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Is the advice you receive from your spiritual director and or confessor(s) binding under obedience? If not, would it be a sin against  prudence or one of pride (e.g. I know better)?

I have a sensitive conscience and I really do not understand the distinctions between what is and is not sinful and worse yet what is and is not venial/mortal, so maybe it is more incumbent upon me to listen than one with a properly formed conscience?

It bothers me because I do not agree with everything my spiritual director/confessors tell me is right. If they tell me something is not a sin and I disagree, but out of obedience I listen to them and live as such would I be released of responsibility? For example, are contracepting couples who in doubt about the matter of contraception asked their priest about it only to be told it was okay still held responsible by God for those acts of contraception? (I only posit this example for arguments sake)

I really do not get it.
It’s not a sin to disobey your spiritual director, but if your spiritual director is giving advice you are unwilling to follow you should ask yourself why. I’ve had some spiritual directors give terrible advice, and thankfully I refused to follow it. Usually, it was a factor that led to me stopping direction with them.  I try to give them the benefit of the doubt though. I won’t follow bad advice, but I’ll continue to go to them as long as things are generally ok, and their flaws as a spiritual director aren’t detrimental to my well-being.
If they tell you something that's clearly heresy, then get away from them, fast. 

On the other hand, if they're telling you something that's just frustrating you because it's difficult (a sort of penance), you likely should stick with your director, as they're trying to bring you towards perfection.
(12-11-2018, 02:53 PM)FultonFan Wrote: [ -> ]If they tell you something that's clearly heresy, then get away from them, fast. 

On the other hand, if they're telling you something that's just frustrating you because it's difficult (a sort of penance), you likely should stick with your director, as they're trying to bring you towards perfection.

It is more like this, when I ask my spiritual director about moral questions I am uncertain whether or not his answers are correct. For example, I asked him whether or not neglecting prayer could be a sin and he said no, but Fr. Ripperger in one of his sermons stated that laymen are obligated to pray 15 to 30 minutes everyday and elsewhere Fr. Relyea said to neglect morning or evening prayers is grave matter. Who is right? I am more inclined to side with Fr. Ripperger and Fr. Relyea, but if my director can be wrong in this matter it makes me nervous about taking his advice elsewhere. 


At the same time, I am worried about deciding for myself "where the line is" in regards sin, because as I've mentioned I have a sensitive conscience and I've made mistakes before (going over to schismatic groups etc.)
(12-11-2018, 03:23 PM)roverbeck Wrote: [ -> ]
(12-11-2018, 02:53 PM)FultonFan Wrote: [ -> ]If they tell you something that's clearly heresy, then get away from them, fast. 

On the other hand, if they're telling you something that's just frustrating you because it's difficult (a sort of penance), you likely should stick with your director, as they're trying to bring you towards perfection.

It is more like this, when I ask my spiritual director about moral questions I am uncertain whether or not his answers are correct. For example, I asked him whether or not neglecting prayer could be a sin and he said no, but Fr. Ripperger in one of his sermons stated that laymen are obligated to pray 15 to 30 minutes everyday and elsewhere Fr. Relyea said to neglect morning or evening prayers is grave matter. Who is right? I am more inclined to side with Fr. Ripperger and Fr. Relyea, but if my director can be wrong in this matter it makes me nervous about taking his advice elsewhere. 


At the same time, I am worried about deciding for myself "where the line is" in regards sin, because as I've mentioned I have a sensitive conscience and I've made mistakes before (going over to schismatic groups etc.)

I'm not sure if your particular director is a good man or priest, so it is quite possible that he is giving bad advice and you might think to change directors. It is also possible that knowing you he is giving good advice which is jarring because it is sometimes uncomfortable. He might also be wrong sometimes, but right others. A director is an adviser. He is there to help you in your spiritual life by counsel, but he does not take the place of your conscience. He is a guide, and an independent third party since Nemo judex in causa sua (No one is a judge in his own case -- at least a good one).

St Theresa said she would far prefer a knowledgeable director than a holy one. A director's knowledge of the ascetical and mysical life is far more important than his personal holiness. If you went to medical school to learn surgery would you prefer an amazing teacher who knew nothing and thus never really could provide practical advice or a mediocre teacher who was very knowledgable and could provide lots of practical advice, but you might have to work extra hard to learn since he was not so engaging?

