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

I know it...

May 24, 2007

I find it rather embarrassing to have to confess my specific sins when I go to confession. What is the basis for requiring this, and why can...

May 24, 2007

My fiance and I are really not into the big hoopla weddings, so we were thinking about doing a small destination wedding on a beach somewhere with just our family there. But I just heard that priests can...

May 24, 2007

I always pray for divine help to make us be of one faith, one Lord, living together in love as brothers and sisters of Christ. This makes me wonder why, in the book of Genesis, in the story of the tower of Babel, the Lord says, "Let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other" and be scattered over the world. This only causes people to be of different nationalities and customs, and leads to animosity toward one...

May 24, 2007

I have heard the terms "heresy," "apostasy" and "schism" used in describing people and beliefs not in agreement with our Catholic faith, but I suspect that those terms are often used incorrectly. What are their proper definitions?

The Church distinguishes three specific genres of what it calls the sin of "incredulity" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 2089).

Heresy is the obstinate denial by someone baptized of a truth whic...

May 24, 2007

From time to time I receive a prayer formula in the mail that claims if I pray this prayer it is guaranteed "to never fail." Some ask that you leave a copy of the prayer in the church for nine days, others require you to publish it and others request that you send it to someone else not to break the chain. I would like to know just how effective are these prayers?

Prayer is a good thing, but when you subscribe to these prayers that are...

May 24, 2007

In articles about abortion recently I...

May 24, 2007

Where does the Sign of Peace come from; can we overdo it?

The Church needs to do away with the Sign of Peace. It seems unsanitary and it interrupts the Mass by creating a social hour.Where did it come from, and what can be done about this?

The Sign of Peace is an ancient ritual symbolizing the bestowal of Christ...

May 24, 2007

What is the origin and meaning of the mixing together a piece of the consecrated Host into the chalice?

The practice is traditionally referred to as the commingling and occurs as part of the fraction rite.

Historical evidence is present from the writings of St. Justin Martyr that this ritual gesture was present in the Church...

May 24, 2007

Recently, Pope Benedict announced the addition of 15 new members to the College of Cardinals. What precisely is a cardinal and what does he do?

Cardinals are created by a formal decree of the pope that is made public at a consistory, or meeting, of the College of Cardinals.

The newly designated cardinal is not ordained or consecrated, because the title is not sacramental.

People still generally refer to a cardinal as one...

May 24, 2007

As a cradle Catholic and a regular Sunday Massgoer all my life, I have to admit I don...

May 24, 2007

In the old days, we were taught that a Catholic must refrain from "servile labor" on Sundays and holy days of obligation. What does the Church teach about this today? Is it permissible to shop on Sundays?

The question of Sabbath observance has a bad pedigree for Christians because of Christ...

May 24, 2007

When our pastor prays the Eucharistic Prayer during Mass, he looks into the crowd and it seems he is talking to us instead of praying to God. He even makes gestures as if he is addressing us.Is this the proper way to pray the Eucharistic Prayer?

I am certain your pastor realizes that he is praying the Eucharistic Prayer to God the Father in the name of Christ the Son on behalf of the people entrusted to his spiritual care.

Since...

May 24, 2007

Easter is a movable feast taking place on a different date from year to year. How is the date of Easter actually determined?

The Sacred Scriptures testify that Jesus Christ rose from the dead on the first Sunday following Passover (Mark 16:1-3, Matthew 28:1, Luke 23:56-24:3, and John 20:1).

Since the early Christians commonly accepted this testimony, the ancient Church came to celebrate Easter on the first Sunday after the Jewish...

May 24, 2007

The "General Instruction of the Roman Missal" succinctly explains that "incensation is an expression of reverence and of prayer" (n. 276).

Relying upon the foundation of the Psalms — "Let my prayer be incense before you; my uplifted hands an evening sacrifice" (Psalm 141:2)...

May 24, 2007

A Lutheran friend says his Bible is different than the Catholic Bible. I am now confused, for I always thought all Bibles were the same. Could you explain the difference between the Catholic Douai-Rheims Bible that I am using and the Protestant Bible?

So far as the New Testament is concerned, both Catholic and Protestant Bibles have the same number of books...

May 24, 2007

I...

May 24, 2007

How should a parent or a young person go about choosing a sponsor for confirmation?

In choosing a sponsor for confirmation, parents and the young person being confirmed should look for someone whose knowledge and practice of the Catholic faith is commendable.

The appropriate sponsor will be someone who demonstrates a commitment to the Lord and his Church through consistent weekly attendance at Mass and regular and frequent recep...