Year of Youth 2018

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Beauty and ugly

in topic "Other"
A Xt3 Member asked at 12:58pm on May 28th 2018
Why God made some people very beautiful and some very ugly?This is very unfair,the beautiful ones are way more favorized,earn more money,more succesfull careers,and the most important they have the chance to be loved by the one they love,they can pick as much partners as they wish while if you are ugly you are discriminated,some don't even give you a chance before getting to know you and being ugly make impossible to find a partner,to be loved by the one you love,that is just impossible if you are ugly.Beauty doesn't come from inside,it can be a bonus but no one will want to be your partner if you are ugly even if you are "beautiful inside" no one looks at that when it comes up to choosing a partner.If you are beautiful your life is awesome,if you are ugly your life sucks,you will be probably alone forever or with someone you don't like because you can't choose and go for the one you like,you have to accept anything because there probably wont be a second chance.I don't see the point living as an ugly,is no point,no pleasure in life,life is horrible.

Beauty is not in the eye of beholder,only in cases like (for instance)1 guy looks 8 and the other 9 and the first one got blue eyes and the girl like more boys with blue eyes so she will go for him.but in case you look 4 as grade or 2 then there is no hope.

Some say God doesn't make ugly people,is the society which categorize people as beautiful and ugly ,but we are born with this attraction to the beautiful people,even baby have a bigger attraction to the beautiful than to the ugly ones,it is scientific proven that we are born with this and even in the bible are humans described by their physical appereance like Saul,David,Sarah,Rachel,Tamar...

They say God don't judge us on our physical appereance,ok right but in this life looks are everything,if you are ugly life is so bad,doomed do be alone,never have a family,life can't be compared to the ones that look good,their life is way better and happier.

Why is this unfairness allowed?Why can't we all be equal?There is no point in life being ugly,no way to build a family with the one you love,no way to be happy.Why I should live a life I do not enjoy?The beautiful ones can live a beautiful life here and in the other one aswell(if they do the right things...) while some of the ugly ones will have bad lives here and in the other one too and some will go to heaven if they can accept this unfairness and a so cruel life.

Thank you!

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Hi Zer0 Zero! There's no easy answer to all your questions, I'm afraid. One of my best friends was Eddie McCaffrey, born in Liverpool, England, then moved to Dublin, Ireland, where I lived for a lot of my life and where I met him. From seven years old, Eddie suffered from muscular dystrophy, and I got to know him when he was about 22. When he was in his late teens, feeing he had no future, he wouldn't let his mother take him to church anymore.

During a trip to Rome, because he was in a wheelchair, he and his mother Margaret were placed around the altar in St Peters, and after speaking to all the pilgrims there, Blessed Pope Paul VI spoke in English to Eddie, and urged him to be patient and keep joy in his heart. These words, personally said just to Eddie, left him and speechless, he never thought he'd get a 'private audience' with the Pope.

Eddie learned how to see Jesus suffering and forsaken on the Cross in all his own inabilities and frustrations. He could even write to Chiara Lubich, who'd founded the Work of Mary or Focolare Movement: 'Now I see my disability as a Gift from God!' Unable to attend meetings of the young people who shared their lives with him and each other, he said: 'Some of us have to be roots, and some of us have to be branches with a visible and active part. I have to be more "underground."' Quoting St Paul he said: 'God has chosen what is foolish in the world to shame the wise and has chosen what is weak in the world to shame the strong.'

In my work at university in Dublin, I had a student who was severely depressed, and introduced him to Eddie, who really helped him. Once Eddie said of him, 'it's a pity he doesn't realize that you don't solve problems, you love them.' Eddie knew his own handicap couldn't be 'solved' - but by loving or accepting it from God, he'd actually left his handicap behind. That love meant the art of focusing on other people's problems so as to forget his own. On the same street as him lived a boy with a serious hump on his back that made it difficult for him to do things. Only after Eddie had died did we find a poem he'd written for that boy (and probably given him without anyone knowing), which he called: 'Courage on a bicycle.' He focused on others rather than on himself.

The real problem, that Eddie had more or less resolved, is to try to learn to see things the way Jesus does. That means I've got to really get to know him - through prayer, through the sacraments of confession and especially the Eucharist, and to find him in every neighbour I meet. By trying to love others, the more lovable I become, and the more lovable I become, the more likely it is that others will love me too. In the end, if people only love others on the basis of appearance rather than who they really are - and of course most of us find it hard to get beyond that level(!) - they aren't mature enough for a really deep relationship. So my prayer is that sooner or later you find someone who can go way beyond outer appearances to the eternal beauty of your inner self, where God, Infinite Love also dwells. Very best, Fr Brendan
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in topic "Other"
A Xt3 Member asked at 3:38am on May 28th 2018
The rules for priest saying daily mass. Our priest is isolating the parish centre from the people and saying daily mass will not be said in the chapel. He said one reason is that when the other priest is saying daily mass he can be in the chapel saying mass on his own. I thought that a priest can't say mass by himself. Is this true or am I barking up the wrong tree.

