Father Rocky Hoffman

Father Rocky Hoffman

Rev. Francis J. Hoffman, JCD (Fr. Rocky) is Executive Director of Relevant Radio.  Ordained as a priest for Opus Dei in 1992 by Blessed John Paul II, he holds a doctorate in Canon Law from the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, an MBA from the University of Notre Dame, and a BA in History from Northwestern University.  His Question and Answer column appears in several Catholic newspapers and magazines across the country.

Articles by Father Rocky Hoffman

Saint Gianna Beretta Molla

May 1, 2012 / 00:00 am

On May, 16 2004 I considered myself extremely fortunate to watch (via TV, of course!) Pope John Paul II canonize Gianna Beretta Molla to become Saint Gianna. I was so moved that I accepted Saint Gianna as my patron saint. Perhaps you can tell me what she has been appointed patron/patroness of?

A reader replies

Apr 24, 2012 / 00:00 am

I am writing in response to the “Marriage outside the Church.”

Falling away Catholics

Apr 17, 2012 / 00:00 am

I came from a practicing, totally loyal Catholic family. However, through the years, some of our children (sons, daughters, nieces and nephews) have had failed marriages and re-married outside the Catholic Church.

Spiritual dryness – remedied by the dew of the Holy Spirit

Apr 10, 2012 / 00:00 am

I have often read that St. Thérèse of Lisieux suffered from spiritual dryness.” Can you please explain exactly what is “spiritual dryness.”

The uncreated Creator

Apr 3, 2012 / 00:00 am

I have a non-Christian friend who asked me to explain how it is that God did not have a beginning.  I could not explain this challenging aspect of the Christian faith.  

Do it yourself baptism

Mar 27, 2012 / 00:00 am

I have friend who has never been baptized. She originally came from Catholic parents who later divorced and for some reason she was never baptized. She believes in Jesus Christ, that she is a child of God, but does not necessarily want to embrace the Catholic faith.  She wants to be baptized a Christian but does not necessarily want to join a church. She is an adult, age 40, and as a practicing Catholic I do not know what to advise her to do.  Can I baptize her myself?

Marriage, divorce and canonical form

Mar 20, 2012 / 00:00 am

I know that the Catholic Church says that as Catholics we cannot divorce and remarry.  But is it true that it will be allowed as long as my first marriage was not held at a church?  I was married in a little "hole in the wall" when I was 18. I was divorced when I was around 27 yrs. old.  I am now 44 yrs old and would like to get remarried. Can I remarry as long as it is held at a Catholic church?

Cardinal Law

Mar 13, 2012 / 00:00 am

I have a question regarding Cardinal Bernard Law, once residing in Boston and now in Rome. It seems evident from the notoriety of the sex abuse scandals in Boston that Cardinal Law was not only complicit but probably also instrumental in the moving around of priests (which many of us faithful and life-long Catholics call the Catholic Shell Game, i.e. under which shell is the real abuser). In light of this assumption, and if this assumption is indeed valid, it is hard for those of us who try to faithfully to “follow the rules” to understand how his conduct seems to be 'rewarded' by his assignment to one of the major basilicas in Rome. Sackcloth and ashes in a remote monastery with perpetual prayer and penance would seem to be more appropriate! Two of the major components of our beautiful Sacrament of Reconciliation are penance AND reparation. I see nothing that gives evidence to this in the life of Cardinal Law, nor does he have to return to the scene of his crime and see everyday the people who he has wounded and whose lives he has destroyed. I saw a suggestion in an article by Father James Martin, S.J. that to fulfill the reparational aspect of Reconciliation wouldn't it be a beautiful and healing gesture by the bishops in this country to offer, every Friday, the Stations of the Cross in reparation for the victims who suffered abuse at the hands of priests. I especially need help in understanding the gold ring that it appears Cardinal Law has grabbed as he rode the Vatican merry-go-round, and on the lack of public compassion for victims exhibited in my mind, by the church as a whole.

Christian archeology

Mar 6, 2012 / 00:00 am

Do we know when the first church building was constructed and where it was located? If not, what is the oldest known church building that has survived — if not intact, then at least in ruins?

New edition of the Divine Office

Feb 28, 2012 / 00:00 am

Is there going to be a new edition of the Divine Office? I ask because numerous saints were canonized during the papacy of John Paul II and the feast of Divine Mercy as well.

Good manners in the presence of the Most Blessed Sacrament

Feb 21, 2012 / 00:00 am

For a life time I have remained after Mass for a Thanksgiving prayer, usually also saying the St. Michael prayer and the prayers on the back of the Missal.  We have moved to a new parish where they have a new Church with a beautiful large gathering space but...the tabernacle is not in a chapel of its own – it is in just a little notched out area in the worship space.  As the music stops after Mass the hell-a-bellow starts immediately and reaches fever pitch as one group tries to out yell another. There is no movement toward the gathering space, they just visit in the worship space. No one genuflects... They say they are a very friendly parish.   I have asked several people why the lack of silence before and after Mass and they don’t see it as disrespect for the Eucharist and they say they just love to visit.  I have asked what about those that want to pray before or stay behind and pray after Mass and was told I would get over that...all new people do.   So...I started looking for rules and regulations. for how one is to act in Church and can find nothing about the need for silence before the Blessed sacrament.  Please help.

