"When was the last time you experienced your Catholic faith under attack?"

By Paul Dion, STL

"You will be hated by all because of my name,
but not a hair on your head will be destroyed."
(Gospel of Luke, chapter 21, verse18)

This is the story that will be read to us all on Sunday, November 18. is a Catholic Lifestyle Magazine. It is perhaps the only one in the world. It is a place where you can read about what it means to believe in God and to relate to Him by being Catholic. It is also a place where you can read about how other people live out their lives while being Catholic.

So is a place that does not only preach Catholicism but teaches it by showing how to live it through the example of other believers. As you all know there are other forces in the world that actually try to make it difficult for us Catholics to stay comfortable in our beliefs and actually attack us through ridicule and disparagement about our beliefs.

They are also sneaky about it sometimes through what they show us on television, in the movies and on the Internet. Sometimes they are so sneaky about it that we don't realize what is happening until a day or two later when we think about it again.

The Burning Question this week addresses our Catholic Lifestyle and the times in the near past when we felt that our religion was being attacked, or laughed at on television, in the movies, on the Internet and even in conversations at school, at work or even just in friendly conversation at a game or in the mall.

"When was the last time you experienced your Catholic faith under attack? How did you react?"

Tell us what happened.


"Why do we call it the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass?"

By Paul Dion, STL

This morning I started a new curriculum about the relationship between the Bible and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. I was quickly surrounded by 15 eager adults, wondering what I was going to say first. I did what I always do, I asked the persons in the group if they had any questions.
The first question was, "What is a sacrifice". We discussed that for about 10 minutes. The definition that were given by the people in the room were very good, exact and correct in fact.
The discussion went over to the next question which was, "Why do we call it the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass?" The person who formulated this question is a highly educated daily Mass goer with a high educational achievement and a strong spiritual life.

To this question, no one in the room had a really strongly acceptable answer. So I spent five minutes answering it. After saying all this, I invite you all to share your answer to the question:

"Why do we call it the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass?"

Let us know your thoughts. Leave a comment below.
Or if you want to take a peek at the answer, CLICK HERE.

Why is First Communion so Important?

By Paul Dion, STL

This week we move on from the study of the sacrament of Baptism to the study of the sacrament of the Eucharist.For the most part, we move into the knowledge of the Eucharist because we prepare for First Communion.

Truth to tell, this preparation is the opening that we have to the "process" and the "obligation" of the Holy Mass. For the vast majority of us it is the first exposure that we have to the party caused by a spiritual event.

There are not too many of us who remember the party that followed our infant baptism. If we were first or second born of a fairly large family, we may have vague recollections of what happened on the occasion of the baptism of our younger siblings.

At that time, we had no idea why this was a big deal. But now, at the time of First Communion, we had some kind of an idea. On top of the spiritual happiness, we also had the great feeling that the bucks were rolling in. By the way, this was true in 1943 too. I remember it well. Then my parents took it and bought War Bonds for me. Yuk!

Let me tell you a little story about First Communion.

You all know that there are some sacraments that can be received only once in life. I was preparing some adult people for Baptism one year not too long ago. As a review of some of the topics that we had mentioned and studied in the not too distant past, I asked them what sacraments could be received only once in a lifetime. You guessed it, one "swift-boater" answered, "FIRST Communion". I am still laughing out loud about that one.

So OK, as an aside to the Burning Question, do you know what the "other" three are?
And don't forget to answer the Burning Question: Why is First Communion so Important?

CLICK HERE to view the theological answer to this burning question.



Holy Baptism holds the first place among the sacraments, because it is the door of the spiritual life; for by it we are made members of Christ and incorporated with the Church. And since through the first man death entered into all, unless we be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, we can not enter into the Kingdom of Heaven, as Truth Himself has told us.
Because this is the very most important sacrament in the life of the Church there is a very well developed theology and Catechism to support it.
One of the very first things to know about Baptism is who the eligible "BAPTIZERS" are. The answer to this is one of the first things that Catholics learn when they are admitted to "CCD" or "Faith Formation Programs". The ordinary BAPTIZER, we call him the ordinary minister of baptism is the priest. Most Catholics bring a child to the church, present the infant to the priest who presides and performs the sacrament. But there are extraordinary ministers of Baptism too. Who are they?

