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    Fr. Joseph Jenkins

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  1. https://www.yahoo.com/news/worst-enemy-bishop-says-abuse-conference-wraps-091927137.html

    Do you think that Pope Francis’s conference on sex abuse will actually have any effect on the way the Church deals with this problem, or is it, as the victims complain, just speeches with nothing concrete behind it?

    As for Theodore McCarrick, what kind of punishment is it to be stripped of his titles and priesthood and to be told to live the rest of his life in prayer and penance? The man is almost 90 years old and in poor health; it’s not like he is capable of doing anything else. (As an aside, I wonder what he is thinking now. Does he think it was all worth it – 60 years of sexual freedom and power and now he is ending his life in disgrace!) Shouldn’t he be tried in a civil court and sent to jail?

    FATHER JOE: I have to hope that something positive will come of it. The hurt and anger is so terrible for some that I suspect these critics would only be happy with the complete eradication of the Church. McCarrick has been laicized and stripped of his titles and honors; but you are quite right, given his age and health, it is probably too late for any further censure or punishment.

  2. Dear Fr. Joe, just a follow up on my previous post. Sometimes, I don’t even know why, I feel moved to post about this issue of abortion. I think it would be wrong for me not to. I feel I am writing what I must write. I don’t plan to do it. I don’t even know what I’m going to write before I begin. Isn’t that what we are taught in the Gospels? If we listen humbly, God will speak to us and enlighten us.

    We need to speak up. I have no power. But I can speak, or in this case I can write. Thank you for providing this forum and answering questions on this matter. Who knows? Maybe one of these politicians who support “the right to choose” will have a change of heart on this matter. If one politician repents, this could lead to others doing the same.

    FATHER JOE: Only you can say if the impetus for sharing your thoughts is from God. And yes, we can hope and pray for a conversion of heart from politicians and others in the public forum.

  3. Dear Fr. Joe,

    You mentioned Roman Catholics who are pro-abortion, or as they would say “who believe in a woman’s right to chose.” I know how much this must sadden you as it does every right-thinking person.

    Of course we agree that “pro-choice” means the right to slaughter their unborn child. They make it sound so clinical and righteous. “Let the woman and her doctor decide.” How about the baby, born or unborn? How about giving that baby the right to decide if it wants to live? They never discuss that issue.

    In any case, my main question is about excommunication.

    I know that Sen. Durbin was denied communion by his bishop because of his record of siding with the “abortion rights” faction. Is this sort of thing just a rule in the bishop’s diocese, or does it apply everywhere?

    I would also like to ask if it is the rule that anyone who commits or facilitates an abortion is automatically excommunicated? If so, would this apply to any Catholic politician who has a record of voting in favor of permitting abortion? Everyone knows who they are, since their votes are on the public record.

    I know that Pope Francis has spoken out very firmly against organized crime. If memory serves, he warned Mafia members in Italy that if they did not stop they would be excommunicated. Certainly he has that power as head of the church. But I dare say that the number of unborn children who have been killed by abortion far outnumbers the death toll from Mafia crimes. Also we know that in each and every case the victim of abortion is 100% innocent of any crime. Sometimes gangsters kill each other, which is not good. But the unborn child has done nothing wrong at all to deserve being cut up into little pieces and disposed of.

    I would also like to bring up the financial incentive. I would like the media to address this issue more. How much money do the doctors make from abortions? What is being done with certain unborn children’s tissues? Who is making money from this?

    Do you know if Pope Francis has warned our politicians who are Catholics that if they persist in their pro-abortion stance, they will be automatically excommunicated? How about denying such politicians communion in any diocese?

    I understand this is a political issue in part, because Americans do not like being told how to vote based on religion. We like separation of religion and state.

    But this abortion issue is multi-denominational. In fact I would say one can be an agnostic or atheist and still recognize that if a newborn, who has survived a late-term abortion attempt, is on a table in the hospital, and breathing, that is by any standard a newly born human being who is not in any way a part of the woman’s body. This is not even science, it’s just obvious fact which only an insane person will deny. Either that, or the politician doesn’t care about the truth in this issue. Instead they care about pandering to the pro-abortion lobby.

