Friendship: The Key to the Evangelization of Men by Fr John McCloskey

This is the most reasonably comprehensive catholic article on the topic of friendship that I have seen in a while.  Instead of copying the entire lengthy article referenced above, I'm making a backup of two sections at least for my own research.  I'm slightly disappointed that St. Francis de Sales' Introduction to the Devout Life is overlooked, but other good sources are mentioned and brought in that I haven't seen either. :)

  • The pursuit of loneliness
  • Causes and symptoms
  • What is friendship?
  • Friendship in Revelation
  • Apostolic friendship
  •    1. How many true friends do I have?
  •    2. How many friends would lay down their lives for me, and I for them?
  •    3. How many people are there to whom I can go to open up my heart and soul with total trust?
  •    4. If I were to die today, how many people would care–would miss me for more than a few days? How many would come to my funeral?
  •    5. How many lives were changed in a positive way by my friendship?
  •    6. How many person were reconciled, converted, or grew in the life of the Church on account of my friendship?
  •    7. Finally, are my friendships a fundamental part of my prayer life? Do I talk about my friends–pleading for their needs and trying to better my understanding of them, with The Friend?
  • The example of the saints
  • Being a friend

What is friendship?

Before considering a cure, we should give at least some quick consideration to the essence of friendship, how the ancients saw it, and how it became elevated by Christianity to a still greater good that is a necessary and natural means of evangelization. Friendship, of course, is a natural good in itself, inasmuch as man is a social creature. "It is not good for man to be alone." That Biblical observation applies not only to marriage but also to man's relationships with his fellow men. Any human person, formed in the image of Holy Trinity, exists in relation to others and indeed is defined by his relationships. For the vast majority of men, aside from his marriage and his family, the most important relationships will be friendships with other men. (There can also be forms of friendship between men and women outside marriage, but for the man committed to a life of apostolic celibacy or for a man already committed to one woman, these friendships normally have to maintain a certain distance and reserve.)
We might say that friendship is a social relation that is distinguished by mutual affection. Love does not necessarily demand reciprocity, but friendship requires it. It takes two to form a friendship. The bond thus formed without question represents one of the most noble aspects of human life; it both presupposes and fosters other human virtue, such as selfless giving, understanding, compassion, and the spirit of collaboration. True friendship carries with it an "exchange of gifts." John Paul II has also used this expression to describe "dialogue"–which, he reminds us, is one of the principal means of creating a friendship. There can be no friendship without communication–normally a simple conversation of some sort, verbal or written.
Two of the greatest writers of classical antiquity placed the highest value on human friendship. Aristotle tells us in the Nicomachean Ethics: "Without friends, no one would choose to live, though he had all other goods... it would seem actually impossible to be a great friend of many people; love ideally is an excess of friendship and that can be felt towards only one person; therefore great friendship too can be felt towards few people." Yet Aristotle could not imagine how the added power of divine grace would enable men such as the saints, to love each other with the infinite power of the heart of Christ.
Cicero, in his treatise On Friendship, tells us "Friendship can only exist between good men. For there is nothing more loveable than virtue," and also, "I can only advise you to prefer friendship to all other things within human attainment."
The Christian philosophers and theologians also speak to us of the importance of friendship. St. Augustine tells us in a startlingly direct way, "No one can be known for who he is except through the friends he has." St. Augustine's mentor, St. Ambrose, says that "a friendship that can end was never a real friendship." St. Thomas Aquinas, the Angelic Doctor, writing in his treatise On Charity tells us: "Perfect friendship is not directed toward many.... but inasmuch as friendship toward one becomes more perfect as regards that one, the more perfect the love we have toward one, the better we are able to love others." He also adds, in his commentary on the Nicomachean Ethics, "It is proper of a friend to do good to his friends, principally to those most in need."

Being a friend

There is an old expression: To make a friend, be a friend." It is important to make a distinction between "acquaintances," of whom we may have hundreds or thousands, and "friends." Friendship is a sacred word, full of meaning, and one I do not use lightly. Friendship, ideally, is forever. Friendship requires spending time with another. There are no short cuts. Whether it is at meals, or a shared interest in sport or a hobby, or even during a pilgrimage, we need to share who we are and what we have to give, in order to receive the same gift from our friend.
Certainly friendship may grow through correspondence, but in one way or another, we have to be "present" to our friends. We cannot really say that true friendship exists until we have opened up the deepest human questions: who man is, where he comes from, where he is headed, the meaning of life, the value of suffering. True friends talk about what is most important to them: faith, family, work. And this exploration of serious topics helps friendships to become apostolic. Such friendships lead men to grow and be transformed in Christ, with the inevitable result of creating a Christian environment (whether small or large) around them. Friendship also means loving our friends with all their faults; we forgive them when necessary, and although out of charity, from time to time, we correct them.
Strong male friendship must be revived if Catholic men and their progeny are to get on with the holy and ambitious task in this young millennium: to build the civilization of love and truth in the 21st century. To be sure we need many holy, courageous, and zealous bishops and priests, who will preach the word of Christ and administer his sacraments, deeply influenced by the message of the Second Vatican Council and its authentic interpretation. I am confident we will get them. However, the Gospel will be most effectively spread throughout society not from the sanctuary of the local parishes but through friendship.

