Cowardly Obfuscation

At the Extraordinary Synods on the family last year, the liberal cardinals invited to attend unashamedly put their sinister plans to distort Catholic teaching on the indissolubility of Holy Matrimony into action. They were opposed by the conservative cardinals. The world held its breath – what would be the outcome of all this?

October 2015, Pope Francis thanked all the cardinals in his closing speech after the second and final Synod gathering, but his little digs at the traditional (a.k.a. orthodox) cardinals led all true Catholics to fear the worst for his coming Apostolic Exhortation.

126j33 Then on 8th April 2016 the Vatican finally released Pope Francis’ Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation, Amoris Laetitia. A bombshell! Already it is scandalising the world – not for its discarding of unchangeable dogma and doctrine (which it does not) but for its cowardly obfuscation of the truth. Henry VIII would have been delighted with this document!


And yet Our Lord’s teaching on the wrongness of divorce and the sacredness and permanence of marriage was clear and direct, sans ambiguity or loopholes!


The Bones states: “[T]alking about love and marriage and family while dispensing with the Church’s traditional language and preferring instead the use of the world’s ‘terms and conditions’ has serious consequences and can create even casualties. As Orwell said of war, the first casualty of this approach is truth.”


When a person living in what the Pope refers to as an “irregular” situation – but which the Church has always identified as “objective mortal sin” – recognises his offence, sincerely repents, and turns to the sacrament of Confession to receive God’s forgiveness, he will be embraced by the Loving Mercy of God.


To be restored to receiving Holy Communion we must be in a state of grace. Receiving communion in a state of sin is a sacrilege. Amoris Laetitia does not state this clearly. The document has instead mixed together genuine Catholic teaching in passages that are good and others that ramble, with a drop of the ‘poison’ of confusion, or, as Michael Brendan Dougherty puts it, “by loquacity and evasiveness in trying to dignify and disguise moral cowardice borne from a lack of faith”.

“Credo, domine; adjuva incredulitatem mean”  – (Mark 9:19).

[H/T to The Bones for some of the above memes.]  

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56 Responses to Cowardly Obfuscation

  1. John A. Kehoe says:

    I thank God I am not like the rest of men…….

  2. toadspittle says:

    Interesting to see Orwell cited.
    He is on record as describing Catholicism as, “a racket.”

    All great fun, from where I’m sitting.

  3. GC says:

    Oh yes. As I’ve suggested very humbly before, CP&S should be renamed .

  4. toadspittle says:

    No need to rename the cheery old blog, GC. “A rose by any other name…etc.” Although Fulton Sheen’s obfuscating extract on the other thread – stuff of the likes of this:

    [A moderator: The rest has been deleted. There is nothing “obfuscating” in Ven. Fulton Sheen’s speech. And if you want to talk about something on another thread, please go over there to say it.]

  5. ginnyfree says:

    Wow, strong words young lady. I’m sorry you are so disappointed after waiting so long. God bless. Ginnyfree.

  6. kathleen says:

    John A. Kehoe @ 13:57

    “I thank God I am not like the rest of men…….

    That’s right Mr. Kehoe – he was a proud Pharisee. He thought himself just tickety-boo, sinless; IOW, in no need of repentance or confession.
    But would you look at the publican – the sinner in whom we should all see ourselves reflected – who recognised his sins and his unworthiness before God.

    “And the publican, standing afar off, would not so much as lift up his eyes towards heaven; but struck his breast, saying: O God, be merciful to me a sinner. I say to you, this man went down into his house justified rather that the other: because every one that exalteth himself, shall be humbled: and he that humbleth himself, shall be exalted” – (Luke 18:13-14).

    Those who are living in mortal sin and yet refuse to admit their sinfulness… and thus do not repent or make steps to amend their lives, should not receive Holy Communion. God’s loving mercy presupposes repentance. It is the teaching of the Church – always has been – and those who ignore it or preach “another gospel” to others are putting their own immortal souls and those to whom they minister in grave danger.

  7. kathleen says:

    @ Ginny

    I never said I was “disappointed”! In fact I said we “feared the worst” after hearing the Holy Father’s closing speech at the end of the second Synod on the Family, when he made some rather snarky remarks to the good cardinals who had defended the teaching of Christ in His Mystical Body against the attacks of modernist Card. Kasper and his followers.
    But no-one really knew for sure what to expect from the Post Synodal document, so impossible to be disappointed. All the warning signs beforehand avoided traditional Catholics harbouring an unrealistic optimism anyway. God bless.

  8. John A. Kehoe says:

    The problem is how do we know, or is it any business of ours to know, who personally is in mortal sin ?

    I seems to me that the fewer stones thrown the better

  9. ginnyfree says:

    John, I personally don’t throw stones. But if I’m asked about it, it do tell the truth. I sometimes even offer the truth when not asked. It just happens. I do so in charity always, though some Pharisees looking on my not agree with the delivery, it is always meant to bring those in mortal sin to their senses and offer them the authentic Mercy of God, that which is found in the Confessional. I’ve never done less. How’s that for a “stoning?” God bless. Ginnyfree.

  10. ginnyfree says:

    P.S. John, I will not be modifying my approach a bit since reading the exhortation. Does that help?

  11. toadspittle says:

    Stonier than thou.

  12. John A. Kehoe says:

    No, ginnyfree, the problem is that contributors here are all very convinced that OTHERS are in mortal sin, which is a Personal state of enmity with God. How can they know that ? Do they have access to the personal consciences of others ?

    Mortal sin requires three constituent elements, two of them being personal, not available to the scrutiny of outside interveners

  13. kathleen says:

    @ John A. Kehoe

    The above article is talking to Catholics who know very well (or should do) what constitutes a “mortal sin”!

    One of the spiritual works of mercy is “to admonish sinners”.
    This must be done primarily by those in positions of authority to do so, i.e., the Pope, bishops, priests, etc. But it is also the duty and responsibility of each baptised person in their journey to God to help others reach Heaven too. All the great Popes and Doctors of the Church of past times have spoken strongly on this point. Correcting evil is a Christian charge placed on everyone.

