Glad You Asked: Why do we go to confession?
The very word confession conjures up all kinds of stories and images, but those who go to confession know that it is a source of holy comfort and blessed relief. Confession is a gift, a means of grace, a way to God, and a way back to God.
This sacrament originated early in the church’s life, when it became clear that those who had been baptized were not immune to sin. Lesser sins were considered to be forgiven through prayer, fasting, works of mercy, and participation in the Eucharist. Greater sins needed more.
Do Catholics believe in life on other planets?
Jesus is the savior of humanity, but what that mean if we discovered alien life forms?
In a 1995 episode of the popular TV drama The X-Files, FBI agent Fox Mulder—a true believer in extraterrestrial life—has a quick exchange with his partner Dana Scully, the rational scientist and devoted skeptic. He asks, “Are you familiar with the Ten Commandments?”
“You want me to recite them?” Scully responds. Mulder says, “Just . . . the one about the Sabbath. The part where God made heaven and earth but didn’t bother to tell anyone about his side projects.”
What does the church say about the death penalty?
Here's another selection from the GYA archives. Conversation and questions about the death penalty are evergreen and Catholics in a society that permits the state executions as punishment continue to ponder the church's say in this.
About a year ago in central Maine we had three mild earthquakes within a couple of months. They reminded us that our underpinnings are not static, that our planet is still evolving. At present, in the church we also sense a shifting and realigning of the tectonic plates that underlie our moral judgments about the death penalty.
GYA: Why are some deacons married?
Celibacy isn't required for all clergy.
Last year, with the creation of the personal ordinariate for Anglicans, more people became aware of the presence of married clergy in the Catholic Church. Long known for its celibate priesthood, many media outlets began covering the church with profiles of these former Anglican priests who were to become Catholic priests despite having wives and children—the very thing other clergy, like Los Angeles Auxiliary Bishop Gabino Zavala, have lost their jobs over.
Pride and prejudice: The uneasy relationship between gays and lesbians and their church
As church leaders turn up the volume on same-sex marriage, gay and lesbian Catholics find themselves wondering just where they stand in their church.
On a clear, windy Sunday in March 2010, Father William Breslin told his parishioners at Sacred Heart of Jesus in Boulder, Colorado why the parish school would not re-enroll a child of same-sex parents for the coming school year.
The mamas and the papas: What it's like for Catholic parents of GLBT children
Parents have much to say about the church and their children.
The young priest preached on the sanctity of life at a Denver hospice. Afterward an older couple asked him if their son, who had died of AIDS, would be in hell forever. The priest said he couldn’t answer that.
More than 20 years later Shawn Reynolds still remembers the anguish on the couple’s faces. “He didn’t say anything about Christ’s love,” Reynolds says.
Where did the new Mass translations come from?
How did we arrive at this translation of the Mass?
As Catholics in the United States get accustomed to new responses and prayers at Sunday Mass, many will probably ask: Why did the Mass change? The answers have to do with changes to the Latin text upon which the English translation is based and on the rules according to which the translations are made.
Has hell frozen over?
Church teaching has shifted away from damnation and now focuses on salvation. Is that a good thing?
To a young girl attending Catholic school in the 1940s, eternal damnation was no abstract concept. “The nuns really terrified us,” says Pat Conroy, who grew up in Maryland. The list of potential transgressions—from eating meat on Fridays to missing Mass on Sundays—was long. “It seemed like almost anything was enough to send you to hell. I became so scrupulous and worried about everything I did.”
Why do we anoint the sick?
One of the great mysteries of our faith is the incarnation, our core belief that the eternal and almighty God became a human being, a man who could and did suffer just as we do.
During his ministry on earth, Jesus had a particular concern for sick people; he healed them not just with a word of power, but also with a human and compassionate touch.