“Everybody wants to go to Heaven, but nobody wants to die.” I remember hearing the chorus of a song with these words and they often come to mind when I consider the topic of death. Nobody will disagree that we will only be admitted to Heaven after we die, and while the prospect of being in Heaven is appealing, the getting there is not. Why are we so afraid of dying? To be sure, there are many reasons, and in this article, I would like to briefly address a few of them. Before I do so, let me first share some encouraging words from Our Lord himself.
Some states have “dying with dignity” laws. Can you please explain the Catholic Church’s teaching on physician assisted suicide?
Hey, Father! How can I turn everyday problems into moments of grace?
— Drew in Springfield
A recent column concerning divorce and declarations of nullity of marriage prompts this question: What about a practicing Catholic who divorces, has the prior marriage declared null, and then marries a divorced non-Catholic who decides they aren’t ready/comfortable with submitting the past marriage to a Catholic legal process? Is the Catholic still able to participate in the sacramental life of the church?
— Anonymous in our diocese
What happens if the Eucharist touches the floor?
— Maria Anna in Jacksonville
Whether through simple inattentiveness or by way of a genuine accident, it sometimes happens that a consecrated Host falls to the ground or that a chalice with the Precious Blood is dropped or spilled. In such a situation, what is one to do?
After absolution during confession and have completed our penance, are we completely sinless at that time and point?
— Mike in Ramsey
How does a person know they have committed a sin of gluttony? If a person is satisfied after a first helping of food and eats a second helping because the food tastes good is that gluttony?
— Ellen in Springfield
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
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