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Confession question

in topic "Sacraments"
A Xt3 Member asked at 4:29pm on August 14th 2017
Hello! Last Lent I started to take my faith more seriously. I confessed some past sins commited when I was very young, between 7 and 15 years old, that I didn't confessed before due to fear. I guess I had no idea they were sins when I commited it (specially when I was around 7-10yo I think I didn't even know what a sin was) or didn't understand very well my faith (specially in my teens), but what if I'm lessing my fault? I don't know anymore. I'm really not sure if they can be considered mortal or only venial. So, anyway, I confessed it at Lent, saying the cathegory of sin, and asked if the priest needed more details (I didn't said the exact name of each sin, only the type they belonged to). He said no, absolved me and said to me to move on with my life, forget it and be happy. But now I'm really not sure. Was I supposed to say the actual name of the sins, one by one? Since then, I'm always having scrupulous thoughts, spending long hours examining my conscience and trying to remember exactly how things happened, but more and more my discernement become more confused. I went to confession again and other priest said that I didn't need to reconfess it, that things were okay. But I'm still confused.
I'm trying to do things right this time, fix everything, and I'm really tired, sad and scared. Do you think am I being too scrupulous (or too lax)? Did I messed up my confession? Thanks in advance for the amazing idea of creating this webpage. Since at the moment I can't have access to a spiritual director, this forum is a blessing! I'm so glad I've found it. Maybe I'll find here some peace of mind until I can get to my next confession.

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Hi Maria, first of all, huge congratulations for your deepening in your faith. As priests hearing confessions, every now and then someone like you can confess sins they've thought of from the past, including, just like you did, sins committed when they weren't aware they were, or later, when they weren't fully aware of them as sins. And once the confessor understands the nature of the sin confessed, as your confessor did, he really doesn't want to go into further details about it.

I really think you should trust that priest making the right decision regarding your confession, and having absolved your sins encouraging you to make a new start with God's help. You know what? I think for all of us, the gift of God's mercy is so infinite, that it's hard for us to take it on board. Remember when Jesus said to the paralysed man left through the roof, 'your sins are forgiven' - the educated theologians present (rightly) said, 'who can forgive sins but God alone?' (Mk 2:7). In your confessions, you met God who is Love head on, so you have a right to say, 'God loves me immensely.'

By your courage and humility in confessing your sins, you brought such joy to heaven, and God rewards you with tons of love. And all you need to do after that is become a saint, by following St Thérèse of Lisieux's motto (I've shortened it a bit), over the last month of her life, 'to love you, Jesus, I have just now.' By trying to do God's will in each moment, and if not so well one moment, not worrying, just starting again in the next moment, you could become a saint over a weekend!

Very best, Fr Brendan
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Will the upcoming solar eclipse signal nibiru/Planet X's arrival? Is David Meade credibel

A Xt3 Member asked at 11:17am on August 10th 2017
Hi again, I just wanted some more information on Nibiru/Planet X, so I can spread the word of its falseness. So i would like to ask if the upcoming solar eclipse will signal the arrival of. Nibiru/Planet X. I've read an article (actually several) that claim this, from evidence of Christian numerologist, David Meade. He says it will arrive in October and that the upcoming solar eclipse will be its signal. Is this true? Is david Meade credible? Thanks! God bless!

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Hi Bryce, a lady called Nancy Lieder invented the notion of Planet X (others called it Niburu) in 1995, making various prophecies of the Earth being destroyed on various dates, like September 2003, with other followers moving the date to December 21st, 2012. I've only had time to check out a few of David Meade's proclamations, but more than enough to put himself and Nancy Lieder into a long history of (often) American based prophets of the End time - Harold Camping, who died in 2011 kept shifting the date, for example on September 6 th, 1994, then May 21st 2011, then October 21st 2011. He made millions of dollars from easily fooled donors, and died peacefully at 92 years old on December 15th, 2013.

If you check out the internet, you'll find the one thing that never seems to end is End Time Prophecies! In answer to your question, David Meade isn't the least credible, no more than Planet X/Nibiru - they don't exist. Regarding the upcoming total solar eclipse in the US on Monday August 21st (the first total eclipse from the Pacific to the Atlantic across the US since 1918), all that means is that the moon eclipses the sun - there's no evidence that it signals anything else.

