February 26, 2017


AS always the "Catholic" updating itch never goes away, but must constantly be scratched. One might call it the URGE TO PURGE all Catholic content from the various articles and practices of the Faith. It has reached the tipping point into the absurd, so nonsensical that one has to hear it or see it in order to believe it even possible. The "Francis Effect" at the parish level. The latest example of the great urge to purge comes from the pastor of St. Michael's, greater Augusta region - you know, one of those conjoined parishes consisting of a multitude of pre-Vatican II thriving parishes, into an ever diminishing single parish, part of the so-called "new evangelization". This pastor has the same name as the Pope, oops, I should say the Bishop of Rome and is an avowed enthusiast of his. Thus, the parish bulletin feature, Pastor's Corner, for the last Sunday before Lent or what is rightly Quinquagesima Sunday, was not exactly a surprise, but for the extent of the distortion of one of the necessities of the Faith, the Seven Sacraments. To cover "legalities" the parish priest refers to this novel idea of sacramental grace as "unofficial", a distinction without any difference to the typical miseducated Catholic who scarcely has a clue anymore. Before I read the bulletin I had by chance a brief conversation with one of the parishioners, [we were both there for Confession] who is actually better informed than most and who attends the Traditional Immemorial Mass as often as is possible. He told me that one of his adult children had left the practice of the Faith, common today; he was so frustrated with his son that he told him to become a Congregationalist, if he would not return to the Church, that "it was better than nothing." I responded, "Congregationalism cannot save him." [Meaning it is the same as nothing essentially, as to the sacraments and salvation.] He admitted that this was the Truth, despite his advice to the son. This is how confused, dazed with all the amazing grace of everything but Catholicism, so many are. I don't think it is his fault - he isn't getting any help from the pastor, who frequently quotes from noted Protestants, and most infrequently from Catholic Saints, etc. One of the Catholics he does cite liberally from is of course, Francis I. I don't think he ever quoted Benedict XVI, if I recall correctly, not on the Mass surely.

I will provide the Pastor's Corner on the "unofficial sacraments" first, then we will review what a sacrament actually is.

But before we proceed, I must ask, what is the purpose of this base degradation - a strange new concept in Catholicism, "an unofficial sacrament"? There has never been in all of Tradition such a thing. Sacraments are by definition always official. The purpose seems to be to increase banality posing as profundity. This sort of demoralization occurs abundantly at almost every parish adult education endeavor. I had to stop attending these indoctrination sessions because I was repulsed by the silliness and the general sense of de-Catholicization that overwhelmed me. They all had one thing in common, the overt aim to invigorate the Faith, the result, the actual diminution of the real thing. The last such that I went to, and is my last to be sure, was a course by the then Fr. Barron, now Bishop Barron. The syllabus included a textbook along with a DVD series about being on fire with the Faith. I went twice before I quit, throwing the material into the trash. The way the content was presented most Protestants I know would not be much repelled by any of it. It was all on the feeling level, the Amazing Grace kind, more interfaith than the Faith - the big self-conscious WOW for effect. I got the idea that Father Barron was as much taken with himself as he said he was with Christ! The course was not teaching me how to defend the Faith in these times of growing secularism and anti-Catholicism. I was not learning the Faith, but learning Fr. Barron's idea of the Faith. Speaking of feelings, I felt that something I could not exactly name, was being leeched slowly but agonizingly from my Catholic bones. I went home and silenced a scream. Today this enthusiasm specialist, the former Father Robert Barron, is now a wayward prelate endorsing the heterodoxy of Francis of Rome as he prefers to be known as. I know people who were surprised, but not I. Perhaps if I had taken the entire course, I, too, would be applauding Francis. All I know for certain is that we are to guard the Faith as the pearl of great price, a priceless treasure, even before our very lives. I just knew with my Catholic senses still intact, I did not want the likes of Fr. Barron to mess with my soul. The Pastor's Corner is messing with one's soul, too:  The giveaway? The employment of the unheard of phrase, "the sacramental imagination".  If anyone has any doubt we have entered the La La Land of delusion and illusion, the stuff of self-appointed "theologians" with an imagination or daring to match, this ought to dispel it.


Little things do mean a lot, especially when they disguise what is behind the terms. We tend to not notice the actual meaning behind the things that mean a lot when used as in above.

What could be more beautiful? I could cite a trillion realities, but for our purpose here, the actual sacraments, which give sanctifying and sacramental
grace for salvation and which increase in us actual graces if we respond with the proper disposition!

A sacrament is an outer sign instituted by Christ that signifies the reality of a supernatural effect on the soul, either restoring a dead soul to grace - Baptism, Penance, or increasing sanctifying grace in a soul not dead. Some sacraments confer an indelible mark of character on the soul and can only be received once, not "every time ....". These are Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Orders.

A valid sacrament has three marks which if absent, the sacrament is not conferred:

1. The proper minister, i.e., the person with the power to administer the sacrament validly. And this minister must have the proper intention to administer the sacrament or to intend to do what the Church intends.

