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A Xt3 Member asked at 7:18am on January 25th 2018
My daughter was baptised Romanian Orthodox and in doing so also recieved the Eucharist and confirmation at the same time. We have since had her changed to become a Catholic (Reception into full Communion with the Catholic Church). She has been de-registered with the Orthodox church. Can she now recieve the sacraments of First Eucharist and Confirmation in the Catholic church?

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Hi Caroline, thanks for your question. Since the Catholic Church fully recognizes the sacraments administered by the Romanian Orthodox Church as valid, your daughter is already baptized and confirmed. And because that Eucharist she received along with her baptism, was the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ, she can of course receive the Eucharist with other children who are making their First Holy Communion, but it wouldn't be her First Holy Communion - except that of course it would be her First Holy Communion in the Catholic Church.

As with her baptism, she has already been validly confirmed, so if you're wondering could she take part in a confirmation ceremony in the Catholic Church, why not ask if it might be possible to have the sacrament renewed (as wedding couples sometimes renew their vows years later) by the celebrant, along with the other children being confirmed. And of course she should take part in preparation for the sacrament, since she probably doesn't remember too much about receiving it! Hope that's a help, keeping you and your family in my prayers, and thanks for bringing all the gifts as baptized and practicing believers you're bringing with you from the Romanian Orthodox Church into the Catholic Church, Fr Brendan
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A Xt3 Member asked at 10:03pm on December 25th 2017
Hi, Fr. Brendan! First of all, Merry Christmas!

I need some advice. This year, due to a childhood trauma from many years ago, I'm facing some psychological problems. I'm under therapy, and I show some symptoms related to PTSD, depression and anxiety, among scrupulosity. In fact, there are chances that I'll have to treat these symptoms with medication. Due to these high levels of anxiety, unfortunately I sometimes have those intrusive thoughts which make me question my faith, my beliefs. Sometimes even makes me wonder about the reality of things, of life, if things and people are real, like an existential crisis and so on. The problem is: I don't want to believe in these thoughts, they bother me and make me feel sad and lonely. I feel like sinning because of them and they scare me because I'm afraid I believe in them, even though deep down I like to think that I don't. I just want to be one of those people with an unshaken faith. Don't want to have doubts or question the nature of things, I just want to be a happy and faithful catholic person as I guess I was before all of this started. Am I sinning? Will I be held accountable for that? Some days are easier than others, should I stay calm in the tough days and wait for the brighter ones? I really don't want to offend God or sin but I'm still in the beginning to learn how to manage those thoughts so I can't avoid them. Thanks in advance!

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Hi Maria, many thanks for your Christmas good wishes! Could you have a look at what I said in answer to the previous question, which while quite different, has something in common with yours. I used to wonder just why did Jesus allow himself to be tempted by Satan in person for all of forty days. But I think one of the reasons was that people tempted severely would know for sure that Jesus was never closer to them than at those moments, encouraging them to do as he did, and decisively reject the devil and his temptations. Later, Jesus is struggling in the Garden of Gethsemane, again under such ferocious pressure, yet prays, 'Father, if you are willing, remove this chalice from me; nevertheless, not my will but yours be done' (Lk 22:42). And on the Cross, you remember he cried out, 'My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?' (Mt 27:46). Again, he wanted you to know that the moment you feel you've been abandoned by God is the moment when you're closest to Jess as the moment of his greatest act of love, when, despite feeling that abandonment, he still can say 'Father, into your hands I commit my spirit' (Lk 23:46).

You're certainly not sinning, any more than Jesus wasn't sinning during those toughest moments of darkness. Just ask Jesus to help you rise from that darkness as he did. Even before Christianity, the most mature expressions of Greek and other cultures included an awareness that real human maturity included crossing the darkness of that inner desert you're crossing in the company of the loving Heart of Jesus - the word that sums up Greek tragedy is the phrase 'wisdom through suffering' but for Christians, we're never suffering heroically alone, but always supported by Jesus Crucified, and by Mary, standing by your Cross just as she stood beside her Son's. Very best, Fr Brendan
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Confession, Reparation and OCD/Scrupolosity

