Answers from the Bishop ...

"The Bishop is the teacher within his diocese, bearing special responsibility before God
to shed light on moral issues; not his own light, but the light that comes
from the Gospel, from the teachings of Christ and the Church."

Ask the Bishop Here are some of the answers of Bishop Camillo Ballin, MCCJ to the faithful on the Catholic faith, teachings, morality and missionary life..


Question:  Please advise why did Jesus go to hell when he was a good person.  Nevil

Answer:  He did not go as punishment but to free those who were there and to take them to heaven. "Hell" is a bad translation from Latin, where "Infernos" are not the "Hell" but simply those who were waiting for the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. In the Old Testament mentality, these people were under the ground (Infernos), not in "Hell" as we understand today.

Question:  The Bible says that Adam and Eve had only 2 sons. Cain and Abel , but then it says Cain got married to a women ??  How is that possible? There was no one else on the planet except for Adam, Eve , Cain and Abel.  Mitchel

Answer  :  Thanks for your question.  The Church teaches us not to interpret literally the first 11 chapters of Genesis. What we have to understand from those chapters is the teachings that God wants to tell us. In this case, God wants to say that life continued in spite of the sin of Adam and Eve. It is a praise to the bounty and forgiveness of God. How did life continue? The author wrote the story that we read in Genesis. It is not a historical event, i.e. that it really happened as it is written, it is a personal way of conveying the message of God. Today we have a more scientific mentality so we cannot write things as it has been written thousands of years ago. God bless you.

Question:  " All the Filipino Children who will be attending the Filipino Catechism Classes are kindly requested to register at the Parish Office. The Friday Catechism Classes will be from 1:30 to 2:45 p.m." Why separate classes for Filipinos? The Church should not discriminate between children in terms of language. All children understand English. If all nationalities attend Catechism classes and children's mass together, they learn to accept differences under the umbrella of Christ's Love. Thank you - Aparimith

Answer  :  It is not a discrimination. We noticed that the Filipinos don't come to Catechism with the Indians. What to do? What would you have done if you were in my place?

Question:  I usually receive emails about adoration of Jesus and Mary in a form of chain letter and I am bothered because they will ask you to send them to 10 people that I value and love most or else it will be bad to ignore. Please correct me if I'm wrong, I dont send emails to anybody because I believe those people behind these chain emails are taking profit when you send their emails. I heard before but I have no idea how. and besides this is a wrong Catholic faith. Please enlighten me - Verni

Answer  :  You are right. These people want to create a chain, which many times is not honest. It is true that we need the prayers of  others, but this we have to ask for within our community or family. Chain prayers many a times is understood as something magic. Avoid it.

Question:  My question is, is there a specific one and only one true meaning for every parable, Scripture, Paul's letters, and all the books on the Bible?  Or does everyone that reads the same book get a different meaning from the same reading?  Isn't there only one true meaning of these books that needs to be explained bt theologians if you don't understand them?  Cheryl

Answer  :  No, we can discern from the same passage of the Bible several meanings. But, these meanings are true only if they agree with the general teachings of Jesus. When I read a passage of the Bible, I can be attracted today by a specific word, another day, reading the same passage, I may be interested in another word, etc. But all have to be according to the teachings of Jesus, otherwise the explanation is not under the guidance of Holy Spirit but under Satan, who always wants to make divisions.

Question:  Please if you can recommend a Catholic Bible application for android Samsung galaxy note mobile phone. Gaspar

Answer  :  It is decreed that we use only the following versions of the Bible:   i.      NRSV   ii.      CTS Catholic Bible   iii.      Jerusalem Bible  iv.      The New American Bible.  No protestant Bibles are allowed in our Vicariate or our church. The protestants call seven books of the Bible (Tobit, Judith, 1-2 Maccabees, Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus (Ben Sira), Baruch and Dan 3:24-90) “Apocrypha” and consider them not inspired because they have not been written in Hebrew but only in Greek. The Catholic Church instead considers them inspired like all the others. Recently, new editions of the Bible have come out, called “Catholic”, where the seven books are placed all together at the end of the Old Testament. Many Catholic Bishops have approved this Bible. I want that we use only the “true” Catholic Bible, where all the seven books are in their own proper place according to the Canon of the Catholic Church.  As for a Catholic Bible application, you will have to download this from the net as long as you get the proper Catholic Bible as listed above in i to iv.

Question:  During Lent, here in Kuwait, Wednesday's are days of abstinence from meat. Could you please tell me does meat include eggs too? Mearle

Answer  :  No, meat doesn't include eggs. However, if you want to fast from meat, please, don't eat 20 eggs just because they are not meat!

Question:  I wish to be closer to God, I pray and read the Bible everyday. Yet my hunger for God is not satiated. Are there any books and/or prayers that you could suggest to read? Merlin

Answer  :  Familiarity with God is not obtained through reading of many spiritual books or through saying many prayers. It is good that you pray and read the Bible every day. Now, please, don't only read, but after you read a passage, stop for some moments, remain in silence before God. You need to have a more personal contact with God. For that you have to remain in silence, to listen to Him. Don't speak, don't say any prayer, don't ask Him anything. Just, remain with Him, in silence. He will communicate Himself to you.

Question:  I have been invited by friends to join them in a weekly Yoga program. While some priests have told me its perfectly fine to do yoga, some others have informed me it is not accepted by the Catholic Church. Please could you clarify what is the stand of the Catholic Church on this and whether its alright for us catholic to participate in yoga classes. This is an issue affecting the  minds of many young Catholics  nowadays. Please Clarify. Evelyn

Answer  :  If Yoga is just a program for personal concentration and meditation, no problem; you can participate in it. The problem starts if this program touches religious aspect, inviting us to other religious experiences than the life in the Catholic Church.

Question:  Recently one Philippino usher working for the Church, asked all Indian people to leave the Church, making a seats free for all Philippino, and he said to an Indian person  "go away, please leave the Church", WHY ?????? - Vignone

Answer  :  This way was very wrong. It happens when people are many and the ushers are afraid not to be able to accommodate all. When the Mass you attended is over, please, leave your place for the others who are waiting to enter into the Church to attend their Mass.

Question:  Please could you tell me if Mother Mary had other children or Jesus was the only child of her. Conny

Answer  :  Jesus was her only child. When the Gospel speaks about the brothers of Jesus (Mt 12:46 and parallels) what is meant is the enlarged family of Jesus, disciples, cousins and friends. The Oriental way to express a close relationship is to call them "brothers". But Jesus was the only son of Mary.

Question:  I belong to the St. Therese Parish at Salmiya and  my question is related to the visitation of the Blessed Sacrament which is considered by all Parishioners as a sacred place of worship and it's compulsory that footwear be removed. However, during celebration of Holy Mass, it has been often noticed that the Eucharistic Ministers enter the sacred place of the Blessed Sacrament without removal of their footwear. Any clarification from your part would be appreciated. Joseph

Answer  :  It is never compulsory to remove the shoes to enter into that chapel. We have to know that we go the house of our Father, simply, without fear. To remove the shoes is something from the Old Testament (Exodus 3:5).  However, it is better to remove them, to avoid dust and dirtiness inside. "Better" doesn't mean "compulsory".

Question:  I am 15 years old...and everyday I see so many of my friends falling into sins like pornography, masturbation, foul language, etc.  As a Christian, I have a deep desire to change them...because they don't know how much God loves them; they don't know what they are missing...I am sure that I can do more than just praying for them...I want to evangelize...but the question is HOW? Your Lordship, how do I evangelize teenagers who despise God so much? - Timothy

Answer  :  Your question is very serious. In a few words: be friends with them, be close to them, don't judge them and don't consider yourself better than them: "The man who thinks he is safe must be careful that he does not fall" (1 Cor 10:12). Be humble. At the same time, invite them to read with you a passage from the Gospel, to pray together for a short while. What forms the community is not human friendship but the Word of God. However human friendship is precious. If your friends attend Mass, be with them. You can also invite them to be members of one of the communities you have (CFC, Legio Mariae, El-Shaddai, etc.). There they can find friends and encounter the Word of God.

Question:  I want to know why we have to keep Sunday as Sabbath but not Saturday? Edward

Answer  :  The proof is that Jesus Christ resurrected on Sunday, the day when they found the tomb empty! Sunday for us Christians is the most important day of the week. Please, read my Pastoral Letter on Sunday. You can find it on our website.

Question:  I want to know if you can receive Holy Communion if you reach for mass during the 1st reading or when saying "I confess". This question was bothering me many times.  I attend Konkani Praise and Worship meetings on Sunday and during the meeting Deacon told 2-3 times don't receive communion if you'll don't reach for mass from the beginning and even once he told during one Konkani mass on Sundays,  and I was not receiving communion if I don't reach the mass at the very beginning i.e. "In the name of the Father...".  One day I see one of my friend receiving communion when he reached late, so I just told him what Deacon had told.  He said who told you this.  So I told what had been told.   Then one Sunday morning mass,  Sisters (nuns) reached during the 2nd reading and I had seen them but I did not see them receiving communion.  This friend of mine called me on that same day and asked me,  "did you see nuns today coming to church?  I said, "yes", then he said, "what time?  I replied, "during the 2nd reading".  Then he said further, "did you see them receiving communion? I said, "No, I did not see".  Then he told me that they received communion and then I just argued and kept quiet.  This is the reason Rev. Bishop I wrote to you to confirm and not because of anything.  I asked with one of my priest friend and he told me, "no problem once or twice coming late but don't make it a habit to come always late.  Then he told me that you have to fast one hour before receiving communion and if the service is going to be long, then there is exception to eat something.  A

Answer  :  Mass starts at the very beginning, with "In the name of the Father ...". Let us give to God our time with generosity, don't divide the Eucharist between "valid" and "not valid". God understands if for reasons, non dependent on you, you could not be there at the very beginning, but be generous with God and He will be immensely generous with you.

Question:  I had a C.T. scan with contrast done by my surgeon of my lower spine, what emmerged was a blue glowing star approxamently 4-5 in. top to bottom.Now my Dr. knew not, so if it is not mental or physical, that only leaves the meta-physical, right? Please if you can shed anything that might stop the v.a. from irridiating more than the 2 rads over my life limit now. Mark

Answer  :  We do not have to consider religion and faith as a means for healing. God can heal the person, but first of all we have to ask ourselves: what is the will of God for me? We have to first of all be ready to do his will, then we can ask for healing. Let us not see our prayers as a magic instrument to obtain from God what we want. God is our Father, he knows what we need before we ask him: see Mt 6:8.

Question:  With reference to the cost of mass (KD 1 and KD 2) is there a special mass that is offered for KD 5/- ?  I remember this being said in one of the announcements after mass. Shanthi

Answer  :  No, there is no special Mass of KD 5. I don't think that you understood the announcement. The offering for the Mass has nothing to do with the Mass itself. It is only a participation of the faithful towards the expenses of the Church. We cannot "pay" for a Mass but only offer to God what we can for the needs of the Church.

Question:  I do notice some people sit with their legs crossed while in Church or during the service.  This type of sitting attitude shows no respect to Almighty God and to Jesus.  May I request the Church to make announcements to the public that they are in the Church and should show their most high respect while seated in the house of God.  Thanks in advance for your support.  May our Church be a place to be respected by all with love and dignity. Mario

Answer  : Yes, we should have a respectful behavior in the Church. But this depends on the mentality of the people. We have in our Church many nationalities, traditions, mentalities. What you say is right but we have to pay attention not to hurt the people and their mentality. Sometimes it is difficult to accept differences.

Question:  Can you help me find the daily meditations link on the website? The Bible vocabulary is hard to understand too as compared to the language used in the previous website. Shaila

Answer  :  Go to our web-site and at the bottom of the page, on the right side, there is a column SITE RESOURCES under which you will find the "today's meditation" section.

Question:  Please let me know where it is written in the Bible that couples without children are more blessed. Mary

Answer  :  It is not written in the Bible. The statement is wrong. More blessed are not those who don't have children nor those who have children but those who do the will of God. "Now as he was speaking, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said: 'Happy the womb that bore you and the breasts you sucked'. But he replied:'Still happier those who hear the word of God and keep it" Lk 11:27-28.

Question:  Does the Catholic Church accept the depiction of God the Father in pictures, especially, I've noticed as an old man with a long white beard? Doesn't Catechism CCC#239 and CCC#2779 speak against depicting God the Father in an image, male or female? Is it correct that our children's mind be trained to imagine God the Father like that? Many times, pics of God the Father are shown during prayer presentations (We believe prayer, etc.)(St. Therese Church). Please advise. Bonita

Answer  :  For us it is easy to have a picture of Jesus Christ because he became man, like us. So we can give him an image. For the Holy Spirit, it is more difficult because the only image we have in our mind is the one of a dove! But the Holy Spirit is God like Jesus! For God the Father, our traditional pictures present him as an old man! It is just a way to depict somebody to whom we cannot portray an image because in the Gospel there is no indication about the image of God the Father. I hope that one day an artist will come up and give us a more convincing image of God the Father.

Question:  In one of your responses you stated "The important thing is that your heart be pure, reconciled with all, otherwise the Communion you receive will be a condemnation: how can you receive the Body of Christ if in your heart you hate somebody?" But did not Jesus let Judas share and eat the supper during the last supper even though Judas was about to betray Jesus? Then why is confession of sin or a clean heart a mandatory obligation asked by the church to be followed by the faithful? Daryl

Answer  :  Judas is a particular case that we cannot judge. Let us leave the judgment to God. We need to follow the teaching of Jesus who said: "If you are bringing your offering to the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar, go and be reconciled with your brother first, and then come back and present your offering" (Mt 5:23-24). Notice that it is not you who have something against your brother and you should reconcile with him, but you remember that your brother has something against you. Your heart should be reconciled before the Mass, but you remember that your brother is not reconciled with you. As you see, Jesus wants a complete reconciliation before going to the altar.

Question:  I don't see any importance given for the Feast of DIVINE MERCY OF JESUS and prayer @Three O' Clock in our parishes. Our Supreme Pontiff, John Paul II, moved by the consideration of the Father of Mercy, has willed that the Second Sunday of Easter be dedicated to recalling with special devotion these gifts of grace and gave this Sunday the name, "Divine Mercy Sunday" I would like to know about your opinion. Saji

Answer  :  I don't accept the novena to the Divine Mercy. It is banned in our Vicariate. In fact, it caused problems and conflicts in some parishes last Good Friday. The Divine Mercy Novena disturbs the Liturgy of the Holy Friday, which is much more important than a private novena.

Question:  How do we as Christians forgive someone who has intentionally or unintentionally wronged us? Also, how do we forgive but ensure that we are not taken for granted in future. In the meantime (while trying to forgive) can we receive communion or do we need to wait till forgiveness is 100%? - I wish sermons could be on such practical topics so that it helps many out there. Thanks for making time for us. - Maria

Answer  :  We alone we cannot forgive. But, through prayer, God can give us the power to forgive. A lady was informed by chance by the police that a man had died in a car accident. This man was her husband. She went immediately to the hospital to see the drunk young man who caused the accident, she embraced him and told him: I forgive you! Only God can give us this power!

Question:  I know that the usual Sunday Mass obligation can be fulfilled in the Arabian peninsula on Friday or Sunday. My question is: Can the obligation be fulfilled on Thursday and Saturday evenings? I expect to visit Kuwait and Qatar and UAE and Oman sometime early next year and will have a very full schedule. - Shawn

Answer  :  We have to keep the importance of Sunday. It is the day of the resurrection of Jesus. For us Christians, Sunday is the most important day of the week. What is important is not only to go to Mass once a week but to go to Mass on Sunday. I found in the Gulf this tradition to celebrate the Sunday Mass on Friday. I don't agree at all because in this way we loose the importance of Sunday. But I cannot change it. The other Arab countries where I lived for many, many years (Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Sudan) the liturgy of Sunday was never celebrated on Friday. They always kept Sunday as the obligatory Mass day. Please, see my Pastoral Letter on Sunday. You will find it on our website.  You can go to Mass on another day, but don't forget the fundamental importance of Sunday.  Here the Saturday evening Mass is also of the Sunday liturgy but not the Thursday evening Mass which is the weekday liturgy.

Question:  Why are you trying to divide the Syro-Malabar Community.  Your predecessors were not interested in the liturgical traditions and Catechism of the Syro-Malabar faithful in Saudi and you siad that the Syro-Malabar is not part of the Catholic Church.  Why?  We want to live according to the traditions of our Church and to give Faith Formation to our children.  Please allow our Diocesian priests to do that.  You please take care of the Latin communities here.  Please let me know your stand on this issue. - Antony

Answer  :  It is not me who decided that the only Bishop for Saudi Arabia is me. It is the Pope who appointed me to be your Bishop! If the Pope will tell me that another Bishop is in charge of the Syro-malabar, I don't have any objection and I will be very happy that he takes over the charge. I will be much more free. But the Pope decided the opposite, that only I am the true Bishop of all the Catholics in Saudi Arabia. So, I cannot allow your priests to work in Saudi Arabia as they are doing now, without my approval. They have never asked my approval. On the contrary, they say that I should take their approval for my ministry there!!! If they celebrate marriages, these marriages are invalid. Couples live in adultery. Their absolution in confession is invalid. You are still in your sins! It is not me who created this division. It is your Synod who sent priests without informing and asking the permission and the approval of the local Bishop. In the Catholic Church every country is entrusted to a Bishop by the Pope. Saudi Arabia is entrusted to me and only to me. Tell the Pope to change his decision and I will be extremely happy to get out of this schism.

Question:  I want give my tithe, where can I give that in Ahmadi Church? Benny

Answer  :  You can put it in an envelope and put the envelope in the box, or in the collection basket during the Mass.  God will reward you very much.

Question:  Having read some of the questions, one caught my attention. I want to praise you for your tolerance regarding the issue of 10 KD increase of fee for the teachings of children. I hope and pray that God will bless those people with wisdom and understanding that their contributions to the community doesn't go to anyones pocket but to those people who are in need, suffering and lost, this is the core of our Faith to help the unfortunate people, this is what Jesus wants us to do. Vernica

Answer  :  Thank  you. Pray for us

Question:  There are many Catholic sites online providing Bible Reading. What is the name of the Bible that we should read? I am getting confused with all the various names like King James Bible, etc. etc. Please advise.Thank you. - Kevin

Answer  :  It is decreed that we use only the following versions of the Bible:   i.      NRSV   ii.      CTS Catholic Bible   iii.      Jerusalem Bible  iv.      The New American Bible.  No protestant Bibles are allowed in our Vicariate or our church. The protestants call seven books of the Bible (Tobit, Judith, 1-2 Maccabees, Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus (Ben Sira), Baruch and Dan 3:24-90) “Apocrypha” and consider them not inspired because they have not been written in Hebrew but only in Greek. The Catholic Church instead considers them inspired like all the others. Recently, new editions of the Bible have come out, called “Catholic”, where the seven books are placed all together at the end of the Old Testament. Many Catholic Bishops have approved this Bible. I want that we use only the “true” Catholic Bible, where all the seven books are in their own proper place according to the Canon of the Catholic Church.

Question:  We find our current group irrelevant, it somehow creates a spirit of competitions and chaos with regards to communication protocols. Our current group claims they are recognized by the Parish, my opinion is; it will be in the benefit of our community to bolt-out from our current group and stay directly connected to the Pastoral Council formed by our Parish Church. Please guide us. - Tina

Answer  :  You have to feel free to belong to a group or directly to the Parish only. It is true that sometimes some leaders don't reflect the true image of a leader. Pray and make your decision as you like. You are free.

Question:  In one of the Vicarate newsletters (late last year/early this year) I had read about an online Bible Study Course. I am unable to find out that information from anyone here. Can you please request one of your assistants to send me the details? - Amira

Answer  :  Please, contact  He is based in Saudi and is in charge of this program.

Question:  I am a parishioner of Daniel Comboni Parish, Jleeb. Last two years they have conducted May fest and this year also the raffle is coming. I am surprised as a lot of money is flowing through many events and weekly collections. As a parishioner, we are not getting any maths of its output or information. We always come to know from announcements of the lack or loss of money. Where is this money flowing out? Kindly put a yearly audit of such events or at least know the maths after collections are made individually. Rose

Answer  :  Thank you for your concern and enquiry. Don't worry, I have a strict control of the money, and not only in your parish. Our priests are honest. In your case, be known that the rent of the two basements and the two flats where the priests live costs more than 3,000 KD per month! The money they collect in your parish is not enough to pay the rent! I have to ask the help of the other parishes. Thanks to God that our priests are cooperating very well even in money matters. Thanks for your generosity.

Question:  During Holy Mass, we had a new situation regarding the Eucharist / Choir.  The two Ministers were on one side each and the Priest at the center distributing the Holy Eucharist. One of the Ministers ended first and proceeded to the left side to continue with the choir. The Choir did not stop playing the Eucharistic song because the Priest still had two or three people in his line.  At this point the Minister was waiting for them to stop playing and come to receive the Eucharist.  In this situation, what would be the most appropriate? The choir should stop once the Minister is ready for them or should they continue until the Priest gives the last Eucharist and then go? Johanna

Answer  :  The choir should receive Communion last. No one should give them Communion while they are singing. They have to be the last ones who receive Communion, so that they can have their time for personal prayer. It is wrong to give them Communion at the beginning because they have to sing immediately after, so they cannot have a personal prayer. The hymns have to finish at the end of the distribution of the Holy Communion.

Question:   Do married people need to abstain from sex during the Lenten season, is it a sin to have sexual relationship with the spouse? please clarify.  R

Answer  : No, it is not a sin to have intercourse in Lent. Intercourse between husband and wife is blessed by God. I give you an example. When the priest says Mass he puts into practice his priesthood. When a married couple have their intercourse they put into practice the Sacrament of marriage, so it is blessed by God. We do not have to consider intercourse between husband and wife as something dirty or impure, it is something sacred, obedient to the will of God.

Question:  What is more important specially in a married life?  Serving the family or giving most of our time to serving the Church and the Lord whilst ignoring the family?  NN

Answer  :  We have to distinguish between serving the activities of the Church and serving the Lord. It is not because you collaborate with the priest that you serve the Lord. It can be an escape from the responsibilities of the family. To serve the Lord means to serve him according to the vocation that he has given you. For the married people, their vocation is to live in the family. Somebody serves the Lord when he serves the family. This is his/her vocation and and when he/she serves the family he/she serves the Lord.  However, in a mutual agreement between husband and wife, a time can be reserved to the activities of the Church.

Question:  I just had a certain doubt, whether making a permanent tattoo on your body, maybe something religious or names or images of people you love...wrong! Is it a sin? something forbidden to do? - Louie

Answer  : No, it is not forbidden to have a religious tattoo on your body. BUT, Christian witness is not based on that. It is based on our life as Christians, people who reconcile with every body and love everybody, even our enemies. It is not your tattoo which will say that you are Christian but your heart, your behavior.

Question:  Dear Bishop, congratulations for AVONA. Formerly for mass offering the rates were K.D.1/= after it has been increased to K.D.2/= I feel now devotees are offering their mases at home country at cheaper rates. This is a big loss for our Vicariate, as there are lot of expenses that have to be met as you have provided better facilities since last year. Kindly reconsider this so that our Vicariate may have more income. - Louis

Answer  :  There was a big confusion between Masses of 1 KD and Masses of 2 KD. Especially I could not tolerate a kind of injustice: those who were paying 2  KD had some advantages over the others who were paying 1 KD. We should give everyone the same service. The offering is only a help for the Church and has nothing to do with the Mass. See my Pastoral Letters on Eucharist. Of course, every one is free to ask any priest to celebrate a Mass for them, but to look for cheaper Masses means that that person links the money with the Mass, as if he can "buy" a Mass at a cheaper price, like in the supermarkets! Let us not be ridiculous!

Question:  Dear Bishop, during Friday's & Sundays we find only one priest hearing confessions, on left side of the Church and I feel that the other priests don't have the right to forgive sins. Kindly inform all the priests it will be easy for others on right side too if one more priest sits for confession. During Sunday & Friday masses; most of the parisioners  would like to go to confession. Many devotees like to keep their heart clean without sins.  This July month is special because of the Holy Blood of Christ. - Louis

Answer  :  Thank you. As much as possible, we always try to have a confessor during every Mass. Many times we have more Masses at the same time and only one priest can be available. Be rest assured that in our weekly schedule, we always have a list of the confessors beside the list of the celebrant.