Radio Replies by Rumble and Carty

Finally.... good to see these online. When did all this stuff get there? :)
Radio Replies First Volume - Fathers Rumble (Sydney, Australia) & Carty (St. Paul, Minnesota; USA)
1938. Imprimatur Joannes Gregorius Murray, Archiepiscopus Sancti Pauli. The first of three. A classic. Often recommended and consulted source of apologetic material.
Radio Replies Second Volume - Fathers Rumble & Carty
1940. Imprimatur Joannes Gregorius Murray, Archiepiscopus Sancti Pauli. The second of three. A classic. Often recommended and consulted source of apologetic material.
Radio Replies Third Volume - Fathers Rumble & Carty
1941. Imprimatur Joannes Gregorius Murray, Archiepiscopus Sancti Pauli. The third of three. A classic. Often recommended and consulted source of apologetic material.
See also:

Radio Replies: Volume One Radio RepliesRADIO REPLIES: THIRD VOLUME. 

Introduction to the Devout Life by St. Francis de Sales (Church Doctor)

This book has a few specific chapters on friendship that are very very valuable.

Download this handy PDF for A4 paper:

English translation

Original French

Intro to the Devout Life (google)

Intro to the Devout Life (babelfish)

INTRODUCTION TO LIFE DEVOTION. Of Saint Francis de Sales. Full text, published after the edition of 1619. INTRODUCTION TO LIFE DEVOTION... - 42k

Intro to the Devout Life (original french)

INTRODUCTION A LA VIE DÉVOTE. DE SAINT FRANCOIS DE SALES. Texte intégral, publié d’après l’édition de 1619. INTRODUCTION A LA VIE DÉVOTE ... - 42k

Royal Scholars to the King become Catholic

September 20th is dedicated to the memorial of St Andrew Kim Taegon, St Paul Chong Hasang, and their companions. Breaking with tradition in 1984, Pope John Paul II canonized 103 saints, not in Rome, but in Korea. Korea is the only place in the world to become catholic through books and the grace of Jesus Christ. When catholics in Korea asked for a priest in a letter to Rome, the pope did not know where Korea was. Many of these scholars ended up being killed. Why?

As I struggle with PDF files in the creation of catholic content, it dawned that I should consider the intercession of the Korean saints, co-workers through and with Jesus Christ, in the unity of the Holy Spirit. When looking for a public domain portrait of the 103 saints, I came across something of happy memory:

The True Meaning of the Lord of Heaven by Matteo Ricci (Popular among scholars of the royal court in Korea)

Only part of this work is available online in English. Matteo Ricci was an Italian mathematician/scientist/linguist/all-around-nerd/priest writing to a Chinese audience. He was extremely close to converting the Chinese Emperor.

Thanks to "西儒 ─ The Western Confucian" for making the Korean feastday worthwhile this year. ("To put the world in order, we must first put the nation in order; to put the nation in order, we must put the family in order; to put the family in order, we must cultivate our personal life; and to cultivate our personal life, we must first set our hearts right" ─ Confucius.)

True Meaning of the Lord of Heaven (Jesuit Primary Sources in English Translations Series I : No. 6)

The Wise Man From the West : Matteo Ricci and his Mission to China

Roman Catholic Church in Korea: Korean Martyrs, Myeongdong Cathedral, Jeoldu-San, Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Daegu, Bishop of Pyongyang

The Korean Martyr Saints - Founders of a Church

Current Philosophical Trends Challenging an Absolute Truth: Investigating Faith and Reason

This talk was given at WYD2008 in Sydney, Australia, and presented by Creston College.
An hour and a half presentation at World Youth Day. It's a bit slow, but has some reasonable parts, especially beyond the hour mark and towards the end.
  • 05-28min -- "Positivism: Old Age and the Value of Life" by Kirsty McKillop? Further reading: "Tuesdays with Morrie" by Mitch Albom
  • 28-32min -- Questions given to Kirsty
  • 32-49min -- "Relativism" by Katrina George, a lecturer in law at the University of Western Sydney and a director of Women's Forum Australia, an independent think tank that conducts research, education and public policy on women's issues.
  • 49-56min -- Questions to Katrina: Basic needs vs basic goods. Recommended reading Robert George (books on natural law), Q: Catholic Church "holds the fullness of Truth". Institutional structure give the splendor of truth? ie. slavery. Q: Freedom of religion and law, A: More trust in reason, basic goods
  • 56-1:26min -- "Freedom and Truth" by Patricia AUT management commerce law northland ethics. Free will, happiness (to be loved and to love properly), love requires freedom, erroneous views of freedom, tolerance and truth, relativism and truth.
  • "Truth is God. Truth is a Person and someone we can choose to trust and to love. Authentic freedom is choosing God and allowing ourselves to be taught by God and to follow His Will." -- Pope Benedict XVI
  • Tolerance is compatible with an absolute truth.
  • Intellect and reason should be used in searching for that truth.
  • Freedom is to choose and love the truth.

