the ages, the mystic tradition of the Catholic Church has offered to us all
that we need for personal growth, heightened wisdom, and enhanced interpersonal
effectiveness. Through deep faithlived consistently in a holy and devout
life-stylecommon hassles and anxieties of life are transformed into
true peaceand true love.
not a bad person.
Contrary to what the average Catholic learns in the average parish, living a fruitful holy Christian life is not easy. A true Christian life is hard work because it requires constant awareness of Gods presence, constant heartfelt prayer for Gods guidance and protection, and a constant spiritual battle with an increasingly corrupt and evil secular world.
Yet, when asked
about their basic psychological attitude about life, many persons will say,
I just want to feel good about myself. I want to feel loved. I want
a sexual partner. I want to have fun and enjoy life. Im not a bad
On the surface,
according to contemporary social standards, this attitude may seem benign
and innocent. But it has deeper social implications that arent readily
The fact is,
in many of our attempts to enjoy ourselves we end up stepping all over other
wealth we envy and compete with our neighbors, and we exploit and
deceive the underprivileged.
entertainment we encourage an industry that seduces our entire culture
with frivolity, vanity, and pride.
sexual pleasure we spread emotional wounds, physical disease, lust,
infidelity, divorce, pornography, and prostitution, along with unwanted
pregnancies, abortion, foster care horrors, and child abuse.
excitement we create addictions and brew a criminal underground to
distribute the materials of addiction.
happiness were like the eye of a hurricane, seemingly calm and
peaceful, yet blind to the storm spreading chaos all around us.
what sin is all about. Its about being completely
blind to the bad things we do to others as we go about trying to feel good
about ourselves. And yet were not bad persons.
We are not bad
persons. God created us as good beings to share in His great glory through
our free will. Yet because of what theology calls Original Sin we
find ourselves separated from a full knowledge of Godand from genuine
love. After all, if we really knew love we
wouldnt step all over others and use them as objects for our own
satisfaction, would we?
You could program
your computer to say, I love you every morning when you turn
it on, but that synthesized message wouldnt be love, would it? A computer
simply does what it is told to do, and, philosophically, if you cannot say
No then your saying Yes is meaningless.
must be a free choicean act of will.
many things that we commonly call love are not love at all.
Infatuation. Obsession. Fatal attraction. Lust. We call them love
but they have nothing to do with true love because they enslave us to
And so, when
God created us to share in His glory, He gave us free will, so that
we would be capable of true love. But with free will comes the ability to
renounce love. That is what sin amounts to: its a renunciation of love;
its a turning away from moral responsibility to others that ultimately
results in a separation from God.
So here we are.
Were not bad persons. And yet we have the freedom to do bad things
to others without even seeing it. How, then, shall we ever see the truth?
How shall we ever know true love?
Finding the Truth:
God is love.
And God created Heaven and Earth to share in His love. God did not create
toys to play with or slaves to boss around. He created creatures who could
share in His love as equals, so to speak, in love. He gave us His
love so that we could be love.
Because of the
blindness that characterizes our separation from God, however, we can see
nothing but our own self-indulgent illusions. Left to ourselves, we have
nothing but an empty world of social constructions
to give us comfort. Left to ourselves, we have nothing but
pride, and in that pride we are easily deceived
by evil. Left to ourselves, therefore, we are lost in slavery to
sin. Therefore, only God Himself can show us what
true love is.
Now, if God were
to appear to us in His full glory, we would surely drop down before Him in
terror. But we wouldnt necessarily love Him. True love, after all,
is an act of self-sacrifice offered in free will, not something engendered
fear refers to a narcissistic
concern about possible damage to our pride and safety. In contrast,
fear of God refers to our
humble awe before Gods great glory and mercy. Thus, whereas psychological
fear pulls us away from God, fear of God leads us directly into the embrace
of divine love.
So, in order
to teach us true love, God chose to show it to us through the life of a simple,
poor mana life which ended with the most humiliating execution known
It was as if
God said to all bystanders, those present and those yet to be, If you
can love Him, My Son, this humble, broken man hanging in weakness
on that cross out of love for you, you can love anything. If you can love
anything, you will know true love. And if you know true love, you will finally
begin to know Me.
After all, what,
in all its blindness, does human culture tend to value? Well, look at politics,
sports, and entertainment and you will see an insatiable thirst for wealth,
glamor, power, competition, and revenge. So is it any wonder that to show
us true love, and to bypass all human illusions, God came to us in poverty,
simplicity, weakness, and gentleness?
Christ took all
of the insults patiently and quietly, without retaliation, all so that we
could see the truth of the sin in our heartsand repent it, in sorrow
for the pain we cause to each other.
why Saint Paul said (1 Corinthians 1:23) that the crucifixion of Christ seemed
like folly to the Greeks who valued the wisdom of natural philosophy;
and to the Jews, who looked for powerful prophetic signs, the crucifixion
was a stumbling block.
