Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Church Goers Hypocrites

Q: The people in our church are a bunch of hypocrites. They act like they’re all holy on Sunday, then during the week they don’t even think about God. What’s the deal with that?

A: That's how a lot of people are; sometimes it’s not on purpose. We’re all sinners. Maybe the deal is that they are not sure why they’re Catholic anymore. Maybe they think going to Mass on Sunday is enough. The thing is that you will never know. So when you see these people on the weekdays, start up a conversation about what you liked in the homily, or how you love the church community. Being a good example is important, even if they are adults. Have you ever considered that you might be doing the same thing? There is a verse in the Bible that says you should not be so concerned with what the people around you are doing wrong, rather look at yourself and fix your problems first so that you can help others better. (Mt. 7:3-5)


Monday, April 27, 2009

What's So Bad About Cussing

Q: Why is cursing so bad? If the word is used without meaning harm to anyone, then who would be offended? Also, if curse words change with the times then wouldn’t any word I use in place of a curse word be just as bad?

A: Cursing is almost always wrong because you are usually doing it in a hateful or violent way. Even doing it out of habit is not a good thing, because when you are angry you will use bad words out of hate and violence. The Bible tells us that if we can’t say anything nice, we shouldn’t say anything at all (Sir. 19:10). It also tells us to use proper language by ourselves and around others (Jas 1:19). Chapter 3 of James is a good read. It’s all about taming our tongues, as also are the chapters of 19 to 23 in Sirach.

Most of the time curse words don’t change over time, usually someone just adds a new word to use as a curse. Yes, using another word in place of a bad word is just as wrong as using the real thing, because you are doing it with meaning you’re doing it with anger. If you stubbed your toe and said “OH SHOOT!!!” that’s not bad, because you are reacting out of surprise and you’re not even saying anything wrong. But if you were angry about something and you replaced a curse with a regular word that would still be bad because you are trying to be offensive.

So the answer to your question is: cursing is wrong, even if you’re saying it without meaning. Because you know the word you are using is wrong but you are saying it anyway. And if you use a word in place of a curse word that is just as bad as a curse. But if you use a regular word when you are surprised or something like that then it is not wrong because you are not using a curse word, and because you are not using that word out of anger and offense.


Sunday, April 26, 2009

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Friday, April 24, 2009

How Did Adam and Eve Populate the Earth

Q: How did Adam and Eve populate the earth without brothers and sisters getting married? This may seem like a silly question, but it has been bugging me.

A: The Catholic Church does not side with either monogenism (an original pair of two human beings) or polygenism (more than one couple of people from the beginning of the human race). The Church does not have a stance on this because each theory does not have enough evidence to prove itself correct. This is a great mystery that will probably never be solved here on earth.

Just to explain this a little we’ll start with monogenism, if the theory of monogenism is true then Adam and Eve really were our first parents and every thing that the Bible says in the start of Genesis is completely accurate and brothers and sisters did marry each other. If the theory of polygenism is true than there were multiple couples from the beginning of our race, and the Bible just didn’t mention it so brothers and sisters didn’t marry each other. The funny thing about this is: in Genesis chapter four is the story of Cain and Abel, in this story Cain gets jealous of his brother Abel and kills him. So God banishes Cain from Eden. Now keep in mind Cain and Abel are descendants of Adam and Eve. Well, the Bible goes on to say that Cain marries a wife and has kids, and then it goes down a list of all Cain’s descendants. If you look closely at chapter four you will see that Cain was banished from Eden to the land of Nod, and married a wife in Nod. If he was banished to Nod and married a wife, where did his wife come from? Was she banished from Eden too? Did the Bible not mention every detail? This is probably the biggest part of the mystery of our origin. These reasons are part of why the Church is undecided on this. Without getting into any more detail, I’ll just say if you look at Genesis 1-6 you’ll see these little details that make our origin a mystery. So there is no positive answer to your question. Even great theologians disagree on this subject.


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Where Did the Bible Come From

Q: Where did the Bible come from?

A: The Bible is the Word of God written by humans inspired by the Holy Spirit over a period of almost one thousand years. God, through them, is the primary writer of the Bible, and therefore the Bible is without error. “To compose the sacred books, God chose certain men who, all the while employed them in this task, made full use of their own faculties and powers so that, though he acted in them and by them, is was as true authors that they consigned to writing whatever he wanted written, and no more.” (CCC, 106) The Old Testament was written in Hebrew, and some Aramaic and a little Greek. The New Testament was originally written in Greek. The Bible was later translated by hand, and, as the archeological discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls indicates, are remarkably accurate.


