Archive for the ‘Questions & Answers’ Category

A Letter From St Cyprain…

Posted: September 16, 2014 by CatholicJules in Memory Book, Questions & Answers

From a letter from St Cyprain to Cornelius….

Divine providence has now prepared us. God’s merciful design has warned us that the day of our own struggle, our own contest, is at hand. By that shared love which binds us close together, we are doing all we can to exhort our congregation, to give ourselves unceasingly to fastings, vigils and prayers in common. These are the heavenly weapons which give us the strength to stand firm and endure; they are the spiritual defenses, the God-given armaments that protect us.

Let us then remember one another, united in mind and heart. Let us pray without ceasing, you for us, we for you; by the love we share we shall thus relieve the strain of these great trials.

Can You Answer A Question About Masturbation?

Posted: October 24, 2011 by CatholicJules in Questions & Answers

QUESTION : Before I begin the question, it may be helpful for you to know that I am a young male catholic.

I have been struggling with the issue of masturbation in the past couple of months. I just came into the Catholic Church this Easter Vigil through the RCIA program that my parish began in September. I come from a Presbyterian tradition where masturbation isn’t really an issue (of course if you commit it then you get instant forgiveness through prayer).

After doing some research, I discovered that masturbation has some medicinal benefits. Masturbation strengthens the immune system, reduces the chance of getting prostate cancer, raises self-esteem, and gives your body a work which boosts your cardiovascular system.

Obviously the church teaches that masturbation is a sin, mortal in most cases because of the lust issue.

So I am confused. I have medical science on the one side and the church on the other with opposite opinions on the subject. 

I guess I have several questions. First is, “What is your opinion on masturbation?” Second, “Why is the church so hostile against sex?” Third, “Is there a plan for the Magisterium to review the sex rules anytime soon?”

Thank you for your time.  HWK

ANSWER : 

Hi HWK,

Even if the physical benefits to masturbation were substantial, which I doubt, they would not justify the negative results. Masturbation conflicts with the whole purpose of sexuality. The act of sexual intercourse is the physical expression of the marriage vows made at the altar. It is therefore an expression of Christian love, i.e. concern for the other. It is the most complete way of expressing the total self-donation of one person to another. Total means until death. It can’t be total for a week or a couple years.

With masturbation there is no self-donation to anybody. It consists of taking pleasure for oneself alone. There is no giving at all. We were created for more than that.

Nowhere will you find a higher understanding of sexuality than in the Catholic Church. I suggest that you get a hold of “Good News About Sex and Marriage” by Christopher West.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

I Love Being Catholic!

Posted: August 21, 2011 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections, Questions & Answers

We all should spend sometime today and reflect on our faith.  Why are those of us Catholic, still Catholic?  And perhaps those from other denominations can reflect on why not Catholic?  What is it that is keeping you away from the Catholic faith? 

I absolutely know why I am Catholic and loving every little bit of it because I have the fullness of faith and am in communion with the one triune God!

Today’s Gospel especially shows us who it was that established our Church.

Matthew 16:13-19

So I encourage you sisters and brothers in Christ, to share with all of us why you are Catholic here in the comments section?  Those of you interested to know more about the Catholic faith and are in Singapore can contact me for a sit down and I will share with you all that I know.  For those overseas, a good place to find answers will be at http://www.catholic.com/

God bless you all!

🙂


Question : I have recently had doubts about the Real Presence in the Eucharist. I went to Reconciliation and confessed that to the priest. But the more I thought about it, it was really a question that I couldn’t answer that caused those thoughts to pop into my head. The question was: If consuming Christ’s Body and Blood is not cannabalism, what is it then? Then that leads to me doubting what Christ said and questioning the Real Presence.

Should I receive the Eucharist even though I have these doubts?

Answer : The Eucharist is a miracle. In fact, according to St. Thomas Aquinas, it is His greatest miracle. We eat His body and drink His blood UNDER THE FORM OF BREAD AND WINE. Cannibals eat flesh and blood that has the appearance of flesh and blood.
When cannibals eat the body and blood of another human being, that person’s body becomes a part of the cannibal. But when eat the body and blood of Jesus, we become a part of HIM!

He is God, after all. In the Eucharist, His divine embrace permeates our bodies in a way that far exceeds the surface embrace that we experience with other people. You need to think outside of the human box. We are dealing here with a God that can create from nothing. You accept this, even though you don’t understand it. So with the Eucharist. It’s the same God. But most of all, to appreciate the Eucharist, we must have an appreciation of the Passion. If this reflection on His Passion moves you, then by all means, continue to receive the Eucharist.

