Are Very Few Catholics Saved?

Are Very Few Catholics Saved?


The Little Number of Those Who Are Saved
by St Leonard of Port Maurice

The extract below from the famous sermon of  St Leonard is published in the Education section of our xurrent newsletter. It will be continued in our next edition. In the meantime, we thought it would be interesting to discuss it here. Does the evidence offered by St Leonard for his startling claim about the little number of those who are saved, really stack up – or should we rely on the great mercy of God to keep us out of Hell?


Saint Leonard of Port Maurice was a most holy Franciscan friar who lived at the monastery of Saint Bonaventure in Rome. He was one of the greatest missionaries in the history of the Church. He used to preach to thousands in the open square of every city and town where the churches could not hold his listeners. So brilliant and holy was his eloquence that once when he gave a two weeks’ mission in Rome, the Pope and College of Cardinals came to hear him. The Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin, the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and the veneration of the Sacred Heart of Jesus were his crusades. He was in no small way responsible for the definition of the Immaculate Conception made a little more than a hundred years after his death. He also gave us the Divine Praises, which are said at the end of Benediction. But Saint Leonard’s most famous work was his devotion to the Stations of the Cross. He died a most holy death in his seventy-fifth year, after twenty-four years of uninterrupted preaching. One of Saint Leonard of Port Maurice’s most famous sermons was “The Little Number of Those Who Are Saved.” It was the one he relied on for the conversion of great sinners. This sermon, like his other writings, was submitted to canonical examination during the process of canonization. In it he reviews the various states of life of Christians and concludes with the little number of those who are saved, in relation to the totality of men. Below, some extracts from this great missionary’s vibrant and moving sermon.

The Teaching of the Fathers of the Church

It is not vain curiosity but salutary precaution to proclaim from the height of the pulpit certain truths which serve wonderfully to contain the indolence of libertines, who are always talking about the mercy of God and about how easy it is to convert, who live plunged in all sorts of sins and are soundly sleeping on the road to hell. To disillusion them and take them from their torpor, today let us examine this great question: Is the number of Christians who are saved greater than the number of Christians who are damned? Pious souls, you may leave; this sermon is not for you. Its sole purpose is to contain the pride of libertines who cast the holy fear of God out of their heart and join forces with the devil who, according to the sentiment of Eusebius, damns souls by reassuring them. To resolve this doubt, let us put the Fathers of the Church, both Greek and Latin, on one side; on the other, the most learned theologians and erudite historians; and let us put the Bible in the middle for all to see. Now listen not to what I will say to you – for I have already told you that I do not want to speak for myself or decide on the matter – but listen to what these great minds have to tell you, they who are beacons in the Church of God to give light to others so that they will not miss the road to heaven. In this manner, guided by the triple light of faith, authority and reason, we will be able to resolve this grave matter with certainty. Note well that there is no question here of the human race taken as a whole, nor of all Catholics taken without distinction, but only of Catholic adults, who have free choice and are thus capable of cooperating in the great matter of their salvation. First let us consult the theologians recognized as examining things most carefully and as not exaggerating in their teaching: let us listen to two learned cardinals, Cajetan and Bellarmine.

They teach that the greater number of Christian adults are damned, and if I had the time to point out the reasons upon which they base themselves, you would be convinced of it yourselves. But I will limit myself here to quoting Suarez. After consulting all the theologians and making a diligent study of the matter, he wrote, “The most common sentiment which is held is that, among Christians, there are more damned souls than predestined souls.” Add the authority of the Greek and Latin Fathers to that of the theologians, and you will find that almost all of them say the same thing. This is the sentiment of Saint Theodore, Saint Basil, Saint Ephrem, and Saint John Chrysostom. What is more, according to Baronius it was a common opinion among the Greek Fathers that this truth was expressly revealed to Saint Simeon Stylites and that after this revelation, it was to secure his salvation that he decided to live standing on top of a pillar for forty years, exposed to the weather, a model of penance and holiness for everyone. Now let us consult the Latin Fathers. You will hear Saint Gregory saying clearly, “Many attain to faith, but few to the heavenly kingdom.” Saint Anselm declares, “There are few who are saved.” Saint Augustine states even more clearly, “Therefore, few are saved in comparison to those who are damned.” The most terrifying, however, is Saint Jerome. At the end of his life, in the presence of his disciples, he spoke these dreadful words: “Out of one hundred thousand people whose lives have always been bad, you will find barely one who is worthy of indulgence.”