A Xt3 Member asked at 9:23pm on December 19th 2016
Hi Father

I have been away from the church for a long time but his year I made a general confession. However I am finding a lot of problems. I am also suffering from OCD and scrupolosity and I am having treatment for these conditions. One of the problems I am facing is that of reparation of sins. During my life I told some lies/exagerations/inaccuricies about people. I have confessed such sins and have been given absolution but will I have to tell the individual that I lied to the truth about another person in order that my sins to be forgiven? If I fail to tell the person that I have lied to the truth about another person will I be guilty of another sin? The problem is that four or more years have passed from when I lied and it is a bit difficult to talk to certain persons and telling them that in that particular occasion I have not told the truth about the other person. The problem is that many of them are not exactly clear cut lies; they may be a bit exagerated, I may have left some information out or I lied about a person without the intention to harm him/her. Some of the persons may also not know the person I lied about or may know him and have no connection with him/her. Some may have some connection.

My great problem is that of how to tell another person that I lied to about the other person. Just imagine contacting a person in person or by e mail and then telling him something that I may have said about another person; things which he may have long forgotten or just don't care about them. I am finding this extremly difficult to do. I have tried to amend my lies/inaccuricies/exagerations and in a case it was a success, in another I think that I have been largely ignored or with little success but in another I was told that I was saying that because I have something in mind such as some trickery or for some other obscure reasons. The problem is that you cannot just contact a person and telling him/her that some years ago I have told them a lie/inaccuracy/exageration about a person and not being looked as I am not quite well mentally. You just can't force such things since I feel that I will look very strange and awkward. I have told about these problems to my wife (which is very religious) and she told me that I am not obliged to contact such persons about my lies/inaccuricies/exagerations of time ago. She also told me that what I have said about certain persons was probably true; which probably she may be right but I have changed a bit the truth. She then turned very worried and promptly contacted the psychiatrist which he adjustd my treatment. I know that currently I am suffering with OCD and scrupolosity but I think that I need also some spiritual direction.

I strongly feel tha telling the truth will not make any difference to the persons that I lied on. Maybe the persons that I lied to may look at the other person a bit more favourably although I dont' think that it will have any serious positive effect. Some years have also passed. What is your opinion about my problem? Do you think that I should stop thinking about this problem and look forward?

Thanks and Kind Regards


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Hi James, no confessor would ever require a person who'd lied to go back and confess to the people the lie was told about. Maybe if it was the kind of lie called perjury, where I swore in court something that involved another person being wrongfully accused of a crime, I'd be bound in duty to do all I could to right that wrong. Or if I lied about a person's competence, saying that this or that person was a qualified surgeon or engineer, whatever, where that person might do serious injury to others.

We could do greater harm to our relationships with this persons if we in fact owned up to lies we'd told about them. Much better to pray for them and trust that God will make up now for any injury done them in the past - if indeed there was any injury caused them, which doesn't sound like it from what you've written.

But sometimes I may have seriously wronged others, who have perhaps died since, or at any rate can no longer be contacted. How can I make it up to them? In these matters I remember what a famous Jewish philosopher called Martin Buber wrote about this: 'the wounds of the order-of-being can be healed in infinitely many other places than those at which they were inflicted.' In other words, by trying as best I can to love the people I'm with now - since Jesus is in every one of our neighbours - I am also loving the Jesus in the person I may have wronged, and I can trust it to Jesus to 'pass on' that love to the other, whether they've left this world or are far removed from me now. Very best, Fr Brendan
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Considering conversion

A Xt3 Member asked at 4:05am on September 29th 2017
I was raised Protestant Assembly of God Christian. The enemy tempted me with occult practices. I have experimented with some of it but was convinced and was intended to be done in God's name, not Pagan Gods since I don't believe in Pagan Gods, I embrace the concept of the Apostle's Creed. I am still enthralled with praying the Holy Rosary and the Lord's prayer and have always loved the atmostphere of Catholic Chapels. If I am still allowed or able to convert to Catholicism, what do I need to expect when I confess to this type of sin? I heard there is a "harsh penalty" of some type to undergo in the Catholic Church when confessing this type of sin. I am humbly willing to undergo it out of love for the Lord and for the sake of my own salvation. I just don't want to be kicked out as soon as I get in. I would like to know what to expect. I have been yearning for someone I can trust to confess my sins to, someone in specialized, spiritual training who won't generate pride or harsh negative judgement against me for it. I know the word says to confess to one another to someone I trust, but I would feel more comfortable letting a priest counsel me and pray with me rather than my peers or family members who might not ever understand or might blow it out of proportion. Please describe to me if you can what to expect when confessing to forbidden practices. Thank you, Peace be with you.

