MCA president Dr Chua Soi Lek is an embattled man. He is trying to woo the Chinese voters by frightening them in regard to PAS’ plans to implement hudud in Kelantan by launching scathing attacks on Islam.
Is he trying to create an atmosphere of Islamophobia? If he is, then he must know that this is an unhealthy trend as religion is an emotive issue.
Nevertheless, Chua is undaunted and pursues his agenda to obtain the Chinese vote as he has trumpeted that his cause is to enlighten the Chinese on the “dangers” of hudud.
He continues to reiterate that although the Chinese will not be subjected to hudud, the said law will still have an impact on the Chinese besides impacting the nation’s economy.
Be that as it may, Chua is an astute tactician. His cunning strategy in this matter is an art that he has perfected by pretending to be weak.
This is in accordance with the Chinese strategy of “using another person’s leg strength”, which means making it seem that MCA is unable to secure Chinese votes due to the behaviour of certain Malay non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and therefore Umno needs to assist MCA to overcome this predicament.
Thus, Umno has no choice but to work hard to endear itself to the Chinese in order to help MCA in securing the Chinese votes. Umno can do this by giving grants and allocations to Chinese schools, Chinese guilds and associations and pandering to the requests of Chinese businessmen.
Umno thinks that if it does not do this, it will lose Chinese support and this will be detrimental to its cause in the coming 13th general election. Still, Umno cannot afford to bend over backwards to cater to the needs of the Chinese community as then it may lose Malay support if it is seen to be too condescending to the Chinese.
Yes, Umno is now caught between a rock and a hard place.
Now MCA is sly in the use of strategy. On the one hand, it has succeeded in getting Umno to do its work of campaigning for Chinese votes and, on the other hand, if the Chinese still do not vote for MCA, then the fault is Umno’s.
This deceptive strategy employed by MCA will absolve MCA of any blame in the event the election results show that Chinese support has swung towards DAP.
Umno is lacking in intelligence where Chinese strategy is concerned. Having an Oxford graduate in its midst has not helped the party even one bit.
There are seven Chinese military classics and Sun Tzu’s “Art Of War” is just only one of them. Umno is no match for Chua who has a vast array of tactics up his sleeve and surely not only Sun Tzu’s.
This strategy of pretending to be weak in order to gain a stronger ally’s help through the art of flattery has Umno biting the bait hook, line and sinker. The stronger ally is almost always arrogant and succumbs to flattery. This is indeed an easy strategy to employ.
Umno’s western consultants are again no match for MCA in the game of Chinese chess and the consultants’ efforts to improve the prime minister’s image among the Chinese are a futile attempt.
Umno will find it difficult to woo the Chinese simply because Umno cannot read the Chinese mind and what is worse is that MCA has assigned the task of wooing the Chinese to Umno! This is Chinese chess at its deadliest!
A brilliant plan
Back to MCA’s own attempt to woo the Chinese via the use of the hudud and Islamic state issues.
MCA continues to scare the Chinese by talking bad about the Islamic state. This shows that MCA does not care tuppence about the fact that it was Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak who reiterated Malaysia is an Islamic state way back in 2007 when he was still the deputy prime minister.
Umno has no choice but to remain silent over MCA’s attacks on Islam because Umno thinks if MCA does not do that, MCA will not be able to obtain Chinese votes.
This means that Umno has given “tacit approval” to MCA to talk bad about Islam. Umno has left MCA to its own devices but yet it has to continue helping MCA to woo the Chinese. It is really laughable that Umno has failed to see through this simple ploy.
Umno is now MCA’s lackey. MCA has made a fool of Umno while Umno continues to think that MCA needs its assistance.
MCA can continue to do its part in the attacks on hudud to get Chinese support but if the Malays reject MCA, then it is Umno’s fault.
Umno does all the work but if things go wrong, Umno gets the blame. However, if the Chinese and Malays vote for MCA, MCA gets the credit for the “hard work put in”. Brilliant!
Meanwhile, MCA continues to harp on the hudud issue by asking DAP to state its stand. DAP has already stated that the Islamic state is not part of Pakatan Rakyat’s Common Policy Framework (CPF). Full stop.
MCA clings on the hudud issue like a leech so that it seems to be “doing its work” to obtain Chinese vote. It is just Chinese opera. A lot of noise and movement but it is all a well-orchestrated show done only with the purpose of hoodwinking Umno that MCA is doing its share of the work.
Umno’s tacticians cannot be that brilliant if they fail to see through MCA’s ploy. Umno’s supporters must wake up to the fact that MCA is using Umno although it does not seem like that at all.
That is the brilliance of its strategy which is so subtle that it makes things out to be not what it seems to be by concealing the true situation.
