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August 3, 2018 Our Catholic Faith No Comments

Q. How do you respond to a person who rejects the rosary because it allegedly favors Mary over God, with many more prayers to her than to God? — I.L., Kentucky.
A. You could point out that at the heart of each Hail Mary is Jesus; that each decade of the rosary concludes with a prayer of praise to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, as well as the Fatima prayer, which begins, “O my Jesus, forgive us our sins”; and that all of the twenty mysteries upon which one is supposed to meditate while saying the Hail Marys involve Jesus either explicitly or implicitly.
Even though He is not specifically mentioned in the Descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles, it was Jesus who told the apostles to wait in Jerusalem for the coming of the Spirit (cf. Acts 1:4-5).
And even though He is not specifically mentioned in the Fourth and Fifth Glorious Mysteries, who else would be taking His Mother to Heaven at the end of her earthly live or crowning her as Queen of Heaven and Earth?
And by the way, where did the Hail Mary come from, except from God Himself through the lips of the Archangel Gabriel and the lips of Elizabeth, who was inspired by the Holy Spirit?
Furthermore, when the Hail Mary says “the Lord is with thee,” who is the Lord but Jesus? And when we pray “Holy Mary, Mother of God,” who is the God but Jesus? And of course, we mention Him specifically when we say “blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.”
Those who belittle the rosary, or recitation of the Hail Mary, are missing out on a wonderful opportunity to invoke the assistance of the Blessed Mother “now and at the hour of our death.” What a consolation it will be to stand before Christ on Judgment Day, knowing that at His side will be His Mother to whom we were so devoted in this life! Will she not intercede for us, who literally asked her for help hundreds of thousands of times during a lifetime of prayer?

Q. In a recent column, Fr. George Rutler talked about Christians today exhibiting “Laodicean lukewarmness” (Rev. 3:16). What did he mean by that? — J.C., Florida.
A. Laodicea was in the first century a wealthy commercial city known for its banking industry, its medical school, and its export of black wool clothing and eye ointment. It had been destroyed by an earthquake in the year 60, but rebuilt itself with no assistance from the Roman Empire.
However, said Jesus, its material prosperity only covered up its spiritual poverty. He scolded the Laodiceans for being lukewarm, neither hot Christians fully devoted to Jesus, nor cold Christians who had given up their attachment to Him. What they were, He said, was mediocre Christians, cultural Christians who watered down their beliefs to get along with their peers. Thus, Jesus said that He would spit them out of His mouth, just like one spits lukewarm water out of one’s mouth.
Christ was reproving these rich and affluent Christians for trying to serve two masters, for their smugness, thinking they were rich and prosperous and in need of nothing, and for picking and choosing what Church teachings to follow. Kind of like some Catholics today who think that they can reject certain teachings and still remain good Catholics. You know, the ones who call themselves Catholics while disagreeing with the Church on abortion, contraception, adultery, divorce, homosexuality, social justice, and other moral issues.
If Jesus were speaking to “cafeteria Catholics” today, He might use the same language that He used with the Laodiceans, calling them spiritually “wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked” (Rev. 3:17). The Lord was not saying this out of anger, but out of love since He was hoping to lead these first-century Christians to repentance and conversion.
Christ was reminding them, and us, that those whom He loves He first reproves and chastises. “Be earnest, therefore, and repent,” He said. “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, [then] I will enter his house and dine with him, and he with me” (Rev. 3:19-20).
The image of Jesus knocking on the door recalls the famous painting by Holman Hunt called The Light of the World. It shows the Lord knocking, but there is no handle or latch on the outside. When Hunt was asked if he forgot to include a handle in the painting, he said no. He was trying to show that the door to Christ can only be opened from within. He will not force Himself on us; we must welcome Him in.

Q. I recently heard a priest comment that when we refer to the hand of God or say that God is seated in Heaven, those are only figures of speech because God is a spirit and, as such, He has no hands and He cannot sit. I was surprised because I thought that we were made in the image and likeness of God, and, therefore, spirits in the spirit realm, such as the angels, saints, and God Himself, would have characteristics similar in some way to our physical characteristics — eyes to see, ears to hear, a mouth to speak, and arms and legs. Of course, I understand that spirits in the spirit realm are invisible to us here in the natural realm, but I assumed that the saints in Heaven can see and recognize each other. Is this one of those matters that the Church does not know for certain and has not taken a firm position? — D.M., via e-mail.
A. To say that we are made in the image and likeness of God does not mean that we resemble God physically since, as you correctly note, He does not have a physical body. What it means is that we resemble God in our souls in that we have an intelligence and a will. We resemble the Creator in that we can think and choose and love.
To sit at the right hand of God refers to an ancient tradition that being placed at the right hand of a king or ruler was a sign of high esteem. In Jewish families, the honor of sitting at the right hand of the father was accorded to the eldest son. Thus, Jesus, as God’s only son, would be accorded the honor of the highest place in Heaven, next to the Father. In the words St. John Damascene as quoted in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (n. 663):
“By ‘the Father’s right hand’ we understand the glory and honor of divinity, where he who exists as Son of God before all ages, indeed as God, of one being with the Father, is seated bodily after he became incarnate and his flesh was glorified’.”
The Catechism (n. 664) goes on to say that “being seated at the Father’s right hand signifies the inauguration of the Messiah’s kingdom, the fulfillment of the prophet Daniel’s vision concerning the Son of man: ‘To him was given dominion and glory and kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed’” (Daniel 7:14).
We believe that the saints in Heaven can recognize each other, but intuitively and not in a physical way since they do not yet have bodies, except for Mary and possibly Enoch and Elijah. So, too, when we see God “face to face” in the Beatific Vision, we will know that we are in His presence, even if we cannot physically see Him.

Q. How did Archbishop Theodore McCarrick get by the screening process for cardinal when he had already settled two lawsuits involving his sexual assaults on adult males? Also, what do we know about his involvement, if any, in building up the homosexual network among men ordained or approved for higher office in the Church? — A.G., via e-mail.
A. We don’t have an answer for the second question, but the answer to the first one is that some bishops are involved in the homosexual culture themselves and will not oppose the advancement of a McCarrick lest it lead to their own exposure.
In a recent blog, Phil Lawler recalled the warning in 2005 of a contributor named “Diogenes,” who listed a dozen bishops at that time who were publicly known to be homosexuals. He said that similarly inclined prelates “have a profound personal interest that there be no public examination of the connections between their sexual appetites, their convictions, and their conduct of office.”
Lawler said in his blog that the “long overdue exposure of Cardinal McCarrick . . . was the result of an investigation by a review board, acting on authorization from the Holy See,” but was not disclosed “by the bishops of those dioceses that had previously received complaints. So after all these years, you might count this story as a small, hesitant, partial step forward toward a goal that should have been obvious to everyone fifteen years ago, holding bishops accountable.”

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Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

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Catholic Replies

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