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The Boris Bus And Us: Two Words About Salvation

Boris Bus

Fear not the Boris Bus…


And it came to pass yours truly had to decide whether to dedicate the evening to blogging about the usual inane bishop (Chaput) giving the usual inane interview (“I know you should vote Trump, but I haven’t the gut to even suggest it”), or get away from all this squalor and spend an evening browsing my beloved Garrigou-Lagrange. Guess who won. 

I re-read a passage in “Providence” that I thought I would share with you. Garrigou-Lagrange is expanding on the theme of “seek ye therefore first the Kingdom of God and His justice: all these things shall be added unto you”. He writes: 

 Those who make it their principal aim to pursue their final destiny (God the sovereign good who should be loved above all things), will be given whatever is necessary to attain their end, not only what is necessary for the life of their body, but also the graces to obtain life eternal.  

(Chapter XVII, pag. 193)

 If you one of those who have a lingering fear that they might slip in mortal sin, and “happen” (in a way) to die in that state, deserving to to go to hell because you have died in mortal sin, these words should be very consoling to you.

Yes, it is true that if we die in mortal sin we will go to hell. But the healthier (and traditionally Catholic) thinking is that a life spent sincerely aspiring to the final destiny is a good indication that God, in His mercy, will providentially care that – wretched sinners as we are – we will not die in mortal sin.

Now, this does not mean that one can now “relax” and look upon sin with a less alarmed attitude, because he thinks that he carries in himself the antidote to whatever poison he might willingly ingest. In fact, such an attitude would, in case, cause every sound thinking person to openly question whether the pursuit of the final destiny is really the principal aim of such a man. If I fear I am in mortal sin, I run to confession and recite an act of (perfect) contrition on the way there; I do not lull myself into the feeling that God has chosen me because I am oh so good, and will take care that I do not die in mortal sin.   

However, the quote above certainly means this: that the fear lingering every now and then in the mind of many a Catholic (“what happens if I am in mortal sin and the Boris Bus suddenly puts an end to my existence”) and often used by those who don’t like Catholicism and probably every other religion (“you have a religion in which the circumstances of one instant determine your alleged eternal destiny”) is a moot point.

God in His Goodness has ordained from all eternity that, at the moment of my impact with the Boris Bus, the state of my soul will be the one that he, in His Goodness, has ordained from all eternity that it should be, rewarding – or punishing – not the behaviour of an instant, but the state of his soul as the result not of a moment, but as the terminal point of one entire existence. I do not, therefore, have to fear that I might die in the, so to speak, casually wrong moment, or in the wrong state of my soul.

If salvation is my constant care, and I sincerely desire to live in a way that merits me heaven one day, I can have a solid hope that a merciful Lord will (from my perspective at least) arrange things so, that the Boris Bus does not knock me out of this world in a state of mortal sin.

Fear not the Boris Bus.

Fear the culture of abortion, euthanasia and sodomy instead.

They can knock your soul to hell more slowly, but more safely than every Boris Bus. 



In Praise Of Intolerance

Intolerant, because a believer: Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange.

Intolerant, because a believer: Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange.

“The Church is intolerant in principle because she believes, but is tolerant in practice because she loves. Enemies of the Church are tolerant in principle because they do not believe, but they are intolerant in practice because they do not love.”

Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange

This was written by the great Garrigou-Lagrange, who had the privilege of dying before the “great Drunkenness” took its course.

It is consoling to see that the “Inclusiveness Nazism”, or if you prefer the “Dictatorship of Relativism”, wasn’t born in the XXI century but is in the very fabric of secular thinking.

Our religious values are under attack. Not for the first time, not for the last.

We would be far more effective in the fight if we stopped behaving like sissies already, and decided to shoot from all cannons still at our disposal instead.

Pope or no Pope, Western countries are highly sophisticated democracies, very sensitive to where the wind blows.

A shift of the prevailing winds would be registered by them very fast, and would see the weathervane changing direction with great promptness. The Church is still so powerful, in all modern Western democracies – even the Netherlands, or Belgium – that if they declared war to the anti-Christian mentality and legislation most politicians would deem it suicide to openly contrast them. These people have been kowtowing to a tiny minority of perverts for decades. The thunders of the Church would have them answering to calls of “stay!” like well-trained dogs. 

If the Church officials in the West were to defy them, they would chicken out big time. But this does not mean Church officials are necessary. We, the people, can do a lot on our own. Slower, for sure, and with far less power. But we can nevertheless. 

