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 Best of The Question Box
by Father I.J. Mikulski
(From the November 15, 2012 edition of the Inland Register)
Q. We were married 42 years ago. From what I understand today we had to get a mixed marriage dispensation because my husband was not Catholic. He died last year. From what I know now our marriage may not have been valid because he was never baptized. Does that mean I was his wife with an invalid marriage?
A. No. The application for a mixed marriage dispensation has a few blank spaces where the priest checks the right ones. Baptized. Where. When. Denomination. Not baptized. Since your husband did not present a certificate of baptism the priest checked the not baptized line. It’s automatic. Dispensation granted.
Q. When the people in the Far East pray the Lord’s Prayer do they ask “Give us this day our daily rice” because most don’t even eat bread?
A. People the world over recognize bread when they see it. Bread may not be the “staff of life” for everyone in the world, as it is for us, but surely all people have eaten some form of oven-baked, pan-fried, open-hearth bread.
Native Inuit people in the Far North may never see a lamb but they are surely familiar with small seals. They do not pray “Seal of God who takes away the sins of the world....”
Q. If it can be shown that Noah’s ark is that deposit that’s visible on Mount Ararat and if the ark measures 666 feet long wouldn’t that prove God’s plan for the human race is clear in the Bible from the first book Genesis to the final book Revelation?
A. As gently as possible let’s agree that Noah’s ark is not resting on the top or the side of Mount Ararat, Armenia, and let’s also agree that Noah’s craft is not 666 of anything. In fact Genesis gives two different measurements of Noah’s ark, neither one coming close to 666.
If you were to make a model of the ark using either or both sets of Genesis dimensions you would have a square box, a floating barge. That’s what we would expect from wandering desert nomads with little experience of building boats or sailing.
Genesis is not myth. As Pope John Paul put it, “the term ‘myth’ does not designate a fabulous content, but merely an archaic way of expressing deeper content.” Simply put, we can’t transpose our present methods of writing back to 1000 B.C. and ask how those people could have been so uninformed.
Competent Scripture scholars distinguish four separate styles of writing by four different authors for the first five books in the Bible. But that’s another topic for another time.
Q. Since I became a Reader at Sunday Masses I’ve been reading other books and articles that I find interesting, especially about prophets, so much that I requested to be assigned as the first Reader so I get to read the Prophets. My question: Are any of those writings meant to be predictions of coming events that might happen now?
A. Sorry, no. It’s a common misconception that biblical prophecies are predictions of coming events. Prophets are proclaimers rather than seers, announcers rather than predictors. The root meaning of the word is “one who is called upon to speak.”
There were 12 of them, major names like Isaiah and Jeremiah and minor names like Joel and Amos. All of them were God’s mouthpieces, fearless and driven to address the nation’s conscience as Nathan challenged the great king David to admit the truth. They were given unpopular assignments for which they were often persecuted and sometimes killed. Jesus mentioned that.
There are those today who point to those Old Testament prophets as source material to explain current events. Nonsense. It’s a superficial distortion of their writings to pick and patch their words together and try to stick them onto world events.
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