|Is there a difference between St. Jude and Judas who betrayed Jesus? - May 18th, 2008|
Certainly. In the list of the apostles, Judas is called "Judas the Iscariot" (Matthew 10:4, Mark 3:19, Luke 6:16). He betrayed Jesus, met an untimely death, and was replaced as an apostle by Matthias (John 13:2, Matthew 27:3-10, Acts 1:18-26). St. Jude appears in the list of apostles as Judas the son of James and is also called Thaddeus (Luke 6:10, Matthew 10:3, Mark 3:18). Even the gospels are careful to distinguish them; John 14:22 says, "Judas, not the Iscariot, said…" St. Jude gave his name to the Epistle of Jude in the New Testament, and a legend says that he was martyred in Persia. He is invoked as patron saint of desperate cases, and his feast day is October 28th. - Fr Nord
|What is the advantage of confessing to a priest our sins instead of confessing directly to God? - June 5, 2005|
As Catholics, we confess our sins to God through His minister the priest in the Sacrament of Confession. This does not mean we can’t also confess to God directly, if in fact, we feel we should do this, too. The “advantages” to confessing directing to a priest are: the Church’s guarantee of forgiveness, spiritual counseling, humility, help in overcoming self-deception and rationalization in matters of sin, and most importantly is the sacramental grace received. None of the above are provided in private confessions to God. Like St. Paul, who writes in his letter to the Colossians (COL 1:18), Catholics believe the Church is, in a mysterious way, the Body of Christ still living in the world today, therefore God will answer our pleas for forgiveness and mercy with greater compassion, if voiced in union with this Mystical Body of Christ, than if they are voiced privately and independently of the Mystical Body of Christ.
Some claim that confessing to a priest is not biblical. In John 20, we read of Christ appearing to the disciples on Easter Sunday. He breathed on the apostles giving them the authority to forgive, and not to forgive. This means they had to hear the sins in order to forgive/not forgive. Jesus then says “as the Father has sent me, so I send you”. This means the apostles are to continue Christ’s mission, the essence of which is the forgiveness of sins. In 2 Corinthians, St. Paul describes the apostles as ambassadors of Christ’s work of reconciliation. In the Epistle of James we read that the presbyters (priests) are called to pray for the sick and forgive their sins. Why are priests called to perform this task? Obviously, the priests have an authority that ordinary Christians do not.
It is clear that Christ gave the apostles the power to forgive sins.
|Why is Mary referred to as the New Ark of the Covenant? - May 29, 2005|
This understanding of Mary comes from an ancient Church understanding of the unity of the Old and New Testaments called “typology”. In typology, OT people and events are called types that prefigure or foreshadow NT persons and events. Some examples are; a fallen angel elicits Eve’s “no” to God (OT) and the Archangel elicits Mary’s “yes” to God (NT) and Adam loses grace for mankind and Jesus restores grace. Even St. Paul describes Adam as a type of Jesus (ROM 5:14) St. Augustine put it this way, “the NT is concealed in the OT and the OT is revealed in the NT”.
Using typology we can see the connection between the Ark and Mary. The Ark was the holiest object in the OT because it contained the Ten Commandments, the Word of God in stone. Mary’s body contained Jesus, the Word of God in the flesh. The Ark also contained a relic of the manna that fell from heaven, sustaining the Jews during their flight from Egypt. Mary contained Jesus the very Bread of Life.
