The panic surrounding the Chinese virus is claiming an impressive list of victims. These include social relations, the ability to receive standard medical treatment and the world economy. All these have suffered greatly due to ill-conceived restrictions put into place because of hysteria over the spread of CoVid-19.

However, none is as tragic or harmful as the damage done to spiritual lives. Catholics have been prevented from attending Mass, receiving Holy Communion, confessing their sins and even receiving Extreme Unction when in danger of death.

Even worse, this offends God, Who established these practices for the sanctification of His Faithful. They are so important that Our Lord, Himself, shed every drop of His infinitely precious Blood to establish them.

Now that the brunt of the infection seems to have passed and restrictions are lightening around the world, increasing numbers of Catholics can once again receive their sacramental Lord. However, these are facing a new threat as bishops and priests are forbidding their flocks from receiving Communion in the traditional way that dates back to the era of the Church Fathers: on the tongue.1

Communion in the Hand: A “Dangerous” Practice That Never Received Vatican Endorsement

Communion on the Tongue: Corona-hysteria’s Tragic Victim

While most Catholics think that the Church established reception in the hand as the ordinary means of communicating, official Vatican documents prove otherwise. This is clear from a May 29, 1969 Instruction promulgated by the Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship, titled: Memoriale Domini. The document, which was mandated by Pope Paul VI, is the master text governing the manner in which the Blessed Sacrament is to be distributed.

Admittedly, it lays out conditions in which Communion in the hand can be authorized. Nevertheless, it only permits this under very specific circumstances (which will be discussed below).

The document also refutes claims that the early church development of receiving Communion on the tongue was ill conceived. Rather, it affirms that the practice established a good tradition because it reinforced the reverence due to the Sacrament and humility necessary to properly receive It. The text states:

With the passing of time, the truth of the Eucharistic mystery, of its power and of the presence of Christ in It were being more deeply studied. Due to an ever-urgent sense of the reverence due to the Blessed Sacrament and of the humility necessary in order to receive It, the custom was established of the minister, himself, placing a particle of consecrated bread on the tongue of the communicant.2

This led the Vatican congregation to assert:

This method of distributing Holy Communion [on the tongue] must be retained, taking the present situation of the Church in the entire world into account, not merely because it is a practice rooted in many centuries of tradition, but especially because it expresses the reverence of the Christian faithful for the Eucharist.3

The document even affirms that reception on the tongue is superior to receiving in the hand:

…this practice [receiving the Sacrament on the tongue], which must be considered traditional, ensures more effectively that Holy Communion is distributed with all due respect, decorum and dignity, so that the danger of profanation of the Eucharistic species is prevented…4

It even enumerates the “dangers” involved in permitting Communion in the hand:

A change in a matter of such importance [i.e. allowing Communion in the hand], based on a most ancient and venerable tradition…can also bring certain dangers, which are feared to arise from the new manner of administering Holy Communion: that of arriving at a lessening of reverence for the august Sacrament of the altar, or of profanation of the Sacrament, or of adulterating true doctrine.5

Considering the loss of faith in and respect for the Blessed Sacrament the Church has witnessed since 1969 shows how founded the Congregation’s fears were.

After presenting the above-quoted concerns the text concludes:

Therefore, attentive to the remarks and the advice of those whom “the Holy Spirit has placed to rule over” the Churches, in view of the seriousness of the matter and the force of the arguments put forward, the Holy Father has felt that the time-honored way of administering Holy Communion to the faithful [administering it on the tongue] should not be changed.

The Apostolic See therefore emphatically urges bishops, priests and faithful to submit diligently to the law [that Communion be given on the tongue] which is still valid and which has again been confirmed…6

So, how is it that Communion in the hand has become ubiquitous today? In fact, this resulted from either a misreading of the text Memoriale Domini at best or a conscious desire to go against papal wishes at worst, because the document provides for the granting of an indult, or special permission allowing Communion in the hand, only in those places where the practice is considered necessary. To ensure that this so-called “necessity” exists, the Holy See will only consider granting the indult if the following conditions are met:

  1. The practice of Communion in the hand must already be widespread. (It must be noted that in these places the indult has not yet been granted. Therefore, within these areas the practice is against liturgical law and therefore an abuse.)
  2. The local bishops’ conference must believe that the practice cannot be stopped without causing great harm. This must be verified by a secret ballot in which two-thirds of the bishops vote in favor of petitioning the Holy See to grant the indult.
  3. The bishops’ conference must submit a request for the indult that outlines, in a detailed way, why the change is indispensable for their country.

After all this, it is at the discretion of the Holy See whether or not to grant the indult. Furthermore, in those nations where the indult is granted, the decision to allow Communion in the hand in a diocese rests still with the local bishop. This was confirmed in 1996 when Bishop Juan Rodolfo Laise refused to apply the indult to his diocese of San Luis, Argentina, after the Vatican had granted it to his country.


The Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith approved his decision in an October 7, 1996 letter signed by then-Bishop Tarcisio Bertone. Writing to Bishop Laise in the name of the congregation, the prelate affirmed: “…you are informed by this dicastery that an attentive study of the documents of the Holy See in this matter shows clearly that you, in deciding to maintain immutable the tradition of distributing Holy Communion on the tongue, have acted in conformity with the law.”7

The letter went on to praise the bishop for his actions: “In truth, Your Excellency has done no more than fulfill the duty demanded for every bishop…of exercising discernment with regard to the consequences that an alternative to the current Eucharistic practice may occasion in the sacramental life of the faithful.”8

Benefits of Communion Reception on the Tongue

The Vatican’s position in favor of Communion on the tongue is well founded. Indeed, there are many benefits to the traditional practice. One is protection against sacrilege. The Church teaches that every particle of the Blessed Sacrament that retains the qualities of bread9 no matter how small, is the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Our Lord.

Thus, any such particle that is dropped, stepped on or lost, results in a material sacrilege. Many studies have shown that this commonly occurs when Communion is given in the hand.10

However, receiving Communion on the tongue and with a paten avoids this risk almost entirely. This is certainly one of the greatest benefits of receiving the Sacrament in the traditional manner.

Furthermore, reception in the hand opens the door to intentional profanation of Holy Communion, because it is much easier to steal a host undetected when It is placed in one’s hand. Indeed, several non-Catholics have stolen consecrated Hosts while attending Catholic Masses to keep Them as souvenirs.

In April of 2005, one such Host appeared for sale on eBay. The Sacred Species had been consecrated at a Papal Mass celebrated by Pope John Paul II in 1998. The sale included other remembrances of the Mass, such as a program. At the time, the American TFP led a protest against the auction site that forced them to change their policy and no longer allow the sale of consecrated Hosts on their platform.11

Another benefit of receiving Communion on the tongue is that it reinforces the distinction between the faithful and the clergy. Understanding this difference is essential in a hierarchically structured society like the Catholic Church.

The essential differences between priest and layman are manifest. The priest has consecrated hands and, while offering the sacraments, acts in the person of Christ, Himself. Furthermore, by himself, any priest can consecrate bread and wine, making them the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Our Lord. This is something that all the faithful of the world gathered together cannot do.

While it is undeniable that the clergy (and the faithful, for that matter) are suffering the effects of an immense moral crisis today, that does not alter the essential dignity of the priesthood.


In fact, one symptom of this crisis is that many priests do not want to acknowledge and accept their inherent superiority over the laity. Many refuse to dress like priests or accept the reverence due to their position. Thus, any external manifestation of respect for their state provides a much-needed reminder of the honor the faithful should have for the priesthood.

When touching the Holy Eucharist is reserved to the consecrated hands of the priest,12 forgotten truths concerning this reality come into focus. It affords the faithful an opportunity to recognize what a tremendous gift the priesthood is for the world. It incites them to practice the virtue of gratitude to God for having given them this gift.

Along the same lines, Bishop Athanasius Schneider expressed a beautiful advantage of Communion reception on the tongue, in the following words:

The gesture of allowing oneself to be fed as a child rather movingly expresses the only true attitude of humility and spiritual childhood that one must take when receiving the most sacred and greatest gift: the immolated and living Body of Christ, with His soul and divinity.13

Indeed, spiritual infancy is a sure road to salvation. Placing oneself in the condition of a spiritual infant, incapable of nourishing oneself and thus depending exclusively on God’s minister for his supernatural sustenance will attract innumerable blessings and advance him on the road to sanctity.

Certainly, such an attitude is out-of-step with modern sensibilities. However, so is practically every expression of true piety. The world will continue to grow in its hatred of these practices until Our Lady intervenes to bring the triumph of Her Immaculate Heart.

Freedom of Conscience: A Right Belonging to the Faithful

Cognizant of the dangers of receiving Communion in the hand and the benefits of the traditional way, many faithful feel conscience-bound to receive the Sacrament exclusively on the tongue. This puts them in a difficult situation. Should they violate their consciences and receive Communion in the hand? Or should they stop receiving Our Sacramental Lord?

However, the latter option is unacceptable since Christ, Himself, taught: “Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath everlasting life: and I will raise him up in the last day.” (John 6:54-55)

This puts them in a similar situation that Catholics faced in 1975, in face of the Vatican policy of détente with communist governments. Then, Catholic thinker, Professor Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira opined that this policy left many Catholics feeling imprisoned by their own consciences.

He continued, saying: “The Church is not, the Church never was, the Church never will be such a prison for consciences.”14 Thus, Communion on the tongue cannot be denied to the faithful.

Some have argued that the Chinese virus has created an emergency situation which justifies temporary suspension of the traditional means of receiving the Sacrament. However, there has never been a study showing that Communion on the tongue is more likely to spread contagions than reception in the hand.

