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May 16, 2014 Our Catholic Faith No Comments

Q. It always puzzles me when minors take a drink of wine at Communion. Isn’t that sort of unlawful? I know in some states it is. — A.N., Oregon.
A. First of all, don’t forget that what looks and tastes like wine is really the Precious Blood of Jesus, so it shouldn’t be called wine after the consecration. While it might be unlawful for minors to drink wine in some states, we are sure that those laws have to do with consuming large quantities of alcohol, which is not the case at Mass. It is up to parents to decide if their minor children can receive the Precious Blood at Mass, but the quantity received is so small that parents we have observed have no qualms about having their children receive Jesus under both Species.

Q. I have three questions I would like to submit to you. 1) What miracles have been attributed to Pope St. John Paul II and Pope St. John XXIII? 2) Does the Catholic Church still teach there is a Purgatory? I heard a priest say that the Church no longer believes in Purgatory. 3) If the Church does believe in Purgatory, does a funeral Mass meet the requirements to remove a soul from Purgatory to Heaven? — S.W.F., Florida.
A. 1) Of many miracles attributed to the intercession of John Paul II, the Church recognized two of them leading to his canonization. The first was the healing of a French nun, Sr. Marie Simon-Pierre, who recovered from Parkinson’s disease with no medical explanation after praying to the late Holy Father shortly after his death in 2005. The second was the cure of a Costa Rican woman, Floribeth Mora Diaz, from a brain aneurysm in 2011. After being told by doctors she had only one month to live, Mrs. Mora was healed after holding a magazine with a cover photograph of John Paul and praying to him.
As for John XXIII, the Church has recognized as miraculous the healing of an Italian nun, Sr. Caterina Capitani, in 1966. She had undergone an operation to remove a cancerous tumor in her stomach, but her condition was deteriorating when she suddenly recovered after praying to the Pope who had died only three years earlier. Pope Francis waived the required second miracle for John XXIII when he announced his plans to canonize his Predecessor along with John Paul II.
However, there was another miraculous event associated with John XXIII. When his grave was opened in 2001, his body looked as if he had “died yesterday,” said one observer. It had not decayed despite having been buried for 38 years.
2) The Church’s teaching on the existence of Purgatory has remained constant from the beginning, and any priest who denies this teaching is guilty of heresy. In the words of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (n. 1030-1031):
“All who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven.
“The Church gives the name Purgatory to this final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned.”
The Catechism says that this teaching is found in Scripture (e.g., 2 Macc. 12:46 and 1 Cor. 3:15) and was affirmed at the Councils of Florence (1438-1445) and Trent (1545-1563).
3) It is possible that a funeral Mass could provide the final purifying graces necessary for the deceased to go from Purgatory to Heaven, but it is more likely that additional prayers and suffrages will be needed to get the person to Heaven.

