"Should Catholics Join Non-Catholic Bible Studies?"

By Paul Dion, STL

Bible studies for Catholics are neither numerous nor well appreciated. Catholics are generally satisfied with complying with the obligation of attending Mass once a week on Sunday and then going on their way.

Many Catholics (dare I say MOST?) don't know the difference between John 1;1 and Genesis 1;1. Careful, you all, that's a trick question. I do know that most Catholics know the basic Bible stories.

I also know that if you ask them whether or not the story that they have just identified is from the Old Testament or the New Testament, they would hem and haw and venture a guess, but not produce a solid, assured answer.

I also know that Catholics generally will not set time aside to participate in a neighborhood Bible Study Group. They have "too many other things to do." Besides, they go to Mass, don't they? They'll hear what the priest has to say about it on Sunday. It's the Church's job to tell me what the Bible means.

It is also true though, that there are Catholics who seek Catholic Bible Study Groups and often to no avail. These are the same Catholics who will ultimately find a Bible Study Group composed of spiritually minded people from other religions. Since it is essentlally the "same Bible", isn't it?
These Catholics will attend, with a slight twitch of conscience, but with the rationalization that it is better than what they could find in their own Catholic Community.

All of this having been said, the burning question is: SHOULD CATHOLICS JOIN NON-CATHOLIC BIBLE STUDIES?

We want your response. Now is your chance to sound off. If your response includes a commitment, rest assured that this is the place where your sacrifice will be accepted and offered to God and Community.

Stay tuned.


Why do we pray for the dead?

Burning Question of the Week
By Paul Dion, STL

It is the month of November. This is the month when we Catholics are reminded by the Church to keep the welfare of our departed loved ones in our prayers.

Ah, yes, Catholics. We sure have a lot of things to think about. One of them is that we pray for our dearly departed, actually pray for them. It is one thing to pray for one another. We do that often. Please pray that I get that job. Please pray so that my mother will get better. Please pray that my son will go back to church again. Please pray that my husband will stop drinking. We are sure that you have heard all these, and even more.

It is a big part of our lives as Christians, not only Catholics. We do it and we do not connect it to what the Israelites of three thousand years ago believe about this sort of prayer. It is in our Bible. People offered sacrifice for one another so that God would look favorably down on those for who they prayed. So, we do the same.

In fact, we go one further, we pray for the dearly departed souls. We pray that they will be greeted heartily into heaven after their life of travail and hardship. But, they are already dead. They are no longer here. What effect will our prayers for them have? All of you reading this pray for your dearly departed relatives. You pray for the repose of the souls of your relatives and friends. So, what do we mean when we say "repose of the souls"?

Think about it. Why do we pray for the dead? Post a comment below.

Click here to view the answer to the Burning Question


"What is Conscience?"

By Paul Dion, STL

This will take us down some rather interesting paths. Go for it!

A great many of us consider a lot of things when we consider behavior, ours and that of others. We look around to see if anyone is watching. We review the ten commandments, the civil law, the rules of the "game", the "political" impact of our actions.

The question for this week then is:

"What is conscience, and what role does it play in our Christian lives?"

This is not a pop quiz - there are no pass or fail marks. Nor is this an intellectual exercise. It is a mere opportunity to look into your hearts and let your spirituality speak out. If you are too shy, you can always post anonymously.

So let us know what you think. Post a thought today.

"Does God Want You to be Rich?"

"Does God Want You to be Rich?"
By Paul Dion, STL

Most of us think that it would be a lot better to be rich than poor. We would much prefer to be healthy than ill. We would much prefer to have high-achieving children than "street corner slugs."

We are all familiar with some of the heroes of the Bible who thought that they were in high favor with God because they had 1,000 sheep, 500 cattle, 100 hectares of active and healthy vineyard and at least 350 camels. Is that really the world in which we live today?

A quick look at the Beatitudes reveal how Jesus exulted the poor. And the Bible is filled with references to poor people finding it easier to make it to heaven.


Are you sure?

Tell us what you feel about this simple but deep-rooted question. Share it with us. If you feel too shy to post your name, you can sign it Anonymous.

(Click here to view the many wonderful articles that await you in, America's Catholic Lifestyle Magazine. Be informed, be inspired, be blessed. )


Is Superstition a Sin?