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Hi Peter, not only can a priest say Mass by himself, but if he doesn't have a public Mass he's always recommended to say Mass on his own. This because every Mass is a renewal of Christ's sacrifice on Calvary and his Resurrection, and of course the Eucharist is Jesus' actual gift of himself to us at each Mass. Only once a fortnight do I say Mass on my own, and while I always prefer to say Mass with a congregation, who help me to pray, saying Mass on my own now and then helps me to pray the prayers with more attention. Very best, Fr Brendan
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Is Grinding a sin?

A Xt3 Member asked at 10:07pm on May 23rd 2018
There’s going to be a school dance soon and I know there’s gonna be a lot of grinding/twerking. I feel like it’s assimilated into our society now, it’s such a common thing. More directly related to my question is, is grinding a sin if you want to see if you and a girl have a connection, or is it a sin at all? Thank you and have a good day!

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Hi Ryan, whenever I'm asked is this or that a sin, I don't want to answer the question put in that way since it doesn't seem to be much use in training our consciences, where what's a 'sin' can come across as something imposed from outside like a police regulation on underage drinking!

Isn't it better to remember the only time Jesus referred to sexual immorality, when he said that 'every one who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart' (Mt 5:28). As St John Paul II explains, 'heart' means the full depth of the person as loved by God. Now God loves each one of us for our own sake, not at all for what he gets out of us (speaking for myself, I've been a dead loss, if I weigh my sins against any good I may have done, so I'm badly in need of God's mercy!).

The activities you mention seem more in the direction of mutual masturbation than expressions of the kind of self-sacrificing love for the other that Jesus is asking from us when he asks us to 'love one another as I have loved you' (Jn 13:34). That's the only genuine and Christian 'connection' we can have with anyone, and I'd say that we'd be only fooling ourselves if we thought that through the activities you mention we're actually connecting with another person at all. Rather, we're primarily aimed at 'connecting' with our own pleasure - which is certainly what we could call sinful. So why don't you be sure that whoever you dance with shares the vision of life Jesus has given us, because that way you're finding someone you could one day discover could be your partner in a lifelong marriage. Very best, Fr Brendan
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Cussing v. Cursing

in topic "Theology"
A Xt3 Member asked at 1:29pm on May 22nd 2018
Is cussing a sin and is it different from cursing?

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These are just different ways of saying the same thing, I think.

I used to swear a lot when I was younger, until I realized that swearing was a bit like the way a peacock spreads his huge multicoloured feathers to make a big impression. I came to see that my using strong language was a kind of verbal violence, and that even the people I thought might be impressed by me in fact - even if they didn't say it at the time - ended up with a lower impression.

And I used to think that I couldn't help swearing, until I thought back and saw that not once did I ever let fly a bad word when my parents were around. In other words, I wasn't that out of control that I couldn't stop using bad language when I was afraid of what my folks would say to me if they heard me. Very best, Fr Brendan
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Types & Order of Mass

in topic "Other"
A Xt3 Member asked at 6:24pm on May 17th 2018
I was searching for a church to attend on a weekend away that I am planning and ofcourse did not want to miss out on Mass. I stumbled accross a church that had next to one of the Mass times "Ordinariate". Can you please explain what this is.

Also I would like to know why and how different Catholic churches will have different ways of celebrating Mass and what was the reason behind changing the Order of Mass.

God Bless! :)

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Hi Ann, the 'Ordinariate' is the name given by Pope Benedict XVI in 2009 to those Anglicans who wished to join the Catholic Church while remaining in their former Anglican parishes or communities. He was answering a request by Anglicans deeply upset by their own Church's allowing women priests as well as with its other liberalizing tendencies. Just as a bishop can be responsible for the military of a countrym wherever they're stationed, which is called a military ordinariate, so an Ordinariate of former Anglicans can cover a whole country, or as in North America, two countries, with a Bishop appointed by the Pope, responsible for all those in his area.

Benedict's response was Anglicanorum Coetibus (available on the net) which generously went further than anyone expected. Former Anglican priests and bishops who wish to serve in the Ordinariate are ordained as priests in the Catholic Church (since Anglican orders are not regarded as valid by the Catholic Church), and can then continue ministering as priests in the Ordinariate, including those already married, as many of those Anglican clergy joining the Ordinariate are. However, if former Anglican bishops have been married, after priestly ordination they cannot be accepted as bishops in the Ordinariate, since the longstanding tradition, not only in the Catholic Church but also in all the Orthodox Churches which have married clergy, is that bishops must be celibate. In England, the Ordinariate has Our Lady of Walsingham and Blessed John Henry Newman as patrons, in Australia, the Ordinariate is dedicated to Our Ladyof the Southern Cross and St Augustine of Canterbury, and in the United States and Canada it's known as the Ordinariate of the Chair of St Peter, with some 44 parishes.

