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in topic "Theology"
A Xt3 Member asked at 9:37pm on March 26th 2018
Should I fear the Lord. On first sight that seems
Very different from loving the Lord. Can you please explain why fearing the Lord is actually a good thing.??

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Hi Peter, the 'fear of the Lord' we read about in the Bible isn't fear in the sense of being scared - the word 'reverence' better conveys what's meant. The Jewish philosopher Martin Buber wrote an essay called 'Distance and Relation,' which I think is a help here. He points out that before we can properly enter into relation with any other person, any 'Thou,' we must first of all 'set them at a distance,' that is to say, respect them fully for who they are. It's only on the basis of this deep respect for each one's uniqueness that I can, as an 'I' relate to them as a 'Thou.'

Here are just a few of the many references in the New Testament to fear of the Lord: 'Honour all men; love the brotherhood, fear God, honour the king' (1Pt 2:17). 'And do not fear those who kill the body, but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell' (Mt 10:28). 'Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God' (2 Cor 7:1).

St John writes in his First Letter, '...perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and he who fears is not perfected in love' (1 Jn 4:18). The fear he's referring to here is what we normally mean by fear, in the sense of fear of punishment. There's surely nothing wrong with that fear of God, much as a child can have fear of being punished if it's done something wrong. I think what St John is saying in his Letter is that the greater our awareness and appreciation of God's love and mercy for us, the less our 'fear' will be fear of punishment and rather become the deepest reverence for the One who told Mary Magdalene that he is ascending 'to my Father and your Father' (Jn 20:17). Very best, Fr Brendan
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in topic "Sacraments"
A Xt3 Member asked at 5:14am on March 31st 2018

I hope you can answer my following questions. I have been reading the bible lately, because my faith is getting shaky. I am Italian (born in Italy) so I have been catholic all my life.

The two questions I have are the following.

Why do we take communion whenever we feel like we are in the grace of God?

Reading the bible I see that Jesus instituted the communion replacing passover, which happens only once a year. And the early Christians, the ones who probably knew better than us, did also, as statetd in Matthew 26:1-2, 1Corinthians 5: 7-8, the Schaff-Herzog Volume IV pages 43-44, McClintock &Strong Volume VIII page 836.

Second question. Stil reading the bible, it looks like only the 144,000 can actually eat Jesus body and drink his blood, because the new covenant is just between him and them. Luke 22 verse 22 and 28-30. Looks like we cannot all be judges, so just the 144,000 can have commuion. Revelation 5:9-10, 14:1-3 and Luke 12:32, John 10: 16

It also look like that there 144,000 are the only ones who actually will go up in Heaven, the rest of the flock (the saved people, will live on this hearth, which will be like Eden used to be.

Please tell me, as catholic, why I misunderstood the bible, if I did. It is very important to me. I hope you are willing to help me and show me us catholics are right.

Best regards.

Patrizia Sammartino

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Hi Patrizia, I'm not a scripture scholar, but will do my best with your questions in the order you ask them. But firstly, we should not receive the Eucharist 'whenever we feel like we are in the grace of God.' The Council of Trent taught that we can never be sure that we're in the grace of God. For that assurance, we need to be in full communion with the Church, which means that we've received the sacrament of reconciliation, where any mortal sins we may have committed have been forgiven. It's also Church teaching that such a serious sin can be forgiven through an act of perfect contrition, but that in itself wouldn't be sufficient for the reception of Holy Communion - we must first confess that repented sin and receive sacramental absolution before we approach the Eucharist.

Secondly, Schaff-Herzog's enyclopedia (based on the 19th century Realencyklopadie fur protestantische Theologie und Kirche), not surprisingly expresses a profoundly Protestant understanding of Christianity. The same goes for Methodist ministers McLintock & Strong's Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature, also prepared in the 19th century. And while both may be valuable resources, they're hardly likely to be in tune with the Catholic Eucharistic tradition. You can find the best recent statement of Catholic Church teaching on the Eucharist in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraphs 1322-1405, or in St John Paul II's two great writings on the Blessed Eucharist, his 2003 The Church of the Eucharist (Ecclesia de Eucharistia) and probably his last ever document, his 2004 Stay With Us, Lord (Mane Nobiscum Domine) - all these are on the net.

