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.