    Of course it goes without saying that admonishments to our loved ones or friends who might be in ‘irregular unions’ must be done with extreme patience, kindness and understanding, and not with an “holier than thou” attitude – for nothing could be more off-putting. Indeed, we must always remember that we are all sinners and could with truth say to ourselves when faced with such situations: “there, but for the grace of God, go I”.

    Yes, only God knows “the personal consciences of others” – that is correct – but there is such a thing as objective mortal sin that any person who has had a Catholic upbringing can recognise. This new modernist approach to water down or deny the possibility that man can (and often does) offend God greatly by sinning mortally is what has brought in such destruction of faith and morals today. And the tragic loss of so many souls in consequence.

    That is what should truly worry you, rather than criticising those who try to adhere to Christ’s Holy Catholic Church, with all the deep wisdom of Her divinely inspired teachings.

  14. John A. Kehoe says:

    It doesn’t worry me at all that I am not constantly going on about OTHER people in mortal sin.
    I know all about the difference between objective mortal sin and subjective mortal sin. What alarms me is the alacrity with which some people brand others as being in a subjective state of mortal sin, a matter which God alone knows. There is such a thing as being a busybody and that is a role I decline.
    If,for example, I know for certain that a Catholic man and a Catholic woman, not married by sacrament, are living together in a sexual relationship and have had a child by that relationship am I entitled to badger them about committing mortal sin ?

  15. kathleen says:

    It doesn’t worry me at all that I am not constantly going on about OTHER people in mortal sin.

    So, in other words, you are not worried whether souls die in unrepentant mortal sin? Spoken like a true Kasperite, Mr Kehoe!

    It is certainly a “worry” of the Church, our Mother and Guide. She is “constantly going on” about the danger to sinners who refuse to repent and fall on God’s mercy, and therefore stubbornly remain in their sins. Are you saying you know better than the teachings of the Catholic Church?

    I know all about the difference between objective mortal sin…

    I don’t think you have any idea of what it means, for if you did, you would not be criticising those who point out the weak and ambiguous parts of the pope’s ‘Amoris Laetitia’.

    Most of the articles we have posted on here since it came out, plus the hundreds of other articles you can find all over the Catholic blogosphere, have shown the great worry and concern of orthodox Catholics for these passages that will enable those who are in objective mortal sin, (i.e., not in a state of grace) to receive Holy Communion. This is not because we/they are “busybodies”, but because we care about “OTHER people”.

    If,for example, I know for certain that a Catholic man and a Catholic woman, not married by sacrament, are living together in a sexual relationship….etc.

    Sometimes there is nothing one can do, and any attempt would be counterproductive. But to those with whom we have a closer relationship, e.g., children, siblings, friends, we should, if and when possible, try to help them see the errors of their ways BECAUSE WE LOVE THEM and wish the best for them.

    Have you never been admonished, Mr Kehoe? Either by parents, or the priest in confession, or a teacher, or by anybody in other circumstances?
    I most definitely have, mostly in my youth, and it was always well deserved. I can now only thank God and pray for all those ‘angels’ who have cared about my immortal soul when I might have been tempted to go astray.

  16. ginnyfree says:

    John, I’m going to take you to task on this statement of yours: “What alarms me is the alacrity with which some people brand others as being in a subjective state of mortal sin, a matter which God alone knows.” God isn’t the only one who knows right from wrong. The Church does too and so do her members. Mortal sin is anything done against the Commandments as well as things left undone that need doing, such as going to Church on Sunday. A single mortal sin is all it takes to send one to Hell for all of eternity. It is part of the Church’s job to tell the whole world this bad part of the good news. If we fail to warn people, then what was said by God thru the prophet Ezekiel will be the consequences that await the shepherds who fail in this mighty task of the Church: Ezekiel 3: 17-21 “17 Son of man, I have appointed you a sentinel for the house of Israel. When you hear a word from my mouth, you shall warn them for me. 18 If I say to the wicked, You shall surely die—and you do not warn them or speak out to dissuade the wicked from their evil conduct in order to save their lives—then they shall die for their sin, but I will hold you responsible for their blood. 19 If, however, you warn the wicked and they still do not turn from their wickedness and evil conduct, they shall die for their sin, but you shall save your life. 20 But if the just turn away from their right conduct and do evil when I place a stumbling block before them, then they shall die. Even if you warned them about their sin, they shall still die, and the just deeds that they performed will not be remembered on their behalf. I will, however, hold you responsible for their blood. 21 If, on the other hand, you warn the just to avoid sin, and they do not sin, they will surely live because of the warning, and you in turn shall save your own life.” We are taught right from wrong. The difference between mortal sin and venial sin is elementary. You will not have a Canon Lawyer to accompany you to your particular judgement to help blur the lines at your time of judgment with the 1000 mile stretch that required you to have 3 factors in full play before you actually, knowingly committed each and every one of your mortal sins, thus rending you lily white because you couldn’t fully define adultery in perfect theological sense before you committed it, thereby lessening the mortal sin of adultery to the point of it being only venial cause you didn’t fully understand what it meant to cheat on your wife from a theological standpoint. OH and BTW, when you fell for the latest excuse for mortal sin and declined to confess the more embarrassing parts of your sex life because, well, under the influence of hormones and too much alcohol, you didn’t give a full consent did you? Couldn’t have been, cuz you were half in the bag and well, you regretted it in the morning, tuned in to Catholic Answers to hear that intoxication is considered judgement impairment enough to remove the third factor, that being full consent of the will, so theoretically speaking, any mortal sin committed while under the influence is not considered a mortal sin by the whole Catholic Answers team. Unfortunately they won’t be there to get you out of Hell with the slick theological speculations at that point in your life. So, make a good Confession at least once a year and be sure to include all the mortal sins you have committed. God bless. Ginnyfree.

  17. John A. Kehoe says:

    [CP&S Moderator to John A. Kehoe: Your two comments have been removed. Please read our blog policy before commenting here again. We remind you that this is a Catholic blog. We do not publish comments that are uncivil or those that defy the CCC.]

