The Papists

Apologetics and Evengelization
  • April 14, 2014 12:07 pm
    Anonymous:  I've been thinking a lot about holy days of obligation. The question I'm pondering is this: Why has the Church decided that not participating in Mass on such a day is a mortal sin? On what grounds?

    Obligatory Sunday Mass—the year-round holy day of obligation—stems from God’s commandment to keep holy the Sabbath. The Christian “Sabbath” moved naturally from the Jewish-observed Saturday to Sunday to commemorate the Resurrection, the “eighth day,” “outside time,” that celebrates our salvation and anticipates our final happiness, union with God in heaven. 

    Strictly speaking, the Sunday obligation is a discipline of the Church (see here.) Moreover, the obligation is dispensed with if you are, for example, in a situation where it is well and truly impossible for you to attend mass. For example, in earlier times (or still today in certain parts of the world) where there is no Mass near you and/or there is no transportation to get to the Mass. 

    Other holy days of obligation follow a similar logic. Apart from the commandment to keep holy the Lord’s Day, these imposed obligations carry the weight of the authority of the Vicar of Christ: “Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven.” The obligations exist for the good of souls: to engage us in the life of the Church and the liturgical year, to give us a tug forward by the hand when attachment to sin or spiritual weariness might see us ready to abandon our daily taking up of our cross and following Christ.

    Catholic Answers notes, “The precepts of the Church are not opposed to, nor are they outside of, the Commandments of God. They are within those Commandments and are intended to help keep the faithful within the Commandments.” [x]

    There is a good short article about feast days/holy days of obligation at the Catholic Encyclopedia.

    You may also be interested in:

    What are the holy days of obligation? 
    Worship the Way God Commanded 

    I hope this helps.

  • April 14, 2014 12:07 pm
    Anonymous:  Apparitions at Garabandal and three days of darkness; what is the Church's position ?

    Msgr. Jose Vilaplana, Bishop of Santander, Spain, issued this statement which confirms that “All the bishops of the diocese from 1961 through 1970 asserted that the supernatural character of the said apparitions, that took place around that time, could not be confirmed. [no constaba].*”

    In other words, this is not an approved apparition and it would be wise for the faithful to refrain from placing their hope or faith in it. 

    Sidebar: When the Church does approve an apparition, that means the Church has found it to be “worthy of belief,” but the faithful are not required to believe it.

  • April 9, 2014 3:40 pm
    Anonymous:  So does God send every non-Catholic person to hell? Even if they're good and suffered immensely while alive, such as Jewish victims of the Holocaust?

    The Church does not teach that if you not Catholic you are automatically going to hell. Here’s some resources that go deeper in the question. See also this quote. There’s also a lot of resources at Catholic Answers here.

  • April 9, 2014 3:32 pm
    Anonymous:  Is it true that Charlemagne is a Saint? He was a great and respectable historical figure, but hardly pious! He enslaved many, was a conqueror, and had multiple concubines and extramarital relations. Is the canonization by Antipope Paschal III recognized?

    He was canonized by an anti-pope and the canonization was not approved by Rome. There’s a discussion about it here.

    According to the Catholic Encyclopedia:

    He died in his seventy-second year, after forty-seven years of reign, and was buried in the octagonal Byzantine-Romanesque church at Aachen, built by him and decorated with marble columns from Romeand Ravenna. In the year 1000 Otto III opened the imperial tomb and found (it is said) the great emperor as he had been buried, sitting on a marble throne, robed and crowned as in life, the book of theGospels open on his knees. In some parts of the empire popular affection placed him among the saints. For political purposes and to please Frederick Barbarossa he was canonized (1165) by the antipope Paschal III, but this act was never ratified by insertion of his feast in the Roman Breviary or by the Universal Church; his cultus, however, was permitted at Aachen.

  • April 9, 2014 3:31 pm
    Anonymous:  Hi, I have a question about homosexuality (I know you get a lot of these - I'm sorry!) I know that feeling same-sex attraction itself is not sinful, but acting on it is. But what exactly qualifies acting on it? I'm female, and having fallen in love with both men and women, i can say that the love I feel is just as strong and true for both. If another girl and I are in love, is it sinful for us to spend time together or express our feelings as long as we do nothing sexual?

    This is really something you should talk to your priest or confessor about because he can advise you about particulars. 

    It’s definitely not sinful to spend time together, but is important to distinguish between simply that and “near occasions of sin.” If you are both strongly attracted to each other, and confess those feelings (especially if you do so repeatedly, as if you are in a romantic relationship) I would urge you to consider whether the amount and quality of the time you’re spending together is healthy or productive. (I would give the same advice to a heterosexuals who were worried that their relationship was leading them too close to sexual temptation.)

    In general, if you’re looking to mentally sort out how you feel and where your friendship could go, I would suggest reflecting prayerfully on what the Church teaches is the nature and purpose of romantic relationships (to lead to marriage and family) along with a theology of friendship. Exploring your love for your friend in a platonic way in light of the nature and purpose of friendship might be helpful. I would also recommend checking out Steve Gershom’s blog (try googling him.) He’s a celibate, gay Catholic man who writes about this and related issues.