For neither natural
wisdom nor power can illuminate their own darkness.
Christ, therefore, calls us to a radical change in our being. In the language
of computer technology, its like saying that true Christian faith is
not just an application that we can run on our existing
operating systems; true faith is a process that creates an
entirely new operating system.
Christ have to die?
are those who ask, But why did Christ have to die? What does this have
to do with love? Why was there bloodshed?
The answer is
1. Blood and
Keep in mind
that blood, being an essential biological aspect of life, is therefore a
symbol of life itself. Consequently, to shed blood for another person means
to give up ones own life in order to rescue or preserve the life of
that other person.
shed His blood for us, then, He did so in order to give us lifethat
is, freedom from our bondage to sin. Christs death was a glorious mystery
that reverberated from Heaven down to earth, for obliterating the bond
Sin] against us, with its legal claims,
which was opposed to us, He also removed it from our midst, nailing it to
the cross (Colossians 2:14).
And so, before
His death, Christ prayed, Father, the hour has come. Give glory to
Your Son, so that Your Son may glorify You, just as You gave Him authority
over all people, so that He may give eternal life to all You gave Him
redemption worked in Christs death was an example to us. It
showed us how we are capable of killing God Himself in order to preserve
our own self-interests. It showed us, in a way that no event in the world
has ever shown before or since, how we, in our heartsthe very hearts
God has createdand through our own free will, constantly injure others
and defile, mock, and execute divine love in every moment of our lives. It
showed us the ugliness and sin we nurture in our own broken
So unless we
choose to accept the redemption offered in His sacrifice for usand,
in humble, freely willed obedience to the will of God,
die to the self-indulgent worldly attachments that
nailed Him to the crosswe will never know purity of heart and true
God loves everyone,
and He calls everyone into His love. But to accept this call we must give
up everything that is not love.
This is a hard
thing to accept. Many disciples abandoned Christ because of it. Even today
there are those who try to make the Church relevant to a corrupt
modern world. But Christ never said that He came to make life convenient.
He came to preach the truth.
Christ was not
a sentimentalist. Christ called everyoneand still calls everyoneto
repentance. In His own time, many persons heard His call and obeyed. But
there were many persons Christ refused to heal because they refused to
acknowledge and repent their sins. There were many persons He refused as
disciples because they sought worldly glory instead of Heavenly peace. There
were many persons He criticized as hypocritesPharisees, Saduccees,
and Herodians. Christ was not a sentimentalist who accepted everyone as
they are. He revealed the truth of our brokenness and called everyone
to repent their sins. And, ultimately, many of those He offended gathered
up their grudges against Him and crucified Him.
Christ was not
just a good man like other so-called good men throughout history.
Many of these individuals, although praised by their cultures for being religious
or political leaders who performed notable acts of social justice, were
nevertheless stained with grave personal sins. Christ, however, with the
purity of being true God and true man, offers us forgiveness from our sins
and whose real presence remains with us always through the Sacraments. Only
in the broken bread of the Eucharist can our psychological brokenness be
Those who fail
to preach this truth about our human brokenness and
the absolute impossibility of healing ourselves through our own
social identifications do no service to anyone.
RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN PSYCHOLOGY
psychoanalysis is atheistic, and so is most
psychotherapy today. Even though the brilliant
French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan
had some familiarity with Catholicism, religion has no part in his psychoanalysis
either. His concept of psychoanalysis, which masterfully refined Freuds
ideas, was still a product of natural reason. But Lacan can teach Catholics
much about psychology. To put it in a nutshell, Lacanian analysis ultimately
shows you that all your identifications with the world are just empty illusions.
So you start analysis with your identity like
a precious porcelain vase, and you end the analysis as a naked man sitting
alone in a pile of broken pottery. So thats life, you learn,
just a pile of illusions. Go make something of it anyway,
what does this have to do with Catholicism and Catholic psychologists? Well,
read Saint John of the Cross and you will find that his description of
spiritual purgation is, in its practical effects,
quite a bit like Lacans philosophy. The difference between the two,
of course, is Christ. Christ leads us
the box of natural reason. Christ begins where Lacan ends. Lacan leaves
us with the stark, bare psychological truth of our broken lives.
Christand only Christcan heal the brokenness. And in that gap
between Lacan and Christ is precisely where I locate the relation between
psychology and religion. Psychology cannot heal us, but it can help us recognize
just how broken we really are, and it can help us overcome our resistance
to total surrender to Christ. Once we make that surrender, our
begins. And that is precisely what Saint John of the Cross told
died also (and heres the third part of the answer) in order to be raised
again, to show us that God raises into his glory only those who, without
obstinacy or presumption, without cunning or intrigue, without strife or
schism or protest, empty themselves in humble service before
Preach the Gospel
at all times; if necessary, use words!
attributed to Saint
Francis of Assisi
There will always
be those who resist this, those who attack the Church from without and those
who sabotage it from within. Yet the choice is simple: will you freely
and totally accept the redemption from your own emptiness that is being offered
to you, or will you reject it for the sake of your own
Yet, as simple
as it is, the choice still requires hard work. It requires constant effort
to monitor your
that arise with your feelings, and to override those impulsesthose
signs of what you want personallywith a firm decision to live
a holy lifestyle by doing Gods will. Its all far easier
to serve the
by doing whatever you want.