The more I hear of Fr Ripperger the more I am seriously troubled by him, and the more what he says seems to depart from traditional moral and even doctrinal theology of the Church.

I know an FSSP priest who was a student of Fr Ripperger well. When this priest was following de Angelis in dogmatic theology, Fr Ripperger was his teacher and insisted that when they learn of the devils that it be in Latin and that nothing be discussed outside of the class because it was very dangerous for the uninitiated. Fast forward some years and Fr Ripperger has made talking about such things to the uninitiated and theologically unschooled his primary mission such that even his former priestly family has been told to not encourage people to follow him. 

I am also bothered that he seems to get his fingers into everything, which is not a healthy thing for a priest (or anyone really). He is a collaborator with Robert Sungenis in promoting Geocentrism, a collaborator with the discredited Kolbe Center in calling anyone who would assert anything but 144 hours of "Creation" a heretic, a exorcist, promoting a lay exorcist group using unapproved prayers and an unapproved organization about which he refuses to give any details, constantly publishing lots of public sermons, conferences and videos promoting himself.

He is an intelligent man, but the more I hear the more worried I get for the cult-like following he is generating for himself. I have nothing against the man himself, but looking from the outside with no pre-conceived notion of him myself, observation of his interests and obsessions, and knowing what his former colleagues thoughts of him, I am decidedly worried for those who seem to follow him in everything. That does not mean he is wrong, but there is clearly a lack of balance there, which itself is dangerous, especially for a priest, and most especially for anyone who presume to deal with the diabolical. The ritual says that exorcists are meant to be priests of the highest moral and ascetical character, known for their piety and holiness. A cult-like following and shameless self-promotion does not generally bespeak that kind of holiness or piety.

Looking at the specific things mentioned here, no serious moral theologian from before the Council would ever say that failure to pray each day is a mortal sin. Zero. Zilch. Nada. A fortiori to pray a certain number of minutes each day.

I have not heard such from Fr Ripperger or Fr Isaac, so perhaps your characterization is not accurate but if really Fr Ripperger said 15-30 minutes per day is obligatory under pain of grave sin, or Fr Isaac said to neglect morning prayer or night prayer is also mortal sin they are, quite simply, wrong. That would find no support in any mortal theology manual.

The obligation of pray described in the classical ascetical manuals is that Christians must pray often throughout life and especially when tempted, when certain graces are needed, when the Church obliges and when near death. To fail to pray on a daily basis for a long time may be a serious since because a neglect of the normal means for sanctification, but to fail on any particular day, to fail to say a Rosary each day, is not seriously sinful for a layman who is not seriously tempted, does not require certain graces, is not near death.

To fail to pray 15-30 minutes per day is probably sinfully neglectful of the ordinary means of Sanctification, but no good moral theologian would ever say such is a mortal sin. To do this for years and years, perhaps could be a grave sin of a grave neglect of the normal means to one's Sanctification, but to say that failing every day to pray for a quarter of an hour is a mortal sin is hyperbole, and quite simply would find no support in any decent moral theologian. Perhaps Fr Ripperger was making a recommendation? Perhaps Fr Isaac was meaning to neglect such prayers for a long time? If not and you accurately describe things, those statements are dangerous hyperbole and demonstrate exactly the concern I expressed above.

Especially in the case of a "sensitive" conscience, it is worth following your director unless you are clear you have received bad advice, or he is asking something sinful. In such cases you should not just ignore the advice but ask him about it : "Father, I appreciate you say that, but my understanding was ... could you help me understand where I might be wrong?"
Big fan of Fr Ripperger here. He does say you should be praying 15-30 min everyday, but he definitely never said that's true under the pain of sin. In relation to the virtues it his is opinion that failure to consistently pray 15-30 min everyday is probably a failure of Justice/Religion. And I would be inclined to agree if no other reason that we are called to be saints not "Don't mortally, be nice, go to church on Sunday, pray before you kick the bucket. And woohoo! You did it! What a great Catholic."
Also your wall of ad hom attacks on a man WAY more learned and experienced than yourself whose actual calling from God is the sancitfication of souls read more like a Rod Dreher blog post than the quality you're typically known for.

And I'll leave it at that.
(12-11-2018, 05:58 PM)Some Guy Wrote: [ -> ]Also your wall of ad hom attacks on a man WAY more learned and experienced than yourself whose actual calling from God is the sancitfication of souls read more like a Rod Dreher blog post than the quality you're typically known for.