Question:  Your Lordship, I know that the Church does not allow people to go to Confession over the internet. However, it seems that in Saudi Arabia Catholics should be able to confess over Skype or on the telephone, because there are no priests here. I understand why the Church usually forbids this practice, but I worry that I may not be able to achieve perfect contrition. Since the Church always tries to be as generous as possible to those wishing forgiveness, can you grant a dispensation for this? - Robert

Answer  :  I cannot give you a dispensation because confession is a very personal action. The Internet cannot provide this personal touch with Jesus, who is represented by a priest in the confessional.

Question:  Your Lordship, regarding your answer to the question that is it necessary that woman should cover their head inside the Church? I agree with you that it is not necessary, Yes  Christ looks at the heart, Jesus Christ wants us to be free from these external things, He loves us so much and he wants our heart & love. But I do not agree that it is from Islamic influences, may be it is a habit originated from the old testament, but please explain what mentioned in the Bible if we read St. Paul 1st letter to the Corinthians  Chap. 11 verses 1-13 which press on that woman has to cover their heads in the presence of God, also I always felt that it is a matter of respect and humbleness in worshiping.  Beside why Nuns cover their heads. - Jocelyn

Answer  :  Yes, you are right. There are many aspects: Old Testament, humility before God, Islam. The second point is proper for the nuns. However, many religious congregations today don't use the veil any more. This doesn't mean that they are not humble before God. Covering their heads for them, is to convey their identity and task in the Church and the world.

Question:  May I know when was Purgatory created by GOD? Some say that it existed from eternity and some say that it was created after Jesus died on the cross, some also say that it was created after the ressurection of Jesus Christ.  I am confused about this. - Okka

Answer  :  Purgatory is not a creation, like God created the universe. In fact, Purgatory is not something that we can touch nor is it a physical place we can go to.  It is more a situation of the person, a time in which the person is purified in order to be able to enter into heaven, to be forever with God.  The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches us that:-

1030 All who die in God's grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven.

1031 The Church gives the name Purgatory to this final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned. The Church formulated her doctrine of faith on Purgatory especially at the Councils of Florence and Trent. The tradition of the Church, by reference to certain texts of Scripture, speaks of a cleansing fire:

As for certain lesser faults, we must believe that, before the Final Judgment, there is a purifying fire. He who is truth says that whoever utters blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will be pardoned neither in this age nor in the age to come. From this sentence we understand that certain offenses can be forgiven in this age, but certain others in the age to come.

1032 This teaching is also based on the practice of prayer for the dead, already mentioned in Sacred Scripture: "Therefore [Judas Maccabeus] made atonement for the dead, that they might be delivered from their sin. From the beginning the Church has honored the memory of the dead and offered prayers in suffrage for them, above all the Eucharistic sacrifice, so that, thus purified, they may attain the beatific vision of God. The Church also commends almsgiving, indulgences, and works of penance undertaken on behalf of the dead:

1472 To understand this doctrine and practice of the Church, it is necessary to understand that sin has a double consequence. Grave sin deprives us of communion with God and therefore makes us incapable of eternal life, the privation of which is called the "eternal punishment" of sin. On the other hand every sin, even venial, entails an unhealthy attachment to creatures, which must be purified either here on earth, or after death in the state called Purgatory. This purification frees one from what is called the "temporal punishment" of sin. These two punishments must not be conceived of as a kind of vengeance inflicted by God from without, but as following from the very nature of sin. A conversion which proceeds from a fervent charity can attain the complete purification of the sinner in such a way that no punishment would remain.

1473 The forgiveness of sin and restoration of communion with God entail the remission of the eternal punishment of sin, but temporal punishment of sin remains. While patiently bearing sufferings and trials of all kinds and, when the day comes, serenely facing death, the Christian must strive to accept this temporal punishment of sin as a grace. He should strive by works of mercy and charity, as well as by prayer and the various practices of penance, to put off completely the "old man" and to put on the "new man."

Question:  Dear Bishop sorry to say that we personally feel that the current charges of Sacramental fees of KD. 10 for Communion & Confirmation, Jesus gave his body & blood and we are his disciples following his commandments & Sacraments, as a true Christian this charges should not be fixed by the Church. It is the wish of the parents (which earlier we used to give offering envelope from our own accord with our child) now its looks like compulsory charges of sacrament and also same for the Catechism. - Veena

Answer  :  We have always said that this fee is not compulsory. The Church is in need of your help because we have to face many expenses. If you would like to help us, God will thank you. If you cannot, you are free, God will love you the same. It depends on you.

Question:   My question is according to the below scriptures.
Acts 2: 43  Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles.
Acts 3:6  But Peter said, ‘I have no silver or gold, but what I have I give you; in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth,* stand up and walk.’
Acts 8: 8 The crowds with one accord listened eagerly to what was said by Philip, hearing and seeing the signs that he did,

After examining the above verses, it came to my mind that God performed those wonders, signs, and miracles through apostles or men and not through communion or Eucharistic celebration.  However I have never seen in our Catholic Church, But I am seeing at present same kind of miracles primarily happening in non-catholic churches.  Does God is not able to perform miracles through Priests, or Apostles or common people? Please clarify. - Oliver.

Answer  :  God has his own ways. However, I doubt very much the "miracles" performed in some special Christian denominations. I can say that there are many miracles which are not known. For example: reconciliation between a couple who have decided to divorce, adoption of handicapped children, conversions, etc. Just to mention a few miracles I saw and experienced with my eyes. You should also consider the extraordinary healing that takes place and occurs so often in Lourdes, Fatima and other shrines, and also the miracles performed through the intercession of those who are declared saints. Blessed Pope John Paul II has been declared blessed because on his invocation, a miracle took place where he healed a nun suffering from Parkinson. So God is still performing miracles, even in the Catholic Church.

Question:  Your Lordship, I just got to know of this forum. Thank you for this.  I see many have questioned on the way Holy Communion is to be received.  1st of a series of questions:  I have been taught and still believe that the Holy Communion is to be received on the tongue.  Why is it even being offered on the palm of the hand? I heard it is for health reasons, but then ... is it not the body of Christ ... why the fear of getting contaminated?Best said by Jesus himself “Oh, ye men of little faith”. - George

Answer  :  Of course it is not the Body of Christ that can contaminate a person. It so often happens that the priest unwillingly touches the tongue of a person, and then in the process, the tongue of another person, etc. Another reason is for practicality.  It happens that people sometimes don't open their mouth wide enough, or they don't offer their tongue out, or at times they don't wait for the priest to place the Host on their tongue, etc. But receiving Communion on the hand is easier, healthier and more practical. However, here there is total freedom. You can Choose whatever way you want to receive Communion but it must be with true reverence to the Body of Christ. The important thing is that your heart be pure, reconciled with all, otherwise the Communion you receive will be a condemnation: how can you receive the Body of Christ if in your heart you hate somebody? If your heart is pure and sincere, then receive Communion on the tongue or on the hands, as you like.

Question:  Earlier, we were taught to accept communion reverently between the index and thumb of right hand, with the left hand underneath, supporting the right hand and forming a plate in the case the communion falls and by replying "Amen". Is this incorrect? Now it seems that this amounts to "pinching". The priest raises the host in the same manner which is definitely not pinching. We know that the left hand is for menial jobs, and my faith doesn't allow me to use that for taking communion. Please clarify. - Oliver

Answer  :  St. Cyril of Jerusalem taught to receive Communion in a way that the right hand be the chair of the left hand. Do not envision problems between the two hands, both are good if your heart is chaste.

Question:  I would like to know a few facts about Joseph (Father of Jesus). Was he alive at the time of the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ? When did he die and how and where did it happen? Also wish to know about the demise of Mother Mary? when? how and where? Were they cremated? - Saji

Answer  :  About Joseph we don't know anything. Tradition says that he died before Jesus Christ, but the Gospel doesn't give any information. The last one we have about him is in Lk 2:48: "My child, why have you done this to us? See how worried your father and I have been, looking for you". After that, Joseph disappears completely.

About Mary, there are two traditions. One says that she died in Ephesus (Greece), the other in Jerusalem. Nothing is sure. She has not been cremated because she was taken into heaven soon after her death. Don't forget that we celebrate the solemnity of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary on 15 August.

Question:  Your Lordship, thank you for answering questions. I have learnt so much from all your answers.  This is regarding the Sermon. Very, very few priests give interesting sermons. They drone on about some Theological stuff that very, very few are interested in. Why can't this precious time be used to educate us regarding how we treat others, some customs of the Church or even teaching us to defend our faith? - Kevin

Answer  :  I recognize that it is difficult to give a good homily. We should first of all meditate on the readings and see what God is telling me, as a priest, through those readings. If I communicate to the people something which touches me, the people will automatically be interested. We should preach our experience after having meditated on the readings. Of course, we should not make a public confession but we should speak first of all to ourselves. The readings are of fundamental importance for our Christian formation. To explain other things, is like to say to God: You said this in the readings, but now I say that! The readings and the homily are for our conversion, they should take us to a revision in our life. But, again, this is true if I am the first who accepts to be called to conversion. See my Pastoral Letters on the Eucharist, especially the first one. They are available in one volume in the Cathedral.

Question:  Your Lordship, in an old answer you stated that our Church will never be moved (various reasons) and now in a later post you mention that we just have 6 years of our Contract left which got me worried. So is there a chance that they will take our beloved Church from us (move it)? Thank you for your time and for answering our questions. - Kevin

Answer  :  Yes, it is true that after 5 years the contract between the State of Kuwait and the Catholic Church regarding the land used by the church will expire. I hope that it will be renewed for 50 more years. It will be a shame all over the world if Kuwait will not renew it! But I know that Kuwait is very much tolerant about religion, so I have strong hope that it will be renewed.

Question:   Dear Bishop, I strongly support your decision to charge a nominal fee of KD 10 per year for Catechism classes. I am in Kuwait since the last 19 years and have seen the progress our church has made in this country. I still remember my childhood when people used to walk miles and miles to attend Sunday Mass. My parents and grand parents used to tell us that people from far-off places used to come and stay at their places on Saturday night as their houses were located close to the church. I was an Altar boy during the seventies-eighties and used to walk with our parish priests for 5 to 7 kilometers taking communion for the sick and for house blessings. Still, the people used to participate in church activities happily. They were sharing the crop they grew with the church. On Mission Sundays, many things were offered which were sold after Mass in an auction and the savings were sent to the missions.

Now times have changed. People use transport even if the church is a few meters away. We spend lavishly on our clothes to show our standard of living at Mass. We try to use luxury transpport to suit our standard. We go to the restaurant for breakfast after Mass, spend money on outings, picnics, parties etc. Spiritual functions like Christening, First Holy Communion and Confirmation are celebrated grander than weddings whereas previously these functions were family functions and were celebrated at home. But, we still hesitate to spare some money when the offering bag comes to us and when charity is needed. Compared to those days, the church is closer to us. In an Islamic country like Kuwait (Thanks to the Rulers of Kuwait and may God bless them), we have 4 churches and many more prayer meetings are conducted to make our worship comfortable.

I don't think it is necessary to explain the improvement our church has made in Kuwait. It has afforded the maximum possible comfort to the devotees to attend the church services. The arrangements are far more excellent compared to any government institutions/offices in Kuwait. Even though money cannot buy everything, without money we can't buy anything. From where will the funds come to allow these changes in the churches? In India, we have a fixed fee (church support) to pay every year towards church expenses. Then, why this hesitation here?

Today KD 10 is the minimum charge for any services in Kuwait per year. We spend more than this to send SMS, forwards through mobile, unnecessary chats, make up, perfumes..... the list is endless. We spend more than 50 times this amount for our children's school fees and transport, more than this for their Christmas clothes and more than this for many unwanted things. I don't think KD 10 is unaffordable if a person can afford to keep his family here.

My final conclusion is that KD 10 fee for a whole year for the child's spiritual education is not a subject to debate at all. I salute the church authorities, the catechism teachers and volunteers who sacrifice their valuable time for this. We spend more than this amount per month to send our children to dance classes, music classes and tutions. As everything is available here easily and comfortably, we have taken the church for granted. Ask the people of countries like Saudi Arabia - they are ready to spend any amount to get the spiritual freedom which we get here.

I do not want to waste your time with a long letter, I along with my family and like minded friends whole heartedly thank you for the excellent services you have provided for us and always pray to Almighty God to keep you and the church authorities happy and healthy. We also pray for the rulers of Kuwait and their families for providing us with freedom of religion. If I modify Abraham Lincoln's statement slightly, "IT IS NOT IMPORTANT TO KNOW WHAT CHURCH HAS DONE FOR US. IT IS IMPORTANT TO KNOW WHAT WE HAVE DONE FOR THE CHURCH".

You are fully authorized to forward or publish this email (even without hiding my identity and contact details) as it may open the eyes of at least some understanding people. With Best Regards, Wilson Saldanha.

Answer  :  Thanks for your support, Wilson. I would like to add a consideration to those who wrote (or still write) to me accusing me of "imposing 10 KD on innocent children". I think the children should not always be treated with honey and jam. In this way the parents form the children without personality. On the contrary, it is very important that the children KNOW that their parents are paying 10 KD for them, to educate them with the sense of responsibility towards the Church. The parents should tell the children that they pay 10 KD per year for them, so they have to go to catechism and they should explain that the children also should have a sense of responsiblity towards the greater expenses of the Church. The right education starts from childhood. The right education of the children towards the Church requires that they become aware of the necessity that they also should participate in the life (expenses) of the Church. God bless you.

Question:   Your Lordship Bishop Camillo Ballin, First of all Happy Easter to you. I would like to thank you for the good arrangement done during Holy Week. I and my family took part in the Eucharist Celebration in the Cathedral on Passion Sunday at 7.45pm mass, though the mass was delayed and started at 8.05 pm, but the service was good, specially the singing of the choir and music was so solemn that helped us to participate more meaningfully. Please convey our special thanks to the choir and Fr. Gaspar for the Mass.

Answer  :  Thank you for your encouragement. Pray for us.

Question:   This is not a question, just a suggestion. Considering the vast congregation, especially on Fridays and feast days, I think it would be a good idea to allocate exclusive exits and entries, in order to avoid congestion at the door of people getting in and out at the same time. - Cora

Answer  :  Thanks. But it is impossible to lead all the people to go out or to go in only through a specific door.

Question:   There are priests now and there were priests during Jesus time.....why didn't Jesus choose even one priest as his disciple? all were fishermen, tax collectors and so on and on... Why, no priest?

Answer  :  They were priests of the Old Testament. Jesus started a new priesthood, being himself the Highest Eternal priest. The priests of Jesus are only those who are first of all his disciples and are called by him to follow him as priests. In the Old Testament the priests had the role to offer the sacrifices of animals. But all this has been replaced by Jesus who offered himself and established a new covenant in his blood. The priesthood of the Old Testament was only an image, a shadow, of the true priesthood established by Jesus.

Question:   In our Parish a woman is commissioned as ExtraOrdinary Minister of Holy Communion who is not living with her family but living separately. Canon Law says that married couple should live in perfect union. Is it proper to commission such a person as EMHC? - Vincent

Answer  :  You are right. Someone who is divorced or lives in sin (cohabitation without being married in the Church or living with someone who is not their legally married spouse) cannot have any ministry in the church, not even to be a lector.

Question:   Your Excellency,Bishop Camilo,my question is: Can a lay preacher preach in the catholic church in the Gulf if he has been approved by the bishop in India to preach. What needs to be done? I have been personally blessed and enriched by this preacher from India and wish and pray that in our area too (gulf) he can preach in the church.I only quote the verse where Jesus says that he who does works in my name cannot later speak against me. Your views and comments are most highly appreciated. Thank you. - Lisboa

Answer  :  Any visiting preacher needs the permission of the local Bishop. It is not enough that a preacher be approved by his own Bishop in India. He needs the approval of the Bishop of every country he goes to preach. The Bishop is the guardian of the faith of his faithful and he has the responsibility to guide them in the right way. A preacher who preaches in our Vicariate without my permission reveals that he is very proud, he doesn't want to contact the Bishop, he considers himself over all, in direct contact with God. He has perhaps good words but his pride prevents more graces form God.

Question:   Did virgin Mary die before her assumption? - Okka

Answer  :  Yes. Like all of us, Mary was a creation of God and just as Jesus Christ died as Man, it is the same for all of us, including the Virgin Mary.

Question:   Dear beloved Lordship, even though 3 days have passed, we do not find any condolence message from the Vicariate of Kuwait in their website regarding the sad demise of the Head of the Syro Malabar Church and the Major Archbishop His Eminence Varkey Cardinal Vithayathil. - Jacob

Answer  :  Yes, we didn't mention it on the website. Surely it was better to do it. Sorry. However, I sent Fr. Mathews specially to Cochin to attend the funeral of the Major Archbishop on behalf of our Vicariate. I think that a personal presence is much more important than an obituary on the website.

Question:   Is there really a Purgatory? Or is it just a guess? - George

Answer  :  Purgatory exists. Before going to God we need a complete purification, which is called purgatory. But we don't know how long the purification will take. Surely it is not a place in the sky or in the universe, it is more a state of the soul.

Question:   Your Lordship, I have noticed that in our Church confessional booth no priest is attending to confession especially during the 9:00 am Mass on Fridays and being the month of Lent, we are informed to go for confession. I would Appreciate if the above is looked into as well for the Children's Mass, too. - Joseph

Answer  :  On Fridays sometimes all the priests are busy with Masses. However, we shall pay more attention to this. Thanks.

Question:   At the end of Offertory, while the priest says the final part of the prayer the response from the congregation should be by sitting or standing? For few language masses the congregation stands for the response and prays along with the priests, but for few masses few from the congregation stand and few sit. It is good to have uniformity by all to stand or all to sit. What do you suggest Bishop? What is the symbolic? to sit or stand. It is not during offertory only at the END of offertory. - Rinna

Answer  :  We sit when we listen to the Word of God or the homily. We stand when we listen to the Gospel or pray. You should stand when the priest says: Pray brethren that our sacrifice may be accepted by God our Lord.

Question:   Dear Bishop, Kindly advise if we have any pre-baptism course for the parents along with godparents in Salmiya parish. I am aware that there are these courses at the Cathedral in Kuwait city.

Answer  :  Yes, Salmiya also has the pre-baptism course. Please see their notice board or ask your parish priest there.

Question:   I need your help and need it ASAP I am a student in Karachi school of arts doing 4 yrs of diploma in fine arts and I have a thesis going on in which I am doing some research on different religions I have 20-25 questions like what is love what is happiness where do we belong questions like that so please if u can help me it will be awesome so would you like to help me cause I need a scholar like you to answer these questions please, and am waiting for your reply. - Talha

Answer  :  It is difficult to answer to these questions in few words. Love is a gift of ourselves to others. I love somebody when I help him/her in his/her life. Jesus said that we have to love even our enemies! Happiness is to follow the will of God. We cannot find happiness outside his will. We have to remain in contact with him in prayer in order to know what he wants from us. His plan for every one of us is the best one. If we look for another plan, different from the one God has chosen for us, we are lost. If we follow Him, we will be truly happy.

Question:   There is a question I went thru asked by Patricia about a priest disobeying his bishop and getting thrown your reply you said if a priest disobeys his bishop he harms the Body of can any one be compared to Jesus? I mean are we worth that much???

Answer  :  Disobedience to the Bishop in very important matters causes a great damage to the Body of Jesus, the Church. Jesus is not any more alone, he is and will be forever with us. We form one body with him, he is the head, we are the members. We harm the body of Jesus when we go away from his teachings and his love.

Question:   I was raised Catholic and recently came home to visit my family. My sister and mother were talking about politics and my mother said it is a Mortal Sin to vote for a democrat. Is this true and if so can you tell me where it is written in the bible where it is a Mortal Sin to vote for a democrat candidate in the United States. - Andrew

Answer  :  We should not look at the name of the party but at their policies. Do they have policies in accordance with the teachings of Jesus and that of the Catholic Church? Abortion is a terrible sin. We should not vote for a party which supports abortion, gay marriages, etc.

Question:   I had some not so good experience with certain priests. They behave very indifferently in some circumstances. They discriminate between not so well off and well off persons, here determined by the clothes they wear. It hurts when I am met with such scenario. I have high regard for the priests, but these acts by some have wounded me. What should I expect from priests in this regard? How can I be healed of these incidents? Should they not live what the Gospel preaches? - Vijayan

Answer  :  We the priests also are sinners. If you notice something in us that is not good, please have the courage to tell us. It will be the most precious help that you can give us. God give you humility and courage. Thanks for helping us to correct ourselves.

Question:   I am a Syro Malabar from Kerala, India. I have a doubt that our God the Father and Allah the Muslim God are the same. If different how? - Tony

Answer  :  In Christianity, we know God as the loving Father (Dad/Abba). Jesus revealed to us that God loves us and that we became, through Jesus, his beloved children.

Question:   Why was it the Apostles of Jesus had the charismatic gift of tongues, prophecy, gifts of healing as do many in the Charismatic renewal today but the Bishops have no manifestation of these charismatic gifts? - Daniel

Answer  :  There are bishops who have these charisms. Why not all of us? You should ask God, not me. Don't forget that the greatest charism is not of languages or healing but of love! Read 1 Cor ch. 13.

Question:   Dear Bishop, can we fast if we are having our monthly period . can we pray and touch the bible. - Jay

Answer  :  Of course. The monthly period doesn't make you impure. Impurity is from your heart, not from a natural phenomena.

Question:   Dear Bishop, I want to know how can one fast during Lent. I mean the time to close and the time to open. We can eat just one meal, this is what I know , but I am confused what is the proper time to end the fast and begin it. Do we have to be punctual in beginning and ending, or is it up to us. - Jay

Answer  :  In the Latin Church, fasting is regulated as follows:
Breakfast: very reduced (better if we don't take any thing at all)
Lunch: less than normal
Dinner: very reduced
What is important is not to fix a time for beginning or ending the fasting but to have a personal readiness to follow Jesus with our prayer, reading of the Bible, charity and fasting.

Question:   When giving Holy Communion in the side rooms, especially in the Salmiya church, the Eucharistic ministers proceed to each individual seated on the benches, which seems a little disrespectful. They should rather stand in one place, preferably at the entrance of the room, and let the recipients come to them. I understand this is ok for handicapped people and people with little babies, but most of the people occupying these rooms are able bodied individuals. Your thoughts on this. - D'Cruz

Answer  :  Perhaps for practical reasons, knowing how narrow the place is in Salmiya where the people cannot move easily and specially since entry to the benches is from one side only. However, discuss this point with your parish priest.

Question:   Congratulations,! You became Shepherd for Three more Countries. Any chance to build church in Saudi Arabia? For 27 years H E Bishop Bernard OFM Cap. and 8 years H E Bishop Paul Hinder OFM Cap. could not do anything better for Saudi Mission. Will you allow women Eucharistic minister and altar girls to continue?. If Yes, then why we do not have in Kuwait. May the Holy Spirit lead you for continuous Pastoral care. Thanks. Johnson Alexander.

Answer  :  This is a reality that I found when I came to Kuwait and I did not change anything because it seems to me that in Kuwait we have enough boys as altar boys and enough men as extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion. Similarly, I respect the traditions of the Church in the other three Countries and it is not my plan to change anything on this subject.

Question:   Dear Bishop, I am disappointed with a few of your replies on this section to parishioners. For example, the various renovations taking place in the cathedral to serve the thinking of other community, donations given by various communities where you have distinguished between Filipinos and Indians. You being the head of our Christian community in Kuwait, why do you differentiate people in the house of the Lord? Can we not live as ONE irrespective of ethnic background on foreign grounds? - A Parishioner

Answer  :  You are right. It is my purpose and aim to unite all the faithful in one Catholic Church and not to have many Catholic Churches besides each other. That's why I started the "Unity Congress". I don't know to which replies you refer to. however, sometimes I have to accept some particularities from Indians or from Filipinos or from Arabs in order to help them to become gradually into One Church. We cannot demand a perfect unity from all at one time. Things will take my time and the time of all my successors.

Question:   Earlier just like in the Lenten Season marriages were not solemnised during the Advent Season. Why is it happening now? - Clairesha

Answer  :  Advent is not like Lent, which is, a period of penance, but Advent is a period of waiting for Jesus. Just as a woman is happy while she awaits the birth of her child, it is the same during Advent, the Church anticipates the coming of Jesus and is happy. Let us therefore rejoice, in this event, for the coming of Jesus.

Question:   Why does Christianity believe in the incarnation of the Son of God (Jesus) and not the reincarnation of people? - Lucie

Answer  :  The incarnation of the Son of God is an extraordinary event that signed all of history until the end of the world. Jesus Christ never spoke about reincarnation of people. He always said that we are children of God our Father and we are going to him in heaven. We have been created for all eternity not because we shall reincarnate in many ways or forms for all eternity but because we will live with God forever.

Question:   My Lord, I find the concept "Mary Mother of God " very difficult to accept and given the attributes of God. Would it not be better to see it as "mother of God incarnate'? Our Mother the blessed Virgin Mary is not a God how can she be the Mother of God? - Charles

Answer  :  In 1930 Pope Pius XI established the feast of the "Virgin Mary Mother of God" 1,600 years after the Council of Ephesus proclaimed this dogma: the Virgin Mary is Mother of God (= Theotokos). Really this title is audacious : a woman is Mother of God! How is it possible? We are creatures, how can a human creature become the Mother of God? Some theologians in the Council of Ephesus said that we can understand that the Virgin Mary is the Mother of Jesus Christ but not the Mother of God. In spite of this objection, the Council kept this title and proclaimed the Virgin Mary Mother of God and wanted to reveal what God has done for us. God did not remain closed within himself: he came out from himself and united himself so radically with this man, Jesus, that this man Jesus is God and when we speak about Jesus we speak about God. He wasn't born only a man who had a relation with God but in him God was born into the world. God came out from himself. But we can also say the opposite: God attracted us to himself, so that we are not any more outside of God but we are in intimacy with God, we are in God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. God wanted to be born through a woman and to remain God! This is the great event. The Virgin Mary is Mother of God and Mother of the Church because she is the Mother of the One who came to reunite all of us - through the cross - in His Body, dead and resurrected.

Question:   In our church twice during Mass the consecration part was not said by a young priest and by an old priest, this was done unintentionally or overlooked because of the pages of the book. In the case of the young priest, this was brought to his notice and he did the consecration part just before distributing the Holy communion. In the case of the old priest, no one went to the priest and brought this to his notice. However our Parish priest said that the mass was valid. Is this the truth? - Maria

Answer  :  don't think that the priest did not say the consecration. Perhaps he was con-celebrating and said the consecration in a silent voice.I have never heard that a priest did not say the words of consecration. He knows very well that he has to say those words clearly.

Question:   Do animals have souls? if no, why not? If yes, do they go to heaven? I'm confused... - Anton

Answer  :  Animals are a part of God's creation which will be a new and redeemed creation in heaven. How? I shall tell you when I will be there.

Question:   Your Excellency - The book you recently published is indeed great. I could go back to the days when Sr. Jessintha took classes for the Catechists in Emirates. This is much more than expected. Thanks for the same and I believe this is the right book to have in every home where other denominations criticize Catholics and we can now answer to their points. Thank you once again. - Augustine

Answer  :  Thanks for your encouragement. I don't know to which book you are referring. Perhaps: Exploring our Catholic Faith? It will be reprinted in MAY. There is also another book which contains my four pastoral letters on the Eucharist. You may find this book in my office. Come, at any time.

Question:   IHS on the host and on the Priests garments - is it the Greek short form for our Lord Jesus Christ - Felecia

Answer  :  No, it is Latin and means: ISUS HOMINUM SALVATOR = Jesus Saviour of Mankind. In Latin the alphabet 'J' is written as 'I'.

Question:   Your Lordship, I was married in Kuwait four years ago by father Dominic. I left for the UK soon after the marriage I left my wife back in India with my son (I had a son before I married) everything was going on with us very nice but days were passing by and our relationship was breaking up day by day I was really rude with her sometimes I never knew that this rudeness of mine will take her away from me. She left me almost a year ago and I really miss her a lot I am losing my faith from the Lord what should I do? - Bakonyi

Answer  :  You should contact your wife as soon as possible and ask for forgiveness for your rudeness and attitude. Try to reconcile. But reconciliation requires that you go back and be with her for a long time. Has she left you for another man? You should restore your relationship with her as soon as possible. The more you wait the more it will be difficult to revive your marriage.

Question:   My widow daughter's marriage is to be solemnized after this coming EASTER. The proposed groom belongs to MARTHOMA Christian , which is not a Catholic. This is a second marriage and she is widow. After a long search i got this proposal. What does the Church say about this marriage? Is it right to do this or should she wait until she get a proposal from a Catholic family? This proposal is also reached me after waiting for four years. Could your Excellency advise of the regulation and do's. Thank you. - Augustine

Answer  :  The most important thing in a marriage is that the two partners love each other. If the other partner is a Marthomite Christian, your daughter can ask her parish priest a written permission to get married to a non-Catholic. It is possible, without any problem. But if she gets married to a non-Catholic without asking for a written permission from the Catholic Church, her marriage for us is invalid and she lives in sin.

Question:   Bishop Camillo, In Goa, we have a tradition of Our Lady's visit at our homes and it usually takes place from October until mid-December. A week ago, I took Our Lady at my home but I haven't had the gathering and fellowship. Is lent a wrong time to celebrate Mother Mary? - Shaila

Answer  :  Sure, we can venerate the Virgin Mary during any time of the year, even during Lent. But, I would like to tell you what Pope Paul VI wrote regarding the right time to venerate the Virgin Mary during the year. He explained in his encyclical “Marialis Cultus” that the most suitable month to venerate the Virgin Mary is the time of Advent, when we await Jesus who comes from the Virgin Mary. Pope Paul VI wrote: “During Advent there are many liturgical references to Mary besides the Solemnity of December 8, which is a joint celebration of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, of the basic preparation (cf. Is 11:1, 10) for the coming of the Saviour and of the happy beginning of the Church without spot or wrinkle. Such liturgical references are found especially on the days from December 17 to 24, and more particularly on the Sunday before Christmas, which recalls the ancient prophecies concerning the Virgin Mother and the Messiah and includes readings from the Gospel concerning the imminent birth of Christ and His precursor. In this way the faithful, living in the liturgy the spirit of Advent, by thinking about the inexpressible love with which the Virgin Mother awaited her Son, are invited to take her as a model and to prepare themselves to meet the Saviour who is to come. They must be "vigilant in prayer and joyful in...praise. We would also remark that the Advent liturgy, by linking the awaiting of the Messiah and the awaiting of the glorious return of Christ with the admirable commemoration of His Mother, presents a happy balance in worship. This balance can be taken as a norm for preventing any tendency (as has happened at times in certain forms of popular piety) to separate devotion to the Blessed Virgin from its necessary point of reference-Christ. It also ensures that this season, as liturgy experts have noted, should be considered as a time particularly suited to devotion to the Mother of the Lord. This is an orientation that we confirm and which we hope to see accepted and followed everywhere” (Marialis Cultus, nn. 3-4). Also, follow the instructions of your Parish Priest.

Question:   My husband and I are married but not through the Catholic Church, although we are both Catholic. Am I able to receive  Communion.  And am I able to confess? - Frances

Answer  :  No!  To receive Communion or to confess means that you are in perfect communion with the Catholic Church, which in your case is not true. Go to your Parish Priest and ask hom to regularize your matrimony. Only after a proper Catholic marriage, you can receive the Sacraments.

Question:  There is a priest in our diocese who has been banned by our Bishop from preaching/celebrating mass or any other activity related to priesthood since he was disobedient and caused a lot of problems to the seniors. But still he has been preaching in places with the support of other Non Catholic Christian groups. My parents watch his programs on TV, they say there is nothing wrong in it. Could you please guide us. He does preach certain things to say that all Churches are same.  Patricia

Answer  :  The priest doesn't know, or prefers to ignore, that the Church is the Body of Christ. When he disobeys his Bishop he is causing damage to the body of Christ. He may speak very well about Jesus Christ, so your parents can say that there is nothing wrong. However, What is wrong is his rebellion towards the Body of Christ. Christ is the Head and the Church is his Body, St. Paul says, we cannot spoil His Body. When a priest is banned by his Bishop, we have to pay serious attention. The Bishop has his strong reasons to ban that priest, so we have to follow the Bishop, who is the representative of Jesus Christ in his Church and the successor of the Apostles.

Question:  When we visit the Blessed Sacrament in the chapel, is it necessary to visit the church also. Susan

Answer  :  No, the intention of your visit is to visit God, not a hall or a chapel or a church. So, when you visit God in the chapel or in the big church, it is the same. What is important is to visit God, not the building of the church.

Question:  Is it possible for an English Mass to be held on Sunday at 4:30 pm? this will make it possible for more people to enjoy the Mass inside the Church as the other English Masses are too crowded and difficult to participate due to overcrowding. Please consider dear Bishop even if it is in one of the halls. - T Miskita

Answer  :  We have Masses at all hours. I would like to give you another English Mass but we don't have enough priests, nor space, nor time. Courage!

Question:  The 2nd commandment on the bible says, do not worship idols...which has been omitted from the Catechism books and the Church years ago...why has it been removed and why do we still have images in the Church? aren't we going against the holy Bible? why do we still worship and bow down to images isn't that a sin??  what's the reason the priest don't have idols in their prayer room but have it all over the Church? kindly do answer my question...i'm troubled by them.

Answer  :  In the Old Testament God desired that the people not have statues because they were tempted to worship those statues. They were confused between God and the representation of Him in the form of a statue, because they never saw God. But in the New Testament, God took a clear image. Jesus Christ became man, he took a body like ours, so we can have an image of him. The incarnation of the Son of God is the basis of our use of the statues. Don't forget that the New Testament completes the Old Testament. As St. Augustine said: The New Testament is hidden in the Old Testament and the Old Testament is revealed in the New Testament.  Catholics do not worship statues, because only God is deserving of adoration. The Catechism of the Catholic Church is adamant in affirming this (CCC 2112–2114). When a Catholic bows to a statue, he is not worshiping it, the honor given to images does not detract from the honor that is due to God. If someone enters your house, he should expect to find a picture of your mother or family members. So, when someone walks into a Catholic Church—the household of God, or a Catholic house—he should not be surprised to find a picture of the mother of God, along with the rest of the heavenly family!

Question:  Dear Lordship the Maria Rosa Mystica devotion,reciting the 1000 Hail Marys, can it be said in break ups or should it be recited in one time?  Next, my job is doing drive tests for cell phones and I drive for hours non-stop say 4-6 hrs. or more and while driving I recite my rosaries (as many as possible)but in between I have to talk and answer the phones, so I have to pause for a while, and then I continue from where I paused, is this okay and acceptable, the same with the 3.00 PM Divine Mercy chaplets? - Elias

Answer  :  Don't worry, God is not a bank where you have to deposit your prayers at one time only.  God is our Father and he follows our life with paternal care. The important thing is to pray. If you interrupt your rosaries due to your work, God understands and supports you. To require a long prayer, as 1000 hail Marys without interruption may be understood as to forcing God to listen to us. We cannot force God in anything, he is our Father and he knows what we need before we ask. Let us pray without imposing on ourselves and on God's ways that are not in accordance to the paternal love of God.

Question:  The first reading for next Sunday 7th November, '10 is taken from 2 Maccabees, which is part of the Deutro-canonical books of the Bible.  Isn't it that these books are only good for teachings and not considered as inspired 'Word of God'? - Cora

Answer  :  NO! They are inspired by God like the other books of the Bible. Even the Jews considered those books inspired but when they discovered that the Christians were using them, they refused to consider them inspired. So, it is the hatred of the Jews against the Christian that pushed the Jews to eliminate those books. Don't worry, follow the teaching of the Catholic Church, you mother, and you will walk always in the sure way. 

Question:  What is the church's official teaching on the Eucharist? Does it literally become blood and flesh and spirit or is it symbolic? Are there other elements to the transformation? - Shaun

Answer  :  The Eucharist is Jesus. The Eucharist is central to our Catholic faith. It is the source and summit of the Christian life.  The word “Eucharist” means “thanksgiving". A thanksgiving and praise through, with, and in Jesus Christ, to the Father for all that he has accomplished through creation, redemption, and sanctification. The Holy Eucharist is both a sacrament (to be received by the faithful in Holy Communion) and a sacrifice (commemorating and renewing for all time the sacrifice of the cross).  During the Consecration of the Mass, the Priest exercises his power (received in the sacrament of Holy Orders) to change bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ by repeating the words of Christ (at the Last supper): "This is my body... this is the cup of my blood." Thus at Consecration, the Holy Eucharist, under the appearances of (wheat) bread and (grape) wine, becomes the whole Christ really, truly, and substantially present. This change the holy Catholic Church has fittingly and properly called transubstantiation. Christ could not have used clearer, more explicit words than "This is my body." He did not say, "This is a sign of my body," or "This symbolizes my body." Catholics take Jesus Christ at his word because he is the omnipotent God. On his word we know that the Holy Eucharist is the body and blood of Christ. Because the appearances of bread and wine remain in the Holy Eucharist after Consecration, we cannot see Jesus with our bodily eyes in this sacrament. We do see him, however, with the eyes of faith. Eucharist deepens our union with Christ and the members of his ecclesial body as we share in the broken bread and the wine. [ for more information see CCC 1322-1419 ]

Question:  I'm not Catholic but I have questions and you seem to have the answers (I was raised in the Salvation Army if that makes a difference).  I've been reading up on eternal life and how to get it and either the site is fire and brimstone all the way (not my line of thinking really) or so vague I'm no better off than when I started.  What constitutes a relationsip with God and how does one get into Heaven, I feel I need to relearn these things to understand them as an adult. - Ashley

Answer  :  Of course as an adult you need to understand these things. How to get into heaven? It is a long process which takes all our life. But thousands of people did it: starting from the Virgin Mary to all the saints who during the centuries decorated the world and the Church with their holy life. Read the chapters 5-6-7 of the Gospel of St. Mathew and you will find there how to get into heaven. These 3 chapters are the "Magna Carta" of our Christian life. Courage!!

Question:  If you were missing in your village at the age of twelve for three days and after locating you in the church your mother asked you, "Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I were worried while searching for you."  You answer, "Why were you looking for me? Do you not know that I must be in my Father's house?"  Would your parents tolerate this answer?However, Luke 2:50 - But they did not understand this answer."  As a Jewish boy, did Jesus break the fourth commandment? - Rudolf

Answer  :  No, he didn't break the 4th commandment. He wanted to say that his life is for his Father in heaven and nobody can interfere in his mission. He always said that his food is to do the will of God and proved this till the end, in Gethsemane, when he said: your will be done, not mine! Mary and Joseph had to respect the will of God about Jesus. They understood this gradually. The presence of the Virgin Mary at Pentecost proves that she also was in need to understand more about the mystery of Jesus. We can say that Jesus, with that answer, wanted to distance himself from his parents gradually, but the Gospel mentions immediately that he submitted to them. So, Jesus had perfect obedience to God the Father and to his parents on earth as well.

Question:  My child will be receiving 1st Holy communion in the coming year. Although we are happy that all communicants will be dressed according to church laws, what upsets is the constant preaching by the clergy that this most important event should not be celebrated grand etc. Now I think this is our decision and not one that should bother the church. Where in the bible does it say, that we should exempt our selves from celebrating the gift of the eucharist ? What is the logic here? - Jean

Answer  :  We decided to have the same dress code for all because there are children who cannot afford expensive dresses as others. Some children feel humiliated that they are not similar as the others. I think that you understand this point. I don't think that you would accept that your child be humiliated because you cannot give him/her a similar dress that the others have.  More than that, the main concern of the parents should not be for the clothes they will wear but how the family prepares their child spiritually for his/her first meeting with Jesus. Let us be more serious, especially in the education of our children.  As for the celebrations, we leave this to the parents but the reason we urge them not to be lavish and extravagant is specially since we are in difficult times and the money spent on these celebrations could be put to better use.  There is no harm in celebrating the occasion but within each one's means.

Question: Dear Lordship, I have learnt from my childhood that the Chruch is a place for prayer and worship. Since last eight years I have seen the Kuwait Church is as it is without much changes, but now a days why so many decorations and new changes have been done in the Chruch?  Is it to impress "God" or the people? Instead of praying the mind gets distrubed in finding the new changes in the Church. - Nelson

Answer  :  Yes, until now our Church was decorated by the various communities of India. Now an opportunity has been given to the Filipinos, who have a different mentality and another way to pray and express their devotion. I shall try to balance, but we have to accept that everyone may feel that the Church is for him/her, not only for a particular group. Diversity is not easy to be accepted, but let us remain in unity of heart and prayer.

Question: After much debating, I write this to you to get the following views off my chest. Next year I will be celebrating my 70th Birthday. For the past 40 years, I have lived and worked in Kuwait (Always in Kuwait City). I arrived in Kuwait on 24/05/1970 and have since been a regular Parishioner of the Holy Family Cathedral. During this time I have witnessed the Cathedral, slowly but surely, develop to its present status. Starting with the installation of the Stained Glass Windows down to the building of the Bishop House and the Building housing the Priests and the two Halls, along with the upgrading of the Compound and the Grotto. During all these undertakings never was there a hint of the need of funds from the Parishioners. However, voluntary funds did pour in from individuals, Businessmen, Institutions, social and cultural Clubs, etc.

But things have changed and cost of everything has shot up very much. Your letter of 25/03/2010 has clearly mentioned and explained the present need for generating funds by fixing a tariff for the various services offered by the Church, especially in view of the increase in the Parishes, the number of Priests, etc. The Parishioners whole heartedly accepted this tariff without any grumblings or complaints. But what we feel is wrong and unacceptable is the fee of KD. 10/- per year charged to the innocent children to teach them them the basic prayers (Our Father, Hail Mary, Holy Mary, Glory be... etc) to gear them to receive the First Holy Communion and Confirmation. I wish to stress that it is the RIGHT of each Catholic Child to be taught this basic catechism and the DUTY, RESPONSIBILITY AND OBLIGATION of the Church to them, without any reservations. I do hope that due consideration will be given by you on this issue. I look forward to your feedback on this and thank you for your kind attention. - A Parishioner

Answer  :  Thank you for your letter and your understanding. Thank you also for having read my letter of 24 May 2010. I see that your own objection is the tarif of 10 KD for Catechism. I remind you what I wrote in that letter, i.e. if somebody cannot pay he is free not to do so. Besides that, I would like to add some considerations.

1) I know that in the past many things have been done. But, it was during the past 40 years! So, there was time to collect help. When I became Bishop of Kuwait, I found a very small sum of money, due to the expenses incurred for the building of the priests and Bishop's house. However, I didn't ask anything for 5 years because we didn't have any particular projects. But, during these 5 years, as I said in my letter of 24 May, the priests have increased from 7 to 21. Therefore, I had to build 4 new rooms for the guests. The Church has become too small and last Easter I had violent protests because I accommodated a community in the Holy Family Hall and not in the Church. So, I thought to cover the courtyard and to use it as Church if need be. At the same time, I erected the Parish of Salmiya and established a new Parish in Abbassiya, where many thousands of Catholics live and where many of them had started to abandon the Catholic Church and to go to other denominations. This parish costs 3,140 KD per month only for rent. I had also to find another flat for the priests in Salmiya because their number has increased and I have to pay now more than the double of what I was paying until now. In Jahra there are many hospitals and our Christians are neglected. We go twice a month to celebrate Mass but we can celebrate only in the corridor of a building and only the nurses of that building can participate in the Mass. So, I have found a basement where we can invite all the Catholics of the town (there are more than 1,000 Sri Lankans and it seems more than 1,000 Filipinos) and most probably I have to take a flat for two priests, too. I didn't mention that after 6 years the contract for the Cathedral between us and the Government will expire. Will it be renewed or not? If yes, we will have to undergo very huge expenses (in millions!) for the Cathedral. If not, we have to build another Church elsewhere! These are details that I could not write in my letter but now I have to communicate when somebody kindly asks for a dialogue, like you.

2) The tariff for Catechism is needed also for the expenses that we have in that ministry. I have just paid some thousands of kuwaiti dinars for the Catechism books; I can show you the bill. Is 10 KD per year too heavy a burden for the parents? We know that a family has to have a minimum salary level to be reident in Kuwait. Is 10 KD per year a great problem for the family? How much do the parents pay for tuition, for school or for the secondary activities of their children? Cannot they pay 10 KD per year, in order to participate in the big expenses of the Church? School is necessary, of course, but should not the parents consider that Catechism is also necessary for their children? What we spend for the children is much more than what we receive. For example, the parish of Abbassiya spent more than 3,000 KD for the 850 children of that Parish who participated in the retreat in August and the collection made at the end was not even a third of the expenses. It's almost the same with the other parishes. So, you can see that this 10 KD per year doesn't cover at all the expenses that we incur for the children.

3) May I also remind you what I said at the beginning in my letter: those who have problems with contributing 10 KD, are free not to pay and we shall give them the same service without any problem. God will help us in another way. God bless you and your family.

Question:  This question is about a special community of Catholics from Kerala. They are known as Knanaya Catholics.  I would like to know  whether marriage between Roman Catholic and a girl of Knanaya Catholic can be done?  Also , if this happens what will be the consequences?

Answer  :  The Knanaya are Catholics, so for the Catholic Church there is no problem at all. A Knanaya can marry a non Knanaya Catholic just as a Catholic can marry another Catholic. The problem lies within the exclusive ethnicity of the Knanaya community. When a Knanaya marries a non Knanaya, that member of the community who married the non Knanaya is expeled from the Knanaya community. It is an ethnic rule of the community, not a rule of the Catholic Church.  Your question and my answer is important for all in these ethnic communities to know.

Question:  Thank you for taking the time to answer my previous question and would wish to ask you another, since I have been told by the born again  that what ever good deeds you do in this life you cannot enter the Kingdom of heaven unless you take the baptism of the Holy Spirit. That was one of my main reasons to take the baptism again. Please guide me on this.  Would appreciate your kindness in answering the above. - Devika

Answer  :  The "born again" do not recognize our Baptism, so they baptized you again.

For Catholics, Baptism is not a mere formality! To begin with, it is the very mark of a Christian, because it brings us into new life in Christ. The practice of infant Baptism is a tradition of the Church. The Church and the parents would deny a child the priceless grace of becoming a child of God and being freed from the power of darkness were they not to confer Baptism shortly after birth.

In John 3:5, Jesus says, "Amen, amen I say to thee, unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." Again, in Matthew 28:19-20, He says, "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you."

The rite of Baptism consists in immersion (or pouring of water on the head) of the person while pronouncing the invocation of the Most Holy Trinity: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. "Washing" in water symbolizes not only death and purification, but also regeneration and renewal. The fruit of Baptism or baptismal grace includes forgiveness of Original Sin and all personal sins; new birth in the Holy Spirit by which a person becomes an adoptive child of the Father, a member of the mystical Body of Christ (the Church) and a temple of the Holy Spirit.

Baptism is the "Gateway" as it is the first of all the sacraments of the Church and the reception of the other sacraments depends on it. A person can only be baptized once as a Christian. For Catholics, as I have stated earlier, Baptism in the Holy Spirit is only an invocation on a person to receive the Holy Spirit in a more personal way.

Since your attendance at the "Born Again" celebrations causes you doubts and disturbance, why do you go there? Return to your mother Church, the Catholic Church, where you have been baptized once and forever and embrace the truth and clarity of her teaching!

Question:  I would wish to ask you all about the baptism of the holy spirit since I am a Catholic and have been baptised in infancy and have just taken the baptism again at a later stage. The Lord took the baptism at a later stage in his life and then started His ministry. I am confused in my mind and I need guidence on this. Please tell me whether it was wrong for me to do it? I would appreciate your answer. - Devika

Answer  :  Baptism in the Holy Spirit is not another Baptism, it is only an invocation made on a person so that the Holy Spirit may come on that person with His grace and love.  Since you have been baptised in the Catholic Church, why did you receive Baptism again?

