Tradition has recently received an increase in the number of letters in
which our visitors have
expressed concern, anxiety, confusion, anger, an array of feelings and
questions about the times we live in. People are worried about the
future of their children, the culture and especially the conflict of
opinions, facts and ideas that
seem to be so much a part of life in the Church and in society. The
Pontiff's visit to
the United States has added to the list of questions, not brought peace
In the book, DREAMS, VISIONS & PROPHECIES OF DON BOSCO, edited by
Fr. Eugene Brown, The Salesian Society, 1986 we read:
"According to Father Berto,
Don Bosco did not further elaborate on the details of the dream [the
Globe], but we can easily grasp the message. As long as we are in this
valley of tears, God permits periods of light and darkness in our
spiritual life, just as day alternates with night. Those who withstand
the darkness and apparent abandonment humbly and trustingly soon see
light return more brilliant than ever with a new, magnificent
rainbow. And if they faithfully and most humbly keep their thoughts
centered on God, they come
to understand ever more clearly their own nothingness in face of God's
sublime majesty and the ineffable beauty of the reward He has prepared
for us. Furthermore, they shall always feel that they must remain
prostrate before Him and implore His infinite mercy.
"Those instead who, full of
themselves, neglect their spiritual life and are concerned only with
earthly matters soon lose God's grace and repeatedly fall prey to the
infernal monster who, like a roaring lion, endlessly roams about
seeking to wrest souls from God.
"Those who are habitually
united with God remain unshaken even when subjected to the most
harrowing trials because God is their shield. They can count on His
help here below while ensuring Heaven for themselves. Humility, then,
is the path to Heaven. Humility and greatness go hand in hand, Saint
Augustine said, because the humble man is united with God. Humility
does not consist in shabbiness of dress, speech or demeanor, but in
lying prostrate---mind, heart and soul totally centered on God---with
full awareness of one's nothingness, in an endless plea for His mercy.
"Don Bosco constantly fought
against all error and sin, but he thought so highly of God's mercy that
he openly proclaimed his hope that even Voltaire had obtained God's
pardon in his last moments. This indicates how horrible seemed to him,
the fate of those who died unreconciled with God." (Vol. X, pp.
63.66) [pp. 169-170]
My Dear Catholic Visitors and
am neither a theologian nor a sage, but a simple Catholic much like
you. I do not pretend to have insights that explain much of what is
happening all around us. I live by faith, in the Faith, and every thing
do is centered on attaining Heaven. This does not make me perfect, for
I am a sinner---every prayer acknowledges my wretched condition, my
yet, every prayer for myself and my family and all of your requests,
gives thanks to Almighty God for His goodness and His mercy, and
the special mercy of His creation par excellence, the Immaculate Mother
of God, Mediatrix of all Graces. I pray for the virtue of hope against
the vices of presumption and despair, always praying the Three Hail
for the grace of final perseverance and a holy or happy death,
consecrating myself to The Virgin Mary ever anew. I never
omit the most sincere Act of Contrition I can make, examining my
conscience every day at least
always the daily Rosary and wear the Brown Scapular no matter
what else may transpire, this
is the absolute minimum
that any of us ought to do if we hope to sanctify ourselves and obtain
salvation. The things of this world are passing away, it is a blessed
eternity we must reach for. We have two short classics about sanctity
online in the
Classics directory, links provided below. I try to live
out the wisdom given to Saint John Bosco, who is shown above, and
passed on to us. Where I am quoting Church doctrine or another
traditional Church source we are on firm ground. On political matters
that are not past historical events, but current crises and possible future
events---these are my opinions, which I do not hold alone, although
based on known facts; however they are only opinions, you are free to
believe otherwise. I welcome challenges in this regard.
I once told a priest, who is very
much a modernist because of faulty
seminary training and who has little understanding and appreciation of
Tradition, what I was reading
in this book. He was aghast, urging me to disregard the Saint's
said to me and I hope I am recalling his words without distortion
because of faulty memory:
You do not have to believe what he
says because he is only a priest, he does not speak for the Church.
