Wednesday 21st March 2018

Home » Our Catholic Faith » Currently Reading:

Catholic Replies

May 19, 2017 Our Catholic Faith No Comments

Q. I find the following passages in the Gospels puzzling. When the soldiers came to arrest Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane and they asked Him if He was Jesus the Nazorean, He replied, “I told you that I AM. So if you are looking for me, let these men go.” John says that “this was to fulfill what he had said, ‘I have not lost any of those you gave me’” (John 18:7-9).
Earlier that evening, at the Last Supper, Jesus identified Judas as His betrayer, saying that “‘he who has dipped his hand into the dish with me is the one who will betray me. The Son of Man indeed goes, as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed. It would be better for that man if he had never been born.’ Then Judas, his betrayer, said in reply, ‘Surely it is not I, Rabbi?’ He answered, ‘You have said so’” (Matt. 26:23-25).
I always assumed that to mean that Judas was “lost.” What is your thought on these passages? Also, was Judas present when Jesus first gave Holy Communion at the Last Supper, or had he departed as soon as Jesus identified him as His betrayer? — S.A.D., Maryland.
A. There is another verse in John where Jesus says that He guarded the apostles the Father had given Him, and “none of them was lost except the son of destruction, in order that the scripture might be fulfilled” (17:12).
So it is not unreasonable to assume that Judas was lost, but we don’t know that for certain. Yes, Judas betrayed the Lord, but so do we every time we turn away from Him and choose someone or something else instead of Him.
We of course have the opportunity to repent of our sins, as did Judas, but we don’t know if he took advantage of that opportunity before he committed suicide. We do know that he experienced some remorse and tried to return the 30 pieces of silver, telling the chief priests and elders that “I have sinned in betraying innocent blood” and then throwing the money on the floor when the chief priests refused to reverse their plot to kill Jesus (cf. Matt. 27:3-5).
But we won’t know the ultimate fate of Judas until the next life.
As for whether Judas was present for the institution of the Holy Eucharist, the Gospels do not give us a definitive answer. Matthew and Mark both place the prayer of institution after Jesus had said that His betrayer was the one “who has dipped his hand into the dish with me.”
John, who does not mention the institution narrative at all, says that as soon as Jesus gave Judas the morsel of bread dipped into the sauce, he went out to finish making plans for the betrayal of the Lord (cf. John 13:30).
So it could be argued from these three sources that Judas was not present for the institution.
Luke, on the other hand, reverses the order of the betrayal and the institution. Immediately after he has Jesus pronouncing the words of institution, the evangelist quotes this statement from Christ: “And yet the hand of my betrayer is with me at this table” (Luke 22:21).
So what are we think? Was Judas there or is there some truth to the bumper sticker that says, “Judas was the first person to leave Mass early”? Catholics are free to hold either opinion.

Q. With so many Catholics invoking “primacy of conscience” to justify various mortal sins, I recall that Blessed John Cardinal Newman very clearly wrote what the Church truly teaches about conscience, and it is being very wrongly invoked today. Perhaps you can locate what Cardinal Newman wrote. — M.M., Alabama.
A. In his Letter to the Duke of Norfolk, Cardinal Newman (1801-1890) made a statement that some today try to use as justification for engaging in immoral acts, for substituting the primacy of conscience for the primacy of truth. Newman said that “if I am obliged to bring religion into after-dinner toasts (which does not seem quite the thing), I shall drink to the Pope, if you please — still to conscience first, and to the Pope afterwards.”
Did he mean, as some think, that one may oppose the teachings of the Pope and the Church if they contradict one’s personal opinions? Of course not.
Newman said that “conscience is not a long-sighted selfishness, nor a desire to be consistent with oneself; but it is a messenger from Him [God] who, both in nature and in grace, speaks to us behind a veil, and teaches and rules us by His representatives. Conscience is the aboriginal Vicar of Christ.”
He said that “I am using the word ‘conscience’ in the high sense in which I have already explained it — not as a fancy or an opinion, but as a dutiful obedience to what claims to be a divine voice, speaking within us.”
Quoting St. Thomas Aquinas as defining conscience as “the practical judgment or dictate of reason, by which we judge what hic et nunc is to be done as being good, or to be avoided as evil,” the cardinal said that “hence conscience cannot come into direct collision with the Church’s or the Pope’s infallibility.” He said that before one attempts to set conscience against the voice of the Pope, one must engage in “serious thought, prayer, and all available means of arriving at a right judgment on the matter in question.
“Unless a man is able to say to himself, as in the presence of God, that he must not, and dare not, act upon the papal injunction, he is bound to obey it, and would commit a great sin in disobeying it. Prima facie it is his bounden duty, even from a sentiment of loyalty, to believe the Pope right and to act accordingly. He must vanquish that mean, ungenerous, selfish, vulgar spirit of his nature, which at the very first rumour of a command places itself in opposition to the Superior who gives it, asks itself whether he is not exceeding his right, and rejoices in a moral and practical matter to commence with scepticism.
“He must have no wilful determination to exercise a right of thinking, saying, doing just what he pleases, the question of truth and falsehood, right and wrong, the duty if possible of obedience, the love of speaking as his Head speaks, and of standing in all cases on his Head’s side, being simply discarded. If this necessary rule were observed, collisions between the Pope’s authority and the authority of conscience would be very rare.”