As I said in a previous answer, much better to follow Jesus, and prepare for your own end, whenever that comes, by the way you live each day, surrounded by neighbours to love. Very best, Fr Brendan
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Alternative to Magic Spells Safe for Catholics?

in topic "Theology"
A Xt3 Member asked at 7:36pm on August 4th 2017
Good afternoon, Father Brendan,

I have a question regarding this particular website:

From what I've gathered, it's hosted by a group called More Than Life Ministries, which seems to be a general Christian ministry focused on prayers and prayer requests, with no specific denomination in mind. This half of their website, however, concerning the Logos, is touted as the alternative to a magic spell, and is said to be more effective and far safer. It also says that anybody of any religious background can use it. My question is is it in fact okay for a Catholic such as myself to use such a service? I ask because I would really like to experience some of the luxuries that purportedly come about with the use of the Logos, but I also want to be in good standing with God. And I don't want to end up in a situation like my Dad's, where I am so consumed by my work life that I don't have time for my family or kids. (if I even have one, but that's another question for another time). I would really like to know your thoughts concerning this website, should you take the time to peruse it. Thank you for your time.



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Hi Ryan, I checked out that website, and I'd definitely steer clear of it. Whatever its claims to be of Christian inspiration, here's a sample of what it says about More Than Life Ministries:

  • Have a powerful Master of the 'Logos' put his skill and experience to work for you
  • If you are looking for love, wealth, happiness, personal goals, fulfillment, truth, enlightenment... whatever your personal need, you need the power of the 'Logos' at work for you.
  • The 'Logos' was the creative word spoken at the beginning of time now our Masters of the 'Logos' will direct that creative word in your direction.
  • Passed down from generation to generation since the beginning of time the secret of the 'Logos' has been entrusted to wise men who have used its authority to speak into being the wants, wishes and desires of those who truly believe and give themselves to its mystical power.
  • Now we have joined with international Master of the 'Logos' Chakar Santil to bring the power of the Universal Word to those who are in need...

All this is so vague, with no mention of the Church, nor even of the Chosen People of the Old Testament, just these mysterious Masters of the Logos (rather scarily depicted on the website, in black, wearing what looks like black Ku Klux Klan headgear), led by the mysterious International Master of the Logos, Chakar Santil, and certainly no mention of Jesus Christ. And I find odd its assertion that invoking their logos is nothing like a magic spell, with none of the bad effects gained from contacting (on the basis of the website's illustration) evil spirits: as if the kind of people they expect to recruit are those who have already been trying out magic of some sort. Which makes me feel that the Logos website has its origins in some mixture of Eastern religions.

Nor is it too bothered about its success stories verging on forms of moral behaviour that would certainly go against either Judaism or Christianity: 'I was heartbroken when my lover left me for another woman. I cried all night long and was desperate for him to return. A friend told me about the "Bring My Lover Back" logos. Within days he was back and our relationship has been better than ever. Petra T.'

My advice would be to turn to Christian prayer, to pray through, in and with Jesus to the Father, for whatever you wish. But the basic form of all Christian prayer is Jesus' prayer in the Garden of Olives before he died, 'let not my will, but yours be done.' Along with all the usual prayers we say, especially the Rosary. I don't have time to go into the very obvious appeal for cash donations, the huge importance of 'seeds of faith' - which for all I know are used, as the website says, for feeding the hungry and helping the homeless. But the connection of success in those prayers with cash donations reminded me of some of the much disgraced televangelism rackets. Very best, Fr Brendan
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excorcism horror movies

in topic "Other"
A Xt3 Member asked at 5:38am on July 28th 2017
Hello! I have spend the evening scouring the internet for an answer till I ended up here. I would like to know how the church feels about horror movies centered around exorcisms/spiritual warfare. Since my school chaplain recently told me about how real spiritual warfare is, I've been incredibly intrigued. I'm wondering if it is a gateway to possession/torment like the Ouija board or if it is immoral to watch a horror movie about them. Many thanks!

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Hi Noah, in itself, watching a horror movie centred around exorcism wouldn't be immoral. The real question is more with the person watching the movie - are they spiritually prepared for this? If you feel an inclination to dabble in anything like Ouija boards, or contact with spirits of any sort, then watching a film like that could encourage you to go further, which would certainly mean that it'd be better for you not to watch such films. But if you only watch them for fun, it wouldn't be immoral.

For example, since I was a young teenager, I've never been scared by horror films, only laughed at them - so I especially enjoyed a spoof zombie film like Shaun of the Dead. So the only exorcism film I'd ever watch would be a spoof one, if there is one.

As your school chaplain said, spiritual warfare is real. But, all evil spirits are creatures, and God is infinitely more powerful than they are. Does watching these films make you feel depressed? Or do they excite an interest in experiencing something like what you've seen in a film? Then watching them could be spiritually bad for you. There's an old saying, 'the one who loves the danger shall perish in it,' meaning here that interest in the occult could become spiritually unhealthy.

