A forum of Catholic Thought

Judas and his fateFather Kenneth Doyle

Q. There's a question that has occurred to me from time to time, and I would appreciate your answer. I was always led to believe that suicide is a mortal sin, so someone who takes his own life cannot ...

'Secret' church archives Father Kenneth Doyle

Q. Among its general findings, the Pennsylvania grand jury stated that canon law requires each diocese to maintain a "secret archive" to which only the bishop has the key. Is that true and, if so, what ...

Should Sunday Mass be obligatory?Father Kenneth Doyle

Q. I have always thought it would be better that if the Church undid the rule by which we are obliged to attend Sunday Mass under pain of mortal sin. That way, I believe, more people would come to church. ...

Divorced and Communion Father Kenneth Doyle

Q. I am in my 50s and have now been divorced for three years. I was married in the Catholic Church and have always attended Sunday Mass regularly and received Communion. But I have begun to wonder whether ...

'Brother-sister' for civil marriageFather Kenneth Doyle

Q. My sister married in the Catholic Church while very young. After a couple of years, that marriage fell apart and eventually she received an annulment from the Catholic tribunal. After a few years, ...

Dementia and the sacraments Father Kenneth Doyle

Q. I bring holy Communion to a local nursing home. Of the 66 Catholics there, many of them have no visitors. Those with dementia are asked whether they would like to receive the Eucharist, and if they ...

Tradition of lighting candlesFather Kenneth Doyle

Q. I have asked several people this, but no one seems to know: Why do Catholics light candles in church? When did this tradition start, and what was the reason? (Troy, New York) A. The custom of lighting ...

The 'poor in spirit' Father Kenneth Doyle

Q. One of the beatitudes in Jesus' Sermon on the Mount is "Blessed are the poor in spirit." Does that mean those simple-minded people who don't ask any questions? (Lake Monticello, Virginia) A. I like ...