Closing of consecrated church; Catholic funeral if divorced

Q. What is your opinion on consecrated churches? Can these buildings be closed and torn down? (Brookville, Ind.) Q. I have been a practicing Catholic for the past six years. My husband is not Catholic. Both of us were married previously, and both marriages ended in divorce. I want to know if I would be denied a Catholic funeral Mass because of our present circumstances. (Virginia Beach, Va.)

Pope Francis’ prayer intentions for July

General intention: “That World Youth Day in Brazil may encourage all young Christians to become disciples and missionaries of the Gospel.” Mission intention: “That throughout Asia doors may open to messengers of the Gospel.”

Vengeance of God versus mercy; killing animals

Q. The pastor of my church has preached for years about how loving, forgiving and merciful God is. But in the Old Testament, there are many occasions in which God destroys men or threatens their destruction (Noah's ark and the flood, Sodom and Gomorrah, the avenging angel with the firstborn in Egypt, etc.). So did the nature of God change after the birth, death and resurrection of his son? Or am I supposed to disregard the readings of the Old Testament? (Cherry Hill, N.J.) Q. What is the church's teaching on killing insects, rodents or any of God's creatures if they are doing you no harm? (I've seen children try to burn ants with a magnifying glass.) (Morrilton, Ark.)

The superficial and the rigid ‘masquerade’ as Christians, pope says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Christianity isn’t a school for teaching a superficial form of being nice to everyone, but it’s also not a boot camp where everything is rigidity, rules and long faces, Pope Francis said. “The Lord calls us to build our Christian life on him, the rock, the one who gives us freedom, […]

Saying ‘our Father’ means seeing others as brothers, sisters, pope says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — When Christians address God as “our Father” they acknowledge that God created and loves them, but they also recognize that all people are their brothers and sisters, Pope Francis said. “We have a Father who is very close to us, who embraces us,” the pope said June 20 during the homily […]

Catholic services at a funeral home and Communion wine for children

Q. I am 83 years old. All my life I've been taught that when a Catholic dies the body must be brought to the church for a funeral Mass. Now some of my friends are telling me that it's all right, instead, to have a priest conduct a funeral service in the funeral home. Which is correct? (Richmond, Va.) Q. I teach CCD to children preparing for their first Communion. Can you explain to me how the Catholic Church can allow 7-year-old children to receive from the chalice? The law does not allow them to consume alcohol, and the church should not be encouraging children to break the law. (Port Republic, N.J.)

Conflicts among Christians harm the body of Christ, pope says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The church is the body of Christ, but when Catholics fight among themselves or Catholics and other Christians are in conflict with one another, they make Christ's body suffer, Pope Francis said. "Don't make the body suffer with our divisions and conflicts," the pope said June 19 at his weekly general audience.

Pope: Don’t pretend to be sinless; preaching Gospel demands humility

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — When boasting of having Jesus Christ as one’s savior, people shouldn’t pretend they aren’t guilty of sin, Pope Francis said in a morning homily. The sincere and humble admission of one’s weaknesses, of having “a sliver of Satan in my flesh,” shows that the power of salvation comes from God, not […]

Funeral Mass for developmentally disabled daughter

Q. We are the parents of a 51-year-old daughter who has been profoundly retarded since birth. We are life-long, baptized Catholics, as are our daughter and her brothers. We are currently making end-of-life plans (buying cemetery plots, etc.) and are wondering what funeral arrangements we should make for our daughter. She has not received any sacraments since baptism, is not able to attend Mass on a regular basis and, of course, has not received the Eucharist. Should there be a funeral Mass and/or a burial service for her, conducted by a Catholic priest? (If so, it would be attended only by family members and not open to the public. She has lived outside the home, in a special facility in another city, since she was 16.) She will be buried with us in our family plot. (Des Moines, Iowa)

Wealth obscures power of God’s word, free gift of salvation, pope says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — A church that is rich and lacking in praise for the Lord is an old, lifeless church that neglects the true treasure of God’s free gift of grace and salvation, Pope Francis said in a morning homily. “Proclaiming the Gospel must take the road of poverty,” the pope said at Mass […]