Burial in a Catholic cemetery

Feb 14, 2012 / 00:00 am

I am in my 70s and through my life it was always taught that when a Catholic dies it is very important that they be buried in a Catholic cemetery for they would receive graces from the Masses offered in the Church of that cemetery.  My husband and I live in an area where many churches are closing.  Are the people buried in the cemeteries connected to these closed churches now without the benefit of such graces?  We have not bought our burial plot as yet for we do not know if the $600 for the church cemetery plot is more advantageous for our immortal soul than the $100 plot in the community cemetery where we are told the ground is blessed/consecrated when it is a Catholic being buried.  We would appreciate your thought on this. 

Doubtful baptism

Feb 7, 2012 / 00:00 am

Hello!  I am a former protestant who became a Catholic as an adult.  When I went through the RCIA process, my baptism was accepted as valid since I was baptized as a child in the Church of the Nazarene.  I was only confirmed in the Catholic Church.  However, recently my great-grandmother was passing away and my family was randomly talking about baptism.  Someone mentioned that they remembered that I was baptized with oil instead of water.  The pastor of my former church only did that for a few baptisms, mine being one of them.  I had no idea!  For them, as Protestants, it was no big deal.  For me, though, I am now worried about what that means.  Does that mean that I never really was baptized?  What do I need to do to resolve the issue?  I have received the effects as if I had but still my heart is not at peace.

The pastoral dilemma of Confirmation

Jan 31, 2012 / 00:00 am

I have a question regarding confirmation. Is it the parent’s duty to see that their child is confirmed in the Catholic Church or is it the child’s “choice” to be confirmed? I have found that many young people get confirmed solely because their parents make them and that doesn’t seem to be in the spirit of confirmation at all. I also have trouble with the notion that confirmation is like graduation – that it’s some kind of end point. Any comments you have would be helpful.

Offertory procession

Jan 24, 2012 / 00:00 am

We use the processional candles instead of the processional cross at our church to escort the gift-bearers to the altar. I have read commentary that using the candles for this action is not proper, but I have been unable to find the rubric anywhere in the General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM). Is it absolutely forbidden to use the processional candles? Let’s start with the GIRM. While entrance, recessional, offertory and communion processions are addressed in the GIRM, the only mention of a crucifix and candles to be used in a procession is at the entrance. Nevertheless it is common practice, and in fact the custom, that the servers also carry the processional cross and candles when they exit in the recessional.

Recourse to civil divorce

Jan 17, 2012 / 00:00 am

In  the “Catechism of the Catholic Church,” Part Three, IV.  Offenses Against the Dignity of Marriage, Divorce, 2383, it states, “If civil divorce remains the only possible way of ensuring certain legal rights, the care of the children, or the protection of inheritance, it can be tolerated and does not constitute a moral offense.”  Will you explain this statement specifically in reference to legal rights and protection of inheritance?  

What does the First Commandment really mean?

Jan 10, 2012 / 00:00 am

Where can I find information on the Catholic teachings on the First Commandment and "graven images"?  Various Christian denominations have differing opinions on the topic. Specific question involves taxidermy (animal heads) and if it would be considered “graven” by church teaching.  Any information would be appreciated.

Psalms to live by

Jan 3, 2012 / 00:00 am

I had a question about music at Mass and substituting songs for the Psalm. During Mass on the Feast of Christ the King, the proper Psalm for Mass was the 93rd Psalm: The Lord is King, He is robed in Majesty. The musician at Mass substituted a song based on Psalm 34: Taste and See the Goodness of the Lord. He does this on a regular basis, and it disturbs me. I’ve experienced this in many parishes I’ve attended. The impression is that the psalms are interchangeable and any one of them can be selected to suit the particular inclinations of the choir leader or music group director at Mass. My belief is that the psalm for the Mass, like the Old Testament, New Testament and Gospel passages are in conjunction with the theme of a particular Mass and cannot be substituted.

How to close an abortion clinic

Dec 27, 2011 / 00:00 am

I remember reading a few years ago that women were being steered away from abortion by giving them a blessed rosary. I’m wondering if there has ever been an attempt to sprinkle holy water, blessed salt, or ‘planting’ blessed items at an abortion clinic. Because of the evil of abortion, this would seem to be a wonderful way to cleanse the area, especially when accompanied by prayer and fasting.

A different type of Organ transplant

Dec 20, 2011 / 00:00 am

Will you direct me to a source that will substantiate the Church’s preference given to the organ for Mass?  Our music director has arranged to have our organ removed from the church; with Father’s blessing, the director hardly used it any way.  I need to present authoritative Church teachings to make the case to restore the organ.  Getting them to play Catholic songs and music will be another challenge.