  18. John A. Kehoe says:

    I am interested to know what competence or authority those posting here have for determining the spiritual status of other peoples’ souls. Unlike the Pope or bishops, they are not the official teachers of the Church.

    It appears that any comment of mine which deviates from those of some others here is regarded as uncivil; in particular any question I raise about the theological qualifications of the lay critics of Pope Francis and of his recent document.

    [CP&S Moderator: John, noone is claiming to know the state of other peoples’ souls – that is all in your mind – only generalisations and paradigms are given AFAICS, no names. You appear to think that you and you alone have the sole right to state who is or is not in sin, accusing other commentators of presumption and ignorance. Your, “God, I thank you that I am not like other men” that you throw out at others, has become your very own stance! We are truly weary of your non-stop quarrelling just for the sake of it every time you comment here.]

  19. John A. Kehoe says:

    I would like to know wherein I have defied the Catechism of the Catholic Church. I very much adhere to it.

    [Moderator: How about this:

    CCC 1868
    “Sin is a personal act. Moreover, we have a responsibility for the sins committed by others when we cooperate in them:

    – by participating directly and voluntarily in them;

    – by ordering, advising, praising, or approving them;


    – by protecting evil-doers.”


    “An error which is not resisted is approved; a truth which is not defended is suppressed…. He who does not oppose an evident crime is open to the suspicion of secret complicity.” (As cited by Pope Leo XIII from Pope Felix III)

    Therefore all members of the Church may, and indeed should, speak out against error.]

  20. ginnyfree says:

    So, John, are you going to respond with a justification for your assumption that no one but God alone can determine right from wrong, mortal from venial sin and who these two states apply to and which states of life may actually represent mortally sinful states? It remains my position that the Church and her members have been fully informed of these things by God and that knowledge of the difference between mortal and venial sins and how not to fall into those states is pretty much elementary. In fact that gets taught to all Catholic children before their first Holy Communion, so even the little children know the facts of life. I’ll venture to give a simple example: Big Sis, age 13 sees little brother, age 8, swipe candy from the drugstore counter on Saturday morning. Later that same day, Dad asks if anyone wants to go to Church for Confession. Little brother declines, but Sis goes with Dad and Mom. The next day, as they are all in the pew together, when it comes time to go up for Communion, Sis yanks little brother back down into the pew and gives him the “You better not cross me or you’re done for,” stare and he sheepishly responds to Mom and Dad’s amazement by sitting back down in the pew and refusing to go up in the line for the Eucharist he is no longer entitled to. Sis goes along with Dad and Mom, and turns to look back at her little brother still seated in the pew looking down at the floor in shame. He has now realized the full cost of the candy he swiped the day before and promises God that he will make a good Confession of it next Saturday. God’s will be done.
    Now, to your way of seeing things, Sis had no real right to stop her little brother because there may be some reason the mortal sin he committed didn’t effect in his soul a complete break with God resulting in the loss of the state of grace required for a person to be able to receive the Blessed Sacrament and the mere witness of the events by big Sister wasn’t sufficient for her to know he was in a mortally sinful state and shouldn’t receive Communion without going to Confession first. Let me know how you figure that out, okay? In the meantime, you may want to consider why the Church lists among its Spiritual Works of Mercy, the admonishment of a sinner. God bless. Ginnyfree.

  21. John A. Kehoe says:

    In the Confessional, and believe it or not I am no stranger to the Confessional, the individual accuses himself/herself of sin…. Confiteor… The Confessor does not do so. It is not up to us, therefore to identify the personal sins of others. I am accused in this blog of not knowing the difference between subjective and objective sin. I do know the distinction

    What I get from this website is an unfortunate eagerness to impute personal sin to others and latterly an unfounded reason to impute error to Pope Francis, the chief pastor of the Church,in his recent exhortation. I thought this website was set up to support the teachings of the Pope in office, unless you don’t like what he says and then you argue against his exhortations ?

    I do not think that I have the sole right to say who is or who is not in sin. I am saying the very opposite. It is this very right which is claimed by others on this blog I am saying, and have said, that I have no such right. I wish others also would disclaim this function.

  22. John A. Kehoe says:

    Ginnyfree. I have never said that only God alone can determine right from wrong.You are putting words into my mouth. Determining right from wrong is a function of the every day use of conscience. What I do say is that God alone can judge.
    There are three elements to mortal sin two of which are personal, subjective, and not capable of judgment by others. Perfect knowledge and full consent. Most people will easily determine the other one which is an objective test : grievous matter e.g. murder, rape, abortion etc etc, I scarcely think that taking candy from the drugstore constitutes grievous matter sufficient for mortal sin and thus preventing the child of eight from the worthy reception of the Eucharist. A venial sin at most.

    Only mortal sins need to be confessed in the confessional; confession of venial sins is a good thing but not obligatory.

  23. kathleen says:

    John A. Kehoe @ 18:12

    You just don’t see it, do you Mr Kehoe? It simply can’t get through to you, although I think our moderator made it pretty clear. As even our annoying Toad spotted at the start of your saga of petulant fault-finding – you “throw stones” at us (jibes, accusations, criticisms) for saying what the Church has always taught about sin – then hide your hand, protesting you are not doing precisely what you have just finished doing!!
    Which is? Answer: telling us we are the sinners for defending Catholic Truth. There is an unpleasant word for this sort of behaviour of yours, but I won’t say it out loud; you can work it out for yourself.

    ”I thought this website was set up to support the teachings of the Pope in office, unless you don’t like what he says and then you argue against his exhortations ?”

    Wrong! (And it’s not a matter of liking “what he says”, either in his exhortations or at any time; it’s a matter of whether what he says is plain, strong Catholic teaching, or a distortion of it under a pile of confusing half-thoughts or sneers at loyal Catholics.)

    We have a duty to pray for the pope, the chosen Vicar of Christ, to respect him, to listen to his teachings; he is of course the temporal “Holy Father” of the Mystical Body of Christ. However, the Pope “in office” is only the guardian of this treasure of the Faith, not its owner. He should uphold its purity and preach it faithfully through the powerful Petrine office to which he has been chosen.