When they don't have their own churches, they're allowed to share existing Catholic churches, and non-Ordinariate Catholics are always allowed to attend their Eucharistic liturgies and receive the Eucharist there. They celebrate the Eucharist and the other sacraments, according to the liturgical rites proper to the Anglican tradition and approved by the Holy See. This is 'to maintain the liturgical, spiritual and pastoral traditions of the Anglican Communion within the Catholic Church, as a precious gift nourishing the faith of the members of the Ordinariate and as a treasure to be shared.' Personally, I've always loved the Anglican tradition of psalm-singing with the Myles Coverdale translation into chunky old style English and music that beautifully suits the language. I've no doubt they're a wonderful enrichment to the Catholic Church.

Your other question about the different ways Mass is celebrated in the Catholic Church may refer to the fact that the rite normally used was introduced with the liturgical reforms of the Second Vatican Council, and it'd be a good idea to read the Council's Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy (again, it's on the net) for the background to that renewal. Most people agree that not all the reforms after the Council were good ones, and those who strongly objected asked to be allowed to use the Latin Mass as laid down in the Missal of 1962. Pope Benedict XVI made it much easier for those wishing to celebrate the Latin Mass, and many churches, as does the church I'm attached to at St Mary's Cathedral Sydney, have a Latin Mass every Sunday for those who want it. Very best, Fr Brendan
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in topic "Other"
A Xt3 Member asked at 3:26pm on May 15th 2018
I asked a similar question before about this and you said it was alright to watch pirated material if there was no legal way to buy it/view it. I was wondering what is someone was seeling a disk on amazon? It isn't the company selling the disk but someone who owns it. Should I buy it from them? I don't know if they have a legal cd or not I just found it on amazon. Or should I watch it on the pirated webstie?

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Hi Destiny, I've no idea how or whether Amazon checks whether a disk on sale on their website is stolen or not. Now and then I've ordered books from small bookshops via Amazon and have never worried whether or not the bookshop or seller had their wares honestly or not. I'd take it for granted that a CD on sale via Amazon was honestly owned by the seller. Basically life's too short to be worried about checking all these details, unless you had clear information that this or that seller was a crook. Very best, Fr Brendan
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in topic "Other"
A Xt3 Member asked at 7:58pm on May 12th 2018
There was a woman at Mass on Saturday who appeared to be some kind of nun,although she looked more eastern orthodox to me. Any way, she saw my jacket and told me that Adidas(name on jacket) was a pagan god and that I should know. Is any action needed?

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Hi Joseph, several internet sites give more or less this information: 'Adi Dassler established his first sports company in 1924 in Bavaria, Germany. Twenty-five years later, he registered Adi Dassler adidas Sportschuhfabrik (=sport shoe factory).' The 'Adi' in the company logo comes from his first name, and the 'das' from his family name. Maybe you should have asked her if she was a genuine nun or just dressed up to look like one, or possibly she was a sales rep for a rival company! Very best, Fr Brendan
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in topic "Theology"
A Xt3 Member asked at 11:25am on May 10th 2018
Can angels, specifically archangels, be incarnated as humans?

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Hi Anthony, since angels are pure spirits, and therefore invisible, they're often mentioned in the Bible as appearing in human form - for example the three 'men' who appeared to Abraham in Genesis 18:2 then show up as two angels who appear to Lot in Sodom (Genesis 19:1). Then there are the various appearances of angels in the Gospels, at with Gabriel appearing to Mary at the Annunciation. At the Resurrection, an angel moves away the stone at the entrance to the tomb and sat on it, terrifying the soldiers, with an appearance 'like lightning' and clothing 'white as snow' (Mt 28:2). Luke 24:4 tells how Peter and John see in the grave 'two dazzling apparel.'

But there are no accounts of angels doing what the Risen Jesus does, being embraced, eating fish, allowing Thomas to put his hands in his wounds, and so on. So that even in his risen body, Jesus is still incarnate, while there's no attempt to depict these angels as other than appearing in human form. Since God is all powerful, I don't think we could exclude the possibility that angels could be incarnated as humans. But it seems clear from these and other accounts that their God-given power is limited to appearing in our space-time world, without ever becoming embodied in human flesh. Very best, Fr Brendan
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Shorinji Kempo

in topic "Theology"
A Xt3 Member asked at 2:15pm on May 9th 2018
I have recently taken up a martial art called Shorinji Kempo in order to keep fit. It seems to be a good class and I've enjoyed it thus far.

