Jesus falls three times on the way to the crucifixion

Jesus falls three times on the way to the crucifixion
Question from on 04-21-2007:
Dear Matthew,

I've searched the gospels many times but am unable to locate any biblical references to Jesus stumbling even once on the way to the mountain where he is crucified. The 12 stations in the way of the cross has Him down three times, along with a woman named Veronica who wipes His face and it is imprinted on the cloth. Can you please tell me where these beliefs originated from if not the gospels?

Thank you and God bless.

Marc Lariviere
Answer by Matthew Bunson on 04-29-2007:
The road taken by Our Lord to Calvary is called the Via Dolorosa (the Sorrowful Way). The events that took place while Jesus journeyed that agonizing road were remembered by the faithful in the earliest days of the Church. Gradually, there developed a tradition among even the first of the pilgrims to the Holy Land in the first centuries of retracing Jesus’ steps, event by event – or, as they came to be called, station by station. The act of piety in retracing these events was given the name of the Stations of the Cross. As noted, the origins of the Stations can be traced to a fairly early time in Christian history, perhaps even to the 4th century among the pilgrims journeying to Jerusalem. The stations were then reproduced analogously at home in their own native countries. In this way, the devotion was translated to Europe where it became increasingly popular throughout the Middle Ages.

Some of the stations are mentioned explicitly in the Gospels, while others are known according to the attestation of ancient tradition. Consequently, not every station has a direct equivalent in the Gospel narratives. In answering your specific question pertaining to Jesus falling three times, this is not specifically mentioned in the Gospel, but there is excellent reason to accept them as likely given the consistent testimony of ancient witnesses as well as the writings of mystics.

The first person to refer to the devotions as stations was an English pilgrim named William Wey in 1428. By that time, the stations were already very popular, and the Holy See had already attached an indulgence to this pilgrimage; later, an indulgence was available to those who could not travel to Jerusalem but who made the pilgrimage in spirit.

In 1505, Peter Sterchx, a Flemish writer, published the highly influential work Cruysgang (“Way of the Cross”), a guide book to the stations that did even more to popularize them and that provided much of the structure for the Stations of the Cross as we know the devotion today. The first twelve stations were placed in their current order by a Dutch writer, Adrichomius in 1584 in his well-read manual, Via Crucis (“Way of the Cross”). The number of stations subsequently varied from 11 to 37 until 1731 when Pope Clement XII fixed the official number at 14.

Modern devotion to the Stations of the Cross is attributed generally to the Franciscan St. Leonard of Port Maurice (d. 1751). Through his labors, there were established stations in at least 571 places throughout Italy. The renewed practice of the devotion then spread to the New World and across Europe. I hope this answers your question. If not, please feel free to re-post.

Benedict and Orthodox

Benedict and Orthodox
Question from on 04-22-2007:
It seems that Pope Bendict XVI is going to work hard to bring the Russian Orthodox into the fold in some sense. The Russians will lead first the Serbs and then other Eastern Orthodox back toward communion with Rome. What historical significance do you see from such events?
Answer by Matthew Bunson on 04-29-2007:
I fear that we have a ways to travel down the road of ecumenism before the dream of reunion is realized fully.

In truth, the schism did not begin abruptly; rather, there was a long process of growing cultural, religious, theological, and even linguistic differences between the Churches of East and West. Prior to the final schism of 1054, there had been several schisms and breaks – such as the Acacian Schism of the fifth century, the controversy over the Three Chapters in the sixth century, and the crisis caused by Photius, patriarch of Constantinople. These temporary divisions were symptoms of a wider divide emerging between the Greek and Latin churches that really first became evident as a result of the invasion of the Roman Empire by the Germanic tribes in the 4th-5th centuries and the demise of the empire in the West in 476 with the deposition of Emperor Romulus Augustulus. The death of the Western Roman Empire ended the political and religious unity of the Greek East and the Latin West, and from that time the Christian Church was set upon a road that ended with the schism of 1054. The growing distance was manifested in numerous ways, not the least of which was in the emergence of two distinct ecclesiological outlooks. In the East, there were numerous Churches whose foundation went back to the Apostles, and there was a strong sense of the equality of all bishops, of the collegial and conciliar nature of the Church. Consequently, there was much prestige and authority vested in the great patriarchates of the East, in Jerusalem, Antioch, Alexandria, and from 451, Constantinople, as well as the frequent ecumenical councils that were seen to be locus of supreme authority for the Eastern theologians.

