Does TV Mass ‘count’?

Question: I am 87 years old, live in a retirement community and can no longer drive. I attend the Mass that is offered here once a month and receive holy Communion when it is distributed each week by extraordinary ministers of the

Fasting in Advent?

Question: I have heard Advent used to be time of fast, much like Lent. Is this so, and what should we do? — Steven Acton, Washington, D.C. Answer: This is true. Advent was once treated more like Lent than it is today,

Sin of masturbation

Question: I was trying to instruct someone that masturbation is wrong. And when I went to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, it did say masturbation is “intrinsically and gravely disordered.” But then it says this: “To form an equitable judgment about

Signs of possession

Question: I am an 86-year-old Catholic, and I am trying to remember the three signs of demonic possession that I was taught. I seem to recall that they are coldness, objects moving by themselves, and the third I can’t remember. Can you

Sin of homosexuality

Question: I was surprised to hear on a radio show an advocate for the gay community say that the story of Sodom and Gomorrah is not about homosexuality, but that the sin for which God destroyed that city was greed and a

Celibacy vs. chastity?

Question: I get confused about the various uses of the words continence, chastity and celibacy. Are they the same thing? — Name withheld, via email Answer: The words are related but also have distinct meanings. Continence, in the wider sense, simply means

Detailed confession

Question: A friend told me he was insulted that, in confession, a priest asked him how many times he had committed a certain sin. How specific does one have to be when confessing sexual sins? And does one have to mention how

‘Unchastity’ explained

Question: You recently referenced Matthew 19, where Jesus forbids divorce. But you said nothing about an exception the Lord makes “for unchastity.” Please explain what the Lord means here. — Name Withheld, Chicago Answer: The particular verse you reference reads as follows:

Payment not required for funerals

Question: Should priests, organists, altar servers and sacristans be paid for participating in a funeral? — Name withheld, via e-mail Answer: It varies according to each. Priests are not “paid” for celebrating funerals. And while it is customary for many families to

Monastery vs. convent

Question: What is the difference between a monastery and a convent? — Allen Eberle, Hague, N.D. Answer: Like many words, we can denote a strict sense and a more relaxed colloquial sense. We can also note that the meaning of the words