By Paul Dion, STL

Superstition a sin? Why, that's silly! Everyone knows that it doesn't work, it's just a silly practice that doesn't mean anything.

Think back a little bit and you'll remember hearing ( or thinking )words to that effect more than once in your life. Some of you may remember an older member of your exended family reminding everyone of a quasi-religious practice that had to be followed in order to avoid something bad from happening in the near future. Maybe you remember being reminded to observe a certain "religious" practice so that you can count on something good happening to you. How many of you always forward e-mails that promise you something if you send "this to 12 of your friends in the next 6 minutes you will be the happy recipient of good economic news in the next week"?

How many of you drop a fork from the table and exclaim, "Yikes, we're going to get company?" Then someone will say, "No, a fork doesn't mean company, it means good luck."

My mother had a habit of knocking on wood whenever she or someone else mentioned a wish that was generally considered to be an item of good luck.

Finally, in my family it was considered to be out of the question to have the body of a newly deceased relative exposed for waking on a Sunday. I witnessed some rather uncomfortable gyrations around social schedules to avoid that situation.

Which brings us to the question: Is including these practices and others of like nature in the behavior of our lives a sin? If not, why not? If yes, why "yes"? If "yes", what commandment are we breaking?

Leave your comments and thoughts below.

Or Click Here to view the theological answer to this Burning Question.


It it more noble to volunteer for secular work or for church work?

By Paul Dion, STL

Welcome to the United States, the volunteer capital of the world. Statistics tell us that there are more volunteers per capita in this country than in any other country in the world. Volunteerism is a dynamic part of our culture. It seems that each and every one of us volunteers for something.

As you read this, you are perhaps saying, "I don't."

Really now? Are you sure? Before you go to bed tonight, examine your conscience and I am willing to say without fear, that somewhere in your life there is a cause for which you dedicate some of your precious personal time.Would you like a little help with your examination of conscience concerning this matter?

Sure you do. Here goes:

Are you the favorite baby sitter in your family/extended family? Are you the one who has the knack of caring for the sick, young and old, so you get called a lot? Are you the one who is always cleaning the house along with the housewife after parties? Are you the designated driver of the old person down the street when it is time to do the weekly shopping? Are you the one poll worker who is always there at every election? Are you the one who still has three space heaters stored in the garage waiting for your friends to claim them back? Are you getting exasperated with these silly questions? Say, "yes."

I haven't mentioned the real professional volunteer yet, but I don't think I have to because we all know one or more of those. You, dear reader are perhaps one of them.

I will only take a passing swing at some of the things that volunteers do in this sweet homeland of ours: Blood bank workers, catechists, church cleaners, Red Cross workers, readers for the blind, tutors for children with special needs, Girl Scout troup leaders and Boy Scouts too, church community leaders of all stripes and colors...I don't have to continue.

It is generally conceded that volunteering is a good thing. It falls well into the call of God through St. Matthew, chapter 25, to "feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the prisoners..." etc.

The burning question is; "Is it more noble to volunteer for the benefit of secular communities, like hospitals, city halls and such. Or is it better to volunteer for Church work, like teaching catechism, reading the Scripture at Mass, carrying communion to the sick, etc.?"

What do you think? Share your thoughts with the community.


"Who is the Church?"

By Paul Dion, STL

We are staying with the Apostles' Creed for this week's Burning Question.

The bishops who gathered in Rome for the Ecumenical Council of Vatican II, the only such event of the 20th century, had a lot to say about the Church. In fact that actually spoke from a position of collegial infallibilty about the Church in what is called "DOGMATIC CONSTITUTION ON THE CHURCH."

This question then has a telling difference in its formulation, so be careful how you consider it before you answer.

Here is the question: "WHO IS THE CHURCH?"

It's all yours. Tell us what you think. Post a comment today.

(Click here to view the many wonderful articles that await you in, America's Catholic Lifestyle Magazine. Be informed, be inspired, be blessed. )

Is Jesus and God the same?

By Paul Dion, STL

This is a question that does not come up too often because so many Christians live with their firm beliefs tightly contained secretly in their hearts. It is a topic that does not come up at cocktail parties for sure, and, truth be told, it is not even discussed at Baptisms and weddings.

