TITHING: "What amount should
a person base their weekly offering on? What % (percentage) of a family's income? "
ANSWER: The Old Testament states
that we should return to God 10% (tithe) of what God has given us. This
ranges from an actual 10% to a breakdown of a given amount to the parish, to
other non-religious charities, and to the diocese. The most important
aspect that Jesus emphasizes is that it be a Sacrifice. Recall the story
he told of the widow who gave only a penny's worth but it was all she had,
verses the rich who put in a large amount, but it was basically a "leftover"
amount. In giving sacrificially, we should give to God first, not what
is left over. Also the gift of time and talent plays into this.
Some people also tithe their time in sharing with their church and the many
gifts and talents that God has given them.
CONFESSION FOR VENIAL SINS: "If
the church recommends regular confession for venial sins...what is the
definition of regular confession? How often is this?
What is regular confession? That would range from once a week
to monthly, perhaps seasonally. A person who seldom goes is fooling
themselves but not God. Regular confession is a pattern one develops
in the spiritual life. The same question could be put to going to the
doctor: some people go more often than others for periods of time because of
need. People who seldom or never see the doctor often end up finding
serious problems have developed that could have been dealt with if found early
when a crisis happens and they have to see the doctor.
ASH WEDNESDAY, EASTER DATES:
"How are the dates for Ash Wednesday and Easter determined each year"?
ANSWER: The celebration of Easter is
to be on the first Sunday after the first full moon following the Spring
(Vernal) Equinox. Easter can fall on any Sunday between March 22nd and April
25th. So, if Easter falls on March 31st, Ash Wednesday will be observed February
13th, i.e.: 40 days prior to March 31st, not counting Sundays. Christians, in
observing Easter, follow the Jewish calendars in determining the Jewish
Passover. The calculation of the date of Easter (and, therefore Ash Wednesday)
was determined in the Council of Nicea A.D. 325. ("Catholic
Treasures", J. Turpin, St. Anthony Messenger Press).
RIGHT TO KILL:"As
Christians, do we have the right to kill to defend ourselves or be killed and
love our neighbors and forgive?"
ANSWER: Yes, as a human being, you have a right to kill another
person in order to defend yourself against that person’s killing you. Someone
who defends his life is not guilty of murder even if he is forced to deal his
aggressor a lethal blow. Legitimate defense can be not only a right but a grave
duty for someone responsible for another’s life, the common good of the family
or of the state. Killing another person should be our last resort of
self-defense; if possible, lesser means of self-defense should be employed.
(Catechism 2263-2267). Jesus, St. Stephen and other martyrs asked the
forgiveness of God for their killers. It is the Christian thing to do.
MEN WEARING EARRINGS: “I’m a guy. Am I making a sin by wearing an earring?”
Answer: No, you are not. A young man who wears an earring
is probably making some kind of fashion, cultural or social statement. At
present, wearing an earring by both men and women seems to be the “in thing to
AMEN - STAND OR KNEEL? "I am confused. At the
"Great Amen", some people kneel, others stand. Which is it?" Answer:
"After" not during, the singing of the Great Amen, the people in the
pews stand. (#21 Appendix, GIRM for U.S.A.).
BISHOP’S RING "I notice that Catholics kiss
the rings of their bishops. How come?" Answer: Bishops wear
rings as a symbol of their covenant love and loyalty between them and the Church
and of his marriage to his see (diocese). Kissing the ring of a bishop is a sign
of one’s belief that the bishop is a successor of the Apostles and united with
the Pope. It is a gesture of acceptance of the Apostolic Authority of the bishop
and of willingness to obey the bishop who takes the place of Christ in his
Diocese. ("New Catholic Encyclopedia," Volume XII, "Rings",
SERMON – HOMILY:
"What is the difference between a sermon and a homily?"
ANSWER: A sermon is a talk on any religious topic, anywhere. A homily, on
the other hand, is a talk that concentrates on the scriptural readings of the
Mass being celebrated with an emphasis on the application of those readings to
daily living. ("The Mystery and Meaning of the Mass", J.M. Champlin,
The Crossroads Pub. Co.).
"Does the Church have anything to say about
ANSWER: Not that I know of. The Church awaits the findings of science
and other disciplines to declare the realities of reported UFO’s and of life
on other planets. God is not limited to this Earth in His creation of
intelligent life. We await the rest of the story. God can be full of surprises.
WITHOUT CONFESSION – "My son, for the past
four years, has been "living with his girlfriend", not going to Mass
on Sunday. He hasn’t been to Confession all that time yet went to Communion at
Christmas and Easter. Was I correct in telling him that he should have gone to
Confession before Communion?"
ANSWER: Yes, you were correct. Before the worthy reception of Holy
Communion, those in the state of mortal sin must go to Confession prior to
Communion and, in that Confession, have a firm purpose of not committing those
sins again and of avoiding the occasions of all serious sins. That calls for
your son to stop "living with" his girlfriend and to attend Sunday
Mass. ("catechism", 1384-1390, 1415).
NO SIGN OF THE
CROSS – "It used to be that a priest
giving a homily – sermon would begin and end with the Sign of the Cross. What
happened to that practice?" ANSWER: Since the liturgical reform
of 1970, the Sign of the Cross is made three times within Mass: 1. . At the
beginning of Mass; 2. over the gifts; and; 3. at the end of Mass. (Four minor
crosses are made at the proclamation of the Gospel: on the Gospel Book, forehead
of the proclaimer, his lips and over his heart). Emphatic in the Mass is the
continuity between the readings, Gospel, homily, Creed, Prayer of the Faithful
and the Eucharistic Prayer. Nothing is to interrupt that flow. The opening Sign
of the Cross by the celebrant covers the whole ceremony. ("The Mystery of
the Mass", J.M. Champlain, The Crossroad Pub. Co.).
– SUNDAY MASS? "If you attend a
wedding Mass on a Saturday, does that fulfill your Sunday obligation?"
Answer: No, it does not. To fulfill the obligation we are to attend the
weekend Mass designated by the Church for the whole congregation. A wedding Mass
is an "extra" Mass, a private Mass for a certain group of people, not
for the total congregation. Saturday night Mass and Sunday Masses scheduled by
the Church are the ones to attend to fulfill our obligation.
"Why is Sunday a Holy day?"
ANSWER: Sunday is a Holy day because Jesus and God the Holy Spirit
made it holy, Jesus, by His resurrection from the dead on Easter Sunday, the
Holy spirit by descending from heaven on the Apostolic Church on Pentecost
Sunday. Early in Christian history, the Church designated Sunday "The
Lord’s Day" (Rev. 1: 10). Later the Church made every Sunday a day of
obligation. ("Catechism" 2174-2188).
CHRISTOPHER ? "Is St. Christopher still
ANSWER: Yes. Even though the Church removed Christopher from the
liturgical calendar in 1966, the Church has never denied his existence nor has
the Church demoted him. (St. Philomena, too, was removed from the liturgical
calendar). Very little is known about either of these saints, hence their
calendar removal. Legends and stories abound about them. St.Christopher
suffered martyrdom in Lycia, present day Turkey, in the mid 3rd
century. ("Voices of the Saints", Bert Ghezzi, Doubleday).
TALK BEFORE DAILY MASS
"Before daily Mass, some people hold out-loud, extended conversations
while others try to get ready for Mass in silent prayer. Can we do something to
stop these distracting talkers?" ANSWER: I, too, am annoyed by prolonged,
loud conversations before Mass. Quiet, preparatory, silent prayer is the proper
devotion before Mass. Two things you can do about it: 1. Ask the talkers to stop
talking, (they’ll hate you) or 2 move to another location. Maybe this Q &
A will help to silence them, but don’t bet on it. Even if God said "Shhh,"
some would continue their casual, church conversations. Sometimes
"talk" can be a bad four-letter word – especially in church, right
before daily Mass. "Shhh"
CHARGE? "Who really runs the Catholic
ANSWER: Jesus Christ is the founder, the head and ruler of the Church. It
is His Church. In structuring His Church to continue His teaching and
sanctifying until the end of time, Jesus clearly appointed Peter and the other
apostles to "run the Church." The Apostolic Church for its part,
passed on the mission to succeeding generations. Christ is the head of the
Church in heaven; the Pope is the head of the Church on earth, the Vicar of
Christ. God, the Holy spirit, is the soul of the Church, and , therefore,
protects and guides and graces the Pope and the Bishops who "run" the
Church in the name of Christ.
HOW TO BAPTIZE..
"In an emergency, how should I baptize?"
Answer: In an emergency, you baptize by pouring water over the head of
the one to be baptized and while pouring the water, say: "I baptize you in
the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." The one who
baptizes must intend to do what Christ and the Church intend to do by the
Sacrament of Baptism.
DEACONS – MARRIAGE: "What are the rules
about Permanent Deacons" and their rights to marry?"
