Moral Theology in the book This Is The Faith by Ripley

I was wondering what people thought of some specific points of moral theology in the book This is The Faith by Canon Francis Ripley. In the thread below,

forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=190705

everyone says it is a great book, but I think the author is too strict on certain things especially in the section on sins against faith under the first commandment. He says

Willfully to expose oneself to the danger of losing the Faith would be a grievous sin.

That makes sense to me. but then he says

We expose ourselves to the danger of losing our Faith by:
a) Committing sin, especially mortal sin…]
b) Failing to pray…]
c) Failing to study our faith…]
d) Neglecting our spiritual duties…]
e) Reading bad books…]
f) Going to non-Catholic schools…]
g) Taking part in the services or prayers of a false religion

If I am not mistaken, he is saying all of these are sins which constitute grave matter, not may be sins, but are always objectively grave. At first I took what he said seriously and some of it worried me, especially the “reading bad books” and “going to non-Catholic schools” because I go to a non-Catholic school, a small Christian school with both good (meaning not liberal) Catholics and Protestants in it. In various classes we read the works of the ancient Greek philosophers, and Protestant works, which are of false (or partially false) religions, and thus in the category of “bad books”,if I’m not mistaken, but we also read some books by Catholic authors like St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Augustine. I thought for sure Catholics were allowed to study other religions so long as they are not willing to accept them as true and I found some good arguments on this site confirming that. Don’t we need to know about other religions to convert people and to know what we’re up against when defending our own Faith?

I also know that the non-Catholic school I am going to now has strengthened my Catholic faith more that many Catholic schools would. My brother went to a Catholic school for a year. There, he had an awful experience with bullies (which the faculty did little to alleviate despite my parent’s requests), and a nun who taught there basically told the class that many Bible stories were myths, if I remember correctly.

I’m also not sure about the “Committing sin, especially mortal sin” one if he is talking about venial sins. In that section he seems to imply that habitually committing venial sins is endangering one’s faith and thus, in and of itself, a mortal sin, but I was told that the only type of venial sin which can add up to a mortal sin like that is the sin of stealing.

My family concluded that the This is The Faith book was over-the-top. I am wondering what everyone thinks of these sins and the book. The book has an imprimatur for the 1951 edition. Does that mean everything it says is completely true and in accordance with Church teaching? Is it really a mortal sin to read bad books, go to non-Catholic schools, and habitually commit venial sin?

Thank you in advance for your responses.

cuf.org/2006/03/nihil-obstat-and-imprimatur/

In the Catholic Church, certain types of writings need a bishop’s authorization to be published for use in Catholic instruction. The nihil obstat and imprimatur indicate that a writing has received that authorization. They signify that, in the judgment of the bishop who grants the imprimatur, the work contains nothing contrary to faith and morals. However, the nihil obstat and imprimatur are not an endorsement and do not guarantee that the entire contents of a work are true.

vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/__P6C.HTM

1857 For a sin to be mortal, three conditions must together be met: "Mortal sin is sin whose object is grave matter and which is also committed with full knowledge and deliberate consent."131

1863 Venial sin weakens charity; it manifests a disordered affection for created goods; it impedes the soul’s progress in the exercise of the virtues and the practice of the moral good; it merits temporal punishment. Deliberate and unrepented venial sin disposes us little by little to commit mortal sin. However venial sin does not set us in direct opposition to the will and friendship of God; it does not break the covenant with God. With God’s grace it is humanly reparable. "Venial sin does not deprive the sinner of sanctifying grace, friendship with God, charity, and consequently eternal happiness."134

While he is in the flesh, man cannot help but have at least some light sins. But do not despise these sins which we call “light”: if you take them for light when you weigh them, tremble when you count them. A number of light objects makes a great mass; a number of drops fills a river; a number of grains makes a heap. What then is our hope? Above all, confession.135

Nogginer

My brother went to a Catholic school for a year. There, he had an awful experience with bullies (which the faculty did little to alleviate despite my parent’s requests), and a nun who taught there basically told the class that many Bible stories were myths, if I remember correctly.

The fact that your brother may have been taught erroneously by a nun is unfortunately not uncommon after the false interpretations of some theologians during and after Vatican II.

I go to a non-Catholic school, a small Christian school with both good (meaning not liberal) Catholics and Protestants in it. In various classes we read the works of the ancient Greek philosophers, and Protestant works, which are of false (or partially false) religions, and thus in the category of “bad books”, if I’m not mistaken,
Don’t we need to know about other religions to convert people and to know what we’re up against when defending our own Faith?

We need first and foremost to know Christ and what His Church teaches and only then can we be equipped to help others to the fullness of truth. Further, not knowing that the New Testament was written by those in the Church established by Christ who installed St Peter as His Supreme Vicar, Protestants are also quite unable to reasonably explain why the Protestant sects don’t have:

  1. The Eucharist (Holy Mass), Christ’s seven sacraments, the primacy and infallibility of His Pope, Her Tradition and all of Her Sacred Scriptures.
  2. Thus missing seven books of the Bible, they lack the doctrine of Purgatory in 2 Maccabees 12:46: “It is a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead that they may be loosed from their sins.”
  3. They have no authentic teaching against contraception and against the new evils like IVF.

An Imprimatur, while a reasonable guide to fidelity, does not mean that a book is infallible.

My 1973 edition of *This Is The Faith *(after Vatican II), contains the same statement, but examples of the exposure to the danger of losing the faith are confined to:
a) Neglecting our spiritual duties
b) Reading bad books, frequenting radio or TV programs attacking, criticising or misrepresenting true religion
c) Going to non-Catholic schools
d) Taking part in the services or prayers of a false religion

The “willfully to expose oneself” in the case of a school student would apply to the parents rather than the child. The *Catechism of the Catholic Church *is “a sure and authentic reference text for teaching Catholic doctrine”…Bl John Paul II in his Apostolic Constitution Fidei Depositum.

I shall end with the meaning of Imprimatur, but feel free to pose questions or difficulties.

IMPRIMATUR. The Latin term for “let it be printed,” which signifies the approval by a bishop of a religious work for publication. Authors are at liberty to obtain the imprimatur either from the bishop where they reside, or where the book is to be published, or where it is printed. Generally the imprimatur, along with the bishop’s name and date of approval, is to be shown in the publication. According to a decree of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (1975), “the Pastors of the Church have the duty and the right to be vigilant lest the faith and morals of the faithful be harmed by writings; and consequently even to demand that the publication of writings concerning the faith and morals should be submitted to the Church’s approval, and also to condemn books and writings that attack faith or morals.” (Etym. Latin imprimere, to impress, stamp imprint.)
therealpresence.org/cgi-bin/getdefinition.pl

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