Orthodox Roman Catholic Pledge of Purity: based on teaching of John Hardon, S.J.
"Only two kinds of people will reach heaven: the very chaste and the very humble. Nobody else, nobody else, nobody else.” Father John Hardon, S.J.
As orthodox Roman Catholics what should be our preparation for the Second Coming of Christ, which, judging from the times in which we live, may be soon– if not very soon– but a zealous joy of preparation in prayer and living: "Drop down dew, ye heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain the just; let the earth be opened and bud forth a Savior." (Is., 14: 8) And what should be our very immediate preparation for the coming of Christ? Our Catholic Church teaches us through the words of St. Paul: "Not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and impurities, not in contention and envy: but put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ." Therefore, all the excesses of our passions are here forbidden by St. Paul: eating or drinking to excess; lusts of the flesh, and uncharitable behavior towards our neighbors are here rejected strongly, all of which keep us slaves to our sensual appetites, dull the workings of the mind, and destroy a tranquil spirit. This makes us all inattentive to the care of our souls, destroying any desire for spiritual things.
Our Lord’s words on this same matter is one the severest admonitions He ever uttered: "And take heed to yourselves, lest perhaps your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting and drunkenness, and the cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly." (Luke: 21: 34). And Jesus warned strongly again: "And, as it came to pass in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. They did eat and drink, they married wives and were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark; and the flood came and destroyed them all." (Luke: 27: 27-28) Jesus condemns all sinful use of the passions, for, obviously, they did them in Noe’s Day and they were punished severely for them, days in which , as Christ suggests here, people were mesmerized by passions of the flesh more than almost any other sin.
And of all the passions in Noe’s day or even today, no passion of the flesh is worse than impurity; for impurity is the very worst obstacle of all to the spiritual life of union with Jesus Christ, Our Savior. Impurity is, indeed, the very worst threat to our spiritual life and union with Jesus Christ, Our Divine Savior, because it drags us down from the joy of Christ’s Second Coming for which we should be ardently longing. For this vice reduces man to the level of the brutes. It blinds him to the truth and hardens his heart against the call to spiritual things above. It enthrones self-gratification in his very soul. A man who continues a lifestyle of impurity and unchaste living will inevitably become enslaved by it, and will most likely carry it to the grave. Only a very exceptional grace of God will save him. When he is converted, it is usually the self-sacrifice of some innocent soul in years of prayer and penance that obtains for him his own repentance from this life of lust. Often such souls would be converted, if they would only beseech our Blessed Virgin Mary to intercede for him, but usually a person of such ilk has virtually no devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Morever, purity is also a natural law, controlling and directing the sex drive towards societal repopulation and growth of nations of the world, as well as individual health and morality. This desire is almost as strong as the craving for food and drink and the instinct of self-preservation. If this passion in people is not controlled we see the societal ills foisted upon us as today: incest, pedophilia, rape, pornography, adultery, fornication, child-pregnancies, stem-cell murders, contraception and abortion. Lose control of our passions over impurity and all virtue disappears with the loss of chastity and continence. We even see again today a new world-wide corruption of people eating and drinking to excess and giving and taking in adulterous marriage relationships as well as marriages of every perverted type and kind that warrant, perhaps, another Great Flood from Almighty God’s just Hand; and we see the same sexual perversions unleashed of a modern day Sodom and Gemorrah, growing like a cancer, in countries throughout the modern world; and one cannot help but notice, for the past forty years, an equivalent flouting of God’s laws against worshiping the golden calf of materialism, just like the two million Jews wandering for forty years in the desert. Virtually everything an human does depends upon a virtuous life of purity, chastity and moderation; and, in fact, these virtues are so intertwined into what we do that in times of opulence, when the golden calf of idolatry is worshiped, there breeds from this excess much more immorality and decadence than in poverty, destroying bodily health, mental vigor, societal decency and all moral rectitude. Consider only the times in which we live that prove conclusively that opulence breeds the worst decadence!
