Ask A Priest

Are you curious about something you've seen at mass?

Do you wonder what it's like to live in a rectory or to hear confessions? Have you ever wondered, "Why does the Church do that?" Go ahead – ask a priest!

Ask A Priest

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Are you assured of going to Heaven if you are confirmed?

NO! We still need to make good decisions and live our lives as sons and daughters of God and witness to the faith and Jesus Christ by the way we live our lives.

What are Confirmation sponsors for?

Sponsors are for good gifts! 😉 A sponsor is supposed to be someone who models for us what it means to be a good Catholic, a good disciple of Christ.

What are the words said when you anoint someone with chrism oil?

The words the Bishop says are, “Be sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

Do you remember your Confirmation? How did you prepare for it?

I do. It was a wonderful evening and we had a great celebration. Preparation included classes throughout the year, service projects, and retreats. We met with the pastor as well.

What is the purpose of Confirmation?

The purpose of Confirmation is to receive the Holy Spirit so that we can be witnesses to Jesus Christ in the world.

How, as a young adult, do you go back to reconciliation after having not been in awhile? I just graduated from college and didn’t go at all. I have read all about what is supposed to be said and the order of things, but it all seems so awkward to do. Like the priest is going to just chop me up to be another millennial who doesn’t know a whole lot about their faith.

Priests are not as mean as you think! If you go to confession and explain to the priest that it has been a few years since your last confession he will walk you through it. Each time I sit in the confessional, there is always someone I have to help through the Act of Contrition or an examination of conscience. Many people avoid going to confession, you’re not the only one! People come in and haven’t been to confession in decades. I think the longest away from the sacrament of confession that I have heard has been 60 years.

When you go through Confirmation, do you receive something physical that proves it? And if so, do you have to go through Confirmation again if you lose it?

Everyone who receives the Sacrament is sealed with the Gift of the Holy Spirit and there is a mark on our souls that never goes away. Some parishes will distribute certificates. If you lose the certificate, you do not need to receive the Sacrament again! You cannot be re-confirmed. Once you are confirmed, it is for life. The record of your confirmation is held at the parish where you were confirmed and is also noted at the place of baptism. So, there is no need to go through the Sacrament of Confirmation if you lose the certificate you received. You don’t become unconfirmed if you lose it!

If I don’t feel bad for a sin, felt very justified doing it and confessed, is the confession legitimate?

Quick Answer: It would have been best to let the priest hearing your confession know that you did not feel subjectively guilty for the sin and that you felt it may have been justified. Most priests are happy to address such concerns so as to help you make the best confession possible.

Longer Answer:

A distinction exists between objective and subjective guilt. That is,something can be always and forever immoral objectively, but the person committing this immoral act may have no subjective feeling of guilt after completing the act. The lack of subjective guilt feelings may stem from a habit of sinning in this particular way, so that the sensitivity to sin flowing over into one’s emotional life (feelings) is lessened or even completely removed. Receiving the Blessed Sacrament in a state of grievous sin can blunt one’s sensitivity to sin. Additionally, it seems that a culture that forcefully promotes sin and which frequently uses erroneous philosophical principles (often unspoken assumptions) that allow for such approval can dull the subjective knowledge of the natural law in us to a certain degree.

It is possible for one to be mistaken about the moral law or church law and its application to a given situation, even to the extent of believing something is a sin when it is not. For instance, sometimes revealing a truth about someone that harms his reputation is necessary, but the person revealing could believe it to be gossip or detraction, even though it is not.

The lack of knowledge (ignorance)and the circumstances (lack of freedom) can reduce one’s subjective responsibility for an act that is immoral, even to a great degree. If this is so in your case, the sin may have been venial and not strictly required sacramental confession.

At least the fear of hell (imperfect contrition or attrition) and a sincere desire to, with God's help, not sin in that way in the future are required for the confession of mortal sins to be valid (effect the forgiveness of sins). Guilt feelings are not required for confession to “work”.

It would be good to study what the Church’s Magisterium has said about the particular act about which you are concerned. Praying and asking for the light of understanding can assist in re- aligning one’s passions with objective reality.

My daughter is getting married and has decided not to get married in the Catholic Church and has instead opted for a civil service. Am I able to attend out of respect for my daughter and her new husband or would that be considered a sin?

It is unfortunate that your daughter has chosen not to get married in the Church. I wonder what her reasoning is. Attending your daughter’s wedding outside the church out of respect and love for her is not a sin. We don’t have control over our children’s decisions, but we can be there to help guide them and do our best to shepherd them back to the faith. By attending, you are giving her an example of love and are avoiding giving her another reason to turn away from the Catholic Church. Not attending could do more harm than good and push her further away from the faith.

I am advising this way because she is your daughter. I do not know all the dynamics of your relationship with her, but I think this is the best avenue to take. If she were a friend or a niece or other relation, I would give different advice. Show her a father’s love. Be an instrument of God the Father and show her the face of the Father’s love.

Is holy water “unholy” if it is sold and/or bought?

No. Holy water remains holy because it is blessed, and selling it or buying it does not make it unholy. However, the person who sells or purchases holy water (water that has been blessed by a priest or deacon) commits the sin of simony (the selling or purchasing of holy or spiritual things). Therefore, the person who does this becomes unholy, not the water.

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