Dear Father

DEAR FATHER | Is there a biblical basis for Purgatory?

Is there a biblical basis for Purgatory? 

When explaining this question, I like to begin by explaining the concept of Purgatory. The Catechism does this in an approachable way: "All who die in God's grace, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven" (1030).

Purgatory, then, is a place where a person who dies in the friendship of God but still needs to be purified from sin so they can enter Heaven.

DEAR FATHER | The Magi were dedicated to seeking the highest truth

One of the most recent and thorough studies of the nativity of Jesus was done by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI as the third volume of his "Jesus of Nazareth" series. This slim volume gives great insight and clarity to these questions and many others surrounding the birth of Christ.

DEAR FATHER | Twelve days of Christmas a celebration of gifts from God

The song, "The Twelve Days of Christmas," refers literally to the 12 days that occur between the celebration of Christmas and the traditional date of the Epiphany, Jan. 6. On each of the days, a suitor is said to give a gift to his beloved.

DEAR FATHER | A simplex priest is restricted in certain areas of ministry

A simplex priest is ordained as a priest, but in exercising his priesthood, he's restricted in two areas. First, simplex priests can't preach at Mass. Second, simplex priests can't hear confessions.

The reasoning behind these restrictions lay in the 1917 Code of Canon Law. According to this code and understanding of the law, clerics had to be granted faculties to preach by their bishop. Further, bishops could give the faculty to hear confessions fully, limit a priest to a certain territory, or withhold them all together if priest didn't pass certain examinations.

DEAR FATHER | May the Lord be on our minds, lips and hearts at the Gospel

To sign or be marked by the cross originates in the Old Testament. In the Book of Ezekiel, the Babylonians threaten to conquer the city of Jerusalem. This is symbolized in Ezekiel's vision by six armed men approaching the city from the north. While they approached, a man with a writing case came and stood in the temple. God instructs this man to go throughout the city and mark those who have persevered in their faith with the sign of the Tav. At the time, this would look closer to an "X," but its more ancient form was closer to the "T," which looks like a cross.

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