Everyone sees Umno as giving orders and instructions to MCA, but it is MCA which is pulling Umno’s strings and it is done in such a covert manner that no one, not even Umno, can see it, much less detect it.
And that is why compared to the Umno strategists, Chua is the better game-player!
Selena Tay believes in Pakatan Rakyat’s policies.

By Abdul Hafiz Lakhani
Ahmedabad: After killing of RTI activist Nadeem Saiyed on last Saturday, it looks that witnesses of 2002 riots are now very much frightned and perhaps legal battle to punish the guilty will be wayward in coming months.
Soon after RTI activist Nadeem Saiyed was stabbed to death in broad daylight on Saturday morning, the immediate theory that came floating was that he could have been killed by those whose illegal cow slaughter business Nadeem had exposed.
But at the same time, it was not ruled out that he could have paid the price with his life as he was a key witness in the 2002 Naroda-Patiya riot case. People associated with the riot cases suspect that Nadeem was eliminated to send out a warning message to other riot witnesses.
In his own case, Nadeem had been threatened in July this year by Kalupur don Mehboob Senior to withdraw himself from Naroda-Patiya case. The slain activist had even filed a complaint at Gujarat University police station.
Imtiyaz Kureshi, a witness in Naroda Gam case, was once threatened by one Dr Prahlad Parmar, who had claimed that he was the right-hand man of suspended and jailed IPS officer DG Vanzara. “Parmarhad approached me as I ran a printing business. When he called me to his clinic for paying me the bill for the work I had done for him, he first tried to lure me with money for not giving deposition in the court. When I refused to do so, he threatened me and said that he managed all money of DG Vanzara and if I did not obey his words, I will have to face dire consequences,” Kureshi said.
Kureshi had also filed a police complaint on September 26, 2009 against the doctor for threatening him. But according to him, there was no significant development in the case.
Similarly, Salim Sheikh, a witness in Naroda-Patiya case, had to face harassment. Sheikh had filed anapplication in the SIT. “Relatives of the accused had filed a wrong police complaint against me and put pressure on my brother Sattar, also a witness. However, in the court proceedings, I was proven innocent,” he said.
Sheikh has been provided police protection, but only for 10 hours.“As per the Supreme Court order, the witnesses should be given 24-hour police protection, but my family has been given police protection only for 10 hours. If Nadeembhai had policemen with him, he wouldn’t have been killed. I am also facing threat to life.
One day, a policeman who was deployed for my security said that enmity with police would prove costly for me, as SIT would not last long. I filed a police complaint against that constable,” he said.
Jan Sangharsh Manch founder and advocate Mukul Sinha, who is representing the riot victims in court, said the manner in which Nadeem was killed sent out a message to other witnesses. “He was killeddespite having police protection. This gives out a message that if Nadeem can meet with this fate, others too can be treated like this,” said Sinha.
A court in India has sentenced 31 people to life in prison over the killings of 33 Muslims in a single house during severe religious and communal riots in the state of Gujarat in 2002.
The 31 defendants, all Hindus, were found guilty of murder, attempted murder, arson, rioting and criminal conspiracy after the victims were burned alive in the building.
Another 42 people on trial were acquitted of all charges, judge SC Srivastava told the special court near Sardarpura village, where the 33 Muslims sought shelter in a small house.
The victims had crowded into the house to escape the rioters, who set the building alight. Authorities uncovered 28 bodies at the scene, with five others dying later of their injuries.
Wednesday’s verdicts followed earlier convictions of other Hindu rioters over the violence.
In some of India’s worst inter-faith violence since independence in 1947, about 2,000 people died in a wave of anti-Muslim unrest triggered by a train fire in which 60 Hindu pilgrims were burnt alive.
The case is one of nine trials being held in India in connection with the violence following the train fire, and is one of the first in which convictions have been secured.
Sectarian violence
The Hindu pilgrims on the train were returning from the town of Ayodhya, another flashpoint for religious unrest after a mosque was destroyed in 1992 by Hindus, leading to separate riots that killed thousands of people, mostly Muslims.
About 2,000 people were killed during the riots [EPA] 


Responsibility for the train fire has been the subject of fierce dispute between Hindus and Muslims.
In March this year, a court handed 11 death sentences and 20 life terms to Muslims convicted over the blaze.
The government in the western state of Gujarat, which is still headed by Hindu nationalist chief minister Narendra Modi, was accused by rights groups of tacitly supporting the rioters.
State authorities were also accused of dragging their heels in prosecuting Hindus over the riots.
