Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington

From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 1453, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302

The Best of The Question Box

by Father I.J. Mikulski

(From the January 21, 2016 edition of the Inland Register)

Father I.J. Mikulski Q. Is it right to say the Book of Genesis suggests that it’s God’s plan that the first woman, Eve, formed from the rib of the first man, Adam, is therefore dependent on the man? As mother of Cain and Abel she needed Adam. A TV preacher said that shows man’s calling comes before a woman’s.

A. Context, please. Lifting sentences out of context always results in lopsided conclusions.

Genesis 2:23 explicitly states that the symbolism of the rib signifies the equality, not superiority, of man and woman. She’s a fitting partner, not an inferior being. And don’t overlook their third son, Seth.

There’s a flurry of disclaimers whenever Paul’s letter to the people of Ephesus is one of our readings. He wrote, “wives should be submissive to their husbands.” That’s male chauvinism! But keeping context for balance, in the same paragraph Paul says “husbands should love their wives ... glorious, with no stain or wrinkle or anything like that….”

Here’s a simple suggestion. After reading a sentence, go back and read the whole paragraph. Then go back and read the page on which the paragraph appears. If you’re serious, go back and read the chapter in which the page appears.

At times like this we can’t help but wonder if the Bible has caused as much trouble as it has done good.

Q. There are special occasions when I would love to get in line to receive Communion again. As a divorced Catholic I find myself excluded. Can I expect some consideration some day for people like myself to be welcomed at the table of the Lord? Do you know how much I miss it?

A. With a little more information it might be possible. Divorce, by itself, is not an obstacle to the sacraments. A second marriage is.

A person gets only one valid marriage at a time. We assume your (first) marriage was valid and if it was valid and your previous spouse still lives, you are married to that spouse, as you promised “until death.”

However, if you have not re-married and your spouse still lives, you are a married couple living apart. Divorce, by itself, is not an obstacle to the sacraments.

Make an appointment with your local friendly priest who would like to see you in his Communion line.

Q. Nothing in the New Testament suggests that Jesus baptized anyone or that his disciples baptized anyone. So baptisms were not essential to salvation. My question involves some missing material because you cannot impose baptism as a requirement for all people.

A. Not so fast. The New Testament has many references to the urgency of baptism. “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father ... “ etc. sounds like a direct line command.

It’s hard to prove a negative. The burden of proof lies with you to show that Jesus could not have said what Matthew says he said. Unless you have evidence to support your unfounded assumption there’s nothing to discuss. Matthew stands affirmed.

Mark and Luke have similar statements about the need of baptism.

John reports the words of Jesus in three places. Acts of the Apostles has four instances. Paul, honest man that he was, reports the need of baptism eight times.

The first generation of Catholics, who were closest to the source, could not have been so badly misguided that they rejoiced when 3,000 and later 5,000 converts were baptized after hearing Peter’s persuasive preaching.

Still, you have a point. If you can show that the disciples were not baptized while persuading thousands of others to be baptized you will have exposed the greatest fraud in history.

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