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Life is tough. Nuns are tougher.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

I was very nervous about my confession entry. I thought it might upset people and it seems it may have. I had been thinking about it for quite some time and almost posted about it several times and thought better of it. The combination of the Pope's words about St. Augustine and the news about Limbo put me over the edge.

In my agitated state I made two more errors! I shouldn't have said that I read "The Catechism of the Catholic Church" way back when. I should have said I read the Catechism of the Catholic Church...one by St. Augustine and one by Pope Pius the X. I actually got my hands on "The Catechism of the Catholic Church" in the mid nineties and it was an odd moment in time, I'll tell you.

I was speaking at another parish about the need for help for retired nuns and was peppered with questions about some of the things the old nuns had been up to there in the classroom. Suffice to say we went down the road we traveled yesterday here on the blog for a little ways. The parish priest snuck up to me afterward.

He snuck. I want to make that clear. He said he had a copy of "The Catechism of the Catholic Church" that he wanted to give me. He told me that he wasn't supposed to give it to me and I shouldn't let anyone know I had it. He wasn't joking.

He was so sincere and adamant that I actually kept that copy, which I still have, under lock and key and never told anyone I had it for quite some time.

I have only recently discovered the joys of the internets. It wasn't so very long after I got my clandestine Catechism that I found it online. Doh!

My other babbling about Judas....where do I start? How is it that we are aware of things and unaware of them at the same time?

During a class one day I found myself patiently explaining that we don't take everything so literally in the Bible and the New Testament as some of our separated brethren. I was getting some guff from this group, which included some separated brethren, so I asked them to answer this question: How many angels were at the tomb when Jesus rose from the dead? The answer is none. In John.
The answer is two. In Luke. At least there were two men in dazzling apparel who gave the disciples the word on why the tomb was empty.
In Matthew an angel comes down and rolls the stone away.
In Mark there is an angel sitting alone in the empty tomb. You may know him as Pat Boone.

I thought I had put the lid on their guff. But later in the class the Judas hanging came up and one of the separated brethren brought up the fact that in Acts, Judas buys a field with his thirty pieces of silver and trips in the field and dies. His intestines spill out. I'm sure they brought that up just to get back at me about the angels.

I thought it best to stop talking about the Judas hanging. Although Judas is an interesting case to discuss why we don't ever say for a fact that someone is in hell.

In recent years I stumbled upon (on the internets) some fellow that had an explanation for the two Judas stories. According to this man, Judas threw the thirty pieces of silver to the ground and hanged himself. The Pharisees picked up the thirty pieces of silver and bought the field, Judas hanging from the tree and all. Everyone just left Judas hanging there until the rope he was hanging from rotted and his body fell to the ground. Of course his body was in terrible shape by then and that caused the 'explosion'. Yikes. This fellow with this theory states this story on his website as though it is an absolute fact.

We'll pray for the intercession of St. Augustine for him.


Katie said...

I love comparing the Gospel details like that. We did it as a class assignment at college (Catholic, run by those crazy Jesuits) and it freaked out the Christian non-Catholics who took the Bible very literally (until then, I suppose).

Everyone is going to have a different point of view about something including the Disciples. Like watching a car crash, each witness is going to tell the story differently.

I like your confession Sister. It reminds me that every vocation isn't a bed of roses.

Anonymous said...

Don't worry about being discombobulated (love that word!)...We still love ya anyway!

Anonymous said...

Oh, love the Pat Boone embellishment to the story! LOL!

Anonymous said...

Sister, I'm afraid I'm missing something. What was disturbing to you about the Pope's remarks about St. Augustine? From that one little phrase "model of conversion," I assume he meant that St. Augustine honestly struggled -- and finally succeeded through the help of grace -- in accepting God's call to conversion and leave a life of sin. No small potatoes, especially given the addictive nature of the sin! So many people fail to work this hard to overcome their sinfulness and accept Christ in the face of similar temptations to the contrary.

What did I miss?

Sister Mary Martha said...

I was disturbed about myself not coming clean as the Pope reminded us that St. Augustine did on a continuing basis and it shook be out of that complacency.

Anonymous said...


Do you answer questions about Catholic married life? What if a husband has told his wife he would go INSANE if she got pregnant (they have 3 kids already.) And the wife loves the dickens out of him so she avoids having relations during the time of ovulation because she doesn't want him to go insane. Is this a sin?