Q. Our diocesan newspaper contained an article by Catholic News Service reporting on recent statements by Virginia’s two bishops, Paul Loverde and Francis X. DiLorenzo. While I appreciate the bishops’ intentions, I question their reasoning. The bishops were urging the Virginia legislature to expand health insurance coverage in the commonwealth to 400,000 poor and vulnerable persons who are currently uninsured.
Their advocacy, according to the article, is “…informed by the Church’s teaching, first, everyone has a right to life, and second, health care is a right — not a privilege — that flows from the right to life itself. This understanding transcends the categories of left and right, liberal and conservative, Democrat and Republican. It applies to all members of the human family — born and unborn, affluent and poor, insured and uninsured.”
Just because something is a right, does it follow that the government must provide it? For example, we have a right to practice our faith, but does the government have an obligation to provide places of worship and clergy? To carry the bishops’ thinking a bit further, food, clothing, and shelter are necessary to maintain life; therefore it could follow that they are a right stemming from the right to life. Should government also provide them? Of course, governments are not created to provide charity, but if something is an absolute right that the government is obligated to provide, then it isn’t charity, is it? Do you think the bishops are on firm ground on this issue? Isn’t this really a matter of prudential judgment, not an absolute right? — D.M., Virginia.
A. It’s one thing to call for assistance to the poor and the needy; that’s an obligation imposed on us by Christ Himself (cf. Matt. 24:34-40). The question then becomes, what is the most efficient way to provide this assistance? Up until the 1960s, help came mostly from private charities and local agencies and was influenced by the principle of subsidiarity, that is, the aid was provided at the local level, where there was the most reliable information about who was truly in need.
Since then, federal and state governments have spent many trillions of dollars allegedly to combat poverty. But the problem has only gotten worse, not only in terms of millions of people who are still struggling to get by despite the vast amounts of dollars spent, but also in terms of many billions of dollars wasted or unaccounted for and in terms of creating a culture of dependence on government, where there is no longer any incentive to work for a living when one can do as well, if not better, economically and financially by signing up for a government program.
We, too, can appreciate the good intentions of the bishops of Virginia, but what happens when the well of economic assistance runs dry? Common sense suggests that as the number of those getting some kind of assistance goes over 50 percent of the population (and it may already have reached that percentage), the number of those being taxed to provide this assistance will continue to diminish until many of the providers find themselves in difficult economic circumstances, too. You can’t build up one segment of the population by tearing down another.
As you suggest, trying to solve this problem demands prudential judgment as to the best course of action. But we should have learned over the past half-century that automatically turning this situation over to the federal government only makes the situation worse because many of those in charge of the programs are either well-meaning but naive, incompetent, or corrupt.
Of course, one who says such things is immediately accused of wanting to throw all the poor and needy into the streets. But if something prudential is not done soon, there will be a lot more people in the streets, including those who were bankrupted paying for government programs that did not work.

Q. I try to clip your columns, but I lose track of them. Is there a collection of columns that would make it easier? — D.H., Massachusetts.
A. Funny you should ask. Yes, there are two books with a combined total of 1,600 questions answered. They are entitled Catholic Replies and Catholic Replies 2. Both have extensive indexes so you can find information easily. You can purchase the books for $17.95 each, or both of them for $30, plus $5 for shipping for one book or $8 for two books. Send check or money order to the address at the bottom of this column.

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Vatican: Cremated bodies may not be scattered

Vatican City, Oct 25, 2016 / 09:44 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith released an instruction Tuesday regarding burial and cremation, reiterating the Church’s teaching that cremation, while strongly discouraged, can be permissible under certain…Continue Reading

Pope’s climate message failed to sway Catholic conservatives: study

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Live From New York Should a Catholic Vote for Hillary or Trump?

Almighty God has been very good  in giving us as the day’s Gospel passage that of Our Lord’s famous admonition to “render to Caesar what is Caesar’s but to God what is God’s.” I say that in view of the…Continue Reading

Catholic university blasts ‘Unborn Lives Matter’ posters as ‘bigotry,’ bans them on campus

CHICAGO, Illinois, October 18, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – College Republicans at DePaul University were prohibited by the university president from displaying posters on campus advertising their group with the pro-life message, “Unborn Lives Matter.” Vincentian Father Dennis Holtschneider indicated to the…Continue Reading

For Archbishop Chaput, ‘Catholic Spring’ group did untold damage

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The anti-Catholic Catholics (and the bishops who support them)

Yesterday Ross Douthat of the New York Times embarked on a lengthy Tweetstorm —21 tweets in all—questioning whether it’s accurate to refer to the leaked emails from the Clinton campaign as evidence of “anti-Catholic” bigotry. Douthat—who is no friend of…Continue Reading

The next ‘deplorables’? Clinton campaign rips ‘backwards’ Catholic beliefs in leaked e-mails

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German Bishop’s New Proposal: “There Exists More Than Man and Woman”

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Cardinal Sarah presents counter-vision to Francis as he launches new book

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Massachusetts’ highest court grants full parental rights to unmarried gay woman

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Shunned for supporting natural marriage, former Mozilla CEO is back with new browser

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Lay Catholic Group: Tim Kaine’s Radical Views Stem From Embrace of Liberation Theology

An organization of committed lay Catholics is challenging Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine, who’s invoking his Catholic faith and the words of Pope Francis as a basis for his radical positions on abortion and marriage, as well as his…Continue Reading


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This Weeks Comments And Letters . . .