Pope or no Pope, let us go back to being intolerant in principle. 

I have enough of reading Catholic bloggers never tired of telling us how stressful and hurtful the situation of those divorced and remarried is. They never think of the stressed of those who chose to pray the price of obedience. They never think that the first priority is the protection of God’s laws, not the sugary understanding of everything and everyone. Do you give drugs to an addict out of “compassion”? What is worse: to allow him to kill his body with drugs, or to allow him to kill his soul with sacrilege?

We believe. Therefore, let’s be intolerant in principle.


The Little Guide To Sound Catholicism

Santo subito! Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre.

I have received a message from a reader; she laudably realises her Catholicism has been polluted by V II rubbish, and asks me for suggestions to create a good and sound Catholic foundation.

I would personally tackle the matter in two phases: the foundation itself and those texts particularly devoted to the distortions and trouble of the V II theology reaching its implosion in these decades under our very eyes. This would give a very solid knowledge of where we are as opposed to where we should be. Of course, from there the journey can go pretty much everywhere, as by God’s grace we now have an immensely vast choice of traditional books on the Internet.

Firstly, though, a recommendation:the one to buy good Catholic apps if one has a smartphone or a tablet. I go as far as to say that the Catholic apps available are, in fact, reason enough to buy one of those devices if one hasn’t done so already. Similarly, the purchase of a tablet and the download of a Kindle app will allow one to save the money for the Kindle device if one does not read for many hours on end.

For the first phase, I suggest the following:

1. Throw away your JP II catechism. No, I really mean throw it away. Whilst generally orthodox, it has questionable phrasing and suggestive, covertly accommodating theology on several issues (see baptism and salvation). The Abbé de Nantes found it heretical in twelve points.

Let me repeat it: throw it away. You can thank me later. For the sake of clarity, the compendium appeared in 2005 (Ratzinger’s) is fine, and the Abbé de Nantes himself recognised none of the twelve heretical points of the “Schoenborn” catechism were therein contained.

2. Catholic apps (like Ipieta, a must!) or electronic books or, in case, print allow one to easily access the following:

A. Penny Catechism.

This is the ideal text to start from scratch in redoing one’s thinking. You can buy it on the Internet for a pittance, probably on apps too. He who masters the Penny Catechism is way in front of 90% of V II priests, and can already teach Francis the basics. Already the Penny Catechism shames our inglorious Bishop of Rome page by page. You compare it and Francis’ uninterrupted, obscene waffle and understand they are on two different planets already.

B. Baltimore Catechisms

There are three of them in growing order of difficulty, plus a fourth which is the third with commentary. The first three are on Ipieta, which also has a number of other old catechisms and even the Compendium. The purchase of Ipieta is, again, invaluable. A wealth of Catholic wisdom of all sorts always with you! Don’t delay, buy today! I doubt I will read in a lifetime the hundreds of text therein contained. Seriously, Ipieta is not a weapon, but an entire arsenal of Catholicism.

If one has already digested the Penny Catechism, I suggest to go directly to Baltimore III. There is no real need for a commentary (which a I found very good, though) as the Baltimore Catechisms are of exemplary clarity but still accessible for everyone.

When one has these two well assimilated, he is already equipped to properly interpret every antic of Francis and see the magnitude of this man’s – and of many V II priests’ – confusion.

C. Other catechisms.

Again, IPieta has a nice choice. The catechism of St. Pius the X is wonderful but as far as I know there are no official English translations. I found the Italian text online, and it’s as good as you expect. But in general I would say there’s no need to have many catechisms: pick a sound one, and absorb its content well.

At this point, I would proceed with some texts aiming at a specific comparison between “old” and “new”: the 2000 years of tradition and the 50 years (and counting) of drunken madness.

I mention here only some fundamental works, which will be reading enough:

1. Iota unum

The printed edition is expensive but I found it well worth the expense. SSPX Asia have a free electronic version on their site. You may check if it is available as electronic book. My copy is invaluable, and to me one of those “desert island books”.

2. “The Catechism of the Crisis in the Church””

This is not a catechism, but a SSPX publication, available on kindle. In general, absolutely everything one can read from the SSPX is wonderful and above suspicion, albeit I do allow myself – like many others among their supporters – to attend the V II mass. There were long discussions about this, so please refrain from starting a new one. Back to the matter at hand, this book is an excellent comparison between timeless truth and convenient accommodation or outright lie. Obligatory reading, if you ask me, for the aspiring Traditionalist.

