The Judas Epidemic: Exposing the Betrayal of the Christian Faith in Church and Government


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If the recipient, however, made no response at all, the priest might wonder whether the person had ever received before; I can imagine a priest, in that situation, quietly asking if the person were a Catholic — although my own tendency would be simply to give the benefit of the doubt. Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you can see I have. Virginia Beach. I am aware of no scriptural scholar who would say that this statement of Jesus confirms that there are, in fact, ghosts.

On the other hand, Jesus did not debunk the notion when given the chance. Which is pretty much where the Catholic Church stands on the matter of ghosts: There is no settled doctrinal teaching with respect to their existence, no provision in conciliar teaching or canon law that addresses it. What the Church does affirm is that God has from time to time permitted departed souls to commune with people on earth for their betterment — but the exact nature of that communication whether by an intellectual sharing or a physical manifestation has not been defined theologically.

What the Church does reject is any attempt proactively to summon the dead. My husband of 60 years will soon celebrate his 86th birthday. He is a baptized Protestant. The only thing he does not do is receive Communion. What would be required of him to be able to receive Our Lord in the host? He would never be able to participate in the RCIA program.

I have no doubt that your husband will make a fine Catholic and is already well on his way there. That process includes meetings and classes, spiritual reflection and a series of rituals; most often, it requires up to a year to complete, culminating in reception into the Church during the celebration of the Easter Vigil. Your husband should talk to your parish priest about his desire to become a Catholic and to receive the Eucharist. Can a Roman Catholic worship in a Ukrainian Catholic Church — such as the churches of the Archeparchy of Philadelphia, whose archeparch is appointed by the pope and is in communion with the Roman Catholic Church?

My experience is that the Roman Catholic Church is very welcoming. Do you know whether such a practice is also welcomed by the Ukrainian Catholic Church? Savannah, Tennessee. As you mention, its leaders are appointed by the pope. And yes, Latin-rite Catholics are free to worship in Ukrainian Catholic churches, and they fulfill their Sunday obligation by doing so. A Latin-rite Catholic choosing to attend Mass in a Ukrainian Catholic parish would notice some differences. The liturgy might be conducted in English or in Ukrainian; a screen decorated with icons separates the congregation from a full view of the altar of worship; the liturgy is an ancient ritual, originating with St.

John Chrysostom; Ukrainian Catholics bless themselves from right to left in the sign of the cross the opposite of Latin-rite Catholics ; upon entering a church, Ukrainians bow rather than genuflect; and holy Communion is distributed with a spoon, the host scooped by the priest from a cup of consecrated wine and placed directly into the mouth of the recipient. From what we are seeing on social media here in New York state, there seems to be some misunderstanding about what excommunication is and how it happens. Does the pope excommunicate someone, or can a bishop? Is there a process? What is the pastoral approach to something like this?

What are the consequences for someone who is excommunicated? Syracuse, New York. It has its origins in the earliest days of the Church; St. Excommunication can be imposed by competent authority usually a bishop or it may be incurred automatically for certain sins, e. I am guessing that your question is prompted by Gov. Some, including Protestant evangelist Franklin Graham, have called for the Catholic Church to excommunicate Cuomo for his part in this. Many, including Cardinal Timothy M. The statement, as noted in the Feb. Pope Francis has called upon priests to limit their homilies at Mass to between eight and 10 minutes.

I fully support this because that seems to be the attention span for most of us. Also, few priests are good orators, and some are unprepared and speak extemporaneously. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Your information is correct. In February , at a weekly general audience attended by some 8, people, Pope Francis spoke about homilies, saying that they should be short and wellprepared. My sense is that these comments by the pope were not reported very widely. I say this because I heard little discussion about them among either priests or laity.

I attend church on a regular basis. When I do, I recite the rosary throughout the Mass. I pause for the consecration of the holy Eucharist and prayers the congregation recites together. Whenever I am in church — during Masses or just visiting at other times — praying the rosary for me is a spiritual communication with the Blessed Virgin Mary and with God, which I find comfort and peace in doing.

What is your advice? We see this transformation in papal writings themselves. You are best off at Mass following what the priest is saying, perhaps with the help of a missal or missalette. As a woman who has experienced a miscarriage, I would find great comfort in knowing that I will be reunited someday with my baby in heaven. State College, Pennsylvania. But the miscarried child has had, of course, no chance to ask for the sacrament. When an infant is baptized, the infant makes no personal profession of faith; instead it is left to the parents and godparents to voice their desire to have the child christened.

What does this rite entail? The rite of betrothal was a little-known but long-standing service of prayer in which a couple had their engagement formally blessed by a priest. That newer rite celebrates in prayer a newly engaged couple and asks the Lord to guide them as they prepare for marriage; it can be celebrated by a priest, deacon or lay minister, sometimes by a parent of the future bride or groom. The engagement ring may be blessed during the ceremony, and the celebrant prays:.

As they prepare themselves for the sacrament of marriage and pray for your grace, grant that, strengthened by your blessing, they may grow in respect for one another and cherish each other with a sincere love. Danville, Indiana. Still there are those for whom even trace amounts of gluten or alcohol can be harmful. They may opt to receive under only one species, and the Church teaches that Jesus is wholly present under either one.

Can Catholics morally give donations to the Shriners Hospitals? All Shriners are Masons. The reverse, though, is not true. Shriners International began in as a spinoff of Freemasonry, with philanthropy as one of its principal goals. True, Catholics have long been prohibited from joining the Masons since it is, at its core, a naturalistic religion. I received in the mail an unsolicited request for donations from a Catholic charitable organization. Included in the mailing was a third-class relic. I do not need a third-class relic of an unfamiliar saint in my house.

I have not discussed this with my parish, but I doubt that they want to collect unsolicited third-class relics any more than I do. How do I dispose of this item respectfully? Veneration of relics of the saints has a long history in the Church. There are three classes of relics. Relics of the saints should be treated with the same respect that Canon awards to other blessed or sacred objects: They should be treated reverently, and the basic rule for the disposition has been to burn or to bury them.

Here in Columbus, the solemnity of Mary Jan. I have sisters who live in Charlotte and Los Angeles, and Jan. Why would it not be the same everywhere? It seems this is such a serious matter a mortal sin if missed that it should not be left up to local bishops to decide.

It ought to be the same everywhere. Columbus, Ohio. In , the U. Conference of Bishops decreed that there would be six such days in this country, including the solemnity of Mary the Mother of God. To my knowledge, the only place where this differs is in Hawaii; with an indult permission from the Vatican, the Diocese of Honolulu determined in that there would be only two days of obligation there: Dec. That was done to bring Hawaii into confor mity with the other islands in the South Pacific. With the solemnity of Mary the Mother of God Jan. I suspect that what prompts your question is that you happened to be speaking to your sisters in one of those years.

There is wisdom in leaving the determination of holy days to the bishops of a particular nation since they would likely be more in touch with the histor y and spirituality of their own people. In Ireland, for example, Mass attendance is required on St. Our pastor is very oldschool and loves elaborate liturgy. He uses incense frequently, and my wife — who is seriously affected by the smoke — is at the point of not going to Mass at all. She never knows when he might fire up the censer. I also find that the stink — and that is the word for it — of burning charcoal extremely irritating.

I am always left with a clogged nasal passage. I should not have to medicate because I went to Mass, and I wonder why the Church continues this archaic and off-putting practice. Henrico County, Virginia. Incense was common in Jewish worship; in Chapter 30 of the Book of Exodus, the Lord instructs Moses to build a golden altar for the burning of incense.

That practice was carried over into Christian liturgy, the smoke from the incense being seen as a symbol of the prayers of the worshippers rising to heaven.