And I'll leave it at that.

If by ad hominem you mean criticism, sure. If by ad hominem you mean unjustified person attack, no.

Firstly, SG, I'm not sure you really know my learning and experience, so to say that someone else is "WAY more" without the data to judge that seems a bit like a personal devotion to the man rather than rational analysis. Is Fr Ripperger more intelligent than I? Yes. Is he more experienced? Probably. Still what does that have to do with objectively looking at the situation presented.

Secondly, critiquing a person is not a fallacious argument, and can be an important aspect of things, especially when it involves the person exerting a moral influence over others. A priest who was married and lost his family tragically, but then dedicated his life to souls would be a trustworthy and good speaker on loss and family life. Bill Clinton would make a poor figure to lead the #MeToo movement.

To report what is already well known about a man, not in order to detract or harm his reputation, but to express some frustration that it seems that more and more people are using him as some oracle, and he is gaining a cult-like following similar to a Fr Corapi, is not an ad homiem attack. It is a critique of a man's public action, and the fanatical following he has garnered. This following is objectively not a good thing. The man may be a Saint. I don't judge his personal state of soul, I can't and it's not my place.

The very fact that someone could post here : I heard that Fr X or Y said that not praying 15-30 minutes per day was a mortal sin, shows that there's a problem. By ordination and incardination, then the mission of his Ordinary, a priest has the duty to care for particular souls to whom he is assigned. He has no mission, nor could an Ordinary ever give a mission to the whole world. Yet there have been many priests who trend that way. There is always imbalance when you see this.

I would be just as critical of a Fr Gruner. He was a good man and clearly had a devotion to Our Lady of Fatima, but his was a personal crusade with a cult-like following which was never approved by his superiors. He eventually found an Indian bishop to incardinate him and ignore Canon Law and allow him to live and work independently outside of the diocese.

Thirdly, and related, the calling of a priest is not the Sanctification of Souls in general. That is the mission of the Church, not of individual priests. An individual priest is called to sanctify souls in a particular way: certain souls, by certain means which are entrusted to him by his superiors. That mission is his vocation. It is what he promised at his ordination : obedience to his superiors and their successors. It is by this obedience and only by that obedience that he will exercise properly the priestly powers, and thus sanctify particular souls.

Whenever you see a priest who takes has his office and duty to care for souls he has no mission to care for, who he does not have the grace of state to care for, the result is always disturbing. No priest who is doing the pastoral work reasonably expected and entrusted by his superiors would ever have sufficient time to serve as a theological advisor to a discredited Geocentrist and Creationist outfit, a leader of a lay exorcist movement, an author of several philosophical books, a compiler for a prayer book, travel around frequently to promote himself and his works among other things.

I am happy to be corrected, but that is my observation from outside. I harbor no ill will toward the man, and have enjoyed some of what I've heard from him. But the more I hear about him, the more people keep seemingly asking the question "what would Fr Ripperger say" it starts sounding very cult-like and problematic.

The best priests I know are the ones who sit in the confessional for hours, visit families and work on individual souls, and usually the ones that refuse to record their sermons or talks. Perhaps the best priest I know is a man who is told me once when I asked if I could record his sermons, he said, no, and when I asked why said, "Look, if my sermons are good they are not mine, but from the Holy Ghost, and they were meant for the people sitting in front of me when I gave them and not others, nor for those same people at some later time. God did not want others to hear them. He did not want those who did hear it to hear it even one hour later. If my words are my own and not the Holy Ghost then people should not hear them, because they are not going to lead people to God."

Does Fr Ripperger have a good will, a good conscience, a good heart and is he trying to honor God and promote the Faith. I think so. I hope so. I simply think he does what he does in what seems to be a very unorthodox and dangerous manner.

The increasing mention of his name when it comes to every last moral question, the mention of his unapproved books and lay exorcist group so often when someone speaks about sin and spiritual life on this forum and others, among many other things is disturbing. The constant promotion of him and the AC among traditional circles when he refuses to reveal the canonical details of it to even priests. All of that is a big red flag in my book.

But, it's my book, not yours and you're welcome to your own opinion of all of this and of me, too.
(12-12-2018, 04:41 PM)MagisterMusicae Wrote: [ -> ]
(12-11-2018, 05:58 PM)Some Guy Wrote: [ -> ]Also your wall of ad hom attacks on a man WAY more learned and experienced than yourself whose actual calling from God is the sancitfication of souls read more like a Rod Dreher blog post than the quality you're typically known for.

