Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Evangelizing Family

Many of us want to share our faith with those closest to us, but often those people are the hardest to talk to. Eric Simmons gives a few suggestions on how to evangelize those we love. This is an older post, but I believe still applicable over the Christmas season.
This week most of us will be closely interacting with cafeteria Catholics, fallen-away Catholics and non-Catholics. In other words, we will be visiting family for Thanksgiving. Those of us who are trying to live an authentically Catholic life are pained when we see those we love rejecting the Church and her loving guidelines for a fulfilling life. So what do we do? How do we evangelize those people who are closest to us? I have a few suggestions from my own personal experience.
Read more

Saturday, December 5, 2009

What happens to the pope's ring after he dies?

On our last trip we had a guy ask us about what happens to the pope's ring after he dies. Another person in the group he was with said that it was ground into a powder and buried with the pope, at least according to Angels and Demons. Unfortunately being in a Dan Brown book almost guarantees that the fact is either widely exaggerated or flat out wrong.

However in this case it appears to be true. The pope's ring (otherwise called the Fisherman's Ring) was used in past centuries to seal papal documents. Upon the death of the pope it is destroyed to prevent forgeries. The conclave (or the cardinals who elect the new pope) are given the responsibility of destroying the ring
13. In one of the Congregations immediately following, the Cardinals, on the basis of a prearranged agenda, shall take the more urgent decisions regarding the beginning of the election. In other words:
g) they shall arrange for the destruction of the Fisherman's Ring and of the lead seal with which Apostolic Letters are despatched; (Universi Dominici Gregis)
This document doesn't specifically say how the ring is destroyed, but there are many sites that suggest that it's face is marred by scratching it and then it is crushed with a silver hammer. The pieces are then buried with the pope along with other symbols of his office.

I can't find an online resource to verify this, but this blog details the ceremony surrounding the pope's death based on the book "The Church Visible: The Ceremonial Life and Protocol of the Roman Catholic Church" by James-Charles Noonan, Jr.

Also, Catholic Answers has an Ask an Apologist thread on the topic, unfortunately the link they give is now out of date.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

What happened to Limbo?

Q - I heard in the news that the Pope has changed church teaching and now says that there is no Limbo, is this true?

A - Although several theologians postulated it as a possible explanation for unbaptized infants, Limbo was never officially taught by the Church. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church
As regards children who have died without baptism, the Church can only entrust them to the mercy of God, as she does in her funeral rites for them. Indeed, the great mercy of God who desires that all men should be saved and Jesus’ tenderness toward children, which caused him to say, "Let the children come to me, do not hinder them," allow us to hope that there is a way of salvation for children who have died without baptism. All the more urgent is the Church’s call not to prevent little children coming to Christ through the gift of holy baptism. (CCC 1261)
For further reading: