When Does a Catholic Book Need an Imprimatur?

Q: I have questions regarding books that are supposed to have Church approval on them.  If a book deals with religion/morals and is being sold in a church, does it only need the Imprimatur, or does it need the Imprimatur AND the Nihil Obstat together?

Would it be sinful (under canon law) to read a book that deals with religion/morals that doesn’t have authorization, but is displayed at churches or is a prayer book?  I’ve seen a couple of examples of Catholic books being displayed in churches that don’t have the authorization on them.

I have been confused about this and not read some books I have because of my confusion. –Neil Continue reading

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(Repost:) Confession and General Absolution

Unfortunately, reposting this piece is almost becoming a Christmas tradition, since reports continue to surface of abuses of the Sacrament of Penance during this busy season.  For that reason it may be worth reading it once again.   A very happy and holy Christmas to all!

Q: Last year, I visited my relatives at Christmas time, and we all went to their parish to a communal penance service before Christmas. There were probably almost a hundred people there, and only one priest. He didn’t hear each person’s confession, as we expected. Instead, he stood near the altar, said some prayers, and blessed all of us. Then he told us we were absolved of our sins, and that was it. Was that priest wrong to do what he did? Did God really forgive us our sins?  –Robert Continue reading

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When Can the Parish Priest Postpone a Wedding?

Q: My 26-year-old daughter is pregnant.  She has been dating her boyfriend for over 4 years.  They now want to marry when she completes the first trimester.  All their documents are in place.  The parish priest will not grant them this request of marrying them by [a date less than two months from now].  They will most willingly attend the marriage preparation course.

The Church instead of bringing them together in the Lord Jesus Christ, is pushing them away from the Church.  How and what can we do to escalate this issue so they can marry in the Catholic Church on [the abovementioned date, less than two months from now]? –Anthea Continue reading

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Why Would I Need an Annulment, Since My Civil Marriage Was Obviously Invalid?

Q:  I am Catholic, and was married with civil ceremony to my ex-husband…and we divorced the following year.  Now older and hopefully wiser, I want to share the rest of my life with my current partner.  We want to get married, but can’t because my previous marriage (only civil, not in the church) is still not annulled.

A Catholic priest told me that I can marry anyone in the church, so we can be blessed.  It would be considered a Secret Marriage.

My question is, would that marriage be valid?  I want to know if doing that would not be against God’s law? –Ethel Continue reading

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Who’s in Charge of the Diocese When There’s No Bishop?

Q: We have a lot of confusion in our parish…. Complicating the equation, our diocesan bishop has retired and the Pope has yet to name his successor.  We have a diocesan administrator, but he is also currently the bishop of [the diocese right next to ours].  The bishop-administrator is taking very much a “hands-off” approach to running our diocese… laypeople have tried to contact him regarding other matters and he told them to wait for the new bishop to arrive.  So many of us have begun to despair of resolving our parish problems….  Do you think maybe we should contact Rome? —Marie Continue reading

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