December 11, 1997   vol 8, no.50

     SECTION ONE     To print out SECTION TWO, click here

Preparing Properly by Examining our Conscience

      The necessary way to prepare during Advent is the Sacrament of Reconciliation so that we may truly receive Jesus worthily in the Holy Eucharist. We continue our treatise on capsule catechesis from both the new Catechism of the Catholic Church and the old, but still very relevant Baltimore Catechism. Today we focus on "Examination of Conscience" Click on CATECHISM CAPSULES

Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation

    The Sacraments are part and parcel of our lives and so we continue our "capsule series" on each of the Sacraments, bringing you a few capsule paragraphs each day from both the new Catechism of the Catholic Church and the old Baltimore Catechism. It is appropriate that we begin Advent with the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation, better known as "Confession." There are various terms for this sacrament of healing. It has often been called the key to the door, for without this key sacrament we cannot receive Jesus in Holy Communion nor can a candidate be confirmed. The Sacrament of Penance reminds us of our humanness and our total dependence on the Mercy of God. Along with the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick or Extreme Unction, Penance/Reconciliation is a sacrament of healing.

No. 1455 and 1456, page 365 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church: The Celebration of the Christian Mystery; Chapter Two - The Sacraments of Healing; Libreria Editrice Vaticana: Urbi Et Orbi Communications:

      The reception of this sacrament ought to be prepared for by an examination of conscience made in the light of the Word of God. The passages best suited to this can be found in the moral catechesis of the Gospels and the apostolic Letters, such as the Sermon on the Mount and the apostolic teachings. Cf. Matthew 5-7, Romans 12-15, 1 Corinthians 12=13, Galatians 5, Ephesians 4-6, etc.

      Confession to a priest is an essential part of the sacrament of Penance: "All mortal sins of which penitents after a diligent self-examination are conscious must be recounted by them in confession, even if they are most secret and have been committed against the last two precepts of the Decalogue; for these sins sometimes wound the soul more grievously and are more dangerous than those which are committed openly. (Council of Trent: DS 1676)

From the Baltimore Catechism No. 3; Benziger Brothers, Inc. and Tan Books and Publishers, Inc. Nos. 749, 751 and 752, page 157, and 796 and 797, pages 167 and 168.

Q. What is the examination of conscience?
A. The examination of conscience is an earnest effort to recall to mind all the sins we have committed since our last worthy confession.

Q. How can we make a good examination of conscience?
A. We can make a good examination of conscience by calling to memory the commandments of God, the precepts of the Church, the seven capital sins, and the particular duties of our state in life, to find out the sins we have committed.

Q. What should we do before beginning the examination of conscience?
A. Before beginning the examination of conscience we should pray to God to give us light to know our sins and grace to detest them.

Q. How is concealing a sin telling a lie to the Holy Ghost?
A. Concealing a sin is telling a lie to the Holy Ghost, because he who conceals the sin declares in confession to God and the priest that he committed no sins but what he has confessed, while the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of Truth, saw him committing the sin he now conceals and still sees it in his soul while he denies it.

Q. Why is it foolish to conceal sins in confession?
A. It is foolish to conceal sins in confession: (1) Because we thereby make our spiritual condition worse; (2) We must tell the sin sometime if we ever hope to be saved; (3) It will be made known on the day of judgment, before the world, whether we conceal it now or confess it. A.

Proper Preparation for Liturgical Celebrations

That is the word from the Holy See in the Vatican's 37-page document instructing the faithful on the proper procedures for the laity in assisting the priests at all functions. Today Article Six deals with "Liturgical Celebrations" as the Church endeavors to curtail abuses that have heretofore been prevalent in many parishes and have been left unchecked until now. Click on THE VICAR OF CHRIST SPEAKS

INSTRUCTION on Certain Questions regarding the Collaboration of the Non-ordained Faithful in the Sacred Ministry of Priest

Fifthteenth installment: PRACTICAL PROVISIONS - Article 6
Liturgical Celebrations

1. Liturgical actions must always clearly manifest the unity of the People of God as a structured communion. (89) Thus there exists a close link between the ordered exercise of liturgical action and the reflection in the liturgy of the Church's structured nature. This happens when all participants, with faith and devotion, discharge those roles proper to them.

2. To promote the proper identity (of various roles) in this area, those abuses which are contrary to the provisions of canon 907 are to be eradicated. In eucharistic celebrations deacons and non-ordained members of the faithful may not pronounce prayers - e.g. especially the eucharistic prayer, with its concluding doxology - or any other parts of the liturgy reserved to the celebrant priest. Neither may deacons or non-ordained members of the faithful use gestures or actions which are proper to the same priest celebrant. It is a grave abuse for any member of the non-ordained faithful to "quasi preside" at the Mass while leaving only that minimal participation to the priest which is necessary to secure validity.