In March, the Archdiocese of Portland consulted two physicians on this issue. One is an expert in immunology. Both affirmed that the risk of infection is “more or less equal” either way the Sacrament is administered.

A statement published by the Archdiocesan Office of Public Worship reads: “This morning we consulted with two physicians regarding this issue, one of which is a specialist in immunology for the State of Oregon. They agreed that done properly the reception of Holy Communion on the tongue or in the hand pose a more or less equal risk.”

Fra Angelico, Communion of the Apostles (1451-52).

This is because: “The risk of touching the tongue and passing the saliva on to others is obviously a danger, however, the chance of touching someone’s hand is equally probable and one’s hands have a greater exposure to germs.”15

Indeed, many have argued that Communion reception in the hand is more likely to spread infection. When the Sacrament is distributed on the tongue, contact with the communicant is rare, whereas when It is given in the hand, there is almost always contact between the minister and the faithful.

Commenting on this reality, Father Jeffery Robideau said: “Where I did give Communion in the hand, I touched each and every hand. With the tongue, I very rarely have any contact as described above. So you tell me which one is safer.”16

In addition to all this, the Church forbids a bishop or a priest from refusing to administer Communion on the tongue to the faithful. This prohibition is clear from the above-quoted text of Memoriale Domini which reads: “This method of distributing Holy Communion [on the tongue] must be retained…”


This was reiterated in a pastoral letter, sent to all the bishop conferences when they were granted the indult allowing Communion in the hand. The pertinent part of the letter states: “The new manner of receiving Communion should not be imposed in a way that would exclude the traditional practice. In particular it is important that each of the faithful have the opportunity to receive Communion on the tongue…”17

Even clearer, on April 3, 1985, the Congregation for Divine Worship wrote a letter to the bishops of the United States, instructing them on the norms for Communion distribution. In the text, the seventh directive states: “The faithful are not to be obliged to adopt the practice of Communion in the hand. Each one is free to communicate in one way or the other.”18


More recently, in 2004, the Congregation for Divine Worship again repeated the prohibition against denying the faithful Communion on the tongue. In the Instruction Redemptionis Sacramentum, no. 92 states: “Although each of the faithful always has the right to receive Holy Communion on the tongue, at his choice, if any communicant should wish to receive the Sacrament in the hand, in areas where the Bishops’ Conference with the recognitio of the Apostolic See has given permission, the sacred host is to be administered to him or her.”19

No official Church document exists that permits any cleric, regardless of rank, to deny the faithful Communion on the tongue. Curiously, some do describe circumstances in which Communion in the hand may be denied.

For example, no. 92 of Redemptionis Sacramentum states: “If there is a risk of profanation, then Holy Communion should not be given in the hand to the faithful.”20 This stands to reason because, as Canon Lawyer Cathy Caridi explains, the norm in the Church is reception on the tongue, whereas Communion in the hand is only granted by permission. While permission can be easily revoked, the norm should never be violated.21

Nevertheless, some bishops and priests continue to act in violation of this liturgical law, claiming that a state of emergency exists. Fort Worth Bishop Michael Olson went so far as to forbid his priests to distribute Communion on the tongue.22

However, this presumed “emergency permission” is also baseless. The very same question arose in 2009 during the H1N1 “Swine Flu” epidemic. Then, too, bishops and priests were banning traditional Communion reception. This inspired an unknown person to ask the Congregation for Divine Worship if this were licit.

In response, the congregation wrote a letter stating:

The Dicastery observes that the Instruction Redemptionis Sacramentum (25 March 2004) clearly stipulates that “each of the faithful always has the right to receive Holy Communion on the tongue” (no. 92), nor is it licit to deny any of Christ’s faithful who are not impeded by law from receiving the Holy Eucharist (cf. no. 91).23

Finally, anyone arguing that the current Chinese virus crisis is different than past epidemics still would have to contend with Robert Cardinal Sarah, current Prefect for the Congregation for Divine Worship. In a recent interview, he was asked “…[considering the current epidemic] there is also discussion as to whether it is more appropriate to receive Communion in the mouth or in the hand, and in the latter case how to receive it in the hand. What should be done?”

His Eminence responded: “There is already a rule in the Church and this must be respected: the faithful are free to receive Communion in the mouth or hand.”24

After all this, hopefully it is evident that, virus or no virus, Communion on the tongue cannot be denied lawfully to the faithful. Those who do so have no basis in tradition, Church law or common sense. Their sole strength is their capacity to bully uninformed Catholics into submission.

It is well known that the only way to stop a bully is to stand up to him. Hopefully, this article will provide the information and confidence necessary for its readers to stand up to these innovators.

In doing so, they must always be prudent and mindful of the respect due to every priest and bishop, regardless of his personal failings. Nevertheless, they should get involved at whatever level they can. They should write letters, educate their friends and discuss their rights with their pastors so that the venerable practice of receiving Our Sacramental Lord on the tongue does not become another tragic victim of Corona-hysteria.

by Michael Whitcraft

Originally published on TFP.org

 

Footnotes

1. Cf. Office for the Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff, “Communion received on the tongue and while kneeling,” http://www.vatican.va/news_services/liturgy/details/ns_lit_doc_20091117_comunione_en.html, last accessed August 19, 2020.

2. Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship, Memoriale Domini, May 29, 1969, republished by Most Rev. Juan Rodolpho Laise, Holy Communion: Communion in the Hand, Documents and History; Some Reflections on Spiritual Communion and the State of Grace, fifth edition, Preserving Christian Publications Inc., Boonville, New York, 2020, p. 15.

3. Ibid.

4. Ibid.,p.17.

5. Ibid., emphasis mine.

6. Ibid., p. 19.

7. Ibid., p. 110.

8. Ibid.

9. St. Thomas Aquinas taught that once particles of the Blessed Sacrament become so small that they no longer maintain the qualities of bread, they cease to be the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Our Lord, saying: “But if the change be so great that the substance of the bread or wine would have been corrupted, then Christ’s body and blood do not remain under this sacrament; and this either on the part of the qualities, as when the color, savor, and other qualities of the bread and wine are so altered as to be incompatible with the nature of bread or of wine; or else on the part of the quantity, as, for instance, if the bread be reduced to fine particles, or the wine divided into such tiny drops that the species of bread or wine no longer remain.” (Cf. Summa Theologica, III:77:4)

10. Cf. One such study was published in the Fall, 2009 edition of Latin Mass Magazine, in an article titled: “Losing Fragments with Communion in the Hand: Estimating the Problem with Unconsecrated Hosts,” p. 27. It is available online at: http://www.latinmassmagazine.com/pdfs/Losing-Fragments-LM-2009-Fall.pdf, last accessed August 10, 2020.

11. TFP.org, “EBay Changes Policy, Catholics Rejoice,” May 3, 2005, https://www.tfp.org/ebay-changes-policy-catholics-rejoice/, last accessed August 10, 2020.

12. Traditionally, the Church has appointed certain laymen as extraordinary ministers of Communion who were authorized to touch the Blessed Sacrament. However, this was only granted for extraordinary circumstances and never was the norm. An example of such a circumstance was when a ship would set out on a long voyage without the possibility of a priest being on board. In this case, a layman would be granted authorization to bring Holy Communion on the trip and distribute it to the faithful on board.

13. Op. Cit., Holy Communion: Communion in the Hand, Documents and History; Some Reflections on Spiritual Communion and the State of Grace, “Preface,” p. ii.

14. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira, “The Vatican Policy of Détente with Communist Governments – Should the TFPs Stand Down? Or Should They Resist?,” February 18, 1975, https://www.tfp.org/vatican-policy-detente-communist-governments-tfps-stand-resist/, last accessed August 14, 2020.

15. Archdiocese of Portland Office of Divine Worship, “Further Considerations on Liturgical Celebrations and Public Health Concerns,” https://d2y1pz2y630308.cloudfront.net/12494/documents/2020/3/Further%20Considerations%20March%202020.pdf, March 2, 2020, last accessed August 14, 2020.

16. As quoted by Bradley Eli, M.Div., Ma.,Th., “US Bishops Approve Communion on the Tongue: Say practice poses no ‘unreasonable risk’”, https://www.churchmilitant.com/news/article/us-bishops-guideline-approves-communion-on-the-tongue, May 7, 2020, last assessed August 14, 2020.

17. As quoted in Op. Cit., Holy Communion: Communion in the Hand, Documents and History; Some Reflections on Spiritual Communion and the State of Grace, p. 23.

18. Congregation for Divine Worship, Augustin Mayer, OSB — Prefect, “Letter from Holy See to American Bishops,” https://adoremus.org/2001/11/15/Communion-in-the-Hand/, November 15, 2001, last accessed: August 18, 2020.

19. Congregation for Divine Worship, Redemptionis Sacramentum: On certain matters to be observed or to be avoided regarding the Most Holy Eucharist, no. 92, https://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/ccdds/documents/rc_con_ccdds_doc_20040423_redemptionis-sacramentum_en.html, March 25, 2004, last accessed August 18, 2020, emphasis mine.

20. Ibid

21. Cf. Cathy Caridi, “Can We Be Required to Receive Communion in the Hand, Because of the Virus,” https://canonlawmadeeasy.com/2020/03/12/communion-in-the-hand-virus/, March 12, 2020, last accessed August 18, 2020.

22. Cf. Op. Cit., “US Bishops Approve Communion on the Tongue: Say practice poses no ‘unreasonable risk.’”

23. As quoted in Op. Cit., “Cathy Caridi, “Can We Be Required to Receive Communion in the Hand, Because of the Virus.” A picture of the letter can also be viewed online at: https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-su_FQyvGOAQ/Xl_DMwPYppI/AAAAAAAAHOc/BKmaPIR49bwSCgZVziEfypt6CQU_P0EKgCLcBGAsYHQ/s1600/IMG_1808.JPG, last accessed August 18, 2020.

