US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Why can't Catholics wed outdoors?

By Heidi Schlumpf| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Of the four wedding invitations currently posted on my refrigerator, only one is for a ceremony to be held in a church.

The others? All will be outdoors: in a hotel garden, under a restaurant gazebo, or in a park. The beauty of God's creation seems a perfect setting for making a lifetime commitment. So why doesn't the Catholic Church allow couples to get married outside?

Why does the priest pour water into the wine and put a piece of the bread into the cup?

By David Philippart| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Both actions are very ancient and began as practical necessities, but eventually the necessities disappeared and were even forgotten.

Later when Christians started to ask what these two gestures meant, they began to interpret the actions symbolically. While these symbols may never have been intended in the beginning, the better ones made sense and became part of our rich tradition.

Why do we hold hands during the Our Father?

By David Philippart| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
A how the practice of holdng hands at the Lord's Prayer began is like asking who invented kissing. We may never know for sure, but it's easy to guess.

Some families and households hold hands to say grace before meals. Maybe this practice migrated to church, as the Our Father is the final "grace" that we say before sharing in the Lord's Supper.

Is the mass still a sacrifice?

By Joel Schorn| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
It's in there. At Mass Catholics pray to God to "look with favor on your church's offering and see the victim whose death has reconciled us to yourself. . . . Calling to mind the death your Son endured for our salva-tion . . . we offer you in thanksgiving this holy and living sacrifice."

What are annulments for?

By Joel Schorn| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
"Why do I have to go through this?" The question sums up many other questions people have about annulments, the way the Catholic Church says a marriage is ended.

 "My fiance isn't even Catholic; why does he have to have his first marriage annulled? Other churches and religions recognize civil divorce; why not the Catholic Church? Isn't an annulment really just a hypocritical way for the church to let Catholics get around divorce? Why do I have to suffer the pain and humiliation of reliving my failed marriage?"

Why drink from the cup?

By Jim Dinn| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Receiving the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist from the cup is not a requirement, but receiving the blood of Christ is a fuller sign of the mystery we celebrate.

Why do we say Mary was "ever virgin"?

By Bob O'Gorman and Mary Faulker| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Mary is the powerful symbol of the Catholic's complete acceptance of God's grace.

Imagine yourself on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? For the milliondollar question Regis asks you: "The virginity of Mary refers to: (a) her Immaculate Conception; (b) the birth of Jesus; (c) a Hollywood movie; or (d) an expensive perfume."

Hopefully no one answered (c) or (d). However, even if you went to Catholic school, chances are you might answer (a), and you would lose. The correct answer is: (b) the birth of Jesus.

Lasting supper: Alice Camille on Jesus as the Bread of Life

By Alice Camille| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Fruit of the vine and work of human hands, a meal shared in communion with a friend becomes for us the bread of life.

"How much do you want to know?" The question I asked my good friend was hardly casual. Dale and I were sitting in a hospital room, and he was in bad shape.

Can a Catholic receive communion in a Protestant church?

By Kevin P. Considine| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Should you pass on communion at a Lutheran church or participate fully?

You are at the wedding of a beloved family member or friend, which is taking place at a Lutheran church. You gladly accepted the invitation to celebrate this happy day with the bride and groom. But then there is a call to come to the table of the Lord’s Supper, to receive communion. This is the awkward moment you knew was coming. Can you, and should you, a practicing Catholic, accept the invitation?

Why isn't transubstantiation in the creed?

By John Switzer| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
When considering the Catholic Church, perhaps nothing stands out so obviously as the Mass.

Eucharist, according to the Second Vatican Council, is both the “source and summit” of Christian life. Using bread and wine, at Mass we celebrate a communal sharing of the true presence of the risen Christ in these elements, which change from bread and wine into this sacrament of Christ. This is known as transubstantiation, a theological term used by Latin (Western) Christians, and it is a central belief of the Roman Catholic Church. So why does the creed make no mention of it?