In the same way, the use of sacred vestments which are reserved to priests or deacons (stoles, chasubles or dalmatics) at liturgical ceremonies by non-ordained members of the faithful is clearly unlawful.

Every effort must be made to avoid even the appearance of confusion which can spring from anomalous liturgical practices. As the sacred ministers are obliged to wear all of the prescribed liturgical vestments so too the non-ordained faithful may not assume that which is not proper to them.

To avoid any confusion between sacramental liturgical acts presided over by a priest or deacon, and other acts which the non-ordained faithful may lead, it is always necessary to use clearly distinct ceremonials, especially for the latter.

NEXT ISSUE: PRACTICAL PROVISIONS - Article 7 Sunday Celebrations in the Absence of a Priest



For the Advent Novena Prayer and all prayers up until today, click on ADVENT Novena Prayers

December 11, 1997

Medjugorje Monthly Message

November 25th Message

    Dear children: Today I invite you to comprehend your Christian vocation. Little children, I led and am leading you through this time of grace, that you may become conscious of your Christian vocation. Holy martyrs died witnessing: I am a Christian and love God over everything. Little children, today also I invite you to rejoice and be joyful Christians, responsible and conscious that God called you in a special way to be joyfully extended hands toward those who do not believe, and that through the example of your life, they may receive faith and love for God. Therefore, pray, pray, pray that your heart may open and be sensitive for the Word of God. Thank you for having responded to my call!
For more on Medjugorje, Click on MEDJUGORJE

NEWS & VIEWS with a Catholic slant



      VATICAN (CWN) -- In his weekly catechetical audience today, Pope John Paul II said that the approach of the Jubilee Year 2000 gives Christians an occasion to reflect on the need to make good use of time. The coming of the millennium, he said, should also lead believers to "deepen our desire for eternal salvation."

      The Jubilee, the Holy Father continued, is a time to seek a better knowledge of Jesus Christ in his humanity; the year 2000 "invites us to turn toward Christ, to contemplate his Nativity and the mystery of his Incarnation."

      That event, the Pope said, marked a "radical change" in human history, as "eternity entered into time." Now, he added, humanity is on the path of eternity, because "to participate in the life of Christ means to participate in his eternity."

      Thus, the Pope concluded, the significance of the Jubilee is as "a door opening to eternal life."


      BOGOTA (CWN) - Marxist rebels released a Colombian bishop unharmed on Tuesday after holding him for more than two weeks and threatening to subject him to a "people's trial."

      Bishop Jose de Jesus Quintero of Tibu was handed over by National Liberation Army (ELN) rebels in northeastern Colombia to members of the International Committee of the Red Cross. Upon his return home, the bishop told his people: "With great happiness I will stay on as bishop in Catatumbo [the region held by the rebels]. I will do so with great pleasure until the last moment of my life."

      "Freedom is beautiful," the bishop added, his voice cracking with emotion. "Long live freedom, long live Colombia, long live the Church." Bishop Quintero was accused by the rebels of sympathizing with right-wing paramilitary group and kidnapped on November 24. In 1988, the ELN rebels kidnapped Bishop Jaramillo of Arauca and subjected him to a "people's trial" after which they murdered him.

      The ELN, Colombia's second largest guerrilla army, specializes in kidnappings and economic sabotage. Founded by radical priests advocating liberation theology in 1966, it has long criticized the Church's role in Colombia's protracted internal conflict.


     HAVANA (CWN) - Cuba's Cardinal Jaime Ortega on Tuesday asked the country's Communist government to reinstate Christmas as an official holiday as Pope John Paul asked President Fidel Castro at a meeting in Rome last year.

      "The Holy Father, through his secretary of state, asked Fidel Castro during his visit to the Vatican that the 25th of December be a holiday," Cardinal Ortega told a news conference. "There is no concrete indication until now if there is going to be a holiday or not." The officially atheist Communist government abolished Christmas as a holiday in 1969 because it was interfered with the sugar harvest. Since some restrictions on religious worship were lifted in 1991, more families are celebrating the day even though it remains a day of work.

      Cardinal Ortega called on Cubans to celebrate Christmas this year in a special way to prepare for the January 21-25 visit of Pope John Paul. The cardinal made a point to compliment the government for allowing a series of open-air Masses that concluded on Monday's Feast of the Immaculate Conception.


"Prepare your outdoor tasks, and arrange your work in the field; afterward you can establish your house."

Proverbs 24: 27

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December 11, 1997 volume 8, no. 50         DAILY CATHOLIC

December 1997