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March 26, 2021 Our Catholic Faith No Comments

Editor’s Note: Are you interested in finding some good Lenten reading? Why not choose one or more of our books? The books available are Catholic Replies and Catholic Replies 2, All Generations Will Call Me Blessed, Who Do You Say That I Am?, Catholicism & Reason (Apologetics), Catholicism & Scripture (Salvation History), Catholicism & Society (Marriage and Family), Catholicism & Ethics (Medical/Moral Issues), and Catholicism & Life (Commandments and Sacraments). While they usually range in price from $10.95 to $17.95, you can purchase them at a special Lenten price of $5 each, plus $10 shipping for up to five books and $15 for more than five books. All orders must be paid by check. You can learn more about these books by visiting our website at www.crpublications.com. Don’t order from the website, however, since it automatically charges full price.

Q. What is the effect or value of our sincere prayers and Mass offerings for supplications that have been accomplished but remain unknown to us? For example, I remember departed friends and relatives with prayers and Masses, assuming that if they are in Purgatory these offerings will quicken their release into Heaven. But since my list includes devout Catholics who passed away decades ago, it seems likely that some of them have been in Heaven for years. So what happens to prayers and Masses for those already in Heaven? There is also the unthinkable possibility that some of those I pray for were not saved and are not in Purgatory. What happens to my prayers and Masses for them? By the way, I remember a priest from years ago who often said that his assignment on Earth was to turn out the lights in Purgatory. — D.M., Virginia.
A. No prayers are wasted, whether for those no longer in need of them or, sadly, for those who cannot benefit from them. We leave it up to a merciful and benevolent God to apply our prayers and Masses to other souls who may not have anyone to pray for them.

Q. How does a person with dementia or Alzheimer’s go to Confession? They get confused in the confessional line in church, can’t remember what to do or say, and cannot remember the penance the priest gave them when they leave the confessional. The simple solution would probably be a home visit, but these people are home a lot and want to get out. — Name and State Withheld.
A. Your simple solution is the right solution. Talk to a priest about it. He may wonder if the person can even remember what sins, if any, to confess. You should also request that the priest administer the Anointing of the Sick to this person. As for getting the person out of the house, there are lots of opportunities to do that besides going to Confession.

Q. Jesus says in Matt. 11:29, “Learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart.” But Jesus does just the opposite — He talks back to the Pharisees, to Pontius Pilate, and to King Herod. He drives the money changers out of the Temple without turning the other cheek, He orders people to follow Him, He says that people who don’t believe in Him will go to Hell, and He claims to be God (I don’t doubt that, but proclaiming it isn’t an act of humility, is it?). The only humble thing I see Jesus doing is obeying His Father and dying on the cross. One act of humility in His entire life and He calls Himself humble! — G.P., via e-mail.
A. Wow! You better be careful there, G.P., accusing Jesus of not being humble. Wasn’t He born in a stable rather than in a palace? Didn’t He spend most of His adult life working as a lowly carpenter? Didn’t He tell His disciples that He had no place to lay His head? Didn’t He submit to excruciating torture and death when He could easily have crushed His enemies?
You have the wrong idea about the meaning of humble. It means meek and lowly, yes, but it does not mean denying one’s nature and mission out of a false sense of humility, or failing to stand up for what is right and true. Sure, He talked back to the Pharisees about their hypocrisy, and to Pontius Pilate about his cavalier disregard for the truth (He didn’t speak a word in the presence of Herod), but wasn’t He trying to get these foes of His to turn away from their prideful and arrogant exercise of authority over others?
How many times did Jesus talk about serving others instead of lording it over then and seeking to be served? Read the Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector in chapter 18 of Luke’s Gospel.
Was His driving of the money changers out of the Temple an act of pride, or was it a defense of a holy place, the house of His Father, against sacrilege? Was His claim to be God an act of pride, or was it a clear statement of the truth? Would you rather that Jesus denied His divinity or kept it secret? He did that for a while because the people were expecting a warrior Messiah and not one who would accomplish His mission by suffering and dying for our sins. A humble person does not deny the truth, but rather states it clearly and convincingly so that others may know the truth that will set them free (cf. John 8:32).
Jesus didn’t order anyone to follow Him; He told people to “come after me,” to keep His Commandments, and to eat His Body and drink His Blood if they wished to get to Heaven. He always left it up to a person’s free choice to follow Him or not. When people chose to walk away from Him (cf. John 6:66), He let them go.
He didn’t say, “Oh, wait a minute, folks, I didn’t really mean you had to eat my flesh and drink my blood. I was only speaking metaphorically.” No, He was speaking literally, and He let them walk away. Interestingly, the verse in John is also the mark of the beast (666) in the Book of Revelation (13:18).
Jesus didn’t say that people who didn’t believe in Him would go to Hell, but rather that those who deliberately failed to help their needy brothers and sisters would find themselves in “the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matt. 25:41).
So read the Gospels more carefully to see that Jesus was indeed the humble “suffering servant” prophesied in chapter 53 of Isaiah:
“Though he was harshly treated, he submitted/ and opened not his mouth;/ Like a lamb led to the slaughter/ or a sheep before the shearers,/ he was silent and opened not his mouth./ Oppressed and condemned, he was taken away,/ and who would have thought any more of/ his destiny?/ When he was cut off from the land of the living,/ and smitten for the sin of his people,/ A grave was assigned him among the wicked/ and a burial place with evildoers,/ Though he had done no wrong/ nor spoken any falsehood.”

Q. Murder by legislation is still murder! I think everyone is going mad, with more than 60 million babies killed by abortion since Roe v. Wade, and our legislators are directly responsible for their murder. Isn’t that enough to be excommunicated? I was a Protestant and I adopted the Catholic Church to get away from bishops who think that their teachings are superior to those of Jesus Christ. Stop it, or I quit. — E.Z., California.
A. No, don’t quit. You have freely chosen to join the only Church founded by Jesus Himself. The Catholic Church, with all the sins and failings of her members, is still the only sure route to Heaven, the place where you can receive the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity, of the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity. By taking the Holy Eucharist into your body and soul every week, or even every day if you can, you will get the strength you need not to lose heart in the face of the horrible abomination of abortion.
As we have said in the past, the moral depravity of so-called Catholic politicians promoting this grave evil does not qualify them for the sanction of excommunication, which is reserved for those who actually perform or procure the abortion. Do you really think that excommunication would deter the Bidens and Pelosis from pushing for the extermination of the least of our brothers and sisters? Imposition of this penalty wouldn’t phase them in the slightest, and it would probably make them heroes to the “culture of death” crowd.
These politicians will get their comeuppance on Judgment Day, when the Lord will ask them why they so shamelessly and persistently violated the Commandment against murder of the innocent. If they did not repent of this grave sin before their death, they will face a punishment much worse than excommunication. Pray for their conversion of heart before it is too late.

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Today . . .

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">Conversations with Cardinal Burke March 2021

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Catholic Replies

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