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Sitz im leben

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A season of growth.

   


December 19

  • [X] Facebook.
  • [X] Water.
  • Joy.
  • 148 days for Gina and Joseph.
Prologue
  • Faith 'n' Reason Friday.
  • Any topic OK.
  • All callers welcome.
Last few days of Advent -- St. John the Baptist, pray for us!
Luke 1
76
You, my child, shall be called the prophet of the Most High;
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way,
to give his people knowledge of salvation
by the forgiveness of their sins.
  • From John on Facebook (he may post this question on Facebook during the show): Some of my friends argue that there is no need for a priesthood. In the Bible, the term is used only of the Old Testament priests who served in the Temple. In the New Testament, the terms "episcopos" and "presbyter" are used, not "priest." How can I answer this challenge to the Catholic understanding of priesthood?

Treasury of Unanswered Questions

May the priest skip the "Deliver us from evil" prayer?

  • Boston, Mass. At mass at our church, after the Our Father, the priest goes directly to "For the kingdom, the power, etc" and omits the prayer in between that says, "Deliver us, Lord, from every evil.." This seems to be an important and beautiful part of the prayer. Is it allowed to be omitted?

Destroying unused genetic material from IVF procedures?

  • George. Bellingham, Mass. I was reading the catechism re: life issues. Regarding In Vitro Fertilization, if the sperm and egg are not viable, is it as morally unacceptable to destroy them as it would be if the sperm and egg are viable?

What is Jesus doing now?

  • Joe. Buffalo. What is Jesus doing in heaven now?

Are we not required to love our parents?

Homework from last Friday
  • Rebecca from St. Petersburg asked about Dennis Prager's view that children only need to honor their parents, not love them.
Prager: "The bible understands that there will always be people who, for whatever reason, do not love a parent. Therefore, it does not demand what may be psychologically or emotionally impossible, but it does demand that we honor our parents."
Jesus: "What is impossible for you is possible for God. Love your enemies; pray for those who persecute you. Forgive seventy times seventy times!"
Yes, the parent-child relationsip is unique.
Yes, the family is the basic unit of society.
Yes, honor of parental is the glue that holds the family and therefore society together.
Yes, it is wrong for parents to seek to be "loved" as if they were the buddies of their babies. Parents must assert authority and children must yield to their parents' authority. When push comes to shove, it is right for parents to say, "Because I say so." This is often God's answer to our "why" questions, too. There are some things we cannot see for ourselves until we have grown more. Until that time, "because I say so" is the best answer.

Who is the greatest person "born of woman"?

  • Shawn from Facebook: Jesus says in Matthew 11 that John the Baptist was the greatest person ever born of a woman. I thought CHRIST himself or Mary would be the greatest?

How do I regularlize my marriage?

  • Anonymous from e-mail: I have been married for 15 years to my current husband and would like to have the marriage recognized by the Church so that I can receive the sacraments. I was first married in the Catholic Church. I was divorced from that man, and he has since died. I married another man in a civil service, then divorced him. I married my third and current husband in a civil service. He has been married in civil services and has been divorced twice. He is not Catholic and is not baptized. He has a hard time understanding why he has to participate in my annulment process. How should I explain it to him?

Did Jesus want us to mutilate our bodies?

  • Anonymous from Facebook: Anonymous from Facebook: Christ tells us not to lust after someone, because it is adultery. He also commands us to pluck out our eye and cut off our hands if they cause us to sin. Why is it that I never hear Catholic or Protestants discuss this passage?

How to be chaste in marital relations?

  • Anonymous from Facebook: In what way is it appropriate to desire union with my spouse?
Gregory Popcak, A Catholic Guide to Infallible Loving.
Chastity in Marriage.

Bl. Carlos Manuel Rodriguez Santiago

--Vatican News Service biography of Blessed Carlos Manuel.
-- "Vivimos para esa noche"--"We live for that night" == the night of the Easter Vigil, in which we recall Jesus passing from death to life on Easter Sunday.
-- "Charlie’s Beatification Process was indeed a swift one! Initiated in 1992, the positio on heroic virtues, lead to his status as Venerable as of July 7, 1997. The miracle for his beatification (cure of non-Hodgkins malignant lymphoma back in 1981) was approved on December 20,1999 by HH John Paul II. Thus, a record-making eight-year span, a first for lay actors!"

