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Fr. Joe :
74 article(s)

Fr. Joe Scott, CSP, has been a campus minister, pastor and editor as a Paulist priest.
May 18th, 2008

The term used for lay ministers of the eucharist is not “exceptional” but “extraordinary.” “Ordinary” is the Church’s term for someone who is ordained. For example, a bishop is often called an “ordinary” because he is the ordained spiritual leader of a diocese. “Extraordinary” means “outside ordination” referring to a minister who has not received the sacrament of Holy Orders.
Since 1973 bishops have been authorized to appoint non-ordained Catholics to distribute communion during the Mass. Lay ministers are also appointed to bring the eucharist to those who are sick or homebound. Dioceses vary in their practices…

May 18th, 2008

Transubstantiation is a teaching of the Church that developed from the 10th the 13th century as a way of explaining how the bread and wine that we receive at Mass are no longer bread and wine but the real body and blood of Christ. No one uses the term “transubstantiation” before the 10th century but the belief that Christ is truly present in the Eucharist goes back to the earliest Church. Christians experienced this “real presence” but didn’t know how to explain it clearly. The bread and wine they received at Mass still looked like bread and wine, but Christians believed them to become the body and blood of Christ which brought them life and spiritual growth in a special way.
The rediscovery…

May 18th, 2008

All things being equal, the Church would prefer that Catholics marry Catholics. Shared religious beliefs and practices are important factors in establishing a closer union with another person. Catholics also see marriage between Catholics as an essential way of passing on the Catholic faith from one generation to the next.
America is, however, a society in which Catholics and people of other religious faiths encounter each other each day. Marriages between Catholics and other Christians are quite common. The Church allows such marriages but asks the Catholic to promise that he or she will do all possible to continue in the practice of the Catholic faith and have any children baptized and raised as Catholics.…

May 18th, 2008
How strictly must we obey laws that don't seem to make sense and impede the way we want to live our lives? Does a Christian need to follow the law literally, as an expression of God's will over temporal matters through human legislators?

Jesus and Paul provide some example here. Both seem to have been “law-abiding citizens” in most respects. Jesus made exceptions which involved common sense (the disciples picking and eating grain because they were hungry on the Sabbath) and human need (healing a disabled person on the Sabbath). Paul believed that Christians were now free from the laws of Moses involving diet, but urged Christians not to give scandal to stricter Jews by flaunting their new freedom to eat pork. In these instances the law of charity or consideration for the needs and sensitivities of others trumped the strict observance of the law.
The Christian understanding of civil obedience developed not only with in relation…

May 18th, 2008
As many Catholics do, I have some serious disagreements with the Catholic church's teachings. I joke that "I'm a bad Catholic but obviously still identify as a Catholic. How can I reconcile issues over things like abortion, acceptance of other religions, gays/females as priests.

The first big conflict in the Church was over whether to admit Gentiles to baptism, without binding them to practice all the laws of Moses, and whether Jewish Christians could then associate with them as brothers and sisters in Christ. On this issue two very prominent church leaders, St. Peter and St. Paul found themselves in disagreement. As Paul tells us in his letter to the Galatians, “when Kephas (Peter) came to Antioch I opposed him to his face because he clearly was wrong” (Galatians 2:11). Even though they disagreed on such a crucial matter, these two saints have been forever linked together to such an extent that we celebrate their feast on the same day, June 29.
Recently the New York Times reported…

May 18th, 2008

Your question comes at a time when many people are asking about the appropriateness of tatoos. Parents, especially, are facing the increasing number of adolescents who want to have this form of “body art” displayed on their torsos. There is nothing inherently sinful about tatoos. I have researched the topic to find out what the Church’s teaching might be and have found no definitive answer. We are left, then, when trying to establish a reasonable response to the question.
It is certainly true that many people consider excessive tatoos to be wierd and disgusting, especially those which cover 50-90 percent of the whole body. There is a reference in Leviticus 19: 28 that says, along with a number…

May 18th, 2008

The first thing to note is that the Bible isn’t a source of science or history as we know it, but of religious truth. As John Paul II once observed, “the Bible does not show us how the heavens work, but how to get to heaven.”
This is particularly true of the stories in the book of Genesis, which deal with the very beginning of the world down to the time of the patriarchs (about 1500 B.C.). These accounts began as folk stories that were edited and adapted and then woven together by later authors during the time of the kings of Israel and Judah (much, much later than the period in which the stories take place). The purpose of the book was to describe God’s relationship with the human race before the time…

May 18th, 2008
I mean, we follow Jesus, but he didn't even write it; his friends did. If it was written so many years after his death by failing memories, why do we live by it? (What about the missing years?) Why do we base our beliefs on a man who 1) is like the rest of us and just wants peace, 2) was written about by other people who only told their version of the story, 3) wasn't important enough to be followed during the missing years?

