Good judgment

One day we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. How would we like him to judge us? Our answer may be personal but I will describe what I hope for. I accept that the picture will be patchy. I have done some good things and some bad things – but mostly things in between. So I hope that God will start by looking on such good things as I may have done. I would rather that he left the bad things for later. I would prefer that he saw me as a good person on the whole; I simply slipped a bit from time to time.

When he comes to my bad things I want him to be understanding. Then he will look for all the pressures and the instincts which have driven me in the wrong direction. He will search for every reason, compatible with the truth, to excuse or at least reduce my fault. I would hope that he was prepared to go to extremes in order to get me into Heaven. He will only refuse me if I maintain my obstinate determination towards evil. Then reluctantly he will accept my free will to depart from him.

If I make the grade I will become very aware that I need a good clean up. I now know how far I fall short of his goodness. So I will go cheerfully to the washing machine called Purgatory because I am now determined to be clean and shining for the Beatific Vision.

Your own wishes for your judgement day will not be identical to mine, but I suspect they will be similar. Perhaps one day, when the angels pause their music, we will all get together and compare notes.

Having thought about that, it comes to my mind that we may spend a good deal of time judging others – from our parents, to our siblings, to our teachers and our school fellows, to our spouses, to our colleagues and to all our friends. I dare even to suggest to our fellow contributors on this Blog. Do we judge them in the same way as we hope God will judge us? Are we mainly focusing on their good qualities, and attempting to understand and forgive their faults? Do we look first at what they do right and secondly, even reluctantly, note their failures? Are we determined to see them as good people, as far as we possibly can?

Why am I asking these questions? In fact it is not me who is asking, it is God who is asking. When God taught us how to pray he was specific: “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” We cannot expect God to judge us more mercifully than we judge others.

About Quentin

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169 Responses to Good judgment

  1. Nektarios says:

    Thankfully, my soul rests not on what I have done, but entirely on what Jesus our Lord has done to accomplish our Salvation.
    For all generations till the end of time, on the cross Jesus could say before He died there that day, ‘It is finished!’

    • St.Joseph says:

      You say ‘Thankfully, my soul rests not on what I have done, but entirely on what Jesus our Lord has done to accomplish our Salvation’. Very true!.

      I also rest my soul on what ‘I have not done, the opportunity’s I have missed, what I have failed to do for the Salvation of my soul and the rest of the World.!

  2. galerimo says:

    Thank you Nektarios – I never get tired of hearing that wonderful truth. And thank you Quentin for the topic.

    That accountant/juridical concept of The Last Judgment is certainly something that I had to let go off in the maturing stages of my faith journey. Like many others it was the first handle I had on the Eschaton. It couldn’t stop there.

    Once I cross that threshold of death all bets are off – I have no idea what happens even though I do believe in the last things . And It still doesn’t stop me from loving Dante and the Dream of Gerontius or some of Jesus’ colourful stories.

    I don’t see why any of that infinite patience, mercy and joy I experience with God now should be any different then.

    When we are all comparing notes and someone looks around and Galerimo is nowhere to be found then you will know that either you or I were surprised!

  3. Nektarios says:

    Ah, can we have a holy imagination and imagine the awful day of judgement has arrived, and there we stand before God in all His brightness and glory. We stand alone. the singing has stopped. Heaven has fallen silent. God is about to pronounce His judgement.
    His expression does not bode well for me, Then the Son, sitting on the throne with the Father, stretches forth His nail pierced hand and looks to the Father and point to a laver full of His blood.

    The Father’s expression changes to a warm understanding smile, and says, ‘there is no fault in him/her.’
    The Son stretch forth His hand and says, ‘thy sins are forgiven you. – welcome home!
    Everyone else says, Amen. The angels sing, ‘glory to God now and forever unto the ages of ages.’

    Why was this old sinner that I am redeemed?
    He did not trust to his own righteousness, understanding, obediences, church going, or even the things he thought he spiritually understood. But simply this which was his song and his God given faith.

    My hope is built on nothingless, than Jesus and His righteousness.
    I dare not trust the weakest frame, but wholly trust in Jesus name.
    On Christ the solid Rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand,
    All other ground is sinking sand.

    • St.Joseph says:

      On that ‘Rock’ Jesus built His Church, ‘according to Scripture’. and He gave the Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven to St Peter! To loose and to bind.
      However we all don’t follow in St Peters footsteps, but Holy Mother Church will always be the Rock on which He built His Church. Where the Kingdom of God is close at hand.
      The Church is Universal-it is everywhere.
      If we don’t teach them how will they know? We are meant to be His Disciples, to each to whom the amount of gifts is given to use in God’s service.

      • Nektarios says:

        St. Joseph

        I know your Catholic point of view. But we are speaking about the Last Judgement
        not Church dogma.
        Well, if Jesus is the Rock, and you say the RCC is a rock, then we have two rocks
        but one is not comparable to the other.

  4. Nektarios says:

    St. Joseph
    PS on the above. And we now have St. Peter too as a rock, so according to you, we have three Rocks?

  5. St.Joseph says:

    One Rock big enough for every although the three could be the Blessed Trinity.
    I was brought up to respect other Christian beliefs .
    I am not teaching you, but expressing my faith, as you do yours.

  6. St.Joseph says:

    On reading Quentin’s post again. I find it is how we live our lives to prepare ourselves for the Last Judgement.

  7. John Nolan says:

    St Joseph, ignore Nektarios. He is a heretic with a strange combination of logic-chopping and faux-mysticism. He takes every opportunity to attack what he insultingly refers to as the ‘RCC’.

    Good works may not save us, but they are surely powerful arguments in our defence. ‘ Amen dico vobis, quamdiu fecistis uni ex his fratribus meis minimis, mihi fecistis.’ (Matthew 25:40)

    • Nektarios says:

      John Nolan

      It is regrettable, John, that you refer to me as a heretic, it is laughable really. Still, you go too far, presume you know me and understand what I am saying on the blog.
      If you assume I am taking every opportunity to attack the RCC, you could not be more wrong.
      Logic in the religious context only brings one to the fact there is a God, but one does not need to be a Christian to do that, but that does not save one. Works does not save one.
      All our works before a thrice Holy God are as filthy rags.What I have been saying it part is what does save us.

      I do not have a faux-mysticism, nor is that what guides me, or leads me in the way of the truth as it is in Christ Jesus. There are no words for that.

      So, John, be careful about calling people you don’t know nor understand it seems a heretic. They may disagree with you on many points but to address a Christian as a heretic is dangerous.

      • Nektarios says:

        John Nolan

        I said to address a Child of God, a Christian as a heretic is dangerous for your own soul,
        why? Well the answer is in the text of Matthew 25:40 you quoted to St. Joseph.
        Repent of it, and give an apology to Nektarios.

      • Vincent says:

        Nektarios, I am now getting confused with labels like ‘heretic’. Perhaps you might explain. The Catholic Church has continually taught that all merit comes from Redemption. The good that we choose to do derives from that and makes us truly holy. through our redeemed identification in Christ (mystery here of course, I can only use human language). This teaching was challenged by the Protestant Reformation which taught the novel doctrine of ‘faith alone’. You can read in the 39 Articles that our behavioral choices, good or bad, therefore do not affect our salvation because that is ensured by faith..

        You do not claim to be a Protestant, but appear to be an Orthodox. If so can you tell me whether Orthodoxy shares the Catholic view, or now formally holds the Protestant view. Then I will know where you are coming from.

  8. John Thomas says:

    “He will only refuse me if I maintain my obstinate determination towards evil.” The problem I find is that what I consider to be evil (and try to avoid) other people consider good and right and proper. To take a very extreme example, the person who seems as though she’s going to win the US election, H. Clinton, is quite convinced that aborting babies is OK, or even a good thing (“helps” women). (Will God agree? – not if you ask ME) How many people intentionally do evil, try to avoid evil …

  9. Iona says:

    Like Galerimo, I find my imagination totally defeated when it comes to thinking about how I shall actually experience the Four Last Things (or anyway, three of them).
    But I have always hoped (and partly feared) that on the Day of Judgement everything will be made plain; that it will become clear whether someone was invincibly ignorant or rather culpably ignorant, for example (whether Hillary Clinton genuinely believes that aborting babies is ok, or is she putting the need to get votes before the need to examine her conscience on the subject).

  10. Nektarios says:


    I think you better to ask JN what he means when he addresses me as a heretic and seems to think he understands my inner mystical life. JN accuses me of these things but does not qualify. I have asked him to repent what he posted and give an apology. If that is not forth-coming from him expect little or nothing from me in the future.

    Before you get into assuming anything about the Reformation, you must look into why it arose in the first place, and why the RCC lost that battle.

    The Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church both hold the same source documents, (as do the Protestants) same Scriptures, and share the same holy Tradition as it is called.

    It would take too long here to get into the debate about Orthodoxy, Catholicism and Protestantism,
    and it is not the topic we are presently discussing.

    • Vincent says:

      We are discussing judgment, Nektarios — and since judgment concerns works my question is directly relevant. I am sorry that you will not tell us what the Orthodox Church says about how our goods works are or aren’t relevant to our judgment. You call them ‘filthy rags’. Is that just your view or the view of the Orthodox Church?

      • Nektarios says:

        Concerning our work being filthy rags.
        Look up Isaiah 64:6.

        Our good works even the best works cannot make one righteous, nor can it obtain Salvation.
        Until we see that we are sinners, unrighteous, for all such Christ cameo save.

