Author Topic: Tattoos  (Read 1592 times)

Offline nmoerbeek

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Re: Tattoos
« Reply #30 on: January 09, 2019, 11:14:13 AM »
Years ago this topic came up on Suscipe here:
https://www.suscipedomine.com/forum/index.php?topic=2671.75

I do not have any tattoos, nor does anyone in my family.

I wrote a number of responses which I will copy and paste here because I think they add some sources for consideration:


"Some extra information for the formation of your conscience.

Some Crusaders would tattoo themselves with small crosses, it was a sign that they desired a Christian burial. 

A bit earlier than the crusades.

"An edict issued by the Council of Calcuth (Northumberland) seems to indicate a distinction between a profane tattoo, and a Christian tattoo. They wrote, ‘When an individual undergoes the ordeal of tattooing for the sake of God, he is to be greatly praised. But one who submits himself to be tattooed for superstitious reasons in the manner of the heathens will derive no benefit therefrom." Steve Gilbert, Tattoo History

It was also not uncommon for the Japenese Martyrs to brand themselves with the name of Jesus, and I have run into this in the lives of the saints more than once.  I believe you can find the information on the Japanese Saints who did this in the Glories of the Martyrs by St Alphonsus though I am not positive.

SN I don't have a tattoo but I approve of them for religious reasons."


In response to someone who said that they found tattoo's to be hideous I said the following:

"Endeavour to be patient in bearing with other men's faults and infirmities whatsoever they be, for thou thyself also hast many things which have need to be borne with by others. If thou canst not make thine own self what thou desireth, how shalt thou be able to fashion another to thine own liking. We are ready to see others made perfect, and yet we do not amend our own shortcomings.

3. We will that others be straitly corrected, but we will not be corrected ourselves. The freedom of others displeaseth us, but we are dissatisfied that our own wishes shall be denied us. We desire rules to be made restraining others, but by no means will we suffer ourselves to be restrained.Thus therefore doth it plainly appear how seldom we weigh our neighbour in the same balance with ourselves. If all men were perfect, what then should we have to suffer from others for God? "  The Imitation of Christ, OF BEARING WITH THE FAULTS OF OTHERS

I do not desire for more rules to be made binding people."

I would add the disfigurement for devotion is not an uncommon thing in the lives of the Saints, St. Marget Mary Aloque used a hot iron to brand over her heart the name of Jesus.  I know a a young women who recently entered a convent with some silly wordly tattoo's, I know a very devout man who got a tattoo of of the letter M over his heart when he completed his total consecration.  Letting these things disquiet us as Christians in our neighbor is not from the prompting of the Holy Ghost.   

Debates on tattoos are similar to debates on smoking.  A good argument could be made that all smoking (even just rarely) is at least venially sinful, at the other end of the spectrum some have even suggested that rare smoking practices the virtue of temperance. 

A religious tattoo, people could argue is venially sinful because it defaces the body, others (and I would include myself) view it as an act of piety.

In these issues I think we should leave it to our neighbors conscience and try to just show patience and forbearance if our own tastes or inclinations do not agree in issues of this sort.




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Offline St. Columba

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Re: Tattoos
« Reply #31 on: January 09, 2019, 11:30:10 AM »
Always wonderful to see you pop up nmoerbeek!  Hope all is well with you!
People don't have ideas...ideas have people.  - Jordan Peterson quoting Carl Jung
 
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Offline bigbadtrad

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Re: Tattoos
« Reply #32 on: January 09, 2019, 11:36:22 AM »
Noah I respectfully disagree, and mystified why you'd knowingly pick a few exceptions in history to prove a rule which is illogical. Men getting tattoos for a Christian burial and St. Margaret doing it was so that no one could see them for God alone and God punished initially remember?  It was a mark of ownership like being branded as a slave for Christ.

