Thursday 30th October 2014

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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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Angola: Catholic Priest Refutes Criticism of Church Practices

Lubango — The Southern Huila province?s Lubango city emeritus archbishop, Zacarias Kamwenho, rejected as false the claim that Catholic Christians worship images. Speaking on Sunday in the Muxima Diocese, in Lubango, the archbishop explained that Catholic Christians worship God instead,…Continue Reading

Ave Maria School of Law Wins Its HHS Mandate Case in Federal Court

The Obama Administration has suffered another defeat in its quest to force Catholics and people of faith to pay for abortion-causing drugs, as required by the HHS Mandate. Today the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida came down…Continue Reading

Catholic Educators Appeal to Obama Administration for Relief from HHS Mandate

Today a coalition including The Cardinal Newman Society, leaders of Catholic schools and colleges, and the expert attorneys of the Alliance Defending Freedom told the Obama administration that its latest rule mandating insurance coverage for sterilization and contraception, including abortion-causing…Continue Reading

Toronto schools hosting ‘LGBTQ’ conference for students as young as 11

The Toronto District School Board (TDSB) is hosting three student conferences within the span of eight days for the purpose of LGBTQ activism.  The conferences, which have been organized in collaboration with Jer’s Vision, will take place on October 28,…Continue Reading

The Synod and the Media: Culpable Naïveté or Shrewd Calculation?

Upon becoming director of media relations for the American bishops in late 1969, I quickly made a crucial discovery about my new employers. With just a handful of exceptions, the bishops were painfully naïve about the news business, yet convinced…Continue Reading

Chaldean Catholic patriarch suspends 10 priests, including 1 from El Cajon

SAN DIEGO – The head of the Chaldean Catholic Church has suspended 10 priests, including one from El Cajon. Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Sako issued a decree a month ago, demanding the priests return to Iraq or be suspended. Wednesday…Continue Reading

Retired Pope Says Interreligious Dialogue No Substitute For Mission

VATICAN CITY – Retired Pope Benedict XVI said dialogue with other religions is no substitute for spreading the Gospel to non-Christian cultures, and warned against relativistic ideas of religious truth as “lethal to faith.” He also said the true motivation…Continue Reading

California Forces Churches to Directly Fund Abortions, Churches Refuse to Comply

To the dismay of California’s people of faith, the California Department of Managed Health Care has reclassified abortion as a “basic health service” under the Affordable Care Act and ordered all insurance plans in the state to begin covering surgical…Continue Reading

Relax. God’s Still In Charge.

It’s an enormous challenge to maintain pristine doctrinal purity while at the same time respond to the experiential, personal, and difficult needs of married couples and families. Behind every arcane discussion of gradualism and natural law there are parents and…Continue Reading

Cardinal Burke: The “Relatio Synodi” Is “A Significant Improvement Over The Text Of The ‘Relatio Post Disceptationem'”

In a third short interview with CWR, conducted by e-mail late yesterday, Cardinal Raymond L. Burke, the Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, offers his impression of the Relatio Synodi, comments on reports that the Synod has…Continue Reading

Synod Final Document Reaffirms Church Teaching

The final document of the Extraordinary Synod was released Saturday as the Synod Fathers voted to approve all 62 paragraphs, but with three paragraphs not receiving the normally required two-thirds majority vote. The three paragraphs, which in the past would…Continue Reading

Catholic Synod: Gay Rights Groups ‘Disappointed’

Catholic gay rights groups say they are disappointed after bishops rejected proposals for wider acceptance of gay people, which had the Pope’s backing. The call to “accept and value” homosexuals was in a draft report, but failed to win the…Continue Reading

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Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI Writes Personal Ordinariate Of Our Lady Of Walsingham

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(Vatican Radio) Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has sent a message to the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, which was established for former Anglicans in England in 2011.  The message was on the fifth anniversary of Pope Benedict’s apostolic constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus, which was released on November 4th 2009. The Pope Emeritus was responding to a letter he received…Continue Reading

Pope At Audience: The Church Visible And Spiritual

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(Vatican Radio)  “Often, we hear people say: the Church doesn’t do this …the Church doesn’t do that!’ ‘Tell me who is the Church? – ‘Well the Church is the priests, the bishops, the Pope …’ We are all the Church! All of us all of us Baptized! We are the Church, the Church of Jesus’”. This was the message at…Continue Reading

Pope At Angelus: Love Of God And Neighbour Are Inseparable

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis prayed the Angelus with pilgrims and tourists gathered in St Peter’s Square beneath the window of the Papal apartments in the Apostolic Palace at the Vatican on Sunday. In remarks ahead of the traditional prayer of Marian devotion, the Holy Father offered some reflections on the Gospel reading of the day, which was taken from Gospel…Continue Reading

Pope At Santa Marta: Called To Be Children Of Light

(Vatican Radio) At morning Mass on Monday Pope Francis said that a conscientious examination of our words will help us understand whether we are Christians of light, Christians of darkness or Christians of grey areas. Reflecting on the First Reading from St. Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians, the Pope said men are recognizable by their words. By inviting Christians to…Continue Reading

Pass-Fail Grading: For The Professors’ Benefit?