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Strictly speaking, there is no requirement that incense be used at any particular Mass, but parishes commonly use it on feasts of particular solemnity and at funerals to reverence the body of the deceased. You raise a legitimate point about the sensitivities and allergies some in the congregation might have, and for that reason it is wise for parishes to let it be known when incense might be used. Recently someone close to me said that anyone who does not believe in and follow Jesus will not go to heaven.

Would you elaborate on the possibility of salvation for non-Christians? Dallas, Oregon. Your instincts are right. Why would a loving God create us all if two-thirds were destined to eternal unhappiness — and largely, through no fault of their own? And what about those who lived in the many centuries before Jesus was born? Are they out of luck just because they were born too early? The scriptural passages that you reference do not mean that only Christians can be saved; they simply mean that the possibility of salvation has been won for everyone solely through the redemptive work of Jesus.

The teaching of the Church on this is clear. Does that mean that all religions are equally valid and that we should stop our efforts at evangelization? Of course not. The Christian faith and, in particular, the Catholic Church offers the surest and safest path to salvation — through the teachings of Jesus and the strength of the sacraments. You are correct on the Catholic teaching: that Mary remained always a virgin — before, during and after the birth of Jesus. The Catechism of the Catholic Church quotes St. I was browsing the internet today, ran across your column and have a question. I am in a long-term relationship with my partner, and we are planning on getting married next year.

But we are having some conflict as to where i. My family are all born-again Christians and actively participate in many church activities and ministries. My husband-to-be, though, is a devout Roman Catholic and wants me to become a Catholic. I am having a hard time deciding and it is causing communications problems in our relationship. My parents would never accept the fact that I could change my religion. Please help me because I am confused. More often, marriages are celebrated in the church of the bride; if you decide on that option the born-again Christian setting , you and your partner would simply have to meet with a priest prior to the wedding and fill out some short paperwork to have the marriage recognized by the Catholic Church.

The issue of joining the Catholic Church is more difficult. You should only become a Catholic if you believe in the fundamental truths taught by the Catholic Church. I choose to be a Catholic because I feel that the Catholic Church has a continuous and unbroken relationship with the faith community that Jesus established, I see the logic of a central authority on doctrinal matters and I prefer to be strengthened by the frequent celebration of the Eucharist and the availability of the sacrament of confession. I have sometimes counseled couples to separate the decision to marry from a decision to change denominations or religions — to make sure that these are independent choices.

Finally, though, your question makes me a little bit nervous. I know of several Catholics today who refuse to go to confession because they feel that the priest might be a worse sinner than they are. But yet if they get sick, they want their parish priest to come immediately to give them a blessing. How can I explain to them their inconsistency? I am sure that your question is prompted — in part, at least — by the current crisis in the Church over clergy sexual abuse of minors. Since , when the U. Thank God, the number of such cases has declined sharply since then, so it is unlikely that the priest hearing your confession today has ever been guilty of such a horrific act.

Does this guarantee that a confessor is spiritually and morally perfect? Of course not; human beings are not perfect people, so if perfection were a prerequisite, there would be no confessors at all. A priest, of course, should always strive to be a worthy minister of the sacraments — in the state of grace and trying his best to reflect the sanctity of Christ. But perhaps it might comfort you to know that the efficacy of a sacrament does not depend on the state of soul of the priest who administers it. We were taught that, to be forgiven in confession, we had to: 1 be truly sorry; 2 resolve firmly never to com- mit the sin again; and 3 make it right, e.

On television and in the movies, sometimes a murderer confesses to a priest who is unable then to break the seal of confession. My question is this: Are murderers forgiven if they do not turn themselves into the police and serve prison time for the crime? Or is the sin forgiven with no strings attached? With regard to the conditions for forgiveness, you learned your catechism well. One must do what is possible in order to repair the harm, e. You are right, too, about the seal of confession; a priest is bound to absolute secrecy.

A later canon stipulates that a priest who would violate the seal is to be excommunicated Canon In , when an Australian government commission recom- mended that Catholic priests become mandatory reporters on child sexual abuse, the Catholic Church strongly objected as applied to the sacrament of penance.

The confessor can encourage, plead with, urge the penitent to do exactly that — he might even offer to accompany the penitent to the police station — but having judged the penitent to be truly sorry, the absolving priest has no authority to impose this further step as a prerequisite to absolution. Recently you wrote a column about the vocation of singles in the Catholic Church and the need to pray for them.

Unfortunately, you left out a whole cohort of people: single parents. We, as single parents, are expected to support, guide and educate our children in a similar fashion to married folks, but we get none of the time and attention paid to married couples. It is absolutely exhausting, and you are constantly second-guessing yourself because you know that the life and welfare of an- other human being falls totally on your own shoulders. This writer speaks eloquently to the plight of single parents, not an insignificant segment in contemporary America.

In terms of financial assistance, Catholic Charities in some instances has been able to help; the website of Catholic Charities USA indicates where grants might be available for such needs as housing, medical and dental care and legal assistance. But with regard to broader programs — such as help with parenting skills — I would agree that the Church is only now beginning to catch up with the need. The Archdiocese of Newark, New Jersey, for instance, offers support groups specific to single parents — providing them an opportunity to as- sociate with their peers and to talk about the various struggles they face bringing up children alone.

Through- out the country a number of individ- ual parishes are beginning to offer similar programs. The parish of St. My question centers on the physical appearance of the body of Jesus as he hangs on various crucifixes. I have yet to see one which conveys the suffering Christ must have experienced during his scourging, when straps covered with iron hooks penetrated to the bone and tore off large pieces of flesh.

To look at the crucifixes in our churches, you would never grasp the degree of suffering which Our Savior must have undergone.


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Brookhaven, Georgia. Certainly the suffering of Jesus during the Passion went beyond what we could ever imagine. Scourges made of brass chains tipped with lead have been found in the catacombs, and the Shroud of Turin would indicate that Jesus was struck with such scourges more than times. The Crucifixion does not appear regularly in Christian art until the sixth century. Scholars suggest that early Christians were reluctant to portray their Savior in that way because crucifixion represented a dishonorable death in the Roman world, a fate reserved to slaves and criminals.

During the Middle Ages, the crucified body of Christ began to be shown more realistically. Such depictions were offered during a time when plagues rav- aged Europe, wide-scale death was a daily occurrence and criminals were executed publicly. Artistic tastes change, and we in the 21st century seem to shy away from such graphic images, but it helps to be reminded of what Christ endured on our behalf.

The sacrament of penance is designed to be, for the penitent, an encounter with Jesus Christ through the person of the priest. It is difficult for me to see how the internet would permit that close personal contact with the Lord. The additional concern I would have is for the privacy that is so integral to the sacrament of penance, the danger that an internet confession could be recorded or hacked.

Could a person go to daily Mass and receive Communion without having gone to confession in four years? Batesville, Indiana. Technically, yes. If the person had committed no serious mortal sins over that four-year period, he or she could go to Mass and receive Communion every day. Strictly speaking, the obligation of annual confession applies only to those in serious sin.

Canon explains that anyone who is conscious of grave sin may not receive the Eucharist without first having gone to confession. But is it a good idea for Catholics to stay away from confession for four years, even if they have no mortal sins to confess? Over and over, spiritual writers encourage the faithful to use the sacrament of penance regularly, perhaps even monthly, as a path not only to pardon, but to spiritual progress and inner peace.

