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Camilla

A Xt3 Member asked at 9:05am on August 20th 2017
Hi,

Is there any way of speaking with a priest online privately? Not for a confession but a small amount of life advice.

My circumstances stop me from being able to seek any form of consolation outside the confessional and inside. I've tried everything over many years just for a few moments for a bit of life advice and I am turned away no matter what I do. I've even prayed for an opportunity and left empty handed. Confession is always left to the last minute prior to mass in my region and every region I have ever visited and so I am rushed through.

Tonight for example I said goodbye to the priest after praying and he was about to start a conversation and it was interrupted by another parishoner who took all of his attention away.

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Hi Camilla, since the sacrament of reconciliation is meant for the confessing and forgiving of sins, what's often called spiritual direction is a different matter - or even the kind of one off one-on-one discussion you are looking for. A lot depends on whether there are people available to do this outside of confession. Have you thought of contacting any religious communities, including monastic ones, in your neighbourhood? It strikes me that you might be able to have that conversation you're looking for with a monk or a sister, just as well as with a priest.

I doubt very much if an online discussion would be what you need, since it's only face to face that whoever you're turning to for advice can get the full picture. Maybe if you're not in a big town you'd be best off to check out on various websites, what are the religious establishments in the nearest big town or city to you. I'm putting you in my list of people I pray for every day, that please God, you can find a good adviser. Very best, Fr Brendan
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Exorcism/Mortal sin?

A Xt3 Member asked at 10:00pm on August 15th 2017
Hello Father,

when one recieves minor exorcism or a deliverence , does this get rid of mortal sin? And can one who is is in mortal sin then begin recieving communion? Thanks.

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Hi Luke, there's two different questions here, I'll try them one by one. I don't know what you mean by 'a deliverance,' but a minor exorcism is a prayer for relief from some experience of oppression by evil spirits, which any priest is entitled to pray. But it has no effect on mortal sin - the normal way a mortal sin can be forgiven is through the sacrament of confession/reconciliation.

The answer to your second question, about whether someone who is in mortal sin may receive communion is no. If a person is in mortal sin, they should receive the sacrament pf reconciliation as soon as possible, and not wait for weeks or months. Before they've had a chance to have the mortal sin forgiven in confession, they may be attending Mass (as we're all obliged to on Sundays and a few Holy Days). Since nowadays most people at Mass receive the Eucharist, rather than feeling left out, I'd always advise a person not yet in the state of grace to cross their hands on their chest so each hand rests on the opposite shoulder, and join the queue for communion. This tells the priest they wish to receive a blessing rather than the Eucharist.

Thanks to God's ocean of love for us that Jesus has given us these wonderful sacraments, of the Eucharist to feed us on our way, and Reconciliation to help us onto our feet again when we've fallen. Very best, Fr Brendan
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excorcism horror movies

A Xt3 Member asked at 5:38am on July 28th 2017
Hello! I have spend the evening scouring the internet for an answer till I ended up here. I would like to know how the church feels about horror movies centered around exorcisms/spiritual warfare. Since my school chaplain recently told me about how real spiritual warfare is, I've been incredibly intrigued. I'm wondering if it is a gateway to possession/torment like the Ouija board or if it is immoral to watch a horror movie about them. Many thanks!

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Hi Noah, in itself, watching a horror movie centred around exorcism wouldn't be immoral. The real question is more with the person watching the movie - are they spiritually prepared for this? If you feel an inclination to dabble in anything like Ouija boards, or contact with spirits of any sort, then watching a film like that could encourage you to go further, which would certainly mean that it'd be better for you not to watch such films. But if you only watch them for fun, it wouldn't be immoral.

For example, since I was a young teenager, I've never been scared by horror films, only laughed at them - so I especially enjoyed a spoof zombie film like Shaun of the Dead. So the only exorcism film I'd ever watch would be a spoof one, if there is one.

As your school chaplain said, spiritual warfare is real. But, all evil spirits are creatures, and God is infinitely more powerful than they are. Does watching these films make you feel depressed? Or do they excite an interest in experiencing something like what you've seen in a film? Then watching them could be spiritually bad for you. There's an old saying, 'the one who loves the danger shall perish in it,' meaning here that interest in the occult could become spiritually unhealthy.

Maybe you could check with your school chaplain whether a particular film you want to watch would be ok for you? Or discuss with him one of the films you've seen? In the end, I'd be careful about that interest, and as much as you can, deepen your relation with God, who's far more interesting, and whose life you can actually re-live by seeing Him in every neighbour you have - and through his freely given grace, you have access to Him for nothing! Very best, Fr Brendan
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Piracy and morality

A Xt3 Member asked at 10:49pm on July 29th 2017
I've been struggling with this question for awhile. Is it a sin to watch tv shows on a website that pirated the material? I was having a discussion with someone and they said if the show is no longer aired and there is no legal way to watch it, it is ok to watch it on those websites (like kisscartoon.com). Is this morally wrong?

