Category Archives: Morality

Bringing sanity to sex: part 2

Bringing Sanity to Sex: Part 1

-by Karlo Broussard

“Sexual sanity, an objective reality with which we need to live in accord in order to be sexually sane.

Regardless of someone’s personal motive for engaging in sexual activity, procreation is its natural end. Now, the charge that such a view reduces human sex acts to mere biology might have force if producing children were the end of the story. But it’s not.

There is another purpose of sex intrinsic to making babies: the physical and emotional drawing together of spouses. Catholic theology calls these the procreative and unitive dimensions of sex.

There are two ways to see this intrinsic connection. The first sees the spousal friendship as finalizing the procreative dimension inasmuch as it makes sex a human reproductive act. The second sees how the unitive is bound to the procreative for the sake of rearing children.

Let’s start with the first way and see how the unitive makes sex properly human.

Not like the animals do

The natural end of begetting children follows from the animality of human beings. It is our sexed bodies—our reproductive organs—that order sexual activity toward procreation. We have this in common with other animals.

But we know that human sexual activity is different than animal acts of reproduction. No one in his right mind refers to two dogs “making love.” Mares don’t don lace nighties to enhance the equine sex experience. Ranchers don’t dim the barn lights and put on Barry White music for their cattle to breed.

So what is it that transfigures reproductive acts in human beings and makes them distinct in the animal kingdom? What is it that makes sex properly human?

Let reason be your guide

We can begin to get at the answer by considering other human acts. Take the act of looking at a tree. When a girl and her dog, walking along a country road, look at a tall plant with a trunk and branches and leaves, they both see a tree. But they see it in essentially different ways. The dog sees a particular thing with a certain shape and colors. The girl not only sees everything her dog sees, she sees it as tree.

In other words, the girl is able to abstract the essence or nature of what the thing is and form the universal concept of tree-ness. She is able to judge that the object before her is a tree, along with the other trees in the meadow, and reason to certain conclusions about trees—that they are material and subject to corruption, etc.

Notice that the girl’s power of sight is radically transformed by her ability to reason. As philosopher Edward Feser explains, “A human visual experience is a seamless unity of the rational and the animal…we (unlike non-human animals) conceptualize what we receive through sensation” (Neo-Scholastic Essays, 395).

Or take the act of eating. All animals share the drive to eat for the sake of self-preservation. But, far from being merely an animal activity, eating for humans is infused with rationality. Philosopher Paul Gondreau describes the human dimension of eating:

“[E]ating serves a profound human function, indeed, it becomes an art, in as much as we prepare our meals with the highest of nutritional, gustatory and even aesthetic quality in mind, we observe proper etiquette when consuming our food, and, typically the preferred occasion of shared human fellowship, mealtime satisfies deep social (i.e., rational) needs (“The Natural Law Ordering of Human Sexuality to (Heterosexual) Marriage: Towards a Thomistic Philosophy of the Body,” in Nova Et Vetera, English ed. Vol. 8, No. 3 (2010): 553-92).”

Human sex is more than animality

What these examples show is that our animal sentience becomes human only when integrated with our rationality. It’s the same for sex.

For sex to be genuinely human, it must be integrated with our rationality, which involves knowledge and love. And where are knowledge and love united but in friendship or interpersonal communion? The bodily union between man and woman that is ordered to begetting children therefore finds its perfection in what Aquinas calls the “indivisible union of souls” (Summa Theologiae III:29:2) that exists between spouses.

We might say that the unitive dimension of sex is to the procreative dimension what the rational soul is to the human body. Just as the rational soul makes our bodies human bodies as opposed to animal bodies or vegetative bodies, the spousal friendship (communal living) makes our procreative inclinations properly human, integrating them into the rational part of our nature.

Union for the sake of children

Unlike other species in the animal world, human infants cannot care for themselves. Nature has ordained them to be radically dependent on others for their needs, and for a long period of time.

The needs for human offspring go beyond the physical. Because humans are rational animals, children depend on other humans for what Aquinas calls “the training of the soul” (SCG III, 122. Children’s minds need to be formed in what is true. Their wills need to be directed toward what is good. They need help in learning how to live in community with others.

It is here where the union between husband and wife comes into play. Nature ordains that both man and woman be needed for the child to come into existence and then to be reared.

It is difficult for a mother to protect and provide for herself and her children when she is pregnant and/or attending to her offsprings’ needs. So, naturally, a father has to provide and protect the woman and the children with whom he has had the children. Both parents are also needed to bring their children to full maturity as members of the human race. Frank Sheed explains,

“Humanity is not man or woman but both in union. A child brought up by a father only or a mother only is only half-educated. He needs what the male can give him and what the female can give him. And he needs these two not as two separate influences, each pushing him its own way, so that he moves on some compromise line that is neither, but as one fused influence, wholly human, male and female affecting him as conjoined not as competing influences (Society and Sanity, 105-106).”

The bottom line

Just as a human being is both body and soul, human sex is both procreative and unitive. Nature has made it so that both aspects are essential to human sexuality.

Our sexed bodies are ordered toward the begetting of children. But because we’re human, the procreative end necessarily involves an interpersonal union of knowledge and love. The unitive dimension of sex recognizes that sex is for union with another person. But the procreative dimension recognizes that sex is for a union between a man and woman.”

Love & sanity,

Bringing sanity to sex: part 1

-by Karlo Broussard

“Sanity is to see what is (reality) and live in accord with it. If your grandfather thinks leprechauns are jumping in his butter dish and he gives them his butter knife to use as a springboard, then his sanity is defective.

He mistakes a hallucination for what is real and behaves accordingly. As he tells you about this phenomenon at the dinner table, you probably would invite him to become a citizen of the real world and see reality as it is and live in it.

Sexual sanity

I use this example to prompt the question, “Is there a real world when it comes to sex and our sexual powers?” In other words, is there a meaning to sex that is independent of what you or I make sex out to be? Is there a reality to sex, and thus to our sexual powers, that we ought to reverence and live in accord with? Is there a real world with regard to sex that we could invite someone to live in? Is there such a thing as sexual sanity?

If sex doesn’t have any sort of intrinsic meaning (a purpose independent of human contriving), then it would be impossible to be charged with sexual insanity. How could one be mistaken about the reality of sex if there is no reality about which to be mistaken?