    This evening on Fox News I saw one of the politicians who voted against the latest bill to protect the newly-born child ignore the question that was asked about caring for a baby who has been born and who is “breathing air.” He just repeated a few talking points that did not even address that issue.

    I don’t care what a person’s religion is, or if they have no religion. There is no moral justification they can provide for allowing that newborn baby to die. That is true even if the disgraceful Governor of Virginia says it’s OK because the newborn will be “kept comfortable.”

    I hope and pray that these politicians will soon have a comfortable retirement from elected office. They should be voted out. Or perhaps it would even be better if they became enlightened and understand the truth and repent. They should repent publicly and beg God to forgive them. They should go to whatever church, temple, synagogue, or other house of worship they believe in and shed bitter tears of repentance. Or let them do so before a statue of Karl Marx if that is their philosophy. But they must either recognize the value of human life, or be thrown out of office.

    Wake up America. Human life is sacred. Once we abandon that concept, we create a Hell on earth.

    FATHER JOE:

    There are certain rules about who should and who should not receive Holy Communion. However, today (in practice) there seems to be great deal of latitude given to bishops as to how liturgical and canon law is applied. Thus, we see different policies followed by various bishops.

    A Catholic who is aware of the censure would be excommunicated for having an abortion, performing an abortion or facilitating one (like driving the person to the clinic and paying for it). There is some argument about whether the censure applies to politicians. Many would argue that the situation must be a particular case or incident, not merely policy or law. I would tend to be more severe and expansive in my determination.

    Excommunication can be automatic, as with abortion or striking the pope; it can also be imposed by ecclesial authority for certain offenses.

    As for the financial incentive for abortion, it would technically make Planned Parenthood a Fortune 500 corporation. Abortion is very lucrative, especially if technicians are legally protected from litigation for botched operations and putting down babies that survive the abortion procedures.

  4. Hello Fr:

    When a cradle, devout Catholic person dies, is it just as holy to have the funeral and prayer service entirely at the funeral home, or would it be better to have some of it in a church?

    Thank you.

    FATHER JOE: It is best to have the funeral Mass in church. Here in the Archdiocese of Washington we are not supposed to have Masses in funeral homes. A service in the funeral home does not have the same spiritual benefits as the Mass.

  5. Hello.
    I’m a Christian. But I am not a Catholic, I am not a Protestant. I am Orthodox.
    When I began to study religion, I learned that before, Christianity was one. However, in 1054, the Christian Church split.
    One of the reasons why the Catholic and Orthodox Churches cannot unite is the filioque.
    The Nicene creed was composed at the second ecumenical council in 381.
    The Creed outlines the doctrine of the Holy Spirit:
    Καὶ εἰς τὸ Πνεῦμα τὸ Ἅγιον, τὸ κύριον, τὸ ζωοποιόν, τὸ ἐκ τοῦ Πατρὸς ἐκπορευόμενον, τὸ σὺν Πατρὶ καὶ Υἱῷ συμπροσκυνούμενον καὶ συνδοξαζόμενον, τὸ λαλῆσαν διὰ τῶν προφητῶν.
    Et in Spiritum Sanctum, Dominum et vivificantem: qui ex Patre procedit. Qui cum Patre et Filio simul adoratur et conglorificatur: qui locutus est per prophetas.
    And in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, who gives life, coming from the Father, worshiped and glorified equally with the Father and the Son, speaking through the prophets.
    Tertullian, in my opinion, marked the beginning of a change in the text in the symbol of faith that the holy spirit emanates from father and son. He introduced the formulas una substantia (one substance) and tres personae (three persons). And Tertullian already meets on the participation of the Son in the emanation of the Spirit:
    Spirit has no other source but the Father through the Son.
    Ambrose also wrote:
    Also, the Holy Spirit, proceeding from the Father and the Son, is not separated either from the Father or from the Son.
    Augustine also spoke of the mutual love of father and son. But as I understand, father and son are one?
    The filioque occurs in the creed since 682.
    Explain to me about filioque. How does the catholic church explain the filioque, if it is not in the accepted symbol of faith in 451?
    And the next question is, how does the Catholic Church relate to Christians of other faiths?
    Thanks in advance!