And of course, scripture scholarship has a deeper understanding now of the Jewish context for the celebration of the Eucharist than was available in the 19th century - you'll find an excellent treatment of this for example in Brant Pitre's Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist: Unlocking the Secrets of the Last Supper (2011).

The excellent Catholic Straight Answers website I think gives a good reflection on your question about the Passover and its relation to the Mass:

'Not that [Christ] might offer Himself there again and again, as the high priest enters year after year into the sanctuary with blood that is not his own; if that were so He would have had to suffer death over and over from the creation of the world. But now He has appeared at the end of the ages to take away sins once for all by His sacrifice...' (Heb 9: 25 - 28)... With this in mind, we also remember that our Lord commanded, as recorded in the Gospel of St. Luke (22:14ff) and St. Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians (11:23ff), 'Do this in remembrance of me.' Clearly, our Lord wanted the faithful to repeat, to participate in, and to share in this sacramental mystery. The Last Supper event which is inseparably linked to Good Friday (and the resurrection) is perpetuated in the Holy Mass for time eternal.

The sacrifice which Christ offered for our salvation remains an everpresent reality: 'As often as the sacrifice of the cross by which 'Christ our Pasch is sacrificed' is celebrated on the altar, the work of our redemption is carried out" (Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, #3). Therefore, the Catechism asserts, 'The Eucharist is thus a sacrifice because it re-presents (makes present) the sacrifice of the cross, because it is its memorial and because it applies its fruit' (#1366)...

Therefore, the actual sacrifice of Christ on the cross and the sacrifice of the Mass are inseparably united as one single sacrifice: The Council of Trent in response to Protestant objections decreed in its Doctrine on the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass: 'The victim is one and the same: the same now offers through the ministry of priests, who then offered Himself on the cross; only the manner of offering is different,' and 'In this divine sacrifice which is celebrated in the Mass, the same Christ who offered Himself once in a bloody manner on the altar of the cross is contained and is offered in an unbloody manner.' For this reason, just as Christ washed away our sins with His blood on the altar of the cross, the sacrifice of the Mass is also truly propitiatory. The Lord grants grace and the gift of repentance, He pardons wrongdoings and sins.

Thirdly, the first thing to keep in mind when reading St John's Revelation/Apocalypse is that it belongs to a kind of literature flourishing from two centuries before Christ (like the Book of Daniel, considered to date from around 165bc), to the second century after Christ. What makes St John's Revelation different from other apocalyptic writings is that Daniel prophesied how the central meaning of history was to be fulfilled in the Son of Man who came on earth some 150 years later. For St John, that meaning of history has been achieved in the death and resurrection of Jesus, whose witness John is.

Within that apocalyptic context, the number 144 is simply 12 times 12, where the old meaning of 12 as referring to the 12 tribes of Israel, is superseded by a factor of 12 - which for St John, stands for the entire number of those who will be saved, and was never intended to be taken as a literal number. I'd suggest keeping in mind what St John writes in the Prologue to his Gospel, where he says of the Word made flesh: 'to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God.' St John also has the famous 'God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life' (Jn 3: 16), and of course Jesus' prayer in chapter 17 of his Gospel, 'that all may be one.' The Apocalyptic 144 is meant to indicate the universal salvation obtained by Christ for the whole of humanity - of course it's very much up to each one of us to fully cooperate with his overflowing grace.

I hope these few thoughts are a help, very best, Fr Brendan
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Why Was “Thou Shalt Not Bring Unto Thee Any Graven Image” Replaced With “Thou Shalt Not Covet Thy Neighbor’s Wife?”

in topic "Theology"
A Xt3 Member asked at 1:47am on March 25th 2018
I was watching the Ten Commandments and I saw that "Thou Shalt Not Bring Unto Thee Any Graven Image" was a commandment, however "Thou Shalt Not Covet Thy Neighbor's Wife" was not. "Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery" was but I am Catholic, 38 years of age and I was taught "Thou Shalt Not Covet Thy Neighbor's Neighbor's Wife" was a commandment and I never learned "Thou Shalt Not Bring Unto Thee Any Graven Image." What happened to that commandment. Here's the ones I learned:

1. "I am the Lord Thy God, Thou Shalt Not have any other a Gods before me."

