Q: A friend of mine told me that his pastor routinely admits Episcopalians to Holy Communion. He explained that the local Episcopal church closes for several months, since it’s located in a resort town. The Catholic pastor has an “arrangement” with the Episcopal minister that the local Episcopalians come to the Catholic parish for Sunday Mass and receive Holy Communion during those months. They would otherwise have to drive about ten miles to another Episcopal parish. They go back to their own church when it reopens.
To my simple mind, this situation doesn’t meet the criteria for reception of Holy Communion by non-Catholic Christians. Driving ten miles in these parts is nothing, we all drive farther than that to the mall, etc., so it isn’t an arduous situation.
Certainly it is wonderful that the nice Episcopalians want to come to Mass, but they should not be admitted to Holy Communion, I don’t think. Am I thinking straight? –David Continue reading
Q: I was explaining the basic notions about marriage to a group of teens and they created a hypothetical scenario: A couple is on a trip in their boat. One morning the wife awakes and notices that her husband is gone. After an intense search, the Coast Guard concludes that he fell off the boat and died, although the body was not recovered.
Two years later, the lady marries again in Church, because her husband was declared dead. But later the first husband reappears and says he was kidnapped by pirates and just got liberated. Which of the two men is the legitimate husband? Which marriage gets the declaration of nullity? Teens have a very creative imagination and I am not qualified to provide a decent answer to that scenario. –Javier Continue reading
Q: As a non-Christian I was civilly married (no kids), that marriage in civil divorce. Later I found faith (I’m Catholic now) and met a wonderful man with whom I’m in love. He’s Catholic too. I found out that we will not be able to marry in Church, unless I get an annulment.
I was told I have to go through a full annulment process which is quite long in my country due to a lack of people educated in Canon Law. I brought documents to the tribunal office (one of two) in my country and they said that they will put me on a waiting-list (few years long), but meanwhile I can supply more evidence if I find some.
My main concern, when trying to find more useful information to build my case, is this: are the “standards” the same for both Catholics and non-Catholics—unity, indissolubility, the good of spouses and having children?
What if a non-Catholic at the time of getting civilly married does not know the full information about how Catholic Church views marriage? In general—I am wondering how non-Catholics can give valid consent, if they don’t know what the Church teaches about marriage? —Lenka Continue reading
Q: My daughter stopped practicing her faith when she left home, and was married in a civil ceremony to a non-Catholic man. The mayor of their city married them. After a few years, the marriage ended in divorce, no children.
Now I’m happy to say she has returned to the Church… she told the pastor of her parish about her marriage, because she wants to request an annulment. The pastor told her he could annul it himself, when she wants to get married again! We were shocked, we know that can’t be right. My daughter then phoned the Marriage Tribunal and told them she wants to do this properly, but they insisted she can only begin the process through the pastor of her parish.
Now none of us knows what to do. Is there a way to get to the Tribunal without having to deal with this wacky pastor? What’s the best way to go about this? –Angelo Continue reading
Q: Several decades ago a new order of sisters was founded in our diocese. They help us parish priests by teaching the children and also by catechizing the adults.
But in recent years they have gone out of control. By challenging the Church’s teachings and the authority of the clergy, the sisters have encouraged rebellion in our diocese. There have been a lot of battles fought between the bishop and the sisters, and finally the bishop told us privately that he intended to close the convent down.
Before he could do that, however, he retired and now we have a new bishop. He’s being very cautious about the whole situation… the bishop told us priests that he has no authority to shut down the sisters, only the Vatican can do this. We are skeptical because the institute was founded not by Rome, but by the diocesan bishop. So why can’t the bishop close the institute himself? Some priests suspect that he is looking for an excuse to avoid facing the situation himself… –Father M. Continue reading