Teachings Questions and Answers
by visitors to Domestic-Church.Com
We receive anywhere from 5 to 25 letters a week here at the family office of Domestic-Church.Com. Some are (much appreciated!) "Hi, I love your site!" letters, but most are questions. Tough questions, too, usually. I have recruited a number of willing, knowledgeable volunteers to answer the questions that I can't. If there is anything here, or in the other Question and Answer sections of this issue, that you would like to comment on, answer for us, or argue with, please feel free to write and let us know.
Teaching Sacrament of Confirmation
I AM A NEW CONFIRMATION TEACHER, AND WAS LOOKING FOR INFORMATION ON THIS SUBJECT.
PLEASE, TELL ME WHERE TO LOOK I AM [using?] THE HI-TIME CONFIRMATION BOOKS. THANK YOU
The Editor answers:
Thank you for your letter to Domestic-Church.Com. I apologise for the delay in answering.
I suggest that you prepare by reading the Catholic Catechism (Click on the words to buy a copy if you don't have one.) section of the sacrament of confirmation and then turn to these resources:
I recommend the 'Faith and Life' series. (Click on the words for a review of the series and information on how to order them.)
In addition, I will be posting a review (soon!) of another resource book you may find useful called: 101 Activities bsed on the Catechism of the Catholic Church, by Ellen Rossini, published by Ignatius Press. Hope this helps!
PS. In case you're new to email and the internet, using all capitals is the equivalent of screaming at the top of your lungs. It's very hard on the eyes and should be used in moderation.
Commentary on Kosovo
Subject: Re: to elio sgreccia
who is this madman? is he even human? he should be raped.
The Editor answers:
Dear M.; Thank you for your letter to Domestic-Church.Com, we appreciate your interest and comments.
However, your letter leaves me with some questions.
- Who are you referring to? I don't recognise the name, and I'm sure you did not find any reference to this person on our website.
- Why, then, have you sent us this comment?
I'd also like to point out that however vile you might find this person or his actions, suggesting that he be subjected to violence himself is hardly productive, or indeed Christian. I ask again, why did you send this letter to us? What is it you want us to do? Thank you again for visiting Domestic-Church.Com
He is a vatican spokesperson. Thousends of women are being raped in Kosovo and he is against the abortion pill for these women.
I did not mean to offend, I just would like my message to get to Elio Sgreccia. I used a search engine and this name referred me to our web site. Peace.
The Editor answers:
Dear Michael; Thank you for your reply, I rarely get answers to my responses to letters sent here (if you followed that!) And I am in no way offended.
I've just come across a press release about Elio Sgreccia, here it is:
ABORTION PILLS: ANOTHER FORM OF ETHNIC CLEANSING? Real Recipients of U.N. Abortive Pill
ROME, APR 19 (ZENIT).- Nafis Sadik, director of the U.N. Population Fund, has tried to fan the media debate by accusing the Vatican of "lack of sensitivity."
The original debate was provoked by an article written by Bishop Elio Sgreccia, vice-president of the Pontifical Academy for Life, in which he simply stated that the pill this U.N. agency distributes in the Albanian refugee camps, is abortive.
Now the daily 'Avvenire,' which published Bishop Sgreccia's article, is raising questions which for years the U.N. Population Fund has failed to answer. Riccardo Cascioli, an expert in human rights in developing countries, stated that "the day after pill" (or abortive pill) is not being given to the women who have been raped by the Serbs in Kosovo, since these women arrive at the refugee camps after the 72 hours required for an abortion to be effective with this medicine.
But if the pills sent by the U.N. agency are not for the victims of ethnic rape, then who are they for? "They are for the women who have sexual relations in the refugee camps, who often are also victims of rape by their own countrymen. Although no one talks about it, the index of sexual violence (one way a humiliated person vents rage and frustration) is very high [in the refugee camps]," Cascioli explained.
According to the article in 'Avvenire,' with their pill policy "the U.N. agencies do not try to stop the violence but simply to avoid its consequences." This policy was adopted by the U.N. High Commission for Refugees, by the World Health Organization and by UNICEF in 1995 and is referred to as, "reproductive health in the situations of refugee camps."
In fact, because of the above policy, two NGOs -- Oxfam and Save the Children -- which are not even Catholic, decided to stop working with the U.N. on this matter, after they witnessed, for themselves, the disasters it provoked.