Answer: Single men and married men may become Permanent Deacons. Once a
single man is ordained a Permanent Deacon, then he may not marry. If a married
permanent Deacon’s wife dies, he may not marry again. ("Sacred Order of
the Deaconate," Paul VI).
ABORTED BABY - HEAVEN?..: "If a
baby is aborted and not baptized, does that mean it can’t go to heaven?"
ANSWER: No it doesn’t, God is not limited by the Sacraments established
by God the Son. Baptism of water is the usual requirement for the
entrance into heaven. (John 3; Matt. 28); it is not the only way to get there.
All babies, unborn and born, are precious to God and God wills all to be saved.
Jesus said: "Let the children come to me, do not hinder them." (Mark
10: 14). The Catholic Catechism entrusts unbaptized babies to the mercy and love
of God ("Catechism" 1260). God loves those unbaptized babies more than
do their parents. My theology counts on God getting them to heaven.
CANDIDATE. "What is the difference
between a Catechumen and a Candidate?" ANSWER: The CATECHUMEN
is one who has never been baptized. The CANDIDATE is one who was
baptized in another Christian religion and who wants to be received into full
Communion with the Catholic Church through a profession of faith, the rite of
Confirmation and the reception of Holy Communion. Before Candidates
receive their sacraments, they experience individually the Sacrament of
Reconciliation (Confession). Since Baptism takes away all sins, Catechumens need
not go to Confession before they are received into the Church at the Easter
Vigil Service. They, too, are Confirmed and receive their First Holy Communion.
LATE FOR MASS –
MISS MASS: "When are we
late for Mass? When do we miss Mass? ANSWER: "We are late for
Mass if we are not present for the opening sign of the cross. WE miss Mass if we
are not present for the Offertory, Consecration and Communion of the Mass. WE
are obliged on days of obligation to attend a complete Mass, i.e., from the
opening sign of the cross to the last blessing." ("Moral
Theology", H. Jone, Tan).
CHRIST – TO
HELL..: "After His death, why did Christ go to
ANSWER: Christ did not go to Hell in the restricted pejorative sense of the
word. In Apostolic times, hell was a word used to designate any state of
existence lower than heaven. The Jews called it "Sheol." There was a
hell for the damned and there was a hell for the just, the good people of the
Old Testament who awaited their redemption and liberation by the death of Christ
on the cross. Theologians called the "hell of the just"
"limbo". Jesus went to this hell to announce to the just the good news
of their freedom and of their going to heaven. (1 Peter 4).
TO CHURCH.. "If I was lost in the Catholic
Church (away from the Church) and would like to come back, How can I do
ANSWER: Get in touch with me, (904-398-1963) or another Catholic
priest; we will ease your way back into the Church, guide you back to the
Sacraments and help you to be at peace with God and yourself. Jesus, the Good
Shepherd, carrying the sheep over His shoulders is a good picture of you and
Jesus to keeping mind. Come on home; your church family welcomes you!
AT MASS: The
Responsorial Psalm sung between the first and second readings isn’t always the
same as the one in the missal. Is that OK?
Answer: Yes, that’s OK. Since most congregations cannot learn a new song
every week the "Order of Readings" list other usable texts that are in
harmony with the liturgical season, feast or occasion. ("GIRM", #89),
("The Liturgical Music Answer Book", P. Lovrien, Resource Pub.).
"Are Catholics allowed to be married outside (of Church) in a garden
marriage"? ANSWER: Catholics are to be married in their parish
Catholic Church. "The local Ordinary (Bishop) can allow a marriage to be
celebrated in another suitable place." (Canon Law, #1118, 1,2,3,).
Permission is to be requested of the Bishop through the Parish Priest.
Ordinarily, sacraments are to be celebrated in church.
"If two married Protestants both become Catholic, do they have to be
married again in the Catholic Church?"
ANSWER: No. They were both Protestants at the time of their marriage and the
Catholic Church recognizes their marriage as valid and sacramental. The law of
the Church to be married in a Catholic ceremony before a priest or deacon
applies to marriage in which at least one of the parties is a Catholic (Canon
What is the "Tre Ore"?
ANSWER: "Tre Ore" is the Italian for "three hours". It
refers to the three hours that Christ was on the cross on Good Friday. A
commemorative service called "The Three Hours Agony" is sometimes
conducted from noon to three o’clock on Good Friday. It consists of a service
of meditations on the Passion of Christ, particularly reflections on the Seven
Last Words of Christ from the Cross. The "Tre Ore" is an optional Good
Friday ritual. (Dictionary of the Liturgy," J.P. Lang, Catholic Book Co).
JERUSALEM CROSS: "What
is the origin and meaning of the Jerusalem Cross." Answer: The
Jerusalem Cross, a large liturgical cross with an additional small cross in each
of the four corners was the coat of arms of the Kingdom of Jerusalem during the
Crusades. The five crosses together refer to the five stigmata (wounds) of
Christ. ("Dictionary of Symbolism", H. Biedemann, Meridian Br.).
CONFIRMATION NAME: "
Why, when being confirmed, does one take on a "Confirmation
ANSWER: Those confirmed take on a "Confirmation name" in order to
have another saint or religious hero/heroine to imitate and to pray to for
guidance and help. If they wish, they may repeat their baptismal name as their
"Confirmation Name." Because of the link between Baptism and
Confirmation, both the original Baptismal sponsor and the Saint’s name given
at Baptism (if it was a Saint’s name) are preferred as the sponsor and the
name for Confirmation. ("Handbook of Moral Theology", D. Prummer, R.C.
GRANDPARENTS OF JESUS:
"Who were Jesus’ paternal grandparents?"
Answer: Jesus had no blood father. God, the Holy Spirit, conceived him in
the womb of Mary of Nazareth. St. Joseph was the legal father of Jesus.
Therefore, Jesus had no blood paternal grandparents, only legal ones. In Matthew
1:16, Jacob is named the father of Joseph, therefore, Jacob was
the legal grandfather of Jesus. In Luke 3: 23,24, the father of Joseph is called
Heli, which, perhaps, could be another name of Jacob. So, it looks
as though a man who went by the names Jacob-Heli was the legal
grandfather of Jesus on Joseph’s side. Ordinarily women’s names are not
listed in Jewish genealogies, so there is no name for Jesus’ legal grandmother
on His legal father’s side. On His mother’s side, the blood grandparents of
Jesus are traditionally named "Joachim and Ann," the parents of the
Blessed Virgin Mary. ("Daily Bible Studies, Matthew, Luke," William
Barclay, Westminster Press).
"Is it incorrect to make the Sign of the Cross after you receive
ANSWER: It is not incorrect to make the Sign of the Cross after you receive
Communion. Neither is that practice a command performance. It is the
communicant’s choice. Reverence to the Holy Eucharist can be shown by gesture
FORTY DAYS OF LENT.."What
is the significance and/or the symbolism for forty days of Lent?" ANSWER:
Back in the 2nd century, there were only two days of Lent in
preparation for the celebration of the death and resurrection of Jesus. In the 3rd
century, Holy Week was Lent. By the 7th century, Lent became a 40 day
penitential period in imitation of Jesus’ forty day fast in the desert (Matt.
4:2). From Ash Wednesday to Holy Saturday there are 40 weekdays of Lent. The six
Sundays within these 40 days are not counted as days of Lent. Sundays are
"Little Easters". The Church has never fasted on Sundays.
("Catholic Customs and Traditions", G. Dues, 23rd Pub.).
TOO MANY MASSES..
FEW CONFESSIONS..: "In
Florida, many Masses are celebrated. You can find Masses at any time. However,
Confessions are very scarce, about an hour a week and sometimes the priest
doesn’t show. Let’s have fewer Masses and more Confessions."
ANSWER: Why not keep the same number of Masses (the crowds need them)
and, at the same time, if necessary, increase the times and lengths of
Confessions. In recent years, I have seen no long lines of penitents at the
usual assigned hours for Confession. If the line increases, the Churches will
adjust. You can always call the rectory to make arrangements for your own
private confession "out of joint of time." (Shakespeare).
CHILDREN: DID MARY, MOTHER
OF JESUS HAVE ANY OTHER CHILDREN?"
ANSWER: The Catholic answer is "no". Other Christian denominations
assert that Mary did have other children after having had Jesus. The Catholic
Church with its belief in Tradition before but in conjunction with the gospels
was there from the beginning with its beliefs about Jesus, Mary and Joseph.
Other denominations did not appear with their different theologies until a
thousand years later. Under God, the Holy Spirit, the Catholic Church has a
living memory of the Holy Family two thousand years ago. The Catholic Church has
always taught that Jesus was the only child of Mary. ("Mary in the New
Testament", R. E. Brown).