Maybe you could check with your school chaplain whether a particular film you want to watch would be ok for you? Or discuss with him one of the films you've seen? In the end, I'd be careful about that interest, and as much as you can, deepen your relation with God, who's far more interesting, and whose life you can actually re-live by seeing Him in every neighbour you have - and through his freely given grace, you have access to Him for nothing! Very best, Fr Brendan
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Is Nibiru/Planet x real?

A Xt3 Member asked at 10:25am on July 27th 2017
Hi, I've seen a number of YouTube videos regarding Planet X/Nibiru. They say it's a planet in the bible that will "destroy our planet". Is this true? Does it state that we will be killed? I am aware that the day of Armageddon isn't actually said, but I would like to know if this hypothesised Planet is or isn't real.

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Hi Bryce, there's certainly no such planet mentioned in the Bible, nor does Planet X exist. In recent years astronomers are discovering planets circulating stars which are so far from us that even getting to our nearest star, Proxima Centauri, at the speed of our fastest rocket, would take 73,000 years!

Jesus tells us there will be an end of time with the Last Judgment, but for each of us, at our own moment of death what's called 'the particular judgment' will take place, when each of us will be examined. The great thing is that unlike school or college exams, we're told the questions we'll be asked long before that exam - basically it's in Matthew 25: 31-46, where Jesus will say,'whatever you did to the least of your brothers (and sisters) you did it to me.' So the way to prepare for that most important moment in our eternal life, is to learn those questions off by heart and start putting them into action straightaway. Then we're ready for our real journey, not into space, but beyond space and time, into the eternal life of friendship with the Trinity, with Mary and with all the Saints. Very best, Fr Brendan
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Piracy and morality

in topic "Other"
A Xt3 Member asked at 10:49pm on July 29th 2017
I've been struggling with this question for awhile. Is it a sin to watch tv shows on a website that pirated the material? I was having a discussion with someone and they said if the show is no longer aired and there is no legal way to watch it, it is ok to watch it on those websites (like Is this morally wrong?

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Hi Destiny, it seems to me that if your friend is right and the show is no longer available through any paid channel, it wouldn't be wrong to watch it on that website. I'd just be careful with that website's other offerings, as they might include shows you would have to pay to view. Very best, Fr Brendan
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in topic "Theology"
A Xt3 Member asked at 3:15pm on July 24th 2017
How long does an exorcism take place?can it take months?

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Hi Celestine, from what I've read about exorcisms, it can sometimes take months, as you say, with multiple exorcisms required to finally rid someone who has been possessed of an evil spirit. Some individual exorcisms I've read about can take several hours.

In over 50 years as a priest I've only encountered one clear case of possession. When I was with this person, their face changed expression, they spoke in some unintelligible language, there was an eerie laugh, and when I tried to pray a simple exorcism prayer over them, they banged their head against the wall very painfully - so much so that I was sure the person hadn't being pretending in any way. An ordinary priest isn't allowed to carry out exorcisms, only one delegated by the bishop. I immediately contacted the authorities in my diocese so I could put this person in touch with the diocesan exorcist. From what I heard, he carried out several exorcisms, and I think the evil spirit, who had been tormenting this devout person, left. Thank God Jesus has given this power of driving out evil spirits to his Church!

Very best, Fr Brendan
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Is this grave matter?

in topic "Other"
A Xt3 Member asked at 9:57pm on July 23rd 2017

Thank you for all that you do in this ministry! I have a question regarding whether or not something is considered grave matter, but I need to provide you with some background so that you can better understand the situation. I apologize in advance for the length.

On June 1st, I fainted for the first time in my life. My vision was blurry for a couple minutes, and then I fainted for a very brief period of time. I so happened to be driving at the time. No one was injured. I went to the ER, they took some tests, everything came out negative, and they sent me home that evening. They allowed me to drive home. It's been almost two months since the incident, and I have not fainted since. The ER doctor didn't seem too concerned that it would happen again, but told me to go to the doctor for a follow-up. I did so. I have been sent to a cardiologist and a neurologist. I have had several tests done, and so, far, I have not been diagnosed with anything. The doctors have told me that I should not drive, and that, technically, they are supposed to report me to the Department of Motor Vehicles, but they chose not to, and I am still legally licensed to drive (I have confirmed this with the Department of Motor Vehicles). My husband is a physician, and he thinks that, because I do not have an underlying problem that caused me to faint, and because the odds of me fainting again are slim (and even more slim that it would happen while I am driving), it is okay for me to drive. He is away with the military, so he is unable to drive me places. When I do drive, I try to stay in either the left lane or right lane, where I can quickly pull over if I start to get blurry vision.