Anonymous said...

St Augustine? - he of the "Lord, make me celibate, but not yet..." quotation??
I LOVE St Augustine - and he was good to his mother, as I keep telling my sons. He is the perfect saint for me - "one day I will go back to Mass - but just not quite yet, I'm not ready"

Eat, Drink and be like Mary said...

So.. what is the deal with the catechism. I recently had a priest tell us that we were not supposed to be reading it. I found this strange since I'm the DRE. I don't expect the kids to memorise it or anything, but I would have thought that the teachers should have an idea of where the material they are teaching comes from.

Anonymous said...

To the anon on the wife not having relations during ovulation. Natural family planning is taught by the Church as the only method of Church approved birth control. If three children are the limit the couple choses then avoiding pregnancy without artifical help is acceptable to the Church and not a sin.
We took our NFP classes in the strictest diocese in the nation so I'm sure.

Anonymous said...

I know I'm not part of the conversation here, but I have to comment on what *eat, drink, & be like mary* said about the catechism. What priest in his right mind would instruct folks to NOT read the catechism??? Every Catholic should read the catechism. Maybe start with the Compendium to get their feet wet & move on to the whole thing. How can you live what you don't know?

Anonymous said...

Many people on the "progressive" side of the church don't like the Catechism because it is so . . . absolute. They can't be so wishy-washy about things anymore. But if you don't READ the Catechism, they can tell you all kinds of crazy things, and you might believe them.

Anonymous said...

Sarada, that is disturbing, and no doubt it is true! If your priest tells you that you ought to find another parish.

Kasia said...

Yikes. My parish GAVE us complete Catechisms (and Bibles) when we started RCIA.

I would definitely probe that priest further on it, and if he doesn't provide a satisfactory reason, consider mentioning it to the Bishop's office. That is really disturbing.

Sister Mary Martha said...

Here's what I think happened with the Catechism: it was really meant for the Bishops with a more 'people friendly' (but what they really mean is simplistic) version to follow for the great unwashed like myself. Has anyone heard how things were going with version II? It was supposed to be out by now.

Unknown said...

Sister, are you referring to the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church? It was published in October 2005. Here's the link at amazon. It is in Q&A format containing condensed answers from the CCC.

God bless,


Sister Mary Martha said...

Thank you Debbie. Isn't it something that I've never encountered that in all these years, either in a bookstore...and I live at the Catholic bookstore...or online. Sometimes I think I live in an alternate universe. Maybe when they see me coming they hide all their copies because the figure that I have the secret clergy version and I'm not allowed to the have Compendium. As the bell rings over the door they have sent teenage Shirley the shop girl out the back with a box of Compendiums to wait in the alley until I'm gone.

eastmoormom said...

ok, i'm leaping back a bit to your post on the burial of St. Joseph for the selling of a house. we have a showing tomorrow at 5pmest. anyone willing to pray for us at that time i sure would appreciate it. we are getting 'almost' desperate.

Etrangère said...

off the farm and anon- the church does call couples to be generous with their family size and to seek God's will in determining it, and to limit it for serious reasons. So we "discern" rather than "choose" our family size...

But at any rate...going insane sounds rather serious :)

There's a good article in the jan/feb CCL magazine about reasons to limit your family...continued from an earlier issue, I think.

CMinor said...

Sister, I don't know what bee your priest had in his tonsure--At the parish we were in in the mid-90's the very conservative priest arranged for each family to be issued a paperback catechism. Our current parish also has them available for use--editions from the latest back through the 70's-- and gives them out to some classes. (It is much larger and giving out copies to every household would be prohibitive.)

The Compendium, as I understand it, is a new (published last year, I believe) simplified format for the laity, but I haven't found the '94 Ratziger edited-version, which is the one we have, difficult to follow.

It's been a recurring theme in these comboxes that many Catholics (and non-Catholics)are fuzzy about what the Church teaches--the Catechism clarifies matters so much it's a very useful tool for an educated laity--which we need more than ever.

Anonymous said...

Our Catholic bookstores carry catechisms as well as the Companion to the Catechism. This is an excellent book that gives more information about all the footnotes in the Catechism.

I find myself referring to both books quite often. Should be on every Catholic's bookshelf.