Cascioli came to a harsh conclusion: "the true objective of the reproductive health services in the refugee camps is the coercive control of a population they do not want to see increase. There is a surreptitious racism in this logic, confirmed by the fact that the one which supports these U.N. programs, including in Kosovo, -- with money and personnel -- is the International Planned Parenthood Federation, the powerful organization which is the heir to the eugenic movement of the beginning of the century for which the 'selection of the race' continues to be a task of society."
Now, obviously this press releases is biased towards pro-life Catholicism and against Planned Parenthood. I do wish we could get _unbiased_ news from somewhere, but until then I'll continue to read things carefully.
OK. As it seems to stand then.
Women are being raped in Kosovo (and all over the world)
They are being provided with 'morning-after' pills in the refugee camps.
The Vatican, through its representative, stated that these pills are abortive. It is unclear as to whether he went any further.
You are upset with Mr. (Father?) Sgreccio for saying this.
I am not positive how the 'morning after' pill works. Does it kill sperm, or does it kill fertilised embryos?
I do know that conception takes place within hours if a fertile egg is present at the time of intercourse. If not, sperm can survive for up to 72 hours so as to fertilise an egg released after intercourse.
Any killing of a fertilised egg, an embryo, a oocyte, call it what you want _is_ abortion. Abortion is not just the prevention of implantation which leads to the death of the embryo, it is anything which kills the fertilised embryo. Which (it seems, but as I said, I don't know for certain) the pill distributed in the camps does, and is doing.
To return to my question, why did his statement arouse such anger in you?
I know the pro-abortion argument - why should a woman be 'forced' to carry a pregnancy which has been forced on her?
I'd counter it with another question - how does doing violence (chemical killing) to an innocent child negate or answer the violence done to the woman? How can two wrongs make it right?
Wouldn't it be better to answer the violence in the manner of Mother Theresa and Christ - with love and compassion? Wouldn't it be better to support these women and help them bring good out of the evil? (No-one who has ever seen a newborn child could see them as anything but good and a blessing.)
No-one is suggesting that these women be 'forced' to raise the children forced upon them, adoption is always an option - I'd take ten if I could.
I have not been a refugee in a refugee camp, but I have been raped, and I can in some small way imagine how these women feel. The only way to survive such a thing is to forgive, not return violence with more violence...
I could go on and on, and I'd like to. We could talk about the larger violence of the whole war, and whether NATO's actions are a reasonable answer to ethnic cleansing.
I could tell you that I, despite how it may sound, am not a pacifist -I'm a member of the Canadian Reserve and as a mother have been consumed with murderous rage more than once when my children are threatened. I actually have argued more than once that it's a good thing we don't have a matriarchial society - it would be a lot less merciful than the one we have, with many more executions. We mothers don't mess around when our children are threatened, actually or only potentially.
I look forward to your reply
'M' Replies Again
For me death is not the worst thing in life. Pain and suffering are. For me it is the least worst situation for abortion to be performed rather than bring an unwanted child to this already over populated world. A child whose life is doomed to be miserable as is already the case of millions of them.
You are a religious person and must have good motives. But it is my belief in this case your good intentions are misplaced. The vatican and the pope are saying things that in my eyes are the true definition of sin if there ever was one. I am not for abortion per se but he and his religion are even against using contraceptives.
Let us take care of the children already on this planet before we bring more on board. For all the mother Theresa types who are trying to do good there are millions repeat millions of other children who are suffering a miserable life on a daily, hourly basis. Time has proven the church and religion to be wrong in history and in the past. It is my belief it will do so again in the coming future. PeaceMichael(He has stated his position quite clearly. It is dimetrically opposed to anything I would argue. If anyone wants to continue this conversation with 'M' please let us know and I'll pass along his email address.)
Who Is God?
To whom it may concern, Hello, my name is Brie.
I am curently attending a Senior Confirmation class at my church (ages13-14) and we have been assigned to do a paper on "Who God is to me". I was searching for ideas on the internet and ran across your website, if you can help me with my studies, I would greatly appreciate it! Thank you.
Paul Fournier Answers:
Dear Brie. God created everything that exists; the angels, the stars, the sea and your mother's face. Everything that is true comes from God. When the truth is very well said, we call that truth 'Beauty'. If you play the piano, then this is a good thing, and your talent comes from God. If you play it very well indeed, then you become God's way of telling us about His Perfection.