|Can a Catholic join the Freemasons (Masons)? - May 22, 2005|
No. The Catholic Church has condemned Freemasonry in the strongest terms for over two centuries and places the penalty of excommunication on Catholics who join Masonic Lodges. The 1917 Code of Canon law explicitly mentioned the Masons by name. The revised code of 1983 (Canon 1374), currently in effect, does not explicitly mention the Masons but rather prohibits membership in groups that plot against the Church. This broadening was meant to include other groups (e.g., it could apply to Catholics for Free Choice) in the prohibition. This removal of an explicit reference to the Masons left doubt about whether membership in a Masonic Lodge was still prohibited. In response to this doubt and confusion, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith declared Catholic membership in Masonic lodges is still prohibited. This was approved by Pope John Paul II and signed by Cardinal Ratzinger(now Pope Benedict XVI)
The Masons started during the late 17th century as a subversive group whose primary objectives were the infiltration of governments and the destruction of the Catholic Church throughout Europe. Contrary to popular movies (National Treasure) and books (DaVinci Code), the Masons have no history before this time and have absolutely no connection to the Knights Templar This anti-Catholic Masonry would eventually spread to South America. In the United States, Masonry is often little more than a social club, but still espouses a belief system incompatible with the Catholic faith.
|Why do priests have to move from parish to parish? - May 22, 2005|
The bishop, who the priest serves, decides where to send his priests based on a number of reasons, such as which parishes are largest and need the most priests, age, health or what kind of ministry the priest is suited for. A young priest is moved around to gain experience in different settings and eventually will settle down in one place in his elder years. Some people are disappointed when their favorite priest is transferred but this is actually a good thing. If the priest was assigned to a parish for years or even life, then the parish becomes too marked by the individual pastor’s preferences and style. This possibly leads to a personality cult centered around the pastor, who then becomes the focus of the people’s Catholic belief and practice.
|Please explain how many days are in Lent and if Sundays are included as a day of fasting and penance - May 15, 2005|
Lent is the 40-day penitential period that begins on Ash Wednesday and ends with the celebration of the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday. Sundays are not counted as days of penance because every Sunday is a celebration of the resurrection, thus making it inappropriate to fast or mourn. All days of Lent should be marked with authentic penance. Only Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are days of fasting and abstinence (no meat) and all Fridays in Lent are days of abstinence. The length of Lent is based upon the significance of the number forty in Scripture. The most relevant being the number of days Jesus spent praying and fasting in the desert preparing for the start of his ministry. We imitate Christ in a like manner by preparing for the climax of his mission: His death (Good Friday) and Resurrection (Easter).
|Do First Communions or Weddings on a Saturday satisfy the Sunday obligation? - May 15, 2005|
A Mass on Saturday that fulfills a Catholics’ obligation, to attend Mass on the Lord’s Day, is called a Vigil Mass. There are also Vigils the day before Holy days such as Immaculate Conception and Christmas. These Masses can start no earlier than 4:00PM on the previous day. Since First Communions and wedding Masses are to be completed before this time they would not fulfill this obligation. The Church actually sees the Vigil as part of the celebrated day, not the day before. This understanding comes from our Jewish ancestry.
|WHAT AGE DOES A CONFIRMATION SPONSOR HAVE TO BE? - May 8, 2005|
The Code of Canon Law states that to perform the function of sponsor, a person must have completed the sixteenth year of age, unless the diocesan bishop has established another age, or the pastor or minister has granted an exception for a just cause. Other conditions that must be fulfilled are 1) be designated by the one to be baptized, by the parents or the person who takes their place, or in their absence by the pastor or minister and have the aptitude and intention of fulfilling this function. 2) Be a Catholic who has been confirmed and has already received the most holy sacrament of the Eucharist and who leads a life of faith in keeping with the function to be taken on. 3) Not be the father or mother of the one to be confirmed. Both the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the Code of Canon Law indicate it is appropriate that the sponsor be one of the baptismal godparents, thus emphasizing the unity of the two Sacraments.