Forty years ago in this country, when there was more want than today, a child could be raised as a virgin till the day of his or her marriage, today it is virtually impossible. In those halcyon days in America and the West, the village raised the child; now it corrupts the child.
The grosser forms of impurity, by their very ugliness and shamefulness, used to deter many people from committing them, but not in epic times of evil like those of the Great Flood and the ones in which we now live. But there are other forms of impurity too, seemingly less outrageous but nevertheless still serious sins, that are most common and not regarded with the horror they ought to inspire. Reading bad books, looking at bad movies and plays, and, among women, an indecent manner of dress are widespread evils, and do untold harm. Every bookstall is filled with cheap novels which are inducements to sin or its ugly glorification. These novels and, especially the movies today have as their main theme lust. The heroes and heroines are those who violate the sanctity of marriage and give free rein to their impure lusts and passions. Sin is described in detail, the pleasures of sexual sin are paraded, all idea of sin being an offense against God, or even everyday decency, is either ridiculed or totally excluded, and the gratification of impure desires is looked upon as merely a matter of choice or taste. To read such books or to go to such movies are serious sin because the participants are taking part in the sin. These vicious movies against holy purity and virginity and marriage are a direct incitement to our own passions; they fill our minds with impure ideas and our imaginations with obscene images. And, long after the viewing of these movies or reading these books is over, the harmful effects will continue.
The same can be said of the filth on the internet today where it has been estimated only recently that some 50 million viewers voluntarily click on the pornographic websites everyday, which try to outdo each other in their own filthy prurience. The late Fr. John Hardon, S.J. has defined today’s media in all of its forms as the "sexually stimulating media." It does not matter whether it be newspapers, magazines, television, picture shows, or the internet. To participate in these sexually explicit attacks on Christian purity is a mortal sin, and can never be justified under such glib cover-ups as "it doesn’t bother me." This attitude is the sign of a hardened heart or obtuse spirit, one on the road to hell such as the citizens of Sodom and Gemorrah and Noe’s compatriots. The natural law that is written in the hearts of all men forbids good Catholics to participate in any of this wicked fare. But how many chaste Catholics are there today in these times of epic evil which resemble so much the decadent times of Noe and Sodom and Gemorrah? Are These not the very same kind of days that Jesus warned about before His Second Coming? Should they not be frightening and terrifying words to all souls everywhere but especially to those souls who are sensitive to the wisdom of Christ’s words in everything?
And it must also be stressed that all sexual violations of the sixth and ninth commandments are the fastest road to hell according to Our Blessed Mother who appeared to the three children of Fatima in 1917 and showed them a shocking vision of hell: three innocent young children to whom she said the following: "More souls go to hell for sins of the flesh than any other sin." To look at immodest actions in movies is always sinful, and to read about people involved in immodest actions is also sinful. Likewise enjoying and listening to such immodest or obscene language on the radio or television is no different. It doesn’t matter what media because all sexual sin and violations of the sixth and ninth commandments never involve "parvity of matter" according to the Church’s teachings and, therefore, are always serious sins when done voluntarily. When anyone turns on the TV, pays for a movie, punches on the internet, or opens a book, newspaper or magazine for the purpose of enjoying a story involving illicit sexual pleasure, he is always acting willfully and therefore involved in a mortal sin. Our Lord warned us all so seriously about condemnation of our souls for sins of impurity when He said: "And if thy eye scandalize thee, pluck it out. It is better for thee with one eye to enter into the kingdom of God, than having two eyes to be cast into the hell of fire: where there worm dieth not, and the fire is not extinguished." Also Father John Hardon, S.J. often said of his own life, so he could always practice the virtues of holy purity and chastity: " I’ve read only two newspapers in my entire life, never watched television, listened to the radio or went to the movies." This is the spiritual wisdom of a holy celibate priest whose cause has currently been taken under consideration for canonization.
