Tuesday 22nd January 2019

Home » Our Catholic Faith » Currently Reading:

Catholic Replies

November 2, 2018 Our Catholic Faith No Comments

Q. When I pray, sometimes during Mass, or when reading Scripture, or saying the rosary, I am plagued with unholy, impure thoughts directed toward holy persons or objects. I don’t know why I have these thoughts, but I do not want them. What is the answer to my problem? — Name and State Withheld.
A. A priest we know recently gave a talk to young adults about overcoming impure thoughts while praying. Here are his comments:
Regarding distractions in prayer, the Catechism says that “the habitual difficulty in prayer is distraction” (n. 2729). How easy it is for any of us to be saying our prayers, or reading Sacred Scripture or another spiritual book, and then to realize our minds were somewhere else, thinking about all kinds of extraneous things. These distractions occur because we are people with senses — sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch — and what we sense can easily distract us. Moreover, we all have many responsibilities and may lead very busy lives; the agenda we face each day can easily lead to distraction. Therefore, we must realize the pitfalls that set us up for distraction and take preventative measures.
First, we must guard our senses. Noise, other people, the smell of cooking, a hot, stifling room, or an activity going on where we are trying to pray can lead to distraction. Remember Jesus said, “Whenever you pray, go to your room, close your door, and pray to your Father in private” (Matt. 6:6). We need to find a quiet place by ourselves to pray. Sure, we could be by ourselves in a garden and pray, but one could easily be distracted by noticing what needs to be pruned or weeded! Nevertheless, it is in the quiet that the Lord speaks to us. For instance, the Lord told Elijah to stand on the mountain to await His passage. Elijah did not find the Lord in the strong wind, the earthquake, or the fire, but rather in a quiet, whispering sound (I Kings 19:9-12).
Second, we must pick a good time to pray. We may be able to say a few prayers or talk with the Lord while we cook dinner, drive the car, ride on the bus, or wait for an appointment, but most likely we will not have the atmosphere we need for good, concentrated prayer devoted to the Lord. We ought to take time in our day, when we are not too tired or rushed, for prayer. Here again we have to be careful. Sometimes I am so busy from leaving what I was doing before starting to pray or thinking about what happens next that I find myself not really concentrating on my prayers as I should.
St. Charles Borromeo (d. 1584) addressed this issue with his priests: “Another priest complains that as soon as he comes into Church to pray the Office or to celebrate Mass, a thousand thoughts fill his mind and distract him from God. But what was he doing in the sacristy before he came out for the Office or for Mass? How did he prepare? What means did he use to collect his thoughts and to remain recollected?”
Third, we need to focus on our prayers. Although memorizing prayers or having a regime of favorite prayers is a good discipline, we must guard against becoming lax or absent-minded in reciting them. We could easily “whip-off” the words, but not concentrate on the meaning. I think all of us have probably said the Our Father, the Hail Mary, or a decade of the rosary, finished the prayer, and then wondered, “What did I just say?” Again, these formal, memorized prayers are beautiful and essential to a good prayer life. However, we need to slow down as we say them and concentrate on the meaning of the words we are saying.
Finally, we need to open ourselves to God’s grace through the sacraments. The Sacrament of Penance cleanses our soul so that the union between ourselves and the Lord is in the best possible spiritual condition. The Blessed Sacrament intimately unites us with the Lord through the reception of Holy Communion and enwraps us in His presence when we pray before the tabernacle. St. Thomas More (d. 1535) stated, “If I am distracted, Holy Communion helps me to become recollected.”
These are some preventative measures to arm ourselves against distraction. If we find ourselves being distracted, we pause, refocus our attention, perhaps repeat the prayer or the reading, and move forward. However, I think we must also at times take heed of the distraction. The Catechism notes, “A distraction reveals to us what we are attached to, and this humble awareness before the Lord should awaken our preferential love for Him, and lead us resolutely to offer Him our heart to be purified. Therein lies the battle, the choice of which master to serve. For instance, if when we prayed, we always ended up thinking about work, about other people, about money, or some activity, we would have to ask, “Who is really the Lord of my life?” Just as we put aside everything to be with someone we love and to share good times with that person, how much more so must we do the same with the Lord whom we ought to love above all things.
I think, too, that sometimes God puts a distraction in our mind. Sometimes while praying, I suddenly have a thought about a person or a situation enter my mind. I believe here the Lord is saying, “I have listened to you, now I want you to look at this person or situation and come to some resolution.” For instance, we may carry a hurt or a sin from a past situation, or have a difficulty with a particular person. Our Lord may well be telling us to pray about the matter, because until we bring it to resolution we will never have a full union with Him.
Yes, we all face distractions in our prayer life. Nevertheless, we must be vigilant in our prayers and struggle to grow stronger in the discipline of our prayer life. St. Therese of Lisieux, the Little Flower, captured what is necessary for a good prayer life: “For me, prayer means launching out of the heart towards God; it means lifting up one’s eyes, quite simply, to Heaven, a cry of grateful love from the crest of joy or the trough of despair. It’s a vast, supernatural force which opens out my heart, and binds me close to Jesus.”