Last week they gave me a piece of paper that contains their philosophy called "The Dokun". This gets repeated at most training sessions and before all grading, to move up the belts.

The points on it are all generally good, however in one point it says: "we are grateful that we are endowed with our souls from Dharma and our bodies form our parents".

I just wondered how problematic this would be for a Catholic to be saying.

Many thanks

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Hi Stuart, from what I could find out, Dōshin Sō, the founder of Shorinji Kempo, came from a Buddhist (and later Taoist) background, and Dharma is the Sanskrit word meaning more or less the overall order of everything in the world. So you're quite right in thinking that statement wouldn't be acceptable to a Catholic, since it almost certainly implies a kind of cosmic divinity rather than the Jewish and Christian understanding of a personal God, and the Christian understanding of God as Three Persons in One. But from what you say, the martial art in itself seems to be good exercise and you're not doing it in search of some kind of spiritual enlightenment. I'd say as long as you refrain from statements like the one you mention, I can't see any harm in it. Very best, Fr Brendan
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Unforgiveable Sin

in topic "Theology"
A Xt3 Member asked at 12:20pm on May 8th 2018
Hi Father Brendan.

My question is about the "unforgivable" or "eternal sin" of blasphemy against the holy spirit.

I've come into my faith in a very healthy, strong and loving way over the past decade. This week I started saying the rosary daily. I attend Adoration when I can. I feel extremely close to Christ, St. Jude Thaddeus, Archangel Michael, and The Blessed Mother.

My journey to my faith has been pretty diverse.

I recently gave up a strong desire to Direct and Produce Horror Films. It wasn't feeling appropriate anymore as there is less and less "horror" in my life - as I become closer to God.

I am also a Psychotherapist who has dedicated his life to helping others overcome mental illness and struggle.

However, I did direct an independent film at one point which focused on possession, etc .. I luckily scrapped that film and it never was publicly seen - as it didn't even feel right to me after I made it. This was in 2007, in my early twenties. Thereafter, I came wholeheartedly to God - more or less .. traveling that path brought me into God's hands.

I am also Gay .. I don't believe I am an abomination to God, in any way. I feel I was undoubtedly born this way - and have love in my heart to give to a spouse.

But at that time in my life ..

I felt very rejected and disconnected from God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit - as a result of my feelings about the church. I also dabbled in the New Age Movement for a period, although always sort of directing those actvities in the direction of God and Angels (Doreen Virtue, Angel Mediumship, Astrology, Etc ..)

I am much healither now than ever before, being exclusively in a spiritual relationship with my roman catholic spirituality.

But is directing a blasphemous film in the past, which went against all things I now value, including the holy spirit .. considered to be "unforigvable"?

I've read extensively that the unforgivable sin is "continuing to reject the holy spirit. having a hardening of the heart. and not accepting the holy spirit into your life".

I just want to ensure that .. wanting to be forgiven for my past .. and the desire to please God .. IS forigveness for something described as "unforgivable".

Or is it .. you act blasphemous toward the holy spirit once .. and you're more or less "done for".

You've helped me so much via reading other people's post. This is my first one.

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Hi Anthony, allow me to recycle an answer I gave a few years ago re the sin against the Holy Spirit:

The Gospels mention this sin, for example Mark 3, 28-30: 'whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven, but is guilty of an eternal sin. He said this because they [the Scribes] were saying, 'He has an evil spirit...'" God can only forgive a sin when the sinner repents - our cooperation is essential. The sin that can't be forgiven can only be because the sinner persists in refusing God's grace, as some of the Scribes were doing by saying Jesus was healing with the power of the devil.

So the only sinner whose sin can't be forgiven is the one who doesn't want to be forgiven. It's not clear to me that making a horror film, including one about possession, would have been in itself sinful, but even if it was blasphemous (where you would have had to intend that blasphemy with full knowledge and consent to it as blasphemy), it's clear from what you write that you've fully repented of it. All that would remain to be done, if you haven't already done this, would be to mention it in Confession so you could receive sacramental absolution for it.

Being gay certainly doesn't make you an abomination to God! God loves each human being immensely, no matter who they are, no matter what they do. What the Church has always asked is that those strongly inclined to same-sex attraction live chastely just as men and women who are not gay and not married, including those who are engaged to get married, are also asked to live chastely. And of course all those who have consecrated their lives to God in priesthood or religious life are bound to live chastely too. So quite a lot of your fellow human beings have to struggle and embrace the cross to conquer their own freedom in this area, and to repent of and confess any falls they've had, always receiving in the sacrament of reconciliation the grace from God to start again.

I'd strongly suggest reading the various books by Fr John Harvey, like The Homosexual Person, Homosexuality and the Catholic Church: Clear Answers to Difficult Questions, and The Truth about Homosexuality: The Cry of the Faithful. Keeping you and your work very much in my prayers, Fr Brendan
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