Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington
Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302
The Question Box
by Father I.J. Mikulski
(From the Oct. 23, 2008 edition of the Inland Register)
Q. Both of my grandchildren have moved away and have left their Catholic faith too because they say there is more than a little weakness in the church. I always welcome them home when they visit and invite them to attend Mass with us. Sometime they come. What can I say to them that might help them?
A. Your example speaks louder than words. During all those years when they lived at home they witnessed the length and breadth of your faith convictions. That has not been wasted. In good days and in bad, they’ve observed your fidelity at close range. Your example sticks to them even now.
Is there a perfect parish somewhere in the world? Is there a parish where a St. Francis twin is in charge? Where the members reflect the parish name, Holy Innocents? Where everybody sings like opera stars? Where there are no financial troubles because everybody tithes? And the pastor is absolutely eloquent in his homilies?
You’re doing fine. You’re the parent in the parable who kept a light in the window and waited for his son to come home.
Q. You just cannot accept this doctrine on faith, can you? Thousands of devout Catholics have accepted the spiritual renewal of their Catholic faith from the blessed events of Medjugorje but you just can’t and won’t. What will it take to convince you?
A. The Q.B. scrivener has been, and is now more than ever before, convinced that the happenings at Med. are not credible. After thorough, serious investigation of the Medjugorje claims, the Vatican issued “severe cautionary and disciplinary measures” against the priest promoter of the scheme.
Read carefully. Listen closely. We are about to witness a rare case of excommunication of a priest promoter if he persists on that path. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has cited him “for the diffusion of dubious doctrine, manipulation of consciences, suspicious mysticism, disobedience toward legitimately issued orders” and charges that he violated the Sixth Commandment.
Pray for him that the grace of God may crack open his resistance just a teeny bit to let some light in.
Q. At our main Sunday Mass we have a big Final Blessing where the people all raise their hands high, sending Father’s blessing back to him, and then turn around blessing everyone in church. It takes just about a minute to do it right. Many people like this, but some don’t. Is there a ruling on this?
A. Yes, there is a precise statement that does not allow improvisations of any kind, and you must admit that’s what you have.
In the first pages we have Number 24, a clear statement. “The priest must remember that he is the servant of the sacred Liturgy and that he himself is not permitted, on his own initiative, to add, to remove or to change anything in the celebration of Mass.”
That open-ended bi-swing blessing is surely an innovation.
Q. We believe we are made in the image of God and Jesus Christ instituted our sacraments. Where does it say that Jesus intended the sacrament of Holy Orders is for males only?
A. Ordination is New Testament material. In the New T. there is nothing that prohibits ordaining women but there is nothing that recommends it, either. “The Bible does not contain a ready answer to the question of the role of women in the church or in society,” says the Pontifical Biblical Commission.
The New T. is silent about this topic, as it is silent about many others. The Bible is not the sole source of all faith and practice, nor does it claim to be.
Jesus’ choice of males only at the first Eucharist and his choice of bread and wine for that Eucharist were apparently his choices, and he gave no explanation for either.
(Father Mikulski welcomes your comments and questions. Write to him at 7718 Westwood Dr., Oscoda, Mich. 48750.)