    When a pope brings in all sorts of modernist innovations and practises that scandalise the people, he betrays the trust bestowed upon him. Then, as in the past, other members of the Church should point out to him the errors of his ways. Many good Catholic bishops, priests, canon lawyers, authors, etc., and traditional websites are doing just that; not for any personal gain or pleasure, but to protect “the pearl of great price” from the contamination of the lies of Modernism. The Pope, like all men, is a fallible human being, except in the very exceptional cases when he speaks ex cathedra. (Don’t forget that St Paul corrected St Peter when he erred in the early days of the incipient Church!)
    The apologist (Steve Skojec from 1P5) puts it this way: “we must resist error — even from a pope, who may fall into such outside the parameters of the infallibility of his office and most particularly in his personal judgments.”

    You may well disagree, but is a tragic reality that under Pope Francis there is a huge amount of confusion, uncertainty and distress in the Church. “Scattered sheep” everywhere! But every papacy is only a parenthesis in the life of the Church. She will survive and recover and grow and spread the Word of God to the ends of the Earth till the end of time. We have the promise of Our Blessed Lord for that.

    It is very late. Good night.

  24. ginnyfree says:

    Perfect knowledge is not the measure. Sufficient reflection is how it reads in my books. Grave matter, sufficient reflection and consent. Sufficient reflection can be over in three seconds as the boy in the candy store can attest to. From the Baltimore Catechism: “Q. 282. How many things are necessary to make a sin mortal? A. To make a sin mortal, three things are necessary: 1.a grievous matter, sufficient reflection, and full consent of the will.”
    God bless. Ginnyfree.

  25. ginnyfree says:

    John, as for putting words in your mouth, this is the phrase you used that I took you to task on: ” people brand others as being in a subjective state of mortal sin, a matter which God alone knows.” And I replied that God has revealed to man thru His Church what constitutes mortal sin. So how do you say that only God can know if someone is in a state of mortal sin? That’s like saying we all know the Ten Commandments and the Precepts of the Church, but when our next door neighbor doesn’t come to Mass and keeps his wife and children home for three months in a row, we can’t know that he is now a mortal sinner? It really does get ridiculous John. Once you know the truth about sins and how easy it is to fall for them, noticing how many others do isn’t hard. God has revealed to mankind what makes for mortal sin so man can avoid them. It is the Church’s job to give this knowledge to each successive generation clearly and without equivocation. The matters of culpability and subjective states of sin shouldn’t be discussed openly for it confuses the simple trust of the faithful and can lead them to think that a mortal sin is not mortal to the life of faith and not a matter for the Confessional. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but lately the lines for the Sacrament of Penance are distressingly short. This is a grievous matter and can only cause consternation among the priests who know what God’s children actually need: to be absolved so as to have their sins washed in the Blood of the Lamb for that is the will of God. To dissuade the faithful from going by distorting the teaching of the Church is a reality the proof of which is the very fact that the line for Confession on Saturday’s is long if there are more than a dozen in a hours time. That should not be so, yet it is. When those who claim to know best, tell the faithful not to bother because their sins aren’t mortal because they lacked some idealized perfect knowledge of the nature and kind of sins committed do them no service and work against the will of God. Jesus died to give men Heaven. Cheating God out of this with a barrage of words meant to distort and dissuade simple folks from seeking Him out in the Sacrament of Penance is not God’s will. That is what is wrong with all this debate. It confuses too many and too many are in fact, injured by it. I repeat, God died to give men the gift of Redemption and He paid their price, but if they get talked out of seeking payment of their debts in the Confessional, doesn’t that totally undermine His works and His intention? Please tell me otherwise and I’ll forget it all. God bless. Ginnyfree.

  26. John A. Kehoe says:

    ginnyfree, We are agreed on the three elements constituting mortal sin. On the application of the first- grievous matter- you say that stealing candy from the drugstore satisfies this test and hence the eight year old doing so has committed a mortal sin. I disagree. The sin is venial and does not debar the child from the worthy reception of the Eucharist.

    The confession of venial sins, while a good practice, is not obligatory.

  27. John A. Kehoe says:

    [CP&S moderator: This offensive and disrespectful comment directed at another commentator has been deleted.]

  28. ginnyfree says:

    John “Thou shalt not steal is a Commandment”. Grave matter, sufficient reflection and consent. Theft is the grave matter, his looking around to see who was looking was his sufficient reflection and hiding what he did as he did it and afterwards, he consented to all of that as he reached up and took what was not his and didn’t pay for it. Fortunately for him, his sister saw and came to his aid. Now, you are avoiding the fact that you’ve replaced the requirement found in the Baltimore Catechism, that of “SUFFICIENT REFLECTION” with a Spin Master’s version of the truth, “PERFECT KNOWLEDGE.” In so doing, those who resort to this particular linguistic trick change the slight shift that happens in the mind when temptation is acted upon which is perfectly described by the words “sufficient reflection,” meaning you thought about it, but chose the wrong thing anyway, to an outlook that dismisses most mortal sins simply because those who commit them are basically ignorant of the gravity of the sin or lack some superior knowledge the religious elite have of these deep theological issues. Hello? This is why a certain person rather publicly could canonize most folks now living by stating that the lacked enough education in religious matters to have committed any mortal sins. That particular person endowed invincible ignorance on a few too many individuals by that blunderous comment. However, it is very understandable if one looks on with an understanding of the way in which those who have a religious elitism speak about others. A eight year old boy in a candy store has sufficient knowledge to know theft is a big fat sin and shouldn’t be done and he does it anyway. Mortal sin. And if he’d gone up for Communion he would have begun the very process whereby his conscience could be deadened for he would’ve continued to lie and hide the first sin and added another, that of sacrilege most likely in his mind to continue to hide his first mortal sin, the theft, from his parents because if he didn’t go up, Mom and Dad would be alerted to his sin and start to ask questions and maybe sis would tell on him, etc. What a child like that doesn’t need is a permissive, dismissive pastor or parent or teacher telling him, it was only a venial sin. THAT IS A LIE STRAIGHT FROM HELL. The Holy Spirit speaks no such way. The Baltimore Catechism is correct. It would be grave error to claim that it has been abrogated by newer understanding of the dynamics of sin found in recent publications and circulated by modern “Professional Catholics.” God bless. Ginnyfree.

