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#1 of 68 Old 08-09-2007, 01:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi,
here's another catholic question, coming from a catholic who is struggling with some beliefs. I am wondering about the official catholic teachings on death, afterlife, heaven, purgatory, etc.

here are my questions:
-what is the teaching on heaven? will we be with our families? will we be able to recognize one another?
-what about purgatory? does the church still recommend and encourage prayers and monetary gifts for the dead in purgatory?
-does the church believe that the dead can pray for us? or interceed for us?
-I know limbo is gone, thank goodness, but what is the teaching on those who are unbaptized?
-do catholics still HAVE to be buried in catholic cemetaries? I know that cremation is now permissible, we have been to a few masses, and then they were buried in catholic cemetaries.



thanks! I have looked through the catechism, but I didn't know if there have been any encyclicals or anything that also addressed these issues.
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#2 of 68 Old 08-09-2007, 04:47 PM
 
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I'll take a stab at your questions - I love the Catechism! My answers are in bold:


Quote:
Originally Posted by Maggi315 View Post
Hi, here's another catholic question, coming from a catholic who is struggling with some beliefs. I am wondering about the official catholic teachings on death, afterlife, heaven, purgatory, etc.

here are my questions:

-what is the teaching on heaven? will we be with our families? will we be able to recognize one another?

When you die, you stand before God for your Particular Judgment and make an accounting of your life to Him. You will see all of your actions and inactions from His perfect perspective, so you will not disagree with His Judgment. He is Infinitely Merciful and Perfectly Just. You will go to Heaven only if you die in a state of grace (i.e. you do not have any unconfessed mortal sins on your soul.) You may make a detour to Purgatory first, though, for the expiation you owe God for your confessed mortal sins and your unconfessed venial ones. But, if in Purgatory you will eventually get out and obtain Heaven after your sentence is finished. You will only see your family members in Heaven if they also made it there. Yes, you will be able to recognize everyone. No, you will not have your body back until the end of time and the General Judgment takes place after Jesus' return.

-what about purgatory? does the church still recommend and encourage prayers and monetary gifts for the dead in purgatory?

Yes, we must offer Masses, prayers and sacrifices for the Holy Souls in Purgatory, because it helps to mitigate their time spent there and it speeds their eventual release into Heaven. One of the six Holy Days of Obligation (All Souls Day - Nov. 2nd) exists specifically for this purpose.

-does the church believe that the dead can pray for us? or interceed for us?

Only the angels and souls in Heaven with God can pray for us. The souls in Heaven are the Saints, and not all Saints are canonized. So, for example, if you think Grandma might have made it to Heaven, you can ask for her to pray for you and ask her intercession. Although, it might be better for you to pray for her, in case she's still in Purgatory, which I'm sure she'd appreciate!

-I know limbo is gone, thank goodness, but what is the teaching on those who are unbaptized?

Limbo is not "gone." It has never been dogmatically decreed, but it has always been taught as a matter of doctrine. The Pope's recent statement merely "softened" the position a bit with the idea that we can "hope" that perhaps unbaptized babies go to Heaven instead of Limbo, but no Pope or theologian in the history of the Church has ever taught this.

However, Limbo should not be viewed in a negative light. Limbo is a place of perfect natural happiness, with the exception that the souls there do not enjoy the Beatific Vision (see the face of God). This punishment is due to the punishment God handed down to all of us for Adam and Eve's Original Sin of disobedience.

The souls of the unbaptized innocent (babies, and children BEFORE the age of reason) go to Limbo.

However, the souls of unbaptized adults and children beyond the age of reason go to Hell. This is due to the fact that they have not had the stain of Original Sin removed by the Sacrament of Baptism.


-do catholics still HAVE to be buried in catholic cemetaries? I know that cremation is now permissible, we have been to a few masses, and then they were buried in catholic cemetaries.