24. Riccardo Cascioli, “Sarah: profanities have to stop, the Eucharist isn’t negotiable,” https://newdailycompass.com/en/sarah-profanities-have-to-stop-the-eucharist-isnt-negotiable, May 2, 2020, last accessed August 18, 2020.

“The issue is never the issue. The issue is always the revolution.”

The horrible choking death on May 25 of black American George Floyd by white former Minneapolis policeman Derek Chauvin caused universal outrage across the American political spectrum. Conservatives no less than liberals called for Chauvin to be charged with murder. The Hennepin County, Minnesota attorney is charging Chauvin—who kept Floyd in a chokehold on the ground for nearly nine minutes while he begged for air—with second-degree murder. He will likely spend a long time behind bars.

Derek Chauvin’s murder of George Floyd was a clear example of police abuse. Corrupt and abusive cops, while rare, are as old as crime itself. Chauvin had a record of abuse complaints and should have been fired long before. Although nothing can bring George Floyd back, the circumstances of his tragic death and its video recording on social media produced a widespread consensus on the need to implement reforms to prevent such deaths in the future.

Peaceful demonstrations in honor of Floyd and against police abuse quickly gathered in Minneapolis and elsewhere. But within forty-eight hours, criminals and professional far-left Antifa agitators—with valuable help from the media and progressive politicians—weaponized the emotion over George Floyd to push a Marxist political agenda.

Socialist-turned-conservative David Horowitz likes to quote a saying used by members of the sixties far-left activist group Students for a Democratic Society (SDS): “The issue is never the issue. The issue is always the revolution.” No matter what issue they were fighting about—education, housing, police abuse or racial conflict—it was a mere pretext to hide their radical goal: a communist revolution in America. While most Americans were debating the merits of the issue itself, SDS and other radical leftists were framing the debate, inflaming emotions, neutralizing opponents, and weaponizing it in order to overthrow American institutions and destroy society.

SDS’s twenty-first century descendants, Black Lives Matter (BLM) and Antifa, have done the same thing with the appalling and tragic death of George Floyd. Like SDS in the sixties, Antifa uses highly emotional issues to inflame class and racial conflict as much as possible. Such conflict, they believe, is necessary for the overthrow of society and the victory of the socialist revolution.

The last thing that Antifa and their allies want is to solve the issue. They knew very well that violence and looting are destroying not only shops and cars but any chance to pass meaningful reform. By inflaming class and racial struggle, they hope to fracture the country and impose a socialist revolution.

Central to their propaganda is the idea that America is a “racist” country. Our institutions are intrinsically tainted with “racism” against blacks and other racial minorities. “White supremacy,” they claim, is not only oppressing black people but killing them in a “genocide.” Police are one of the main tools of this “white supremacy.” Progressives claim that “racist” police departments are “hunting” black people in an “epidemic” of violence.

Such a narrative is a lie, of course. The facts show a very different story. According to the FBI, black Americans (who are 13% of the U.S. population) commit fifty-two percent of all homicides in the United States. Black Americans are seven times more likely to commit a homicide than whites and six times more likely to be a victim. Ninety-three percent of black victims of homicide were killed not by whites or by police, but by other black Americans. Sixty-two percent of black homicides are drug related and 40% are gang related.

What about deaths at the hands of police? Aren’t they killing racial minorities at unprecedented rates? As Heather MacDonald points out in The Wall Street Journal, this accusation is a myth. In 2019, police killed 1,004 people in the United States, of whom 235 were black. Police also fatally shot nine unarmed blacks and nineteen unarmed whites that year. In 2018, there were a total of 7,407 black homicide victims. Assuming the same numbers for 2019, that means those nine unarmed blacks represent only 0.1% of all black homicide deaths last year.

Ironically, police are 18½ times more likely to be killed by a black male than an unarmed black male is by a police officer. In addition, a 2015 study by the Department of Justice found that black and Hispanic police officers in Philadelphia were more likely to shoot unarmed black suspects than a white police officer.

While every death—black or white—is a terrible tragedy, black deaths by police are very rare compared to the vast numbers killed every day by other blacks. Happily, the homicide rate for all races has plummeted dramatically in recent decades. The overall number of murders fell from 10.2 per 100,000 population in 1980 to 4.6 in 2010, nearly an all-time low.

Like the Russia “collusion” investigation, the Brett Kavanaugh hearings, impeachment, and now the George Floyd riots and looting, the issue is not really the issue. Subversives such as Antifa and their media enablers want to hijack the legitimate demand to reform in order to incite racial hatred, fracture the country and impose a political revolution on America. They see it as the best way for socialism to finally triumph in America “by any means necessary.”

by James R. Bascom

originally published on TFP.org

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Claude NewmanBy A. F. Philips

Newman was a twenty-year-old African-American who, in 1943, awaited execution in a prison in Mississippi. His crime was that of ambushing and shooting a man named Sid Cook, his beloved grandmother’s abusive second husband.