    FATHER JOE: The filioque clause is often bracketed. Eastern rite Catholic churches (in union with Rome) often recite the creed precisely as in the orthodox liturgies. The addition entered the Church through papal liturgies. It is not original to the creed, as you say. The East and West have divergent theologies about the generations or relations in the trinitarian godhead. Pope John Paul II did not regard it as an important obstacle to ecclesial reunion. Many orthodox churches feel the same. The division between the East and West was due to political reasons more than theological differences. However, the separation has allowed the communities to grow apart. We see this with the treatment of marriage and divorce. The main cause for the continuing breach is the question of papal authority. Complicating matters is the fact that orthodoxy does not enjoy the level of unity between churches that Catholicism takes for granted. Thus ecumenical outreach must be pursued with each national church.

  6. Hello Father,
    I have trouble in knowing I am forgiven and in forgiving myself…even though I go to confession. How can I find peace?

    FATHER JOE: If there is a psychological issue then counseling is advised. Otherwise, you must get over this scrupulosity and trust that God forgives and the sacraments have the power to do what they are supposed to do. If God can forgive you, then who are you to deny this mercy? Trust God and let go of the sins and hurts.

  7. Where is the appropriate place for an abortion engraved stone monument to be set up?…..front yard of the church, a memorial garden on the grounds of the church, a Catholic cemetery, or a Catholic section of a town’s local cemetery?

    FATHER JOE: We find them most anywhere… they are more effective in public places.

  8. Hi Fr. Joe,
    In your answer about laicized priests, you mentioned something about laity and interpreters also being bound to the seal of confession or risk excommunication just like McCarrick would be if he broke the seal of past confessions that he’s heard now that he is a layperson. Can people use interpreters for confession? I’ve never heard this before.

    FATHER JOE: Laicization means that McCarrick no longer has faculties to minister the sacraments, to dress as a clergyman or to be addressed by a religious title. Juridical status as one of the laity does not mean that he is no longer a bishop and priest. The sacrament of holy orders is permanent. He is merely forbidden to function as a priest or bishop. As for interpreters, yes they are sometimes used when there are language issues or for communication with those who cannot hear. Anyone who assists a priest in confession is also under the seal.

  9. Can a grandparent baptize their grandchildren if their parents won’t get them baptize. Can you baptize them without the parents knowing about it.

    FATHER JOE: There is supposed to be some assurance that a child will be raised in the faith for a priest to offer baptism. We are not to violate parental rights. Do upset grandparents sometimes baptize children in kitchen sinks? Probably so, but the priest is not part of that.

  10. That was a gentle and kind answer to Luke. You are good to try to bring peace to his heart. God Bless you Fr Joe.

  11. Thanks Father!! I really appreciate your time, spiritual direction, and convenience! You are the man!!!!

  12. Father: Ever hear of free will? Or separation of Church and State? Priests are often very admirable people, but when I hear any political bullxxxt from priests, I am very turned off and won’t go back to that church. I am against abortion, but realize it is the woman’s choice. And I will remain Catholic the rest of my life. Unless gays priests are allowed. Which would be apocryphal. Satan’s happiest day.

    FATHER JOE:

    Freedom is not capricious or absolute. Human freedom must be rooted in what is good and it must also respect the rights of others. The child in the womb may not have a voice, even to cry aloud, but he or she still has rights as a person. A woman no more has a right to destroy her child then I would have to murder you.