Q. Is there any artistic license afforded to those tasked with distributing Holy Communion at Mass? For example, can one trace a figure eight in the air with the Host when presenting it to a demolition derby enthusiast? I have seen Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion raise the Host high in the air before presenting it to the communicant. Another traced the Sign of the Cross for each recipient. Some even address the communicant by name. — R.T.C., via e-mail.
A. No, there is no “artistic license” when it comes to distributing Holy Communion. According to the “Norms for the Distribution of Holy Communion under Both Kinds,” which is Part II of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, “Holy Communion under the form of bread is offered to the communicant with the words ‘The Body of Christ.’ The communicant may choose whether to receive the Body of Christ in the hand or on the tongue. When receiving in the hand, the communicant should be guided by the words of St. Cyril of Jerusalem [d. 386]: ‘When you approach, take care not to do so with your hand stretched out and your fingers open or apart, but rather place your left hand as a throne beneath your right, as befits one who is about to receive the King. Then receive Him, taking care that nothing is lost’ ” (n. 41),
Similarly, “the chalice is offered to the communicant with the words ‘The Blood of Christ,’ to which the communicant responds, ‘Amen’ ” (n. 43).
This doesn’t say anything about waving the Host in the air, or about tracing a figure eight or Sign of the Cross. Common sense should tell us that the EM should simply present the Host to the communicant, with no extraneous gestures, and say, “The Body of Christ.” Also, he or she should not call the communicant by name. This is not part of the rubrics and, since the EM would not know the names of everyone coming to Communion anyway, it would also be demeaning to those not called by their names. That’s all we need — to have some people coming to Communion annoyed or insulted because their name was not said.
For Heaven’s sake, literally, people should stop trying to make the Mass about the priest, or the EM, or anybody else. The Mass is about Jesus. Don’t say or do anything that distracts from the awesome privilege of receiving His Body and Blood.

Share Button

2017 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Twitter Feed

Wow—first, Dreamers shafted by Obama, who enforced DACA w/o congressional approval & failed to ensure them a permanent path to citizenship, and now they’re left hanging by Pelosi & her ilk. Maybe Dems don’t care about them as much as they pretend to?

BBC Breaking News on Twitter

“Trump offers Democrats deal on immigration in bid to end shutdown but top Democrat Pelosi calls it "unacceptable" https://t.co/edz3WEREm3&#8221...


it is striking how so many advocates of abortion in public life cling to their frayed fabric of fantasy and repeat the mantra — “I’m personally opposed but. . . .” https://t.co/TwIrf7G6GT

Load More...

Trump defends Covington students, says they were ‘treated unfairly…smeared by media’

January 21, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Tonight, President Donald Trump tweeted in support of the Covington Catholic High School students “smeared by media,” noting early judgments about the kids’ encounter with a Native American activist were proven to be false. Trump tagged Tucker…Continue Reading

Priest gives pulpit to homosexual partners to share ‘witness’ story prior to Sunday Mass

Update Jan. 18, 2019: St. Joan of Arc pulled the video this morning of the two homosexual men giving their pre-Mass presentation. We are now using a source for the video provided by Complicit Clergy.  MINNEAPOLIS, MN, January 17, 2019…Continue Reading

China’s crackdown on Christians continues

Beijing, China, Jan 15, 2019 / 02:01 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- A campaign by the Chinese government to ‘Sinicize’ religion is ongoing, with detention and indoctrination of Muslims in the far west of the country, and the closing of underground churches…Continue Reading

Cdl. Wuerl will not celebrate youth Mass prior to March for Life

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 16, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Embattled Cardinal Donald Wuerl will not celebrate the Archdiocese of Washington’s January 18 Mass for Life, which is scheduled to occur before the annual March for Life. Instead, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to…Continue Reading

Support Archbishop Viganò on his 78th birthday!

