Friday, October 31, 2008

Why Did God Create Satan

Q: Okay, if God is all-good, why did he create Satan? I mean if God is good, how can evil things happen in the world that He created? How can evil come from something that is pure goodness?

A: When God created Satan he was not yet evil, but a good angel. God gave the angels free will; He wanted them to choose Him freely. Satan wanted to be like God, so he and his followers radically and permanently rejected their creator. It is their irreversible choice, and not a flaw, that makes this unforgivable. Evil did not come into the world from something “that is pure goodness” but from Satan’s choice to reject the goodness of God’s reign, and from seeing himself like God. Since God is all-good then we can correctly assume that everything that God does, and that all his laws are also completely good. Therefore to do something against God’s laws is evil. Evil is more than doing something that would hurt another person, but doing something that God said not to do (or inversely not doing something that God said to do).


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Why Not Just End Your Life

Q: I’m doing a report for school on euthanasia. It seems to me that suicide is the only path out sometimes. Why is it morally wrong if it’s easier to end your life quickly than to suffer through long and arduous pain?

A: Committing suicide is a mortal sin; it is breaking the fifth commandment. God commanded this because He wants us to take care of our spiritual and physical being. He gave each person a soul. He chose each person individually for a purpose. God knows when to call us home. There is a reason for everything, including suffering. Society tells us that we should do everything to stay away from pain. God tells us that it is a blessing and a way to unite ourselves with Christ. Offering up your pain to God pleases Him because you are showing Him that you are willing to suffer for Him.


Monday, October 27, 2008

The Teen Dating Scene

Normally, we take questions from teenagers, but today we make an exception and take a question from a mother and her teen daughter. We're also doing things a little differently by having two authors of the answer.

Q: This is from me (a mom!) and my lovely 16-year-old daughter, who recently started away-school after being homeschooled from kindergarten until high school.

Mom says dating is for when a) you know you are called to the vocation of marriage and b) you are at a point in life when marriage is a possibility (say, late college-age, or at least when there is some spiritual and intellectual maturity and a job!). Dating is not a game, and is bad preparation for marriage to be constantly hooking up, getting romantic and/or intimate, then breaking up ... and going onto a new person. Modern dating was never envisioned by the Church, so there are no "rules" for it. But it's easy to see how harmful it is to be playing at love without looking for a person to spend the rest of your life with. So, at this age, I think having male friends is fine, going out in groups is fine, but "pairing off" is a bad idea. St. Francis de Sales says: "... if you hope to enter into a temporal marriage, guard jealously your first love for your first husband. In my opinion it is very deceitful to present him with a heart quite worn out, spoiled, and weary with love instead of a whole and sincere heart."

Daughter says she isn't going to get physically intimate with a guy, she just wants to have fun and see what its like to have a guy totally crushing on her. All her friends at school are dating. What's the big deal? Unless the Church comes out with some statement against dating, there is nothing wrong with it.

What's your take on this?

A: As a couple who has recently started dating, we would like to point out the seriousness of an intimate human relationship. There is great joy and pleasure in dating, but there is so much more than just feelings and fun. A relationship based solely off of feelings will only end in broken feelings.

Your daughter "wants to have fun and see what it's like to have a guy totally crushing on her," and this is normal. But the question is: is this an adequate reason to date a guy?

We say no. This way of doing things is totally unfair to both parties. Using a guy to get his attention and to "have fun" is just that, using a guy. She would be screwing with this guy's thoughts and feelings. Also, in a sense, deceiving him and betraying his trust. Isn't this simply using the way that he thinks and feels about her solely for self-pleasure?

What many young women don't realize is that solely seeking emotional closeness has the same addictive qualities as guys seeking physical pleasure. A woman can become addicted to an "emotional masturbation," enjoying the waves of pleasure coming not from physical stimulation (as it happens for guys) but from the emotional stimulation. If not guided spiritually, this will lead to a self-centered relationship with a long list of abuses.

