Home | About Us | Subscriptions | Advertising | El Centinela | Archives
An image.
  • About the dead: In heaven for sure?
    Q. My mother passed away some time ago, and I wonder whether she is now in “God’s eternal embrace.” How can I be sure?

    She was a good mother and she dearly loved the church, but we have been taught that everyone has some imperfections and, upon death, must be sent to purgatory before they can enjoy heaven. I would rest more easily if I knew that my mother were not suffering any longer. (Forest, Virginia)
  • We just need to get back on track, on our eucharistic track.
  • The textual evidence for the Trinitarian baptismal formula in Matthew is almost universal in the earliest papyr.
  • It may well be that a legitimate but different form of bread, different from what you are accustomed to, is what you noticed. 
  • I would say that Christians don’t have an intellectual answer to the problem of pain and suffering, but they have a response.
  • Where historical fiction — and I would include here biblical fiction also — is not based in actual historical reality it tends to lose a sense of authenticity.
  • Which of us in the presence of this Love will feel appropriately ready for this final embrace of God?
  • Many modern English translations of the Bible attempts to use inclusive language as appropriate, that is, as it seems to be intended by the biblical authors.
  • Some thinkers suggest that the birth of Jesus 2,000 years ago — and the mission of the Lord and the early church — was prepared for by the circumstances of the Roman Empire.
  • A regular participation in the Sacrament enables us to fine tune from time to time our moral compass, to deepen our awareness of the destructiveness of sin and the endless generosity of the Love that God is.
  • Lent is about helping us to grow spiritually, even when our Lenten resolutions are not especially successful.
  • The rest of my response to the question is really a scriptural reflection on the works of mercy, and it can be summarized in this fashion: “Be all you can be as Christ’s holy body!”
  • Even if they have been blessed at some point, it is not the blessing that you are selling but the material entity. You are not trafficking in spiritual goods.
  • Such powerful connections with sanctity have nothing to do with insurance policies, but much to do with personal growth in holiness.
  • Either one abandons the ecumenical enterprise, which would be in my judgment not only ecclesially irresponsible but sinful, or one keeps going with great patience and absolute confidence in the Holy Spirit.
  • Q: I am confused on the death penalty. In the Catechism (2266) it says:
“traditional teaching....has acknowledged as well-founded the right and
duty of legitimate public authority to punish malefactors by means of
penalties commensurate with the gravity of the crime, not
excluding....the death penalty.” Of course, I understand, it is a very
rare option, says Pope John Paul II. But the window of
absolute necessity, though small, is open, right?
  • Q—If my mother is confined to an assisted living facility and has no option for Sunday Mass other than television does this satisfy her obligation? If not does she commit a serious sin each Sunday?

  • Q — We see our liturgical colors have changed. What is the meaning and symbolism of each of our colors through the year?

  • Q: The reading on Oct. 4 from Genesis says “The Lord  says, it is not good for the man to be alone.” So why does the Catholic Church feel priests should not marry?  Is that not going against God’s word? The Greek Orthodox say their religious leaders have to marry to be ordained. An explanation please.

  • Q — When Jesus shared his last meal with his followers, did the bread and wine become Jesus in the same way we understand that it becomes Jesus today? One person put it this way — “Did transubstantiation take place at the last supper?”

  • Q —Can humanism be considered a religion?
  • Q — I often hear priests speak of funerals as “celebrations of 
life.”  Is there a difference between the two?
  • Q — I know you teach at a seminary and must follow priests through their careers. How can we, as parishioners, best support our priests, who can face loneliness as celibates? I know one should not take up too much time, because these men are so busy, but there must be a reasonable way to help.
  • Q — A recent newspaper article reports that an archbishop on the East coast is spending more than half a million dollars of archdiocese funds to renovate his retirement residence. Under Church law, are archbishops permitted to spend archdiocese funds for this purpose?
  • Q —I understand this may be a silly question to you, but I’ve always been curious about the personalities of the disciples (context being how they behaved around people), so my question is: Were any of the disciples, before and during their time with the Lord, considered social misfits? Also, did any of the disciples not get along with each other?