Tattoos are now a cultural phenomenon and in no way to be aligned like you have outlined. It's also a way of branding but to a cause which is unholy. In the last 20 years the amount of tattoo shops have exploded and the people I've met who have them usually come from checkered backgrounds.

Let's be honest if some woman had a nice tattoo of Our Lady on her arm my first thought is "what the heck has she done with her life as well?" Why do that to yourself?

Also your quote from the Imitation is completely out of context. What if Br. Nathaniel came back from work with a big dragon tattoo on his forehead do you think he would lead the community with such a quote or kick his rear out and tell him this isn't for you? You know the answer so I'm confused why you used that quote.

"God has proved his love to us by laying down his life for our sakes; we too must be ready to lay down our lives for the sake of our brethren." 1 John 3:16
 
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Offline TheReturnofLive

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Re: Tattoos
« Reply #33 on: January 09, 2019, 01:06:24 PM »
Johann Von Goethe:

”Painting and tattooing of the body is a return to animalism.”

Animals paint themselves?

Yeah, animalism or animism?
 

Offline Sempronius

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Re: Tattoos
« Reply #34 on: January 09, 2019, 02:07:52 PM »
Johann Von Goethe:

”Painting and tattooing of the body is a return to animalism.”

Animals paint themselves?

Yeah, animalism or animism?

They dont tattoo themselves either, but the point was that tattooing our bodies is a sign that we want to live like brutes.
 
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Offline Kreuzritter

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Re: Tattoos
« Reply #35 on: January 09, 2019, 07:21:39 PM »
Meh. Much ado about nothing. Tattoos aren’t intrinsically evil or necessarily ugly, and you sure as hell can’t just presume someone’s motive for having one. Speck of dust in the eye, probably.
 
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Offline nmoerbeek

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Re: Tattoos
« Reply #36 on: January 09, 2019, 09:04:39 PM »
Noah I respectfully disagree, and mystified why you'd knowingly pick a few exceptions in history to prove a rule which is illogical. Men getting tattoos for a Christian burial and St. Margaret doing it was so that no one could see them for God alone and God punished initially remember?  It was a mark of ownership like being branded as a slave for Christ.

Tattoos are now a cultural phenomenon and in no way to be aligned like you have outlined. It's also a way of branding but to a cause which is unholy. In the last 20 years the amount of tattoo shops have exploded and the people I've met who have them usually come from checkered backgrounds.

Let's be honest if some woman had a nice tattoo of Our Lady on her arm my first thought is "what the heck has she done with her life as well?" Why do that to yourself?

Also your quote from the Imitation is completely out of context. What if Br. Nathaniel came back from work with a big dragon tattoo on his forehead do you think he would lead the community with such a quote or kick his rear out and tell him this isn't for you? You know the answer so I'm confused why you used that quote.

Well a brother who got a face tattoo would violate chapter 13 of our Rule. 

I understand where you are coming from, my Father, one of my favorite non fiction Authors, and one of my priest friends all despise tattoo's.

Tattoo's are a large part of the culture now, Pew Research says that 38 percent of people between 18-29 have them.  I don't think it is because they are all mentally ill, brutes, or have bad manners.  I think a lot of people just got them because it became fashionable to do so, and it became widely accepted as a sign of intense affection or devotion to some thing (a person, place, thing).  Tattoo parlors are not even found in the seediest parts of town anymore that is how (dare I say) middle class they have become. Of course in my conversations with others often times it was just a poor decision made on some vacation, pressure to belong, or some other vapid reason. 

For myself I choose the quote because it is helpful to me at least to not let things that I don't like (which may be matters of taste, imperfections, or debatable venial sin) to not get overly worked up about it.  I am pretty sure that concluding people who get them are brutes is an example of getting to worked up. 
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not to think so much of what I have written, as of my good and kind intentions. Please look for the truths of which I speak rather than for beauty of expression. Where I do not come up to your expectations, pardon me, and put my shortcomings down, please, to lack of time and stress of business." St. Bonaventure, From the Preface of Holiness of Life.

