The Papists

Apologetics and Evengelization
  • May 29, 2014 10:27 pm
    Anonymous:  Hi, this is probably a stupid question, but I will be going to Confession at a new church for the first time and the priest's English skills are pretty weak. He's hard to understand and I don't know how much he'll understand from me. What do you suggest I do? (Also, not sure if this is relevant but this church only offers face-to-face Confession, not behind a screen.)

    Well, there are really two options that I’m aware of in a situation where you can’t find a priest who speaks your language for confession.  

    1) If you know someone who speaks English and the language of the priest, and you are comfortable with it, (and it’s okay not to be,) that person can act as a translator for you.  This person would be bound by the seal of confession just like the priest is.  (That a translator can be used in confession is made clear in Can. 990: No one is prohibited from confessing throughan interpreter as long as abuses and   scandals are avoided andwithout prejudice to the prescript of  can. 983, §2.)


    2)  The other option is to simply go in there, and do your best using your English and hand gestures to try to help the priest understand as much as possible. Remember, if the priest gives you absolution, and you are sorry for your sins, then the sacrament is valid and your sins are forgiven.  That stuff is lost in translation doesn’t change that.  (Of course, if you truly cannot understand this priest or vice-versa, it would be best, if you have the ability, to find a regular confessor who’s English skills are stronger, so that you can receive spiritual direction about your specific sins.)

    Something that might help, is if you google translate some of the more important words in your confession so if need be, you can use those words in the priest’s language to help him understand.  

    Other than that, continue practicing the sacrament of confession regularly.  Aim for once a month at minimum, and if possible go more often, even once a week if possible, and you will be amazed how much your spiritual life grows!  

    God bless! 


  • February 20, 2014 11:21 am
    theincast:  Were Mary's labor and delivery of Jesus painless? Because she was born without original sin?

    Good question!  The tradition is that Jesus’s birth was painless.  St. Thomas Aquinas makes the argument for it in his Summa Theologica.

    It generally is argued that as the pains of childbirth are a consequence of original sin from which Mary was preserved from, she did not suffer the pains of childbirth.

    That being said, this is not a dogmatic teaching necessary for salvation, and some difference of opinion may be held on this point, so long as no opinion held violates dogmatic teaching necessary for salvation. (ex. That Mary bore her Son without any violation of her virginal integrity. (De fide on the ground of the general promulgation of doctrine) and After the Birth of Jesus Mary remained a Virgin. (De fide.))

    Does this help?  God bless!


  • January 14, 2014 4:08 am
    Anonymous:  is there a better word than "non-protestant" for churches (catholic & orthodox) that share valid sacraments, apostolic succession etc.?

    Hmm, I’ve heard people use the term “Orthodox Churches” to refer to both the RCC and the EOCs but that could be confusing.  I’m not sure there’s any term that’s used to refer to both, but anyone who knows of a term should educate me.  Personally, if I were to “invent” a term, I might say “apostolic Churches” as a way of shortening “Churches that have an apostolic succession,” but there is a protestant denomination called the “apostolic Church” so that could be confusing too.  If you’re a JP II fan you can call them the “two lungs” but not a lot of people might get that reference.

    - Niko

  • January 11, 2014 3:09 am
    Anonymous:  I use to be a very faithful Catholic, I even thought about a vocation to priesthood for a long time. The sad truth is I've fallen in college... And I am not happy. I feel fake and artificial and when I close my eyes I dream of the love I felt from the Father before I ran away from the church. I'm in a sexual D/s relationship with a wonderful girl... But I don't know if I can tell her about my can a man come back from something like this...I long for my home, my church

    You fell away from the faith in college.  Guess what, your normal.  More people than not will change in some way in college, and often times, we’re not happy about those changes.  We feel like we’ve fallen.  What defines us, is how we get back up.

    Look at St. Augustine.  He didn’t just fall in college.  He went on rager that lasted around two decades.  He was not exactly a model Christian.  And then, he changed.  He met people who really introduced him to the faith again, he left his former ways, and went on to be one of the most revered saints in history.  And there are a ton of other saints like him.  Moses the black was a murder and adulterer, and he became a saint.  So, God really doesn’t look at how far we fall, he looks at the efforts we take to pick ourselves back up, and really, He does most of the work, we just have to give Him the space to do it. 

    There’s a story called the prodigal son, (Luke 15) but really, it should be called the story of the running Father.  Because the son, when he realized that what he was doing wasn’t working, he prepared a long speech to tell his father, begging him to just take him in as a servant.  But, while the son was still a while off, the Father saw him and ran up to meet him.  The Father immediately called him his son, and prepared a feast for him.  The son didn’t even get a chance to say his speech.  Point is, turn to God, and give Him the space to work.  You want to come back home to the Church, just do it!  Find a priest who you trust, could be at your college or nearby, or back home.  Wherever.  Ask him to talk.  Hang out with a friend who’s faith you admire.  That’s how we give God the space to work.  We surround ourselves with people who God is working through.  Does that make sense?  And always know, that you are truly loved by God, and nothing you do can ever change that.  God bless!