The Words of Holy Scripture

But why seek out the opinions of the Fathers and theologians, when Holy Scripture settles the question so clearly? Look in to the Old and New Testaments, and you will find a multitude of figures, symbols and words that clearly point out this truth: very few are saved. In the time of Noah, the entire human race was submerged by the Deluge, and only eight people were saved in the Ark. Saint Peter says, “This ark was the figure of the Church,” while Saint Augustine adds, “And these eight people who were saved signify that very few Christians are saved, because there are very few who sincerely renounce the world, and those who renounce it only in words do not belong to the mystery represented by that ark.” The Bible also tells us that only two Hebrews out of two million entered the Promised Land after going out of Egypt, and that only four escaped the fire of Sodom and the other burning cities that perished with it.

All of this means that the number of the damned who will be cast into fire like straw is far greater than that of the saved, whom the heavenly Father will one day gather into His barns like precious wheat. I would not finish if I had to point out all the figures by which Holy Scripture confirms this truth; let us content ourselves with listening to the living oracle of Incarnate Wisdom. What did Our Lord answer the curious man in the Gospel who asked Him, “Lord, is it only a few to be saved?” Did He keep silence? Did He answer haltingly? Did He conceal His thought for fear of frightening the crowd? No. Questioned by only one, He addresses all of those present. He says to them: “You ask Me if there are only few who are saved?” Here is My answer: “Strive to enter by the narrow gate; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able.” Who is speaking here? It is the Son of God, Eternal Truth, who on another occasion says even more clearly, “Many are called, but few are chosen.” He does not say that all are called and that out of all men, few are chosen, but that many are called; which means, as Saint Gregory explains, that out of all men, many are called to the True Faith, but out of them few are saved. Brothers, these are the words of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Are they clear? They are true. Tell me now if it is possible for you to have faith in your heart and not tremble. END 

Comments (47)

  • editor

    I’d no intention of being first to comment on this thread but then, when I posted this topic I hadn’t read the text of Archbishop Cushley’s first “Reflection” delivered in the Scottish Parliament. Here’s someone who is not going to set the theological heather on fire, and who would, perhaps, benefit hugely from reading St Leonard’s sermon on the little number of Catholics who are saved. Urgently.

    Below is the text of the Archbishop’s Reflection delivered to the Scottish Parliament today – you know the one, where they are determined to legalise same sex “marriage” despite the objections of the majority of the population – and that’s just one example of the bad laws being passed at Holyrood these days. Does the Archbishop (or anyone else) really think that his “reflection” will make any of our legislators reflect seriously on the evil they are promoting? Talkative budgies have received sterner warnings.

    Time For Reflection – Scottish Parliament – 10 December 2013

    Archbishop Leo Cushley

    Dear friends, I am grateful for this opportunity to address this distinguished group of representatives in our nation’s ancient capital. I have not lived in Scotland for a long time, and so it is a wonderful thing to return and to have the chance to stand here in our new parliament and to consider all that has been achieved here in so short a time.

    We hear it said “life is sacred” without thinking about it too much, but it remains impressed upon how we relate to each other as a society – and that is why it is in the bedrock of the laws of our country. When we look at Scots law, we can see the various origins and influences upon it, and one of them is Christianity. Of course, that pleases me as a Christian, not because it makes the law biased in my favour, but because I know that Christians start from the premise that all life is sacred, irrespective of creed or any other accidentals, and because they believe – as many do – that all creation starts in some way in God.

    Law and legislation appear naturally, too. Wherever there are two or three people in one place, there is necessarily inter-relationship and inter-action, there are rules of conduct, there springs up a way of behaving that is agreed upon. These are the beginnings of human society, and human society naturally develops rules of conduct.

    These become human laws: useful for a season, but inevitably, occasionally, in need of reform. Human laws are of course imperfect just as we ourselves are fragile and imperfect.

    Until recent times, all law in our country, to some degree, reflected our relationship with God and our relationship with our fellow human beings, including with our own selves. If our human laws failed in either of these two dimensions, the argument went, they would fail to promote the common good that all law must surely strive to uphold.

