Each weekday, you'll find a new question and answer. Check back for the new question and scroll down to see previous day's entries! Let us know what you think - - or question! -- by emailing us at email@example.com.
Consecration to Mary?
Q. What exactly does it mean to "consecrate yourself to the heart of Mary"? Are there certain prayers to be said or observances to be made? I have never understood when I read about people who consecrate themselves to Jesus or Mary. How do I go about doing this?
Sylvia Bussanich, via e-mail
A. Here’s a reply from TCA columnist Father Ray Ryland, Ph.D., J.D:
The Son of God came to us through Mary, and He chose Mary as the person through whom we come to Him and grow in His grace. "Consecration to Mary," properly understood, is "consecration to Jesus through Mary." It is a determined, sustained effort to offer all ourselves and all our works to her so that she may draw us ever closer to her divine Son.
There are various methods, formal and informal, for making this consecration. You will find guidance to these methods at this website: www.fisheaters.com/totalconsecration.html. Don't be distracted by the term "fisheaters." That's simply an old slang term designating Catholics.
King James Bible
Q. I am wondering if you can suggest an online source for the history of the King James Bible from a Catholic perspective. I have tried Googling, but all the histories seem to be biased against the Catholic Church. They are obviously written by Protestants.
— Betty Garber
A. Here’s a reply from Father Reginald Martin:
Googling “King James Bible” leads to more than 3 million entries. Contents of only the first two pages lead to many sites quite hostile to the work. Criticism runs from charges of shoddy scholarship to “evidence” of occult inclusions in the text. Few sites identify the religious leanings of their makers, so one cannot tell whether the information is supplied by Protestants, Catholics or others.
Those seeking an unbiased history of the King James (or Authorized) Version of the Bible, will find Adam Nicolson’s “God’s Secretaries” (2003) quite interesting. A Google search for this title leads to excellent critical reviews, summaries of the book and recorded interviews with the author.
This history of biblical publishing is interesting, and filled with little-known details. One is the likelihood that at least the New Testament of the KJV was influenced by the Douay translation, undertaken by English-speaking Catholics in Belgium, which appeared in 1582, almost 30 years before the Authorized Version.
Telling dad your sins
Q. When a child goes to confession, is it OK for them to tell their parents what they told the priest? If so, how should the parents respond?
--Hugh Sweeney, by e-mail
A. Here’s a reply from OSV columnist Msgr. M. Francis Mannion:
There is nothing to stop a child telling parents what he or she confessed in the sacrament of reconciliation. The important thing is how a parent responds. Responding with anger -- as legitimate as this might be in other circumstances -- would be unwise and might have the consequence of putting the child off confession.
If a child tells a parent that he or she confessed something truly troubling, the parent may want to bite his or her tongue and raise and deal with the matter later, but making sure that the child understands the confidential nature of the sacrament.
Q. Is it licit to use in our parish Masses certain songs and "litanies" composed by a member of the parish, including what he calls a "Gathering Chant"? What kind of authorization would be needed for that practice to be licit?
A. Here’s a reply from TCA columnist Father Francis Hoffman, J.C.D.:
According to the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, only music that has the approval of the diocesan bishop or the national conference of bishops (see GIRM, No. 48) should be used at Mass. The composer in your parish may in fact be talented, but before his or her music is used in the liturgy it should be approved by the bishop.
Mortal sin revisited
Q. Thank you for attempting to answer my question provided on Monday, Dec. 28. However, the response did not accurately answer my question. The question specifically referred to mortal sin, and the answer applied generally to sin itself. I understand the answer as far as it went.
I specifically asked about a Protestant, non-Catholic or atheist concerning their knowledge of what a mortal sin is and what it does to the soul. I would guess that all non-Catholics, etc., do not know what a mortal sin is and therefore do not fit into the three conditions necessary to commit a mortal sin, especially condition number two as stated in my original question.
— Dick LaReau
The previous answer cited Church teaching that natural law binds each individual, without regard to a person’s denominational affiliation or baptismal status. The law is universal, as is the possibility of breaking it through sin. Thus, St. Paul, in his Letter to the Romans, states, “all have sinned and are deprived of the glory of God” (3:23).
The Catechism of the Catholic Church’s definition of mortal sin is unequivocal: “Mortal sin is sin whose object is grave matter and which is committed with full knowledge and deliberate consent” (No. 1857). It continues: “Unintentional ignorance can diminish or even remove the imputability of grave offense. But no one is deemed to be ignorant of the principles of the moral law, which are written in the conscience of every man” (No. 1860). Once again, Church teaching makes no distinction between baptized Catholics and others; knowledge of God’s law is innate, and anyone is capable of committing mortal sin.
Nevertheless, prudence and charity urge caution when considering another’s actions, and the Catechism makes the valuable pastoral observation that “although we can judge that an act is in itself a grave offense, we must entrust judgment of persons to the justice and mercy of God” (No. 1861).
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