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 March 19, 2009 edition of the Inland Register)
Q. A friend traveled to Turkey, where she got postcards showing where the Blessed Mother lived. St. John took her there. I showed the cards and people called them fake. Well, I don’t know. Would you please let me know what you think?
A. The Bible provides nothing, not the faintest evidence, about the residence where Mary, Mother of Jesus, lived out her life. We know that Jesus, with his failing breath, willed her to the tender care of the apostle John. “Behold your mother … behold your son.”
Don’t overlook the testimony of the author. “My name is John…. I was on the island of Patmos” in the Aegean Sea. That’s where he-wrote his wondrous monumental Apocalypse (Apc. 1:9) Was Mary with him? John doesn’t say. Or perhaps Mary lived out her years in nearby Ephesus.
Most Bible scholars think Mary was born in or near Jerusalem and lived her senior years there, too.
When Pope Pius XII defined the Assumption of Mary in 1950 he avoided taking sides in the controversy about Mary’s final residence. He simply stated “at the end of her earthly life” Mary was taken body and soul to heaven.
The tourist trade can be a profitable business. Was that postcard a true picture of Mary’s residence in Turkey? Maybe.
Q. As a Catholic convert who is sure I made the right decision last year, I ask myself why it took me so long. I grew up in a church that had a lot of anti-Catholic feeling. I did my own study. After I saw that the pope was not the Bible anti-Christ I learned other anti-Catholic doctrines weren’t true either. It was simple. Now I’m sure I made the right choice.
A. Compliments to your good judgment. That old bugaboo about the anti-Christ in the Bible disguised as the Catholic pope defies rational explanation. It’s one of those great golden oldies that comes to the surface occasionally.
The first logical response is to ask, which pope? Will the real anti-Christ please stand up? We have had 264 popes in a direct line since St. Peter. Which one of those 263 pontiffs was the old devil in disguise? All of them? He has been a totally incompetent dismal failure to destroy this remarkable church.
Q. We had been planning a wedding at a lovely church we like but the priest insisted we get a kind of approval from our own pastor first. That creates a problem, because neither my daughter nor her fiancé belong to any parish. We have our heart set on this. What do you suggest?
A. Get thyself to thy nearest parish and get thyself registered. There is no such person as a free-lance, floating unattached Catholic. We come in groups called parishes.
You will say, why? And I will say, why not? An unregistered person may proclaim himself a true-blue loyal American, but that’s just oratory until he does something about it, like registering to vote.
Catholics have always been members of communities sharing faith convictions that affect our living and dying, rights and duties. We share a Creed that has been centerpiece for centuries.
Priests do not witness marriages of strangers who drop in because they happen to be in town. Marriage may be the most serious vow you can give and take. Before we witness that we want to get to know you.
Q. About the gift of tongues: What for, and why? I’ve seen that and I wonder what for. Will you please explain what for?
You talk like Apostle Paul, who considered tongues the least of the gifts of the Spirit, of no particular benefit to the community.
Father John McKenzie, Scripture scholar of some distinction, said: “It is established that one of the effects of religious exaltation in certain Hellenistic and Oriental circles was the utterance of unintelligible speech. This phenomenon may be taken as a cultural background which makes the appearance of unintelligible ‘tongues’ of the early Christian churches an appropriate sign of exaltation in the Hellenistic-Oriental world and which offers some explanation of the gradual disappearance of tongues.” Simply said, tongues come and tongues go.