"Do you believe that once you are saved, you are always saved?" (I
am a Southern Baptist).
ANSWER: Yes and no. "Yes" in the sense that Jesus on Good Friday
saved all mankind in so far as He made salvation available to all – always.
Looking at salvation through the action of Jesus we can say "once saved,
always saved." Jesus need not save us again and salvation is available to
all, always. However, after having accepted salvation, a person can reject it by
serious sin, not repent and, therefore, be liable to damnation. Without the
cooperation of the saving grace of Jesus an unrepentant sinner cannot say:
"Once saved, always saved." Jesus saved once and for all. After
accepting salvation, we must keep it; if we lose it, we are to repent to regain
it. ("I Want to Believe, But...." B. Wright, Templegate).
TWELVE DAYS OF
CHRISTMAS.. "What is
meant by twelve more days after Christmas?" ANSWER: To
"lick the Christmas spoon," the celebration of Christmas was increased
from an octave (8 days) to 12 days, December 25th to January 6th,
the Feast of the Epiphany. Both sacred and secular events are celebrated within
these twelve days. Music and poetry have popularized that Incarnation period.
("Catholic Customs and Traditions," G. Dues, 23rd Pub.).
ST. BLAISE (BLASÉ) –
THROATS – : "What’s
the story behind the blessing of the throats?"
ANSWER: On February 3rd, the feast of St. Blaise, Catholics
enjoy a popular Sacramental called "The Blessing of Throats," in which
St. Blaise is invited to ask the Lord to "free us from evils of the throat
and any other evil." Legend says that, prior to his becoming a bishop,
Blaise was a physician. While in prison for his faith, Bishop Blaise cured a boy
who was choking on a fishbone stuck in his throat. Candles used in the blessing
are symbolic of the candles that the cured boy’s mother used to bring to
Bishop Blaise in his dark prison. St. Blaise died a martyr c 316 A.D..
(Dictionary of Saints, J. Delaney, Image).
CANDLEMAS DAY: "Is
there still a Mass at which Mass candles are blessed for the year?" ANSWER:
Yes, there is; February 2nd, a triple celebration: 1. The Presentation
of Jesus in the Temple; 2. The Purification of Mary, a traditional Jewish
blessing 40 days after the birth of a boy (80 days after a girl); 3. And the
Blessing of Mass Candles – "Candlemas Day (Candle-Mass) the gospel for
the Candle Mass or "Day of St. Simeon," proclaims the word of Simeon
that the infant Jesus will be "a revealing light to the Gentiles..."
(Luke 2) (Gospel of Luke, W. Barclay, Fortress).
LAST GOSPEL.- RUSSIA PRAYERS:
"Why do we no longer have the reading of the "Last Gospel";
John 1, at the end of Mass and why do we no longer say prayers for Russia
ordered by Leo XIII and Pius XI?
ANSWER: With the revision of the Liturgy by Vatican Council II in the
1960’s, The "Last Gospel" and prayers for Russia were deleted by the
Council and the Pope. They were accretions to the pure liturgy of the Mass. The
Vatican Fathers "purified" the cluttered liturgies and other devotions
of those unnecessary additions that, down through the ages, became part of our
worship life because of new and present concerns at particular times. Now,
"we stick to the Mass".
A SOUL – NO-BORN BABIES:
"Do no-born babies have a soul? Where do they go when they die?" ANSWER:
The very moment that a baby is conceived, comes into life, that baby is a
living soul, a soul that will never die even though the baby is born dead, is
"no-born". The soul never dies; it lives on for all eternity. If the
baby was baptized in the womb before the baby dies, the baby goes to heaven; if
not baptized, then the destiny of that baby is in the loving care of God who is
not limited by the Sacraments. Adam and Eve did not need baptism; they were
constituted in grace. The Blessed Virgin Mary was conceived full of grace; it
was her Immaculate Conception. Our extra-ordinary God knows how to save
extra-ordinary souls of "no-born" babies. I have confidence in a
loving God. (Catechism #1261).
"O ANTIPHONS": What
are the Advent "O Antiphons?"
ANSWER: From December 17th to the 23rd, seven
antiphons that begin with "O" are sung as Alleluia verses before the
Gospel. They herald the Messiah with seven of His special names: O Wisdom, O
Leader of Israel, O Flower of Jesse, O Key of David, O Radiant Dawn, O King of
All Nations, O Emmanuel. In Gregorian chant, the big "O’s " are
ST. CHAD, REALLY? QUESTION
FROM A FLORIDA VOTER: "Honest to God! Is there
really a St. Chad?"
ANSWER: Yes, there is! Chad was an English monk along with his brother
Aidan. Chad became the Abbot of the Yorkshire monastery and then Bishop of York.
Because York already had a bishop, Chad was accused by the visiting
Archbishop of Canterbury of an improper consecration, so Chad became a
"hanging Chad." Impressed by Chad’s humble acceptance of his
verdict, the Archbishop regularized Chad’s consecration and appointed Chad
bishop at Litchfield where he died in 672. (Dictionary of Saints," J.
Delaney, Image Books).
BLUE VESTMENTS – ADVENT:
"How come the priests wear blue vestments in Advent?""
ANSWER: Within the past fifty years, in Advent, the Liturgy has featured an
off-purple, a dark purple, a plum purple, a midnight blue to distinguish the
spirit of Advent from the spirit of Lent. Advent has its own liturgical and
theological identity; it is not a "little Lent". Lenten purple
promotes the spirit of penance. Advent expresses the spirit of expecting, the
spirit of quiet meditation in the midst of the hustle and bustle of the season.
It speaks also of the silence of Mary preparing for the birth of the Messiah.
Advent blue then, is a mood maker, a silent longing in meditative prayer as we
personally look forward to the Messiah’s coming into our lives with our needed
saving graces at Christmas.
HOROSCOPES – FORTUNE TELLING:
"What does God and the Catholic religion think of horoscopes and fortune
telling? Approve? Disapprove?"
ANSWER: I refer you to paragraphs 2115 to 2117 in the Catholic catechism
which "rejects all forms of divination...". "Consulting
horoscopes, astrology, palm reading, interpretation of omens and lots. All
conceal a desire for power over time, history and.. other human beings."
"..a sound Christian attitude consists in putting onself confidently in the
hands of Providence for whatever concerns the future." Any serious
intentions of discovering the hidden future by superstitious means is forbidden
by the Catholic Church as a sin against religion and God Almighty (Deut. 18:
10-11). ("Radio Replies", Volume 2, 934-950, Tan).
UNFORGIVEN SINS :
"Are there some sins that God will not forgive? If so, what is the use
of trying to live well after you’ve committed that sin?"
ANSWER: God can and God will forgive all sins, large and small, if we
give God permission to do so, if we allow God to forgive us; if we tell God we
are sorry and will try not to commit sins again. If we are not sorry, if we are
not resolved to avoid sins in the future, then we cannot be forgiven – our
sins become unforgivable because we won’t let go and let God forgive us. In
Matthew 12, Mark 3 and Luke 12, Jesus declares that the sin against the Holy
Spirit will not be forgiven. Since it is the Holy Spirit who presents Jesus to
us as our Savior, if we reject our Savior we reject our salvation, we reject the
gift of the Holy Spirit. The sin is unforgivable, not because God is unwilling
to forgive our sins but because we knowingly and willingly reject the one who
forgives, Our Lord, Jesus Christ.
"Is God really everywhere?"
ANSWER: Yes, God is everywhere. God is present by His power of creation; God
sustains every creature in existence; God is present by His knowledge of
everyone and by His love for each and all of us. By His infinite and loving
providence, God guides all His creatures to their ultimate end. (Catechism:
GOD AND CONSCIENCE:
"In Class today we talked
about God. We wondered: "Is He our conscience?"
Answer: Conscience is not God but is helped by the "Voice of God,"
the whisperings of God the Holy Spirit inspiring us to know what is right and
what is wrong. Conscience is an act of the mind that judges the rightness and
the wrongness of particular thoughts, words and actions. The law of God is
written on our hearts, in our conscience. God the Holy Spirit inspires us to do
good and avoid evil and gives us the gifts of wisdom, understanding and counsel.
In prayer, God speaks to our conscience if we invite God to do so. And God works
through the advice of others who help us to do the right thing. So, in a
non-technical yet very useful sense, God is our conscience If we follow God’s
directions. (Catechism, 1776-1802).
"Please explain a "Plenary" indulgence, what we must do to
gain it and what are the benefits?"
ANSWER: A "plenary indulgence" is the full remission of the
temporal punishment due to already forgiven sins. To gain a plenary indulgence
you must be in the state of grace, free from mortal sin, have the intention to
gain the indulgence and then say the prayers and/or do the actions required.
This indulgence can be kept for yourself or given to the souls in purgatory. The
benefit as defined is the full remission of the temporal punishment due to
forgiven sins. (Catechism: 1471-1479).