Canon At a weekly audience in November , Pope Francis revealed that he himself receives the sacrament of penance every two weeks and considers it to be the best path to spiritual healing and health. Faithful Catholics would like to know about the validity of the sacraments received from disgraced or defrocked priests and bishops. Were sins forgiven in the sacrament of penance? Did the act of consecration take place for the bread and wine to become the body and blood of Christ? Saratoga Springs, New York. The question you raise was answered in the Church nearly 1, years ago in what was known as the Donatist controversy and ratified later in the teaching of St.

Since it is really Christ who is acting in the sacraments, the personal unworthiness of the minister would not prevent Jesus from acting. How far must one go in pro-life issues to be a good Catholic? May one support a charitable organization if one of its services is to do abortions? Doctors Without Borders — also known by its French name Medecins Sans Frontieres — has, since its founding in , brought lifesaving care to many sick and wounded people caught in war, epidemics and other disasters. Sadly, though, faithful Catholics should not donate to this organization.

By donating to a research institute or drug manufacturer that funds research that destroys human beings, one would be cooperating immorally in the act of destroying young human life. Cooperating in an intrinsic evil is itself an intrinsic evil and should be avoided in all circumstances. Some might argue that Catholic donors to Medecins Sans Frontieres could specify that their own contributions be used only for medical care and not for abortions; but that is an artificial distinction since it would simply free up other donations to be used for immoral purposes.

Many times we are asked to pray for those who are married or who have followed a calling to the religious life — but how many times has anyone in any parish been asked to pray for those who are single? Are we singles shut out, are we to be ignored until we follow one of the other life paths? What if the single person truly believes that his or her calling is to be single?

I feel strongly that some are called to the single state as a true vocation — a deliberate choice made to give them more time to serve both God and other people. Those who have responded to this noble calling deserve regular mention in the public prayers of the Church. We have a very small congregation that has lost numerous families over the past few years. Our problem is this: Our priest has a very thick foreign accent; he is a good person, but it is nearly impossible to understand his English. He has been offered diction training but has refused. The bits and pieces of his homily that I do understand seem to have little continuity or message.

Yet he speaks for 20 or 25 minutes, while the congregation just looks around at one another. How can the Church continue to mandate Sunday Mass attendance when good Catholics come away wondering and confused? One course of action might be to present your concerns to a member of your parish council.

Explain to him the sharp drop in Mass attendance, the result being that some Catholics might be going to other parishes, if at all. Come to that meeting with a solution to propose — perhaps the assignment of a deacon to share some of the preaching. Meanwhile, be grateful that, with the priest shortage in America, many clergy from other countries have stepped in to help. Without them, there would almost certainly be more parishes in the U. As regards the Sunday Mass obligation, thankfully the homily is not your only source of spiritual nourishment.

Even more, your strength for daily living comes from receiving Christ in Communion. My question concerns the requirement for a Catholic to be confirmed before being allowed to be married in a Catholic wedding ceremony. My grandson is engaged to a Catholic girl who was baptized and made her first Communion but was never confirmed. The priest they went to for their pre-Cana requirement said she needs to attend classes on Catholicism from September until next June, in preparation for confirmation.

In a fair number of dioceses, the sacrament of confirmation is not administered until the candidate is in his or her teens often in 10th or even 11th grade , the thinking being that the sacrament has more impact at a time when the candidate is in the process of making other lifetime choices. Since some may have dropped out of religious education by then, an unintended result is that they arrive at the time of marriage never having been confirmed. So confirmation before a Catholic marriage is clearly not obligatory, since the wording of the canon allows for exceptions.

As you point out, individual dioceses or parishes are free to adopt their own practices, but your grandson and his fiancee have canon law on their side. I would suggest they return to the priest they saw for pre-Cana and explain to him how the confirmation classes are complicated by her work schedule.

A more abbreviated program may be possible — with an individual instructor provided through the parish — or perhaps the wedding could take place first, with confirmation coming later when her work schedule permits. As an extraordinary minister of holy Communion, something is bothering me. Ogallala, Nebraska. You are correct. In fact, the U. This is a comfort to those who are unable to receive under both species.

Some, for example, may have a wheat allergy, and a low-gluten host may not be available; others may have an alcohol addiction where even a single sip could trigger a problem. I was always led to believe that suicide is a mortal sin, so someone who takes his own life cannot go to heaven. What fate awaited Judas when he hanged himself? Is he condemned to hell, or would he be forgiven for the role that he played, since Jesus had to be betrayed to save mankind? Objectively, of course, suicide is a mortal sin.

But among the requisites for mortal sin is also sufficient deliberation that would allow for full consent of the will. That category is no longer included in the current code, published in The Church regularly celebrates funeral Masses for suicide victims, because the Church gives the deceased the benefit of the doubt as to whether psychological factors may have impeded a full and deliberative act of the will. As for Judas, the Church has never definitively said that Judas — or any individual, for that matter — is surely in hell.

I am a divorcee of five years and am 66 years old. I have met a widower of They say we cannot even hold hands. We are not interested in marriage; we just want to be friends and companions. What does the Church think about this? I know it cannot be a sexual relationship, as that would truly be a mortal sin. I see both sides of the argument. Why not speak with a priest and look into the possibility of an annulment for your first marriage? Sometimes even long-standing marriages can be annulled when there were danger signs from the start.

First, just a comment on your quote from the opening verse of Luke. The text you offer comes from an edition called the Living Bible. While it is true that many accounts regarding Jesus were circulated in the early Church and became the subject of discussion and debate, by about the year , Irenaeus, bishop of Lyon in Gaul, noted that there were four and only four authoritative Gospels — Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

This reflected a growing consensus among Christian scholars, and only those four versions were commonly considered as proper for liturgical use. Following the Protestant Reformation that same Catholic canon of the Gospels was reaffirmed at the Council of Trent in Some of the common characteristics of the four Gospels declared to be canonical were a central focus on Jesus as savior and divine Son of God not just an enlightened teacher, as some of the apocryphal versions had it and the inclusion of the Passion narrative.

That way, I believe, more people would come to church. Somerset, New Jersey. A bit of history is helpful. They continued to do this through years and years of persecution and at the risk of their jobs and even their lives. In the fourth century there began to be written rules about Church attendance, and this happened first through regional Church councils. Much later, when the Code of Canon Law was written in , that obligation was defined as a universal rule. To your belief that more Catholics would come to Mass if the obligation were lifted, I have not seen any studies that would document this or refute it.

I would hope, though, that Catholics who do attend now are motivated not as much by a mandate but more by the good things that happen at Mass: They can be instructed by the Word of God, inspired by the presence of other Catholic Christians at prayer and — most of all — strengthened by receiving the Lord in the Eucharist. My sister was upset with her adult daughter and her husband when they took Communion recently after having missed Mass.

She told her daughter that they had committed a mortal sin by missing Mass and then, again, by receiving Communion without first going to confession. Her daughter resents her mother for doing this. My fear is they will become alienated from the Church. Sacramento, California. Your sister is right on her theology but, perhaps, wrong on her strategy. Clearly, the Church teaches that the obligation to attend Sunday Mass is a serious one. For this reason the faithful are obliged to participate in the Eucharist on days of obligation, unless excused for a serious reason for example, illness, the care of infants.

Gravity of matter, of course, is just one of three conditions necessary for mortal sin — the others being complete consent of the will and full knowledge of the sinful character of the act or omission. Assuming that your niece and her husband fulfilled these conditions, they must have their sins forgiven in the sacrament of penance before receiving the Eucharist.

I am in my 50s and have been divorced for three years. But I have begun to wonder whether I should still take Communion. I asked a priest recently in confession, and he said that it was OK, but I still feel unsure about it. Also, I have kept my marriage vows; but if I were to become involved with someone else, would it still be OK to go to Communion? Yes, in your present situation you may continue to receive the Eucharist. Many people are under the misimpression that a divorce by itself separates a person from membership in the Catholic Church and disqualifies that person from receiving holy Communion.