        There is nothing wrong for the Christian doing good works to me and before men. It may help others to come to Christ as our Lord and Saviour.
        This is the whole biblical and Apostolic and Prophets position. It is the Orthodox position
        and is the RCC true position too, so what are you pushing me for.

        Is that enough for you, Vincent?

  11. St.Joseph says:

    Nektarios., just a thought, what does Isiah 64-6 say about the Good Samaritin?
    I don’t see how his good work was like a filthy rag, or the seven acts of Mercy, feed the hungry clothe the naked etc; Or parable the of the King who walked past Lazarus the poor man every day and ended up in Hell.

  12. John Nolan says:

    Regarding the Protestant Reformation the Catholic Church did not ‘lose the battle’, as even a cursory reading of history will show. By the end of the 16th century Protestantism was being rolled back, and Catholic universities were far more intellectually vibrant than Protestant ones. Of all the heresies, Protestantism is the weakest – it has fragmented into hundreds of different sects in less than 500 years.

    You cannot be a heretic or a schismatic unless you are a Christian. Both are defined by Canon Law and by its definition you fall into both categories. Whether your heresy is material or formal I leave to others. I have no interest in your inner mystical life. My critical judgement is based on what you have written.

    Neither repentance nor contrition is required on my part, and it is impertinent for you to ask for it. If that results in our hearing less from you, then it is your decision, although I, for one, will shed few tears over it.

    • Nektarios says:


      You really must deal with this situation between John Nolan and myself.
      He goes too far in calling me a heretic.
      If you do nothing, then I will see you are in tacit agreement with JN.
      I will be left no option but to leave this blog after 8-9 years.

      • Quentin says:

        Nektarios, I am sorry you are offended. You may have noticed that when John Nolan disagrees with me he pulls no punches. But he supports this with a clarity of expression which is always helpful. (except when he chooses to emphasise his familiarity with Latin!)

        We have recently debated ‘labels’ which may be seen as offensive. ‘Heretic’ is one such; we could imagine is being used by a mob. I am sure, however, that he is using it in a technical sense here. Canon Law gives this definition: “Can. 751 Heresy is the obstinate denial or obstinate doubt after the reception of baptism of some truth which is to be believed by divine and Catholic faith”

        JN apparently holds that your view of the effect of grace in this context is contrary to what the Church has always taught, and it was indeed a big issue in the Reformation. So, insofar as the doctrine you hold is contrary to that of the Church, it is correctly described as heretical. I wish, however, that he had simply said that he judged you were wrong.

        You have indeed been a strong supporter of the Blog over many years, and your contributions have proved helpful in our discussions. I should be very sorry if you left the Blog; we would be the worse for it.

  13. Nektarios says:


    It is regrettable, but JN leaves me no choice after such a tirade and with no apology. If anything over the years, my main reason for contributing was to get one to think and think for themselves.
    I also feel if this is to be the tenor of future postings on the blog by JN and some others, I can’t see the blog lasting for very much longer.
    Thank you for your kind reply.
    God bless

    • St.Joseph says:

      I do hope that you are not suggesting that Catholics are robots.

    • Vincent says:

      Nektarios, I am always intrigued by your replies, they’re worth reading with care. Why let John Nolan shut you up?

    • ignatius says:

      Here we go again, why do you do this heroic blustering martydom thing so often? How many times do you intend to cry wolf on this blog? Best thing is, if you are going then just go, otherwise it gets a bit dull.

  14. John Nolan says:

    Nektarios, if you decide not to contribute further, it is your choice. To suggest that I have left you with no alternative is absurd. I am not the only one to have challenged your assumptions, but your remarks to St. Joseph, an informed and devout Catholic lady, plus your insulting reference to the Church founded on St Peter by Our Lord himself as the ‘RCC’ (a term only used by heretics and schismatics, as you are well aware) impelled me to call you out. This following on from some quite nonsensical comments on an earlier thread.

    Expect your comments to be challenged; this is a Catholic blog after all. Si calorem sustinere non potes, extra culinam permane.

    • Nektarios says:

      John Nolan

      I owe you this as a departing note.
      St. Joseph and I know each other as friends and email each other. My wife and I pray for her on a daily basis. Like all of us, St. Joseph is informed about somethings and blind to other things.

      I was totally unaware, if it is the case that RCC was or is a term used by heretics and schismatics. I was only using the RCC as an abreviation for the Roman Catholic Church.
      I do not mind being called all sorts of things as I have been, but a heretic I am not.

      I don’t mind if some of the things I posted were challenged, nothing wrong with that, but when one gets heated and personal to the degree you referred to me a retired Pastor as a heretic well that cannot go unchallnged. And I still want an apology.

      We discussed some time ago the nature of this blog, it was one of Exploration in Science and Faith. To explore one needs interest and the freedom to explore. One cannot explore bound hand and foot.

      Only today, my wife had a phone call from a Catholic friend in Perthshire, oh yes, we do have them,
      where the priest said Sunday morning, that ‘ the Catholic Church needs to get out of the habit where it thinks it is superior to all the other Churches.’
      On that note I will stop here for now.

      • St.Joseph says:

        I thank you for you and your wife’s prayers as I also pray for you and hope she is keeping well..
        I have many friends and I like the ‘You Tube’ music you fwd to me ‘occasionally’.
        We have never discussed religion only on SS. and that has not always been a discussion for you between the Orthodox and the Catholic church but more like the decision you have made that Catholic’s are living in a ‘heretical’ state and preaching it too.
        You are asking John to apologise to you, he has called you a heretic not only for your comments to me but also because of the put down you have of our Catholic faith which is the One True Holy Catholic Apostolic Church .and Universal.
        We as Catholics are not always true to the blessings that we try to live by, but only God has the power to judge us as individuals if we are living a lie and ‘preaching one too’!
        I don’t know much if anything about your Orthodox beliefs , even if I did I would hopefully not disrespect your faith, and if by any chance we as Catholics offend you by expressing the differences we do discuss with your Orthodox beliefs it is not offensive as your comments are, and seems you are on mission to make Catholics believe that we are /especially myself as you have just posted that I am ‘blind’ which to my mind is more offensive than calling one a heretic.
        I don’t ask for an apology as I believe it would not be sincere!
        I hope we can remain good friends on SS and you will even it is possible try to learn and understand our Catholic Truths, because you have mentioned you don’t always believe the Orthodox. We can not make up a religion of our own like the so many hundreds have done and are still doing in the secular world!

  15. G.D. says:

    “Can. 751 Heresy is the obstinate denial or obstinate doubt after the reception of baptism of some truth which is to be believed by divine and Catholic faith”

    ………….. I would think this made all of us heretical to some degree.
    To believe truth (‘some’ or all of it) as it is in reality, ‘which is to be believed’, we need to know the ‘divine’ fully and of course we don’t.
    I believe in the incarnation resurrection etc etc but what the actual truth of those etc’s is i have no idea – intellectually!

    ……… So, since God doesn’t play intellectual games, or lay impossible dictates (as man chooses to do) there are no ‘heretics’ as such; only heretical believers that are in the process of growing towards the reality of God.
    …………….. ‘then we shall see him(?. No male or female in heaven i understand!) as he is’ ……. then, and only then, will we be able to believe truth (some or all) ‘which is to be believed’ as it is in reality. Not before!
    Then it will be universal (catholic).
    We are all heretical ……….. but not heretics.

    Unless of course we lay the foundations of faith in intellectual literal-isms.
    Then anything goes. And there is no truth beyond our misrepresentation of it!
    No wonder that guy said ‘God is dead’.

    • St.Joseph says:

      Faith is a Gift from God.
      We have a problem today which started many years ago with ecumenism and bad catechesis, and a world that has gone so worldly that there is no place for the Church or prayer in our lives.
      God is not dead only to those who have buried Him from their lives in the Trinity!
      Technology is a gift when used for the good of man, sadly it is being used to replace the ‘natural lives’ of human beings who can do without Him and become God’s themselves.
      My mother had a saying years ago, ‘that man would destroy himself’ eventually. but never be able to destroy God no matter how we try. Our Blessed Mother is holding His hand back. We must pray and pray often. And we thank Him for all the gifts we are given ,if we could only see all the things that God has prepared for those who love Him, we would hide ourselves with shame and die!
      That is what blindness is, not what Nektarios describes.!

  16. Martha says:

    I don’t think any of us is blind, but we are all partially sighted.
    1 Corinthians 13.12 and 13
    Now we are seeing a dim reflection in a mirror, but then we shall be seeing face to face. The knowledge that I have now is imperfect, but then I shall know as fully as I am known.

    • St.Joseph says:

      You are right, perhaps we ought to have the faith of the blind man that Jesus healed,
      and never stop thanking Him for the gifts we receive.
      But we do have to have faith, we can have all the technology that God has given us for our good, but if we do not know who has given it to us for our Salvation on the Cross as a Sacrifice it will always be a dim reflection in a mirror for us all.

  17. John Nolan says:

    St Joseph,

    Nektarios’s Perthshire priest, if he was correctly quoted, made the most crassly ignorant comment that I have ever heard from a priest. Sadly, it is probably par for the course given the appallingly deficient formation given to priests in the wake of Vatican II.

    Many of them can’t even celebrate the Novus Ordo, with its attenuated rubrics, with any degree of liturgical understanding or even basic competence.

    This is what makes people like me, not particularly devout but at least intellectually committed, so frustrated; and the example of confusion and contradiction given by Pope Francis makes me question whether I did indeed live through the worst pontificate of modern times (Paul VI, 1963-1978).