So if you fail
to approach your salvation with fear and trembling (see Philippians 2:12b)
because you arent willing to sacrifice everything for itas in
the parables of the treasure buried in a field and the pearl of great price
(Matthew 13:4446)then you probably dont want it that much
to begin with. But if you accept the work of your salvation, you will then,
for the rest of your life, bear the sadness of a heart broken by the ignorance,
apathy, and sacrilege that surround you. And yet, in the very midst of this
pain, you will bear the joy of being able to say to Christ, Thank you
Lord; now I feel what You felt. And that is true
My God, I believe,
I adore, I hope, and I love You. I ask Your pardon for those who do not believe,
do not adore, do not hope, and do not love You.
psychological test just for personal enlightenment . . .
you have been imprisonedunjustly, let us assumeand that you are
scheduled to be executed later this evening. You are told that you may choose
anything you want for your last meal. What do you choose?
have to tell me your answerjust keep in mind the things you would like
to eat, and then click below to find out how to score your
Roman Catholic Dioceses and Parishes within the United
Listing of Latin Mass Churches and Communities in the USA
Canada a listing
of Tridentine Masses per the 1962 Missal (celebrated under Papal Indult with
permission of the local Ordinary).
Archdiocese of San Francisco
The Traditional Latin Mass Society of San Francisco
Eastern Catholic Center of San Francisco
La Santa Sede (The Vatican)
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
declaration of the Congregation for Divine Worship, November 5, 1987.
DEI the Apolotic
Letter by John Paul II, July 1988, in which Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre of
the Church of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Pius X (SSPX) was excommunicated
for disobedience. In this letter, Pope John Paul II also expressed his guarantee
of respect for the rightful aspirations of those not in schism with Rome
who are dedicated to traditional liturgy; in this regard, see the Priestly
Fraternity of St. Peter, listed below.
ECCLESIA DE EUCHARISTIA (The Eucharist in its Relationship
to the Church)
John Paul II, April 2003
Congregation for Divine Worship) Promulgating the editio typica
of rites for holy communion and worship of the eucharist outside Mass, 21
The English translation of the General Instruction of the Roman
Missal (Institutio Generalis Missalis Romani). Third Typical Edition
Posture in Catholic
articles from Adoremus Bulletin.
The Question of Altar Girls
Revisited by K
The Real Presence
has numerous links to Church documents and articles regarding issues related
to the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist.
certain matters to be observed or to be avoided regarding the Most Holy
Priestly Fraternity of St.
1988, Pope John Paul II canonically established the Priestly Fraternity of
St. Peter as a society of apostolic life and approved its constitutions.
The fraternity seeks to reunite those who have been alienated by liturgical
abuse and theological dissent by offering the sacred liturgy in all of its
solemnity according to the Latin liturgical books of 1962, and by offering
the faithful sound catechetical teaching within the living Tradition of the
Institute for the Psychological
graduate training in clinical psychology that is grounded in Catholic spiritual
offers referrals to professionally qualified psychotherapists who
incorporate the truths and teachings of Roman Catholicism into their
practice. Of course, such persons seem to be few and far
between. . . . Plus, a listing does not guarantee that a
psychotherapist is competent, only that he or she gives intellectual assent
to four doctrinal points. As I have seen with my own eyes, there are many
persons in the Church who claim to be devout Catholics and who
still dont have a clue about the real psychological meaning of total
self-sacrifice for the sake of mystic love.
The Story of a Repentant
an interview with Dr. William Marra, Dr. Coulson, a contrite Catholic
psychologist, discusses his role in the destruction of Catholic religious
orders, and his subsequent change of mind.
The New American Bible
Bible: Search for
the Revised Standard Version.
Catechism of the Catholic Church
Catholic Encyclopedia Online
Code of Canon
Iuris Canonici (CIC)
General Instruction of the Liturgy of the
Hours from The
Catholic Liturgical Library.
An English translation of the Institutio Generalis
Missalis Romani (aka GIRM).
Liturgical Calendar: Any
Year can be of
help for historical or future purposes.
Liturgical Readings and
Psalms for Mass,
any day of the current month, from the New American Bible.
St. Thomas Aquinas, in English.
Latinarum is a
magnificent collection of Latin prayers and Latin hymns with English translations
and brief commentaries.
Writings of the Fathers
INDEX of all subjects
on this website