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Review: Glory

Review by Natalie

During the struggle for freedom in the Civil War, the 54th Massachusetts’ regiment lead by Colonel Robert Gould Shaw are faced with prejudice as they fight to free the slaves and to maintain the union of America. Matthew Broderick, Denzel Washington, Cary Elwes and Morgan Freeman star in this passionate and powerful film. Shaw (Broderick) the determined and yet compassionate Colonel, asks his friend, Forbes (Elwes) to serve as major under his command. The two accept the position of leading the first regiment of black soldiers which became known as the “glory regiment.” (Freeman) is the courageous captain who forms the troops, the fugitive slave (Washington) is the soldier who demonstrates the true union spirit.

What I like about this movie is that it brings history to life and reminds us of the many sacrifices made by our brethren. Denzel Washington gives an excellent and very moving performance. I loved the fatherly leadership of Shaw portrayed by Matthew Broderick. Morgan Freeman and Cary Elwes give good performances as the spirited officers.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Mary's Yes

Q: Was Jesus dissing his mother by calling her “Woman” in John 2:4?

A. When Jesus addresses His mother as “woman,” He wasn’t referring to her as just any woman, but thee woman. She is the woman who made it possible for heaven to be open to us by saying “yes” to God. Through her came Christ and through Him came the salvation of man. They are referred to as the “new Adam and new Eve” because unlike the first Adam and Eve who disobeyed and blocked the way to heaven, the new Adam and Eve, Jesus and Mary, were faithful to God and made the way for us. “Woman” is a special name for Mary that both God and Jesus call her, because of her special part in the plan for saving the human race.


Sunday, April 19, 2009

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Friday, April 17, 2009

My Friend is Depressed

Q: My friend is really depressed. How do I help her feel better? Is there something in the Bible that will help her?

A: Point out to her the positives about herself and the life God has given her. Tell her that God will provide, and help her through the hard times. A good place to look in the Bible for support is the Beatitudes. Matthew 5:3-8, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”

Remind her that God is always there for her and that she can turn to Him in time of need. Also, reassure her that you will be her friend until the end.


Help Lines:

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Is it Okay to be a Cafeteria Catholic

Q: Can you be a Catholic and not agree with everything the Church teaches?

A: Basically, it’s just not a good idea to disagree with the teachings of the Church. The doctrines of the Church are infallible, meaning that the Church cannot err when it teaches a doctrine about faith or morals. However, it’s important to note that the Church is not infallible on matters of politics. It’s perfectly okay to disagree with, say, the Vatican’s position of diplomacy with China or Iraq, but it’s not okay to disagree that Mary was born without sin.


Monday, April 13, 2009

Christians and the Trinity

Q: Why do we talk about God as father, son, and a spirit? Muslims believe in only one god. Why do Christians believe in three?

A: We don’t have three gods, but three persons in one God: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. That is kind of hard to explain. In fact, no one on this earth knows the answer to it; the Church teaches that it is a “mystery.” Also keep in mind that in the Apostles Creed we say, “I believe in one god.” If you’re willing to do a bit of research you can find some great stuff on the Trinity in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC, 232-267).


Saturday, April 11, 2009

Friday, April 10, 2009

Dealing with Leukemia and Friends

Q: I have leukemia and so I can’t go to school. I have a tutor at home. My old friends don’t come over any more. My mom says that they probably don’t know if it’s all right to talk to me about my leukemia. I don’t mind talking about it because it helps me. I’m bald because of chemo and that might make them uncomfortable too. My pastor does come see me a lot and I like that.

Any ideas about what I can do to get my friends to come over and what I can do to pass the time? I’m bored a lot.

A: I know all of the answers on this blog are supposed to be answered by your peers, but I just have to answer this one myself. You see, I kind of know how you feel. When I was thirteen-years old, I had back surgery. Afterward, I was put into a body cast and bedridden for six months.

My friends were afraid to visit me for a long time. In fact, after my best friend came to visit upon my return home from the hospital, she didn’t come back. It was understandable why. I had been brought home by an ambulance, still groggy from pain medication, wearing a body cast from my chin to the top of my legs, and put into a hospital bed in the middle of my family’s living room. I was quite a sight.

When I didn’t see my girlfriend for a whole week, I gave her a call. I figured out that she must’ve felt uncomfortable around me, so I was totally upfront with her. I told her that it was okay to talk about my surgery; I didn’t mind at all. I also let her know how much I missed her company. Slowly, but surely, she started coming over more and more until she got in the habit of visiting everyday after school. After a while, she started bringing our friends from the neighborhood too.

