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Catholic Faith
Vol. 3 - #1, Jan / Feb 1997

by Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.

Q.  If the Messiah has come and fully paid for the sin of Adam, why is it that the “lamb does not lie down with the lion,” and that wars, hatred, and hunger continue? Should not have paradise been restored? —G.V.C., California

A.  Paradise has been restored. But it is the paradise of eternity. It is not the earthly paradise which the Chosen People expected Christ to bring into the world. Moreover, Christ did restore that internal paradise which those who believe in His name experience already here on earth. It is a paradise of knowing, that thanks to Calvary, we are to experience God's blessings as the Chosen People of the new law. It is the paradise of the beatitudes. Christ promised happiness, even deep joy, in the depth of our hearts because we trust that we are in God's friendship and have the promise of eternal happiness, minus the pains of the cross, in the world to come.

Q.  Would you comment on how “affective immaturity, force of acquired habit, conditions of anxiety, or other psychological or social factors that lessen or even extenuate moral culpability” (CCC #2352) relates to the gravity of the sin of masturbation? —Anonymous

A.  Two things should be said. First of all masturbation is objectively a grave sin. A person's guilt in masturbating is always conditioned on the mental awareness of what he is doing and the emotional factors may also lessen the subjective guilt. This principle applies to all moral actions that are inherently grave sins. Secondly, the literal English translation is of the original French text of the Catechism of the Catholic Church simply says that various factors can lessen the moral culpability of masturbation without removing its guilt.

Q.  May the Rosary be prayed by priest and people before the Blessed Sacrament exposed in a monstrance upon the altar as has been done traditionally for years? Some liturgists claim that by praying the Rosary thus, the people are not focusing their prayer directly upon Christ in the Holy Eucharist. —S.M.T., Michigan

A.  Yes, by all means the Rosary not only may but should be said before the Blessed Sacrament exposed on the altar. This is true for three reasons:

  1. Except for our Lady, we would not have the Blessed Sacrament. It is she who gave her Divine Son the flesh and blood in which Christ is present in the Holy Eucharist.

  2. The mysteries of the Rosary are the mysteries of our Faith. We believe the same identical Jesus whose life, passion, death, and resurrection we commemorate in the Rosary is also present in the Blessed Sacrament.

  3. Who better than Our Lady is the model of our Faith in the Real Presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament? When we say the Rosary we are uniting ourselves with the Blessed Mother, expressing our faith in her Divine Son being present in the Holy Eucharist.

Q.  Is the charismatic practice known as “baptism in the Holy Spirit” 1) an integral part of either the sacrament of Baptism or Confirmation, 2) a new sacrament, 3) a part of the liturgy, or 4) an authentic Catholic practice? —K.A.K., Michigan

A.  No, the charismatic practice of baptism in the Holy Spirit is not: 1) an integral part of either the sacrament of Baptism or Confirmation, 2) a new sacrament, 3) a part of the liturgy, or 4) an authentic Catholic practice.

What is called the "baptism in the Holy Spirit" is variously interpreted by charismatics. The most common interpretation is the belief that some people receive what is called the baptism of the Holy Spirit. These would be persons who receive certain extraordinary gifts, such as those received by the Apostles on Pentecost Sunday. This claim is purely gratuitous. It is part of a larger claim by some charismatics. They say the church of the future will be the Church of the Holy Spirit and no longer the Church of the hierarchy and the sacraments instituted by Christ.

Catholic Faith
Vol. 3 - #1, Jan / Feb 1997

Copyright © 1997 by Inter Mirifica
No reproductions shall be made without prior written permission

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