Many dangers are likewise forthcoming from our prurient thoughts, especially when we dwell too long on certain ideas that might excite concupiscence or do not suppress certain others immediately. Resist beginnings as all spiritual writers encourage for too slow of a response to impure thoughts can be venial sin and dwelling and taking delight can be serious sin, which Our Divine Teacher so strongly advised against: "You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart." Therefore, the very same precautions for roving eyes apply to a wandering mind.
"The tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is placed among our members, which defileth the whole body, and inflameth the wheel of our nativity, being set on fire by hell. The tongue no man can tame, an unquiet evil, full of deadly poison. By it we bless God and the Father: and by it we curse men, who are made after the likeness of God. Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so be." (James 3: 5-12)
No act of impurity is more common than an unchaste tongue. It is a world of iniquity, as the apostle James testifies, set on fire by hell. And it sins often seriously through profanity, obscenity or vulgarities. In today’s world where most social conventions of decency have lost the social graces of yesteryear i.e. acting as a Christian lady or gentleman, many adults perpetrate the basest crudities of sinful speech upon youth and commit, quite often mortal sins because of their unbridled tongues and the accompanying scandals.
Our Lord Himself indicated the reasons why all should avoid giving scandal to His little ones. "See that you despise not one of these little ones." And why? "For I say to you, that their angels in heaven always see the face of My Father Who is in heaven," and, furthermore, "of such is the kingdom of God."
Terrible punishment necessarily awaits those who disregard the warning of Our Lord: "He that shall scandalize one of these little ones that believe in Me, it were better for him that a millstone should be hanged about his neck, and that he should be drowned in the depth of the sea." These words of Jesus are to be understood in a literal sense, for they do not refer to spiritual children but to those little beings on the threshold of life, for whom scandal is far more dangerous than it is for others. Several pagan Roman authors have commented upon this very innocence of children. According to Horace, a child at this age is like unto soft wax and easily lends itself to vice; once deformed it cannot be easily restored to the form of virtue. We also remember in the great novels of yesteryear, Charles Dickens relating in "Oliver Twist" about Fagan who taught young boys and orphans off the streets of London how to steal for him, via all kinds of unseemly tactics and behavior that Fagan taught them.
The Roman poet Juvenal, wishing to prevent the scandalizing of young impressionable children, taught that the greatest respect is due to them and that nothing sinful should be done in their presence. We all recognize today that the brunt of the scandal that children are subjected to by adults is the unbridled tongues of the older generation who casually use profanity, obscenity, and vulgarities to accent their speech. Often this is done in anger, frustration, or even to be comedic in order to entice others to pay attention to their infamous conversation.
We are all aware of the three basic kinds of impure speech: profanity, the worst, using God’s infinitely perfect and pure name casually in conversation, with simply the name of God or Jesus Christ to accent their speech or using all kinds of variations of God’s most Holy Names or His Titles with gross irreverences; obscenity, the most offensive, using terminology referring to the sacred parts of the body or the marital act to again accent a point made in conversation; and vulgarities, the rudest, using ‘barnyard’ language of the four letter variety to make a point about what one is expressing.
All of these abominations of speech offend decency’s virtue and Almighty God in serious or venial sins. Commonly, vulgarities are venial sins or even imperfections, if not too course, but profanities and obscenities are often serious sins, especially if they cause scandal to the young and innocent or blaspheme the name of God or holy persons or objects. If done in anger, using profanities, especially, can be serious sins, and also obscenities.
Swearing can involve any or all of the above sinful uses of speech. By swearing is meant the use of holy names of God or holy people or places or things in a solemn declaration in order to confirm or verify what a person is saying. Worse than swearing is cursing which is wishing ill to someone or something by calling upon God’s name or something holy to witness the curse as is the case with workmen who call down evil on the tools they employ or parents in anger upon their children because they aggravate them. The Fathers of the Church used to consider swearing as a sign of perdition, and those who curse others or things are destined to perish (Ps. 36:22); they shall not possess the kingdom of God (1Cor. 6:10). Ordinary swearing is a venial sin, provided no serious evil is wished upon one’s neighbor, nevertheless, it is a far greater sin than taking God’s name in vain, because not only is it disrespectful towards God, but an offence against charity. All of this is likewise uncharitable speech and at the worst scandalous because virtually always an audience is present.
