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 does a priest address us, his parishioners, as "brothers and sisters," yet we call him "Father?" Aren...

May 24, 2007

I have a question about "hell" in the Apostles...

May 24, 2007

My grandchild was nearly unable receive the Sacrament of Confirmation because he did not fulfill the service hours necessary to be confirmed. Why are service hours required to receive confirmation?

The Catholic Church does not require service hours to receive any sacrament. The only requirement for the Sacrament of Confirmation is that the individual be baptized.

The Church also desires to catechize individuals regarding the sacr...

May 24, 2007

If a couple is cohabiting, can their marriage in the Church be denied or delayed?

The Secretariat for Family, Laity, Women and Youth of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops reports that approximately half the couples who seek to marry in the Catholic Church are cohabiting. There is no statistical difference in this number between Catholic couples and non-Catholics or even non-believers.

Gravely concerned at the signif...

May 24, 2007

What is the difference between a religious order priest that lives in a community, like The Missionaries of the Holy Family, and a diocesan priest? And what led you to choose to be a religious order priest?

A diocesan priest is ordained for a particular diocese. Most diocesan priests work in parishes, but some are assigned to special functions within the diocese according to their training and appointments. For example, a diocesan pries...

May 24, 2007

The Dear Father feature will return when the Review resumes publication July 14.

Address questions to Dear Father, St. Louis Review, 20 Archbishop May Drive, St. Louis, MO 63119. You can also fax them to (314) 792-7534 or by e-mail at slreview@stlouisreview.com.

May 24, 2007

My wife and I are unable to have children on our own and we are good Catholics. We...

May 24, 2007

I have two questions about the offertory gifts. Why does the priest pour water into the wine at Mass? And why doesn...

May 24, 2007

How has the language used for the vows in the Rite of Marriage changed since Vatican II?

Like all the rituals since Vatican II, the Rite of Marriage has undergone linguistic and structural changes.Of course, none of these changes has altered the central rite of the Sacrament of Marriage, which is the exchange of consent between two baptized Christians, one male, the other female.

The Church considers the exchange of consent by t...

May 24, 2007

My wife and I are at our wit...

May 24, 2007

How did the Code of Canon Law come into being? Can it ever be changed?

The Catholic Church has the oldest continuous legal system in the world, predating the common law and European civil law systems. Canon law was born in the experience of the early Christian community, which looked to the Scriptures and the wisdom of the Church Fathers in developing practices and customs to assist the Church as it expanded throughout the territories o...

May 24, 2007

If the Sabbath is Saturday, why do Christians observe Sunday as a special day?

The observance of the Jewish Sabbath is based on the recognition that God rested after the creation of the world. The day of rest for the Jews is Saturday, the seventh day of the week.

Evidence in the New Testament affirms that the first Christians, who were also Jewish, attended the synagogue and kept the Sabbath.

It is important to note that...

May 24, 2007

I was recently told by a priest that we were to hold hands during the "Our Father." I can find nowhere in the rubrics about this.

I...

May 24, 2007

Eight years ago this past July I had an abortion. At the time, I was 16 years old. I was against the idea and so was my father. My mother, however, talked my father into agreeing with her. It was either I got the abortion or they would see that the baby...

May 24, 2007

Diocesan priests take a vow of celibacy while religious order priests take a vow of chastity. What, if any, differences are there between the two?

Chastity and celibacy may be used interchangeably to describe that state in life whereby an individual commits to a life of sexual continence for the sake of the kingdom of God and to be of service to God and mankind.

To profess the vow of chastity and make the commitment to the celib...

May 24, 2007

A good friend who is a practicing Lutheran says that they also believe in the Real Presence just as we Catholics do. Is this true and could you explain the differences between their belief and our belief in the Real Presence?

We Catholics believe in the "transubstantiation," that is the change of substance into the Body of Christ, and wine into the Blood of Christ at the Consecration at the Mass.

The Catechism of the Catholic Ch...

May 24, 2007

Can you explain the different kinds of indulgences?

The Church...

May 24, 2007

May the deacon who presides at a marriage without Mass give the nuptial blessing and also bless the congregation? (Sent by a reader in Wisconsin).

When a deacon is celebrant for a wedding, he follows the same Roman ritual for that ceremony as a priest would, including the nuptial and closing blessings.

This is generally true for all rituals celebrated by a deacon. The Church...