One day, noticing a medal hanging around the neck of a fellow prisoner, Claude asked the young man what it was. The latter responded by casting the medal to the ground with a curse saying, “Take it.”

The medal was a Miraculous Medal of Our Lady of Graces, and though knowing nothing about it or who it represented, Claude picked up the oval trinket and hung it around his neck.

The Miraculous Medal of Our Lady of Graces

A Vision

During the night, Claude was awakened by a touch on his wrist to behold a glowing vision whom he later described as “the most beautiful woman that God ever created.”

The lady calmed the frightened man and said, “If you would like me to be your mother, and you my child, send for a priest of the Catholic Church.” And she disappeared.

“A ghost, a ghost!” screamed Claude, at the same time clamoring for a Catholic priest.

The next morning Father Robert O’Leary, SVD, (who later wrote the story) was summoned.

After listening to the extraordinary account, he found that Claude was illiterate, and knew nearly nothing about religion. So he proceeded to carefully catechize not only him but four other inmates who were deeply impressed by Claude’s account. Occasionally, two sisters from Father O’Leary’s church joined the catechetical team.

Heavenly Insights on the Sacrament of Confession

Several weeks later, when Father introduced the sacrament of confession, Claude volunteered, “Oh, I know about that! The Lady told me that when we go to confession we are kneeling down not before a priest, but before the cross of her Son. And that when we are truly sorry for our sins, and we confess our sins, the Blood He shed flows down over us and washes us free from all sins.”

The priest and nuns were stunned at this new revelation. Seeing their surprise, Claude heartily apologized, “O, don’t be angry, don’t be angry. I didn’t mean to blurt it out!”

But assuring him that he was far from angry, Father O’Leary asked Claude if he had seen the Lady again.Crucifix

Taking the priest aside, the young man said, “She told me that if you doubted me or showed hesitancy, I was to remind you that lying in a ditch in Holland in 1940, you made a vow to her which she’s still waiting for you to keep.”

This revelation convinced Father of Claude’s claim. In fact, during the war, O’Leary had promised to build a church in honor of the Immaculate Conception, a promise he fulfilled in 1947. This church stands to this day in Clarksdale, Mississippi.

As Father and Claude returned to the class on confession, Claude told his classmates, “You should not be afraid of confession. You’re really telling God your sins, not the priest. You know, the Lady said that confession is something like a telephone. We talk through the priest to God, and God talks back to us through the priest.”

On the Holy Eucharist

Father O’Leary testified: “I’ve never seen anyone go to his death as joyfully and as happily.”

When about a week later Father O’Leary and the sisters were preparing to teach on the Blessed Sacrament, Claude asked of he could share what the Lady had told him about the Eucharist. The catechist joyfully acquiesced, and Claude related, “The Lady told me that in Communion, I will only see what looks like a piece of bread. But she told me that It is really and truly her Son, and what He will be with me just as He was with her before He was born in Bethlehem. She told me that I should spend my time like she did during her lifetime with Him, in loving Him, adoring Him, thanking Him, praising Him, and asking Him for blessings. I shouldn’t be distracted or bothered by anybody else or anything else, but I should spend those few minutes in my thoughts alone with Him.”

Baptism and a Party Before Execution On the Holy Eucharist

Finally, the catechumens were received into the Church. The baptismal records of St. Mary’s parish (Vicksburg) record Claude’s baptismal day as January 16, 1944. He was scheduled for execution on January 20th.

As Sheriff Williamson asked Claude if he had a last request, he couldn’t believe the answer:

“Well, all my friends are all shook up. The jailer is all shook up. But you don’t understand. I’m not going to die; only this body is. I’m going to be with her. So, then, I would like to have a party.”

And so, he had his party with cake and ice cream and his fellow inmates were allowed to attend.

Execution

On the morning of execution, Claude was full of joy. As he prepared with Father O’Leary, Sheriff Williamson rushed in shouting that the governor had granted a two-week reprieve. To his amazement, Claude broke down in sobs, inconsolable, crying:

“But you don’t understand! If you ever saw her face, and looked into her eyes, you wouldn’t want to live another day! What have I done wrong these past weeks that God would refuse me my going home? Why, Father? Why must I still remain here for two weeks?”

Then Father O’Leary had an inspiration. There was a prisoner, James Hughs, who, despite having been raised Catholic, had led a horribly immoral life, and was also on death row for murder. James had a particular hatred for Claude, and all priests as well.

(Article: 3 Reasons Catholics Cannot Support the BLM Revolution)

 

Father O’Leary then proposed that Claude offer his disappointment on not being executed that day for Hughs’ conversion, which Claude did, generously offering his prayers and last two weeks for the salvation of his fellow inmate.

Finally, Claude was executed on February 4, 1944.