    True freedom is founded upon right reasoning and the human will. You can choose to act or not to act. You are thus culpable or responsible for the actions you deliberately perform. Our moral character and identity is formed by our decisions. We can opt to be a good, moral, just and charitable persons or we can make ourselves into something else. Obedience to God and his laws insures a freedom that matures in truth and virtue. The proper operation of human freedom is best illustrated by the Beatitudes. The disordered use of freedom will ironically bring moral and spiritual bondage. It damages us and brings harm to others. While there are neutral choices, many of the choices of our day have us hinged between good (the proper use of freedom) and evil (the abuse of freedom).

    Look at the universal catechism:

    [CCC 1740] Threats to freedom. The exercise of freedom does not imply a right to say or do everything. It is false to maintain that man, “the subject of this freedom,” is “an individual who is fully self-sufficient and whose finality is the satisfaction of his own interests in the enjoyment of earthly goods.” Moreover, the economic, social, political, and cultural conditions that are needed for a just exercise of freedom are too often disregarded or violated. Such situations of blindness and injustice injure the moral life and involve the strong as well as the weak in the temptation to sin against charity. By deviating from the moral law man violates his own freedom, becomes imprisoned within himself, disrupts neighborly fellowship, and rebels against divine truth.

    Your choice not to go back to church is your use of freedom in opting out of the real worship of almighty God. The only one you really harm is yourself. If you believe that a woman has the right to destroy her child then in fact you are not against abortion— you just do not want to get your own hands dirty. However, both the active enablers and those passive on the issue have blood on their hands. Remember that our freedom makes possible sins both of commission and omission. The Gospel includes both the Spiritual Works of Mercy and the Corporal. The Church must be a player in the public forum and a political voice on issues if not candidates; otherwise, the Church would betray the Gospel. Catholicism is not lived simply between the walls of churches. The separation of church and state is a prohibition against a national religion. It does not mean that Christians must deny their values in the public sector. Such would violate religious liberty. Neither does it mean a rejection of the commandments or natural law. Many of the same voices for abortion are also espousing same-sex unions. However, you seem to regard that topic as demonic. It seems to me that you are somewhat inconsistent.

    As for priests, I am not sure I trust all the numbers being thrown around about gay clergy. My main concern is that priests should keep their promises. Men who are called to celebrate the sacrifice of Christ at our altars have pledged a celibate love. It is a love that surrenders itself in love to God and neighbor. God bless!

  13. I’m not sure who blocked it. It looked like normal construction barricade blockers but it did not say road closed or anything. I’m just stuck on whether I need to go to confession or not and if it was grave. I have scrupulosity and part of my therapy is to not compulsively go to confession unless I’m 100% sure I need to….I’m just really stuck 😦

    FATHER JOE: I suspect it was not grave. You were not even driving. Just make an act of contrition and maybe mention it the next time you go to Confession. No need to rush. I do not think God will condemn you for wanting to go fishing. Be at peace about it.

  14. Hey father I have a question. Me and this other person went fishing and in order to get to this spot we would have to take a road that was blocked off because it was icy. I didn’t want to go around the blockers but we had 4WD and I guess it just happened. I was not driving. The place we were fishing was perfectly fine but the road to get there was blocked. Was this a grave sin? Thanks!

    FATHER JOE: I guess it would depend upon who blocked it. Was it illegal? We are obliged to follow just laws. I suspect it was not a “grave” sin.

  15. I am in the same situation. I am 82, the eldest of 9 living siblings and vocal about supporting Pro-Life candidates. Two of my brothers are strong practicing Catholics and they try to shut me down when I speak in favor of voting Pro-Life. I fault the Democratic national platform and urge them to work towards changing the party’s pro-choice stance. I am being political because the Democrats left me; they closed the door on Catholic and Evangelicals. We have a private sibling FB page which they prefer I not post anything political. Rather than create a family feud I opted out of the FB page. I find it impossible to separate this issue from politics, its atrocious what the left is doing…..and it isn’t far left any longer!