I suggest that you call your closest friend and let him know that you would like him to come around more often. Tell him that you know that it may be uncomfortable for him at first. It’ll only take a few visits for him to get use to your appearance and to be open to talking about your leukemia. Once that happens, ask him to bring another friend now and then.

When he does come, make the visit fun. Play some games, catch up on all the latest news from school, make favorite snacks, watch a movie (something uplifting), or play video games. Let him see that you can still enjoy yourself.

One thing I remember is that my tutor only came to my house for two hours a day. This gave me a lot of free time to kill, especially considering my friends were in school more than six hours. I read a lot (which requires geeky prism glasses when you’re forced to lay flat on your back – no sitting). If you’re not a big reader, but like a good story, listen to audio books. You can borrow them free from the library.

I strongly suggest learning a new skill. If you like music, learn the guitar. If you like computer work, learn web design. Think about how cool it will be when your friends, family, or pastor come to visit and you can show off your new skill. So, think hard about what interests you and what you can learn at home.

I have to say that I believe a lot of my character was formed during my time of convalescence. I learned a lot about patience and humility. Most importantly, I learned how to appreciate the little things in life (like being able to sit and walk!). I pray that you will be well soon, and that this experience will have a lot of positive outcomes for you. God bless!

Mrs. Wittmann

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Handling Racial Bigotry in School

Q: This guy at school makes racist remarks every time he passes me. I can’t ignore it anymore. Is there any way to handle this guy without a big fight?

A: There are several options you can take in this situation. One option is telling a counselor at school, someone who is not going to punish the student, but who can arrange a time for the two of you to sit down and will mediate a discussion. Another option is to notify someone who may talk with the guy individually, again, a counselor, a principal, or teacher, someone who will take time and let him know that his behavior is unacceptable. Try to make sure they either say, “We have heard some inappropriate comments from you,” or “Some people have brought to our attention that…” Anything to exclude your name or part in this. You want them to allow him to know there is a problem and others are noticing the inappropriate behavior.

In addition to bringing others into the situation, like I mentioned above, you could try to be overly nice to this guy. This places you in a proactive position instead of a reactive one. I have heard multiple times that hate breeds hate. The only way to conquer hate is by love. It will be a very difficult task; it takes a big person to be kind to someone who is disrespectful. Kill him with kindness and see what happens.


Monday, April 6, 2009

Asking Jesus into Your Heart

Q: A friend told me that the only way you were Christian was if you “asked Jesus into your heart.” What is my friend talking about?

A: Your friend is talking about the way he views having a personal relationship with Christ. Some Christians think that the way to become a Christian and gain salvation is by simply asking Jesus to be their personal Lord and Savior. It is true that we need to have a relationship with Christ, but we, in order to become a true Christian, need to be baptized.


Sunday, April 5, 2009

John Paul the Great Catholic University in California

A friend of mine visited this university looking for a school that would help her attain her dream of being a television producer someday. She was so impressed she'll be attending this fall.
John Paul the Great Catholic University is a visionary teaching institution focused on and dedicated to molding students into future innovators and creators, leaders and entrepreneurs. Students have the opportunity to acquire a deep and personal knowledge of Jesus Christ. Catholic ethical, moral, and social values provide a guiding compass for everything we do.

JP Catholic University currently offers two Bachelor of Science degree programs and with its year round structure students finish their degree program in 3 years.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Friday, April 3, 2009

Catholics and Crucifixes

Q: A Protestant friend told me that we shouldn’t have crucifixes, but bare crosses, because we are to worship Jesus risen, not Jesus crucified, and because He is no longer on the cross. What do you think of this argument?

A. When I look at a crucifix, I am reminded of what Jesus went through for me. It is humbling, and makes me think about the unconditional love He has for us. Jesus risen is a wonderful thing to reflect on, and I agree that it is very important to us as Christians, but I think that the crucifix holds a special meaning too. Therefore it is not wrong for us to have crucifixes.


Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Does Atheism Make Sense

Q: What do you say to somebody who tells you that he is an atheist?

A: I like an argument a guy named Blaise Pascal used. Atheism doesn’t make much sense because if you die as an atheist and it turns out that there is a God, then you could end up in hell. But if you die as a follower of God and it turns out that there is no God, you haven't lost anything. It’s not a very strong argument for believing in God if someone doesn’t already, but it is a very strong argument against atheism.