These are great questions and I hope I can do them justice. The four gospels are important to us because they provide us with the first testimonies of faith. They share the story of Jesus from the perspectives of four quite different communities of Christians living in the first century. They were written between 40 and 70 years after the crucifixion of Jesus. They are not biographies and are not truly concerned about the details of Jesus’ life. Instead they try to convey the meaning of Jesus. The meaning of his life and death was revealed through the kind of person he was. His actions of healing people who were sick, forgiving persons who had sinned and challenging people to be merciful to one another were a living…

May 18th, 2008

Thank you for your question. You ask: “What was the nature of Adam and Eve’s perfection? And is this the perfection we are trying to journey towards?”
The book of Genesis relates that “God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them, male and female he created them” (Gen 1:27). Adam and Eve are in the image of God in their capacity for love and companionship. Their nature is fulfilled in that they are in harmony with God and with all of creation.
They lose this harmony when they seek to “be like God” (Gen 3:5). By eating the forbidden fruit, they deny their human nature and seek to usurp God’s power. This results in alienation and disharmony.…

May 18th, 2008

John’s gospel is different in many respects from Matthew, Mark and Luke, which are called “synoptic gospels” because they share so much in common. John’s gospel was probably written at a later date than the others and appears to be not a history but an extended theological and spiritual reflection on the meaning of Jesus within the particular community for which it was written.
One difference: in the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke Jesus uses parables or stories as a main form of teaching. In John’s gospel he tells NO parables, and speaks in a poetic style very different from his “voice” in the synoptic gospels. Another difference: in Matthew, Mark and Luke, the…

May 18th, 2008
I don't know where to start. Should I start from Genesis and work my way through? I've read the majority of the new Testament and I've re-read some books. I know that when you read the Bible it's definitely not a one time read, I would like to find a way of reading it daily but I'm not sure how to go about it.

We have a great guide to reading the bible called Bible Boot Camp. You can find it by selecting Googling God in our top navigation, then clicking the Bible Boot Camp button.
I also think a good way to read the scripture is to read it along with the daily scripture offered at mass. One reading is usually from the old testament and the other is the gospel during weekdays. On Sundays, we get three bible readings: one from the old testament, one from the latter part of the new testament (usually one of St. Paul’s letters), and one from the Gospels (the story of Jesus).
Mike Hayes is Senior Editor for Googling God…

May 18th, 2008
I have learned that all catholics must believe as an article of faith that all human beings have descended from two real human beings, Adam and Eve, who had no antecedents. Science has traced human lineage back several million years. We have, in our DNA, strong evidence of our development over very long time spans. My question is, if science proves beyond a doubt, by DNA or other evidence, that we have no linkage to those two distince parents Adam and Eve, how might the church respond to this, since it is in obvious contradiction to church teaching?

Contemporary Catholic biblical scholars tell us that the stories found in the book of Genesis are not meant to be a source of historical or scientific fact as we understand those terms today. Rather, they are meant to convey religious truth. In the words of one Catholic spiritual leader, “the purpose of the Bible is not to tell us how the heavens go, but how to go to heaven.”
Pope John Paul II,in his message to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences (October 22, 1996), observed that “we will all be able to profit from the fruitfulness of a trustful dialogue between the Church and
science.” John Paul took as his starting point the principle voiced by his predecessor, Pope Leo XIII, that “truth…

May 18th, 2008

I’m not quite sure what you’re asking here but here’s my best shot–tell me if this makes sense.
God can be “summed up” (as best we can) in three ways, I think:
1. God is beyond “us.” We can’t really fathom what God is but we know that He is kinda beyond what we come to know as human or “some-thing.” God is the ultimate “other.”
2. God is among us. God, for Christians, in the person of Jesus, is the God who is also “one of us.” For other religions(and in some sense for Christians too), God can be seen in nature, in creativity, in anything that exists and has movement. God is the source of creation and therefore God lives and moves…

May 18th, 2008

This is a question that many Catholics are asking after hearing the recent statement of Bishop Sheridan of Colorado Springs that he would refuse to give commununion to a political candidate whose views are not in line with church teaching against abortion. Archbishop Burke of St. Louis has established a similiar policy, as have two bishops in New Jersey, but these seem to be a minority among the American bishops.
Archbishop Sean O’Malley of Boston said last summer that Catholic politicians who support legal abortion should stop receiving communion by their own choice. But Archbishop O’Malley added that the church does not deny communion to people who come to receive it, presuming that they do so…

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