Q. Regarding a recent column about whether a suicide bomber could be acting in good conscience, I have three things in mind: 1) St. Paul’s pericope in Romans 2:15 about divine law being written on the heart, while one’s conscience bears witness and either accuses or excuses choices; 2) Gaudium et Spes, n. 16, which talks of a law which man doesn’t impose on himself, but is written in his heart by God and which holds him to obedience and tells him to “do this, shun that”; and 3) Veritatis Splendor, n. 60, which says that “conscience is not an independent and exclusive capacity to decide what is good and what is evil. Rather there is profoundly imprinted upon it a principle of obedience vis-a-vis the objective norm which establishes and conditions the correspondence of its decisions with the commands and prohibitions which are at the basis of human behavior.”
Would it be over-interpretation to see these as pointing to a part of conscience that is directly instilled by God? What I have in mind is a situation involving a potential grave violation of one of the Ten Commandments, where a person knows right from wrong from what is written on his heart by God, rather than from human learning. — C.C., via e-mail.
A. No, your interpretation is in line with what the Church teaches in, for example, the sources that you cite. In Veritatis Splendor, n. 54, Pope St. John Paul II refers to the quotation from Gaudium et Spes and then says, “For man has in his heart a law written by God. To obey it is the very dignity of man; according to it he will be judged (cf. Romans 2:14-16).”
Another way of expressing this has to do with natural law, that is, the law of human nature which binds all human beings and is the same at all times and in all places. Therefore, any act that is contrary to the natural law, such as abortion, murder, or terrorism, is always and everywhere evil.
Trying to justify such actions under the rubric of conscience is wrong. Conscience is not a feeling or an opinion. It must be based upon truth, upon natural law, and upon divine and ecclesiastical law. We must beware of self-delusion, especially in these days when all kinds of evil are being excused under the banner of following one’s conscience. In his World Day of Peace Message on December 8, 1990, St. John Paul II said:
“To claim that one has a right to act according to conscience, but without at the same time acknowledging the duty to conform one’s conscience to the truth and to the law which God has written on our hearts, in the end means nothing more than imposing one’s limited personal opinion.”

Share Button

2017 The Wanderer Printing Co.

What US Catholics see as Pope Francis’ most notable action


Washington D.C., Mar 17, 2018 / 04:35 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- What has been Pope Francis’ most notable action so far in his papacy? A group of some 300 U.S. Catholics was recently asked this question in a recent study conducted by the…Continue Reading

Vatican admits doctoring photo of Benedict’s letter praising Pope Francis

VATICAN, March 14, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — One of the world’s leading news agencies has said the Vatican breached journalistic standards by doctoring a photo of a letter from Benedict XVI praising Pope Francis. According to the Associated Press, the doctoring…Continue Reading

Cardinal Müller: The Pope has no power to change Humanae Vitae

ROME, March 8, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — The Pope has no power to change or relax the Church’s ban on artificial contraception, just as he can never allow women to be ordained, Cardinal Gerhard Müller said on Wednesday. The former prefect…Continue Reading

Catholic bishops stand by spokesman after racism comment

New Mexico’s three Catholic bishops on Tuesday rejected a call by 33 Republican state legislators to punish the Catholic Church’s spokesman for saying racism played a part in the defeat of an initiative to expand early childhood education. In fact,…Continue Reading

Jim Caviezel tells university students to ‘stand out’ and ‘be saints’

STEUBENVILLE, Ohio, March 5, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Catholic actor Jim Caviezel, who famously played Jesus in The Passion of the Christ, told university students on Sunday that they must set themselves apart from this “corrupt generation” and “be saints.” “You weren’t…Continue Reading