    By contrast, laws that passed these two tests stood the test of time, for the good of the whole community, even non-believers.

    Law that truly serves the common good will surely encourage us to respect ourselves and to love our neighbours. Without these two elements, our society would, in the Christian view, close in on itself and become a contradiction in terms, individuals with little or no connection to the commonweal.

    And so I’d like to pray for all those who make Scotland’s laws, that the Lord may bless them with justice and temperance, with courage and prudence. And may all Scots, and the strangers who live among us, be blessed on the way to a more harmonious peace and a more balanced prosperity in our beloved country. Amen.

    December 11, 2013 at 12:31 am
    • Petrus

      I’d like the entitle the address by His Grace as “Various ways of saying nothing”. The bishops are a joke – a complete laughing stock. What must those politicians be thinking? How about this: “Don’t worry about the Catholic bishops: they will make some noise but will eventually come round.” They are a disgrace.

      As for the sermon by St Leonard, it’s terrifying. I’ve come to believe that the greatest obstacle in the way of my salvation is my lukewarmness and spiritual laziness. From these two vices, all my sins flow.

      December 11, 2013 at 7:52 am
      • editor


        “I’ve come to believe that the greatest obstacle in the way of my salvation is my lukewarmness and spiritual laziness. From these two vices, all my sins flow.”

        Agreed. About myself, I mean!

        As for Archbishop Cushley’s wimpish “reflection” – how could he speak as if there were no evil legislation in the pipeline from this shocking Government? The irony is, he’s undoubtedly drinking in all the homosexual propaganda peddled by the Government to legalise same sex “marriage” while (without doubt) dismissing St Leonard’s sermon as nonsense. You truly, truly, couldn’t make this stuff up. Up, you could not make this stuff.

        December 11, 2013 at 11:20 am
      • catholicconvert1

        How can one overcome spiritual laziness?

        December 11, 2013 at 3:22 pm
      • Nicky

        That is one very scary sermon. It’s something else.

        I think the only way to over come spiritual laziness is to pray more and do more Catholic Action, such as spreading the Fatima message and spreading the link to this excellent blog with all the knowledge given here about the Catholic faith.

        December 11, 2013 at 4:26 pm
      • Nicky

        “Various ways of saying nothing” is an apt description of the Archbishop’s words to the Scottish Parliament. It might shake him and his brother bishops to read that sermon of St Leonard.

        December 11, 2013 at 4:28 pm
      • Nicky

        Sorry, my first post about spiritual laziness should be addressed to Catholic Convert1, and the second one “Various ways of saying nothing” is meant for Petrus.

        December 11, 2013 at 4:29 pm
  • sixupman

    ++Cardiff – Monday BBC “Thought for the Day” – Feast of Immaculate Conception (albeit it transferred and not obligatory) – subject Milton!!

    Had not the guts to preach Catholicism.

    They are all the same,

    December 11, 2013 at 9:02 am
    • editor


      Yes, they are all the same – apostates.

      In today’s Herald Scotland there’s an article and editorial about the many planned closures of Catholic churches in the diocese of Galloway. I can only read a little online since they now charge for subscriptions and I’m not paying. However, a reader emailed to say the laughable thing is, they are blaming the lapsation for the crisis in the Church and arguing that but for Pope Francis it would be worse.

      “Diabolical disorientation” you say? You betcha!

      December 11, 2013 at 11:26 am
  • crofterlady

    The Archbishop missed a golden opportunity to uphold Catholic moral teaching among other things. He had a captive audience, many of them Catholics, and he should have used it to remind them of their duty before almighty God.

    As this thread is about Catholics being saved, I thought I would post the following piece about young Irish Catholics who are doing just that i.e. trying to save souls. Just as well there are good lay folk out there because our pastors are on holiday.

    December 11, 2013 at 10:56 am
  • editor

    A N N O U N C E M E N T …

    Pope Francis appoints new Bishop of Dunkeld.

    Pope Francis has today appointed Bishop Stephen Robson, currently Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of St. Andrews and Edinburgh as the new Bishop of Dunkeld.

    Bishop Robson will replace Bishop Vincent Logan who stood down as Bishop of Dunkeld after almost 30 years in December 2010 on health grounds. Monsignor Basil O’Sullivan has been the Administrator of the Diocese in the interim.