Straight from Earth to Heaven?

  • Shawn from Facebook: In the second letter to the Corinthians, it says: "To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord" (2 Cor 5:8). Does that mean that there is no purgatory? Do we just die and go straight to Heaven?
"For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil" (2 Cor 5:10).

Can the Church change the canon?

  • John from Facebook: Since it was the Catholic Church that decided the canon of the Bible, could the Catholic Church ever change the contents of the Bible by adding or removing books in the future?
Antilegomena: These antilegomena or "disputed writings" were widely read in the Early Church and included the Epistle of James, the Epistle of Jude, 2 Peter, 2 and 3 John, the Apocalypse of John, the Gospel of the Hebrews, the Apocalypse of Peter (unique in being the only book never accepted as canonical which was commentated upon by a Church Father), the Acts of Paul, the Shepherd of Hermas, the Epistle of Barnabas and the Didache.

How to start spiritual direction?

  • Anonymous. Massachusetts. I have felt for a long time that I need some type of spiritual direction and grounding. However, I'm not sure how to seek it out. Can you suggest a simple way to get started beyond my parish priest? Does it depend on how spiritually "developed" one is? Thank you.

Our Lady of the Americas?

  • Bob. Boston, NY. Could you tell me the story of the appearances of "Our Lady of the Americas" that occured around 1956?
Marian_Theology#Apparitions_that_have_not_been_approved Apparitions that have not been approved.

Good book for 4-year old who loves to pray?

  • Jessica. Can anyone recommend a kid friendly book, or guide to teaching young kids about Jesus' death and resurrection? My son who is 4 loves going to Adoration and going though the Stations of the Cross.

Love gives us free will

  • David, Buffalo, NY. I wanted to add a comment about the conversation about free will that it is because we are beings that have the ability to love and also that God's love for us gives is free will.

Defending the faith in an irreligious world

  • Shawn from Facebook: "In a pre-scientific understanding of the world, people naturally believed things happened because of the action of God, Angels, Demons, and the like; but now we can explain everything through the laws of science. We can see throughout history that religion, morals, and culture have evolved. How can we defend the faith in a world that seems to have no need of religion?"

May a couple marry who cannot consummate the vows?

  • Ann, Massachusetts. I heard on the radio that a Catholic woman and man should not get married if they cannot consummate their vows because of a medical condition. I cannot believe this could be right.
EWTN library.
impotence is indeed an impediment to marriage

Slavery approved in the Bible?

  • Anonymous. According to scriptures, slavery is not considered immoral, however there are specific instructions on how to beat slaves correctly. Why did neither God or Jesus teach that owning another human being is immoral? Nowhere is this stated in the bible! Mark Twain wrote: "In all the ages the Roman Church has owned slaves, bought and sold slaves, authorized and encouraged her children to trade in them. Long after some Christian peoples had freed their slaves the Church still held on to hers. If any could know, to absolute certainty, that all this was right, and according to God’s will and desire, surely it was she, since she was God’s specially appointed representative in the earth and sole authorized and infallible expounder of his Bible. There were the texts; there was no mistaking their meaning; she was right, she was doing in this thing what the bible had mapped out for her to do. So unassailable was her position that in all the centuries she had no word to say against human slavery."

Consecration to Mary?

  • Shawn from Facebook: How can Catholics consecrate themselves to Mary? She is not God. Isn't it a sin against the First Commandment to vow yourselves to her service?

Conflicting Scripture Passages

  • John from Facebook: In a recent Sunday reading from 1 Kings, God said to Solomon, "I give you a heart so wise and discerning that there has never been anyone like you until now, nor after you will there be anyone to equal you" (1 Kings 3:12). But in Matthew, it says, "There is something greater than Solomon here" (Matthew 12:42). How do you reconcile the two passages?
Similar kind of conundrum: What did Jesus mean when He said that "Amen, I say to you, among those born of women there has been none greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he" (Mt 11:11)? Wasn't Mary greater than John the Baptist through her Immaculate Conception?
And, of course, "all have sinned and are deprived of the glory of God" (Rom 3:23). Doesn't that mean that Mary and Jesus were both sinners?
"No sign will be given this generation except the sign of Jonah, for just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth" (Mt 12:40).