"Do Christian faith/religions other than Catholic consider the Eucharist
as the true presence of Jesus or as a symbolic memorial?"
ANSWER: Greek and Latin (Roman) Catholics and Greek Orthodox Christians
have and believe in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist. Other
Christian denominations consider the Eucharist a symbolic memorial. By a
subjective projection of their faith, some Christians feel that they make Jesus
spiritually present. Should a Catholic priest leave the Catholic religion and
celebrate the Lord’s Supper of another religion and use the words of
consecration of the Catholic Mass within the rite of the non-Catholic
celebration, then the Lord would be present. Once ordained, the Catholic priest
even though forbidden to offer Mass, never loses his power to consecrate. Once a
priest, always a priest.
BOWS TO THE ALTAR:
“Why don’t the Eucharistic Ministers (and everyone else) bow
before approaching the altar in the Church?”
to the altar are not required or indicated for the Eucharistic Ministers and for
all others approaching the altar. Added
gestures, even of piety, tend to interrupt the smooth flow of the liturgy and to
clutter the ceremony. Some gestures
like bowing can create a traffic hazard – one person bumping into the other.
A liturgical mnemonic is: KISS
– Keep It
The Second Vatican Council sanitized the liturgy of many emotional,
provincial and personal accretions that has cluttered up the liturgy.
They are not to creep back.
ST CHRISTOPHER - IN OR OUT?: "Tell
us about St. Christopher.
Is he still the patron of travelers?"
Answer: In spite of him being dropped from the universal liturgical
calendar, St. Christopher is still the patron of travelers and, in modern times,
the protector of motorists. Christopher was that legendary ugly giant who made
his living carrying people across a river. A carried child, extremely heavy,
revealed that he was Christ with the weight of the world on his shoulders. Read
about St. Christopher in Bert Ghezzi’s charming new book: "Voices of the
ANOTHER JESUS? "Will God
ever send down someone else like Jesus?
ANSWER: God will send down Jesus Himself at the end of time, in the
"second coming" – not someone else. When Jesus will come again no
one knows. It has not been told to us. The important thing is to be ready at
that time. Of special importance to each one of us is to be ready to meet Jesus
at the moment of our death. (Matt. 23: 27-51), Mark 13: 32-37), Luke 17: 20-37).
DRINKING FROM THE CUP :
"I DO NOT THINK IT IS SANITARY TO DRINK OUT OF THE WINE GLASS. AM I
COMMITTING A SIN BY NOT TAKING THE BLOOD OF CHRIST?"
ANSWER: No, you are not committing a sin by not taking the blood of
Christ from the wine glass. In receiving Holy Communion under the form of bread,
we receive the Blood of Christ also, for it is the alive, risen total Christ who
is present under both forms of Communion or under one form. A living body does
not exist without the blood and living blood does not exist without the body.
So, in receiving just the Host, you receive the total living Christ, body and
blood. (Catechism, 1390).
The Priest and the Sign of
Peace.."IS THE PRIEST TO LEAVE THE SANCTUARY TO GIVE THE SIGN OF
PEACE TO PEOPLE IN THE PEWS?"
ANSWER: No, he is not. The priest may exchange a sign of peace only with
others in the Sanctuary (GIRM 2000, #154). This is done in order to avoid a
disruption to the rite and any form of perceived discrimination in giving the
sign of peace to certain members of the congregation.
FROM YALE PROFESSOR’S EXAM: "How
hot is it in hell? Are hell exothermic (gives off heat) or endothermic (absorbs
ANSWER: "Eternal fire," (Matthew 15: 40); "hell of
fire" (Matthew 5: 22); "furnace of fire" (Matthew 13: 42;
"unquenchable fire" (Matthew 9: 43)- these are some of the
"hot" expressions about the milieu of those who, after death, are in a
state of definitive self-exclusion from communion with God and the saints. They
are in what the Bible calls "hell", ("Catechism",
1033-1037). In using these five images, Jesus was not giving a literal
description of hell but used the Old Testament expressions associated with the
fate of the damned to give pain to the feelings of those separated from God
forever (2 Kings 23: 10), (Jer. 7: 31). Hell punishes lost sinners with a
spiritual "fire". Hell is neither hot nor cold nor even lukewarm.
Without God, it is a whole lot of nothing.
HE AND SHE
ANGELS? "Are there female angels in heaven?"
ANSWER: No, there are neither female nor male angels in heaven, on earth or
anywhere else. Angels are pure spirits , without bodies, therefore, angels have
no sexual parts that make them male or female. The song of every angel is
"I Ain’t God No Body." (Catechism: 328-336).
ANGELS SEE THE
FUTURE? "Can Angels see the future?"
ANSWER: Even though Angels are endowed with great intelligence far
superior to human understanding; they are not omniscient. There are certain
limitations to angelic knowledge. An angel does not know future contingent
events. An angel does not know the mysteries of God’s grace unless God reveals
them and does not know the secrets of the heart and the motivations of the will;
only God knows these. Remember what Jesus said about the Angels not knowing the
time of His second coming. Jesus unequivocally affirmed that the day of the
Parousia (2nd Coming) was something unknown to everybody except the
Father. (Matt. 24: 36). (Angels," "Thinking Life Through", Fulton
J. Sheen, McGraw-Hill). ("Angels", C. Altemore, Liguori).
RELIGION "IS IT POSSIBLE
TO BELIEVE IN BOTH SCIENCE AND RELIGION COMBINED? FOR EXAMPLE: CREATION AND
ANSWER: Pope John Paul II recent encyclical: "Reason and
Faith." Assures us that there is plenty of space for science and religion
to lie side by side and complete each other. They do not contradict each other.
God is the author of both scientific truth and religious truth. The Church has
always taught that God is the creator of all things, even the evolutionary
process, which is still a theory not yet an absolute scientific fact. How God
actually created our human bodies, nobody knows for sure. In any event, all
theories have to include in them the perpetual Catholic belief that each human
soul is created directly by God. For further information, log onto the
pronouncements of the Pope. ("Catechism", 355-368).
SPECIAL PRAYER INTENTIONS BOOK: "There
is a book of prayer requests in the back of Church next to the statue of Mary. I
think it would be appropriate to have this book brought to the altar area
(sanctuary) in the entrance procession of Sunday Mass so that these intentions
may be offered up with our prayers."
ANSWER: Maybe sooner would be better. That special book is brought to the
Sanctuary and placed on the Altar in the Offertory Procession of the bread and
wine at the preparation of the gifts. Perhaps our Liturgy Commission will
consider doing this at the beginning of Mass as you suggested.
ROMAN COLLAR – BLACK CLOTHES: "Why
do priests wear collars? Why do priests wear black and white?
ANSWER: The Council of Baltimore (1844) legislated that, in public, priests
should wear the Roman collar. Canon Law calls for priests to "cultivate a
simple way of life and to avoid anything that smacks of vanity. Priests are to
wear suitable ecclesiastical garb in accord with the norms issued by the
conference of bishops and in accord with legitimate local custom." (CIC,
282,284). A white backward collar on a dark (black) suit, gradually became the
identification uniform for the Catholic priest in public and on duty. Future
customs and circumstances could change the color and the style of priests, garb.
LIVING TOGETHER BEFORE MARRIAGE
"Is it a sin for two single Catholics to live together prior to
ANSWER: Understanding "living together" to mean not only
cohabiting but also engaging in sexual relations prior to marriage, yes, it is a
sin for Catholics and non-Catholics to do that. Living together without
"sleeping together" before marriage places a couple in the near
occasions of serious sin and, therefore, should be avoided. Even chaste living
together before marriage could be a source of scandal to unknowing family and
community. Full togetherness is only for married couples.
"Do you have to be a priest before you become a Cardinal? What powers do
ANSWER: No and yes. Priestly ordination was not always required for a
person to be created a Cardinal by the Pope. IN 1559, St. Charles Borromeo was a
layman. His uncle, Pope Pius IV, made him a Cardinal. Eventually, Charles was
ordained a priest in 1563. In 1918, the Code of Canon Law decreed that all
Cardinal must be priests and in 1962, Pope John XXIII legislated that Cardinals
are to be Bishops. These rules can be changed; priestly ordination is not
essential to the office of Cardinal. Could there be a woman Cardinal in the
future? Cardinals elect the Pope and advise and assist the Pope in the
government of the Church. (CIC, Cans. 349-359).
USELESS PRAYERS FOR THE
DEAD: "You can’t pray
for the dead! Luke 16."
ANSWER: The Bible in statement and the Church in practice enjoin prayers
for the dead." ..It is a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead,
that they may be loosed from their sins." (2 Macabees 12: 44). The Church
celebrates Masses for the dead and dedicates the month of November to praying
for the dead. In the Lazarus-Rich Man "story" of Luke 16, the Rich Man
in Hell cannot profit from the prayers or any other kind of help (a point of the
story), but those in Purgatory can. Do you know by name for sure anyone in Hell?
