OC 095 Sacrament of Holy Matrimony, Part Two

February 28th, 2012

Q. I am a Catholic, but I have not been confirmed. I wish to get married, and I have been told that I must be confirmed first, is this so?
A. Yes. Catholic Canon Law states: (Canon 1065 §1) “Catholics who have not yet received the sacrament of confirmation are to receive it before being admitted to marriage, if this can be done without grave inconvenience”. See your local Catholic priest to see what is involved for you. Confirmation strengthens your faith and enables you to lead a more fulfilled Christian life, and will support you in your future sacramental marriage.

Q. What are the rules of Catholic marriage with regards to a marriage between a man and a woman of 16 and 17 respectively? We are concerned that for a purely Catholic marriage ceremony (NOT a civil ceremony) parental consent maybe required.
A. The Code of Canon Law of the Catholic Church says the following concerning your query:
Canon 1083. A man cannot validly enter marriage before the completion of his sixteenth year of age, nor a woman before the completion of her fourteenth year.
Canon 1072. Pastors of souls are to see to it that they dissuade young people from entering marriage before the age customarily accepted in the region.
Canon 1071.1. … no one is to assist without the permission of the local Ordinary (bishop) at: a marriage of a minor (under 18 years of age), whose parents are either unaware of it or are reasonably opposed to it. Normally a priest would at least want you to let your parents know about your plans, and would probably insist that they have no reasonable objections to your marriage. It is worth thinking of your parents’ point of view. They are most likely looking forward to their children getting married (even if they are not absolutely happy about the chosen partner, but after all that’s not their decision to make). Give a thought to the future: marriage is difficult enough without having really serious in-law problems: when children come along, grand parents are invaluable. I strongly recommend that you have a friendly talk to your parents, saying why you think it is important to get married soon. I am sure they will listen to your point of view, and if you have their blessing, what a great start to married life.

Q. I am hoping to get married next year to my husband to be. We have never been married previously but my problem is that he is Catholic and I am not. My partner would love to get married in the Catholic Church and I would love this as well for the fact that I respect his wish. I do not have a religion at all. I was never christened or baptized etc. Does this cause us a problem for getting married in the Catholic Church?
A. Based on the information you have given, you should be able to get married in a Catholic church, but a dispensation from the local Catholic bishop is required, and this will only be given if certain conditions are fulfilled. I quote the official ‘rules’ below. In practical terms, I suggest your husband to be, approaches his local Catholic priest as soon as possible, and gives him all the details; he will then arrange for the dispensation from the Bishop and talk about the conditions, etc. The relevant canons from the Code of Canon Law state:
Canon 1086 §1. A marriage is invalid when one of the two persons was baptized in the Catholic Church or received into it and has not by a formal act defected from it, and the other was not baptized.
Canon 1086 §2. This impediment is not to be dispensed unless the conditions mentioned in canon 1125 and 1126 have been fulfilled.
Canon 1125. The local ordinary (bishop) can grant this permission if there is a just and reasonable cause. He is not to grant it unless the following conditions are fulfilled:
1. The Catholic party is to declare that he or she is prepared to remove dangers of defecting from the faith, and to make a sincere promise to do all in his or her power in order that all the children be baptized and brought up in the Catholic Church;
2. The other party is to be informed in good time of these promises to be made by the Catholic party, so that it is certain that he or she is truly aware of the promise and of the obligation of the Catholic part.
3. Both parties are to be instructed about the purposes and essential properties of marriage, which are not to be excluded.
Canon 1126. It is for the Episcopal Conference to prescribe the manner in which these declarations and promises, which are always required, are to be made, and to determine how they are to be established in the external forum, and how the non-catholic party is to be informed of them.
(This last canon is saying the Bishop’s Conference in this country decides how the promises etc. are carried out in practice.)

to be continued in Part Three

Ugly Americanism — RealCatholicTV

August 24th, 2011



OC 094 Sacrament of Holy Matrimony, Part One

August 23rd, 2011


Tribulation we will have, Our Lord told us, but He also said that He was to be with us until the end of time. The important thing for Catholics to know is that there is a body of dogma and doctrine to guide them in these perverse times. The Catechism of the Catholic Church is light in the darkness.