3. One Hundred Years of Modernism

This is another SSPX book, also available on Kindle. It explains – giving a sound philosophical introduction – how the cancer of Modernism found its way in the organism of the Church. Not easy subject matter – it will help a lot if you have studied philosophy at school or university – but explained with exemplary clarity. If you are not trained in philosophy, this will require some work, but the reward will be rich.

4. Life of Christ

This is in my eyes the most glorious of Fulton Sheen’s books. A joy to read and re-read. Archbishop Sheen packs his book with so many sound and easy to understand explanations of Catholic teaching that this book can be considered a kind of subsidiary catechism in itself. I have the paper version, I think it is also on Kindle now. This book is also a formidable weapon to address the remarks of sceptics and infidels.

5. “Life Everlasting” & any Garrigou-Lagrange Book. 

Well, any of them at a more advanced level. I have read four: “Reality”, “Predestination”, “Providence” and “Life Everlasting”.

The first three are more complicated, and the first two of them require either a philosophical foundation or the willingness to plow through it page by page. The fourth is a very good integration to a Catechism in matters of salvation and damnation, and it is written in a much more accessible way than the other three books.

The list could go on, but I think the sources mentioned provide already a more than solid ground, and if properly absorbed would put one well in the front row of the Army of Christ, at least as far as weaponry is concerned.

Two things to conclude:

1. Buy Ipieta.

2. Always pay attention to catechesis texts, even if before Vatican II. I once bought on Kindle a book from a chap called Karl Adam without knowing who he was, merely browsing Kindle for pre-V II theologians. Utter rubbish, I tell you. Again, I could immediately see it was rubbish because once you have the fundamentals down well, you will be able to smell the smoke from pretty far away.

So, that was that then, and again for a first plunge in sound Catholicism it is more than enough. It must be clear that infinite other choices are thinkable, this is just one possible path among very many.

The most beautiful effect of being grounded solidly in Truth (wretched sinners as we all are, of course) is that no antics of this or that stupid bishop, drunken Cardinal or diva Pope will ever confuse you again.

I have stated in the past, and repeat here, that Truth is as hard, and as beautiful, as a diamond. Once you have mastered the use of the diamond (and you need not be an expert theologian for that; nowadays most of them seem to lose their faith anyway; just be prayerful and sincerely desirous to know the a Truth and submit to it, and to live it as well as you can) you will be able to cut through every Modernist or Zeno-Modernist rubbish in no time.

Have fun.

And buy IPieta.


A Little Exercise In Logic

Great mind: Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange

“If we deny that we are morally bound to love before all else the good as such and God the sovereign good, what proof have we that we are bound to love that far less compelling good, the general welfare of humanity, which is the main object of the League of Nations? What proof have we that we are bound to love our country and family more than our life; or that we are bound to go on living and avoid suicide, even in the most overwhelming afflictions? If the sovereign good has not an inalienable right to be loved above all things, then a fortiori inferior goods have no such right. If we are not morally bound by a last end, then no end or means whatever is morally binding. If the foundation for moral obligation is not in a supreme lawgiver, then every human law is deprived of its ultimate foundation”.

Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange

I am currently reading Garrigou-Lagrange’s “Providence”, and once again the difference between the iron, masculine logic of the clergy of the past and the touchy-feely, effeminate emotionalism of the clergy of today strikes me like a fist on the nose.

It is no surprise modern theologians tend to ignore the Angelic Doctor. St. Thomas Aquinas has a way to lead you from one logical step to the next that, literally, leaves no escape from Truth. Therefore, if a theologian wants to muddle the waters and abandon Truth, he will have to abandon Thomism first.

Garrigou-Lagrange, a great Thomist with a great gift for scholarly but easily understandable exposition, uses this iron logic and step-by-step, inescapable ascent to Truth in every phrase. If you liked Lego, or Meccano, as a child, you will love Garrigou-Lagrange as an adult. With him – and with every serious Thomist – you leave aside fantasies and lucubrations born of goodism, and are led to Truth step by step, with a logic that may appear somewhat arid to the heart, but is the more satisfying to the intellect.

In the stupidly emotional times with which God is punishing us, it is a double pleasure to read people accustomed, and training us, to logical thinking.

To think most people you would ask in the street would tell you without any hesitation the Middle Ages were an age of ignorance, but now we are so much more advanced…



Scripture Interpretation: Pope Speaks.

