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June 2, 2023 Our Catholic Faith No Comments

Q. Jesus said, “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you do not have life within you.” When will Catholics be able to drink from the cup again? — D.L.H., Iowa.
A. The practice of receiving Jesus under both the species of bread and wine was halted during the COVID panic, and we will have to wait until the bishops decide that it is all right to drink from the cup again. Don’t forget, however, that we receive Jesus completely, Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity, even if we receive Him under only one species. This is known as the doctrine of concomitance, which means, says Fr. John Hardon, SJ, that “the whole Christ is present under each Eucharistic species. Christ is indivisible, so that His body cannot be separated from His blood, His human soul, His divine nature, and His divine personality. Consequently, He is wholly present in the Eucharist” (Modern Catholic Dictionary, p. 119).

Q. I am confused about the Davidic lineage of Jesus. How could Jesus be in the Davidic bloodline since Joseph was not His biological father, but rather His foster-father? Was Mary in the Davidic bloodline and, if so, did Jesus receive His Davidic lineage from her? — A.G., via e-mail.
A. Both Joseph and Mary were in the Davidic lineage, but Jesus received His link to David from Joseph, who was His legal father. The genealogy at the beginning of Matthew’s Gospel is important, said Pope Benedict XVI in his third volume of Jesus of Nazareth. “Joseph is the legal father of Jesus,” said the late Holy Father.
“Through him, Jesus belongs by law, ‘legally,’ to the house of David” (p. 7). Referring to the same Matthean genealogy in a footnote to Matthew 1:16, the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible New Testament says that “the final link in the genealogy breaks with the preceding pattern. Joseph is not called the father of Jesus but only the spouse of Mary. This prepares for the virginal conception of Jesus in 1:18-25. Joseph is, however, the legal foster-father of Jesus and exercises his paternal duty by naming the Child (1:25) and protecting the Holy Family (2:13-22). Following Jewish custom, Jesus received full hereditary rights through Joseph, even though He was adopted.”
This is confirmed in the Catechism (n. 437), when it says that “God called Joseph to ‘take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit,’ so that Jesus, ‘who is called Christ,’ should be born of Joseph’s spouse into the messianic lineage of David.”

Q. You commented in a previous column about groups that were prominent in Jerusalem at the time of Jesus, namely, Pharisees, Sadducees, Scribes, and Herodians. Can you provide some information on two other groups — Zealots and Essenes? — C.P., via e-mail.
A. The Zealots were a Jewish sect that believed worship of Yahweh was compromised by the payment of taxes to the Romans and acceptance of Roman rule over their land. They apparently arose after the Roman census around AD 6 and were led by Judas the Galilean, who saw the participation in the census as a capitulation to the rule of impure foreigners. That rebellion was put down by the Romans, but the Zealots continued a campaign of terrorism and assassination, leading to another rebellion against Rome in AD 66. This final rebellion led to the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70, although small pockets of Zealot resistance continued for several more decades.
One of the twelve Apostles was known as Simon the Zealot, although his connection with the sect had presumably ended before he was chosen by Jesus. Information about the Essenes comes from the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1947 at Qumran near the Dead Sea. They are not mentioned in the Bible, but are referred to by the Jewish historian Josephus (AD 37-100) and the Roman author Pliny (23-79). Their name means “the pious ones” and they existed in exclusive communities in Palestine near the Dead Sea from the second century before Christ to the second century after Christ. They engaged mainly in agriculture, shared a community of goods, abstained from marriage but adopted children, and had a vigorous caste system. The Essenes believed in Yahweh, the immortality of the soul, the strict observance of the Sabbath, and the five books of the Torah.

Q. All too often of late, I find references to “Catholics who are divorced and remarried without an annulment.” This phrase is completely misleading since one cannot annul a marriage, that is, a marriage that from the start met the consent of both parties to the required conditions: a contract between one man and one woman, for life, and open to the procreation of children. The role of a marriage tribunal was to determine if the necessary conditions were accepted by one or both parties. If not, a declaration of nullity was declared, i.e., that there never was a marriage in the first place and that the parties were free to marry, not remarry.
There is no chance to “remarry” while both partners are alive. Your comments, please. —- C.E., via e-mail.
A. There is no area of Catholic teaching where imprecise language obscures the teaching more often than the area of marriage, divorce, and decrees of nullity. So let’s have the opinion of an expert. What is a declaration of matrimonial nullity? Canon lawyer Dr. Edward Peters says that an annulment “is an official determination by an ecclesiastical tribunal that what appeared to be, from one or more points of view, a valid marriage, was actually not one. An annulment is not a finding that the spouses never really loved each other, nor that the divorce was more one party’s fault than the other’s, nor that one party is a better Catholic than the other, etc.
“It is merely (if that word may be used) a juridic determination that, at the time of the wedding, one or both parties to the marriage lacked sufficient capacity for marriage, and/or that one or both parties failed to give adequately their consent to marriage as the Church understands and proclaims it, and/or, in weddings involving at least one Catholic, that the parties violated the Church’s requirements of canonical form in getting married” (100
Answers to Your Questions on Annulments, pp. 1-2).
Once that determination has been made, then the parties in question are free to marry, although to the uninformed it may seem that they are marrying again.

Q. Why are “Catholic” universities, colleges, and high schools allowed to continue disobeying clear Church directives not to bestow honors on pro-abortionists? — R.A.C., Massachusetts.
A. Because those in charge of these institutions are either not all that concerned about abortion or they are afraid of the opprobrium that will be heaped on them if they decline to honor pro-abortion politicians, celebrities, or academics. It takes a lot of courage today to go against the abortion/LGBQT/transgender mob, and some Catholic leaders do not have the fortitude to battle these forces of evil. They will have a lot of explaining to do on Judgment

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Today . . .

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Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Catholic Replies

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Color Politics An Impediment To Faith

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