Matthew 19:3-13
Jesus’ Teaching about Divorce
Getting up, He went from there to the region of Judea and beyond the Jordan; crowds gathered around Him again, and, according to His custom, He once more began to teach them. Some Pharisees came up to Jesus, testing Him, and began to question Him whether it was lawful for a man to divorce a wife. And He answered and said to them, “What did Moses command you?” They said, “Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce and send her away.” But Jesus said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment. “But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female. “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother, and the two shall become one flesh; so they are no longer two, but one flesh. “What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.” In the house the disciples began questioning Him about this again. And He said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her; and if she herself divorces her husband and marries another man, she is committing adultery.”

Marriage and early Church Fathers
Nicene Fathers such as Augustine, Tertullian, Gregory of Nyssa, Jerome, St. John Chrysostom, Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage.

The Catholic Church teaches that God Himself is the author of the sacred institution of marriage, which is His way of showing love for those He created. Marriage is a divine institution that can never be broken, even if the husband or wife legally divorce in the civil courts; as long as they are both alive, the Church considers them bound together by God. Holy Matrimony is another name for sacramental marriage.

Marriage is intended to be a faithful, exclusive, lifelong union of a man and a woman. Committing themselves completely to each other, a Catholic husband and wife strive to sanctify each other, bring children into the world, and educate them in the Catholic way of life. Man and woman, although created differently from each other, complement each other. This complementarity draws them together in a mutually loving union.

The valid marriage of baptized Christians is one of the seven Catholic sacraments. The sacrament of marriage is the only sacrament that a priest does not administer directly; a priest, however, is the chief witnesses of the husband and wife’s administration of the sacrament to each other at the wedding ceremony in a Catholic church.

The Catholic Church views that Christ Himself established the sacrament of marriage at the wedding feast of Cana; therefore, since it is a divine institution, neither the Church nor state can alter the basic meaning and structure of marriage. Husband and wife give themselves totally to each other in a union that lasts until death.

Priests are to remember that marriage is part of God’s natural law and to support the couple if they do choose to marry. Today it is common for Catholics to enter into a “mixed marriage” between a Catholic and a baptized non-Catholic. Couples entering into a mixed marriage are usually allowed to marry in a Catholic church provided their decision is of their own accord and they intend to remain together for life, to be faithful to each other, and to have children which are brought up in the Catholic faith

In Catholicism, marriage has two ends: the good of the spouses themselves, and the procreation and education of children (1983 code of canon law, c.1055; 1994 catechism, par.2363). Hence “entering marriage with the intention of never having children is a grave wrong and more than likely grounds for an annulment.”[25] It is normal procedure for a priest to ask the prospective bride and groom about their plans to have children before officiating at their wedding. The Catholic Church may refuse to marry anyone unwilling to have children, since procreation by “the marriage act” is a fundamental part of marriage. Thus usage of any form of contraception, in vitro fertilization, or birth control besides Natural Family Planning is a grave offense against the sanctity of marriage and ultimately against God.

In our next we will learn the requirements for the reception of the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony.


OC 093 Reconciliation Part Deux

June 28th, 2011

I received a couple of emails and asked to elaborate on how to perform an examination of conscience and what to do in the confessional.
I like to recall what I learned from during my novice masters early in my spiritual life as a monk; also taken from Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J. teachings.

part of preparation for the reception of the Sacrament of Penance
a daily prayerful reflection on our service of God

Two basic examens of conscience.
1) general examen
2) particular examen

First, thank our Lord for the graces He has given me, whether pleasant or painful, with which I have faithfully cooperated. For this I thank Him.
Second, ask myself where I have failed to cooperate with the grace that God has given me during the day  e.g. the practice of humility, or prudence, or charity, or patience. Be concrete and specific.
Third, briefly recall the circumstances which occasioned your moral failure.
Then do the obvious thing of asking our Lord to forgive you and give you the strength to avoid this sin in the future.
Finally, plan for the future. It means that I look forward to what I am to do, and avoid doing, in the next day.