2. "Thou Shalt Not take the name of the Lord the God in Vain"

3. "Remember the Sabbath Day and to Always Keep it Holy"

4."Honor Thy Father and Thy Mother"

5. "Thou Shalt not Kill"

6. "Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery"

7. "Thou Shalt Not Steal"

8. "Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness Against Thy Neighbor"

9. "Thou Shalt Not Covet Thy Neighbor's Wife."

10. "Thou Shalt Not Covet Thy Neighbor's Belongings."

Nowhere did I ever learn about a "Graven Images" commandment, and when I watched the film, it removed the coveting thy neighbor's wife commandment for that one. Why? What ever happened to that commandment?

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Hi John, there are two, slightly different versions of the Ten Commandments, one in Exodus 20, the other in Deuteronomy 5. Both of them have the same 1st commandment you have, and both have as a 2nd commandment the prohibition of making graven images. Since they count the graven images prohibition as a separate commandment, they both have as their 10th commandment the general prohibition of coveting, with slightly different order in Ex and DT to what's not to be coveted.

I guess because God became man in the Incarnation, Christianity does not, unlike Judaism and Islam, prohibit images of God. That's because the Incarnation gives a whole new perspective on matter, and more importantly on how, in the Incarnation and the sacraments, especially the Eucharist, God raises matter to a whole new level. So that 2nd commandment wasn't considered as important in Christianity, and dropped from the list of commandments.

And what in Ex and Dt was the 10th commandment, was separated into the two prohibitions on coveting you list - the 9th against wrongly desiring people and that 10th against wrongly desiring things. According to my Jerusalem Bible, it was St Augustine that gave us what became for the Church this later version of the 10 Commandments we all learnt at school and is still basic Catholic teaching, clearly and brilliantly set out for example in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Part 3, Section 2. Very best, Fr Brendan
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Questions regarding Pope Francis

in topic "Other"
A Xt3 Member asked at 12:35pm on March 18th 2018
Why does Pope Francis speak of God in multiple personalities or adjatives? Is God of the poor not God? Is Jesus Christ God? Why does the Pope/Church concern itself with global climate change? Sure I agree the earth is warming but what does that have to do with the Church? Is it a sin to not participate in stopping global warming even if we can? What about The sick? All Pope Francis seems to speak about is the poor. I am not rich, far from it, however I think many millions of people around the world are left out of much of the Popes messages. What about good practicing catholics that give to the poor and catholics who are suffering ,sick and poor in spirit. Pope Francis speaks of economy of the poor as though he believes in socialism. Many if not all countries want prosperity for there citizans except most dictatorships, communist and socialist countries. Another question is Pope Francis made a comment regarding President Trump and his wall. The comment seem to be a judgement when he said ("Christions should not build a wall"). The when he was asked about gay priests he stated who is he to judge. Doe the pope hold the keys to the kingdom as Jesus stated Peter did? It seems as though Pope Francis speaks out as a priest and not as the pope of all Catholics.

I am 56 years old and a practicing catholic. Please help me to understand his statements. I have never had to question our Pope in my life but am very concerned now.

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Hi Michael, I think part of the problem of responding to Pope Francis isn't only one of his making - it's the 24/7 availability to the entire world of whatever a public figure (he's that too) says. I think we'll all have to learn how to filter what any Pope from now on says, so we can sort out a Pope's personal opinions, say in an off the cuff interview, from his statements of official Church teaching.

For example, in his ecological encyclical, Laudato Si he's quite clear that on matters like climate change, while he asserts a greater role to human activity than I would, he also writes: 'On many concrete questions, the Church has no reason to offer a definitive opinion; she knows that honest debate must be encouraged among experts, while respecting divergent views' (S61).

His famous remark in one of those interview in the skies, 'Who am I to judge?' wasn't an abdication of the Church's unchanged teaching on the immorality of homosexual actions. He was referring to a particular priest who had been accused of such acts years before. Pope Francis was saying it wasn't up to him to make a judgment on whether that priest was still engaged in such actions, or - far more likely in that particular case - that he had repented and reformed.

