Friday, April 20, 2007

Inactive priests, psychics, etc.

1) Adoration tonight, 7-8 pm, SAA Church. All are invited!!

2) Our theme for Youth Group this Sunday night will be, “Virginia Tech: We Remember”. Around 7:30, we will go over to Church for a Prayer Service. All are invited.
Anon commented, “I was surfing the net when I came across the website about married priests. These are priests that left the priesthood after Vatican 2 to get married. They believe that since they were ordained they will always be priests regardless if they are married or not. Once a priest always a priest. They perform baptisms, marriages etc. Are these marriages and baptisms valid?” You are correct that once a man is ordained a priest, it is forever. So, the priests to whom you refer still have the power to consecrate, forgive sins, etc., but it is highly illicit (against Church law) to do so. They are most likely doing this on their own, and not in a parish church or with the Church’s approval.

Normally, people ask if they can still consecrate the Eucharist which they can. With regard to Baptism, anyone can baptize (in case of emergency). But, these priests are no longer ordinary ministers of the Rite of Baptism, so any baptisms they perform would not be in a parish church or with the blessing of a bishop. Regarding marriages, I quoted from Canon Law # 1108 the other day about who can witness a valid marriage: “Only those marriages are valid which are contracted before the local ordinary, pastor, or a priest or deacon delegated by either of them…” A priest who has left the active ministry is no longer delegated by the local bishop or pastor, so any marriage that he witnesses is invalid.

Another Anon wrote, “Since school was out yesterday I watched the Oprah Winfrey show. She had John Edwards the psychic on her program. He was doing readings for people who wanted to get in contact with their dead loved ones. Although the show itself was fascinating I was wondering this whole act of talking to the dead must be dangerous as a malevolent spirit could come through and do some real damage. She also had Alison Dubois on her program who is both a medium and a psychic. Alison works for the police department finding missing people. Apparently she is very good at her work and has helped out the police department a great deal. There is also a tv show about her called "The Medium" Could someone comment on the church's position on all this. Thanks”.

A priest said to me once about such psychics that for every case in which they are right in their “premonitions”, they are wrong a hundred times. I don’t pay a lot of attention to psychics, and I would strongly warn against fraudulence. The Church’s position can be found in the Catechism (#2115 – 2117):

God can reveal the future to his prophets or to other saints. Still, a sound Christian attitude consists in putting oneself confidently into the hands of Providence for whatever concerns the future, and giving up all unhealthy curiosity about it. Improvidence, however, can constitute a lack of responsibility.

All forms of divination are to be rejected: recourse to Satan or demons, conjuring up the dead or other practices falsely supposed to "unveil" the future. Consulting horoscopes, astrology, palm reading, interpretation of omens and lots, the phenomena of clairvoyance, and recourse to mediums all conceal a desire for power over time, history, and, in the last analysis, other human beings, as well as a wish to conciliate hidden powers. They contradict the honor, respect, and loving fear that we owe to God alone.

All practices of magic or sorcery, by which one attempts to tame occult powers, so as to place them at one's service and have a supernatural power over others—even if this were for the sake of restoring their health—are gravely contrary to the virtue of religion. These practices are even more to be condemned when accompanied by the intention of harming someone, or when they have recourse to the intervention of demons. Wearing charms is also reprehensible. Spiritism often implies divination or magical practices; the Church for her part warns the faithful against it. Recourse to so-called traditional cures does not justify either the invocation of evil powers or the exploitation of another's credulity.


At 10:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

At the same time, for every prayer that is answered, there are thousands that are not.

At 11:22 AM, Blogger fran said...

Our prayers are not answered as we wish them to be, rather they are answered as God desires them to be.
"....Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven....."

At 11:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wrote the above because over the years several people (practicing Catholics and otherwise) have said to me that some of what Catholics claim seems akin to magic. They did not say this in an attacking or confrontational way. They were genuine observations that puzzled them. Examples given were: the power of a priest to absolve sin, the power of baptism to instill the Holy Spirit, and, probably most of all, the power of the priest to effect transsubstantiation. I know it all comes down to faith, but I have moments when I feel devoid of faith and entertain the same thoughts. It calls everything into question. Anyone else?

At 12:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think much comes with desire. I think people who really want to believe are given what they need to believe. I know for me, I thought I really wanted to believe, but when I got honest with myself, I realized that I really wanted to be right- I don't really need to go to Mass (praying at home's enough), I don't need to go to confession (God hears me when I talk to Him directly), etc. I realized there is much I don't know and may never completely understand, and I made it okay to just not "get it" but stay open to whatever.... I do believe I learn best by actually doing, so I started going to things like daily Mass and Adoration. It required quite some effort at first, but I started to listen to the words rather than debate them. I started hearing "promises" rather than perceiving "threats". Eventually, the things you referenced also began to make sense. God reveals Himself to us in many ways- God gave us His son, and the Eucharist is a way he continues to give Himself to us. If one can believe in Christ, transubstantiation isn't such a hard concept. For most, faith is a journey. Some, like me, may have a longer one, but if we follow what our faith dictates, we all get to the same place.