Followup question from John

John from Facebook:

  • If the church teaches us not to read passages literally, why does it not apply this to the teachings on the supper of The Lord or giving Peter the keys to the kingdom? How does the Church discern what should be taken literally and what isn't? My non Catholic friends say the Church chooses to take literally those passages that support her doctrinal position. After all the churches authority comes from reading the passage on the keys given to Peter literally doesn't it?

Can Mary bless us?

  • Shawn from Facebook: I heard a priest say the rosary. He said, "May Mary bless you with her holy child." How can Mary bless us with anything? She has no power outside of Christ.

Boys will be boys?

  • Anonymous from Facebook: Your 12-year old catches about 10 dragonflies, takes their wings off, and puts them in a cup “because he wants to see them fight.” Is that just boys being boys? Or do you tell him that it’s wrong to hurt animals for fun? He has Reactive Attachment Disorder which causes me additional concern.

Tips for Lay Evangelization?

From the "Ask a Priest" page on TheStationOfTheCross.com:
Michael: The Pope has called lay people to evangelize. I very heatedly expressed my objections to a fictional TV show which portrayed a catholic priest in a very negative way. A high school senior responded to my criticisms by expressing a desire for God, but he also expressed some reservations about God and showed a real lack of knowledge of the faith. How about having a show where people call in to discuss their ideas for lay evangelization and talk about their successes or failures in bearing witness to the tremendous hidden treasures of our faith?

How many books of the Bible claim to be inspired by God?

  • How many books of the Bible claim to be inspired by God? Maybe two make an explicit claim--Jeremiah and Revelation.
Jeremiah: "Take a scroll and write on it all the words I have spoken to you about Israel, Judah, and all the nations, from the day I first spoke to you, from the days of Josiah, until today" (36:2).
"Proving Inspiration."
What about the Bible’s own claim to inspiration? There are not many places where such a claim is made even elliptically, and most books in the Old and New Testaments make no such claim at all. In fact, no New Testament writer explicitly claims that he himself is writing at the direct behest of God, with the exception of John, the author of Revelation.

Taped evidence--nursing home

  • Luisa from "Ask a Priest" [today]: My mother was in the nursing home up until she passed away. We placed a camera in her room because they kept dropping her. Although the policy of the nursing home prohibits recording sound in the patients' bedrooms, by accident, some of our videos recorded the nurses abusing my mother verbally. May I use these recordings in good faith to bring an action against the nursing home?

Why can't women preach in Church?

  • From a pastor who listens to the show: When you answered Betsy's question on August 4th about how women can preach the gospel even though they are not allowed to read the gospel and preach homilies in the liturgy, you dodged the question of why women and laymen cannot read the gospel and preach homilies in the liturgy. I may not be the smartest kid on the block, but I can tell when someone is ducking a tough question! :o) [Note well: this priest is a very good and orthodox priest, and he is a friend of mine. This is a kind and well-meaning question, not a screed in favor of abandoning the Church's tradition! I think it is a good question.]

NFP for a pre-menopausal couple?

  • Anonymous from "Ask a Priest" on the Station of the Cross website--spend a little time explaining how to find and use this page on the website. My impression is that it is right on the front page, down at the bottom. That's how I see it, anyway, using a browser; I couldn't find it on the iCatholicRadio app. "Submit your questions for a priest to answer live on Calling All Catholics, airing weekdays from 5-6 pm ET."
I am concerned whether my husband and I are committing a mortal sin in our intimate relations. Because I am pre-menopausal, the signs of our fertile time are very uncertain, so I can't tell with much confidence when we are in a fertile time in our relationship. We used to use Natural Family Planning, but now we are not completing the marital act in a natural fashion. My health is poor, and we do not want to become pregnant at this time in our marriage. Are we committing a sin by not completing the marriage act normally?
BE POSITIVE. The Church upholds the natural act of love in marriage as the norm for judging what is right and wrong in our relationships. Whenever a couple chooses the joy of union, their expression of love should be such that they do nothing to make it impossible for them to become pregnant through their union. This norm rules out barrier methods, the use of artificial hormones that fool the woman's body into thinking that she is already pregnant, and any other actions that would keep the union of the couple from being fruitful. If you and your husband feel sure that you cannot afford to become pregnant at this time in your life, you must abstain from union for a while until your health improves or you reach the point at which you can have greater confidence than you do now in identifying the fertile times in your cycle; you might want to ask for help from a certified Natural Family counselor to get help in understanding the signs at this time in your life. Abstinence is hard, but not impossible. It, too, is an act of love for each other and for our Creator. Abstinence chosen out of love for one another for shorter or longer times has its own rewards, though they are, of course, more subtle and on a different level from the joy of expressing your love for each other directly through marital union. We have been praying for you and your husband, Anonymous, since we received your e-mail. We hope that you will find great joy in being faithful and true to each other as well as abiding by God's plan for your marriage.
"Christoper West's Ideas on Sexuality Ignore Tremendous Dangers--Alice von Hildebrand."