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Offline red solo cup

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Re: Tattoos
« Reply #37 on: January 10, 2019, 05:09:17 AM »
Crusaders used to get a Jerusalem Cross tattoo to show they had fought in the Holy Land.
"It's so lonely 'round the fields of Athenry"
 
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Offline Gardener

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Re: Tattoos
« Reply #38 on: January 10, 2019, 05:50:31 AM »
As said previously, I don't buy the 5th commandment claim against tattoos at this time, nor really the idea of modesty, vanity, etc. if the tattoo is in a location where it cannot be seen or where it could be, but the wearer intends to cover it.

Fr. Peter Joseph has an article in Latin Mass magazine about the morality of tattoos and piercing: http://www.latinmassmagazine.com/articles/articles_2002_SU_Joseph.html

He begins by referencing, yet using those stupid ellipses (...) in order to cut out the true meaning of the verse. I ALWAYS look up full quotes when I see ellipses, on the chance the [redacted] portion is pertinent to the argument. In the case of Leviticus 19:28, it most certainly is and represented only a minor removal for space. As such, I consider his removal of the portion "for the dead" more of a rhetorical trick than necessitated by a long portion which was not pertinent or otherwise allowed the point to be made.

Fr. Peter Joseph's article: " “You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh…or tattoo any marks upon you: I am the Lord” (Leviticus 19:28)"

Full verse: "[28] You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh, for the dead, neither shall you make in yourselves any figures or marks: I am the Lord." Lev 19 DRB

Haydock:

Quote
Ver. 28.  Dead.  Adonis or Osiris; as if you were mourning for them, in which sense the former verse may be explained.  At funerals it was customary to cut off the hair.  Achilles and his soldiers did so at the death of Patroclus.  Homer. --- The Persians also cut the manes of their horses, to shew their grief for the loss of Masistius, (Herod. ix. 24,) as Alexander did when Hephæstion died.  Plutarch. ---  The Egyptians, Assyrians, &c. cut their hair on the like occasions, and the Hebrews did so too; whether they neglected this law, or it was rather designed only to hinder them from joining in a superstitious lamentation for some idol.  They also cut their bodies, Gen. l.  Jer. xli. 5.  The pagans did so, intending thereby to appease the anger of the infernal deities: ut sanguine...inferis satisfaciant, (Varro, Servius): or to please the deceased.  Plutarch, de consol.  Thus Virgil represents Anna, Æn. iv.: Unguibus ora soror fædans & pectora pugnis.  The Roman and Athenian laws restrained this cruelty of women towards themselves.  But in Persia, the children and servants of great men still make an incision upon their arms, when their father or master dies.  The women in Greece also observe a solemn mourning, with loud lamentations, tearing their cheeks and hair, and reciting the memorable actions of the deceased.  The Christians and Jews of Syria inflict still more serious wounds upon themselves.  The latter have always esteemed it lawful to adopt the customs of the nations with whom they lived, provided they were not attended with superstition; which makes us conclude, that what Moses here forbids was done in honour of some idol. --- Marks, made with a hot iron, representing false gods, as if to declare that they would serve them forever.  Philo. --- The Assyrians had generally such characters upon their bodies.  Philopator ordered the converts from the Jewish religion to be marked with ivy, in honour of Bacchus.  3 Macc.  Theodoret (q. 18) mentions, that the pagans were accustomed to cut their cheeks, and to prick themselves with needles, infusing some black matter, out of respect for the dead, and for demons.  Allusion is made to these customs, Apoc. xiii. 16, and Isai. xlix. 15.  Christians have sometimes marked their arms with the cross, or name of Jesus.  Procop. in Isai. xliv. 5.  C. --- As S. Jane Frances de Chantal did her breast.  Brev. Aug. 21.  Nomen pectori insculpsit.  S. Paul says, I bear the marks of the Lord Jesus in my body.  Gal. vi. 17.  The Church historians relate, that S. Francis and S. Catharine received miraculously the prints of his wounds.  H.

