Monday, April 23, 2012

Catholic Q&A: Part 23

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.

If Jesus was only a prophet to Muslims, why do they think so highly of Mary?

Because she is spoken of so highly in the Qur'an. For more on this, see Islamic Views of Mary and Mary in Islam.

Whats the Catholic stance on speaking in tongues?

In the Catechism, no 2003, we read in part:
There are furthermore special graces, also called charisms after the Greek term used by St. Paul and meaning "favor," "gratuitous gift," "benefit." Whatever their character - sometimes it is extraordinary, such as the gift of miracles or of tongues - charisms are oriented toward sanctifying grace and are intended for the common good of the Church. They are at the service of charity which builds up the Church.
Speaking in tongues is a legitimate gift that a person can receive, but it is ultimately for the Magisterium of the Church to determine whether or not the gift is genuine. Also, since speaking in tongues is meant for the building up of the Body, if it does not come with the gift of interpretation of tongues (either by the person speaking the language or by someone present when the language is spoken), then this can be an indication that the tongue is not of the Spirit. If no one can interpret the message, then it is simply a bunch of noise that doesn't edify anyone. Read 1 Cor 14.

Is there a specific saying we are supposed to say during the sign of peace?

Here's what the GIRM says (emphasis mine):
82. There follows the Rite of Peace, by which the Church entreats peace and unity for herself and for the whole human family, and the faithful express to each other their ecclesial communion and mutual charity before communicating in the Sacrament.

As for the actual sign of peace to be given, the manner is to be established by the Conferences of Bishops in accordance with the culture and customs of the peoples. However, it is appropriate that each person, in a sober manner, offer the sign of peace only to those who are nearest.

154. Then the Priest, with hands extended, says aloud the prayer Domine Iesu Christe, qui dixisti (Lord Jesus Christ, who said to your Apostles) and when it is concluded, extending and then joining his hands, he announces the greeting of peace, facing the people and saying, The peace of the Lord be with you always. The people reply, And with your spirit. After this, if appropriate, the Priest adds, Let us offer each other the sign of peace.

The Priest may give the Sign of Peace to the ministers but always remains within the sanctuary, so that the celebration is not disrupted. In the Dioceses of the United States of America, for a good reason, on special occasions (for example, in the case of a funeral, a wedding, or when civic leaders are present), the Priest may offer the Sign of Peace to a small number of the faithful near the sanctuary. According to what is decided by the Conference of Bishops, all express to one another peace, communion, and charity. While the Sign of Peace is being given, it is permissible to say, The peace of the Lord be with you always, to which the reply is Amen.
Note that a greeting during the Sign of Peace is suggested, but I don't think this necessarily excludes similar greetings, as long as they express "ecclesial communion and mutual charity" (no. 82) or "peace, communion, and charity" (no. 154) in a manner that is "in accordance with the culture and customs of the peoples" (no. 82).

Maria, Madonna, Mary ... are these all the same name just different languages?


UPDATE: A reader left a comment in response to my answer here that I would like to incorporate into this post. It reads:
You are partly right and partly wrong. "Maria" and "Mary" are the same name in different languages. "Madonna," however, is an Italian combined form that means "My lady." "Donna" is the feminine counterpart of "Don" (as in Don Bosco). They are derived from the Latin, "Dominus/Domina."

Maria/Mary does not mean, "my lady." It is derived from a Semitic name, transliterated as Miryam, Maryam, etc.
I should have known better. I think I probably read the question too fast.

Did the Holy Spirit not let the apostles go east to Asia? If so why?

According to Scripture, Paul and Timothy were prevented by the Spirit from going into Asia (cf. Acts 16:6-7). Why they were prevented from going there, I do not know. Perhaps the timing just wasn't right. Later, in Acts 19 we see that Paul goes to Ephesus, which is in Asia, and spent a lot of time there.

That said, keep in mind that in the New Testament "Asia" refers to the Roman province that occupied an extensive region in Asia Minor (in modern western Turkey). This is more "Middle East" than Asia as we know it today. Tradition does have it that St. Thomas traveled all the way to India, which is a country in Asia (as we know it today).

Pax Christi,

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