinful habits both verbal and physical.  I will not go into details, but I assume you know what I am referring to. 

Arguments For Communion in the Hand
The main argument for Communion in the hand was pretty much addressed in this post.  Jesus said to "take and eat."  He never said to "open your mouth."  By "taking and eating," this shows the person to be spiritually mature.  He or she understands whom he or she is receiving and does so with maturity and respect (hopefully).  The early Church had no issue with the form of reception until later centuries.  When the Church began to grow, it became more difficult to monitor the sacred food at Mass. One thing is a simply Mass in a home during the period when the Catholic Church did not have majestic buildings and another thing is having thousands of people in an area or former Pagan temple handed over to Christians by Constantine. Nevertheless, the priest is another Christ saying "take and eat" as he lifts the host before the communicant.  The communicant then takes and eats. 

Another argument in favor of Communion in the hand is that it encourages active participation. Vatican II was called mostly for this reason.  The Church wanted all to participate.  Instead of sitting in pews looking at a celebrant mumble words in a foreign language, the Church wanted the people to join in.  Unfortunately, this was taking to many extremes by some in the Church and which led to the abuses we all witness today.

Arguments For Communion on the Tongue
The main argument for this form of reception is that it will prevent particles from the Eucharist from being spread around. This is a strong argument and practical.  No one wants the Sacred Species to be scared about. As stated before, the Church expects priests and others to thoroughly purify each vessel which contained the sacred food.  In fact, water from the purification or hosts that are left to dissolve in water after they have fallen or have been spit up are poured in the sacrarium.  Many parishes or cathedrals have a special sink called a sacrarium where this water is poured into.  This sink leads to the ground and not the sewer system.  Communion on the tongue may prevent particles from being scattered everywhere, but it cannot prevent a malicious person from spitting the host on the floor after chewing it. This I believed happened at St. Patrick's cathedral in NYC when gay protestors stormed the cathedral. 

Another argument for Communion on the tongue is that it fosters reverence and devotion. This is mostly because of the kneeling and the submission of the person as he or she opens his or her mouth to receive the Lord.  This argument is strong as well but is also mostly based on culture.  Each culture has a different understanding of what kneeling actually means. Nevertheless, it makes sense to kneel and receive the Lord, the King of Kings in this manner.

There are many arguments for both Communion on the hand and tongue, as well as, arguments against.  I wanted to bring up the most common I have heard and discussed in seminary.  In any event, I still hold on to the view that the reception of the Eucharist is not the major problem.  The major problem is what our people are being taught or not taught.  If Eucharistic devotion is not set in at an early age or the doctrine not taught well to adults in RCIA programs, then we will definitely have problems.  It is very rare to hear a priest remind people of what the Eucharist is about.  In many Masses, I often hear priests give motivational speeches or address current events while tieing them to the readings of the day.  I feel more emphasis should be made to the Eucharist alongside the readings of Scripture.

There is no right or wrong way to receive the Holy Eucharist as long as one receives the sacred food in the manners approved by the Catholic Church.  We must respect this and the choice of the communicate at Mass.  I personally receive on the tongue and kneel when I can. However, I will never tell someone who received by the hand while standing that they are doing it wrong or are being less reverent.  In fact, I have seen some people receive by the hand while kneeling.  They kneel and place their hand over the other one just as if they were standing.  The priest places the host and the person consumes it. After a brief second, the person stands up.  Again, it is all in the predisposition of the person.  Only God can read hearts.  Those who claim Communion on the tongue is the correct way simply do not understand Church history and the Liturgy.  I have read Taylor Marshall claiming that the early Christians necessarily did not receive by hand. This is far from the truth.  Thankfully, he closes his post by stating that he is not an expert in patristics... I will say...   Similarly, Father Z and others cherry-pick quote in order to portray a narrative that is not factual.  This is just wrong academically and intellectually. As a priest, I would think Father Z would know better, but then again, we all know what Father Rosica did.  Priests are imperfect beings and can fall into human nonsensical behaviors often when it pertains to aligning oneself with political positions such as conservatism or liberalism.

In any event, I accept what the Catholic Church allows and will leave it at that.  If in the future the Church decides to restrict Communion in the hand and tongue in favor of using spoons like our Eastern Rite brethren, then so be it. You will not hear one peep from me. I will humbly submit to Holy Mother Church.  The Liturgy does not belong to me, Father Z, Taylor Marshall or anyone else.  It belongs to the Catholic Church.  Only the pope and bishops (with permission) can change practice and disciplines.

I hope this post has helped those out there confused on the issue and can decide for themselves.  Again, I am not arguing for or against any particular practice. I am merely present the facts and arguments for and against.     What I do hope readers will absorb from this post is that Communion in the hand has been the norm since day one and that claims that it is a Vatican II innovation are not truthful.  I also hope readers will understand that Communion on the tongue was meant to protect the Eucharist, not to dictate the personal sanctity of others.  Our Church allows for both, so they are equally valuable in the eyes of the Catholic Church.  Who are we to say otherwise?  Rather than arguing against either practice, let us focus on the real problem: poor catechesis.

Feel free to post your comments below on disqus.  Be mindful of the rules on posting comments.



Catholic Church (547) God (338) Atheism (289) Jesus (235) Jesus Christ (222) Bible (202) Pope Francis (182) Atheist (180) Science (138) LGBT (136) Liturgy of the Word (117) Christianity (104) Rosa Rubicondior (78) Pope Benedict XVI (76) Abortion (72) Gay (71) Prayer (57) President Obama (57) Physics (50) Philosophy (45) Christian (42) Vatican (41) Christmas (38) Psychology (37) Blessed Virgin Mary (34) New York City (34) Liturgy (32) Politics (31) Women (31) Biology (28) Baseball (26) Religious Freedom (26) Holy Eucharist (24) NYPD (23) Pope John Paul II (22) Space (22) priests (21) Evil (19) Pro Abortion (19) Supreme Court (19) Health (18) Child Abuse (17) Pro Choice (17) Protestant (17) Astrophysics (16) Donald Trump (16) Evangelization (16) First Amendment (16) Police (16) Death (14) Christ (13) Marriage (13) Pedophilia (13) Priesthood (13) Racism (13) Blog (11) Illegal Immigrants (11) Apologetics (10) Muslims (10) Poverty (10) Theology (10) September 11 (9) Traditionalists (9) Vatican II (9) Autism (8) Divine Mercy (8) Gospel (8) Human Rights (8) Morality (8) Personhood (8) academia (8) Big Bang Theory (7) Condoms (7) David Viviano (7) Easter Sunday (7) Ellif_dwulfe (7) Evidence (7) Gender Theory (7) Jewish (7) Pentecostals (7) Barack Obama (6) Humanism (6) Babies (5) Cognitive Psychology (5) Cyber Bullying (5) Eucharist (5) Hell (5) NY Yankees (5) Podcast (5) Sacraments (5) Spiritual Life (5) The Walking Dead (5) Angels (4) CUNY (4) Donations (4) Ephebophilia (4) Gender Dysphoria Disorder (4) Hispanics (4) Holy Trinity (4) Massimo Pigliucci (4) Pope Pius XII (4) Catholic Bloggers (3) Death penalty (3) Evangelicals (3) Pluto (3) Pope John XXIII (3) Baby Jesus (2) Dan Arel (2) Encyclical (2) Founding Fathers (2) Freeatheism (2) Oxfam (2) Penn Jillette (2) Pew Research Center (2) Plenary Indulgence (2) Cursillo (1) Dan Savage (1) Divine Providence (1) Eastern Orthodox (1) Fear The Walking Dead (1) Pentecostales (1) Pope Paul VI (1)