See also:

"In the Grip of Vice: Tearing the Soul from Virtue" by Professor Hayden Ramsay

Theology on Tap: Sydney

"Have you noticed how often the call for freedom is made without ever referring to the truth of the human person? Some today argue that respect for freedom of the individual makes it wrong to seek truth, including the truth about what is good. In some circles to speak of truth is seen as controversial or divisive, and consequently best kept in the private sphere. And in truth's place -- or better said its absence -- an idea has spread which, in giving value to everything indiscriminately, claims to assure freedom and to liberate conscience. This we call relativism. But what purpose has a "freedom" which, in disregarding truth, pursues what is false or wrong? How many young people have been offered a hand which in the name of freedom or experience has led them to addiction, to moral or intellectual confusion, to hurt, to a loss of self-respect, even to despair and so tragically and sadly to the taking of their own life? Dear friends, truth is not an imposition. Nor is it simply a set of rules. It is a discovery of the One who never fails us; the One whom we can always trust. In seeking truth we come to live by belief because ultimately truth is a person: Jesus Christ. That is why authentic freedom is not an opting out. It is an opting in; nothing less than letting go of self and allowing oneself to be drawn into Christ's very being for others (cf. Spe Salvi, 28)." -- [Pope Benedict XVI Meeting with Seminarians and Youth at St Joseph's Seminary; Dunwoodie, New York; April 19, 2008]

    The New Jerusalem Bible, Douay-Rheims, Navarre Bible Series, Haydock Commentary...

    The New Jerusalam Bible (NJB) is the first catholic Bible that has made me generally happy since converting. The footnotes at the bottom of each page and cross-references in the margin are worthwhile. The translation and notes also seem better than the RSV (Revised Standard Version) and the New American Bible (NAB). The NAB is my least favorite edition. The Douay-Rheims Bible is good for translation, but sharing it with others without a taste for archaic forms of English is a bit of a problem.

    The Navarre Bible series is great and preferred as a starting point for commentary, but I don't own the whole set...and the New Jerusalem Bible is more portable and attainable at 2000 pages. For the curious, the Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary (1859 edition) is available online.

    New: Catena Aurea - The Golden Chain by St. Thomas Aquinas (Church Doctor): a commentary compiled on the Gospels by the Early Church Fathers.

    The versions of the Bible that I used while young were: (in order of preference, but I used them all simultaneously nearly verse by verse)
    • The King James Version (helped by a Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, 8th edition (1970-1980))
    • The Picture Bible by Iva Hoth (can help for clarifying people/events in your head)
    • A Children's Literature Bible (It was a complete Bible and somehow seemed more comprehensive/explicit than the "Good News Bible".)
    • The Good News Bible (with those odd stick-like figure drawings)

    Spiritual Combat by Fr. Lorenzo Scupoli

    *Update* Now includes a "Treatise on Peace of Soul", traditionally included in the publication of "Spiritual Combat".

    St. Francis de Sales, Church Doctor and Gentleman Saint, carried this book in his pocket for over 20 years.

    • PDF file: download [A4 paper, 36 pages + 6 pages "On Peace of Soul"]

    The Sinner's Guide by Venerable Louis of Granada

    *New* Original Spanish version at bottom. . .

    St. Teresa of Avila (Church Doctor) stated that this work of Venerable Louis converted over 1,000,000 souls in her day. She, along with St. John of the Cross (Church Doctor), St. Francis de Sales (Church Doctor), St. Charles Borromeo, St. Vincent de Paul, and St. Rose of Lima, all counted it among their favorite spiritual books.
    Download shortened PDF (guidance)
    Full version (why you shouldn't + guidance):

    By Venerable Louis of Granada (1504-1588) - The Writer of the Spanish Empire

    In the original Spanish:

    "In the Grip of Vice: Tearing the Soul from Virtue" by Professor Hayden Ramsay

    Theology on Tap: Sydney

    "In the Grip of Vice: Tearing the Soul from Virtue" with Professor Hayden Ramsay, 2nd June 2008...... leading to "natural law" (ie. things you can't not know -- is that a double negative? I'm sure it is.)

