Friday, August 31, 2012

Catholic Q&A: Part 28

This post continues my series of short answers to common questions about Catholicism. For the previous parts in the series, see the "Catholic Q-A Series" blog label.

Are you allowed to have two Eucharistic Adorations going on at once in a parish in two different locations? One for those who wish to adore in silence and one for a charismatic group?

Well, you can have Mass in one location and Adoration in a separate location at the same time, but I haven't heard of adoration in two different locations at the same time. There's no instruction against it (at least that I am aware of), but it is bad pastoral practice. The Eucharist is supposed to be a source of unity for a parish, not division. What you could do is have one extended period of adoration in one location during which you have two different periods of devotion - one for silent prayer, one for charismatic prayer - and one closing Benediction for both groups according to the rubrics. That would be more acceptable.

Did Jesus insult Herod when He called Herod a "fox"? (cf. Lk 13:31-32) I thought insulting another person was a sin.

I'm not so sure that Jesus was insulting Herod when He called Herod a fox. Herod was known for his shrewdness, and if anyone can stand in judgment of Herod it is Jesus.

Ever read Mt 23? Jesus goes off on the scribes and pharisees, calling them "hypocrites" six times (vs. 13, 15, 23, 25, 27, 29), as well as "children of hell" (vs. 15), "blind guides" (vs. 16, 24), "blind fools" (vs. 17), "blind men" (vs. 19), "serpents" (vs. 33) and a "brood of vipers" (vs. 33)! But even here, the same thing applies. Jesus was standing in judgment of these people because He has the authority to do so. But we do not.

Now, this doesn't mean we should refrain from speaking the truth. But, we better make sure we are in full possession of it, and when we speak it, we should speak it with love (cf. Eph 4:15). Let Jesus be the one to stand in judgment of people. There are better ways to get your point across then by using insults. For example, instead of saying, "You're an a-hole", try saying, "You are being mean to me." Even less caustic insults, like "stupidhead" or "butthead" are not good to use, even if you simply think them or say them silently to yourself, because they foster hatred in your heart towards other people.

Does everyone outside the Church receive the grace necessary to lead them to the Church? If so, then why do so few people cooperate with it? What about those who don't seem to ever think of religion or the meaning of their life?

It would be more accurate to say that everyone receives the grace sufficient for salvation. Sometimes this salvation comes as a full member of the Church, sometimes it does not (since we believe as Catholics that it is possible for people of other ecclesial communions and religions to be saved).

Why do so few people cooperate with it? The reasons are probably too numerous to list. The most common causes are ignorance, sin (which clouds the mind and weakens the will), and the force of culture, environment, and upbringing.

As for those who never think about religion or the meaning of their life, they are certainly in a perilous position before God. But, there is always hope for such people, and we need to pray that the spark will light within their hearts (as it was lit within mine) that leads to repentance and conversion.

Is it acceptable for a priest or a male religious to think of himself as “married to Jesus”?

I've always understood the priesthood or the religious life to be a marriage to the Church. The priest or male religious represents Christ, and the Church therefore is his bride. However, it is also true that we are all called to the most profound union with God, and this relationship is often presented in the Bible in marital terms.

Many of the great mystics, fathers, and saints of the Church who were men spoke very openly of their tender affection for Christ, of wanting to kiss Him, caress Him, recline at His breast, etc. While none of this should be objectionable, it is also true that every man has to come to terms with his love for Christ as man, and this does not happen overnight. Until then, it may be helpful for the priest or male religious to consider his marriage as one with the Church, which is itself a very meaningful image.

Pax Christi,

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