Quick Questions and Answers

How can I fully convince myself and others that “Jesus is the only way to God “?

The integrity of your life is the best way. Cardinal Emmanuel Suhard of Paris (d. 1949) once wrote: “To be a witness does not consist in engaging in propaganda nor even in stirring people up, but in being a living mystery. It means to live in such a way that one’s life would not make sense if God did not exist. ” Unfortunately, the lives of some Christians might make perfect sense if God did not exist because God is more an ornament in their lives rather than the central focus.

Does the Catholic faith believe that for the end of time (or the world) to occur the Holy Land must be in the control of the Jews?

It does not believe that. The Holy See officially recognizes the State of Israel and the Palestinian Authority, but it does not regard control of that territory by either of them as crucial to the end of time. The term Holy Land once included parts of what is now Jordan and reached its greatest expansion under King Solomon almost 10 centuries before Jesus was born.

Where and when did the custom of having statues of Mary and the other saints begin?

Several catacombs in Rome, such as the one pictured here, have paintings of biblical scenes, some from the Old Testament and others from the New Testament. In the Eastern Empire, we have written references to icons of Mary and other saints already in the fourth century. In general, statues came later, probably because pagans so often had statues of their gods and goddesses.

Recently a priest refused to give me Communion on the tongue. Does he have a right to do that?

What about priests who discourage people from kneeling when they receive the Eucharist? No, the priest does not have the right to insist that anyone receive Communion in the hand. In a line of people waiting to receive Communion, the person who insists on kneeling down may create a safety hazard for someone who doesn’t realize that the person previously standing in line has now decided to kneel down. I have seen people almost fall under these circumstances.

Can a good person who doesn’t attend Mass regularly go to heaven?

Only God knows a person’s heart perfectly and decides that. Attending Mass regularly has a great value in itself; it does not, however, guarantee that this person has allowed God’s ways to permeate his or her life.

Ask a Franciscan


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