December 11, 1997 vol 8,
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:
EXAMINATION OF CONSCIENCE
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)
When Christ's faithful strive to confess all the sins that they can remember, they undoubtedly place all of them before the Divine Mercy for pardon. But those who fail to do so and knowingly withhold some, place nothing before the Divine Goodness for remission through the mediation of the priest, "for if the sick person is too ashamed to show his wound to the doctor, the medicine cannot heal what it does not know." (Council of Trent:  DS 1680 - [ND 1626]; cf. St. Jerome, In Ecclesia 10, 11: PL 23: 1096)
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
§ 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
§ 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
PRAYERS & DEVOTION
TODAY'S ADVENT PRAYER
For the Advent Novena Prayer and all prayers up until today, click on ADVENT Novena Prayers
December 11, 1997
Dear Mother, today we celebrate your feast as Our Lady of Guadalupe. We especially on this day make intercession to you as Mother of God, that in our land and throughout the world the people might make ready their hearts to receive Jesus, by ending the hideous sin of abortion. We raise our voices with all of the Heavenly Hosts, and beg of God to end this sin. We do remember and pray for all babies who will be aborted throughout the Christmas season, and it is our desire to name them (select two names) and to baptize them "In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen."
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
Pope prompts us to prepare for Millennium
The Holy Father in his next-to-last weekly papal audience in Paul VI Hall this year, stressed the importance of not just looking ahead to Christ's Coming but to being with Him forever. Pope John Paul II added that that is up to us in how we handle the precious time we have here on earth. Click on Eternity to read more.
JUBILEE AS A WINDOW ON ETERNITY
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
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."
Columbian Bishop Finally Freed
After a two week stint in Bogata, Bishop Jose de Jesus Quintero, the Ordinary of Tibu was finally released from incarceration by communist rebels and handed over to the Red Cross. It gave the Catholic prelate not only a new lease on life, but a new respect for something we all take too much for granted: freedom. Click on Columbia to read more.
KIDNAPPED COLOMBIAN BISHOP RELEASED
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
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.
Will Castro play Santa Claus to Cuban Catholics this Christmas?
The bishops of Cuba are hoping and praying that he will by allowing Cuba to officially celebrate the Solemnity of Christmas as a national holiday, a feast that has been banned for nearly thirty years. Because of the impending visit by the Pope in January, Cuban Church officials are hoping Castro will not say "Bah, Humbug!" Click on Cuban Christmas to read more.
CUBA BISHOPS ASK FOR CHRISTMAS HOLIDAY
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
PROVERB OF THE DAY
"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