That is not so; sometimes the end of a marriage can occur with little or no fault on the part of at least one of the spouses. Your divorce does not prohibit you from friendships with women or female companionship. At my parish, the eucharistic ministers wear jeans and T-shirts with printed messages having nothing to do with religion. The lectors wear Bermuda shorts and casual shoes. The priest and servers wear regular altar attire. The snare drummer plays the cymbals so loud that the choir cannot be heard when they are singing. I am a lifelong Catholic, and are these the changes I must accept as the new norm for the celebration of the Mass?

I have not spoken yet to our parish priest about this, because I wanted to see your answer first. Some Catholic parishes publish their own guidelines with varying specificity. I bring holy Communion to a local nursing home. Many of the Catholics have no visitors. Those with dementia are asked whether they would like to receive the Eucharist, and if they say yes, I give them the host.

What can be done for these individuals other than praying for them? Conference of Catholic Bishops and revised in June You are right to ask residents with dementia whether they would like to receive the Eucharist; according to the guidelines, all that is required is that they simply be able to distinguish holy Communion from ordinary food — and sometimes that is shown not by words but by a gesture, even by reverential silence. As for confession and anointing of the sick, why would you demand as a prerequisite that the person had been attending Mass prior to the onset of the dementia?

By all means, try to line up a priest to come to offer these other sacraments. Yes, I know that for forgiveness to take effect one must be properly disposed, i. It is a fundamental truth of Christianity that Jesus rose from the dead in his physical body. Christians believe that the Jesus who appeared to more than witnesses after Easter 1 Cor was not a ghost but was actually there — walking, talking, even eating. When Jesus showed himself to the disciples in the Upper Room on Easter Sunday night, they were at first terrified and thought that they were seeing a ghost.

He could enter closed rooms, for example, even though the door was locked Jn , and he was able to disappear, as he did when he vanished from the sight of the disciples on the road to Emmaus Lk ; and, of course, he was able to ascend into heaven Acts I have always been against the death penalty — since the prisoner is behind bars and removed from doing further harm to the public. But a recent piece in The Wall Street Journal included statements by criminals who said that they were not as aggressive with victims when they knew there was a death penalty — so it does seem to have served as a deterrent and to have saved some lives.

According to a revision of the Catechism of the Catholic Church ordered by Pope Francis in early August, the use of the death penalty is now a settled question in Catholic moral teaching: The Church stands unalterably opposed to it. The Vatican announcement reflects a worldwide trend. Today, more than countries have eliminated the death penalty or simply stopped executions by de facto moratoriums.

It makes me feel marginalized as a woman. Bloomington, Indiana. Why do Catholics light candles in church? When did this tradition start, and what was the reason? Troy, New York. IThe custom of lighting candles as a mark of respect and prayer actually predates Christianity. In Judaism, the Talmud prescribed that there be a perpetual lighted candle at the Ark of the Covenant where the writings of the sacred Scriptures were kept — as a sign of respect for the word of God.

This may well have contributed to the practice of Catholic churches in keeping a lighted sanctuary lamp near the tabernacle to mark the presence of the Eucharist and to call believers to special reverence and veneration. Many Catholic churches contain racks where vigil candles are lighted by parishioners in honor of particular saints or in memory of someone who is deceased.

This Christian practice can be traced to the s, when lighted candles were kept burning in the catacombs at the tombs of martyrs by Christians honoring them and praying for their intercession. Lake Monticello, Virginia. They are central to the lives of those who try to follow Jesus.

If you were to ask Christians to name the Ten Commandments, most of us could list them; but if you asked those same Christians to list the Eight Beatitudes, we might not do as well. But to answer your question: No, to be poor in spirit does not mean to be simple-minded and unquestioning. It means not being attached to a lavish lifestyle and material wealth as the goal of human existence; but even more, it signifies an attitude — a conscious awareness of our need for God.

God does that. Albany, New York. In our church of congregants, those three or four babies are ruining the Mass experience for the rest of us. Baton Rouge, Louisiana. But it really irritates me when I see a child crying in church and someone says they must go out. The truth is somewhere in the middle. No celebrant should go suddenly silent, focusing attention on a disruptive child and the offending family; but perhaps an occasional bulletin announcement, prudently stated and in a kindly fashion, can remind parents that the Mass should be, as far as possible, a positive experience of prayer.

My daughter went away to college last year and now chooses not to attend Mass — although there is a Catholic parish just a couple of miles from her school. When she comes home every few months, she attends church with me. Should I tell her not to receive Communion — since she has not been to confession and has been consciously neglecting her Sunday obligation? I want to encourage her to stay with the Church. Your question is more one of strategy than of theology — and reasonable minds could well differ as to how to respond.

For this reason the faithful are obliged to participate in the Eucharist on days of obligation, unless excused for a serious reason. Gravity of matter, though, is just one of three necessary conditions for a mortal sin — the others being complete consent of the will and full knowledge of the sinful character of the act or omission. I would, though, find a way — in a low-key manner that is not confrontational — to explain to her from time to time what the sacraments mean in your own life and to suggest that she might find a similar benefit in her own.

My wife and I are traditional Latin-rite Catholics who moved from an area that had numerous Catholic churches, where Masses with dignified, traditional music could always be found. But the churches where we live now are small in number and feature contemporary music at every Mass.

Worship bands have guitars, flutes and mandolins. Hymns are normally vapid, meaningless campfire songs. I leave Mass wondering whether God was even present. Often applause breaks out for the band, and the pastor said nothing will be changed because he loves it. Consequently, I leave with a more upbeat feeling. Is this practice frowned upon? Some parishioners give me nasty looks. Central Virginia. I understand why it makes others uncomfortable to see you sitting there playing your own music. The Mass is meant to be a public act of worship — a community of faith praying together — not a private devotion.

As a new Catholic, your column has been a real blessing for me. He was clearly looking to me for insight, but what he got was stunned silence. Do you have any advice for parents on how to have a constructive, faith-filled discussion with their children about gay marriage? You would have a much better read than I on what your son can understand, but you might say something like this:. We think that the way God set things up was best: that mommies and daddies can have babies together and help their children to grow up. The luckiest children in the world are the ones who have both a mommy and a daddy.

Recently, Pope Francis signed a document with Muslim leaders about there being one world religion. How can that be? Batesville, Arkansas. I was in a liturgy committee meeting at my parish, and I suggested that we have the altar server ring the bell at the consecration during the Mass on Easter Sunday. One of the committee members said that the use of altar bells has been banned by the Church since the Second Vatican Council. Is this true? Owings Mills, Maryland. The use of altar bells during Mass is neither mandated by the Church nor forbidden; it is an option, but not an obligation, left to the discretion of the pastor.

The ringing of bells during the consecration has a long history in the Church, beginning about the 13th century. In those days, churches were large, the priest faced the altar and Mass was offered in Latin; churches often had raised platforms in front of the altar for the choir, the result being that some worshippers could not see the altar.

The ringing of bells served to draw the attention of the congregation to the fact that the sacred act of transubstantiation was taking place. After the liturgical reforms of Vatican II — with the priest now facing the people and the language in the vernacular — many parishes decided to discontinue the use of altar bells. Bells do, though, add reverence and solemnity to a celebration. Note that bells are rung at the Gloria during the Easter Vigil Mass to express the joy of the Resurrection.

This may easily be the case, for example, with religious communities or with particular or small groups. The opposite may be presumed in a parish or a public Church, where there is a different level of liturgical and religious education and where people who are visitors or are not regular Churchgoers take part. Should I wash off my ashes early in the day to honor the biblical directive or wear them throughout the day with the hope of prompting conversation about them? Wear the ashes all day! The ashes serve first as a sign of repentance; in the early Church, converts who were coming into the Church at Easter were sprinkled with ashes during Lent as a sign of their need for forgiveness.