Yes. And truly cremation is not licit, even though it's use is being abused by liberal Catholics. It is a sin to do anything to destroy the Temple Of the Holy Ghost, i.e. your body. Cremation is only licit when there is a profound societal reason, such as an epidemic like the Black Plague.

thanks! I have looked through the catechism, but I didn't know if there have been any encyclicals or anything that also addressed these issues.
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#3 of 68 Old 08-09-2007, 10:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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thanks! But do you have references whether it is the catechism or encyclicals or something? The person I am discussing this with will need some definite references, post-vatican II if possible. I thought there was an encyclical about this subject by John Paul II, but I can't find it now that I am looking. Do you know about that?
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#4 of 68 Old 08-10-2007, 12:39 AM
 
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I prefer to use the 1942 Baltimore Catechism, but the 1997 Catechism says all the same things. Not sure about what encyclical you are referring to.

You can buy either Catechism online.
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#5 of 68 Old 08-10-2007, 02:19 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I guess I thought there was more available, I just looked at the catechism and it does say that cremation is valid as long as the ashes are buried appropriately. Maybe the baltimore is different, I'm looking at the newer one.

I'll look through some other things too, my husband told me there is some good information if one of the books he has written by scott hahn, he's going to look it up for me.

thanks!
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#6 of 68 Old 08-10-2007, 11:07 AM
 
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When you said "monetary gifts for the dead', do you mean the selling of indulgences? This was never something the Church did. It was something that some corrupt people within the Church were wrongly doing.

If you have a Mass said for a deceased person, the small donation is for the purpose of defraying the cost of Mass supplies (candles, hosts, etc.)

And yes, cremation is allowed but the ashes must be interred in a cemetary.

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#7 of 68 Old 08-10-2007, 03:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Maggi315 View Post
thanks! But do you have references whether it is the catechism or encyclicals or something? The person I am discussing this with will need some definite references, post-vatican II if possible. I thought there was an encyclical about this subject by John Paul II, but I can't find it now that I am looking. Do you know about that?
The priest at my parish prefers the 1997 Catechism. He said it is much more detailed.
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#8 of 68 Old 08-10-2007, 03:58 PM
 
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The priest at my parish prefers the 1997 Catechism. He said it is much more detailed.
Yes, the Catechism of any year should be used over an encyclical because it is much more detailed.
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#9 of 68 Old 08-10-2007, 11:34 PM
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The Vatican just published something on Limbo, but all I found was this older article...http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15158398/

The belief in "the communion of saints" means all of the living and dead are spiritually united, i.e., can pray and intercede for each other.

"Isn't life a series of images that change as they repeat themselves?" - Andy Warhol
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#10 of 68 Old 08-11-2007, 12:29 AM
 
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: Gah. All this misinformation really sets my teeth on edge.

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Originally Posted by StacyL
Limbo is not "gone." It has never been dogmatically decreed, but it has always been taught as a matter of doctrine.
You are wrong, wrong, WRONG. "Limbo" has NEVER been an official doctrine of the Catholic Church. Not even pre-Vatican II.

Closing the doors of limbo

Quote:
Many Catholics grew up thinking limbo -- the place where babies who have died without baptism spend eternity in a state of "natural happiness" but not in the presence of God -- was part of Catholic tradition.

Instead, it was a hypothesis -- a theory held out as a possible way to balance the Christian belief in the necessity of baptism with belief in God's mercy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by StacyL
The Pope's recent statement merely "softened" the position a bit with the idea that we can "hope" that perhaps unbaptized babies go to Heaven instead of Limbo, but no Pope or theologian in the history of the Church has ever taught this.
Quote:
A conviction that babies who died without baptism go to heaven was not something promoted only by people who want to believe that God saves everyone no matter what they do.

Pope John Paul II believed it. And so does Pope Benedict.

In the 1985 book-length interview, "The Ratzinger Report," the future Pope Benedict said, "Limbo was never a defined truth of faith. Personally -- and here I am speaking more as a theologian and not as prefect of the congregation -- I would abandon it, since it was only a theological hypothesis.