To have a truly joyful and fun relationship, the spiritual aspects need to be set on a higher level than the physical and emotional. This can be done with maturity, prayer, and counsel. It is not something to be taken lightly, but something that needs to be respected and honored as sacred.

Kristina and Paul

Sunday, October 26, 2008


Who am I? That's a question that could take a lifetime to answer. But lets see here ... my name is Kristina Marie. For those who are curious, that means Christ-bearer. And that pretty much sums up my goals, my ambitions, and my dreams. I'm a freshman at Aquinas College this year, pursuing a degree in psychology. As for what I want to do as a career; jail ministry, counseling, social work, and youth ministry are all possible directions I could take. Sometimes I wish that I could live more than one life in order to accomplish everything I'd like to do.

I play guitar. I write poetry. I love being with people. My family is incredible. I was homeschooled for most of my life. I LOVE fruit. I tend to be a very deep person, yet at the same time I'm always made fun of for my naivety. Honestly, I'm still trying to discover who I am, where I am going, what I want, what God wants, and all those hard questions that take forever to answer. Life is good though. I enjoy the journey.

I am blessed.


They call me Paul. I'm a 19 year old freshman at Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. I am the sixth of nine kids, including two adopted siblings. Born and raised Roman Catholic in the tiny town of Hubbardston. I am a Theology major with plans on being a youth minister in the future. I'm active in Students for Life and Catholic ministries. I enjoy following and discussing politics, especially the pro-life campaign. I love hanging out with friends, watching a good movie, playing Wii, and listening to all kinds of music.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Friday, October 24, 2008

Being an Individual

Q: I am the type of girl who doesn’t have many acquaintance friends but like five very close friends. Because of this, I usually do stuff by myself and I like it. I get along fine with people but I enjoy doing stuff on my own like going to the mall. I also do not like parties or group projects. Parties bore me to death unless one of my close friends is having a small one. Is it normal to want to be individual about a lot of stuff?

A: Well, you know, since I’m a practicing Catholic, homeschooled, and come from a so-called “large” family (seven kids including me), today’s society would consider me a complete and utter freak. (I’m also a very radical person.) Keeping that in mind, I may not be the best person to give an answer depicting what is normal and what is not, but I’m going to answer this question anyway.

It’s not really whether or not it’s considered normal that’s important, but is this okay. Do you know the saying “stand for what’s right, even if you stand alone”? This statement illustrates my point wonderfully. Even if you’re not considered normal, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re messed up or anything. If you’re a very private person then that’s fine. It’s not like that’s a sin or some disease or disorder. Being private is part of your personality and God made you that way for a reason. But anyway, your question: Is it normal? I think so. There are plenty of other people out there who are quiet, soft-spoken, or private people. I’m that way and I’ve got friends like that too. (Of course, I’m “abnormal” don’t forget that.)

And one more thing, in some way or other, and maybe more or less, we are called to be in communion with others. It is okay to be private as long as it’s not out of selfishness and that’s just the way you are.


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Breaking Off a Friendship

Q: How do I break off an unhealthy three-year friendship? She lies about serious things and is always making sarcastic remarks about my family. I have tried to be a good friend but this friendship puts me on an emotional roller coaster. Don’t tell me to just avoid her. That’s impossible.

A: Unfortunately, avoiding her is not only impossible, it’s one of the worst ways of ending a friendship. Avoiding someone who you no longer want to be friends with ends up hurting both of you in the long run. The other person often feels neglected and discarded, and usually does not see the reason for your sudden cold shoulder. Resentment, pain, and anger on both sides are all very common when this situation arises.

The best way to break off an unhealthy friendship is also the hardest, because it involves you talking to her about it. Sit your friend down and tell her you are unhappy with your friendship and need it to end. The key is to do it nicely, but firmly. Don’t make accusations and don’t start a screaming match. Simply explain to her why you feel you can no longer be her friend, and see what she thinks. Listen to her, and make sure both sides of the story are clear.

