Canon Law

If you look at old indulgences (e.g., as found on holy cards from before the 1960s), you’ll find that they often contain a reference to a certain number of “days.” What do those days represent? If you’ve got a 500 days indulgences, what does that mean? Does it mean you get out of purgatory 500 […]

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There is a great deal of confusion about what celibacy, chastity, and continence are. Each one of these concepts is subject to common misunderstandings, but the differences between them are easy to sort out. A reader from the Asian country of Myanmar writes: Please, may I ask your help to explain the similarities and differences […]

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Recently one of the most prominent cardinals in the world made remarks regarding the head of the Vatican’s doctrinal office that could be taken as insulting. The issue was receiving Communion following divorce and civil remarriage. This kind of situation is a very rare event. We don’t normally see cardinals seeming to publicly take apparent […]

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Press reports are claiming that Pope Francis recently baptized the child whose parents were not married in the eyes of the Church. Since many priests in America have refused to baptize such children, it raised some eyebrows. What are the real facts in this case? Here are 12 things to know and share . . […]

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Pope Francis has given a new interview in which he makes several important clarifications. These concern allegations that he is a Marxist, suggestions that he will soon appoint women cardinals, and proposals to give Holy Communion to those who have divorced and remarried without an annulment. He also makes several other interesting comments, including plans […]

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The mainstream media is all atwitter made by Pope Francis’s incoming secretary of state about the possibility of eliminating clerical celibacy. Is this a sign of things to come? Is this yet another indication of Pope Francis “breaking with tradition”? Is this an indication the mind of Pope Francis himself? Is it a major new […]

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In the wake of Pope Benedict’s announcement that he is resigning from the papacy, I thought I would speak with the historian Dr. Andrew Jones about the history of papal resignations. While it hasn’t happened often in history, there have been popes who have resigned before, and their resignations (technically, their renunciations of the papacy) […]

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Like other liturgical seasons, Lent has its own special rules, and there are certain things that should not be done in Lent. Here are 6 of them . . .   1. Instrumental music with no singing In some parishes, instrumental music is used at certain points during Mass. A passage will be played on an […]

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Recently I wrote about 9 things you need to know about Lent. It covered the basics of the rules of fast and abstinence in Lent, but it didn’t cover every possible application of them. Then, by email, I received this query, which deals with an application I hadn’t considered before: Is fasting and abstinence practised […]

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Advent begins this Sunday. Most of us have an intuitive understanding of Advent, based on experience, but what do the Church’s official documents actually say about Advent? Here are some of the basic questions and (official!) answers about Advent. Some of the answers are surprising! Here we go . . .   1. What Is the […]

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