The issue of papal authority thus became one of the major stumbling blocks in effecting a lasting reunion within the Christian Church. From the perspective of the Orthodox, the Bishop of Rome holds a primacy of honor in Christendom and pastoral diakonia, but he is primus inter pares among the five great patriarchates. The Orthodox do not accept that his special position as bishop of Rome grants him supreme jurisdictional authority; nor does it grant a charisma of infallibility. Above all, the Orthodox consider the power of the ecumenical council far greater than any pope.

These remain issues for ecumenical discussions, but papal primacy was only one aspect of the gulf between the Latins and Greeks, and the gap was widened further by differences that emerged in usage, various practices, and language. For example, Latin dominated in the West, and Greek was accepted in the East. In effect, the extensive theological writings that were being undertaken throughout the East and West remained largely unread by their counterparts. Dissemination required translation, and poor translations, mistranslations, and deliberate misreading created a hostile atmosphere. There was also the filioque. A formula expressing the double procession of the Holy Spirit, the filioque represents the Catholic understanding of how the Holy Spirit proceeds eternally from the Father and the Son (qui a Patre Filioque procedit). The Orthodox have rejected the formula on several bases, but chiefly they have argued that it confuses the persons, and destroys the proper balance between the unity and diversity in the Godhead.

It is important to recognize that the schism that erupted between the Latin and Greek Churches thus did not begin suddenly in 1054, nor did the break mean a sharp and permanent schism from that point on. The causes of the break between the Churches of East and West can be traced to various causes although the formal historical breach took place in 1054 when three papal legates, headed by Cardinal Humbert of Silva-Candida, placed the bull of excommunication, In terra pax hominibus, upon the altar of the Hagia Sophia in Constantinople. Despite the fact that Pope Leo IX had died by the time the bull was promulgated thereby annulling its validity, the papal decree stated, among other things, that the Patriarch of Constantinople, Michael Cerularius, had exceeded his authority. In reply, the patriarch summoned a council and pronounced anathemas upon the legates. However, the Greeks in 1054 certainly did not consider the break a permanent one and relations in various forms were maintained over the next years. The incident of 1054 was viewed initially as unfortunate, but merely one more moment in a complicated relationship. Indeed, the personal excommunications exchanged should have lasted no longer than the lifetimes of the participants. Nevertheless, the schism of 1054 proved surprisingly difficult to end, and the reunions achieved through the Councils of Lyons (1274) and Florence proved fleeting. In the end, the decrees were lifted officially only in1965 by the mutual agreement of Pope Paul VI and Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras I.

The reasons for the failure to find a restoration of Christian unity, however, stemmed not from the breach of 1054 but from events that followed. The most serious of these was the Crusading movement, climaxing from the Greek standpoint with the conquest and sack of Constantinople by the forces of the Fourth Crusade in 1204. The Byzantine emperor was deposed in favor of a pro-Latin claimant, and a Latin Patriarch was installed as the spiritual leader of Constantinople. Despite his personal opposition, Pope Innocent III accepted reluctantly the new arrangement as a fait accompli. The rightful dynasty of the Palaeologi was restored in 1263 and the Latin patriarchate was dissolved, but for the Byzantines history relations ever after were colored by these events.

This provides some historical background to your question. There are still very serious theological, ecclesiastical, and other difficulties to overcome before any effective reunion can be achieved. Still, the promotion of dialogue was a major concern for Pope John Paul II and is also of great importance to Pope Benedict XVI. In his encyclical Ut Unum Sint [56.2], Pope John Paul II expressed the tragic and the hopeful realities that exist within the efforts at ecumenical dialogue between the Roman Catholic and the Eastern Orthodox Churches: “The structures of unity which existed before the separation are a heritage of experience that guides our common path toward the reestablishment of full communion. Obviously, during the second millennium the Lord has not ceased to bestow on his Church abundant fruits of grace and growth. Unfortunately, however, the gradual and mutual estrangement between the Churches of the West and the East deprived them of the benefits of mutual exchanges and cooperation. With the grace of God a great effort must be made to reestablish full communion among them, the source of such good for the Church of Christ. This effort calls for all our good will, humble prayer and a steadfast cooperation which never yields to discouragement.”

The easiest way to conclude in answering your question is to put it this way: if a formal reunion is achieved with the Orthodox, its terms will by simple necessity encompass and resolve all of the differences that exist between the Catholics and Orthodox including papal primacy, the rights of the Eastern Catholic Churches, and the resolution of other lingering theological disagreements. This is a tall order and may take some time to achieve, but it is certainly something for which we should all pray.

