by Luiz Solimeo

To better understand the great spiritual treasure contained in the Sacrament of Penance or Confession, let us turn the clock back two thousand years to Palestine, to a scene in the public life of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

The majesty of His Person, the wisdom pouring forth from His mouth and the power manifested by His miracles attracted a multitude that followed Him everywhere.

Only God Can Forgive Sins

One day, after curing the centurion’s daughter as a reward for his faith, silencing the storm before the fearful apostles, and expelling the demons in Gerasa, He boarded Peter’s boat for Capharnaum.

Hearing that He was in a house in their city, the people gathered in such numbers that the door of the house was obstructed. But for faith there are no obstacles, so some charitable persons carrying a paralytic, unable to enter by the door, climbed to the roof and lowered the suffering man into the room, setting him at Our Lord’s feet to be cured.

To everyone’s surprise, instead of simply performing the expected miracle, Jesus said: “Courage, son, thy sins are forgiven.”

This was something new. No prophet had dared pardon sins. Not even John the Baptist, the greatest of all, had dared so much, preaching only the baptism of penance for the forgiveness of sins.1 Nevertheless, this new Prophet declared, “thy sins are forgiven.”

The Pharisees, always looking for something with which to be scandalized, despite the Master’s astounding miracles, thought to themselves: “How does this man speak this way? He is blaspheming. Who but God alone can forgive sins?”

Truly, only God can forgive sins. That is because sin is an offense against the divine Majesty and only the object of the offense can forgive the offender. No one can forgive an offense done to another, above all when this Other is of a superior nature, God Himself.

Still, the wisdom and the miracles showed that this Prophet possessed powers that no other prophet before Him had possessed. His was an unfathomable perfection. But the Pharisees had hardened their hearts, and their understanding was clouded by passion. Within themselves, they uttered the same accusation that they were to renew at His passion: “He has blasphemed.”2

There was drama in the air. Everyone felt it. How would Jesus react before that mute accusation and ill-disguised surprise?

The answer came as a challenge. “Why are you thinking such things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, pick up your mat, and walk’?”

As always, the Pharisees were speechless before the dilemma offered them by the Rabbi.

In answer to their silence, Jesus said: “But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins,” He said to the paralytic, “I say to you, arise, pick up your mat, and go home.”

“And immediately,” writes Saint Mark, the paralytic “rose, picked up his mat, and went away in the sight of everyone. They were all astounded and glorified God, saying: ‘We have never seen anything like this.’”3

The miracle performed by Our Lord on this occasion had an apologetic value. As Saint John Chrysostom explains, Jesus proved His Divinity by a triple miracle: “First, declaring openly their secret thoughts and murmurs against Him; second, healing the paralytic, third, performing the miracle with this end in view, that, by it, He might show that He had the power to forgive sins.”4

Our Lord Gave the Apostles the Power to Forgive Sins

Here we have the explanation for Confession. As Jesus proved that He was God by means of an astounding miracle, He also proved that He could forgive sins. And, as God, He has not only the power to forgive sins but has also the power to confer this faculty on others.

Furthermore, as Jesus is the only priest of the new Law, the mediator between God and men, a simple “delegation” of the power to forgive sins would still not be enough. It was necessary that Christ unite His Eternal Priesthood to that of those that would continue His work on earth after His ascension into Heaven.5 For this reason, He instituted the ministerial priest as the visible instrument of His action.6

The power to forgive sins was bestowed on the Apostles on the evening of the day Our Lord resurrected from the dead and mysteriously appeared amidst the Apostles gathered in the cenacle behind locked doors.

Saint John narrates:

Now when it was late that same day, the first of the week, and the doors were shut, where the disciples were gathered together, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst and said to them, “Peace be to you.”

And when He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. The disciples therefore were glad, when they saw the Lord.

He said therefore to them again, “Peace be to you. As the Father hath sent me, I also send you.”