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Hi Jodie, you heard wrongly about 'harsh punishments' for dabbling in the occult! For starters, from what you said, your dabbling wasn't very culpable since you thought you weren't doing anything wrong.

For a Catholic, to commit any serious sin, you need three things: gravity or seriousness of the offence (which in itself would include contacting occult forces or spirits), full knowledge of what you were doing, and full consent to doing wrong. While the first condition may have been fulfilled by you, you weren't in full knowledge that it was wrong, so you didn't consent to that wrongdoing. Even if you had, any priest hearing your confession would treat any sins committed before becoming a Catholic sympathetically and kindly. Which doesn't mean ignoring them, or if they were serious, their seriousness. But Jesus already set us the standard of how to treat sinners, both with his approach to the woman caught in adultery (Jn 8:1 - 11) and with the Good Thief, whom he forgave on the Cross (Lk 23:39 - 43).

In the Catholic Church, while people can of course confess their sins to one another, the reason why we confess our sins to a priest is because of the promise Jesus gave to the Apostles and their successors (that is to the Bishops ordained by what's called the unbroken Apostolic Succession going back to the Apostles, and to the priests ordained by those Bishops). In that promise Jesus said, 'whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven them' (Jn 20:23), which echoes what he says to the Apostles in Matthew 16:9, 'whatever you shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.'

After he's said to the crippled man let down through the roof, 'your sins are forgiven,' the Pharisees righty say: 'Who can forgive sins except God' (see Mk 2:7), Jesus doesn't disagree. So this awesome divine power by the infinite generosity of God has been given to those he delegates to be his Bishops and through them, priests.

And of course when your sins are told in confession, they are told in utter confidence, and can never be revealed for any reason whatsoever, to anyone else. So Catholics have complete confidence that their sins are effectively, through His minister, told to God alone. You're most welcome to join the Catholic Church, and remember, Jodie, bring all the good that you have learned and lived through being a member of the Assembly of God - your knowledge of Scripture, your desire to identify with Christ completely as St Paul did when he said, 'for me, to live is Christ' (Phil 1:21), so that becoming Catholic will be a fulfilment of the Christian life you've been living up to now, but now reinforced especially by the sacraments of the Eucharist and of Reconciliation (Confession). Very best, Fr Brendan
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A Xt3 Member asked at 9:02pm on August 19th 2017
Hi, Fr. Brendan, I've got one more question about confession (huge thanks for helping me with the other question I had): in regard to impure thoughts related to chastity, how specific should one be? I mean, are we supposed to say what it was each thought we have had, or simply saying "I've entertained impure thoughts" is enough? I'm always afraid to leave things unconfessed or confessed not properly. Is there any situation or kind of thought in which do we have to specify our thoughts? Like with who we thought, etc? Specially because I've read the story told by saint Alphonsus Liguori about the woman who was considered a saint due to her good behaviour, but let a sin of impure thought unconfessed due to shame and was condemned when she died. It looks like she had to detail what she thought to receive absolution, not only say she had impure thoughts, or did I understand it wrong? This kind of story scares a lot because I've never said my thoughts one by one, just stated the kind of them, and one priest told me I shouldn't give details when confessing, but I've seen many different opinions on this subject and I'm confused. Thanks for all the help, again!

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Hi Maria, I hear lots of confessions in Sydney, and certainly for me, the only detail I ever want to know regarding sins in this area is the one you mention - 'I've entertained impure thoughts.' The danger of going into detail is that we could bring the thoughts back again as a temptation, the last thing we want to happen.