    Again, I really recommend talking to someone who knows you, that you trust, about this; that would probably be the best way to get guidance. You’re in our prayers.

  • April 9, 2014 3:15 pm
    Anonymous:  This may sound a little strange, but I promise I'm 100% serious. It's something I've always wondered. In the morning, I say the Rosary as I'm getting ready for the day and when I have to go to the bathroom, I continue saying it. Is it disrespectful to pray while you're on the toilet?

    I don’t think so. As Christians, we should be working towards a continual uplifting of our hearts to God, continuous prayer. We should be able to commune with God anywhere and everywhere. It’s also important to try to set aside time where we’re doing nothing else but praying, but I doubt that God minds us praying while going about our daily business.

  • April 4, 2014 9:51 pm
    Anonymous:  Is it permissible to have a Catholic destination wedding? Or possibly a Catholic elopement? I am Catholic, my boyfriend is not, although he has interest and is pursuing RCIA. It is important to me to be married in the Church, however since childhood I have detested the entire rigmarole of the "event." The horrible amount of money spent on one day which could better be used say purchasing a house or paying off debt or giving to others. Also, my personality has yet to enjoy a wedding reception.

    It is possible to have a Catholic wedding, with or without mass, without it being a huge affair: a small wedding, or even just you, your priest, and your witnesses. You would need to speak to the parish you want to have the wedding at, which could be at a “destination” location.

    You might also consider alternatives to the typical reception; if you have just a few guests, your options are pretty limitless. Or you could forego it all together. That’s all up to you. The Church simply requires that you, as a Catholic, observe the norms for marriage: complete some marriage prep several months in advance and exchange vows in a church with a priest and witnesses (usually two; technically the job of the best man and maid or matron of honor.) 

    So you really have a lot of options; just talk with the parish you plan to get married at and see if they’ll work with you.

  • January 29, 2014 2:01 pm
    Anonymous:  I don't understand this point; what do you mean that women are declared sinless, cuz I'm pretty sure I'm not, lol! 5. Theologically speaking, the Church has a great respect for Mary that is absent in most other Protestant traditions. The Catholic Church recognizes a woman as the only sinless human being. (Except for Christ, but He was also God. Mary didn’t get that advantage.)

    Catholics believe that the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, alone of all human beings, was not affected by original sin and remained sinless throughout her life. Read more here. Excerpt: “The Immaculate Conception means that Mary … was conceived without original sin or its stain—that’s what “immaculate” means: without stain. The essence of original sin consists in the deprivation of sanctifying grace, and its stain is a corrupt nature. Mary was preserved from these defects by God’s grace; from the first instant of her existence she was in the state of sanctifying grace and was free from the corrupt nature original sin brings.”

  • January 20, 2014 10:23 am
    Anonymous:  To bless something (not a Sacramental blessing) Can the laity imitate the gesture of Blessing a Priest does at the end of the Mass?

    No. The laity should never imitate a priestly action because they do not have his authority. 

    However, the laity can can offer blessings sometimes. For example, parents can bless their children. There’s a good discussion of that, and the appropriate gestures, here. Check out the comments as well for clarifications.

  • January 17, 2014 10:23 am
    Anonymous:  I feel like I might have a calling to become a priest, and I've been looking for an accepting denomination since J am gay and do not agree with being celibate in response to my sexuality. But the one I feel most at home in is Catholism.. How can I reconcile my faith and calling with my potential boyfriend and love life?

    There are many people with same-sex attraction in the Catholic Church who accept her teachings and abide by them. Each story of how they came to be at home in their faith is unique. The one common factor is that what the Church teaches does not and cannot change, because it is God’s truth; Catholics either accept it and try to live by it—even when it is terribly difficult, or painful, or means hard sacrifices—or, if they can’t do that, they end up leaving the Church.

    All Roman Catholic priests, regardless of sexual orientation, are required to be celibate. This is the ancient and wise discipline of the Roman Church, and not up for negotiation. (Because it is a discipline, not a doctrine, the Church could choose to change or relax the discipline in the future, for the right reasons. However, that’s not likely to happen soon, and even if it ever should, it would probably look like the Eastern Church’s practice of married priests, which is closely regulated; it doesn’t look anything like marriage among Protestant ministers.)

    Moreover, all Catholics, regardless of state in life, are required to be chaste, and all single—that is, unmarried—Catholics are required to be celibate. Homosexual acts and fornication are both grave sins, which deprive a soul of sanctifying grace and, without repentance, confession, and amendment, keep the individual in mortal sin. These truths of the faith are also not negotiable.

    Here is how the Catechism summarizes what the Church teaches about homosexuality:

    2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity,141tradition has always declared that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.”142They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.

    2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.

    2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.

    I strongly encourage you to deeply consider what the Church teaches about celibacy and why. You may be interested in this article, this one, and this one about/by celibate gay men in the Church. Regarding priestly celibacy, here and here. And regarding same-sex-attracted men in the priesthood, start here.

    I hope these resources help you in your discernment. You’re in my prayers.