Can a priest tell congregants how to worship?

Q. I recently began attending Mass at a Catholic parish in my neighborhood. After I had been there several times, the priest made a speech saying that, since there were no kneelers in that church, no one was allowed to kneel during Mass -- even during the consecration or after receiving the holy Eucharist. To do so, he said, would be disrespectful to other parishioners. I was very upset, as I am in awe of receiving my Lord's actual body and blood and feel called to fall on my knees. Is it the accepted practice of the Catholic Church to be able to tell people how they can and cannot worship? (Quinque, Va.)

Pope Benedict XVI’s Prayer Intentions for August

General intention: “That prisoners may be treated with justice and respect for their human dignity.” Mission intention: “That young people, called to follow Christ, may be willing to proclaim and bear witness to the Gospel to the ends of the earth.”

Through Eucharist we draw near to Christ, God ‘pitches His tent’ among us

“Is there anything I can bring you?” I asked my friend Maryann, who had been hospitalized without a chance to pack a thing and was now facing major surgery. “A scrunchy to keep the hair off my face?” “No problem.” She turned momentarily serious. “And the Eucharist?” Absolutely. So this morning after Mass, with the blessing of the pastor, I retrieved a pyx from the sacristy, and in it placed a tiny fragment of the host consecrated just a few minutes before. Two of us went from the church to Bryn Mawr Hospital to bring Maryann word of our community’s earnest prayers for her, and Christ, cradled in our hands.

Far from the chancery, priest sees the action of grace

Back in the seminary, we used to sing, "All I want is a rectory, far away from the chancery." Years later I got my wish. I am about 50 miles away from the chancery. I almost never go to the chancery office. We communicate by telephone and email. That's enough. My remote location has an upside and a downside.

Explaining celibacy for Latin-rite priests

Q. Lately, a fair number of clergy from other religious denominations who have converted to Catholicism have been permitted to become Roman Catholic priests and retain their marital status. This raises for me the following question: If the Catholic Church is allowing this, why not change the celibacy requirement and permit all Catholic priests to marry? I'm wondering, first, what the rationale is for the rule of celibacy and second, how Catholic priests ordained as celibates feel about this new permission. (Columbia, Mo.) 

Catholics need help with interactive prayer, mag says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The church must offer people — especially the young — a spirituality that responds to their computer-driven desire for interactive experiences, said an influential Jesuit magazine. The Italian magazine, La Civilta Cattolica, said the church does not have to invent a new spirituality for a new generation. It just has to […]

The price of patience, the power of waiting

What is the price of patience? Thirty-eight cents a day, by my son Chris' calculation. That was the price he was willing to pay to not have to wait three weeks to find out his score on his AP Chemistry exam. There's not much need for patience in the modern world, as long as you're willing to pay the price. Ordering a book from Amazon? "Choose local delivery and you can have it today!" appears in an encouraging green. Want it even faster? A click and it appears in on my e-reader. Waiting is a waste of time. Or do we pay more than just money to avoid a wait?

Can a stillborn receive the sacrament of baptism?

Q. A friend of mine had a child who was stillborn. The priest on duty declined to baptize the baby because, he said, baptism is only for the living. But I have heard of many stillborn babies who were baptized. Can you explain why this has changed? (Annapolis, Md.) A. It is true that the […]

Before the dawn, psalms and prayerful hearts rise first

 Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord, Lord, hear my voice! Psalm 130:1  I huddled in my sweatshirt in the garden of my tiny hermitage, as the dawn cautiously crept over the Santa Lucia Mountains behind me. Steam swirled over the cup of tea cradled in my hands, a tiny mirror of […]

Communal silence wells up, flows out

A strong and heavy wind was rending the mountain and crushing rocks before the Lord — but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake — but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake there was fire — but the Lord was not in the fire. […]