Now scandal can be direct or indirect. One commits scandal indirectly if one fails to prevent evil when in a position of responsible authority and duty and one should and could do so. In other words, one also commits scandal indirectly when, in spite of one’s desire to prevent it, one is deterred by fear of gossip or what others may think. As Father John Hardon, S.J. often said: "What sins we will commit for human respect." And so here with impure and sinful speech that is scandalous, whenever others that might be harmed from it are present, in particular Christ’s little ones; we are sinning by omission by not speaking up and therefore are lying supine in our own religious tepidity, especially if we are parents, teachers, bosses at work, or simply in a conversation with others and this kind of offensive impure speech arises.
Direct scandal in speech is usually always mortally sinful for it is perpetrated by sinners who either profane the Holy Name of God, curse others or inanimate objects with it or use obscenities to be humorous and belittle the marital act. And it is mortally sinful especially if these perpetrators glory in their wicked deeds and who because of their diabolical perversions try to increase the number of accomplices in their crimes of impure speech in their verbal damnations. Such men respect neither the innocence of character nor the purity of childhood.
Parents and teachers frequently exhibit virtually no care for the moral upbringing and preservation of the children’s innocence in their embrace by the prevention of impure speech in their midst today. Too often the parents themselves are the vile perpetrators themselves with these infamous unbridled tongues. What wonder, then, that children fall so easily as they proceed along the journey of life where they are continually exposed to the temptations of Satan without any spiritual protection from parent, kinfolk, teacher or vigilant adult. Again the pagan Roman poet Juvenal reprimands the danger of bad domestic example that corrupts children more quickly and thoroughly because of parents and relatives are endowed with the fullest authority in the home. For what son or daughter does not wish to act and speak as his father or mother who themselves taught the little ones to speak from the start. Frequently, no later remedy is of any purpose for such a wayward child because the sinful vice of an evil tongue has become second nature.
The heavenly advice of Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Savior and the Word of God, ought to guide us in all our speech so that it is chaste, pure and reverent and charitable: "You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good man out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil man out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. I tell you, on the day of judgment men will render account for every careless word they utter; for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned." (Matt. 12: 34-34)
Our holy Catholic Faith impresses upon us still more emphatic reasons for "chaste reverent speech." St. John Chrysostom, the great Christian preacher of the fourth century, who spoke to the people of his day in the homely language of everyday life, and moved so many hearts and minds said in one of his sermons: "Thou hast a spiritual mouth, sealed by the Holy Spirit. Ponder well the dignity of that mouth of thine. Thy dwelling place is heaven. Thy conversation is with the angels. Thou art deemed worthy of the kiss of the Lord in Holy Communion. By so many and so great things has God adorned thy mouth– with hymns, the hymns of angels; he has adorned it with more than angels’ food– with His Kiss, with His Embrace. And darest thou speak ill?"
It is impossible for a priest to maintain his state of holy virginity and celibacy, or a religious for that matter, who is not totally vigilant in their dealings with others in public or private. Especially with women a priest must be most cognizant in his priestly chastity, for there are some women who can abuse priestly friendship, especially elderly women can be a danger, if we quote St. Paul’s words about them, "burning." Sometimes women of this ilk can be audacious and without shame and morals, even though they may preserve a respectable exterior with correct manners. This can be the case even with pious women who prolong conversations with priests, or see the priest often to benefit from his words of consolation. Beware of women in affliction! Familiarities arise in an effort to console. Pure young girls who otherwise have a horror for sin may become affectionate and soon become a peril to a young priest. The priest may justify himself by saying there were friendships between holy men and holy women in the past. There were, but these friendships were holy and called for much penance and great precaution, for example St.Theresa of Avila and John of the Cross, both Carmelites.