Besides the conferring of baptism by a minister, there are other forms of "baptism". These different types of baptism have existed for a long time in the church. Can you name them?

If you care to peek around the corner to get the answers, click here.


"What is a Sacrament? How many are there?"

By Paul Dion, STL

Dominus Vobiscum!

Being Catholic is a special calling. It is not easy to be Catholic. There are so many balls that we have to keep in the air at the same time. We have Saints, Martyrs, The Virgin Mary, Mass on every Sunday, Holy Communion, Holy Water, the Rosary, Priests whom we call "Father", House Blessings, a different "Ten Commandments", a different Bible, a Pope and Sacraments. You all know that the list does not stop there, but realizes that you do not have all day.
The BURNING QUESTION is going to look a little bit different to you from today forward. It will remain a test of what you know about what it means to be Catholic, but we will give you the opportunity to peek around the corner and get the answer to the question. You won't have to tell anyone that you did not know it. It will be a loving secret between you and God.

If you want to disagree with us, you are welcome to do so. The "comment" button will remain accessible to you. Another feature that will be important to you will be the continuity of the general area of knowledge of the questions. for instance, this week we are starting a series of questions about the Sacraments of the Catholic Church. You will therefore be able to anticipate what the next question will be from week to week.

Finally, we want to encourage you to jump on your computer and ask us to clarify doubts that you may have about the sacraments. There are a lot of questions that are hanging around out there. If you are harboring one of those, let us know and we will address your concerns respectfully and professionally.

Our first in this new series of BURNING QUESTIONS under this new policy is teh following:


CLICK HERE to take a peek at the answer to this Burning Question
Or post a comment below.


"What did Pope Pius XII define about the mystery of the Assumption in 1950?"

By Paul Dion, STL

On Wednesday, August 15, Catholics around the world are going to be celebrating the feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This day marks a moment in Catholic life that is very special.

For centuries Catholics believed in the Assumption and celebrated its solemnly every year. It was a Holy Day of Obligation and the churches were filled with faithful. This celebration took place even though the Assumption was not a defined doctrine of the Church.

Finally, after centuries of unanimous loving celebration and of deep faith in this mystery, Pope Pius XII pronounced the mystery of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary as a doctrine of faith for all Catholics.

The Burning Question of the week is this: "Just what is it that Pope Pius XII defined about the mystery of the Assumption on that famous day in 1950?"

If you feel up to it, reach into your memory and tell us how many times a Pope has exercised the ex cathedra grace of his infallibility in the history of the Church?

The answer to this question is presented to you in all its wonderful glory in our KNOWING OUR FAITH SECTION under the "The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary by Jim Van Vurst, O. F. M." Click the title to read the article and the story. TThe second part of the


Is Yoga and the Catholic faith compatible?

By Wally Arida
Publisher & Editor in chief

At we do our best to pr0vide our readers with articles and materials that we feel are relevant to our everyday practice of our Catholic faith.

This article, "Catholic faith and Yoga," was originally published in May 24, 2007. As you can imagine, it generated some comments and questions from our readers who are practitioners of Yoga.

We invite you to read this article throughly - including the comments from our readers and from our Theology editors. Please share your thoughts with us. It is our hope that through this blog post we can enlighten you on the merits and pitfalls of the practice from a truly Catholic perspective. We also pray this article gives you a clearer guideline on what the Catholic Church teaches about the matter.

CLICK HERE to view this article and all related comments to this topic.


What are the official colors of the Catholic Liturgy and what do they signify?

By Paul Dion, STL

As you all know, we Catholics have a lot to look forward to every Sunday. We know that when we get to church we will meet our friends and companions in Christ; we will hear a new hymn or two (we hope), we will hear different stories from the Bible than we heard the last Sunday and lately, we have seen a lot of colors flash before our eyes during the ceremonies.

This coming Sunday is the feast of Pentecost. This is the Sunday when we celebrate the filling of our heart with the Holy Spirit, the Advocate that Jesus promised us. This is the last Sunday when our altar decorations and priest vestments will have the last splash of a color other than green for a while.

The colors of Catholic Liturgy are symbols of our faith. They teach us a lesson about the mystery that we are celebrating during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

The question then is this:

"Do you know What the official liturgical colors of the Catholic Liturgy are and what do they signify?"
Let us know what you think. Post your answers below. They don't have to be complete asnwers. Just give us the ones you know.