    FATHER JOE: Many of the most liberal voices in the Democratic Party are Catholics who dissent against our moral laws. When you speak of “Catholics and Evangelicals” you mean Christians who believe in traditional values as with the nature of marriage and the sanctity of life. I agree with you that the situation is atrocious. I have also challenged friends, not necessarily to leave the party, but to do all they can to change it. Democrats were traditionally on the side of the working man and those persons most vulnerable and in need. There is no one more vulnerable than a baby. We need voices to call them back to their center. Issues such as human life should not be seen as strictly political or religious— they pertain to basic human rights and the most sacred of these is life. Your family knows where you stand, Facebook or no Facebook. It is amazing how much the world has changed during our lifetimes, and much not for the better. I will keep you in prayer. God bless you! Stay strong!

  16. Thank you father have a blessed day. As always I appreciate your time and wisdom.

    God bless,
    Albert

  17. Why does God say he will shorten time otherwise his few elect would even be decided? What is the great deception? What could deceive all of us?

    FATHER JOE:

    “And if those days had not been shortened, no one would be saved; but for the sake of the elect they will be shortened” (Matthew 24:22).

    God says so because he is compassionate and merciful to his children. Jesus implies that the tribulation with be shortened for the faithful elect. This will save them and enable them to continue to spread Christ’s saving Good News. The elect here are understood as the Jews who had accepted Christ as the consummation of the covenant.

    What is the great deception? It is what it has always been, the lies of those who oppose Christ. Indeed, we can speak here of the antichrist(s) who lead people astray. Along with this there is a spiritual numbness permitted by God where even basic truths are no longer acknowledged, i.e. the personhood and right to life of the unborn child, the value of marriage as a covenant between men and women, etc. Those without the light of grace will not be able to see through the darkness.

    “And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord [Jesus] will kill with the breath of his mouth and render powerless by the manifestation of his coming, the one whose coming springs from the power of Satan in every mighty deed and in signs and wonders that lie, and in every wicked deceit for those who are perishing because they have not accepted the love of truth so that they may be saved. Therefore, God is sending them a deceiving power so that they may believe the lie, that all who have not believed the truth but have approved wrongdoing may be condemned” (2 Thessalonians 2:8-12).

  18. Political choices

    Dear father Joe,
    My brother and I are on polar opposite sides of the political spectrum. I am catholic pro life and in my best possible discernment through prayer and fasting in the past to me the single most important issue is voting for the pro life candidate. It’s non negotiable for me , it’s not my brother’s top priority. Am I where God wants me to be o. This issue or am I missing a bigger picture?
    Thanks and god bless you

    Albert

    FATHER JOE: While generally there are other issues, if a person is stripped of his or her right to life, at least for that person there are no more issues. Speaking for myself, I could not support those who would enable or make possible the torture and murder of children… in or out of the womb. I suspect you are where God wants you on this matter. If we compromise on this issue then everything is up for grabs.

  19. Father in your response to laicised priest you wrote confusion I think you meant confession.
    Peace. God bless you.

    FATHER JOE: Thanks… I fixed it. Not sure that I wrote the wrong word or if the spell-check automatically changed it.

  20. Hi Fr Joe,
    When a priest, bishop, or cardinal is ‘laicized’, is he still a priest but just stripped of his ability to function as such? The priest that married my husband and I was laicized a few years ago after a scandal. “You are a priest forever” comes to mind. I have not seen him for many years, but I will be seeing him next month at a reunion. It will be strange not to call him ‘Father’. There is a lot of sadness, confusion, hurt, disappointment, and regret that I feel over the love and trust I felt for him as a priest. I know, priests are human too, but it’s like a doctor who intentionally poisons a patient instead of giving medicine. It’s hard to reconcile.
    I’m guessing that all sacraments he performed before being laicized are valid. Is a laicized priest still bound by the seal of confession not to disclose anything he heard prior to being laicized? (Or, anything you confided in him privately). Is there anything keeping a laicized priest from making public what he heard in past confessions?
    As far as McCarrick, is laicizing him enough of a ‘punishment’ considering the heinous crimes he committed? Would he be allowed to live as a free person in the world, living amoung communities of people without any supervision?
    I am praying for all victims and families who were traumatized in past offenses, and I’m also prying for the MANY good and holy priests, religious, and laity to rise up over all the ashes and shine with God’s love and goodness.
    Thank you Fr Joe.
    Peace.

