Sunday 23rd November 2014

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Q. My nine-year-old grandson asked why, on August 15, the Gospel of Luke about the Visitation was read when it was the Feast of the Assumption. What should I tell him? — E.C., via e-mail.
A. You can tell your grandson that there is no Gospel reading about the Assumption of Our Lady into Heaven because that event is not recorded in the Gospels. Catholic belief in Mary’s Assumption, body and soul, into Heaven at the end of her life can be traced back at least to the sixth century, although it was not formally proclaimed by the Church until 1950.
This dogma is related to the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, which says that Mary was free from original sin from the moment of her conception in the womb of her mother, St. Anne. Since the corruption of the body in the grave is a consequence of original sin, and the Blessed Virgin did not have original sin, she did not suffer the decay of the grave. It is not unreasonable to think that Jesus would want His Mother to share in His bodily glorification since it was her body that sheltered Him for nine months.
In the sixth century, St. Gregory of Tours wrote that the Lord Jesus came to earth at the end of His Mother’s life and commanded that her body “be taken in a cloud into Paradise, where now, rejoined to the soul, it rejoices with the Lord’s chosen ones, and is in the enjoyment of the good of an eternity that will never end.” In the 16th century, St. Robert Bellarmine explained the rationale for the Assumption in these words:
“And who, I ask, could believe that the ark of holiness, the dwelling place of the Word of God, the temple of the Holy Spirit, could be reduced to ruin? My soul is filled with horror at the thought that the virginal flesh which had begotten God, had brought Him into the world, had nourished and carried Him, could have been turned into ashes or given over to be food for worms.”

Q. Believe it or not, my wife and I had friends over yesterday who told us that Halal food — so common now in America — in fact is prayed over and “sacrificed to Allah,” and therefore must not be consumed by Christians. They tell us that they have had to return a certain cheese to the grocery store, telling the store manager that they discovered a tiny “Halal” label when they got home, and that they are Christians and cannot eat this cheese. The manager refunded their money. They also say that they generally will eat only pork when at a restaurant because so many restaurants have “meat sacrificed to idols” — see 1 Cor. 10:28 and Acts 15:29. At home, they have been consuming mostly meat from cows raised by friends. Can you comment on this? — J.G.B., Alabama.
A. All we know is that “Halal” is an Arabic word that refers to food that is permissible to eat under Islamic law. For meat to be certified “halal,” it cannot be a forbidden cut, such as meat from hindquarters, or meat such as pork. The slaughter of a halal animal, says the website www.thekitchn.com, must follow certain guidelines:
Allah’s name must be pronounced during slaughter.
The instrument must be very sharp to ensure humane slaughter. The animal must be slit at the throat.
The animal must not be unconscious.
The animal must be hung upside down and allowed to bleed dry. Eating blood is not halal.
These steps must be accomplished by a Muslim or the People of the Book (Christian or Jew). Many observant Muslims find kosher meat acceptable.
The animal must have been fed a natural diet that did not contain animal byproducts.

Q. My daughter is in the process of getting a divorce. Their grounds, if they needed any, are incompatibility. They have tried counseling, without success. Before my conversion, we were members of the Episcopal Church and my daughter was baptized and married in that church. Her soon-to-be ex-husband is Presbyterian.
My daughter has been friends with a young woman and her brother for some years. Lately, the relationship with the brother has developed into a romantic attraction (not an adulterous affair, however). I feel that there is a strong possibility that they may marry when my daughter is free to do so. This young man is devout Orthodox and has spoken to his priest regarding his feelings toward my daughter.
My daughter feels confident that her divorce would be acceptable to the Orthodox Church and that she may remarry in that church. My question is, if this divorce and remarriage is acceptable in our sister church, but perhaps not in the Catholic Church, should I attend the wedding? — Name and State Withheld.
A. The question you need to ask is whether divorce is acceptable to Jesus, and the answer of course is no. Speaking to a crowd one day, Jesus told them: “Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and the one who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery” (Luke 16:18). On another occasion, when Jesus was asked if it were “lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause whatsoever,” He replied:
“Have you not read that from the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, no human being must separate” (Matt. 19:4-6).
Twenty centuries later, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, following the command of Jesus, says that “divorce is a grave offense against the natural law. It claims to break the contract, to which the spouses freely consented, to live with each other till death. Divorce does injury to the covenant of salvation, of which sacramental marriage is the sign. Contracting a new union, even if it is recognized by civil law, adds to the gravity of the rupture: the remarried spouse is then in a situation of public and permanent adultery” (n. 2384).
The Catechism goes on to say that “divorce is immoral also because it introduces disorder into the family and into society. This disorder brings grave harm to the deserted spouse, to children traumatized by the separation of their parents and often torn between them, and because of its contagious effect which makes it truly a plague on society” (n. 2385).
So if you were to attend your divorced daughter’s attempted remarriage, you would be turning your back on Jesus and the Church He established to guide us in our moral decisions. You would also be approving the entry of your daughter into a permanent state of adultery, a grave sin that will separate her from God. If you decline to attend, on the other hand, you will no doubt hurt your daughter’s feelings, but what is more important — her feelings or the truth handed down to us by the Son of God? This is a very difficult situation for you, and we will pray that you have the courage to make the right decision.

