Tuesday, June 29, 2004

The very best thing I learnt from the RCs
From my two relatively brief stays with them many years ago (the last was over a decade past) - how to make a good confession. (St Peter's Episcopal - see yesterday's entries; they laid my Catholic foundation - taught me about the sacrament in theory but we never practised it!) A self-described 'shanty Irish' American priest from New Jersey who'd gone to seminary in the 1950s, before Vatican II ruined everything, taught me in the box and in his weekly column right from Trent and St Alphonsus Liguori: mortal vs. venial sin, avoiding the near occasions of sin, etc. A speciality in theology that western Catholicism excels at historically and a foundation I use to this day. Thanks!

From another old-school priest, known online fittingly as latinopadre:

All in all, we need to remember basic catechism teaching.

1. Stay away from the occasions of sin.
2. Frequent the sacraments, especially penance and the Holy Eucharist.
3. Avoid Mortal Sins.
4. Avoid Habitual Sins.

Mariology was an important discovery as well (though St Peter's gets credit for introducing me to the concept, not the practice), and getting to know the Dominican Rosary.

'Search for Christian Maturity' for high-school kids (like a junior version of Cursillo) gets props too, not for liturgics or for theology in theory but because it was therapeutic when I was getting no help anywhere else - a breakthrough that helped change a slightly autistic person into the man writing this now. Дивное чудо! (C'est un miracle!)

More than I need a handy dictionary to read non-religious subjects in Russian, I need a Berlitz interpreter or Babelfish to understand most (but not all, of course) mainstream American RCs, an alien and often hostile folk (liberal church workers are like self-hating Jews). Such a tour guide/interpreter, an ace one, is Thomas Day.

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