I was visiting relatives over Easter, and sadly they do not attend Mass. I went to Mass, and reminded them that missing Mass was a mortal sin. They said, "Oh, that was in the old days. Missing Mass is no longer a mortal sin." What do you say? Please give me some ammunition.
To many of us, the modern religious landscape appears increasingly confusing, even strange or frightening. No matter how strong in faith and regular in religious practice our families may be, we are not insulated from contact with a bewildering variety of religious expressions, a Babel of prophetic voices and a dizzying array of competing world views.
Jehovah's Witnesses want you to live forever with them in paradise on earth. To entice you into accepting their offer of a "free home Bible study", they will show you brightly colored pictures of idyllic garden scenes, beautiful lakeside homes and children romping with lions. The Jehovah's Witness will ask: "Wouldn't you like to live in conditions like these?"
The Church, made up as she is of people, is constantly in need of renewal and reform. Any living thing be it a plant, a human body or a social organism needs constantly to be renewed, or it will become moribund. Spiritual renewal, when it occurs in human life and is done under the impulse of the Holy Spirit, often is also a reform, that is, a return to basic principles, a refocusing on basic goals.
Why do Catholics believe in the Immaculate Conception? The belief means that Mary, the mother of Jesus, was preserved without sin for her entire life.
Europe is old enough to have learned some important lessons in thinking about war and peace. But Europe also needs to recover the North American sense that evil can be fought, that it is shameful to appease aggressors and that wars can be won with pride and decency. Both are necessary elements in the Christian moral tradition on war and peace.
One of the standing temptations of the biblical student is to oversimplify by seizing on one truth and using it to discount other, equally important truths. One such oversimplification consists of the habit some modern people have of exalting the primacy of the literal sense of Scripture into a flat denial of the possibility of any other senses of Scripture at all.