|IF THE HOLY SPIRIT GUIDES THE CONCLAVE DURING THE ELECTION OF A POPE, WHY HAS THERE BEEN BAD OR IMMORAL POPES? - May 3, 2005|
The answer is very easy. It was God’s will that a particular Pope was chosen. Some of the Popes of history have certainly had questionable circumstances surrounding their lives. Some would probably have been regarded as immoral by any era’s standards. For reasons that may be known by God Himself, it was His design that a particular man be chosen as Pope. It is not for us to question. Many of life’s circumstances give us reason to wonder why God would let something happen the way it does. Ultimately, we are called to the faith statement “Not my will be done, but the will of God”
|CAN OUR PARISH HAVE A LATIN MASS? - May 3, 2005|
To have a Mass in Latin according to the rubrics in effect before the liturgical changes now in effect would require the indult (permission) of the local Bishop. In our diocese, the Latin Mass is available at St. Agatha’s Church in South St. Louis. After the pastoral reorganization of the South City Deanery, this Mass will be transferred to St. Francis DeSales Church on Gravois in South St. Louis. The current eucharistic liturgy known as the Mass of Paul VI(Novus Ordo) can be offered in Latin by a priest at his own discretion.
|CAN A CATHOLIC ATTEND A WEDDING BETWEEN A CATHOLIC AND A NON-CATHOLIC AT A PROTESTANT CHURCH? - April 24, 2005|
A Catholic is bound to observe the Catholic form of marriage. The Bishop can give a dispensation from the Catholic form of marriage, allowing a Catholic to be married to a non-Catholic in a non-Catholic ritual. Without the dispensation of the Bishop, the marriage would be invalid. The Church does not explicitly disallow attending an invalid wedding but trusts your judgment in deciding whether or not your attendance would indicate your approval of an invalid wedding, thus causing scandal.
|CAN A CATHOLIC BE IN THE WEDDING PARTY( BEST MAN) AT A PROTESTANT WEDDING? - April 24, 2005|
Assuming that there are no impediments (such as a previous marriage), a marriage between two baptized Christians would be presumed valid in the eyes of the Catholic Church. A Catholic would be free to attend such a wedding, but would not be allowed to receive communion, which would be invalid, at a Protestant church.
|WHY WON’T A PRIEST MARRY A COUPLE AT AN OUTDOOR WEDDING? - Monday, April 17, 2005|
Sacraments can be administered outside a church for various reasons: Baptism or Annointing of the Sick of a dying person in a hospital, Eucharist given on the battlefield or a Papal Mass to accommodate massive crowds. These would be considered extraordinary circumstances and not the norm. A planned liturgical ceremony such as Holy Matrimony should be at proper liturgical sites such as a sacred church or oratory (a building outside of the church dedicated as sacred). The church is the building we use for the Sacraments and all the ceremonies that bring us together as a people of the Catholic faith. We must always remember the focus of a catholic marriage is the sacramental life of grace, within the bounds of a holy place. The policies and regulations of each diocese are set by the local bishop; hence rules vary from diocese to diocese. In St. Louis, the Archbishop places these policies as he feels applies to the traditions and norms of the archdiocese.
Keep in mind that our Catholic faith is directed by both Scripture and Tradition, the ongoing direction of God the Holy Spirit.
|WHAT IS THE MEANING OF THE ALPHA AND OMEGA SYMBOLS ON THE CANDLE? - April 10, 2005|
THEY ARE THE FIRST AND LAST LETTERS OF THE GREEK ALPHABET AND REPRESENT THE BEGINNING AND THE END. THESE WORDS WERE SPOKEN BY JESUS TO DESCRIBE HIMSELF IN THE BOOK OF REVELATION (REV 1:8, 22:13) WHICH WAS WRITTEN IN GREEK. THESE WORLDS ALONG WITH THE EXPRESSIONS FIRST AND LAST, BEGINNING AND END AND WHO IS AND WHO WAS ARE EXPRESSIONS OF GOD’S ETERNITY AND SHOW CHRIST ASSERTING HIS DIVINITY. THIS ASSERTION FULFILLS THE OLD TESTAMENT PASSAGE FROM ISAIAH 41:4 THAT SAYS GOD IS THE FIRST AND LAST AND CREATOR OF ALL. THE PASCAL CANDLE, A SYMBOL OF THE RISEN LORD AS THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD, IS NEXT TO THE ALTAR DURING THE EASTER SEASON. THE REST OF THE YEAR IT IS PLACED AT THE BAPTISTRY OR IN FRONT OF THE COFFIN DURING A FUNERAL (THE BEGINNING AND END OF OUR CHRISTIAN LIFE ON EARTH).