Reflection on the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ +

The agony in the garden was really the agony in His mind. He suffered the passion in His mind before He suffered it in His body—to the point of actually affecting the latter by sweating blood. But from then on, it was His bodily suffering that affected His mental suffering.

At the base of all His suffering was the one thing that human beings dread the most: rejection. He was betrayed by Judas, denied by Peter and abandoned by all the rest of His Apostles; those He had hand picked as His closest intimates. He was most rejected by those who put Him to death. They not only wanted Him dead, they wanted Him to suffer. They not only considered Him to be worth nothing, they considered Him to be worth minus nothing! This significance was not lost on Him. He felt fully the rejection as each physical agony reminded Him.

So we thank Him for joining us on our human journey and actually choosing to experience what we fear the most.

We thank Him for enduring the arrest and the cruelty of the guards and the Sanhedrin. We thank Him for enduring the cruelty of Pilate who allowed Him to be executed rather than risk his own political ruin—and for the cruelty of Herod who wanted to be entertained by having Him work a miracle. We thank Him for all the time He spent satisfying their preoccupation with themselves, just delaying His ultimate death. We thank Him for the anxiety of that night in a cell.

The next morning He was brutally scourged with such intensity and violence that He became as an aged man in a matter of minutes. His multiple wounds bloodied His entire body. The loss of so much blood not only severely weakened Him; it also caused a severe, throbbing headache that remained with Him for the duration.

We thank Him for this and for the mockery He received when they put a purple cloth on His shoulders and pushed a crown of thorns down into His head which intensified His headache. They blindfolded Him and slapped Him, insisting that He ‘prophesy’ who had hit Him. They spat on Him and beat Him.

He stood at the praetorium in utter disgrace according to the attitude of the crowd—while in reality, He stood in utter glory: almighty God, being present to every person who has ever suffered rejection, joining them in their moment of pain. It was there that He was sentenced to death by crucifixion. Physically, He was utterly miserable. He revealed to St. Bernard that carrying the cross was His most painful agony. He was so weak, He could hardly walk. Nauseous and thirsty, He found the weight of the cross on His shoulder almost unbearable. It most likely dislocated His shoulder. It is not surprising that He fell down on the stone streets that were filthy with animal dung—with the cross on top of Him. And He got up each time.

It was only with the help of Simon of Cyrene that He made it to the top of Calvary. There they drove the nails into the carpal tunnels of His hands, causing pain throughout His upper body. The nail in His feet registered great pain through all the sensitive nerves there. When the cross was righted, His up-stretched arms squeezed His lungs and He began to pant for lack of oxygen. So He had to push down on His crucified feet to push His body up in order to fill His lungs with air. This took great effort because He was so weak. Yet He managed to maintain such effort for three hours of agony which increased gradually as He became weaker moment by moment. By the end of the third hour, His agony was at its peak

He had come to the point where His lack of strength simply was no match for what is known as Sepsis, where the bloodstream is overwhelmed by bacteria, and in this eternal moment He died, giving us His life. Transcending time, this moment of divine love is present to us in the tabernacles of the world. Thank you, Lord. We adore you O Christ and we praise you. By your holy cross, you have redeemed the world.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

Who Are You?

Posted: June 11, 2011 by CatholicJules in Memory Book, Questions & Answers

When someone asks,”Who are you?” the response of a Christian should first be, “I am a child of God, the Father who created me, the Son who redeemed me, and the Holy Spirit who empowered me, Blessed Mary is our mother as is the Church, the people of God.  The saints are our brothers and sisters.”  Then we add our unique details: “In addition, I am the son/daughter of Anthony and Patricia Tan.  I have a sister and a vast number of uncles, aunts and cousins.”

Rev.Val J.Peter

Only the names have been changed by the blog Author to reflect a local flavour


Question :- Often I see questions on here pertaining to whether someone can attend this wedding or that based on the religion of the bride and groom. Could you give a general list of when you should and should not support a given wedding? This will help me with all future decisions, although like most, I have a hindsight situation of my own.