For several years I taught a theology course which is traditionally called, “Christology”. That is the study of the mystery of Jesus Christ.

I never took a poll, but in every class I observed that there were two strong factions. One, that Jesus was God and therefore was not like us at all. The other, that Jesus was human, felt that He was a special “missionary” from God and that His wonderful life allows those of us who “believe” that He was the Son of God.

Most times, the first position in the class was stronger than the second. Where do you stand? What is the Doctrinal position of the Church?

Think about it and send me your answer with some reasoning comments and I will send the summary of your answers and the Doctrinal position of the Catholic Church.

Post your thoughts below. I look forward to hearing what they are.


What commandments require restitution?

By Paul Dion, STL

I decided that I would make this week's burning question a challenge for you all. You all know that Catholics believe that sinful acts against God's wishes can be forgiven by participating in the sacrament of Penance.

What is essentially required for this sacramental forgiveness is a truthful and complete confession to a priest, a firm resolve to avoid the behavior in the future and atoning reparation. The reparation can be a good act or several good acts of varying degrees of "difficulty" or proximity of relationship with the sin(s) for which absolution has been granted.

There are however sins against three specific commandments that require restitution to effect complete atonement and divine forgiveness.

Here's the Burning Question: Name the three commandments.

It's all yours. Tell us what you think.

"No Crying at my Funeral?" Why not?

By Paul Dion, STL (18A)

This week we have an interesting story about Jesus at the early part of his public life.

Listen to this description: "When Jesus heard of the death of John the Baptist, he withdrew in a boat to a deserted place by himself." (Matthew, 14;13) Does this make you think of another time when Jesus was touched by the death of a person close to Him? Remember when Jesus went to Bethany to see his dear friend Lazarus? As He stood by the tomb, the evangelist, John, says, "Jesus wept." (John 11: 35)

If Jesus could be moved by the death of his loved ones, how can dare to have a blog entitled, "No Crying at my Funeral?"

Do you cry at funerals? If so, why do you? Should you cry or not?
Post your thoughts below. Tell us your stories.

Click here to view the answer to this Burning Question

"What are 5 major reasons we pray?"

By Paul Dion, STL

Brothers and Sisters,This question is meant to plunge you into a mood of "snuggling up to God." The "Catechism of the Catholic Church" devotes 60 plus pages to this topic, so I know that we will not exhaust it here. I also know that your answers will not contain erroneous statements or opinions. The reason why I am challenging you with this question is that I want to provoke you to realize in a special way what it means to have a relationship with God.

Here is the question:

What is prayer in general? What are the five major reasons why we pray? These five elements are all contained in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, by the way.

This is not a pop quiz - there are no pass or fail marks. Nor is this an intellectual exercise. It is a mere opportunity to look into your hearts and let your spirituality speak out.

If you are too shy, you can always post anonymously.

Should Christians perform the sign of the cross?

By Paul Dion, STL

No matter where you go, in front of your mirror, your friend's house, your favorite restaurant or church on Sunday you will see someone tracing the sign of the cross over their body. It is the most prominent prayer of the Catholic church and is even believed to be somekind of secret membership signal of Catholics.

When I first head that, I was shocked. Secret Signlal? Whoa! I was never told that even in Massachusetts, home of the Congregationalists.

So, what do you think of the Sign of the Cross? Do you fearlessly start your prayer before meals with the sign of the cross in the restaurant with your children? Do you make the sign of the cross at your company picnic before digging in to the chili pot? Why do you make the sign of the cross in the first place?

Let us know what you think. Post your comments below.

Can non-Catholic people go to heaven?

By Paul Dion, STL

I was born and brought up in New England. Western Massachusetts, to be exact. We were a mixed neighborhood. We had Polish people, French people, Irish people, Italian people and we even had a Spanish family that we didn't know was Spanish.

Everyone in the neighborhood was Catholic. Well, not really everyone. We happened to live next door to the only true, blue Anglo-Saxons. They had no religion at all. I knew this because my father told me.

Upstairs from Blake was McClane. I never knew what they were as far as heritage goes, but I did know that they were Presbyterian. They were rather nice folks.