But if sex does have an objective reality (intrinsic meaning and purpose) and we don’t make it up as we go, then how we relate to sex will determine our sanity just as much as does how we relate to butter dishes and leprechauns.

Drooling is not thinking

In order to determine if sex has an objective meaning (meaning and purpose independent of our intentions), we must do what modern man does not do: namely, think about sex.  (Ed. 80% of people THINK they’re above average!!)

I know what you’re thinking, “How can you say modern man doesn’t think about sex? Just watch the commercials—from shampoo to yogurt to cleaning supplies, everything is sexualized. Haven’t you seen Fifty Shades of Grey?”

No, I haven’t seen the movie or read the book, and, yes, everything in our culture is hyper sexualized. But this is not thinking about sex. I can’t put it any better than Frank Sheed:

“The typical modern man practically never thinks about sex. He dreams of it, of course, by day and by night; he craves for it; he pictures it, is stimulated or depressed by it, drools over it. But this frothing, steaming activity is not thinking. Drooling is not thinking, picturing is not thinking, craving is not thinking, dreaming is not thinking. Thinking means bringing the power of the mind to bear: thinking about sex means striving to see sex in its innermost reality and in the function it is meant to serve (Society and Sanity, 107).”

To think about sex is to ask, “What’s it for?” This is the first principle of intelligent use for anything. For example, if I don’t know what a microphone is for, I may be inclined to use it to hammer nails while building my house. But of course this would destroy the microphone.

Similarly, to intelligently use our sexual powers we must know their innermost reality and the function they are meant to serve. And as I’ve learned from my good friend Fr. Sebastian Walshe, a Norbertine priest at St. Michael’s Abbey in Orange County, California, to know the intrinsic purpose of sex is to know the proper activity of sex.

For example, the proper activity of a knife and its purpose is one and the same: to cut. Sight is the purpose of the eye, but it is also its proper activity. If an eye is defective and blind, then it isn’t acting (functioning) properly.

So what is sex for? What is its proper activity?

What’s pleasure got to do with it?

Someone might say, “Sex is for pleasure.” Although sex does involve pleasure, and this may be an individual’s subjective motive for having sex, it doesn’t stand up to the scrutiny of reason as an intrinsic purpose of sex (nature’s ultimate goal for sex).

For starters, one can attain sexual pleasure in many ways:

  • A man can rape an unconscious girl whom he drugged at the bar.
  • A doctor can sexually abuse a woman who is in a persistent vegetative state.
  • The sports star can bed as many women as he can in order to gain the pleasure of conquest and bragging rights in the locker room.
  • The married airline pilot can sleep with stewardesses on his long trips.
  • As one woman said in an on-street interview that Catholic Answers conducted, “Someone could marry their donkey for all I care”—which, of course, implies certain types of pleasurable behavior with the donkey.
  • (Ed. a person can sexually abuse a child, or engage in human trafficking for sex, or enjoy child pornography.)

Anybody of good will recognizes that such behaviors are not appropriate human sexual behavior. Therefore, there must be something other than pleasure that makes for proper sexual activity—that is to say, sex must be for something other than pleasure.

Moreover, pleasure is not the ultimate purpose of sex anymore than pleasure is the ultimate purpose of eating or breathing. Have you ever experienced being suffocated? Not so pleasurable, was it? The pleasure of breathing serves the ultimate end (goal) of breathing: namely, to keep you alive.

Eating is also pleasurable, but it is clearly not for pleasure. Pleasure is subordinate to the intrinsic purpose that it serves—nourishment of the human body.

The same line of reasoning can be applied to sex. When we bring the power of the mind to bear on our sexual powers, we see that sexual pleasure is subordinate to the end (goal) for which nature intends humans to engage in sex: to reproduce. As the philosopher Edward Feser writes, “To emphasize pleasure would be to put the cart before the horse” (Neo-Scholastic Essays, 389).

The ‘baby-making’ meaning of sex

In his book On the Meaning of Sex, the natural law philosopher J. Budziszewski identifies two conditions that must be met in order for some Q to be the purpose of some P, and procreation meets both of them. First, it must be the case that P actually brings about Q. Do the sexual powers of male and female bring about children when used in sexual activity? Yes.

Second, Q must explain why we have P in the first place. Does procreation explain why humans have sexual powers? Yes. Without the begetting of children, our sexed bodies would be unintelligible. To put it another way, if we weren’t meant to reproduce we wouldn’t have sexed bodies.

This is not to say that procreation entails sex, since there are some species that reproduce asexually. Rather, the claim is that sex entails procreation. Procreation is that for the sake of which sex exists.

So, regardless of what man may use sex, and consequently his sexual powers, for—whether it is for the expression of romantic love alone or the giving of bodily pleasure in recreational activity—childbearing is sex’s own purpose (intrinsic purpose) and thus its proper activity. It is the end toward which sex is ordered.

Once again Frank Sheed puts it succinctly:

“If we consider sex in itself and ask what nature had in mind in giving sex to human beings, there can be only one answer: sex is meant for the production of children, as lungs for breathing or the digestive organs for nourishment. . . . It would be monstrous to deny . . . that that is what sex is meant for, that is why we have sexual powers. The fact that man can use sex for other, sterile purposes of his own choosing does not alter the certainty that childbearing is sex’s own purpose (Society and Sanity, 110).”

So, as we use reason to see what is there concerning sex and check our sanity, we can conclude that it has its own intrinsic ordering to procreation.

At this point many questions abound: What about the fact that a human baby, unlike other species in the animal kingdom, is unable to fend for himself for quite some time once he is generated? If sex is for the generation of children, then what makes it distinctly human, since non-rational animals engage in the same kind of activity? Aren’t you reducing sex to mere biology and mechanics by saying sex is for begetting children? “Where’s the love, man” (can you hear the hippie voice?). Why should I even respect the procreative dimension of sex when I can avoid it?

The latter question can be answered only after we answer the former questions, which will be the subject matter of “Bringing Sanity to Sex: Part 2“.