January 16, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, the former Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, turns 78 years old today. Born in northern Italy, Archbishop Viganò was ordained to the priesthood in 1968. He spent the next several…Continue Reading

Cdl. Burke: Pope Francis’ response to abuse crisis is ‘more confusing than anything’

January 14, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Cardinal Raymond Burke told German TV in a January 8 interview that Pope Francis’ response to the abuse crisis is “confusing.” Cardinal Burke stated that Pope Benedict was “very clear on this [matter of abuse],”…Continue Reading

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Trashes Pro-Life People: You’re “Not in Line With Society”

Justin Trudeau, Canada’s radically pro-abortion prime minister, blasted pro-life advocates Wednesday amid a nation-wide outrage about barring pro-life groups from a federal grant program. “An organization that has the explicit purpose of restricting women’s rights by removing rights to abortion,…Continue Reading

Cardinal’s trial puts French Church in glare of Catholic abuse scandal

The Roman Catholic archbishop of Lyon goes on trial on Monday charged with failing to act on historical allegations of sexual abuse of boy scouts by a priest in his diocese. Cardinal Philippe Barbarin is the highest-profile cleric to be…Continue Reading

Trudeau to issue new coin commemorating decriminalizaton of gay sex

OTTAWA, January 4, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Canada’s prime minister Justin Trudeau has granted the Royal Mint permission to release a new one-dollar coin designed to commemorate the 50th anniversary of his father’s decriminalization of homosexuality. Trudeau’s government approved the coin…Continue Reading


ST. LOUIS, Mo. (ChurchMilitant.com) – Cardinal Blase Cupich is slated to be the keynote speaker at the annual conference for a notorious dissident priests’ organization. The annual assembly of the Association of U.S. Catholic Priests (AUSCP) will take place in June 2019, and…Continue Reading

Vatican spokesman, deputy, resign over strategy differences

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – The Vatican spokesman and his deputy resigned on Monday over disagreements on strategy, ending a year of upheaval in the Holy See’s communications structure. A brief Vatican statement gave no reason for the resignations. Spokesman Greg…Continue Reading

Chinese city bans public displays of Christmas, cites ‘clean city’ as reason

LANGFANG, China, December 19, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A city in China has issued a sweeping ban on Christmas-related decorations, public celebrations, and advertisements, claiming it’s necessary to keep the city clean for an upcoming awards contest. Christmas is not an…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 . . .

Vatican doubles down: denies Pope knew of sexual allegations against Argentine bishop

ROME, January 22, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — The Vatican is doubling down on claims it knew nothing about Argentine Bishop Gustavo Zanchetta’s alleged sexual abuse of seminarians when Pope Francis appointed him to a key position that handles the Holy See’s real estate and financial holdings. In a statement released today, the Vatican insisted they only heard of the allegations in autumn 2018. This, despite claims earlier this week from the bishop’s former vicar general that the Pope was informed of the allegations in…Continue Reading

Pope Francis issues decree suppressing ‘Ecclesia Dei’

ROME, January 19, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – As had been anticipated for several weeks, Pope Francis has formally suppressed the pontifical commission charged with keeping traditional Catholics united with the Successor of Peter, and has transferred its duties to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF). In a “motu proprio” signed on Jan. 17 and released today (see full text below), the Pope decreed that the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei be abolished, but that all of its work “of vigilance, promotion…Continue Reading

Trump promises to veto any abortion legislation in March for Life address


WASHINGTON, D.C., January 18, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – In a surprise appearance, President Donald Trump addressed pro-life advocates at the 2019 March for Life, telling them that “every life is worth protecting” and that he will veto any legislation that crosses his desk that “weakens the protection of human life.” “Today, I have signed a letter to Congress to make clear that if they send any legislation to my desk that weakens the

How to watch March for Life 2019 LIVE

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 18, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Today, marchers will gather on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., for a series of speeches and music before marching to the Supreme Court building, where Roe v. Wade forced all 50 states to allow abortion in 1973. EWTN is offering live coverage of the 20

Vatican: Abuse summit to help bishops know ‘what they need to do’