Culture Of Life 101 . . . “An Introduction To The Problem Of Euthanasia”

By BRIAN CLOWES Part 2 (Editor’s Note: Brian Clowes has been director of research and training at Human Life International since 1995. For an electronic copy of chapter 23 of The Facts of Life, a 150-page treatise on all of the aspects of euthanasia, e-mail him at + + + We have covered the definitions of the varieties of…Continue Reading

Today . . .

Cardinal Kasper: Can the ‘remarried’ now receive communion? ‘Yes. Period.’

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Planned Parenthood rips proposal to require father’s consent for abortion

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Philadelphia Archbishop Chaput welcomes ‘smaller church’ of holier Catholics

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Kansas archbishop blasts Kaine: He’s an ‘orthodox’ Democrat but a ‘cafeteria Catholic’


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U.S. Catholics Under Attack

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Restoring The Rightful Place Of The Supreme Court In American Government

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Time To Pray Unceasingly . . . The Catholic Church Is Under Attack

By FR. MICHAEL P. ORSI The Gospel reading for Sunday, October 16 was Jesus’ parable about the persistent widow demanding of a corrupt judge that he render a fair verdict on her claim. The judge gives in “lest she finally come and strike me.” It’s a humorous anecdote which Jesus turns into an illustration of…Continue Reading

A Movie Review . . . Coming To God In An Unconventional Way

By REY FLORES “I see you dressed in white. Every wrong made right. I see a rose in bloom. At the sight of you (oh so priceless). Irreplaceable, unmistakable, incomparable. I see it all in you (oh so priceless).” The above are the closing lyrics for the song Priceless by country duo For King &…Continue Reading

A Disillusioned Marxist Professor

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The March To Totalitarianism

By DONALD DeMARCO Hannah Arendt, best known for her denunciation of totalitarianism in her book, Eichmann in Jerusalem, has made the comment that “the aim of totalitarian education has never been to instill convictions but to destroy the capacity to form any.” Totalitarianism can appeal only to the unthinking masses. A true education, let it…Continue Reading


Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Cardinal Ratzinger’s 2004 Letter… Forbids Catholics To Vote For Hillary Clinton Under Pain Of Mortal Sin

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A Leaven In The World… Pray Always And Never Grow Weary

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK A moment of dawning experience when I was young gave birth to a nearly perfect prayer. This farewell to innocence of which I speak was a blessing. In the light of it I came to know the presence of God through His goodness which is the heart of prayer in the life of faith. I…Continue Reading

What Is Faith?… Other Attributes Of God

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA Part 8 “I love thee, Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold” (Psalm 18:1-2). The enthusiasm with which the psalmist praises God our Lord comes from his knowledge of God’s…Continue Reading

Confirmation In The Economy Of Salvation

By DON FIER Part 2 In the introductory paragraph of its section on the Sacrament of Confirmation, the Roman Catechism [RC], promulgated in 1566 by Pope St. Pius V soon after the Council of Trent, are the following words: “If there was ever a time when the Sacrament of Confirmation needed to be explained carefully, that time is now. All…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Editor’s Note: J.H.T. of North Carolina, a deacon who has been a witness to the “liturgical wars” of the past half-century, has recommended an “extraordinary book” — Peter Kwasniewski’s Resurgent in the Midst of Crisis: Sacred Liturgy, the Traditional Latin Mass, and Renewal in the Church — that he says should be read by all Catholics, clergy and lay, who…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Colman Of Kilmacduagh

By CAROLE BRESLIN Ireland, the Emerald Isle, a green country of lush fauna, friendly people, and beautiful views — if you can find a clear day — has a rich and troubled heritage. It is a land full of the lore of elves, fairies, and, most important, Catholic saints. Numerous books have been written about the many Irish saints and…Continue Reading

Blessed Giuseppe Puglisi

By CAROLE BRESLIN When a society is riddled with evil and corruption, the worst thing we can do is to remain quiet. If we truly believe in God, then it is our obligation to do all we can to save the souls in danger of being lost in such a society. The threats and dangers of this world are not…Continue Reading