Love & sanity,

Unreasonable sex

Human rational nature

“Catholic views on personhood and human nature include emphasis on the dignity of each person, from womb to tomb. The claims made for this inviolable dignity invariably stem from the recognition that all human beings, regardless of their state of dependency, are made in the image of God and are thus the bearers of certain moral rights. But in our fallen state that image is wounded and needs to be repaired. Hence, Christians need to learn to recapitulate the life of Christ in their own lives by growing through the stages of human life according to the model that He presents to us…but out of respect for human nature there are moral norms that need to be respected and that may never be violated…Catholic views on personhood and human nature take shape from revelation and reason…The human being is not only (Ed. just some) a creature of God, but that particularly important kind of creature that was made in God’s image and likeness, a dignity that sets humanity apart from the rest of creatures. Among (Ed. other creatures), what separates man from the rest is the possession of the powers of intellect and will, that is, the power of understanding…, and the power to make free choices and to love…

…The point is not that we are always perfectly free (Ed. the vagaries and vicissitudes of life, abuse/misuse, drugs, alcohol, suffering we have endured, health, condition/circumstances into which we are born, accidents, misfortune, maturity, or lack of it, etc.), but that free choice is something quite real in us, something we can gain or lose, and something what can be measured by degree – we can be more or less free in various respects. In the language of the Church, there comes a time when we reach the age of reason, and what that claim means is that we can arrive at the point when we can be quite conscious and aware of what we are doing. We are then considered responsible for what we choose to do or not do…Freedom in the sense required here has to mean self-determination – that is, the power of the self to control one’s actions and even to control the direction of one’s thinking. Metaphysically, this entails the position that there is some real but immaterial power of the soul – the will and its ability to make free choices. In a sense, this pair of powers (intellect and will) is at the deep core of the person, but it is crucial always to bear in mind that the authentic Catholic sense of these powers insists that the person as a whole, a unity of body and soul, and that our bodily actions are the expression of that person……it is by virtue of having an intellect and a will that we bear a special resemblance to God,…intellect and will must always be thought about in relation to our embodiment.”

-Koterski, J, SJ, (2012).  Human Nature from a Catholic Perspective. The American Journal of Economics and Sociology Vol. 71, No. 4, Two Views of Social Justice: A Catholic/Georgist Dialogue (OCTOBER, 2012), pp. 809-839 (31 pages)

-by Karlo Broussard

“So why is same-sex sexual activity not an act befitting a human being? Here’s one answer: it goes against our rational nature.

The end or goal of man’s intellect is to know the truth. So, anything that’s true, like the proposition “Socrates is mortal,” our intellect affirms. Anything that’s false, like “It’s possible for a square-circle to exist,” our intellect abhors—or should abhor.

Now, the order of our intellect toward the truth not only pertains to our ability to understand and judge propositions, like in the examples above: it also allows us to judge the intelligibility of human actions. In other words, we use our intellect to direct our will in a rational way—to do and say what makes sense—and to avoid doing and saying things that don’t make sense.

For example, if I were to go around saying, “I’m actually dead,” I’d be guilty of self-contradiction, since my saying the statement makes it not true. What the statement gives with one hand, the act of a living person saying it takes back with the other.

So, if I were to go around saying “I’m actually dead,” you’d think me a fool. And you’d be right! The intellect recognizes this type of behavior as going against human reason, so it directs the will away from affirming it. This is a natural, logical response to foolishness.

The same natural principle applies to same-sex sexual activity, because it entails the use of the sexual faculty in a way that thwarts its natural procreative end. Human sexual organs naturally aim at procreation. So one gives with one hand, as it were, the procreative end of sex just by using the sexual faculty. But at the same time one takes the procreative end back with the other hand by perverting the sexual faculty and intentionally directing it away from its procreative end, thus rendering the act self-contradictory.

Although it is terribly out of step with popular culture to say that it is irrational to use sex for intentionally non-procreative purposes, the underlying logic is actually easy to grasp.

As the MeToo movement has shown, most in our culture rightly condemn sexual coercion: they recognize such coercion as irrational and evil both because it treats a human being as a tool to be used and because sex is supposed to be an act of love, which is free.

Forcing someone into sexual activity is at odds with the other natural end of our sexuality—unitive love. It amounts to an anti-love act of love. Similar irrationality is found in same-sex sexual activity, which thwarts what the sexual faculty naturally aims at—namely, procreation. As such, it’s an anti-procreative procreative act.

Just as a healthy intellect recognizes the inherent contradiction in sexual coercion and thus directs the will away from it, so too a healthy intellect ought to recognize the inherent contradiction in same-sex sexual activity. Neither are befitting of our rational human nature.

This is the same rationale behind the Church’s condemnation of contraception, as articulated in Pope St. John Paul II’s “theology of the body,” and in his earlier writings.

In his essay “The Teaching of the Encyclical ‘Humane Vitae’ on Love: An Analysis of the Text,” then Archbishop Karol Wojtyla writes that when couples have sex, they “can and should intend by it precisely what it means essentially.” In other words, the sexual act has a natural and internal logic to it, and a couple should intend to speak that “language of the body” when they have sex.

He identifies this natural and objective meaning of sex in the two ends or goals that we’ve articulated before: unitive love, which he calls the “special union of persons,” and procreation, which he refers to as the “possibility (not the necessity!) of fecundity.” Consequently, for the couple’s sexual act to be “intrinsically true and free of falsification,” it must signify the objective meaning of sex.

Here is where the self-contradiction of such actions comes most clearly to light. If a couple has sex while intentionally thwarting its procreative end, it follows that they contradict its objective meaning—they “falsify” the meaning of the sexual act. What they give with one hand, engaging in an act that has the objective meaning of procreation, they take away with the other, intentionally rendering a procreative act non-procreative.

To engage in sex in a way that goes against its internal logic is thus irrational behavior, since the behavior contradicts what reason knows about the truth of sex. When there is harmony between the two, sex is reasonable. When there is disharmony between the two, sex violates reason. And this can’t possibly be good for us.

Sex is a good and natural thing, and it is healthy to desire sexual union. But, like all actions, that which makes us properly human must govern this instinct: namely, our gift of reason. Otherwise, our sexual acts would involve a betrayal of our intellects, and that’s not something we should let happen, especially if we want to be a person of reason and good will.”

Love & truth,

Diocese of La Crosse, WI


The Diocese of La Crosse released the names Saturday of more than two dozen clergy who have faced a substantiated allegation of child sexual abuse.

The diocese said none of the accused are now in public ministry. Many are listed as deceased. The list comes from an independent review of clergy files dating to 1868 by the audit firm Defenbaugh & Associates Inc.