  • Q — That God created human sexuality for marriage and marriage only is a beautiful image and teaching.  However, doesn’t this conflict with the fact that sexuality is found all over nature and that while some species are monogamous, others are not and in many (over 1,500 species) we can find homosexual behavior? How do we reconcile what we observed through God’s creation with this fundamental moral teaching of the Church?
  • Q — Do Catholics have dietary restrictions, not including Lent? My mother remembers meat from animals with non-cloven hooves being forbidden.

  • Q — In today’s Gospel — “go into the city to a certain man . . .” Who is that “certain man”? 

  • Q —As a Catholic, is it morally permissible to believe in evolution? What is the Catholic teaching regarding evolution versus creationism?

  • Q — Why is the Lord’s Prayer translated into English to say “lead us not into temptation” instead of “let us not into temptation” or something similar? Why do we now say that awkward phrase “that you should enter under my roof” when we don’t say the rest of what scripture says from that passage?

  • Q — I attended a Mass where after Father gave his sermon, he invited a parish speaker talk to us about supporting a fund raiser for the parish. I don’t know why they interrupted the flow of the Mass for this but I found it very disturbing. Could I have your input on this? I know other people commented on this also.
  • Q — A priest in his homily said that we baptized are all prophets, since we are sent forth to bring the prophetic message to others. “In religion, a prophet is an individual who is claimed to have been contacted by the supernatural or the divine, and to speak for them, serving as an intermediary with humanity, delivering this newfound knowledge from the supernatural entity to other people.”(Wikipedia) Why this focus on prophet rather than disciple?

  • Q — If marriage is such a great sign of Christ’s relationship with us, his Church, how come so much emphasis has been placed on consecrated life? Are we not all consecrated to Our Lord by baptism? It was implied — at least to my generation — that if you loved God, you became a nun, priest, etc. 
  • Q — I hear people saying this and that about vaccines. Have Catholics ever thought of vaccines as a lack of faith in God’s will? Why or why not?
  • Q — What is your take on the film ‘Babette’s Feast’?

  • Q — I hear Pope Francis will be issuing an encyclical on the environment. What is the theological lineage of church teaching on such matters?
  • Q ­— I hear Pope Francis will write an encyclical on the environment. How do encyclicals differ from, say apostolic exhortations? What encyclicals from the past have impacted society the most, in your opinion?

  • Q — The Catholic Church claims succession from Peter, the first Bishop of Rome. However, even the Catholic Encyclopedia admits that the Liber Pontificalis, or Book of the Popes, was only compiled about 500 AD and the earlier portion contains a number of errors. Therefore, what evidence is there that an unbroken succession from Peter exists in the Catholic Church?
  • Q — The 50th anniversary of Unitatis Redintegratio, the second Vatican Council’s decree on ecumenism just passed. What is your assessment of ecumenical progress among Christians in the past 50 years? In particular, have Catholics and Anglicans moved any closer in their understanding of the Eucharist?
  • Q —What is the composition of the holy oils? Also, what happens to ‘leftovers’?
  • Q— I hear St. Nicholas is a very important figure in Orthodox Christianity, whereas he survives in the West in large part as Santa Claus. Why is he so important in the East, and what is he remembered for?
  • Q — Thanksgiving is almost here. Did the Puritans who came to the New World have any particular opinion about the Catholic Church? Did Catholics take part in persecuting Puritans in England?
  • Catholic Church in Goa readies for St. Francis Xavier exposition

    GOA, India — Expecting more than 5 million pilgrims for the once-a-decade exposition of the body of St Francis Xavier in Goa, the Catholic Church in the former Portuguese colony is working to ensure the event is "spiritually nourishing" for the visitors.