Why is the Old Testament so vague about Trinity and the Eucharist?

  • Sara from the Fund Drive:
  1. Why didn't God give more advance warning in the Old Testament of the doctrine of the Trinity?
  2. Why didn't God give more advance warning in the Old Testament of the doctrine of the Eucharist?

Is spiritual dryness a sin?

  • Shawn from Facebook: Is having spiritual dryness a sin?

How should Catholics vote?

  • Shawn from Facebook: Election season is upon us. The Catholic voter guide basically says "don't vote for abortion," and rightly so. But, I have never supported GOP politics either, although they are the closest thing we have to a pro-life party. So how should I vote then?
USCCB Voting Guide for Catholics.

Struggling with Marian prayers

Shawn from Facebook: I struggle with certain Marian prayers that ask her to save us, etc; I don't get that... Because she can't do anything without God's power. She is merely a creature, though the highest of all creation. I have trouble with the rosary too. Why not just pray the "Our Father"?

Chesterton Academy in England?

  • Maria Bachelier from e-mail: Is there any Chesterton academy in England, where I live?
Not yet. There is one in Italy. Dale Ahlquist is in Europe right now. More may be under development.
Emily de Rotstein, Executive Director
Chesterton Academy -- www.chestertonacademy.org
info@chestertonacademy.org

Why does the Catechism calls us "gods"?

  • John from Facebook: I have been reading the Catechism each night. I have a question regarding paragraph 460 which says, "The only-begotten Son of God, wanting to make us sharers in his divinity, assumed our nature, so that he, made man, might make men gods." This passage uses the lower case letter g. In the Old Testament, this is how the pagan gods are referred to. What does lower case "gods" mean here?
Divinization.

Righteous anger vs. sinful anger

  • John from Facebook:
  1. Could you explain righteous anger and sinful anger? Are there scriptural references to these two kinds of anger? Could you give some ideas how to counteract the sin of anger? -- Christian Anger Management.
  2. Also would you please pray for my niece, Marybeth, who suffers from a head injury she received in an accident some time ago.

Multiple sins in an invalid marriage

  • Anonymous from Facebook: Suppose a person got married only in order to obtain a visa and did not intend the marriage to last. Is that person sinning if they do not get an annulment? Is that person committing fornication when they have relations with their innocent spouse?

Uncharitable thoughts and feelings

  • Anonymous from Facebook: I am a volunteer at my parish. I arranged to switch volunteer nights with another parishioner. I covered their night, but they did not cover mine. I was called and asked to come fill in for them. I felt annoyed at the prospect, but did eventually offer to fill the empty spot. I feel that I was selfish and uncharitable. Did I commit a sin by being annoyed or by waiting a while before I said yes?

Do same-sex marriages invalidate all marriages in the state or the denomination?

  • Peter John from e-mail:
  1. If Christian denominations and many states are recognizing same-sex marriages, does that not mean that all of the marriages in those denominations or states are necessarily invalid in the eyes of the Church? If so, wouldn't that simplify the annulment process for those who contracted marriage before a justice of the peace in those states or in those denominations?
  2. I am upset that I see people who are cohabiting receive the sacraments while those who are in post-divorce marriages cannot. This especially troublesome when the divorced and remarried have no children from earlier marriages, have built a good family in their current marriages, and live devout lives otherwise.

Should we hold hands during the Our Father?

Why not do mandalas in our parish?