Established in 1868, the Diocese of La Crosse serves nearly 200,000 Catholics in 19 counties: Adams, Buffalo, Chippewa, Clark, Crawford, Dunn, Eau Claire, Jackson, Juneau, La Crosse, Marathon, Monroe, Pepin, Pierce, Portage, Richland, Trempealeau, Vernon and Wood.

Those identified are:

Bruce Ball

Raymond Bornbach

Albert Sonnberger

James Stauber

Patrick Umberger

Raymond J. Wagner

Two were identified as being from another order or diocese, but whose allegation occurred while service the Diocese of La Crosse:

Timothy Svea

Bogdan Werra

Five more were identified as non-diocesan clergy whose whose names appear on a list in another diocese or religious order. The Diocese of La Crosse has no specific information relating to the allegations.

Those clergy are:

Dennis Bouche

Daniel Budzynski

“The statistics for the Diocese of La Crosse reveal that, out of 705 clergy who have served in the diocese between 1950 and 2002, there have been 10 individuals (including one who was not a priest of the diocese) with substantiated allegations against them. The result is that only 1.4 percent of the total clergy population in that time period had substantiated allegations.

Accused Clerics: 28 (of which allegations were substantiated against 10; of that 10, one was not a priest of the diocese)
Total Priests: 705 (of which 478 diocesan priests, 187 religious order priests, and 40 deacons)
Allegations: 58 (of which allegations against 3 were “withdrawn” or the priest was “exonerated”; 24 were unsubstantiated)

On January 6, 2004, the Diocese of La Crosse released its statistics regarding sexual abuse of minors by clergy.”


“The Diocese of La Crosse has released the names of seven more priests who have been credibly accused of sexually abusing children.

These additions, made Wednesday, include two priests who held assignments in La Crosse and four who worked at a now defunct Jesuit boarding school in Prairie du Chien.

They are:

At least five of the priests have died, and the other two were long ago dismissed by the Society of Jesus. It is unclear whether Cannon (dismissed in 1997) and Haller (dismissed in 1982) are still alive, still working with children or still serving in religious roles.

Though they served within the boundaries of the La Crosse diocese, none of the seven priests were official diocesan clergy or directly overseen by the bishop.

Wednesday’s disclosure came less than three weeks after the diocese released the names of 20 priests who were credibly accused of child abuse while serving in the diocese.

The list included J. Thomas Finucan, who was president of Viterbo University in La Crosse from 1970 to 1980.”

God is merciful. God is just.


Ars Moriendi – The Art of Dying

-by Br. Columba Thomas, OP, graduated from Yale School of Medicine and completed residency in Internal Medicine/Primary Care.

“Ars Moriendi, or “The Art of Dying,” was an immensely popular and influential medieval text aimed at equipping the faithful for death and dying. It appeared by order of the Council of Constance sometime between 1414 and 1418, and although its author is anonymous, some scholars speculate that it was a Dominican friar.

It is no surprise that the Church would focus on death-related themes at this time: one of the central pastoral preoccupations of the late medieval Church was preparing souls for death, which included saving them from damnation and shortening their stay in purgatory. To suppose that this focus on death was primarily driven by the effects of the bubonic plague is probably an oversimplification; it seems, rather, to be a foundational characteristic of medieval piety, resulting from a flourishing belief in the reality of life after death and the salvific efficacy of the sacraments. Hence, securing the ministrations of a priest in the final hours of death was a chief concern. But the impact of the bubonic plague, including the loss of clergy who would assist the dying, heightened the need for additional forms of guidance—thus arose the Ars Moriendi, a standard for deathbed pastoral practice intended for the use of dying persons and their loved ones assisting them.

The span of centuries notwithstanding, some modern-day bioethicists have looked to the medieval Ars Moriendi for inspiration in discussing contemporary approaches to death and dying. They recognize that patients nearing the end of life today often are overwhelmed by the complexity of health care and miss the opportunity to prepare well for death. A modern-day Ars Moriendi, then, would serve as a corrective to the prevailing over-medicalized, technologically driven death. Whereas bioethicists generally have sought to use the medieval text as inspiration for an approach that accommodates a wide variety of belief systems, religious and secular, it seems vital that the expressed religious intent be preserved in such a work—in fact, certain insights from the medieval text may provide a helpful addition to contemporary pastoral approaches at the end of life.

Just a cursory look at the medieval Ars Moriendi may suffice to draw out some of these insights. As the text emphasizes, dying persons are commonly faced with temptations that threaten to rob them of salvation, including the temptation against faith, the temptation of despair, and the temptation of pride that leads to complacency. When faced with these temptations, such persons must realize the importance of dying in the faith of Christ and in union with the Church to attain salvation, which is true happiness. This includes the reception of the sacraments, repeated professions of faith, self-examinations, and prayer.

For sure, the sacraments are the primary means by which the faithful can attain salvation; nevertheless, one can resist the graces offered in the sacraments, and so these other practices are important to help dispose one to receive the sacraments efficaciously. In this way, simply ensuring the visitation of a priest and the reception of the sacraments does not suffice. While efforts must be made to console dying persons that death itself is not to be feared, in light of Christ’s salvific act, it is better to stir them from complacency than to allow them to drift away from God for the sake of comfort.

These insights from the medieval Ars Moriendi may be key in reclaiming an art of dying for the twenty-first century. They give cause for concern that the typical approach for Catholics nearing the end of life today presumes that the reception of the sacraments all but guarantees salvation—typically, little emphasis is placed on the need for regular self-examination, professions of faith, and overcoming common temptations against the love of God. Instead, the focus is on consoling the dying person and loved ones, not necessarily for the sake of overcoming fear of death to remove a barrier to salvation, but out of deference to social sensibilities. Based on these concerns, it seems we truly are in need of a modern-day Ars Moriendi. The medieval text makes clear that the reality of judgment after death and hope for the salvation of souls should take priority over everything else, including attempts to better navigate the complexities and limitations of medical management at the end of life.”


