There’s an awful lot of talk these days about the “internal forum” thanks to Francis & Company’s desire to turn it into a kangaroo court wherein one can supposedly plea bargain mortal sin down to a mere venial offense; all in the name of “mercy.”
To illustrate how the internal forum is supposed to work, perhaps a story will help…
There once was a young man, a “cradle Catholic,” who at the age of 19 and with precious little forethought simply ceased practicing the Faith.
He continued to pray every day, and still considered himself a Catholic, but somehow he found it rather easy to just leave the Mass and the Sacraments behind.
Having entered the first grade in the late 1960’s, his formation in the Faith was so poor (in spite of twelve years of Catholic school) that he was never taught that the Eucharist is the Real Presence of Christ, much less that Holy Mass is a re-presentation of the Lord’s Sacrifice. And this after being an altar boy for several years!
At the age of 27, he was married outside the Church to a non-Christian woman. The couple settled down, and together they had a couple of children.
Eight years later, a profound conversion experience not only brought the man back to the practice of the Faith, but also instilled in him a passion to learn all that he could about Catholicism.
Bear in mind, at the time, this man didn’t know that “traditionalism” even existed. The internet wasn’t nearly what it is today, and pretty much all of his “learning” was derived from Novus Ordo sources.
As such, the process of discovering the truth, the whole truth, was very slow and took place bit by bit.
At some point after his “reversion,” in a lengthy face-to-face Confession, he spoke with the priest about the state of his marriage. At the time, he knew enough to be concerned that all was not well, but the priest assured him that there was no need to seek a remedy of any kind, much less was it necessary to refrain from the Sacraments.
In time, however, he eventually came to realize that he had been misled, and that his marital situation did in fact need to be remedied.
So, he consulted yet another priest, a Monsignor at a local parish, who was helpful in laying out what had to happen in order to validate the marriage in the eyes of the Church (though, apart from his wife’s conversion, it could never become a sacramental marriage).
The necessity of refraining from the Sacraments until such time as the marriage was validated was never discussed; much less was the necessity of practicing continence.
At some point thereafter, as his self-directed formation continued, the man came to realize that he could no longer receive the Sacraments due to his “irregular situation,” as some prefer to call it.
So, for a period of years, even though he continued to assist at Mass every single Holy Day, he refrained from Communion and Confession.
By the grace of God, finally, two very important and necessary things happened:
First, the canonical process of validating his marriage was undertaken; in this case, Sanatio in Radice (radical sanation).
Secondly, he very shortly thereafter entered into spiritual direction with a faithful priest who understood well how the internal forum is supposed to work.
At the time of his first spiritual direction meeting, the radical sanation of the man’s marriage was pending. Even though all indications were that validation was forthcoming, the matter was still in the hands of the Tribunal and it had yet to be made official.
During that initial session, the man told his spiritual director that he had been overcome with a pressing need to Confess during the previous week, and so even though the validation of his marriage wasn’t yet “official,” he had gone to Confession just a few days earlier.
The priest, well aware of his own obligations, said:
“Your desire to confess is good and appropriate. It comes from God. But either we believe what Holy Mother Church teaches or we don’t. The truth is, that confession wasn’t valid.”
“Once your marriage is validated,” he went on, “you’ll need to make a good Confession covering all of the years since you last validly confessed before you can receive Holy Communion. In fact, you should make a general Confession of your entire life, asking the Holy Spirit to enlighten you.”
“What’s more,” he continued:
“Look, it sounds like we have every reason to believe that the validation of the marriage is forthcoming, but this is the Church we’re talking about. You may find an official notice in your mailbox when you get home today, but then again, it may take weeks or even months. So…”
With the gentleness and firmness of a true father he went on:
“What do you think of sitting down with your wife when you get home, and letting her know that between now and when the marriage is officially validated, the two of you will live as brother and sister; refraining from sexual relations, and offering that sacrifice to the Lord as a way of seeking His blessing upon your marriage?”