    FATHER JOE:

    The role of cardinal or papal elector is a man-made position. If a man is stripped of the Cardinal’s hat then he is no longer a cardinal. That honor is removed. However, the vocation to the priesthood and to the episcopacy is the reception of the sacrament of holy orders. It configures a man to Christ the high priest and leaves an indelible mark upon the soul. When a cleric is laicized he remains a bishop or priest but he no longer has the faculties or permission to function. He cannot hear confessions. He cannot celebrate the Mass. He may no longer dress like a priest or bishop. He forfeits the right to be called Father, or Your Eminence, or Your Excellency. He is reduced functionally to the lay state.

    Certain priests seek laicization, particularly when they want to get married in the Church. However, laicization alone does not free a bishop or priest from his vows. He must still be obedient and unless released by proper authority, must also remain celibate and cannot marry. Often laicized priests are also released from their celibacy promise so that they can marry.

    Yes, all the sacraments previously celebrated or witnessed (marriage) by the priest remain lawful and valid after a priest is laicized. Yes, the seal of confession binds the man forever. Violation would constitute serious sin and open him up to excommunication. The seal also applies to lay people, as with translators for the sacrament.

    McCarrick is still under holy obedience and he has been ordered to spend what remains of his life in prayer and penance within a monastic environment. If he opted to ignore this command, the Church would have no legal recourse. Just as with other abusive clergy, they can disappear from the radar as we have no ecclesial police force. We must all abide by the laws of the nations where we find ourselves.

  21. Apparently it was wine and not the consecrated precious blood of Jesus Christ. Why would it be in a cruet if it was clear consecrated?

    FATHER JOE: Thank you for catching this. I quickly read it as the precious blood being poured from the cup into the cruet at the end of Mass. There is still some confusion because while the current rubrics stipulate than only chalices should be used for the consecration of the wine, the practice before 2012 was that a flagon or cruet might sometimes be used, to be poured into cups for the people’s reception at communion time. I have revised my response. Again thank you for catching my error. I was trying to write quick responses between Masses this morning. God bless!

  22. Dear Fr. Joe,

    I asked a substitute priest filling in at a Catholic Hospital Chapel what I should do with the 1/3 cup of wine in the cruet he left after Mass. He told me to put it back in the wine bottle. I thought this odd since our regular priest pours it in the Chalice to drink or the EM administering the precious blood. Thank you for clarifying in your response.

    Maureen

    FATHER JOE:

    [REVISED RESPONSE]

    I have been made aware that I may have misread your comment. You write “1/3 cup of wine in the cruet” and I read it quickly as pouring from the “cup” or chalice back into the bottle. Further, many of us only use water for the purification while others use the unconsecrated wine. I guess I was further perplexed because you said the other priest sometimes has you drink the wine from the cruet.

    There is further confusion with the comment because some priests still wrongly consecrate both from the chalice and a cruet to pour into other chalices used by communicants. Was the cruet left on the altar during the consecration or was it on a side credence table? If it were on a side table then the wine is not consecrated and can lawfully be poured back into the wine bottle. If it were on the altar then it probably should have been consumed.

    While priests usually intend to consecrate only what is on the corporal, I know priests and bishops who “intend” to consecrate any and all of the sacred elements on the altar. In any case, the confusion can breed scandal. Current rules stipulate that only communion cups or chalices with wine can be used for consecration… no cruets or flagons.

  23. I have begun reading the Bible using a daily guide that will complete the reading in one year. The guide began for me with a reading from Leviticus. I was struck by the details and specificity of the recounting of Moses receiving direction from God on Mt. Sinai such as detailing the color of cloths to be used to cover an offering table.