    Reacting to the announcement, Bishop Robson said;

    “I am deeply honoured to have been chosen by Pope Francis as the next Bishop of Dunkeld. Dunkeld is a beautiful diocese set in the heart of Scotland and I look forward to living and working there, getting to know the clergy, religious and laity and accompanying them on their Christian journey. I look forward to trying to build up the People of God in the Faith and in the confidence of being Catholic in a challenging world. I look forward especially to helping the young and families to live the Gospel and to serve Christ in the Church. A big priority must also be to encourage vocations to the priesthood and religious life”

    Welcoming the appointment of his successor, Bishop Vincent Logan said;

    “I was delighted to hear that Pope Francis has chosen Bishop Stephen Robson as my successor as the Bishop of Dunkeld. I offer Bishop Stephen my warmest congratulations on his appointment and assure him of my prayers and support as he prepares to begin his ministry in the Diocese of Dunkeld.”

    Commenting on the appointment, Archbishop Leo Cushley, Archbishop of St Andrews & Edinburgh, said:

    “I am delighted that the Holy Father has nominated Bishop Stephen Robson as Bishop of Dunkeld. In my brief time in Edinburgh, I have learned of a widespread affection and respect for him as a person and as a priest, and I will miss his wise counsel, energy and hard work at the service of the Archdiocese. I am sure that the people and priests of Dunkeld will benefit greatly from his goodness, openness and willingness to cooperate with everyone for the sake of Christ and the Gospel. May God bless Bishop Stephen and the flock entrusted to his care.“

    The President of the Bishops Conference of Scotland, Archbishop Philip Tartaglia, Archbishop of Glasgow, also congratulated Bishop Robson, saying;

    “On behalf of the Bishops Conference of Scotland, I congratulate Bishop Stephen Robson on his appointment as Bishop of Dunkeld. I am very pleased for Bishop Stephen and for the Diocese of Dunkeld. I wish him every blessing in his new responsibilities.”

    Welcoming him to the Diocese of Dunkeld, Monsignor Ken McCaffrey in his capacity as Delegate of the Diocesan Administrator, said:

    “In one sense, our Advent period of waiting has come to an end earlier than we had anticipated. We offer our heartfelt welcome to our new Bishop and promise him a warm welcome to the Diocese of Dunkeld, where we look forward to working with him.” END OF PRESS RELEASE

    Editorial Commentary…

    Given Bishop Robson’s negative response to our reader who wrote to him about the scandal of her MP in Edinburgh receiving Holy Communion despite having voted for the same-sex marriage bill in Westminster Parliament, all reported in detail in a recent edition of our newsletter, it doesn’t seem likely that there’s going to be a rush of souls being saved in Dunkeld following this appointment. So far, we’ve not seen any evidence to contradict St Leonard’s assertion that very few Catholics will be saved.

    December 11, 2013 at 11:11 am
    • JustMeHere

      On Canon 915, I don’t remember exactly how Bishop Robson responded, but it was far better than Mgr Regan and Archbishop Philip who both seemed dismissive. Bishop Robson, at least, said he would look into it

      December 11, 2013 at 8:45 pm
      • editor


        Well allow me to remind you of precisely how Bishop Robson responded and it was absolutely NO better than either Mgr Regan or Archbishop Tartaglia. All three of them gave outrageous reasons for refusing to apply Canon 915 to a Catholic MP who had voted for same sex “marriage” while having the temerity to present himself where the altar rails used to be to receive Holy Communion. Read the report again to refresh your memory. It’s in the August 2013 newsletter, page 15.

        December 11, 2013 at 10:10 pm
  • catholicconvert1

    That sermon has really put the frighteners on me. I’m not yet a Catholic, but I sincerely believe in Jesus as my my Saviour and I know the Church to be the true Ark of Salvation with the devout intention of being received into the Body of Christ next Easter, but I am a sinner. Not mortal sins, but sins such as having a temper, being impatient, and swearing and shouting at loved ones at the slightest provocation. I know it’s wrong, but sometimes I just can’t contain my rage. If I bottle it up i’ll have a breakdown.

    If I died tomorrow, would I be among those who squeezed through the narrow gate, or the 8 who makes it onto the Ark?

