My opinion is that the pope and many cardinals, bishops, priest and religious are watering down Catholic morals because they believe that man is weak and by nature will always be sinning. Therefore out of compassion they justify the sin with ‘that is the way they were born’ (homosexuals) or ‘they made a mistake and they need to be forgiven and given a new chance’ (divorced and re married). And that is all Catholics need to hear to go on justifying sinning.
Pagans and Gnostics often taught that man is fallen and therefore has little or no freedom to choose what is good. Luther and Calvin denied free will. They said that all that happens to us is predestined by God. But that goes against Catholic teaching.
Man is made in the image and likeness of God. And because of this we have: 1) freedom to choose between good and evil, and 2) freedom to love or hate. Pope Leo XIII in his Encyclical ‘Libertas Praestantissimum’, stated that by human reasoning we can prove 1) the existence of God, 2) the spirituality of the soul and 3) the freedom of man.
The whole Bible is filled with commandments of God for man to obey. If they are not obeyed there is punishment. If they are obeyed there is reward. If there is no freedom of man to obey these laws and commandments, then God is unfair and evil in punishing those who break them. Man co-operates with God’s grace by willing to and doing good.
If there is no free will, we should not put anyone in prison. It is not their fault they killed the policeman. They had to do it because they are addicted to killing form watching too many violent videos.
St. Peter in his First Letter states: ‘As free, and not as making liberty a cloak for malice, but as the servants of God. 1 Peter 2:16. And he goes on to say how God’s power helps us use our freedom correctly. ‘As all things of his divine power which appertain to life and godliness are given us, through the knowledge of him who hath called us by his own proper glory and virtue. By whom he hath given us most great and precious promises: that by these you may be made partakers of the divine nature: flying the corruption of that concupiscence which is in the world.’ 2 Peter 1:3-4.
We are not animals who have to follow their instincts and do not have freedom of will. It is impossible for them to be celibate if there is another animal in heat.
We are humans that are called to share in God’s divine nature which, through the sacraments, gives us supernatural grace and freedom to live lives of holiness and love.
I come upon this problem all the time in Confession. Let us take pornography for example. People keep on confessing this sin over and over as if they are not free to stop this extremely evil sin. I am judged as a bad priest when I tell them that they are not animals and that they do have the grace and will power to stop this sin. Yes, they have fallen into a bad habit that has become a vice. But, by the grace of God, and their determination to stop this sin, they can stop offending God.
This is another problem with Alcohol Anonymous. It talks about what we traditional Catholics call the sin of drunkenness to be an addiction. And people see an addiction as something they can not help doing. Many people say: ‘I am addicted, I can not stop’. That is a lie of the devil to keep them enslaved to him. We are sons of God and have the freedom to do good or bad.
A vice (what A.A. calls addiction) comes from repeated sinful actions that become a bad habit. A virtue comes from repeated good actions that eventually become a good habit. By looking at pornography, little by little I acquire the the bad habit or vice of seeing sexual pictures. By praying everyday as soon as I get up, little by little I have acquired the good habit (or virtue) of praying. This can also be said about getting up early everyday at the same time. At first it is very hard, but little by little it gets easier. Or sleeping in, you get up latter and latter, and as we have with many youth they sleep in the day and are out partying all night. Or children who have the habit of using electronic games and can not stop to do their chores, homework or go to bed on time.
By habitual sin, I do weaken my will power to not sin and to do good. But the will power, to say no to sin and yes to good, is still there, but just in a weakened condition. By the grace of God receive through confession, prayer and the Holy Mass, I receive graces to fight the temptations of my vices and to work on my virtues.
To become a saint, we need to imitate the saints by always meditating on the passion and crucifixion of Jesus. In that meditation, we need to remind ourselves that our sins crucify Jesus. Every time I do a mortal sin, I am really hammering the nails in to Jesus’ hands and feet. How can I say I love Him and keep on torturing Him this way with my sins?
One thing that does really help is saying a quick Hail Mary every time I am tempted to sin. This may take saying a Hail Mary a hundreds of times a day. If you fail to pray when tempted, it is totally your fault that you fell. Count how many times you said a Hail Mary and won the temptation. You will see that you will have to say fewer and fewer each day, if you really do this seriously and with faith. Prayers to Jesus and Mary help us a lot in times of temptation.
At the very instant the temptation comes into our mind (by a thought), right then we need to start fighting the thought by praying. The thought leads to starting to do actions that will lead us to do the action of a mortal sin.
We need to ask ourselves sincerely: do we really want to stop sinning? Or do we really down deep want to keep on getting illicit sinful pleasures. If you want to continue to want to get sinful pleasures, you are not sorry and should not go to confession.
Every sin offends God greatly and crucifies Jesus. If we work on our love for God, it will also make it easier not to offend Him. Let us meditate every day of His tender love He has for us and try to return a little of it to Him. It is so good to be a traditional Catholic and know this.
The original author of this blog passed away in July of 2016. RIP Father Carota.