Come Holy thursday, should women be among 12 whose feet will be washed?"

By Paul Dion, STL

There are a lot of fashions making the rounds in the celebration of Holy Week Solemnities. One of them concerns the washing of the feet of the "twelve Apostles on Holy Thursday. Some churches include women in the line-up of the twelve people who get their feet washed. has an opinion about this and so does the Church. What is yours?

Do you think that the line-up of the twelve people who will get their feet weashed by the pastor of the parish should incude women?

Post a comment today and share your thoughts with the rest of our readers/. In a few days we will post the response to the Burning Question.


"Why did you participate in the celebration of the Ashes ceremony?"

By Paul Dion, STL

Ash Wednesday is a very popular day on the Catholic calendar. It is attractive to people for many reasons. Some of the attraction comes from the fact that many people don't have the slightest idea why the date of this popular Catholic event keeps changing from year to year.

Another part of the attraction is that it gives Catholics the one chance in the year that they have to proclaim that they are Catholics. It is the one visible, cultural sign that makes Catholics feel authentic. It is attractive because those who go to work for the day shift have living proof that their Mardi Gras celebration wasn't bad enough to keep them down.

It is so attractive that many parishes in the United States schedule more Masses on Ash Wednesday than they do on December 8, the patron feast day of the United States itself, and a Holy Day of Obligation, when Mass participation is mandatory.

Participation in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is not mandatory on Ash Wednesday. The reception of the ashes is not a sacramental act such as Communion or Confirmation or the Anointing of the Sick.

So now that we have given you a set of attractions why attendance at church is so high on this day, we invite you to tell the world the answer to's Burning Question of the week:

"Why did you participate in the celebration of the Ashes ceremony?"

Let us know what you think. Post your comment today.


"Should you receive Communion on your knees or standing up?"

By Paul Dion, STL

There are some practices in the Catholic Church that are not universal. For example, in some countries the faithful do not genuflect nor do they kneel for adoration. In some countries there are several postures that become a part of the public participation at liturgy.

Even some of the "standard" prayers are not as standard as we would believe. The "Our Father", for instance has different wording in English as spoken in Canada than it does here in the United States. In fact, the wording of the French language "Our Father" is different in Canada than it is in France.

In Italy, and specifically in Rome, rarely does anyone kneel for adoration. I have even seen on television that the Pope gives his blessing at the Wednesday general audience in Italian rather than Latin. In fact, the Pope rarely, if ever, addresses the world in Latin any more.

Postures and translations of prayers are therefore not a part of the infallible teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. There are excellent, theologically sound reasons why the Bishops of certain countries, the United States among them, have decided that the liturgically correct posture for the reception of Holy Communion is standing.

Much is being made of a Vatican document issued in 2004 which forbids the priest to deny communion to those who would kneel for this sacramental act. In places where the norm is to receive Communion standing up, some people frown on those who receive Communion on their knees.

So we thought we should tackle this issue and get all of you into the discussion. Our Burning Question of the week is therefore this:

"Why would it be at least as reverential as kneeling to stand during the act of receiving communion? Give some reasons why standing is a proper posture for adoration and sacramental participation."

Join the lively discussion. Post a comment today.

"Should we bring new life into the world by Human Cloning?"

By Paul Dion, STL

Abortion is wrong. Abortion is murder. So many of us are in complete consonance with those two statements. Even many people with no real deep religious convictions believe that abortion is wrong. After all, abortion is bringing an innocent life to an end by stepping in front of God, the creator of all life.

It is a rather distasteful subject, stark and cruel, so we have invented euphemisms to talk about it. Rare are those who admit publicly that the are anti-abortion. They say instead that they are pro-life. The pro-lifers among us (I am ANTI-ABORTION) wring their hands in despair because abortion is legal in many countries in the world.

However, there is not much noise yet about human cloning though. Perhaps it is because human cloning is still illegal in the United States.

Here's our Burning Question(s):

Why would it be legal to take a life through abortion on the one hand, and illegal to bring a life into being through cloning on the other hand? Does this make you feel as though you are caught in the middle? Have you given any thought to how you would feel if human cloning were to suddenly become legal in our country?

Before you answer, please realize that the Church teaches that human cloning is immoral. Do you know why?

Share your ideas and thoughts with us. Post a comment below.