Question:  Your answer to Maxim concerning the replacement of the Sabbath by Sunday is not aligned with the Word of God. Jesus instructed his disciples to keep the Passover as a remembrance of HIM - that is we should remember HIS suffering, death, resurrection until his triumphant return. Also Jesus did not rise on SUNDAY because John 20 1:2 says it was still dark on the first day of the week when Mary Magdelene reached the tomb. Note Friday to Sunday don't make up the 3 days and nights (sign of Jonah) - Charles

Answer  :  According to the ancient Jewish way of counting days, an "onah" (ayn waw nun heh) counts as a day, even if it is just a few hours. So, Friday afternoon until Friday round 5 pm is an "onah", one day. Then the whole day of Saturday, and then the beginning of Sunday. Three "onot", three days. See Pirot-Clamer, Gospel of Matthew.  Another explanation: in a more general way of counting, "On the THIRD day" means also at the beginning of that day.  Jesus did not cancel the precept but the day was only changed. Shabbath means; rest, to stop doing something. The letter to the Hebrews writes that Jesus RESTED after His Resurrection. The Sabbath, the day of the Lord, became the "Kyriake' hemera" (Rev 1:10), until today in Greek the Sunday is the Day of the Lord.  Let's NOT forget that Jesus also said about Himself: "The Son of Man is the LORD of the Sabbath too".

Question:  It is sad that a lot of people are leaving the Catholic Church and joining other denominations and I am not surprised.  Our Catholic Church seems more rigid and comes up with newer laws. Of late about receiving Holy Communion in the palm and not by the two fingers. I have been receiving Communion only by my right hand (the thumb and the forefinger) for the past several years here in Kuwait, but was shocked at todays 6.30 p.m. Mass at Salmiya the HC giver (not a Priest) asked me to open my palms. Kindly clarify - A Parishioner

Answer  :  Don't put everything on the same level.  It is preferable to give Communion on the tongue or on the left palm than to put Jesus Christ in a pincer formed of the two fingers. It is also a question of practical service because the host is very fragile and there is a chance that it might break when you receive it in this way and fall on the floor.  When you receive it in your left palm it is quite safe and you can then transfer it to your mouth with your two fingers making sure that any particles that fall when transferring it to your mouth remain in your palm. However, if you are happy with the two fingers, continue with your two fingers.  Don't consider this as a fundamental subject in our faith but think of the reverence and well as practicality you would like to extend to the real presence of our Lord in the species. What also is important is your heart, and not how to receive Communion. Courage!

Question :   Before we recieve holy Communion the cup is raised twice, once with the Body of Christ and the second time with the Blood of when we recieve holy Communion we recieve just the Body of Christ but not the Blood....why don't we recieve the Blood also....the words are clearly said take this cup and drink from it.  So why are we not allowed to dink from it? - Frank

Answer  :  We believe in the Real presence of Jesus Christ in the bread and wine after consecration.  When we receive the host, we acknowledge the presence of Jesus Christ in not only his body but also his blood.  It is not necessary that we receive Our Lord's body and blood under the appearances of both bread and wine. Christ is entirely present under the appearances of bread, and also entirely present under the appearances of wine. Therefore, we receive Him whole and entire under the appearances of bread alone or of wine alone. In the Eucharist, where body or blood is, there is Christ, body and blood, soul and divinity. That is the doctrine of the Real Presence.

Question:  Is it necessary that women should cover their head with veil or shawl inside the Church? If so, does this apply to girls/teens as well? - Nicole

Answer  :  No, it is not necessary. This habit originated from the spirituality of the Old Testament and from Islamic influences.  Christ looks at the heart, not at the veil. You are no more submitted to Jesus Christ because you wear the veil. Jesus Christ wants you to be free from these external things, he loves you so much and he wants your heart and your love.

Question:  Dear Lordship, thank you very much for clarifying my confusion on Gospel reading Mk 11:12-14.  Your answers to people's questions really open our minds.  Thank you once again for your guidance.  Craving God's Blessings from you. - Dorothy

Answer  :  Thank you. Please do invite your friends too to access the page "Ask the Bishop" on our website. It is for all.

Question:  It is amazing to hear that there exists the Church in Arabia, I thank you for that commendable job and may the Lord grant you more graces and blessings for your imitation of him.  Paul

Answer  :   Thank you.  However, you should be aware that there are Churches in all the Gulf States of Arabia under the Vicariate of Arabia as well as Vicariate of Kuwait, except in Saudi Arabia, where any non-Islamic celebration is forbidden.

Question:  I want a small help from this Parish. We were living in Kuwait, in fact me and my other 3 siblings all were born there. I have my baptism certificate of 1978. There is a problem, my father didn't collect the Baptism Certificates of my 2 younger sisters. Since now they are grown up and about to marry, we need the certificate. Can you help me in this matter.  Please let me know what details I need to send as proof and I can also send my baptism certficate. - Yasmine

Answer  :  The Vicariate of Kuwait has a service that helps the faithful living out of Kuwait to obtain their Baptism, Marriage or any other Church related certificates.  All the person has to do is send us an e-mail on with their request, giving their full name, parents name, date of birth/baptism/marriage, Parish they were baptized/married etc. along with their mailing address and we will send the certificate by air-mail to the address provided by them.  This is a free of charge service which we provide only to all our ex-faithfuls who do not have anyone in Kuwait to help them obtain the certificates.

Question:  My doubt father, is, when we receive the Body of Christ, are we expected to say something in return? I always feel that the priest waits for us to say something before giving us the Host - Rosy

Answer  :  Yes. The priest says: "The Body of Christ". The faithful should answer: AMEN! Which means: I confirm that this is the Body of Christ, I believe in him, I want him, thanks to you, God, etc.

Question:  I have a few doubts..... it is written in the Bible that the burning bush which was holy, the father told Moses, that the place we stand is holy, and to remove his shoes.  In the Church, everyone wears slippers and come for Mass.  In India we are expected to remove the slippers and then enter the Church. People should remove their slippers where they stand and keep it under the bench or something.  I saw that even the priest who was saying the Mass giving the Body of Christ, and everybody was wearing shoes - R

Answer  : Yes, it is right. Moses was in the Old Testament where God had not yet revealed himself as a father, even though this idea was mentioned many times. It is Jesus Christ who told us not to be afraid of God because he is our Father. So, don't worry, feel free to wear shoes or not. This is not important for God, what is important to him is your heart.

Question:  The Catholic Church celebrated Thursday 3 June the feast of St. Charles Lwanga and Companions. King Mwanga executed many Anglicans and Catholics between 1885 and 1887 for converting to Christianity.  Both the Anglicans and Catholics died as martyrs for the faith and witness to Christ.  However, Pope Paul VI canonized only 22 Catholics in 1964 leaving aside the Anglicans.  They were called "worthy of mention" and not "saints" for enduring death for the name of Christ.  Why? - Rudolf

Answer  :  The canonisation of a person relys on the authority of the Pope and the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. However, the Pope has no authority on non Catholics. It would be an abuse of authority. Surely they are martyrs like the others, but it is the Anglican Church which has to canonise them, not the Pope of the Catholic Church.

Question:  Your Lordship, I am confused with the Gospel reading Mk 11:12-14 (The next day as they were leaving Bethany he was hungry. Seeing from a distance a fig tree in leaf, he went over to see if he could find anything on it. When he reached it he found nothing but leaves; it was not the time for figs. And he said to it in reply, "May no one ever eat of your fruit again!"). In this passage, it is clearly given that it was not the time for figs. Why did Jesus curse the fig tree? Kindly explain. - Dorothy

Answer  :  The fig tree is only the image of Israel of his time. They did not believe in him, they had only leaves, no fruits, i.e. no faith in him. The curse of Jesus is not an eternal curse to the people of Israel but only a warning: if you do not believe in me you will never produce fruits.

Question:  We all catholics go to Church on Friday or any week day.  When the sermon is going on it starts with "THE READING FROM" or 'THE LETTER WRITTEN TO' once the reading is over all sit and the priest tells a story about some kid who stole or some guy who was bad or some one who is really good and how he helped so on.....instead why doesn't the priest explain what the reading or the letter was all about??  I mean instead of a story why not a verse from the Holy Bible because I believe there are many people out there who know that there is one God who knows that we should pray to God who know God is merciful and forgives us for our sins but sadly they don't know who is GOD.  What all JESUS Christ said and has done for us.  All say Jesus died for our sins and they wear a cross on their neck or hang a cross in the car or have a big cross hanging in their houses.  But how many know what all things Jesus Christ went through what he said to his disciples before he was crucified.  In my previous post to you I had asked how to approach people to read Bible you had asked me to pray for them. But I feel that even the Church should include a verse from the Bible in weekly masses and explain what it says so all get to know the importance of the Holy Bible.

Answer  :  It is true. Our homilies must be based on the readings that we read during the Mass. As for the daily Masses, we can give a homily only during the evening Mass. In the two Masses of the morning people are in hurry to go to work and there is no time for a homily. however, I have instructed the priests to leave always one minute after the readings, during the daily morning Masses, to meditate at least for one minute on what we heard from the Bible. The Holy Spirit will complete what we cannot do, due to a shortage of time.

Question:  Your Lorship, This is not a question. I would like to thank you through this forum for the support you are giving to the Abbasiyah Parish. We are delighted and thankful to God for giving us this new and big hall. Our prayers are heard, I feel. Now we can have more church activities such as catechism classes, prayer services etc. Once again I thank you for everything you are doing for our St. Daniel Comboni Parish. Please pray for our UNITY. - Laurence Miranda

Answer  :  Thanks. May God bless you.

Question:  On certain occasions like marriage or confirmation, we require a fresh baptism certificate to be produced which should not be older than six months. I wish to know the logic behind this requirement because some time it becomes difficult for one to obtain fresh a baptism certificate, especially in cases of migrant Catholics. - Vincent

Answer  :  A fresh certificate of baptism is required for marriage because in that certificate are noted details of Confirmation and "Free for marriage". Thus, if somebody wants to get married in October 2010 and he/she has a certificate dated October 2008, it is possible that between 2008 and 2010 that person got married, which is perhaps noted in the old baptism record. The Church wants to avoid any confusion especially when it comes to marriage.

Question:  Thanks a lot, Your Lordship, for your kind reply. Are we honouring our Holy Mother or are we worshiping her? The reason why I ask this question is because most of the Catholics says that without the mother the child cannot be born and they give more importance to our Holy Mother. Why? - Arokiadass

Answer  :  We honor the Virgin Mary through our prayers to her. Every prayer can be called "worship". Normally we use this word for God, so people may understand that we consider the Virgin Mary as God. It is not true. We adore God and we venerate the Virgin Mary and the saints. The Virgin Mary has in the Church the role that God gave her, to give Jesus Christ to the world. Her mission is not finished with her death, she is always praying for us so that we accept Jesus in our life. The Virgin Mary is Mother of God forever!

Question:  Why do we Catholics not practise reading the Word of God? - Michael

Answer  :  For centuries we based our faith only on the teachings of the Church. This is good and necessary, and in the past we neglected any contact with the Bible. However, since the last century the Church invites and encourages every Catholic to become familiar with the Bible, to meditate on it daily, and to consider it as a companion in life. Courage!

Question: Many times we assure our prayers to friends who don't belong to our relegion (like Hindus and Muslims), and we do pray for them.  Will our prayer remain unanswered since they don't belong to our religion? - Dorothy

Answer  :  NO! God is Father of all. Every person is created in the image of God. He sends his love and his Holy Spirit to every one. Let us always pray for everyone! Let us love all!

Question:  I have been enquiring about tattoos being good or bad for my family and people who go for Charismatic prayer services. I've been told tattoos are evil or I shouldn't get them.  They quote Leviticus 19:28. It states not to make marks for the dead however it also states not to eat pork, cut your hair, or shave your beard. We do these things and justify them by saying these rules are not applicable now. The tattoo that I want to get is Jesus written in English.  I hope you can try and answer this for me - Crislida

Answer  :  Tattoos as such are not an evil thing but then what the tattoo portrays is important as it shows the disposition of the individual who wears that tattoo. Jesus however, freed us from what you read in Lev 19:28. Read Mt 22:36-40: "Master, which is the greatest commandment of the Law? Jesus said: You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second resembles it: You must love your neighbour as yourself. On these two commandments hang the whole Law and the Prophets also".

Question:  Why is the Nicene Creed only recited in Kuwait Cathedral when other Churches I have visited in Dubai / Bahrain/India say the regular Creed? - Adolf

Answer  :  Although there are two forms of the Creed, the main points in them are the same. They profess absolutely the same faith. Some Churches prefer the "Symbol of the Apostles" or "Apostles Creed" because it is shorter, but the context is the same.

Question:  Thank You Lordship for answering my recent question. I agree, but you said that 'When God sends a child, he also sends the necessary bread for him. What is lacking is faith', How do you justify this with poor kids born in slums, or needy Asians or a common man who suffers to meet the daily needs of his children.  You mean they don't have faith?  And the rich/west have?  Why God doesn't snatch from wealthy, from those amassing wealth disproportionate to sources of income & balance it to meet the needy poor? - Joseph

Answer  :  Of course, I don't judge their faith. Perhaps they have more faith than I.  But, courage! Let us take these children to the Church, where they can find a community ready to help them. The Catholic Church has a long experience of helping these children.

Question:  It has been recently announced not to receive the Holy Communion by two fingers, only by mouth or tongue, i just want to know if we can still receive the Holy Communion in our palms but take It by our mouth or tongue instead of our two fingers? Thank you so much.  - Elena

Answer:  To receive Communion with two fingers is to put Jesus Christ in pincers! It is better to follow the instruction of St. Cyril of Jerusalem who invited to receive Communion making the right palm a chair to the left palm. Or to receive it on the tongue.

Question:  Lordship yesterday was a blessed day for us untill a person, who helps in Church pushed one person and told them to stop taking photos otherwise he would throw them out of the church, the person who took the video, was standing very far.  My question is, is it a crime or sin that we take some pictures for our memory, and who gave him the right to this to people and to use this sort of language as long as we not troubling the celebration or the Mass. This is not the first time, many times these ushers are so rude. why? - John

Answer  :  Many times the congregation and the clergy are disturbed by people who want to take souvenirs of their ceremonies! Many a time, too many times, it seems that we are in the Church as if in a theater, where people want to appear in photos. No! We are in the Church to pray. We are not in a theater!  Please, understand!

Question:  Your Lordship.. Thank you for all the work you are doing in Kuwait.  I have a question/doubt. God said multiply so many did but Europeans/Americans didn't.  Most don't believe in having kids after marriage yet they enjoy all eartly things compared to most Asians/Africans.  Looks like God provided them in abundance resources, wealth, money but for those who multiplied they lack this. and moreover they (the West) treat us like slaves.  I feel God should look and balance this.  Why is it like this? Did we multiply beyond limit?  Joseph

Answer  :  The more money we have, the more we become egotistic, so no children, no charity for the others, etc. To be open to life is the best gift from God and the best adoration of God. Unfortunately the mentality of the world very much influences the West and even the East. You may notice that the Asians too have one or, at most, two children. By mistake there is a third one. This is not being open to life. When God sends a child, he also sends the necessary bread for him. What is lacking is faith, faith to believe that God is our Father and he knows all our needs.

Question:  All the Saints are termed as saints by the Pope for their good deeds and being the true followers of Christ.  The Saints have believed and put all their faith in God and have reached to be saints.  But I have seen people who put all their faith in different Saints and say, pray to this Saint and you will get your needs.  It is like we forget God and put all faith in the Saints and pray to them.   Is it the right thing to do?  If the Saints prayed to God directly, we too can do the same.  Sorry but I'm a little confused about all this please help. - Neviz

Answer  :  A saint is always an advocate of God. Of course, we can and should pray directly to God. But sometimes the intercession of a saint, who perhaps lived our in own personal situation, is a help for us and a stronger interceder with God.

Question:  The Holy Bible is a book that teaches us the truth about Jesus and is said to be the Word of God.  I got a few friends and elders in family when I ask them do you read the Bible?  Some say no.  Some push away the Bible and say we go to Church and listen to the sermon and receive blessings from the priest and Bishop.  We believe in God and that is enough.  Isn't  the HOLY BIBLE necessary to be learnt?  How do I approach them?  If I ask them to read they term me as a believer.  Why doesn't the Church encourage them to read the Bible? - Neviz

Answer  :  Yes, it is necessary to read and meditate on the Holy Bible. Perhaps your elders are not used to this way of Catholic formation. The Church after Vatican II has always encouraged its faithful to read, meditate and learn from the Bible.  However, as for you, try to come to know the Bible better and especially to meditate on it and pray through it and also pray for your elders that they too may in time see the light and read the Bible.

Question:  Is it necessary to confess in front of a priest? Cannot a person just close himself/herself in a room where no one is around and confess to the unseen God? What is the difference confessing alone and confessing to the priest is it just the penance?  Won't we get forgiveness if we confess alone to the Lord? - Neviz

Answer  :  It is Jesus Christ who established that we have to confess to a priest. Read Jn.20:22b-23: Jesus breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit.  Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain they are retained."  The priest therefore is not there just to give counseling or penance but he represents Jesus Christ and in his Name he absolves us from our sins, he works as Jesus Christ. In fact he says: "I absolve you from all your sins.." and not "Jesus Christ absolves you from your sins."  With the absolution from the priest we are sure that our sins have been forgiven by Jesus Christ. We cannot change the teaching of Jesus Christ and say that we can confess personally and directly to God. God himself made it this way: through the Church.  The priest represents Jesus Christ and at the same time the Christian community. Our sin is not something against Jesus Christ only, it is also an act against the community. When we confess to the priest, we confess, through him, to Jesus Christ and to the community. Our sins have offended God and damaged the community.  We therefore need to ask forgiveness from both: God and the community. The priest is the representative of both.

Question:  I would like to know, is the holy Rosary a prayer or a tradition created by man? Just heard that the prayer Hail Mary that we say is actually a song sung to Mother Mary. Is it true?  If yes then why do we say it as a prayer? Neviz

Answer  :  Every prayer has been formulated by man, except the "Our Father" which has been taught us by Jesus himself.  The first part of the "Hail Mary" is taken entirely from the Gospel. Read Lk 1:28 and Lk 1:42. The second part is a text formulated by the Church during its history.  A prayer can be either recited or sung.

Question:  Happy Easter to you and to all the priests in Kuwait.  I was very impressed with your sermon that you gave during the Maundy Thursday service as usual your sermons are very informative and you brief us thorugh all the readings and the gospels.  During the service I noticed as you were washing the feet of the children you did not kiss their feet as it is said in the Bible Jesus washed the apostles feet and kissed it too.  Is there any reason for not doing this?

Answer  :  St. John is the only Evangelist who writes about the washing of the feet.   Read the passage: John 13:1-17 and you will find no mention about Jesus kissing the feet of his apostles.  However, there is no need to do literally what Jesus did because then we should have 12 adults (the 12 Apostles were not children) and not 12 children. The washing of the feet is only a symbol of service and humility, a sign to say that our life has to be for others, as Jesus did.

Question:  On Good Friday I was watching EWTN channel and Pope was celebrating the service during the service they were distributing Holy Communion to the entire congregation but during our service for the 4:30 p.m at the Holy Family Cathedral we did not receive Holy Communion.  Is there any valid reason for this - may we have an explanation for this please?  Kindly pass on our hearty congratuations to all the boys who worked very hard in organising the traffic during the Holy Week. - Candida

Answer  :  Normally distribution of communion on Good Friday is left to the decision of the Bishop of the Diocese or Vicariate depending on the circumstances and situation of that place.  Here in Kuwait, because of the several services that take place immediately one after the other, and due to the vast crowds, it is not possible to distribute communion during the service specially since after the service, the veneration of the Cross takes place.  Thank you for your appreciation of the work the pastoral helpers did during the various services.

Question:  Why is it compulsory to learn Prayers in Catechism? - Roy

Answer  :  By knowing your prayers, you will discover that this will help you in moments when you don't have the inclination or ability to say your own prayer.   Catechism teaches us prayers that are recited in common celebrations that involve several people for example, when we celebrate the Eucharist, say our rosaries or recite any of the novenas. The important thing is not to just express words but to speak to God from your heart.  If you prefer to express yourself in your own words, you are free to do so. But prayers that the Church has composed is also important for us to know.

Question:  I have couple of questions that confuse me, please help me out with the same  (1) I Just happened to take a look at the Cathecism book of a child the other day and found that the 2nd Commandment was missing and the 10th commandment was split into two. Why has that been done aren't we going the wrong way?  (2) It is said in the Bible, do not worship or bow before any idols or images, then isn't taking a bow or kissing images going against the Word of God?  If yes then why do we still do it? - MD

Answer  :  (1) The Ten Commandments are all there, but due to a typing error in Commandment III it was split into III & IV.  However, the children are given small prayer books from where they study their prayers.  We have asked to correct this error but until now we have not received a response.  (2)  As for venerating, not worshipping, of idols and images, the coming of Christ made all the difference in how we worship God.  When you read in the Old Testament, the promised people weren't supposed to worship idols because it inspired them false ideas of how God looked like.  For example, they worshipped Baal, an image of a bull and considered it as the god of fertility.  However the Second Council of Nicaea defined this matter by stating "images aren't adored (worshipped in the strict sense), but they are honored, with the honor passing to the One represented. The same is true of images of the Saints, with the lesser honor due to them".  It is similar to the honor we give our near and dear ones when we place photos of them in our homes.

Question:  Does the Catholic Church accept divorce between a husband and wife and can you please explain the true meaning of married life - Bakonyi

Answer  :  In the Catholic Church there is no divorce. A Catholic marriage is forever and with one person. The meaning of married life is that husband and wife help each other to live more like Jesus Christ and to procreate as per God's plan.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states:-
1615 The unequivocal insistence on the indissolubility of the marriage bond may have left some perplexed and could seem to be a demand impossible to realize. However, Jesus has not placed on spouses a burden impossible to bear, or too heavy - heavier than the Law of Moses. By coming to restore the original order of creation disturbed by sin, he himself gives the strength and grace to live marriage in the new dimension of the Reign of God. It is by following Christ, renouncing themselves, and taking up their crosses that spouses will be able to "receive" the original meaning of marriage and live it with the help of Christ. This grace of Christian marriage is a fruit of Christ's cross, the source of all Christian life.
1640 The marriage bond has been established by God himself in such a way that a marriage concluded and consummated between baptized persons can never be dissolved. This bond, which results from the free human act of the spouses and their consummation of the marriage, is a reality, henceforth irrevocable, and gives rise to a covenant guaranteed by God's fidelity. The Church does not have the power to contravene this disposition of divine wisdom.
1660 The marriage covenant, by which a man and a woman form with each other an intimate communion of life and love, has been founded and endowed with its own special laws by the Creator. By its very nature it is ordered to the good of the couple, as well as to the generation and education of children. Christ the Lord raised marriage between the baptized to the dignity of a sacrament (cf. CIC, can. 1055 § 1; cf. GS 48 § 1).

Question:  Parents’ complaints are common regarding teenage children on faith and reverence. I feel we adults are responsible as we our self have forgotten our postures what our parents have thought us. Can Priests promote olden ways of kneeling at the consecration during Eucharist, kneeling at receiving Communion, bowing while crossing the alter/tabernacle, women wearing the veil while reading the word of God so that children learn from us-may help. - Donald

Answer  :  Yes, we should maintain an attitude of reverence towards the Holy Sacraments. However, this reverence may have different expressions according to the mentality and traditions of the people. In our parishes we have several nationalities, many different mentalities and even Liturgical Rites. Each one has it own way to express reverence. To kneel at the consecration is an attidue followed by many. However, we should realize that not just the consecration is important, but the entire Eucharist celebration should be followed with deep devotion. What we should do is: to stand when there is a prayer (from the beginning up to the Readings, from after the homily up to the end) and to sit when we listen to the Word of God (during the Readings, but we listen to the Gospel standing, to signify that we are ready to live and to execute what we hear in the Gospel).