And I'll leave it at that.

If by ad hominem you mean criticism, sure. If by ad hominem you mean unjustified person attack, no.

Firstly, SG, I'm not sure you really know my learning and experience, so to say that someone else is "WAY more" without the data to judge that seems a bit like a personal devotion to the man rather than rational analysis. Is Fr Ripperger more intelligent than I? Yes. Is he more experienced? Probably. Still what does that have to do with objectively looking at the situation presented.

Secondly, critiquing a person is not a fallacious argument, and can be an important aspect of things, especially when it involves the person exerting a moral influence over others. A priest who was married and lost his family tragically, but then dedicated his life to souls would be a trustworthy and good speaker on loss and family life. Bill Clinton would make a poor figure to lead the #MeToo movement.

To report what is already well known about a man, not in order to detract or harm his reputation, but to express some frustration that it seems that more and more people are using him as some oracle, and he is gaining a cult-like following similar to a Fr Corapi, is not an ad homiem attack. It is a critique of a man's public action, and the fanatical following he has garnered. This following is objectively not a good thing. The man may be a Saint. I don't judge his personal state of soul, I can't and it's not my place.

The very fact that someone could post here : I heard that Fr X or Y said that not praying 15-30 minutes per day was a mortal sin, shows that there's a problem. By ordination and incardination, then the mission of his Ordinary, a priest has the duty to care for particular souls to whom he is assigned. He has no mission, nor could an Ordinary ever give a mission to the whole world. Yet there have been many priests who trend that way. There is always imbalance when you see this.

I would be just as critical of a Fr Gruner. He was a good man and clearly had a devotion to Our Lady of Fatima, but his was a personal crusade with a cult-like following which was never approved by his superiors. He eventually found an Indian bishop to incardinate him and ignore Canon Law and allow him to live and work independently outside of the diocese.

Thirdly, and related, the calling of a priest is not the Sanctification of Souls in general. That is the mission of the Church, not of individual priests. An individual priest is called to sanctify souls in a particular way: certain souls, by certain means which are entrusted to him by his superiors. That mission is his vocation. It is what he promised at his ordination : obedience to his superiors and their successors. It is by this obedience and only by that obedience that he will exercise properly the priestly powers, and thus sanctify particular souls.

Whenever you see a priest who takes has his office and duty to care for souls he has no mission to care for, who he does not have the grace of state to care for, the result is always disturbing. No priest who is doing the pastoral work reasonably expected and entrusted by his superiors would ever have sufficient time to serve as a theological advisor to a discredited Geocentrist and Creationist outfit, a leader of a lay exorcist movement, an author of several philosophical books, a compiler for a prayer book, travel around frequently to promote himself and his works among other things.

I am happy to be corrected, but that is my observation from outside. I harbor no ill will toward the man, and have enjoyed some of what I've heard from him. But the more I hear about him, the more people keep seemingly asking the question "what would Fr Ripperger say" it starts sounding very cult-like and problematic.

The best priests I know are the ones who sit in the confessional for hours, visit families and work on individual souls, and usually the ones that refuse to record their sermons or talks. Perhaps the best priest I know is a man who is told me once when I asked if I could record his sermons, he said, no, and when I asked why said, "Look, if my sermons are good they are not mine, but from the Holy Ghost, and they were meant for the people sitting in front of me when I gave them and not others, nor for those same people at some later time. God did not want others to hear them. He did not want those who did hear it to hear it even one hour later. If my words are my own and not the Holy Ghost then people should not hear them, because they are not going to lead people to God."

Does Fr Ripperger have a good will, a good conscience, a good heart and is he trying to honor God and promote the Faith. I think so. I hope so. I simply think he does what he does in what seems to be a very unorthodox and dangerous manner.

The increasing mention of his name when it comes to every last moral question, the mention of his unapproved books and lay exorcist group so often when someone speaks about sin and spiritual life on this forum and others, among many other things is disturbing. The constant promotion of him and the AC among traditional circles when he refuses to reveal the canonical details of it to even priests. All of that is a big red flag in my book.

But, it's my book, not yours and you're welcome to your own opinion of all of this and of me, too.

A nuanced and balanced reply, which is an example to us all.
Try an SSPX priest for a spiritual director. They have had a good formation.