Spirituality

Pope says evangelists build bridges, not walls

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Like Jesus who dined with Pharisees and sinners and St. Paul who preached to idol worshippers, true evangelizers build bridges that lead unbelievers into the church, not walls to protect it, Pope Francis said. The pope’s words came in a homily May 8 during morning Mass in the Domus Sanctae Marthae, […]

Only Holy Spirit can fill hearts thirsting for love, peace, pope says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Listen to the Holy Spirit because he is giving people the good news that God loves them and can renew, purify and transform their lives, Pope Francis said. The Holy Spirit is the living water that “quenches the thirst in our lives because he tells us that we are loved by […]

Pope: People have guts to be ambitious; instead, be courageous for God

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — People are courageous in pursuing their careers, personal ambitions and jealousies, but they really should be using that courage to believe in the resurrected Christ, pray to him and spread the Gospel, Pope Francis said. When the church loses courage, it is enveloped by a “tepid atmosphere,” with “lukewarm Christians without […]

Is missing Mass a mortal sin?

Q. Is there a book you can suggest that would help a senior citizen to understand the Bible (one that does not require a DVD, etc.)? (Indianapolis) A. I'm sure that there are many such books, and you would probably get as many answers as the number of priests you asked. One that I have found helpful over the years is called "The Collegeville Bible Handbook." It was published by The Liturgical Press in 1997 and contains a one-page summary of each of the 73 books of the Bible as well as a short commentary on the significant sections of each book.

Becoming worldly, weak is church’s biggest threat, pope says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The biggest threat to the church is worldliness, Pope Francis said in his daily morning Mass homily. A worldly church becomes weak, and while people of faith can look after the church, only God “can look evil in the eye and overpower it,” he said April 30. The pope celebrated the […]

Pope: Confession is not like dry cleaners, but is encounter with Jesus

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Going to confession isn't like heading off to be tortured or punished, nor is it like going to the dry cleaners to get out a stain, Pope Francis said in a morning Mass homily. "It's an encounter with Jesus" who is patiently waiting "and takes us as we are," offering penitents his tender mercy and forgiveness, he said April 29.

Pope Francis’ prayer intentions for May

General intention: "That administrators of justice may act always with integrity and right conscience." Mission intention: “That seminaries, especially those of mission Churches, may form pastors after the Heart of Christ, fully dedicated to proclaiming the Gospel.”

Christian life is a time to prepare to enjoy heaven, pope says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Christian life is about allowing Jesus and the Holy Spirit to prepare each person to truly see and enjoy the beauty of eternal life, Pope Francis said in a morning Mass homily. Some may say, "'But, Father, I see well. I don't need glasses.' But that's a different type of vision," he said April 26. "Think about those who suffer from cataracts and need an operation. They see, but after the procedure, what do they say? 'I never thought I could see like this.'"

Does forgiveness have limits? Who has a right to Catholic burial?

Q. In Matthew 18:21-22, we are given a standard of forgiveness which I interpret to mean that we are to forgive always ("not seven times, but seventy seven"). I'm at a loss, though, as to how to apply that in my case. Is it enough that God knows I've forgiven my mother, or must I show it by giving her another chance with my children? (Rochester, N.Y.) A. You are correct in thinking that the mandate for a Christian is to strive to forgive always. I hope that your mother knows you've forgiven her, and I imagine you've been able to communicate that to her. Forgiveness, though, does not demand that you put your children in peril, and you, as their parent, are in the best position to know what would cause them harm.

Flag over casket; did Christ come to save all or many?

Q. I have noticed that the casket of a veteran is no longer draped with an American flag at the funeral Mass. Why not? The service of these men and women helps provide the freedom of worship that we all enjoy. Why does the church no longer honor that? (Daly City, Calif.) A. The Order of Christian Funerals says in No. 132 that "any national flags or the flags or insignia of associations to which the deceased belonged are to be removed from the coffin at the entrance to the church."