Opus Dei

Document Title: "Opus Dei
Question from on 04-26-2007:
What is the organization Opus Dei ? What is your opinion of this group ?
Answer by Richard Geraghty on 04-29-2007:
Dear Nicolas,

The Opus Dei (Latin for a work of God) is a Catholic religious group recognized by the Church. Lately it has been heavily lied about in the secular press.

Dr. Geraghty"

Glass Chalice

Document Title: "Glass Chalice
Question from on 02-13-2007:
Our parish uses clear wine stem classes as communion cups. In fact, my brother has the exact set the church has in his china cabinet. Now our parish is using these same glasses as chalices for Mass. They are just average old wine glasses. Is this appropriate?
Answer by Colin B. Donovan, STL on 04-27-2007:
Its not only NOT appropriate it is a condemned practice because of the risk of profanation of the Holy Eucharist. Glass breaks and glass stemware falls over. Anyone who would allow this or cooperate with it would be morally responsible for any profanation of the Sacrament that results. Willful profanation, and one could make a case that foreseeable profanation is willful, might be guilty of an excommunicable offense reserved to the Pope. Here is what the 2002 General Instruction says,

328. Sacred vessels are to be made from precious metal. If they are made from metal that rusts or from a metal less precious than gold, then ordinarily they should be gilded on the inside.

329. In the Dioceses of the United States of America, sacred vessels may also be made from other solid materials that, according to the common estimation in each region, are precious, for exa"

Eternal life and death..

Document Title: "Eternal life and death..
Question from on 04-19-2007:
Doctor i'm not sure if this is in your expertise but i have a question that i think would invole Philosophy if not please direct to the right person if possible. My question is short and that is when reading the Epistle's John but not him alone talk about the gift of eternal life and the eternal death for non believer's. They seem to seperate the eternal death from the Hell fire reserved for Satan and his Angel's. And even Jesus told the sister's of Lazarus that he sleep's. Can you answer this puzzle for me....
Answer by Richard Geraghty on 04-27-2007:
Dear Larry,

The Church teaches that there is only one hell which is ruled by Satan. Those who are in hell are unbelievers who are guilty for their unbelief. Not all unbelievers are guilty if it is not their fault. Also in hell are believers who did not live out their belief. Everybody else will be in heaven because they went through the struggle of being devoted to Christ whether they knew Christ specifically or not.

Dr. Geraghty"

Last Days On Earth and Rapture

Document Title: "Last Days On Earth and Rapture
Question from on 04-27-2007:
With everything changing so rapidly and in such turmoil, I believe we are in our last days. Why doesn't the Mother Church speak about the last days? The mention of falling away and rapture is vastly becoming more and more popular. Does the church feel we are entering the last days?
Answer by Richard Geraghty on 04-28-2007:
Dear Susan,

The Church teaches about the last days. But it makes no judgment about these times as being the last days.

Dr. Geraghty"

Eternal life and death..

Document Title: "Eternal life and death..
Question from on 04-19-2007:
Doctor i'm not sure if this is in your expertise but i have a question that i think would invole Philosophy if not please direct to the right person if possible. My question is short and that is when reading the Epistle's John but not him alone talk about the gift of eternal life and the eternal death for non believer's. They seem to seperate the eternal death from the Hell fire reserved for Satan and his Angel's. And even Jesus told the sister's of Lazarus that he sleep's. Can you answer this puzzle for me....
Answer by Richard Geraghty on 04-27-2007:
Dear Larry,

The Church teaches that there is only one hell which is ruled by Satan. Those who are in hell are unbelievers who are guilty for their unbelief. Not all unbelievers are guilty if it is not their fault. Also in hell are believers who did not live out their belief. Everybody else will be in heaven because they went through the struggle of being devoted to Christ whether they knew Christ specifically or not.

Dr. Geraghty"

How am I going to explain Creation to my child?

Document Title: "How am I going to explain Creation to my child?
Question from on 04-19-2007:
My son is asking all the questions I asked as a child and never had answered. For example, where do the dinosaurs fit into the creation story? If Adam and Eve were the first people then how come Cane and Abel seem to live among so many people? If the Bible says God created the world in 7 days and it's not exactly true, than why should I believe the bad angels got kicked out of heaven and sent to Hell? How do I explain the Bible to him? I don't really understand it myself.
Answer by Richard Geraghty on 04-26-2007:
Dear MPT,

I am sure that there are plenty of books out there. Does anyone have any suggestions?

Dr. Geraghty"

Stopping the culture of death

Document Title: "Stopping the culture of death
Question from on 04-25-2007:
How does one go about avoiding doing business with those who fund the culture of death (and possibly encouraging them to discontinue such practices) in a practical manner? Is there a feasible way to keep track of such businesses/groups/organizations/etc.?

God bless you.
Answer by Judie Brown on 04-26-2007:
Dear Wondering

If you purchase the list of such companies from Life Decisions International, you can keep track of the companies but to my mind, boycotting every one of them is really an enormous challenge. However, writing to the corporate offices and explaining how disturbing it is to know that they support the culture of death may eventually have a positive result.

If you want to learn more about Life Decisions International, visit their web site:

Judie Brown"

War in the Middle East...

Document Title: "Re: War in the Middle East...
Question from on 04-03-2007:
I get what you're saying but I have a question as of what should be done now. Should we pull out of Iraq when it's in such a fragile state, or should we stay there long enough to strengthen it's government?
Answer by Richard Geraghty on 04-25-2007:
Dear Anon,

That is the big question, isn't it? It would take a very wise and experienced man to know the answer. I have no experience in such big and complicated matters.

Dr. Geraghty"

end of times

Document Title: "end of times
Question from on 04-03-2007:
it seems to me everyday America and the rest of the world seem to seperate more and more away from God and do whatever. I'm in school so I see a lot of things. People talk about drugs in class like it's normal to be a pot head. Girls are getting pregnant and aborting without consulting their parents. Has our Earth always been so sinful? Am I a little too worried? And is it right that I am homophobic?
Answer by Richard Geraghty on 04-25-2007:
Dear Eric,

You have a right to be worried. And you are not homophobic just because you believe that the homosexual act is a sin against both God and man. The world in general today is against traditional religion and morals. The earth has always been pretty sinful. But in the past Christianity helped to keep flagrant immorality down a bit. Now flagrant immorality has become much more public. So hang in there and say your prayers.

Dr. Geraghty"

Gospel Reading/Preaching

Document Title: "Gospel Reading/Preaching
Question from on 04-24-2007:
Greetings Fr. Bob

Have you heard anything about the Church officially appointing lay people to read the Gospel and preach during liturgy as a new norm due to the lack of priests and deacons in some areas? A priest in our diocese who I consider devout and faithful to the magesterium has said that some U.S. bishops have mentioned this. I have attempted to research this and can find nothing more about this. I know lay people may be allowed to read something prepared by the priest for a 'Service in the Absence of a Priest' in the absence of a priest or deacon, but it was mentioned that lay people may be appointed or commissioned, much like the commissioning Accolytes and Readers receive when done in an 'official' capacity, to actually be able to preach during liturgy.

God's Blessings on all you do in your Priestly Ministry, Deacon Bob
Answer by Fr. Robert J. Levis on 04-25-2007:
Deacon Bob, Yes, I also heard of this but can't be more informative than you. Sorry. Itcould be true. God bless you. Fr. Bob Levis"

What is Mystical Prayer

Document Title: "What is Mystical Prayer
Question from on 04-25-2007:
Blessed Greetings Father Levis

You suggested that I be introduced to mystical prayer.

I am in a very rural area so I do not have an easy opportunity to seek out a personal priest to guide me. Our family must travel 17 miles to attend mass at a mission parish. The priest must travel 30 miles to serve our mission parish. The next closest parish is 50 miles away in the opposite direction.

I serve God and my parish by being active. I teach CCD to the high School youth. Am on the parish council. I’m an Eucharistic minister. And help out whenever there is a need. I seek Our Priests help and guidance often. I am active in receiving the sacraments including the sacrament of reconciliation, which is where I believe the priest recognized my need.

I have been blessed with a good parish priest who I feel recognized my need for deeper insight into my spiritual needs. He has loaned me and recommended that I read Interior Castle by St. Teresa of Avila. I am currently doing just that, but only about 25% complete. I also have in my possession the collected works of St. John of the Cross, but haven’t started reading that book yet

My question is What"

readings at a funeral liturgy

Document Title: "readings at a funeral liturgy
Question from on 04-24-2007:

I hope you can help even though this is not your forum.

I work in a Catholic parish, Father has asked me for help in addressing this situation because his schedule today does not permit him time to do the research. None of the priests I have contacted locally have encountered this situation.

The family of a deceased parishioner has chosen the readings for tomorrow's Mass of Christian Burial. In addition Psalm 23 (sung) for the responsorial Psalm, an Epistle and the Gospel, they have requested Psalm 27 ( The Lord is my light and my salvation)as the 1st reading.