Second, the ashes indicate our mortality — the fact that our bodies will one day return to the dust of the earth. When worn for the right reasons, ashes witness publicly to our belief. As you have found, the ashes can sometimes lead to a discussion about their meaning, and that is surely a worthy outcome. My husband was Jewish, and the marriage ended in a divorce after nine months. I want to marry a man who is a widower.

We are both active Catholics, and we want to be married in the Church. Will I need to apply for an annulment? Santa Barbara, California. If that is true, you do not need now a full-scale annulment process which normally can take upward of a year. The priest would then submit this petition to your diocese requesting a formal declaration that the earlier ceremony did not constitute a valid Catholic wedding — which would then leave you free now to marry in a Catholic ceremony.

This would almost surely be a relatively quick process.

Church on fire: Christian persecution and faith

Or what if the recipient simply says nothing at all? With any of these or other possible responses, could the priest refuse to serve Communion? Southern Indiana. What if the Church allowed for creative variations, simply permitted recipients to say whatever they wanted? Now to your final question — whether the priest should refuse to give Communion to someone who uses a different response. If the recipient, however, made no response at all, the priest might wonder whether the person had ever received before; I can imagine a priest, in that situation, quietly asking if the person were a Catholic — although my own tendency would be simply to give the benefit of the doubt.

Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you can see I have. Virginia Beach. I am aware of no scriptural scholar who would say that this statement of Jesus confirms that there are, in fact, ghosts. On the other hand, Jesus did not debunk the notion when given the chance. Which is pretty much where the Catholic Church stands on the matter of ghosts: There is no settled doctrinal teaching with respect to their existence, no provision in conciliar teaching or canon law that addresses it.

What the Church does affirm is that God has from time to time permitted departed souls to commune with people on earth for their betterment — but the exact nature of that communication whether by an intellectual sharing or a physical manifestation has not been defined theologically. What the Church does reject is any attempt proactively to summon the dead. My husband of 60 years will soon celebrate his 86th birthday. He is a baptized Protestant. The only thing he does not do is receive Communion. What would be required of him to be able to receive Our Lord in the host? He would never be able to participate in the RCIA program.

I have no doubt that your husband will make a fine Catholic and is already well on his way there. That process includes meetings and classes, spiritual reflection and a series of rituals; most often, it requires up to a year to complete, culminating in reception into the Church during the celebration of the Easter Vigil. Your husband should talk to your parish priest about his desire to become a Catholic and to receive the Eucharist. Can a Roman Catholic worship in a Ukrainian Catholic Church — such as the churches of the Archeparchy of Philadelphia, whose archeparch is appointed by the pope and is in communion with the Roman Catholic Church?

My experience is that the Roman Catholic Church is very welcoming. Do you know whether such a practice is also welcomed by the Ukrainian Catholic Church? Savannah, Tennessee. As you mention, its leaders are appointed by the pope. And yes, Latin-rite Catholics are free to worship in Ukrainian Catholic churches, and they fulfill their Sunday obligation by doing so.

A Latin-rite Catholic choosing to attend Mass in a Ukrainian Catholic parish would notice some differences. The liturgy might be conducted in English or in Ukrainian; a screen decorated with icons separates the congregation from a full view of the altar of worship; the liturgy is an ancient ritual, originating with St.

The Judas Epidemic: Exposing the Betrayal of the Christian Faith in Church and Government

John Chrysostom; Ukrainian Catholics bless themselves from right to left in the sign of the cross the opposite of Latin-rite Catholics ; upon entering a church, Ukrainians bow rather than genuflect; and holy Communion is distributed with a spoon, the host scooped by the priest from a cup of consecrated wine and placed directly into the mouth of the recipient. From what we are seeing on social media here in New York state, there seems to be some misunderstanding about what excommunication is and how it happens. Does the pope excommunicate someone, or can a bishop? Is there a process? What is the pastoral approach to something like this?

What are the consequences for someone who is excommunicated? Syracuse, New York. It has its origins in the earliest days of the Church; St. Excommunication can be imposed by competent authority usually a bishop or it may be incurred automatically for certain sins, e. I am guessing that your question is prompted by Gov. Some, including Protestant evangelist Franklin Graham, have called for the Catholic Church to excommunicate Cuomo for his part in this.

Many, including Cardinal Timothy M. The statement, as noted in the Feb.


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Pope Francis has called upon priests to limit their homilies at Mass to between eight and 10 minutes. I fully support this because that seems to be the attention span for most of us. Also, few priests are good orators, and some are unprepared and speak extemporaneously.

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Your information is correct. In February , at a weekly general audience attended by some 8, people, Pope Francis spoke about homilies, saying that they should be short and wellprepared. My sense is that these comments by the pope were not reported very widely. I say this because I heard little discussion about them among either priests or laity. I attend church on a regular basis. When I do, I recite the rosary throughout the Mass. I pause for the consecration of the holy Eucharist and prayers the congregation recites together.

Whenever I am in church — during Masses or just visiting at other times — praying the rosary for me is a spiritual communication with the Blessed Virgin Mary and with God, which I find comfort and peace in doing. What is your advice? We see this transformation in papal writings themselves.

You are best off at Mass following what the priest is saying, perhaps with the help of a missal or missalette. As a woman who has experienced a miscarriage, I would find great comfort in knowing that I will be reunited someday with my baby in heaven. State College, Pennsylvania. But the miscarried child has had, of course, no chance to ask for the sacrament. When an infant is baptized, the infant makes no personal profession of faith; instead it is left to the parents and godparents to voice their desire to have the child christened.

What does this rite entail? The rite of betrothal was a little-known but long-standing service of prayer in which a couple had their engagement formally blessed by a priest. That newer rite celebrates in prayer a newly engaged couple and asks the Lord to guide them as they prepare for marriage; it can be celebrated by a priest, deacon or lay minister, sometimes by a parent of the future bride or groom. The engagement ring may be blessed during the ceremony, and the celebrant prays:. As they prepare themselves for the sacrament of marriage and pray for your grace, grant that, strengthened by your blessing, they may grow in respect for one another and cherish each other with a sincere love.

Danville, Indiana. Still there are those for whom even trace amounts of gluten or alcohol can be harmful. They may opt to receive under only one species, and the Church teaches that Jesus is wholly present under either one. Can Catholics morally give donations to the Shriners Hospitals? All Shriners are Masons. The reverse, though, is not true. Shriners International began in as a spinoff of Freemasonry, with philanthropy as one of its principal goals. True, Catholics have long been prohibited from joining the Masons since it is, at its core, a naturalistic religion.

I received in the mail an unsolicited request for donations from a Catholic charitable organization. Included in the mailing was a third-class relic. I do not need a third-class relic of an unfamiliar saint in my house. I have not discussed this with my parish, but I doubt that they want to collect unsolicited third-class relics any more than I do. How do I dispose of this item respectfully?

Veneration of relics of the saints has a long history in the Church. There are three classes of relics. Relics of the saints should be treated with the same respect that Canon awards to other blessed or sacred objects: They should be treated reverently, and the basic rule for the disposition has been to burn or to bury them. Here in Columbus, the solemnity of Mary Jan. I have sisters who live in Charlotte and Los Angeles, and Jan. Why would it not be the same everywhere? It seems this is such a serious matter a mortal sin if missed that it should not be left up to local bishops to decide.