  29. John A. Kehoe says:

    Ginnyfree. Granted (1) that the child had perfect knowledge of what he was doing and (2) freely consented to taking the candy it was still not a mortal sin since, although it was wrong it was not (3) grievous matter. That is standard Catholic doctrine.

    Yes, the 7th Commandment is ‘ Thou shalt not steal’ But there is a very big difference between stealing candy and stealing a thousand dollars; the difference between slight and grave matter. It is possible to break the 7th commandment and commit a venial sin even with perfect knowledge and full consent, You are saying breaking the 7th commandment is ALWAYS a mortal sin. That is not what the Church teaches.. Consult the Catechism of the Catholic Church under the heading of venial sin.
    You are saying that two out of the three elements for mortal sin is sufficient. Not so, all three must be present at the same time. That includes Grievous matter. You are avoiding this.

    I am not speaking of perfect knowledge or full consent. We are agreed on that. But what about Grievous Matter the third condition?

  30. ginnyfree says:

    Well, John, I can only say you are well versed in the progressive stance on sin. The amount stolen does not remove the fact that theft is a direct violation of the Commandment. You cannot change that with your opinion. Only the Blood shed by the Lamb found in the Confessional can undo mortal sin and my friend, is dependent upon the contrition of the penitent. It is possible to go into the Confessional with one mortal sin and leave with two and if you hop in the line for Communion in that state, you now have at least three mortal sins.
    I maintain that theft of anything is always grave matter. As for the claim that the Church has taught otherwise, well, I prefer my baloney on a bun with mayo. Here is a little extract from the Catholic Encyclopedia at New Advent, a pretty reputable place for all things Catholic: “The sin of theft is of itself grievous, because it violates the great virtues of justice and charity. St. Paul (1 Corinthians 6:10) enumerates it as one of the transgressions which bars the offender from the kingdom of heaven.” Now, if St. Paul says that theft is something that can bar you from entering Heaven, would you agree he considers it a very mortal sin although those exact words aren’t found in the text? And would you agree that the Scriptures, the Catholic Encyclopedia and the Baltimore Catechism that I’ve quoted are authentic Catholic teaching? Don’t answer that one. We already know they are. You just seem unable to admit it.

    Now, since I have a live Progressive to talk to, I’m wondering if you can explain for me and others who may be interested what the difference is between the two phrases “PERFECT KNOWLEDGE” and “SUFFICIENT REFLECTION.” I’ve always wanted to hear how this is ciphered. Please justify your position if you can. I’d love to hear your opinion, so I can compare it to what the Church actually teaches. Your false presumption that I agree with you about “perfect knowledge and full consent” just isn’t true. That is another way for you to avoid actually answering me about the difference between the two phrases. The difference is very important. So, let me hear it. And please be mindful of the Moderator in your response cause I don’t need it censored into Limbo. I really am interested in your ideas. God bless. Ginnyfree.

  31. John A. Kehoe says:

    Ginnyfree, Any theft is a sin and a violation of the 7th Commandment. Whether a sin is mortal or not, however, depends on three distinct elements one of which is gravity of matter. You have been arguing that the existence of perfect knowledge and full consent automatically involves grave matter also. Stealing a small quantity of candy by a child is not a grave matter a separate and distinctive third .condition

    Ginnyfree, I do not think you really believe that. It has been a nice joke but it has gone on too long.

  32. ginnyfree says:

    John, please clean your glasses and re-read the following s-l-o-w-l-y. “The sin of theft is of itself grievous, because it violates the great virtues of justice and charity. St. Paul (1 Corinthians 6:10) enumerates it as one of the transgressions which bars the offender from the kingdom of heaven.” That means theft is always grave matter, no matter what is stolen. The boy who stole a whole candy bar knew that is was a mortal sin and did it anyway. To a child of eight, the price of a candy bar could be an impossible sum if the family is impoverished; it could be a meaningless sum to a child whose allowance is $20; it could have absolutely nothing to do with why the child stole it. He may have done it our of pure malice and a sense of entitlement and it that case, it is mortal. You’re original problem was to make a claim, an erroneous one, that no one can possibly know that anyone else is in mortal sin. You said only God can know the state of a soul. I contend this is just not so. One simple example: A religious superior must know this about all those who are in her charge all the time. If she gets this one thing wrong she fails at all the other things she is supposed to do. Her sole object in life once elected superior is to get all her charges to Heaven and she must know the state of their souls to do this. You are claiming that no one but God can do this. That is an illusion. God revealed the truth to the Church regarding these matters. This is the sole interest of Moral Theology. The souls of the just and in the hands of God John, and those hands are found in the Church. You are missing much by remaining a Progressive. Much that seems very simple to the rest of us. God bless. Ginnyfree.

  33. ginnyfree says:

    One other thing John, you still have yet to respond to the request I made to explain the difference between “sufficient reflection” and “perfect knowledge.” Is this too hard a question? God bless. Ginnyfree.

  34. John A. Kehoe says:


    I don’t wear or need glasses. Another of your assumptions.

    You maintain that the theft of a candy bar involves mortal sin and eternal damnation. Go tell that to the marines. Get real. Another pronouncement from an unqualified lay theologian,

    I don’t dispute the elements of sufficient reflection and perfect knowledge which together do not, however, amount to ‘gravity of matter’ an essential separate element for mortal sin missing in your theft of a candy bar scenario. Rather than say ‘God bless’ I will say: May God enlighten you.

  35. John A. Kehoe says:


    I note that no other commentator has supported your extraordinary assertion that stealing a candy bar is a mortal sin involving eternal damnation.