  • NOT ON THE LINE. Liz from Rochester. Please speak about what Mandala is and why it shouldn’t be practiced at our parish.
The Mandala Project.

Blessed are those who murder babies?

  • Kevin from e-mail: The last verse of Psalm 137 is really horrible. It says, "Blessed is the man who seizes the children of Babylon and dashes their brains out against a rock." Isn't God the father of Babylonian children, too? How could murdering innocent children bring blessings to those who murder them?

Why was John the Baptist not freed from captivity?

  • John from Facebook: The gospel of Luke says that Jesus came to set the captives free. If so, then why didn't Jesus free John the Baptist from captivity?

When should we accept death for those whom we love?

  • Katy from e-mail: Every day at Mass I hear the priest ask us to pray for life, "from its natural beginning to its natural end." I remain confused as to why keeping an infant (or anyone) with a terminal illness on life support, in this case mechanical ventilation, is celebrated. I don't understand why anyone would want to watch a loved one suffering with a tracheostomy when that loved one could be in paradise with Jesus. Is this brave to keep them alive, or is it selfish?
Catholic Medical Ethics


U.S. Bishops dedicated to Marxism since 1979?

  • Mary Kathryn from e-mail:
- I have an article from 1979 which says that U.S. bishops were dedicated to preaching Marxism instead of Christianity. Is that claim true?

Positive outcomes from Vatican II

  • Mary Kathryn from e-mail:
- Can you name three positive outcomes of Vatican II?
- Recognition that we owe religious assent to the ordinary teachings of the Magisterium. The Scriptures are the fruit of Tradition and are part of Tradition; they do not replace it.
- Catechism of the Catholic Church.
- Discussion of marriage as a noble vocation, including praise of the nobility of the act of marital union, reaffirmation of the Church's traditional teaching on avoiding contraceptives, and a strong condemnation of abortion as an abominable crime.

Canon law and Catholic identity

  • Melanie from Twitter: Is it a violation of canon law to question someone's Catholic identity?
Can. 216: "Since they participate in the mission of the Church, all the Christian faithful have the right to promote or sustain apostolic action even by their own undertakings, according to their own state and condition. Nevertheless, no undertaking is to claim the name Catholic without the consent of competent ecclesiastical authority."

Calling God "Allah"

  • Winna from Twitter: Do you know the Arabic word 'Allah'? Do you think it is inappropriate for Christians to use the Arabic word for God?

Thanks for help with Desolation

  • Anonymous from Facebook: "Thank you for answering my questions about desolation in such a great detail in a show you did in the summer time. I feel very comforted after hearing from you on the show and I'm actually feeling relieved with the clarity especially after learning about desolation. I can't thank you enough for this. I feel that I'm suddenly pulled back in when I was almost falling off a steep cliff--thank you so much for the rescue!"

New forms of Catholicism?

Mark: What the "New Catholic Churches"?

Schismatic Catholics.

Experimental Medical Treatments

  • Dan from Facebook: Does the Church have any definitive position on the use of experimental medical treatments? A friend has stage 4 melanoma, and an experimental drug is his best (and apparently only) chance for survival. The problem is that it hasn't been approved by the FDA -- the family wants it for "compassionate use" in the meantime. I just have to decide whether to sign the petition they are circulating.

Anathema sit!

  • Debbie from Amherst: The Council of Trent says that anyone who objects to the doctrine of the Church is "anathema." What does that mean for our Protestant brothers and sisters who have left the Church?

Deification

  • Andrew from e-mail: It appears that in Eastern Catholic Theology one can become closer to God after death through deification. The Eastern Catholics claim that their saints move closer to God even in heaven. In Western theology this does not appear possible. One gains merit/treasures in heaven while alive, and assuming one gets to heaven, that's it--no more! You are as close to God as possible. Not all saints are the same in glory. There is no more change possible. These Eastern and Western views are logically incompatible; both cannot be true.
Deification

Is God "static"?

Andrew from e-mail: In the 'eternal realm' there is no time. How can we be dynamic yet God is static? He does not change with time only we do. Is there a 'time' we live in in the eternal realm (the theory of 'days' in purgatory is popular but the concept was 'not up for debate' in the East because they did not see it as theologically worth pursing). Are these concepts merely beyond human understanding and simple part of the 'mystery' that so permeates our sense of eternity?