It ought to be the same everywhere. Columbus, Ohio. In , the U. Conference of Bishops decreed that there would be six such days in this country, including the solemnity of Mary the Mother of God. To my knowledge, the only place where this differs is in Hawaii; with an indult permission from the Vatican, the Diocese of Honolulu determined in that there would be only two days of obligation there: Dec. That was done to bring Hawaii into confor mity with the other islands in the South Pacific.

With the solemnity of Mary the Mother of God Jan. I suspect that what prompts your question is that you happened to be speaking to your sisters in one of those years. There is wisdom in leaving the determination of holy days to the bishops of a particular nation since they would likely be more in touch with the histor y and spirituality of their own people.

In Ireland, for example, Mass attendance is required on St. Our pastor is very oldschool and loves elaborate liturgy. He uses incense frequently, and my wife — who is seriously affected by the smoke — is at the point of not going to Mass at all. She never knows when he might fire up the censer. I also find that the stink — and that is the word for it — of burning charcoal extremely irritating. I am always left with a clogged nasal passage. I should not have to medicate because I went to Mass, and I wonder why the Church continues this archaic and off-putting practice.

Henrico County, Virginia. Incense was common in Jewish worship; in Chapter 30 of the Book of Exodus, the Lord instructs Moses to build a golden altar for the burning of incense. That practice was carried over into Christian liturgy, the smoke from the incense being seen as a symbol of the prayers of the worshippers rising to heaven. Strictly speaking, there is no requirement that incense be used at any particular Mass, but parishes commonly use it on feasts of particular solemnity and at funerals to reverence the body of the deceased.

You raise a legitimate point about the sensitivities and allergies some in the congregation might have, and for that reason it is wise for parishes to let it be known when incense might be used. Recently someone close to me said that anyone who does not believe in and follow Jesus will not go to heaven. Would you elaborate on the possibility of salvation for non-Christians?

Dallas, Oregon. Your instincts are right. Why would a loving God create us all if two-thirds were destined to eternal unhappiness — and largely, through no fault of their own? And what about those who lived in the many centuries before Jesus was born? Are they out of luck just because they were born too early?

The scriptural passages that you reference do not mean that only Christians can be saved; they simply mean that the possibility of salvation has been won for everyone solely through the redemptive work of Jesus. The teaching of the Church on this is clear. Does that mean that all religions are equally valid and that we should stop our efforts at evangelization? Of course not. The Christian faith and, in particular, the Catholic Church offers the surest and safest path to salvation — through the teachings of Jesus and the strength of the sacraments.

You are correct on the Catholic teaching: that Mary remained always a virgin — before, during and after the birth of Jesus. The Catechism of the Catholic Church quotes St. I was browsing the internet today, ran across your column and have a question. I am in a long-term relationship with my partner, and we are planning on getting married next year. But we are having some conflict as to where i. My family are all born-again Christians and actively participate in many church activities and ministries.

My husband-to-be, though, is a devout Roman Catholic and wants me to become a Catholic. I am having a hard time deciding and it is causing communications problems in our relationship. My parents would never accept the fact that I could change my religion. Please help me because I am confused. More often, marriages are celebrated in the church of the bride; if you decide on that option the born-again Christian setting , you and your partner would simply have to meet with a priest prior to the wedding and fill out some short paperwork to have the marriage recognized by the Catholic Church.

The issue of joining the Catholic Church is more difficult. You should only become a Catholic if you believe in the fundamental truths taught by the Catholic Church. I choose to be a Catholic because I feel that the Catholic Church has a continuous and unbroken relationship with the faith community that Jesus established, I see the logic of a central authority on doctrinal matters and I prefer to be strengthened by the frequent celebration of the Eucharist and the availability of the sacrament of confession.

I have sometimes counseled couples to separate the decision to marry from a decision to change denominations or religions — to make sure that these are independent choices. Finally, though, your question makes me a little bit nervous. I know of several Catholics today who refuse to go to confession because they feel that the priest might be a worse sinner than they are.

But yet if they get sick, they want their parish priest to come immediately to give them a blessing. How can I explain to them their inconsistency? I am sure that your question is prompted — in part, at least — by the current crisis in the Church over clergy sexual abuse of minors. Since , when the U. Thank God, the number of such cases has declined sharply since then, so it is unlikely that the priest hearing your confession today has ever been guilty of such a horrific act.

Does this guarantee that a confessor is spiritually and morally perfect? Of course not; human beings are not perfect people, so if perfection were a prerequisite, there would be no confessors at all. A priest, of course, should always strive to be a worthy minister of the sacraments — in the state of grace and trying his best to reflect the sanctity of Christ. But perhaps it might comfort you to know that the efficacy of a sacrament does not depend on the state of soul of the priest who administers it. We were taught that, to be forgiven in confession, we had to: 1 be truly sorry; 2 resolve firmly never to com- mit the sin again; and 3 make it right, e.

On television and in the movies, sometimes a murderer confesses to a priest who is unable then to break the seal of confession. My question is this: Are murderers forgiven if they do not turn themselves into the police and serve prison time for the crime? Or is the sin forgiven with no strings attached? With regard to the conditions for forgiveness, you learned your catechism well.

One must do what is possible in order to repair the harm, e. You are right, too, about the seal of confession; a priest is bound to absolute secrecy. A later canon stipulates that a priest who would violate the seal is to be excommunicated Canon In , when an Australian government commission recom- mended that Catholic priests become mandatory reporters on child sexual abuse, the Catholic Church strongly objected as applied to the sacrament of penance.

The confessor can encourage, plead with, urge the penitent to do exactly that — he might even offer to accompany the penitent to the police station — but having judged the penitent to be truly sorry, the absolving priest has no authority to impose this further step as a prerequisite to absolution. Recently you wrote a column about the vocation of singles in the Catholic Church and the need to pray for them. Unfortunately, you left out a whole cohort of people: single parents. We, as single parents, are expected to support, guide and educate our children in a similar fashion to married folks, but we get none of the time and attention paid to married couples.

It is absolutely exhausting, and you are constantly second-guessing yourself because you know that the life and welfare of an- other human being falls totally on your own shoulders. This writer speaks eloquently to the plight of single parents, not an insignificant segment in contemporary America. In terms of financial assistance, Catholic Charities in some instances has been able to help; the website of Catholic Charities USA indicates where grants might be available for such needs as housing, medical and dental care and legal assistance.

But with regard to broader programs — such as help with parenting skills — I would agree that the Church is only now beginning to catch up with the need. The Archdiocese of Newark, New Jersey, for instance, offers support groups specific to single parents — providing them an opportunity to as- sociate with their peers and to talk about the various struggles they face bringing up children alone. Through- out the country a number of individ- ual parishes are beginning to offer similar programs. The parish of St. My question centers on the physical appearance of the body of Jesus as he hangs on various crucifixes.

I have yet to see one which conveys the suffering Christ must have experienced during his scourging, when straps covered with iron hooks penetrated to the bone and tore off large pieces of flesh. To look at the crucifixes in our churches, you would never grasp the degree of suffering which Our Savior must have undergone. Brookhaven, Georgia. Certainly the suffering of Jesus during the Passion went beyond what we could ever imagine. Scourges made of brass chains tipped with lead have been found in the catacombs, and the Shroud of Turin would indicate that Jesus was struck with such scourges more than times.

The Crucifixion does not appear regularly in Christian art until the sixth century. Scholars suggest that early Christians were reluctant to portray their Savior in that way because crucifixion represented a dishonorable death in the Roman world, a fate reserved to slaves and criminals. During the Middle Ages, the crucified body of Christ began to be shown more realistically. Such depictions were offered during a time when plagues rav- aged Europe, wide-scale death was a daily occurrence and criminals were executed publicly.