When He had said this, He breathed on them and He said to them, “Receive ye the Holy Ghost. Whose sins you shall forgive they are forgiven them, and whose sins you shall retain they are retained.”7

The Power to Judge and to Forgive

It is clear in the narrative above that Our Lord instituted not only the Sacrament of Penance, but also the mode in which it must be practiced. On declaring that the sins that a priest forgives are forgiven and those that he retains are retained, He is signifying that, before forgiving, the priest must become acquainted with the sins as well as with the dispositions of the sinner. Only then will he be in a position to judge if there are conditions for forgiveness or not.

The seal of confession is an essential aspect of the sacrament of Penance. This sacred trust between penitent and confessor cannot be broken.

The sacred trust between penitent and confessor cannot be broken.

The seal of confession is an essential aspect of the sacrament of Penance. This sacred trust between penitent and confessor cannot be broken.

Thus, in the tribunal of Confession, as in any other tribunal, it is necessary that there be an accused, an accuser, and a judge. In Confession, the role of accuser is exercised by the penitent who accuses himself to the priest of the sins he has committed; hence the necessity of oral confession.8 The judge is the priest.

The Absolute Necessity for Secrecy in Confession

Our Lord, having established the Sacrament of Penance and the need for the penitent to declare his sins to the priest, also established the secrecy of Confession as a necessary consequence. For if secrecy were not obligatory, Confession would be odious if not impossible. This would render the sacrament ineffective, which is absurd.

Therefore, the secrecy of Confession is a divinely instituted right and cannot be abolished by any earthly authority. Any attempt in this respect is in direct opposition to God’s will.

Besides being a divine right, this obligation of secrecy was also established by ecclesiastical law, which always imposed the severest penalty for its infraction.9 Current legislation continues to maintain the same, declaring that any confessor who violates the secrecy of Confession is automatically excommunicated and can only be absolved by the Holy See.10

Is It Not Too Humiliating to Confess to Another Man?

Is it not too humiliating to have to submit to another man, himself a sinner, at times possibly even a greater sinner than the one confessing his sins?

If we truly realized the scope of God’s infinite grandeur and majesty and His immense perfection, we would be much more ashamed of telling our sins to Him (as if He did not already know them,) than to a man. The more perfect is the creature we address, the more miserable we appear and the more evident is the contrast between perfection and sin.

That is why theologians say that when a person dies in the terrible state of mortal sin and appears at his private judgment before the unspeakable perfection of God, he flees from God and hurls himself in Hell to hide his shame.

Thus if we analyze this well, this very humiliation of having to confess our sins to another man is a mercy of God. How much more humiliating it would be to kneel before the Divine Master Himself and tell Him all our sins! What is the humiliation before a man compared to the humiliation of recounting our sins before the infinite perfection of God?

In any case, this is the form in which Our Lord instituted the Sacrament of Confession, so we should submit in a spirit of obedience and love. In His infinite wisdom, He does everything to perfection. When men try to modify what He instituted, the result can only be deplorable.

The prideful attitude of saying, “I confess directly to God,” is almost the same as saying: “I am so perfect that I go directly to God Himself. I have no need of those crutches that are the Sacraments, the advice or the help of other men.”

The priest is “taken from among men and made their representative before God to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins.”11 An angel cannot be a mediator. To refuse thus the mediation of another man is to refuse the priesthood, because the priest, while a mediator, has to be of the same nature as those for whom he mediates. That is why Our Lord, the Supreme Priest, became flesh and took our nature onto Himself, as Saint Paul says: “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has similarly been tested in every way, yet without sin.”12

But Can a Sinner Forgive Sins?

To a priest applies, even more than to the common faithful, the general convocation to sanctity of Our Lord when He said: “So be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.”13 But a priest is also subject to temptation and can not only sin but be, in certain cases, a sinner. Nevertheless, even when he sins, he does not forfeit the power that comes to him from the Sacrament of Holy Orders.

This was the objection raised at the beginning of the Church by the Donatist heretics as a result of a misunderstanding of the doctrine on the sacraments. But Saint Augustine made it very clear to these same heretics that the power of the sacraments does not come from the sanctity of its ministers but from the infinite sanctity and perfection of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

I Have No Sins to Confess…

Many people feel no need to go to Confession, thinking that they have no sins. They should consider what Scriptures says: “For the just man falls seven times.”14 “Yet there is no man on earth so just as to do good and never sin.”15 “If we say, ‘we have not sinned,’ we make Him [God] a liar, and His word is not in us.”16

In these times of extreme corruption, let us avail ourselves of this instrument of divine mercy that is Confession. Let us carefully examine our consciences and with the firm resolution of turning away from sin, confess our failings to the priest.

