Sunday, May 28, 2017

The Christian Education of Children. How to Face Today’s World (I)

On many occasions parents that I hardly know, as they don’t usually go to church very often, come to me overwhelmed and looking for recommendations about how to fix the serious problems that they have with their adolescent children. I try to help them with their particular situation, and while there is always something that can be done, the damage is so deep in the majority of cases that a complete repair is almost impossible.

Another very common occurrence is that of truly Catholic parents who are worried about the Christian formation of their children. They are worried and feel like they don’t have the tools to fight because they see how their children, who have been formed in a truly Christian environment and in the faith, as they approach adolescence, are taken in, enthralled, and poisoned by the world. The moment comes in which those young people want nothing to do with the Church, with their religion, or with their own parents. How can it be that these young people who have been educated according to Christian principles have been destroyed so easily in the short span of two or three years? What could the parents have done to have prevented the world from destroying what has cost them so much work? What can parents do so that their children are truly filled with God and have the proper weapons in their fight against the world?

The solution is not easy, but over the course of several articles we will discuss the most frequent problems that face parents in the education of their children from the time they are young; and we will try to guide them, offering possible solutions that could be applied before their children leave the nest.

Some years ago when speaking with my mother, she told me: “One of the most difficult tasks that parents have is the education of their children. Children,” she told me, “are like birds that you have in your hands; if you squeeze too hard, they suffocate, and if you open your hands too much, they escape. It’s really a miracle that as parents we must continually ask of God.”

The Gravity of the Present Situation

The first problem that we face is that parents have an awareness of the seriousness of the present situation so that they begin the Christian formation of their children according to proper rules and guidelines from infancy. It is very common, and something that I encounter daily, that when I advise parents who are worried about the Christian formation of their children from their most tender infancy, they smile and innocently respond: “My children are good and they will not do any of the things that you say.” But the sad reality is that when these children are fifteen or sixteen years old, you ask about their children again, and again quite worried they say: “our children are good, but…” In this answer, one can imagine their anguish and worry because they can’t control their children. In a word, “the world has already swallowed them.”

One of the most serious and worrisome problems that faces truly Christian parents is the human and Christian formation of their children. These articles are directed especially to those good and worried parents for that very reason.

There are other parents, who are unfortunately the majority, and who call themselves Christians, who have never seriously considered the education of their children according to Christian principles. I don’t think these parents will get much out of reading these articles – even if they fell into their hands – because it would require a change so radical that they would never be able to do it. Those parents know, however, that they will be judged severely by God when they stand before the Throne of the Most High.

A Pressing Task Without Possible Delay

Although parents are such throughout their lives, they only have the first fifteen or twenty years of their children’s lives to carry out this work in a meaningful way. As these years go by, the children might occasionally listen to some advice from their parents. In the majority of cases, they will already be independent enough to make their own decisions and to choose the path, for good or evil, that they would like to take. And if they press me a little, and given the present situation of our society, I’d say that parents really only have the first ten or twelve years of their children’s lives; after which, in the majority of cases, the children are inseparable from their group and listen to their friends before their parents.

Let me tell you a true story that happened to me this year. Two years ago, I started a Confirmation class with a group of 20 young people between 10 and 12 years old at one of my parishes. The first day I gave an overview of the course and told them that the first thing that they had to do was to go to confession and to receive Holy Communion so that their catechesis could bear fruit. That same day almost all of them went to confession. I was overjoyed. Most of them continued to do so during their first year of catechesis.

Last September we began the second year. The kids had grown older and were now between 11 and 13 years old. The first day I made the same announcement about confession and to my great surprise, no one came to confess. After much insistence on my part week after week, I got five or six of the 20 that started, but the rest were waiting for the day before Confirmation to confess because I had told them that if they did not confess, they could not be confirmed.

It was only one year that had passed, but in this year many things had happened, things that had defiled their hearts and as a result, they no longer dared to confess.

It is hard to say, but once they are confirmed I will probably not see many of them until… until their burial.

We’ve all heard the famous story a thousand times about the tree that is planted and that has to be staked and tended to while it is still young. Once the trunk has hardened, it is almost impossible to change its course. That is the reason why parents must exercise extreme care during the first years of their children’s lives, because that is the time when they will be the most receptive.

The Virtues and Defects of Parents in their Children

The parents’ defects are almost always “inherited” by the children. The virtues, on the other hand, are only sometimes passed down. Parents frequently complain about their children’s bad habits, but do not realize that many times these bad habits are ones that have been learned at home. If parents are not honest, virtuous, truthful, ordered, and pious, they can hardly expect their children to be the same.

