Why do Catholics baptize infants? Why can’t the child grow up and decide for himself or herself?


I read with great interest the new assignments for many of our priests in our dioceses (effective July 1), along with the titles: dean, parochial administrator, pastor, rector, parochial vicar and pastor emeritus. It’s all “Father” to me. Would you please explain these different titles and responsibilities?

— MaryBeth in Pittsfield

The Glory Be prayer is hundreds of years old. The author did not know that the world will end when the sun goes nova in a few billion years, reducing earth to a burnt-out cinder. The last line is “world without end.” Why don’t they change it to maybe “heaven without end”?

— Tom in Granite City

In the Creed we recite, “He rose again from the dead.” This seems to indicate that he rose before? Can you clarify?

— David in Jacksonville

Sunday, 31 May 2020 14:56

Hey Father! Can Catholics practice yoga?

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Can Catholics practice yoga?

— Tessie in Effingham

 Why do Catholic churches have the “crucified Christ” on the cross versus the “risen Christ?”

Carol from Petersburg

Why do I have to go to Mass every Sunday?

It’s eerie, in a way, to be sitting out on my porch with the smell of freshly mown grass and the sight of flowering trees and look across at an empty church parking lot as we make our way through the coronavirus pandemic. I’ll be honest, it feels a little weird to be writing about why we have to go to Mass every Sunday when the faithful are not able to come to Mass! I’ll still answer the question, but I wanted to be authentic about the approach and wonder if the context may even allow for a deeper, or at least unique, perspective.

I want to go to confession, but I can’t due to the coronavirus. What is this I hear about making a perfect contrition?

Why do Catholics eat fish on Fridays and when did this start?
— Stan in Liberty

Please clarify the Catholic Church’s position on divorce. I had been taught as long as I remained unmarried after being divorced, I was still in good standing with the church, and could continue to receive the sacraments. I was recently researching mortal sins, and saw an article saying annulment was “permitted” by the church, but not divorce. I would sure appreciate clarification.

— Anonymous in our diocese

Why do the altar boys/girls stand on each side of the priest holding a candle now during the homily?

—Teresa in St. Elmo

What is the Catholic Church’s teaching on evolution?

— Stan in Liberty

Can you please tell us why the Feast of the Circumcision is deleted from the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church? I was raised over 70 years ago in our faith. I have the Missal with this in it. Now young Catholics have no idea it ever existed. Will you explain this?

— Joe in Jacksonville

All the readings are so serious from the Bible. Are there any readings that tell us, did Jesus have a sense of humor?

— Mike and Lynn in Sherman

The two fundamentals most lacking in the spiritual lives of most people today, I believe, are curiosity and imagination.

How can we grow in relationship with God if we are not the least bit curious about who he is and what he’s about?

Sunday, 22 December 2019 09:32

What is the symbolism of the Advent wreath?

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 The exact origin of the Advent wreath is not fully known, however, there is much evidence to show that this was a Germanic tradition that dates back several hundred years, and the wreath was originally a pagan practice. The pre-Christian Germanic people would light the candles during the cold winter months to remind themselves that the light and warmth of longer days would return.

My Protestant friends say if we truly believe it’s the body and blood of Christ in the Eucharist, when we receive the Eucharist, isn’t that cannibalism?

Would it be OK to take my high school age grandkids to the Ark Encounter and Creation Museum in Kentucky?

— Stan in Liberty

Why is it a sin for a Catholic who is divorced but then remarries without an annulment from the Catholic Church? What should that person do if they find themselves in that situation now?


What is for sure is that people throughout history have wanted to believe they exist. Why? Perhaps because the existence of ghosts would seem to affirm our belief in the immortality of the soul.

While neither the Code of Canon Law nor any ecumenical council has made any official statement about ghosts — which is simply a German word for spirit — the modern Catholic Dictionary tells us a ghost is a disembodied spirit, and that God may and sometimes does permit a departed soul to appear in some form to people on earth. Their purpose among us may be to assure us of their safety or most importantly, to ask for our prayers.

In the Apostles’ Creed, I pray that I believe that Jesus “descended into hell.” What is that supposed to mean?
— G.W. in Jacksonville

Sunday, 29 September 2019 10:13

Hey, Father! Why do priests wear black?

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Hey, Father! Why do priests wear black?

As with most things, the clerical garb of priests (sometimes just called “clerics”) has its own history, often complex and only sometimes interesting. Already by the sixth century, though, priests in France were being distinguished by their use of the black “cassock,” or full-length tunic — a trend which eventually spread through Europe and become the normative dress for the Roman Church.

Hey, Father! When we say at Mass: “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed” — what exactly does that mean?


Hey, Father! Can God change his mind, especially when we pray?

I’m trying to avoid speaking poorly about others and it’s something that I get easily caught up in. How can I avoid gossiping about others?

— Margaret in Springfield

This is an often difficult and confusing moral question. The church teaches that the sexual act is expressed in accord with the intention of our Creator when it is open to the transmission of life between a man and woman united in marriage. Therefore, using chemical or physical “barriers” to interrupt one of the intended purposes of human sexuality, that of the transmission of human life (the other being the expression of love through physical unity between spouses), we change the meaning of the act of sexual intercourse, whether we know it or not.

Must we stay for the final blessing at Sunday Mass to fulfill our Sunday obligation?
— Maria in Jacksonville

What does the church teach/believe regarding the souls of those who passed away before Jesus’ time on earth, death, and resurrection?
— Scott in Springfield

Why does the Catholic Bible have more books than the Protestant Bible?
— Bill in Quincy

Throughout the Lenten Season, we are continually reminded of the Lenten regulations. However, it has been a long time since I've seen any mention made of the "Easter Duty." Has this been changed?
— T.J.

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