Then, after everything that needs to be said has been said, stick to your decision. Don’t call her up when all of your other friends are out at a movie without you. Don’t pretend to be “best friends” when you have no one to sit with at lunch. This will just end up in confusion and her feeling as though you are using her, bringing you right back to the resentment and anger you tried to avoid. Losing a friend is very difficult to get through, but remember: everything is okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.

A few years ago, Rachel Simmons wrote a book called Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls, which talks about the different struggles that girls go through – with their family, friends, and schoolmates. She wrote a follow up book this past year, Odd Girl Speaks Out, in which she published stories of girls who had read her book and wanted to tell about their experiences. These books offer some wonderful advice on how to deal with a range of things that girls encounter through the teenage years, especially unhealthy friendships. I highly recommend that you check either of these out of the library for a quick, easy, and very insightful read.

Maureen D.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Practicing and Studying Wicca

Q: I’ve been raised as a Roman Catholic against my will, baptized when I was too young to understand. I never really believed in God. Then I stumbled upon the religion Wicca. I’ve been practicing and studying this for about three months. In secret, of course. How do I tell my parents?

A: Struggling with your faith is a natural part of life, only made more difficult when you feel completely detached from what you have been raised to believe. When I graduated from high school, I spent a period of time in a form of religious limbo – not really sure what to believe or where to find the faith I wanted. During that time, a good friend of mine asked me if I had even bothered looking at the faith that I was so adamant about running away from. As it turns out, I found all of the answers I needed and more simply by taking what had always been my parents’ beliefs and embracing them as my own.

I think the first step you need to take, before walking away from the Roman Catholic faith you have been baptized into, involves looking deeper into what the Roman Catholic Church believes and preaches. What does the Church teach that you agree with? That you disagree with? Why is it hard to imagine that God really is out there? (On this note, St. Thomas Aquinas has some wonderful books to read if you’re interested in some good food for thought.)

Struggling with your faith is something that almost everyone goes through, but not something anyone should go through alone. Talk to your parents about their beliefs and why they chose to raise you Catholic. Ask your friends where they stand on their journey towards faith, and talk to a priest or youth group minister at your local church about any questions that come up. Before you denounce the Catholic faith, look a little harder – you just might realize there’s more you believe in than you thought.

Maureen D.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Friday, October 17, 2008

Catholic Church Position On Stem Cell Research

Q: Why are Catholics so against stem cell research? It could help so many people.

A: This is a misconception many people have. The Catholic Church is not against stem cell research, but is against fetal stem cell research. We agree that adult stem cells can and has helped many people.

The Catholic Church does not support fetal stem cell research because it destroys a living human embryo in order to extract the embryo’s stem cells. The Church teaches that all life is sacred, from conception until natural death.

If our government can choose to destroy an unborn human life for the greater good, then soon it will also become their right to decide to dispose of terminally ill patients and condemned prisoners.

We must also consider the long-term consequences of fetal stem cell research. Once the limited supplies of human embryos are destroyed, where will the additional embryos come from? The answer is egg extraction, something already happening in California and England. Egg extraction is an extremely painful and dangerous process for women. It also destroys women’s dignity by stripping them of their natural instinct as caregivers and selling their own infants.

Adult stem cell research does cure disease. There have been over 70 debilitating diseases that have either been treated or cured with stem cell research. So far there have been no benefits in embryonic stem cell research. Also adult stem cell research does not harm the donor and is much easier to extract. Some ways they extract the stem cells include blood from the umbilical cord, dental pulp, and the placenta.

If we support embryonic stem cell research then we neither respect the life God gave us nor are we responsible caretakers of the earth and our babies as God meant us to be.

I hope this has answered your question.

God bless,

Thursday, October 16, 2008


We have added three more teens to the No Question Left Behind team. You will be meeting them over the next few weeks. For today, meet Mary.

