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September 28, 2018 Our Catholic Faith No Comments

Q. I was surprised to read in one of your recent columns that there are different levels of Heaven. Does praying for those deceased who are perhaps already in Heaven elevate their position or status in Heaven? What is the Church’s position on that? — A.C., Tennessee.
A. The Church’s position is that of St. Paul, whom we quoted as having said that the quality of one’s spiritual life on Earth will determine the level of happiness one will enjoy in Heaven. While praying for the deceased can get them out of Purgatory into Heaven, we don’t think that our prayers can change one’s status in Heaven since that was decided by the kind of life they led on Earth.
In his book Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Heaven, Peter Kreeft said that all are not equal in Heaven, and that that is a good thing. “Having no heroes, being unable to look up to anyone,” he said, “would be Hell, not Heaven” (p. 29).
Kreeft said that “we modern egalitarians are tempted to the primal sin of pride in the opposite way from the ancients. The old, aristocratic form of pride was the desire to be better than others. The new, democratic form is the desire not to have anyone better than yourself. It is just as spiritually deadly and does not even carry with it the false pleasure of gloating superiority. Flat, boring, repetitive sameness is simply not the structure of reality in a theistic universe, either on earth or in Heaven” (pp. 29-30).
“Of course there are degrees of perfection in Heaven,” he said. “It is quite the divine style. There are degrees of perfection in everything God created (though not in everything we create). Equality is a man-made legal fiction designed as a wall of defense against tyranny, a medicine against a disease….Why is there no jealousy in this hierarchical, aristocratic, non-egalitarian Heaven of authority and obedience? Because all are cells in the same body. The kidney does not rebel because it is not the eye. Jealousy is the principle of Hell. There is no Hell in Heaven” (p. 31).

Q. There are battles going on now in several states over whether reparative therapy should be permitted for persons suffering from gender dysphoria or same-sex attraction. Some activists want to ban any therapy or counseling for such persons even though there is testimony that reparative therapy has saved people’s lives and helped them to deal with the pain and trauma associated with these conditions. What are some good arguments in favor of such therapy? — M.C., Missouri.
A. In a recent fight against a proposed bill in California, which was prevented from coming to a final vote this year, a group called California MassResistance handed out fliers saying that the bill would have limited a patient’s choice to seek health-care counseling only in this one area and that it was an unconstitutional restriction on free speech. The flier provided the following arguments against “a lobbying campaign of disinformation and manufactured hysteria” launched by supporters of the bill:
“Misinformation: They are claiming the American Psychological Association (APA) issued a statement ‘condemning conversion therapy.’
“The facts: But they don’t tell you that a past president of the APA, Dr. Nicholas Cummings, told reporters that the APA is intimidated and harassed by the ‘gay rights’ movement and ‘does not allow open debate’ on this issue. Moreover, Dr. Cummings said publicly that he used this therapy and saw it to be successful.
“Lies: They tell lurid and completely untrue stories about children being electrocuted and other alleged bizarre abuses by therapists.
“Fact: There have been no documented complaints to regulatory agencies of such abuses by professional therapists in nearly 50 years.
“Misinformation: They claim that ‘research’ shows that this professional therapy causes depression, anxiety, and self-destructive behavior.
“Fact: Such ‘research’ is from radical activist sources and completely untrustworthy. In fact, the exact opposite is true. Good therapy helps heal those problems in children.”

Q. What is the proper posture after Holy Communion? Our priest sits down before the tabernacle is closed. During this time, the deacon is in the sacristy consuming the remaining Blood and consolidating the Hosts into one container while the tabernacle door is open. The deacon places the leftover Hosts into the tabernacle and closes the door. Should we stay kneeling, or is sitting permissible once the tabernacle is closed? — A.M., Tennessee.
A. Regarding the proper posture after Holy Communion, Jimmy Akin says in his book Mass Revision that “there is no mandated posture following Communion. Individuals may stand, sit, or kneel at their preference; they may do whatever they feel best promotes their own personal devotion to Christ in the Eucharist. One should not scruple about when to begin sitting after Communion” (p. 231). He says that “it is the practice in some places for people to kneel following Communion until the priest sits down or until the Holy Eucharist has been reserved in the tabernacle. These are permitted practices, but they are not mandated by law” (Ibid.)
As for the role of the priest, here is what the General Instruction of the Roman Missal says:
“When the distribution of Communion is over, the Priest himself immediately and completely consumes at the altar any consecrated Wine that happens to remain; as for any consecrated Hosts that are left, he either consumes them at the altar or carries them to the place designated for the reservation of the Eucharist.
“Upon returning to the altar, the Priest collects the fragments, should any remain, and he stands at the altar or at the credence table and purifies the paten or ciborium over the chalice, and after this purifies the chalice, saying Quod ore sumpsimus, Domine (What has passed our lips), and dries the chalice with a purificator. If the vessels are purified at the altar, they are carried to the credence table by a minister. Nevertheless, it is also permitted to leave vessels needing to be purified, especially if there are several, on a corporal, suitably covered, either on the altar or on the credence table, and to purify them immediately after Mass, after the dismissal of the people” (n. 163).
The following paragraph says that “after this, the Priest may return to the chair. A sacred silence may now be observed for some time, or a Psalm or other canticle of praise or a hymn may be sung.”
As for the role of the deacon, the GIRM says that “when the distribution of Communion is over, the Deacon returns to the altar with the priest, collects the fragments, should any remain, and then carries the chalice and other sacred vessels to the credence table, where he purifies them and arranges them as usual, while the Priest returns to the chair. Nevertheless, it is also permitted to leave vessels needing to be purified on a corporal, suitably covered, on the credence table, and to purify them immediately after Mass, following the dismissal of the people” (n. 183).

Q. Can you tell me what to make of the enclosed article and what the Church can do about this? – J.R., New Jersey.
A. The article was written by Fr. Paul Kramer of the Servants of Jesus and Mary in Constable, N.Y. Among other things, Kramer says of Pope Francis that he is “not a Christian at all, but an apostate and an infidel….Bergoglio is a manifest apostate and infidel — and, therefore, is not a member of the Catholic Church, nor its visible head on earth.”
Fr. Kramer is best known for his allegations that the Third Secret of Fatima has never been fully revealed and that the Church has withheld the alleged part about a widespread apostasy in the Church and terrible calamities that will strike the world. His credibility can be determined by his prediction some years ago that there would be an “outbreak of war” in 2008, and in 2011 would come the consecration of Russia and the beginning of the period of peace spoken of by Our Lady of Fatima. “The period of chastisement may continue past 2011, but by 2013 the chastisement will have ended and this may be the actual year of the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart.” Would that it were so.

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Catholic Replies

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