    Professor Hayden Ramsay

    Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Executive Dean
    School of Philosophy and Theology, Sydney

    If this isn't enough on natural law, check out:

    And author of recent books on natural law: (same university as Peter Singer, hah, small world)

    Theology on Tap in Sydney / Notre Dame Australia St. Thomas More Society:

    "Life in Christ" from the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church

    This covers part 3 of the Compendium (summary).

    Numbered references after each paragraph point to paragraphs in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

    Example: 423. What is the grace that justifies? (1996-1998 2005 2021)

    This refers to paragraphs in the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
    • 1996-1998
    • 2005
    • 2021
    From that point, there should be plenty of references and footnotes to Scripture, etc.

    Summary of the "Life in Christ":
    Man's Vocation: Life in the Spirit
    The Dignity of the Human Person
    Man: the Image of God
    Our Vocation to Beatitude
    Man's Freedom
    The Morality of the Passions
    The Moral Conscience
    The Virtues
    The Human Community
    The Person and Society
    Participation in Social Life
    Social Justice
    God's Salvation: Law and Grace
    The Moral Law
    Grace and Justification
    The Church: Mother and Teacher
    The Ten Commandments
    “You Shall Love the Lord Your God With All Your Heart, With All Your Soul, and With All Your Mind”
    I am the Lord your God, you shall not have other gods before me
    You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain
    Remember to keep holy the Lord's day
    “You Shall Love Your Neighbour as Yourself”
    Honor your father and your mother
    You shall not kill
    You shall not commit adultery
    You shall not steal
    You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor
    You shall not covet your neighbor's wife
    You shall not covet your neighbor's possessions

    "Christian Prayer" from the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church

    This covers part 4 of the Compendium (summary). The first 5-6 pages are the most important. The rest is mostly a reference or index of common formal prayers. This includes a few small pictures.

    Numbered references after each paragraph point to paragraphs in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

    Example: 541. From whom did Jesus learn how to pray? (2599 2620)
    Jesus, with his human heart, learned how to pray from his mother and from the Jewish tradition. But his prayer sprang from a more secret source because he is the eternal Son of God who in his holy humanity offers his perfect filial prayer to his Father.
    This refers to paragraphs 2599 and 2620 in the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

    2599 The Son of God who became Son of the Virgin also learned to pray according to his human heart. He learns the formulas of prayer from his mother, who kept in her heart and meditated upon all the "great things" done by the Almighty. 41 He learns to pray in the words and rhythms of the prayer of his people, in the synagogue at Nazareth and the Temple at Jerusalem. But his prayer springs from an otherwise secret source, as he intimates at the age of twelve: "I must be in my Father's house." 42 Here the newness of prayer in the fullness of time begins to be revealed: his filial prayer, which the Father awaits from his children, is finally going to be lived out by the only Son in his humanity, with and for men.

    2620 Jesus' filial prayer is the perfect model of prayer in the New Testament. Often done in solitude and in secret, the prayer of Jesus involves a loving adherence to the will of the Father even to the Cross and an absolute confidence in being heard.

    The Virtues

    1803 "Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things." 62 A virtue is an habitual and firm disposition to do the good. It allows the person not only to perform good acts, but to give the best of himself. The virtuous person tends toward the good with all his sensory and spiritual powers; he pursues the good and chooses it in concrete actions.

    The goal of a virtuous life is to become like God. 63


    1804 Human virtues are firm attitudes, stable dispositions, habitual perfections of intellect and will that govern our actions, order our passions, and guide our conduct according to reason and faith. They make possible ease, self-mastery, and joy in leading a morally good life. The virtuous man is he who freely practices the good. The moral virtues are acquired by human effort. They are the fruit and seed of morally good acts; they dispose all the powers of the human being for communion with divine love.

    The cardinal virtues

    1805 Four virtues play a pivotal role and accordingly are called "cardinal"; all the others are grouped around them. They are: prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance. "If anyone loves righteousness, [Wisdom's] labors are virtues; for she teaches temperance and prudence, justice, and courage." 64 These virtues are praised under other names in many passages of Scripture. 1806 Prudence is the virtue that disposes practical reason to discern our true good in every circumstance and to choose the right means of achieving it; "the prudent man looks where he is going." 65 "Keep sane and sober for your prayers." 66 Prudence is "right reason in action," writes St. Thomas Aquinas, following Aristotle. 67 It is not to be confused with timidity or fear, nor with duplicity or dissimulation. It is called auriga virtutum (the charioteer of the virtues); it guides the other virtues by setting rule and measure. It is prudence that immediately guides the judgment of conscience. The prudent man determines and directs his conduct in accordance with this judgment. With the help of this virtue we apply moral principles to particular cases without error and overcome doubts about the good to achieve and the evil to avoid.