Part of the problem, and I think it's a problem for Pope Francis, is in answering leading questions from media, almost like 'have you stopped beating your wife?' He'd often be better off, in my opinion, to decline answering them--and in light of the recent media-storm about whether he'd said there's no hell (he didn't), he'd be better off in not having conversations with Signor Scalfaro, the over-90 year old founder of La Repubblica, who doesn't record or take notes and then comes out with alleged, juicy 'quotes.'

I happen to think his remark on President Trump's plan to build a wall between Mexico and the US wasn't a good one - he's careful not to intervene in Argentinian politics, which of course he understands very well, all the more reason to leave US politics alone: continental Europeans, and I dare say, South Americans, tend to understand Antarctican penguins better than (north) American politics!

Pope Francis is a South American, not European Pope, and, just as St John Paul II was a Pole through and through, that cultural background can be sometimes liberating and sometimes be a less than helpful baggage, in a role that has to be universal.

In my opinion, the sequence of Popes from Pius IX to Benedict XVI is possibly the greatest the Church has known - matched in terms of heroic witness only by the first Pope-martyrs from Peter till the end of the persecutions by the Roman Empire. Yet, even in that heroic sequence, you can easily find limitations and faults in almost all of them (well, John Paul I wasn't around long enough to make mistakes!). So, what's the best attitude to a Pope when he's less than perfect, at times a little encumbered by his cultural background? That's when the great saints who brought the papacy back to Rome at a time when the Popes were happier to enjoy the better weather, food, and local acceptance at Avignon (along with being happy to function as honorary chaplains to the Kings of France), show us the way.

St Catherine of Siena saw the Popes as 'sweet Christ on earth,' when few others could see them that way. She was joined by St Brigid of Sweden, and we can throw in here St Thomas More - none of these had other than rather poor successors of St Peter to lead the Church. But they all could see that, whatever their faults, their Popes were still carrying out Jesus' mandate, to be the Rock on which his Church was to be built. Pope Francis never stops begging people to pray for him, and personally that seems to me to be my part in the Church - to pray for his successor, as Jesus did for Peter, both in Peter's great gifts and in his weaknesses. Very best, Fr Brendan
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Attendance of services during Holy week

in topic "Other"
A Xt3 Member asked at 8:24am on March 31st 2018
Father, several family members work in the Armed Forces or for essential services. They are unable to get away or obtain leave to attend the services during Holy Week - Maundy Thursday and Good Friday - and are upset that they are unable to do so. It is not something that they can resolve of themselves. How do they maintain the practice of their faith in these circumstances?

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Hi Wendy, while it's very good for Catholics to attend all the services on Holy Week, we're only bound by the Church to attend Mass on Sundays and a very few Holy Days, which don't include Holy Thursday, and the Good Friday service isn't a Mass.

What I would advise your family members to do if this happens again, is to take the readings of the Holy Thursday celebration of the Lord's Supper, and reflect on them in their spare time, along with making an act of spiritual communion (asking Jesus to come into their souls in a very special way). On Good Friday, they could try to make the Stations of the Cross on their own, if they have a spare half hour, and, again, if they have the time, to read St John's account of the Passion, which is at the heart of the Good Friday service.

What I advised people to do this Lent, was, remembering that St Peter didn't exactly live the first 'Lent' that well, was to do what the Risen Jesus asked him to do, when he appeared to him after Easter and asked Peter if he loved him. You could sum up what he asked Peter to do was to love more. We all try to give something up during Lent, but what's maybe even more important is to take something up - and following Jesus' request to Peter, that could be, to try to love the people around us, maybe especially the ones we like the least, more. Even to try for a few minutes each day in Lent. As a friend remarked to me years ago, if you're trying to love your neighbour, you don't need a hair shirt (the kind of penance some monks used to impose on themselves as a penance, so they'd feel discomfort)!. Very best, Fr Brendan
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Vows in lieu of religious vocation

in topic "Other"
A Xt3 Member asked at 4:41pm on March 28th 2018

I am a young Catholic adult from Staunton, Virginia. I know that I am called to the religious life-- more specifically, contemplative life- but I want to live the life I will someday embrace as well as I am able while I am in the world. To do this, I want to make private vows of poverty, chastity and obedience with my pastor present. I was just wondering if there are guidelines on making private vows or not. Thank you so much and I look forward to your reply.