My name is Mary and I am the second oldest of a blended family of seven kids. I'm 16 and a high school junior. I'm co-enrolled at the local community college. I love shooting sports and have competed at the national and international level. We recently moved from the city to the country and I love pond hockey. I also love hanging out with my friends, music, and crafts. I hope to be a paramedic someday and perhaps a missionary to China.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Cloned Humans and Souls

Q: The whole cloning issue has been all over the news and newspapers. I have one question: Would a cloned baby have a soul?

A: Yes, a cloned baby would have a soul because Catholics believe that it takes a soul to make a human body. Also, Catholics believe that a body must have a spirit. The Latin word for spirit is spiritus and the meaning of this word is breath. So, in order for a body to live it must have breath and in that case it must have a spirit and a soul.


Monday, October 13, 2008

The Bible, Pornography, and Evil

Q: Where does the Bible deal with or talk about the evil of porn?

A: In the times of the Bible there really wasn’t pornography like we have now. Back then they obviously didn’t have photographs, the Internet, or television. There was adultery in those times, and according to the Bible (Mt. 5:27-29) pornography falls under adultery. In these three verses Jesus says: “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” When Jesus says “lust” he means thoughts of immoral behavior or behaving immorally.

So if you like someone, or feel attracted to somebody, that’s not adultery. It becomes the sin of adultery when you lust over someone or an image. In the Bible, Saint Paul says to the Corinthians in 6:18-20, “Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.” That pretty much reinstates what I said before about lust but also tells us that respecting our bodies is respecting the Lord.

There might be more about adultery and subjects related to it in the Bible but those verses seem the most clear about teachings on pornography. So, those quotes from Jesus and Paul basically address your question. In few sentences, Jesus and Paul tell us pornography is adultery. Adultery goes against the law of God.

Friday, October 10, 2008

How to Live a Holy Life

Q: How do we live holy lives? It is too hard with my friends always trying to talk me into stuff I know is wrong. How do I get the strength to say yes to God and no to my friends?

A: Deepen your love for God; learn more about Him. The more you come to know God the easier it will become for you to say yes to Him. Strength comes from God; you can get it by spending time with Him in prayer and time in front of the Blessed Sacrament. Also, you can find extra help from graces like: weekday Mass, confession, praying the rosary, wearing a scapular, sacrifice, and fasting. Make an effort to do some of these things. It makes a huge difference! When your friends challenge you, say a quick prayer, a Hail Mary, ask the Holy Spirit for the right words. Before you go to school or anywhere with your friends, ask for the intercession of a saint. Just live it! Live the holy life for real!


Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Catholic Politicians and Personal Beliefs

Q: I’ve heard Catholic politicians say that religion is a private matter and should have nothing to do with public policy. Is it okay for them to ignore personal religious beliefs when making laws?

A: No, it’s not okay. No matter what we do, whether it is politics or anything else, God and our religion should be a priority. For example, many politicians say that abortion is a personal thing, and that it is up to you if you want to murder an innocent child. This is wrong. To go and defy all moral laws and one’s own religion like that is plain wrong. No matter your reasons, nothing can justify such an act. Your “personal religious beliefs” are important and you should never compromise them to get elected or for any reason. Blessed Teresa of Calcutta once said, “I believe that politicians spend too little time on their knees. I am convinced that they would be better politicians if they were to do so.”


Monday, October 6, 2008

Praying the Rosary Boring

Q: My mom wants us to pray the rosary every night as a family, but I think it is boring. It is just the same prayers over and over again, and it takes too long.