Modi, who is seen by many in the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party as a future candidate for prime minister, denies all accusations about his handling of the riots and has never apologised for the violence

[Sanjiv Bhatt, the victimised police officer in Gujarat, says that he is hurling accusations against Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi of complicity in 2002 anti-Muslim riots in the state because he has ample evidence. He says that he was with the state intelligence in 2002 and is privy to a lot of information. Sanjiv Bhatt bares his heart out to our senior colleague and IMO Bureau Chief (Gujarat) Abdul Hafiz Lakhani in a freewheeling interview, in which he says he is a depository of many events that transpired in 2002 during anti-Muslim pogrom in the state. –Danish Ahmad Khan, Founder-Editor,]
Q: The country hardly knew Sanjiv Bhatt till recently. Suddenly you are everywhere, with several calling you a ‘Singham’. Do you give Chief Minister Narendra Modi credit for this?
A: I would not like to comment on this. These actions are those of a desperate man heading a desperate government; of an autocrat ill-advised by smart bureaucrats who say what he likes to hear. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have got me arrested on frivolous charges.
You have been raising one controversial issue after another.
Q: And your target has been Modi?
A: I have evidence of what I say. I was with the state intelligence in 2002 and am privy to a lot of information. I am a depository of many events that transpired in 2002. I have deposed before the SIT, before the SC amicus curiae and before the Nanavati Commission.
Q: Did you expect your arrest?
A: I was prepared for it. My entire family was prepared for it. We had detached ourselves from the consequences of this fight.
Q: So nothing worried you while you were being arrested?
A: Of course I was worried about my wife and my family. I did not know how my wife Shweta would take it. But she is much stronger mentally and emotionally. My daughter came down from Mumbai and my son was hurt in a fire during protests. All this did worry me.
Q: You said you have evidence in the Haren Pandya case, which you got from the accused when they were lodged in the Sabarmati jail. Was the Haren Pandya case, which is a sensitive issue for the state government, the trigger?
A: A whole lot of things. I was to meet a retired IPS officer and the meeting had been fixed for October 1 over the phone. I was picked up a day before the meeting. I believe the scheduled meeting was the trigger.
Q: Now that you are out, have you rescheduled the meeting?
A: Of course… (laughs).
Q: Of course You were the superintendent Sabarmati jail. And then you became a prisoner there…
A: I felt at home. I had done my bit as the superintendent. I am part of the soul of the jail. When I worked here, I could not sleep at night. I believed there was a lot to be done there.
Q: Was it tough to stay there? Were you treated well?
A: It was not tough at all. I ran, exercised and had home-made food. I read the book Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand, which I had earlier read in 1987 when I was courting Shweta. It is her favourite book and she passed it on to me. I was treated as per norms. I demanded no special treatment and none was given. I want the state government to exhaust all the remedies they have for me.
Q: Where does your battle go from here?
A: It will follow the natural course. I will answer my call of duty. Nothing changes. It just adds to the purpose, to my resolve.
Q: Do you feel victimised by the state government?
A: I am not victimised by any one. The government did what it wanted, and I am doing what I have to do to get justice. It is not a fight against the government, rather it’s my own struggle to get justice and bring the truth out.
Q: What about spying on your family when you were in jail?
A: You know it better than me, as everyone has seen the way the police department acted against me and my family. I am ashamed to be a Gujarat cadre IPS officer and I deeply regret that I have to lead such a police department.
Q: How was your experience inside the jail as an inmate?
A: I was treated well inside the jail and I didn’t have any trouble at all. I maintained my routine of jogging and running in the morning.
Q: Are you aware of the government’s plans to reopen your old cases?
A: I am a police officer, and we are never afraid of cases. It’s been 24 years in the force, so I am fully prepared.
Q: What about K D Panth’s affidavit case?
A: The truth will come out if an independent agency investigates the case.
Q: What are your future plans?
A I don’t have any future plans. It’s an ongoing battle for truth, and I am prepared to face it up front.
By Abdul Hannan Siwani Nadvi
Generally, majority of Muslims of 21st century do not read the Qura’an as they consider reading of 1400 old Qura’an in 21st century where the world is advancing and turning into a village is just a waste of time. They feel that it is only the work of Madarsa students and religious persons who are foolish and far from the facts taking place everywhere in this enlightened era.
Indeed, I got nothing to say to Muslims or non-Muslims who think so, because ultimately freedom of thought exits in this era too.
However, when I read Qura’an, try to understand it and compare with what said in Qura’an and what is happening across the world this time, I would imagine that all world and so-called educated leaders who have been wandering from one place to another and from one thought to another for the solution they unable to find it or have but fooling nations of this planet, must read the Qura’an or the copies of Qura’an must be offered to them so that they can prevent themselves from carrying out mass murder of people in guise of lies and falsehoods.
For instance, this time from north to south, east to west, top to bottom and everyone in all faculties of society with one voice considers terrorism a dangerous and constant threat to peace of world; therefore, all actions US and its allies take are right and carry legitimacy to go ahead in this way.