|WHY DID THEY MAKE SIGNS TO SPEAK TO ZECHARIAH, HE WAS MUTE, NOT DEAF? - April 3, 2005|
The Gospel of Luke tells us that Zechariah was rendered mute by his doubts about the angel Gabriel’s message concerning his son, John (the Baptist). This passage can be translated that he was rendered silent (RSV), mute, speechless (NAB) or dumb(Douay-Rheims or KJV) and unable to speak. Mute implies both deafness and inability to speak, hence the need for signs rather than verbals.
|THE EUCHARIST IS THE CENTER OF OUR CATHOLIC FAITH. WHY IS IT NOT MENTIONED IN THE NICENE CREED. - March 27, 2005|
The Nicene Creed contains the elements of our basic belief as Catholic Christians. In it are expressed our belief in the saving action of Jesus Christ, i.e., He came among us as man, suffered and died and rose, and lives with the Father and Holy Spirit. This is exactly what we celebrate at each and every Mass. The creed expresses in words what we do already as we celebrate Mass.
The Nicene Creed takes its name from the city of Nicaea, where an ecumenical council was held in A.D. 325. It was a response to the Arian heresy, which denied the divinity of Christ. The Church, while continuing to battle Arianism and other heresies, would make refinements and additions to the Creed, until it gained final form at the Council of Constantinople in A.D. 381. The correct name is actually the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed.
|WHY DOES THE PRIEST ADD WATER TO THE WINE? - March 20, 2005|
This is done to signify that both water and blood flowed from the pierced side of our crucified Savior (John 19:34). The water and blood are symbols of Baptism and the Eucharist, the sacraments of new life. From that point on, it is possible “to be born of spirit and water” (John 3:5) and enter the Kingdom of God.
|HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A PRIEST? WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR FAVORITE PARISH? - March 20, 2005|
I was ordained a priest in May of 1977 by Cardinal Carberry. While all of the parishes I have served at have been special, the parish I grew up in, St. Peter’s in Kirkwood, will always remain my favorite. Answered by Fr. Stehly
I was ordained a priest in May 1951 by Archbishop Ritter. All the parishes I have been at have been my favorite, including Ascension were I have been for the last 9 years. Answered by Fr. Nelke
I have been a priest for almost 11 years (May 28, 1994 was my ordination date). I have very much enjoyed all the parishes to which I've been assigned. As far as a favorite, I'd have to say ALL of them...because I've fallen in love with each parish that I've been assigned to and the people in each of them. Answered by Fr. Boehm
|WHAT DOES THE “IHS” ON THE PULPIT MEAN? - March 13, 2005|
It has been the practice since the early days of the Church to use certain letters, derived from Greek or Latin words, as symbols, slogans or abbreviations. One interpretation of this monogram comes from an early Christian phrase Iesus Hominum Salvator (Latin for: Jesus Savior of Humankind).
Another translation comes from the story of Constantine’s vision before one of the most important military battles of history. In the year 312 A.D. the Roman Empire was engaged in civil war. The non-Christian leader Constantine was marching upon Rome to battle the Emperor Maxentius. The night before the battle Constantine, in a dream had a vision of a luminous cross and heard the words In Hoc Signo, vinces (Latin for: In This Sign, you will conquer). He inscribed the cross and motto on his soldiers shields. That morning, at the Mulvian Bridge over the Tiber River, Maxentius lost the battle and his life. The Western Empire was Constantine’s and he attributed the victory to the Christian God. Christianity was legalized and the age of persecution was over.
|ON THE ALTAR IS THE LETTERS P AND X. WHAT DO THEY MEAN? - March 6, 2005|
The letters look like P and X in our English alphabet, but are actually chi (looks like X) and rho (looks like P) from the Greek alphabet. They are the first two letters (CH and R) of the Greek word “Christos”. Thus, the chi-rho monogram is used as a symbol of Christianity.