Eternal rest grant to all our dead. ("Catechism", #958).
DIPPING INTO THE
CHALICE "Why don’t we offer the Bread dipped in Wine like
some other churches?"
ANSWER: "Intinction", i.e. dipping the Host into the Precious
Blood, is one of several ways of serving Holy Communion to the faithful. To
serve Communion in that way is a pastoral decision made by the Pastor in
conjunction with his liturgy staff. "Intinction" is probably of the
Byzantine Rite that does not with fingers dip the Host into the Precious Blood.
The Host in cube form is inserted into the Precious Blood by spoon or a
single-pronged fork and then placed on the tongue of the Communicant, a safer
and more sanitary practice. "Too many fingers can spoil the Communion
Rite." Also, it is to be noted that only the Eucharistic Minister does the
dipping, not the one receiving Communion. In the Roman Rite, the mechanics and
hazards of the "finger dipping" involved in Communion by Intinction
are the usual reasons for Pastors avoiding this way of Communion.
TWIN": "In an Easter Season Sunday Gospel, Doubting Thomas was
called "Didymus" – "The Twin" Whose twin was Thomas?"
ANSWER: On his commentary on "The Twin", the name used to
identify The Apostle Thomas in John 20: 24-29, Father Raymond Brown observes:
"It is not clear why the evangelist takes the trouble to explain the
meaning of the Semitic from underlying Thomas! Some have speculated that he was
Jesus’ twin in appearance, in Gnostic speculation he becomes the recipient of
special revelations." ("Risen Christ in Eastertime," R.E. Brown,
The Lit. Press).
USHER M.O. :
"Why does an Usher feel it is OK to seat people during the Mass instead
of waiting for the breaks? Everyone watches him instead of listening."
ANSWER: Ushers are instructed NOT to seat people once the Liturgy
of the Word has begun. Seating during the readings and the homily are big
distractions to all. During the praying of the Creed and the taking up of the
collection there is "break time" for ushering people to their seats.
How about you becoming an Usher? Your question gives you a head start.
"Where is Purgatory?"
ANSWER In his audience on August 4th, 1999, Pope John Paul
II said: "purgatory is not a place but a ‘condition’ in which those who
are in the state of purification participate already in the love of Christ who
frees them from their imperfections." Said the Pope: "Before we enter
into God’s kingdom, every trace of sin within us must be eliminated, every
imperfection in our soul must be corrected." ("Catechism",
SACRISTY SINK.. "Is
it true there is a special sink in the church sacristy for purification
it a sin if Catholics never go to Confession?"
ANSWER Yes, there is, at least there should be, a
"sacrarium" or piscina in the church sacristy. It’s a small sink
that leads directly to the earth rather than to the common drain. The water from
washed out (purified) Mass vessels and linens (purificators) is poured down the
sacrarium drain or directly into the earth of a garden. ("GIRM",
"Sometimes, during a daily Mass, I have seen Eucharistic Ministers
self-communicating from the cup of Precious Blood. I thought only priests were
allowed to self-communicate. Have the rules changed?"
ANSWER: Only the priest celebrant and the concelebrants may
self-communicate at Mass. Priests in attendance but not concelebrating, Deacons
and special ministers of the Eucharist are not to self-communicate. The chalice
is not to be left on the altar for special ministers of the Eucharist to pick up
and drink. The theology and symbolism of the Communion rite require that the
Eucharist be "ministered" to communicants other than the celebrant and
concelebrants. Only in a Communion Service – no priest no Mass – may an
Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion self-communicate ("Immersae
Caritas," instruction of the Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship).
ANSWER: Baptized children are required by Church law to go to
Confession before receiving First Communion. (Canon Law, C 914). Also, Catholics
are bound to confess serious sins at least once a year; not to do so, is a
serious sin of neglect. (Canon Law, C 989). The Sacrament of Penance is also a
part of the final preparation of a soul for death along with the Sacraments of
Anointing and Eucharist. (CCC 1525). So, not to go to Confession on occasions
other than these is not to sin. No serious sin, no Confession needed. The Church
recommends regular Confession of everyday sins (venial sins). (Canon Law, C 988
"HOW COME THE BISHOPS GIVES A DISPENSATION FROM ABSTAINING FROM
EATING MEAT ON St. PATRICK’S DAY WHEN IT FALLS ON A FRIDAY? ISN’T THAT
HYPOCRITICAL? WHAT MAKES ST. PATRICK’S DAY EXEMPT FROM ABSTINENCE OVER OTHER
ANSWER: The laws of fast and abstinence are Church laws, the
application of which is under the discretion of each local bishop. If the feast
of a popular saint falls on a Friday, and , in the estimation of the local
bishop, many faithful want to celebrate that saint, a dispensation from the law
of abstinence is usually given by the bishop. Since, here in America, St.
Patrick is traditionally venerated by the secular as well as the church
community, St. Patrick’s Day has assumed a national celebrating desire not
only in churches and among the Irish, but also in stores, restaurants, on stage,
screen, radio and television. The business community loves St. Patrick. Other
countries have other favorite saints that call for similar dispensations.
"Everybody is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day."
"What’s the difference between a secular institute and a religious
community?" ANSWER: A secular institute is composed
of mostly lay people who privately live their evangelical counsels (poverty,
chastity and obedience) in the world in their everyday lives. Their vows are not
made publicly, they have no distinctive dress and they may or may not live in
community. Each institute determines the form its organization takes. (Catholic
Treasures", J. Tuopin, St. Anthony Press).
"HOW HIGH IS HEAVEN?"
ANSWER: Recently Pope John Paul II remarked that hell is not a material
place but a condition of life, a state of being, a spiritual space. The same can
be said about heaven. It is not a material place, not "here" or
"there" but a union with God and one another forever. Since heaven is
not a physical place, there is no "high heaven;" since hell is not a
material place, there is no "low hell." In concrete terms we can not
measure the spiritual space of spiritualized bodies in heaven or hell.
("Catechism", 1023-1029), "Christ Among Us," A. Wilhelm,
Paulist Press), ("Heaven" P. Kreeft, Ignatius Press).
BOOK OF REVELATION :"WHO
REALLY WROTE THE BOOK OF REVELATION?" WHICH JOHN?
ANSWER: Four times (1:1, 4, 9, 22:8) the author of Revelation names
himself John. Some claim he is John the Apostle, Modern scholarship finds this
opinion tenuous at best. Others give the Revelation a Pauline association
because of the letter format and the Asian provenance of Revelation. Today’s
scholars feel that Revelation was written by a Jewish Christian prophet named
John who was neither John the son of Zebedee nor the writer of the Johnanine
Gospel or of the Epistles ("Sacra Pagina – Revelation," W.J.
Harrington, Lit. Press). ("An Introduction to the New Testament," R.E.
MARK 1:30, IT TALKS ABOUT SIMON’S (PETER’S) MOTHER-IN-LAW. WHAT HAPPENED TO
SIMON PETER’S WIFE"?
ANSWER: No one knows for sure what happened to Simon Peter’s wife. It is
the unanimous tradition of the early Church that Peter went to Rome and was
martyred there. According to the "Ecclesiastical History" of Eusebius,
3, 30, Peter’s wife was crucified before him while Peter was compelled to look
on. Peter encouraged her and said: "Remember the Lord" ("The
Master’s Men", W. Barclay, Pillas Books).
QUESTION: " CAN
A PERMANENT DEACON PERFORM
THE ANOINTING OF THE SICK?"
ANSWER: No, he may not. Canon Law states: "Every priest, but only a
priest, can validly administer the anointing of the sick. (C. 1003). Perhaps
this rite is reserved to priests because it involves the forgiveness of sins
(James 5: 15-16). The possibility of deacons administering the Sacrament of the
Anointing of the Sick continues to be under discussion in theological and
liturgical circles. We await the conclusion.
QUESTION: "EXPLAIN THE SECOND PERSON OF THE BLESSED TRINITY; THE
SAME AND THE DIFFERENCE IN THE RELATIONSHIP OF THE FATHER."
ANSWER: I refer you to the Catechism's 238 to 260 for a detailed response to
your question. In summary - the Church confesses not three God's but one God in
three divine persons, the "Consubstantial Trinity." Father, Son and
Holy Spirit. Each person is completely but distinctly God. The three divine
Persons are relative to one another and there is no opposition of relationship.
The whole divine economy is the common work of the three divine Persons even
though the Father is called Creator, the Son, Redeemer and the Holy Spirit,
Sanctifier. The Holy Trinity is a mystery, the foundation truth of our Catholic
faith. Even in heaven we will not completely comprehend this mystery. God will
always be bigger than his creatures on earth. We have the privilege of enjoying
the Trinity and being grateful that three divine Persons care for us, love us -
God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.