Question:  I would like to know if during the monthly cycle can a women read the Bible, say the Roasary, receive the Body of Christ, keep fasting. - Jess

Answer  :  Yes of course!  To have the monthly cycle is not an impurity for the women, it is a natural phenomenon, created by God. So, why should the women feel guilty or impure when they have their monthly cycle? Don't forget the teaching of Jesus: "What makes him unclean are: fornication, theft, murder, adultery, avarice, malice, deceit, indecency, envy, slander, pride, folly" (Mk 7:21-22).

Question:  I am from Kerala residing in Kuwait. I am of the Jacobite faith. I will be getting married this year to a boy from the Roman Catholic faith who is in India now. I would like to know the procedures required to marry a catholic boy. As understood from this site, marriage preparation classes are required. Is it the same as the Pre- Cana classes. I will be getting married in a Catholic church is Kerala. It is allowed to take these classes separately right? - Miriam

Answer  :  What is required is: Certificate of Baptism and Freedom to marry certificate. The marriage preparation is done according to the situation of the different churches. Your fiance should ask the Church where you will marry what the conditions  and requirements for attending the marriage preparation course and to marry in the Catholic Church are and whether the marriage preparation course conducted in Kuwait is acceptable to them or not.

Question:  What USA Catholic Churches still say the Mass in Latin and do not respect the Pope as the head of the Church?  Please let me know.  - Michael

Answer  :  When you say "Catholic Church" then it is understood that all Catholic Churches follow the Magisterium as well as acknowledges the Pope as its Spiritual Head, otherwise they are not "Catholic".  In any case, I am not aware of any Catholic Church in the US that does not follow this.

Question:  I have noticed in our Church in Kuwait for many years that emphasis on natural disasters/regional turmoil is not laid during general intercessions or at the time of Eucharist when we ask the Lord  to grant favor for those in purgatory etc. before the Our Father.  Eg: To my utter surprise, Haiti's devastating earthquake found no mention on any priest's lips until a month later when Fr. Gaspar asked the faithful to pray for the victims. Even till today, it never came on General Intercessions. - Klenson

Answer  :  You are right. For Haiti we collected the offerings and sent them all to Haiti. But we didn't pray enough. I have to bring this point up to those who prepare the intercessions.  Thanks.

Question:  Considering your answer to the question on fasting during Sundays for Lent, are we also exempt from the usual abstinence (giving up on special food we like) on the Sundays during Lent? - Ann

Answer  :  Yes, Sunday is always the feast of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. However, let us not forget that as we are in the season of Lent, we have to see for ourselves how to balance the two aspects: Lent and Sunday.

Question: Why do we have to learn prayers? Why can't we make our own? - Bryan

Answer  :  The important thing is not to just express words but to speak to God from your heart.  If you prefer to express yourself in your own words, you are free to do so.  However, you will discover that knowing prayers by heart helps you in moments when you don't have the inclination or ability to say your own prayer.

Question:  I understand there is the way of the Cross during Lent in the Cathedral only on Friday before Mass. Coming to Church on Friday at the city is difficult as we cannot get parking.  May I suggest that the way of the cross be conducted in English on Fridays and any other week days so that people who cannot make it on a Friday can attend some other day - Virginia

Answer  :  The Way of the Cross, even though it is conducted by a priest and in the church, is a private devotion, and not an official (Liturgical) one, like the Eucharist, Confession, Baptism, etc. It is a contemplation of the Passion of Jesus. In principle this contemplation can be done at any time of the week or even of the year.   As a matter of fact, during Lent, at the Cathedral, the Stations of the Cross are conducted every day 30 minutes before the evening Mass so you can attend the service any day of the week.

Question:  What is the Catholic Church's view on abortion and why?  - Sergio

Answer  :  The Catholic Church is strongly against abortion because she is pro-life, which comes from God. We cannot kill a person, it is the fith  commandement, since the Old Testament. To commit abortion means to eliminate a life created by God.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church Para 2271/2272 clearly states :-
2271 Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law:

You shall not kill the embryo by abortion and shall not cause the newborn to perish.  

God, the Lord of life, has entrusted to men the noble mission of safeguarding life, and men must carry it out in a manner worthy of themselves. Life must be protected with the utmost care from the moment of conception: abortion and infanticide are abominable crimes.

2272 Formal cooperation in an abortion constitutes a grave offense. The Church attaches the canonical penalty of excommunication to this crime against human life. "A person who procures a completed abortion incurs excommunication latae sententiae," "by the very commission of the offense," and subject to the conditions provided by Canon Law. The Church does not thereby intend to restrict the scope of mercy. Rather, she makes clear the gravity of the crime committed, the irreparable harm done to the innocent who is put to death, as well as to the parents and the whole of society.

Question:  Are Sundays during the period of Lent a day of fasting / abstinence for catholics, or not? -  Ann

Answer  :  In the Roman Church and even in the Oriental Churches, Sunday is not considered a day of fasting because it is the day of the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. When the bridegroom is there, we should not fast. Jesus said: "Surely the bridegrooms' attendants would never think of fasting while the bridegroom is still with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they could not think of fasting" (Mk 2,19).

Question:  If Exodus 12 through exodus 16 combined to a Jewish calendar can validate that the Original Passover occured on a Wednesday, Why does the Church say Jesus died on a Friday if he fulfilled all things in the Laws of Moses concerning the Passover Lamb? - Todd

Answer  :  It is not the Church who "designated" Jesus' Crucifixion on that Friday. It's the Holy Gospel, especially of St John (19:31).  The context states very clearly : "That day was that of the Preparation of the great Sabbath", meaning evidently that it was a Friday. Actually, the Greek original word "paraskeue" ðáñáóêåõç" , Preparation, came to designate "Friday" even in modern Greek.(The Armenian "ourpat" has exacgtly these two meanings).

It is not the Church who decided that Jesus was - is- "our Paschal Lamb". It is St Paul who clearly writes in his first canonical Letter to the Corinthians (5 : 7) :"Jesus, our Passover (meaning our Passover or Paschal Lamb) has been immolated". "So let us celebrate the Feast" (v. 8).

The main spiritual - not material, nor chronological- features of the Passover Lamb are fulfilled in our Lord and Saviour: the Lamb symbolizes the "passage" (meaning of the Hebrew word "pesakh") from slavery to freedom, from exile to the "promised Land". His immolation or / and sacrifice  predict the immolation of Jesus on the Cross. And "none of his bones should be broken" (Exodus 12 : 46), was literally accomplished in the crucified Jesus whose bones have not been broken (John 19 : 36).

Of course, essential differences do exist - and there is no absolute comparison or identification!- between Jesus and the Lamb, at least since Jesus is a reasonable Being! So, when the New Testament describes our Lord as the "Passover Lamb" or "the Passover", it uses analogy, which implies similarity in some aspects but differences in others. This is why, NOT all details, especially those of time and place, may be applied between Jesus and the lamb.

At a first stage, Christians DID celebrate our Passover with the Jewish one, especially in the Middle East, and more especially in the Jewish-Christian milieu who celebrated the 14th of Nissan (Hebrew month corresponding to March-April). But Pope Victor I (in the second century,189 - 199 ) reacted against those "quartodecimans", not out of tyranny  but for several reasons:

1- the Hebrew calendar is incomplete, which obliges Jews to add every three years a second month of Adar.

2- Christians were keen on celebrating Christ's Passover on a Sunday, as it really and historically happened , in the year 30 A.D. Besides, every single Sunday of the year is the weekly commemoration and celebration of the Lord's Resurrection. It is the First and the Eighth day, the "Day of the Lord', in Greek "Kyriake'",from "Kyrios", Êõñéáêç, Êõñéïò.(see Revelation 1 :10; Acts 20 :7; 1 Corinthians 16 :2). It is the "day of the sun" attested to by St. Justin, Martyr (90- 165) who testified that on that day, every week, Christians met to "read the  memoirs of the Apostles and the writings of the Prophets (i.e. Old and New Testament readings), and to the one who chaired the assembly wine, bread and water " used to be brought: in other words, it was the Sunday Holy Mass. (First Apology, n. 67).

Last but not least, according to the context of 1 Corinthians describing Jesus as the "Passover" (=the Passover Lamb), we are asked  to "celebrate the Feast"- namely the one commemorating Jesus as sacrificed (Lamb) and as Risen (Passover, that is passage from death to life).

Question:  How do I correctly answer my 13yr old daughter's question....."We believe that our religion is the true religion because we are born Catholics. In the same way my friends too believe that their's is the true religion.  How do we know that what we believe is the true religion?" - Mrs. Fernandes

Answer  :  Faith is a gift from God. I cannot convince anybody that the Catholic Church is the only Church founded by Jesus Christ. I can explain many things about the Catholic Church, but to believe that it is the Church wanted by Jesus Christ is a matter of faith. Read the document "Dominus Jesus" that you shall find in the link and pray. Let us leave the rest to God.

Question:  I would really want to know whether our church arranges for the trip to the Holy Land?  I believe many people would want to visit these places, but do not know who conducts these tours. - Lovena

Answer  :  No, we don't arrange trips to the Holy Land.  We just invite you to pray for the Christians of the Holy Land and for us.

Question:  My daughter was baptized as a Catholic and I was not present at her baptism nor did I give my wife permission to have my daughter baptized as Catholic.  How can her baptism be recinded? - Orlando

Answer :  Baptism, once administered, cannot be cancelled, even though the parents are not informed about it. This sacrament is the definite entry into Christianity, in your case into the Catholic Church. A dialogue with your wife can resolve the problem.

Question:  Dear Bishop Camillo, Thank you very much for your guidance in the Catholic faith. I just want to ask what if a Catholic faithful receives communion in a sinful state without going to confession. What would be the prescribed period to go to confession in order to fulfill our personal religious obligations? - Carlos

Answer  :  We must confess before going to Communion when we have committed a mortal sin (hatred, sex, stealing, etc.). However, it is better to go to Confession every month to confess the venial sins; as we receive from God a special grace and a special strength to live a good and pure life. Confession is not the necessary step for receiving Communion, it is not a Sacrament strictly linked with Communion. Confession is another Sacrament, independent from the other Sacraments, like Baptism, Confirmation, Marriage, etc.

Question:  I kindly request you to consider having a daily mass at Salmiya Parish on weekdays after 8.30 p.m. I believe there are a lot of working people who could hear Mass daily if this is possible. Thank you,  Marcelle

Answer  :  Please, contact your Parish Priest, Fr. Tony sdb.

Question:  This question is about a special community of Catholics from Kerala.They are known as Knanaya Catholics.they believe in bloodline marriages and whoever marries a non Knanaya girl wil be banned from the Church and he has to join either Latin or Syro Malabar diocese.  Why does the Catholic Church and Pope allow such strange bloodline christianity and aparthaid which they show to the people whom they ban from their Church just because he married a Catholic girl who is not Knanaya Catholic. - Jayanth

Answer  :  I know the situation. Yes, it is strange. Our faith tells us that the Christian community should  not be based any more on the bloodline but on Jesus Christ. What unites us is Jesus Christ not our blood belonging. These are ethnic divisions which should have no influence in our faith. Can the Church cancel this situation? It requires education in the schools since the beginning years and not an order from the Church, from above. 

Question:  As the Protestants and Fundamentalist Christians do not believe in the Perpetual Virginity of Mary, we were enhancing our knowledge of the Scriptures by going through the documents of the Bible Study, which was conducted by (Late) Rev. Fr. Leslie Ratos in the Kuwait Vicariate under Bishop Francis Micallef.  The Bible study was well attended and conducted over a period of three weeks.  The document given to us on "The Perpetual Virginity of Mary" by Fr. Ratos, clearly makes reference to Joseph's previous marriage and the children he had from it, on Page 7 (d) Conclusion : Item 4 including the "Protoevangelium of James (AD 125)".  Under the Protoevangelium of James the history of Joseph the Carpenter also mentions his four sons Justus, Judas, James and Simon and two daughters Assia and Lydia.  We were preparing ourselves with answers to convince the Protestants and Fundamentalist Christians on the Perpetual Virginity of Mary but if you say these arguments are not true, we shall obediently abide by your directives.  Many of our colleagues who attended the Bible study would still be having these documents for your ready reference.  We thank you for enlightening us on matters of our faith. - Rudolf

Answer  :  I don't have the documents you mention. Nor are they important for us because they are not recognised by the Church. We cannot criticise the faith of the Church on the perpetual virginity of the Virgin Mary basing our ideas on apochrypha books.

Question:  What do you mean by Bible Study? Is it only theological or theoretical or is there lighter side on this beautiful studies that will fit for the lay peoples and can be done in the Vicariate and the Churches here in Kuwait? What are we going to gain from this study of the Bible on its spiritual side? Sad to say most Catholics are ignorant of the Holy Bible - Jung

Answer  :  I would to avoid theoretical studies. I prefer to have a personal contact with the Bible.  How? Who? I haven't yet found a solution. Do you have an idea?

Question:  Please refer Luke 12:8-9  ("The Son of Man will declare or reject them before the angels of God".)  Please explain what Jesus meant when He uttered those encouraging or discouraging words?  - Rudolf and Aonida

Answer  :  Here Jesus doesn't want to condemn anybody, he just wants to explain to us our situation as children of God: we should not fear even persecutions because God is our Father (Lk 12:4-7); we should listen to the voice of God who speaks through the Holy Spirit (12:10), we should not fear even in difficult moments because the Holy Spirit will assist us (12:11-12). But this situation is not compulsory, we are free. If we refuse to be children of God, God cannot oblige us to be with him. It is not God who refuses us, it is we who refuse to belong to God. God cannot do anything else than to suffer for our obstinacy against him.

Question:  We strongly believe in the Perpetual Virginity of Mary.  "Joseph was married with sons and daughters from a previous marriage.  At the time he married Mary, he was a widower. Do you think the Evangelists were referring to those children as the brothers and sisters of Jesus as the translation of the word "brother" into English from Hebrew, Aramaic or Grek is a little ambiguous.  Please explain. - Rudolf & Aonida

Answer :  Your statement: Joseph was married with sons and daughters from a previous marriage has no foundation at all not only in the Bible but not even  in apocryphal books. I don't know how you could invent that statement.  "Brothers" in the oriental language means not only brothers according to flesh but even cousins or friends. Even today this terminology is used in many Catholic movements, where members call themselves "brothers" or "sisters". Brothers and sisters of Jesus are those who believe in him and want to follow him. They form his new family, they are really brothers and sisters because, through Jesus, they became all children of God, their Father.

Question:  Your Excellency ! please.. accept my humble query ; the departed faithful is what we are expected to pray for ..... what about the; living faithful who are gone astray?  We know the Church is there for the  living .. but ; these faithfuls are they already dead? In the spirit, should we forget these kind altogather? Especially the ones who are willing to be dammed eternally?  rather than accept the offer of eternal salvation?.. how do we respond !! ignore or pray? - Lawrence

Answer  :  Our dead are dead according to our human nature, but they are still alive with God. Death doesn't destroy our life, it changes it. We and our departed form one Church, we pray for them and they pray for us.  It is also a good habit to raise prayers for everyone whether living or dead and especially for those who are straying away from their faith that the grace of God may enlighten their minds and hearts to come back to God.

Question:  1)  Can you please provide me the Church's position on the Stations of the Cross.  My research seems to be conflicted.  What is the proper number of Stations for the Stations of the cross?

2)  Do religious women (nuns) need to have permission to live in a Diocese outside of their Diocesan community?  (Do Sisters seeking to obtain an education in the United States, have to have permission to come to the US by the Church before coming? - Anthony

Answer  :  The way of the cross has not been instituted by Jesus, nor by the Church. Even though the Church recommends this prayer, this doesn't mean that the Church instituted it. The way of the cross is a pious prayer founded by the popular devotion. How many stations? Traditionally they are 14. Paul VI added another one for the contemplation of the resurrection, so they are now 15.

According to Canon Law, any religious institution must have the approval of the bishop of the Diocese before residing in that Diocese.  It is the same with going for studies, they need the permission of their Order before they leave for further studies.

Question:  Besides Sundays, which are the other Holy days of obligation? Do these other days change every year?How are these days fixed and are they followed the same all over the world? MF

Answer  :  Please, read the last page of my pastoral letter and you shall find this explanation:


1.       Fast and Abstinence are prescribed for Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, limited to the ages between 21 to 60.

2.       Abstinence is prescribed as a general rule for every Friday in Lent, applicable to the age of 14 onwards. But for particular circumstances in the Vicariate of Kuwait, Abstinence is to be observed on the Wednesdays of Lent. Out of devotion Abstinence may be observed every Wednesday during the year.

 3.       Eucharistic Fast: The faithful must abstain from solids and liquids for one hour before receiving Holy Communion. This regulation is applicable to Masses celebrated in the morning, afternoon, evening or at midnight. Water does not break the fast. Those who are sick, even though not confined to bed, may take any liquid or food as medicines at any time before Holy Communion without asking permission.

4.       Feasts of obligation:  A. Sundays or Fridays or Saturday evenings  B. Christmas (25th December)  C. Solemnity of Mary Mother of God (January 1st)  D. St. Thomas: 3rd July (obligation is only for the Syro-Malabar Rite)  E. Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (15th August)  F. Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary: 8th September (obligation is only for the Syro-Malankara Rite)

 5.       Feasts of devotion:  ASt. Joseph (19th March)  BSt. Mark the Evangelist: 25th April (for the Coptic Rite)  C. SS Peter and Paul (29th June)  D. All Saints (1st November)  E. All Souls: Commemoration of all the faithful departed (2nd November)  F. Immaculate Conception (8th December)

6.       Feasts transferred to the following Friday / Sunday:  A. Epiphany  B. Corpus Christi  C. Ascension  DSt. Maroun (9th February)

The feast days do not change as they have a fixed date.  The only change is for the Season of Lent which starts with Ash Wednesday.  The Church wished that the yearly celebration of the Lord's Resurrection be always ON A SUNDAY, being "the first day of the week" (in Hebrew : yom rishon) of the new creation, and in Greek "He  KYRIAKE", "the day of the Lord" par excellence. (In Armenian : Gyragy').  So, the Nicea Fathers decided that the "Sunday of the Resurrection" (as the name "Easter" is used only in anglo-saxon countries, since the eighth century A.D.) BE THE FIRST SUNDAY AFTER THE EQUINOX OF THE SPRING, or : first Sunday after the FULL MOON of the Spring, namely the first Sunday after the 21st of March. And if the equinox-full moon falls on the 21st of March, Easter should be celebrated on the following Sunday. the season of Lent is calculated on the Lunar calendar.  All the feasts are celebrated by the Churches all over the world.

Question:  I was just wondering what does the Church say about Halloween, should children stay inside during the time to Trick or Treat, or are they allowed to go outside with their friends and trick or treat? - Kristian

Answer  :  The parents have to decide if it is prudent for their children to participate in these strange festivities. There is no special mandate from the Church. The Church however invites the people to honor the saints, and not to follow these extravagances which do not educate our children.

Question:  Yesterday 8th Nov parishioners who had parked their cars opposite the Church were given parking fines during the evening service, people are used to parking at the sides as there is no parking space, also, people are not blocking the main road, pls could you use your good offices to prevail upon the ministry of interior officials not to penalise the church goers? - Francis

Answer  :  I am doing my very best, but it is not easy to obtain some things.

Question:  I am a born and raised Catholic of over 88 years.  I value my faith and envy others for theirs.   We have raised six children in the Catholic Faith.  Recently it has been difficult to attend Sunday Mass on a regular basis.  I feel guilty as I have no major health issue preventing my attendence.  We do contribute financially and try to catch up for the Sundays we have missed. Am I committing a mortal sin.? Faye

Answer:  It seems to me that you have no reason to stay away from Sunday obligation except the fact that the you are old, but enjoying good health, thanks to God. The excuse of raising up children in the faith and also contributing towards the Church too is not be an excuse for avoiding Mass.  My response is based on what is given below from the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
 2192 "Sunday . . . is to be observed as the foremost holy day of obligation in the universal Church" (CIC, can. 1246 § 1). "On Sundays and other holy days of obligation the faithful are bound to participate in the Mass"
2181 The Sunday Eucharist is the foundation and confirmation of all Christian practice. For this reason the faithful are obliged to participate in the Eucharist on days of obligation, unless excused for a serious reason (for example, illness, the care of infants) or dispensed by their own pastor. Those who deliberately fail in this obligation commit a grave sin.
2185 On Sundays and other holy days of obligation, the faithful are to refrain from engaging in work or activities that hinder the worship owed to God, the joy proper to the Lord's Day, the performance of the works of mercy, and the appropriate relaxation of mind and body. Family needs or important social service can legitimately excuse from the obligation of Sunday rest. The faithful should see to it that legitimate excuses do not lead to habits prejudicial to religion, family life, and health. 

In conclusion: it is a grave sin to miss mass on Sunday on purpose. We are obliged to honor God at least for one hour every seventh day of the week. That is not too much for our Creator to ask of us.

Question:  I am a New Zealander living in Salmiya and wonder which would be the best service for me to attend. - Raewyn

Answer:  Besides the Cathedral, we also have services in Salmiya in English. See your Parish Priest, Fr. Tony or his assistants: Fr. Lionel, Fr. Felix, Fr. Franco or Fr. Joy. For all Mass timings in the various parishes, please see the schedules:

Question:  Fr. Bart's CCR Seminar talk last night was very enlightening and offered an enriching spiritual program. As a suggestion in Chapter 2 of his book, something must have missed-out, and that is the characteristic of HUMILITY to the converts. Many a times, as observed, people who have undergone spiritual seminars, act with pride with what they had learned and acquired. How can we avoid this attitude? - Eddivine

Answer  :  Humility?  See:
1) "Anyone who wants to become great among you must be your servant, and anyone who wants to be first among you must be slave to all. For the Son of man himself came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many" (Mk 10:43-45).
2) "What have you got that was not given to you? And if it was given to you, why are you boasting as though it were your own?" (1 Cor 4:7).  Go and do the same.

Question:  I was going through the Old Testament as a part of my recent intention to read the whole Bible. I felt uneasy while going through the first book Genesis where it is written his two daughters got impregnagted by Lot himself. How should I understand this and similar incidents described in the Bible in the Christian way?  - Thomas

Answer  :  We read in Gen 19,37-38 that the two daughters of Lot gave origin to the Moabites and to the Ben-ammi (= Son of my people). These two descendents were hostile to Israel. Therefore the Biblical text presents the origin of these two countries as deeply impure since they come from the act of incest. This text is an accusation against those countries and a negative judgment on their history. So, this incest is not presented as "possible" but as an evil.

Question:  Your recent guidelines to choirs is wonderful (Gloria to be sung on Sundays, Marian Final Hymn, Sung parts of the mass to be as per recited texts etc.). However, during my occassional visits to other parishes for mass, i.e. Salmiya & Ahmadi I noticed that these guidelines are not being followed by choirs there. Is it that the guidelines are meant only for the Cathedral?  Also, I have read in many Catholic websites that Yoga is not accepted by the church. Kindly clarify.  - Rickstove

Answer  :  No, my guidelines are for all the parishes. Every Parish has to follow what the Bishop has decided. As for Yoga, if it is used for health purposes only, it is not a sin.

Question:  What is the right way to dispose / give away a broken blessed object e.g. rosaries or holy statues? - JF

Answer  :  You break them totally till they are indistinguishable and then dispose them off or burn them if they can be burned.

Question:  We kneel down for the Blessed Sacrament, but why isn't it the same when recieving the Eucharist? - Leorah

Answer  :  It was so in the past. However, since the Liturgical reforms, things have now changed. Actually we cannot ask the people to kneel when receiving Communion, and in our Cathedral we have too much people and we cannot extend the time of the Communion.  Besides that, what is important is not whether you receive Communion kneeling or standing, but HOW you receive it, with reverence and whether your heart is at peace with everyone or not.