Artistic tastes change, and we in the 21st century seem to shy away from such graphic images, but it helps to be reminded of what Christ endured on our behalf. The sacrament of penance is designed to be, for the penitent, an encounter with Jesus Christ through the person of the priest. It is difficult for me to see how the internet would permit that close personal contact with the Lord. The additional concern I would have is for the privacy that is so integral to the sacrament of penance, the danger that an internet confession could be recorded or hacked.

Could a person go to daily Mass and receive Communion without having gone to confession in four years? Batesville, Indiana. Technically, yes. If the person had committed no serious mortal sins over that four-year period, he or she could go to Mass and receive Communion every day. Strictly speaking, the obligation of annual confession applies only to those in serious sin.

Canon explains that anyone who is conscious of grave sin may not receive the Eucharist without first having gone to confession. But is it a good idea for Catholics to stay away from confession for four years, even if they have no mortal sins to confess? Over and over, spiritual writers encourage the faithful to use the sacrament of penance regularly, perhaps even monthly, as a path not only to pardon, but to spiritual progress and inner peace.

Canon At a weekly audience in November , Pope Francis revealed that he himself receives the sacrament of penance every two weeks and considers it to be the best path to spiritual healing and health. Faithful Catholics would like to know about the validity of the sacraments received from disgraced or defrocked priests and bishops.

Were sins forgiven in the sacrament of penance? Did the act of consecration take place for the bread and wine to become the body and blood of Christ? Saratoga Springs, New York. The question you raise was answered in the Church nearly 1, years ago in what was known as the Donatist controversy and ratified later in the teaching of St. Since it is really Christ who is acting in the sacraments, the personal unworthiness of the minister would not prevent Jesus from acting. How far must one go in pro-life issues to be a good Catholic? May one support a charitable organization if one of its services is to do abortions?

Doctors Without Borders — also known by its French name Medecins Sans Frontieres — has, since its founding in , brought lifesaving care to many sick and wounded people caught in war, epidemics and other disasters. Sadly, though, faithful Catholics should not donate to this organization. By donating to a research institute or drug manufacturer that funds research that destroys human beings, one would be cooperating immorally in the act of destroying young human life.

Cooperating in an intrinsic evil is itself an intrinsic evil and should be avoided in all circumstances. Some might argue that Catholic donors to Medecins Sans Frontieres could specify that their own contributions be used only for medical care and not for abortions; but that is an artificial distinction since it would simply free up other donations to be used for immoral purposes. Many times we are asked to pray for those who are married or who have followed a calling to the religious life — but how many times has anyone in any parish been asked to pray for those who are single?

Are we singles shut out, are we to be ignored until we follow one of the other life paths? What if the single person truly believes that his or her calling is to be single? I feel strongly that some are called to the single state as a true vocation — a deliberate choice made to give them more time to serve both God and other people. Those who have responded to this noble calling deserve regular mention in the public prayers of the Church. We have a very small congregation that has lost numerous families over the past few years.

Our problem is this: Our priest has a very thick foreign accent; he is a good person, but it is nearly impossible to understand his English. He has been offered diction training but has refused. The bits and pieces of his homily that I do understand seem to have little continuity or message. Yet he speaks for 20 or 25 minutes, while the congregation just looks around at one another. How can the Church continue to mandate Sunday Mass attendance when good Catholics come away wondering and confused? One course of action might be to present your concerns to a member of your parish council.

Explain to him the sharp drop in Mass attendance, the result being that some Catholics might be going to other parishes, if at all. Come to that meeting with a solution to propose — perhaps the assignment of a deacon to share some of the preaching. Meanwhile, be grateful that, with the priest shortage in America, many clergy from other countries have stepped in to help.

Without them, there would almost certainly be more parishes in the U. As regards the Sunday Mass obligation, thankfully the homily is not your only source of spiritual nourishment. Even more, your strength for daily living comes from receiving Christ in Communion. My question concerns the requirement for a Catholic to be confirmed before being allowed to be married in a Catholic wedding ceremony. My grandson is engaged to a Catholic girl who was baptized and made her first Communion but was never confirmed. The priest they went to for their pre-Cana requirement said she needs to attend classes on Catholicism from September until next June, in preparation for confirmation.

In a fair number of dioceses, the sacrament of confirmation is not administered until the candidate is in his or her teens often in 10th or even 11th grade , the thinking being that the sacrament has more impact at a time when the candidate is in the process of making other lifetime choices. Since some may have dropped out of religious education by then, an unintended result is that they arrive at the time of marriage never having been confirmed. So confirmation before a Catholic marriage is clearly not obligatory, since the wording of the canon allows for exceptions. As you point out, individual dioceses or parishes are free to adopt their own practices, but your grandson and his fiancee have canon law on their side.

I would suggest they return to the priest they saw for pre-Cana and explain to him how the confirmation classes are complicated by her work schedule. A more abbreviated program may be possible — with an individual instructor provided through the parish — or perhaps the wedding could take place first, with confirmation coming later when her work schedule permits. As an extraordinary minister of holy Communion, something is bothering me. Ogallala, Nebraska. You are correct. In fact, the U. This is a comfort to those who are unable to receive under both species.

Some, for example, may have a wheat allergy, and a low-gluten host may not be available; others may have an alcohol addiction where even a single sip could trigger a problem. I was always led to believe that suicide is a mortal sin, so someone who takes his own life cannot go to heaven.

What fate awaited Judas when he hanged himself? Is he condemned to hell, or would he be forgiven for the role that he played, since Jesus had to be betrayed to save mankind? Objectively, of course, suicide is a mortal sin. But among the requisites for mortal sin is also sufficient deliberation that would allow for full consent of the will. That category is no longer included in the current code, published in The Church regularly celebrates funeral Masses for suicide victims, because the Church gives the deceased the benefit of the doubt as to whether psychological factors may have impeded a full and deliberative act of the will.

As for Judas, the Church has never definitively said that Judas — or any individual, for that matter — is surely in hell. I am a divorcee of five years and am 66 years old. I have met a widower of They say we cannot even hold hands. We are not interested in marriage; we just want to be friends and companions.

What does the Church think about this? I know it cannot be a sexual relationship, as that would truly be a mortal sin. I see both sides of the argument. Why not speak with a priest and look into the possibility of an annulment for your first marriage? Sometimes even long-standing marriages can be annulled when there were danger signs from the start. First, just a comment on your quote from the opening verse of Luke.

The text you offer comes from an edition called the Living Bible. While it is true that many accounts regarding Jesus were circulated in the early Church and became the subject of discussion and debate, by about the year , Irenaeus, bishop of Lyon in Gaul, noted that there were four and only four authoritative Gospels — Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. This reflected a growing consensus among Christian scholars, and only those four versions were commonly considered as proper for liturgical use. Following the Protestant Reformation that same Catholic canon of the Gospels was reaffirmed at the Council of Trent in Some of the common characteristics of the four Gospels declared to be canonical were a central focus on Jesus as savior and divine Son of God not just an enlightened teacher, as some of the apocryphal versions had it and the inclusion of the Passion narrative.

That way, I believe, more people would come to church. Somerset, New Jersey. The great evangelist Billy Graham was once accussed of preaching a backward theology which would take the church a century backwards. In the Book of Discipline some lines must never change as much as verses from the Bible will not change. This is consistent with having the Scriptures as the superior source of teachings and church doctrine. As a pastor of a sister denomination, Wesleyan, I rejoice in and stand with Dr.

The Lord will yet have a witness in these days. Kulah who has stated very clear and simple what we as children of God have been instructed to do. Thank you for the word of truth Dr. Not even lower animals deviate to same sex relationship. Praise the Lord for you, Dr. We are with you all the way. UMC about the importance of following Jesus and His teachings. Thank you for your boldness.

