Thursday, 17 August 2017

Don't miss the concert . . .

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

The Seal of the Confessional

In 2011, I wrote the following article. Now that the "Seal of the Confessional" is again being challenged -- this time in Australia, here is an edited version of the same article which has consistently been one of the most read pieces on this blog:

The furor in Ireland [and now Australia] over the mishandling of child abuse cases has caused the Irish government to propose legislation that would break "the seal of the confessional" i.e. the absolute requirement that priests not reveal what is confessed to them in the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Penance).

These secular authorities and others with prejudice against the Catholic Church are now using this issue to undermine a healing sacrament so necessary in our culture.

Without for a moment suggesting that any abuse of children should not be taken with the utmost seriousness (and it now appears that abuse under the Irish secular social services was equally to blame) a challenge to confidentiality in the confessional has profound implications for the restricting of help for the very people who have been abused as well as undermining the healing effects of sacramental ministry for those who have gravely offended.

The nature of the Sacrament of Reconciliation for Catholics is that we confess to God our sins with the assurance that with true contrition and the willingness to make reparation we will be forgiven and so begin again on the path of healing for ourselves and others

Any suggestion that a Catholic can simply confess a grievous sin, have a priest pronounce words of absolution (with the priest bound not to tell the police anything) and then walk away forgiven is totally contrary to the teaching of the Church.

To begin with, what motive other than a sense of guilt for sin would take a child molester (or any other sinner) to Confession?  The truly hardened sinner either does not think himself guilty or does not care. The one who goes to Confession is seeking God. The priest acts as the agent of God who is both just and merciful.  There is hope then that through the sacrament the individual sinner as well as those harmed may be helped to find healing.

Absolution which is the pronouncing of God's forgiveness through the ministry of the Church in the Confessional is contingent upon true contrition i.e. real sorrow for sin or at least attrition (imperfect contrition) which the priest may not be aware of. True or technically 'perfect' contrition is known only to God and to the penitent. Along with contrition, the priest looks for a willingness to do penance for any serious sin i.e. make restitution or some other act which expresses the penitent’s contrition or attrition. All of this precedes the priest’s pronouncing the assurance of God’s forgiveness through the sacrament and so absolving the penitent. 

Once the individual penitent has demonstrated and the priest is morally certain of contrition or attrition then absolution is pronounced by the priest with both justice and mercy having been served in the Confessional.
Though absolved of mortal or serious sin, the effects of the sin may remain e.g. a murdered person and their family continue to suffer from the effects of murder. Children may not be provided for as a result, etc. So the need for prayer and acts of faith and charity are necessary even following absolution. 

These actions of faith may continue after death as we pray for the dead in purgatory where the ongoing effects of sin are purged as the forgiven sinner's soul is cleansed on the path to heaven. In addition, the penitent may participate in the grace of obtaining Indulgences for himself or for others.  This often misunderstood avenue to grace is directed at mitigating the effects of forgiven sins that cannot be dealt with through simple acts of restitution or apology.  

For example, when people have died as a result of or following particular sinful acts the effects of these sins may be mitigated by certain prayers and acts prescribed by the Church.  Plenary or full indulgences are directed not at the forgiveness of sin which takes place through absolution, but are directed to mitigating the ongoing effects of sin.  Indulgences may not be purchased or obtained by any means other than prayer and acts of faith.

In the case of child abuse, restitution involves the penitent sinner bringing the matter to the authorities, taking the consequences of his or her action and entering into incarceration, treatment or whatever is offered by the law in each particular case.

The notion that a person would confess a mortal sin (murder, adultery, incest, child abuse) and hold the priest hostage to silence stretches the bounds of credibility and shows little understanding of actual sacramental practice.  
Despite Hollywood movies like Hitchcock's "I Confess" with Montgomery Clift, in which a priest is held hostage to the secret of a demented criminal, there is no evidence to indicate that breaking the seal of the confessional would do anything to prevent the heinous crime of child abuse (or any other sin) nor would such legal interference with the sacrament bring more cases to the attention of the authorities. 

In fact, just the opposite is true; removal of confidentiality would hinder the opportunity for penitent offenders to seek spiritual counsel and so bring their cases to light. This is not to mention the negative effects for millions of ordinary sinners, like you and me, who might hesitate to go to the confessional for fear of exposure.

As awful as child abuse is, state interference in the Sacrament of Penance requiring priests to reveal the content of confessions would completely undermine the sacrament while producing just the opposite of the desired result. There would be fewer people confessing these crimes in the confessional i.e. perpetrators who might then be counseled to go to the authorities. They would simply not be going to Confession and so priests would not be able to encourage them to reveal information to authorities. Breaching the seal would mean that many people who might confess would not be reconciled to the Lord and the community of faith.
With the removal of the seal of the confessional, those burdened by guilt for any other sin would also fear that they could be exposed and so would avoid potential healing through the ministry of a priest who holds each sinner's soul dear and who prays and acts for redemption by requiring an expression of penance and restitution as the response to forgiveness of a truly contrite person. 