One Sunday on the way back from the 5:00 AM Mass (No, that's not a clerical error) with my father, I asked, "Will Mr. Blake and Mr. McClane go to heaven?"

My father, sure of himself as always, shot back, "Of course."
Ours is the One, True, Catholic and Apostolic Church. The question to you then is , "Do you agree with my father that non-Catholics can indeed go to heaven?"
Share your thoughts with us. Post your comments in this blog.

"Are you a Christian?"

By Paul Dion, STL

Acts 7:55-60: As they were stoning Stephen, he called out,"Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." Then he fell to his knees and cried out in a loud voice, "Lord, do not hold this sin against them;"and when he said this, he fell asleep.

We invite you all to read Chapters 6 and 7 of the Acts of the Apostles, the story of St. Stephen. the first disciple who was martyred for the sake of the Way. The introductory quote above is the "punch line" of these chapters and you are going to hear them read as you participate in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass on Sunday, May 20.

Over the last 6 weeks we have been reading the story of the early history of the Church all of which takes place after the Resurrection. This means that Jesus has hit the ball into our court. It is up to us to hit it back, true and hard.

Stephen was not afraid to proclaim his faith before the officials who dragged him into court. He spoke to them truthfully and forcefully, from the bottom of his heart. Notice that he took a page out of the Lord's playbook. He recited the story of the formation of the Chosen People and their mistreatment of the prophets as recorded in the Bible that they knew. Jesus had done the same thing when He was tempted in the desert. Remember the story?

These days you have perhaps noticed that more and more public figures are publicly declaring their Catholic Faith. Many of them even have pithy comments ready for every occasion. As you know, Jesus told us that we would have to answer for our faith sooner or later. He also told us not to worry about what to say because the Spirit would supply the strength and the words. (Luke's Gospel, Chapter 12, verses 10 to 12)

The Burning Question is:
Do you easily and willingly testify to your faith? Do you shy away from admitting that you are Catholic? When you are asked, "Are you a Christian," what do you answer?

Tell us what you think. Post a comment today and to read what others are saying.

What does the Holy Spirit do in your life?

By Paul Dion, STL

The Holy Spirit means a lot of things to a lot of people. His name is used in many ways and has influenced the spiritual lives of many. A careful reading of the Major Prophets will bring His existence into our conscience. A reading of the New Testament will introduce us to Him and His works. From St. John the Baptist to Jesus, He is promised to us as we live our lives as disciples of Jesus Christ.

Here are some "givens" to get you started: The Holy Spirit is the third person of God. He is equal in every way with the Father and the Son. We generally give the Father the name Creator and to the Son we generally and traditionally give the name, Savior.

The Burning Question for this week has more than one part because we want to make you think about the Holy Spirit in more ways than one.

1. What name do we traditionally give to the Holy Spirit?
2. When is the first time that we receive the Holy Spirit?
3. What is the sacrament that accentuates the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives?
4. What is the name of the special Sunday that is dedicated to the celebration of the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives?
5. Does this Sunday have a fixed date or is it determined by the same method as the date of Easter Sunday?
6. There are two miraculous events that are related to this Sunday, what are they and where can you find their story in the Bible?

We'd love to hear your thoughts. Share them with nus and with the rest of the world.

Peace and joy.


"Who is your neighbor and what are you doing about it?"

By Paul Dion, STL

"You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart,with all your being,with all your strength,and with all your mind,and your neighbor as yourself." He replied to him, "You have answered correctly; do this and you will live." (Luke 10; 27)

We have all heard the old saw, "You can choose your friends but you can't choose your relatives." As a matter of fact, we can't choose our neighbors either.

Just who are these people? How do we get to love them? Why do we even have to love them? If we love them, how do we prove that we love them?

We believe that love begets love and we observe that some of the love that we put out to some of our "neighbors" has not begotten love in return. As a matter of fact, some of the love that we have put out to some of our very own relatives has not begotten love in return.

We read the story as told by Luke in the gospel quote above and the thing that is striking here is that Jesus Himself throws the challenge back on to the conscience of the questioner, "...which of these three, in your opinion, was neighbor to the robbers' victim?" Jesus then tells the questioner to "...go and do likewise."

We too know that the answer to the question lies on our conscience. So, answer the Burning Question: Who is your neighbor and what are you doing about it?