QUESTION: "HOW DOES ONE CHANGE THE WORDING
IN AN ACCEPTED PRAYER? IN THE PRAYER, "GLORY BE TO THE FATHER, AND TO THE
SON, AND TO THE HOLY SPIRIT, AS IT WAS IN THE BEGINNING, IS NOW AND EVER SHALL
BE, WORLD WITHOUT END, AMEN!! SHOULD THE AS IT WAS IN THE BEGINNING BE CHANGED
TO READ: AS IT ALWAYS WAS?"
ANSWER: "Should be changed" is a strong expression and would seem
to be reserved for use by those officially in charge of liturgical prayers for
Church and other liturgical celebrations. However, so long as the Theology of
the unofficial changed prayer is consistent with the official version, its use
in private devotions would not be out of order. Good taste in word changes and
non disturbance of the prayer group by these changes would be accepted.
NOISY KIDS, UNDER GLASS...QUESTION: "Are they really taking out
the cry room when they renovate the church? If so, where do we take noisy
ANSWER: In the renovated church, there will be a re-located, new cry room in
the rear of the church. After noisy children calm down in the cry room, please
bring them back to the congregation. We are all member of the Body of Christ.
"The kids be with you. And also with us."
QUESTION: "WHY IN THE HAIL MARY DO THEY
SAY THAT MARY IS THE MOTHER OF GOD WHEN THE BIBLE STATES THAT MARY WAS THE
MOTHER OF JESUS?"
ANSWER: Here's a syllogism right out of the college logic lab:
"Mary is the Mother of Jesus. But Jesus is God. Therefore, Mary is the
Mother of God." Elizabeth, who is in the middle of the biblical Hail Mary
called Mary "The Mother of My Lord." (Luke 1: 43). The Council
of Ephesus 431 called Mary "Theotokos", God bearer, to
emphasize the divinity of Christ. The primary reason for calling Mary
"Mother of God" is to assert, in no uncertain words, the divinity of
FIRST FRIDAY...QUESTION: "Would you please explain the meaning of
First Friday? Why is the service different? Why does the service eliminate the
church members reading from the prayer book"?
ANSWER: About 300 years ago, St. Margaret Mary is reputed to have had
certain revelations form Jesus about devotion to His Sacred Heart. The last of
"12 promises" made to the Saint was: "I promise you...to grant
to all who go to Communion of nine first Fridays of the month, the final grace
of repentance; they shall not die in its disfavor or without receiving the
Sacraments, My Divine Heart becoming their assumed refuge at the last
moment." The Church honors this revelation in different ways: By
offering the Mass of the Sacred Heart on First Friday; by having all-day
exposition of the Blessed Sacrament followed by a prayer service and Benediction
of the Blessed Sacrament. The service does not, by ritual, eliminate church
members (lay lectors?) reading from the prayer book (Lectionary?). Frequently,
the reading at the service is a gospel to be read by the priest or deacon.
Sometimes a lay lector is not available.
WASHING OF THE HANDS..:"Why, during the Mass, does the
priest wash his hands?"
ANSWER: In early Christian days, the people brought not only bread and
wine to the altar but also food, clothing, medicine, furniture, and other gifts
for the poor and needy. It was the Presider, the priest, who lead the
distribution of these gifts at the liturgy. Before resuming the liturgy the
priest washed his soiled hands much as we wash up before meals. This gesture has
been spiritualized to symbolize the washing clean our minds and our hearts
before eating he Lord’s Supper. ("The Mystery and the Meaning of
Mass", J.M. Champlin, Crossroads Pub.. Co.)
USED TO HAVE "BENEDICTION" A LOT. NOW IT IS RARE, HOW COME? ANSWER:
Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament became popular in the Middle Ages when the
faithful did not receive Holy Communion very often. They looked at the Lord in
the golden vase (monstrance), adored Jesus in the Sacrament and received His
blessing (benediction). With the Vatican II emphasis on frequent reception of
Communion, Benediction became less a need and was put into focus as an
additional rather than an essential devotion.
QUESTION:"IS THERE A
PATRON SAINT FOR THE CATHOLIC PRESS"?
ANSWER:: Yes, there is, St. Francis de Sales, (1567-1622). As a missionary
in France and Bishop of Geneva, Francis, was a prolific writer and teacher,
especially in defense of the Faith and in spiritual direction. Francis wrote
many pamphlets to attract fallen away Catholics back to the Church. Francis was
designated patron saint of the Catholic Press in 1923. ("Dictionary of the
Saints", J.J. Delaney, Image).
PRECEPTS OF THE
CHURCH… "DO WE STILL HAVE CHURCH PRECEPTS?"
ANSWER: Yes, we do. 1. Attend mass on Sundays and holydays. 2. Confess sins
at least once a year. 3. Receive Holy Communion at least during the Easter
Season (Easter Duty). 4. Keep holy the holydays of Obligation (all Sundays
included). 5. Observe days of fast and abstinence. 6. Provide for the material
needs of the Church.(Catechism, 2041-2043).
QUESTION:"WHY DOES THE PRIEST KISS THE ALTAR AT THE BEGINNING
AND END OF MASS?" ANSWER: The Church considers the altar a
symbol of Christ and some altars have inserted into them the relics of saints.
The kiss, therefore, is a special gesture of reverence for Christ and for his
saintly followers enshrined in the altar and for the sacred space, the altar
table, on which Christ will be made present during the celebration of Mass. (The
Mystery and Meaning of the Mass, J.M. Champlain, Crossroad Pub. Co.).
"DIRTY" HOLY WATER…"WHAT DO I DO
TO GET RID OF HOLY WATER THAT DIRT GOT INTO?" ANSWER: Holy Water
that has become "dirty", may be poured into natural ground or into
that special sacristy sink call the "sacrarium." ("Liturgical
Question Box", P.J. Elliot, Ignatius Press).
"HOW DID THE CHURCH GET ITS NAME?"
ANSWER: If you mean our Church " Roman Catholic Parish of the
Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary", that
name was given to that church by the Bishop who established it. It was the
Bishop’s choice for his own good reasons. If you mean the "Roman Catholic
Church", the church is "Roman" because the Pope and the main
headquarters of the Church is in Rome. It is called "Catholic" (i.e.
universal) because it welcomes all people and teaches all that Christ and the
WHERE WAS MARY BORN?"
ANSWER: All the factual information we have about Mary is to be found in the
New Testament. Nothing is known of Mary’s childhood from that source, however,
stories are told that she was the daughter of Joachim and Anne, was born in
Jerusalem and was, as a child, presented in the Temple.
CREMATED REMAINS: "WHAT IS THE CHURCH’S STAND ON THE DISPOSITION
OF ASHES AFTER CREMATION?"
The practice of scattering cremated remains on the sea or on the ground, or of
keeping the remains in the home of a relative or friend of the deceased are not
the reverent ways of disposition that the Church requires. (Order of Christian
Funerals, Appendix I #417). Burial at sea of cremated remains differs from
scattering. An appropriate or worthy container, heavy enough to be sent to its
final resting place, may be dropped into the sea. (Order of Christian Funerals,
THE CATHOLIC CHURCH HAVE A VIEW ON CREATION VS. EVOLUTION ?"
ANSWER: Evolution is a scientific theory which says that more complex
forms of life developed from less
complex forms over long periods of time. It is still a theory,
not yet a proven fact. The Church asserts that God created the world including
all human beings and that the existence of each human being's soul is a special
creation of God. Perhaps God created the physical part of man's being in an
evolutionary way. Unlike matter, the
spiritual soul is incapable of evolving since it has
no parts to evolve from one thing to another. The Bible is not a science book;
it is a religion book, so it does
not treat the "how" of creation or the "process" of evolution.
God is the author of all truth, so religious truth and scientific truth cannot
contradict each other. ("The Teaching
of Chris," Lawler & Wuerkl, O.S.V.) ("Evolution:
A Theory in Crisis, " M. Denton, Adler & Adler).
CATHOLIC THEOLOGY AND SALVATION...
"ACCORDING TO CATHOLIC THEOLOGY, AT WHAT POINT DOES A PERSON BECOME A
CHRISTIAN WITH AN ASSURANCE OF SALVATION AND AN ETERNAL HOME IN HEAVEN ?"
ANSWER: A person who believes in Jesus Christ and is baptized in that
belief thereby becomes an official
Christian. Jesus commissioned His disciples in these words:
"Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature. Whoever
believes and is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned."