It was a question, but not really…
The man didn’t hesitate for even moment. It was clear to him that Christ was speaking, and these were the words of everlasting life; the words he had been seeking for so many years.
“I’m fully on board,” he responded.
The priest, beaming with fatherly pride, replied:
“Even if you do happened to find that official notice in your mailbox today, know that the Lord is pleased with your willingness to trust in the guidance that comes to us from the Church. No matter how long it takes, He will reward your docility with His grace.”
On the way home from that meeting, the man called home to let his wife know that he was on the way.
“Hey, guess what,” she said. “There’s a message on the answering machine from the Monsignor saying that he received the final paperwork from the Archdiocese today. We’re officially married!”
As I’m certain you’ve long since figured out, the man in this story is me, and every word of this story is true. As such…
I know for a fact that the Church wasn’t wanting for mercy prior to the coming of Francis; in particular, as it concerns those in so-called “irregular situations.”
I know from firsthand experience that the Church bends over backwards to provide a remedy for every situation that can possibly be remedied.
I know very well that there is no distinction to be made whatsoever between calling the children of the Church to account for faithful adherence to the Divine Law and genuine acts of accompaniment; they are one and the same.
I know that God is good beyond measure; He is ever merciful and never ceases to condescend to give us everything that we need in every situation, if only we are properly disposed to receiving it.
All of that said, I also know that the Lord desires to guide and to bless His people through the ministry of His priests; so much so that He allows them to lead the flock astray should they themselves depart from the truths of the Faith.
Woe to those who do so lead the faithful astray, either by actively promoting the false mercy being peddled by Francis, or in what they fail to do by refraining from condemning his offenses loudly and clearly!
Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, for you know that we who teach shall be judged with greater strictness. (James 3:1)
Thanks Louie for the great article. I have a question maybe other readers can shed some light on it. In Louie’s example the man’s obviously only got married once so no problem as long as his wife becomes a Catholic. My question is how about one is remarried with the first marriage declared Null by the local Tribunal. What happens if let’s say he wants to become a real Catholic and wants to join SSPX, on the SSPX web site it is said the if the reasons for the annulment is invalid then the first marriage is valid and the second marriage is invalid. It further says a SSPX is not to marry a person who got his annulment for the NO Tribunal till the case is examined by SSPX commission. http://sspx.org/en/sspx-and-annulments It does not say what SSPX will do or any person who wants to become a traditional Catholic has to do if he got married again after the NO annulment (not every annulment by NO Tribunal is invalid for example lack of form). So I went in to ask a SSPX priest he basically said for him the policy would be NO ASK DON’T TELL. If one comes to him and ask to examine if his annulment is valid he will apply the Catholic principle to see if the annulment is valid. But he will not insist someone who is one the second marriage after the first one annulled by the local tribunal to have the SSPX commission to take a look at if the annulment has any valid reasons(most of the time there isn’t for example in L.A. it is always 100% approval if one bothers to apply for annulment). Anyone knows the answer? What kind of advice should be given to those whose first marriage were annulled by the local tribunal? Did Louie write on this subject before? any links for resources?
“At some point thereafter, as his self-directed formation continued, the man came to realize that he could no longer receive the Sacraments due to his “irregular situation,” as some prefer to call it.
So, for a period of years, even though he continued to assist at Mass every single Holy Day, he refrained from Communion and Confession.”
I’m confused. During this period the man knew he was an invalid marriage and yet continued to have sexual relations with his “wife”. So he was willing to give up communion and confession but wasn’t willing to give up sex? Why is this guy a role model?
I don’ think Louie is or ever has presented himself as a role model.
He is a post-Vatican II Catholic like the rest of us, and that revolution has affected each one of us in different ways. No one was spared.
I believe you are reading too much into the example given. I don’t think Louie’s wife ever became Catholic/Christian. Louie, please correct me if I am wrong. But Louie was eventually married in the Church.
Or rather, a process took place whereby Holy Mother Church recognised the man’s marriage as valid.