Is it more important to believe in God or to believe in the Church?

By Paul Dion, STL

We've all been in contact with the Catholic Church for many years now, some more, some less. And you have perhaps noticed that Catholics are true "believers" in their Church. They talk of their Church as "Our Faith".

Catholics have been accused by others, clergy and lay alike, of believing more in their Church than in God.

Some of you reading this "Burning Question" have become Catholics during the last year or so. Some of you are preparing for the moment of Baptism or full membership.

So the Burning Question this week is: What is more important, to believe in God or to believe in the Church?

If you've thought of this before, you have an opinion. If this is a new question, thank God that you are getting a chance to delve into your conscience about it. God bless you all.

Post a comment today. Share your thoughts with us about this very incisive topic.


"Should the Church welcome homosexual Catholics?"

By Paul Dion, STL

The Church is a huge place and in it there are a lot of places to go, a lot of things to see, a lot of ideas to think and a lot of lives to lead. The Church is like a quilt, most of the pieces are about the same shape and size, but they are often of different texture and different color.

The Church claims Unity as one of its marks. It is a mystery how God manages this Unity. How does God keep track of the different kinds of monks and nuns that make up the praying and missionary Church ? How does God manage all the publishing houses that claim to have the best method for teaching this and that about our Doctrine?

There are so many ways to express the Unity of the Church. There are round churches, square churches, wooden churches and stone churches. There are churches with schools and churches without schools. There are priests who are strict, and there are priests who are not. There are Catholics who participate in the liturgy every day; Catholics who only go once per week.

Some participate in the Mass on Wednesday because that's their only day off. Some only come to the front of the church and socialize all morning long, have a cup or two of coffee with a couple of donuts and go home happy because they went to church. I don't have to belabor the point. You get my drift.

Now there are also Catholics who have some much deeper differences than just their style of dress, their ministry or their pattern of attendance at Mass. There are Catholics who differ from one another by their sexual orientation. I don't mean their sex (male or female) but the orientation that dictates how human beings express intimate relationships between themselves.

There are some who are oriented toward the "opposite" sex and some who are oriented to the "same" sex. They are both Catholic. They are both baptized. They are both held to the same moral discipline. They both have the right to come to the same sacraments.

Given all that is said above, we have all experienced the behavior of Catholics toward those of different convictions. Some like to stand all during the Mass; some talk in tongues when they spiritualize their prayer; some lay hands on one another to pray for healing. And for every one of these groups, Catholics have another group who looks across the room with disdain at these weird people who dare call themselves Catholics.

So we have the case of the way the heterosexual (straight) Catholic treats the homosexual (gay) Catholic. We also have the Church as a whole which seems to be uncomfortable in reaching out with all its Spirit given grace to the homosexual Catholic.

The Burning Question is, "Should the Catholic Church welcome the Catholic with homosexual orientation?" Would this or would this not enrich the deposit of grace of the Church? Would this or would this not enrich the Communion of Saints?

Let's discuss this for a while and then we will summarize what we have and apply what the Church has to say about it to the discussion.

Let us know what you think. Post a comment

Do you invite the poor to your Easter banquet?

By Paul Dion, STL

Jesus said to the man who had invited Him: "When you make a dinner or a supper, don't call your friends, nor your brothers, nor your kinsmen, nor rich neighbors, or perhaps they might also return the favor, and pay you back. But when you make a feast, ask the poor, the maimed, the lame, or the blind; and you will be blessed, because they don't have the resources to repay you. For you will be repaid in the resurrection of the righteous." (Luke chapter 14, verses 12 to 14)

The other day a group of Catholic School Teachers, I among them, were sitting around a table drinking coffee and tea and talking about what it means to make the message of the Gospel known these days. The leader of the group read the quote that appears above and asked if any of the members of the group had ever practiced Jesus' outspoken directive. There were actually two or three.

Their stories are interestingly similar. Listen...

They had experienced similar invitations in their own extended family, if not in their immediate family. They had been at such meals where the neighborhood loner would be invited at Thanksgiving and Christmas. They had a grandmother who was a lousy cook but who fed all the neighborhood children anyway, with or without invitation.

