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Catholic Faith
Vol. 3 - #2, Mar / Apr 1997

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

Q.  To restore chastity in the modern world is it not necessary that first there be a return to modesty, especially among women? —J.A.W., Ohio

A.  You are absolutely right. There is no chance of restoring chastity in the modern world without a return to modesty, especially among women. Immodesty in women’s dress and bodily behavior arouses men’s passions to sins against chastity. In His sermon on the mount, Christ declared that if a man even looks at a woman lustfully, he has already committed adultery with her in his heart. The immodest attire and physical exposure of their bodies by women is part of the logic of the evil spirit to seduce men to internal and external sins against chastity. This is so true that it has become part of every paganized culture the modern world. What we call immodesty becomes the accepted standard of a society, as in the United States. We who have the true faith must also have the courage to live up to our faith. On these grounds, the practice of Christian modesty is an apostolic responsibility of professed Catholics. We have the duty to promote chastity by our own practice and promotion of modesty.

Q.  One of the many theological novelties is “process theology.” Proponents argue that God is in process, that God changes, as evidenced by the Incarnation. What exactly is process theology? —T.H., Nebraska

A.  Process Theology is that view of reality, including what Christianity calls God, which sees everything still in the process of becoming what it will be. But nothing really is. It is called theology because it is a form of evolutionary pantheism which postulates a finite god who is becoming perfect. But this god is not (as Christians believe) an infinite all-perfect God from all eternity. It is called “process” because it claims that the whole universe, including God, is moving toward completion. But process theologians do not identify either what this completion is or when or whether it will be reached. On these terms, nothing is stable, nothing is certain, because nothing really is. There are no definite moral laws, no absolute norms of conduct, no certain principles of thought, and no means of knowing anything with certitude. Process theology has deeply infected some Catholic circles. It is centuries old, as among those Hindus, who see everything from an evolutionary perspective.

Q.  What is the best explanation of Joseph's decision to put Mary away quietly after she was with child? The most comforting reason that I have heard is that St. Joseph realized that something miraculous had occurred and therefore out of humility he decided he was unworthy to be associated with Mary. —D.M.S., Pennsylvania

A.  The explanation which you give is certainly acceptable. By now there have been many explanations of why Joseph at first decided to put Mary away quietly. The most common explanation is that he certainly thought that Mary was innocent. His problem was to understand why Mary had become pregnant without marital intercourse. Consequently he at first decided to separate from Our Lady, and remain silent about her pregnancy. At this point, God intervened and miraculously revealed to Joseph that Mary was to be the Mother of the Messiah. Her pregnancy was therefore the miraculous intervention by God to provide a human mother for the Savior, without the cooperation of a human father.

Q.  I have been taught that in Holy Communion we receive the Risen Body of Christ. But the Catechism of the Catholic Church states (no.1365) “In the Eucharist, Christ gives us on the cross, the very blood which he poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” —K.A.K., Michigan

A.  You are correct in understanding that Christ in the Eucharist is the Risen Savior. The full sentence in the Catechism reads as follows, “In the Eucharist Christ gives us the very body which He gave up for us on the cross, the very blood which He poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” What the Catechism says simply means that Christ in the Eucharist, who is now glorified, is the same Christ who died on the cross. Jesus did indeed die on Calvary. But He rose from the grave on Easter Sunday. It is the same Jesus, with the same Body and Soul in which He expired on Good Friday. But He rose from the dead on Easter Sunday.

The Holy Eucharist is the same Jesus, now gloriously risen, who in dying on the cross gave up for us the same Blood which He poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. It is most important to remember that Christ is the same person who died for our salvation and rose from the dead for our sanctification. The mortal Christ became the immortal Christ who is now in heaven at the right hand of His heavenly Father and on earth in the Blessed Sacrament.

Catholic Faith
Vol. 3 - #2, Mar / Apr 1997

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

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