I thought about his advice, rejected immediately, I was very sad, not
for me, but for
this poor priest. You see, my friends, the Saint never claimed to speak
for the Church officially and I never indicated to the priest that I
thought he did. It is enough for me that the Saint's prophecies, while
not dogmatic, are profitable for spiritual reading and approved of by
the Church, just as the revelations of St. Gertrude are and so forth.
But what struck me most was the irony of the priest's words themselves.
He is not a canonized Saint. If a Saint's counsel is to be
discounted because it is his understanding of spiritual matters, and
not dogma, should I not also
disregard the counsel of the priest in question? Because, he, too, is just a priest with a counsel of sorts. And a
Saint who is a priest is not just a priest, not
anymore, he is a Saint, a priest who
attained salvation. He must
something right---his visions and ideas did not keep him from Heaven!
The problem seems to be with the priest who has
trouble with Don Bosco, otherwise why be so insistent that the Saint's
counsel is negligible? Actually no priest is just a priest, he is another Christ. No
priest should be so dismissive of Saints, whatever their own spiritual
I intend to address your concerns,
but before I turn our attention there, only one thing matters
ultimately, Heaven or
Hell. If we were business magnates we would refer to this as "the
bottom line". This is, indeed, the bottom line for every single person
ever created by God.
Another priest, a very wise and holy
priest of the FSSP, told me that all we need be concerned with is
This does not mean that we ignore the world around us, playing the
Pollyana, it just means that we follow the prescription of St. John
Bosco and as extolled by so many Martyrs and Saints before him and
since him. St. John Bosco has the bottom line limned out to perfection,
this ought to be our perspective whatever our state in life. We will
always be able to right ourselves in the midst of tumbles if we keep
these few brief passages in mind when we are tempted to despair or grow
anxious. The tumultuous times we live in can prevent our union with God
in thought, word, and deed, our continual contemplation of the Divine
Mysteries, if we lose this perspective.
is always the right time to be loved by God and to return that love as
best we can
. Now is the
acceptable time for mercy, to ask for it unceasingly and place all our
trust in Him, and to
consecrate ourselves to Mary. True devotion to her is a sign of special
favor with God. Always remember this, always!
The subjects for consideration
which are primarily grouped by relation to one another, are:
QUERY GROUP I: Part 1
(1) Hope in the world, i.e.,
security as citizens and Catholics.
(2) Could you explain what you meant
by the natural law, I never hear
about it anymore. And what about abortion, why don't we hear about it
QUERY GROUP I: Part 2
(3) Is there physical suffering and
a worldwide calamity coming? What is meant by a conspiracy in general
(4) Should I give up on politics?
Who do I vote for?
QUERY GROUP I: Part 3
(5) Is there a coming persecution of
(6) Is there really a conspiracy
against the Church? What is meant by a conspiracy in practical terms?
QUERY GROUP II: Part 1
(7) Is the Pope a good man?
(8) If the Pope is not a good Pope,
what do I [we] do?
(9) Will the Pope do anything about
the seminaries accepting men who
How can the Church do this? Why does
it seem that there
are so many priests who are "gay"?
QUERY GROUP II: Part 2
(10) Why do so many Catholic web
sites, traditional ones, have
different ideas from each other?
How do I know who or what to believe?
(11) What is sedevacantism? How come
they preach different things?
there different kinds of sedevacantism? Who is Richard Ibranyi?
(12) What do I teach my children
about these times?
QUERY GROUP III: Part 1
(13) Why do people who seem evil
become successful and powerful, and why does God permit them?
(14) Why does it seem that I am a
failure; I do my best to obey the Commandments and pray every day.
(15) Why are my prayers not
answered, why does God not give me what I have asked for?
(16) I feel alienated from God, I
think He has abandoned me, and I
don't know what to do, prayer does not seem to help me. Help me!
QUERY GROUP III: Part 2
(17) Am I committing a sin if I
receive Communion in the hand? Why do
you and others say it is a sacrilege? I know you have articles on it,
but I don't have the time to read them. I am confused. Are my hands
dirtier than my tongue?
(18) Why don't you accept the
Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary of John Paul II? Aren't you disloyal?
QUERY IV: WHAT DO I DO?
QUERY V: DISTRACTIONS IN PRAYER.