  • Q — The late Fr. Francis Sullivan, dean of the Faculty of Theology at the Gregorian University from 1964-70, in his book From Apostles to Bishops: The Development of the Episcopacy in the Early Church, wrote that “I have expressed agreement with the consensus of scholars that the available evidence indicates that the church in Rome was led by a college of  presbyters, rather than by a single bishop, for at least several decades of the second century.” Since St. Peter died between 62-67 AD, how can it be claimed that he was Bishop of Rome since Rome had no bishop during Peter’s lifetime?
  • Q — In movies about medieval monks, they always seem to have the tops of their heads shaved. What’s with the funny haircuts? Is there a meaning? Do any monks today still have them?
  • Why do Catholics not believe in “The Rapture,” and what do they believe about the “end times”?
  • Q — Acts of the Apostles has Peter visiting Antioch before any claim that he was in Rome. Tradition tells us that Peter made Evodius his successor bishop in Antioch, followed by St. Ignatius of Antioch. So weren’t Evodius and his followers popes rather than Linus and his followers?
  • Q — In Southern Oregon we are blessed with dedicated, loving, spiritual and generous priests and deacons. They each have special talents and gifts to share. We want to learn from them and understand their point of view. But many of them are not native English speakers. We cannot understand their words when delivering homilies. I and others in my parish agree that we are frustrated to only understand a small portion of what is said. The final consonants of words are missing so listeners don’t know what is being said. Or the syllable emphasis is incorrect. Sometimes after a few sentences you can figure out what that word must have been. But then you have missed lots in between. So what do parishioners do? Tell the speaker they can’t be understood and make them feel bad? Call the church office and make the speakers feel bad? And one more question. Does the archdiocese have an education plan to improve non-native speakers’ diction?
  • Q — What is the history of the priesthood?
  • Q — Since Pope Francis has expressed a desire “to create still broader opportunities for a more incisive female presence in the Church,” my question is: when were the first women ordained to the diaconate? The Council of Chalcedon in 451 defined the age and marital status for women’s ordination, yet I do not know when the first women deacons were ordained.  I assume they were in existence prior to this?  How would it come about if we were to re-establish the ordination of women to the diaconate?
  • Q — Why is it that a wedding cannot be conducted outside when a Mass can?
  • Q — “In my parish, some people genuflect and some bow to the tabernacle and some bow and some genuflect to the altar. What is the origin of these two gestures of respect and is it proper to use them in an interchangeable way?”
  • Q — Is it acceptable to call Joseph the father of Jesus, especially since Luke: 2:33, and 2:48 refer to Joseph as the father of Jesus?
  • Q — We all know Christ performed the first consecration, but there is little written about who said the first actual Mass as we know it.  I’ve read about the road to Emmaus, but I am looking for the type of Divine Communion we experience today.
  • Q — Nowhere in Paul’s Epistles nor in the Acts of the Apostles is there any claim that Peter was in Rome. But some like to point to 1 Peter 5:13 “Your sister church in Babylon, chosen together with you, sends you greetings; and so does my son Mark,” claiming that “Babylon” was a code name for Rome. But in Peter’s time, wasn’t Babylon on the Euphrates a major Jewish center? Wouldn’t that be a logical place for Peter to be?
  • Q — Is a tattoo acceptable? A friend of mine is upset because he got a tattoo of our Lady of Guadalupe in the chest. But as a catechumen in a church he has been asked to have it covered or deleted. What do you think?

  • Q — If the first Christians were saying that Jesus was both Messiah and God, why did the strictly monotheistic Jews allow them to remain a sect in the Jewish Temple? Why were the Christians then expelled from the synagogues as apostates in about 85 A.D.?
  • Q — Paragraph 19 of Dei Verbum, Vatican II’s document on scripture says regarding the history contained in the four gospels; “whose historical character the Church unhesitatingly asserts.” This, of course, would be very significant regarding the teachings and deeds of Jesus that they contain. But at Vatican II, Cardinal Franz Koenig of Vienna arose and charged that there were errors in what is reported in the New Testament. Several other bishops supported him and no opposition was expressed to his remarks. Were Cardinal Koenig and the other bishops in error or is Dei Verbum wrong regarding the historical accuracy of the New Testament?

