Answering the Tough Questions
December 13, 2011
Fulfilling your Sunday Mass obligation in China
By Father Rocky Hoffman

My question concerns travel to China.  What is the best way to meet the Sunday obligation to attend Mass?  Any visible churches are part of the Catholic Patriotic Association controlled by China and not in communion with Rome.  Should we skip Mass altogether?  Should we attend the services available but not receive Communion?  I'm assuming Communion at these churches would not be valid.  I know some bishops and priests in the Patriotic Association have secretly reconciled with Rome, but we...

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December 06, 2011
Another time, another place
By Father Rocky Hoffman

At our local parish, a deacon's homily was a eulogy for one of his friends. It seems a eulogy to praise people at Sunday Masses when we are there to worship God is a clear violation of rubrics. Am I wrong in being scandalized by his actions?

I am confident that your deacon meant well, and perhaps his intention was to inspire the congregation to follow the virtuous example of his friend.  Still, I agree that it’s best to point to the saints when we want to inspire other Christians to...

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November 29, 2011
Sexual abuse of mentally disabled siblings
By Father Rocky Hoffman

I have a question that is very troubling. One of my friends was a teacher who taught disabled children for two years. She related a case to me of a mentally handicapped girl who was impregnated by her brother. The baby was born so disabled that it had to be institutionalized. My friend said that the babies from such pregnancies are normally born that way. I’m sure there must be many others out there who are faced with this dilemma.
She seemed to feel it would be better that the girl be...

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November 22, 2011
Priest, prophet, king
By Father Rocky Hoffman

Where does “priest, prophet and king” appear in the Bible?  Are we as good Catholics considered priest, prophet and king?

I don’t think you will find that phrase “priest, prophet, king” in the Bible, but you will in the Catechism (nos. 897-913).  But don’t worry, there are many things we do and believe that are not specifically stated in the Bible, such as Mass on Sunday and that God is a Trinity of persons.  However, all over the pages of the Old Testament you will find priests...

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November 15, 2011
Infertility as a reason for adoption
By Father Rocky Hoffman

I was wondering how and under what circumstances the Church approves of adoption, in light of the Church's teaching that in vitro and in utero fertilization are wrong, and also that, as I understand it, a marriage is not advisable if one of the would-be spouses were infertile?

The Church not only approves adoption, but in light of John Paul II’s encyclical “Evangelium Vitae” (1995), the Church encourages adoption, especially if the married couple has a stable and strong...

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November 08, 2011
Mentioning prayer intentions at Mass
By Father Rocky Hoffman

In our parish, the priest doesn’t pray for the people who are sick. We have a prayer chain and once in a while the priest will mention to pray for the people whose names are in the book. Again they said that took attention away from Christ in the Mass. The priest doesn’t even name the person who the Mass is for. I always thought that was why we had the Mass for them.

Hmmm.  I never met a priest who does not pray for the sick.  I suspect the priest may be concerned – and understandably...

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November 01, 2011
Mass intentions
By Father Rocky Hoffman

Could you please tell me about Mass Intentions?

The Holy Eucharist is the source and summit of the interior life and the very life of the Catholic Church.  Every time Mass is celebrated, the sacrifice of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on Calvary is re-presented in an unbloody manner affording the priest celebrant and all congregants who participate in the Mass an infinite amount of sanctifying grace.  That grace can be applied to specific intentions, whether of the priest celebrant or...

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October 25, 2011
Incense the tabernacle?
By Father Rocky Hoffman

At a recent Mass I participated in, the altar, priest, crucifix, the offering on the altar and the people were incensed except for the Tabernacle. Every priest I asked gave me a different answer. I find it difficult to believe that the holiest object in the church is not incensed. I would like your answer to this question.

P.S. The Tabernacle is not on the altar.

I find it wonderful that you regard the tabernacle as the “holiest object in the Church.”  I agree with that statement...

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October 18, 2011
Marriage of a non-practicing Catholic outside of the Church
By Father Rocky Hoffman

My nephew is marrying outside the church; although baptized, he hasn't been to church in years.  Should his Catholic relatives attend?  Of course it would cause bad feelings if we don't.

Your nephew should get married in the Church and you should tell him that. 

If all of his Catholic relatives protest and refuse to attend his wedding, unless he gets married in the Catholic Church after having received adequate preparation, I’ll bet THAT will get his attention.  More likely, his...

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October 11, 2011
The ABC’s and D’s of indulgences
By Father Rocky Hoffman

Does anyone remember the A-B-C-D indulgences that could be placed on rosaries when they were blessed?  This dates back to the fifties and I haven't heard of them since.  A, B, C, D stood for:  Apostolic, Benedictine, Carmelite and Dominican I believe.  Would love it if this practice was reinstated. 

I was born in 1959 and I never heard of it, but perhaps some of our readers have.  I do know that the practice and specification of indulgences was streamlined and simplified as a result of the...

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