Father O’Leary testified: “I’ve never seen anyone go to his death as joyfully and as happily. Even the official witnesses and the newspaper reporters were amazed. They said they couldn’t understand how anyone could sit in the electric chair beaming with happiness.”

Icon of Claude Newman and Our Lady

Claude had obtained from Our Lady that James have a glimpse of his place in hell. This glimpse had horrified him and, full of fear of God, he had asked to go to Confession.

To Heaven, But Not Alone

When the time came for James Hughs to be executed, he violently refused all spiritual assistance, cursing and blaspheming even while seated on the electric chair. He was asked if he had a last word.

Suddenly, looking to a corner of the room, there was a surprised, then horrified, look on his face, and he shouted, “Get me a priest!”

Father O’Leary, who was in the room, approached and heard the man’s full confession.

Then Sheriff Williamson, who could not bear his curiosity, asked the condemned man what was in the corner. James explained that he had seen Claude Newman and the Blessed Virgin behind him, her hands on his shoulders. Then, Claude had obtained from Our Lady that he, James, have a glimpse of his place in hell. That’s when, filled with horror, he demanded a priest.

Once again the simple wearing of the Miraculous Medal of Our Lady of Graces called down Our Lady’s maternal gaze, and saved not only one, but many souls in that Mississippi prison.

Three Reasons Why Catholics Cannot Support the BLM Revolution

August 24, 2020

​An editorial in The New York Times by Elizabeth Bruenig titled “Racism Makes a Liar of God” presents a sentimental yet stinging indictment of Catholics who reject the present anti-racist activism. She cannot understand why these generally conservative Catholics cannot bring themselves to pronounce the three explosive words: Black Lives Matter. The editorial calls upon […]

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Rosary Rallies Support the Police in Houston, Texas

August 17, 2020

On Saturday August 8, members and friends of TFP-Texas held public rosary rallies at two locations in downtown Houston to support local police. ​Our Police put their lives on the line every day for our protection and the protection of our loved ones. They do this out of love of the principles of law and […]

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Fostering Manly Virtue at the TFP-Texas Sword Demo

August 17, 2020

On Saturday July 25, TFP-Texas hosted a Call to Chivalry Sword Demonstration just north of Houston at it’s regional center in Humble, Texas. Participants enjoyed an afternoon of camaraderie centered around the history and techniques of knightly martial arts. A highlight for participants was the “jug cutting” test. Following the activities outside, the young men […]

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Texans Join DC Rally to Restore America

August 7, 2020

On July 21, 2020, nine young Tradition, Family and Property Texas volunteers traveled to Washington D.C. to join a rosary rally for the nation at the U.S. Capitol Building. The event was part of the American TFP’s nationwide campaign to return the nation to order. The American TFP is in the process of holding Rosary […]

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Taking the Pulse on How the Public Sees the Police

August 7, 2020

​Too often, the media portrays all police as monsters persecuting minorities. They also give the impression that everyone, especially black people, are anti-police. To answer the question of what people really think, 19 volunteers and friends of Tradition, Family, Property (TFP)-Louisiana took to the streets of Lafayette with pro-police signs and the rosary on July […]

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Taking a Stand Against the Sexual Revolution

August 6, 2020

​On July 17-18, 2020, members of Tradition, Family, Property (TFP)-Louisiana united with activists from around the country in Lake Charles, Louisiana. The Ruth Institute’s Third Annual Summit for Survivors of the Sexual Revolution brought together a diverse crowd for both online and in-person presentations. Participants overcame the restrictions making travel more difficult to make the […]

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Order and Chaos Clash in Denver

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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Returning to Oklahoma City for Our Lady

July 13, 2020

​On June 17, members of TFP-Louisiana and the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property (TFP) assembled on the steps of the State Capitol Building in Oklahoma City. They were holding a rosary rally as part of the TFP’s Restore America Campaign. Young TFP volunteers are traveling to all 50 state capitals, […]

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TFP Caravan Spreads “Return to Order” Message Throughout the Lone Star State

July 10, 2020

Upon arrival to the “City of the Holy Angel” or San Angelo, Texas, the caravan of volunteers set up a campaign at a strategically busy junction. Support from the local populace was impressive. “That’s the most honks I’ve ever heard,” observed David, a native of Dallas, Texas.​​ This TFP-Texas caravan is part of the Restore […]

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A Clash of Two Caravans in Austin, Texas

July 10, 2020

It was sunny and pleasant as we assembled in front of the capitol building in Austin, Texas, with signs, banners, and a statue of Our Lady of Fatima. Some twenty-five local friends and supporters of TFP-Texas and the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property (TFP) joined in the recitation of the […]

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Nationwide Prayer Tour Sweeps Through Baton Rouge

June 16, 2020

On June 13, volunteers of Tradition, Family and Property—Louisiana (TFP) prayed the rosary in front of the State Capitol Building in Baton Rouge. This was the last stop of the first leg of the Mother of Mercy Caravan. TFP volunteers have been traveling the country, hoping to pray the rosary at each state capital for […]