Breaking the seal of the Confessional is actually akin to having a father tell a child that any time he or she does something wrong and comes for advice, it might be told in detail to others. Yes, in certain circumstances a father will counsel that matters need to be shared by the child with others, but infinite damage is done to a relationship when confidence is broken between parent and child.

Many offenders without confidential advice would be left in their silence without a trusted advisor and so might well do nothing to deal with the situation or even move more deeply into sin, avoidance and denial. Other offenders who do not care or do not consider themselves responsible will not seek a confessor in any case. The net result would be that fewer offenders would be uncovered and more souls: the abused, the abusers, and others would be left without an opportunity for healing.

When there is a car accident with people injured on the scene, we don’t ask who caused the accident before we render first aid.  Hindering the healing ministry of the Church with a law against the seal of the confessional would allow both the innocent and the guilty to suffer more. Such a removal of confidentiality would only hinder the chance of saving those wounded in the horrible circumstances of child abuse.

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

“Who is She that Ascendeth?” -- Concert in Toronto

Organ and Choral Concert 
Friday, August 18, 8:00 pm.

The Adelphi Vocal Ensemble 

directed by Peter Bishop, presents:

“Who is She that Ascendeth?”

in honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary

The programme includes a polyphonic Mass, 

“Assumpta est Maria” 
by Palestrina  

“Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis in G” 
by C.V. Stanford

Motets by Palestrina, Francis Poulenc, 
Pierre Villette, and Healey Willan

Organist Andrew Adair will join us,
playing selections from Willan’s 
“Plainchant Preludes”

Admission free; 
a $20+ donation is encouraged. 

Monday, 31 July 2017

Mass at the Mohawk Chapel Royal

We were privileged to celebrate Mass according to Divine Worship Mass in Her Majesty's Chapel Royal of the Mohawk, Tyendinaga (near Kingston, Ontario) with the Ordinariate Community of Christ the King.
A member of the Mohawk Band and resident of the reserve, Murray O'Coin assisted. He is an Instituted Acolyte (pictured). Murray will be ordained Deacon, D.V., in April 2018. 

Chief Don Maracle, an Ordinariate Catholic, gave us a tour and talk about the history of the Mohawk people and their long relationship with the Crown going back to Queen Anne. 

The current Chapel Royal at Tyendinaga is one of only two Chapels Royal in Canada and six outside of Britain. The other is also in the possession of the Mohawk people at Six Nations near Brantford. 
The Chapel Royal deed is held by the Mohawk Band. The Band Council has authorized Catholic worship and continuation of the Mohawk's long Anglican patrimony, now in full communion with the Holy See.

Saturday, 29 July 2017

A Professor stands for Truth against the forces of egocentric nihilism

Much in the news lately, Dr. Jordan B. Peterson of the University of Toronto is receiving much support from around Canada and the world as he stands up to the free speech-hating forces which have turned from direct Marxism to gender politics.

Professor Peterson is currently giving sold-out summer lectures on the Bible as the principal source of Western culture as it relates to social and psychological health.

Connect and listen to his second lecture, on Genesis, here: JORDAN PETERSON - GENESIS

Friday, 28 July 2017

God and The Tower of Gender Babble

An insightful, if disturbing, article in AMERICAN THINKER sums up the goals and tactics of self-appointed totalitarian political correctness.  An American psychologist of note outlines the political craft and cunning that bids to undermine the family and sexual identity as God-given realities through the pseudo-science of "gender" theory.

Dr. Deborah Tyler offers a blistering response to the forces of deconstruction:

