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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q. What are the theoretical objections regarding Communion under both kinds?
— N.C., Wisconsin
A. Here’s a reply from OSV columnist Msgr. M. Francis Mannion:
There are three main theoretical objections to the practice of Communion under both kinds.
1. The Holy See does not really approve of the practice. I don’t think this is true. The mind of the Holy See has not changed so radically as to wish to discourage something so frequently promoted since the Second Vatican Council. Certainly, there exists some confusion on what the Holy See thinks about the matter, given the fact that the 30-year indult for communion under both kinds in the United States was not renewed in 2005 — when it ran out. My reading of things is that the Holy See no longer wants to place the matter under an indult, but leaves it up to individual bishops to decide the matter for their own dioceses. Father Joseph Ratzinger — now Pope Benedict XVI — was a member of the post-Vatican II commission that promoted the use of the chalice for the people, and he expressed his approval of the practice. He has since then said nothing that would suggest that he has changed his mind.
2. The use of the chalice for the people should be kept for special and extraordinary occasions, and should not become a routine practice. Certainly, the chalice should never become routine in the sense that it taken for granted and thoughtlessly administered and received. However, every Mass is a special event. There are no ordinary Masses: The Mass is the most extraordinary event that can occur in the human world. The use of the chalice flows from the very nature of the eucharistic liturgy. At the preparation of the gifts, the priest prays: “Blessed are you, Lord God of all creation, for through your goodness, we have received the wine we offer you: fruit of the vine and work of human hands, it will become our spiritual drink.” At the consecration, the priest says: “Take this all of you, and drink from it, for this is the chalice of my blood, the blood of the new and eternal covenant, which will be poured out for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Do this in memory of me.” One of the acclamations after the consecration reads: “When we eat this bread and drink this cup, we proclaim your death, O Lord, until you come again.” Clearly, receiving from the chalice stands at the very heart of the Mass, and should not be regarded as icing on the cake.
3. The promotion of drinking from the chalice promotes confusion regarding the Catholic doctrine on concomitance. The doctrine of concomitance holds that we receive the whole Christ, body, blood, soul and divinity, under the form of bread alone. Thus the chalice (despite what the Protestant reformers held) is not necessary for Communion. This principle is in no way compromised by the actual use of the chalice. While proper catechesis on this matter is necessary, it is important to point out the fundamental reason why Communion from the chalice is promoted.
The General Instruction of the Roman Missal states: “Holy Communion has a fuller form as a sign when it takes place under both kinds. For in this form the sign of the Eucharistic banquet is more clearly evident and clearer expression is given to the divine will by which the new and eternal Covenant is ratified in the Blood of the Lord, as also the connection between the Eucharistic banquet and the eschatological banquet in the Kingdom of the Father” (No. 281).
A Good Advent
Q. Could you please explain the proper attitude for having a good Advent?
A. Here’s a reply from Father Reginald Martin:
Msgr. Ronald Knox published a series of reflections, “A Retreat for Lay People,” in which he remarks the Virgin Mary’s calm, and “knack of putting first thing first.” After the Annunciation, he says, Mary visited Elizabeth “in haste,” but not “in a hurry.” Our dictionary defines “haste” as speed, adding that it is speed combined with a certain purpose or dispatch, which echoes Knox’s observation: “Calm people don’t need to be in a hurry, because they hasten at the right moment, about the right things.”
With the First Sunday of Advent the Church begins its preparations to welcome the light of Christ at Christmas. Presiding over Advent is the Virgin Mary. We honor her, appropriately, in May and October, but Advent is “her” season, and the liturgy continually calls us to identify ourselves with Mary, who gave flesh to God’s Word.
Advent is a busy time, and many activities claim our attention. If we can cultivate only one attitude, let it be Mary’s calm silence. Let us strive to create a cloister in our hearts where God’s gaze and ours can meet, where the only words we hear are “Will you?” and the only word we can reply is “Yes.
When was Christ Born?
Q. Do we know the year Jesus Christ was born? This one is hard because of the B.C. and A.D. concept.
S.S., via email
A. Here’s a reply from TCA columnist Father Ray Ryland, Ph.D., J.D
We do not know in what year Jesus Christ was born. Scholars use known dates to build a bracket within which Our Lord’s birth must have occurred.
