nerdybeatlemaniac429: What does it mean when the Catechism asks us to, when possible, "publicly to make reparation for a wrong" we have committed against someone?
Hi there! Thanks for your question.
CCC #2487 says this:
Every offense committed against justice and truth entails the duty of reparation, even if its author has been forgiven. When it is impossible publicly to make reparation for a wrong, it must be made secretly. If someone who has suffered harm cannot be directly compensated, he must be given moral satisfaction in the name of charity. This duty of reparation also concerns offenses against another’s reputation. This reparation, moral and sometimes material, must be evaluated in terms of the extent of the damage inflicted. It obliges in conscience.
So the Catechism is clear that public reparation is the general way of dealing with an offense.
In French, reparer simply means to fix. Simply put, we’re called to fix things after committing an offense against someone.
The first thing that comes to my mind is to simply say sorry and ask for forgiveness in front of the person. You tell them, “I’m sorry. Can you forgive me?” and then it’s on them to forgive you. If you did something that hurt them or damaged their property, you should offer to pay the medical bill or mechanic’s bill or contracter’s bill (or replace whatever you broke or damaged). Financial compensation is a good way to make public reparation for a wrong. Another way that comes to mind is to give of your time—your service to that person. If you, say, trampled your neighbour’s rose bushes because you walked outside and were angry, then you could offer to give an hour of your day during the summer helping your neighbour in their garden.
On a more serious note, public reparation could mean serving a jail sentence or paying a severe fine. Pleading guilty and accepting your jail time would be a good way to make public reparation. Remember, once you commit a wrong and you realize it is wrong, it is up to you to “make up for it” as best you can.
I hope I was able to answer your question. Take care!
Anonymous: [trigger warning: lust] Is the light, "butterflies in your stomach" feeling you get when you encounter an attractive person lust/sexual desire, or harmless "crushy feelings" (as I've seen it described on LifeTeen once)? (And "harmless" given that you do not mistake these feelings for love and turn them into an unhealthy infatuation)
I’d say at face value, they’re not lustful. Lust is a desire to use the other person for our own sexual gain or pleasure, and butterflies are simply feelings we get when we encounter someone to whom we’re attracted. I think that if you, as you say, turn the experience of those feelings into an “unhealthy infatuation,” then it could turn into lust. If you do encounter someone who’s really attractive, thank God for their attractiveness, tell Him He did a good job, and move on. As a guy, I can tell you this is really important and effective in making sure we respect and love women rather than using and lusting after them. Hope this helps.
Anonymous: My good friend is not Catholic. We are in college & I have known her since the first day. It is likely that when the time comes, she will be unable to have children. If it wasn't against Catholic teaching, I would be completely willing to be a surrogate for her. I see this as a huge act if sacrifice out of love for her, but because of the IVF and such involved, I can't and stay in good terms with the church. Other than praying she will be able to carry her own child, how can I deal with this?
Forgive me for assuming, but it seems like you might not have a real grasp of why the Church teaches against IVF methods. BadCatholic offers a nicer explanation than I could ever give, so I suggest you take a look at what he has to say. I just got a feeling that you saying “If it wasn’t against Catholic teaching…” might mean that you don’t know why the Church teaches against IVF. And that’s okay, of course. I myself have a long way to go when it comes to Church teaching.
Now, onto your question. In terms of concrete acts, I would highly recommend your friend to chart her cycles/start looking at NFP methods. Natural fertility methods are surprisingly good at helping women conceive children. Q or anyone else who’s familiar with NFP, would you want to offer a comment?
Finally, good on you for praying for her, Anon. Pray that whatever the circumstance, you and your friend will give glory to God.
Anonymous: I am a vegetarian, because I believe that animals are also God's creatures and to eat them would be a sin. It concerns me that that Catholic church does not also view this as a sin and, in a way, condones the consumption of animals. Please enlighten me as to why this is. Thank you!