  • Q — Does the Roman Catholic Church recognize the validity of the Old Catholic Church’s sacraments and priestly ordination?
  • Q — I don’t understand why the Nicene Creed contains the phrase “for us men” instead of a more appropriate “for us all.” Please explain.
    A — This is a good and interesting question. It probably doesn’t need to be pointed out that the theological intention in this article of the Creed is “for us all” and not “for us men” understood in terms of gender.
  • Q — I understand this question may seem trivial, but when the Lord was a child, did he have any friends? Or was he more of a loner? The reason I am asking this question is because recently I began writing a script for a graphic novel that will depict the Lord between when he was found in the temple at age 12 to when he began his public ministry at the age of 30. I want to portray the Lord as accurately and realistically as possible.
  • Q — I am a life-long practicing Catholic. I have always understood the church frowns on using contraception of any kind. However, I was recently surprised when I read some Catholic literature. The document was a condensed guide to the commandments. The use of contraception was listed as a sin under the “Thou Shall Not Kill” commandment. This has been bothering me every since. For a married person, is it really considered a sin to use contraception? Thanks for considering my question. I am certain I am not the only person who may find the response helpful.
  • Q — It is reported that a Catholic expert on liturgy, Father Robert Taft, states that there is not a single extant pre-Nicene (325 AD) Eucharistic prayer that one can prove contained the Words of Institution. Is this true, and were the words used those found in the Didache(9)?
  • Q — I read your response about Christian tattoos. It is a good one. But I still wonder if according to the Bible a tattoo is OK. Thanks a lot.
  • Q — Is it still the teaching of the Catholic Church that all scripture is inspired by the Holy Spirit, or did Vatican II change that teaching to only those portions of scripture that are necessary for salvation are inspired?
  • Q — As used in the Nicene Creed, what is meant by “proceeds from the Father and from the Son?”

  • Q — My husband recently asked me if I thought our parish priest had made a pledge to the campaign that is going on in our diocese. This got me thinking about tithing in general. Do priests and bishops have an obligation, like the rest of us, to contribute 10 percent of their income to their church, campaigns in their dioceses, and other charities?

  • Q — What is the connection, if any, between Eucharistic adoration (outside of the actual celebration of the Eucharist) and service to the poor and needy?
  • Q — I notice some worshipers genuflect in church while others bow. What are the origins of these two forms of reverence and are they interchangeable in Catholic worship?

  • Q — I have a question about the terms “vicariate” and “deanery.” The Archdiocese of Portland uses “vicariate” and “vicar” while the Diocese of Baker uses “Deanery” and “Dean.” My sources seem to show these words as synonyms. If so, is it just tradition which terms are used or is there actually a difference in meaning or use?
  • Q —Will you explain the position of a Vicar General and also Parochial Vicar?
    A— In every diocese the diocesan bishop, according to the canonical tradition of the Roman Catholic Church, is to appoint a vicar general whose job it is to assist the bishop in the governance of the whole diocese. 
    The expectation is that the vicar general should be a priest of not less than 30 years of age, who has a doctorate or licentiate in canon law or theology, or at least who is well-versed in these particular disciplines (Code of Canon Law, #478).
  • Q —Our pastor starts Mass with, ‘Good morning.’ Is the preferred response: ‘Good morning,’ Good morning, Father,’ or silence? There is no model for this greeting on the Roman Missal response card so people respond in different ways.
  • Q — Your study idea in the Dalai Lama issue was great, but I suggest an article about meditative readings of scripture only. Further expansion on Lectio Divina would be appreciated. I have a Prayer Chair that I try to use exclusively for praying and meditative reading. I get easily distracted and any hints on how to stay on track would be appreciated.
  • Q — Is writing a list of your sins before you go to confession considered “not good?” What I mean is lately I have had tendencies that are increasingly difficult for me to control. As much as I want to go to confession, a problem for me is I can’t confess my sins “on-the-spot” because it’s intimidating. I asked another Catholic this question and he said that if I do this, I’d be lying during confession. What are your thoughts?

  • Q — In the first paragraph of John’s Gospel, we read about the “Word.” Isn’t this the same as the Logos? And isn’t the Logos the creator god in Greek mythology?

  • Q — Do you know whether Latin is known as the sacred language of the Roman Catholic Church because Jesus was alive when it was spoken?
  • Q — We are often told that receiving under both species is not necessary. However, Jesus thought it important for His apostles to do so and He specified that we should eat His body and drink His blood. At Mass, the priest always receives both; shouldn’t it be offered to everyone?

  • Q — How have Catholics’ relationships with the Jews changed since Vatican II? Are there Catholic-Jewish talks locally?

