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Friday, July 24, 2009

Answers to Many Questions

For some time, I've been taking note of the search engine questions that bring people to my blog. Oddly enough, they often happen upon posts that have absolutely NOTHING to do with their question. Sometimes it IS the right post, but perhaps I didn't address their particular question there.

And so, I've decided, maybe it's time to post some of the answers to the questions people are putting into the search engines, for many people are looking for similiar things. I have written about MOST of the following in the past so this post is to give the short answer. You may need to do more research to find a more complete answer to your question.

Can I go to Communion if I skipped Mass? No. If you intentionally skipped Sunday Mass, then you have committed a mortal (grave) sin and you need to go to Sacramental Confession before you receive Communion again. Additionally, if you skip Daily Mass and just show up for Communion, you should not receive. The Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist are in the Mass for a reason and you need ALL of it to prepare to receive the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ. (You can read the entire post on this and get a more complete answer here.)

Do I have to go to Confession in order to receive Communion? If you have committed grave sin, then you are required to go to Confession before you can receive Communion. However, you can still ATTEND Mass, and you SHOULD, but if you haven't been able to get to Confession, DO NOT RECEIVE HOLY COMMUNION! No one cares if you remain in your pew, so don't commit sacrilege out of a misplaced sense of self-consciousness.

If I'm not Catholic, can I receive Communion in a Catholic Church? No. This is not to make you feel "left out", but rather, to protect the integrity of our beliefs AND your differing beliefs. We believe that the bread and wine truly become the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ during the Consecration. When we go forward to receive Holy Communion, we are declaring in our very actions and intentions that we are free from grave sin, that we believe everything the Church teaches, and that we KNOW what we are receiving. When we say "Amen", we are stating verbally that WE BELIEVE THIS IS JESUS CHRIST!

If you are not Catholic, then you clearly don't believe what we believe, so why would you want to publicly lie and say that you do have that belief? And in fact, if you have done research and DO share that belief...then what is stopping you from becoming Catholic? You can enter an RCIA class and through a time of prayer and education, be received into the Church. (FYI: You can also attend RCIA classes if you're just trying to learn more about the Church and aren't sure if you want to be Catholic or not. Attending classes isn't a committment to convert!)

Can I have coffee before Mass? As long as you finish your coffee one hour before Holy Communion. Water and medicine do not break the fast, but coffee does.

Can I have gum at Mass? No. Gum does not fall under the category of "water and medicine" and so breaks the fast. Some people who should know better have said that gum "isn't food", however Canon Law 919 specifies that ONLY water and medicine are allowed. It doesn't say "anything that isn't food". If your gum can legitimately be considered to be medicine then maybe you can have it, although I wouldn't consider "nicotine gum" be some something you couldn't survive without for an hour or so. Don't be a wuss. Sacrifice is good for you!

Now...if you are not intending to receive Holy Communion, it is considered to be disrespectful to have coffee and gum at Mass. Please refrain and have those things AFTER Mass. Thank you.

"Not attending Mass because I'm being ignored" ~ You know, a lot of people seem to cite this as a reason not to attend Mass. In typing it in a search engine, I don't know if the question is being posed by someone looking for a way to overcome this objection, or if they themselves think they're being ignored and they're looking to justify not attending Mass. So! Here's the answer, and I'm going to make it VERY easy:

Mass is NOT about you! It's about GOD! If YOU are "being ignored", then Praise God! It means that everyone there knows that Mass is the time to worship God, and in so doing, to be present at the Sacrifice of Our Lord! So take the hint, take your focus off of yourself and spend an hour focusing on your Creator who loves you so much He DIED for you! What MORE could you possibly WANT???

"Distracted in prayer" ~ OK, this one is harder and I don't really have an answer. It's something with which we ALL struggle. But, don't be too hard on yourself. If you get distracted, just try to bring your attention back to God. In making that attempt, it is an act of love. If you're going through a period of dryness and you're having trouble praying, or maybe you have ADHD and can't make it through a rosary, then simply pray ONE Hail Mary. Or ONE Our Father. Or even a short prayer to Jesus to help you! Even if the only thing you can pray is "Jesus, I love you!", guess what...that's a prayer! Does it solve distraction? No. But perseverance does. Keep praying!

Patron Saint of Prostitutes ~ The posts I wrote on that remain among my most popular. So....there are 2 Patron Saints of Prostitutes: St. Nicholas (yes, "Santa Clause") Why? Because he saved two girls from being sold into prostitution by their father. This is also among the reason he's also a Patron Saint of children. The OTHER Patron Saint of Prostitutes is St. Mary of Egypt, because she had been a prostitute, reformed, and, well....achieved the heights of holiness which the Church acknowledged by declaring her a Saint!

And for those who are looking for a Saint that ENDORSES prostitution: there isn't one. Saints don't endorse sin, and no, none of us has the authority to decide what is or isn't a sin. Prostitution is a horrible evil in this fallen world and it CANNOT be justified. I hope that answers your question.

Rinsing Saurkraut: Yes, you have to rinse saurkraut. I found that out by looking it up on a cooking website.

Oppression of Women in the Bible : It's a common myth advanced by the feminist regimes that the Bible is oppressive to women. The reality is that although the Bible IS a patriarchal book, it's a very HUMAN book and naturally the patriarchal society is going to be quite apparent. Making the Bible into one with inclusive language is a really stupid attempt to change a fact of history. Secondly, Christianity was actually FREEING to women, who were, in those times, considered to be PROPERTY. Christ gave them the freedom to do something different. It was radical. No, He did not establish them as priests, for if He wanted to do that, He would have made his Mother a priest. Instead, Jesus emphasized the importance of women in salvation history. Now, if you're going to cite Paul's blustery stuff about women, go take a look at history and take this in the proper context. Much of what he was saying he was saying TO women who were finally receiving an education, and didn't know how to behave in an educational setting. He had to teach them manners! Which is completely reasonable, for even in our society teachers have to lay ground rules for the order of their classrooms, whether we are there as adults or children. Are YOU oppressed? Neither were they.

