Q: Is confession still valid if the priest doesn't hear your Act of Contrition?
We can all remember being told as we grew up that we need to apologize to someone for something we did. Out of personal pride or perhaps anger at what they did to us, our apology was halfhearted at best. We said that we were sorry, but in our heart we really were not, and the way we said our apology to the person most likely reflected our state of mind and heart.
Q: Is it moral for a Catholic to use an artificial means for healing or preserving life?
Medical science is providing us with new advancements in treatment and breakthroughs almost everyday. Such advancements bring us much excitement and hope that we will enjoy a much longer and higher quality life.
We should not be surprised that the Church is in constant state of renewal and reform. After all, she is, as Christ's Body and Bride, a living thing. The third orders have always played a vital role in that renewal. Their growth accelerated greatly in response to the crises of the 13th century.
Recently, I concelebrated the funeral of someone who chose to be an organ donor. The priest who preached spoke about the person's choice to be an organ donor, the recipients of the organs and how this person was still giving life. I was very touched by this person's great witness to life through a choice to be an organ donor.
In his volume on the Rosary entitled "The Secret of the Rosary," St. Louis de Montfort tells the story of King Alphonsus of Leon and Galicia. He wanted his people to honor Mary by praying the Rosary. So, he hung on his belt a very large rosary and carried it around with him, yet never prayed it himself. After many years, he became greatly ill and had what we would now call a near-death experience. In this experience, he saw many devils accusing him of his sins before the Lord. In fear, he called out to Mary, who in turn called for a set of scales to be brought.
Traditionally when we consider the Fifth Commandment, we limit our reflection to subjects such as murder, abortion, euthanasia and suicide. Yet, there are other offenses against life that are also to be considered under this commandment, such as capital punishment, scandal, respect for health, scientific respect for the human person and respect for those who have died.