  • Q — As a follow-on to the recent question on the reemergence of the Tridentine or Extraordinary Form of the Mass, do you envision a day when use of the recently retired version of the Roman Missal will be allowed again?
  • Q — I recently attended a seminar for liturgical ministers and was surprised when the question/answer section was dominated by questions about the growing interest in the Tridentine or Extraordinary Form of the Mass. I was under the impression that Vatican II allowed the Extraordinary Form if parishioners requested it. When I asked for a clarification, I was told that the two rites were never intended to be compatible or run parallel to each other. The impression I got was that the post-Vatican II rite was the only “acceptable” rite. I later learned that Pope Benedict stated the exact opposite. Since there appeared to be a growing interest among parishioners from what I heard in the seminar, just how many Catholics in the Portland area are interested in learning and experiencing the Tridentine Mass? Is anyone investigating this?

  • Q —What would be the best prayer after receiving Holy Communion?
  • Q — Simony is defined as sacrilege that consists in buying and selling what is spiritual in return for what is temporal. Thus, isn’t the German hierarchy’s denial of sacraments to those who do not pay their church tax in fact simony?
  • Q — What is Catholic teaching on presence of the body at the funeral? Is it preferable to have the body as opposed to cremated remains at the funeral? If so, why?

     
  • Q — With the resignation of Pope Benedict, it begs the question for this reader; what are the  rules of resignation/retirement for diocesan priests? Can they retire early? Is there a minimum age?
  • Q —  Inmates are talented, faithful, and concerned about the needs of others and I wonder if they can receive training and become a prayer group leader, RCIA catechist, or an extraordinary minister of the Eucharist in prison. Thank you.
  • Q — Many people express love for their Catholic faith through body adornment, like large artistic tattoos that depict Our Lady of Guadalupe or crosses. Where does the church stand on these types of tattoos?
  • Q — I notice that not all four gospels agree on everything: the names of apostles, even the institution of the Eucharist is different. What should the person in the pews make of this?
  • Q —Why can’t I pray directly to a saint, but just for the intercession of saints?
  • Q — Why do ordinands lie prostrate during part of the rite?
  • Q — The Apostles’ Creed states “He will come again to judge the living and the dead.” So, are the dead not judged?
  • No member of the holy Body can be complete completely until the entire holy Body is completely complete at the end of time.
  • Q — “‘All the doctrinal decisions of the church are binding on a Catholic, including the Second Vatican Council and all its texts,’ Cardinal Koch said when asked if the Society of St. Pius X would be expected to accept all the teachings of Vatican II.” [Catholic News Service] But since Vatican II reversed a number of former Church teachings, are faithful Catholics now expected to also reject these earlier teachings although the SSPX refuses to do so?
  • Q — My question is, can non-Catholic Christians receive communion in a Catholic church? Also, if a catholic attends a church where communion is offered can they receive communion at the non-Catholic church? I believe I have attended Catholic weddings/funerals where non-catholic Christians were invited to join in the Eucharist, and while I was attending RCIA classes myself I believe the priest stated you must be Christian to take communion.
  • Q — Canon Law says that Catholics should abstain from meat on all Fridays. Other Catholic textbooks say only the Fridays of Lent. Explain.
    Q —Why does the Catholic Church keep Sunday as a day of worship instead of the Sabbath of the Bible?
  • Q — Why isn’t there much said about Christ’s three day descent into Hell, after the crucifixion?
  • Q — Does a person’s free will end with death?
  • Q — In his Spiritual Exercises, Ignatius Loyola is said to have written: “That we may be altogether of the same mind and in conformity with the Church herself, if she shall have defined anything to be black which to our eyes appears to be white, we ought in like manner to pronounce it to be black. For we must undoubtedly believe, that the Spirit of our Lord  Jesus Christ, and the Spirit of the Orthodox Church His Spouse, by which Spirit we are governed and directed to Salvation, is the same.”
    Are Catholics expected to believe this today?
  • — What does it mean to love God with all your heart, with all your soul, and all your mind?
  • Q — When I read the article about clergy reassignments, I read that some are appointed as Pastors, some as Administrators, and some as Parochial Vicars. What are the differences in these assignments? Why are there differences?
  • Q —  If my son can have a bottle of water during Mass, why can’t I have a Starbucks while I listen to the readings and the Gospel?
  • Q — What is the best way to approach Bible study? Should you pick a theme or just study chapter by chapter?
  • Q — The prayer ‘Glory be to the Father, to the Son and to the Holy Spirit’ has been a prayer I’ve been saying all my life. However, I fail to understand the meaning of ‘and ever shall be world without end.’ I know this prayer has been around for many centuries, but I can’t find anyone who can tell me what this means.
  • Q — What is “first Communion”?
    A — On the surface the question looks very simplistic. In fact it is very profound. Very simply, “first Communion” refers to the first formal occasion when a person receives the Eucharistic gifts, the bread and wine transformed into the body, blood, soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ.
  • Q — What does it mean to be “in the world, but not of the world”?