    Still, we don’t have too many problems in the Oxford area, and those living in London are also favoured. But in most parts of the country I would be hard pressed to keep practising, given the dire liturgy and even more dire music to be endured week in, week out.

    • G.D. says:

      John, we suffer some of the ‘dires’ in London too!

      • John Nolan says:

        Yes, but they are easily avoided!

      • G.D. says:

        Do avoid, John.
        Wasn’t advocating for Latin Masses only. Not that I’ve anything against them. But a good ‘modern’ liturgy can be very full & satisfying for the spirit too.
        Prefer a reverent & quiet mass with plenty of silence myself. Not much of that around anywhere. No monastery near me unfortunately.

  18. ignatius says:

    I’m very interested in this last judgement thing, it fascinates me to see what the make up of an individual causes them to see in their analysis of what is to come. My PP suggested the other week that we are judged to see how much good we have done, how much we have loved. This makes sense bearing in mind Christ died for our sins and won for us salvation. Its actually quite a complex picture, biblically and theologically, when you look at it. As far as I get with it is that if we die in a state of grace then we are saved from damnation. However there is more to it than that because what we do or do not do affects our state and progress in the next life seeing as the need for purification persists after death. There is also the issue of ‘place’ in heaven.
    I generated a huge argument last week in a prayer group I run, by suggesting that God chooses not to remember our sins. Most persons there were very keen on judgement in the punitive sense rather than the loving, which was odd really. Should anyone care to get out the catechism or trawl through the bible I would be most grateful for a view, especially if expressed in plain English rather than religious jargon!

    • St.Joseph says:

      We can not speak for God. The only thought that I can think about- that is what St Padre Pio said to many when reading souls, ‘God knows every soul by name when he or she is conceived! Only the Lord knows that.
      My mother used to say ‘Our path is paved out for us. God knows in advance, even if we die prematurely.

  19. Alasdair says:

    Finally I’m forced to lay my cards on the table!

    Christians are saved by believing that Jesus died on the cross for their sins, and as Christians, they have transferred to that belief, all the hope they may once have placed upon anything that they could have achieved through their own works. They refuse to hedge their bets, and refuse to entertain any other claim to be the means of salvation. They “put all their eggs into the gospel basket”.
    Our trust in, and gratitude for what Jesus did for us on the cross is credited to us by God as righteousness, just as if we had never sinned. That is the Gospel and that it is the truth, perhaps the only undefiled truth. Once in this state of “being saved”, the Holy Spirit is free to transform us and to guide our actions. These actions though, are not the means of salvation.

    Every other belief which people then hold, and everything else they then do in the name of their faith, is either
     a gift or fruit of the Spirit, pointing towards the gospel or flowing directly from the gospel, and is therefore pleasing to God,
    or is
     from Satan, designed to obscure the gospel and therefore to break God’s heart.

    In the absence of the ability to faultlessly discern between these two possibilities, it is best to avoid forms of religion which are cluttered with tradition, peripheral beliefs, peripheral practices, and human authority.

    This last paragraph encapsulates my reason for not joining the RCC. I do not doubt though, in the slightest, that many catholics are saved.

    • St.Joseph says:

      Your last paragraph puzzles me . Are Catholics not Christians in your mind?

      • Alasdair says:

        Are Catholics not Christians in your mind?
        Reply: Of course they are if they believe the gospel – not because they are Catholics – which of course applies equally to members of all traditions.

      • St.Joseph says:

        Thank you
        I just think we are separated by names when identifying when only true love in Jesus Christ is necessary.
        I married a Methodist .Who eventually became a Catholic before he died, through his own journey in faith and love.

  20. Ignatius says:

    If you read, say, Ch10 in the book of Hebrews, it’s pretty obvious that the early church would not agree with your ‘once and for all’ view. It’s a bit more complex than that I’m afraid. Also, I would have thought that your penultimate paragraph was in fact a very good reason to join a Church which had prayed and discussed the these issues ceaselessly since the days of the early Church thus more likely to have figured out the wiles and misdeeds of the enemy.

    • Alasdair says:

      “a very good reason to join a Church which had prayed and discussed the these issues ceaselessly since the days of the early Church thus more likely to have figured out the wiles and misdeeds of the enemy”.
      Good point. The RCC has certainly also been a target of wiles and misdeeds – perhaps because Satan sees it as a dangerous adversary!

  21. Iona says:

    You say: “Christians are saved by believing that Jesus died on the cross for their sins” – you say nothing of non-Christians; do you believe that they can be saved, though by some other means than believing that Jesus died on the cross for their sins? If so, by what means?

    (Both my parents lived and died unbelievers; I would be most unhappy to think that their chances of salvation were nil).

    I do hope Nektarios does not leave the blog altogether.

    • Nektarios says:


      I am deliberating, monitoring the situation.

      What Alasdair points out is quite correct.

      Regarding your parents, only God knows the whole story of their journey. God is not willing that any should perish.
      Many have the opportunity to become Christians, but many don’t have that opportunity- even in this country of the UK.
      Two world wars caused a great falling away from believing in God. WW1 saw so many of the men killed in action.
      WW2 saw many killed in action, but this time it took what little faith they had away.

      It was also the case in their day, that many did not speak of their faith in God or argue about it in their day, but God saw all concerning your parents.
      He is not willing that they should perish either.
      As Alasdair pointed out, with man it is impossible, but with God all things are possible
      God’s does not judge according to the limited perspective that we humans have.

      I am sure from what you say, you loved your parents – infinetely more does God love them.
      Have hope in Christ concerning them and press on in your own spiritual journey in faith.

      • Alasdair says:

        Yes, exactly Nektarios:
        We must press on in our spiritual journey in faith.
        We must have hope in Christ concerning loved-ones who seemed to be unbelievers, remembering that God does not judge according to the limited perspective that we humans have.

  22. Iona says:

    John Nolan – Although I live “out in the sticks” and attend a church with a rather small congregation, our PP can and does celebrate a Tridentine rite Mass once a month, – or the Novus Ordo if he has no altar server. And we have an excellent little choir trained by a particularly good organist; visitors to the church often comment favourably on the music.

    • Alasdair says:

      “do you believe that they can be saved”
      Matt 19:25 “When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?” 26 But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

  23. Ignatius says:

    Phew that’s ok then, Nektarios, we can all sleep easy in our beds now you are monitoring things…..

    • Nektarios says:

      I am only personally monitoring to decide whether or not a will make a departure from the blog or not.
      I am not too well at present and really don’t need that which is not spiritually edifying or instructive, not hardline judgements made about me or anyone else on the blog.
      Perhaps you too may think I am heretical, that spiritually I can draw for for myself. This linear level of discussion is baby Christian stuff to me.

      • ignatius says:

        Alas, I would not grace the majority your thoughts so highly as to call them heretical. Pompous, misinformed, prejudiced and sometimes deeply eccentric, yes, all of those things. Like Quentin though, I would not have elevated them to the level of heresy mainly because of their rambling lack of coherence. Sooner or later, on here at least, we have to try and act as adults, Nektarios, we have to take responsibility for what we say, for our own idiosyncracies, and for their effects on others; time I think you took your share and stopped complaining.
        Personally I hate it when people bleat on about being ‘christian’ or ‘unchristian’ on here, as if the slightest lapse of ‘blog manners’ displays anything of who we are -that is its own form of religious ‘correctness’, as is demanding apologies, crying ‘foul’ and other suchlike stuff. Sometimes stuff posted on here causes strong reactions and there is no reason why it shouldn’t,this is, as John Nolan says, a Catholic blog and on those terms, he spoke correctly and forensically of your ramblings. Probably all on here get a bit piqued from time to time and decide to stop playing and take our ball home with us, most do it privately though then rejoin the fray after having got over ourselves. Stay or go, its up to you Nektarios, I don’t guess it really matters that much, but anyway, we have been here before and you are still present.

      • Galerimo says:

        My word Nektarios you really are getting a telling off here. But I am delighted to see you are sticking around.

        As a lifelong member of the RCC I really loved how you opened up the discussion with the beautiful truth about how God saves us so generously- it was a moment of spiritual darkness that you broke open for me with that wonderful truth.Thank you again.

        And I also admired your generous apology last time when Quentin had to pull you into line for writing more than 600 words. He didn’t ask for an apology but sounds like he did appreciate it when you kindly offered it.

        There is an awful lot of rubbish that gets dressed up as sacred in our Catholic Church. We really do need people like Martin Luther and yourself to call it out for us at times. I really appreciate the service of correction and take no offence at the way you do it. I’m afraid it’s too late for me to say this to Martin but may God forgive me if I don’t say to you ‘Brother please don’t go’.

        I am sorry to hear that you have health issues at the moment. I hope they will be quickly resolved and you get back to full strength soon. I will keep you in my prayers.

  24. G.D. says:

    “Alasdair says:
    October 24, 2016 at 6:34 pm
    In the absence of the ability to faultlessly discern between these two possibilities, it is best to avoid forms of religion which are cluttered with tradition, peripheral beliefs, peripheral practices”

    Are they not some of the means & ways we do discern between the black & white?
    Don’t let’s throw out the baby with the bathwater.

    Admittedly with the distortions of “human authority”
    ……….. (added by peoples ego’s for as many reasons as there are ego’s!) ………..
    we CAN end up with many perpetual greys of ‘religiosity’.
    But the Perennial Reality, which transcends all blacks whites & greys, is still amongst them.
    To varying degrees accepted or refused.

