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.

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