(Mark 16:15, 16). Baptism is the beginning of salvation (justification); the
consistent living according to that gift, that grace of salvation gives the
assurance of salvation and eternal home in heaven. St. Paul speaks in this way
in his hail and farewell to Timothy: "I have fought the good fight, I have
finished the race; I have kept the
faith. From now on the crown of righteousness awaits me, which the
Lord, the just judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me, but
to all who have longed for his
appearance." (2 Tim. 4; 6-8). Belief in Jesus is an ongoing
living up to the graces of our Baptism.
HOLY OF HOLIES..."WHAT
IS THE HOLY OF HOLIES MENTIONED IN THE OLD TESTAMENT ?"
ANSWER: In contrasting the worship of the Old Covenant with that of
the New, the Letter to the Hebrews (9:1-5)
speaks of the Holy of Holies in this way: "...A tabernacle
was constructed, the outer one, in which were
the lampstand, the table
and the bread of offering; this is
called the Holy Place. Behind the second
veil was the tabernacle called
the Holy of Holies, in which were
the gold altar of incense
and the Ark of the Covenant entirely covered
with gold. In it were the gold
jar containing the manna, the staff of
Aaron that had sprouted, and the
tablets of the covenant,
Above it were the Cherubim of glory
overshadowing the place
of expiation." The Holy of Holies was accessible only to the
High Priest in the Old Covenant and
only on the Day of Atonement. (Exodus 26:33; Lev. 16; Heb. 9:1-10
plus the footnote of Heb. ("Nelson 's
Bible Dictionary ") ("Dictionary
of the New Testament, " Lton-Dufour, Harper & Row).
HANUKKAH. JUST FOR JEWS? "IS
HANUKKAH ONLY FOR JEWISH PEOPLE ?"
ANSWER: Hanukkah, the feast of Dedication, the feast of Light
celebrates the repossession, the cleansing and the re-dedication of the Temple
after it had been profaned and
desecrated by Antiochus Epiphanes. While primarily a Jewish celebration,
ail peoples of all faiths rejoice with the Jewish people and celebrate the
freedom to worship God in their own
religious ways. Hanukkah can inspire all people
to re-dedicate themselves to their own religious connections and practices. (2
MEMORIAL DAYS... FEAST DAYS..."SOME
SAINTS' DAYS ARE DESIGNATED AS 'FEAST' DAYS, OTHERS, MEMORIAL DAYS. WHAT'S THE
ANSWER: In the liturgical terminology of feasts, the Roman Calendar
divides them into: Solemnities,
Feasts, and Memorials (obligatory or optional). Feasts honor big
events like the Presentation of Jesus, The Sacred Heart, and big saints of
important universal devotion, such as, The
Blessed Virgin, St. Joseph. Memorials celebrate
feasts of lesser importance and some not universal in observance. Some memorials
are obligatory and are to be celebrated. Optional Memorials are celebrated
at the discretion of the celebrant. Feasts of St. Agnes and St. Philip Neri
are classified as obligatory Memorials;
Feasts of St. John Endes and St. Robert Bellarmine
are optional. ("Dictionary of the Liturgy, " J. D. Long,
Cath. Bk. Pub.) ("The
Order of Prayer...1999, " P.
D. Rocca, Paulist Press).
EMMANUEL... JESUS..."CAN YOU TELL ME THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE
NAMES EMMANUEL AND JESUS? GOSPELS AROUND CHRISTMAS SPEAK OF EMMAMUEL, YET,
LATER, IT ALWAYS SEEMS TO BE JESUS" New Testament, all saying something
special about God's Incarnate Son." Emmanuel" was the prophetic name
uttered by (Isaiah 7: 14). It means "God with us."
Matthew's Gospel repeated the prophecy (Matt. 1; 23). In the same gospel
Joseph was instructed by the Angel Gabriel that
he was "to name him Jesus, because
he 'will save his people from their sins (Matt. 1; 21). Different
names and titles tell different things about
Jesus-Emmanuel. One word just can't tell it all about
Him. ("Jesus as They Saw Him, " Wm. Barclay, Erdmans
ANSWER: The Son of God made man has at least forty names and titles
JESUS' LAST NAME..."DOES JESUS HAVE A LAST OR MIDDLE NAME ?" or other prominent Bible people.
Often Biblical characters were identified as "son of..."
Isaiah, son of Amoz; Simon, bar (son of) Jonah. We would probably call them
"Isaiah Amozon" "Simon Jonahson" as we call people
"Johnson," Anderson, " " Thompson" (Son of John, Son of
Andrew, Son of Them). Maybe we could
biblically call Jesus, Jesus Josephson (Son of Joseph). It comes close in (Luke
4:22) " Isn't this the Son of Joseph?" Biblical people were given
last names by their trade or that of their
father. As we inherit names such as: "Baker," "Taylor, "Smith,"
"CarPenter," so Jesus might have been known as "Jesus
Carpenter," for He was known as
"The Carpenter's Son." (Uatt. 13=55) or "The
Carpenter" (Mark 6:3). Even
though the expression "Jesus Christ" occurs four times in Matthew 1:1,
Mark 1:1, John 1:17, 17:3, Christ is not the last
or middle name of Jesus but a title. "The
Christ, The Messiah, The Anointed One." In the New Testament, Jesus has
some forty-two names` and titles that tell us who
He was and what He did. Each one is
worth a meditation. ("Jesus as they Saw Him, " Wm. Barclay,
ANSWER: There seems to be no record of a last name or a middle name
LONELY... HELP..."SOMETIMES I FEEL LONELY AND I DON'T KNOW WHAT
TO DO. PLEASE HELP!" counseling wisdom would suggest
that you consult a professional person who deals with
that kind of psychological condition. I am not a professional
psychologist but I am a priest who has
experienced people troubled by loneliness. Isolation is the mother
of loneliness. Seeking companionship with
others in similar struggles is a contemporary successful therapy for
many. If you feel that a priest could be of some help, please know that our
parish priests are willing to be of good counsel.
By all means, seek, in prayer, God's compassionate help. Jesus invites all who
are burdened to come to him. (Matt. 11=28-30).
ANSWER: If you are lonely and don't know what to do about it,
WHEN THE HOST FALLS..."WHAT IS THE PROPER THING TO DO WHEN THE HOST FALLS ON THE GROUND
WHEN RECEIVING COMMUNION?" picked up reverently. ("GIRM"
no. 240) ("DOL," 1629). "What you might permit to fall, think
of as being the loss of a part of your own body." (Cyril of JerusQlem -
"DOL," 2056). Without panic and with appropriate reverence, the
Communicant or the Communion Minister picks up the
fallen Host and either consumes it or places
it in the ablution cup (the cup of water beside the tabernacle) and
after its dissolution in the ablution cup water, that water is poured down the
drain of the sacrarium (special sink in the
ANSWER: "If the Eucharistic Bread or any particle of it should fall,
it is to be
TABERNACLE UNUSED....."IS THERE A PARTICULAR REASON WE NO LONGER
USE THE TABERNACLE DURING MASS?" Mass. Consecrated Hosts not used
within the Mass are usually carried to the tabernacle
after Communion or to some temporary appropriate place like the sacristy.
After Mass, the Blessed Sacrament is taken from the sacristy to the tabernacle.
If the tabernacle is in the sanctuary, the unused Consecrated Hosts can be
placed in it after Communion. Only to that extent is it a part of the Mass. The
tabernacle is not an official or integral part of
the Mass. Its purpose is to be a place of
reservation of the Sacrament for the sick and for private Eucharistic devotion.("Dictionary
of the Liturgy, " J. D. Long, Cath. Pub.).
ANSWER: If the tabernacle is not located in the sanctuary, then it is not
a part of
MARY AND THE
DEVIL…"DID THE DEVIL EVER TEMPT MARY?"
SIGN OF THE
ANSWER: There is no record in either Tradition or Scripture that Mary was
tempted by the devil. Jesus, Son of God and Son of Mary was tempted. (Matthew 4:
1-11); it would seem likely then, that Mary, too, was in some way tempted. The
Church teaches that: "…Mary was preserved from all state of original sin
and by a specified grace of God committed no sin of any kind during her whole
earthly life." (Catechism #411).
"What does it mean when we make the sign of the cross when we pray or
enter the Church?" ('And what does it mean when we cross our forehead, our
lips and our heart before the gospel is read?"
ANSWER: The sign of the cross is a mini, symbolic creed through which
the signer expresses belief in one God, in three divine persons - Father, Son
and Holy Spirit, in the Incarnation of God the Son and in the redemption through
the Passion and Death of the Incarnate Son of God, Jesus. The "Amen"
is the signer's acceptance of, and belief in, the theology of the action and the
words of the sign of the cross: "In the name of
the Father and of the Son and of
the Holy Spirit, Amen." At the beginning of the
Gospel, the forehead is signed that we might know the truth of the gospel; the
lips, that we might profess the truth of the gospel; the heart, that we might
love and follow the truth of the gospel. ("Dictionary of the Liturgy,
" J. P. Lang, Cath. Bk. Pub.)