Catholic hierarchy to be confronted over gender inequality

“Powerful vested interests” within the Catholic church are being challenged at a conference in Rome on International Women’s Day as calls grow for women to be given positions of authority and influence in the church. In a sign that a new assertive…Continue Reading

Study shows why young Catholics leave the church

They stopped believing in God. They saw a disconnect between what Catholics say and what they do. They disagreed with the church’s stance on social issues such as homosexuality and birth control. They are the growing numbers of young Catholics…Continue Reading

Number of Catholic weddings falls by two-thirds since 1990

The number of Catholic weddings in England and Wales has fallen dramatically in the last 25 years, according to new figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS). In 2015, the most recent year for which statistics have been recorded,…Continue Reading

Georgetown honors pro-abortion Senator whose bishop just barred him from Communion

WASHINGTON, D.C., February 28, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Tonight, Georgetown University will present pro-abortion Senator Dick Durbin, D-IL, whose bishop recently barred him from Holy Communion, with an award for devoting “his life to the core Jesuit value of service to…Continue Reading

Dozens of Catholics arrested as they ask Congress to help ‘Dreamers’

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Dozens of Catholics, including men and women religious, were arrested near the U.S. Capitol Feb. 27 in the rotunda of a Senate building in Washington as they called on lawmakers to help young undocumented adults brought to…Continue Reading

Catholic Church frets that religion ‘slipping off agenda’ in schools

The Catholic Church has raised concerns in meetings with State education officials that religion is “slipping off the agenda” in their schools. In a record of a meeting between the Education and Training Boards Ireland(ETBI) and Catholic Church representatives it was suggested that…Continue Reading


Beyond decades, for generations the Catholic bishops of Texas, saying they are obeying the law, but hiding behind the convenient cover of saying they are fearful of losing their tax exempt status, have said they must remain silent about those…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for 150 years in our weekly print edition.

  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 150 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

Interview With Cardinal Burke . . . Discriminating Mercy: Defending Christ And His Church With True Love


  By DON FIER (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and Founder of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis., graciously took time out of his busy schedule to grant The Wanderer a wide-ranging interview during a recent visit to the Shrine. Included among the topics…Continue Reading

Developing Lives Of Peace After The Heart Of Mary

By RAYMOND LEO CARDINAL BURKE (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke delivered the address below at the 32nd Annual Church Teaches Forum, “The Message of Fatima: Peace for the World,” Galt House, Louisville, Ky., July 22, 2017. The address is reprinted here with the kind permission of Cardinal Burke. All rights reserved. This is part one of the…Continue Reading


Today . . .

Polish archbishop criticises priest who wished for death of Pope Francis

Former seminary rector Fr Edward Staniek questioned the direction in which Pope Francis was taking the Church A Polish archbishop has criticised a priest and theologian who wished Pope Francis a quick death if he did not open his heart to “wisdom”. Archbishop Marek Jędraszewski of Krakow said he had heard the comments with “great pain and regret” and had spoken to the priest about them. Fr Edward Staniek, a noted theologian and former rector…Continue Reading

Catholic principal defies Planned Parenthood. Her worst enemy? The local bishop.

March 16, 2018 (Rorate Caeli) – It is always local situations that show how deep the problems in the Church are at the present time. The problematic issuances from Rome, Germany and  Chicago are indeed disturbing, but to see how far things have gone, one must go to the local level of the Church:  the diocese and the parish.  Go to a typical parish Mass to see the fruit of the liturgical experiment of the…Continue Reading

Full text of Pope emeritus Benedict’s letter released

The decision to withhold parts of a letter by Pope emeritus Benedict XVI was motivated by concerns for discretion, according to a new statement from the Secretariat for Communications. By Vatican News A statement from the Secretariat for Communication, released by the Press Office of the Holy See, takes note of polemical statements in the press suggesting censorship of a letter by Pope emeritus Benedict XVI. The controversy arose over the digital alteration of a…Continue Reading

Vatican prepares to issue two documents on ‘gender theory’

ROME, March 15, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) and the Congregation for Catholic Education are each preparing to release documents on “gender theory,” the radical ideology behind transgenderism. The Congregation for Catholic Education’s document, expected to be released in the next two months, won’t “enter the heart of the debate,” the dicastery’s secretary Archbishop Angelo Vincenzo Zani said. Instead, it will repeat “important educational principles.” The CDF’s document…Continue Reading

Judge bans pro-lifers from going near abortion centers in unprecedented ruling

WEST BLOOMFIELD, Michigan, March 14, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A judge sentenced five pro-life activists today to one year of reporting probation, eight days of community service, more than $1,000 in fines each, and forbade them from going within 500 feet of any abortion facility in the United States. Several of them will likely serve jail time for refusing to pay the fines or perform community service. Some of them could end up being in jail…Continue Reading


Make A Church Post Satan’s Phone Number?