Not exactly, but little bit I agree to these ideas and opinions when we lessen the views of those educated leaders whose educational ploys have made the world hell. When we study Qura’an and try to find out the solution of terrorism, wars, conflicts and all kind of corruptions, we see that Qura’an directly attacks on the sources convey the process of these violent operations or generate falsehoods to justify the killings they do it in the face of world media.
First have a look what Qura’an says. In Surah Al- Baqrah, verses 190-194, Qura’an says “الفتنة أشد من القتل” (sedition is worse than murder). Here, a new kind of opinion emerges in this verse that establishes that the real fight against terrorism is not begun yet. In this verse, Qura’an goes to the sources cause of terrorism, violence, wars, instability, corruptions, rapes and all kind of activities that push the ordinary people toward bad deeds.
When we take a look on war against terrorism particularly and all kinds of wars that have taken place or carrying out in different names across the globe, first thing that appears is that sedition and propaganda have a great role behind them. Especially war on Iraq, Afghanistan and war on terrorism just began on the shoulder of seditions and lies. There are so many confusions, suspicious, lies, conspiracies, propaganda lie in terrorism before starting a war on terrorism.
Today, international community is a part of the process that had been initiated decades ago across the glob to put the terrorism on an end. This Qura’anic verse suggests that before starting a war it is necessarily that source of the conflict to be demolished. In the war against terrorism in which propaganda, paid stories and paid writers play a role, as well as, these are the things paved a way later for mobilizing global phenomenon to get support on war against terror. These instruments are more dangerous than going ahead on war and killing thousands of people claiming we are fighting against terrorism or terrorists.
In this verse, it emerges that sources, propaganda, literatures, reports, exclusive reports, writers, security and political analysts have a role in spreading fear by portraying some cocked stories that how security and peace of the world, political and economic establishments in world are on threat by certain individuals who themselves are hiding and changing their hideouts to escape themselves from drone attacks or any covert operations. It is called sedition that is more dangerous than the terrorism itself.
Unfortunately, the sources and characters of terrorism are still alive, active, challenging world, functioning, recruiting and harboring trained, educated, and smart people for that cause.
The failure of world powers in bringing violent operations to an end is the source whose covert operations are still taking place for increasing more attacks and actions through secret agenda.
If world community wants seriously to put this conflict to an end, it must go against the propaganda and the sources functioning behind this and spreading sedition and that are the sources of terrorism spreading violence in certain countries; then decide whether the war on terrorism is really required.
The million dollar question here is after all who is going to fight against sedition and propaganda that is leading the international community toward the war on terrorism which is bringing insecurity leaving millions of people jobless around the world and a significant cause of financial meltdown across the globe

More on the Penance Controversy

Posted on 2 September 2011 by Ron Conte
Has Fr. Ryan Erlenbush changed his theological position on the validity of Confession and on the claimed necessity of accepting the particular penance assigned by the confessor? It is difficult to tell. First, there was this post in April of 2011:
“This penance must be agreed to by the penitent – and, if the penance seems either too great or too small, the penitent is free to ask the confessor for a different penance (however, the priest is not necessarily obliged to comply with the request). If the penance is not accepted – if the penitent does not resolve to complete the penance – the sacrament will be invalid.” (Source)
In a comment to the same post, Fr. Ryan adds:
“In other words, the intention to fulfill the penance (satisfaction) which the penitent accepts from the priest is both necessary and integral to fruitful reception of the sacrament.”
So he states, quite clearly and unequivocally, that the penitent must be willing to do the penance assigned. He does not say the penance must be actually completed. Rather, he is referring to the willingness of the penitent to do the particular assigned penance — not any penance chosen by the penitent, but solely the assigned penance. If not, then he claims that the Sacrament is invalid.
When confronted (by me) with this quote from the Catholic Encyclopedia,
“Satisfaction is not, like contrition and confession, an essential part of the sacrament, because the primary effect, i.e., remission of guilt and eternal punishment – is obtained without satisfaction; but it is an integral part, because it is requisite for obtaining the secondary effect – i.e., remission of the temporal punishment.” (Source)
Fr. Ryan pretends to agree with the quote, but then his explanation moves quickly back to claiming that the assigned penance (and no other) is essential for forgiveness: “It is true, satisfaction is not necessary in the same way that contrition and confession are necessary, but it is integral and it is required.”
Then later in the comments to the same post, he seems to modify his position (apparently in reaction to my arguments), so that only an implicit willingness to make satisfaction in some way is required:
“Contrition implicitly contains confession and satisfaction — since, if we are truly sorry, we want to confess and to make amends for our wrongs. Thus, if one is contrite, but is unable to actually confess to the priest and perform satisfaction (for example, if a man is dying and is unable to speak), his contrition includes a virtual confession and satisfaction and the priest ought to absolve him.”