The responders said that these meals were taken at a common table, in their own home, or that of their grandfather's, etc.

Could you imagine yourself inviting the Pastor of your parish over for dinner and hearing him say, "I notice that you haven't invited any maimed people. Don't you know a widow who could use a little company and a nice meal with us?" Or worse yet, "Would you mind if I invite old Mrs. Shakalot? Three doors from you. I could bring her along."

How would you respond to that? If you had ever done it before anyway, it wouldn't faze you. Have you ever done it before? Would you do it now that you know that Jesus directs us to do it?

Some suggestions? How about Easter Sunday? Memorial Day; July 4; Labor Day; Thanksgiving; Christmas and new Year's day, not to mention your birthday, or the widow's!

Share your thoughts with us. Tell us your story.

"What two sacraments were instituted by Jesus on Holy Thursday?"

By Paul Dion, STL

Welcome to all of you. We are living in the heat of the heart of the mystery of Christianity. We start at the moment of the last Seder Meal celebrated by Jesus with His disciples and we will end with the descent of the Holy Spirit into the hearts of the disciples. The first three days are called the Sacred Triduum and comprise Holy THursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday/Easter Vigil.

These three days which cap the Lenten Season and the following 50 days during which we meditate on the historic first days of the history of the Christian Church are the defining season of our Faith/Religion. We here at will do our best to provide you with the spiritual food which will make your relationship with Jesus grow and flourish on a daily basis.

Let us start with a simple Catechism question for you: What two sacraments were instituted by Jesus on Holy Thursday?

Give us your opinion in writing. Then, if you like, you can click here for the answer.

"What influence does the Pope have on your personal life?"

By Paul Dion, STL

This question gets close to the heart of Roman Catholicism. The Pope is the human leader of the Catholic Church. He is a lot of things to Catholics, not the least of which is being an object of Catholic Faith. To wit, more later.

The question is: "What influence does the Pope have on your personal life?"

You may also feel free to comment on what, if any influence you think that Pope has, or should or should not have, on other people of the world.

Feel free, be honest. This is not an easy question. Give it a shot from the bottom of your heart.

We'd love to hear your thoughts. Share your comments with the rest of the world.

Peace and joy.

(Click here to view the many wonderful articles that await you in, America's Catholic Lifestyle Magazine. Be informed, be inspired, be blessed. )

Should you Confess before you receive Communion?

By Paul Dion, STL

"Lord, I am not worthy to receive you," we say. Then we go to communion anyway. Well we should. Jesus didn't let the words of the Roman Centurion stop Him from blessing him and his family with a miracle.

It is Christ Himself who invites us to "Take this and eat it, all of you". He further states, "Truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you." (John, 6:53)

More than ever, more and more people approach the altar of Communion. This is happening at the same time that fewer and fewer people are approaching the sacrament of Penance (confession).

Some Catholics, including some priests, wonder therefore if everyone who approaches the altar to partake of the Sacred Body and Blood of Jesus Christ is truly ready to do so according to the spiritual demands of the Act of Taking Communion.

At the same time we are reminded that John Paul II exhorted the bishops of the United States to encourage more people to participate in the sacrament of Reconciliation.

It remains true also that some Catholics stay in the pew. Others leave the church when the communion procession forms. Some feel genuinely unworthy to receive their Lord, some realize that they have not observed the rule of fasting for one hour before the time of communion and some judge themselves to be too full of sin at the time and so they refrain from receiving.

In the not-too-distant past, and even at the present time, people go to confession before every communion, and many receive communion only rarely. The life style of the practicing Catholic has changed.

But the question is still valid: In your opinion, is it required to go to confession before receiving Communion? Let me add, If you haven't been to Confession in more than one year, should you feel free to receive Communion?

If you are among those who receive Communion without going to Confession first, tell us your reasons. If you Confess before you receive Communion, tell us why.

Give us your comments. The electronic soapbox is all yours.


"Should a Mass Murderer be Granted an Ecclesiastical Funeral?"

By Paul Dion, STL

"A vigil service is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Friday at St. Mary's Catholic Church, 302 E. Jefferson St., Iowa City. Funeral Mass for the family has been scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday. Burial will be at St. Joseph's Cemetery." Not long ago, a newspaper story appeared that described the murder of a family of four, wife, and three of her children by her husband who subsequently committed suicide by driving his car into a freeway abutment.