Burning Man

  • Kathleen from Facebook: I recently came across some information about "The Burning Man Experience" in the Black Rock Desert in Nevada. It was quite disturbing and reminded me of pagan rituals. Can you shed more light on this?

Questions about questions

  • Two different friends asked me recently, "What is the hardest question you have received? Your favorite question? Your least favorite question?"

How could Adam and Eve sin?

  • Thomas from e-mail: If Adam and Eve did not have Original Sin, they did not have concupiscence, by which we mean the tendency of our disordered appetites to lead us to sin. Why weren't they immune to temptation?

What do goats symbolize in the Bible?

  • John from Facebook: I saw a Masonic website that linked goats to Babylonian mystery religions. The author suggested that the goat was a symbol of the Temple and Temple builders. Is this how the symbolism of goats works in the Scriptures? Would this add an extra dimension to the parable of the sheep and the goats in Matthew 25? Does the Church have a specific teaching on the meaning of goats in the Bible?

How to "Offer it up?"

  • Sherry. Arlington, Virginia. iCatholic. I have a question about suffering and "offering it up". I am not a cradle Catholic, so I did not get the benefit of learning about this while growing up. What I've done is simply a mental prayer like this: "Dear God, I offer you this pain (or discomfort, or whatever suffering I am going through at the moment)". Is this adequate? Sometimes I add " to join in Christ's suffering on the cross in order to help redeem the world (or for some other purpose like to help a sick friend or family member)". Is this an acceptable way to offer up suffering? Thank you. We love your radio show!

Theology of Global Warming?

  • Marilyn. Buffalo, New York. I have another philosophical question. From the standpoint of Genesis, is global warming man-made or part of God's plan? Why would God make us in His image and then give us the power to destroy his creation? Would God really allow us to be such a problem?

Traces of the Trinity in the Old Testament

  • Mike Denz from WLOF: A while back, you talked with a listener about Old Testament passages that foreshadhow the revelation of the Trinity in the New Testament. Isn't there are a foreshadowing of John's Trinitarian theology of the Word made flesh in Genesis 1? Genesis 1 portrays God as creating by speaking words of command such as "Let there be light--and there was light;" then John's gospel says that God created through the Word.
Speaker, breath, word--Father, Spirit, Son (the missions of the Trinity, not the eternal relationships between the Divine Persons). The Spirit is not mentioned explicitly until 1:32; John testifies that he saw the Spirit descend upon Jesus and that Jesus would "baptize with the Holy Spirit."
Ruah in Genesis 1:1.
  • Brian from Facebook: I have two questions.
Part I: In the case of a pastoral administrator charged with a parish assignment, where does the buck stop? With the pastoral administrator or a priest (sacramental minister) also assigned to the same parish?
There is a separation of powers.
A Parish Administrator (PA) is responsible for anything you can do with money, including collecting it. The PA may also define the parish schedule, organize non-sacramental ministries, and obtain services from priests or deacons as needed when the assigned Sacramental Minister (SM) is unavailable. I imagine that the PA would run the catechetical programs and would be the person who hires and fires other parish workers. The PA would also keep all of the books--financial, sacramental records, school records, etc.
The sacramental minister is responsible for seeing that the sacraments are offered correctly.
Grey areas probably not defined by law but settled on a case-by-case basis: furnishings, music, "smells and bells."
Part II: What is your opinion of people calling a priest a "sacramental minister"?
It's accurate, if not very poetic. There are some men who, for one reason or another, should not act as pastors. They can supply the sacraments for a parish, but do not have the gifts or virtues required for administration. I think this causes great grief to the priests.
One priest in our diocese was a "sacramental minister" after being a priest for at least 25 years, and was apparently despondent at being ordered to leave his parish so that another priest could become pastor, relieving a deacon and his wife of the job of P.A. Not being promoted to pastor hurt the priest terribly, but the act of suicide suggests to me that it was not a bad decision not to promote him--he was not a well man (may he rest in peace).
Better title? "Parish priest" or "Parish father."

Destiny of the souls of those who die in abortion

  • Matthew Paul via Facebook: Is there a definitive Church teaching on what happens to the souls of aborted children? Are they martyrs through a "baptism of blood"?
Afterlife for aborted children?

