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How to make an act of perfect contrition

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How can you go from imperfect to perfect contrition? Gabriella D from Australia asked me this on Twitter today and I want to give an answer because I think that many people misunderstand what we mean when we talk about “perfect contrition.”

Perfect contrition is sorrow and detestation of sin arising out of the love of God. One way of exciting this contrition in our hearts is by considering the passion of Jesus Christ and making acts of love for Him. We can also think of the infinite love which God has for us, and express sorrow in our heart in the presence of this great love which we have offended.

Imperfect contrition is sorrow and detestation for sin arising from a consideration of the ugliness of sin or out of the fear of hell. Disgust at the ugliness of sin is more common today than fear of hell. That is because we do not preach enough, or with sufficient conviction about the four last things.

If a person commits an act of impurity, for example, perhaps by deliberately looking at a…

Maximum Illud and the missionary month; we do actually need to believe in the salvation of souls.

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October 2019 is designated as an Extraordinary Month of Mission. The Extraordinary Synod of Bishops for the Amazon has distracted our attention from this other extraordinary celebration, but we should never forget the missions. This was impressed on me effectively during my childhood when we were asked to pray for the missions and to give some of our pocket money to support them. I remember the APF missions box in our hall; it carried a quotation from Pope Pius XII, "For there are none so poor as those who lack the knowledge and the grace of God." That really impressed me with the importance of helping the missions.

Pope Francis asked us to observe this month as an Extraordinary Month of Mission in celebration of the centenary of the Apostolic Letter Maximum Illud (1919) of Pope Benedict XV "On the Propagation of the Faith Throughout the World." Pope Benedict XV was in some respects a tragic character. During the first World War he worked heart and soul to bring a…

An example of some meaty catechesis from my childhood

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Some time ago on Twitter, I took to scheduling a regular post at night time, and one for in the morning – not exactly first thing, but before most people get in to work. On TweetDeck, you can set these up to publish when scheduled. The night one was a retweet of a masterpiece of sacred art, and the morning one was something about a saint for that day. I felt that there could be several positive features of this practice.

It would make sure that my Twitter feed was begun and ended on a positive note with something that people would expect from a priest; with God’s grace, somebody might be helped by either or both of those posts. That seemed to work, and there were sometimes quite a lot of likes or positive comments. If I also kept to a rule of not publishing anything outside of these limits, it was a way for me to set a small “rule of life” reminder not to be looking at social media too late at night or early in the morning.

After a while I realised that the saint tweet could end up …

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How to make an act of perfect contrition

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An example of some meaty catechesis from my childhood

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