In the First Reading, St Paul lists the works of the flesh: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, anger, quarrels, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing and things like these. He then concludes: I am warning you, as I warned you before; those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. Many people today say these sins are not applicable and the Church needs to change with the times. But the Spirit who inspired Paul to write this is the same Spirit yesterday, today and forever. This will not change. Paul said this twice: I am warning you, as I warned you before. There is no excuse for not knowing these are sinful and people who commit them will be held accountable for the sins. Paul speaks in forceful and quite hurtful words. Jesus also spoke in quite strong words, cursing the Pharisees who were more concerned about the literal observance of the Law rather than obedience to Jesus. When a lawyer told Jesus they are offended, instead of apologizing, Jesus also cursed them.
This is why people who say the Church must soften her stance on moral issues are mistaken. People are more concerned about hurting other people’s feelings they forget about the truth. Always, the Truth of God must be said without apology or watering it down.
Calixtus was the Pope from 218-222 AD. He was responsible for receiving back to the Catholic Church, members of sects and schisms and instituted the absolution of sins including murder and adultery. Hippolytus could not accept the lax treatment of the sins that he allowed himself to be elected as the Antipope.
In the end, Calixtus was martyred and two popes took the office before Hippolytus was exiled with Pope Pontian and they were sent to exile where they later reconciled.
While the works of the flesh Paul mentioned are sinful and will deny our inheritance to the kingdom of heaven, the sacrament of confession allows us to be reconciled with God, restoring us to peace with him.
While we do not compromise the teaching of the Church on moral issues, we must also preach the mercy of God to those who repent. There is always forgiveness to those who seek the Lord.
Lord I come to you a sinner. Forgive me for the works of the flesh. I repent of those and accept me Lord to your kingdom. St Calixtus, pray that I may see the mercy of God and not take it for granted. Instead, let me seek to be reconciled with him, quickly.