There are even dangers for a priest from family, relatives, from housekeepers, maids, nurses. While family dangers are remote, nevertheless women in the parish, housekeepers and others who assist in many different parish activities may not be a danger in themselves, but they may become so because of jealousy or a gossipy nature. Priests have been ruined by true or calumniating remarks of unscrupulous or lying women.
One can easily understand the strictness of restrictions of the masters of the spiritual life on priestly virginity and celibacy, as well as the strictness of Canon Law and diocesan regulations. St. Thomas a Kempis in the Imitation of Christ warns us all to flee too much familiarity with our fellow man: avoiding every conversation that is not necessary, and to end as soon as possible those that are justified and necessary. This is especially true of the celibate priest and womankind. The best behavior is conservative always: be polite, be businesslike, be kind, be considerate, be chivalrous, but do or say nothing that you would not do or say in the presence of Our Lord Himself.
Keep a holy reserve with all women: for their sakes because they are fragile, for yours because you are not made of steel. The utter tranquility of a peaceful conscience, the peace that one must have in his dealings always with God as a priest, the needs of priestly ministry, the glory of almighty God and the Catholic Church all demand it.
Priestly impurity engenders, besides, spiritual blindness and stupidity whereas chastity favors contemplation and aids wisdom. The priest who lives a lie in regard to matters of purity taints all his actions. Impurity is insatiable. Once a priest has given in to it, he risks being devoured by it. At his ordination the priest has vowed to obey the laws of the Church. He has made this vow freely and deliberately, and by it, in the Latin Rite, the priest agreed to remain a virgin. It imposes upon the priest serious obligations, and makes him realize that every fault against chastity has for him the added malice of sacrilege. It makes him understand that even the attempt at marriage or other illicit sexual liasons is a sacrilege, and that all the acts of his priestly ministry, no matter how sanctimonious they may be, which are performed by a priest who has violated his holy vow of chastity and has not repented and been absolved in sacramental Confession, are so many sacrileges. A priest in that condition cannot celebrate Holy Mass, is forbidden to confer the Sacraments, cannot give the Lamb of God to those who desire Holy Communion without committing multiple sacrileges.
If a priest sins alone, he condemns himself. If he has a partner, that accomplice is scandalized; and sometimes to reassure the victim the priest may descend to sacrilegious lies to the point where he will tell his victim that what is being carried out in mortal sin is really not a sin at all but a form of spiritual marriage. After the sin has been perpetrated, he is sometimes obliged to give the pernicious counsel of "don’t mention the act in the confessional to another priest."
What becomes of those priests who have lost their virtue? Do they keep their faith? To what further sacrileges do they expose themselves by saying Mass? And if they do repent, touched by the goodness and mercy of God, what tears of remorse will they not have to shed in repentance? What about the victims, justice, repentance, scandal everywhere, falsified consciences? And what if the priest has absolved his accomplice? Very rarely does such a scandal limit itself to few. Active homosexuals average one to two hundred partners or pedophile victims in a lifetime of wretchedness. A whole parish, a diocese, or nation of Catholics may be scandalized and tainted. How many blasphemies are committed, and how many souls are exposed to eternal damnation! The enemies of the Church seize upon such scandals and mount through the media formidable attacks against holy Church as we have witnessed so ignominiously of late! They spread them abroad and heap upon the priestly vocation the most detestable stigma of "hypocrisy!" These pertinacious sinners need to be ferreted out of the priesthood as Christ Himself did with "Judas Priest" who defiled the First Eucharist just before betraying Christ the King and Lord of the Universe on the first Holy Thursday. How may "Judas Priests" have not been apprehended by the upper hierarchy for sodomite pedophilia scandals, and how many episcopal sympathizers or participants have not yet been dismissed? Our Lord had his strongest words for ‘false priests’: "Woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed; it were better he had not been born." This was the first ‘anathema’ and the severest! Christ also excommunicated Judas, the first unworthy communicant and betraying priest, from the Upper Room to go about his dastardly deed.