Nice theologian

Savoury theologian

The Pope today about the correct way to interpret scripture. Emphases mine, and the entire text on the usual Rorate.

The interpretation of the Holy Scriptures cannot be only an individual scientific effort, but must always confront itself with, be inserted within and authenticated by the living tradition of the Church. This norm is essential to specify the correct relationship between exegesis and the Magisterium of the Church. The texts inspired by God were entrusted to the Community of believers, the Church of Christ, to nourish the faith and guide the life of charity. Respect for this profound nature of Scripture conditions the very validity and effectiveness of biblical hermeneutics.

What I think this means, is that when a theologian, in his love for novelty, comes to conclusions that are not in accordance with the living tradition of the Church, he is simply piddling outside of the W.C., and must stop at once, because if he doesn’t he leads his own vanity to confuse the faithful, or worse.

Please read it again before I proceed.

Do we agree?


Allow me, then, to put to your attention a pearl of stupidity of the very man at the head of the commission to whom the Pontiff has addressed his words today. Our Yogurtmeister here is talking of the,  erm (cough…) dogma of the Perpetual Virginity of Mary.

Sour theologian

Sour theologian

[The doctrine is] “not so much concerned with specific physiological proprieties in the natural process of birth (such as the birth canal not having been opened, the hymen not being broken, or the absence of birth pangs), but with the healing and saving influence of the grace of the Savior on human nature.”

It is only that I am a tad ill-disposed toward Mueller, or Pope Francis is sending a clear signal to him directly, present in the room and an extremely obvious example of the piddling habit I have mentioned above?

We will see. If the Pontiff sends Archbishop Mueller back to his native dairies, it is clear he means what he says. If he doesn’t, it is clear he doesn’t.


Probability Of Salvation Made (Almost…) Easy

Garrigou-Lagrange in action..

Garrigou-Lagrange in action..

One of the differences a Southern European notices with the Anglo-Saxon attitude is the different approach to hell. In this respect, Anglo-Saxons tend in my experience to belong either to the extreme “hell is probably empty” (heretical) faction, or else to tend towards a Puritanical view of a general carnage which only a few manage to escape. 

In Southern Europe we traditionally had a different approach, thinking rather that whilst the matter of salvation is serious, the fear of The Lord, the nearness to the Sacraments and a loving trust in the Blessed Virgin’s help would help, in the end, very many to avoid the worst. This is, I think, the reason why Catholic societies are seen as too rigid and hypocritically harsh from Anglo-Saxon liberals, whilst they are considered scandalous places full of sinners who just don’t care and are left alone by a permissive and corrupted Church from the Protestants and it is, in fact, reported the young JH Newman was utterly scandalised at the immorality he saw in Rome, an environment which was, at least for the working classes (as made immortal by the sonnets of Giuseppe Gioachino Belli) rather different from the environment he was accustomed to. 

This is seen also, I dare say, in the matter of, let us call it so, the salvation numbers, often seen with great pessimism in colder climates and generally seen in a more relaxed way by the, well, more relaxed Catholic cultures (this is another thing I always notice in Northern European: they tend to seem always strangely tense at some level…).  

I have been wondering for a while whether this different attitude is something merely cultural, or whether it would be shared by prominent theologians of the recent past; obviously from times above suspicion, then what happened after V II is not even worth being googled.  

On the excellent Ite ad Thomam blog we find a very interesting excerpt from the great Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, who interestingly enough echoes the perception of Christian societies in which I grew up. In short: it was widely believed the majority of even adult Catholics should manage to scrape through with the help of “their saints in Paradise”; the Proddies were thought to be already in non indifferent trouble; and the Heathens in serious trouble. 

It would, therefore, seem if one is a Catholic grown in a Catholic country and accustomed to all the Catholic way of life, one should be fine in the end, obtaining the grace of final repentance. 

There are, though, differences to consider: the society in which I grew up (and which was probably already in some state of decomposition compared to Garrigou-Lagrange’s one) basically did not contemplate the idea of not belonging to the Church, and non-baptism was virtually non-existent among those who weren’t, say, Jews. You see that also in the language, where “Christian” is used a synonymous for “person”, and “baptism name”  means “first name”. Therefore, their sunny, Italian/French/Spaniard/Portuguese optimism was based on a society completely taken over by a broadly Catholic culture, and formed in a world where truly even atheists would share most of the Church’s values, and would be often either ashamed of not believing, or not desirous of telling they aren’t. Who knows how many “last-minute efforts” were crowned with success in such an environment…