    December 11, 2013 at 3:21 pm
  • catholicconvert1

    Can any Catholic be sure of Salvation?

    December 11, 2013 at 3:22 pm
    • editor

      Catholic Convert,

      We were always taught about the sin of “presumption” – nobody can presume salvation, but we must do all we can to be faithful to God’s law, our duty of state and frequent the sacraments if we are to have a fighting chance, so to speak, of salvation. We cannot ever take it for granted. The devil is battling for our soul until around 15 minutes after we’re dead, according to St Francis (de Sales, I think).

      We need to make honest confessions and be determined to overcome those venial sins such as you list. If we take practical steps to overcome them, it can be done without suffering a nervous breakdown. However, God sees the heart – we have to remember that, always – and so if you died tomorrow, we’d all be praying that your Baptism of Desire kicked in and I, for one, might start a novena to St Catholic Convert the First… So, good confessions, sincere attempts to prevent those venial sins becoming mortal sins, and you should be winging your way, so to speak, to the security of salvation.

      We should also enrol in the Brown Scapular and wear it – Our Lady has promised that nobody who dies clothed in the Brown scapular will suffer eternal fire. Read the entire promise here

      But don’t be “frightened” in the debilitating sense. Be aware that the prevailing non-wisdom, that it doesn’t matter what we do, heaven is assured, is a falsehood, a lack of charity and a distortion of the meaning of God’s mercy as well as a refusal to accept that we each have free will and many will, in fact, misuse it to reject God. And we must never forget that most people – according to St Leonard and all the sources he cites – do, it seems, choose to reject God’s will for their salvation. God has not, and never will, forced a single soul into Heaven. Remember that and be determined not to be counted among those who choose not to do all that is necessary for salvation. Above all, I repeat, don’t be so frightened that you become scrupulous or a worrier. Or you might miss the whole point, like the man in the following story:

      Father Murphy walks into a pub in Donegal, and says to the first man he meets, “Do you want to go to heaven?”

      The man said, “I do Father.”

      The priest said, “Then stand over there against the wall.”

      Then the priest asked the second man, “Do you want to got to heaven?”

      “Certainly, Father,” was the man’s reply.

      “Then stand over there against the wall,” said the priest.

      Then Father Murphy walked up to O’Toole and said, “Do you want to go to heaven?”

      O’Toole said, “No, I don’t Father.”

      The priest said, “I don’t believe this. You mean to tell me that when you die you don’t want to go to heaven?”

      O’Toole said, “Oh, when I die, yes. I thought you were getting a group together to go right now.”

      December 11, 2013 at 4:03 pm
      • Whistleblower


        How do you define the “duty of state” is this being a priest/religious, married/single person? Is it doing your job well.?

        December 11, 2013 at 4:09 pm
      • editor


        I’ve always understood “duty of state” as meaning we must do whatever is required of each of us to fulfil our daily necessary duties, first of all above everything else. That would certainly include doing one’s “career job” well, in addition to fulfilling family duties, such as caring for small children or elderly relatives.

        A Whistleblower, for example, would be required to pay close attention to everything going on in the office, find ways of cleverly checking files without being caught and work hard generally at being as devious as possible in the pursuit of his spy-type work 🙂

        December 11, 2013 at 4:21 pm
      • catholicconvert1

        How can a non-Catholic enrol in it? I will enrol as soon as I am confirmed. Also, should you wear it at all times? Are you in it?

        December 11, 2013 at 5:04 pm
      • Petrus

        Catholic Convert,

        You can’t be enrolled just yet but you can wear the Brown Scapular. I’d recommend it. Yes, I am enrolled.

        December 11, 2013 at 9:05 pm
      • catholicconvert1

        How does one enrol?

        December 11, 2013 at 9:06 pm
      • editor

        You need to find a priest to enrol you. He will say the necessary prayers etc in your presence. I suggest looking for an SSPX priest. But it would be interesting to ask the priest who is instructing you if he can do it. Try not to look surprised, though, if he says: “Brown Scapular? Enrol you in the Brown Scapular? Is that a new club or summat? You’d have to phone them for an application form, we can’t do that for you…” 🙂

        December 11, 2013 at 11:16 pm
      • catholicconvert1

        After the Priest has said the necessary prayers, will he present you with the Scapular, or will you have to deal with that yourself?