“You will love to hear confessions. The ministry of confession is one of the most beautiful manifestations of the charity of the priest. And if you remain for hours in the confessional, is this not what the holy Cure of Ars and all holy priests have done, who spent their lives in the confessional? Extraordinary manifestation of their charity, of this charity which is found in the Holy Eucharist. These things you will do, I am certain, my dear brethren, my dear seminarians, because that is what all the faithful who hope in Ecône expect from you. That is what the priest is— the holy priest is a priest who is charitable above all, who has his heart wide open to all those who come to consult him, to all those who seek consolation from him, and courage and firmness of faith. You then will be such priests as these, filled with this charity of Our Lord, and you will ask this particularly of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary.”
Mr. V. has never presented himself as a role model and I don’t think that’s what his work is about. He simply shares what he has learned in his faith journey so those who read his articles can benefit from his experience. And he does and excellent job of it.
I can tell you that without the benefit of the Sacraments, it can be extremely difficult to conquer sin. You know, we “trads” are constantly criticizing the pope for his cheap mercy without repentance. Let’s not be critical of people who do repent and have a real conversion, please.
Very edifying, Louie. Thanks be to God for His infinite patience with sinners, myself included.
Your journey of yours reminds me of the following passages from the New Testament:
“For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour, Who will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
1 Timothy 2:3-4
“But of this one thing be not ignorant, my beloved, that one day with the Lord is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord delayeth not his promise, as some imagine, but dealeth patiently for your sake, not willing that any should perish, but that all should return to penance.” 2 Peter 3:8-9
I try to keep passages such as those in mind when I am tempted to think I’ve (hopefully) come to repentance at last so why not just put an end to all those persistent evil-doers now, Lord.
What is your point on this site? You obviously hate the Catholic Faith, but now on top of that, you feel the need to defame Verrecchio? Why? There is likely not one of us here who wouldnt cringe at the thought of our ENTIRE personal lives being exposed for all to see. Grow up young man.
Louie, you received the True Mercy of God through His Church.
What Francis is doing is turning Christ’s Church into The Temple of MAN, in Papa Bergoglio’s Image.
I have a question regarding a statement in the third paragraph from the bottom: Since God desires that his people be led through the ministry of his priests, how is this accomplished by allowing the occasionally errant priest to lead the people astray? I have read and re-read this and it’s not sinking in.
Prophecy of St. Francis: Some preachers will keep silence about the truth, and others will trample it under foot and deny it. Sanctity of life will be held in derision even by those who outwardly profess it, for in those days JESUS CHRIST WILL SEND THEM NOT A TRUE PASTOR, BUT A DESTROYER.”
Thank you for the reply. I still am puzzled as to why, in difficult times, Jesus would exacerbate the situation by sending a destroyer.
I think its a punishment from God: “2 Thessalonians 2:9 because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness”.
Thanks, my example is totally different from the example Louie gave. But my example is wide spread given the rubber stamped annulment by the NO Tribunal. I have a friend whose husband left her and got remarried. My friend also found someone so she went to some NO priests every one of them told her it is a piece of cake to get annulment. Then she went to SSPX and other traditional priests all advised her that her marriage is valid. So she stopped the relationship with the man she fell love with. So my question is simply how do we deal with NO Catholics who got annulments from local tribunals (and let’s say they are not due to lack of form)? I mean we can appoint ourselves as judges to declare their annulment invalid. But most likely they are should we advise them to go to SSPX to check it out to see if there are any valid reasons for the annulment the received?
‘THE MOST EVIDENT MARK of God’s anger and the most terrible castigation He can inflict upon the world are manifested when He permits His people to fall into the hands of clerics’ who are priests more in name than in deed, priests who practice the cruelty of ravening wolves rather than the charity and affection of devoted shepherds.
Instead of nourishing those committed to their care, they rend and devour them brutally. Instead of leading their people to God, they drag Christian souls into hell in their train. Instead of being the salt of the earth and the light of the world, they are its innocuous poison and its murky darkness.