    As it is for/in all creation.
    The Spirit reveals to all for all.

    It’s the ‘way’ we see not ‘what’ that indicates the correct path to follow.

  25. Martha says:

    Our parish priest recently relayed a little story about a group of people recently admitted to heaven by St. Peter. They were discussing their good fortune and how it had happened. One thought it must be because he had tried to follow the commandments and had mostly done what he thought was right during his life. Another said it must be because she had a very good family who prayed for her a lot. Someone else mentioned a very hard life and a painful illness. Just then a lady came along dressed in very everyday clothes, who they did not realise was Our Lady, so they asked her why she thought she had been allowed in. Her reply, as they suddenly recognised the Mother of God, was, “I am here by the mercy of God.”

  26. St.Joseph says:

    I heard or read somewhere maybe a sermon at Mass.
    People were walking into Heaven and at the door was a poorly shabbily dressed man sitting outside.
    When the people were inside they were looking for Jesus . St Peter said to them ‘He is sitting outside waiting for ‘you’.!

    • Martha says:

      That is a very good story too, St. Joseph. I think they are invaluable, helping us to really appreciate important truths, like Our Lord’s parables.

      • St.Joseph says:

        Yes. like your story too.
        I heard another one completely in contrast.
        The Pope was visiting a Community of some sort and at the door sat a beggar.
        The Pope looked at him and began to speak to him.
        Nearby was a man who always wanted to speak to the Pope, so he dressed up as a beggar leaving his car in a car park and waited outside for the Pope to come out,
        When the Pope came out the man got very excited and waited to see if he would stop and speak to him, which he did. The Pope said to him I thought I told you to clear off.!

        (Sorry Holy Father forgive me!) I know you wouldn’t do that

    • G.D. says:

      And then there’s the newly arrived ‘saint’ who wanted to know what was behind all the walls in heaven …. ‘Oh, they are the ones who think only the ones who think the same as them are here.’ was St Peter’s reply.

      • St.Joseph says:

        Yes that is a very popular saying, I like it because to me it say’s’ St Peter is there in authority where Jesus gave to him in scripture.

  27. Geordie says:

    Why are people on this blog so un-Christian towards Nektarios? I don’t agree with him very often, but like Voltaire, I defend his right to say what he believes. I don’t think “RCC” is an insult. I think the Catholic Church and its members should welcome criticism; then we can either refute it or accept it. Whatever we do it will improve our understanding of our Faith.
    When my final judgement comes, I don’t think I’ll be judged on my ability to appreciate the beauty of the Latin liturgy nor my adherence to the Church in everything it says. Even St Thomas Aquinas was considered to be a heretic by some of his contemporaries. I think I’ll be judged on my charity towards others and my prayer life towards God, who has given us the duty of being His instruments on earth.
    As a Christian and a Catholic, I have to discipline myself not to take offence when others reject me or my ideas. I find it very difficult and hope I am not judged too harshly for this weakness and all the others.

    • G.D. says:

      I think it happens because of the way people express – and the way others ‘read’ into it. Rather than hear the tone of the words and try to see the meaning of them, devoid of the emotions invoked. (Especially those who would claim no emotions are involved!).
      R.C.C. being an obvious example.

      Some of what is written in print seems more offensive to the ‘reader’, than it does to the ‘author saying’ it. Both ‘reader’ and ‘author’ can be applied to everyone here at times.
      Then ….. it all kicks off with accusations and ‘childish’ tit for tat come backs. It takes two to tango.

      I can recall when i first came on the blog, some people ‘got at me’ in their replies as far as i was concerned. But now, even though they use the same language/format i realise they aren’t, it’s just their way of expressing language which seems offensive to me at times. (Still!).
      To be sure, it would be different over a cup of tea and cake. Still argumentative, maybe, but less vindictive seeming.

      • St.Joseph says:

        My mother always called herself a Roman Catholic. I always thought she was making the point of being faithful to the Pope. Most people in those days and probably in todays
        it is considered to be ‘blind belief’ and we have not got a mind or intellect of our own to think for ourselves with regard to the teaching of Holy Mother Church in Truth.
        Which really is an insult to Catholics.
        I am making reference to Nektarios’s comment to my blindness, which I found offensive as I said in an earlier post to him. It is highly insulting!

  28. St.Joseph says:

    I would like also if other Denominations djdn’t take offence when we as Catholics profess our faith.

    • G.D. says:

      Yes, St. J. I too read that comment about ‘blindness’ as insulting at first, but on reflection maybe it was used in a generic sense for all the blindness we all, as a ‘fallen race’, have.
      Case in point about how ‘reader’ and ‘author’ will see differently.
      But yes, it’s understandable to take offense at it.
      I too call myself Roman Catholic, but R.C.C is not offensive for me.

      • St.Joseph says:

        I taught NFP for years also defended Life from conception, defended against the destruction of many liberal changes in the Catholic Church during the late 60s onwards , feminism. New Age .etc etc etc. destruction of the Sanctuary’s because the ‘so called modern Church’ as I saw it as fallen to pieces. Catholic education in the schools .Religious instructions, sex education which is really the parents duties, Femenism, Women Priests and Devotions were supposed to be old-fashioned, Corpus Christi Processions , Benediction. Communion in the hand kneeling provided. Getting locked out of the Church along with 130 oyjer and the police called to arrest us, On and On and On.
        That is all history now and we can see now the changes has left with so many losing the faith, mostly our young people. We reap what we sow!
        I had no authority from the Church to do that. I was considered to be a trouble maker along with other elderly Catholics, who had their hearts broken.
        For what I ask, Empty Churches and ecumenism . and all for Vatican11.
        I am not proud if I offended the modernists. I will hopefully God will understand when I am judged!

      • St.Joseph says:

        P.S Also worst of all, being prevented from saying the Rosary of Our Lady of Mount Carmel as was said for years weekly before Holy Mass, if we offered one decade for the previous Parish Priest who had died!

      • St.Joseph says:

        G.D Another one,
        Natural Family Planning Clinic in my house Free teaching.Posters thrown away in Catholic Church Halls. Where the local Library kept them up!!
        How disgraceful is that?

    • G.D. says:

      St. j,
      Yes i know where your coming from. To take a stand against the evils that confront us is a must. You and your kind are very brave. I know of peace activists that have spent time in prison for marking the ministry of defence building with a charcoal cross at Easter. How stupid the ‘laws’ that uphold such! And the people who comply with them.
      If only i had the courage and equanimity to do such action peacefully – but i just get carried away by confrontational anger and fall into deep sin ranting and raving AT people!

      As a convert just after Vat. II i was instructed & accepted into the church by Newman’s Oratorian’s, and the parish life included Latin & vernacular masses – both of which gave me so much – society of St. Vincent D’Paul run ‘old school’, by people of your ilk i suspect, who i admired and respect still, which taught me so much; Corpus Christi processions, Regular Benediction, 40 hours prayer, and other ‘old school’ devotions (and attitudes) that gave me firm foundations. And i cherish those to this day.
      My love of silent prayer/worship came from that. But there was also that new life and freedom that came with Vat. II flowing throughout the parish, and it was positive and good, the Spirit is truly in it i believe.

      So, i was accepted into the church on the cusp of both ‘new & old’ and cherish BOTH. Which makes it rather difficult to be accepted by extreme practitioners of either way, which is fine – part of my cross!
      If i was to label myself it would be as a ‘progressive traditionalist’ – i believe and live Catholicism, according to sincere seeking and a clear conscience (sinner that i am of course!) but don’t repress ‘inspirations’ that i know is of God (Prayer and discernment for it always. For months at a time often!). And suffer the ‘conflict’ as i walk the ‘middle way’.
      I can’t denounce either because i see the good in both.
      And see (experience?) the destruction inherent in EXTREME adherence to either to the EXCLUSION of one or the other.

      The baby and the bathwater are in both. Exclusion of one or the other (or both!) throw the whole lot out the widows that were opened.

      Reminds me of the fledgling church .. plenty of St Paul’s letters are applicable to today’s lax spiritual/religious climate. And plenty of Jesus’ sayings against the pharisees too.

      I believe we are in the middle of a new birth in the world, a birth that includes the ‘genetic’ connections to history – it is traditional, and transitional. Death & Resurrection.
      And God given. But we need to accept both. Without the bath water!
      (sorry for the length of this Joycean ramblings, couldn’t cut it down any more and retain the little sense it has).

  29. John Nolan says:

    I take your point, but when people reject the Catholic Church and her teachings they are not rejecting ‘me or my ideas’. I am of no account, and my private opinions matter not one jot. I am prepared to argue in favour of factual accuracy as against preconceived notions which would contradict the evidence – in many cases this is easily demonstrable.

    But when it comes to the greater Truth, I have only two options. Either I accept what the Church teaches, while acknowledging that I may have signally failed to live up to that standard; or I can leave the Church and attempt to work out my own salvation ‘extra ecclesiam’.

    There are commentators on this blog who are not Catholic, and make no bones about why they have decided not to embrace Catholicism. That is their choice. Perhaps the example of Newman, Manning and many others matters little to them. However, the arguments they use have been aired countless times and refuted countless times. What has happened to Catholic apologetics? Not a rhetorical question, since the plain answer is that it has been subsumed into a swamp of pseudo-ecumenism and feel-good religiosity which Newman (for one) would have abhorred.