  36. John A. Kehoe says:

    One other thing,Ginnyfree, You still haven’t told us what theological or other qualifications you hold and from what College

  37. kathleen says:

    @ John A. Kehoe

    If no one has come forward to support Ginnyfree in her dispute with you, it could well be put down to their disinclination to get involved with your tedious, continual, querulous self¬righteousness, whilst pushing forward your liberal modernist ideas. You did exactly the same the last time you were here last year when you were hell bent on defending sodomites. Ginny is doing a great job in her defense of Catholic teaching on what constitutes a mortal sin and in our obligation to “admonish the sinner” for their own good and that of the whole Church, however hard you try to downplay or even deny it.

    This is a TRADITIONAL Catholic blog, Mr Kehoe, in case you haven´t noticed. We defend the Deposit of Faith in its entirety, despite the evil intentions of some members of the current hierarchy to infiltrate heresy into her teachings… and from liberals like you.

    In your reply to The Raven on another thread you complain that our moderator has deleted some of your obnoxious comments. Well, I happened to have seen your comment of 10:13 yesterday sitting in “pre-moderation” and directed at me before it got deleted. The moderator called it “offensive and disrespectful” – it most certainly was – but what is worse IMHO is the way you stipulate that anyone who does not hold a degree has no right to criticise heresies in the Church!!! What? Ever heard of St Joan of Arc, St Catherine of Sienna, the holy Curé d´Ars (who failed all his exams), and a countless list of past Catholics who upheld the teachings of the Church without practically any academic qualifications? Every baptised Catholic who has been taught their Faith not only has the right to defend and pass it on to others, but also the duty to do so. In fact St Paul says woe to those who do not!

    Oh, and by the way, I do happen to have a Bachelor´s degree in theology!

  38. ginnyfree says:

    John, the three sources I used to prove that the Church has always taught that theft is a mortal sin, namely the Baltimore Catechism, the Catholic Encyclopedia found at New Advent and the actual Scriptures themselves, are sufficient for most. I wouldn’t want to be a student of yours in a religion class in the fifth grade cause your theological outlook would justify petty thievery for the young as venially sinful until some unknown dollar amount is exceeded or at some magical age at which point in time the sinner becomes more culpable for his or her sins. You’d be teaching a pack of hoodlums to sate themselves while they are young and have no real consequences to fear. Is that the “enlightened” state of mind you are hoping God will bestow on me? The Holy Spirit convicts us of our sins. He doesn’t whitewash them for us.

    And I can suppose from the fact that you have refused to explain the difference between “sufficient reflection” and ” perfect knowledge” that you have no explanation. That is fine. Placed side by side the two phrases are very telling to those who have eyes to see. But pointing that out can be quite disturbing to those who prefer going thru life with their eyes closed. God bless. Ginnyfree.

  39. ginnyfree says:

    Dear John, I hate to break it to you but no degree is required to do a number of things in our Church, the main one is to receive the Eucharist, and secondary to that is also to make a good Confession although to do both, one does need sufficient teaching which the Church provides in abundance. My degree is not any of your business, actually. It isn’t in theology if that is your concern. I worked hard for my degree and was vice president of my honor society amongst other things. I deliberately hide that for my own reasons, call it false humility if you must. I’m sure you’ll find reasons to add some more insults to your comments to get out of actually having to debate and defend your positions. But flash your credentials if you must, but I got news for you, the little old lady in the last pew who always smiles at everyone and seems a little daft in the head to most, probably knows more about theology than most. I aspire to the Little Old Lady League of Our Lady. I intend to offend with lace and perfume in my elder years often.

    It is a great fault to ignore the Message of Jesus Christ because the messenger is not to your liking. The shame of that type of ignorance is all yours John. Wear it proudly. I’m sure you will.

    God bless. Ginnyfree.

  40. John A. Kehoe says:

    I don’t defend and have never defended sodomites. So you support the assertion that stealing a candy bar is a mortal sin meriting eternal damnation.

    Every sin is necessarily a violation of one or more of the ten commandments. But every sin is not a mortal sin. Gravity of matter is necessary for that. And stealing a candy bar is not GRAVE matter. Do you really think it is ?

    Unless you argue that all sins are mortal sins.

    You use the expression’ liberals like you ‘ And I say self -righteous people like you. The only difference is that you are allowed the liberty of such expressions but the moderator does not allow me such freedom of expression.

    I am afraid that you and I will never agree and we must leave it at that

  41. John A. Kehoe says:

    ‘The shame of that type of ignorance is all yours John’ Is this not a gratuitous insult directed at me ?
    ‘I hate to break it to you’ is this not sarcastic ? [ No need for reply.The questions are rhetorical only.]
    No, I won’t flash the several degrees and post-grad degrees I hold.
    We really have come to the end of the line, Ginnyfree. You will continue to hold your opinions as I will mine.

    May I now wish you good fortune.

  42. ginnyfree says:

    Ooops. The above was meant of Kathleen’s response to John at 12:56 regarding the deletion of his obnoxious comments aimed at her. Yes, some really do have made intent in the Land O Blog. If the can, they will lash out verbally. I recently earned a few such comments of a four-letter variety at a place called Irreverin. The Blog’s author is Christian pastor of some congregation and the article posted was regarding the gays. I tossed my thoughts into the discussion and got cussed at a plenty. The blog’s author doesn’t stop violent words from being posted. The gays love her. It was fun. God bless. Ginnyfree.

  43. ginnyfree says:

    John this is the Catholic Church’s definition of theft: “Theft is the secret taking of another’s property against the reasonable will of that other.” and it is found here: Once again in the same article found in the Catholic Encyclopedia, a reputable source for reliable Catholic teachings. In that same article is found this: “The sin of theft is of itself grievous, because it violates the great virtues of justice and charity.” which I’ve presented to you before, several times. This is the Catholic Church teaching on the violation of the Commandment. Theft is always considered grievous matter, that is grave matter. To a Catholic living in the 1940’s, just saying that it is grievous matter would be enough to give them pause, to say the least. Not so to the enlightened, liberated Progressive Catholic who has shed so much that is cumbersome of our collective Catholic history. All that rote stuff is gone and now we are freed to speculate each and every time we liberate a few items from the office that it really is only a venial sin. Paper clips, pens, pencils, envelopes, maybe even a can of coffee from the break room. All venial? Or a pattern of habituated sin that has dulled the conscience of the one doing the stealing. This lifetime of habituated sin may well have begun in childhood with a few small things stolen and dismissed away by permissive parenting. I really grave sin on the part of the parent BTW. Failure to hand on our Catholic faith to those entrusted to a parent is also grave matter.