Question:  Pork prohibited in the Bible?  The book of Leviticus says "And the swine, though he divide the hoof, and be cloven footed, yet he cheweth not the cud; he is unclean to you".  "Of their flesh shall ye not eat, and their carcass shall ye not touch, they are unclean to you." [Leviticus 11:7-8]  Pork is prohibited in the book of Deuteronomy  "And the swine, because it divideth the hoof, yet cheweth not the cud, it is unclean unto you. Ye shall not eat of their flesh, nor touch their dead carcass." Kiran

Answer  :  The text you quoted is from the Old Testament. Jesus Christ gave the true explanation of those texts. He said: "Nothing that goes into a man from outside can make him unclean; it is the things that come out of a man that make him unclean ... Thus pronounced all foods clean (Mk 7:15-19).  The Bible is formed of the Old Testament and the New Testament. When we say "Bible" we mean both the Testaments. So, we have to say that the Old Testament (not the Bible!) has laws concerning food, not the Bible!

Question:   How will I know my vocation?  Will God directly call or does he speak through another person - Thomas

Answer  :  No, God normally doesn't speak to us directly, as a personal revelation. Usually God speaks to us through persons, or our inclination, or our conscience. However, all this must also be complemented by prayer!

Question:  The Recent fire in a wedding tent in Jahra that claimed 41 lives warns us of the grave situation we have in our Salmiya Church.  I was attending the evening Mass on 15th Aug 2009, the Church was overcrowded with people filling every available inch space.  All the walkways and exit doors blocked.  Any small  fire or just a false alarm would cause panic resulting in stampede which will have grave conseqences.  Please review the safety situation.  Keep emergency exits clear, restrict the crowd inside.

Answer  :  You are right, all the doors should remain open. It is the only thing that we can do. I spoke also to very high authorities in Kuwait. I presented this problem also to the Pope, who spoke about it to the Ambassador of Kuwait to the Vatican.  Result? Nothing yet. Prayers is our only strength.

 Question:  Could we opt for the traditional practice of liturgy, such as receiving communion on the tongue and not in the hand for all the faithful here in Kuwait - Lucy

Answer:  As Catholics, it is very important that we fully participate in the celebration of the Eucharist to receive Holy Communion and we are encouraged to receive Communion devoutly and frequently.  Although receiving communion on the tongue is the universal norm in the Latin church, it cannot be enforced.  Holy Communion under the form of bread is offered to the communicant with the words "The body of Christ." The communicant may choose whether to receive the body of Christ in the hand or on the tongue.  You are free to receive it on your tongue, as many do here in Kuwait. The important thing is that your heart should be clean, and that you have forgiven all and love all. Reconciliation is much more important and necessary than receiving Communion in the hands or on the tongue.  We pray: Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.

Question:  Please let me know what must be done for the soul of a child lost in miscarriage/dead before being born/still born.  Is there a reason for miscarriages? Mrs. Fernandes

Answer :  We have to accept the fact that each child is a gift from God but at times of a miscarriage or a still birth, in our grief, we cannot cope with this tragedy since it might not appear that way through our human view of things and in our grief we complain and ask why God lets this happen.  This is why God is who He is and we have to trust in Him, in all things.  When a mother suspects or is informed that the child in her womb is still born or she is having a miscarriage, the Baptism of Desire can apply to those children and we can also celebrate the "Funeral Mass of a child who died before Baptism" for them.  However, abortion is another issue and since the first moment of conception, the fetus is a human being and cannot be killed.  So no matter what the circumstances are, the Catholic Church does not permit abortion at all.

Question:  If one attends Monday morning Mass at 6 or 7 a.m. and it is 9 or 10 p.m. on Sunday night in the home city/country, does one fulfill the Friday/Saturday Vigil/Sunday Mass requirement?  Is it possible for an Infinite Being to really care about time? In my opinion, having a quiet and meditative experience at early morning Mass on Monday morning is more conducive to prayer than being pushed off the pew by a throng on Sunday night.  At any rate, I doubt that an Infinite Being would care about a few hours more.......since.......there is already the dispensation which now includes both Friday and Saturday Vigil Mass in Kuwait- fulfilling the weekly obligation. - Ruth

Answer  :  It is good that you bring this question up because we have many people here in Kuwait who assume that by attending any weekday Mass, they fulfill their Sunday obligation, which is a wrong assumption.  As you have rightly said, the Vicariate of Kuwait allows its faithful to fulfill their Sunday obligation by attending any Mass on Fridays, or the Saturday evening Mass or any Mass on Sundays.  However, we have a tendency to be very lax and easygoing when it comes to giving attention to the adoration of God, for which we will be held responsible. One hour out of seven days in the week should not be too much for a person to honor his or her creator. That is why the Church insists that Catholics go at least to Sunday Mass as a minimum requirement. Only a grave and serious reason may be used in excusing ourselves from the serious obligation of participating in the Sunday Liturgy. So individual conscience comes into play and using the ‘throngs’ as an excuse for not attending Sunday Mass is something judgmental and selfish. Also convincing oneself that by attending Mass on Monday morning in Kuwait because it coincides with the time Mass is celebrated in one’s home city/country is not an excuse but rather doing something out of convenience to avoid the Sunday services due to the crowds. And then the Sunday Liturgy is celebrated in a more elaborate way with an extra reading, the Gloria (except for Lent and Advent) and the recitation of the Creed, which is not the case in a normal weekday Mass.

Question:  I am a very religous and God fearing person. I never cheated or stole or did any type of forgery in my life, by birth I lost my parents and I took lots of trouble to come up in my life for which I never succeeded.  Now I am jobless more than six months, how can I survive in Kuwait without a job? Why has God forgoten me?  Is this the reward for Christ's followers?  I am sorry to say so. Can you pray for me if I have sinned and do not remember it. - Lawrence

Answer  :  Satan is always lurking around! He uses every occasion to push us to doubt God's love for us.  The thought that I have no job, so God has abandoned me, God doesn't love me! These ideas come from Satan! Be assured, God loves you, especially when you are in problems, because he is your Father!  At the same time, you cannot expect God to interven directly to give you a job. Be confident in his love for you and do your very best to find a job. The first letter of St. Peter says: Unload all your worries on him, since he is looking after you (1 Pt 5:7). And don't stop to look for a job.

Question:  Sponsor/allow us to share the 'Charism or Charismata' of the Holy Spirit as outlined in 1 CORINTHIANS 12:4-11 and other gifts revealed by God the Father through Jesus - Ronnie

Answer  :  You don't need permission to share the "Charism of Charismata" of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit surely gave you a charisma. The problem is not in this but in what St. Paul says in the first verse quoted by you: "There is a variety of gifts but always the same Spirit (V. 4). The multiplicity of charisms must not bring to the forefront individualism (MY charisma), but unity. Charisms are given through the Holy Spirit for the benefit of the community (1 Cor 12,14), not for our personal experience and glory. Read well the entire chapter 14 of 1 Cor. and you will see that the charisms have a limited importance.

Question:  How should I live the Gospel? I ask this because each time I try, depression haunts me down - Tom

Answer  :  1) By living your normal life as a Christian (daily Prayers, at least weekly Mass and taking care of the people whom God puts in your way).  2) If this is not enough, join a Movement (Renewal in the Holy Spirit, Couples for Christ, Neo-Catechumenal Way, Jesus Youth, etc.) which will help you more.

Question: I read in this column a few days back that Br. Johnson had not been approved by you (Bishop Camillo) for preaching in Kuwait. However, I was told by an aquaintance that Br. Johnson preached at the Salmiya chapel - St. Therese Church a few weeks back. Appreciate if you could clarify this issue. Rickstove

Answer :  No, Bro. Johnson never preached in the church of Salmiya but in another place in Salmiya that his followers arranged for him. Bro. Johnson has never been approved by me to preach in our Vicariate. What he is doing is against the authority of the Church. Our Catholics are invited not to follow him, nor to attend any of his meetings.

Question:  People when they enter the church and when they come out touch holy water and make the sign of the cross, some just ignore this, some do it only when entering the church.  What is the right practice? Susan

Answer  :  There is freedom in that. The holy water reminds us of our Baptism. When we enter the Church or when we come out we make the sign of the cross with holy water to renew our promises to renounce Satan and to adhere to God. It is another way of telling God:   I love you!!

Question:  'Results my friend, results,' says God. 'While you preached, people SLEPT; but when he drove his Auto, people PRAYED’.  It’s PERFORMANCE and not POSITION that ultimately counts. Dear Bishop, your priests preach15/20 mins on Sundays and we do not listen.  Please let them speak for 5 mins max with a story and a great message.  No need for more please.  A lot of people come to Church only after sermon. Think of those who are standing as there is no place to sit? with ailments and outside in the heat? Hope you liked the joke! - Annon

Answer :  The problem is not the time (5, 10 or 20 minutes) but to communicate a personal message. In our homilies we should express what we experience from the Readings we have heard. It should be a communication of what God tells us. If we speak from our heart and from our experience with God, nobody will be bored by a homily of 20 minutes. Pray for us.

Question:  The Apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders among the people (Acts 5:12).  Then Peter said, "Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk." (Acts 3:6)   Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons.  Freely you have received, freely give (Mt.8:10).  Dear Lordship Bishop, thank you in advance for your time and the answer. Many Christians including our Catholic Christians suffer different kinds of sicknesses, diseases, birth disabilities. I have seen on television Pastors. God is doing the unbelievable/supernatural miracles through them. Ultimately God alone will be glorified if we too in our church conduct it. Why not in our Catholic Church? Simon.

Answer :  In the Catholic Church there are people, including priests, Deacons, religious sisters and brothers and of course lay people who are actively exercising  the charisma of healing the sick. Many miraculous healings are being reported by many of these different ministries such as the lame walking, the blind able to see, the deaf hearing, radical change of people's hearts and lives towards God, and other types of healings.   The Church encourages all the faithful to use the spiritual gifts for the building up of the Church in charity according to the Documents of the Vatican Council II under the Decree on the Apostolate of Lay People. Of course, the Church has the responsibility to pass judgment on the authenticity  and good use of these gifts in accordance with 1Thes.5:12,19,21, to test everything and to keep what is good. I think it is also worthwhile to mention here that the Doctrinal Commission of the International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services (ICCRS) based in the Vatican has recently published a booklet entitled, "Guidelines For Prayer For Healings" to facilitate the exercise of prayer for healings that is in communion with the teachings of the Catholic Church.  The Eucharist is the best source of healing.  Everytime we attend Mass, we attend a Healing Service, where we receive the Living Christ the Healer, His body, blood, soul and Divinity.

Question:  I have a suggestion that, our extra ordinary ministers and the newly appointed KPC Members should not take part in any official post within any associations, they are a part of the Church and should not belong to any particular group.  Associations some times keep people away from the Church while uniting themselves together.  Let the association take care about their cutural activities whilst the spiritual needs of the people should be fullfilled by the Church. - John

Answer  :  You are right. In fact, none of the members of the Kuwait Pastoral Council are members in any Association.

Question:  If Christ died for our sins, once and for all, why do we still need Purgatory, wasn't his sacrifice on the cross, enough to redeem us of our sins? If we still need to pay the price for it in Purgatory, isn't it nullifying the work of the cross where he paid the price for our sins? - Anita

Answer  :  Purgatory is not because the sacrifice of Christ was not enough but because we as humans have not truly obeyed and followed Him.  Jesus Christ, by dying on the cross, made everything that was possible on His part.  Now, it is we who have to do our part, by adhering, obeying and following Him and to live a life according to His Holy Spirit. Which however, is not the perfect case. Many a time we prefer to follow the Devil and not Jesus Christ. Purgatory therefore is a purifying period in order for our souls to be perfect and adhere fully to Jesus Christ. Only then, once we are purified, we are admitted to His glory forever.

Question:  With reference to the Sacrament of reconcilliation - When exactly does a persons sins get forgiven.  since I do not know the answer for the first one - this is my next question - if a person is sorry for their sins - but has not for some reason got the chance for confesssion - has this sin been forgiven ? Niky

Answer  :  Our sins are forgiven through the Sacrament of confession or reconciliation.  When, and in which exact moment forgiveness is given?  Confession is a meeting with God through the Church represented by the priest. Every moment of the confession (introduction with the sign of the cross, the confession of sins, the admonition from the priest, the act of contrition, the absolution from the priest) is time spent with God.  Let us not divide the sacraments with our mathematic mentality.  When somebody has committed a grave sin and is not able to confess but wants to receive Communion, he/she can receive Communion after saying a sincere act of contrition, but HE/SHE MUST GO TO CONFESSION AT THE EARLIEST FOR THEIR SINS TO BE FORGIVEN.

Question:  I have heard that once a priest - he remains a priest forever is this so ? - can a fallen priest (expecially against the vow of chastity) celebrate Mass? When can one be removed from priesthood, are their any duties - as priest, he can perform after his removal ? Niky

Answer  :  Yes, a priest remains a priest forever. Even though he asks and obtains a dispensation for life, he remains a priest but he cannot celebrate any of the sacraments. He has to participate in the sacraments as a lay man only.

Question:  I also heard that baptism like ordination cannot be removed. So what about those who leave church and join sects and get immersed ? Can they be buried in RC church cemetry - can they be given sacraments like annointing of sick - if they are in position not to decide for themself or very sick, we being their family members.  Niky

Answer:  Those who abandon the Church and join sects can be judged only by God. They however cannot receive Sacraments, not even before death, since they have renounced their Catholic Faith and are still convinced members of the sect they have joined. The burial in a Catholic cemetery is more of a civil question.

Question:  What is the sacrament of Confirmation? Why is it not given at the same time as First Holy Communion? Mrs. Fernandes

Answer  :  The Sacrament of Confirmation is a celebration in which the Holy Spirit is given to us in a very special way. The Holy Spirit will teach us more of who Jesus Christ is and gives us the strength to live according to the will of God. It is easy to understand what the First Communion is, but it is more difficult to understand the meaning of Confirmation. That's why it is given later when the children are older.

Question:  I am given to understand that the Catholic Good News Bible is to be stopped from circulation in the Catholic Church Kuwait effectively.  Being a Catholic I have being renewed in my faith and every word thru the GOOD NEWS has inspired me through the HOLY SPIRIT for last 23 years and my new life has daily lead me in reading the scriptures and drinking the spiritual milk and now to replace it with a new translation has confused me.  Please explain Why?  Joseph

Answer  :  I want to give the people a Catholic edition of the Bible, where all the books of the Bible are in their place according to the Catholic Canon. If you have found inspiration and help for your life in the Bible that you currently have, carry on with it, don't worry!

Question:  I have received a mail stating that practising Yoga is against Christianity, although the intention behind this is only exercise and purely for health purpose.  Could your Lordship please clarify if it is really a sin to practice Yoga for just exercise purposes - Suzanne

Answer  :  No, just for health purposes it is not a sin.

Question:  Your Lordship, I am planning to start a wine/alcohol shop in Mumbai, am i doing the right thing or is selling wine/alcohol a sin. Please advise.

Answer  :  As long as it is a legal business and permitted according to the laws of the State, this is allowed, you do not commit any sin. What is forbidden is to become drunks, wherein we lose our mind and soul...

Question:  Kindly explain the Natural FP method in sexual relations. Is using the artificial method a sin or not?. Because, in a country like Kuwait, the natural method is not successful, since the climate is always changing. I have one child who was born by this natural method. Varghese

Answer  :  From what I understand, you are asking if the artificial means of contraception is allowed by the Church. The Catholic Church's teaching about contraception comes from natural law. In other words, you don't need faith to know and understand that contraception is a serious evil. Contraception deliberately breaks the intimate link between the love-giving (unitive) and life-giving (procreative) meaning of the marital act. It turns the marital act into a lie. Contraception is wrong because it is an alteration, a harming, or a destruction of a healthy, normal, major, functioning system of the body: fertility. Natural Family Planning does not alter the body at all. Contraception is also wrong because the intent of the couple using contraception is to take total control of procreation for themselves and leave God out of the picture!!! The NFP couple knows that in regard to procreation, there are three involved: husband, wife, and God. In other words, the NFP couple makes a proposal to God, but will accept God's will, whatever the outcome of their sexual relationship. Contraception deliberately deprives the conjugal act of its openness to procreation and in this way brings about a voluntary dissociation of the ends of marriage and from the moral point of view procreation is deprived of its proper perfection when it is not desired as the fruit of the conjugal act, that is to say of the specific act of the spouses' union." It is for this profound reason, based on the teaching authority of the Church, contraception is wrong and different climates in different regions (as you have stated) cannot be used as an excuse for other forms of contraception even though the NFP method has failed in your case. For more information on Religious and Secular Perspectives on Genetic and Reproductive Technologies, I have provided a link to my discourse I had given in Cairo, for you to read. Courage have Faith. God bless you!

Question:  Did Adam have the Holy Spirit?  Leroy

Answer  :  Adam was created by the Spirit of God, "in the image and likeness of God", becoming a "living soul" or person (Genesis 2:7; also  Genesis 1:26; Tobias 8:6, Sirach 49:16 ). Thus, the Spirit of God is the creator and principle of LIFE and PERSONALITY.  ADAM was created "in the likeness of God, in true righteousness and holiness"(according to Ephesians 4 : 24), with idyllic and ideal original sanctity and impeccability!  But Adam sinned, cf. Genesis and Romans 5:14; 5:15.  So, instead of listening to the Spirit of God, he listened to the Evil One and thus lost his original purity.  JESUS is the New Adam, a vivifying spirit, in the Spirit! (See 1 Corinthians 15:45).  The Holy Spirit does not restrict freedom - as can be seen with what happened to the Apostles after Pentecost.

Question:  I would like to know if it is allowed to take communion in hand instead of tongue?. Recently I received a mail saying that we should receive communion only on the tongue. Please clarify. - Rajesh

Answer  :  Receiving Communion in the hand is a recent practice, which is allowed by the Church. Nobody has to feel obliged to receive Communion either on the tongue or in the hand. There is freedom. You can choose the way you prefer to receive Communion as long as it is done with reverence to the Sacrament.

Question:  Could you please explain 'the gift of knowledge' and if it is alright to allow a person who has this gift to pray over you and give you the message he receives. Mrs. Fernandes

Answer  :  The gift of knowledge is not a gift for scientific civil studies of mathematics, or languages, or any other subject. It is only "to know", i.e., to understand better the Word of God and its implication in our present life.  It is a gift that is linked with another gift, the gift of Wisdom.  Anybody can pray on you or on me or on any other person. But I am very skeptical about "the message they receive".  Many times the Holy Spirit has nothing to do with messages that the person seems or assumes to receive from Him. Even though the Holy Spirit can speak to somebody in many ways, even by private inspiration, normally the Holy Spirit conveys His messages through the Church (by Word of God, through the Sacraments, Liturgy, and prayer). When somebody tells you that his message comes from the Holy Spirit, please don't readily believe that it is really coming from Him. A discernment of the spirit is always necessary in these cases.

Question:  Could you please explain a little more on homosexuality, i.e. how is it unnatural and against the plan of God.  Is a homosexual born that way?  If so, then surely he is not responsible for that but it is very sad and such a person would need help, right? How can that help be given?  I have teenage children and they ask me about gays and lesbians.  How can I give them the right explanation? Mrs. Fernandes

Answer  :  It is difficult to explain homosexuality in a few lines. Normally, this situation has its roots in the family: absence of the father, or the father is there but doesn't take care of his children and doesn't exercise any authority on them, or the  mother is too possessive. Another cause can be the sexual abuse from adults. The most sensitive age is childhood, until 14-15 years old. It is a very delicate time and the parents must take much care of their children, they should be aware of who their friends are, whom they meet, etc. Obviously homosexuality is not in the plan of God, it is a deviation due to human causes. A homosexual should not be blamed or condemned for his homosexuality, something for which he is not responsible. He has to be treated with affection, tenderness and he should have friends from both sexes and have a normal life in his family.  It is very difficult for a homosexual to become heterosexual, unless the cause is physiologic and not psychological.  For more information and the Church's teaching on it please take a look at the following link which may help you in getting more information :-
See Also: "Change is possible for Gays," says Catholic psychologist

Question: During the Lenten season why do we not sing/recite the Alleluia and why do we not sing the Gloria during Advent in the parts of the Mass?  Niky

Answer  :  We don't use the Alleluia during the Lenten season because we are observing a time of repentance and conversion. When we resurrect with Jesus Christ on Easter, we sing Alleluia! Christ is risen, we are risen with Him to a better relationship with God and with our neighbours. We acknowledge our mistakes and our sins, God gives us the grace to know them. Now, Jesus wants us to be happy, to rise to a new life with Him. Let us rejoice! Alleluia!

Question:  1. Gospel of Mt. Ch.2 in particular reference to wise men and the house.  2. Gospel of Lk. Ch.2 in particular reference to manger, living room, some shepherds.  3. Ps. 72:10, 11, 15 - kings of Tarshish, kings of Sheba and Seba.
QUESTION:  1. Did Joseph have a house in Bethelehem, if not whose house was that.  2. Whether the manger was located inside the house.  3. Were they wise men or the shepherds or the kings who went to pay homage to Jesus.  4. How many of them? Augusto

Answer  :  You ask details that we cannot know. The purpose of the Gospel is not to give a biography of Jesus Christ but his mission, his message, the love of God the Father for us all. Leave historical details which can nourish only your curiosity. Meditate on the Word of God as it is given to us by our Catholic Church.

Question:  May I know what is 'Gift of Tongues'? In Charismatic Prayer meetings, we can see people praying and praising using some repeated syllables and it is described as 'Gift of Tongues'. But in Acts 2, we see that when St.Peter talked in one language, the people heard it in their own language.  In Cor.14, St.Paul says 'gift of tongue' should be used only if there is an interpretor. Some say that there are two types of 'Gift of Tongues'? Please give us a clear idea about 'Gift of Tongue' - Biju

Answer  :  The advice of St. Paul that there should be an interpreter is always valid. Unfortunately this advice is not followed by many prayer groups.  As for St. Peter, I prefer to interprete that event as "common faith", rather than a language understood by every one in his own language. I prefer to say that all who heard Peter, embraced the same faith. The Holy Spirit gave every listener the gift of the same faith in Jesus Christ.

Question:  Can you explain what is homosexuality? Is a person to be blamed for his/her homosexuality? Can a homosexual become normal? Mrs. Fernandes

Answer  :  Homosexuality is a strong inclination to have sex with a person of the same gender. No, no homosexual should be blamed or condemned. We have to distinguish between homosexuality and homosexual. The first is something unnatural and against the plan of God. The second is a person and no person can be blamed. We should accept a homosexual as he/she is: a child of God.  It is difficult for a homosexual to become normal. It is possible if their homosexuality is physical, due to some dysfunctions in his/her body. But if it is psychological then it is almost impossible to change into heterosexuality.

Question:  "Whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost it shall not be forgiven him neither in this World nor in the world to come."  I don't understand this verse.  Does it mean that whoever sins against Holy Spirit, a) will not be forgiven even if he repents, or b) will never repent and hence will never be forgiven? Biju

Answer  :  When we have absolutely no intention of repenting for our sins that are deliberately committed, we then sin against the Holy Spirit, because God cannot pardon when there is no repentance or sorrow for sins committed and the moment of death is the fatal instance after which no mortal sin can be forgiven.  So the forgiveness of sins depends on the sinner himself if he wants to be forgiven because he is repentent and truly sorry for what he has done or he wants to die in his sinful nature.  But if we have true repentance and sorrow for the sins we have committed, we do not sin against the Holy Spirit because repentance itself is a great grace that comes from Him.

Question:  Why are there no images of Jesus or Mary or Saints in the Church? Cajie

Answer  :  Please, open your eyes well! They are there looking at you.

Question: I would like you to clarify a doubt regarding wedding ring and chain. I personally belive that its a holy and binding factor between both the partners. Does the Catholic Church insist that we should wear both the ring and chain till our death (both partners).  Personally I hate wearing gold, especially a ring, which I don't usually wear...because I get irritated.  My friends are insisting that I should wear it. I would like to know if the Catholic Church insists on us to wear them till our death. - Titty

Answer  :  The ring is only a sign of fidelity. Nothing is compulsory, not even blessing it. What is essential in a marriage is to ensure that you are celebrating a marriage with only one man/woman and that it is forever. All the rest, rings, chains, etc. are only external signs to show the internal decision to get married with that person and forever. If you are irritated by wearing your ring and your spouse agrees on that, then leave it in your house!

