Mass Schedule: St. Joseph Catholic Church, Rockdale, Illinois; Saturday, Nov. 18,Through Nov. 26, 2017

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Ask Father October 2017 UPDATE

Question 1:

Is it a violation of Christian Charity to condemn the evil actions of evil men and (to) point out their errors as St. John the Baptist did, for which he lost his head? And is one simply held strictly to (the) “Judge not, lest ye be judged” standard set by the Lord (in) Mt 7:1-3?


We are commanded, both in Matthew and basic Church teaching, to refrain from judging the “interior” of another, i.e., what’s in his mind, heart and soul. That’s where it ends. One is not merely permitted but compelled to judge the actions of another if said actions are intrinsically evil, particularly if said actions impinge on the individual making the judgment. This, of course, extends to family, organizations and to society at large. Some examples: peddling drugs to school children; child abuse; stealing; seduction of minors; homosexuality and its promotion, be it by laymen or bishops. Of course, since the philosophical maxim is “Action follows being,” the usual conclusion is that if a person is doing something evil, he must be evil himself. This, of course, must be avoided. However, to complicate matters, what confounds things today is that, very often, an intrinsic evil is regarded as a good, for example, homosexuality. But, the bottom line is that we must also act to protect ourselves and our families, and, to the extent possible, organizations, and society. Such actions, on our part must also be governed by reason, law and prudence.

Comment to your anecdotal comment: Yes. To quote you, very often, “all manner of evil is dismissed by the evocation of this favorite scripture to the exclusion of any mention of what obedience is owed to God in justice.” It is unfortunate that those who form these correct judgments in response to evil are themselves the focus of the judgment of others (but this scenario is, obviously, ok to society, liberals, advocates of the particular evil, etc.; it’s fine to judge the whistle-blower or the person who acts rightly), are usually ostracized and are themselves accused of being divisive when it is the evil action of the other that is truly the divisive element. A classical example of this is “do I attend the wedding of my Catholic nephew who is marrying a protestant (or atheist, Jew, Moslem) in a civil or non-Catholic place and/or ceremony without his procuring the proper dispensations, etc.? Or, better, “should I attend the wedding of my nephew and his male partner?” In either scenario, it is usually the person who withholds consent and approval by not attending the wedding who is vilified and ostracized and accused of hate. What nonsense!

Question 2:

(from a child, forwarded by a parent)

If God was already infinitely happy, why did he create man? What was the purpose of creating man? Why did He want us to know, love and serve Him? Why did He want us to be with Him in heaven? Why did He need or want these things? What was the purpose?


The child questioner is certainly quite intelligent and asks serious questions. Knowing why God created man should serve as an extended answer to the subsequent questions.

When considering such questions, it is always best to turn to the one I would consider the ultimate authority on philosophical and theological matters, St. Thomas Aquinas. Along with that, sometimes answers to questions like the one(s) posed are less than satisfactory. However, such questions should also be considered in the light of Faith. Faith (paraphrasing St. Thomas) is the assent of the intellect to a revealed truth. We have Faith in something that is completely true, but which cannot be proven, at least in this life. If something is proven, then faith in it is no longer necessary. That’s why there is no “Faith,” per se, in Heaven. We won’t need faith anymore, because we see God face to face. We will know and have our proof.

In his Summa Contra Gentiles, St. Thomas tells us that, in God, there are two “operations.” St. Thomas, in the Summa Theologica, also tells us that God IS His Operation. But, with regard to the operations themselves, “There are, however, two sorts of operation, as Aristotle teaches in Metaphysics: one that remains in the agent and is a perfection of it, as the act of sensing, understanding, and willing; another that passes over into an external thing, and is a perfection of the thing made as a result of that operation, the acts of heating, cutting and building, for example.

Now, both kinds of operation belong to God: the former, in that He understands, wills, rejoices and loves (my comment – this, of course is the most important; remember, love goes out from the one or One loving; the real reason for creation); the latter, in that He brings things into being, preserves then, and governs them. But, since the former operation is a perfection of the operator, the latter a perfection of the thing made, and since the agent is naturally prior to the thing made, and is the cause of it, it follows that the first of these types of operation is the ground of the second, and naturally precedes it, as a cause precedes its effect.”

God doesn’t need us; indeed He never needed us. God wanted us. That, pretty much, is why He created us. That’s a simple, basic reason. Academic stuff precedes this statement. But I end with something else:

EWTN gives us some really good stuff about this which is a digest of the Catechism and Magisterial Teaching. I quote it here.

Why did God make us?

God made us to show forth His goodness and to share with us His everlasting happiness in heaven.

(a) By creating the world God did not increase His own happiness, since He was infinitely happy from all eternity, but He did manifest His glory externally by sharing His goodness. All creatures by their very existence show forth the glory of God, for all depend on God for their existence.

(b) God created man to manifest His glory in a special way. He gave man an intellect and a will that he might know, praise, and love his Creator. In the service of God man finds his true, though imperfect, happiness in this life. Perfect happiness has been promised in the next life as a reward for the merits man acquires here on earth. Thus the happiness of man is also a purpose of creation.

(c) The happiness of heaven consists in the direct vision, love, and enjoyment of God. This reward so far exceeds man’s nature that without the supernatural help of God it could not possibly be attained. In heaven God gives us the light of glory, which enables us to see Him face to face. During our life on earth God gives us His grace, which enables us to live a supernatural life and to perform the actions that can earn this reward.

(d) The happiness of the blessed in heaven varies according to the merits of their lives on earth. All in heaven are perfectly happy, but one person may have a greater degree of happiness than another because he has more capacity for happiness, by another because he has more capacity for happiness, by reason of a more virtuous life on earth.

Question 3:

Many of us have come to St. Joseph after having spent many years in a Novus Ordo parish consequently our catechesis is spotty at best. Another consequence is that when exposed to a traditional Catholic teaching many questions arise, foremost for me among these questions is in regard to my baptism. Form, matter and intent being necessary for a valid sacrament given the radical changes made to many of the rites after VII is the form of my baptism valid? Do I or others who have been baptized as infants or adults as I was need a conditional baptism?


Once baptized, always baptized. Rest easy, your baptism is valid. The essentials as you describe, matter and form – in the case of Baptism, water and the sacramental formula – are all that are necessary for validity. All the other stuff post Vatican II are mere changes to the surrounding ceremonies, i.e., readings, a homily, a prayer of the faithful, etc., which the traditional baptismal rite does not contain. But, so long as the priest (or deacon; or layman/laywoman for that matter, i.e., in emergency situations) pours water over the head of the infant or child/adolescent/adult and says the sacramental form while doing so, “Raymond, I baptize you in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” the Baptism is valid. This is why the Catholic Church – in most cases – accepts Baptisms in other Christian denominations as valid.  After all, non-Catholic clergy, ordained or not, do not have Holy Orders.  The reality: other Christian denominations use the Catholic formula, i.e., the original formula, emanating from the Catholic Church, the “original” (and only true) Church.  We had the formula first.  The other denominations took it from us.