Q. There is a parish in Texas where the priest’s dogs accompany him to the altar and stay throughout the Mass. This just seems like a great distraction away from the whole focus of the Mass, which is Our Eucharistic Lord. It would seem that people’s attention would be drawn to what the dogs are doing. Though the dogs may be gentle and endearing, there is a time and place for them and not at Mass because of the distraction they would naturally cause.
Does this seem like an egregious situation and a lack of respect toward the Holy Eucharist? — J.H., Arizona.
A. Unless the priest has seeing or hearing problems and needs the dogs to help him (shouldn’t one dog be enough if this is the case?), we can think of no good reason for having the animals in the sanctuary during Mass. We don’t remember reading about the presence of any dogs at the Last Supper.

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TOP CATHOLIC BISHOPS AIDE ON EXECUTIVE AMNESTY: OBAMA’S ‘LAST CHANCE TO MAKE GOOD ON PROMISE’

In a statement last Friday in the New York Times, the top aide on immigration for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) said that executive amnesty is President Barack Obama’s “last chance to make good on his promise…Continue Reading

Catholics Want To Learn More About Their Faith, Bishops Report

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Vatican cardinal: Catholic charity ‘is not only giving food … but giving God’

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Prof at Catholic university tries to justify same-sex ‘marriage’ acceptance from Scripture

Professor Gerald Schlabach of the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota recently published a piece for The Christian Century utilizing the writing of St. Paul to create an argument legitimizing acceptance of same-sex marriage. In light of Schlabach’s article, The Cardinal Newman Society…Continue Reading

Pro-Life Group: “We Will Not Obey the Obamacare HHS Mandate, Not Today, Not Ever”

The pro-life group Priests for Life was one of the earliest organizations to file a lawsuit against the Obama administration over its HHS mandate. The mandate compels religious groups to pay for birth control drugs and drugs like ella that…Continue Reading

Court Says Obama Admin Can Force Pro-Life Group to Obey Pro-Abortion HHS Mandate

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Where Are Our Young People Going?

During the 10:30 Mass in my parish a couple of Sundays ago 32 boys and girls stood in front of the altar, faced the congregation, and formally affirmed their desire to be confirmed. It was part of the preparation for…Continue Reading

US Bishops Elect New Secretary, Discuss Health Care Ethics Guide

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Fidelity to Bishop of Rome crucial to evangelization, US bishops say

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Nation’s Catholic bishops gather in Baltimore Monday

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Pope names new ‘foreign minister,’ prefect of Apostolic Signatura; Cardinal Burke given new position

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Cardinal Burke: Church Risks Serious Tensions in Months Ahead

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Today . . .

Pope: All Christians Called To Be Missionaries, ‘Not Just The Few’

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(Vatican Radio) All Christians and “not just the few” are called to intensify their missionary spirit and go out to proclaim the joy of the Gospel, said Pope Francis.He issued the call on Saturday in speaking at the Vatican to a group of more than 700 participants in Italy’s National Missionary Congress, which was organized by the Italian Episcopal Conference…Continue Reading

Pope Francis Pays Tribute To Blessed Paul VI’s Devotion To Mary

(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis paid tribute on Thursday to Blessed Pope Paul the 6th and his great love for the Mother of God, saying he always turned to Mary at crucial and difficult moments for the Church and humanity. The Pope’s words came during a message which was read on his behalf by the Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin…Continue Reading

Pope At Santa Marta: Jesus Weeps

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(Vatican Radio) Jesus weeps today when the doors of our hearts, those of the pastors of the Church, are closed to His surprises not recognizing the One who brings peace said Pope Francis at Mass Friday morning in Casa Santa Marta. Commenting on the Gospel of the Day, Pope Francis said Jesus weeps over Jerusalem because its people did not…Continue Reading

Pope At Audience: The Universal Call To Holiness

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The Synod And The New Evangelization

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A Book Review . . . Detailed Studies Of Galileo

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A Parody From Hell

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Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Reading And Interpreting Scripture

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Catholic Replies

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Be Watchful And Alert

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In The Footsteps Of St. Paul… Bishop Conley’s Pilgrimage Teaches About Evangelizing Culture

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Cast A Gauntlet – Sola Scriptura: Part 1

Catholic Heroes… St. Cecilia

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Catholic Heroes . . . St. Frances Xavier Cabrini

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A Powerful Weapon: 15 Quotes on the Holy Rosary

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