Adult & Family Faith Formation: Questions & Answers

Q: Can we watch TV Mass and count it as a Sunday or Holy Day obligation?

A: Many Catholics still do not realize that the obligation concerning Sunday Mass is not to hear or watch someone else do something, but to be there to do it oneself, and share it with our fellow Catholics.  The Eucharist is an action, a celebration, of the Catholic community and cannot be substituted for by seeing a television program.  If one cannot be present for Sunday Mass with one’s parish or other community, a television or radio Mass may assist in uniting one with it in spirit, or in realizing one’s desire for union with Christ in the Eucharist.  But such listening or viewing is never a substitute for being there.

Q: It has been argued that animals have no soul—therefore do not go to heaven.  Is that true? /or Can it be up for debate?

A: Scripture does not conclusively tell us whether our pets will make it to heaven.  However, the Bible does provide us with some significant clues regarding whether or not animals will inhabit the new heaven and the new earth.  First, animals populated the Garden of Eden.  Thus, there is a precedent for believing that animals will populate Eden restored as well.  While we cannot say for certain that the pets we enjoy today will be “resurrected” in eternity.  Some of the keenest thinkers from C.S. Lewis to Peter Kreeft are not only convinced that animals in general but that pets in particular will be restored in the resurrection.

Q: If Lutherans wish they had a Pope and Reconciliation—what did the Catholic leaders wish they had?

A: From our dialogue with other religious leaders—it seemed that the Catholics wanted to inherit a couple of traits from our Protestant brothers and sisters.  One: The dedication many Protestants have to singing at the services and secondly: the commitment that many Protestants have of tithing 10% of their income to the parish.

Q: Why can’t girls be priests?

A: Among the most vocal controversies in the Catholic Church in the late 20th Century has been this question.  At the most basic level, the answer to the question is simple: The New Testament priesthood is the priesthood of Christ Himself.  All men who, through the Sacrament of Holy Orders, have become priests or bishops participate in Christ’s priesthood.  And they participate in it in a very special way:  they act in Persona Christi Capitis, in the Person of Christ, the Head of His Body, the Church.

Q: Why should we dress nice for church?  Can someone else marry a couple besides a priest?

A: One should always dress appropriately for Mass so as not to be a distraction to anyone else who is present.  We should dress like we were going out to a fine dinner—after all that is what the Eucharistic celebration is.  Secondly, in the Catholic Church the other individuals who can conduct weddings are deacons (transitional—those who are on the road to priesthood) as well as a permanent deacon (who are allowed to marry).  Deacons are also allowed to bury and baptize as well.

Q: Can a married deacon become a priest?

A: According to the Roman rite a married deacon cannot become a priest.  If his wife should die, he may complete his studies and become ordained a priest even if he has children from his marriage.

Q: What color is your world?

A: Interesting question, calls for an interesting answer!  Most days I like to think my world is filled with brilliant and bright colors.  However, when young people lose their lives due to unforeseen accidental death, my world becomes very blue in many ways.  Obviously, I have a special place in my heart for young people and want to see them go far in their lives.