For this small effort, this small humiliation, the reward is immense. Our soul is washed clean, our sins are forgiven, and we return to God’s friendship. As the Psalmist says: “cleanse me with hyssop, that I may be pure; wash me, make me whiter than snow.”17

Originally Published on

1. Cf. Luke 3:3.
2. Matt. 26:65.
3. Mark 2:5-11; cf. Matt. 8:1-34; 9:1-8.
4. Cornelius a Lapide, St. Matthew’s Gospel, Chaps. I to IX, in The Great Commentary of Cornelius a Lapide (London: John Hodges, 1893), p. 353.
5. See 1 Tim. 2:5; Heb. 5:6; 7:24; Ps. 110:5.
6. Our Lord instituted the Sacrament of Holy Orders on Holy Thursday. After anticipating the sacrifice of the Cross in a sacramental form by the transformation of the bread and wine into His Body and Blood, He commanded the disciples: “Do this in remembrance of Me.” On giving this command, He also granted the necessary power to execute it, that is, the power to consecrate. (Luke, 22:19; 1 Cor.11:24.)
7. John 20:19-23. Saint Cyril explains that Saint Thomas, despite being absent, also received the Holy Ghost and then the power to pardon sins eight days later when Our Lord appeared to him and converted him from his incredulity. (cf. Cornelius a Lapide, The Great Commentary–St. John’s Gospel [Edinburgh: John Grant, 1908], p. 273).
8. Under special circumstances, the Church allows general absolution without oral confession, but oral confession must be made at the first opportunity. (See Canon 963.)
9. Cf. “Seal of Confession. … Imposed by Christ in instituting the sacrament, this obligation has repeatedly been inculcated by ecclesiastical authority.” Fr. Gregory Manise, O.S.B., s.v. “Seal of Confession,” in Dictionary of Moral Theology (Westminster, Md.: Newman Press, 1962), p.1105.
10. Canon 1388, cf. Canon 983.
11. Heb 5:1.
12. Heb. 4:15.
13. Matt. 5:48.
14. Prov. 24:16.
15. Eccles. 7:21.
16. 1 John 1:10.
17. Ps. 51:9.

Sacred Heart Church- Nacogdoches, Texas

On April 24th 2021, members of TFP –Texas joined several Catholic families from Tyler, Texas for a pilgrimage to a little known miraculous site in Nacogdoches, Texas;  the “Eyes of Fr. Margil de Jesus”.

The day began with a Traditional Latin Mass in the historic Sacred Heart Chapel, a reproduction of an historical Catholic Church in the Nacogdoches area from 1847. After nourishing their souls, the pilgrims shared a picnic lunch on the church grounds under a beautiful Texas sky.

A brief explanation of the story of Fr. Margil, his missions and his miracles was then given by Mr. Cesar Franco:  In 1717 a severe drought struck East Texas, killing crops, draining the Lanana Creek nearly dry, and causing many of the natives to leave the mission. This continued into the summer of the next year, the state of the mission growing worse with every passing day. At last, distressed by the loss of his flock, Father Margil was caught up in an ecstasy.

 He took his staff and began to walk up the creek, a crowd following behind him. He stopped at a bend in its course, gazing at an overhanging rock shelf. The others watched as he struck the tall creek bank twice with his staff, and each time a steam of water gushed forth. From those two spouts the whole creek was filled again, the crops began to recover, and the Indians found the inspiration to stay at the mission. The springs became known as Los Ojos de Padre Margil—the Eyes of Father Margil.

The pilgrims praying the rosary en route to the springs.

With this, the reason for the pilgrimage was made clear; rather than just being a chance to take a nice walk and spend time together; revival of devotion to Fr. Margil was the primary objective.