My best friend growing up was married a few years ago (before I knew my faith as well as I do now). He has always been a Methodist and asked me to be a groomsmen. His wife was a Catholic however. I did not meet her till just before the wedding so I don’t know whether she was practicing or not. He had just told me that she was Catholic but would probably become Methodist after they married. The ceremony was done by a Methodist minister and I don’t believe she had a dispensation but I didn’t ask. Should I have participated in such a wedding? Is this something I need to confess?

Answer : In your own particular situation, we don’t know whether or not the wedding was presumptively valid because we don’t know whether the bride had the dispensations necessary to marry a non-Catholic in a non-Catholic ritual. Even presuming the wedding was presumptively invalid though, the Church does not explicitly forbid Catholics from attending invalid marriages and so Catholics must use their own prudential judgment in discerning attendance on a case-by-case basis. From what you’ve told me, it does not appear to me that you need to confess attending this wedding.

As for general rules:

  • Catholics may attend all presumptively-valid marriages of Catholics, non-Catholics, and non-Christians.
  • For Catholics marrying other Catholics or marrying a non-Catholic Christian or non-Christian, a wedding is presumptively valid if it is done in accordance with Catholic marital law. Catholics marrying non-Catholic Christians or non-Christians need a dispensation from cult to marry the non-Catholic party and a dispensation from form if they are marrying in a non-Catholic ritual.
  • For non-Catholics and non-Christians who are marrying other non-Catholics or non-Christians, a wedding can be considered presumptively valid if there are no known impediments to the marriage. The most common impediments that outsiders are likely to know about would be previous marriage, close blood relationship, or same-sex partners. If none of these impediments are known to exist, a prospective guest may presume that the wedding will be valid.
  • The Church does not explicitly forbid Catholics from attending presumptively-invalid marriages. Catholics must use their own prudential judgment in making the decision, keeping in mind the need to uphold the Catholic understanding of the sanctity of marriage. One rule of thumb that may be helpful in making such decisions might be to ask yourself if you believe the couple is doing the best that they can to act honorably and according to the truth that they have. So, for example, you might decide to attend the presumptively-invalid wedding of a couple who is expecting a child; but decline to attend the presumptively-invalid wedding of a couple who have engaged in adultery and destroyed previous marriages and families.
  • While there may be just reason to attend a particular wedding that will be presumptively-invalid, I cannot recommend participating as a member of the wedding party in such weddings. There is a difference between attending as a non-participating observer and actively involving yourself in the wedding as an honor attendant.
  • If you are not attending the wedding as a matter of principle, then I cannot recommend attending a reception or giving a gift to honor an occasion that you believe in conscience that you cannot celebrate. I do recommend though writing the couple a letter in which you express your love and that you will pray for them. (If prudence suggests it, it is fine to withhold from them what you will be praying to God that they obtain, such as the grace of repentance and conversion.)
  • In the case of same-sex partners, the Church has spoken so strongly against “same-sex marriage” that I cannot recommend attending or celebrating “same-sex weddings” under any circumstances.
Catholic Answers Apologist

Extracted From Blessed Pope John Paul II Encyclical Ecclesia De Eucharistia

49. With this heightened sense of mystery, we understand how the faith of the Church in the mystery of the Eucharist has found historical expression not only in the demand for an interior disposition of devotion, but also in outward forms meant to evoke and emphasize the grandeur of the event being celebrated. This led progressively to the development of a particular form of regulating the Eucharistic liturgy, with due respect for the various legitimately constituted ecclesial traditions. On this foundation a rich artistic heritage also developed. Architecture, sculpture, painting and music, moved by the Christian mystery, have found in the Eucharist, both directly and indirectly, a source of great inspiration.

Such was the case, for example, with architecture, which witnessed the transition, once the historical situation made it possible, from the first places of Eucharistic celebration in the domus or “homes” of Christian families to the solemn basilicas of the early centuries, to the imposing cathedrals of the Middle Ages, and to the churches, large and small, which gradually sprang up throughout the lands touched by Christianity. The designs of altars and tabernacles within Church interiors were often not simply motivated by artistic inspiration but also by a clear understanding of the mystery. The same could be said for sacred music, if we but think of the inspired Gregorian melodies and the many, often great, composers who sought to do justice to the liturgical texts of the Mass. Similarly, can we overlook the enormous quantity of artistic production, ranging from fine craftsmanship to authentic works of art, in the area of Church furnishings and vestments used for the celebration of the Eucharist?

It can be said that the Eucharist, while shaping the Church and her spirituality, has also powerfully affected “culture”, and the arts in particular.

___________________

Acts 2:46

46 Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts,