Should We Baptize Aborted Babies, If Possible?

Q: Should hospital staff be baptizing aborted fetuses, if they have the chance?

I realize that Catholic doctors and nurses can’t participate in performing abortions, but sometimes they work in hospitals where abortions are performed by others.  If they have access to the body of an aborted baby, should they quietly baptize him/her? –Christine Continue reading

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Founding New Religious Institutes: Pope Francis Changes the Law (Episcopal Authority, Part II)

Q: A group of us Catholics in our diocese have a lawfully erected lay institute that’s now almost 15 years old … [and] from the beginning it was our understanding that if it prospers, it might later be formed into a religious institute of some kind, with the bishop’s approval.

Now we have been told by officials in the chancery that we cannot become a religious institute because Pope Francis has changed the law.  We have a new diocesan bishop and he is less enthusiastic about our apostolate than the previous bishop, and he doesn’t even want to meet with us to discuss this….  We aren’t sure what is happening and why.  Can you assist us with any ideas? –Rodolfo Continue reading

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Retranslating the Liturgy: Pope Francis Changes the Law (Episcopal Authority, Part I)

Q: Some ladies at our parish are all aflutter because they read somewhere that the Vatican has changed the rules on translation of liturgical rites into the vernacular.  Specifically, bishops are now permitted to translate the Mass and other rites without the Vatican’s involvement, or so these ladies heard.

I told them that I really doubt the Vatican did that, because it would mean any bishop could change just about any word in the Mass and the rites of the sacraments … [and] that could affect the validity of the sacraments, like you mentioned in “Is My Confession Valid, If the Priest Changes the Words of Absolution?”  It seems to me this would also destroy the Church’s unity if every diocese was doing something different.

These ladies, however, insisted to me that they read about this in two different Catholic publications….  Do you know what they’re talking about?  Did the Vatican just unleash a whirlwind? –Corinne Continue reading

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Can a Catholic Sue the Church in Civil Court?

Q: Does a person have the right, both moral and legal, under canon law, to sue a Church Institution and/or the individuals in authority over the institutions in civil court, whether they be bishops or lay persons?  In particular, I’m thinking about a seminarian who was harassed and pressed to engage in homosexual acts, and reported this to the authorities in the Church, but nothing was done and he was attacked for making the complaints.  Does he have the right under canon law to sue those institutions and the people running them?

Why I ask this, is I am a Catholic and I am a civil lawyer. I have been asked to help in such a case, but I do not want to act against my faith.

My understanding is all people are bound to obey all moral and civil laws, and if not they can face the consequences in civil court for those violations.

Is there a distinction between suing the “Church’ as the Mystical Body of Christ and His Bride, and suing an institution that is part of the Church institution or hierarchy?

One canon lawyer whom I know and who is a priest maintains no person or worldly institution has the right to judge the Church, that right falls to God.  I agree with this statement.  But I see a difference between judging the Church, and suing corrupt institutions…  –Scott Continue reading

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When is it Okay to Go to an SSPX Mass?

Q: My parents (devout Catholics) have been attending an SSPX Mass on Sundays. I have always understood that SSPX churches are not licit options for a Roman Catholic.

I have read your posts, and showed them to my parents, but they have heard it is okay to attend because they are only going for their love of the Latin liturgy.  My parents use as their defense that the SSPX are not sedevacantists, as they pray for the Pope, so how can they not be in full communion….  However my parents have a plethora of Catholic churches at their disposal and even an FSSP parish about the same distance as the SSPX one.

…[T]here is a lot of vague yet conflicting information online about this issue.  If I am misunderstanding and this is a licit option, I will be happy to admit I am wrong.  Any guidance would be appreciated. –Martina Continue reading

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