Everyone drove from the church to the trail-head close by. Nestled humbly behind the Stephen F. Austin Technical Support building on East Austin Street, the trail begins with a boardwalk over marshy land, then through various wooded areas, under bridges, through public parks and across the Lanana creek. The entire length of the route is just short of two and a half miles.

What an unexpected sight it must have been for those driving by, playing soccer and lounging in the parks to see 45 young, well dressed Catholics praying the rosary on their way to the miraculous springs.

The Eyes of Father Margil

If it were not for a few small signs to mark the springs, it would be easy to miss them as they are not kept up by the state. What were once large, flowing springs capable of filling the Lanana creek are now only small, trickling basins.

All arrived at the springs in good spirits. After singing songs and saying prayers of thanksgiving, everyone blessed themselves and filled their long emptied water bottles from the springs. There were lively conversations afterwards as the pilgrims waited for the vans to arrive. Everyone expressed their gratitude for being invited to such a blessed event as they began the hour and a half drive back to Tyler.

The site of the Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe Mission

Those who remained sought out the site of one of Fr. Margil’s missions after dinner at a local restaurant. The ‘Nuestra Señora de Guadelupe’ mission, founded in 1716, unfortunately no longer stands. Now, only a large stone marker in front of an Auto Zone remains as a tribute to his work.


Texas A&M University has long held a reputation of being a conservative college. It is a public land grant research university originally established as the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas. As would be fitting for Texas, it has one of the largest campuses in the United States and boasts the second largest student body. Of the six senior military colleges that offer ROTC courses, it is the largest in the nation. Indeed, many who hear the name A&M would immediately associate it with its sharply dressed corps of cadets.

Its history is filled with unique traditions and great achievements. Countless students were formed to live according to its core values of Respect, Integrity, and Excellence. From 2012 to 2015,  A&M was ranked the #1 college for conservatives to attend by the Princeton Review. However, in 2020, the university did not even make the top 20.

Dragging Down A&M

On the evening of April 18, a group of students gathered by the Rudder Tower plaza on A&M’s campus waving light blue and pink “transgender pride flags” and shouting, “We’re here! We’re queer! We’re fabulous, don’t f— with us!” On the opposite side of the Rudder Tower, some thirty Catholics carrying a statue of Our Lady of Fatima prayed the rosary and belted out hymns. Volunteers with Tradition, Family and Property — Texas, joined students and alumni to oppose an immoral event called “DRAGgieland” being held at Rudder tower that evening. In addition to the rally, TFP Student Action gathered over 19,000 signatures to cancel the event.

Volunteers with TFP—Texas, joined students and alumni to oppose the immoral “DRAGgieland” drag show.

“DRAGgieland” is a play on words which mixes the beloved nickname of A&M (Aggieland) with the perverted cross-dressing expression “drag.” Concerned students contacted members of TFP—Texas to help organize a rosary rally in protest of the drag show event, since it is incompatible with A&M’s core values of Respect, Integrity and Excellence.

A TFP handout at the rosary rally stated,

“The decorum required for higher education is not upheld with the dress and actions of the event. The show encourages the objectification and sexualization of women on the Texas A&M campus, as well as attacks the dignity of Men and Women.

DRAGgieland is pushed by the LGBT movement to normalize homosexual sin and its bisexual and transgender variants. As such, it is an attack on right reason, the natural moral law, divine positive law and undermines the institution of the family, the bedrock of society.

Motivated by our love of God, family and country, we publicly repudiate, peacefully and legally, the immoral DRAGgieland drag show. May God, through Our Lady, accept our public act of reparation.”

The Battalion, the college paper, quoted Student Center special event executive Clarissa Carrasco as saying, “promoting diversity and inclusion on campus was the (event’s) biggest goal.”

“As a programming committee through the MSC, we’re trying to push diversity through programs,” Carrasco said. “DRAGgieland is a great example. We are able to provide a platform for the LGBTQ+ community.”[1]

Taking a Principled Stand with Public Prayer

As the protest was beginning, the campus had a fair amount of students coming and going, posing for graduation pictures and finishing last minute studies for exams. As a beautiful  statue of Our Lady of Fatima appeared processing with the hymn “Immaculate Mary” played on the bagpipes, many students stopped to take pictures and ask what was happening. One student from Georgia was shocked to hear about the drag show and though he wasn’t Catholic, he gave his full support. Even those in cars driving by stopped to listen to the bagpipes and voice their horror for the immoral event.