What the very same Garrigou-Lagrange would say of the Italy, or France of today is more difficult to discern: whilst still largely present in those countries, traditional Catholic values progressively lose grip, as they have been transmitted more by parents than by priests for now 50 years; parents who are now dying, and dying clearly without the success a motivated professional clergy would have had. In the meantime, Atheists have become angrier, and even Catholics less Catholic; many churchgoers of today probably understand much less of Christianity than most agnostics of 100 years ago; which made the agnostic more likely to be recovered in his old age than the modern “catholics” more likely to turn to Kabbalah, or New Age wannabe spirituality…    

I doubt our theologian would be so optimistic if he visited those countries today. He would probably restrict his optimistic assumption to certain strata of the population, rather than generically talking of “adult Catholics”. Say, how many millions adults Catholics do not care that their children are baptised? What would our great man say of their salvation prospects?  

Which question leads us very neatly to the last point of this post: Vatican II with all its opening to the world has aggiornato Catholic Europe so much, that in it nowadays many more are at grave risk of damnation than in pre-V II times. So much so, that Countries once solidly in the hand of Catholicism are now growing a generation of unbaptised, religiously indifferent people to whom Christian values are at the most object for examination, and then approval or rejection according to personal convictions. It will not be long before the chances of salvation of the majority of them will not be bigger than if they had been born in a Protestant Country. 

I wouldn’t want to be the member of the clergy, no matter how high his position, who dies having actively contributed to all this.







Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange On Practical Naturalism

Brilliant as always: Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange.

From the brilliant blog Ite ad Thomam, a predictably brilliant piece of the great theologian Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange about Practical Naturalism, manifested as both Americanism/Modernism and as Quietism. I have already written about this great man when presenting his view on deathbed conversion.

It is difficult to try to summarise or “explain” Garrigou-Lagrange’s points, as he writes in such a pithy but always very understandable manner that there is, in fact, no need whatsoever to do so.

What can be more interesting is to point out that “developments” that one would otherwise tend to consider new ones are, in fact, not new at all. In their struggle to take faith – and the inconvenient consequences of it; for example, awareness of and fight against sin, and necessity of penance – out of everyday life, modern thinkers are neither more original, nor more successful than their ancestor were. In the end, they end up taking Christ away from Christianity, and the search for a more convenient, less burdensome way of life necessarily leads them into a dark tunnel of absurdities chasing each other.

Enjoy this brilliant piece of Catholic thinking.


Father Garrigou-Lagrange On Deathbed Conversion

A great theologian: Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange

Some time ago I read a book from the great theologian Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, called Life Everlasting.

I have found on the Internet the following excerpt from this book and I remember being as struck now as when I first read it directly from the book.

I copy the passage here in its entirety.


Deathbed conversion, however difficult, is still possible. Even when we see no sign of contrition, we can still not affirm that, at the last moment, just before the separation of soul from body, the soul is definitively obstinate. A sinner may be converted at that last-minute in such fashion that God alone can know it. The holy Cure of Ars, Divinely enlightened, said to a weeping widow: “Your prayer, Madame, has been heard. Your husband is saved. When he threw himself into the Rhone, the Blessed Virgin obtained for him the grace of conversion just before he died. Recall how, a month before, in your garden, he plucked the most beautiful rose and said to you, ‘Carry this to the altar of the Blessed Virgin.’ She has not forgotten.”

Other souls, too, have been converted in extremis, souls that could barely recall a few religious acts in the course of their life. A sailor, for example, preserved the practice of uncovering his head when he passed before a church. He did not know even the Our Father or the Hail Mary, but the lifting of his hat kept him from departing definitively from God.

In the life of the saintly Bishop Bertau of Tulle, friend of Louis Veuillot, a poor girl in that city, who had once been chanter in the cathedral, fell first into misery, then into misconduct, and finally became a public sinner. She was assassinated at night, in one of the streets of Tulle. Police found her dying and carried her to a hospital. While she was dying, she cried out: “Jesus, Jesus.” Could she be granted Church burial? The Bishop answered: “Yes, because she died pronouncing the name of Jesus. But bury her early in the morning without incense.” In the room of this poor woman was found a portrait of the holy Bishop, on the back of which was written: “The best of Fathers.” Fallen though she was, she still recognized the holiness of her bishop and preserved in her heart the memory of the goodness of Our Lord.