  • Q — I have a younger brother who was converted to Islam due to his marriage to a Muslim woman. I believe deep in his heart that he is still attached to Christ. Our family is a strict Catholic household and also my brother still maintained his saint’s name after his Muslim name. My question is this: “Is his baptism still void according to the holy sacrament or will Christ Jesus still recognize him in the later life?”

     
  • Q — I hear people talk about the “Church Fathers” from history. Who were they and what did they teach? Why do they get this designation as opposed to more recent church thinkers?
    A — For the sake of managing the teaching of theology the history of theology gets divided up into different periods. Thus, for example, the earliest period is known as the “apostolic period,” pretty much the first century when the documents that we know as the New Testament were in process of composition. Again, by way of example, today we talk about the “post-conciliar period,” that is to say the last 50 years after the documents that were promulgated by Vatican Council II.
  • Q — I’m uneasy when an author says, “God wrote this book through me” or an artist claims to be doing God’s work in a painting. It seems pretentious or even blasphemous. What does the church say about divine inspiration?
  • Q — With the coming retirement of Archbishop Vlazny, how are bishops chosen? How are archbishops chosen?
    A — This is a procedure with which I am not entirely familiar. The process is, as far as I can gauge, somewhat complex.
  • Q —Are Catholics required to believe even non-infallible teachings of the Pope?
    A — Faith is always faith in God, not simply a notional awareness of God but a commitment to live out of the reality that is God as the fundamental orientation of one’s life, and that commitment necessarily implies beliefs. In the life of a believing/committed Christian the one absolute authority, therefore, is God. Under God, several types of authority exist in Christian communities. In point of fact, any religious group will be characterized by a whole apparatus of authorities, regarded as providing a reliable path to salvation/union with God, which is the aim and goal of Christianity.
  • Q —Is Christianity best understood as a continuation of Judaism, or as something new?
    A — What an interesting question! The answer is best approached in terms of both-and rather than either-or. 

  • Q — Is there a scriptural basis for Catholics’ belief in the pope’s infallibility?
    A — The Catholic theologian, John Ford, introduces the concept of infallibility in a particularly helpful manner when he says: “Infallibility in its literal sense implies not only the absence of actual error, but also the fundamental inability of erring. Consequently, in the strict sense of the term, infallibility is attributable to God alone. In all other instances, infallibility must be understood as a divine gift that is operative only under restricted conditions” (Joseph Komonchak, Mary Collins and Dermot Lane, ed., The New Dictionary of Theology [Collegeville: The Liturgical Press, 1987), p. 517).
  • Q — With the changes in the liturgy in progress, what is your opinion on changing a line in the Our Father? “Lead us not into temptation” seems to me to be archaic and misleading. As far as I know this is not included in the Scriptures – see Matthew 6:7-15: “Subject us not to the trial” and “Do not put us to the test but save us from the evil one” (or deliver us from evil).
    A — Your question is a very good one indeed, and it indicates serious critical reflection is going on about matters of faith. 

  • Q — How solid is the evidence that early Christian house churches had a kind of egalitarian discipleship between men and women?
  • Q — Didn’t The Interpretation of the Bible in the Church, published in 1994 by the Pontifical Biblical Commission, reverse the teaching on the inerrancy of scripture found in Providentissimus Deus, On the Study of Holy Scripture, an encyclical published by Pope Leo XIII in 1893?
  • Q — Is it true that the Eastern Catholic Churches, in communion with Rome, don’t accept the original sin teaching developed by Augustine, and decreed as a belief by the Council of Trent? Further, since they reject the “stain” theory of original sin don’t they also reject the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception? Thus, aren’t there two infallible teachings that Eastern Catholics are required to believe?
  • Q — I was married in the church, but then had a divorce. I am now in a second marriage, but a civil marriage, without a church annulment. If I am practicing my faith may I be a sponsor in respect of the sacrament of Confirmation?
  • Q — Advice is sought by a couple from Mumbai, India, on how to proceed with a wedding between a Catholic woman and a Hindu man, with both families committed to their religious traditions.

