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 Sept. 30, 2010 edition of the Inland Register)
Q. For about a year and a half I attended six different denominational churches just to see what they did on Sunday services. Then I got it down to two churches I watched alternately for a few months. Then it came to me that I needed to be Catholic because they were the only people who believed their Eucharist is the real body and blood of Jesus and they showed it. I knew I had to have that too. It’s been over a year now. My confirmation will be next. Thanks.
A. May the multiple blessings of God encase you on all sides, top and bottom, before and behind, in your travels and stops, awake and asleep and may you continue to be sensitive to that “tiny whispering sound” Elijah recognized as the grace of God.
People at the front office of The Official Catholic Directory publish a very large book every year that has all the up-dated information of every Catholic diocese in the nation with names and addresses of parishes. It gives the number of converts, by diocese, and the national total. The new edition will give an over-view of thousands of converts. Welcome to our very large family.
Q. My church before Mass is like a movie house with rudeness and loud annoying conversations by ushers and other people so I cannot pray or even think. Personally I would like to see some speech deprivation and quiet time out of respect for people who came to pray. Can this be done?
A. You may be right. If your pastor were to ask you to be chairperson of the Sub-Committee On Good Manners and you stood at the pulpit five minutes before Mass what would you say?
The Q.B. scrivener recently visited such a parish and was asked to say a few words about that before Mass, but the lady in the first pew was busy unwrapping her sandwich with crunchy aluminum foil and sipping her thermos coffee. Thankfully she finished her lunch before we started Mass.
The great majority of Catholic parishes exhibit reverence before, during and after Mass. The most visible person, of course, is the priest celebrant who sets the tone for all liturgies. He doesn’t need to speak about the manners of the people if his sense of faith and reverence is apparent. It may take a while but it happens.
Q. Personally I find the Book of Revelation too confusing to be in the Bible at all. Why? Let me offer my reason that the book is responsible for more confusion than any other section of the Bible. We could just eliminate it and be better off.
A. It took a few centuries for Revelation to achieve equal status, so let’s not be hasty about dropping it. Revelation is the mother lode for the free-wheeling prophecies of fundamentalists far and near. What would they do without it? Martin Luther, for one, dropped it from his canon.
That apocalyptic style of writing, with its bizarre symbolism, was popular for about 200 years before and after Christ. It was “underground” literature, same as “samizdat” writings were smuggled out of Russian gulag camps a few years ago.
Authors had to remain anonymous and they had to use mystic symbols that would not be recognized by their persecutors. They used images of birds, colors, numbers and code names, especially from the literature of Persia (Iraq) where their ancestors had once been captives.
Read Revelation with this background:
1. It was written to strengthen the faith of a frightened Christian minority that was facing horrendous persecution.
2. All images referring to colors, numbers, birds and animals have symbolic meaning. A good commentary will provide inside info to help you break the code.
The Book of Daniel has a similar apocalyptic style. When you read Daniel you will think you’re on the wrong page.
Be sure of this. Revelation is not – repeat: not – a book of prophecy foretelling current world events. Those martyrs were facing torture and death every morning when they woke up and they couldn’t have cared less if the world would last into the 21st century.