And yes, we are still on our knees about these issues. May God bless you richly! David and Diana Binford. I wish our pastors and churches had the same spirit and hunger for the Truth that this Pastor speaks of. It seems we still haven not learned our lesson from Adam and Eve and the tree in the garden. We still want to know as much as God and have our own way. Thank you and Bless you Dr. Praise God for you Dr Kulah! Your words should be heard by everyone in MUC!

We are all born sinners and make the choice to accept Jesus Christ as our redeemer when we repent of our sins! We as Christians should treat the unsaved with love and kindness, praying that they will repent and turn to God! Thank you for standing firmly in God and His Word! I am honored to continue in the race set out before us with you. We are not to be of this world, but in it as a peculiar people. If we are no different than the world, what do we have that will light the way to Jesus? Thank you VERY much! How refreshing; how encouraging! Praise God!! Methodists from west sent thousands of missionaries in the 19th and 20th century to Africa to save souls and now the children of those welcomed into the family of God have reminded us of scriptural truth.

Amen, Brother! I am a Baptist pastor in America and truly appreciate your perspective. There is much the American Christians can learn from your wise comments. Thanks for working to keep United Methodist united! As someone of Nigerian heritage who is converting to Judaism, but no less interested in this topic, thank G-d for these men. The Law of Moses is crystal clear on this topic and will not be changed. By all means, stand against the violent treatment of those with homosexual experiences. However, this does not entail an acceptance of sins that G-d has expressly forbidden in Scripture.

Thank you for listening to Holy Spirit and speaking only that which God would say. Thank You. What a wonderful Prayer statement. It touched my heart. Again, thank you for we are victorious in the lord God bless. Living in America I see the bombardment of the Churches from liberals who want to change the us to suit their progressive viewpoints. Their morals are so low they can not see the lies that rule them.

I believe we are facing End TImes standards that are attacking us viciously! But God is sufficient to our needs; He will hold us up above the evil grasping if we keep focused on Him. I pray you continue to stand firm, fellow Christian, we need your message here in America!! Thank God for our Africian brothers and sisters in Christ and thank you for your votes at the General Conference that we remain steadfast in the Word of God rather than the evil desires and imaginations of the flesh. Well said, and well thought through.

The word of God is our stand and guide. As we are walking this faith journey we need this kind of reminders. One day we will be asked and we are going to answer. Thank you for being the defenders of faith. Let us, as Methodist continue the business of transforming this world with the true gospel of Jesus Christ.

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Open doors, Open minds, and Open hearts means all sinners are wanted and they must repent, and not turn sin into a way of life. I was in a private meeting between the leaders of the Episcopal Church and the Archbishop of the Church of Uganda, Henry Orombe during the height of the fight. The leaders made clear money support for the Africans was at stake. Henry told them first that tha Africans were overwhelmingly grateful that the Church had brought them the Bible. As for money, the Gospel is not for sale.

What an excellent response! I am so encouraged with the tenacity of our international leaders. What a kind but powerful statement and diligently holding to both the Biblical teaching as well as church traditions. Which is a real lame excuse for ignoring the truth. There is room at the cross of Christ for those who are in all forms of sexual immorality. But the point must be remembered that it is the Church Universal, which is grounded in the teachings of the Bible, that will save us from the power of sin and death.

In short, this is about the United Methodist Church submitting to the word of God, not the emotional whims of man. We all will submit; who will we submit to is the true question. I would rather submit and stand with Jesus and Dr. The word of God is true. I will accept no substitute. I will no longer advocate for financial support for African Methodists.

Mr jones, Do you really believe that your lack of financial support will somehow derail the spreading of the true Gospel? The church has seen its people imprisoned, beaten, beheaded, crucified, fed to lions, etc…and yet the gospel remains… The God of all creation is in charge of the African Methodists finances, so however you choose to allocate funds will not impact Gods work…Its funny we often think God needs us to accomplish His work.

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He just extends us opportunities to be a part of His glorious plan, but He doesnt need your allocated funds.. The only one you will he hurting is yourself…you will lose the wonderful gift of coming alongside brothers and sisters who are winning souls to the true message of the gospel…i pray you wont make that mistake!

May you have a blessed day my friend! Keep your money. Who cares? Do you think everyone is like Judas who betrayed his Master for 30 pieces of silver! What a beautifully written and inspired message. It occurs to me that these vibrant Christians will soon be sending there missionaries to USA which desperately is in need of a revival and renewal of biblical faith.

Speaking the truth in love, it is right. How I rejoice at this. True freedom in the strong name of Jesus. Having lived through the Episcopal Church wars, I can assure you that there will be other attempts to buy global delegates. Next, the activists will take their fight to the courts. When that fails, they will publish false statements intended to damage the reputation of the conservative leaders. It is deja vu — the Episcopal Church war all over again. My daddy, a 93 year old retired Methodist minister would love to have a copy of this speed… how can we get it for him?

Great and insightful remarks by Dr Kulah. If Christians abandons scriptural truth for cultural relativism we become like rudderless ships in stormy water tossed up and down and destined for a wreck. I want a UMC pen pal from Liberia! Thank you for your faithfulness, Dr. God bless you so much! Thank God for the non western church still rooted in truth and not feelings. And love the little bit of biting sass peppered in from Dr. Jerry Kulah for the speech it is great and very true. Forrest King. I read this to my Wednesday Night Bible Study of 80 people.

After reading it they broke into applause. Time for them to consider the hurt they are causing and to be willing to actually study what the scriptures say instead of assuming. Very disappointing virtue signalling effort. Be ready as a Man of God. Missionary Zewdu. Thank you for your faithfulness to the inspired Word if God. One needs only to spend time studying it to recognize the Truth it reveals. Praise the Lord! The Church must be subject to Scripture and Scripture is very clear of sin and that includes lifestyles that are in contradiction to Scripture. So we love all and pray that the transforming power that we ALL need will transform our minds and lifestyles so that we can truly experience the freedom that JESUS promises to those who make Him Saviour and Lord.

This so blessed me and encouraged me, to read and hear, of faithfulness to our Lord Jesus Christ and His Word makes me so happy. So many have fallen by the wayside and fallen away from His Truth, and still speaking as if they are Christians when they are nothing but apostates. Stay strong AUM. Praise be to God for men such as Mr. I pray God shine his divine protection and goodness to this man.

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African United Methodists Won’t Trade Bible for Dollars - Juicy Ecumenism

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The Judas Epidemic: Exposing the Betrayal of the Christian Faith in Church and Government The Judas Epidemic: Exposing the Betrayal of the Christian Faith in Church and Government
The Judas Epidemic: Exposing the Betrayal of the Christian Faith in Church and Government The Judas Epidemic: Exposing the Betrayal of the Christian Faith in Church and Government
The Judas Epidemic: Exposing the Betrayal of the Christian Faith in Church and Government The Judas Epidemic: Exposing the Betrayal of the Christian Faith in Church and Government
The Judas Epidemic: Exposing the Betrayal of the Christian Faith in Church and Government The Judas Epidemic: Exposing the Betrayal of the Christian Faith in Church and Government
The Judas Epidemic: Exposing the Betrayal of the Christian Faith in Church and Government The Judas Epidemic: Exposing the Betrayal of the Christian Faith in Church and Government
The Judas Epidemic: Exposing the Betrayal of the Christian Faith in Church and Government The Judas Epidemic: Exposing the Betrayal of the Christian Faith in Church and Government

Related The Judas Epidemic: Exposing the Betrayal of the Christian Faith in Church and Government



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