At 1:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Th topic of married priests came up at Fr. Mike's class. My thing about married priests is who would a married priest be first- priest, husband, daddy? I don't know a great deal about the vows one takes when they are ordained, but I would imagine placing the church (and its people) first would be key. Doesn't marriage ask the same in that union- placing that committment to each other first? And then, add the potential for kids- when/how would they come first? I'm sure there are married priests who have figured out how to make it work, but I think I'd have a hard time talking about certain things with someone who might not be my Father first.

At 4:15 PM, Blogger Kiwi Nomad 2006 said...

Many years ago, I was boarding at a high school. A group of girls were getting up and night to have some seances, and one night something very scary happened during one. The nuns then found out what had been going on. In this instance it was all handled very well. The nuns got one of the priests to come over and talk to everyone. He did not rant and rave. He merely said that seances were dangerous because you did not know the powers that you were dealing with. There were no more seances.

At 4:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Catholic Church buries limbo after centuries
New document calls teaching an ‘unduly restrictive view of salvation’

VATICAN CITY - The Roman Catholic Church has effectively buried the concept of limbo, the place where centuries of tradition and teaching held that babies who die without baptism went.

In a long-awaited document, the Church’s International Theological Commission said limbo reflected an “unduly restrictive view of salvation.”

The 41-page document was published on Friday by Origins, the documentary service of the U.S.-based Catholic News Service, which is part of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Story continues below ↓advertisement

Pope Benedict XVI, himself a top theologian who before his election in 2005 expressed doubts about limbo, authorized the publication of the document, called “The Hope of Salvation for Infants Who Die Without Being Baptized.”

The verdict that limbo could now rest in peace had been expected for years. The document was seen as most likely the final word since limbo was never part of Church doctrine, even though it was taught to Catholics well into the 20th century.

“The conclusion of this study is that there are theological and liturgical reasons to hope that infants who die without baptism may be saved and brought into eternal happiness even if there is not an explicit teaching on this question found in revelation,” it said.

“There are reasons to hope that God will save these infants precisely because it was not possible (to baptize them).”

The Church teaches that baptism removes original sin which stains all souls since the fall from grace in the Garden of Eden.

‘No negation of baptism’
The document stressed that its conclusions should not be interpreted as questioning original sin or “used to negate the necessity of baptism or delay the conferral of the sacrament.”

Limbo, which comes from the Latin word meaning “border” or “edge,” was considered by medieval theologians to be a state or place reserved for the unbaptized dead, including good people who lived before the coming of Christ.

“People find it increasingly difficult to accept that God is just and merciful if he excludes infants, who have no personal sins, from eternal happiness, whether they are Christian or non-Christian,” the document said.

It said the study was made all the more pressing because “the number of nonbaptized infants has grown considerably, and therefore the reflection on the possibility of salvation for these infants has become urgent.”

The commission’s conclusions had been widely expected.

In writings before his election as pope in 2005, then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger made it clear he believed the concept of limbo should be abandoned because it was “only a theological hypothesis” and “never a defined truth of faith.”

In the “Divine Comedy,” Dante placed virtuous pagans and great classical philosophers, including Plato and Socrates, in limbo. The Catholic Church’s official catechism, issued in 1992 after decades of work, dropped the mention of limbo.

At 7:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Question for you (or anyone else who has an answer)-

I went to dinner with a group of ladies and the topic of having babies came up. Several shared that they were done having babies b/c either they or their husbands had permanently remedied the possibility of reproduction. Realizing that she was speaking w/SAA moms, one of the moms said she knew the church considers it a sin, and she should probably go to confession.....

My question is this- if contraception is permanent , (vasectomy or tubes tied) what is the church's point on the couple being intimate? Does one confession of the procedure they have undergone allow them, in the church's eyes, continue to have an intimate physical relationship? If there is not the possibility for any future conception as a result of medical intervention, is the couple expected to refrain from sexual relations?

At 7:28 PM, Anonymous Marion (Mael Muire) said...

Dear Anonymous inquirer about Catholics who have undergone vasectomy or tubal ligation:

Fr. G. will have a much better answer, I'm sure, but here is my go at it:

This is a very serious matter. For the Catholic who has this kind of history, to be informed without qualification, "The Church says you must now forego intimate relations" could be a devastating thing to hear, and what's more, that information could be quite untrue in that person's case.

Perhaps it would be better to encourage such a person to confide in his or her pastor, who is knowledgable and experienced in ministering to Catholics who have been so unfortunate as to mutilate themselves in this way, and to promise your prayers on their behalf.

At 11:55 AM, Anonymous Tom said...

At the same time, for every prayer that is answered, there are thousands that are not.

Coincidentally, I got a book this past week called Ten Prayers God Always Says Yes To, by Anthony DeStefano.

All I've read so far is the introduction, which looks at the uneven results of praying to God for things. The author writes, "God does say no to us an awful lot" -- I prefer to say that He doesn't say, "No," He says, "Let Me give you something even better!" -- but goes on to claim that some prayers are always granted.

The ten he discusses are "God, show me that You exist," "God, make me an instrument," "God, outdo me in generosity," "God, get me through this suffering," "God, forgive me," "God, give me peace," "God, give me courage," "God, give me wisdom," "God, bring good out of this bad situation," and, "God, lead me to my destiny."

As I say, I haven't read the book yet, so I don't know how the author would answer people who say, "But I have made that prayer, and God hasn't said yes." But once I've read it, I'd be happy to give it to whoever would like it.


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