I have looked at the Order of Christian Funerals, the GIRM and Masses for the Dead and can find no specific prohibition to using a Psalm ( read straight through without a response) as a 1st reading at a Mass- funeral or otherwise.

The Magnificat, Canticle of Zechariah and Canticle of Daniel occasionally appear in place of a Psalm- but is it acceptable to use a Psalm as a reading IN ADDITION to the sung responsorial Psalm?

While I realize the good Bishops cannot anticipate everything, I would think that if one or two specific books of scripture are considered inappropriate as r"

Miscarried souls

Document Title: "Miscarried souls
Question from on 04-24-2007:
Dear Judie: First, let me say that I am a horrible sinner who deserves to suffer every day of my life.

13 years ago, I committed the most horrible act against an innocent. I was in a very bad state of mind spiritually, and was weak against the devil. I have suffered every single day ever since--realizing that what I did was heinous. I went to confession, but feel it was not enough. But that is not my question:

Not including the innocent soul that went to heaven 13 years ago, I miscarried 3 times since (that I am aware of).

During one of those pregnancies, I had a blighted ovum, that is to say that the embryo never formed. It was an 'empty sac'.

Does this pregnancy count as a soul? If no embryo ever formed?

I have always thought about these precious souls in heaven, and am now wondering if I have 4 in heaven, or 3.

Also, how can I make reparations to God for what I did? I am wholeheartedly sorry, and sobbingly confessed my sin 10 years ago, but I am still tormented.

Thank you.
Answer by Judie Brown on 04-25-2007:
Dear GE

You are in my prayers as I know all too well that while God forgives u"

What is Heaven Like

Document Title: "What is Heaven Like
Question from on 04-18-2007:
Hello Father Levis Here's my question?

What is heaven like?

My heart longs to be with our lord, and yet I fear death somewhat. I’m very tired of living in this life with all of its distractions, yet I have much to live and be thankful for. I’m a married man of 30 years so I know all the delight of the marital embrace. I know the joy and of having children. Of the wonder of their birth and their first breath. Of watching them grow up and of teaching them of the Catholic faith. Of watching them become successful in this life and keeping their faith. I’ve been successful in this life with my business. I’m self employed in agriculture production; I raise crops and livestock. I get to work with and be challenged by Mother Nature. Every day is different. I have accumulated land that I own as well as rent. The world says I’m successful!!

I’ve also known the aridity of marriage, when temptations of adultery and lust seem to overwhelm the spirit and mind. I’ve known the heartache of raising children, of illness, of sexual assault against your child, of self-destructive behavior by an adult child. My business is exhausting, "

Catholics and Protestants unite in opposition to abortion and homosexual unions in Paraguay

Catholics and Protestants unite in opposition to abortion and homosexual unions in Paraguay: "Catholics and Protestants unite in opposition to abortion and homosexual unions in Paraguay

AsunciĆ³n, Apr 23, 2007 / 10:49 am (CNA).- Catholics and Protestants came together outside the Cathedral in the Paraguayan capital of Asuncion to express their rejection of a new healthcare law that would promote abortion and same-sex unions.

The protest took place last week as Catholics and evangelical leaders issued a statement denouncing the new law on “sexual and reproductive health” as a way to open the door to abortion.

The statement noted that the law would allow for the “massive distribution of contraceptives,” as well as “publicly-funded sterilizations,” underscoring that the law would also violate the rights of parents by encouraging minors to make decisions “related to sexual acts of any kind, and the use of contraceptives” or to have recourse to abortion without informing their parents.

“We believe this law will harm families and will lead to the physical, psychological and moral deterioration of young people,” the statement warned."

Anniversary Blessing

Document Title: "Anniversary Blessing
Question from on 04-22-2007:
Today my husband and I attended our 25th Wedding Anniversary Blessing. It was held in a Cathedral. The Gospel was read and everything seemed to me that a Mass was taking place. As we were in the moment of this very meaningful time in our lives I realize that it wouldn't be a Mass but a Blessing. Well I was upset to say the least. It was really my fault. I made an assumption instead of checking it out.

We were so very happy and proud. Good proud. We had invited our children and other family members. They had asked if it would be a mass, I really thought that it would be so I said of course.


I told my family that now they have to go to confession. My son disagreed by saying he didn't miss mass on purpose. We all thought we'd be at Mass. What is true and not true? Please help.
Answer by Rev. Mark J. Gantley, JCL on 04-23-2007:
It was a mistake made in good conscience, not a sin. Your son is correct."

Chapel & Blessed Sacrument

Document Title: "hapel & Blessed Sacrument
Question from on 04-22-2007:
Queen of Heaven....pray for us.

Can a personal chapel have the Blessed Scrument in its tabernacle? the chapel is its own building, sacrurary lamp, altar and altar stone ect... thank you

Mother of us all......pray for us.
Answer by Rev. Mark J. Gantley, JCL on 04-22-2007:
This would up left to the judgment and determination of the diocesan bishop."

Requirements for Deacon

Document Title: "Requirements for Deacon
Question from on 04-08-2007:
During the recent history of the church I have noticed that the requirement for entering the permanent diaconate seem to be a lot more strict than for the requirements of entering the priesthood. In many diocese a man has to be at least 31 years old and be married 5 years. While you do not have to be any certain age to enter the priesthood. Has this always been this way or is it recent? Seems to me that the requirements for a priest should be much more strict than one who is applying for the diaconate.

Thank you
Answer by Matthew Bunson on 04-21-2007:
I would have to disagree courteously with the argument that it is easier to enter the priesthood than the diaconate. Those called to the priesthood are required to fulfill very rigorous demands, all the more so with the recent reforms of the admissions process. For example, the typical candidate must have an undergraduate degree (or equivalent), at least 18 to 33 hours in philosophy, undertake a pre-theology program, survive a battery of intense psychological tests and background checks, succeed in at least three years of academic study (usually for an M.Div. or S.T.B. degree), and demonstrate a constant ability to grow in spiri"

Sunday obligation

Document Title: "Sunday obligation
Question from on 04-03-2007:
I am Maronite Catholic, but my nearest Maronite mission is 2 hours away from home. We make the drive almost every week except in winter when weather keeps us away, sometimes for several weeks at a time. I do not feel at home at Latin mass, but there is a Russian Orthodox church closer to our home. Will attendance at the Orthodox church fulfill our Sunday obligation?
Answer by Richard Geraghty on 04-20-2007:
Dear Lynette,

If the Russian Orthodox Church were the only near one to you, going to it would fulfill your obligation for Sunday mass since it would be difficult for you to go to your regular church in winter. But if there is a Roman Catholic Church near you, then I think you would go to that church even though its liturgy may not be as satisfying to you as the one in the Russian Orthodox Church. The reason is that it makes a very great difference objectively speaking whether a church is joined to Rome or not. This difference is a terrible split in Christendom and we cannot forget that. We cannot act as if it makes no difference. But that will require a sacrifice on your part. There are a sizable portion of Roman Catholics who much prefer the Tridentine mass that "

Precious Blood question

Document Title: "Precious Blood question
Question from on 04-16-2007:
I read in this forum that Redemptionis Sacramentum forbids the practice of pouring the Precious Blood into chalices after the consecration. Yet on our local EWTN radio station (KBLE) our Archbishop defended the practice on the grounds that it was done to prevent the possibility of spilling when there are many chalices used during Mass at the cathedral. I have also seen this happen at local parishes when there are just a few chalices, and pouring was done by a lay person.

Can you please offer me some guidance? I found the practice so disturbing that I attend at a different parish now, but what more can and should I do?

Thank you
Answer by Rev. Mark J. Gantley, JCL on 04-20-2007:
The liturgical directives are very clear that the danger of spillage is greater when pouring is involved after the consecration, and that if mulitple chalices will be needed for the distribution of Holy Communion, then the wine should be poured into the chalices during the preparation of the gifts.

It is unfortunate that such a statement were made by a bishop. He is clearly violating his obligation found in canon 392: '1. Since he must protect the unity of the universal Church, a bish"

Archangel Michael is called Saint

Document Title: "Archangel Michael is called Saint
Question from on 04-20-2007:
While traveling with my son, who has become a devout non denominational christian, we came across a 'St Michael the Archangel' Catholic Church, my son asked how an Angel is a saint, since he assumed saints have to be humans. I have never questioned the saintly status for Michael and have often prayed for his protection. Is there a resource to explain how it is that he is called a 'saint'?
Answer by Catholic Answers on 04-20-2007:

If a being is in heaven, that being is a saint. Being in heaven is what it means to be a saint. For more on angels see:

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P."

cannon law 277

Document Title: "cannon law 277
Question from on 04-20-2007:
Can you explain the meaing of cannon 277. I am thinking of becoming a deacon. In this part of the cannon if I understand it correctly a deacon is a cleric and he shouldn't have relations with his wife once he is ordain. Please explain this. Thank you
Answer by Rev. Mark J. Gantley, JCL on 04-20-2007:
Canon 277 obliges clerics to celibacy. However, canon 1031 provides an exception.