Did Vatican II do away with Latin? No. If you read the Vatican II Document on the Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium (which, as you notice, is a Latin title), you'll see that the only changes called for were a permission to use the vernacular in the readings, an addition of more scripture readings, and Latin/Gregorian Chant were to remain the norm in all the other parts of the Mass.

Note also that every document issued by the Church has a Latin title, and the ONLY language of the Code of Canon Law is....Latin. The few translations out there include the Latin because Latin is more precise and anyone versed in the Law must also look to the usage of Latin since the vernacular translations are often inaccurate and can change the original meaning of the law.

Feast Day of Our Lady of Perpetual Help: June 27 :-)

Does God give us more than we can bear? Yes, He does. And He does it so that we can learn to rely on HIM and not ourselves.

Well, there's at least some of the questions. I hope the answers are helpful to someone!

Know that the answers may not be complete, I'm happy to answer anything else that I can or clarify something, and I'm certain my readers would join in as well if someone posts a question below. As always, don't rely on blogs for the perfect answers. If you are really seeking especially theological answers, then go to the proper sources: Sacred Scripture, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the Documents of Vatican I, Vatican II, Council of Trent (yes, they are ALL relevant!), etc.



mgibson said...

Only one quibble... if one is going to a daily, non-obligatory Mass and is technically "late" they can still receive Communion if properly disposed to do so.

As you observed, Church law is that to be able to have Mass "count" you need to be present for the Gospel (i.e., on Sunday if you missed the Gospel you need to still go to Mass because you haven't fulfilled your Sunday duty to participate in MASS, whether or not you receive). This is because the Gospel is the key point of the Liturgy of the Word, and you need to be present for both the Liturgy of the Word and Eucharist to have objectively been to the fullness of Mass. But receiving Communion, as you point out, is distinct from the celebration of Mass itself (other than the priest's own reception, which is required for the Mass to be valid).

Canon law stipulates that one may receive Communion twice in one day, as long as the second time is within Mass (viaticum excepted of course) - implying that the first time one receives it is not necessary to be present for the entire Mass, which explains the Italian (at least) custom of coming in at the Agnus Dei at daily Mass. A few priests I have inquired about this have responded similarly, at least as regards daily Mass that is non-obligatory, though of course they hope that those who come late will read the readings on their own.

Chalk another one up to the problems of having Italian/Latin laws interpreted in a society with Germanic-British legal roots.

Perhaps Pete Vere can shed further light on this, but as it stands, I think it's ok for daily communicants who come late occasionally to still receive as long as it is their first reception of the day (usually only one... the second time isn't meant to be a daily thing either, just in place to help with weddings, funerals etc - thus the stipulation about being present for the whole Mass!)

Anyway. My two cents. :)

Adoro said...

mgibson! ~ Hey! Are you blogging again or just commenting????

I actually didn't get fully into Canon Law because I did an entire post on Canon 916 and related. :-) Which of course, you missed.

My point in this post was to point out if someone is just showing up ONLY for Communion they should not receive. Canon Law itself is silent on "how late is late" but it calls for full participation in the Mass or other Eucharistic Celebration" in order to receive.

We got into THAT quibbling in the combox of the other post, too! That post gets a lot of hits so here I wanted to just hit the bare tacks. :-)

Of course we agree, so now here's your assignment: go back and read ALL of my posts for the last couple years and that should catch you up..... ;-) (kidding!!!!) nice to "see" you again!

Adoro said...

FYI ~ I have updated this post, added a link to the canon law post (so as to avoid rehashing the exact same quibbles all over again...go there to do it), and added a couple more questions that I've gotten but didn't answer specifically in the previous posts.

JC said...

Bravo. I've been contemplating doing something like this for a while myself. And that Patron Saint of prostitutes thing sounds familiar, I've somehow had a few hits from that, too. Broadening the question a bit, I might add Sts Monica (patroness saint of the victims of adultery), Catherine of Siena (who is the patroness saint against sexual temptations), and Mary Magdalene (patroness saint against sexual temptation).

Julia said...

That's kind of a funny list of questions!

Jill said...

This is off topic, I just wondered why someone on twitter would give you a hard time for having been a cop. Like the job wouldn't be hard enough without getting bashed for it too? Sorry you had to endure that. No reason for it, either. Love what you said about women and the Bible-all the "feminists" have done for women is dehumanize us and make pregnancy a disease instead of the gift from God it is. Their legacy is women who want to be men, in my opinion they have failed utterly.

Adoro said...

Jill ~ About the Twittergate scandal, well, some people really don't like that someone else has a differing opinion, but instead of engaging in fair discussion to support their point, they randomly make ad hominem attacks and then run away to their glass houses where they think they can hide. *sigh*

Now, on feminism and the Bible...I totally agree with you!

JC ~ You should act on that idea of yours! ;-)

Julia ~ Well...they asked, all I did was answer! lol

Jill said...

Wish I would have been there to help you out (not that you can't handle yourself, lol) shame to see someone claiming to be Catholic behaving like that. Need some more catechesis maybe? Excellent post by the way, things have gotten too lax a lot of places. You know what really gets my goat the most is people who insist on talking I mean we are trying to worship GOD for crying out loud leave the cell phone at home or have the conversation after Mass, its ridiculous God is here for us 24-7 and they can't shut up for a couple hours?

JC said...

Thanks for the vote of confidence. :)