But I must point out to the reader that the Council of Trent, the document of Pope John Paul II ‘Reconciliation and Penance’, and the CCC, all define contrition without any mention of this claimed implicit satisfaction. But even this claim, that contrition must include an implicit desire to make satisfaction, does not imply that the only acceptable satisfaction, in order for the contrition to be true contrition and for the Sacrament to be valid, would be the particular penance assigned by the priest. So there are two claims here: that the desire to make satisfaction is required for contrition to be real contrition, and that this satisfaction is solely the assigned penance.
To the contrary, the primary satisfaction of the Sacrament is found in the sacrificial act of Christ on the Cross. And the acts of the penitent found in choosing to be contrite, and in choosing to properly confess his sins, are themselves a type of satisfaction. So it is contrary to Catholic doctrine to claim that no contrition is true contrition, or that no satisfaction at all is found in this Sacrament, unless the penitent is willing to accept the particular penance assigned by the confessor.
Does contrition implicitly contain satisfaction? The Council of Trent infallibly defined contrition without any mention of satisfaction, implicit or explicit. The Catechism of the Catholic Church and the document of Pope John Paul II on this topic, called Reconciliation and Penance, have the same definition. So it is not true that a penitent must be considered to lack contrition, and therefore be unable to validly receive forgiveness, if his contrition does not implicitly include the desire to make satisfaction. But it is especially harmful to distort the doctrine of the Church on contrition to such an extreme extent as to claim that only the penance assigned by the confessor can suffice as the object of the desire to make satisfaction.
I can see why Fr. Ryan would mistakenly think that satisfaction is essential for true contrition. Certainly, perfect contrition — sorrow for sin out of love for God and neighbor — includes contrition for all sins, mortal and venial, and includes the desire to make satisfaction. For love seeks all that is good. We could even say that perfect contrition implicitly includes many other things, since love of God points us toward all that is good.
However, his claim that imperfect contrition absolutely must include a desire to make satisfaction, or it is not contrition at all, is contrary to the teaching of the Magisterium. The definition of the Council of Trent is beyond reproach on this question:
“Contrition, which holds the first place amongst the aforesaid acts of the penitent, is a sorrow of mind, and a detestation for sin committed, with the purpose of not sinning for the future.” (Trent, Session 14, chap. 4)
And the most recent magisterial documents say nothing more in defining contrition. There has been no development of doctrine that would add ‘at least an implicit desire to make satisfaction’ to this essential definition. Although perfect contrition, in my view, includes such a desire, imperfect contrition need not include such a desire. And what is perfect should not be turned into a minimum requirement for salvation. The Magisterium infallibly teaches, under Conciliar Infallibility and under the Universal Magisterium, that the definition of contrition (as the minimum needed for forgiveness in Confession) does not include the desire to make satisfaction.
It is a tenable theological position that perfect contrition includes the desire to make satisfaction. But it is contrary to the infallible teaching of the Church to claim that even imperfect contrition must includes that desire, at least implicitly, or else it is not true contrition and the Sacrament is invalid. Such a claim is heresy, since it contradicts an infallible teaching, and — like all heresies — causes grave harm to souls.
I could cite Pope John Paul II’s document, Reconciliation and Penance, or the CCC, on contrition. But Fr. Ryan ignores those sources. This controversy has been on-going for several months now; he has repeatedly made these types of claims. And he has not once, to my knowledge, cited or referenced in any way that important document of Pope John Paul II. So here is my response to his position: read what the Baltimore Catechism says on contrition. Like the documents of the Council of Trent, there is no requirement, for contrition to be true contrition, that the penitent even implicitly desire to make satisfaction.
On a Related Topic
The Baltimore Catechism contradicts Fr. Ryan’s claim (discussed here) that imperfect contrition must include contrition, at least implicitly, for all sins mortal and venial. Fr. Ryan goes so far as to claim, on that basis, that anyone who dies without contrition for even one venial sin, will be condemned forever to Hell. But the Baltimore Catechism states that a person might have true but imperfect contrition for one sin and not another: “when we have only venial sins to confess, we must have sorrow for at least one of them.” And since Trent defined contrition as always including the resolve to avoid sin in the future, this assertion by the Baltimore Catechism also implies that one might have true contrition for one venial sin, but not another: “If a person has only venial sins to confess, he must have the purpose of avoiding at least one of them.” Why do I cite the Baltimore Catechism rather than more recent magisterial sources on this topic? It is because Fr. Ryan will not accept correction from recent magisterial documents.