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Uniting the Nation Through Prayer in Jackson, Mississippi

June 16, 2020

America needs to pray now more than ever.  One powerful expression of this need is the public recitation of the Holy Rosary, which Our Lady asked the faithful to pray to obtain peace in these troubled times. With this in mind, the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property (TFP) is traveling […]

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A Smile of Our Lady in Little Rock, Arkansas

June 16, 2020

June 10 began as a blustery and rainy day in the hills of the Ozark National Park, Arkansas. The volunteers from the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property (TFP) and TFP-Louisiana had spent the previous day with a “restful” 16-mile hike in the Ozark mountains. They were worried that the weather […]

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Praying at the Steps of the Capital in Montgomery, Alabama

June 16, 2020

As our jam-packed 15 passenger van lumbered through the Georgia darkness, from the front came the words we had all anticipated; “Gentlemen, get ready, we’re probably setting up in the rain.” After a long day of campaign and adventure, the ten young volunteers of the Mercy for America campaign prepared to set up tents for […]

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Announcing the 50 State Rosary Tour to Restore America

June 8, 2020

In face of coronavirus panic and civil unrest, Tradition, Family, Property – Louisiana has joined the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property (TFP) in launching a special campaign called, “Mary, Mother of Mercy, Restore America.” Many people feel helpless and have been asking themselves if there is anything that can be […]

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TFP Louisiana Commemorates Centenary of Saint Joan of Arc’s Canonization at New Orleans Event

June 8, 2020

On May 30, 2020, members of Tradition, Family and Property—Louisiana hosted their annual commemoration of the feast day of Saint Joan of Arc at her monument in New Orleans, Louisiana.  This year was extraordinary because it marked the hundredth anniversary of her canonization. Her gilded equestrian monument stands in the French quarter as a model […]

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6 Lessons of Saint Joan of Arc at TFP Academy Graduation

June 2, 2020

On the beautiful day of May 30th, St. Louis de Montfort Academy held its graduation for the Class of 2020. Parents and some members of the clergy traveled for this special day which coincided with the feast of St. Joan of Arc. The month of May was the centenary of her canonization by the Universal […]

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Col. John W. Ripley: A Hero Hollywood Will Never Mention

May 24, 2020

Mediocrity and egoism are engrained in the modern world. Heroism, self-sacrifice, and honor are often unwelcome and seldom given the admiration they deserve. After all, we are taught that comfort, security, and personal advancement come first. How many men are willing to go beyond the call of duty for an ideal greater than themselves? America […]

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The Importance of Charity in Times of Chaos

May 21, 2020

The renowned Catholic thinker and activist, Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira, once said, “In times of great crisis there are two types of men; those who are overwhelmed by the crisis and those who rise up to resist the trend of events and so change the course of history.” Currently, America is experiencing a crisis. […]

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Father De Smet and Fortitude in the Face of the Plague

May 11, 2020

History is full of examples of fortitude in the face of adversity. One such figure is  Father Pierre De Smet, S.J. This priest faced physical hardship and dangers as he gave everything for the salvation of souls. He even confronted the plague, which should serve as a lesson for our time. Men of Different Caliber […]

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What a Millennial Can Learn From the Wisdom of the Older Generations

May 10, 2020

The Chinese virus crisis (COVID-19) has given us all more time with the stay-at-home orders in place nationwide. Thus, I decided to call my grandparents and ask what they thought about it. A pleasant conversation ensued in which they gave the wonderful advice to remain calm and trust in God. Upon hanging up the phone, […]

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Cardinal Mindszenty’s Praise of Mothers

May 9, 2020

“The most important person on earth is a mother. She cannot claim the honor of having built Notre Dame Cathedral. She need not. “She has built something more magnificent than any cathedral – a dwelling for an immortal soul, the tiny perfection of her baby’s body… “The angels have not been blessed with such a […]

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A Maternal Relationship with Our Lady

May 8, 2020

It seems to me that this invocation (Mother of God) has a very important point: it is that since Our Lady is the Mother of God, by a series of consequences She also is, and especial so, the Mother of men, and therefore, our Mother. I believe that the most precious grace that one can […]

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Warning! A Virus Threatens America’s Future and Christian Civilization

April 27, 2020

The Catholic Concept of the Common Good Is the Antidote to the Pandemic’s Ideological Manipulation America and the world now face a turning point in history that will define generations to come. In addition to the suffering and death toll, the coronavirus pandemic might trigger the greatest changes that humanity has faced in Christianity’s two […]

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If Saving Lives is What Matters Now, Why Allow Abortions?

April 27, 2020

On April 18, two dozen pro-lifers prayed the mysteries of the Rosary and sang hymns outside the Houston Women’s Clinic on San Jacinto Street. Observing social distancing, they prayed and held signs that read, “Honk Against Abortion,” and, “A Child is a Blessing Not a Disease.” Sadly, the abortion facility’s parking lot was not empty. […]

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