St. Gregory the Great says that priests and pastors will stand condemned before God as the murderers of any souls lost through neglect or silence. Tot occidimus, quot ad mortem ire tepidi et tacentes videmus. Elsewhere St. Gregory asserts that nothing more angers God than to see those whom He set aside for the correction of others, give bad example by a wicked and depraved life.’
Instead of preventing offenses against His Majesty, such priests become themselves the first to persecute Him, they lose their zeal for the salvation of souls and think only of following their own inclinations. Their affections go no farther than earthly things, they eagerly bask in the empty praises of men, using their sacred ministry to serve their ambitions, they abandon the things of God to devote themselves to the things of the world, and in their saintly calling of holiness, they spend their time in profane and worldly pursuits.
When God permits such things, it is a very positive proof that He is thoroughly angry with His people, and is visiting His most dreadful anger upon them. That is why He cries unceasingly to Christians, “Return, 0 ye revolting children . . . and I will give you pastors according to my own heart” (Jer. 3, 14-15). Thus, irregularities in the lives of priests constitute a scourge visited upon the people in consequence of sin.’
[St John Eudes, The Priest: His Dignity and Obligations, Ch II]
I think hell has officially frozen over…for I have finally come to agree (somewhat) with what Ganganelli aka the Troll has posted. I found it very disconcerting that Louie chose to stay in a state of mortal sin rather than disrupt a relationship…and for years to boot. Although it is slightly admirable that he refrained from Holy Communion and Confession (unlike the modernists who insist on it and fight to change Church teaching), it still would have landed him in hell had he died outside of state of grace.
By God’s grace, NOTHING or no human relationship could keep me away from being in a state of grace with Our Lord…I love him too much and I am terrified of hell too. What Louie did was wrong, HOWEVER, I think we also might be missing some context here. From what Louie wrote, he basically had to figure all of this out on his own…Novus Ordo land remember? Wasteland 101. Maybe he trusted the shepherd’s who misled him? Maybe, just like Tradition, he didn’t realize what was really going on?
And as for the “Louie never presented himself as a role model”…well, that’s a bunch of hogwash. If there is anything I respect about Louie (and there is MUCH I respect and love:+), it is candid honesty. So let’s be candid and honest. Yes, Louie IS a role model. Why? Because he has made the free will choice to pick up his sword and use the gifts God gave him to speak the hard, hard truths in our age of lies and deceit. Louie, via his work, has become a leader within the Traditional Catholic movement and thus a role model. He chose to write books, a blog, become a speaker etc. Those are leadership roles which require authentic Catholic men to fill their positions: i.e. a role model.
I think this thread would have been unnecessary if Louie had just noted that he regretted his decision to refrain from the Sacraments for those years. It’s my little opinion that his brave traditional heart thinks that today:+) For once you know what it is to know, love and serve Our Lord…no human relationship or sexual behavior can come between a true Traditional Catholic and the King that owns his heart and soul:+)
Love and God bless~
The SSPX are very wise not to trust the scandalous Novus Ordo Annullment mills that have been handing out false, invalid annulments for decades now. If I were your friend, I would seek out an SSPX priest (NOT the one who evilly said “don’t ask, don’t tell) and get a SSPX tribunal that adheres to the strict standards of true annulments before the V2 insanity hit.
Your friend may have “fallen in love” with another man…but it was wrong of her to do that while still validly married. Nobody who is validly married has the right to “fall for another man”…that is adultery. Be sure she confesses that. She is called to love her sacramental husband, regardless if he is currently in an adulterous relationship.
How sad…novus ordo land creates such chaos and destruction. It promotes the sappy, emo, sentimentalism…then watches as the marriages get sicker and sicker…and instead of helping them heal and upholding them…they just help people get into long term adultery with the Church’s blessing…destroying families and souls along the way.
The answer to a lonely heart isn’t found in a human being…it’s only found in the King of Hearts and love: Our Lord. He needs to rule our hearts first, along with Our Lady. Then we won’t be so dependent and tempted by the shallow emo “love” the world presents.