In a recent post, Fr. Ryan spoke as if he were changing his position on the validity of the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
“A few friends of mine have helped me to reconsider my claim that reconciliation is not valid if the penitent does not agree to the penance imposed by the confessor.” (Source)
But then he goes on to reassert much the same position, that “actually and intentionally refusing to do any penance whatsoever which the priest might ask” is required for the forgiveness of sin. Formerly, he said that the mere lack of a willingness to accept the particular assigned penance made the Sacrament invalid. Now he makes the act of the penitent active, rather than passive, by using this wording: “if the penitent directly and purposefully (with full knowledge of the seriousness of the matter) refuses to fulfill the penance given by the priest”. But he still says that the penitent is not forgiven if the penitent refuses this particular penance.
Is the Sacrament invalid in such a case?
“I will admit that I should not have said that the sacrament would be ‘invalid’, since this is not the technical language which the Church uses. I should have said that the penitent will not receive the sacrament worthily, that he commits a sin (which is probably a serious sin, according to St. Alphonsus and others), and that those sins (at least those mortal sins) confessed without the intention of completing the penance must be confessed again in a later confession”
He claims that he should not have used the word ‘invalid’ — but only because he can’t find any magisterial document making such a claim with that particular wording. He still says that mortal sins must be re-confessed, i.e. they were not forgiven in the confession in which the penitent was unwilling to accept the particular assigned penance. Essentially, then, if the Sacrament of Confession does not forgive mortal sins, it was not a valid confession. So he is merely modifying his language, not his position. And notice, again, that the penance assigned by the confessor is at issue, not any penance at all.
But in the comments to this same post, he seems to modify the claim made in the post itself.
Comments to the post Reconsiderations
In the comments to the post, someone named George thinks that Fr. Ryan has retracted his claim about the invalidity of the Sacrament. After all, Fr. Ryan did say that he should not have used the word ‘invalid’.
George: “Regarding you reconsideration concerning the validity of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, it is good of you to have retracted yourself, because, as you say, it was misleading. Of course, a penitent should strive to make his penance, but saying the Sacrament was invalid it he omitted it was just plain wrong. All the best.”
What is Fr. Ryan’s response? He accuses George of perhaps intentionally misrepresenting his earlier article and of being uncharitable, merely for saying that Fr. Ryan was ‘just plain wrong’.
Fr. Ryan: “George, I’m not sure you if you intentionally misrepresenting my earlier article or if you are truly mistaken. [in any case, it is not particularly charitable to say that I was “just plain wrong”, especially since you don’t even understand what I said in the first place]“
Then later, he adds:
Fr. Ryan: “Sorry Gregory, your comment shows that you are making no effort to read my comments or articles in a spirit of charity … in fact, you are very clearly misrepresenting what I have expressly stated.”
Notice that he attributes bad intentions to George, claiming that he is not reading in a spirit of charity and that he is deliberately misrepresenting what Fr. Ryan said. As I have noted before, Fr. Ryan responds to criticism by making personal attacks and accusations. Anyone who says that he is wrong on any substantive matter is accused of being uncharitable. He does not admit that his theological positions are his own understanding, which could possibly err. Like so many other Catholic fundamentalists, he really believes that he is merely presenting the teaching of the Church, or of the Saints and greatest theologians, without any interpretation, addition, or change.
Fr. Ryan: “I never said that confession was invalid if a penitent simply omitted to complete his penance. What I had said was that the penance would be invalid if the penitent refused to do any form of penance whatsoever and did not even have any intention of making satisfaction for his sins.”
Actually, as the above quote in this article proves, that is not what Fr. Ryan said. He was very specific that one must intend to do the particular penance assigned by the confessor, not ‘any form of penance whatsoever’. But more importantly, as I point out in this article, sometimes a penitent will have no temporal punishment remaining to be satisfied after a good confession. So not only all the sins, but all the temporal punishment due, is forgiven by contrition and confession with absolution, without the assigned penance. So how could the Sacrament be invalid, due to a lack of willingness to make satisfaction, when all satisfaction is already fulfilled?
Fr. Ryan: “It must be recalled, however, that contrition implies also the desire to make satisfaction — hence, if a penitent lacks any desire at all to complete any sort of penance whatsoever (i.e. he explicitly refuses to complete any satisfaction at all), then he lacks even imperfect contrition. This would be a very serious fault indeed — it could invalidate the sacrament, through compromising the requirement of (at least imperfect) contrition.”
“My point is that contrition itself at least implicitly contains a desire to make satisfaction (i.e. to do some sort of penance) for our sins. Without a desire (at least an implicit desire) to make satisfaction, we do not have contrition and therefore we do not have a valid sacrament.”
Now he is back to saying that the Sacrament is invalid, and he claims again that he never specified that the assigned penance was essential (when in fact he did repeatedly make that claim).