    1807 Justice is the moral virtue that consists in the constant and firm will to give their due to God and neighbor. Justice toward God is called the "virtue of religion." Justice toward men disposes one to respect the rights of each and to establish in human relationships the harmony that promotes equity with regard to persons and to the common good. The just man, often mentioned in the Sacred Scriptures, is distinguished by habitual right thinking and the uprightness of his conduct toward his neighbor. "You shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great, but in righteousness shall you judge your neighbor." 68 "Masters, treat your slaves justly and fairly, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven." 69

    1808 Fortitude is the moral virtue that ensures firmness in difficulties and constancy in the pursuit of the good. It strengthens the resolve to resist temptations and to overcome obstacles in the moral life. The virtue of fortitude enables one to conquer fear, even fear of death, and to face trials and persecutions. It disposes one even to renounce and sacrifice his life in defense of a just cause. "The Lord is my strength and my song." 70 "In the world you have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." 71

    1809 Temperance is the moral virtue that moderates the attraction of pleasures and provides balance in the use of created goods. It ensures the will's mastery over instincts and keeps desires within the limits of what is honorable. The temperate person directs the sensitive appetites toward what is good and maintains a healthy discretion: "Do not follow your inclination and strength, walking according to the desires of your heart." 72 Temperance is often praised in the Old Testament: "Do not follow your base desires, but restrain your appetites." 73 In the New Testament it is called "moderation" or "sobriety." We ought "to live sober, upright, and godly lives in this world." 74
    To live well is nothing other than to love God with all one's heart, with all one's soul and with all one's efforts; from this it comes about that love is kept whole and uncorrupted (through temperance). No misfortune can disturb it (and this is fortitude). It obeys only [God] (and this is justice), and is careful in discerning things, so as not to be surprised by deceit or trickery (and this is prudence). 75

    1810 Human virtues acquired by education, by deliberate acts and by a perseverance ever-renewed in repeated efforts are purified and elevated by divine grace. With God's help, they forge character and give facility in the practice of the good. The virtuous man is happy to practice them.

    1811 It is not easy for man, wounded by sin, to maintain moral balance. Christ's gift of salvation offers us the grace necessary to persevere in the pursuit of the virtues. Everyone should always ask for this grace of light and strength, frequent the sacraments, cooperate with the Holy Spirit, and follow his calls to love what is good and shun evil.


    1812 The human virtues are rooted in the theological virtues, which adapt man's faculties for participation in the divine nature: 76 for the theological virtues relate directly to God. They dispose Christians to live in a relationship with the Holy Trinity. They have the One and Triune God for their origin, motive, and object.

    2 Peter

    by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, that through these you may escape from the corruption that is in the world because of passion, and become partakers of the divine nature.

    1813 The theological virtues are the foundation of Christian moral activity; they animate it and give it its special character. They inform and give life to all the moral virtues. They are infused by God into the souls of the faithful to make them capable of acting as his children and of meriting eternal life. They are the pledge of the presence and action of the Holy Spirit in the faculties of the human being. There are three theological virtues: faith, hope, and charity. 77

    1 Corinthians 13:13
    So faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love,

    The integrality of the gift of self

    2346 Charity is the form of all the virtues. Under its influence, chastity appears as a school of the gift of the person. Self-mastery is ordered to the gift of self. Chastity leads him who practices it to become a witness to his neighbor of God's fidelity and loving kindness. 2347 The virtue of chastity blossoms in friendship. It shows the disciple how to follow and imitate him who has chosen us as his friends, 134 who has given himself totally to us and allows us to participate in his divine estate. Chastity is a promise of immortality.

    John 15:15
    No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.

    Chastity is expressed notably in friendship with one's neighbor. Whether it develops between persons of the same or opposite sex, friendship represents a great good for all. It leads to spiritual communion.
    Thank you Fr. Benedict Groeschel for writing this book below on the same topic, but where is the imprimatur/nihil obstat from the local bishop? :)
    The Virtue Driven Life

    Marriage, the Prophet Hosea, and Three Chapters in the Old Testament

    The Old Testament covers approximately 75% of the Bible. Unless you've plowed through it, you're likely to miss portions that act as keys to other portions of the Gospel.

    Hosea is the major, minor prophet. He's only minor because he's a prophet of very few words. "Hosea" is also be written as "Osee". How massive are the implications of Hosea 1-3 about love, especially married love? And think, this is before Pentecost. For all the other Christian churches out there who waiver with the teaching of Marriage between two Christians on the grounds of adultery, Hosea has already been there: free, total, faithful, and fruitful. Yes, adultery is a sin, but who is perfect or associated with someone perfect without the need for reconciliation?