In Christ,

Loredana Mello

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Hi Loredana, I hope you won't mind if I suggest that you discuss your vocation with a religious sister, brother, monk, or priest-ideally belonging to a community which is itself a contemplative one-for example, a Carmelite, Cistercian or Bendictine. However convinced you are of being called to the religious life, there are many who have taken that path and have deep experience of what it involves and I'm sure they'll provide good guidance and the spiritual direction such a big step would need. Even consecrated virgins living in the world feel the need to have a support community they can refer back to, make retreats with, and so on.

Rather than any particular detailed guidelines, the most important thing is your radical choice of God, uniting it with Mary's choice, which involves embracing the 'sword' that Simeon promised her in the Temple. And since you'd be living out that choice as a member of the Church, you'd need the Church's blessing, including perhaps, your Bishop's approval and support. Assuring you of my prayers for that divine adventure for Our Lady's support-she too was a consecrated Virgin living in the world. Very best, Fr Brendan
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Daughters Behavior

in topic "Other"
A Xt3 Member asked at 8:14pm on March 16th 2018
I wanted to ask a question and I was not for sure if I could ask my priest.

A little background -my husband is a life long catholic and I joined the church last year. My 2 daughters ages 8 and 10 have been raised catholic and attend Catholic school. I am active with thier school and thier world (activities and friends) are all from school. We attaend church every Sunday and attend church events.

I talk with the teachers and others at school, they always report how well behaved, polite and kind my girls are. They say they are always helping others and thier teachers-that there is no whining or crying- that they are "angels".

My "problem" is the minute I pick them up after school, the minute that door closes in our car -they are at one anothers throats. They are hateful, rude, disrespectful, mean and knock down drag out fighting with one another. They tattle, they try to get the other one in trouble and blame everything on one another. They actually look for ways to blame the other.They are disrepectful to myself, my husband and just flat out will ignore us when we ask them to do something. This leads to us YELLING at them to finally get them to do the things that they are asked.

It is like someone flips a light switch and thier "evil twin" comes out. So many mornings I drive to work in tears and so many nights I go to bed upset and confused. We have a small business and we work alot - I drop off and pick them up everyday from school and I am always home by 5pm to get homework and dinner -so they are not void of attention or guidence.

The minute they get in public the light switch flips and the angels are back - loving, caring and respectful.

I just need help please as to what to do.


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Hi MaryKate, that's a tough one! The first thing that came to mind was a little invention by friends in the Focolare Movement of what they've called the Cube of Love (if you Google it you'll get a few useful links - I just found it as 'The Cube of Love/USA'). Teachers and parents use it, including in non-Christian schools in places like Cairo.

Basically it's a coloured cube with mottos straight from the Gospel on each side, like 'Start Again to Love,' 'Be the First to Love,' 'Love Jesus in the other,' 'Share the other's hurt or joy.' If you got hold of one of them, you could suggest to your daughters that they take turns along with you in throwing that cube each morning, and whichever side comes up, you'd all do your best to live that Gospel phrase for the day. It'd be important that you try to live it as much as they do. And in the evening, there could be a chat about how you've all managed to do that, or failed to. Of course, as their mother, you'll encourage even the slightest improvements they make! The fact that we're all equal as children of the one Father means that if they feel that oneness between themselves and you, you're actually building a replica of the Holy Family in your own home. Keeping you very much in my prayers! Very best, Fr Brendan
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Liturgical Music

in topic "Sacraments"
A Xt3 Member asked at 11:44pm on March 16th 2018
Hi Fr Brendan

I was wondering if there is an official list of approved hymns for use at Mass in Australia. I seem to remember being told that one or two of the ones on a running sheet weren't on that list and thus not to be included.

It was something to do with the Australian Bishops conference but I've tried googling it and not got very far. Could you point me in the right direction?

I'm after a specific list rather than just the criteria upon which the list is based. But the latter would be better than nothing I guess, and interesting all the same.

Kind regards


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Hi Mark, I'm a liturgical disaster, appallingly uninformed on the kind of detail you're asking about! But if it's so hard to find an official list, I think you're fully entitled to presume there isn't any. Wouldn't it be enough to use your I'm sure well-informed doctrinal, musical and liturgical common sense, to filter out any rubbishy hymns, or ones that are poor in doctrine or in melody?