    This lead me to wonder how the Bible readings have been written. Surely Moses did not recall all of those details. So it would seem that over time versions of the Bible have expanded the explanations using contemporary interpretations and language to articulate the story.

    How much of what we read in Levitiicus, for example, can be read as truly accurate of what Moses was told by God? I accept it. It’s just my curiosity about it.

    Thank you.

    FATHER JOE: There is no way to know whether certain accidentals or details are absolutely accurate. Often colors, numbers, etc. have a symbolic meaning in the telling that might be lost upon the average reader. The Bible uses many forms of literature… history, poetry, speeches, myths, parables, etc. to give us the inspired revelation and truth of God. Given the absence of books, the value of memory in days gone by was also prized very highly, perhaps more so than today. Those things that were written were cherished and passed down within the believing community. These writings became priceless and were regularly copied by scribes.

  24. Hi Fr. Joe,

    Next month, I am traveling to Haiti as part of a medical mission team. We will be in some remote areas of the country at times and also working in a medical clinic in a small village.

    I do not remember the last time I missed Mass, but on this trip, I’ve been told that it is very unlikely for me to access a Catholic Church, especially given the area that we will be working. Any travel we do within the country needs to be in groups with security and an interpreter present. And, even going a short distance can take a lot of time due to the poor road conditions.

    I usually attend Mass 2-3 times during the week as well, so I am trying to prepare myself for the absense of receiving Communion while I’m away. I actually have a little anxiety over facing this situation. AND, I am also trying to come to terms with not being able to attend Mass on Sunday.

    First, any thoughts to help me get through these couple weeks? A friend suggested i offer it as a sacrifice and someone else suggested that maybe we would be able to bring the Eucharist in a pix for this of us who are Catholic?

    Then I am wondering if missing Mass under these circumstances would be considered a venial or mortal sin, and if I should avoid receiving Communion anyways. Any light you can shed in this would be greatly appreciated.

    Please pray for Haiti as the country is currently in a state of civil unrest. And, if I could ask, please pray for the safety of our medical team as we travel there in mid March.

    Thank you!

    FATHER JOE:

    Haiti is a heavily Catholic country (80%). Ordinarily this would mean easy access to a church for Mass, most likely offered in French. Not knowing where you are going, I cannot speak about the “difficult terrain.” I have friends who have done ministry outreach there and they were able to practice their faith. The difficulty you face is probably that the Medical Mission is either representative of another denomination or that the practice of faith is not a serious consideration. It is accurate that you should travel in groups and not alone.

    You cannot take the Eucharist in a pyx for such an extended period because of the danger of desecration. If you truly cannot participate at Sunday Mass, take a missal so that you can follow the readings of the day. God does not demand the impossible and he understands the difficulties we face. Friends who worked in Saudi Arabia (where the Christian faith is essentially illegal) offered the rosary in secret but could not attend Mass. The situation is quite different in Haiti.

    As for civil unrest in Haiti, such is pretty much always the case, albeit with escalations. It is one of the poorest nations on the planet.

  25. What exactly is a sin? Is it something that displeases God? Is not attending mass a sin? Saying bad words? Getting mad? Drinking alcohol? Or is it just breaking one of the Ten Commandments?

    FATHER JOE:

    Sin is a deliberate immoral act that violates the laws of God and his Church.

    Yes, sin always displeases God to whom we owe fidelity and obedience.

    Yes, the willful missing of Sunday Mass is a sin that violates a precept of the Church and the manner in which we keep the commandment to observe the Lord’s Day.

    Yes, we can sin by words of blasphemy against God and words of vulgarity which diminish civility and human dignity.

    Yes, while it is not a sin to become upset or in justice to know righteous indignation, unbridled hatred and anger (rage) is indeed a sin.

    Yes, while the fruits of the earth are good, we can sin by excess and drunkenness in regard to alcohol.

    Yes, we can sin by the violation of the Ten Commandments in that we have moral obligations both to love God and our neighbor.

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