My only problem with that story you've attributed to St Alphonsus Ligouri is, how on earth did he know what happened to that woman when she died? Especially since not even the angels are able to penetrate our consciences unless we allow them.

When a penitent is unsure whether they've consented to the thoughts that pass through our minds and over which we don't have complete control, I suggest them to ask themselves, 'Did I ask that thought to come in, make itself at home and have a coffee(!)' That's just to make sure that we're not weighed down by images that won't go away even when we want them to. And of course these images that pester us when we don't want them aren't sinful. But they can help to keep us humble and praying to Jesus and Mary, 'get me out of here, please!' St Alphonsus did say, 'those who pray will be saved, those who don't pray will be condemned.'

So keep up your close contact with God-Love and with Mary and the saints, they'll always be cheering you on and help you over the finishing line during every temptation.

Very best, Fr Brendan
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Confession question

A Xt3 Member asked at 4:29pm on August 14th 2017
Hello! Last Lent I started to take my faith more seriously. I confessed some past sins commited when I was very young, between 7 and 15 years old, that I didn't confessed before due to fear. I guess I had no idea they were sins when I commited it (specially when I was around 7-10yo I think I didn't even know what a sin was) or didn't understand very well my faith (specially in my teens), but what if I'm lessing my fault? I don't know anymore. I'm really not sure if they can be considered mortal or only venial. So, anyway, I confessed it at Lent, saying the cathegory of sin, and asked if the priest needed more details (I didn't said the exact name of each sin, only the type they belonged to). He said no, absolved me and said to me to move on with my life, forget it and be happy. But now I'm really not sure. Was I supposed to say the actual name of the sins, one by one? Since then, I'm always having scrupulous thoughts, spending long hours examining my conscience and trying to remember exactly how things happened, but more and more my discernement become more confused. I went to confession again and other priest said that I didn't need to reconfess it, that things were okay. But I'm still confused.
I'm trying to do things right this time, fix everything, and I'm really tired, sad and scared. Do you think am I being too scrupulous (or too lax)? Did I messed up my confession? Thanks in advance for the amazing idea of creating this webpage. Since at the moment I can't have access to a spiritual director, this forum is a blessing! I'm so glad I've found it. Maybe I'll find here some peace of mind until I can get to my next confession.

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Hi Maria, first of all, huge congratulations for your deepening in your faith. As priests hearing confessions, every now and then someone like you can confess sins they've thought of from the past, including, just like you did, sins committed when they weren't aware they were, or later, when they weren't fully aware of them as sins. And once the confessor understands the nature of the sin confessed, as your confessor did, he really doesn't want to go into further details about it.

I really think you should trust that priest making the right decision regarding your confession, and having absolved your sins encouraging you to make a new start with God's help. You know what? I think for all of us, the gift of God's mercy is so infinite, that it's hard for us to take it on board. Remember when Jesus said to the paralysed man left through the roof, 'your sins are forgiven' - the educated theologians present (rightly) said, 'who can forgive sins but God alone?' (Mk 2:7). In your confessions, you met God who is Love head on, so you have a right to say, 'God loves me immensely.'

By your courage and humility in confessing your sins, you brought such joy to heaven, and God rewards you with tons of love. And all you need to do after that is become a saint, by following St Thérèse of Lisieux's motto (I've shortened it a bit), over the last month of her life, 'to love you, Jesus, I have just now.' By trying to do God's will in each moment, and if not so well one moment, not worrying, just starting again in the next moment, you could become a saint over a weekend!

Very best, Fr Brendan
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A Xt3 Member asked at 2:50am on June 18th 2017
Hi Father.let say there is someone who has struggled with addiction of pornography in his whole life and is doing everything possible to overcome his addiction. He has been going to confession and has been praying daily for grace. One night he is very depressed and down and watch pornography that he had forgotten about in the house. He tries to fight the urge but gives in. Immediately afterwards he feels sorry and deep remorse. The next morning is Sunday and he tries to go to confession but cannot get to the priest in time. Should he go to Communion? Thanks n God bless

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Hi Christopher, for starters, it's great that person has been doing all he can to overcome his addiction, including praying regularly and going to confession.

