In the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church,
paragraph 16, the Vatican II Council Fathers wrote: "Those who have not yet received the
gospel are related to the People of God in various ways. There is, first, that people to
which the covenants and promises were made, and from which Christ was born according to
the flesh (cf. Romans 9:4-5): In view of the divine choice, they are a people most dear
for the sake of the fathers, for the gifts of God are without repentance (cf. Romans 11:28-29).
"But the plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first
place amongst whom are the Moslems: These profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together
with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind's judge on the last day.
"Nor is God remote from those who in shadows and images seek the unknown God, since
he gives to all men life and breath and all things (cf. Acts 17:25-28), and since the
Savior wills all men to be saved (cf. 1 Timothy 2:4). Those who, through no fault of
their own, do not know the gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek
God with a sincere heart, and moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as
they know it through dictates of their consciencethose too, may achieve eternal
"Nor shall divine providence deny the assistance necessary for salvation to those who,
without any fault of theirs, have not yet arrived at an explicit knowledge of God, and
who, not without grace, strive to lead a good life."
So the Fathers of the Council do not exclude anyone acting in good faith from the possibility
of salvation. They do go on, however, to speak of the Church's mission from Christ to
bring the gospel to all people, for Christ is the source of salvation for the whole world.
can I get the New Catholic Encyclopedia? Also, can you tell me where I can get
the pope's encyclicals?
A: The last
advertisement I received for the New Catholic Encyclopedia was for the 18-volume
It came from The New Catholic Encyclopedia, 330 West Calfax, Palatine, IL 60067, phone
708-991-0720. Its price then was $875, plus $45 freight and handling. I should think
you might also find the set in the public library or at a university library.
It was announced a few months back that a complete revision of the New Catholic Encyclopedia is
now under way. Completion is targeted for late 2000.
Harper Collins puts out a one-volume Encyclopedia of Catholicism, edited by Richard
McBrien, for $45.
The encyclicals of John Paul II are available in one volume ($49.95) from Our Sunday
Visitor, 200 Noll Plaza, Huntington, IN 46750. You should also be able to order through
a Catholic bookstore.
The Papal Encyclicals 1740-1981 (five volumes, $495) and Papal Pronouncements
1740-1978 (two volumes, $195) have been published by Piernan Press, Box 1808, Ann
Arbor, MI 48106.
You'll find many encyclicals free of charge on the Internet at the Vatican's
Web site and at some other sites you can search out. The Catholic Encyclopedia being
posted on the Web is the one published in the early 1900's. It is now in the public
Is it necessary to select a saint's name when baptizing a baby? If so, how is it determined
what constitutes a saint's name? Is it only those names found in the BibleOld and
New Testamentsor some official listing of saints?
I was always told by my mother that my name was Shirley Helen. The Helen had to be there
if I was to be christened in the Church. Now at age 77 I am being told my mother was
wrong: It is strictly a personal choice of the parents and the so-called saint's name
must only be biblical.
A: I suppose
we can say you and your mother are (were) both right.
The pre-Vatican II Handbook of Moral Theology, by Dominic M. Prummer, O.P., citing
Canon #761 of the 1917 Code of Canon Law, says the name given in Baptism should be a
Christian name. "If the parish priest cannot induce the parents to do so, he should add
the name of some saint to that suggested by the parents and enter both in the baptismal
Older priests may well remember books on a sacristy shelf asking "Is It a Saint's Name?" or
lists of male and female saints.
The present (1983) Code, Canon #855, legislates that parents, godparents and pastor
are to see to it that the name given is not foreign to Christian sensibilities.
So the law does not demand a saint's name. Rather, it forbids a name offensive to Christians.
That sensibility might change from place to place.
Catholic Bible on CD-ROM?
Q: I have found many versions of the Bible on
CD's. I can't tell which is the Catholic version. Where can I get this information?
A: I can't
tell you much about all the versions of Scripture on CD's. You can obtain, however, a
CD-ROM version of the New American Bible translation from St. Anthony Messenger
Press or almost any Catholic bookstore. This translation is the one used in most Catholic
churches for daily and Sunday Masses.
Other disk or diskette versions of this translation are available from different publishers
and bookstores for about $70.
I also note that Liguori Publications has DOS and Windows versions of the Catholic edition
of the New Revised Standard Version Bible for $69.95.
In the case of print editions of the Bible, you can usually tell from the title pages
or the page following whether they are Catholic-approved. It will probably say Catholic
Edition or contain an imprimatur (permission from a Catholic bishop). I would expect
to find the same kind of information on a CD.
a Priest Say Mass Alone?
Q: A friend of mine is saying that a priest
can never say Mass by himself, in other words, a private Mass. He claims that without
someone else around it's not a valid Mass. Is this true? I was always under the impression
that priests can say a Mass anytime they want, with or without others around. Who's
A: The General
Instruction of the Roman Missal in #211 states, "Mass should not be celebrated without
a server or the participation of at least one of the faithful except for some legitimate
and reasonable cause."
So ordinarily at least one person should be present when a priest celebrates Mass. The
law itself, however, recognized there can be a just and reasonable cause for a priest
to celebrate alone. And whether or not there is someone else present, the Mass would
Mere convenience or preference would not be sufficient reason to celebrate alone.
I've been feeling depressed ever since I heard the Gospel about the woman who had married
What bothers me is what I believe Jesus answered his questioners, "They do not marry
My husband died almost seven years ago. I have been looking forward to being united
to my beloved husband in heaven in the not-too-distant future. I'm 82 years old now.
I've talked to some Catholic widows who said they believe Jesus meant we would not live
in heaven with our mates.
it will be of some consolation to you to know that theologians generally teach that the
presence and recognition of relatives and friends in heaven will be a source of added
Rest assured, I say. There is no doubt that we will be closer in heaven to those we
love than we were on earth.
It seems futile to speculate about which we know so little. Christ tells us we shall
be completely happy. Should we doubt Christ's assurances? Yes, we shall finally experience
the joy of heaven as complete persons. But what the glorified risen body will be like
we hardly know and what the heavenly life will be like we have yet to experience.
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