Students who opposed the Rosary Rally played the satanic song “Montero” by Lil Nas X from a speaker

With the statue in place, TFP volunteer Cesar Franco started the public rosary rally with the following words, “In The Secret of the Rosary, St. Louis de Montfort tells us that public prayer is far more powerful than private prayer to appease the anger of God and call down His Mercy. In opposing DRAGgieland, we are not motivated by personal hatred of any individual. We are taking a principled stand against public sin which scandalizes the student body and leads souls towards perdition.”

Rally participants held two banners which explained the issue to the public. They read in bold clear letters, “Moral Values are Texas Values. Stop Immoral Draggieland Drag Show,” and “Stop the Ravages of Transgender Ideology.”

Other signs stated, “Drags need prayers, not public platforms” and “God created them male and female.”

During the rosary, five students approached the campaign and began to play loud rap music. Two of the students appeared to have upside down crosses drawn on their foreheads in ink and one held a sign that read, “Discount Drag Queen Tickets.”

Two of the students appear to have upside down crosses drawn on their foreheads in ink.

They laughed and posed to take photos of themselves with the rally, but refused to engage in serious discussion with the campaign participants.

This minor confrontation (truly a micro-aggression!) only energized those reciting the rosary to pray with  greater resolution. The volunteer leading the rosary would periodically cry slogans such as, “Aggies, why are you here?” To which the crowd would reply, “To defend the dignity of men and women against Draggieland!” Or other slogans such as, “Perversity!… is not diversity! Moral degradation!…. will bring about the downfall of our nation!”

Toward the end of the rally, the students waving transgender pride flags on the opposite side of the building left their plaza and marched towards the rosary rally. Seeing the students advance with unclear intentions, several campaign participants stepped forward to form a wall on both sides of the statue. However, just as the pink and blue group reached the crosswalk, they made an immediate right turn and continued around the block shouting and waving their flags.

After praying the rosary, the group moved across the street for a final photo. The pro-transgender group suddenly reappeared. They shouted slogans and insults, but the sound of the bagpipes drowned them out. Finishing the group photo, the Aggie Catholics solemnly chanted the beautiful Salve Regina in Latin and  moved in procession to escort the statue of Our Lady of Fatima off the street.

Participants of the rosary rally pose for a final group photo with a crowd of counter-protestors standing 15 yards away on the steps behind them.

With the official close of the rosary rally, a palpable atmosphere of joy and enthusiasm radiated from the group. Lively conversations erupted.

What Was Accomplished

What did the rosary rally accomplish? “We are simply here to exercise our liberty as children of God and our constitutional rights to free speech in a candid, unapologetic and unashamed display of our Catholic faith,” explained TFP volunteer John Tomba. “In the words of Pope Saint Felix III, ‘Not to oppose error is to approve it; and not to defend truth is to suppress it.’ Even if the event wasn’t cancelled, we are opposing the blatant errors of the transgender movement and standing up for truth. God created them male and female. There are no others. Biology is not bigotry.”

by Evan Olwell

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July 27, 2020

We woke up shivering on the morning of June 19, 2020. The cold had come upon us unexpectedly that night. Upon rising, we scrambled out of our sleeping bags and took down our tents. After a quick breakfast, we left our campsite just outside of Denver, Colorado and headed for the State Capitol Building. This […]

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Storming Heaven with Prayer in Phoenix, Arizona

July 27, 2020

After three days of driving on the hot and dusty road, our fourteen-member group of volunteers reached Phoenix, the capital of Arizona, on June 20. This was the second capital we would be visiting as part of a nationwide campaign of the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property (TFP).  Several “caravans” […]

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Mother of Mercy Caravan visits The Sunflower State

July 13, 2020

On June 18, 2020, the Mother of Mercy Restore America Caravan visited Topeka, Kansas, as one of many stops on our nationwide tour to all fifty state capitals. Young volunteers with the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family, Property (TFP) are holding rosary rallies for America’s return to order. In front of the […]

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