So, in short, my question is, is it a sin for me to be driving in my situation, because the doctors advised me not to? And if so, would it be mortal sin?

Thank you, and God bless!

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Hi Nicole, sometimes doctors are hyper-cautious because of fear of legal cases against them - the example that comes to mind is Caesarean operations being performed unnecessarily in some cases, as gynaecologists are often worried about being sued if the least thing goes wrong. So, reading your background, what came over to me was that the neurologist and cardiologist, having found nothing wrong, were being over cautious.

Obviously I'm not a medical professional, but it seems to me that your husband, who is, is right, and that without any underlying condition diagnosed, that you're safe to drive. And the very fact that you're sticking to the slower lane when you're on the road indicates you're a careful driver anyway. In my opinion you're fully entitled to drive.

Very best, Fr Brendan
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in topic "Theology"
A Xt3 Member asked at 11:41pm on July 12th 2017
Good morning Father.I really want to know about "addiction diminish culpability".I have readed a lot of information about addiction or vice.For example,if i have a true addiction like watching pornography,does my addiction diminish or mitigate my culpability?but how the addiction can diminish my culpability even though we know that pornography is a grave matter?thanks and God bless.

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Hi Christopher, I'm afraid I have to say that I wouldn't approach this issue quite like that. The people I know who have overcome addictions all say the same two things: You have to throw yourself into God's hands, and you have to have zero tolerance - absolutely no half measures.

Let's take alcohol addiction: If, because I'm already an alcoholic, I crash into a pedestrian on a legitimate pedestrian crossing, my guilt isn't less because I'm an alcoholic - it's greater. Firstly, because I'm responsible for 'nursing' my addiction at an earlier stage, and secondly, because of that addiction, I should never have put myself behind the wheel of a car when I was drunk. And no matter what I'm addicted to - drink, drugs, or pornography - the cure is the same: zero tolerance. That involves the pain of going cold turkey, but people who want to reform take that on no matter how painful it is.

How does a Christian face into zero tolerance? By relying completely on God, maybe saying that prayer of Blessed John Henry Newman, "O my Lord Jesus, low as I am in Your all-holy sight, I am strong in You, strong through Your Immaculate Mother, through Your saints and thus I can do much for the Church, for the world, for all I love." Or, with Blessed Chiara Badano, "If you want it, Jesus, I want it too" - that was her prayer in great agony from bone cancer.

If you had a look at St Augustine's Confessions, where he tells the story of his own conversion (including from sexual sins), you'll find out how, thinking of the saints, he could say, if they can do it, why can't I? So, instead of depending on ourselves - who are never strong enough on our own to give up an addiction - we learn to be able not to be able to do anything on our own, but with St Paul, discover that 'I can do all things in him who strengthens me' (Phil 4:13). Very best, and keeping you in my prayers, Fr Brendan
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Is it a sin for a woman to wear men's clothes?

in topic "Other"
A Xt3 Member asked at 5:13pm on July 10th 2017
Hi Father,
I am a woman and I like wearing guy's clothes.
When I was a girl I was always interested in activities that are traditionally pertain to males, such as playing sports and playing with robots and swords. I wore guy's clothes all my life and I don't want to wear women's clothes (mainly because I don't like things that are feminine). However I am not a lesbian, I had crush on several guys and if I am meant to be married, I want to marry a man. Although I wear guy's clothes I know that I am a woman and I have no problem with that. I also love Jesus and my church and I am also actively involved in liturgical ministry in my local parish.

Is it a sin for me to wear guy's clothing?

Thank you,


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Hi Jin, I generally have difficulty in answering a question in the form of, 'is it a sin' to do this or that. Because just saying yes or no doesn't get anywhere in terms of where a person is at.

Could I put your question in a different way? Before doing that, a very commonsense observation: for reasons I'm not qualified to explain, it seems that while women can wear men's clothing (uniforms, shirts, suits) without any sexual implications, it doesn't seem to work in the same way for men wearing women's clothing. It seems that many men derive sexual satisfaction for doing that.

So the way I'd re-phrase your question (obviously only you can answer this properly) is this: do I get any kind of sexual satisfaction for wearing men's clothes? If you don't, I guess it's not sinful for you, but I wouldn't generalize that for anyone else, since another woman just might be honestly able to say that she did, and if so, she certainly shouldn't wear men's clothing.

It's great you're looking forward to marrying a man, and given your commitment to Jesus and to your local church, you might think whether not dressing as a woman might make you less attractive to, say, an equally committed Catholic man. It'd be a pity to put the right person off because he had the wrong idea as to why you were dressing as a man. My very best prayers for you to meet the right guy soon! Very best, Fr Brendan
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