        I actually think my PP will have heard of it. He’s a modernist, to be sure, but he ain’t daft.

        December 13, 2013 at 11:53 am
      • editor

        Catholic Convert,

        You take the scapular along, the priest does everything else. Then every day after enrolment, you just make sure you wear it under your shirt/T shirt. Here’s a picture of one

        December 13, 2013 at 11:59 am
      • catholicconvert1

        There is a group that gives them away to those who request them.

        December 14, 2013 at 12:20 pm
    • Eileenanne

      There is no reason for any Catholic who receives the Sacraments when he is dying not to get to Heaven as he would receive a plenary indulgence at the moment of death. A person in mortal sin who dies unexpectedly may be cause for concern, though something on the recent purgatory thread gave me hope even for them. (I’ll look at that agin and quote the bit I mean.) We should of course pray for the dead anyway – individually and collectively.
      We must always have Hope while guarding against presumption – it can be a tricky balance.

      December 11, 2013 at 5:14 pm
      • Josephine


        Why do you think the great saints were terrified at the thought of their judgment? I copied the following passage from a sermon by St Alphonsus because on the actual website it is all in different colours so not that easy to read. This is the extract and link:

        “And as it is Appointed unto Men, Once to Die, and after this, the Judgment” – Hebrews 9:27.

        It is of Faith that we shall Die, and that, after Death, a Judgment shall be Passed-on all the Actions of our Life. Now, what shall be the Terror of each of us, when we shall be at the Point of Death, and shall have before our Eyes the Judgment which must take place the very Moment the Soul Departs from the Body? Then shall be decided our Doom, to Eternal (∞) Life or Eternal (∞) Death. At the Time of the Passage of their Souls from this Life to Eternity (∞), the Sight of their Past Sins, the Rigor of God’s Judgment, and the uncertainty of their Eternal (∞) Salvation, have made the Saints Tremble.

        Saint Mary Magdalene de Pazzi Trembled in her Sickness, through the Fear of Judgment; and to her Confessor, when he Endeavored-to give her Courage, she said: Ah Father, it is a Terrible Thing to appear before Christ in Judgment. After spending so many Years in Penance in the Desert, Saint Agatho Trembled at the Hour of Death, and said: What shall become of me when I am Judged? The Venerable Father Louis da Ponte was Seized-with such a Fit of Trembling at the Thought-of the Account which he should Render-to God, that he Shook the Room in which he lay. The Thought of Judgment Inspired the Venerable Juvenal Ancina, Priest of the Oratory, and afterwards Bishop of Saluzzo, with the Determination-to Leave the World. Hearing the “Dies Irae” Sung, and Considering the Terror of the Soul when Presented-before Jesus Christ, Her Judge, he Took, and afterwards Executed, the Resolution of giving himself Entirely-to God.

        It’s always amazed me that the saints were afraid of the judgement at their death, but putting that together with what St Leonard says in that really frightening sermon, I think we ought to make sure we don’t take being saved for granted.

        December 11, 2013 at 7:19 pm
  • crofterlady

    It put the frighteners on me too. I wake up every morning thinking of it. Surely it can’t be so difficult to get into Heaven? I mean God created us to love and serve Him and to be with Him forever in Paradise. If we obsess with this here below, we’ll never manage to do anything worthwhile.

    Catholic convert: why wait until next Easter to be baptised? Just wondering.

    December 11, 2013 at 4:29 pm
    • Josephine


      I agree about not obsessing but these days all the priests seem to be saying that everyone goes t heaven no matter what, so it’s startling to us to read what St Leonard quotes from scripture and the fathers of the Church.

      December 11, 2013 at 7:21 pm
    • Whistleblower


      In the modern parishes, reception into the Church always takes place at the Easter Vigil.

      Catholic Convert,

      Before the Council you would have been conditionally baptised. The Church cannot be certain Protestants administer the Sacrament properly. My own wife was “received” in our parish but was then conditionally baptised by the SSPX. Are you close to a Traditional parish?

      December 11, 2013 at 8:06 pm
      • catholicconvert1


        I’ve just asked my parents and they said the Anglican vicar said; ‘I baptise you, Giuseppe Melchiorre Sarto (not my real name) in the Name of the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit’.

