Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington
Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
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The Question Box
by Father I.J. Mikulski
(From the Sept. 11, 2008 edition of the Inland Register)
Q. Shouldnít we be concerned about the rapid rise of Moslem religions, especially as they are trying to convert all Christians to their creeds? Canít we say thereís no way they can be saved since they donít even know about the absolute need for baptism Ė ďUnless a man is born again of water,Ē etc.? Canít we say they, not we, are lost beyond belief?
A. Itís simple if we leave the judging to God. The Catholic Church Ė thatís you and I Ė takes no position on the eternal destiny of anyone. Thatís not our decision, so letís just step back and leave the judging to God, who doesnít ask for our opinion.
The Creed of the People of God (1968), by Pope Paul VI, clears the air with this statement: ďThe divine design of salvation embraces all men and those who without fault on their part do not know the Gospel of Christ and his Church, but seek God sincerely and under the influence of grace endeavor to do his will as recognized through the promptings of their conscience, they, in number known only to God, can obtain salvation.Ē
Vatican II published a similar statement. If we take the time we could surely find a few more indicators.
However, there is one exception: The Catholic Church does indeed pronounce judgment during the canonization procedure when it finds a genuine miracle as evidence that the person is in heaven. An authentic miracle must obviously have a divine source. Thatís proof positive that the person has achieved saintliness.
Q. I donít know what to think about this. Itís possible at certain times that a Protestant might receive Catholic Holy Communion, just once, as the opportunity arises and with permission of a bishop. Can you see what the next step will someday be? Can I, as a practicing Catholic, share the Protestant Communion?
A. The primary requirement for Protestants to share Catholic Eucharist must always be, as clearly stated in every case, that they must share our defined doctrine about the true presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist. Itís not enough to feel good about this. Itís not enough to come forward because everybodyís doing it or someone was nudged to join the procession.
Many Christian churches have some variation of Communion ritual. The Q.B. writer has seen people in the pews passing their ďbread basket,Ē as they called it, so anyone could dip in to pick out their wafer. We have seen remnants of left over wafers tossed into a waste basket. Obviously, they didnít think it was the body of Christ.
We must be true to our convictions. If not, cease and desist now.
The most rigorous requirement is this: Eucharist, Penance and Anointing of Sick are sacraments that require a fully ordained priest to celebrate them. Beyond that, itís a matter of mutual courtesy and respect for them and for us to. Be true to your faith convictions.
Q. From your experience can you explain why Catholics keep attending church on Sundays and continue committing sins during the rest of the week? What about that?
A. Not only Catholics, although most of them are because there are so many of us. Lutherans open their doors wide for heavy sinners. Baptists have been seen praying with sinners. In public! Episcopalians really like to sing with good vocalist sinners. Pentecostals like to give big hugs to big sinners. Catholics have enough sinners of our own.
ďI have come to call, not the righteous, but sinners. Healthy people do not need a doctor. Sick people doĒ (Matthew 9:12). Every week we assemble like sick people in a doctorís waiting room. We differ only in degrees of sin and stages of recovery Ė some long-term, some in ER.
People gossiped about Jesus Ė that ďhe associates with sinners and even eats with them.Ē Shocking!
If we ever organize a Committee on Virtuous Living to decide who can join, with my experience, I want to be sure Iím on the Committee.
(Father Mikulski welcomes your comments and questions. Write to him at 7718 Westwood Dr., Oscoda, Mich. 48750.)