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 Aug. 20, 2009 edition of the Inland Register)
Q. There are some people in this parish who are down on Father but they havenít tried to know him. Heís a good priest if they just would try to be nice. Any suggestions?
A. Since heís a good priest heís not upset by static from the pews. He knows God is good and people are nice. He also knows that the person who rocks the boat is not the person at the oars.
Q. During the last political primaries our priest announced from the church pulpit that we had an obligation to vote and then he hinted at the names of the candidates he likes. Is there something in church law that forbids such political influencing?
A. Yes, he may be getting close to the forbidden perimeter of endorsing a candidate. Canon 285.3 ďClerics are forbidden to assume public offices which entail a participation in the exercise of civil power.Ē
The law treats negative clerical obligations. Certain activities are forbidden, not because they are evil in themselves but insofar as they are unbecoming the clerical state.
The church makes a sorry bully-pulpit, an unfair exchange of political power with a captive audience but without a fair exchange of political ideas. Religion and politics just do not mix. And there is the skittish possibility of losing tax-exempt status.
Q. Can anyone say who the Anti-Christ will be or is now? From what I have read they say he could be among us, or he may be near enough to be recognized soon. At least, thatís what Iíve read about him. What is the best information we have?
A. There are better sources of Bible information than magazines at the check-out counters in supermarkets. The Q.B. mentor suggests you get a Catholic Study Bible.
Thereís no firm evidence that the anti-Christ is now, or will be, a real historical person. The idea that there will be a great adversary whose war against God will culminate in total destruction of our world can be found in ancient non-biblical Jewish literature. Itís mentioned just twice in the Old Testament. Itís not mentioned anywhere in the four Gospels where we would expect Jesus to talk about it. It gets just four passing remarks in two of Johnís letters. Thatís it. Altogether you must admit thatís not much of a clarion call to arms.
The anti-Christ is rather a symbol of the power of evil in the world, a kind of everyman who challenges the goodness of God, the evil one to whom Paul refers as the ďman of sinĒ (2 Thess. 2:3).
Will the anti-Christ bring on the cataclysmic destruction of our world? Will it be a nuclear blast, poisoning our air and water, plague of AIDS? We donít need a Bible prophecy for that.
Q. Someone in our group said a divorced Catholic cannot receive the sacraments of Confession and Communion. If she was married in a courthouse marriage she wasnít married anyway, was she? What reason would there be to keep her out of sacraments? Weíre supposed to keep people in church, right?
A. The Q. B. scrivener gets a mite nervous when good folks in any group apply the niceties of canon law to a specific case.
If you have presented all the facts correctly you may be right. If she is a baptized adult Catholic and if that civil ceremony was her only marriage then you are correct. Her marriage was invalid.
She may receive the sacrament of reconciliation (confession) and Communion again in the good graces of the Catholic Church. And yes, she may receive the sacrament of matrimony.
Q. I have liked being a Reader for a long time. And I look forward to the next Latin Mass, although itís a distance away. Itís better than not having one at all. Will the day come when there will be more of them?
A. Itís a guess, but the Q.B. guesses no. There are not many priests who are Latin-ologists. In the days when giants walked the earth all priests had at least an exposure to the mother tongue, but those days will not return. If we were traditionalists in the strict sense we would be speaking Aramaic, the language Jesus spoke at the Last Supper.