        December 11, 2013 at 9:16 pm
      • Petrus

        Catholic convert,

        I’d check the water flowed over your head and wasn’t sprinkled.

        December 11, 2013 at 9:21 pm
  • catholicconvert1


    I’ve already been Baptised as a baby into the Church of England, but since then in my mid-teens (I’m 19 now) I was introduced to Catholicism by a Polish lady, and I know it to be true. The CofE Baptism was valid, so the Priest says that I don’t need to be reBaptised, just confirmed on Holy Saturday.


    How can I overcome my weaknesses and venial sins, and what can I do, i.e along the lines of prayer, to develop a rule of life?

    December 11, 2013 at 4:58 pm
    • editor

      Catholic Convert,

      I’m up to my eyes right now and only checking really that nobody is languishing in moderation. So, I’ll get back to you to answer your question properly, a bit later. Like 2015 – kidding!

      In the meantime, all you need to do, is obey my every instruction, preferably before it’s been issued… 🙂

      December 11, 2013 at 5:41 pm
    • Petrus

      Catholic Convert,

      I think there are many ways. I will offer three in the hope they are useful. Please let me make it clear that quite often I don’t do any of the things I’m about to suggest. I don’t want to come across as being an expert when I’m definitely not.

      1. Mental prayer/ Meditation/ Spiritual Reading. The Rosary is a form of mental prayer, of course. Can I suggest a Carmelite book “The Divine Intimacy”? It really is superb and has a meditation for each day of the liturgical year.

      2. Mortification/penance. Offering up little things.

      3. Regular Confession. Describe your imperfections in detail to your confessor. I know you are not Catholic yet but this might help you when you are received.

      December 11, 2013 at 7:00 pm
      • catholicconvert1

        The topic of discussion at the RCIA was Confession. My PP said the minimum recommended visit for Confession was yearly at Easter, but he advises his flock to come once a month, but my Opus Dei friends go weekly.

        December 11, 2013 at 9:04 pm
      • catholicconvert1

        By mortification do you mean self-flagellation?

        December 11, 2013 at 9:05 pm
      • Petrus

        Catholic Convert,

        I know some of the saints practised corporal mortification, as do members of Opus Dei, but it’s not my kind of thing. I’m sure it’s something that should be discussed with a confessor or spiritual director.

        That is not what I meant. Fasting is a mortification. Doing unpleasant tasks in order to make reparation. I remember a quote from St. Josemaria Escriva about talking with a person who bugs you. He said we shouldn’t think that the person bugs us, but rather that the person sanctifies us. Sometimes doing little things well is much harder than having a cold shower.

        December 11, 2013 at 9:12 pm
  • catholicconvert1

    I am to be received, via confirmation, next Easter on Holy Saturday in my modern Parish. Would you recommend my RCIA confirmation, and then Conditional Baptism by a Society Priest at my earliest convenience? After the Society Baptism, would a Society Priest re-confirm me?

    My nearest SSPX Parish is in Preston, Lancashire, two trains away, so I can’t get anytime soon.

    With Baptism, one needs godparents- Ed, Petrus, you’re up kidz!!!

    December 11, 2013 at 9:02 pm
    • Petrus

      Catholic Convert,

      One needs to be baptised in order to receive any other Sacrament. If you aren’t validly baptised then you can’t be confirmed or receive Holy Communion.

      I know the church in Preston well. It’s beautiful.

      December 11, 2013 at 9:14 pm
    • Miles Immaculatae

      Catholic Convert,

      A priest cannot normatively confirm! Traditionally, it required an unusual dispensation, for example, the apostolic prefect (a mere priest) of an apostolic prefecture in a missionary territory might be given power to confirm in the total absence of a bishop. However, the concilliar practice of the parish priest administering the sacrament is highly irregular and wrong.

      This is part of the reason I received conditional confirmation from Bishop Fellay. I highly recommend you receive the sacraments from a society priest if at all possible. I would certainly receive conditional baptism from an SSPX priest and conditional confirmation from an SSPX bishop if you go ahead with being received on Holy Saturday. Do you really want to risk having never been validly baptised and confirmed? I doubt very much as many protestant baptisms are really valid as much as the Holy See claims they are. The traditional practice was to always conditionally baptise Protestants. The reason we don’t is due to Vatican II teaching on ecumenism.