Did Jesuits tried to kill John Paul II?

  • Alex from e-mail: A very devout Polish Catholic friend of mine believes that John Paul II was about to dissolve the Society of Jesus, also known as "the Jesuits," but was prevented from doing so by being shot by Ali Agca, who was acting on behalf of the Jesuits. The only reference I could find about this was from Malachi Martin's book, The Jesuits.
1981: Arrupe's stroke; appointment of Vinny O'Keefe to be Acting General; replacement of O'Keefe by Paulo Dezza.
1983: assassination attempt on 13 May; election of Fr. Kolvenbach on 13 September.

Gay lobby on Catholic campuses

  • Kevin from Buffalo:
Setup for the question
A recent New York Times article talked about how Georgetown has become a "gay-friendly institution." Mr. Lloyd, the pride group president, says he is often tempted to join the more tolerant Episcopal Church. But for many young Catholics, particularly of Irish or Italian descent, Catholicism is interchangeable with identity. “You stay Catholic because you have a love of the institution and you want to change it,” he said.
With a prophetic air, campus crusaders for this new “21st century” “Catholic” identity make ex cathedra pronouncements like “Society is changing, and God is in that change.”
The question
What do you think about this approach to being Catholic?

Taking nephews to Communion

  • Laura from Facebook: My 11- and 12-year old sons periodically invite their cousins to sleep over on a Saturday night. On Sunday we all attend Mass together. I know my nephews do not attend Mass regularly, and I doubt that they ever go to Confession. Should I confront them about this? What responsibilities do I have as their Aunt?

Jesuits in Upstate New York?

  • Parishioner of Peter Calabrese asked via e-mail: Have you ever heard in the “family lore” of Jesuits working in the Lewiston area very early on?

Sex reassignment surgery

  • Kathy, Rochester, New York. At work, my Department Head announced at a staff meeting that an employee was going to be changing from a male to a female. What is the church's teaching on that?

Confirmation Necessary for Marriage?

  • Dolores. Hamburg, New York. If a Catholic is Baptized and received the first Sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist, but NOT Confirmed, can they be married in the Church?

"Queen of Creation"

  • From a parishioner: I like to call Mary "Queen of Creation" when I am praying to her. Is that appropriate?

Selling or renting property to same-sex couples

  • From a parishioner: Would I be cooperating in evil if I sold or rented a house to a same-sex couple?

What would Jesus think of today's Church?

  • Bob from e-mail: If Christ returned to Earth tomorrow as a typically normal 21st Century Catholic, what do you think He would think of the Church that He created and the leadership it has? Would he approve of it and back it, unquestionably? Or, would he rail against it, or various aspects of it, as he did the moneychangers and merchants whose tables He dispersed from the synagogue when he was here 2000+ years ago?

Promoting Women's Vocations to Religious Life

  • Patti from e-mail: Imagine Sisters wants to make Jesus loved by introducing the world to religious sisters in love with Christ through media and personal encounters. We want to encourage and inspire a culture of vocations to women’s religious life by fostering a deep desire for holiness through the witness of religious sisters.

Who are the vultures?

  • From Awesome Lawson: I was told by a priest that the verse, "Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather" (Mt 24:28) refers to Eucharistic adoration. Is that true?

Footwashing

  • Letitia: Footwashing is for everybody--everybody should do it to everybody. She sent slippers, a towel, and foot cream to her nieces and nephews, and asked them to wash their mother's feet. Jesus said, "Do as I do. Such love and humility. Jesus took the place of the last and the least. Usually done by the Gentile slave, by wives for their husbands, by children for their parents, and by disciples for their teachers.

St. Malachy and the End of the World

"Pope Francis = Peter The Roman = Antichrist ?"
"In the extreme persecution of the Holy Roman Church, there will sit Peter the Roman, who will nourish the sheep in many tribulations; when they are finished, the city of seven hills will be destroyed, and the dreadful judge will judge his people. The end."