Fr. Ryan now claims that the lack of desire to do any penance is what makes the Sacrament invalid, and now he says that this is because at least an implicit desire to make satisfaction is necessary to contrition. Is that claim true? Not according to the infallible teaching of the Council of Trent, which defined contrition as: “a sorrow of mind, and a detestation for sin committed, with the purpose of not sinning for the future.”
Although the Catechism of Trent (the Roman Catechism) mentions the desire to make satisfaction for our sins, that source does not say that contrition is not true contrition, and the Sacrament is invalid, if such a desire is lacking. Our contrition ought to be perfect, and it ought to include a desire to make satisfaction. But the claim that, absent such a desire, the contrition is not true sorrow for sin, and the Sacrament is not valid, and the person guilty of actual mortal sin remains in danger of eternal punishment, such a claim is absent from the teaching of the Church.
Furthermore, the Catechism of Trent is not a document of the Council. The Roman Catechism is non-infallible. Therefore, we must consider the subsequent teaching of the Magisterium since that time (since the 16th century!!) — which Fr. Ryan is utterly ignoring, especially the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the Pope John Paul II document Reconciliation and Penance. Both of those later sources teach the same definition of contrition at the Council, without any need for a desire to make satisfaction.
Now certainly, it may well be the case and should be the case that we have such a desire to make satisfaction. But the Magisterium has never taught that, without such a desire, contrition is not truly contrition and the Sacrament is invalid. And the Magisterium has also never taught that the particular penance assigned by the confessor is the sole object of that desire to make satisfaction, as if the desire to make satisfaction in any of a myriad of different ways chosen by the penitent would be utterly rejected by our merciful Lord. Pharisaism is alive and well in the Church, despite our Lord’s strong and repeated condemnation of it.
The commentator named George then continues to try to argue his point with Fr. Ryan.
George: “Contrition and confession with absolution are indispensable for the validity of the Sacrament. But the penance of the penitent is essential only for ‘the completeness or the fruitfulness of the sign,’ not for the validity of the Sacrament. The satisfaction of Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross, and of the penitent’s contrition and confession are sufficient for a valid Sacrament, even without any acts of penance.”
The commentator ‘George’ is not me, but he is quoting or rephrasing my position from my posts.
Fr. Ryan: “And, btw, true contrition requires the desire to make satisfaction for our sins (at least an implicit desire). Hence, anyone who explicitly refuses and rejects any act of satisfaction (i.e. penance) does not really have contrition for sin. Now, if contrition is lacking (as you yourself admit) the sacrament will be invalid. ‘Penance requires . . . the sinner to endure all things willingly, be contrite of heart, confess with the lips, and practice complete humility and fruitful satisfaction.’ (CCC 1450, Roman Catechism II,V,21, cf Trent [DS 1673])”
I notice that the Roman Catechism (the Catechism of Trent) says that penance requires ‘the sinner to endure all things willingly’ — but this is said by way of encouragement to perfection, and certainly NOT as a requirement for validity. Similarly, the practice of ‘complete’ humility is perfection, not a minimum requirement for validity, And ‘fruitful satisfaction’ is likewise part of the perfect fulfillment of the Sacrament, and NOT a requirement for validity — just as Pope John Paul II taught in Reconciliation and Penance.
And again, I wish to be very clear that the Magisterium has infallibly defined contrition — at the Council of Trent — such that the definition does NOT include implicit desire to make satisfaction.
Next, George continues to disagree with Fr. Ryan, who then responds with more accusations:
Fr. Ryan: “Is it malice or ignorance that keeps you from reading my comments and articles carefully?”
But has Fr. Ryan now changed his position, such that the particular penance assigned by the confessor is not the essential object of the penitent’s desire to make satisfaction? His posts and comments repeatedly make both assertions. He goes back to saying that the penitent must accept the particular penance assigned by the confessor, but then he switches to the claim that only a general desire to perform some type of penance (satisfaction) is needed.
Fr. Ryan: “Let me say it again (quoting from the above article): ‘I would suppose that, on account of ignorance or confusion or misunderstanding, it has occurred (perhaps even quite often) that a particular penitent has not intended to fulfill the penance of the priest and, because this was not a purposeful and intentional fault, the sacrament has been received in a subjectively worthy manner.’ Hence, even though it may happen that a penitent does not intend to fulfill the particular penance given by the priest it is quite possible that the sacrament be received not only validly but also worthily (due to ignorance).