As one can see, this verse is prohibiting cutting and tattooing (which would probably include branding) in the context of pagan worship, and very specifically ancestor worship (or appeasing the "gods" for the ancestors).

Aside from bad images, or images which might give the impression of impiety, I cannot really see a direct moral problem with them. I'd even say that if one had such a design, they could be right in getting it covered up depending on its nature. I have one such design on my right bicep. I don't buy the "body is a temple" argument either, as that opens a rabbit hole from which there is no real escape. I'll buy it when the person saying it loses their 30-250lbs of flubber (and don't they dare try the "it's genetic!" argument. No, you're a lard-ass. Try again.). If they really believed that in the context of their argument, they'd be doing their best to truly take care of their bodies.

Where I see the problem is in the realm of prudence: socially and financially.

Depending on the location (regardless of the design), it could be very problematic even if the design is innocuous.

Financial: tattoos ain't cheap. Any reputable artist (and they are artists) is going to charge minimum $100/hr and/or a price depending on the piece. They have to do the same setup of their equipment whether it's a tiny one or a big one. So, one needs to ask themselves if they could use that money more wisely. In the 5 years I was under the needle, I probably dropped about 4000 dollars on ink. Maybe less. Not more for sure. Unless one has money to burn, what really is the point?

Maturation: I'm not a very big fan of my tattoos these days. Some are still great art. Some haven't aged well (mainly certain colors). One is inappropriate. I suspect that the only one Christ won't blot out on my glorified body, if I am saved, is the Chi-Rho piece on my right elbow. I cannot see Him blotting out a Christogram.

Aside from social considerations, such as the Copts, the only marks we need on our entire selves are the marks of Baptism and Confirmation, and if a priest, Ordination. These are marks on our souls, much more indelible into aeviternity than mere marks on our bodies.

Do I want more tattoos? Sometimes. I go through periods where I think "oh, that would be a good one."

Since I don't buy the blanket moral argument (please, try... if there is one to be made, do your best and I'll listen), and we were thrown headlong into a persecution where social considerations are no longer relevant, I'd probably do some overtly Catholic tattoos just to solidify and reinforce my own desire to not commit apostasy.

After all, an old English rendering of "Hail Mary" fits conveniently across the knuckles. The two sides of the St. Benedict medal would look great in black/grey shades on the back of the hands. Perhaps tattoos of the stigmata to remind oneself of our Lord's passion. Who knows.

If you're gonna get your head cut off, might as well go out in "trashy", devout style I guess.

I don't buy the "return to brutish behavior" argument, either. Humans are humans are humans. Say otherwise, and you run into the nascent arguments of Modernism. We desire to worship and show devotion, and even our own internal dialogue, hopes, fears, dreams with external manifestation, including via our bodies. The clothes you wear, the hair style you have (well, for those of you not prematurely balding), etc., are all manifestations of something you desire to show the world. This extends, in some manner, to tattoos. The question is what does the tattoo (or tattoos) say about your inner self (i.e., your soul and intellect) at the time of its being received?

Nor do I buy the "low class" argument. I guarantee there are people you know who you think are great folks, and they have tattoos you don't know about. Are they low class? No.

And one last thing: tattoo removal. Don't kid yourself if you think this is a future possibility as based on current technology. I tried to start the process and went through about 6 sessions. 1) it was painful as could be. Worse than the actual tattoo. 2) it succeeded in doing a poor job and only partially faded it. Good tattoos are HARD to remove. Some piece of crap you got at 16 in a "prison" style with low amounts of ink and bad ink at that? possible. Good, professional ink? Very, very hard with the modern laser removal methods. Surgery can do it, but it will cost you and likely leaves a scar.

« Last Edit: January 10, 2019, 05:54:26 AM by Gardener »
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Offline Stubborn

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Re: Tattoos
« Reply #39 on: January 10, 2019, 07:48:16 AM »
^^^^Interesting. Maybe think of it this way......