    • G.D. says:

      But only refuted from a logical point of view, John. Is there no other factors to be taken into considerations?

      When it comes to the greater Truth(s) there is no logical argument to sustain them.
      (God Trinity Hypostatic Union etc etc. Although with the onset of quantum science it might not be far off).

      Is there a third option? To acknowledge church teaching, and acknowledge personal discrepancy with it. Suffer the pain of that within oneself and wait for a non-logical
      reconciliation of the two; or a change in one or the other?
      Our (Church & individual) understanding of Truth does develop over time due to that.

      Catholic apologetics are alive and well and an invaluable tool in certain circumstances. Just found wanting in other circumstances is all.

      Did Newman only ‘logically refute’, or struggle with discrepancies in other ways too?

      • John Nolan says:


        Definitely not refuted ‘from a logical point of view’ although Newman did observe that ‘to be deep in history is to cease to be Protestant’.

        Faith and Reason complement one another. A little over ten years ago Benedict XVI addressed Regensburg University on this issue, and read in its entirety it is one of the most important papal utterances of the last 50 years.

        When I compare his clarity of thought with Bergoglio’s bumbling badinage, I could weep.

  30. Martha says:

    John, I think there is room in the Church for both, and to me, many of Pope Francis’ statements and observations are very Christlike. Your clever alliterative description assumes that his audience is always in an academic lecture theatre.

  31. Geordie says:

    John Nolan
    The example of Newman is heroic and saintly but what I know about Manning would not convince me to become a Catholic.
    Newman was taken aback at the papal bull stating that Anglican orders were null and void. However he accepted the ruling. Maybe the Church is reconsidering this, when one looks at the prominence the last few popes have given to the Anglican clergy in recent years.

    • John Nolan says:


      Manning is in many respects a more attractive figure than Newman. His concern for social justice led him to take a leading role in mediating the London dock strike of 1889 and his support for workers’ rights influenced Rerum Novarum. Until the day he died he wore around his neck a portrait of his beloved wife, and kept a leather-bound book of her personal devotions.

      Apostolicae Curae is not the last word on Anglican orders, but Rome cannot recognize them in toto, especially since the CofE now ‘ordains’ women. Their validity can possibly be considered on a case-by-case basis, but as things stand, former Anglican clergy need to be re-ordained.

  32. G.D. says:

    the popes ‘badinage’ is not from the ‘head’ you appreciate so much, it’s from the heart. A bandage for it!?
    As Martha said there is room for both. BOTH are vital even. And other expressions need to be ‘heard’ and accepted and let go of ….

    Case you site, Anglican Clergy were accepted as R.C. priests (with minimum of ‘training’ from the church i believe) some married too. The church develops, practices change, accepted truth (of the priesthood at least) alters ….. thanks be to God!

  33. ignatius says:

    GD “I too call myself Roman Catholic, but R.C.C is not offensive for me.”

    For what it is worth I don’t find ‘RCC’ offensive either. Those of us who are post Vatican II converts and coming in from out of the wider church tend to scratch our heads a bit at all this kind of stuff. In my own eyes I am Roman Catholic in that I adhere to her teachings and have made vows of obedience to our Bishop. What each of us is in our hearts is, I should think unknown to our own selves, we can’t really go there to see. But I do recognise increasingly that we are formed by the whole of our church experience which gets slowly clarified as we go. I have made the journey from the House church of the 80’s, via Anglicanism through to where I am today and, for me, this kind of journeying is a pilgrimage of ascents, not taken consciously or through argument but through the circumstance and pathways of life. I am aware that, were I to be thoroughly inquisited then I would may not quite ‘cut the mustard’ of any particular orthodoxy but I believe strongly in the Real Presence and see little in the magisterium to dissent with.

    To return to the topic on judgement however I would say that yes we can expect God to judge us more mercifully than we ourselves do, because He already has. Further that we grow in mercy as our fracture lines are gradually healed, were I not in need of Mercy still (and aware of it) then I would not be a Catholic. What I would like to know is this: Is being judged on the good we have done/ not done, the same as being judged on the bad we have done/not done, is it the same thing?(ccc1039-1041) This is the kind of question I often get asked in one form or another and haven’t yet found a way of answering.

    • ignatius says:

      In fact it would be very odd if God were not to judge us more mercifully than we judge ourselves or others. Perhaps Quentin is implying that we cannot presume on Gods judging, which is true, we cannot.

      • St.Joseph says:

        We can only do what our conscience guides us to do and pray that our spirit is in Communion with the Holy Spirit and the Mystical Body of Christ.

      • G.D. says:

        To judge entails a ‘between’ two things. It’s not either good OR bad it’s ‘both’.
        If i judge one thing as ‘good’ then automatically the opposite (the ‘bad’) of that ‘good’ is brought into (posited by?) the action of the ‘judgement’. And visa versa.
        Unsaid or not the ‘other’ is there.
        Maybe that’s why Jesus said not to judge.
        Only God is good in that sense and capable of judgement.

        Personally i don’t see that God has any ‘need’ (or ability even) to judge, as in reward or condemn.

        And ‘judgements’ on ( as opposed to discerning between) light & dark : good/bad must be concerned with rewards & punishments somehow.
        Whereas ‘judging’ (discerning?) without concerns for condemning or rewarding is …. … ? … … different. (Mercy, love?).

        I think God ‘discerns ways’ to continually give mercy/love : rather than judges to give reward or condemnation.

        Only we create the dark. By our actions and attitudes (orientations?). We are ‘good’ (light) or ‘bad’ (dark) in as much as we accept the ‘grace of love’.
        We are mostly full of greys of course!

        God encourages, creates, the light/good/love. There is no dark for/in God.(?)

        Someone once said ….
        ‘There’s a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in’

        ‘O necessary, sin of Adam’ is in the liturgy for Easter i believe?

      • St.Joseph says:

        That’s fine, I hope you are feeling better.

        I am going to Wales for a few days with my family, to visit my brother who is not too well .
        I may not be able to answer any reply,s from me if anyone asks

  34. Nektarios says:

    St. Joseph

    I would like to clear up a misunderstanding that seems to exist about our blindness.
    I was not saying you are blind St. Joseph, all I was saying was in somethings we are all to some extent blind- that was all.
    Please forgive me, if I gave the wrong impression.
    It is easy sometimes to misread what one has posted especially on blogs.

  35. ignatius says:

    “Someone once said ….
    ‘There’s a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in’..”

    That marvellous line appears in a Leonard Cohen song, but I think it is attributed to Rumi.

    “Maybe that’s why Jesus said not to judge.
    Only God is good in that sense and capable of judgement.
    Personally i don’t see that God has any ‘need’ (or ability even) to judge, as in reward or condemn.”

    The reason I’m always keen to hear the thoughts of others on these doctrinal issues, and thanks for your own input, is that they are complex and difficult to tease out, yet in the eyes of those who ask, they are neccessary things to answer. So, for example, when we read Jesus on the last judgement in Matt 25 v31-46, there is a very definite sense of objective judgement and reward. What is not spoken in these accounts is the tone of voice in which the King passes sentence.

    Many people , especially where I work, see things very much in black and white accounting terms and so one has to try and give the sense that, like a gardener with a plant…a fig tree for that matter… the uprooting and burning comes only as an extreme last resort, and sorrowfully at that.

    So, when I think of the last judgement , my own view is very close to that of Quentin’s. The issue for me is that, on the one hand the bible is full of Gods promises through the prophets to remember our sins no more but yet the book of revelations and the account I have given you in Matthew speak very clearly of an accounting to be made. Once we get beyond cliche’s this is a tricky subject to try and grapple with…I have to preach and teach on it over the beginnings of Advent so you can see why I am interested to hear peoples views!


  36. Geordie says:

    Anglican clergy still have to be re-ordained (or just ordained) by a bishop, irrespective of the training.

    • G.D. says:

      Yes i know. It’s the ‘re’ that seems odd to me (and the lack of ‘formation’ in some cases).
      Either they were ordained or they weren’t prior to ordination. … which could open a kettle full of woes.
      And the fact that some are married, where celibacy is mandate for ‘new’ candidates, which seems like a double standard somehow.
      But not that concerned about it. Who am i to judge!?

      I’ve met some former clergy who are now priests in the R.C.C. , know one fairly well. Have nothing against them at all.

  37. G.D. says:

    ‘an accounting’ need not necessarily be a condemnatory judgement from/of God. …..
    …. From a R. Rohr meditation …….

    ‘… “When Pope Francis threw open the Door of Mercy in Rome signifying the start of the” Year of Mercy” on December 8, 2015, he said, “How much wrong we do to God and his grace when we speak of sins being punished by his judgment before we speak of their being forgiven by his mercy. We have to put mercy before judgment, and in any event, God’s judgment will always be in the light of his mercy”–which is infinite!
    We don’t know what to do with “infinity,” because it does something with us. Our human minds can’t conceptualize, comprehend, or control the “infinite.” This explains why our counting and calculating minds fall back on a manageable notion like judgement. In fact, we seem to prefer it. In most sermons I’ve heard, when speaking about mercy the preacher quickly adds: “But of course God’s mercy must always be tempered by his judgment!” Judgment is too often the final word, and so it remains in our memories, which naturally turn toward fear. Unfortunately, the most common view of God’s judgment is retributive justice, which appeals to the ego, rather than restorative justice, which brings true transformation. …’

    Which says it for me, any ‘judging’ by God brings restoration (redemption) to the soul(s) and God’s Will will do what is needed to Resurrect creation to it’s original blessed state.

