Saints in the Old Testament?
Q: Why are there no saints from the Old Testament? Doesn’t even Moses qualify? (Hilton Head, SC) A: This is a question that provides a much-needed clarification. We know that before the saving work of Jesus Christ, no one could enter Heaven. The gates of paradise were closed due to man’s sin and his incapacity […]
Q: I wish to be cremated. How is this handled? Since I won’t have a casket to be blessed, do you bring the urn with the ashes to Mass? (Summerville, SC) A: The Mass of Christian Burial, the “Funeral Mass,” is a very important part of the Church’s intercession for the deceased person. The Mass […]
Receiving Communion in sin?
Q: I’ve been told by some priests that a person should not receive holy Communion if they have a mortal sin on their soul, but other priests say differently. Which is it? (Charleston, SC) A: The reception of holy Communion is one of the most sacred acts of the Catholic Christian. It is our sharing […]
Do we save ourselves through good works?
Q: If it takes good works to get into heaven, then aren’t we saving ourselves? (Summerville, SC) A: If we did good works on our own accord, then we would be trying to save ourselves. However, such an effort would be fruitless since we do not have such a power. In illustrating this point, the Bible […]
Allowing women deacons?
Q: Do you think the pope will ever allow women to become deacons? (Lancaster, SC) A: Certainly, Pope Francis is sincere in his efforts to explore the theology and history of the Church in order to discern whether women are called to be ordained to the diaconate. Case in point, the pope recently established a […]
Sinless St. John the Baptist? Why is Purgatory necessary?
Q. Recently, I was told by friends that when John the Baptist leaped in his mother’s womb, he was made sinless by the Holy Spirit. I find it hard to believe that any human is sinless, except for Jesus and Mary. Am I correct? (Aiken, SC) A. You have some good friends and they are […]
Attending a same-sex wedding? / What is mercy?
Q. My husband has a sibling who is getting married to a same-sex partner. They have been together for years. Given our religious beliefs, are we able to attend the ceremony? (Greenville, SC) A. This is one of those very hard questions from the real trenches of Christian discipleship. The question itself speaks well of […]
Did Jesus feel abandoned?
Q: What does the Catholic Church teach about being saved? Do we also have to do good works to get to heaven? (Charleston, SC) A: All right, here’s a 400-year-old query! We’ve been working to give a fuller answer to this question since the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century. The best summary the Church […]
Incense as a biblical symbol; getting son back to Church
Q: Why do we have incense at Mass? Sometimes it makes it really hard to breathe. (Charleston, SC) A: Incense can be used for solemn occasions but it should be used with prudence and temperance. Some parishes even announce beforehand what Masses will have incense, and this seems to be greatly appreciated by people with […]
Turning the other cheek
Q: Does turning the other cheek mean I have to be nice to relatives who have been purposefully cruel or ugly to people I care about? That feels false, particularly when someone has been repeatedly unkind. How do I handle seeing these people at family events or in public? Some people say you have to […]