Seven Pilgrim Churches

Catholic Children's Bible

Fr. Walter Ciszek, SJ

  • Suellen Ann from Facebook: I just saw a beautiful documentary on EWTN about Fr. Walter Ciszek, a Jesuit who was held captive in Siberia for 15 years. Could you talk a little bit about his life and works?
Walter Ciszek, SJ

Catholic understanding of marriage

  • Nicole from e-mail: I spoke w/a 20-something co-worker regarding male/female complementarity one day when she mentioned that people who don't accept "same-sex marriage" are bigots. She listened to me kindly but did not accept the idea that opposite genders go together because of procreation. Her immediate answer was, "well, the couple can use IVF." I find that many younger people have a utilitarian point of view - the end justifies the means. How can I present the Church's teaching on marriage and the natural law in the most effective fashion?

Evidence of Ordination of Women?

Year of Faith Website

  • David M. from Rochester: Here is the Vatican’s website for the year of faith: www.annusfidei.va.

Common Bible includes "Apocrypha"

  • John W. from e-mail: I was very surprised this afternoon when you quoted Tobit 4:8 on giving. You said, "The Protestants don’t have Tobit in their Bible." Here in Canada, or at least Toronto, we DO! We also have Judith, Wisdom, Baruch, 1&2 Maccabees, and the other Deuterocanonical Books in the pew Bibles of at least our local Anglican and Presbyterian churches, and probably in the local United Church too. The pew Bibles are the “New Revised Standard Version (with Apocrypha).” These are logical developments based on Vatican II, which began fifty years ago, and the first Anglican-Roman Catholic Common Declaration and the establishment of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission forty-six years ago. Most Protestant churches are also using the Revised Common Lectionary. Is this just a Canadian thing?
- Apocrypha in Common Bible.

Psychology and Catholicism

  • John from Facebook: At the school I work, they are doing workshops on motivation and learning. They presented a workshop on William Glasser's "choice theory," which seems to me to advocate faith but no God. When the Church provides counsel through Catholic Charities or even through a priest, how does it merge psychology and faith?

Godly Gynecology; Pregnancy Support Services

  • Melissa from Kenmore, New York: "A friend of a friend of mine was told for decades that she had a thyroid problem that would prevent her from becoming pregnant. The doctors were wrong. When she began to gain weight because of a pregnancy, her doctor just adjusted her medication, thinking that her weight gain was due to thyroid problems, not a pregnancy. This was a devastating situation for her, as she ended up having an abortion. Many women who opt for abortion are not FOR abortion in and of itself. Many just do not have the support of the father or their family, and do not know who would help them cope with an unplanned child at the time of birth. Could you list some resources women in such a situation can turn to?"

Pacifism required?

  • Anonymous: Why do some candidates who are pro life still support violence via wars, detainment, and the like? Why can't being pro life mean being more vigilant in ending wars through diplomatic talks rather than continuing what seems an endless fight in another country? Our military wants to come home. Does war ever make any sense?"
- Just War Theory.

Feeling guilty after Confession

  • Anonymous: "I have a hard time forgiving myself, even after I confess a sin in confession. Is that also a sin?"
Feeling guilty after Confession.

Interceding for Sinners

  • Anonymous: "What is the consequence if someone who is not Catholic receives the Eucharist in ignorance. Besides educating them, is there a penance one can do for them?"
What should I do when I see others sin?
Forgiveness Prayer.

Spiritual Warfare

  • Can people be used by demons to try and fight and create turmoil and strife?
  • Are there angels and demons duking it out fighting for our souls?
  • Also, I saw on a blog where a guy said to look in the Old Testament as to how many people Satan killed vs God. He claims that Satan only killed ten and God killed thousands. So, in his view, the whole Christian idea of God is false, and Satan got a raw deal.

Genocide in the Old Testament?

  • Kevin from e-mail: Why did God order the Israelites to massacre whole villages when they conquered them? Today we would call that "genocide" or "ethnic cleansing." The Church teaches that it is intrinscially evil to target whole populations in warfare. How could God command His people to do evil?

Successors of the other apostles?

  • Rich from e-mail: Most Catholics know that the Pope is the successor to Peter. Has the "lineage" from the other apostles been preserved just as carefully? Would the holders of some of those Sees be the Latin Patriarchs? There are not twelve of this class, so who are the direct successors of all of the original apostles and Paul? (I include him because of his unique status).

Patriarchs and Cardinals

  • Rich from e-mail: I think that a fairly recent canonical change required that all patriarchs be made cardinals, although they've always actually outranked cardinals in the hierarchy. Is that correct?