Vatican City, Jan 16, 2019 / 06:08 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Just over a month ahead of the much-anticipated February meeting on sex abuse, the Vatican said the summit’s goal is for bishops to leave the meeting knowing clearly what it is they need to do to stop the abuse of minors. According to a statement by papal spokesperson Alessandro Gisotti Jan. 16, the February meeting “has a concrete purpose: the goal is that all of…Continue Reading


Unity And Tyranny

By DONALD DeMARCO When an interviewer asked what keeps him up at night, Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke of the “polarization” that “really does worry me.” One of the responsibilities of the leader of a nation is to encourage unity. In this regard, it would appear that Trudeau’s expressed concern is congruent with that…Continue Reading

McCarrick Accuser Says . . . “Unfathomable” That Wuerl Forgot Allegations

By ED CONDON WASHINGTON, D.C. (CNA) — The man who made a 2004 accusation of misconduct against Archbishop Theodore McCarrick said January 16 he is in disbelief after Donald Cardinal Wuerl told him he forgot about the allegation sometime after becoming Washington’s archbishop in 2006. In a January 15 letter, Wuerl wrote to Washington, D.C.,…Continue Reading

St. Jerome Emiliani… A Father To All The Fatherless

By RAY CAVANAUGH St. Jerome Emiliani transformed from a spiritually wayward young man into a priest known for inexhaustible charity — even though such charity was a hazardous occupation in a sixteenth-century Italy often stricken by plague. His transformation would ultimately lead to sainthood and a universal patronage. February 8 is his feast day. Born…Continue Reading

Is Bolton Steering Trump Into War With Iran?

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN “Stop the ENDLESS WARS!” implored President Donald Trump in a Sunday, January 13 night tweet. Well, if he is serious, Trump had best keep an eye on his national security adviser, for a U.S. war on Iran would be a dream come true for John Bolton. Last September, when Shiite militants…Continue Reading

Pope To Diplomats . . . Remember Transcendent Dimension Of Human Persons

By HANNAH BROCKHAUS VATICAN CITY (CNA/EWTN News) — Upholding the dignity of the human person and the rule of law are essential for good politics, Pope Francis said January 7 to the diplomatic corps accredited to the Holy See. Such politics promote the common good and establish and maintain peace between nations, he said, by…Continue Reading


Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

The Word Of God Is Intended For Everyone

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Third Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR C) Readings: Neh. 8:2-4a, 5-6, 8-10 1 Cor. 12:12-30 Luke 1:1-4, 4:14-21 The Church is very clear in teaching us that every person is created equal. Sadly, many people have difficulty believing this teaching or, if it is believed in the mind, putting it into practice has proven to be…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World… Sin And Clericalism: Two Different Things

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK Often one points now to those outside of the visible confines of the Church to find persons who actually follow the teachings of the Church. Many Catholic schools have already commenced a compromise with the inevitable onslaught of child enrollments for families of same-sex parents. Give in on marriage redefinition and redefine the family as…Continue Reading

The Authority Of Bishops… Answering Objections Leveled Against The Priesthood

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 9 In this article we respond to objections against the Catholic priesthood. The first and most common objection is: “The words ‘priest’ and ‘bishop’ are not in the Bible.” Reply: It is amazing how the objections coming from Protestants — and even from some superficial Catholics — are so inconsistent. Every Protestant believes in…Continue Reading

The Theological Virtues — Charity

By DON FIER As we reflected last week on Pope Benedict XVI’s brilliant critique of the crisis of hope in the modern world as set forth in his 2007 encyclical Spe Salvi (SS), we saw that for many, “hope in the Kingdom of God has been displaced by hope in the kingdom of man, the hope of a better world…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Q. It is my understanding that if a priest is removed from active service, the bishop continues to support him financially. Am I right? Is there a similar obligation if the priest is laicized? I would suppose there is no such obligation of support if the priest decides he doesn’t want to be a priest anymore and walks away. Does…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. John Calabria

By CAROLE BRESLIN St. Teresa of Calcutta answered a call within a call by founding the Missionaries of Charity to help the poorest of the poor in Calcutta, India. Soon her apostolic endeavors to serve the most destitute of persons spread throughout the world, while she said that the greatest poverty is in the West where people do not know…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Anthony Of Egypt, Abbot

By CAROLE BRESLIN While we can understand that God is infinite, it is difficult to comprehend the stretch of such infinity. Certainly our finite minds cannot begin to comprehend it. Hence, since our minds are finite, the more we have cluttering our minds with worldly affairs such as possessions, relationships, and activities, the less time and room we have in…Continue Reading