A: The rosary doesn’t have to be boring, even if “it is just the same prayers over and over again.” The rosary has a meditative quality that allows us to reflect on Jesus’ life, and forget about our own worries, fears, and anger. When praying the rosary try to meditate on the mystery you are presently on. For example, say you are on the first sorrowful mystery, The Agony in the Garden, meditate on Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus knows that He is going to die. He knows He will be humiliated and tortured. He prays to His Father asking if there is another way. He is so stressed that He sweats blood, but in the end Jesus says, “not my will, but thine, be done.” (Lk. 22:42b) Even though he is so afraid that he sweats blood, he is still willing to die for our sake. Wow! Now, surely that’s not boring, and you could spend a few minutes meditating on that. As for the rosary taking too long, is taking twenty minutes to contemplate on the life of Jesus so hard? Is it so hard for you to take twenty minutes a day out of your 1,440 to pray the rosary?


Saturday, October 4, 2008

Friday, October 3, 2008

Rice Hosts and Communion

Q: My little brother has celiac disease, which will keep him from receiving communion when the time comes. Eating wheat would make him violently sick and could even cause him to die. A host is made of wheat. This disease is a real burden on a Catholic who wants to take the Eucharist. Can he take a rice host?

A: No, he can’t take a rice host. I’m told that back before China made it illegal to believe in God, Chinese Catholics asked if they could have rice hosts because rice is such a large part of their diet and they didn’t grow a lot of wheat, but they were refused because the bread that Jesus broke at the Last Supper was wheat bread.

I can relate to you though because my six-year-old brother also has celiac disease. Your little brother will be able to take the wine, which is just as much a part of the Eucharist as the bread. Although he’ll have to have some of it set aside for him because the priest will put the crumbs from the host into the chalice.

There are some religious sisters who came up with a host that contains 0.01% gluten. Their recipe is approved by the Church to be consecrated, but your parents should talk the matter over with your brother’s doctor first. My parents decided not to let my brother use the new host since he is still growing and even the littlest amount of gluten can damage his intestines, making him vulnerable for more than twenty diseases including lymphoma.


Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Dealing with Doubts

Q: Lately I have had a lot of doubts about everything that I stand for as a Christian. Everything in my life seems to be going lousy. My family is always yelling. I don’t think my mom and I can ever have a peaceful conversation. I don’t understand why all this is going on. A friend of mine said that it isn’t my fault and that my mom is just going through stuff and I should understand. She said all I have to do is have faith. I pray all the time, but it doesn’t work. Everything is just so overwhelming at times and I don’t know what do to.

A: A lot of people doubt their faith at times in their lives, especially when their lives seem to be full of pain or dismay. Questioning your faith is not wrong or something to be ashamed of – it shows that you’re human. Imagine how empty your faith would be if you simply believed it because someone told you to believe. The thing to be careful of is the temptation to throw away your faith when times are hard. Just because you can’t see God’s answers to your prayers doesn’t mean He’s not listening.

In his book, Why Bad Things Happen to Good People, Rabbi Harold Kushner references the Book of Job from the Old Testament in order to explain suffering in this world. He notes that in the story of Job, the reader makes three assumptions: 1) God is an all powerful being, in control of everything that happens in the world; 2) God is a just God, who gives every person what they deserve; 3) Job is a good person. The problem that comes up is that only two of these are plausible at one time – if Job is a good person, and God is in control of everything that happens, then God cannot be a just God for letting Job suffer the way he does. Likewise, if God is a just God and is in charge of everything that happens, then Job cannot be a good person. Kushner’s resolution is that maybe God is not in charge of everything that happens in this world. Kushner points out that instead of seeing God as in charge of the suffering in our lives, as One who controls the bad things that happen to us, we must start seeing God as experiencing with us the suffering in our lives, as One who gives us strength to pull through when we have none.

Life wasn’t meant to be easy, and nobody can claim that it’s fair all the time. Everyone suffers at some point in his or her life. The trick is to learn how to work through the chaos around you. Some people listen to music, others take long walks, and others turn to creating art when they feel overwhelmed. One thing that I have found very helpful in dealing with hard times in my life is talking about it with someone I trust, such as a friend, a teacher, a priest. By not talking about what’s bothering you, all of that pain and anger is bottled up deep inside of you, which will only keep you unhappy in the future.

Maureen D.