By JAMES K. FITZPATRICK S.M. writes to offer some observations about the proposal to introduce a “pass-fail” grading system for freshmen at Princeton University. The possibility of doing that was discussed in the October 9 edition of First Teachers. He sees the idea as a “form of grade inflation that is solely intended to accomplish…Continue Reading

Contemporary Culture Encapsulated In A Single Sentence

By DONALD DeMARCO It is remarkable how much a single sentence can reveal about the temper of a culture, even when its author is trying to be withholding. Jacalyn Duffin, a historian and practicing hematologist, is the author of History of Medicine (University of Toronto Press, 2000). It is a 243-page tome that was produced…Continue Reading

Synod Document Of October 13, 2014

By JOHN F. KIPPLEY (Editor’s Note: John F. Kippley is the author of Sex and the Marriage Covenant: A Basis for Morality and other books and articles. With his wife Sheila, he is a coauthor of Natural Family Planning: The Complete Approach and cofounder of NFP International. This commentary appeared on his blog [johnkippley.com] of…Continue Reading

Elite Judges Think The Highest Judge Never Will End Their Misrule

By DEXTER DUGGAN Today people worry about globe-trotting terrorists, the transmission of the deadly Ebola virus, and the way contagions can cross borders when the government insists borders must be open for everyone’s alleged benefit. Meanwhile, unaccountable U.S. judges continue their contagion of immorality, as if God’s judgment never will come, maybe in little germs,…Continue Reading

Chilling Free Speech

By ANDREW P. NAPOLITANO Earlier this week, the federal government’s National Science Foundation, an entity created to encourage the study of science — encouragement that it achieves by awarding grants to scholars and universities — announced that it had awarded a grant to study what people say about themselves and others in social media. The…Continue Reading

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Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Temples Of The Holy Spirit

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Feast Of The Dedication Of St. John Lateran In Rome Readings: Ezek. 47:1-2, 8-9, 12 1 Cor. 3:9c-11, 16-17 John 2:13-22 Today we celebrate the feast of the dedication of a church building that many people have never heard of and also have no idea of its significance. In Rome, there are four major basilicas; the…Continue Reading

Message Of The Extraordinary Synod Of Bishops . . . We Ask You To Walk With Us Toward The Next Synod

(Editor’s Note: Below is the text of the concluding message of the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the Family, held October 5-19. This message was released on October 18. (See Fr. Kevin M. Cusick’s column in this issue, p. 2B, and the front page for reporting and commentary on the separate final document of the Extraordinary Synod.) + + +…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World… Redefining Marriage: Not About The Kids And The Picket Fence

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK Following the Extraordinary Synod and the rollback on confusing language about same-sex attraction and the divorced and remarried in the final version of the Relatio Synodi document, the predictable reactions are coming in. Those who continue to hold Church teaching that marriage is only between a man and a woman are labeled as “bigots,” while…Continue Reading

Debunking The Sola Scriptura Myth… True Tradition And False “Tradition”

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 4 A classical objection: What Catholics call the “Apostolic Tradition” is just a human tradition, which Jesus clearly condemned in the Gospel, when He said to the Pharisees, “Why do you also transgress the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?…So, for the sake of your tradition you have made void the…Continue Reading

Public Revelation Vs. Private Revelation

By DON FIER Our previous installment ended by citing a pair of remarkable verses from the Letter to the Hebrews, verses that concisely summarize God’s divine pedagogy, His master plan of divine Revelation: “In many and various ways God spoke of old to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days He has spoken to us by a…Continue Reading

Cast A Gauntlet – Sola Scriptura: Part 1

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Wolfgang

By CAROLE BRESLIN October 31 has come to be yet another Christian holy day corrupted by our secular society. All Hallows Eve, Halloween, is now celebrated with emphasis on evil and horror. Corn mazes with frightening objects around the corner, haunted houses to terrify even the bravest of persons, glorification of vampires, and decorations of death and witches — these…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Anthony Mary Claret

By CAROLE BRESLIN St. Anthony Mary Claret has something in common with at least three other saints. Like St. Peter Claver, he was born in northeastern Spain — over 200 years later. Like St. Pio of Pietrelcina, when he heard Confessions, he frequently could read the souls of the penitents, asking them about a sin that they had not confessed.…Continue Reading

A Powerful Weapon: 15 Quotes on the Holy Rosary

We live in evil times. I hardly need elaborate the multitude of crises that fill the globe. Sadly, many are being swept away by this flood of evil and are succumbing to an overwhelming anxiety and discouragement. But no matter how tempting it is, we must not shrink back. We must pray and fast with a living faith and a firm confidence—and there is no better way to…Continue Reading

12 Ways to Become a Committed Catholic Man

There is a Catholic “man-crisis.” Large numbers of men who were baptized Catholic have left the Church and the majority of those who remain are “Casual Catholic Men”, men who do not know the Catholic faith and don’t practice it. This large-scale failure of Catholic men to commit themselves to Jesus Christ and His Church has contributed to the accelerating…Continue Reading