Not long after the event an illustrious Canon Lawyer (One who has studied the laws of the church and may interpret them and counsel the faithful concerning their compliance with such laws.) wrote a learned blog saying that in the light of what appeared in the press, the murderer/suicide should not be afforded an ecclesiastical funeral because he is evidently a non repentant public sinner and giving him such a funeral would be a cause of scandal for the rest of the community.

Please realize that this is one kind of public sin. There are others, of course. We can think of known pimps, drug dealers and family abusers to name a few. So, what is your opinion?

Now that you have expressed yourself, click here to see's opinion.

So let us know what you think.

How Catholic are you? Take the Quiz

By Paul Dion, STL

Those of you who just can't wait for the mailing every Friday are in for some homework this week. By now it has become clear to you that is INTERACTIVE. It is clear to you that the evangelization that Jesus expects from us is the soul of our publication. You have also become accustomed to the BURNING QUESTION OF THE WEEK.

Some of you will remember the time when we had a list of about 35 questions about basic Catholic doctrine. This week we are presenting a questionnaire that is somewhat more, there's a word! This is a rather engaging test of what it is that we as Catholics believe. Trust us, we are not out to catch anyone sneaking a puff behind the barn. That is not our intention.

We want you to think a bit, participate and then click the final button and see your score.

If you get 100% Catholic, write to us and brag. God will allow it for this one time. If you get a disappointingly low score, look in the mirror and ask yourself why. If you want to blow off steam and write to us and make a point about the @@^%&**+@@ injustice of the questionnaire, we will take you seriously and get back to you with love and a smile. If you want clarification about a question that you think should be a 5 and you wrote a 1, write to us and we will hold your hand.

Enjoy this exercise. I did.

CLICK HERE to begin this quiz. Make sure you come back to this page to report your score.

Post your scores below in our comments section and also see what others are saying.


Can we who are sinful be part of Jesus’ mission?

By Wally Arida

In the Gospel of Luke, a reluctant Peter was astonished at the abundance of the fish he caught at the Lord's instruction. He declared, “Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.” And in another post-resurrection Gospel story, Jesus asks Peter a question, "Do you love me?" Peter answers that he indeed does. Jesus replies, “Feed my sheep.” Click here to read the story.

How would you feel if he asked the same question of you? Stay with it. Think about it. Pray about it.

Here's the Burning Question: Can we who are sinful be part of Jesus’ mission?

We don’t have to be perfect? We are forgiven? Please answer these questions from your heart. And share your reflections with our Catholic brothers and sisters.


Should Catholic Masses be offered for those who oppose Church teachings?

By Wally Arida

In a recent article, we found the following question regarding the offering of Masses for non Catholics specifically those who are publicly opposed to the teachings on the Catholic Church. We publisht the question in its entirety. We also provide a link to the response that was published in response to this question.

Here's the question:

Q: I recently read in our parish bulletin that a Mass was being offered for the "Intentions of ---" (name omitted here, but published in the bulletin), a person who is still alive and who holds a high-profile public office. The individual is Christian but not Catholic and has signed laws or has taken positions which support abortion rights, embryonic stem-cell research and same-sex unions. May a Mass be offered by a priest, publicly, for the intentions of a living non-Catholic (or one whose "intentions" oppose our Church teaching?) If so, should it be? We certainly should be praying for this person's conversion -- of both their faith and their positions -- but I think offering a Mass for their intentions could lead the faithful to further confusion, and possibly may be scandalous. -- M.B., Brookfield, Connecticut

This topic really intrigues us and we would like to know what you think. So we thought we should have some fun and get your thoughts about it.

There are people who are not Catholics, not Christians, publicly pro-choice, anti-Life, anti-Pope, anti-Church activists, etc.

Should our priests offer our Catholic Masses to those who openly disagree with the teachings of the Catholic Church?

What do you think? Post your thoughts below. Let's see what you all have to say.

 CLICK HERE to view the full article and the theological response to the question above.

Sanctity of Life - "Protection of Life or Celebration of holy power of Life?"