By TERENCE P. JEFFREY (Editor’s Note: Terence P. Jeffrey is the editor-in-chief of Creators Syndicate,, distributes his column.) + + + Jerry Brown once said he saw “the killing of the unborn as crazy.” This was just after the once-and-future pro-abortion governor of California returned to the United States in 1988 after spending…Continue Reading

A Decision From Outer Space

By DONALD DeMARCO A number of science-fiction movies, especially those from the 1950s when the threat of an atomic attack loomed, revolved around a decision made by highly intelligent beings from outer space to destroy all human life on planet Earth. The usual reasons put forth for the destruction were that human beings were violent,…Continue Reading

Globalists & Nationalists: Who Owns The Future?

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN Robert Bartley, the late editorial page editor of The Wall Street Journal, was a free trade zealot who for decades championed a five-word amendment to the Constitution: “There shall be open borders.” Bartley accepted what the erasure of America’s borders and an endless influx of foreign peoples and goods would mean…Continue Reading

The Stoneman Douglas Shootings And Divine Providence

By C.F. MONTESANO (Editor’s Note: C.F. Montesano is vice president with a maritime trade association in Virginia. He serves as a lector at the Cathedral of St. Matthew in Washington, D.C. Last summer, he was selected by Signum University to be a presenter at its annual “Mythmoot” conference for enthusiasts of J.R.R. Tolkien.) + +…Continue Reading

Key Abuse Charge Against Cardinal Pell Withdrawn

By HANNAH BROCKHAUS MELBOURNE, Australia (CNA/EWTN News) — An Australian prosecutor on March 2 withdrew a charge of abuse against George Cardinal Pell, who is currently undergoing a trial in Australia for accusations of past sexual abuse. The charge was dropped by Prosecutor Mark Gibson March 2 after its key complainant died in January. It…Continue Reading


Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

The Horror Of The Passion

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Palm Sunday (YR B) Readings: Mark 11:1-10 Isaiah 50:4-7 Phil. 2:6-11 Mark 14:1-15:47   As we celebrate Palm Sunday, we begin with a Gospel reading recounting our Lord’s entrance into Jerusalem to the joyful shouts of the people proclaiming Him to be the Son of David, that is, the Messiah. Our Lord had preached and worked…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World… “Fear Is Useless”

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK Lent is about death. The Lord’s death, of course: “Unless the grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies it remains just a grain of wheat.” He Himself in His human nature must be the seed of future glory for all of mankind. Fear is mankind’s most instinctive response before the vast and uncharted…Continue Reading

The Sacraments Instituted By Christ . . . Can We Receive Communion In An Eastern Orthodox Church?

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 20 Here we enter a delicate matter, which requires much prudential judgment from the Church. The matter is normally titled Communicatio in sacris, which refers to receiving Holy Communion in separated Eastern Churches. Here the situation is totally different from receiving “communion” in a Protestant church of whatever denomination, because Protestants do not have…Continue Reading

Sacramentals In The Life Of The Church

By DON FIER For almost two years we have been examining the Church’s teaching, as articulated in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), on the seven sacraments. As has been emphasized repeatedly, it is an infallibly taught dogma of our faith that Christ Himself instituted each of the seven sacraments during His visible stay on Earth. Moreover, it has…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Q. In discussing the Arian heresy, which denied the divinity of Christ, a friend wondered why Christ, who is omniscient, would say that only the Father knows the end of the world. Please clarify this. — L.S., via e-mail. A. In Mark 13:32, Jesus said of the day that the world will end, “no one knows, neither the angels in…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Clement Mary Hofbauer

By CAROLE BRESLIN It has been said that the four characteristics of good prayer are that it must be sincere, it must be humble, it must be confident, and it must be persevering. This can also be said of the Christian life and a person’s approach to seeking to do the will of God: humble, sincere, confident, and persevering. St.…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… Blessed Luigi Orione

By CAROLE BRESLIN Suffering, great persecutions, humiliations, obstacles to entering the religious life — all of these seem to be the lot of those destined to become saints. In fact, without these pains present in their lives, chances are that their causes for canonization would not proceed. Why would someone want to become a saint if that is the path?…Continue Reading