The suffering deserve our prayers, not our analysis, pope says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Those who suffer are brothers and sisters Catholics must pray for, not cases to be analyzed or examples to be used in debates, Pope Francis said in a morning homily. The Christian response to those who are suffering must be to “pray for them. They must enter into my heart, they […]

Why don’t people bow their heads at Jesus’ name anymore?

Q. Could you please tell me why Catholics no longer bow their head at the name of Jesus? I seem to be the only one still doing that -- even the priests don't. When and why did this stop? (Ocean City, N.J.)

Eucharist nourishes, sustains and should transform people, pope says

ROME (CNS) -- In the Eucharist, Jesus makes himself the food that nourishes and sustains Catholics, even when the road gets rough, Pope Francis said before leading a Corpus Christi procession through the streets of Rome. Mass and participation in Corpus Christi processions are times for Catholics to reflect on how they follow Jesus and, particularly, what the Eucharist means to them, the pope said at Mass May 30 to celebrate the feast of the Body and Blood of Christ.

Pope Francis: What have you done to make the church holy, welcoming?

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- All Catholics must ask themselves what they personally have done lately to build up the holiness of the church and ensure people feel welcomed and loved in it, Pope Francis said. "The church is the great family of children of God," he said. "Certainly it has human aspects from the members who comprise it, pastors and faithful. They have defects, imperfections, sins. Even the pope has them -- and he has many -- but what is beautiful is that when we become aware that we are sinners, we find the mercy of God. God always forgives. Don't forget this. God always forgives."

Pope Francis’ prayer intentions for June

General intention: “That a culture of dialogue, listening, and mutual respect may prevail among peoples.” Mission intention: “That where secularization is strongest, Christian communities may effectively promote a new evangelization.”

Marriage ceremonies and validity

Q. I have two upcoming marriages in my family; I've been wondering how they are each viewed in the eyes of the church, and I'm hoping that you can help. First, my nephew (a baptized Catholic, but currently not attending church) is marrying a Methodist. Because his family has had trouble with their parish priest, who has not been welcoming to them, they are going to be married by a minister in a Methodist church. If my nephew wants to continue practicing the Catholic faith and goes to confession, can he still receive holy Communion at Mass after he's married in the Methodist church? (I told his grandmother that he could.) Also, could a priest be at the wedding to bless it, and if he is, would it then be recognized by the Catholic Church? Next, my niece is marrying a Baptist. They are getting married in a Catholic church with a priest presiding, but they are not having a Mass. Can I assume that this is still considered a valid sacrament of marriage?

Pope says Christians must recognize good others do, work with them

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Christians are called to welcome and cooperate with the good accomplished by members of other religions or no religion at all, promoting a culture of dialogue and peace, Pope Francis said. “We are all children of God — all of us. And God loves us — all of us,” the pope […]

Protestants, Catholics and tithing; RCIA and cohabitation

Q. I grew up in a Protestant church but converted to Catholicism. Sometimes it seems to me that Catholics give a lot less money to their churches than Protestants do. (The Sunday collections reported in our parish bulletin would, I think, be dwarfed by some Protestants parishes much smaller than our own.) On the other hand, Catholics do seem to give a lot to charities overall. (Just in our own town, there is a Catholic hospital, several Catholic schools and many programs of human service supported by Catholic Charities). I'm wondering what the Catholic Church's view is on tithing and whether money given to Catholic, nonparochial institutions can count as tithing.(Illinois)

Pope Francis says ‘Satan always rips us off, always!’

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Payback with Satan is rotten as he pushes people to be loveless and selfish, finally leaving them with nothing and alone, Pope Francis said. “Satan always rips us off, always!” he said during a morning Mass homily. The pope concelebrated Mass May 14 with Archbishop Ricardo Tobon Restrepo of Medellin, Colombia, […]

Pope: Holy Spirit reminds people they once were lost, now found by God

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The Holy Spirit is more than a pretty dove; it is an integral part of the Trinity and deserves a prime place in people’s lives, Pope Francis said. Many Christians say they get by with God the Father by praying the “Our Father” and with Jesus by receiving Communion, but that […]