    Thank God for Fr. Freddy for reminding us of the prophet Hosea's life. For me, it was a long time....but I somehow seemed to recall this example by deed, if not by name.

    Real Friendship by St. Francis de Sales (Church Doctor) from the "Introduction to the Devout Life"

    DO you, my child, love every one with the pure love of charity,
    but have no friendship save with those whose intercourse is good
    and true, and the purer the bond which unites you so much higher
    will your friendship be. If your intercourse is based on science
    it is praiseworthy, still more if it arises from a participation
    in goodness, prudence, justice and the like; but if the bond of
    your mutual liking be charity, devotion and Christian perfection,
    God knows how very precious a friendship it is! Precious because
    it comes from God, because it tends to God, because God is the
    link that binds you, because it will last for ever in Him. Truly
    it is a blessed thing to love on earth as we hope to love in
    Heaven, and to begin that friendship here which is to endure for
    ever there. I am not now speaking of simple charity, a love due
    to all mankind, but of that spiritual friendship which binds
    souls together, leading them to share devotions and spiritual
    interests, so as to have but one mind between them. Such as these
    may well cry out, "Behold, how good and joyful a thing it is,
    brethren, to dwell together in unity!" [106] Even so, for the
    "precious ointment" of devotion trickles continually from one
    heart to the other, so that truly we may say that to such
    friendship the Lord promises His Blessing and life for evermore.
    To my mind all other friendship is but as a shadow with respect
    to this, its links mere fragile glass compared to the golden bond
    of true devotion. Do you form no other friendships. I say "form,"
    because you have no right to cast aside or neglect the natural
    bonds which draw you to relations, connexions, benefactors or
    neighbours. My rules apply to those you deliberately choose to
    make. There are some who will tell you that you should avoid all
    special affection or friendship, as likely to engross the heart,
    distract the mind, excite jealousy, and what not. But they are
    confusing things. They have read in the works of saintly and
    devout writers that individual friendships and special intimacies
    are a great hindrance in the religious life, and therefore they
    suppose it to be the same with all the world, which is not at all
    the case. Whereas in a well-regulated community every one's aim
    is true devotion, there is no need for individual intercourse,
    which might exceed due limits;--in the world those who aim at a
    devout life require to be united one with another by a holy
    friendship, which excites, stimulates and encourages them in
    well-doing. Just as men traversing a plain have no need to hold
    one another up, as they have who are amid slippery mountain
    paths, so religious do not need the stay of individual
    friendships; but those who are living in the world require such
    for strength and comfort amid the difficulties which beset them.
    In the world all have not one aim, one mind, and therefore we
    must take to us congenial friends, nor is there any undue
    partiality in such attachments, which are but as the separation
    of good from evil, the sheep from the goats, the bee from the
    drone--a necessary separation.

    No one can deny that our Dear Lord loved S. John, Lazarus,
    Martha, Magdalene, with a specially tender friendship, since we
    are told so in Holy Scripture; and we know that S. Paul dearly
    loved S. Mark, S. Petronilla, as S. Paul Timothy and Thecla.
    [107] S. Gregory Nazianzen boasts continually of his friendship
    with the great S. Basil, of which he says: "It seemed as though
    with two bodies we had but one soul, and if we may not believe
    those who say that all things are in all else, at least one must
    affirm that we were two in one, and one in two --the only object
    that both had being to grow in holiness, and to mould our present
    life to our future hopes, thereby forsaking this mortal world
    before our death." And S. Augustine says that S. Ambrose loved S.
    Monica by reason of her many virtues, and that she in return
    loved him as an Angel of God.

    What need to affirm so unquestionable a fact! S. Jerome, S.
    Augustine, S. Gregory, S. Bernard, and all the most notable
    servants of God, have had special friendships, which in nowise
    hindered their perfection. S. Paul, in describing evil men, says
    that they were "without natural affection," [108] i.e. without
    friendship. And S. Thomas, in common with other philosophers,
    acknowledges that friendship is a virtue, and he certainly means
    individual friendships, because he says that we cannot bestow
    perfect friendship on many persons. So we see that the highest
    grace does not lie in being without friendships, but in having
    none which are not good, holy and true.

    [106] Ps. 133:1 - [Song of Ascents] How good, how delightful it is to live as brothers all together! (New Jerusalem Bible)

    [107] S. Thecla (V.M.) was a native of Lycaonia, converted (so
    say S. Augustine, S. Ambrose, S. Epiphanius, and others of the
    Fathers) by S. Paul, who kindled so strong a love of virginity in
    her heart that she broke off her intended marriage, and devoted
    herself to Christ. She is said to have followed S. Paul in
    several of his journeys, and a very ancient Martyrology, which
    bears the name of S. Jerome, published by Florentinus, says that
    she was miraculously delivered unhurt from the persecutors'
    flames at Rome. It seems doubtful whether she died a natural or a
    martyr's death. The first Christian Emperors built a great Church
    at Seleucia, where she died.