Counterfeit Christ: Homosexuality

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” – Mt 5:17

“Do you not know that the unjust will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators nor idolaters nor adulterers nor boy prostitutes nor sodomites nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor robbers will inherit the kingdom of God.” – 1 Cor 6:9-10

“Whenever the topic of homosexuality and the Bible comes up, it doesn’t take long before someone says, “Jesus never said anything about homosexuality!” In a 2012 interview, former president Jimmy Carter essentially did that when he said:

“Homosexuality was well known in the ancient world, well before Christ was born, and Jesus never said a word about homosexuality. In all of his teachings about multiple things—he never said that gay people should be condemned. I personally think it is very fine for gay people to be married in civil ceremonies.”

Some go a step further and claim that Jesus affirmed homosexual behavior. For example, one pro-gay Christian website claims that the centurion who sought Jesus’ help to heal his servant in Matthew chapter eight was actually in a sexual relationship with that servant. Their primary evidence for this comes from the centurion’s use of the term pais to describe the servant, which they say refers to a male lover. From this they conclude, “Jesus restores a gay relationship by a miracle of healing and then holds up a gay man as an example of faith for all to follow.”

Regardless of what Jesus said or didn’t say about homosexuality in the Bible, this counterfeit Christ would never condemn homosexual behavior today. He would instead affirm such behavior as part of healthy relationships that are morally equivalent to marital love between men and women.

But how can that be true if . . .
…Jesus Never Affirmed Homosexual Behavior

Just because Jesus healed someone it doesn’t follow that Jesus affirmed everything that person did. When Jesus healed ten lepers, only one of them returned to give God glory for his healing, but that doesn’t mean Jesus endorsed the religious laxity of the other nine (Luke 17:11-19)

Similarly, even if the centurion and his servant had a sexual relationship, does it follow that Jesus’ miracle meant he affirmed the practice of older men purchasing younger male sex slaves? I doubt the revisionist critic would say, “Jesus restores a master-slave relationship by a miracle of healing and then holds up a slave-owner as an example of faith for all to follow.”

Throughout the Gospels, Jesus shows compassion to people in spite of their sins, and his healings and deliverance from harm are invitations to further spiritual salvation. For example, Jesus saved the woman caught in adultery from being executed, not so that she could return to her sinful ways, but so that she could repent of them. That’s why he said to her, “do not sin again” (John 8:11).

That said, there is no evidence that the centurion and his slave actually were involved in a sexual relationship. New Testament professor John Byron writes:

“The Greek noun pais is used in the New Testament twenty-four times and has a range of meanings that include “adolescent,” “child,” and “servant.” [In the Greek Old Testament] it appears numerous times and it always refers to a “servant.” There are no occurrences of the term anywhere in the Bible that can be interpreted a referring to the junior partner in a homosexual relationship.”

Other attempts to tease out of Scripture hidden pro-homosexual meanings are similarly dubious. It’s no wonder, then, that the arguments for a “gay-affirming” Jesus are usually arguments from silence—arguments based on what Jesus did not say. They claim, in so many words, that since Jesus never condemned homosexuality he must not have seen anything wrong with it.

But we actually don’t know if Jesus never said anything about homosexuality, because Jesus said many things that are not recorded in Scripture (John 21:25).

For example, when Paul was in Ephesus he spoke to the elders of the churches there, exhorting them to provide for the needs of the Church in Jerusalem. He then said to them, “In all things I have shown you that by so toiling one must help the weak, remembering the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35).

Even though Paul relates this saying of Jesus in a way that suggests it’s well known, nowhere is it recorded in the Gospels. This is one indication of how some of Jesus’ teachings were not written in the accounts of his life but were passed down through oral means (what Catholics call Sacred Tradition).

Since there is an unbroken tradition of Christians condemning same-sex behavior from the beginning of the Church’s history, we can safely conclude this tradition comes from Jesus and the apostles. Indeed, it would be downright bizarre if Jesus approved of homosexual behavior only to have all his followers teach the opposite—including Paul, whom Jesus chose as an apostle and inspired author but who clearly condemns homosexual behavior in his own writings (Rom. 1:26-28, 1 Cor. 6:9-10, 1 Tim. 1:10).

The Episcopalian bishop Gene Robinson is in a legal marriage with another man, yet when it comes to Jesus’ silence on homosexuality he admits, “One cannot extrapolate affirmation of such relationships from that silence.” Robinson instead claims that all “we can safely and responsibly conclude from Jesus’ silence is that He was silent on the issue.”

I wonder if Robinson would likewise say that “all we can safely and responsibly conclude from Jesus’ silence on polygamy, incest, bestiality, idolatry, and child sacrifice is that He was silent on those issues.”

He likely wouldn’t, because Jesus’ affirmation of the Old Testament’s prohibitions on, for example, murder show He would never have supported child sacrifice and so it is an absurd question to ask. Likewise, Jesus’ affirmation of the Old Testament’s prohibitions on sexual immorality show He would never have supported sexual activity between people of the same sex, or any kind of behavior that violated the universal moral law.”


Talking to children about “gender fluidity”

“One of my sons attends a large public high school where it is not uncommon to see kids in various states of “gender fluidity”—but not simply in the sense of “feminine” boys and tomboy girls as I saw back in my large public high school in the 1980s. No, these kids are either formally “transitioning,” or else experimenting with opposite sex alter-egos, both of which have become trendy and faddish.

As parents, we are often lulled by a misguided compassion that keeps us from sharing the truth, even in a loving way. If your compassion (or fear) leads you to silence about or sympathy for sin, you could be unwittingly playing into the hands of a culture that denies truth and risks the eternal fate of so many souls.

Kids do not need wishy-washiness. They need us to graciously, firmly, stand up for the truth.

Remember the words of St. Paul, who hoped that “we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the cunning of men, by their craftiness in deceitful wiles. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into Him Who is the head, into Christ” (Eph. 4:14-15). Your gracious confidence in these discussions is paramount, so ask the Holy Spirit to give you plenty of it! After all, Jesus said “Ask and it will be given to you!” (Matt 7:7).

He Said, She Said?

The use of pronouns used for people who identify as transgender can be a source of conflict in the culture and at school. Your teen might be caught up in a discussion about a transgender celebrity, or have a biologically male classmate who now has a female appearance, a new name, and demands to be addressed with “she” and “her.”

Ironically, these pronoun battles present an opportunity for Catholics to “turn the tables” on critics and point out how they are imposing their morality on us. After all, it’s one thing for a person to claim to be transgender, but quite another to force others to go along with this claim against their will, even requiring Catholics to speak words they don’t believe.

If your teen gets cornered on this subject, or even challenges you on it, return to first principles: It’s wrong to lie. Additionally, a lie becomes more serious when it is spoken about something significant. This shifts the focus from your child (or you) to the real issue. Here’s how this might play out:

Tom: Why do you keep saying [man who claims he’s a woman] is a he? That’s really hurtful!

Mary: I’m not trying to hurt anyone, but please see where I’m coming from. It’s wrong to lie, and if I say [man who claims he’s a woman] is a woman, that would make me a liar.

Tom: But it’s not a lie! If she says she is a woman then she is a woman.

Mary: Wait, are you saying that merely saying or believing you’re a woman makes you a woman? Why should I believe that? Can a person change his race or his species in the same way?

Tom: Well, it’s her own sense of self that matters!

Mary: But that still doesn’t make it true. There’s no evidence, in science or in anything we can measure, that “gender” exists except in the imagination. Morally, I am not allowed to lie for anyone. I hope you can respect that my faith requires me to be honest and speak only what is true.

What’s in a name?

I don’t think it’s a big deal to refer to this person by a new, preferred name. Some girls have “male” names and some boys have “female” names. But incorrectly using sex-specific pronouns like “he” and “she” in order to accommodate someone’s feelings forces us to lie. Lying is not only a sin, but in this case it denies another person’s God-given dignity and God’s created order.

(Ed. I wrote to the book publisher/authors the following. “as a Catholic who no longer teaches in a government school, I can tell you the student who objects will be summarily “executed” academically. Before the truth argument, I would humbly submit to the authors objective statements about objective dangers that cause physical harm, even death, would be harder for all opposed to summarily dismiss, if the student is given the unexpectable privilege of defending themselves.

From experience, government schools go to great effort to conceal what exactly they are teaching to students by preventing any evidence, save the deeply awkward and impressionable minds of their children and their memories, to wander home after school, even if inquired with about school by parents. Parents, in general, are equally disabled from contesting heresy, biblical or moral.

I might offer arguments and their distaste by all, generally, in being equivocated. Take the argument from morality, terribly important, to mortality, terribly objective, unnuanced, and undeniably permanent.

-Accidents (unintentional injuries), homicide, suicide, cancer, and heart disease. Accidents account for nearly one-half of all teenage deaths.
-As a category of accidents, motor vehicle fatality is the leading cause of death to teenagers, representing over one-third of all deaths.

“You can go 120 mph and not wear a selt belt if that’s your true self.  Everyone will support your choice.  It’s ALL about YOU!!”
“Living is a lifestyle choice. Whatever you want. It’s all about YOU!”
“I can handle a baby at sixteen!”
“I’ll NEVER change my mind! Nothing ever will!, etc.

Extreme, or not, I realize, however to engage in conversation about the more easily deniable, due to the vagaries of the human mind, the extreme is, at times, needed to pique the conscience into a reasonable conversation regarding the latter.”)

Identity or Reality?

When a person has a body dysphoria unrelated to sex or “gender,” everyone understands that the person needs help. When an anorexic looks in the mirror, she might see someone who is obese, even if she weighs much less than everyone else her age. We don’t tell that girl, “That’s right, you are overweight, and we will help you lose the weight that’s right for you.”

Instead we say, “What you perceive yourself to be, well, that isn’t you. In reality, you are dangerously underweight, and because we love you, we aren’t going to help you harm yourself.” That is the loving response.

What about people who think they are a different race or ethnicity? In 2015, the head of the Spokane NAACP, Rachel Dolezal, was discovered to have two white parents. While the organization for black Americans does have white leaders, some of its members claim Dolezal misled them into thinking she was black. Forced to resign from her position, Dolezal still claims she is black, even though her genetics say otherwise. She says, “I feel like the idea of being trans-black would be much more accurate than ‘I’m white.’ Because you know, I’m not white.”

You can see the irony that if Dolezal had claimed she was a black man, then her “progressive” critics would have said she was only half right. Yet, how can we tell a person she’s wrong about her sincere sense of her racial identity, but right about her sense of gender identity—when both exist only in the imagination? There is no logic to saying we affirm your “sense” of being a man, but we condemn your “sense” of being black. Your teens will see the contradiction here.”

Love & truth,

Sins of the tongue: omission & commission

Norman Rockwell (1894-1978), “The Gossips,” 1948. Painting for “The Saturday Evening Post” cover, March 6, 1948. Oil on canvas. Private collection. ©SEPS: Curtis Publishing, Indianapolis, IN

-by Br Damian Day, OP

“Sticks and stones may break bones, but words wound hearts. A well chosen insult cuts to the core, searching out secret soft spots so that the fresh wound festers more than the former. How cleverly cruel we can be, delighting to deliver the destroying word. Yet, sometimes the evil words seem to spring forth of their own accord with a spite that shocks us.

That is the terrible power of the words our tempestuous tongues utter. While we can tame every animal, “no human being can tame the tongue—a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who are made in the likeness of God” (James 3:7–9). With our tongues we cry kyrie one moment in church and curse the car that cuts us off the next.

The tongue needs training beyond human craft to drain its deadly poison. For, the tongue’s venom ferments in a vicious heart. “The good man out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil man out of his evil treasure produces evil; for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks” (Lk 6:45). The tongue tells what the heart houses.

And the heart houses what it hears. Do our hearts hear only wounding words or the wondrous word of him who said, “If a man loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him” (Jn 14:23)? When our hearts open to receive his words, the Word himself dwells therein. The Word dwelling within pours forth an abundance of his wisdom into the treasury of our hearts.

With sapiential starkness, a proverb articulates the transformation: “There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts; but the tongue of the wise brings healing” (Prov 12:18). When the Word of Wisdom has made the heart whole, the tongue no longer raves and rants and wrecks. From a healed heart, the disciple speaks words of healing, “for he whom God has sent utters the words of God” (Jn 3:34). May tongues always utter the words of him who heals wounded hearts.”

Sin of omission

In Catholic teaching, an omission is a failure to do something one can and ought to do. If an omission happens deliberately and freely, it is considered a sin.

The degree of guilt incurred by an omission is measured, like that attaching to sins of commission, by the dignity of the virtue and the magnitude of the precept to which the omission is opposed, as well as the amount of deliberation.

A person may be guilty of a sin of omission if he fails to do something which he is able to do and which he ought to do because he has put himself into a state or situation whereby he is unable or unwilling to complete the action.

“A spiritual guide should be silent when discretion requires and speak when words are of service. Otherwise he may say what he should not or be silent when he should speak. Indiscrete speech may lead men into error and an imprudent silence may leave in error those who could have been taught. Pastors who lack foresight hesitate to say openly what is right because they fear losing the favor of men. As the voice of truth tells us, such leaders are not zealous pastors who protect their flocks, rather they are like mercenaries who flee by taking refuge in silence when the wolf appears.

The Lord reproaches them through the prophet: “They are dumb dogs that cannot bark.” On another occasion he complains: “You did not advance against the foe or set up a wall in front of the house of Israel, so that you might stand fast in battle on the day of the Lord.” To advance against the foe involves a bold resistance to the powers of the world in defense of the flock. To stand fast in battle on the day of the Lord means to oppose the wicked enemy out of love for what is right.

When a pastor has been afraid to assert what is right, has he not turned his back and fled by remaining silent? Whereas if he intervenes on behalf of the flock, he sets up a wall against the enemy in front of the house of Israel. Therefore, the Lord again says to His unfaithful people: “Your prophets saw false and foolish visions and did not point out your wickedness that you might repent of your sins.” The name of prophet is sometimes given in the sacred writings to teachers who both declare the present to be fleeting and reveal what is to come. The word of God accuses them of seeing false visions because they are afraid to reproach men for their faults and thereby lull the evildoer with an empty promise of safety. Because they fear reproach, they keep silent and fail to point out the sinner’s wrongdoing.

The word of reproach is a key that unlocks a door, because reproach reveals a fault of which the evildoer himself is often unaware. That is why Paul says of the bishop: “He must be able to encourage men in sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.” For the same reason God tells us through Malachi: “The lips of the priest are to preserve knowledge, and men shall look to him for the law, for he is a messenger of the Lord of hosts.” Finally, that is also the reason why the Lord warns us through Isaiah: “Cry out and be not still; raise your voice in a trumpet call.”

Anyone ordained a priest undertakes the task of preaching, so that with a loud cry he may go on ahead of the terrible judge Who follows. If, then, a priest does not know how to preach, what kind of cry can such a dumb herald utter? It was to bring this home that the Holy Spirit descended in the form of tongues on the first pastors, for He causes those whom He has filled, to speak out spontaneously.”

-Pope St Gregory the Great (540-604 AD)


Vice is the opiate of masses…

-by Dr. Matthew Tan, The Divine Wedgie

“A diagnosis that is common to the thought of Nietzsche and Marx concerns the pacifying strength of fantasies.

At the risk of oversimplification, we can say that for Marx, the fantasy concerns the artificial worth injected into things by capitalist modes of production, which for him religion played a part by redirecting the vision of the have-nots to a realm beyond things. For Nietzsche, meanwhile, the fantasy is one of an artificial morality imposed by the weak on the strong. Regardless of the source, these fantasies acted as a narcotic that was consumed at a societal level, blinding whole communities to the reality of things and preventing the administration of the cure.

If fantasy was the sickness, the cure lay in casting off these fantasies and the structures that sustained them to reveal the reality of the world. For Marx, it was the integral connection between a person’s identity with his dialectic with the world, while for Nietzsche, it was the necessity of the rule by those that are able to embrace the flux of life over those that seek to block that off that flux by hiding behind a veneer of order.

While we can debate over whether these two were correct in their particular diagnoses of the fantasy, the diagnosis of the fantasy itself is something for the Christian to consider seriously. This is because doing so sheds new light on what the vices do as negations of the virtues. The vices are not just bad things that people do.

In in the classical and medieval mind, the virtues were what helped a person attain his or her end as a flourishing being. A person living a life of virtue is one that is able to immerse themselves deeply into the reality of the cosmic order, and in the reality of the supernatural order. In doing so, they were also able to see themselves for what they really were, their abilities, limits, desires and so on. Armed with this knowledge, persons living the life of virtue are able to live in the present.

By contrast, the vices recognize no such order. Instead, the vices are powerful narcotics which produce upon consumption, fantasies about ourselves, our relationship with the world, and ultimately our relationship with God. Rather than receive our status as creatures of God, for instance, we imagine ourselves to be creators over and against God. As R.J. Snell argued in Acedia and Its Discontents, vice is a refusal to accept any limit and to be frustrated by any that come our way.

Importantly, if we are attentive, we find that the limits are those that we face all the time and in the present.

What this causes us to do is to indulge in fantasy, which comes in two forms. The first fantasy, one that was identified by Evagrius of Alexandria in the sixth chapter of his Praktikos, is nostalgia, where we recall blissful moments of the past where those limits were overcome. The other is speculation, where we imagine our lives in states where those limits do not exist (it can be in terms of wealth, sex, status, jobs and so on). In casting our minds to these states, we think of those moments as salvific, which by contrast reframes the present as a state of damnation. We find the present repulsive and even futile, and prefer to indulge in fantasy and speculation – with all the audiovisual aids and substances concocted by pop culture – thinking that our connection with reality lies in those moments, when those are exactly when our connection with reality is eroded.  This is because those moments do not exist. The past can no longer be retrieved, and the future speculation can never arrive. Insofar as we are stuck in either the past or future, we are indulging in fantasy. What does exist, what does connect us to reality, is the present moment we find repulsive on account of their limit, the limit that we find to be a denial of reality and an impediment to God’s providence.

By contrast, as Julian Carron said in “A Leap of Awareness”, limit constitutes the very site of God’s providence. Writing from another angle, Romano Guardini argued in The Living God, that the experience of the overcoming of limit occurs precisely where we are most cognizant of that limit.  This is the present moment that the vices prompt us to find repulsive. As Guardini writes in a chapter entitled “God’s Providence”, “There is a way of coming to experience [Providence] as a reality, and it is a way that is constantly recurring: it is ‘the now’.”

It is the precise moment when we realize that we are not the ones that provide our own providence that the reality of Providence emerges as an experiential reality. Indeed, we find that Providence is the very structure of reality, and the life of virtue is a constant attunement to that reality. If we feel we have missed that moment, do not worry, for as Guardini says, the moment of providence is constantly recurring, and the offer to reconnect with reality is made new every single moment.”