Quote:
Originally Posted by StacyL
The souls of the unbaptized innocent (babies, and children BEFORE the age of reason) go to Limbo.
That is your OPINION and no longer Church teaching.

Quote:
Originally Posted by StacyL
However, the souls of unbaptized adults and children beyond the age of reason go to Hell. This is due to the fact that they have not had the stain of Original Sin removed by the Sacrament of Baptism.
This is also NOT Church doctrine. Really, get your facts straight.

Quoting from the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

Quote:
1258 The Church has always held the firm conviction that those who suffer death for the sake of the faith without having received Baptism are baptized by their death for and with Christ. This Baptism of blood, like the desire for Baptism, brings about the fruits of Baptism without being a sacrament.

1259 For catechumens who die before their Baptism, their explicit desire to receive it, together with repentance for their sins, and charity, assures them the salvation that they were not able to receive through the sacrament.

1260 "Since Christ died for all, and since all men are in fact called to one and the same destiny, which is divine, we must hold that the Holy Spirit offers to all the possibility of being made partakers, in a way known to God, of the Paschal mystery."63 Every man who is ignorant of the Gospel of Christ and of his Church, but seeks the truth and does the will of God in accordance with his understanding of it, can be saved. It may be supposed that such persons would have desired Baptism explicitly if they had known its necessity.

1261 As regards children who have died without Baptism, the Church can only entrust them to the mercy of God, as she does in her funeral rites for them. Indeed, the great mercy of God who desires that all men should be saved, and Jesus' tenderness toward children which caused him to say: "Let the children come to me, do not hinder them,"64 allow us to hope that there is a way of salvation for children who have died without Baptism. All the more urgent is the Church's call not to prevent little children coming to Christ through the gift of holy Baptism.
That pretty much covers everyone beyond the age of reason. God's mercy is infinite, there is hope for all.


Purgatory was clarified by Pope John Paul II as a state of being (purification), not a "place". Furthermore, since time ceases to exist when our earthly lives end, there is no way to know how long one will be in this state. It could be mere seconds, for all we know.

Regarding cremation - it IS in fact permitted.

Quote:
2301 Autopsies can be morally permitted for legal inquests or scientific research. The free gift of organs after death is legitimate and can be meritorious.

The Church permits cremation, provided that it does not demonstrate a denial of faith in the resurrection of the body.93
Finally, there is nothing in the Catechism that says a Catholic must be buried in a Catholic cemetery.

Every baptized Christian is, or should be, someone with an actual (disturbing) experience, ... a close encounter, with God; someone who, as a result, becomes a disturbing presence to others. - Fr. Anthony J. Gittins, A Presence That Disturbs
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#11 of 68 Old 08-11-2007, 01:25 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Spero:

Thanks for posting and copying. I had thought the same thing about limbo and was quite glad to have the Vatican clarify limbo. So many needless moms were tormented by the thoughts of their babies being in limbo, I know several older women who were plagued throughout their life about miscarriages, stillborns, etc.

Also, thanks for posting about cremation and burial in catholic cemetary. I actually emailed our diocese for clarification and was told the same thing you mentioned.

I think StacyL is referring to some of the traditionalist catholic teachings which do differ from the current church teachings, I appreciate her posting, but I am trying to find out the current church positions/teachings. I think many of the elderly are confused as to what these teachings are and when someone dies unsure what they are to do.

My husband works with people who are dying or having recently deceased members and gets asked these types of questions all the time. Sometimes I help him put together a funeral and reception. He is putting together links to the catechism, quotes like the ones Spero mentioned (hope you don't mind me cutting and pasting?), and links to church officials so that people have the correct information and can prepare for their funerals properly.

