Does the Church have an answer?

Why does it matter if I’m Catholic?

Why does it matter if I’m Catholic?

Does the Church have an answer?, July 2021
Wow! Two great questions in the same question! I’d be happy to try to answer them. Let’s start with the first. As I say all the time, one of my favorite questions with regard to our Catholic faith is one often found on the lips of little children, including my own kids, and that’s the one we’re talking about here: “Why?” As in, “Why do we believe what we believe?” or “Why do we do what we do?” Sometimes our answer to these questions is, “well, that’s just the way we do things as Catholics,” but at other times, we want more, we need more. We ask this tiny question: “Why?” In fact, and as I indicated in April’s column, I think this is one of the most important questions…
Read More
Are the teachings of the Church Jesus’ teachings?

Are the teachings of the Church Jesus’ teachings?

Does the Church have an answer?, June 2021
Question: How do we know the teachings of the Catholic Church are the teachings of Jesus? Answer: In April’s column we addressed the claim that Catholics are not permitted to think for themselves. As noted then, oftentimes the real issue underlying this objection is the view that the teachings of the Church are not the teachings of Jesus. In other words, the person who makes this objection often does not believe the teachings of the Catholic Church are the teachings of Jesus Christ. Let’s see how we can respond to this challenge. At the end of St. Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus commanded the apostles to proclaim his teachings to the entire world. In other words, the followers of Jesus—led by the apostles and their successors, who are the bishops—were tasked with…
Read More
How do we know Jesus rose from the dead?

How do we know Jesus rose from the dead?

Does the Church have an answer?, May 2021
Question: How do we actually know Jesus rose from the dead? Answer: Last month I said we were going to address people’s doubts that the Church’s teachings are Jesus’ teachings. However, given the timeliness of the question about the resurrection, we’ll address the question about the Church’s teachings next month. Asking about the resurrection is timely because we just celebrated Easter last month and are still in the midst of the Easter season. Beyond that, however, it’s a fitting question for the times in which we live, as traditional Christian teachings are exposed to ever greater scrutiny in our society. And this question in particular—the question of the truth of the resurrection of Jesus Christ—goes to the very heart of our faith. In certain scholarly circles over the last few…
Read More
Does the Church allow me to think for myself?

Does the Church allow me to think for myself?

April 2021, Does the Church have an answer?
Question I have relatives who are Catholic but don’t go to Church anymore because they claim that they want to be able to think for themselves. How can I respond to them? Answer Unfortunately, this is a very common objection many people raise against the Catholic Church; you’ll hear it from inactive Catholics, other Christians and atheists. As is so often the case, however, the reality is very different from the perception. [caption id="attachment_5751" align="alignright" width="300"] The Catholic Church doesn’t shrink from critical thinking. Just ask the Belgian priest Monsignor Georges Lemaitre who was a professor of physics and the first to propose the Big Bang theory.[/caption] One thing that must be noted up front is that the stated desire of this objection is sound: it’s a good thing to…
Read More
Do I have to go to confession during Lent?

Do I have to go to confession during Lent?

Does the Church have an answer?, March 2021
Question: Why does the Church require going to confession during Lent? Answer: Actually, the requirement for Catholics is to receive the sacrament of reconciliation or confession at least once per year, but it does not specify when that should be. Many Catholics, however, do receive this sacrament during the Lenten season, and for good reason: Lent is an especially penitential season, meaning that during Lent we are called to make an extra effort to examine our lives and to strive to live in greater conformity with our faith, to imitate Jesus in a greater way. During Lent we also take on some extra penitential practices in order to grow in holiness and be free from the bondage of sin. Because of this, it is fitting that many Catholics choose to…
Read More
Does “apologetics” mean we are apologizing?

Does “apologetics” mean we are apologizing?

Does the Church have an answer?, February 2021
Question: I’ve been reading your column, but what, exactly, does “apologetics” mean? Answer: Thanks for this question! Frankly, it’s probably a topic I should’ve addressed in the very first column before taking any questions. In order to answer it, I’d like to begin by referring to Bishop DeGrood’s vision for the diocese: Lifelong Catholic Missionary Discipleship Through God’s Love. At the heart of this vision is missionary discipleship: the reality that we are all called not only to follow Jesus as His disciples ourselves, but to invite others to follow Him as well. In both following Jesus more closely and helping others do the same, questions often arise, whether they be our own questions or the questions of those we are talking with. Boiling it down, we can put it…
Read More