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Hi Destiny, it seems to me that if your friend is right and the show is no longer available through any paid channel, it wouldn't be wrong to watch it on that website. I'd just be careful with that website's other offerings, as they might include shows you would have to pay to view. Very best, Fr Brendan
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Is this grave matter?

A Xt3 Member asked at 9:57pm on July 23rd 2017
Hello,

Thank you for all that you do in this ministry! I have a question regarding whether or not something is considered grave matter, but I need to provide you with some background so that you can better understand the situation. I apologize in advance for the length.

On June 1st, I fainted for the first time in my life. My vision was blurry for a couple minutes, and then I fainted for a very brief period of time. I so happened to be driving at the time. No one was injured. I went to the ER, they took some tests, everything came out negative, and they sent me home that evening. They allowed me to drive home. It's been almost two months since the incident, and I have not fainted since. The ER doctor didn't seem too concerned that it would happen again, but told me to go to the doctor for a follow-up. I did so. I have been sent to a cardiologist and a neurologist. I have had several tests done, and so, far, I have not been diagnosed with anything. The doctors have told me that I should not drive, and that, technically, they are supposed to report me to the Department of Motor Vehicles, but they chose not to, and I am still legally licensed to drive (I have confirmed this with the Department of Motor Vehicles). My husband is a physician, and he thinks that, because I do not have an underlying problem that caused me to faint, and because the odds of me fainting again are slim (and even more slim that it would happen while I am driving), it is okay for me to drive. He is away with the military, so he is unable to drive me places. When I do drive, I try to stay in either the left lane or right lane, where I can quickly pull over if I start to get blurry vision.

So, in short, my question is, is it a sin for me to be driving in my situation, because the doctors advised me not to? And if so, would it be mortal sin?



Thank you, and God bless!

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Hi Nicole, sometimes doctors are hyper-cautious because of fear of legal cases against them - the example that comes to mind is Caesarean operations being performed unnecessarily in some cases, as gynaecologists are often worried about being sued if the least thing goes wrong. So, reading your background, what came over to me was that the neurologist and cardiologist, having found nothing wrong, were being over cautious.

Obviously I'm not a medical professional, but it seems to me that your husband, who is, is right, and that without any underlying condition diagnosed, that you're safe to drive. And the very fact that you're sticking to the slower lane when you're on the road indicates you're a careful driver anyway. In my opinion you're fully entitled to drive.

Very best, Fr Brendan
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Is it a sin for a woman to wear men's clothes?

A Xt3 Member asked at 5:13pm on July 10th 2017
Hi Father,
I am a woman and I like wearing guy's clothes.
When I was a girl I was always interested in activities that are traditionally pertain to males, such as playing sports and playing with robots and swords. I wore guy's clothes all my life and I don't want to wear women's clothes (mainly because I don't like things that are feminine). However I am not a lesbian, I had crush on several guys and if I am meant to be married, I want to marry a man. Although I wear guy's clothes I know that I am a woman and I have no problem with that. I also love Jesus and my church and I am also actively involved in liturgical ministry in my local parish.

Is it a sin for me to wear guy's clothing?

Thank you,

Jin

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Hi Jin, I generally have difficulty in answering a question in the form of, 'is it a sin' to do this or that. Because just saying yes or no doesn't get anywhere in terms of where a person is at.

Could I put your question in a different way? Before doing that, a very commonsense observation: for reasons I'm not qualified to explain, it seems that while women can wear men's clothing (uniforms, shirts, suits) without any sexual implications, it doesn't seem to work in the same way for men wearing women's clothing. It seems that many men derive sexual satisfaction for doing that.

So the way I'd re-phrase your question (obviously only you can answer this properly) is this: do I get any kind of sexual satisfaction for wearing men's clothes? If you don't, I guess it's not sinful for you, but I wouldn't generalize that for anyone else, since another woman just might be honestly able to say that she did, and if so, she certainly shouldn't wear men's clothing.

It's great you're looking forward to marrying a man, and given your commitment to Jesus and to your local church, you might think whether not dressing as a woman might make you less attractive to, say, an equally committed Catholic man. It'd be a pity to put the right person off because he had the wrong idea as to why you were dressing as a man. My very best prayers for you to meet the right guy soon! Very best, Fr Brendan
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Strange object after a patient died

A Xt3 Member asked at 7:57pm on June 30th 2017
I'm a nurse in a pediatric intensive care unit at a large hospital. This week a very sick baby who was about 6 months old died. I wasn't the nurse assigned to care for her that night but I have car d for her frequently and I think was working that night. She was very sick since birth and never left the hospital and came to us from the neonatal intensive care unit when she was two months old. She was DNR (do not resuscitate) and her mother and grandmother were at the bedside throughout the night and the entire family are was there in the evening and then came back after the baby died. I helped the nurse assigned to the pt bathe her and change her clothes after the baby died so that her sisters and other family members coming to hospital would see her dressed and looking the way they were used to. After that I was in the hallway outside her room when out of the corner of my eye I saw an object that appeared like a black thread. My first thought was that it was in my hair and when I looked in a mirror I couldn't see the object which I saw again before it disappeared. I didn't think it could be the baby's soul because I would expect it to be a white or gold color. What do you think I saw?