    Why do you suppose stealing needs to be hidden? You don’t steal some pens from the supply cabinet at the office while the Receptionist is looking. No. You wait till she’s gone to lunch or is occupied with something else so your theft won’t be seen. Natural Law is what tells thieves to hide what they are about to do. It is that basic to our psyche. We know in our bones that stealing is something to keep hidden. That is the Natural Laws acting in those who live outside the Covenant. God has given us in the Church even more than that. It is all there. No matter how easily your supposedly superior education has allowed you to dismiss the basics in favor of theological speculations to the point of total confusion about not being able to know right from wrong, mortal from venial sin and who’s life reflects a mortally sinful state. That is where all this debate began. You said it is only possible for God to know whether or not a person is in mortal sin. That is a total repudiation of all Catholic Moral Theology and flat out wrong. Shall we go further with this dialog? You claim to have quite a bit of solid education. But it is failing you incredibly if it keeps you from Confession. You still refuse to tell me the difference between perfect knowledge of a sin and sufficient reflection upon the sin. Here’s a clue: Natural Law is why sufficient was the word to use. Two thousand years of thinking and they knew well what sufficient meant before they chose to use that word. It really doesn’t take much to lose it all and go to Hell. Make a good confession soon. I suggest a retreat and some solid assistance there preparing a General Confession of your life. God bless. Ginnyfree

  44. Robert says:

    I have stayed away from this blog, however the idea that mortal sin is a personal and therefore private matter is actually against the very foundation of the Faith.
    It is a duty before God to correct in matters of the Faith where to stay silent is to condone Evil.
    During the marriage ceremony the question is asked of any known reason why the two cannot be married. Before God you cannot permit a marriage if there is a valid reason against that marriage. Three corrections, the first being in private.
    Let’s be clear also that false accusations are condemned by Our Lord.
    The Church is the mystical body of Christ! It is not a matter of personal or indeed private preclivities; it is the matter of Sin and compromising even justifying Sin. The priest cannot before God permit a sacrilegious communion!
    There is a duty neglected by Catholics which is essential to the love of God and neighbour and that is Reparation. It isn’t enough to live a sacramental life and ignore Reparation. To be Christ-like and a child of Mary, do Reparation.

  45. John A. Kehoe says:

    Ginnyfree, Your suggestion that I should make a general confession is deliberately provocative and an impertinence.. I do not need you to tell me how to order my spiritual life. Look to your own confession.
    You are rambling on as usual with pious irrelevancies which do not merit attention or reply.

  46. John A. Kehoe says:

    What makes you think I am being ‘kept from confession’ ? I go regularly. Why not go soon to confession yourself ? And stop preaching at others ? You do not have a monopoly in pastoral concern.

  47. John A. Kehoe says:

    Your view on whether one commits a mortal sin, rather than a venial sin, by stealing a candy bar would add to this debate one way or the other.

  48. Robert says:

    John A. Kehoe
    You are missing the point THE SUN DANCED AT FATIMA! Heaven used three children to remind the 20th century of Heaven , Hell and Purgatory (fire). This was in the middle of the Great War! This World War and Mans genius for Mass Murder.
    God is Love and Justice. His Love and Justice are inseparable. Forgiveness and Reparation.

    Sister Lucia in 1944 Souls are pouring into Hell because of Sins of the Flesh!

    21st century and globally ever Nation has Divorce! Human rights to murder babies (Contraceptive, Abortion) Human Rights for beastility all Sins of the Flesh.
    Human Rights for Man the Animal!

    Man the Son Of God the Father has been replaced by Man the Son of an Animal. Shortly to become Man the Son of the Demon. Reject God and you embrace the Demon!

    Already globally the Laws are Anti Of Christ! Here we have John A Kehoe trivialising SIN!

    A Masonic Rome (the names were publicly revealed in the 1960’s) says nothing about prayer and penance (reparation). Prayer and penance asked for in 1917 (reparation that could have prevented WW II) Where today are we hearing the plea for prayer and penance (reparation)?

    Your contributions here have been to trivialise SIN (human weakness? no human rights!). Your measurement of the serverity of SIN is a human opinion and not Heavens. So the world uncorrected is going to Hell!!

    The starting point for Catholics is to place God first! Heaven first! the question asked of St Peter by Our Lord “Lovest Thou ME before the rest?”

    I remind of a Truth of the Faith which is the Faith is complete and one. If you deny one part of this Faith then you ipso facto deny ALL the Faith. The Church is the Mystical Body Of Christ its NOT a human Society!

    John A. Kehoe I remind you that SIN is SIN (all or any requires in Justice Reparation )
    NO SIN can enter Heaven. The Fatima children were stunned to realise that a Soul whom they had personally known was in the FIRE of Purgatory until the End of Time!)

    Its a wake up Call to Obey (which is Love) Heaven and given Our Lord the Reparation for SIN that He asks for!

  49. The Raven says:


    If you take a candy bar and do not intend to pay for it, you are depriving the owner of that candy bar of his earnings and, possibly, his labourers of their hire – you are committing a mortal sin and, quite possibly, a sin crying out to heaven for vengeance.

    If you are labouring under a defect of will or reason (perhaps by reason of immaturity, or mental handicap) then your actus reus may only be indicative of a grave but venial transgression, as you lack the mens rea to commit a more deadly sin.

    Is your argument that adults living in objectively disordered states are labouring under a defect of reason? Are their wills defective? Or are they simply sinners, like you and I, who would dearly like to pretend that our sins are trivial matters and that following our disordered inclinations, instead of the commandments of Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, will not constitute a repudiation of the salvation that He offers us?