A certain licentious writer, Armand Sylvestre, promised his mother when she was dying to say a Hail Mary every day. He kept his promise. Out of the swamp in which he lived, he daily lifted up to God this one little flower. Pneumonia brought him to the hospital, served by religious, who said to him: “Do you wish a priest?” “Certainly,” he answered. And he received absolution, probably with sufficient attrition [imperfect contrition], through a special grace obtained for him by the Blessed Mother, though we can hardly doubt he underwent a long and heavy Purgatory.

Another French writer, Adolphe Rette, shortly after his conversion, which was sincere and profound, was struck by a sentence he read in the visitors’ book of the Carmelite Convent: “Pray for those who will die during the Mass at which you are going to assist.” He did so. Some days later he fell grievously ill, and was confined to bed in the hospital at Beaune, for many years, up to his death. Each morning he offered all his sufferings for those who would die during the day. Thus he obtained many deathbed conversions. We shall see in Heaven how many conversions there are in the world, owing to such prayers.

In the life of St. Catherine of Siena we read of the conversion of two great criminals. The Saint had gone to visit one of her friends. As they heard, in the street below, a loud noise, her friend looked through the window. Two condemned men were being led to execution. Their jailers were tormenting them with nails heated red-hot, while the condemned men blasphemed and cried. St. Catherine, inside the house, fell to prayer, with her arms extended in the form of a cross. At once the wicked men ceased to blaspheme and asked for a confessor. People in the street could not understand this sudden change. They did not know that a nearby Saint had obtained this double conversion.

Several years ago the chaplain in a prison in Nancy had the reputation of converting all criminals whom he had accompanied to the guillotine. On one occasion he found himself alone, shut up with an assassin who refused to go to Confession before death. The cart, with the condemned man, passed before the sanctuary of Our Lady of Refuge. The old chaplain prayed: “Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who had recourse to thy intercession was abandoned. Convert this criminal of mine: otherwise I will say that it has been heard that you have not heard.” At once the criminal was converted.

Return to God is always possible, up to the time of death, but it becomes more and more difficult as hard-heartedness grows. Let us not put off our conversion. Let us say every day a Hail Mary for the grace of a happy death.

This beautiful passage is, I think, instructive in many ways.

1) Please note how fast the conversion process can be. The episode mentioned by the Cure d’Ars recalls another one in the life of Padre Pio, with the great saint assuring a mother that her son has repented and asked the Blessed Virgin for forgiveness after throwing himself from a bridge.

This doesn’t mean, of course, that such a conversion should be assumed, as it is the scandalous praxis of too many priests nowadays. To do so means to play down the extreme gravity of suicide, and to indirectly cause further ones.

2) Please also note Father Garrigou-Lagranges insistence on these being extreme cases, with the sailor who didn’t even know the Hail mary of Our Father being, in my eyes, the most striking. Powerful, consoling stuff.

3) Particularly notable, please note how strongly the prayer of third parties can, with Mary’s assistance, move the sinner to repentance. The cases of St. Catharine of Siena and of the Nancy chaplain are in my eyes – and someone please correct me if I am wrong – to be interpreted not in the sense that conversion will impose itself on the sinner against his will, but that the prompting to conversion can, through heavenly intervention, become strong enough to reach, together with the collaboration of the sinner, the desired result.
I liked the chuzpah of the chaplain, though….

4) You see here a typical example of what I am tempted to call “South European Catholicism”, to distinguish it from the rigid, protestantised attitude tinged with Puritanism I happen to see in the northern part of the Continent. Once again, we see an approach that whilst doesn’t play down the gravity of the sin, points out to the relative ease with which the direst consequences can be avoided and allows the faithful to live his faith with confidence – the typical attitude in Catholic countries – rather than with fear. I can’t avoid thinking that this confidence is the single most important reason why traditional Catholic countries have – collectively speaking – that striking joy of life that I, alas, never noticed in the north.

5) These examples taken together point out to the absolutely vital necessity of daily prayer. Prayer is what gives us the best cards in our hope to be given final perseverance, and the same Blessed Virgin who helped the sinning sailor just for uncovering his head will very probably take care in her mercy of those who pray to her daily and daily ask her to pray for them in the hour of their death.

As a corollary to this, the great importance of the practice of praying the Rosary and the extremely powerful promises attached to it can never be stressed strongly enough.

I do hope that this little gem of Father Garrigou-Lagrange’s wisdom will help the one or other among the readers; particularly if – as I suppose must happen not infrequently in those parts of Europe, still polluted by Puritan influences – they tend to labour under scrupulosity.


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