It makes me laugh when the parents of First Communicants drop their children off for Mass and, in the meantime, go to the closest bar to watch the soccer game. After Mass is finished, they return to pick up their children and ask them: “Did everything go well?” When that child grows up, it’s likely that he will do exactly the same thing with his children.

When a seven year old child says a blasphemous word, a brief investigation will show that he learned it from another kid or from his parents. If he learned it from another kid, it is because that child, at one time, learned it from his parents. Parents are the first teachers of their children, for good or for evil.

Some years ago, I heard a nice story of a family of crabs that was very telling. The story went like this:

“Once upon a time there was a family of crabs who lived at the bottom of the sea. One fine day the father crab, worried about the formation of his children said to his dear wife:

My dear, it would be a great joy for me if our children were well-trained crabs who always walk forward and never to the side like we do. To that end, tomorrow at noon, gather all our children around the rock and you and I will teach them to walk forward.

The following day came and mama crab gathered all her children in front of the rock that had served as a hideout. Papa crab arrived very proud and with a beautiful speech prepared for his children:

My dear children, your mother and I want you to be well-trained crabs who always walk forward. So, starting today we will all gather here to practice and to teach you to walk in this new way.

The little crabs were amazed by their father’s idea. And Mama crab couldn’t say anything because she didn’t want to put her husband in a bad position.

They spent several days practicing. Papa crab lined all of his children up behind him in single file.

Mama brought up the back of the line, carrying the smallest crab in her arms, for he had not yet learned to walk.Ending this successful experiment, papa crab went back to gather all his children and told them:

You know, dear children, you must always walk like this from now on. You can no longer walk to the side like the rest of the crabs do. We have to be the crabs of the future.

Papa crab, very proud of the lesson that he’d taught, took his wife’s arm and went together to visit another family of crabs that lived nearby; but they didn’t realize that they had been walking to the side. When the children saw their parents walking, they looked at each other and said:

Why change? Let’s do the same as our parents, for it’s much easier!

And so it is not enough to teach good lessons; if the parents are not the first to put them into practice, it is difficult to get the children to follow.”

Over the next few articles, we will discuss those topics that are intended to help parents. We will begin by discussing how they must act during the first 10 or 12 years of their children’s lives (attending Mass, prayer, reading, use of the TV, internet, cell phones, what to do while on vacation, time for sleep, teaching them to eat, and a long etcetera). Later we will enter into the more problematic years that are usually from 12 to 20-something. And finally we will try to shed some light so that they can continue helping their children once they are out of the house, but are not taking the correct path (living together before marriage, falling into alcoholism or drug abuse, losing the faith, engaging in unnatural sexual behavior…).

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

We Must Ask Forgiveness to God for Our Sins of Guilty Ignorance

If ignorance is never a sin, why is it said, in the Epistle to the Hebrews, that the high priest entered alone once a year into the second tabernacle, not without blood, which he offers for his own and the people’s ignorance?: Saint Bernard.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

A sign of Hope in Syria: The City of Aleppo Was Consecrated to Our Lady of Fatima

ROME, May 15. 17 (ACI) .- The city of Aleppo, released from the control of rebels and jihadist groups at the end of 2016, but still suffering the consequences of the civil war in Syria, was consecrated this May 13 to Our Lady of Fatima, on the commemoration of the 100 years of this apparition in Portugal.

The Mass of consecration took place in the Latin Cathedral of St. Francis of Assisi, which is also known as the Latin Church of the Franciscans.

The Mass was celebrated on the same day of the canonization of the shepherds Saint Francisco Marto and Saint Jacinta Marto in the Sanctuary of Fatima.

According to the Latin Cathedral of St. Francis of Assisi on its Facebook page, an image of Our Lady of Fatima was present at the Mass of consecration, that was sent directly from the sanctuary in Portugal.

After it, the image was taken in procession by the Christian neighborhood of al-Azizieh, that suffered constant attacks of the rebel groups.

Through their Facebook page, SOS Christians in Syria pointed out that the temple was full of worshipers and that they were happy and excited because there had not been a procession with the image of Our Lady of Fatima since many years ago.

"Let us give thanks to God for this day of heaven that we had the chance to live and entrust the Christians of Aleppo to our Blessed Mother. May she, Queen of Peace, since she gave the Prince of Peace to the world, grant us the long-sought peace for the Middle East and the whole world.”