Consider Acts 10:9-15:
The next day, while they were on their way and nearing the city, Peter went up to the roof terrace to pray at about noontime.He was hungry and wished to eat, and while they were making preparations he fell into a trance. He saw heaven opened and something resembling a large sheet coming down, lowered to the ground by its four corners. In it were all the earth’s four-legged animals and reptiles and the birds of the sky. A voice said to him, “Get up, Peter. Slaughter and eat. But Peter said, “Certainly not, sir. For never have I eaten anything profane and unclean.”The voice spoke to him again, a second time, “What God has made clean, you are not to call profane.”
God has given us the right to eat meat. I hope this answers your question.
Anonymous: I have gone to confession but then I said something that might've have two meanings. I didn't correct it though since I thought God knew what I meant. Does that make a confession invalid? I didn't mean to hold it back, but I was wondering what if the priest didn't take the word as I said it.
I thought I was confessing adequately but when I told a word, an adjective for that matter, I realized that it had two meanings afterward I said it. Then I felt the need to tell the priest what I meant by that word but I didn’t bother to since I thought that God knew what I meant. Help? I am scrupulous < same anon :)
So, this is my answer to your question, but I think you might want to get a second opinion from FatherAngel or FatherShane. They have the benefit of having actually given the sacrament. But, I’ll take a stab at it.
I would think that if the two meanings are radically different, and the priest clearly misunderstood which meaning you meant, it might be better to clarify it. I don’t think it would invalidate the entire confession, though if you purposely used the double meaning to hide the severity of one of your sins, (which is not what appears happened,) then you might want to consider reconfessing it correctly.
I think it’s good to remember that God is not trying to trip us up in confession. While we have a responsibility to confess our sins completely and honestly to the priest, we should not worry too much about whether the confession was licit or invalid etc. That’s more the priest’s responsibility.
So, I guess what I’m saying is that in this case you need to make the call, if you truly think you might have had an intent to deceive, you should probably revisit the confessional at your next opportunity, if not, just try to be clearer next time.
Spiritual darkness, AKA spiritual dryness, is described by Victor Parachin at ministrymagazine.com as
a subjective feeling that God is distant, aloof, even absent. During a time of spiritual dryness, prayers feel empty, hymns are sung without energy, sermons are lifeless, and Scripture appears to have no power over daily life. Often called the “dark night of the soul,” [It was St. John of the Cross who first called it that] it is a time when our sense of God’s absence is painfully felt.
There are several possible causes.
Sometimes sin can lead to periods of spiritual dryness. When we are prideful, for example, we turn inwards, and in doing so, often cut ourselves off, at least partially, from God and the Church. By cutting ourselves off from the source of goodness, we become weak, just like a plant that is cut off from water or the Sun.
The Catechism says,
2731 Another difficulty, especially for those who sincerely want to pray, is dryness. Dryness belongs to contemplative prayer when the heart is separated from God, with no taste for thoughts, memories, and feelings, even spiritual ones. This is the moment of sheer faith clinging faithfully to Jesus in his agony and in his tomb. “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if dies, it bears much fruit.”18 If dryness is due to the lack of roots, because the word has fallen on rocky soil, the battle requires conversion.
But, as a priest once told me, sometimes spiritual dryness can be given to us by God as a means of purification of the soul. Think about this, if it becomes more difficult to pray, or we feel that we are not benefiting from it, and yet we do it anyway, why are we doing it? Obedience to God, which is the essence of humility and love. Therefore, by struggling with spiritual dryness can lead us to greater love for God.
Anonymous: As we are required to follow just laws, and as it is sufficient to receive under only one species for Communion, would it be a mortal sin for someone who is underage to receive the Precious Blood in states that do not offer religious exemption to the drinking age law? (And who does not have a health condition that would prevent them from receiving the Host?) Or would drinking laws not apply because it only has the appearance of wine?
Consuming a tiny sip of Precious Blood probably puts as much alcohol into your system as drinking an entire glass of fruit juice.
Besides, a law that does not allow religious exemption for (reasonable consumption of) alcohol, according to the First Amendment, seems to me unjust. It’s not that we should necessarily break such a law, but I feel we can break the letter of this law (no underage drinking without exceptions) because it does not properly represent the spirit of the law (to protect young people from getting smashed and hurting themselves or others).