    [108] Rom. 1:31 - without brains, honour, love or pity. (New Jerusalem Bible)

    For more sections within the "Introduction to the Devout Life":

    Peter Singer's Animal Rights and the Catholic Church

    Philosopher and animal rights activist Peter Singer argues that the moral circle should be extended to include all sentient beings. "Love your neighbor" and "love your enemy" should encompass all "sentient beings" such as lions, lobster, monkeys, snakes, sharks, etc. With reference to Singer's work, critically evaluate his arguments against speciesism (akin to racism or sexism).

    Warning: A single possible reference by Peter Singer (or someone) goes into an area that is pretty disgusting, but is mentioned in the Bible as sinful behavior.

    • Introduction
    • Expanding Moral Justice to all Sentient Creatures with Interests
    • Animal Research and Human Medical Care
    • Peter Singer's Interest-based Utilitarianism
    • Conclusion
    • Expanded Footnotes
    • Libreria Editrice Vaticana, Catechism of the Catholic Church, para #2415, 1994.
    • John Paul II, Centesimus annus 37-38
    • Bibliography

    Bible and Church Quotations:
    • "'Please allow your servants a ten days' trial, during which we are given only vegetables to eat and water to drink. You can then compare our looks with those of the boys who eat the king's food; go by what you see, and treat your servants accordingly.' The man agreed to do what they asked and put them on ten days' trial. When the ten days were over, they looked better and fatter than any of the boys who had eaten their allowance from the royal table; so the guard withdrew their allowance of food and the wine they were to drink, and gave them vegetables. To these four boys God gave knowledge and skill in every aspect of literature and learning; Daniel also had the gift of interpreting every kind of vision and dream." (Daniel 1:12-17) [New Jerusalem Bible]
    • "The upright has compassion on his animals, but the heart of the wicked is ruthless. " (Proverbs 12:10) [New Jerusalem Bible]
    • The lion will eat hay like the ox. The infant will play over the den of the adder; the baby will put his hand into the viper's lair. No hurt, no harm will be done on all my holy mountain, for the country will be full of knowledge of Yahweh as the waters cover the sea.'' (Isaiah 11:6-9) [New Jerusalem Bible]
    • The wolf and the young lamb will feed together, the lion will eat hay like the ox, and dust be the serpent's food. No hurt, no harm will be done on all my holy mountain, Yahweh says. (Isaiah 65:25) [New Jerusalem Bible]
    • The seventh commandment enjoins respect for the integrity of creation. Animals, like plants and inanimate beings, are by nature destined for the common good of past, present, and future humanity. Use of the mineral, vegetable, and animal resources of the universe cannot be divorced from respect for moral imperatives. Man's dominion over inanimate and other living beings granted by the Creator is not absolute; it is limited by concern for the quality of life of his neighbor, including generations to come; it requires a religious respect for the integrity of creation. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, para #2415)
    • Animals are God's creatures. He surrounds them with his providential care. By their mere existence they bless him and give him glory. Thus men owe them kindness. We should recall the gentleness with which saints like St. Francis of Assisi or St. Philip Neri treated animals. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, para #2416)
    • Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?' (Matthew 6:26)
    • Bless the Lord, you whales and all creatures that move in the waters, sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever. Bless the Lord, all birds of the air, sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever, Bless the Lord, all beasts and cattle, sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever. (Daniel 3:79-81)
    • God entrusted animals to the stewardship of those whom he created in his own image. 198 Hence it is legitimate to use animals for food and clothing. They may be domesticated to help man in his work and leisure. Medical and scientific experimentation on animals is a morally acceptable practice if it remains within reasonable limits and contributes to caring for or saving human lives. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, para #2417)
    • It is contrary to human dignity to cause animals to suffer or die needlessly. It is likewise unworthy to spend money on them that should as a priority go to the relief of human misery. One can love animals; one should not direct to them the affection due only to persons. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, para #2418)
    • And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth. The fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every bird of the air, upon everything that creeps on the ground and all the fish of the sea; into your hand they are delivered. Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you; and as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything. Only you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood. (Genesis 9:1-4)

    "God, Sex, and the Meaning of Life: An Introduction to Pope John Paul II's Theology of the Body" by Christopher West

    This is the first of 3 talks given by Christopher West at WYD 2008 Sydney. Source:

    "Male and Female He Redeemed Them: Finding Sexual Redemption in a Pornographic World" by Christopher West

    This is the second of 3 talks given by Christopher West at WYD 2008 Sydney.


    On the Mystical Body of Christ (Mystici Corpus Christi) by Pope Pius XII

    220 footnotes, most of it from Holy Scripture.