If a priest should ever have the misfortune to violate his vow of virginity and celibacy, let him not put off his conversion long. Delay is a trick of the devil who is always conniving against priestly souls, more than any others. Let the priest be confident. God wants him to pray for pardon, and will give sufficient graces to resist future temptations after a fall. Let the priest pray confidently, humbly, and perseveringly with new resolutions, the resolutions of Fr.John Hardon, S. J.’s holy life of priestly celibacy, and thereafter live out Fr. Hardon’s personal pledge of orthodox Roman Catholic purity.
Expiation, self-mortification, and penance ought to be the watchwords of the priest who has had the misfortune to fall. The sin has been committed; the evil has been done; but the Lord can and will forgive and forget with a repentant sinner’s heart. A priest who has fallen can regain his holy virginity at least as far as the formal element is concerned. An example to follow is a holy sister of Bethany, who on her deathbed cried out to the Lord confidently:
"I am going to the Son of Justice, to Him Who has restored all in me!"
Despite his fall, a priest reinstated in God’s grace and friendship can still take part in that heavenly procession considered by St. John, the celibate apostle in these words: "These are those who were not defiled with women; for they are the virgins. These follow the Lamb withersoever He goeth." (Apoc. 14: 4)
Immodesty in Dress
Another evil to which the holy virtues of purity and chastity are always concerned are modern feminine fashions, which have been so often condemned by modern popes. That this abuse should have spread among Catholic women and Catholic girls is bad enough, but that they should have the shameless effrontery to parade themselves, attired in such scanty or revealing fashion, even in Catholic Churches and even in line for communion or at altar rails is beyond toleration. This too forms a part of the public and organized attack on Christian modesty, and it should be met by Catholics, both men and women, in a public manner. Pastors should make known to their congregations the basic rules of proper chaste church attire and tolerate zero violations, for they are responsible for protecting diligently before the Lord the sheep of His flock or they are hirelings. If there is no cooperation it should become part and parcel of a good homily on the virtue of chastity, soon and often, in such a church congregation. Finally, all Catholic societies: Knights of Columbus, Daughters of Isabella, Opus Dei, Right to Life, Christian Service Organizations, Parish Councils, and Ushers’ Clubs etc. should exclude any woman who comes dressed according to the indecent fashions of the day. Such fashions should not be the standard in Catholic social circles of any kind: picnics, after church celebrations such as weddings, baptisms, confirmation, ordinations, and first vow celebrations. It takes fearless action on the part of these Catholic organizations to save them from such contamination and participating in its scandal if they want to be public examples of the Church’s teachings on Christian modesty.
Contraception and Abortion
The seventh chapter of Isaiah contains a prophecy of such stupendous import that one cannot understand the whole purpose of human existence in this world if one cannot accept the total significance of Mary’s Virgin Birth of Jesus Christ. The Virgin’s conception is a sign, a wonder, done by God Himself, greater, indeed, than any sign in heaven above or in hell below. Its fullest meaning shall never be exhausted for it is a mystery of the faith. It is literally impossible to live a life of Christian purity without revering, following, and imitating Mary’s immaculate Virgin Birth of Jesus Christ, the absolutely most pure and chaste act of human love in all of human history. And as the late Fr. John Hardon, S.J. taught so effectively on chaste wedlock:
"There is no possibility of true love where marriage is not intended to procreate children."