2. The proper minister with the right intention must use the proper form and matter instituted by Christ.

3. To receive the sacrament validly, the recipient must still be living for the Church only has power over the living and Baptism is a requirement for the reception of the other six sacraments. In the case of adults, the intent of receiving the sacrament is necessary, or in the case of infants and those unable, such as mentally impaired adults or those in a coma, that intention is not required.  Except for Baptism and Penance, one must be in the state of grace or the sacrament is unworthily received; in the case of Matrimony, for instance, the graces that flow from this sacrament are held back until the party is properly disposed. He or she is truly married but the graces that aid marriage do not come forth at that time.

Not everyone can be given the power to administer the sacraments. Except in the case of necessity, a lay person can validly Baptize provided they intend to do what the Church intends, whether they actually believe or not, and use the proper form and matter. Otherwise the sacraments are only validly conferred by the ordained, and sometimes only by a Bishop such as Holy Orders, and with Confirmation as well - the Novus Ordo structure permits the priest to confirm with permission from the Bishop.

Now let us look at the above Pastor's Corner. All of the acts listed are acts of kindness inspired by actual grace and sanctifying grace where it exists, but these are not the sacraments, but one aspect of receiving a sacrament. The pastor is  conflating the one with the other on an emotive level. But there is no assurance of a supernatural reality of effect taking place. If the person I am beholding as a child of God is not Baptized or has the desire for Baptism, he is not a child of God. He is better off if one prays for him and if possible, introduce him to the Faith. If he is a Baptized person, a Catholic, he is already a child of God. My act of kindness helps increase the worthiness of my soul, but it changes nothing about who he is, that is, the disposition of his soul. I do not have the power to do so.

When a wife gives her husband a just because kind of hug is an effect of the sacrament of Matrimony, not a cause, again the conflation, which serves to demote the sacrament itself, what ever good intentions there may be.

You can have an invalid sacrament, but never an "unofficial" one. We do not say a man and woman living in adultery are unofficially married, for example. This would be a sacrilegious statement.

Because two boys play priest in the attic does not mean that they are "unofficial" priests or "unofficially" ordained. They may have actual grace from God that inspires them to do so, but there is no sacrament no matter how "unofficially" so. To suggest that a human sentiment or a sincere inner conversion in the case of the Pastor's Corner, confers something almost equivalent to Holy Orders diminishes the actual sacrament because human nature tends to follow the lines of least resistance by way of reason and inference. You know it from experience and I know it, period.

My lips are not holy, nor are they consecrated to confer a sacrament; no matter how many kisses I bestow on a sick person, I am not anointing him, however good those affections may be. To suggest that I am, can lead those who are ignorant but well-intended to deduce in a moment of vulnerability to think they may be actually receiving a real sacrament, albeit a bit "unofficial". How do I know? For years I have heard the laity who are in the hospital express to me that they believe the lay "chaplain" - there is no such thing in reality, as a chaplain must be ordained - as good as the priest for confession. I heard one man say that a lay person can confect the sacraments, he really said this. He simply has no idea in the concrete what a sacrament is, just some vague idea of grace. When I was a candy striper I lost count of the number of times a patient asked me to hear their confession, I am not kidding, folks! Where did they get this idea? "Catechesis" such as this stuff for starters, the grand sweep of confusion hovering over almost every aspect of modern life in the Church and without. Pope Francis is only the visible culmination.

The segment on the [Holy] Eucharist is very revealing, and actually is what so many Catholics really believe about this sacrament. Polls demonstrate that the vast majority of today's Catholics do not believe in the Real Presence of Christ, but in some symbol, much like Protestants. As one so-called "Eucharistic" - not Extraordinary Minister - minister said to me, what we believe about the Eucharist is just like the Protestants, she said there was no difference, for real folks, for real!

Holy Eucharist does not happen except at Mass in spite of the sacrilegious Communions. And neither does "communion" occur at every family meal in this divided Church, thanks to Modernism and all its rot. Anyone who belongs to a large family knows this. For instance, I am the last Catholic in the family I grew up in. I just mention being pro-life, forget Catholic, and the roof comes off or the looks could kill, depending on who is present. There is no communion, period. It is the rare Catholic family where this does not occur and God bless those!

And so forth, you get the idea.

If all this "unofficial" nonsense confers real grace as implied, if not stated explicitly, who needs the Church? And this is what is officially happening, soul by soul year in year out, hence fewer real Baptisms, real Marriages, etc, which includes fewer souls at Mass and on and on. Meanwhile there are real persons with real souls dying outside the Faith, for real and for all eternity! This is official! After all, if as Father implies and sometimes explicitly so, that the Church is no longer necessary for salvation, I mean, what the heck! Right?! It's just all sentimentality and the feeling of doing good.

If only we could purge the scourge of the urge to purge the Truth!

NOTE: I did not include the name of the person who submitted the above content to Father, so as to spare him embarrassment; in all likelihood, he is innocent, poorly taught but of good heart. The priest should know better, however; perhaps he was poorly taught also.