    Failing that there is no hope for any individual part of creation. It’s a unity that can only be redeemed as a whole.

    It’s only through realising that concept i started to live for the love of God; and realised I’d been living from the fear of damnation; oh, so subtly and unconsciously.
    Condemning others who didn’t ‘agree’ with me to boot.

    Of course i fail miserably in living it, full of greys just as much as ever, but it doesn’t matter; there is no chance of God judging me or condemning me (or anyone). Nor ever was it so, nor will it ever be so.

    i can now (try to) live ‘love’ for the sake of love given me, not for rewards for being ‘good’ – only God is good – or from the hidden fears of condemnation lurking in the background.

    • G.D. says:

      On reflection can’t resist saying ….

      If i see God as a judging God, knowing full well i (anyone) doesn’t, nor ever could, deserve salvation, then i’m lost. And Rightly so!

      But God say’s “look with my eyes … learn to see how i see … I can ONLY love … and only I CAN love. That is your salvation, that is your ability to accept love and allow love to be.”
      (And mercy?).

      Only God is good. Only God is light. I can only pray to be the cracked earthen vessel for that ‘Godness’, not any good of my own i mistakenly think i’m capable of.
      Until, the ‘moment’ that light fills me (and all creation) so full it is the only thing left.
      Only then will i truly live – ‘not i but Christ lives in me’.

      Perversely i can say, in all sincerity despite my (and all) iniquity, that ‘moment’ in truth, is accomplished. (Already, my Life!).
      Through him, with him in him.

  38. ignatius says:

    G.D Thanks for the two quotes, they are useful. I have been struggling my way towards the Rohr view you express, with regard to accounting in love and not in vengeance that is. ‘Struggling’ in the sense of trying to articulate, I mean. Also Pope Francis, we have been preaching mercy all year and, even so, there remains the preference to see ‘judgement’ first. Also the ‘moment’ in truth is interesting, we can only feel that ‘moment’ in the now, we cannot hold on to it; that’s why ,I think, we stick with judgement..we all keep lists and cannot throw them away. Have you read Mother Theresa’s book, “Come be my light”?

  39. John Nolan says:

    ‘There is no chance of God judging me or condemning me (or anyone).’ I wish I could be so sanguine, but I can’t simply discard what is written in the Gospels.

    God’s mercy is indeed infinite, but presumption of the same is one of the sins against the Holy Ghost. Or so the Church has taught, and I am by no means confident that my private hopes and inclinations can overrule that either.

  40. ignatius says:

    John Nolan,

    Thanks for that, comes to the nub of the issue quite precisely. Where do you get that about presumption being a sin against the Holy Spirit from?

  41. Ignatius says:

    Ok, Found it. Thomas Aquinas..
    Presuming on Gods mercy that one will be saved while not doing the things required for salvation.

  42. G.D. says:

    John ignatius,
    Am not presuming that i will be saved by doing or not doing whatever ….. just that it is done by Christs doing. There is nothing i can do to achieve salvation.
    Coming to realise (believe) that is acceptance of salvation, It is then that salvation became a reality for me.
    Reward or condemnation (judgement) has no part in it.
    That enables/inspires me to imitate that love, feebly, and repent when i don’t.
    It is that ‘attitude’ that enables me (despite myself!) to reflect, in some small way, that love and mercy in/of life. And i can’t own any action of good as mine!

    If i am condemned or saved matters not a jot. What and how i am NOW (every given moment) is what counts.
    Yet, despite my failings, i trust and hope.

    I no longer fear doing wrong against God, sorrowful as i am when i realise i do; i just desire to live the love that God is.

    It is because i realise (know) that God accepts me as i am, warts and all, and desires me to be ‘perfect’ eventually, that gives me assurance i eventually will be .

  43. Ignatius says:

    Yes. It’s almost as if we are viewing the same thing through a different lens. How about this for an illustration… You are sitting on a bus and trusting in the drivers ability to make the journey. All you have to do then is to not get off the bus or annoy the driver or other passengers to the extent that you get turfed off! This means you have to abide by the generally agreed code of passenger conduct..which includes plenty of caveats and even has a cooling off seat to go and sit on from time to tim, so it’s not that hard really, just that the journey is long. Also you have to stay on the bus, not abandon it.
    Catholic doctrine, as I read it, sees life as a kind of trialing out of love, we prove ourselves worthy as we are proven so, in other words we re given the grace not to fail and that grace keeps us from failing. But it remains possible to the end that we might slip into mortal sin and be lost to God forever. Anybody read it differently?

  44. ignatius says:

    Oh, one more thing,

    Even if you get off the bus in a huff it will come round again and you will be invited back on. Only trouble is you might die while waiting and you don’t know when the bus might stop running!
    If there are any creative types among you then any helpful allegories that can story the picture – or references to parables etc- would be most helpful!

    • Martha says:

      It is a really good illustration, Ignatius, and perhaps Jesus is driving the bus, as the little girl thought when a hearse went by, and she was told, that is for someone who has died and they are going to heaven.

      • St.Joseph says:

        It would be good if I would apologise to the driver and passengers and say sorry to them.
        It would be a good thing also to go to the Sacrament of Confession to receive forgiveness for committing the sin of the second commandment . Grace is always a good thing to receive.

  45. Martha says:

    There is a very thoughtful article in today’s Aletia about what heaven might be like, and how we will get there:
    It includes a quote from Deuteronomy 1:30,31
    The Lord your God Who goes before you, is the one Who will fight for you, just as He acted before your very eyes in Egypt. In the wilderness you saw how the Lord your God carried you as one carries his own child all along your journey until you arrived at this place.

  46. ignatius says:

    There you go you see…all together now:
    “The wheels on the bus go round and round, round and round, round and round. The wheels on the bus go round and round, all day long..The children on the bus go chitter chatter chatter…….”
    What was that about needing to be like little children in order to enter the kingdom of heaven….!

    • Martha says:

      Thank you, Ignatius, I shall be all right then. On the other hand, didn’t St Paul say something about when I was a child . . . but now I am an adult . . . ?

      • ignatius says:

        Yes but he was a bit of a nag wasn’t he!! (Oooops… sorry, Paul )

      • St.Joseph says:


        Yes Martha, ‘but now that I am an adult I put away childish things’.
        Quentin mentioned the Beatific Vision.
        We grow up spiritually, we can do that at any age,
        Marys’ Song Luke1.46 ‘My Soul. Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord’s Word to Her will be fulfilled. Then Mary said My soul Magnifys the Lord and my Spirit rejoices in God my Saviour.
        Our soul becomes more important than earthly things, as to why priests become ordained and women become Nuns. and religious.
        There is no reason why we can not let It happen and put away childish things,
        It is a case of loving God more than ourselves.
        We can then cope with any sufferings we have ,and look forward to meeting Him as we do in the Blessed Sacrament on our Altars. Truly Present.

    • Martha says:

      Ignatius, to be even more flippant, my favourite is the Flanders and Swann song about a Big six-wheeler, scarlet-painted, London Transport, diesel-engined, ninety-seven–horse-power omnibus, known as The Transport of Delight, special interest as we have a son who drives one.
      Incidentally, he would be delighted if chitter chatter chatter was all that the children on his bus did at school start and finish times.

  47. tim says:

    My lord, I will use them according to their desert.”
    “God’s bodykins, man, much better. Use every man after his desert, and who should ’scape whipping? “

    We can all ‘scape whipping, if we wish, through the free gift of grace offered to all. We are also free to refuse this. There is no pass mark – but we must accept grace – ‘turn up for the exam’. We may (and should) worry about what constitutes refusal – but not too much. God is both infinitely merciful and infinitely just. He’ll get it right.

    • St.Joseph says:

      It says in the Bible that You forgave Saul, even though he had been responsible for the deaths of many Christians he became St Paul when he had a meeting with You.

  48. ignatius says:

    I don’t know if anyone has any idea about this but I have a question I am stuck with.

    Does confessed sin come up at the particular last judgement? In other words, when we confess our sins are they ‘remembered’ at the end when we are weighed according to the good or bad we have done? (see Matt ch 25 v 31-46) If anyone has read anything by anybody on this issue I would be very pleased to know. Quentin, I’m sure you will have a view on the subject!

    Before you all call me guilt ridden and neurotic, I’m trying to find out how to answer this kind of question for the sake of others, its not something I lie in bed worrying about every night…at least it wasn’t until I got asked the question myself…

    • Martha says:

      Will the effect of our sins on other people be held up to the light I wonder?

    • Quentin says:

      Ignatius, if I steal your pay packet I may be truly sorry and you may fully forgive me. But I cannot escape my obligation to pay you back. Translated into a religious version, ‘satisfaction’ for the sin, as it is called, must also be made. That satisfaction, if not otherwise given, is in effect paid in Purgatory. If Catherine of Genoa’s vision of Purgatory is to believed, the souls there are only too pleased to be relieved of their debt which stands between them and the Beatific Vision.

      Although our understanding of Purgatory is necessarily naïve, it gives us a way of seeing how both justice and mercy are served.

      • St.Joseph says:

        Jesus said to the good thief ‘This day you will be with me in Paradise’
        He must have owed a lot of money. Or is Paradise where Jesus went to set free souls.

      • John Nolan says:

        Quentin, Newman put it beautifully:

        Help, Lord, the souls that thou hast made,
        The souls to thee so dear;
        In prison for the debt unpaid
        Of sins committed here.