    Your brother in Christ,


  • December 6, 2013 11:45 am
    Anonymous:  Is it appropriate to applause after the Holy Mass? Because from what I've noticed here, people applause for the Lord after the Holy Mass.

    I would generally say no, it is not appropriate, for the reason Pope Benedict XVI gave:

    “Wherever applause breaks out in the liturgy because of some human achievement, it is a sure sign that the essence of liturgy has totally disappeared and been replaced by a kind of religious entertainment. ” (Spirit of the Liturgy p. 198)

    Essentially, what this means is that if your clapping for the singers during mass, or clapping because the priest gave a good homily, you’re operating a superficial level of focusing on the human element of the mass instead of what God is doing.  The mass is not a performance, it is not a concert, it is not a play.  Applause during the mass makes it appear like it is such. 

    Furthermore, applause is distracting from prayer.  It is making a lot of noise that may be disturbing to those praying. 

    It is possible that parishes may have a distinct culture in which clapping is not a celebration of a human achievement, but as a way of “amen-ing,” or showing agreement with a particular point made during the homily, which perhaps is more licit, but still unnecessary and distracting and therefore should be discouraged gently and pastorally.

    We should remember that what we are seeing during the mass is what the Blessed Virgin Mother, John, and Mary Magdalene saw on Calvary, and therefore, we should model our behavior after theirs.  Were we there on Calvary we would clearly see it would be very inappropriate to be clapping while Jesus is dying on the cross, and therefore, we should consider it similarly inappropriate to applaud during the mass. 

    Does this help you?  God bless!


  • June 14, 2013 2:33 am
    Anonymous:  If I, an atheist, were to want to convert to Catholicism, where should I begin? What should I begin learning?

    Hello anon! 

    Sorry for the long wait. I hope I can answer your question well.

    My first piece of advice would be to open the Bible and learn about Jesus. Plain and simple. Why? Because the whole of reality and the whole of humanity revolves around Him. I’d start with the Gospel of Mark, as it’s the shortest and most action-packed. You might want to try Luke or Matthew next (and if you read Luke, continue on to Acts of the Apostles, as it was written by the same person). It would also be good to read some letters of Saint Paul, perhaps after you read Acts of the Apostles. Acts is a history book that describes the apostles’ actions in the early Church after Christ returned to the Father and it really focuses on the power of the Holy Spirit. 

    The New Testament is the best place to start, I think. If you want to read the Old Testament, you should start with the Psalms. They are short and easy to read, and we can all relate to many of them in one way or another. 

    Scripture seems to me the one of the best places to begin in general. If you’re interested in other books, a few that come to mind are Confessions by Saint Augustine and The Seven Storey Mountain by Thomas Merton. They are both conversion stories! 

    Also, do you have any Catholic friends? Perhaps this is the most important bit: become friends with a Catholic and see how God is working in their lives. Ask them if they can answer any questions you have about the Catholic faith. Ask them if they can take you to a Catholic church to see what it is like!

    Anon, if I’m reading you correctly, I’m so excited that you’re interested in learning more about Catholicism! My prayers will be with you. I hope I’ve given you enough to dig into. If anyone else can contribute, please do!

    Your friend,


  • May 18, 2013 10:40 am
    Anonymous:  When do you capitalize 'catholic'?

    Why, at the beginning of course. I’m just kidding, I know what you mean.  The word “catholic” can be used in two ways.  The first is lowercase, and the second is uppercase.

    1.  catholic means universal, comprehensive, or all-encompassing.  It comes from the Greek word, katholikos, which comes from the phrase kath’ holou, meaning “about” (kata) “the whole” (holos).

    2.  Catholic refers to the Catholic Church and its members.  It comes from the idea that the Catholic Church is the universal Church.  When used in this case, it is capitalized.

    Does this answer your question?  God bless!

    - Niko

  • April 6, 2013 2:52 pm
    Anonymous:  why is the church so outspoken against gay marriage when the government can't force them to allow it and the church can't force the government to disallow it?

    Because, the Church believes in truth.  Because gay marriage is impossible, just like a square circle is impossible, the government’s claim that it is, is a lie.  It is the Church’s duty to oppose governments which lie to their people, and to preserve the truth.

    Also, it’s not true that civil acceptance of gay marriage will not force it on the Church.  Already, the Church has been forced to close orphanages and other organizations because they refused to allow gay couples to adopt.  So, in some ways, it is forced on the Church.

  • March 4, 2013 1:00 am

    Adopt A Cardinal

    An initiative launched to ensure that all the members of the Conclave will be well taken care of in terms of prayers and mortification. Adopt your cardinal now! :D

  • February 27, 2013 8:39 am

    Some FAQ's on the Pope's Resignation

    1.What will be Benedict XVI’s last public appearance as Pope?

