Monday 26th September 2022

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September 23, 2022 Our Catholic Faith No Comments

Q. I don’t use rosary beads to say the rosary since I pray in the car or while doing gardening or housework. Is it okay to pray the rosary daily with my fingers? Also, I have seen pictures of St. Joseph with lilies, and I have been told that is the way he was chosen to be the husband of Mary. Is that true? — C.B.M., via e-mail.
A. Of course it is okay to pray the rosary on your fingers. The important thing is to pray this wonderful, and powerful, devotion daily, whether on the beads or on your fingers.
As for the association of lilies with St. Joseph, that comes from a pious legend about the choice of a spouse for the Virgin Mary. According to the legend, religious leaders invited the men of the community to lay their staffs on the ground to wait for a sign. When only the staff of St. Joseph sprouted lilies, it was seen as a sign from God that he was to be the chosen husband of Mary.

Q. The Gospel reading at Mass today was rather startling since it had Jesus saying that “if anyone comes to me without hating his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:26). How can one who said that we must love even our enemies make such a statement? — R.K., California.
A. Jesus didn’t mean “hate” in the usual sense of despising someone; rather He was saying that if we love family members more than Him, then we cannot be His disciples. We are certainly to love family members, but to love them less than Jesus. They must always take second place to the Lord if we are to be His true disciples.
A parallel hard saying is when Jesus said that He had not come to establish peace on Earth, “but rather division. From now on a household of five will be divided, three against two and two against three; a father will be divided against his son and a son against his father, a mother against her daughter and a daughter against her mother, and a mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law” (Luke 12:51-53).
Jesus is not saying that He wants to break up families, but rather that there will inevitably be divisions in families among those who want to keep His teachings and those who don’t. For example, there could be division between a father and son over Mass attendance or moving in with a girlfriend, or between a mother and daughter over divorce and remarriage, or between a mother-in-law and a daughter-in-law over abortion.
Christ does not desire these divisions, of course, but He is reminding us that they are inevitable unless all members of a family conform their lives to His divine plan. If one wants to get to Heaven, He is saying, one must “hate” those family members who would advise or support an immoral course of action and choose instead the difficult road of being a true disciple of Jesus.
Writing in the National Catholic Register, Msgr. Charles Pope explained it this way:
“What we are dealing with here is an ancient Jewish idiom. If one would say, ‘I love vanilla but hate chocolate,’ this really means that I strongly prefer vanilla to chocolate, not that I actually hate chocolate. So what Jesus means is that we cannot prefer anyone or anything to Him. He must have absolute priority over even the closest human relationships in your life. If there’s anyone in your life who can talk you out of obeying God or can pull you into unrighteousness, he has too much power. No one is to have priority over Jesus Christ and what He teaches.”

Q. What is the truth about the fate of Indigenous children in Canada who were taken from their families and placed in residential schools to help assimilate them into Canadian culture? Following a visit to Canada in July, Pope Francis described the program as “genocide.” Is this true? — M.K., via e-mail.
A. No, it is not true. The facts are that about 150,000 Indigenous children were taken from their homes between 1857 and 1970 after the Canadian Parliament passed the Gradual Civilization Act. According to the Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, “the residential school system was based on an assumption that European civilization and Christian religions were superior to Aboriginal culture, which was seen as being savage and brutal.” The schools were operated mostly by the Canadian Government with assistance from Catholic religious orders and Protestant denominations.
Allegations of “cultural genocide” have been lodged primarily against Catholic missionaries at the Kamloops school, with reports of mass graves containing hundreds of children. The alleged mass graves were reportedly discovered in May 2021 by an anthropologist using ground-penetrating radar. These reports were quickly disseminated by the mainstream media and by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. However, no excavation of the area has ever been done and more recent studies have said that there were no mass graves and that there is no evidence of a single student killed in the 113-year history of the schools.
That there was no “cultural genocide” was confirmed by the above-mentioned Report, which said that “despite the coercive measures that the government adopted, it failed to achieve its policy goals. Although Aboriginal peoples and cultures have been badly damaged, they continue to exist.” Nor was there any genocide since that means the deliberate killing of virtually all members of an ethnic or religious minority, and that did not happen in the residential schools.
In summary, Jacques Rouillard, professor emeritus at the University of Montreal, said in January 2022:
“It is incredible that preliminary research into an alleged mass grave in an orchard could have led to such a spiral of claims endorsed by the Canadian Government and picked up by media around the world. It is not a conflict between history and Aboriginal oral history, but between the latter and common sense. Concrete evidence is needed before the accusations against the Oblates of Mary Immaculate and the Sisters of St. Anne can be written down in history. The exhumations have not yet started and no remains have been found. A crime committed requires verifiable evidence, especially if the accused are long dead.”

Q. Did God make the Blessed Virgin Mary, after her Assumption, omniscient or omnipresent? – G.P., via e-mail.
A. No, those are qualities that belong only to God. Because of her exalted status as the holiest woman who ever lived, Mary was given many privileges. She was immaculately conceived without original sin (“our tainted nature’s solitary boast,” in the words of the poet William Wordsworth), she conceived a child through the power of the Holy Spirit, she was taken up to Heaven, body and soul, at the end of her life on Earth, and she has been given the mission of appearing to her children on Earth to urge them to pray and to avoid sin.
However, none of these privileges confers on her the divine ability to know all things and to be present everywhere.

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Catechism

Today . . .

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Catholic Replies

Q. I don’t use rosary beads to say the rosary since I pray in the car or while doing gardening or housework. Is it okay to pray the rosary daily with my fingers? Also, I have seen pictures of St. Joseph with lilies, and I have been told that is the way he was chosen to be the husband of…Continue Reading

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