        Those holy souls, they suffer on,
        Resigned in heart and will,
        Until thy high behest is done,
        And justice has its fill.

        Not that I imagine most modern Catholics will sing this hymn tomorrow.

  49. Ignatius says:

    Yes, I guess so, since all will be revealed for all to see.

  50. Martha says:

    I should think that confessed and forgiven sins, both of commission and omission, are included in the particular judgement, so that the extent of any need for further purification can be clearly seen, and even more, so that God’s great love and mercy can overwhelm us with its immensity.

    • Ignatius says:

      Martha and Quentin,

      Yes, I’ve been ferreting around a bit with this and have come up with an answer which echo’s your own. As Quentin says, there are temporal aspects of sin which need redress either in this life or the next. At the particular judgement of our individual selves, at the moment of our own, all is laid bare to be judged in love. Assuming we are in a state of grace then the particular judgement is to the extent that we have loved. Despite our fallen natures, how have we done and what shortfall still needs to be made up. During our lives, how much have we grown in holiness, making use of the graces made available to us?
      So the value of confessing our sins lies in the fact that, while the scars remain, the wound no longer festers. In other words we are not separated from God and can be weighed in terms of likeness to God. Confession has thus allowed us to remain in fellowship with God and to go forward in humility and truth towards a greater love than had we simply refused to acknowledge our sins and thus refused fellowship with our Lord. So that,when we come to our particular judgement, the event can take place in friendship rather than have as an outcome our eternal seperation from the one who loves us.

      Is that it,do we think?

      • Martha says:

        I trust so, Ignatius. I also hope on this All Souls Day that prayers will be said for my soul when the time comes.

  51. Nektarios says:

    So many questions about God’s judgement of us, so many hopes, fears concerning that – well there are more and the most important questions we need to ask and answer before we get to that day concerning ourselves.
    Tie ourselves down to ask: Who am I and what is my essence? Why have I come here and where am I going? Where is my origin? What am I involved with right now and to what must I turn my face?

  52. Martha says:

    St. Joseph, about the Good Thief, Quentin will have a much better reply, I am sure, but my two pennyworth is that the Good Thief almost certainly was making an prayer of pure love, an act of perfect contrition, and was also suffering the brutal torture of crucifixion, which would make reparation for his sins and harm done, similar to a martyrdom, so in that way and through the merits of Christ on the cross beside him, he deserved to go straight to Paradise.

    • Ignatius says:

      When Jesus told the Good Thief he would be with Jesus that same day it’s worthwhile remembering that Jesus wasn’t on his way to heaven then. Also that ‘paradise’ isn’t the same word as heaven…there are those that argue the good thief did his time in purgatory too!

  53. St.Joseph says:

    Martha. Thank you. A good answer,
    But people do serve time in prison, also my mother used to tell us to always ‘offer it up’ when we were ill and suffering, I do that now, I offer everything up to God and leave it all in His hands, also I offer it up for sinners. We say ‘Eternal Father I offer You the Body and the Blood Soul and Divinity for atonement for our sins and for those of the whole world’.
    What do you think that means I maybe wrong.

    • Ignatius says:

      St Joseph,

      Not sure what your concentration levels are like these days but Mother Teresa’s marvellous book ‘Come, be my light’ is all about the offering up of suffering; you would enjoy it I think.

  54. Martha says:

    Yes, indeed, St. Joseph, we say the Divine Mercy prayers, and I think they really say it all, that it is through Christ’s sacrifice that we can be saved, and then we add our own sufferings to join with his, however small or great they may be in comparison with the depth of his as God become man. Most sin does direct harm to others and all sin does indirect harm, and we cannot completely undo it ourselves. If I steal money and then repent and repay it, a legacy of mistrust and betrayal usually remains. If I give bad example to my children when they are growing up, or if I fail to teach them properly, that cannot be made up to them. We can make some reparation, and we can be purified through love and suffering here or in Purgatory, but ultimately we rely on Christ to put everything right, to make us all at one in Him, the at -one -ment which He has gained for us and for the whole world.

    • St.Joseph says:

      Martha. I suppose St Paul and many other Saints served some time in Purgatory for all the sins they committed in their lives.
      Perhaps the Sacrament of Confession for Catholics covers for any atonement, like when Jesus told the sinners ‘To go and show themselves to the priest.’ when Catholics do what the priest will advise them to do to make up what is wanting.
      Jesus said that before He was Crucified.

  55. Iona says:

    The repentant thief acknowledged his sin; he said to the other (unrepentant) thief: “We are being punished for something we have actually done, whereas this man (Jesus) has done nothing wrong”. Like the publican in the synagogue who “beat his breast”, he went home at rights with God. So yes, that may well have been a perfect act of contrition, as Martha said.

  56. St.Joseph says:

    The point I was making. and that is, what Quentin said that even if the offence of the money given back, satisfaction for the sin must also be made in Purgatory.
    Unless I have misunderstood Quentin.
    The thief stole from many just like Quentin’s post said about the purse,
    I would like to know what is the difference. When we confess we are confessing to God not the priest.

  57. St.Joseph says:

    Iona PS.
    After confessing our sins we say a good Act of Contrition whilst the priest gives us Absolution.

    O My God I am heartley sorry for ever having offended Thee. I detest my sins above every other evil because they displease Thee my God. Who for Thy infinite goodness art so deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve by Thy Holy Grace never more to offend Thee. Never permit me to separate myself from you again. Only say the Word and my soul shall be healed. Grant that I may love you always then do with me what Thou Wilth.

    I was taught that when I made my first Confession and have said that for the last nearly 70 years.
    Speaking to The Lord. Looking at the Crucifix in the Confessional Box!

  58. John Nolan says:

    If we believe what the Church teaches regarding purgatory (not all Christians do) then logically we also accept what she teaches regarding indulgences, and the faculty the priest has in granting a plenary indulgence to the dying person. (Rituale Romanum, Titulus V, Caput 6.)

    The key words are ‘ ego, facultate mihi ab Apostolica Sede tributa, indulgentiam plenariam et remissionem omnium peccatorum tibi concedo’.

    The Sacrament of Penance per se does not confer a plenary indulgence, which remits all temporal punishment in this life and the next, and opens the gates of paradise.

    I’m surprised that no-one has yet brought up the subject of indulgences. Unfashionable as the doctrine may be, it still remains doctrine. Yesterday we, the Church militant, celebrated the Church triumphant; today we pray especially for the Church suffering, the Holy Souls in purgatory who cannot help themselves.

    • ignatius says:

      Seems to me indulgences, plenary ones specifically, are still pretty much currency in todays church. I quite like the whole idea myself but haven’t quite worked up a full clarity on that theme. I’d be interested to hear any views on the subject.

      • Martha says:

        My twopennyworth again, I think they are very generous offers from Christ and His Church added to His amazing gift of our redemption, and we should make full use of them. I believe that to receive a plenary indulgence in full we have to observe the conditions perfectly, which is something we cannot ever be sure of, but there will be partial remission of “time” in Purgatory for ourselves or another soul each time at any rate. Too good to be true really, but that is a description of our God isn’t it? I am very sorry that the plenary indulgence offered with the Doors of Mercy will be ending very soon, when they are closed on November 13th.
        John, also, I fully expect to be singing Newman’s hymn in our parish church during this month, though we did not have it, or any, at the morning Mass today.
        We assemble and pray for those buried in our local ceremony each year on the nearest Sunday to All Souls Day, though I am afraid there is not usually a very large gathering. The flame is burning still but flickering.

  59. St.Joseph says:

    Yes John, All Souls Day I remember the time we used to after Mass, leave the Church in and out for so many times practically all day then visit a Grave Yard and pray for the Popes intentions., for the release of the souls in purgatory. The more times we did that the more souls were released.
    Also we gained an indulgence for that towards our soul. I know they bless the graveyards where I live and light a candle at each one.
    This is the past now John, perhaps the priests ought to bring us up to the present and the future!!
    It is all about Halloween and bonfire night now,

    • Quentin says:

      St Joseph, you will know why All Souls was of particular importance to me this year. And your reminder of a plenary indulgence for a soul in Purgatory was invaluable. You and the Holy Spirit sent me a gift.

      • Martha says:

        There are still 10 days left for gaining a plenary indulgence through a Door of Mercy, before they are closed on November 13th, which a priest at one shrine told us is available not for ourselves, but specifically for a soul in Purgatory. I had not read that anywhere else.

      • St.Joseph says:

        Quentin. thank you
        I remember you in my prayers.

  60. Quentin says:

    I find it helpful to try to understand God’s ways by looking at myself as a parent. With five children (now approaching retirement!) I had plenty of opportunties to deal with bad behaviour. First of all the important thing was to be able to forgive them. But they had to be sorry so that I could do so. I would go to great lengths to make that as easy as I could — so that they would do so. In many instances they needed to put right what they had done. In other cases I could suggest a little chore that would make things up.

    We are told that God is the father after whom all fatherhood is named. If this is so I may be at least on the right track..

    • St.Joseph says:

      I asked the question with regards the Saints that have sinned, and did not make satisfaction for their sins, St Paul who killed Christians for instance.
      I believe people can turn their lives around . will they still have to pay back satisfaction for their sins in Purgatory.? We have all sinned in our life time how do we make satisfaction if we can not pay it back,? I mentioned prisoners the work that Ignatius is doing for them .
      As simple as that.