We were not meant to have tattoos, regardless of where the tattoo is located, otherwise no matter what the tattoo, put it on your face.

I would not want those who are living rent free in my house to decide to paint it, not at all. Certainly not paint it with pictures or designs using permanent paint, not even on one wall, certainly not all over my house because first, it is not their house, I am only letting them live in it temporarily and rent free. I only expect them to keep it clean and maintained and take advantage of zero rent as they work out saving for their future. Because they are perfect and I made each house specifically unique in every detail, that's the way that I want them to stay forever.

What prompts people to deface anything so beautiful and so perfect - and is not even theirs? Did they think I wouldn't notice or wouldn't mind? 

« Last Edit: January 10, 2019, 07:50:21 AM by Stubborn »
Even after a long life of sin, if the Christian receives the Sacrament of the dying with the appropriate dispositions, he will go straight to heaven without having to go to purgatory. - Fr. M. Philipon; This sacrament prepares man for glory immediately, since it is given to those who are departing from this life. - St. Thomas Aquinas; It washes away the sins that remain to be atoned, and the vestiges of sin; it comforts and strengthens the soul of the sick person, arousing in him a great trust and confidence in the divine mercy. Thus strengthened, he bears the hardships and struggles of his illness more easily and resists the temptation of the devil and the heel of the deceiver more readily; and if it be advantageous to the welfare of his soul, he sometimes regains his bodily health. - Council of Trent
 

Offline Kreuzritter

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Re: Tattoos
« Reply #40 on: January 10, 2019, 09:26:26 AM »
^^^^Interesting. Maybe think of it this way......

We were not meant to have tattoos, regardless of where the tattoo is located, otherwise no matter what the tattoo, put it on your face.

If I wouldn't want it on my face, I'm not "meant" to have it anywhere? According to what rules of logic does that one follow?

Quote
I would not want those who are living rent free in my house to decide to paint it, not at all. Certainly not paint it with pictures or designs using permanent paint, not even on one wall, certainly not all over my house because first, it is not their house, I am only letting them live in it temporarily and rent free. I only expect them to keep it clean and maintained and take advantage of zero rent as they work out saving for their future. Because they are perfect and I made each house specifically unique in every detail, that's the way that I want them to stay forever.

I wouldn't let my house slowly go to ruin and whither away to dust either. The strained analogy doesn't fit.

Quote
What prompts people to deface anything so beautiful and so perfect - and is not even theirs? Did they think I wouldn't notice or wouldn't mind?

That a tattoos are ugly and necessarily constiute a defacing of something is mere opinion. As for human bodies being "perfect", in this world of aging, disease, injury and congential deformities they just aren't.

 

Offline Sempronius

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Re: Tattoos
« Reply #41 on: January 10, 2019, 09:44:09 AM »
Amazing that catholics are divided on this issue. Maybe a young women reads this and gets the impression that tattoos are okay and then goes to tell her mom that she wants one on her shoulder..”but ma’m.. tattoos aren’t intrisically evil!!
 
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Offline Stubborn

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Re: Tattoos
« Reply #42 on: January 10, 2019, 09:49:33 AM »
^^^^Interesting. Maybe think of it this way......

We were not meant to have tattoos, regardless of where the tattoo is located, otherwise no matter what the tattoo, put it on your face.

If I wouldn't want it on my face, I'm not "meant" to have it anywhere? According to what rules of logic does that one follow?

Having this or that tattoo in an inconspicuous location is deemed to be acceptable. Well, if it's acceptable at all, then it's location has nothing to do with it. If it's acceptable, then it is even more acceptable on your face - it's the best way to make sure no one misses it. 


I would not want those who are living rent free in my house to decide to paint it, not at all. Certainly not paint it with pictures or designs using permanent paint, not even on one wall, certainly not all over my house because first, it is not their house, I am only letting them live in it temporarily and rent free. I only expect them to keep it clean and maintained and take advantage of zero rent as they work out saving for their future. Because they are perfect and I made each house specifically unique in every detail, that's the way that I want them to stay forever.