By Paul Dion, STL

This Sunday, January 27, is National Sanctity of Life Day in the United States. This was a holiday instituted by President Reagan in 1984 to remember all the unborn children who have been innocently aborted as a result of the Roe. V. Wade decision by the U.S. Supreme Court. It is celebrated every year on the Sunday that is closest to the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. In many Catholic parishes everywhere, the Sanctity of Life will be celebrated to coincide with this national day of remembrance.

I have a question for all of you. Let me give you some background.

Genesis, chapter 1, verse 27: "God created man in the image of Himself, in the image of God He created him, male and female He created them."

Psalm 139, verses 13 & 14; 23 & 24: "It was you who created my inmost self, and put me together in my mother's womb; for all these mysteries I thank you; for the wonder of myself, for the wonder of your works. God, examine me and know my heart, probe me and know my thoughts; make sure that I do not follow pernicious ways, and guide me in the way that is everlasting."

Ecclesiastes, chapter 3, verse 1 & 2: "There is a season for everything, a time for every occupation under heaven: A time for giving birth, a time for dying: A time for planting and a time for harvesting what has been planted."
Wisdom, chapter 3, verses 5 through 7: "(The virtuous)...God has out them to the test and proved them to be worthy to be with Him; He has tested them like gold in A furnace, and accepted them as a holocaust. When the time comes for His visitation they will shine out; as sparks run through the stubble, so will they. "

Gospel according to Luke, chapter 2, verse 22: "And when the day came for them to be purified as laid down by the Law of Moses, they took Him up to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord..."
I could go on and on.

We are created by God in His image and resemblence. We are therefore like unto Him. He is Divine. We are His procreative managers. That means that we are set aside from all other creatures in order to exercise the authority of God to make this a better world.

It is therefore my conclusion that this is not a day for the protection of life, but a day to celebrate the holy power of life.

Do you agree?

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


"Why are Catholic parents obliged to baptize their children as babies?"

By Paul Dion, STL

You have all heard the expression, "cradle Catholic." You have heard it from all levels of Catholics, from the daily Mass-goer to the Christmas and Easter Mass-goer. You have heard it on television and in the movies, "I was baptized Catholic a few days after I was born..."

You have also been in conversations where there was a lively give and take between those who were opposed to infant baptism and those who were all in favor of it. It was even possible that those involved in the discussion were all Catholic!

It could also be that you were surprised to see that your Lutheran friend was for infant baptism and your Catholic relative was against it. You listened and shook your head in disbelief at this turn of events.

It is true, there are Catholics who wait until there children are old enough to make up their own mind about whether or not to be baptized. There are plenty of non-Catholics who would be surprised at this opinion. Yes, there are Protestant communities who seriously believe in infant baptism. Martin Luther himself never abandoned the practice of infant baptism in his break from the Catholic Church. is asking you where you stand in this matter, and why...

So here is the Burning Question of the week: "Why do you believe that it is an obligation of parents to present their new born children to the sacrament of baptism as soon as possible after birth?"

Give us your convictions and we will join the discussion and present a wrap-up.


Is it ever permitted to lie?

By Paul Dion, STL

Lying is something that so many of us do. We do it regarding serious things and we do it regarding inconsequential things. We do it mostly to protect ourselves from suffering the unpleasant consequences of communicating the truth. Lying is the purposeful communicating of non-facts instead of the facts that we know. Lying is not mis-speaking in error. Lying is a willful act, not matter how small or innocuous the lie may seem.

Lying is therefore an act that goes against the Will of God. It is a violation of the comfort of our brain, becaue we force the truth to the side while we make ourselves feel better because we got away with something. This kind of dishonesty can be rather insidious because it can make us feel, after a while, that everything we say is true, when in fact it is not.

So, the question is this: Is every single lie a sin? Is it a sin to praise your mother-in-law's over-salted stew? Is it a sin to deceive children into believing in Santa Claus? Is it a sin to tell a terminally ill person that everything is going to be all right? Is it a sin to tell your neighbor that your Prius gets 55 miles-per-gallon, when as a matter of fact, it only gets 42? What about the "white lies" told to children in order to quiet them down rather than to take the responsibility of disciplining them ourselves?

We do not have to continue the list. You get the point.

Is every lie a sin?

Click here to view the answer to this Burning Question.