Question:  Why do you give more importance to the Deacon for certain occasion during Christmas Eve Mass, Good Friday, Easter etc.  We have so many priests during the service, give them a chance and not the deacon, who is married and does everything.  People talk about this matter and no one takes any action. Even the visiting priest when they serve Mass with you, feel strange.  We get very upset and talk a lot about the deacon.  This way we are losing our faith and many of our Catholic people go to the Evangelical Church for this reason.  When you ask them why they go to that church they say that there you learn more things and there is no difference among the people like in our Parish. - Noah

Answer  :  The Deacon has his own service in the Liturgy. Namely: to read the Gospel, to invite the faithful to exchange the sign of peace by proclaiming "Let us offer each other a sign of peace", to distribute Communion, and to say the final invitation "Go in peace". Beside that in our Cathedral the Deacon has to many a time also be a master of ceremonies.  Whilst normally the priests have to only follow the Bishop in the Liturgy and to recite with him the Eucharistic Prayer.  So, the part of the Deacon is more visible than those of the priests. That's why you feel that he is more important than the priests.  Every one has his own role, decided by the Church. The Deacon is always a servant (Deacon means servant) who has to serve more than the others.  Nobody is more important than the other, every one has his own role and vocation in the Church.

Question:  I am member of one the choirs. I would like to know whether it is mandatory to sing the Recessional hymn on Mother Mary for every Friday/Saturday & Sunday English Masses. Prakash

Answer  :  No, it is not mandatory. It is only a strong suggestion from my part because we risk forgetting the role the Virgin Mary plays in our spiritual life. The Virgin Mary has as a vocation, from God, to bring Jesus Christ to the world. This vocation has not ended. Till the end of time she will still be giving Jesus to the world. In the Eucharist we listen and speak to God the Father and to Jesus through the Holy Spirit and we receive God in our heart. Why not, at the end, bring to mind and heart that Jesus came from the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God?

Question:  I belong to the St. Therese Parish and thanks to God for giving us a place to worship. I would like to know whether there are plans to build a new and a spacious church/building in the same place?  In the event of a fire, the exits are so narrow that there could be a stampede and or fatalities. I would suggest if the Church conduct a fire drill or train the ushers to be able to guide people during such an event. Yes, we are all praying for the safety of everyone. - Prakash

Answer  : We cannot build a new and a spacious church/building because we do not have any official permission to operate a church there. As for your suggestion, speak with your Parish priest.

Question:  Soon our 105 year old parish in the Diocese of Steubenville will close.  We are still a very active, vibrant parish with about 170 people attending two Masses on the weekend.  We don't want to close and have tried to convince Bishop Conlon to keep us open.  He, upon the advice of a diocesion committee, has agreed to keep us open for a while.  We are grateful.  Before we close, how can we ask for a Byzantine Rite to continue at closure time?  We have three BR churches about 1 hour away. Vincent 

Answer  :  I am the Bishop of Kuwait only.  I cannot do anything for your Diocese, where your Bishop Conlon is in charge of your Church and your spiritual life. However, be in continuous contact with your Bishop and ask him for the Byzantine Rite to continue. Courage! God loves you and doesn't want to loose you!

Question:  In Kuwait we were always told all our lives that for "Special Circumstances" in the Vicariate, abstinence is observed only on Wednesday during Lent.  Please elaborate on these Special Circumstances, and why on Wednesday. Lordship, it is very difficult to take Lent seriously when the leadership of the Church - whether Rome or here - does not teach us to sacrifice 45 days in a year to the Lord, instead leaving it to our discretion, and laying down "convenient" rules as these in the country. - Genito

Answer  :  If you had read my Pastoral Letter of this year (see it on our website) you would have found our regulations. I write them to you again here: 

Fast and Abstinence are prescribed for Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, limited to the ages between 21 to 60. 

Abstinence is prescribed as a general rule for every Friday in Lent, applicable to the age of 14 onwards. But for particular circumstances in the Vicariate of Kuwait, Abstinence is to be observed on the Wednesdays of Lent. Out of devotion Abstinence may be observed every Wednesday during the year. 

Eucharistic Fast: The faithful must abstain from solids and liquids for one hour before receiving Holy Communion. This regulation is applicable to Masses celebrated in the morning, afternoon, evening or at midnight. Water does not break the fast. Those who are sick, even though not confined to bed, may take any liquid or food as medicines at any time before Holy Communion without asking permission.

Why on Wednesday and not on Friday? Because here in Kuwait we celebrate on Friday the Sunday Liturgy, which is always centered on the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Sunday is the weekly feast of Easter and in Easter no Church observes fasting. So, we transferred the fast and the abstinence to Wednesday.

However, there are also other ways to fast: 

1) Condemnation of our sins: I made my sin known to you, did not conceal my guilt. I said: I shall confess my offence to the Lord> And you from your part, took away my guilt, forgave my sin (Ps 32:5).
2) To forgive brothers who have offended us: Yes, if you forgive others their failings, your heavenly Father will forgive you yours, but if you do not forgive others, your Father will not forgive your failings either (Mt 6:14).
3) Sincere Prayer made with all our heart
4) Almsgiving. 
5) To be humble before God and neighbour. 
If you are very poor and you cannot give alms, you can always condemn your sins, forgive your brothers, pray with your heart and be humble.
Other more modern ways to fast are: to stop smoking, to keep the television swiched off and to remain with your famly, to enter into a deeper dialogue with your wife/husband and your children.

Question:  I would like to know when mother Mary was taken to heaven, with body and soul was she dead or alive? because I read on internet, in Roman Catholic site, that Mary was taken to heaven with body and soul after her physical death.  Is this true? Sandra

Answer  :  Yes she was taken into heaven at the right moment of her death on earth. We do not know other details.  However, the Church teaches that the Immaculate Virgin, by a special privilege, was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory at the end of her earthly life.  "The Assumption is the culmination of the struggle which involved Mary's generous love in the redemption of humanity and is the fruit of her unique sharing in the victory of the Cross", the Holy Father Pope John Paul II said, as he reflected on the Assumption of Mary as a truth of faith.  Following the Bull Munificentissimus Deus of Pope Pius XII, the Second Vatican Council affirms that the Immaculate Virgin "was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory, when her earthly life was over" (Lumen gentium, n. 59). The Council Fathers wished to stress that Mary, unlike Christians who die in God's grace, was taken up into the glory of heaven with her body. This age-old old belief is expressed in a long iconographical tradition which shows Mary "entering" heaven with her body.  The Dogma of the Assumption affirms that Mary's body was glorified after her death. In fact, while for other human beings the resurrection of the body will take place at the end of the world, for Mary the glorification of her body was anticipated by a special privilege.

Question: I am a Pastoral Helper. During Christmas, New Year and Easter I attend 6 to 7 Masses and on other days about 2 to 3 Masses.  Am I allowed to receive the Holy Communion for all the Masses?  Laurence

Answer  :  We should receive Communion every time we attend a Mass.  However, it seems to me that you attend so many Masses because you are engaged as an usher or pastoral helper.  In this case you are not there to specifically attend a Mass but to perform a service, a service that is very precious especially when the Church is overcrowded. So, when you are there to give service, it is better not to receive Communion.  Once again I would like to stress that the Mass is not only to receive Communion but to also listen to the readings, to meditate what these readings can tell us, to pray, participate and sing with the others and, finally, to receive Communion.  It is evident that if you are there to offer a service, you cannot follow the liturgy of the Mass or concentrate on it, so in this case you should not receive Communion.  What you should then do is attend one Mass as a participant in the congregation so that you can concentrate fully on the Mass and at the other Masses you can offer your services as a Pastoral Helper for which you are then not obliged to receive Communion.

Question:  I quote an email sent to you by Rudy, has any progress been made please look into this matter thank you. Singing a different "Gloria"  Question:  I really wonder why the prayers in the Mass for us the Laity keep changing. I especially dislike how they changed my favorite 'Gloria' into just repeatedly singing 'Glory to God' many times. Sometimes I have to pray silently by myself 'Glory to God in the Highest' - Candida

Answer:  Yes, it is important that choirs don't change the songs or tunes too often. This point was stressed very clearly in the last meeting of the choir leaders. The purpose of a choir is not to give a concerto but to encourage people to join in the songs, and sing all together, both the choir and the people.

Question:  Pope Benedict has made plenary indulgences as part of  the year long celebration of St. Paul, which continues through June.  Many Dioceses have responded with varying degrees of enthusiasm and announced indulgences for visiting particular Churches or shrines, making confession etc.  Do we have any such indulgence in our Diocese? - Biju

Answer:  We discussed the proposal at the clergy meeting and we saw that it is not possible to have a special "shrine" for St. Paul. What is more important is to try to imitate him in our life.

Question:  Why do the Bishops world wide support socialism or socialistic programs such as government control of welfare, education, and health care when in every country that it has implemented the Church and Christianity has died or been severely weakened? Why are the leaders of the Church so wed to it when the irresponsibility it promotes (abortion, euthanasia, promisicuity)  kills peoples faith? Patti

Answer  :  It is not true that all Bishops support socialism or socialistic programs. When this happens, there is at the base not a political orientation but the implementation of the commandement of love towards all and especially the poorest.

Question:  On 4th February 2009, one of my colleague's husband died. She wants to take the body to Mumbai and wanted to have the Holy Mass before taking the body to India but the Parish Priest refused saying that THERE IS A SHORTAGE OF PRIESTS IN KUWAIT so we cannot have Mass.  What is your opinion in this respect - Laurence

Answer  :  It is true that we are limited in number and we cannot meet all the requests of the people. Besides that, every case is personal and I cannot make a statement valid for all. We have to look into every case individually, taking into account that it is not possible to say yes to all due to our limitations.

Question:  Can we request an Indonesian priest to serve us here in Kuwait?  There are about 20 Indonesian Catholics here. Thank you. Asterius

Answer  :  I understand very well your request but it is impossible for us to realize it. We have restrictions of space and the possibiity to increase the number or our priests. Even communities much bigger than 20 Indonesians are obliged to follow the normal services that we offer. We are ONE Catholic Church, not many Catholic Churches beside each other. So, we don't want to form many National Churches but only ONE Catholic Church.

Question:  Why there are no Augustinian (OSA) priests in the Vicariate? I hope that the Augustinian Sisters of Our Lady of Consolation will also be present in Kuwait to manage a Catholic school for Filipino children whose parents are working there. Joel

Answer : Every religious congregation that would like to serve in Kuwait must first of all have the approval of the local Bishop. The Augustinians have not asked me for them to come and serve in Kuwait.

Question:  I would like to know if the 1st marriage is annulled and someone would want to get married in the church then only the annullment certificate and a affidavit of free status be enough to be produced for the 2nd marriage in the Church.  Charlotte

Answer  :  Yes, we need the certificate, given from the Church, of the annullment of the previous marriage and the affidavit of free status. This is enough.

Question:  I just want to know about in the Old Testament Genesis that people lived before for hundred years, like Adam, he died at the age of 930.  Did GOD give them a long earthly life for the reasons that there was no eternal life after death before? Jo

Answer :  The first 11 chapters of Genesis should not be understood as historical books. Through these strange descriptions we have to understand that the life that God gives is a true life (represented by the long life) and not the life that Adam and Eve are thought to have realized.

Question:  I am a resident from Abbassiya ,I would like to know whom to contact regarding the service timings  and visiting Hours at the residence of the Fathers. Angela

Answer :  You may contact Fr. Thomas (SMS 9921 8310) or Fr. Albert (9409 0323). For the service timings, they have an organized program.

Question:  Want to thank you for your blessing and your love to all of us during the last year. We really appreciate what you have done for your Parishnors.   We were happy attend the Lenten Retreat :  It was a beautiful teaching by Fr. Vincent Barboza. Only thing we could request you to have during the Ramadan Time, as we can really learn so much, time was not enough as Fr. Barboza had to finish within few days.  It would be nice to invite him again for little longer time. Elizabeth

Answer :  We thank God for what Fr. Vincent Barboza has done. Normally we don't invite the same person for two consecutive times. There are many gifted priests and we want to benefit from as many as possible.

Question:  I attended Sunday's Masses. But After Mass I had to go to work so I decided to attend Masses on Fridays.  This is the day I don't work, I can celebrate, have time for reflection, for God. I CAN attend Masses on Sundays but I've chosen Fridays. Please tell me is it ok? On website it is writen: "these are all valid for Sunday Obligation", but is it told in the name of the Vatican? What about the fast? I obey now on Wednesdays. Why don't you write about Friday's fast? Is it only on Wendesdays in Kuwait? Why during the year it's "out of devotion". - Anna

Answer :  Yes, to attend Mass on Friday is right and receives the Sunday obligation. Here in the Middle East, fasting is on Wednesday because on Friday we celebrate the Sunday Mass and on Sunday we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, so we do not fast on these days as Wednesday is designated as a day of fast and abstinence during Lent but any individual may fast during the year on Wednesday "out of devotion".

Question:  What is the proper way of reciting a prayer like Glory Be to The Father?  Do we have to make a sign of the cross while reciting the Glory Be to the Father and to Son and to the Holy Spirit without finishing the: as it was in the beginning is now ever shall be world without end? like what indian Catechists are teaching to the children or do we have to finish the whole prayer then sign of the cross like what I have learned in the Philippines because there is no accord action while praying together. Neome

Answer :  To make the sign of the cross while reciting the "Gloria Patri et Filio et Spiritui Sancto" is only an oriental tradition. In the Latin Rite we make the sign of the cross only at the beginning and at the end of a celebation.

Question:  What is the meaning of true marriage? Are the civilly married couples prevented from taking communion at the mass? Now a days how many percentage of divorce or annulment cases filed by the catholics? Has the Catholic Church  properly performed the sacrament of marriage from 2000 to 2008?  Is divorce or annulment okay for you? How can the Catholic Church stand in the midst in order to prevent the marriage breakdown from among Catholics? Neome

Answer :  The meaning of true marriage is that a marriage is the image of the love of Christ (groom) for the Church (bride). God calls a man to become a priest in order to continue the association of the faithful to the Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ as they are celebrated in the Eucharist. God calls a man and a woman to proclaim to the whole world that God is ONE and that God loves us. Unity and love of God are presented to the world in a special way through the sacrament of marriage. Unity and love are, by consequence, the characteristics of a Catholic marriage. Those who see a couple living in unity and in love should think that this is not possible only through our human power, but only by a grace from God. Therefore, a united and loving couple reflects the unity and the love of God.  That's why in the Catholic Church there is no divorce at all. We cannot break this Sacrament, we would break the reality that God is One and loves us.  Annullment is not like a divorce. Annullment means that the Sacrament never took place, for many reasons: forced marriage (by parents or friends or particular personal situations), impossibility to consumate the marriage through a sexual relation, lack of practical conviction that the marriage is with only one partner and forever, diseases which were there before the marriage, etc.  For more details please read the Catechism of the Catholic Church's section on the Sacrament of Matrimony at

Question:  I have a few suggestions :-  1) Can you please request the Choir to stop singing the Penitential Rite (Lord Have Mercy), The Gloria, The Sanctus and the Agnus Dei.  Each choir has their own tune and at times these holy prayers which all the faithful should partake in, sound like a cowboy song.  2) Keep the first row bench with the hand rest reserved for the Seniors for Friday and Sunday services. I noticed a senior nun from the Arabic congregation searching for a seat. Shanti

Answer:   1) The solution is not to stop singing but to educate even the choir on how they should sing in order to help the people to participate better in the Eucharist. I appreciate our choirs who make huge efforts at times to learn songs and to train themselves. But they need more attention by us, the clergy. We shall try to ameliorate, God willing  2) It is difficult, or impossible, to reserve benches in our church, especially when the Masses are very crowded. I would like that those who need a seat, be so prudent as to come earlier to the church. Here also God willing.

Question:  On the Third week of Advert, rose colour vestment often used at Eucharist.  What is the reason. Alex

Answer:  The reason is that on the third Sunday of Advent we meditate on the joy which will be given us at Christmas. The Entry Antiphon says: Rejoice! and even the second reading proclaims this.  The Gospel presents to us the "Magnificat":  My soul glorifies the Lord!  All the texts of that Sunday speak to us about the joy that Jesus Christ will bring to us with his birth. Since the Entry Antiphon says: Rejoice! (in Latin: Laetare!), this Sunday is called "Laetare Sunday". The color rose signifies this joy. It is a color which invites us to rejoice for the near coming of our Saviour, Jesus Christ.

Question:  Could you please do me a favour to give 10 commandments and (below each commandment, would you please give me a brief explanation with examples providing) - Freon

Answer  :  Please go to this link and then follow each commandment by clicking the forward arrow at the bottom of the page.  God bless.

Question:   I got an email regarding Fr. Jose.  I wanted to know if this is true and whether it is approved by the Catholic Church - Carol

Answer  :  NO! The doctrine of this priest is not recognized by the Catholic Church. Please, don't follow these charlatans!

Question:  I believe that I can lead a true life only by the guidance of the Holy Spirit. I also know that the Holy Spirit resides only in those who are sinless. But I do not know If I am leading a sinless life, because everything around me looks against God's will. And I have to live with it. Now dear Bishop, I need the power of the Holy Spirit. Please guide me - Manoj

Answer  :  The Holy Spirit is always with us, especially when we are sinners because he wants to convince us about our sins. We cannot repent of our sins without a special grace from the Holy Spirit. So, He is with us even when we are sinners. 

Question: Thank you for answering my earlier question, I have another question "When Jesus had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: ......"- John 19:30 Now I am rejoicing while suffering for you as I complete in my flesh whatever remains of the Messiah's sufferings on behalf of his body, which is the church. - Col 1:24 As per my understanding of the first verse - Jesus true God true man paid all that was needed to repay the debt of man and there was nothing lacking If i am right in my understanding with the first verse then what does this mean (whatever remains of the Messiah's sufferings) in the second verse. If i am wrong in my understanding kindly explain me both - Niky

Answer :  Your understanding of the first verse is right.  The second verse you quoted is not to be understood as if the Passion of Jesus Christ was not enough for the redemption of the world, but in the sense that we should see our suffering as a participation in His suffering, we become like Him even in our suffering. To follow Jesus means to follow Him in everything, even in bearing our suffering, i.e. our crosses.

Question: I would like to know if Holy Eucharistic Adoration on First Friday every month is compulsory for every Christian to attend..if this is made mandatory by the Church, is this celebrated world wide or just in India and Kuwait. I am committed to this but my friends disagree that this is not compulsory.  Can you please clear my doubts.  Thank you - Grace

Answer  : No, it is not compulsory. But God is very happy when He can see you near Him.  For more information please visit the page on Eucharistic Adoration at our web-site at

Question:  Dear Bishop, I recently received an e-mail (which I am forwarding to you) informing us of certain talks (on the Word of God) that will be conducted in Kuwait from 31st Oct to 3rd Nov 2008, by a visiting speaker. As you are our shepherd please let me know if this has been approved by our Catholic Church. God bless. Nancy

Answer :  Thank you for this information. This is the first time that I am coming to learn about these "talks" being conducted in our Vicariate. I do not know who this "Brother" (visiting speaker) is, even though he is mentioned by name in your forwarded mail. I have never met him nor have I given him the permission to conduct these talks. Of course, I do not encourage such practices in the Vicariate. I am astonished how our Catholic faithful are willing to listen to anyone who "comes in the name of the Lord" without the approval of the local Bishop. Don't they know that there is a Bishop in Kuwait? I am thankful that you checked with me before attending these talks.

Question:  I have a question, "Do Catholics believe that illnesses - such as cancer - are punishments for sin?" - Ruth

Answer  :  Illnesses are never punishments for our sins, they are a way for us to imitate Jesus Christ in His passion. We however need to have a strong faith in order for us to see it as a way to God. God is not far from us in our suffering, He is always with us, especially when we suffer, because He knows what suffering is. He wants to bear our cross with us but we have to remain close to Him and have faith that he is with us. Courage!

Question:  I have a question or suggestion as you take it as. Why don't we have female Eucharistic ministers and altar girls which is followed in other gulf countries and even in India. - Cheryl

Answer  :  We have more than enough altar boys and extra-ordinary ministers of the Eucharist so there is no need to have altar girls or female ministers. I have found this as a tradition in our Church in Kuwait and I don't see any valid reason to change it.

Question: A friend has recently got divorced after 20 years of marriage. They were not Catholics when they got married - however, got converted through the years and their children are Catholic. The woman wanted the divorce and it is now legal. The man is now very upset that he cannot receive Holy Communion, feels penalized, wants to change religion. Can you please advise what the correct teaching of the church is on divorced people receiving the Eucharist. - Mira 

Answer :  In the Catholic Church there is no divorce. What your friend has obtained is only a civil divorce. Before the Civil authorities they are divorced. However, before the Church they still remain married, unless they can show that their marriage was null. This requires a long process of inquiries and investigations by the Marriage Tribunal.  Civilly divorced people can receive Communion if they don't have relations with another man/woman. But if they divorced in order to join another partner, they cannot receive Communion, nor any other sacrament of the Church. This does not mean that the Church refuses them, they put themselves out of the Church. The Church continues to pray for them and invites them to the celebration of the Eucharist, but without receiving Communion. To hear the Word of God, the prayer of the Church, the hymns, to enjoy the friendship of other faithful are means to keep the divorced in contact with God and with the Community. I hope your friend will listen to the call of the Church.

Question:  A born again fallen-away Catholic couple approached me, they wanted to return to the Catholc pratice of faith - a year ago. I referred them to the priest: the 1st priest was busy so I consulted the 2nd priest, they were entertained and later turned-over to the 3rd priest of the same nationality. The 3rd priest gave the requirement for the sacrament of matrimony. Then nothing followed after. Bishop, does the church has a formation program for returning fallen-away Catholics? -  Edd

Answer :  Go back again to the priest or, if necessary, contact your Bishop.

Question:   Please let me know - why we believe that Jesus is seated at Gods Right hand and not left hand?
secondly presuming that you may be aware of plight of Christians in India - what do we mean forgiveness to persecutors, explain and how do we react in the face of this unjust violence.
- there are places where signs like- the statue of Jesus bleeds Mary bleeds, tears etc.  recently the statue of Jesus had water coming from one of the toes.  What do we conclude through this. - Niky

Answer  :   1) Right hand or left hand are the same. God has neither right nor left hand! It is a way of expressing the power of Jesus, Son of God. When you invite an important person to your table, you put him always at your right. In our human traditions the right side is the place of honor. Jesus is at the right hand of the Father (see Mt. 20:21; 22:44; Mc 14:62, 16:19, 1Pt 3,22, etc.) means that Jesus has power as the Father, he is God.

2) I remind you the commandment which is found only in Christianity: to love your enemies! Jesus says: You have heard how it was said: You will love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say this to you, love your enemies and pray for those who  persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven ..." (Mt 5:43-45. I invite you to read all this passage, Mt. 5:43-48).
3) Please, don't believe! Many times we replace a serious search for God with these foolishness.  Many times Satan uses these religious signs to mislead the people. Please, remain faithful to the teaching of the Church and not follow the masses; they are work of Satan! Even Medjugorie is in that line!

Question:  During the holy Mass there is a lot of noise coming from the chapel which is meant for parents with children. This disturbs the holy atmosphere in the Church. Is it possible to enclose the Chapel's windows with glass so that the noise does not get out and into the Church? - Peter

Answer :  You are right. Unfortunately we cannot enclose the chapel because of the Air conditioning system. However, parents should be much more attentive and responsible. Many times children cry or play and the parents do not do anything about it.  Sometimes it so happens that I myself, from the altar where I am celebrating Mass, have to ask the mothers to pay attention to their children who are making a very loud noise and they were not aware of it!  Even the ushers or the Eucharistic ministers don't pay attention to this, so much so that I have to send one of them to go to the chapel!   And that too when I am celebrating Mass!  I invite and request all parents, ushers and Eucharistic ministers to have a better sense of responsibility in order that we can all have a good celebration of the Eucharist with the community.