I wouldn't let my house slowly go to ruin and whither away to dust either. The strained analogy doesn't fit.

The point is, God is perfect, like everything else He created, He created our bodies perfect, they are His, not ours. Disagreeing with God on this by permanently defacing it can only displease Him. To displease God, is to sin.

 
What prompts people to deface anything so beautiful and so perfect - and is not even theirs? Did they think I wouldn't notice or wouldn't mind?

That a tattoos are ugly and necessarily constiute a defacing of something is mere opinion. As for human bodies being "perfect", in this world of aging, disease, injury and congential deformities they just aren't.

It is only our "mere opinion" and imperfect when we wholly remove God from the equation.
Even after a long life of sin, if the Christian receives the Sacrament of the dying with the appropriate dispositions, he will go straight to heaven without having to go to purgatory. - Fr. M. Philipon; This sacrament prepares man for glory immediately, since it is given to those who are departing from this life. - St. Thomas Aquinas; It washes away the sins that remain to be atoned, and the vestiges of sin; it comforts and strengthens the soul of the sick person, arousing in him a great trust and confidence in the divine mercy. Thus strengthened, he bears the hardships and struggles of his illness more easily and resists the temptation of the devil and the heel of the deceiver more readily; and if it be advantageous to the welfare of his soul, he sometimes regains his bodily health. - Council of Trent
 

Offline Gardener

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Re: Tattoos
« Reply #43 on: January 10, 2019, 09:51:33 AM »
Amazing that catholics are divided on this issue. Maybe a young women reads this and gets the impression that tattoos are okay and then goes to tell her mom that she wants one on her shoulder..”but ma’m.. tattoos aren’t intrisically evil!!

I’m more amazed that there are still people who are amazed that there’s a division of opinion on something for which there is no clear teaching, and when the anti-side is unwilling to apply the same principles to other, socially accepted, body modifications, find the pro and/or neutral side don’t take them seriously.

And in case I’ve been unclear: Speaking from my own experience, in general, I recommend against tattoos.

Stubborn - how do you feel about earrings and unstretched nose or lip rings?
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Offline Stubborn

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Re: Tattoos
« Reply #44 on: January 10, 2019, 10:06:27 AM »
Amazing that catholics are divided on this issue. Maybe a young women reads this and gets the impression that tattoos are okay and then goes to tell her mom that she wants one on her shoulder..”but ma’m.. tattoos aren’t intrisically evil!!

I’m more amazed that there are still people who are amazed that there’s a division of opinion on something for which there is no clear teaching, and when the anti-side is unwilling to apply the same principles to other, socially accepted, body modifications, find the pro and/or neutral side don’t take them seriously.

And in case I’ve been unclear: Speaking from my own experience, in general, I recommend against tattoos.

Stubborn - how do you feel about earrings and unstretched nose or lip rings?

Earrings on women are fine, nose and lip rings are what pagans have always worn, they are right up there with what I said earlier, "Excessive tattooing is actually imitating (the sincerest form of flattery) the "ignorant natives"....as part of their pagan (demonic) rituals."
Even after a long life of sin, if the Christian receives the Sacrament of the dying with the appropriate dispositions, he will go straight to heaven without having to go to purgatory. - Fr. M. Philipon; This sacrament prepares man for glory immediately, since it is given to those who are departing from this life. - St. Thomas Aquinas; It washes away the sins that remain to be atoned, and the vestiges of sin; it comforts and strengthens the soul of the sick person, arousing in him a great trust and confidence in the divine mercy. Thus strengthened, he bears the hardships and struggles of his illness more easily and resists the temptation of the devil and the heel of the deceiver more readily; and if it be advantageous to the welfare of his soul, he sometimes regains his bodily health. - Council of Trent