In the case you mention, what I have always advised is for the person to make an act of contrition. We have to leave it to God to know whether that contrition is perfect, which would take away the sin. But even a less than perfect act of contrition helps to bring me back to God's grace. The Church has always taught that we must go to confession after a serious sin before receiving the Eucharist, and this goes back to the very earliest days of the Church - see St Paul, 'So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord' (1 Cor 11:27).

So the best thing would be to join the line at Mass of those receiving the Eucharist, and cross your hands on either shoulder, which most priests recognize as asking for a blessing. At the same time you can make a spiritual communion, asking Jesus to come into your soul. Not receiving the Eucharist bodily at that time shows Jesus great respect and love, but we should only receive after we have been absolved in confession from our serious sins. Very best, Fr Brendan
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Priests with Children

A Xt3 Member asked at 3:20pm on May 28th 2017
Is it possible to get ordained if you have a child .? The situation being that you aren't living with the mother of the child ...

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Hi Ines, that's a decision that the local bishop or head of a religious congregation would have to make, having interviewed the candidate. Pope Francis has said several times, regarding not candidates for the priesthood, but priests who have broken their vows and fathered a child, that they should leave the priesthood, since now as fathers of that child, they have responsibility for its upbringing. And even if the person you mention isn't living with the mother of his child, he's still that child's father, who'll need him around for many years, closely present in that child's life. So it mightn't at all be a good idea for such a man to become a priest. Very best, Fr Brendan
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The Rite of Baptism

A Xt3 Member asked at 6:02am on March 26th 2017
Hi Father,

I was looking at the differences between the Extraordinary Form (EF) and Ordinary Form (OF) in regards to baptising an infant, and I saw that there are many valuable aspects in the EF rite that are not in the OF rite, for example: the imposition of salt, the imposition of hands, the putting of the stole on the catechumen, the richness in the priestly prayers, and the many exorcism prayers used. In particular, the EF rite has exorsisms directly addressing the devil, wheres the OF rite has a statement that Jesus exorcised demons.

However the OF does have beautiful aspects that the EF lacks, like the readings, psalm, and the litany.

What are the reasons for dropping such beautiful rites and for directly addressing the devil?

Thanks so much,


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Hi Anthony, when baptizing in the Ordinary Form (I'm quoting from the version approved in Ireland which I use in Australia too), with the Anointing before Baptism the first part of the prayer I always say goes like this: 'Almighty and ever-living God, you sent your only Son into the world, to cast out the power of Satan, spirit of Evil...' And at the Renewal of Baptismal Promises, I always use the form: 'Do you reject Satan?... And all his works?... And all his empty promises?' The alternative form includes this question: 'Do you reject Satan, father of sin and prince of darkness?'

I think most people would agree that the Second Vatican's Council's document on the liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium was one of its finest and most beautiful. I well remember as a student in Rome at the time working through some of the books summarizing where the liturgical renewal had arrived at that time, by Martimort for the history of the liturgy, and Vagaggini for its theological meaning. Unfortunately, the application of the Council document sometimes fell below the high expectations for liturgical renewal, sometimes by being too rushed. And maybe this happened more in the English applications more than anywhere else.

A full discussion of this issue isn't possible here, but by fully permitting the use of what's now called the Extraordinary Rite, and by encouraging the revised translation of the liturgy in English, Pope Benedict XVI did all he could to overcome some of the impoverishment due to the poor quality of some elements of the liturgical reform. Very best, Fr Brendan
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A Xt3 Member asked at 1:21am on April 6th 2017
Good Morning Father,

i plan to marry my Chinese Girlfriend who is not a Catholic. We been coming to Thailand while we wait for a spouse visa which could take 12-18 months.

I was thinking it would be a good idea to marry in Thailand but she would first of all need to be Baptised . What would be the requirements for us to get married.

She lives in Tieling and her nearest Catholic Church is in Shenyang which is not so far away. Would it be better for her to contact the Priest in Shenyang. Do you know how the Diocese in Shenyang can be contacted example a phone number or email address.

Thanks for your help and reading my email. regards frank

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Hi Frank,

We weren't able to find any contact details of the Diocese online and don't have much connection with them. It will be best to contact the local priest directly.
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