For example, I'm very fond of American Gospel music - just think of the wonderful 'I go down to the river to pray.' But there's a limitation they carry from their generally Baptist origins - they tend to be rather individualistic, focusing on the individual's relation to Jesus, with slight if any awareness of belongingness to the Church. That won't stop me enjoying them, but their ecclesial and sacramental thinness makes them less suitable within Catholic worship in my humble opinion. Hope that's some help. Very best, Fr Brendan
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Should I confess Self Harm

in topic "Sacraments"
A Xt3 Member asked at 5:43am on March 18th 2018
Not goign to try hide it from this discussion. I self harm.

With reconcilliation coming up this I can't stop questioning wether I should confess this though.

On the one hand, I want to confess, but at the same time It's really sensitive, and as one of the few teenagers in my church, the priest isn't likely to know how to deal with it well.

So what it boils down to are these three questions;

- is it a mortal sin to self harm (not for attention btu as a way to cope)?

- Is it so sensitive to mention to a preist?

- Will he notify my parents?

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Hi Megan, I'm so sorry you're going through such pressure as to feel the need to self-harm as a way to cope. While we're not allowed to damage our own bodies, the fact you feel you need to indicates your need for professional help from a psychological counsellor.

Rather than see what you're doing as sinful - any more than I'd be inclined to see someone who is anorexic as sinning, since what they're doing doesn't fall under the 3 things needed for mortal sin: serious matter, full knowledge of what one's doing, and full consent to that. While self-harm is serious enough, it's better handled as a psychological matter, not a moral one. So I wouldn't think you're bound to confess it in reconciliation. But on no account, if you did mention it to the priest in confession, can he notify your parents, since he's bound by the confessional secret.

I'd very much recommend your talking out why you feel this need, with a sympathetic and experienced counsellor. If, for example, you don't think your school counsellor could help, it's highly likely she knows a qualified person who has experience in dealing with clients who self harm. I meet regularly with an adult who self harms from time to time, and that seems due to deeply buried negative experiences in their past, for which they're receiving helpful ongoing psychiatric counselling.

You're going to be in my prayers every day, Megan, so that in the not too distant future, you see light at the end of that tunnel and are able to move on beyond the pressures that are weighing you down at the moment. With very best wishes, Fr Brendan
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Receiving Communion

in topic "Sacraments"
A Xt3 Member asked at 10:01am on March 11th 2018

I am a member of a Religious Community in temporary vows, and I have a question regarding non baptised people receiving communion and also the supremacy of the Holy Father who I believe is the ultimate leader and is the only one who can change the rules of the church.

I'm looking for confidential advice and in particular who a Religious Brother can go to for advice if he is not able to go to his Prior, anyone in his Community / Order or his Bishop. Any suggestions on this? I'm happy to make direct contact with a priest or Bishop but I don't know how to and in particular I do not want it to get back to my Community at this stage.

Is there a way of contacting the Holy Father for confidential advice or is that not done?


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Hi Mark, I think the obvious step for you would be to locate a priest you can trust and who has the time to for a good in depth chat to help you resolve whatever questions you have. Any such conversation will be treated in confidence (provided only it's not regarding a possibly criminal matter, which could require legal intervention, which I'm sure isn't your situation!). The Holy Father has so many calls on his time that I'd strongly suggest not contacting him - he couldn't possibly read more than a tiny number of the thousands of messages sent to him every day.

On your other questions: a non-baptized person is never allowed to receive the Eucharist.

Regarding the Holy Father is the leader of the Church and his teaching - you can get an idea of his and of the Church's teaching authority in Chapter 3 of the Vatican II document on the Church, called Lumen Gentium, and the Catechism of the Catholic Church S888 - S892 (all these are available online).

The Pope can't 'change the rules' of the Church whenever they are part of divine revelation, whether in Scripture, supported in the Tradition dating back to the early Church, or belong to the established teaching of the Church. Every Pope is bound to work within that framework. But of course he can change merely human rules - say rules about fasting and abstinence, about the language used to translate the liturgy, and so on. He can also initiate new ones, like the addition of the invocation of St Joseph to the Eucharistic Prayers. Very best, Fr Brendan
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