Comment and Dialogue Articles

  • Sacrament of reconciliation and purification from sin The four temperaments (Part 1)

    In continuing the subject of the sacrament of reconciliation and purification from sin, there are some interesting concepts to help us understand our tendencies, strengths and weaknesses. Ancient spiritual writers have delineated some components of our human psyche that, once identified, can assist in uncovering root causes for certain types of behavior. These components, known as temperaments, are inclinations and reactions that each person has with regard to a given stimulus. For example: When we are assigned a huge task; or have a large block of free time; or find ourselves at a party — how do we react to these Read More
  • Hey Father! Why is it a sin for a Catholic who is divorced but then remarries without an annulment from the Catholic Church?

    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?   Read More
  • Hey, Father! What does the church teach about ghosts? Do they exist?

    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 Read More
  • Sacrament of reconciliation and purification from sin The difference between mortal and venial sin

    “If anyone sees his brother sinning, if the sin is not deadly, he should pray to God and he will give me life. This is only for those whose sin is not deadly. There is such a thing as deadly sin, about which I do not say that you should pray. All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin that is not deadly.” 1 Jn 5: 16,17 This passage teaches us about mortal and venial sins. St. John the Apostle instructs us that praying for those whose sins are mortal has no affect. This is because mortal sin can only Read More
  • Looking at ‘World Days’ in Catholic Church

    As I consider the passage of days in our calendar, I am primarily aware of the Sundays of the liturgical calendar and of the various saints who are honored on weekdays. But, peripherally, I am also aware of “National Days” of various things. So, I went looking for a “National Pizza Day” and I discovered that pizza claims, not a day, but instead the entire month of October. So, if you have not properly observed National Pizza Month, it’s time to get started. Read More
  • Hey Father! In the Apostles’ Creed, I pray that I believe that Jesus “descended into hell.” What is that supposed to mean?

    In the Apostles’ Creed, I pray that I believe that Jesus “descended into hell.” What is that supposed to mean?— G.W. in Jacksonville Read More
  • Sacrament of reconciliation and purification from sin - How to make a good confession

    The first step in making a good confession is an examination of conscience that walks us through the Ten Commandments or other listings of sins. The examination of conscience asks penetrating questions that helps us to know ourselves and recognize our faults. If we do not examine our conscience, we may fail to realize our sins and weaknesses.   Read More
  • As Catholics, we need to consider spiritualism, justice and dignity

    Many years ago, I was waiting to hear a speaker at a Diocesan Adult Education Conference in Springfield. I was seated in the front row, and other priests were sitting on either side of me. The chairs were rather close together, and I can imagine that I and my seatmates were looking quite uncomfortable. The woman we were waiting to listen to came forward to us, shook our hands, and exclaimed: “Y’all look like a bunch of convicts!” Read More
  • Sacrament of reconciliation and purification from sin

     How do we root out sin if holiness persists in rising again after falling? The sacrament of reconciliation is a very important gift given to us by Jesus Christ. In past issues we focused on the importance of the Eucharist in our spiritual growth. Now it is necessary to emphasize the role of the sacrament of reconciliation.   Read More
  • Hey, Father! Why do priests wear black?

    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. Read More
  • 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! 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?   Read More
  • Sacrament of reconciliation and purification from sin

     Let’s begin the subject of the sacrament of reconciliation and purification from sin by reviewing the journey to holiness. If we wish to become holy, we must overcome our sinful tendencies and seek union with God the Father through Christ his Son, in the person and power of the Holy Spirit. This union is the essence of the term, “interior life.”   Read More
  • Sacraments of initiation are with us as we grow

    Sacraments of initiation are with us as we grow As our diocesan church prepares to restore the proper order of the sacraments of initiation, my parishes anticipated the need to have a number of our children “catch up” in the sense of having received all three sacraments: baptism, confirmation and Eucharist. Therefore, last November, over 140 of our young parishioners, in grades 3-8, received the sacrament of confirmation from Bishop Thomas John Paprocki. This was done at two different Masses on consecutive evenings at our neighboring parish, Ss. Peter and Paul in Collinsville, where we had ample space to do this “catching up.”   Read More
  • Principles of discernment Live constantly in God, Part 4

    In conclusion of the phases of discernment, we recall that discernment is the art of the spiritual life in which we understand how God communicates himself to us. Through discernment we avoid deception and learn to recognize truth. Discernment is the art of speaking with God rather than with temptation. The main character in this journey is the Holy Spirit. We use our intelligence in the most complete way only when our intellect is enlightened by the Holy Spirit.  Read More
  • Hey, Father! Can God change his mind, especially when we pray?

    Hey, Father! Can God change his mind, especially when we pray? Read More
  • We are one body despite many parts

  • Hey Father - 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?

    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 Read More
  • Principles of discernment Live constantly in God, Part 1

    In the last issue we talked about developing a “spiritual sense.” A person can refine this sense with experience by resolutely and faithfully following the path of Jesus Christ. If everything ended here, the evil one would never be able to conquer the person.   Read More
  • Hey Father - Why is the church opposed to contraception?

    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. Read More
  • Principles of discernment Live constantly in God, Part 1

    The second phase of discernment is to live constantly in God. The special ability that enables us to easily recognize and respond to the divine movements of God is the development within our interior of a spiritual sense. This spiritual sense is almost nonexistent at the beginning of our life; however, a person can refine this sense with experience by resolutely and faithfully following the path of Jesus Christ. This grace-filled gift allows us to recognize the unmistakable voice of Jesus. It is a loving instinct that permits us to distinguish the voice of the Spouse more easily in concert Read More
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