  • Q —  What does “spirit” mean as used in the new translation of the Roman Missal in “with your spirit”? How does “spirit” differ from “soul”?
    A — What an interesting question! On a very cursory and superficial reading I suppose that “And also with you” seems a lot more straightforward and easier to understand than “and with your spirit.” But if we look at it in a little more depth and with a degree of openness, then good things happen. First of all, one might say that “and with your spirit” is a more literal rendering of the Latin text of the Roman Missal which reads “et cum spiritu tuo.”
  • Q — I am a priest serving the inmates in the Salem area and the problem is that our “Catholic” services are offered to everyone. Is there a teaching in Canon Law, the Bible, or the magisterium that offers input in this matter? How can I observe the law and at the same time give a warm welcome to everyone in the chapel and invite them to receive the sacraments?
  • Q —“I’m getting older and wonder what comes after death. What are a few of the most convincing or authoritative pieces of Scripture or church teaching that give us a glimpse of what the next life is like?”
  • Q — We have been going to Mass and find it disturbing that the priest has moved the Sign of Peace to just after the Introductory Rites. It is my understanding that according to the GIRM, he doesn’t actually have the authority to change the order of Mass. I asked the priest about this, and he replied that he felt it was better suited at the beginning because when it happens where it is supposed to be, the members of his congregation get out of hand and disrupt the Mass where we should all be focused on Jesus in the Eucharist. Again, my understanding is that it is up to the priest to catechise the faithful about the sign of peace, which is supposed to be reverent and only to the person on either side, because it is Christ’s peace we are offering each other. Also, the priest should not leave the altar, although many other priests ignore this as well. My problem is that my husband doesn’t go to Mass with us because of this. What can I do?
  • Q — “Our teenage daughter finds Mass a bore, except for the doughnuts! What might help her (and us who have to deal with her)?”
    A — This is a very common experience for Catholic families, and, let’s be honest, there is no fool-proof response. A number of observations, however, can be made.
  • Q — In light of the Great Recession and the financial pressures many families are facing, how does one balance the need to plan for retirement, college education and the like with the need to fulfill the call to a stewardship response to the church?
  • Q — Matthew 28 reports that Jesus said “Go, therefore, make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” Matthew evidently copied much of his Gospel from Mark. Mark 16 has a similar passage, but no mention of a Trinity. Early church historian Eusebius, Bishop of Caesarea, quotes an early copy of Matthew in his “Proof of the Gospel (Demonstratio).” But his Matthew 28:19,doesn’t mention a Trinity. There are five descriptions of the administration of baptism in the New Testament all in the name of Jesus alone; none in the name of the Trinity. Could the Matthew 28:19 be an addition added by a copyist at a much later date?
  • Q — Our diocese has several former Protestant ministers who are married and then chose to become Catholic priests. Can you explain Church teaching and thinking on this phenomenon? How can these men get around the celibacy requirement?
    A — The long-standing requirement of celibacy for ordination to the priesthood in the church is not an absolute requirement. Simply put, if it were an absolute requirement then the church would not ordain married men as priests. In the last 30 to 40 years a growing number of married men who served as ministers in other Christian traditions and who became Roman Catholics have discerned a call from God to serve as Catholic priests and have requested the Holy See to consider their cases.
  • Q — I am bothered by the fact that, in reading the scriptures, I often do not care for Jesus the man.  I find that the well known theologian, C.S. Lewis didn’t either. All too often, especially in Luke’s gospel, Jesus seems rude. He usually refuses to come out and declare himself the Christ, yet calls the people hypocrites and a faultless and perverse generation for not believing in him.  He tells them they must give up all; hate their father, wife and children, if they would follow him. He does, however, accept hospitality. He seems to have been invited to dine someplace where he lectured the host on those who should have been invited instead. He sounds almost petty when he curses the fig tree for not having fruit when he was hungry; yet being God, he himself has given that tree it’s proper time for bearing.