I'm glad to hear about the cemetary issue, for some the cost to fly a body to a catholic cemetary and pay all the associated costs is truly a burden and sometimes downright impossible.
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#12 of 68 Old 08-11-2007, 01:28 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Oh, and I forgot to ask StacyL where she got the information about unbaptized adults and children of reason going to hell? Is that actually a catholic document written down somewhere? I haven't seen it put that way, is that from the baltimore catechism? We've studied that before, one of my children went to Seton for a bit, but I don't remember that, surely that would have made my head go : . But if it's actually part of that catechism, or another document, I would love the reference to go back and reread it.
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#13 of 68 Old 08-11-2007, 02:01 AM
 
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Originally Posted by spero View Post
: Gah. All this misinformation really sets my teeth on edge.


You are wrong, wrong, WRONG.


Heidi - you have been very open here in talking about your own personal doubts and personal objections to and struggles with many of the Church's teachings, doctrines, and Dogmas, and I don't think it is fair for you to bring your own personal bias into this discussion.

Regarding Limbo, you can keep that one open with all of the theologians of the history of the Church.

Regarding the salvation of the unbaptized (no, we're not talking about the rare and unusual cases of a catechumen dying on their way to their Baptism and First Communion, i.e. Baptism of Desire or Blood, etc.) you cannot deny the absolutely defined Dogma of Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus - "Outside Of The Church, None Are Saved." All Catholics are obliged to assent to that Dogma and all other defined Dogmas, under pain of mortal sin. Obviously, we hope that those who, through no fault of their own, have never known the gospel in a conscious way may be united to Christ in a way known only to God, but that is merely a personal hope you can hold, and is not the official Dogma of the Church.

There is nothing changed in this teaching in ANY Catechism - 1997, Baltimore, Catechism of the Council of Trent, etc. as far back as you want to go. If what you are saying were true, there would be no need for the Sacrament of Baptism, nor any need at all for anyone to ever become Catholic!

Also, Purgatory is not up for theological debate as was Limbo. Purgatory is part of oral tradition and carries the same weight as any other doctrine, even though it is not officially declared Dogma.
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I think StacyL is referring to some of the traditionalist catholic teachings which do differ from the current church teachings, I appreciate her posting, but I am trying to find out the current church positions/teachings. I think many of the elderly are confused as to what these teachings are and when someone dies unsure what they are to do.
Yes, Heidi, Maggi315 is quite aware that I am Traditional Catholic, but that doesn't mean the Dogmas of the Church are any different for us and you!

LOL

We Trads may still abstain from meat on Fridays, and you guys only do that during Lent, but all the Dogmas still hold - even after Vatican II - LOL.
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#15 of 68 Old 08-11-2007, 02:14 AM
 
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Oh, and I forgot to ask StacyL where she got the information about unbaptized adults and children of reason going to hell? Is that actually a catholic document written down somewhere? I haven't seen it put that way, is that from the baltimore catechism? We've studied that before
You can probably find the various different editions of the Catechism all online, I would imagine, if you look. Or you can order them in book form. I have probably all of them sitting on my bookshelf!
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#16 of 68 Old 08-11-2007, 02:24 AM
 
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Here's the Baltimore Catechism online - how neat!

Please read the statement on the opening page too:

Quote:
The Baltimore Catechism is a timeless classic. The only changes that have been made in the Church, since it was written, are those in the area of discipline. No changes have been made in the area of doctrine and morality. The same Faith that was believed when the Baltimore Catechism was written, is the same Faith that is believed today.

This question and answer format catechism will be useful to anyone who wants to better know the Faith of the Catholic Church.
Baltimore Catechism
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#17 of 68 Old 08-11-2007, 02:33 AM
 
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Maggi315 - Thought you might like this. I took it from the '97 one:

Purgatory, Heaven, Hell, Particular Judgment, General Judgment


Quote:
Article 12
III. The Final Purification, or Purgatory


1030
All who die in God's grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven.


1031
The Church gives the name Purgatory to this final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned.606 The Church formulated her doctrine of faith on Purgatory especially at the Councils of Florence and Trent. The tradition of the Church, by reference to certain texts of Scripture, speaks of a cleansing fire:607