WHAT CAUSES THEM; AM I GUILTY?
are a lot of other questions, but these are either less general, or
easily answered in a simple letter such as the wearing of chapel veils,
or far too
personal and not suitable for such a presentation as this one is.
Almost every question we are asked, no matter how personal, falls
within the orbit of one of the above, with one exception---problems
with particular parish priests. This last quandary will not be taken
up, because each dilemma is so particular to each circumstance, and
ought to be answered by a
a laywoman. All letters are answered as they come in. Since studies
have shown that for every letter submitted there are between 10-1000
did not write one on the same subject, depending on the media format, I
thought this exercise might be helpful to others.
is more than one approach to take. I can list the questions and
answer them point blank, with no context or setting. Or I can place
the questions and my response within the vast array of dynamics
take place when human nature, politics and religion meet, collide and
impact on one another. There is always a story within the shorter
explanation, what one calls the "complexity of life". Every person can
take the same set of facts and opinions about the facts and arrive at a
different conclusion or not. One's temperament, intellectual strengths
or weaknesses, and background influence
one's ability to penetrate the meaning of events after facts are
revealed. Then, certainly, some people will dispute the facts as facts.
This, too, contributes to that complexity. And sometimes there are no
easy answers, either that will satisfy everyone or actually answer the
question as posed. People may present the same query, in almost the
same phrasing, but actually be asking a different question from another
in their own minds, because they are seeking different solutions or a
resolution that will meet their own circumstances, although the
question they have asked may aspire to a general or universal aim. Not
only did I group the questions by relationship, you will notice
the groups also bear on one another. I have opted for the more in depth
approach, taking the risk that I may be providing more than you thought
you wanted answered. However, I am replying to questions from the
various points of view they were asked, joined together in one
narrative. I have been asked the same questions repeatedly in different
ways and different questions in the same way. Since each question from
every person who has submitted one has already been answered personally
by e-mail, the purpose of this small treatise is to place the questions
in the greater context of life today. And I repeat, unless I am giving
Church teaching, quoting from a Saint, or citing a specific known fact,
at least one that is known to me and accepted as fact, everything else
is my opinion and only that. You are also alerted that I am operating
from square one, in that I receive so many queries from Catholics, and
a few from non-Catholics on these subjects, who are not versed in
Church history and dogmatic counsels, world history, etc., that one has
to begin with beginnings. Catholics
who are sincerely searching for answers, have often been dismissed by
those in authority, and fed misinformation [out of ignorance] or
disinformation [out of deceit]; until the internet they had little
access to the Catholic classics and have been deprived of Tradition in
general. Once they started exploring the worldwide web there seemed to
to be more confusion, rather than clarity. Their instincts are correct.
I receive the sweetest, dearest, most touching questions from people
with childlike hearts who have been badly hurt by life. And some have
little knowledge at all, but they want to learn. Thus, some of the
material will be redundant to a number of you, just skim the paragraphs
and move on, if this is the case. I intend to repeat myself for them,
for this may be the first time they are reading it. I make no apology
because too many
Catholics need me to begin at the beginning. This is not their fault,
for all they knew they had gained from going to Mass and religious
instruction as children. They know something is wrong, but they are not
sure if they ought to even think this way. I
know this because after I answer a question, they come back with
another and sometimes another, and each time, this involves delving
further back. I wish I could apologize for the injustice
and lack of charity they have endured, but I would not know where to
start, nor could I adequately repair the damage, and
I am not the person[s] to whom matters should rightly be addressed. I
wish I were a bishop or a priest, not because I would want to be, but
only because they and you deserve at least this much. I am a poor
for this I do deeply apologize. The context for the context on the next
several pages is the counsel of St. John Bosco, supra.
My background is in three
"disciplines": philosophy, history, polemics and law [as
a student], field research [professional], and teaching [volunteer:
remedial assistance and Catholic education]. The first---contemplation
and reasoning, the consideration of the great issues of life, truth and
action; the second---the nuts and bolts, the facts of daily life and
the impact on persons; the third---application of the other two. The
first was primarily from a Catholic perspective, Thomastic, and in the
older Socratic method of learning and demonstration of that knowledge
through oral exams and written monographs. I make no claims to be an
expert in any, just another Catholic striving to save her soul and love
my neighbor who has a soul to save, too.