This is what the saints do for us - they tell us the truth about God. The only thing that should ever make us unhappy is that we aren't all saints, because that's what we have to be to get to Heaven.
Do you want to know what God looks like ? We are made in His image, so look in a mirror. But if you want to see what the devil looks like, you only need to look into the same mirror, because we are our own worst temptations. God looks like all the people you love, and He looks most like the people who love you most.
Your Dad gets his authority directly from God - did you know that? God is very generous with His power, and gives us as much of it as we need to save our immortal souls. God reaches us in all the ways you can imagine; through poetry, science and good philosophy. He reaches you through eyes that love you and hearts that beat for you. He can be seen in the hands that care for you and the feet that walk miles to reach you. He is in your Father's proud smile; it is God asking you to do the dishes when your mother asks.
Finally, God wants to give Himself entirely to you; as much as you are prepared to receive from Him. Ask your guardian angel to help you get ready to meet Him. Cordially, Paul Fournier
John Pacheco Answers
Catherine Fournier passed your post on to me for my comments. Obviously, this is a very personal question, and only you can answer it since it is directed to your own relationship with Jesus.
A few words of caution, though. It's important to know that this question can be very dangerous since it could be interpreted in a subjective sense i.e. "God is what I want Him to be" instead of who God is according to how He has revealed Himself to us through the bible and the Church. God is "Who He is" not necessarily what or who you WANT Him to be.
The closer your view of God is to His public revelation, the closer your view will be to the truth. Unfortunately, in these times, many people try to invent God in their own image instead of seeing Him for who He really is. Hope this helps. Yours in Jesus, John
Dear Domestic-Church, I have a problem with one of my children that frequently brings up an argument. My son has become an atheist. I believe it is due to his quest for knowledge and possibly the fact that he is a teenager. He has been reading about the philosophers of the Greek period many of which have stood against religion. My question to put it simply is should I force my son to attend church or should I let him choose his own path in hopes that he finds a path to god by his own ways?
Your friend, Mr. Attreed
The Editor Answers
Dear Mr. Attreed; Thank you for your letter to Domestic-Church.Com, I apologise for the delay in answering your letter. Over the summer, when I was busier with family matters, I tried not to let the critical letters like yours go unanswered, I'm sorry that yours was not answered as soon as it arrived.
We have a bright, questioning, testing son like that too. We insist that attending Church with the family is simply not a negotiable issue. "It's only an hour a day, even if he doesn't agree with it an hour of quiet reflection will do him good, we will answer any questions he has later,,," and so on, we've used every one of those lines. I've even stood in his bedroom and told him that he was being disgracefully cowardly by trying to force the issue by refusing to get out of bed and face us.
We have always insisted on the importance of family - of doing things as a family, of respecting and contributing to the family. So if we (my husband and I) decide that regular church attendance is important to maintain the family, then that's what we do.
As for the 'let him find God in his own way' well, it seems a bit risky to me. Comparative religion needs good knowledge of a religion, then you compare the other religions and beliefs (like atheism) to it. How can he do that if he doesn't know his faith? Without that he'd end up comparing atheism to a vacuum, and of course atheism would win.
Perhaps the advice I gave someone else this week would help. Give your son a copy of the Catholic Catechism. Invite, or challenge him (depending on his personality) to read the entire thing, highlighting anything he doesn't understand or believe. Then challenge him to take it to an orthodox priest and go through it point by point. Good luck and God Bless
I email you afew weeks backs, I would like to if you an help me with some questions. I'm a police officer in SC. I have been seeing some signs of witch craft in my section I patrol in. My area in high crime area with alot of gangs activity. Mostly Latin'o, and they came to me to show him the marking. Its making them very nervous.
Can you show me where I can find information? Please help me out. God Bless You R. Shaffer, Sheriff Deputy
The Editor Answers
Thank you for your letter, I apologise for the delay in answering. Fortunately for both you and me, our good family friend, Father Bob Papi visited us yesterday. I was telling him about the letters I receive and about yours. He immediately suggested that you contact the Madonna House Field house in Raleigh North Carolina. They will be able to help you - very wise, skilled and holy people.
Their address is: Madonna House, 424 Rose Lane, Raleigh, North Carolina 27610-3645.
Their web address: http://www.madonnahouse.org/field/raleigh.html
and the Madonna House main page http://www.madonnahouse.org/