Q: There was a funeral at our parish recently for someone who had committed suicide. My mother was surprised, and told me that suicides didn’t used to get Catholic funerals, because killing oneself is a mortal sin. I assume the law has been changed… but suicide is still considered a mortal sin, right? I don’t want to seem heartless about this, but could you please explain the rationale behind permitting a suicide to have a Catholic funeral? –Amy Continue reading
(On Easter Sunday, Pope Francis will give the traditional Urbi et Orbi blessing in St. Peter’s Square, and under the proper conditions Catholics can gain a plenary indulgence. So it seems appropriate to repost the Church’s rules on indulgences at this time. A blessed Easter to all readers!)
Q: While watching live the election of the new Pope, the commentator mentioned that those receiving the Urbi et Orbi blessing could receive a plenary indulgence. My daughter was watching internet “live-streaming,” and my wife and I were watching on TV. My daughter asked me if we qualified. I did some research, and those who received the blessing in person or through the radio did qualify. I hypothesized that so did we, thanks to technical progress beyond radio. Was I right? –Bill Continue reading
Q: During this Jubilee Year, “Missionaries of Mercy” have been sent around the world with special powers to lift excommunications. The Vatican Archbishop who made this announcement mentioned the excommunicable crime of physical violence against the Pope, and said that this includes speech which criticizes him. This was a great shock to me… can we Catholics really be excommunicated if we say something negative about the Pope? What happens when a fellow bishop or a personal friend speaks to Pope Francis, and finds fault with something he said or did, is he penalized for daring to object? Criticism can often be a healthy thing. To me it sounds like a police state… –Matteo Continue reading
Q: Did you hear about the man caught masquerading as a priest in Los Angeles? I never thought about it before, but now I’m wondering why this doesn’t happen more often…. What is a pastor expected to do when a man claiming to be a priest wants to use the church to say Mass, or offers to help out at the parish in other ways? –Shannon Continue reading
Q: There’s a priest from [a third-world country] in residence in my parish…. In the confessional he didn’t want to give me absolution. He said he didn’t know if I had sinned, since maybe I had done these things by accident. But you could say that about practically any sin… it didn’t make any sense. He doesn’t seem to understand basic theological concepts. We got into a theological argument, and eventually I said that I would tell our pastor about this. The priest insisted I can’t do that, since it would violate the seal of confession!
I thought the sacramental seal bound only the priest hearing the confession. Am I forbidden to talk about my own confession to others? Can’t I repeat to the pastor what this priest was telling me in the confessional? –Christopher Continue reading