Not into temptation

Question: Why does the Lord’s Prayer ask God not to lead us into temptation? I’ve also read Bible verses about God hardening people’s hearts. Why would God do that? — Gerald Phillips, Omaha, Nebraska Answer: Part of the problem in understanding biblical

‘The Exorcist’

Question: The classic horror film and novel “The Exorcist” are certainly terrifying and not without their criticisms. However, I personally find them both to be deeply religious, spiritual and incredibly faith-affirming. As Catholics, is it wrong to embrace such controversial entertainment? —

Dead bury the dead

Question: We hear in the Gospel where Jesus says, “Let the dead bury their dead” (Mt 8:22). Yet, burying the dead is one of the corporal works of mercy. How do you resolve these things? — Paul VanHoudt, Erie, Colorado Answer: “Let

Valid absolution

Question: If a person commits a capital crime, isn’t absolution dependent upon the penitent turning themselves in to the police? Referring to the clergy who committed abuse over the years, would not absolution be dependent upon turning himself in to the police?

Sorrowful mother

Question: Why does Mary have the title “Our Lady of Sorrows” if she is in heaven? — Anna Johnson, Fairfax, Virginia Answer: The feast of Our Lady of Sorrows on Sept. 15 commemorates Mary’s presence at the foot of the cross and

Seal of confession

Question: If a priest would consistently violate his vow of celibacy, even to the extent of abusing others, why should a penitent feel assured that a priest will not break the seal of confession? — Ed Siering, Muscatine, Iowa Answer: Absolute assurance

Jesus among sinners

Question: I have a friend who says she is leaving the Catholic Church because of the new sexual abuse scandals. What can I say to convince her to stay? — Name withheld Answer: Begin with empathizing with her anger and grief at

Is lying always wrong?

Question: We are told not to lie, but the Bible says Rahab the prostitute lied to protect the Jewish spies. The Bible later praises her as being justified for doing this. Does Scripture praise lying, which is a sin? — Tamarah E.

Norms at the altar

Question: This Sunday for the first time, the carafe containing the wine for the parishioners was placed on a table off the altar, right in front of the pews. After the consecration, an extraordinary minister of the Eucharist poured the wine into

Why infant baptism?

Question: Since infant baptism is becoming controversial, why doesn’t the Church abandon the practice or emphasize individualized confirmation for older teens? —Robert Bonsignore,  Brooklyn, N.Y. Answer: I am unaware of any recent controversy about infant baptism in the Church. There have been

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