There is no restriction on deacons and their wives in fulfilling their obligations and exercising their rights to sexual intimacy."

Women in the Priesthood

Women in the Priesthood
Question from on 04-19-2007:
How can I defend the Church's teaching on women in the priesthood?
Answer by Jason Morin on 04-19-2007:
This is all one needs to defend the Church's stance on reserving priestly ordination to men alone:

God Bless,

Jason Morin

extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion

Document Title: "extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion
Question from on 04-17-2007:
Is it ok for extraordinary ministers of holy communion to consume left over communion under both forms, after the mass is over ,if it is how should they recieve and if they should not what should be done with the left over hosts and where can I find the church instructions on such matters and should I take any action on such matters
Answer by Rev. Mark J. Gantley, JCL on 04-19-2007:
It is permitted for them to consume the remaining Blood of Christ. They should do this once they have completed ministering. The remaining Hosts can simply be put into the tabernacle by the priest."

Lay Person Reading the Gospel

Document Title: "Lay Person Reading the Gospel
Question from on 04-17-2007:
I just read on this site where a lay person should NEVER read the Gospel at Mass. At our local Catholic nursing the presiding priest is legally blind and says Mass by heart with a lay person reading the Gospel. Is that permitted?

We now have a new priest and I read once after Father had cateract surgery.

Thank You and God Bless!
Answer by Rev. Mark J. Gantley, JCL on 04-19-2007:
These are obviously very different circumstances. I don't see a problem with this, after all, one is not bound to do the impossible.

Other than such circumstances, a lay person should never read the gospel at Mass."

Receiving Eucharist in the Episcopal Church

Question from on 04-19-2007:
We are a Catholic family. Part of our extended family is Episcopal. Is it wrong for us to receive communion in their church when we are visiting them? The Episcopal priest refers to the Eucharist, and the mass is almost exactly like ours. Can they receive communion in our Catholic church we they visit us? Thanks.
Answer by Rev. Mark J. Gantley, JCL on 04-19-2007:
It is true that their rituals are very similar to ours. However, Episcopalians do not have valid Eucharist. Thus, it is NEVER permitted for a Catholic to receive. Generally speaking, they are not permitted to receive Catholic sacraments either."

Covering of Staues During Holy Week

Question from on 03-29-2007:
I am a cradle Catholic and in my early 50's. As a child in the years prior to and during Vatican II, I recall that statues in my parish church were covered in purple from Palm Sunday to Holy Saturday.

At the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday night, at the singing of the 'Gloria,' and while the church bells were ringing, altar servers would go around the church and uncover all of the statues.

I find that there are very few parishes today that continue this custom. However, there is a Carmelite Chapel, not far from where I live, that continues to maintain this practice of covering statues during Holy Week.

My questions are these:

1.) When and where did this custom originate?

2.) What is the purpose behind this practice of covering statues during Holy Week?

3.) Since Vatican II, is this practice still allowed or is it discouraged?

Thank you so very much and God Bless you!

In Jesus and Mary, +John
Answer by David Gregson on 04-19-2007:
See, in our Document Library, Covering of Crosses and Images in Lent."

Who wrote the gospels?

Document Title: "Who wrote the gospels?
Question from on 03-28-2007:
I have heard that scholars are disputing the authors of the 4 gospels.

Can you shed some light on this please.
Answer by David Gregson on 04-19-2007:
See, in our Document Library, Who Really Wrote the Gospels, by Fr. William Saunders."

abortion and excommunication

Document Title: "
Question from on 04-17-2007:
Unlike the previous poster, I had an abortion at the age of 19 and I'm pretty sure that I knew about the excommunication penalty at the time. Anyway, I married at age 24. It wasn't until age 29 that I went to confession. I confessed my abortion, my sinful life as a teenager, etc... My question to you - am I really married if I was excommunicated at the time of the wedding? Was my later confession valid? Can only the bishop absolve from the sin and lift the excommunication? I vaguely remember calling the priest after my confession to ask him this very question - did he have the power to lift the excommunication. He said that in our diocese, priests did. The problem is that was 15 years ago and I'm worried that I'm remembering it wrong. What should I do?
Answer by Rev. Mark J. Gantley, JCL on 04-17-2007:
If the excommunication was in place, then the marriage would have been illicit but still valid.
I cannot be certain that you incurred the excommunication. However, I would mention this concern to a priest in confession and ask him if he has the faculty to remit the penalty. (In most dioceses in the U.S., it is common for bishops to delegate all priest this faculty.) If he has the faculty, he can remit the penalty verbally right there on the spot. If he doesn't have the faculty, he can contact the diocesan bishop for the faculty and arrange a time for you to meet him again (even within the confidentiality of confession). At that time, he can then remit the penalty. There should be not need for you to contact the bishop yourself. "