  50. ginnyfree says:

    Love the crowing Raven. Very nicely said! God bless. Ginnyfree

  51. ginnyfree says:

    OH my gosh! I’m impertinent! Well, gee whiz, I’m sorry, but……..okay, I’m back to myself now. Wow. I sincerely apologize if I’ve hurt your feelings, however the loop you’ve just thrown me for is strange. You say that in my impertinence I’ve suggested Confession impertinently to a person who goes on a regular basis. But you’re whole theological outlook, the spin you’ve just unloaded is spun so as to prevent confession of mortals sins because they’ve been whitewashed into venial sins with the aid of linguistic tricks and the progressive theology of this scandalous age we are stuck in. So, if you’ve advised others to not confess mortal sin because they are only venial, you’ve got much more to confess to and yes, you do need to look into that seriously for you’ve been passing off very deadly false teaching. Permissive tolerance of mortal sin is nothing but injurious to the faithful who trust some with these matters. I’m sitting here wondering how many poor trusting souls listened to that bad advise you seem to think is wise, that a mortal sin that doesn’t include a perfect knowledge of the sin isn’t mortal for everyone thusly letting a sincerely seeking person think he’s got nothing to worry about and so forgets whatever sin he only vaguely thought was a sin and get on with his life, never divulging his secret and living as if he’s okay. That soul may have died in that state and gone to Hell because his trust in your slick words convinced him not to bother. Too embarrassing anyway. But he talked to John K. who talked him out of his confession. That, to me John is the work of the infernal one in a human. This is the tower and feathers thing. You cannot go back and undo the damage you may have caused in the lives of people who may have trusted your words and never bothered to confess a certain sin because told them they failed the three things needed test! John, that is judging a soul, only finding them without rather than with mortal sin. Same thing, different outcome. They thank you as if you’ve done them a great favor, but you may very well have sent them to Hell and then you get Hell to pay for your never going to look that as if it is even close to sinful. Your truth set them free from the embarrassment of a good confession and then whamo! You toss in the fact that you do go on a regular basis. I think your next Confession needs to include all of this cause you may very well have aided someone else or many others in turning away from the Confessional when they most needed it. May the Lord have mercy on your poor soul and the souls you may have talked out of confessing. Wow.

    And so you know, I do go every week. Have ever since I got Baptised twenty years ago now. I’m a convert. I love Confession. As you’ve noticed, I’ve got lots to confess. And I am sorry if you got your feelings hurt. God bless. Ginnyfree.

  52. kathleen says:

    John A. Kehoe complains that the moderator does not allow him “the liberty” to express his views. That is clearly untrue, as the great majority of his unmoderated comments above prove, where he is given “the freedom” to say his bit (however irksome we find it) and to argue freely with his adversaries. The comments that were deleted (or moderated) must have been well beyond what is considered permissible, and/or slanderous too.

    Yes, Ginny, always great to see The Raven here putting forward his unruffled, insightful wisdom! 🙂

    You yourself, in your wonderful inimitable style, have contributed greatly to confronting the angry liberal advance to water down Catholic teaching on sin and its dire consequences. Well done, and many thanks.
    When combatting Mr Kehoe’s obnoxious disdain for anybody who does not possess piles of “credentials” (like him!) and his opinion that therefore they should not criticise error or heresy in the Church when they see it, I thought this from you was priceless:

    But flash your credentials if you must, but I got news for you, the little old lady in the last pew who always smiles at everyone and seems a little daft in the head to most, probably knows more about theology than most. I aspire to the Little Old Lady League of Our Lady. I intend to offend with lace and perfume in my elder years often.

    Kudos, Ginny!

  53. John A. Kehoe says:

    The Raven, The theft of one candy bar, except in the most dire of circumstances, would hardly be depriving the owner of his earnings and so would not constitute grave matter, a necessary element for mortal sin.

    Ginnyfree. I do not prevent any persons from going to confession. That is a matter for them.
    In all sincerity, I think you yourself need to make a good general confession after a thorough examination of your conscience, not forgetting to tell the confessor each one of your mortal sins.
    God bless,

    P.S. And don’t forget to say your penance before leaving the Church or your last state will be worse than your first.
    PPS. Do you think the Church should restore real penances after confession- and not just the Three Hail Marys ? Remember Saint Thomas a Becket, as Archbishop of Canterbury, employed young minor clerics to scourge him for his sins. And King Louis of France, also a canonized saint, allowed himself to be stripped naked and whipped as penance on the orders of his confessor, a not unusual practice in medieval Christian Europe .
    Are we getting too soft ? What about restoring the paddle for use on unruly students in Catholic high schools ?

    God bless.

  54. ginnyfree says:

    Well John since you asked: I do think we should be giving better penances. I either get two Hail Mary’s or five depending upon which priest hears my confession. Once in awhile we get a visiting priest and well I may get something else, but that’s pretty much it. Routine. But it is still an encounter with the Living God and He does, “meet me where I’m at” in the confessional. He is marvelous to me there in spite of His wounded healers who fumble the ball quite often there. Take for instance all this pastoral concern for the divorced and remarried. If they DO come to Confession seeking some sort of healing from the Sacrament as our current Holy Father wishes, those priest who are faithful can simply give them a penance without absolving them, the very simple but direct Act of Spiritual Communion and tell them that it is to be said kneeling at Mass when everyone else goes up to receive Communion. This is what should be done and if done will bring many to true repentance because the person will be doing what God prescribes for the healing of irregular situations. God for His part, will see the penitent actually striving to set things right and graces will pour out at Mass as He gazes upon the soul in the pew doing the right thing. So, that thunderous little FOOTNOTE that is causing so much distress for some can simply be the actual guidance any priest can use for this little remedy for those who are in irregular situations who come to the Confessional seeking healing. The Act of Spiritual Communion used to be popular. It needs to see a come back, IMHO, specifically for the irregularities that Pope Francis has brought to our attention as of late. I think this is what can be done in light of the now famous little FOOTNOTE in Amoris Laetitia. Really. Think about it. Thanks for asking. You provided the perfect opportunity for my little two cents worth on the whole stinkin’ mess of a mixed up message from Pope Francis. Pray for him. God bless. Ginnyfree.

  55. ginnyfree says:

    Kathleen, thank you for the kind words at 10:20. God bless. Ginnyfree.

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