      I have found Heaven on earth even with suffering, I look forward to dying to be released from my suffering. But if that is Gods Will for me so be it.

      • Martha says:

        St. Joseph, hasn’t Christ made satisfaction for us, and don’t we just make a tiny contribution in comparison?

      • ignatius says:

        St Joseph,
        I’m reading up on this at the moment. Apparently its possible to expiate ones sins entirely in this life, pretty rare I guess, but technically possible through self denial, good works, indulgences etc.

  61. ignatius says:

    Must admit I never thought much about plenary indulgences until I began taking them seriously a about a year ago. They are definitely good things to do!!

  62. John Nolan says:


    The apostolic blessing and plenary indulgence ‘in articulo mortis’ may be imparted to all who desire it or even simply show contrition, provided that they are not impenitent, nor excommunicate, nor in manifest mortal sin.

    St Paul’s martyrdom would have expiated for all the sins he committed during his lifetime.

    • Martha says:

      John, a priest can impart this indulgence given the conditions you mention, but surely its full efficacy would depend on the disposition of the person receiving it?

      • John Nolan says:


        Not in this case, since the recipient has to be on the point of death. Should he miraculously recover, it would be a different matter.

    • St.Joseph says:

      John Nolan.
      According to the CCC 2473.2506.2474.
      Seems that martyrdom is both bloody and unbloody.
      Defending the Truth. What does that consist of?, what is Truth, as Jesus asked,
      It seems nowadays to be a matter of opinion!
      How is it right for Catholics to say what they think! And argue with one,

  63. Martha says:

    Thank you John. I wonder if priests do this generally, or if the person or relative, friend has to ask. What a great gift for the dying.

    • Martha says:

      And of course this raises the whole question of access to a priest at the time of death, now there are not as many as there used to be, and contact can be complicated with alternative phone numbers to write down, occasions when they are on holiday and cannot arrange a supply, hospital chaplains who are not priests etc.. In my childhood near Liverpool, we were told that the presbytery could not be left empty. All the priests could not be out at the same time, in case there was a sick call. It is much more difficult now, and all the more reason to pray for a happy death.

  64. Nektarios says:

    Indulgences! I thought this priestcraft nonsense was ended after being showed up for what it was – a money making racket by priests at the time of the Reformation. In fact, it was so bad then that it was one of the main abuses by the Church that Martin Luther addressed in his 39 Articles he nailed to the Church door.

    It seems to me, that some trust their priests and ritualistic means, rather than the finished work of Christ?

    If one is truly awakened spiritually, born again of the Spirit in Christ, call it what you will, you have a great grace given you, and that is to go to the throne of grace and ask what you will.
    It is important to read in Hebrews 4: 14-16 before letting rip on what I said above.

    • Martha says:

      Nektarios, you are right of course, there was certainly terrible abuse of the otherwise legitimate practice of obtaining indulgences before the reforms of the Council of Trent. That has not happened since and it does not happen now. Money is not involved in any shape or form, nor any other malpractices. The theology is explained clearly in the Catholic Catechism 1471-1479, and is based on the treasury of spiritual grace available to us through the Communion of saints, which Christ in His Church offers to us.

      • Nektarios says:


        I am glad to hear money is no longer involved.

        You then go on to say: “the theology is explained clearly in the Catholic Catechism 1471-1479, and is based on the treasury of spiritual grace available to us through the Communion of saints, which Christ in His Church offers to us.”

        Martha, we are as Christians all recipients of God grace. Such grace filled people are Christ’s people, and they are the Church.
        As Christ has fulfilled all concerning His people, and presents us before the Father spotless and without wrinkle – indulgences are therefore surplus to any requirement.

    • ignatius says:


      If you do plan to stay here after all, at least try to refrain from demonstrating such utter and arrogant stupidity in the face of things of which you clearly know nothing.. I have, by the way read Hebrews.

      • Nektarios says:


        I was neither arrogant or displaying stupidity, but stating historically what Martin Luther
        said and did concerning indulgences.
        I am glad you have read Hebrews and the text I mentioned…… And?

        As for your continuing insults, attempted put downs, why should I stay around any longer?
        I think you need to refresh your historicity of Christianity, not just the Catholic bit.

  65. Martha says:

    Nektarios, sadly, I do not think many of us will stand before the Father completely spotless and without wrinkle. Of course, Christ has redeemed us, and our salvation comes from Him, but He does have some requirements which He empowers His Church to fulfill. I am sure we will not agree about this, and I have rather pressing family commitments especially over the next few days, so I will leave it to any others who wish to continue in greater depth.

  66. Brendan says:

    Nektarios- Martha’s reply stands as a good reply from the ‘ Catholic ‘ perspective . As a Protestant I understand where your perspective lies. The Universal Church’s ( Catholic ) position hinges on one definitive statement of Christ’s….” In truth I tell you ,whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven: whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. ” Matt. 18:18 (NJB )… aimed at the ‘ community ‘ of believers …… AFTER his commissioning of Simon Peter ( Apostle Peter ) as ‘ primus inter pares ‘ in His fledgling community…Matt.16:18-20., with all the authority/responsibility that entails.
    There lies the fracture in Christendom. Protestantism presents the believer as fully ‘shriven ‘ …with no price to pay…justified by faith; standing alone with no link to the ‘ thereafter ‘- in contradiction to 2 Maccabees 12: 44-46 ( Catholic Canon )…” Hence he had this expiatory sacrifice offered for the dead, so that they might be released from their sin .” ( NJB )
    Catholic Teaching provides for a ‘ double consequence ‘ of sin ; separation from God and an ‘ unhealthy attachment to ‘ worldly things ‘ which have replaced God…, the purification from which can be effected in this life or after-life ( Purgatory ).
    In order to bring about this ‘ perfect ‘ state , The Church , with the authority given by Christ , ( see above ) draws on this ‘ treasury/grace-filled ‘ infinite reservoir arising from the satisfactions gained for us ( Creation ) by Our Lord and Saviour , opening the fruits to its members. From ancient ( Old Testament ) belief in ‘ resurrection ‘ of the body we are connected with each other ‘ living and ‘ dead .’ Catholic Teaching is that the Church Triumphant ( those in heaven ), the Church Suffering ( those in Purgatory ) , the Church Militant ( those present on Earth ) are in spiritual touch with each other , and can ‘ help’ one another – the Church Militant and Suffering , in making full use of…” the treasury of the merits of Christ and the saints to obtain from the Father the mercies the remission [ purification from ‘ worldly things ‘ ] of the temporal punishments due for their sins . “CCC.1478. ‘ Indulgences ‘ consequently can effect this happy state of full/ partial remission for the penitent.
    So, far from being ” priest-craft nonsense ” ; as a lay-Catholic , and to the best of my ability this is my belief , to expedite surety of my holiness-in -Christ in accordance with my faith and the Faith of the Church.

  67. John Nolan says:

    ‘Priestcraft nonsense … ritualistic means … &c &c’

    The author of these sentiments has the temerity to chastise as anti-Christian those who identify him, correctly and indisputably, as a heretic.

    • Nektarios says:

      John Nolan

      I will not rise to your taunts, and refute your conclusion.

      • John Nolan says:


        ‘I will not rise to your taunts, and refute your conclusion’.

        You will not refute my conclusion for the simple reason that you cannot.

  68. G.D. says:

    John, in the sense of a ‘money making racket’ it was a sacrilegious ‘nonsense’.

  69. John Nolan says:


    I’m not arguing in favour of Tetzel’s hard-sell techniques, although we should beware of judging his actions from the point of view of his opponents, Luther in particular. I do, as a Catholic, object to terms like ‘priestcraft’ being bandied about on a Catholic blog, not to mention the contempt for ritual action which would negate the necessity for sacramental grace.

    It’s heresy writ large and I’m appalled that so-called Catholics can condone and excuse it.

    • G.D. says:

      John, Am not condoning or excusing N’s views. I don’t see how my statement ‘in the sense of a ‘money making racket’ it was a sacrilegious ‘nonsense’.’ say’s I am?
      Didn’t respond to N because others satisfactorily did.

      Was just trying to see the ‘meaning’, and responding to that calmly, rather than from my own incensed emotions.
      Which i always could; and always feel a want to ‘attack in defence of my corner’.

      I could, quite easily, take your comment ‘so-called Catholics can condone and excuse it.’ as a direct slur on me personally (just because i have differing responses) and respond with the outrage that would invoke in me but …. of course it isn’t. ?
      .. and even if it was I’d not let it lead me into petty tit for tat exchanges.

      • John Nolan says:


        You are correct; it was a general comment, triggered by a commentator who, trying to be polite, began with ‘Nektarios, you are right, of course’, which might be taken as implying agreement with N’s opening remark about ‘priestcraft nonsense’, a direct and unequivocal attack on the Catholic Church and her teachings.

        When Pope Francis, in Sweden, talked of past errors on both sides (Catholic and Lutheran) this was hardly controversial. The Church’s leadership, the pope included, does indeed make mistakes and there are far more recent examples than sixteenth century ones!

        I can’t say to someone like Nektarios ‘you are wrong’ since unless he is wrong on a point of fact this is merely an opinion. I can say ‘your views constitute heresy’ since this can be objectively proved with reference to the Magisterium and to Canon Law. I suppose that someone who has heretical opinions might not wish to be labelled a heretic, and indeed to do so is not necessarily terminologically exact, but it is not in itself insulting.

  70. G.D. says:

    Thank you John. Your thought process (as always!) is faultless.

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