Church teaching articles and columns

Below are the latest columns from the St. Louis Review. Click on a title or the 'Continue Reading' link to read the whole story.

May 24, 2007

Why do bishops, archbishops, cardinals and even pastors resign at 75 years of age, but such is not required or suggested for the pope?

In response to the question, it is critical to make reference to the Church...

May 24, 2007

Is inclusive language necessary especially when it comes to using non-sexist language in our Church...

May 24, 2007

Whenever I pray the rosary, I quickly start rattling off the prayers without reflecting on them. What is the best way to pray the rosary?

Let...

May 24, 2007

I recently completed the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA) and have noticed that occasionally my parish sings the various Mass parts (Holy Holy, Lamb of God, etc.) in Latin.Since I did not grow up Catholic I feel left out. Why do they do that?

I did not grow up with the Latin liturgy either and have a couple of Latin teachers from the seminary who would testify that I am probably left out also during the singing the Sanctu...

May 24, 2007

When should education about the sacraments begin for young children?

At the outset of this response, let me state that I am not a specialist in early childhood development and welcome correction on my insights. However, the question provides an opportunity not only to address how and when to expose young children to the faith but also to speak about catechesis for all ages.

The post-Vatican II era of catechesis focused more on th...

May 24, 2007

This question follows recent news that a prestigious Vatican-recognized university, the Pontifical Academy Regina Apostolorum, has initiated a course to help priests and seminarians understand the Church...

May 24, 2007

What is causing the renewed interest among some Catholics for preferring the pre-Vatican Tridentine traditional Latin Mass over the Novus Ordo Mass in the predominant language of a country?

Probably several things, most surprisingly the interest shown by young people who have no recollection of the Mass as it was said before the changes made by Vatican II in the 1960s.

Writer and translator Michael J. Miller states: "These devote...

May 24, 2007

If a Catholic marries a baptized non-Catholic before a Protestant minister without a priest or deacon present to witness it, is the marriage valid? Should the parents and family of the Catholic party attend?

The short answers are "probably not" and "perhaps." The long answers are more instructive.

The Catholic Church has always taught that it is the couple itself and not the priest who "confects," or makes, the sacrament. Consequ...

May 24, 2007

I...

May 24, 2007

How are funerals to be celebrated properly according to the teachings and practice of the Catholic Church?

The Catholic Church considers the rites contained within The Order of Christian Funerals to be normative, that is, binding upon the Catholic faithful who have experienced the death of a loved one whose soul is to be entrusted to the merciful judgment of God and whose body is to be consigned to the earth from which it was fashioned....

May 24, 2007

How much singing is allowed in Mass, especially by the principal celebrant?

It is customary in some parishes to have a Sunday Mass that includes little or even no singing.While this suits the sensibilities of these Mass attendees, it does not reflect the mind of the Church regarding the importance and necessity of singing at Mass.

"The General Instruction of the Roman Missal" states that "singing is the sign of the heart...

May 24, 2007

A missionary priest who visited our parish a few weeks ago told us it is important in our global economy to choose carefully investments we make as individuals or as parishes. Some investments, he said, can really help the poor around the world; others only add to the problems.

He gave no specific examples however. How can we, or our diocese and other institutions, learn where our money will do the most good or at least will not do mor...

May 24, 2007

How late can one arrive for Mass and still fulfill his obligation to attend?

The Sunday "obligation" is one of the oldest traditions we Catholics have. From the earliest days of the Church, no Catholic who took his faith seriously ever questioned the need to nourish his soul with the Body and Blood of Christ on the Lord...

May 24, 2007

How are bishops appointed to lead dioceses?

The simple answer to this question may be found in the 1983 Revised Code of Canon Law. Specifically, canon 377, paragraph 1, states: "The Supreme Pontiff (pope) freely appoints bishops or confirms those lawfully elected."

Church history reveals that there have been different methods by which bishops have been appointed to dioceses. In some cases, bishops were assigned by popular acclama...

May 24, 2007

My husband and I are planning to have our infant son baptized in the near future, and we would like to know if it is OK to have my two sisters as godparents?

The Code of Canon Law states that in the matter of baptism, "Only one male or one female sponsor or one of each sex is to be employed (as sponsors, or godparents)" (Canon 873).

The Church...

May 24, 2007

What is the deal with the Sacrament of the Sick? Didn...

May 24, 2007

Lately I visited a cathedral in another archdiocese. Aside from its being less beautiful than our "new cathedral," it is not a basilica. What is the difference between a cathedral and a basilica?

My mom says "beauty is in the eye of the beholder"; however, I agree that our cathedral basilica on Lindell Boulevard is one of the most beautiful churches in the world.

A cathedral is a church designated as the place where the diocesan...

May 24, 2007

Is a priest required to say Mass on his "day off?" In parishes in which there is only one priest, what are the faithful to do if they need the services of a priest on his day off?

This question involves several realities all touching upon the life and ministry of the parish priest. There is the question of the obligations arising from his priesthood; the reality of the importance of rest and relaxation in the life of the priest; and th...