Love & virtue,

“Blessed are they who mourn…” – Mt 5:4

“…But there is also the mourning occasioned by the shattering encounter with truth, which leads man to undergo conversion and to resist evil. This mourning heals, because it teaches man…

…Peter is an example of (this) second kind: Struck by the Lord’s gaze, he bursts into healing tears that plow up the soil of his soul. He begins anew and is himself renewed.

Ezekiel, Chapter 9

Then I heard Him call out in a loud voice, “Bring near those who are appointed to execute judgment on the city, each with a weapon in his hand.” And I saw six men coming from the direction of the upper gate, which faces north, each with a deadly weapon in his hand. With them was a man clothed in linen who had a writing kit at his side. They came in and stood beside the bronze altar.

Now the glory of the God of Israel went up from above the cherubim, where it had been, and moved to the threshold of the temple. Then the Lord called to the man clothed in linen who had the writing kit at his side and said to him, “Go throughout the city of Jerusalem and put a mark on the foreheads of those who grieve and lament over all the detestable things that are done in it.”

As I listened, He said to the others, “Follow him through the city and kill, without showing pity or compassion. Slaughter the old men, the young men and women, the mothers and children, but do not touch anyone who has the mark. Begin at my sanctuary.” So they began with the old men who were in front of the temple.

Then He said to them, “Defile the temple and fill the courts with the slain. Go!” So they went out and began killing throughout the city. While they were killing and I was left alone, I fell facedown, crying out, “Alas, Sovereign Lord! Are you going to destroy the entire remnant of Israel in this outpouring of your wrath on Jerusalem?”

He answered me, “The sin of the people of Israel and Judah is exceedingly great; the land is full of bloodshed and the city is full of injustice. They say, ‘The Lord has forsaken the land; the Lord does not see.’ 10 So I will not look on them with pity or spare them, but I will bring down on their own heads what they have done.”

11 Then the man in linen with the writing kit at his side brought back word, saying, “I have done as You commanded.”

Ezekiel 9:4 offers us a striking testimony to how this positive kind of mourning can counteract the dominion of evil. Six men are charged with executing divine punishment on Jerusalem—on the land that is filled with bloodshed, on the city that is full of wickedness (cf. Ezek 9:9). Before they do, however, a man clothed in linen must trace the Hebrew letter tau (like the sign of the Cross) on the foreheads of all those “who sigh and groan over all the abominations that are committed in the city” (Ezek 9:4). Those who bear this mark are exempted from the punishment. They are people who do not run with the pack, who refuse to collude with the injustice that has become endemic, but who suffer under it instead. Even though it is not in their power to change the overall situation, they still counter the dominion of evil through the passive resistance of their suffering—through the mourning that sets bounds to the power of evil.

…Once again, as in the vision of Ezekiel, we encounter here the small band of people who remain true in a world full of cruelty and cynicism or else with fearful conformity. They cannot avert the disaster, but by “suffering with” the one condemned (by their com-passion in the etymological sense) they place themselves on his side, and by their “loving with” they are on the side of God, Who is love.

…Those who do not harden their hearts to the pain and need of others, who do not give evil entry to their souls, but suffer under its power and so acknowledge the truth of God—they are the ones who open the windows of the world to let the light in. It is to those who mourn in this sense that great consolation is promised. The second Beatitude is thus intimately connected with the eighth: “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Mt 5:10).

The mourning of which the Lord speaks is nonconformity with evil; it is a way of resisting models of behavior that the individual is pressured to accept because “everyone does it.” The world cannot tolerate this kind of resistance; it demands conformity. It considers this mourning to be an accusation directed against the numbing of consciences. And so it is. That is why those who mourn suffer persecution for the sake of righteousness. Those who mourn are promised comfort; those who are persecuted are promised the Kingdom of God—the same promise that is made to the poor in spirit. The two promises are closely related. The Kingdom of God—standing under the protection of God’s power, secure in His love—that is true comfort.”

Ratzinger, Joseph. Jesus of Nazareth: From the Baptism in the Jordan to the Transfiguration (Kindle Locations 1418-1429, 1430-1433, 1436-1445). The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Love, blessed be God,


Summa Catechetica, "Neque enim quaero intelligere ut credam, sed credo ut intelligam." – St Anselm, "Let your religion be less of a theory, and more of a love affair." -G.K. Chesterton, "I want a laity, not arrogant, not rash in speech, not disputatious, but men and women who know their religion, who enter into it, who know just where they stand, who know what they hold and what they do not, and who know their creed so well that they can give an account of it."- Bl John Henry Newman, Cong. Orat., "Encounter, not confrontation; attraction, not promotion; dialogue, not debate." -cf Pope Francis, “You will not see anyone who is really striving after his advancement who is not given to spiritual reading. And as to him who neglects it, the fact will soon be observed by his progress.” -St Athanasius, "To convert someone, go and take them by the hand and guide them." -St Thomas Aquinas, OP. 1 saint ruins ALL the cynicism in Hell & on Earth. “When we pray we talk to God; when we read God talks to us…All spiritual growth comes from reading and reflection.” -St Isidore of Seville, “Also in some meditations today I earnestly asked our Lord to watch over my compositions that they might do me no harm through the enmity or imprudence of any man or my own; that He would have them as His own and employ or not employ them as He should see fit. And this I believe is heard.” -GM Hopkins, SJ, "Only God knows the good that can come about by reading one good Catholic book." — St. John Bosco, "Why don't you try explaining it to them?" – cf St Peter Canisius, SJ, Doctor of the Church, Doctor of the Catechism, "Already I was coming to appreciate that often apologetics consists of offering theological eye glasses of varying prescriptions to an inquirer. Only one prescription will give him clear sight; all the others will give him at best indistinct sight. What you want him to see—some particular truth of the Faith—will remain fuzzy to him until you come across theological eye glasses that precisely compensate for his particular defect of vision." -Karl Keating, "The more perfectly we know God, the more perfectly we love Him." -St Thomas Aquinas, OP, ST, I-II,67,6 ad 3, “But always when I was without a book, my soul would at once become disturbed, and my thoughts wandered." —St. Teresa of Avila, "Let those who think I have said too little and those who think I have said too much, forgive me; and let those who think I have said just enough thank God with me." –St. Augustine