“The Catechism of Trent teaches us that true contrition requires the desire to complete some sort of penance:
‘In the next place, our contrition must be accompanied with a desire of confessing and satisfying for our sins.’ ‘Only that satisfaction constitutes part of the Sacrament which, as we have already said, is offered to God for sins at the command of the priest. Furthermore, it must be accompanied by a deliberate and firm purpose carefully to avoid sin for the future.’ ‘Such being the nature of satisfaction, it will not be difficult to convince the faithful of the necessity imposed on the penitent of performing works of satisfaction.’
So it is not clear whether Fr. Ryan has abandoned his previous claim that the willingness to accept the particular penance assigned by the confessor is essential for validity. But supposing that he has changed his view to claim that contrition is not true contrition of any kind, neither imperfect nor perfect, without at least implicit desire to make satisfaction, he still errs gravely, as I have already explained. There is no necessity of an implicit desire to make satisfaction within imperfect contrition. To say otherwise is to reject the infallible teaching of the Council of Trent, and so is still a grave doctrinal error (and still heretical). Grave harm is done to souls by asserting that a Sacrament is invalid, when that Sacrament meets the clear and definitive teaching of the Church for validity. This type of grave error on the validity of a Sacrament in the public teaching of a Roman Catholic priest, in the face of repeated corrections from multiple persons, is inexcusable.
Fr. Ryan: “In fact, if a penitent were totally contrary to any act of satisfaction — not even desiring to make amends for his sins or to complete any sort of penance whatsoever — the priest should not grant absolution.”
If Fr. Ryan or any other priest were to deny a penitent absolution from a confessed mortal sin, despite the penitent’s sorrow for sin and purpose of avoiding sin in the future (Trent’s definition of contrition), the priest would be committing a mortal sin and a grave sacrilege. The faithful have a right to receive this Sacrament, especially when they need the Sacrament for salvation (due to mortal sin), as long as they have contrition and properly confess their sins. And this contrition need only meet the Church’s definition of contrition. A priest cannot invent a new, more extensive, requirement for contrition, and then deny this salvific Sacrament to those penitents who dare to contradict his novel teaching. This suggestion by Fr. Ryan that priests ought to deny such penitents absolution is the grave sin of scandal. The Magisterium has NEVER instructed priests to deny absolution in such a case.
Final Thoughts
See my My previous post on this topic. Even Canon Law states that sorrow with the intention to reform, and confession with absolution, are sufficient to obtain forgiveness:
“Canon 959: In the sacrament of penance the faithful who confess their sins to a legitimate minister, are sorry for them, and intend to reform themselves obtain from God through the absolution imparted by the same minister forgiveness for the sins they have committed after baptism and, at the same, time are reconciled with the Church which they have wounded by sinning.” (Code of Canon Law, 1983)
And so does Reconciliation and Penance:
“But the essential act of penance, on the part of the penitent, is contrition, a clear and decisive rejection of the sin committed, together with a resolution not to commit it again” (n. 31, III)
And so does the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
“1451 Among the penitent’s acts contrition occupies first place. Contrition is ‘sorrow of the soul and detestation for the sin committed, together with the resolution not to sin again.’ “
Notice that Canon Law does not even use the word contrition, but instead expresses the definition of contrition: sorrow and the intention to reform. In all the magisterial sources cited above, contrition is defined without reference to any desire, implicit or explicit, to make satisfaction, just as the Council of Trent defined it. Moreover, contrition has never been defined such that the rejection of the particular penance assigned by the confessor would indicate that no contrition exists at all.
Most recently, Fr. Ryan added another comment which, it seems to me, merely confuses his position further:
“Contrition is required for validity. And contrition implicitly contains a desire to make satisfaction for sin. Hence, explicit and total rejection (knowing and free) of any sense of satisfaction for sin would make the sacrament invalid. Willingness to accept the penance from the priest is required for a worthy reception — and this penance can be negotiated, if it seems too hard.”
Yes, contrition is required for validity. But the Magisterium has infallibly defined contrition without this claimed implicit desire to make satisfaction. So it is not true that a penitent cannot have at least imperfect contrition unless he desires to make satisfaction. Perfect contrition includes such a desire, but imperfect contrition might not. Generally, the penitent should accept the penance assigned by the confessor. But for a just reason, the penitent may substitute some other penance — and he need not negotiate his salvation with the priest. All holy penances are acceptable before God. Although we can say that a complete rejection of the assigned penance, without a just reason, is unworthy of a faithful penitent, it would be contrary to the teaching of the Magisterium to equate this unworthiness with an invalidation of the Sacrament.
The Sacrament of Forgiveness is a tangible expression of the infinite mercy of God. This Sacrament is an effective application of the graces obtained for us at great cost by Christ on the Cross.
Father Ryan Erlenbush’s Pharisaical attempt to distort the teachings of the Magisterium so that penitents would be denied salvific forgiveness is reprehensible, gravely sinful, sacrilegious, and heretical

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