    Anyone who prefers a simplistic view of Christ and the Gospel, devoid of mystery, needs to read the following passage.
    Ephesians 5:29-32 -- A man never hates his own body, but he feeds it and looks after it; and that is the way Christ treats the Church, because we are parts of his Body. This is why a man leaves his father and mother and becomes attached to his wife, and the two become one flesh. This mystery has great significance, but I am applying it to Christ and the Church.
    {According to Christopher West, this is John Paul II's selection for what summarizes the Bible. This leads to the Theology of the Body.}

    Oral Tradition in the New Testament by David Palm

    Does any New Testament author cite oral tradition as authoritative for doctrine? --

    This is a good question. :) I remember reading this almost 10 years ago now.

    2 Thess 2:15 So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter.

    Exodus 15-18: The Journey Through the Desert

    When doing Bible study meant to be shared with others, this an example of how I like to work. (combined with prayer before, during, after...and in your sleep). Click to download the following 3 pdf files about "Journey through the Desert":

    1. [A4, 30 pages] {preparation and notes}
    2. [A4, 7 pages] {summary of what to share for 1 evening}
    3. [A4, 1 page] {half page question sheet}
    Table of Contents

    5 List of used References

    • The New Jerusalem Bible (Nihil Obstat/Imprimatur)
    • Catechism of the Catholic Church (Nihil Obstat/Imprimatur)
    • The Navarre Bible Series (Nihil Obstat/Imprimatur)
      • Available in print for the entire Bible, initiated by St. Josemaría Escrivá
      • URL: Keyword: navarre “Exodus 16”
    • Douay-Rheims Bible, Challoner Revision
      • Sword module version 1.1 -
      • URL:
    6: Catechism of the Catholic Church
    6.1: Exodus 15:26 (CCC 1502)
    6.2: Exodus 16:19-21 (CCC 2837)
    6.3: Exodus 16:19 (CCC 2836)
    6.4: Exodus 17:1-6 (CCC 694)
    6.5: Exodus 17:2-7 (CCC 2119)
    6.6: Exodus 17:8-13 (CCC 2577)
    6.7: 1 Corinthians 10:1-11 (CCC 129)
    6.8: 1 Corinthians 10:1-6 (CCC 1094)
    6.9: 1 Corinthians 10:1-2 (CCC 697)
    6.10: 1 Corinthians 10:2 (CCC 117)
    6.11: 1 Corinthians 10:4 (CCC 694)
    6.12: 1 Corinthians 10:6 (CCC 128)
    6.13: 1 Corinthians 10:9 (CCC 2119)
    6.14: 1 Corinthians 10:11 (CCC 117, CCC 128, CCC 670, CCC 2175)
    6.15: John 6:28-58 (CCC 2835)
    6.16: Numbers 11:24-25 (CCC 1541)
    6.17: Hebrews 11:39-40 (CCC 147)
    6.18: Isaiah 11:1-9 (CCC 672)
    6.19: Isaiah 11:1,2 (CCC 712, CCC 1831, CCC 436, CCC 536, CCC 1286)
    6.20: Providence and secondary causes
    7: Other noted links in the Navarre Bible from Google Groups
    7.1: Luke 1:53 — The Magnificat
    7.2: Mark 6:34-44 — First Miracle of the Loaves
    7.3: Revelation 11:19; 12:1-6, 10 — The Sounding of the Seventh Trumpet / The Woman Fleeing from the Dragon

    The Hidden Power of Kindness by Fr. Lawrence G. Lovasik

    I've wanted to read "The Hidden Power of Kindness" for some time. I have no clue of its contents yet. :)

    Fr. Lawrence G. Lovasik is the same author of "Clean Love in Courtship". It is included in its entirety in the pdf below on "Holy Friendship, Courtship and Marriage".

    Very closely linked and highly recommended are the sections on friendship by St. Francis de Sales (Gentleman Saint and Church Doctor).
    The problem of friendship and courtship is tricky. I think St. Francis de Sales clarifies issues by Fr. Lawrence G. Lovasik that are only understood in a fully Christian sense. Recall that Jesus had existing friendships with women. Lay people need holy friendships to survive in a world that denies God. This includes even after the sacrament of marriage. This does not mean that spiritual direction is not needed. Grace and virtue are required in everything that we do. Yes, there are holy and evil friendships. St. Francis de Sales covers the good, the bad, and the inbetween.

    See also:
    The Hidden Power of Kindness: A Practical Handbook for Souls Who Dare to Transform the World, One Deed at a Time

    The Way of Perfection by St. Teresa of Avila (Church Doctor)

    Of all St. Teresa’s writings, The Way of Perfection is the most easily understood.

    The Way of Perfection by Saint Teresa of Avila (A Christian classic!)The Way of Perfection