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May 6, 2022 Our Catholic Faith No Comments

Q. Reading Isaiah 65:20, he speaks of people dying at the age of 100, when they will be considered mere youths. Could Isaiah have been a Sadducee and not believe in eternal life? Or was he a Pharisee? Although perhaps neither religious group existed that far back. — K.H., Iowa.
A. Isaiah prophesied in the eighth century before Christ, some six centuries before the Sadducees and Pharisees came on the scene. The Sadducees, one of the two major sects at the time of Jesus, came into being sometime in the second century before Christ. They were the elite element in Judaism, coming from the most powerful priestly families. They differed from the Pharisees in denying the resurrection of the dead and the existence of angels and the soul. They also accepted only the first five books of the Bible.
The Pharisees, the other major sect at the time of Jesus, also appeared in history in the second century before Christ. Their name means “separated ones” because they separated themselves from all forms of religious uncleanness. They were laymen, unlike the priestly Sadducees, but they joined forces briefly in the conspiracy to get rid of Jesus. The Pharisees accepted all the books of the Old Testament, believed in the resurrection of the body and angels and demons, and drew the ire of Jesus for their hypocrisy and their arrogance.
After the Temple, the principal focus of the two groups, was destroyed in AD 70, they disappeared from history sometime in the second century AD.

Q. (1) I read recently that cells from aborted babies were used in the production of Tylenol. If that is true, is it morally wrong to use Tylenol?
(2) I have noticed that one is exempt from certain medical procedures if the procedures would cause undue financial hardship. Is that true? – M.M., Alabama.
A. (1) According to an article by Dr. Paul Casey on LifeSiteNews, December 10, 2021, Tylenol was tested for efficacy in the early 1950s and has no connection with the aborted fetal cell line known as HEK-293, which originated in the 1970s. The man who made this allegation, Fr. Matthew Schneider, LC, later retracted it, saying that “obviously Tylenol…doesn’t rely on HEK-293 tests.”
(2) In considering whether to submit to a medical procedure, one is obligated to take all ordinary means to preserve one’s life. Ordinary means a procedure that is scientifically established, statistically successful, and offers a reasonable benefit to the patient. Bear in mind that procedures once thought to be extraordinary, e.g., a heart transplant, may now be ordinary treatment. Any procedure that does not meet the three conditions mentioned may be considered extraordinary. One is not obliged to undergo extraordinary treatment, but may choose to do so if, for example, the lives of other people depend on the survival of the patient.
In answer to your specific question, one of the conditions that may contribute to refusal of extraordinary treatment is that the cost of the procedure is exorbitant, that it could wipe out a family’s resources or cause them to lose their home. One must consider all the circumstances and consult family members, a clergyman, and physicians before making such a monumental decision.
Q. Our pastor was asked if one could gain a plenary indulgence by saying the rosary with the EWTN group on TV or radio when confined to home. Do you know? — S.K., Ohio.
A. Your pastor ought to get a copy of the Manual of Indulgences, which is available from the USCCB. On page 58, it says that a plenary indulgence is granted to the faithful when they “devoutly recite the Marian rosary in a church or oratory, or in a family, a religious community, or an association of the faithful, and in general when several of the faithful gather for some honest purpose.” Or if they “devoutly join in the recitation of the rosary while it is being recited by the Supreme Pontiff and broadcast live by radio or television.”
By the way, on the same page, it says that a plenary indulgence is available if one engages in “devout reading or listening to the Sacred Scriptures for at least a half an hour.”
On page 19, it says that the local bishop “can grant permission to the faithful over whom they exercise legitimate authority and who live in places where it is impossible or at least very difficult to go to confession or Communion to gain a plenary indulgence without confession and Communion, provided they have contrition for their sins and have the intention of receiving these Sacraments as soon as possible.”
On page 113, it says that a person who cannot leave their home “may obtain a plenary indulgence on Divine Mercy Sunday, if totally detesting any sin, as has been said before, and with the intention of fulfilling as soon as possible the three usual conditions [Confession, Communion, and prayer for the intention of the Holy Father], will recite the Our Father and the Creed before a devout image of Our Merciful Lord Jesus and, in addition, pray a devout invocation to the Merciful Lord Jesus (e.g., ‘Merciful Jesus, I trust in you’).
“If it is impossible that people do even this, on the same day they may obtain the plenary indulgence if with a spiritual intention they are united with those carrying out the prescribed practice for obtaining the indulgence in the usual way and offer to the Merciful Lord a prayer and the sufferings of their illness and the difficulties of their lives, with the resolution to accomplish as soon as possible the three conditions prescribed to obtain the plenary indulgence.”

Q. In a recent reply about plenary indulgences, your answers were generally correct, but you made some incorrect statements or failed to explain fully some conditions. I use as my authority The Handbook [Manual]of Indulgences, Norms, and Grants (1991). — B.P., Florida.
A. We used the same authority, 2006 edition, along with some norms that were issued in conjunction with the Year of St. Joseph (2021). Let us comment on your concerns.

  1. You said that we failed to explain what it means to be free from all attachment to sin. Yes, we did omit this out of space considerations for the column but agree with you that it means the person performing the indulgenced works “must be then in the state of sanctifying grace.”
  2. You said that our statement about receiving Holy Communion on the same day that the indulgenced work is performed is “generally so, but there is nothing in the Norms and Grants which require it.” Norm 20.3 says that “the three conditions [Confession, Communion, and prayer for the intention of the Holy Father] may be fulfilled several days before or after the performance of the prescribed work; it is, however, fitting that Communion be received and the prayer for the intention of the Holy Father be said on the same day the work is performed.”
  3. You said that our statement about going to Confession twenty days before or after we seek the indulgence is not found in the Norms and Grants. True. The traditional time for Confession, as you noted, is up to eight days, but we were borrowing from the norms for the Year of St. Joseph in 2021, which extended the time to 20 days.
  4. You said the Norms and Grants gives only a partial indulgence to reciting the Litany of St. Joseph, and that is correct. But the norms for the Year of St. Joseph granted a plenary indulgence for this litany or for some other prayer to St. Joseph for the persecuted Church and for the relief of all persecuted Christians. Perhaps we shouldn’t have conflated the two but thank you for your observations. Let us take full advantage of this great source of grace.
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Today . . .

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