All of us have certain tendencies across the whole spectrum of moral misbehavior. Yet no two of us are identical in which of these tendencies is predominant. Some are more prone to pride than to lust. Some are more prone to anger than to greed. Some are more prone to envy than to sloth. In fact, each one of us changes from time to time in what failure of our moral conduct is dominant, depending on the circumstances and persons who enter our lives.The particular examen concentrates on coping with the predominant moral weakness of our own personality.
In God’s providence, He allows us to fail in those areas in which He especially wants us to grow in virtue. We can fail in the practice of these virtues either by commission, omission, or by tepidity, in not acting as generously as we might in responding to the grace we have received from God.


  1. Do I make an honest effort to grow in the virtue of faith by daily mental prayer on the mysteries of the faith as revealed in the life of Jesus Christ?
  2. Do I pray daily for an increase of faith?
  3. Do I ever tempt God by relying on my own strength to cope with the trials in my life?
  4. Do I unnecessarily read or listen to those who oppose or belittle what I know are truths of my Catholic faith?
  5. What have I done today to externally profess my faith?
  6. Do I ever defend my faith, prudently and charitably, when someone says something contrary to what I know is to be believed?
  7. Have I helped someone overcome a difficulty against the faith?


  1. Do I immediately say a short prayer when I find myself getting discouraged?
  2. Do I dwell on my worries instead of dismissing them from my mind?
  3. Do I fail in the virtue of hope by my attachment to the things of this world?
  4. Do I try to see God’s providence in everything that “happens” in my life?
  5. Do I try to see everything from the viewpoint of eternity?
  6. Am I confident that, with God’s grace, I will be saved?
  7. Do I allow myself to worry about my past life and thus weaken my hope in God’s mercy?
  8. Do I try to combine every fully deliberate action with at least a momentary prayer for divine help?
  9. How often today have I complained, even internally?


  1. Have I told God today that I love Him?
  2. Do I tell Jesus that I love Him with my whole heart?
  3. Do I take the occasion to tell God that I love Him whenever I experience something I naturally dislike?
  4. Have I capitalized on the difficulties today to tell God that I love Him just because He sent me the trial or misunderstanding?
  5. Do I see God’s love for me in allowing me to prove my love for Him in the crosses He sent me today?
  6. Have I seen God’s grace to prove my love for Him in every person whom I met today?
  7. Have I failed in charity by speaking unkindly about others?
  8. Have I dwelt on what I considered someones unkindness toward me today?
  9. Is there someone that I consciously avoid because I dislike the person?
  10. Did I try to carry on a conversation today with someone who is difficult to talk to?
  11. Have I been stubborn in asserting my own will?
  12. How thoughtful have I been today in doing some small favor for someone?
  13. Have I allowed my mood to prevent me from being thoughtful of others today?
  14. Am I given to dwelling on other people’s weaknesses or faults?
  15. Have I been cheerful today in my dealings with others?
  16. Do I control my uncharitable thoughts as soon as they arise in my mind?
  17. Did I pray for others today?
  18. Have I controlled my emotions when someone irritated me?
  19. Have I performed any sacrifice today for someone?



Before going to Confession, examine your conscience; call to mind the times you broke the ten commandments and make a record/ memorise ALL your sins (mortal & venial) or write them down

Go into the confessional and Bless yourself. Say ‘Bless me father for I have sinned. It has been (state how long it has been) since my last confession.
These are my sins.’  Review ALL the sins you had written down or memorized; don’t hold any back – he is listening only to understand and give spiritual direction if needed.
It isn’t necessary to go into details unless he asks. If you don’t know whether something is a sin, just ask him.
When you have named all your sins say’ for all the sins I have ever committed I am truly sorry.”
The Priest will then prescribe a penance so listen carefully so you can fulfill the obligation to complete one of the elements to the Sacrament.
When he has finished he will ask you to say an act of Contrition – this is the one I learned in grade school for first confession:
‘O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee, and I detest all my sins, because of thy just punishments, but most of all because they offend Thee, my God, Who are all-good and deserving of all my love.
I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy grace, to sin no more and to avoid the near occasion of sin. Amen.’
The Priest will then grant you absolution (forgiveness).
Leave the confessional with a truly contrite heart. Generally, return to your pew and say your penance as soon as possible so that you don’t forget and in future try to never sin again.
You are then completely cleansed of your sins.The Lord has granted you forgiveness and you can be happy and have peace of soul.


OC 092 Sacrament of Reconciliation

June 16th, 2011

John 20:19-23 “Now when it was late that same day, the first of the week, and the doors were shut, where the disciples were gathered together, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them: Peace be to you. And when he had said this, he shewed them his hands and his side. The disciples therefore were glad, when they saw the Lord. He said therefore to them again: Peace be to you. As the Father hath sent me, I also send you. When he had said this, he breathed on them; and he said to them: Receive ye the Holy Ghost. Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained.”

The Letter of James says, “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The fervent prayer of a righteous person is very powerful” (5:16).
(John 20:23).

If I’m supposed to forgive my brother 70×7, then how does a layman ‘retain’ someones sins; there is an intermediary here, given by God – in this instance the disciples; he didn’t offer this to the people who gathered by the thousands on the mountains to hear him preach; such as the Beatitudes, or when feeding the thousands with loaves and fish; so he must have wanted a SPECIAL group that He ANOINTED with the breath of the Holy Spirit–priests who would have the faculties to forgive or retain sins.

So we point to this as the institution of the Sacrament of Penance (Confession). OK, you cradle Catholics know what I’m going to say next at least I HOPE so: sacrament is an outward sign instituted by Christ to impart grace. whew I’m glad we got that over.  now I’m going to sound like a nerd, with your permission.

As an outward sign it comprises the actions of the penitent in presenting himself to the priest and accusing himself of his sins, and the actions of the priest in pronouncing absolution and imposing satisfaction. This whole procedure is usually called, from one of its parts, “confession”, and it is said to take place in the “tribunal of penance”, because it is a judicial process in which the penitent is at once the accuser, the person accused, and the witness, while the priest pronounces judgment and sentence. The grace conferred is deliverance from the guilt of sin and, in the case of mortal sin, from its eternal punishment; hence also reconciliation with God, justification. Finally, the confession is made not in the secrecy of the penitents heart nor to a layman as friend and advocate, nor to a representative of human authority, but to a duly ordained priest with requisite jurisdiction and with the “power of the keys”, i.e., the power to forgive sins which Christ granted to His Church.

American Catholic relates that: Confession, one aspect of the Sacrament of Reconciliation which used to receive the greatest emphasis, is now seen as just one step in the total process. Confession of sin can only be sincere if it is preceded by the process of conversion. It is actually the external expression of the interior transformation that conversion has brought about in us. It is a much less significant aspect of the sacrament than we made it out to be in the past. This does not mean that confession is unimportant-only that it is not the essence of the sacrament.

Look at the parable of the Prodigal Son. The father, seeing his son in the distance, runs out to meet him with an embrace and a kiss. Through one loving gesture, the father forgives the son-and the son hasn’t even made his confession yet! When he does, it seems the father hardly listens. The confession is not the most important thing here; the important thing is that his son has returned. The son need not beg for forgiveness, he has been forgiven. This is the glorious Good News: God’s forgiveness, like God’s love, doesn’t stop. In this parable, Jesus reveals to us a loving God who simply cannot not forgive!

Of course the new Rite does concern itself with the confession of sins. But one’s sinfulness is not always the same as one’s sins. And, as a sacrament of healing, Reconciliation addresses the disease (sinfulness) rather than the symptoms (sins). So, the sacrament calls us to more than prepared speeches or lists of sins. We are challenged to search deep into our heart of hearts to discover the struggles, value conflicts and ambiguities (the disease) which cause the sinful acts (the symptoms) to appear.

Celebration is a word we haven’t often associated with the Sacrament of Reconciliation. But in Jesus’ parable, it is obviously important and imperative. “Quick!” says the father. “Let us celebrate.” And why? Because a sinner has converted, repented, confessed and returned. There are volumes that I could say about this Sacrament; one ‘help’ in preparing yourself for confession is known as the ‘examination of conscience.  There are many saints who have spoken about this and many books you can pick up to read about this.  But for sake of brevity, visit EWTN — they have a document of Father John Hardon regarding the twice daily examination of conscience