As for certain lesser faults, we must believe that, before the Final Judgment, there is a purifying fire. He who is truth says that whoever utters blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will be pardoned neither in this age nor in the age to come. From this sentence we understand that certain offenses can be forgiven in this age, but certain others in the age to come.608


1032
This teaching is also based on the practice of prayer for the dead, already mentioned in Sacred Scripture: "Therefore [Judas Maccabeus] made atonement for the dead, that they might be delivered from their sin."609 From the beginning the Church has honored the memory of the dead and offered prayers in suffrage for them, above all the Eucharistic sacrifice, so that, thus purified, they may attain the beatific vision of God.610 The Church also commends almsgiving, indulgences, and works of penance undertaken on behalf of the dead:


Let us help and commemorate them. If Job's sons were purified by their father's sacrifice, why would we doubt that our offerings for the dead bring them some consolation? Let us not hesitate to help those who have died and to offer our prayers for them.611
And, more good stuff here (from the Baltimore Catechsim):

The Four Last Things
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Maggi315:

Here's a link to the Catechism online. It's pretty easy to follow, and your questions about Heaven and Purgatory are found in Article 12.

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#19 of 68 Old 08-11-2007, 10:33 AM
 
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I quoted directly from the Catechism (from the Vatican website, no less) and Catholic news articles - I did not post my personal opinion.

"Limbo" is complete BS, has absolutely NO Scriptural basis whatsoever, and is and has always been nothing more than a hurtful, hateful, informal teaching of the Church. It's about time they closed the door on that one. It's a personal pet peeve of mine, yes; and I will continue to correct misinformation when I see it.

Every baptized Christian is, or should be, someone with an actual (disturbing) experience, ... a close encounter, with God; someone who, as a result, becomes a disturbing presence to others. - Fr. Anthony J. Gittins, A Presence That Disturbs
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Yes, the Catechism of any year should be used over an encyclical because it is much more detailed.

I meant the 1997 Catecheism over the 1942 Baltimore.
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#21 of 68 Old 08-11-2007, 05:15 PM
 
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I also like this version of the Baltimore Catechism:

My Catholic Faith

It has pictures and a lot of Scriptural references and still uses the question and answer format. This is the one that was actually used in my Catechism class when I became Catholic.

It would be good for kids too.

You can see the pages themselves in the link.
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#22 of 68 Old 08-11-2007, 11:33 PM
 
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you cannot deny the absolutely defined Dogma of Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus - "Outside Of The Church, None Are Saved."
Not according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Quote:
169 Salvation comes from God alone; but because we receive the life of faith through the Church, she is our mother: "We believe the Church as the mother of our new birth, and not in the Church as if she were the author of our salvation."55 Because she is our mother, she is also our teacher in the faith.

Every baptized Christian is, or should be, someone with an actual (disturbing) experience, ... a close encounter, with God; someone who, as a result, becomes a disturbing presence to others. - Fr. Anthony J. Gittins, A Presence That Disturbs
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When you said "monetary gifts for the dead', do you mean the selling of indulgences? This was never something the Church did. It was something that some corrupt people within the Church were wrongly doing.
Must also correct this - again, quoting from the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

Quote:
1032 This teaching is also based on the practice of prayer for the dead, already mentioned in Sacred Scripture: "Therefore [Judas Maccabeus] made atonement for the dead, that they might be delivered from their sin."609 From the beginning the Church has honored the memory of the dead and offered prayers in suffrage for them, above all the Eucharistic sacrifice, so that, thus purified, they may attain the beatific vision of God.610 The Church also commends almsgiving, indulgences, and works of penance undertaken on behalf of the dead
The "buying of Masses" and selling of indulgences IS still in practice in the Church today - not, mind you, that I agree with it. We don't allow it at our parish. People can request a "Mass memorial" for someone who has died, and we don't require payment. If they choose to offer a stipend, the amount is up to them.