    A: Benedict XVI’s last public appearance as Pope will be the General Audience on February 27, 2013, in Saint Peter’s Square. Exceptionally, the general audience will include a liturgy of the Word and moments of prayer. The next day, Thursday the 28th, there will be a private audience in the Clementine Hall of the Holy See with some cardinals. This will be the last audience of his pontificate.

    2. Does Benedict XVI have some serious illness in particular?

    A: No, Benedict XVI does not have a serious illness in particular.

    3. Is it true that Benedict XVI has a pacemaker?

    A: Yes, it is true that Benedict XVI has a pacemaker. He has had it since he was cardinal prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. A few weeks ago the batteries of his pacemaker were changed.

    4. Will the encyclical on faith be published that Benedict XVI has been writing?

    A. No, there is no plan to publish the encyclical, as Benedict XVI was unable to finish it. Eventually, if he decides to publish it, it will not be ranked as an “encyclical.”

    5. Why did Benedict XVI choose 8:00 pm on February 28 to end his ministry as Pope?

    A: Because it is the time in which he usually ends his work day.

    6. Where will Benedict XVI live after he retires as Pope?

    A: Initially, for a period of two months, in the papal residence of Castel Gandolfo. Afterward he will return to the Vatican to live in the Mater Ecclesiae cloistered convent.

    7. Is it true that Benedict XVI decided to resign during his apostolic journey to Mexico?

    A: During his apostolic journey to Mexico and Cuba, Benedict XVI matured in the matter of his resignation as one more stage in his long process of reflection and discernment on this subject. However, the trip had no other particular relevance in this regard.

    8. What will Benedict XVI’s name and title be after February 28?

    A: It is a matter that is still being reflected upon. There is a certain unanimity that he should keep the name Benedict XVI and that his title should be “Bishop Emeritus of Rome.” In the Pontifical Yearbook Benedict XVI will continue to be the official name used.

    9. Will Benedict XVI take part in the Conclave to elect his successor?

    A: No, Benedict XVI will not take part in the Conclave to elect his successor and he will not be part of the College of Cardinals.

    10. How will Benedict XVI dress after February 28?

    A: It is not yet known how Benedict XVI will dress after February 28.

    11. Is provision made in the Church for a Pope’s renunciation?

    A: Yes, a Pope’s resignation is provided for and regulated by the Code of Canon Law.

    12. What will happen to Archbishop Georg Gänswein, Benedict XVI’s private secretary and prefect of the Papal Household over the last few months?

    A: Archbishop Georg Gänswein will continue to be Benedict XVI’s private secretary. He will accompany him to Castel Gandolfo (and later to the Mater Ecclesiae convent), and he will also continue to be prefect of the Papal Household. Similarly, it is possible that his second private secretary will go to Castel Gandolfo and accompany Benedict XVI for a time.

    13. Who will live with Benedict XVI in the Mater Ecclesiae convent inside the Vatican after his retirement?

    A: The Memores Domini (a group of consecrated women, who help the Pope in the ordinary needs of a home), and his private secretary, Archbishop Georg Gänswein, will live with and assist Benedict XVI after his retirement.

    14. Did the subject of the so-called Vatileaks scandal influence the Pope’s decision?

    A: It had no relevance. If one wants to receive correct information, one must limit oneself to what the Pope has said about his renunciation.

    15. When, approximately, will the conclave begin?

    A: The most likely dates are that it will begin between March 15-20.

    16. Did Benedict XVI change the norms for the election of a Pope in the last weeks?

    A: No, Benedict XVI did not change recently the norms for the election of a Pope. He made a small change in 2007 to modify the system of voting. The modification of 2007 establishes that a two-thirds majority will always be necessary in the voting carried out in the Conclave. However, the rest of the norms in force continue to be those of the Apostolic Constitution Universi Dominici Gregis.

    17. Are there power struggles in the Vatican?

    A: In all institutions there is a dynamic that leads to different opinions, which is always good. The difference and diversity of opinions are positive if they lead to the good of the institution itself. However, such differences should not be given too much weight as they would not correspond to the reality or to persons’ intentions. To say that there are power struggles does not correspond to the reality of what is happening in the Church at this time.

    18. Did journalist Peter Seewald interview Benedict XVI before his renunciation?

    A: German journalist Peter Seewald, who has interviewed Joseph Ratzinger-Benedict XVI several times in the past, interviewed Benedict XVI two and a half months ago. The interview is to be included in Benedict XVI’s official biography, on which Seewald is working.

    19. Will Benedict XVI meet with the new Pope?

    A: There is no plan for Benedict XVI to meet with the new Pope.

    20. Why has Benedict XVI decided to stay in a convent in the Vatican, after his two months at Castel Gandolfo, and not return to his native Bavaria?

    A: Although Benedict XVI has not explained it clearly, his presence and prayer in the Vatican gives spiritual continuity to the papacy. Moreover, Benedict XVI has been living in the Vatican for more than three decades.