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

Judaism and afterlife

Question: A Jewish friend insists that, according to his religion, there is simply no afterlife. Is this true and consistent with the Old Testament? — Charley McKelvy, via email Answer: The views of the Jewish people regarding the afterlife vary to some

Why sloth is so sinful

Question: I am a bit confused about the Catechism of the Catholic Church’s treatment of acedia. What does the Catechism mean to teach by this sin? And how is it related to joy? — Inigo Incer, via email Answer: The more common

Why not He, Him?

Question: Why do the Catholic Church and Catholic Bibles fail to use the uppercase pronouns when referring to the persons of the Trinity? Does not the Lord’s Prayer say, “hallowed be Thy name?” — Joseph Krueger, Divide, Colo. Answer: Capitalizing pronouns (e.g.