Every baptized Christian is, or should be, someone with an actual (disturbing) experience, ... a close encounter, with God; someone who, as a result, becomes a disturbing presence to others. - Fr. Anthony J. Gittins, A Presence That Disturbs
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#24 of 68 Old 08-12-2007, 11:58 PM
 
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We Trads may still abstain from meat on Fridays, and you guys only do that during Lent, but all the Dogmas still hold - even after Vatican II - LOL.
Hey, now. Some of us abstain from meat on all Fridays because we know the obligation was never lifted. Don't paint with such a wide brush. That only serves to promote division within the Church.

back to your regularly scheduled topic...

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#25 of 68 Old 08-13-2007, 12:52 PM
 
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Abstinence is doctrinal, not dogmatic.

Every baptized Christian is, or should be, someone with an actual (disturbing) experience, ... a close encounter, with God; someone who, as a result, becomes a disturbing presence to others. - Fr. Anthony J. Gittins, A Presence That Disturbs
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#26 of 68 Old 08-13-2007, 04:50 PM
 
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Hey, now. Some of us abstain from meat on all Fridays because we know the obligation was never lifted. Don't paint with such a wide brush. That only serves to promote division within the Church.

back to your regularly scheduled topic...
Or we could do some other type of penance...which I usually do since I always forget it's Friday. : It's not my fault, I'm a convert!
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#27 of 68 Old 08-13-2007, 04:59 PM
 
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Shouldn't this be moved to Religious Studies?

After all, we are debating theology here.

Every baptized Christian is, or should be, someone with an actual (disturbing) experience, ... a close encounter, with God; someone who, as a result, becomes a disturbing presence to others. - Fr. Anthony J. Gittins, A Presence That Disturbs
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#28 of 68 Old 08-14-2007, 01:06 AM
 
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The "buying of Masses" and selling of indulgences IS still in practice in the Church today - not, mind you, that I agree with it. We don't allow it at our parish. People can request a "Mass memorial" for someone who has died, and we don't require payment. If they choose to offer a stipend, the amount is up to them.
No...the selling of Indulgences is not a practice. One may receive indulgences by doing works of devotion, penance and charity. One may not receive an indulgence by "buying" it.

From the Apostolic Constitution Indulgentiarum Doctrina found at: http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/pa...ctrina_en.html

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The Magisterium of the Church has defended and illustrated this doctrine in various documents.(40) Unfortunately, the practice of indulgences has at times been improperly used either through "untimely and superfluous indulgences" by which the power of the keys was humiliated and penitential satisfaction weakened,(41) or through the collection of "illicit profits" by which indulgences were blasphemously defamed.(42) But the Church, in deploring and correcting these improper uses "teaches and establishes that the use of indulgences must be preserved because it is supremely salutary for the Christian people and authoritatively approved by the sacred councils; and it condemns with anathema those who maintain the uselessness of indulgences or deny the power of the Church to grant them."(43

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#29 of 68 Old 08-14-2007, 11:08 AM
 
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I know what indulgences are "supposed" to be.

However, the buying and selling of indulgences - wrong though it is - still takes place in churches today. People do believe that they can "buy" a Mass - and thus, they believe that they are purchasing, in essence, an "indulgence" for the deceased person being remembered at that Mass.

I hear it all the time.

Every baptized Christian is, or should be, someone with an actual (disturbing) experience, ... a close encounter, with God; someone who, as a result, becomes a disturbing presence to others. - Fr. Anthony J. Gittins, A Presence That Disturbs
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#30 of 68 Old 08-14-2007, 03:07 PM
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I know what indulgences are "supposed" to be.

However, the buying and selling of indulgences - wrong though it is - still takes place in churches today. People do believe that they can "buy" a Mass - and thus, they believe that they are purchasing, in essence, an "indulgence" for the deceased person being remembered at that Mass.

I hear it all the time.
Why do churches "charge" for a mass to be said? To get extra monies?
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