"What's a celebret?"
ANSWER: A celebret is an official document stating that the owner is
a priest in good standing and worthy to be given permission to celebrate Mass in
a diocese other than his own. ("Modern Catholic Dictionary, " J.
"What commandment prohibits the belief in predestination?" Where in
the Catholic Catechism is this treated?"
ANSWER: God predestines no one to go to hell says the Catholic
Catechism # 1037. God "wants none to perish"
(2 Peter 3:9). Predestination is often confused with God's foreknowledge.
God does know who will be saved and who will be lost, but He does not cause
anyone to go to hell. Belief that God predestines certain people to go to hell
is a sin against the first commandment, which commands us to believe in a loving
God who, without taking away our human, free will, goes all out to help us go to
heaven. To lose all hope in God's mercy is the sin of despair, a sin against the
first commandment. No sin is bigger than God. Going to hell is our free choice
not God's pre-determination. Divine regrets only. ("Catholic Replies, "
J. J. Drummey, C. R. Publications).
IS THERE A PURGATORY?..
"Is there a Purgatory? Where does
God talk about it in the Bible?"
ANSWER: The existence of Purgatory is a defined doctrine of our
Catholic religion. All who die in God's grace and friendship but who still need
purification after death are assured of their eternal salvation but undergo a
loving process of purification so as to have the holiness required to enter the
joy of heaven. The Church gave the name "Purgatory" to this final
purification of the elect. While the word "Purgatory" does not appear
in the Bible, (neither does Trinity or Incarnation), nevertheless, the Church
traditionally has found the purgative process implied in Scripture. In the
second book of Maccabees, about the year 165 B.C., there was a liberation battle
won by the Jews. When the Jews went to bury their battle dead, they found on the
slain soldiers charms and amulets which the law forbade Jews to wear. Judas
Maccabeus, the commander of the troops, ordered his soldiers to Pray
for the dead that they might be released from their sins. The sacred writer
who recorded this incident, comments: ' But if he was looking to the splendid
reward that is laid up for those who fall asleep in godliness, it was a holy and
pious thought. Therefore, he made atonement for the dead, that they might be
delivered from their sin." (2 Macc.
12-45) In Matt. 12: 31-32. Mk. 3: 29-30
and Lk. 9-10, Jesus speaks of the sin that will not be forgiven either in this
age or in the age to come, thereby, implicitly indicating that some sins are
forgiven in the next life. Also, Peter 4: 6 speaks of a purgative process in the
after life: "For this is why the Gospel was
preached even to the dead, that, though
condemned in the flesh in human estimation,
they might live in the spirit in
the estimation of God." "Lex orandi
est lex credendi" say Theologians: "The law
of praying is the law of believing."
In every Mass, the church prays for the dead that they may have eternal rest;
All Souls Day, November 2nd,
and the month of November are dedicated to praying for the souls in
Purgatory. At death, most people are not good enough to go to heaven, yet not
bad enough to go to hell. The church believes that there is a Third World
between heaven and hell, a Purgatory where the burning love of God purifies
saved souls and makes them ready for the holiness of heaven, "for nothing
unclean will enter it." (Rev. 21- 27). (Catechism
"What are the Church Commandments? Why aren’t they enforced or even
talked about by the clergy"?
ANSWER: There are six Church Precepts: 1. Attend Mass on Sunday
and Holydays of Obligation. 2. Confess your sins at least once a year. 3.
Receive Holy Communion during the Easter Season. 4. Keep holy the Holydays of
Obligation. 5. Observe the prescribed days of fast and abstinence. 6. Provide
for the material needs of the Church. When appropriate, by preaching and pulpit
announcement all six precepts are verbally and morally enforced by the clergy.
(Catechism", #’s 2041-2043).
"Can the priest ever wear black vestments, for example, at a funeral
ANSWER: Yes, the priest may wear black vestments at funeral
Masses, other Masses for the dead and for All Soul’s Day, November 2nd.
Purple and white vestments may also be used. Cultural and local circumstances
together with pastoral preference enter into the color selection for the
occasion. (GIRM #308C). ("Liturgical Question Box", O.J. Elliott,
"If the earth was created in 7 days, how is the existence of dinosaurs
explained in our beliefs?"
ANSWER: Presuming the existence of dinosaurs, Genesis 1: 24-25
would seem to trace their creation to the "6th day".
"Then God said, "Let the earth bring forth all kinds of living
creatures: cattle, creeping things, and wild animals of all kinds."
And so it happened: God made all kinds of wild animals…"
BAPTISM CONFIRMATION -
"Did Jesus rise form the dead in the Spring"?
ANSWER: In 1996, the American Medical Association (AMA) made a
detailed study of Christ’s passion and death. According to the study, it is
estimated that Jesus died on Friday, April 7, 30 AD. On the third day, April 9th,
Jesus rose from the dead. Yes, Jesus did rise from the dead in the Spring.
"If you are already baptized and confirmed in another faith, do you have
to be baptized and confirmed again in the Catholic faith in order to become a
ANSWER: Canon Law (C 869 # 2) states: "Those baptized
in a non-Catholic ecclesial community are not to be baptized
conditionally unless there is serious reason for doubting the validity of their
baptism, on the ground of the "matter" (flow of water) or the
"form" of words (the Trinity formula) used in baptism, or of the
intention of the adult being baptized or of the intention of the baptizing
minister. " (Rite of
Reception of Baptized Christians into
Full Communion with the Catholic Church, No. 8). The rite of
"Confirmation" in Christian denominations other than Catholic must be
evaluated with similar scrutiny to determine its real or non-real Sacramental
nature. If the rite is judged to be a real Sacrament of Confirmation, it need
not be repeated; if of doubtful validity, it can be, administered conditionally.
SEPARATE MASSES FOR GAYS AND LESBIANS...
"Why does the Church celebrate separate
Masses for gays and lesbians?"
ANSWER: The number of Catholic men and women who identify
themselves as gays and lesbians is not negligible. As our brothers and sisters
in our faith, they are to be accepted with respect and sensitivity and every
sign of unjust discrimination in their regard is to be avoided. In their
particular condition and circumstances, Catholic homosexuals seek the graces of
the Mass, the spiritual instruction and guidance of the Gospel and the Church
and the support from each other in their endeavor to live lives of chastity.
Other struggling groups such as alcoholics, drug users, the separated and
divorced, single parents, overeaters and gamblers have specials needs and
sometimes seek separate liturgies to help them meet their challenges. As
generously as possible, the Church will always try appropriately to meet the
needs and concernsof these kinds of Catholic brothers and sisters. In
celebrating gay and lesbian Masses, no bishop or priest celebrant is approving
sinful sexual activity. All are offering those special Masses for the grace to
be good practicing Catholics in thought, word
and deed, gay, lesbian or straight. (" Catechism,
" #'s 2357 - 2359).
KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS...
"What are the Knights of Columbus?"
ANSWER: The Knights of Columbus (K of C) is an international, fraternal
organization of Catholic men founded in 1882 by the Rev. Michael J. McGivney of
New Haven, Connecticut. The organization was established on the principles of
charity, unity, and patriotism, and its purpose is to provide a system of
fraternal insurance benefits to the members, promote cultural relations and
engage in a variety of religious, educational and social activities. Annually,
the K of C contributes over one hundred million dollars to charitable works of
the Church and gives fifty million hours of community service. They number over
one million and a half Knights in membership. ("Catholic Almanac, "
"What should one do with palms? I have a drawer full from past
ANSWER: The Church burns old palms and uses the`ashes for the next
Ash Wednesday. Some churches collect old palms from their people for that
purpose. Your drawer full of palms from past years would be a significant
contribution to this effort - if your parish church has that practice. As with
the dispensing of so many other old sacramentals (prayer books, holy cards,
etc.), you could burn your old palms and place the ashes in or on the dirt of
your garden. The rains and moistureof Mother Nature will eventually dissolve
your old palm ashes. ("Catholic Life in a New Century, " Pg. 462, J.
J. Dietzen, Guildhall Publ.).
CATHOLICS AND THE MASONS...
"Can Catholics belong to the Masons?"
ANSWER: In June 1985, the national Conference of Catholic Bishops
Freemasonry "irreconcilable" not only with Catholicism but with all
Christianity."The principles and basic rituals
of Masonry embody a naturalistic religion, active
participation in which is incompatible with
Christian faith and practice, Those who knowingly
embrace such principles are committing a
serious sin" in professing beliefs which are contrary to
Christianity. The prohibition against Catholics belonging to the Masons is
serious. This position is similar to that of many other Christian Churches
around the world which forbid or discourage affiliation with Freemasonry. ("Catholic
Life in a New Century, " J. J. Dietzen, Guildhall Publ.).