And the complete fulfillment of Mary’s Immaculate Conception and Virgin Purity was the Birth of the Divine Son of God, Jesus Christ our Savior. If Mary was not virgin pure and chaste, and immaculately so, she could never have given birth to the Son of God, Infinite Virgin Purity Himself. He would never have countenanced it and the human race would never have been saved. How utterly overwhelming, beyond words, is the jubilant mystery of the Incarnation and the immaculate purity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. And so a married couple, while they cannot be virgin pure as the Mother of God, nevertheless, they must strive to do nothing that will in any way compromise the marital act’s unadulterated state and their own purity of heart and action as husband and wife, otherwise they will not be living in chaste wedlock. In short, as Father John Hardon, S.J. has said there is no possibility of true love where procreation of children is not intended.
This is, undoubtedly, the purest of intentions that should envelope every single act of marital love. In time, marriages lacking this purest of intentions inevitably countenance one or the other many rationalizations of birth control or abortion and end in a divorce of love between the spouses because of a willful ruination of chaste wedlock. Just as the Incarnation was not possible without Mary’s immaculate virginity, so a Catholic married couple’s family can only grow out of the purest love of one another and Almighty God through chaste wedlock.
If one should doubt, perchance, these considerations about holy purity, let us consider the words, not of some Church Father or some saint on purity, but the pagan Roman poet Ovid, himself the author of so many immodest and even obscene lines. In one of his serious moments he felt compelled to warn innocent readers against perusing his own works: I confess it against my will: touch not the works of sensuous poets! Thus I take away my own gifts! Throw them all, even though it be grudgingly, in to the fierce flames, and say: "Let this pile burn instead of me."
How To Be Chaste?
To remain chaste and pure, one’s hunger for God must never wane, but rather increase, as the struggle intensifies. Knowing our weaknesses we shall humbly rely upon God to succor us, but never tempt Him by unnecessarily courting danger or flirting with sin. Purity makes great, great demands upon us. A pure and chaste Catholic must do everything today, as always, to avoid all occasions to sin: meaning anyone, anything that can lead us into sins of impurity. In short, we must avoid the media altogether today, according to Fr. John Hardon, S.J. and all of its nefarious ways so as not to voluntarily sin grievously against the virtue of purity.
When Solomon spoke to God in humble prayer, he obtained wisdom to rule his kingdom and chastity to govern himself. Forgetting God, neglecting prayer and seeking after forbidden fruit and occasions to sin, he fell as no man before or after. Unless God builds and maintains the interior castle of purity, the exterior walls and the surrounding moat must yield to the enemy. Solomon lived peaceful, wise and happy as long as he maintained his humble spirit of total dependence upon God, not only as a magnificent ideal, but also as an all-absorbing passion. Solomon stood between two possibilities: supernatural possession or natural obsession. He chose the natural obsession of hundreds of concubines.
Idleness and a soft, self-indulgent life are prolific sources of occasions of sin: "As in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage....and they knew not till the flood came and took them all away, so also shall the coming of the Son of Man be." Do any of us, really, wish to be caught? Everything points in Holy Writ to an unforeseen Second Coming of Christ as we can see even in the Nicene Creed: "He will come to judge the living and the dead." Furthermore, Our Lord has warned vehemently from our observations heretofore, it will be in the wickedest of times!
A hard life, real work, cheerfulness in the daily effort, whatever it may be, the avoiding of morbid imaginations, some interesting and absorbing hobby—these have always proved natural and efficacious aids to purity of mind and body. But the supernatural means are the most effective of all: prayer, the Sacraments, the Holy Eucharist, and love for Our Lady are the ultimate supports to a pure heart. Let us not be surprised when temptations of purity come: it is a natural thing since the Fall, for its is but the stirring of an ancient blind instinct. Temptation is no sin but the occasion of daily triumphs. Still less should we become troubled or depressed: let our battle-cry be "Jesus, Mary and Joseph!" and often enough at mention of these blessed names the spirit will immediately triumph over the unruly movements of our lower nature.
John Milton’s Tribute to Chastity
In his great poem Comus, Milton portrays chastity and ennumerates its blessings:
So dear to heaven is saintly chastity
That when a soul is found sincerely so,
A thousand liveried angels lacquey her,
Driving far off each thing of sin and guilt.