      Also, one may receive the sacraments at any time of the year. Not just at the Easter vigil, that’s a Vatican II obsession as well. It’s related to them wanting to revive the ancient catechumenate. This insistence on everybody being received on the same day can lead to many practical problems. The joke is, a traditional formation from a traditional priest will be more like the catechumenate of the early church than modern RCIA ever could be. Besides, if they really wanted to be authentic, they would make you live only on milk and honey for a week before Holy Saturday. RCIA is just one other ridiculous archaeologism.

      December 12, 2013 at 12:58 pm
  • Theresa Rose

    Having read the sermon of Saint Leonard on hell before, it never fails but to terrify me. Even the very saints were terrified of their judgement. Sermons like this seem to be rarely preached nowadays, if it happens at all.
    When Our Lady appeared to the 3 children at Fatima, she showed them a vision of hell which Sister Lucia later described – which is often disregarded by those who should not.

    “Lukewarmness and spiritual laziness”, yes I think that applies to me too. No wonder Our Lady asked us to pray the Rosary and make sacrificies in reparation for all the sins that are commited.

    Though the Catholic Church lays down a minimum of going to Confession at the minimum once a year, yet that is not enough. We need to go on a regular basis, otherwise we could become so immersed in sin that this particular Sacrament is not seen as necessary.

    December 11, 2013 at 11:43 pm
  • editor

    Theresa Rose,

    We need to go (to Confession) on a regular basis, otherwise we could become so immersed in sin that this particular Sacrament is not seen as necessary.

    Very well said – that’s it, in a nutshell. Habitual sin leads to spiritual blindness, so your point about the need for Confession is absolutely spot on. You’re moving up the pay scale 🙂

    December 12, 2013 at 11:58 am
  • Christina

    Please consider all the advice you have received above and act on it pronto. Get to Preston, even if you have to walk, and receive conditional Baptism ASAP. The reasons have been spelled out – you were a baby when you were baptised in the Anglican church and cannot know for certain that the Baptism was valid, and you cannot receive the sacraments to be conferred at Easter unless you are validly baptised.

    December 12, 2013 at 12:56 pm
  • crofterlady

    Firstly, our PP told us that one only needs to go to Confession if one has a mortal sin on one’s soul and that yearly Confession is not necessary otherwise! So I checked it out with an Opus Dei priest who disagreed saying there WAS an obligation to go once a year at Easter time. Later that evening he phoned to say that our PP was correct. He (OD) priest had checked the CCC and was himself taken aback.

    Secondly, I have a friend who is a convert from the C of E and didn’t receive conditional Baptism when he was received into the Church. He asked one of the SSPX priests should he do so and the priest said a resounding NO. So what do you all think of those 2 points?

    December 12, 2013 at 2:27 pm
    • editor


      We were always taught at school (in “my day”!) that strictly speaking we need only go to Confession if we had mortal sins to confess but that the Church recommended regular Confession (a) to prevent venial sins becoming mortal (b) to obtain the graces of the Sacrament. One teacher even said that if we really couldn’t think of any sins (she was, I felt sure of it, looking at me at the time 🙂) then we could say that to the confessor and tell him that we’d come for the grace of the Sacrament. It’s an open secret that I, at least, have never had any cause to do so…

      As for the Society priest who said “no” to conditional baptism I’m really surprised. Possibly knowing the ID of that priest would throw light on the matter but that is not an invitation to identify him – please don’t do that on the blog. My email address is

      December 12, 2013 at 3:44 pm
  • catholicconvert1

    When I was Baptised at 3 months old, it was done using the Trinitarian formula and the water was poured from a small, shallow bowl. If I was re-Baptised and Confirmed by my PP, would it still be OK to receive the Sacraments? I know for definite that my PP will confirm me.

    If my confirmation by my PP is wrong and irregular, does that mean I cannot properly receive the Eucharist? I am seriously looking into an SSPX Conditional Baptism, post RCIA Confirmation and also, where possible, a Conditional Confirmation from an SSPX Bishop- though that seems unlikely.

    What a tangled web we weave.

    December 13, 2013 at 12:01 pm

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