Jesus Christ must have been born either before 4 B.C. (when Herod the Great died) or in 6 A.D., when the census of Quirinius was begun. He was baptized by John the Baptist during John’s ministry which, according to Luke 3:1-2, began in the 15th year of Tiberius. This would have been around 28/29 A.D. Jesus was executed by Pontius Pilate, procurator (or governor) of Judaea. The date of Our Lord’s death would lie somewhere between 28 A.D., when Pilate was appointed governor, and 36 A.D., when he was replaced by another.
In the sixth century, a monk named Dionysius Exiguus proposed establishing the calendar on the basis of Jesus’ birth. We know now he miscalculated the date of Herod’s death. By the 10th century the dating of years A.D. (Anno Domini, “in the year of the Lord”) and B.C. (now commonly taken to mean Before Christ) was well established.
Sin of Self-abuse
Q. We have a senior class group of the godparent program and one of our students asked what the Church’s stand was on masturbation. We told her that we would ask to find out. Thank you for your help. Are there any references in the Bible?
M.A., via e-mail
A. Here is a reply from Father Francis Hoffman, J.C.D.:
That’s an easy question. Masturbation is wrong, and objectively it is a mortal sin.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains: “By masturbation is to be understood the deliberate stimulation of the genital organs in order to derive sexual pleasure. ‘Both the Magisterium of the Church, in the course of a constant tradition, and the moral sense of the faithful have been in no doubt and have firmly maintained that masturbation is an intrinsically and gravely disordered action.’ ‘The deliberate use of the sexual faculty, for whatever reason, outside of marriage is essentially contrary to its purpose.’ For here sexual pleasure is sought outside of ‘the sexual relationship which is demanded by the moral order and in which the total meaning of mutual self-giving and human procreation in the context of true love is achieved.’
“To form an equitable judgment about the subjects’ moral responsibility and to guide pastoral action, one must take into account the affective immaturity, force of acquired habit, conditions of anxiety or other psychological or social factors that lessen, if not even reduce to a minimum, moral culpability” (No. 2352).
As for references from the Bible, you can read the story of Onan in the Old Testament, Genesis 38:9-10: “Onan, however, knew that the descendants would not be counted as his; so whenever he had relations with his brother’s widow, he wasted his seed on the ground, to avoid contributing offspring for his brother.”
The primary purpose of human sexuality is the procreation of children. That is why the Church regards human sexuality as sacred. When the primary purpose of human sexuality is mistakenly understood as personal pleasure — physical or emotional — then all sorts of barbaric practices follow: artificial birth control leading to abortion leading to redefinitions of marriage leading to societal acceptance of “homosexual marriage.” Blessed be the Church’s teachings on the Sixth Commandment, leading all of us away from barbarianism.
Q. Can the souls in purgatory pray for those on earth?
A. Here’s a reply from Father Reginald Martin:
The Church’s foremost theologians question whether souls in purgatory can pray for us. Thomas Aquinas says they cannot, as their condition is one that renders them in need of prayer rather than allowing them to offer prayer. Others who support this position observe that souls in purgatory — unlike the blessed in heaven — have no knowledge of conditions on earth, so they cannot know for whom they should pray.
St. Alphonsus Ligouri, on the other hand, argued that the mere fact of souls being in purgatory is proof of God’s love, so nothing prevents them praying for us. He admits, however, that the Church does not implore their intercession, as they cannot know our needs without a special act of God. To support his argument, St. Alphonsus claimed the authority of St. Catherine of Bologna, who maintainedthat “whenever she desired any favor [she] had recourse to the souls in purgatory and was immediately heard.”
A maxim of our faith proclaims that we believe as we pray. The Church has no formal prayer “to” the souls in purgatory. Rather, we pray “for” them. This suggests that the souls in purgatory are the beneficiaries our prayers, not the source of prayers on our behalf.
blog comments powered by Disqus
Catholic Faith Resources | For Catholic Parishes | Order OSV Products | RSS | Advertise | About Us | Contact Us | Jobs