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Hi J. Jet, that's a very sad story about the death of that little baby, who received such care from you and your colleagues in the hospital. But her soul, like all human souls, is spiritual, immortal, will always exist before God, but isn't visible. Even our thoughts, which are activities of our soul, aren't visible - they don't show up even on the best kind of brain scan. So I'm not able to say what that thing you saw meant. But more importantly, the love you showed even to the dead body of that baby, was also invisible, though beautifully expressed in your washing and dressing her. Very best, Fr Brendan
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What is this word in this prayer referring to?

A Xt3 Member asked at 3:07am on July 3rd 2017
Hi Father,

A common prayer before meals is "Bless us O Lord and these thy gifts which we have received from thy bounty." What does it mean to say that we have received the food from "thy bounty?"

Thanks

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Hi Ryan,

'Bounty' normally means having plenty of something, maybe even more than you need. So in that grace before meals we're thanking God for having, from His infinite resources, provided the food we are about to eat.

Very best, Fr Brendan
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St Faustina's Stations of the Cross 12th Station

A Xt3 Member asked at 2:05am on June 23rd 2017
Hi Father

I try to walk the STATIONS with the help of St Faustina's Booklet. At the 12th Station the answer to her comment has got me puzzled. "Then I saw the Lord Jesus nailed on the Cross. After a while, I saw a multitide of souls crucified like Him. Then there was a second multitude that were not nailed to their Crosses, but were holding them firmly in their hands. A third multitude were neither nailed to their crosses nor holding them in their hands, but were dragging them behind them with discontent."

THIS IS WHAT I CAN'T GET MY HEAD AROUND.

"JESUS then said to me "Do you see these souls? Those who are like ME, suffering pain and contempt, will be like me in Glory."

They all seem to me to be suffering pain and contempt. I can't work out whitch ones are going to Heaven. They each seem to me to be in all categories.

Please Help.

Frank

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Hi Frank, at first glance it looks as if the first two multitudes are the ones that St Faustina has Jesus saying will be like him in glory - those both crucified like him and those holding their crosses firmly in their hands. Those discontentedly dragging their crosses look a bit like people who are rejecting their crosses, but still suffering. At the same time, Jesus tells us about the two brothers asked to help in the vineyard, where one of them at first refused, then relented and actually did help (Mt 21: 28 - 30).

So, taking St Faustina's 'Jesus, I trust in you' seriously, that could be applied to those, let's call them Grudging Crossbearers - maybe even they too have a change of heart, and turn into people like Simon of Cyrene who probably wasn't too happy when he was hijacked from the crowd to give Jesus a hand. The fact that the evangelists know Simon's name is an indication that he too became a willing follower of Christ. Very best, Fr Brendan
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I snuck into a pool

A Xt3 Member asked at 7:47pm on June 19th 2017
Yesterday I went with my friends and my girlfriend into my friends pool which was closed at the time because it was late at night. I felt bad before during and after it and I don't know if I have committed a grave sin and I'm trying to get over scrupulosity so I don't know if I'm in a state to receive the Eucharist I just want to know before I receive the Eucharist in the in the next morning because my priest is usually overloaded and it takes awhile for me to get a confession out of him. Was it was it bad what I did? Was it grave what I did? And when does not listening to your conscious become mortal or grave? Thank you so much

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Hi Talon, what you did was certainly not a mortal sin, but I wouldn't repeat what you did - better surely only to use that pool with your friend's permission, since trespassing on other people's property is against the law, and owners sometimes overreact to intruders out of fear they could be dangerous.

The three factors that help us judge whether something is seriously sinful or not are 1) is what I'm doing seriously wrong in itself? Your best bet here would be to have a look at the Catechism of the Catholic Church (it's online), Part Three, Section Two, which covers the Ten Commandments. 2) Am I doing something that's seriously wrong with full knowledge of that fact? 3) Do I fully consent to doing what I know to be seriously wrong? Only if all three conditions are met can I be considered to have committed a mortal sin.

And to get back to your original question, merely trespassing on someone else's property isn't in itself seriously sinful, unless it included deliberate vandalism, or included an intention to steal from that property. Very best, Fr Brendan
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