The consecration of Aleppo was part of the program of activities organized by the Latin Cathedral of St. Francis of Assisi on the occasion of the centenary of the apparitions of Our Lady in Fatima.

The cathedral indicated through its Facebook page that the celebrations began on the 11th with a community prayer and a procession with the image of Our Lady sent from Fatima.
"Many of us cry because after six years we can re-organize the procession through the streets of Aleppo without fear of missiles. We welcome with emotion Our Lady of Fatima in Aleppo and hope that the Virgin Mary will pray for peace for all of Syria," they said.

On October 13, 2016, at the closing of the last international pilgrimage of the year in the Shrine of Fatima, the Bishop of Leiria-Fatima, Antonio Marto, blessed an image that would be sent to the "martyr diocese" of Aleppo.

Nowadays in this city the living conditions are very hard because food is scarce, and drugs, water and electricity services have not yet been restored.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

May 13: Centenary of the Apparitions of Our Lady in Fatima

"In order to save them, God wants to establish in the world the devotion to my Immaculate Heart.”


The three little shepherds of Fatima: Francis, Jacinta and Lucia, being only little children, gave us a remarkable example of love of God, they showed us their dedication to prayer, their great courage to endure trials and the willpower to offer sacrifices for the salvation of souls.

What can we do to be like these little shepherds?

We should go to Confession and ask for forgiveness. Make frequent confessions with true repentance and a firm purpose not to sin again.

We must abhor mortal sin and prefer death before we backslide in it. The devotion of the three Hail Marys asking Our Lady to help us, as explained here (, will be very useful for this.

We should say many times the first prayer taught by the Angel of Peace:
“My God, I believe, I adore, I trust, and I love thee! I beg pardon for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not trust, and do not love thee.”

We should pray before and after Communion, and before the Blessed Sacrament, the prayer taught by the Angel of Peace:
“O most Holy Trinity—Father, Son, and Holy Ghost—I adore thee profoundly. I offer thee the most Precious Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ— present in all the tabernacles of the world—in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges, and indifference by which He is offended. By the infinite merits of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg the conversion of poor sinners.”

We should pray the Rosary every day, saying after each mystery, the prayer taught by Our Lady:
“O my Jesus, forgive us our sins; save us from the fires of hell; lead all souls into Heaven, especially those who are in most need of thy mercy.”

We should practice the Devotion of the First Saturdays of the month requested by our sweet Mother.

We should practice and spread the devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, consecrating ourselves to it.

We should live a chaste life in our customs and fashions.

A Solemn Act of Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary

Most Holy Virgin Mary, tender Mother of men, to fulfill the desires of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the request of the Vicar of Your Son on earth, we consecrate ourselves and our families to your Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart, O Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, and we recommend to You, all the people of our country and all the world.

Please accept our consecration, dearest Mother, and use us as You wish to accomplish Your designs in the world.

O Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, and Queen of the World, rule over us, together with the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ, Our King. Save us from the spreading flood of modern paganism; kindle in our hearts and homes the love of purity, the practice of a virtuous life, an ardent zeal for souls, and a desire to pray the Rosary more faithfully.
We come with confidence to You, O Throne of Grace and Mother of Fair Love. Inflame us with the same Divine Fire which has inflamed Your own Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Make our hearts and homes Your shrine, and through us, make the Heart of Jesus, together with your rule, triumph in every heart and home.


--Venerable Pope Pius XII

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Friday, May 5, 2017

H.H. Pius VI Denounces the Clever Strategy With Which Innovators of all Times Introduce Error and Heresy: Ambiguity

It is the current weapon of modernist heresy

“They knew the capacity of innovators in the art of deception. In order not to shock the ears of Catholics, the innovators sought to hide the subtleties (errors) of their tortuous maneuvers by the use of seemingly innocuous words (ambiguities) such as would allow them to insinuate error into souls in the most gentle manner. Once the truth had been compromised, they could, by means of slight changes or additions in phraseology, distort the confession of the faith (the doctrine) that is necessary for our salvation, and lead the faithful by subtle errors to their eternal damnation…

In order to expose such snares, something which becomes necessary with a certain frequency in every century, no other method is required than the following: Whenever it becomes necessary to expose statements that disguise some suspected error or danger under the veil of ambiguity, one must denounce the perverse meaning under which the error opposed to Catholic truth is camouflaged.”

Pope Pius VI’s Apostolic Constitution Auctorem Fidei against the Errors of the Synod of Pistoia – August, 28, 1794