Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington



From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Eric Meisfjord, Editor
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 May 15, 2014 edition of the Inland Register)

Father I.J. Mikulski Q. Will you comment on the difference between the Virgin Birth and the Immaculate Conception? Itís confusing.

A. If we keep in mind that the Immaculate Conception is one of the titles of the Blessed Virgin Mary, perhaps it might be apparent that the other title, the Virgin Birth, must refer to Jesus Christ, born of the Virgin Mary through the intervention of the Holy Spirit.

The Immaculate Conception explains itself, of course. This doctrine, which was officially defined in 1854, teaches that Mary was preserved from original sin from the first minute of her life. That unique privilege was accorded to her because she was called to be the mother of Jesus Christ, Son of God. No other woman can make that statement.

The Virgin Birth, in which Jesus Christ was born of the Virgin Mary, means just what it says.

Q. The need for a passport has me searching for my birth certificate. If I canít find one Iíll need a baptismal record with some of the same information. Where do I get one? How much?

A. Odds are 99.9 percent sure that your baptism is on record at that church. It will show your date of birth and the names of your parents and sponsors. If your parish is nearby, drop in for a copy. If not, call ahead with names and dates.

Thereís no charge. Have a good trip.

Q. Iím a reader of your Q & A column for over five years. I wonder where you get your information (with which I agree most of the time). Your picture hasnít changed since Iíve been reading your work. Care to give readers your outlook on this?

A. The Q.B. scrivener comes from a long line of sturdy peasant stock whose DNA, genes and chromosomes exceed the national average. Heís grateful for your inquiry because it prompts into print this delightful anecdote that might otherwise be lost.

The late Pablo Casals, master of the cello, played his instrument three hours a day all his life. A fan asked him why, at age 94, he still practiced. Casals replied, ďIím beginning to see some improvement.Ē

So here, too.

Q. I would like to know the Catholic position on a person who dies as a Muslim. I realize this may be too complicated to answer in a short column, but I would appreciate the Churchís view as best you can.

A. Itís really quite simple. The Catholic Church makes no judgment of the eternal consignment of anyone Ė except saints, and they must present a miracle or two as proof.

The New Testament presents a clear position that there is an eternity and there will be a personal review of our actions. But the final decision, the judgment, about those truths is the exclusive prerogative of God.

Q. Most of my prayers do not get answered Ė at least, as much as I can see Ė but weíre told to keep praying. How long? I would appreciate an answer based more on facts and evidence than on the Bible.

A. But if prayer is a spiritual exercise, what better source of information than the written account of Godís intervention into human affairs?

Jesus Christ, Son of God, taught us that we must always pray with complete assurance that our prayers are effective and will be answered (Mark 7:7), like the man who makes a nuisance of himself badgering his neighbor (Luke 11:5), like a woman pestering a judge until he gives her what she wants just to get rid of her (Luke 18: 1). Paul the Apostle encouraged his people to be constant in praying.

Keep your faith. The alternative abandonment of prayer is worse, much worse.

We need the faith of that little lady who declined a last minute invitation to a garden party because she had already prayed for rain.


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