Faith, harmony, universality make church ‘catholic,’ pope says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Professing that the church is “catholic” means accepting its teachings, accepting the gifts it offers to help one grow in holiness and accepting the fact that it is composed of different people with different gifts and opinions, Pope Francis said. “Let’s ask ourselves: Do we live in harmony in our communities? […]

Organ donation is OK, as is gratitude for former Episcopal priests

Q. Isn't organ donation murder? Just because you are brain dead doesn't make your whole body dead, especially if your heart and lungs are still functioning. Doctors try to keep a patient alive until the last organ is "harvested," which I think is wrong; they can't even guarantee that the patient won't experience pain during the process. (Stanley, Wis.) Q. I just read a story in our Catholic paper about an Episcopal priest who became a Catholic and was allowed to become a Catholic priest. The man has a wife and three children. But single men who enter a Catholic seminary are not allowed to marry. How is that fair? Why should an exception be made for someone who converted? (Baton Rouge, La.)

Who are the pope’s favorite saints?

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Who are the holy men and women Pope Francis looks up to? He revealed many of them in two recently published interviews. While a top-eight list does emerge from the interviews, the pope rejected one interviewer’s attempts at giving them a ranking. “Rankings are for sports or things like that. I […]

Not ‘only of the pure,’ Church welcomes sinners, Pope Francis says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- If the church excluded sinners, it would pretty much be empty, Pope Francis told thousands of people gathered for his weekly general audience. In the history of the church, "some have been tempted to say that the church is the church only of the pure" and that others should be shunned, he said Oct. 2. "This isn't true. This is a heresy."

Pope: Signs of God in church are peace, joy, not flawless efficiency

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The day before Pope Francis was set to meet with a select group of cardinals to discuss reforming the governance of the Roman Curia, the pope said the signs of God’s presence in the church are peace and joy, and not necessarily a perfectly efficient, flawless operation. “The disciples wanted efficiency, […]

The meaning of the phrase, Jesus rose ‘again’

Q. Thank you for your column, which helps me to understand the nuances of our faith. Here is my question: In both the Nicene Creed and the Apostles' Creed, we say that Jesus "rose again" from the dead; the word "again" puzzles me -- did Jesus rise twice? (McFarland, Wis.) Q. I was married outside the church in 1979. In 2003, I was divorced. I am a practicing Catholic and attend Mass regularly. Is it all right for me to receive holy Communion? And if I were to remarry, could I be married in the church? (Hope, Ark.)

Pope: Get out in the real world to find Jesus

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- People will not find Jesus by hanging out in first-class lounges or in the library, but by being out and about in the real world and in prayer, Pope Francis said. And following him will not be easy because "Jesus creates problems," the pope said Sept. 26 during his morning Mass in his residence of the Domus Sanctae Marthae.

Mediums are an extra large no-no in church teaching

A skeptical reader wonders about a spirit "medium" communicating messages from the dead, and what the church's stance is on the subject. Columnist Father Ken Doyle replies that church teaching on the matter is crystal clear. Also, he addresses a question about one parish's ban on altar girls.

Pope: Judging others kills, reflects cowardice in facing own defects

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — People who judge and criticize others are hypocrites and cowards who are unable to face their own defects, Pope Francis said. Gossip, too, is “criminal” as it destroys, rather than exalts the image of God present in others, he said in his early morning homily Sept. 13 at his residence of […]

Programs for the happily married; position of the tabernacle

Q. We have a question that we would like answered with reasons, not just words. We hear about pre-Cana for engaged couples, the Christian Family Movement for those with children, Marriage Encounter for those with problem marriages and separate retreats for men and women. There is nothing for happily married couples who want to spend their trip to heaven together, as the unit they became when they were married. For what reason does the church not support the idea of couples being treated as one, as they strive to improve their spiritual life together? (Bluffton, S.C.) Q. When I was growing up, the tabernacle was in the front of the church on the main altar. I am upset that some Catholic churches today put our Lord in a small chapel in the back of the church. I consider that disrespectful and think that it must displease Jesus. (Bedford, Va.)