The first book of the Bible contains a story about a fortunate people who are delivered from the Great Flood.  After their lives are spared from the watery cataclysm, they gather together and settle in Babylonia.  They have no multicultural diversity, which enables them to achieve great works.  They become proud of their advanced technologies, and as their pride grows, they come to feel they can do anything – even rival God through the force of their own identity.   
To this end, they begin building a great tower of special bricks to reach Heaven.  To thwart this unholy ambition, God inflicts linguistic diversity upon them, casting them into balal – confusion – to prevent them from communicating with one another.  They swiftly become incapable of using advanced science and abandon building the tower.  The once proud people splinter into language groups who begin to make war against each other.
What happened on the plain of Shiner was an anti-God rebellion.  God punished this once proud people by inflicting mental confusion upon them.  And the best way to confuse the mind is to confound the mouth with babble.
American society is drowning in the dank waters of an anti-God reformation of belief, in which truth, purity, and beauty are despised while cults of selfishness and pride are venerated.  Our minds are bedeviled by the "lesbian-gay-bisexual" obsession; our mouths babble about "gender."
A paradox of human psychology is that good fortune and high favor tend to make people more likely to forget or reject God.  The twentieth century is the first time in human history in which fortune and favor have risen so high that pride has caused people not merely to reject or compete with God, but to hate Him.  This psychodynamic of egoism has not changed since the Flood.  
The job of the ego is to solve inner conflict created by the pressure of ever more wanting.  The ego accomplishes this by falsely valuing the important as unimportant and valuing the unimportant as important.  Political power and gratification of instinctual desires are unimportant to the spiritual condition, but the ego takes them to be all-important and therefore exonerates multifarious selfishness.  On the other hand, spirituality is all-important for the soul, but the ego looks upon it as unimportant.  Throughout history, the collective egoism of societies, operating much like individual egos, have deemed power and wealth to be more important than the spiritual.  Over and over, peoples have turned away from God, with tragic outcomes.
But something unique in human spirituality happened throughout the course of the twentieth century: an anti-God reformation.  In great civilizations of the West, political power reorganized around cults of self-worship.  They did not merely reject their Judeo-Christian heritage, but came to reject the idea of God altogether.  Without the moral authority of theistic religion, egoism runs wild among materialistically comfortable people, and the confining aspects of consciousness such as anger, lust, and greed, assume egoistic dominance.  In particular, the instinctual experience of sexuality is deified.  Methods of self-control such as marriage are debased, and instinct becomes the client of legal entitlements and political power.
This is the impetus of the political obsession called lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender.  The ego is never satisfied with equality, but strives for dominance.  The lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender inundation has always been about the destruction of the Judeo-Christian religions and political dominance for minority, variant, and deviant sexuality.
Of the four horsemen – lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender – the introduction of the term "gender" is entirely an artifact of the anti-God reformation.  Lesbian, gay, and bisexual can be conflated into homosexual/bisexual behaviors and consciousness.  Whether or not it is the proper role of government to promote special rights for these lust stylings, at least the words "homosexuality" and "bisexuality" refer to objective psychological realities.  The term "gender," however, is a dehumanizing obfuscation created for political purposes.  The gender hoax is again casting proud people into balal.
There is no such thing as human "genders."  Homosexuality is not "homogender attraction," nor is bisexuality "bigenderism."  The term "gender" is recently concocted politico-babble of the anti-God, anti-natural belief catastrophe.  The goal of mid-20th-century feminism was to establish the delusion that there are no significant functional differences between the two sexes.  For egoism, that falsehood was not enough, so the next step in reformation scripture was to insist that biological sex is trivial.  Now that scripture is denying the very existence of the two sexes in favor of the subjective but biologically nonexistent experience of "gender."  This nonexistent human condition was slowly introduced over the last several years – and now everybody is babbling it.
Before the ever worsening anti-God reformation, no one used the word "gender" in reference to human beings.  There was a fairer sex, the battle of the sexes, and what is the sex of your baby?  Every verbal "gender" emission is totalitarian newspeak, a psychological dirty bomb, because it is mendacious.  That is why it must be enforced by left-wing thought policing.
Hate speech expresses aversion and hostility that demean a group of people.  The terms "gender" and "transgender" are hate speech because they express antipathy to human nature itself.  Human identity is inseparable from sex identity.  To deny an individual's male or female identity is to make that person a thing, an "it."  To deny an innocent child the significance of sex identity is an abusive imprisonment in anti-natural confusion.
There are no such people as transgenders.  The promulgation of that term is a political, territorial expansion of the insatiable campaign against faith in God and gratitude for God's natural world.  There is a very rare, serious mental disorder of transsexuality.  People who suffer that disorder want only to change from one sex to another to affirm their humanity.
Karl Marx coined the pejorative and misleading term capitalism.  The vast majority of successful people in America do not owe their success to starting out with piles of capital.  The American free enterprise system has been demeaned by the term "capitalism" because of Marx's historic influence.  Gender-speak is well on its way to becoming another entrenched dehumanizing term of politico-babble unless it is stopped now.
May the Democrats continue to focus on the very special needs of lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender-queer.  Regardless of wealth, education, or any other advantage, there can never be enough favoritism shown to every member of the irreparably underserved minority sexualities.  Non-Democrats need to understand that when they accede to the initialism "LGBT," they are kowtowing to political power of the anti-God reformation and undermining the highest spiritual possibilities of human life.
It is time to raze the tower of babble and pledge, "I solemnly swear never to use the word 'gender' again."
Deborah C. Tyler can be reached at