Document TitleNo Communion During Wedding Ceremony

Document Title: "
Question from on 04-17-2007:
I apologize if this sounds like a ignorant question (I'm new to this). If a couple is being married in a Catholic Church and does not take communion during the ceremony, does this make the marriage invalid (constituting a lack of form)?
Answer by Rev. Mark J. Gantley, JCL on 04-17-2007:
No, there is no requirement that a person even celebrate marriage within Mass. A couple that are both Catholic may choose not to have a Mass because most of those attending the wedding are not Catholic, in order to be sensitive to the fact that the majority of the guests would not be able to receive Holy Communion.
And mixed marriages (marriages between a Catholic and a baptized non-Cahtolic) are ordinarily not celebrated within Mass, and disparity of cult marriages (marriages between a Catholic and a non-baptized person) are never celebrated within Mass.
The requirement of canonical form merely requires that a priest or deacon (with proper authority) to receive consent and two additional witnesses be present at the marriage ceremony. This requirement binds all Catholics, even when marrying a non-Catholic. "

Making of a graven image

Document Title: "
Question from on 04-13-2007:
What is actually meant by the term in the first commandment 'You shall not make for yourself a graven image'. I understand myself that statues of the Lord, Our Blessed Mother and the Saints are not adored but help us focus on to whom we are speaking. My daughter commented on this directive that you are not to make a graven image. Please explain for me in more depth. God bless you. My daughter is married to a non practicing Presbetrian and I believe he has some objections to having Holy pictures in the home.
Answer by Fr. Robert J. Levis on 04-17-2007:
Dear Anon, We are not to make nor adore any statue, image, picture of something which we consider divine. This is simple enough. Notice the belief of the Jews, no pictures, no images, just a bit of decoration of their synagogue. God bless. Fr. Bob Levis "

Pope to visit tomb of St. Augustine

Pope to visit tomb of St. Augustine: "Pope to visit tomb of St. Augustine

Vatican City, Apr 17, 2007 / 09:54 am (CNA).- On Saturday, April 21, and Sunday, April 23, the Holy Father will make a pastoral visit to the Italian dioceses of Vigevano and Pavia, for the 750th anniversary of the Bull 'Licet Ecclesiae Catholicae' with which Pope Alexander IV unified the various groups following the Augustinian rule into one great Order.

Soon after his election to the pontificate on April 19, 2005, Benedict XVI was invited by Fr. Robert Prevost, Prior General of the Augustinian order, to come and venerate the remains of St. Augustine which are conserved in the Basilica of San Pietro in Cieldoro, in Pavia. Having accepted invitation, the Holy Father will visit the Basilica where he will light a votive candle before the Saint's casket in perennial memory of his visit.

The Pope will also bless the corner stone of the planned Augustinian cultural center, which the Order intends to dedicate to Benedict XVI, in honor of the strong spiritual and theological ties binding the Holy Father and the great Doctor of the Church. "

Receiving the Eucharist

Document Title: "
Question from on 04-17-2007:
I understand that Canon Law allows a person who has already received communion to receive a second time on the same day if he participates in the mass where the consecration has taken place. If I attend 5pm Mass on Saturday (which fulfills the Sunday obligation), would I be allowed to then receive two times on the Sunday (I would be attending 2 Masses on Sunday)? Could you also briefly explain the reason for the limit of twice? Would this be a sin to receive more than twice? Why or why not?
Thank you and God bless.
Answer by Fr. Robert J. Levis on 04-18-2007:
Dear GA, YOu may receive the Eucharist on any Saturday, and twice on the following Sunday, provided you attend a whole Mass twice on Sunday. The Church limits such reception ordinarily trying to prevent careless reception of grace. More is not necessarily better. Fr. Bob Levis "

Mental Health

Document Title: "
Question from on 04-18-2007:
What is the Church's position on suffering because of mental health? Is it a result of original sin?
Answer by Fr. Robert J. Levis on 04-18-2007:
Der Rafael, I think all evils - mental, physical, emotional, - flow out of the Original Sin of our First Parents. God created mankind in a healthy and holy state and evil and death came in with sin. Fr. Bob Levis "