And in clear dreams and solemn vision
Tell her of things that no gross ear can hear,
Till oft converse with heavenly inhabitants
Begins to cast a beam on th’outward shape,
The unpolluted temple of the mind,
and turns it by degrees to the soul’s
essence till all be made immortal.
Fr. Hardon’s Personal Pledge of Orthodox Roman Catholic Purity:
No price is too big, no sacrifice too great, no heroism too magnificent for the clean of heart. To Father John Hardon,S.J. the sacrifice of self by avoiding any and all occasions of sin against purity and chastity is rewarded by the acquisition of God and by the maintenance of good health, moral balance, and peace of soul. As Father John Hardon often taught: "The price of heaven is not cheap; it is very expensive." Compare, the health and happiness of the pure with the discontent, sexual diseases and distrust of the degenerate.
"Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ" is the advice to all seeking Christian purity. An orthodox Roman Catholic is one who, first of all, turns away from the worship of his own body and sensual pleasures "by denying himself and taking up his Cross daily." To do this means turning abruptly away from all occasions of sin in impurity and chastity, especially in the media and from others, so we can literally "put on Jesus Christ." We must practice the virtue of holy purity by denying ourselves and thus consoling the suffering heart of Our Divine Savior for our own sins and for those who are pertinaciously unchaste sinners of impurity. It is imperative that we practice the traditional Catholic rule of all chastity and purity: "Custodia Oculorum" or "Control of the eyes." Not only was this the devout practice of the spiritual life in monasteries and convents and seminaries for centuries and by holy Catholics in the world of the past, but it ought to be practiced by all orthodox Roman Catholics today, especially in the corrupt sexually perverted age in which we live today!
"The Purity Pledge of an Orthodox Roman Catholic"
I promise to:
A. Avoid all occasions of sin to impurity in the media, by a limited responsible use of television, the movies, reading newspapers, magazines, investigating the internet, or listening to the radio. Father John Hardon, S.J. taught that: Even "a limited responsible useage" is inferior to a total fast because it is no guarantee to a life without venial or mortal sins of impurity. Only a complete fast can do this, the way Fr. John Hardon, S.J. lived, a life of total detachment to modern media because it is "a luciferian conspiracy against the truth."
B. Strict adherence to chaste wedlock before and after marriage by avoiding persons, places, and all actions of impurity: birth control, abortion, adultery, sodomy, fornication, or self-abuse.
C. Dress modestly at all times in public or private.
D. Keep vigilant guard over one’s eyes and thoughts to avoid all occasions of sin wherever possible, especially being cognizant
that curiosity is the number one weapon Satan uses to make many souls fall, for curiosity is the epitome of concupiscence of
the "eye", that Our Lord repeatedly warns against, for it inevitably leads to concupiscence of the "flesh." Just as a ‘roving eye can be deleterious likewise one should keep strict guard over his thoughts, for an idle mind is ‘the devil’s workshop.’
E. Recite the entire rosary daily to the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Model of Purity, by saying the joyful, sorrowful, and glorious mysteries.
F. Receive the Sacrament of Confession often so your Communions will be more worthy of Infinite Purity Himself, the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
G. Attend daily Mass and Communion.
H. Make at least an hour of Eucharistic Adoration a week.
I. Recite the Stations of the Cross every Friday.
J. Perform little acts of self-mortification and self-denial during the day.
K. Keep in mind Father John Hardon, S.J.’s famous statement on purity: "Only two kinds of people will reach heaven: the very chaste and the very humble. Nobody else, nobody else, nobody else."
P.S. Simply leave your name with your Immaculate Mother Mary in Heaven and her infinitely pure Divine Son next time you
receive Communion, just after you have received the Sacrament of Confession, and Pray for all of us sinners that we may be humble and chaste.
J Hughes Dunphy