Question:  I am ashamed to say that I am a Catholic. I would like to suggest why don't you have Catechism of the Catholic Church classes for adults like me.  We thank God for the fire He has put in you. The Catholic Church in Kuwait is now taking its spiritual growth seriously. I pray sincerely that God will bring all your desires to pass.  I am also happy that the Salmiya Church is now given over to the Salesians of Don Bosco, most notably Fr. Tony. Your graciousness and liberty needs to be commended again - Agnelo

Answer :  We began Catechesis for adults in 2007 and in 2008. From that Catechesis two Neo-Catechumenal communities began, one in the Cathedral and one in Salmiya. This is not perhaps the Catechesis that you mean. It seems to me that you want a course of Catechesis. But initiatives like that don't last except for a few weeks. A Catechesis that speaks to the life of the person gives more guarantee of perseverance. However, the same Catechesis for adults will start again next year, in sha' Allah.

Question:   I am from Ahmadi parish.  Please could you explain if girls could be altar servers in Kuwait. We have seen young girls serving at the altar in Mumbai but never here in Kuwait.  Can we also form a children's choir in the parishes in Kuwait. The current choir leaders could be good mentors for the children and this will also be a good area of participation for the children during children's Mass - Agnel

Answer :  There is no Canon Law prohibiting a girl to be an altar server. But I prefer to keep only boys, for the moment. We have to take into consideration many different sensibilities.  A children's choir is already functional in the Cathedral during the Arabic Mass.

Question:  I am disturbed by the story in Mark 7:24-30.  A Gentile woman begs Jesus to heal her daughter who has a demon, and Jesus responds, "Let us first feed the children.  It isn't right to take the children's food and throw it to the dogs."  After her response ("Sir, even the dogs under the table eat the children's leftovers,") Jesus tells her to go home where she will find her daughter freed from the demon.  The lesson about faith is clear, but wasn't it unkind to call her a "dog"? - Jon

Answer :  The Canaanite (Syro-phoenician) Woman -  In Matthew 15 : 21ff; Mark 7 : 24 ff   Jesus is "gentle (sweet) and humble in heart" (see Mtt  11: 29) . This is his "normal policy and administration". This time appears as an outstanding exception. His apparent rudeness with the Canaanite "female" – He is not gentle with the "Gentile" woman!- does shock us, at a first glance. BUT , one has to bear in mind many elements:

-          The episode is related, both in Mt and Mk, after a bitter criticism – by Jesus - of the rabbinical tradition, of the Jewish mentality about clean and unclean food (see the preceding verses in both Gospels). Now, the wit and faith of a pagan female will be rewarded!!!

-          Since "all that has been written – has been written for our instruction" (see 1 Cor 10 : 11),  the Lord and the two Evangelists WANT us to learn a lot from the event - narrated in the most solemn – and crude – way by Mt and Mk!

-          At times, Jesus PROVOKES people in order to draw from their lips acts of faith and of humility.

-          Jesus had already used the "stratagem" (tactics) – namely being reluctant and resistant- with His own Mother at Cana of Galilee (Jn 2 : 1 -11), claiming simply that He did not want anything to do with the "problem" (the lack of wine), and asking discretely His Mother to stop worrying about a question which did not concern Her :"What concerns you and Me, Woman?" In other words, "It's their problem! None of our business!"

-          The HARSH words said by Jesus to the Syro-phoenician woman  are QUOTATIONS of the Jewish mentality and position, shared without any shadow of doubt by the very Apostles and Disciples! The Chosen People of the Old Covenant considered themselves as "the Children" and did not hesitate to describe pagans as "dogs" (Strack-Billerbeck, New Testament from talmud and Midrash, I, 722-25). In Mark, Jesus softens the "dogs" into "pups". So, Jesus is expressing the Jewish-rabbinical-disciples' position which- ultimately- He does not at all share. Had He done so, He would not have accepted to talk to the "pagan female" in the first place.

-          Jesus expressed also the CLAIM of the Jewish people (and of the Apostles and Disciples) that the Messiah came to them, for them. Jesus' Jewish contemporaries never hesitated to demand : "Physician, heal yourself" (= your own people). In Arabic a saying goes (inspired by a coranic text) : "the closest people  (family members, correligionaries, neighbors…) deserve to be served before the others" (al –aqraboon  awla  bil-ma'roof).

-          Jesus DID mean to tease and  provoke the "woman" who accepted all these humiliations. Deep down, she knew or felt about Jesus' power. Deep down and from all eternity, Jesus the Word (see Jn 1 : 1) knew the woman and her situation. At Cana, Jesus DID mean to disregard His Mother's request, to pretend He did not care and to refuse all miraculous intervention, a bit like here.

-          On both occasions, the feminine reaction was instructive and decisive –  NO surprise for Jesus, the all-knowing Word: the Virgin Mother imposed Her will, by a firm "fait accompli" (She asked the stewards to obey Jesus although He had no intention whatsoever to interfere, thus embarrassing Him, as a Woman knows to do!) and the Syro-phoenician woman gave such a witty reply ("the small dogs eat the leftovers which fall from the children's bread or table") that Jesus looked disarmed. BUT both reactions of both ladies had been foreseen by the Lord!

-          Another "lesson", good for the Jews in general, the Apostles- Disciples in particular, and to all "man" kind (the "male chuvinist"one!), WOMEN are less dull than one (in the rabbinical mentality) might think! Don't despise Women: they eventually get what they want, although they look so weak and, sometimes", "unclean" – because of some of their physiological circumstances. A French proverb asserts :"Ce que femme veut, Dieu le veut!" "What woman wants, God wants it"! (Napoleon used to say :"Cherchez la femme!", "Look for the woman!")

-           Perhaps we have here an example of the wit –which was characteristic of Jesus' milieu, in the framework  of didactic irony and  of "peasant good humor" rather than of a theological debate.

-          Another clear lesson and conclusion : pagans – even female pagans- are God's creatures and  can also be beneficiaries of God's wonders. BUT Jesus wanted a strong, deep and heroic act of faith, humility and courage from the woman. Compare in Jn 4 : Jesus provokes the Samaritan female sinner: "Call your husband!"

-          How gracious this miracle – the healing of the Canaanite woman's daughter- how rich the dialogue! Had Jesus performed it quickly and without reluctance, we would not have learned all these things!

Question:  Most respected Rev. Bishop Camilio, thanks to your support for all of us in making us to lead a holy Christian life here in Kuwait. I would like to pen down a small note regarding the Cross inside the church. I could see every parish has a big cross inside the church.. can't we put a huge cross inside the church to make people to feel Jesus, the holy sign in front of us instead of a small cross... I hope a tall cross inside the church would make people more powerful to pray, stay close to GOD - James

Answer  :  The cross that we have in the Cathedral is big enough. In fact, the center of attention in the church during the Eucharist is the Altar, outside of the Eucharist the center of attention is the Tabernacle. So, the cross should not draw too much attention and prayer of the people. More than that, you should know the very rich symbolism of the new cross that we put in the church.

Question: I have already signed a contract for me to work in Kuwait, however, that is not my problem.  I just want to ask if I work in Kuwait: can I bring a Bible, Rosary beads and Rosary instruction? just for my personal use.  I just want to bring a Bible written in my own language.  I don't want to be deported.  -  John Paul

Answer :  Don't worry, you can bring whatever you want, as religious personal articles.

Question: How is baptism expressed  through desire? likewise through blood? Can you cite any examples of those people who received Baptism in Christ through Blood and Desire? - Neome

Answer : Baptism of desire is for someone who desires to be baptized but dies without the Sacrament due to lack of opportunity. Usually this is for non-Christians who are on the verge of death.  Baptism of blood is martyrdom for Christ: wherein someone who dies a martyr for Christ, has been baptized by virtue of that martyrdom – whether they have been baptized by water or not.  Examples cannot be cited because those who receive baptism by desire or blood would have died without anyone knowing of it.

Question:  I appreciate all your efforts since you have taken-up as the Bishop of Kuwait.  The screen displaying the hymns, readings is OK during Mass, but all the prayers, are they necessary?  Are we as Christians not supposed to know our prayers by heart?  I have noticed that if there is a delay in  displaying the second page / continuation of a long prayer eg. the Creed, the people go dumb till the next page is shown on the screen.  Are the people not being spoon-fed with prayers.  Ramona

Answer :  The screen is there as an aid to the faithful and can help, but it cannot replace our memory. As individuals, we should be interested in prayer and be encouraged to learn them by heart so that we can recite them whenever the opportunity arises.

Question:  What is the symbol of wearing white in baptism? Is it a sign of victory or rejection of doing wrong things? Neome

Answer :  Baptism holds the first place among the sacraments, because it is the door of the spiritual life; for by it we are made members of Christ and incorporated with the Church.  White is used as a sign of purity - a sign that the newly-baptized should live his life with purity of faith (not to accept other teachings except the teachings of the Church), purity of heart, purity of behavior.

Question:  Is it good to read your horoscopes daily?  - Louie

Answer : Horoscopes as such are amusing things.  The problem is when you start to believe in what the Horoscope says and do what they ask you to.  Our life is led by God our Father, not by a combination of stars or by any Horoscope.

Question:  Your Lordship, congratulation for your appointment as Bishop of Kuwait.  my question is simply to know, who are the Christians in Kuwait ? are they foreigners or citizen of Kuwait? Michael

Answer : The Christians in Kuwait are around 400,000, among them between 300,000 and 350,000 are Catholics. They are Indians (majority), Filipinos (130.000), Sri Lankans, Bangladeshis, Koreans, Arabs and some Europeans. There are also 4 Kuwaiti Catholic families, but I think that they have no future. To serve these people we have 15 priests and three parishes.

Question:  Is there any biblical justification for the fact that saints in heaven can hear our prayers and pray for us ? If not, how is it justified? - Ann

Answer :  The biblical justification is in 1 Cor.15:22.   Just as all die in Adam, so in Christ all will be brought to life. Read the entire chapter 15.

Question:  I am not an opinionated and sentimental type person with regards to my faith. I am satisfied with the answer of my beloved Bishop Camillo about the images of Saints inside the Catholic Church. However, my question is how can we know that a Saint comes from a good family? And what is consumerism? - Neome

Answer :  It is not necessary that a saint must come from a good family. For example, St. Francis of Assisi hailed from a very rich family that was quite far from God. Many other saints came from non-Christian families, like St. Edith Stein, who died in Auschwitz in 1944.  St. Therese of the Little Jesus came from a very holy family, and her parents will be beatified next October. God has his own plans. The vocation to holiness is a personal vocation. Let us say that all of us are called to be saints, but only some of us live as saints and, among the millions of saints, only few of them are declared saints by the Church. The decoration of our churches is not beautified by the statues of the saints only but also by the flowers that we place on the altar. Millions of saints are like the flowers that make the altar beautiful, even though they are not declared saints by the Church.  Consumerism is when we base our life on worldly things and on what the world offers to us: money, amusements, easy life, wealth, popularity, power, etc.  Anyone who is attached to these things, becomes their slave and cannot follow God with all his heart.

Question: The question asked by Neome, has not been satisfactorily answered. How are we to know, how Jesus/ Mother Mary looked when there are numerous pictures/images in the market portraying him in the image we know him today! Veneration is totally different... we are talking about resemblance to the real Jesus... who is to know!! - Prashant

Answer : During the time of Jesus there were no photographers! So we cannot know how his face looked. An icon is not only an image but it is also the expression of faith of the painter. An icon can help us to pray. What is important is that the image helps us to pray, and not to see if it represents the real face that Jesus had 2000 years ago.

Question: Why can't the church be more strict with a decency in dress. We seem to venerate the Mother of God but don't even cover our heads when in the house of God! why is the church so lenient in these things? We indeed need a firm hand. See the people coming to your church: sleeveless, off-shoulder even children. There is no sanctity.  Even the communion day is a fashion parade with children so "made-up" worried about their picture that they are no longer innocent. Why isn't there a dress code for these functions! - Prashant

Answer : You are right. We have time and again informed the faithful to come to Church dressed appropriately. However, to strictly impose a dress code is infringing on the freedom of the individual.  People may feel offended and leave. What is needed in an individual is a deeper personal spiritual formation, which will then take care of the dress code.

Question:  What is catechumen oil and chrism oil? Why have they become part of baptism rite? Neome

Answer : The two oils have two different functions. Catechumen oil is used to liberate the person from Satan's dominion and is explained by the fact that they are regarded to a certain extent as being possessed by the devil until Christ should enter into them through baptism. The chrism oil is the gift of the Holy Spirit and it is used for baptism, confirmation and priestly and episcopal ordination.

Question: If ever can we celebrate the feast of Our Lady Of Arabia on 4th of July? - Neome

Answer :  I am preparing the texts for that Feast. However the date for the Feast has to be fixed together with the Congregation of the Cult and Divine Worship, Vatican.

Question:  Is it possible to have another Catholic Church in Jahara? Neome

Answer :  It is my dream too, but how? When? We will start a new presence of priests in Abbassiya but for the moment they will not have any church. Pray for us that we may fully realize our dreams.

Question: It has been five years since I have been praying for my sister to change her life and that she may come close to God.  But whenever I go to see her, I find her the same. There is no change in her.  She is leading a very bad life.  My family members tell me that all my prayers are of no use.  Should I stop praying to God for her? Each day I still pray for her to change her life. I still love her even though she is so bad.  What should I do now?  Is God not hearing my prayers? - Sheryl

Answer : God always hears our prayers. Just because He doesn't answer in the way that we want does not mean that He does not hear them, He has His own plan for your sister. Continue to pray without ceasing as the Psalmist says, don't abandon your prayer and entrust your sister in faith to the loving mercy of God.

Question:  Why do we give so much importance to St. Paul and his letters when he is a self proclaimed apostle who did not even have the priveleg of knowing Jesus personally.  Should not Peter be given this importance?  Why is this year dedicated to him? - Carmen

Answer :  This year is dedicated to St. Paul because, according to tradition, Paul was born 8 years after Jesus Christ. This is only a tradition, not a historical date. So, we are celebrating the 2000 years of his birth.  Paul did not appoint himself as an apostle but Jesus Christ appointed him. Paul wrote to the Galatians: From Paul, an apostle appointed not by human beings nor through any human being but by Jesus Christ and God the Father who raised him from the dead (Gal.1:1).  Peter is always the first of the Apostles, in all the Gospels.

Question:  Why do we worship and pray to idols when it is forbidden in the Holy Bible? Why is it that we christians wait for an excuse to print pictures (now recently of St. Paul), make idols or instruments of worship? Why cant we just be genuine about our faith and do it the old fashioned way? In this aspect, the Moslems are the closest to the Scripture than we christians because our faith practices changes with time and sadly Christianity or Pauline Christianity has not stood the test of time - Prashant

Answer :  The Catechism of the Catholic Church states : "The Christian veneration of images is not contrary to the first commandment which prohibits the worship of idols.  Indeed, 'the honor rendered to an image passes to its prototype,' and 'whoever venerates an image, venerates the person portrayed in it.'  The honor paid to sacred images is a 'respectful veneration', not the adoration which is due to God alone. (CCC 2132).
Therefore religious worship is not directed to images in themselves, considered as mere things, but under their distinctive aspect as images leading us on to God incarnate.  The movement toward the image does not terminate in it as image, but tends toward that whose image it is.  Since the Son of God became incarnate, Jesus Christ himself is the image of God the Father:  Whoever sees me, sees the one who sent me (Jn.12:45)

There is no a Pauline Christianity! Only Jesus Christ is the founder of Christianity, nobody else. Our rock is Jesus Christ.

Question:  Need Clarifications to the foll:  1-Jn 16:12-15 Jesus predicts that there will be another prophet who will come after him - Surely, he is not Paul, for Paul changed Christianity so much and invented his own system. Jesus believed and worshiped only one God and St. Paul taught us to believe in the Trinity!  Is Mohammed, the Muslim prophet predicted in the Bible? For only he, after all our saints etc led all to Jesus' teachings! For us, we are a confused lot: praying to Jesus, his mother, saints, etc - Prashant

Answer :  Jn.16:12-15 is not prophesying the coming of Paul or Mohammad, but only the coming of the Holy Spirit. Please, read the passage you have quoted.  The Most Holy Trinity is not an invention of Paul but a revelation made by Jesus Christ. See another answer to a similar question in this forum.

Question: Our Lord Jesus Christ has made bread and wine as his body and blood for us during Holy Thursday, but in the masses, while in the eucharistic celebration we are only given the bread and not the wine (except on some occasions), why is this, is there any special reason behind this??  If we receive only bread and not wine, does it not make that we receive only the body not the blood? (in many places in the scripture, blood is compared to life) can you please clear my doubt - Valanteena

Answer :  The Catechism of the Catholic Church states (no. 1390): Since Christ is sacramentally present under each of the species, communion under the species of bread alone makes it possible to receive all the fruit of Eucharistic grace. For pastoral reasons this manner of receiving communion has been legitimately established as the most common form in the Latin rite. But "the sign of communion is more complete when given under both kinds, since in that form the sign of the Eucharistic meal appears more clearly" (Missal no. 240).

Question: Who has introduced the dogma of the Trinity, when in fact Jesus himself in so many references in the bible does not confirm that he is a "God" and always points out to a higher being than him. This only goes to say that Jesus is not a God but a servant of God, a prophet.. Jesus always addresses himself as "Son of Man" and truly he is not the only son of God... so, are many in the Old testament & even us, today - Carmen

Answer : The Catechism of the Catholic Church says: Jesus revealed that God is Father in an unheard of sense: he is Father not only in being Creator; he is eternally Father by his relationship to his only Son, who, reciprocally, is Son only in relationship to his Father. "No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him (Mt.11:27). CCC no.240. About the Holy Spirit, the same CCC (no. 244) says: The eternal origin of the Holy Spirit is revealed in his mission in time. The Spirit is sent to the Apostles and to the Church both by the Father in the name of the Son, and by the Son in person, once he had returned to the Father (Cf. Jn.14:26; 15:26; 16:14). The sending of the person of the Spirit after Jesus' glorification (Cf. Jn.7:39) reveals in its fullness the mystery of the Holy Trinity.

Question:  Why is it we are putting images inside our church, is it really the same face of Jesus and Mary as well as the apostles and other saints? Neome

Answer : The Catechism of the Catholic Church states : "The Christian veneration of images is not contrary to the first commandment which prohibits the worship of idols.  Indeed, 'the honor rendered to an image passes to its prototype,' and 'whoever venerates an image, venerates the person portrayed in it.'  The honor paid to sacred images is a 'respectful veneration', not the adoration which is due to God alone. (CCC 2132).
Therefore religious worship is not directed to images in themselves, considered as mere things, but under their distinctive aspect as images leading us on to God incarnate.  The movement toward the image does not terminate in it as image, but tends toward that whose image it is.  Since the Son of God became incarnate, Jesus Christ himself is the image of God the Father:  Whoever sees me, sees the one who sent me (Jn.12:45)

Question: Who created the devil? Neome

Answer : In the beginning God created everything and he saw that it was good (Gen. 1:10). The Catechism of the Catholic Church says: Behind the disobedient choice of our first parents lurks a seductive voice, opposed to God, which makes them fall into death out of envy (Gen 3:1-5). Scripture and Church's Tradition see in this a fallen angel, called "Satan" or "devil" (Cf. John 8:44; Rev 12:9). The Church teaches that Satan was first a good angel, created by God. "The devil and the other demons were indeed created naturally good by God, but they became evil of their own doing" (Lateran Council IV - 1215).

Question: What we are to do if we have a friend who is a Catholic before but converted into Iglesia ni Kristo because of love with a woman who is an Iglesia ni Kristo from birth? Neome

Answer : Conversions for love are not sincere, nor stable. However, every one is free to embrace the religion he sees best. What we can do is pray for the person and give him our advise and our personal experience in the Catholic Church, if and when they accept it.

Question: Who are we to evangelize now a days? Neome

Answer : First of all yourself, then your family, your friends, those who work with you and those who are around you in your daily life.

Question:  Where is St. Joseph during the sacrifice of Jesus in the calvary? Neome

Answer : According to Bible scholars, St. Joseph was probably already dead at the time of the crucifixion. However, let us not forget that the Gospels are not the story of Jesus, they are a catechesis on his message. So the evangelists mention, of the life of Jesus only what they saw was necessary in order for us not to imagine that Jesus is a pure phantasm. Jesus was born at a precise time in history (Lk.2:1-4), he lived, suffered, died, was resurrected and ascended into heaven. These are the moments which the evangelists wanted to be specific on. The death of St. Joseph represents a detail which was not necessary in the preaching of the Gospel.

Question: Why is it that God singles out amputees from being healed but there are numerous cases of people with all other sorts of diseases healed instantly ? Why just amputees? - Anita

Answer : Everyday God performs many miracles, but almost all of them remain as the personal encounter of the people experiencing these miracles.  Every time a husband and wife or other people reconcile their differences, it is a miracle from God. I know of families where husband and wife have already decided to see a lawyer for a civil divorce, but God intervened in their lives and they reconcile.  So, even in others and in amputees as well, God works in the heart of the person and there He performs many miracles continuously.

Question: Dear Lordship thanks for all the time you spare to answer us. I want to know that if one had a drink (alcohol) and goes for mass can he receive communion? Can he enter the 'Blessed Sacrament', can he attend the 'Holy Hour'. I would appreciate to hear from you and clear my doubts and feel free. May God bless you Lordship with Wisdom and Strength to serve the people who beleive in Jesus. And I pray that God may fill you all the time with the Holy Spirit. - Elias

Answer :  Jesus said: Can't you see that nothing that goes into someone from outside can make that person unclean, because it goes not into the heart but into the stomach and passes into the sewer? (Thus he pronounced all foods clean). And he went on. It is what comes out of someone that makes that person unclean. For it is from within, from the heart, that evil intentions emerge: fornication, theft, murder, adultery, avarice, malice, deceit, indecency, envy, slander, pride, folly. All these evil things come from within and make a person unclean (Mk 7,18-23). Therefore, it is not alcohol as such that is forbidden but the abuse of alcohol, to become slave of it so that it dominates you and your life. The Church, to help the faithful to receive Holy Communion in a more proper way, established some regulations. I wrote them in my pastoral letter 2007-2008. You can read it on our website. These regulations say:

1.      Fast and Abstinence are prescribed for Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, limited to the ages between 21 to 60.

2.     Abstinence is prescribed as a general rule for every Friday in Lent, applicable to the age of 14 onwards. But for particular circumstances in the Vicariate of Kuwait, Abstinence is to be observed on Wednesday in Lent. Out of devotion Abstinence may be observed during the year every Wednesday.

Eucharistic Fast: The faithful must abstain from solids and liquids for one hour before receiving Holy Communion. This regulation is applied to Masses celebrated in the morning, afternoon, evening or at midnight. Water does not break the fast. Those who are sick, even though not confined to bed, may take any liquid or food as medicines at any time before Holy Communion without asking permission.

Question:  Why aren't Christians united (or one)?
[Continue here for the answer from the Bishop]

Question: I have a query regarding our departed souls and also giving masses for them.  We all know that Christ, Our Saviour came to save us from our sins and promised us all eternal life, which he has.  Then why do we have to offer masses for our departed souls?  Why do we need to give masses for the souls in purgatory?  Can you please put to rest my confusion? - Maria

Answer:  The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines purgatory as a "purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven," which is experienced by those "who die in God’s grace and friendship, but are still imperfectly purified" (CCC 1030). It notes that "this final purification of the elect . . . is entirely different from the punishment of the damned" (CCC 1031).  The purification is necessary because, as Scripture teaches, nothing unclean will enter the presence of God in heaven (Rev. 21:27) and, while we may die with our mortal sins forgiven, there can still be many impurities in us, specifically venial sins and the temporal punishment due to sins already forgiven.   Thus the souls in Purgatory are in need of our prayers to be purified. At their death they received their judgment from God and now they cannot pray for themselves. We can pray for them also and not only offer Masses.  They too can pray for us and they surely do. So, in this prayer for each other we realize the unity of the Church on earth and in heaven.

Question:  Dear Bishop Camillo, Thank you very much for your response to my numerous queries.  I truly appreciate your time and effort in clarifying and explaining each query. I do not need logic or substantiation to my Christian faith or for my belief that Jesus Christ is my God and redeemer.  I believe that my Christian faith is living and is my main life line. Nevertheless,  it is very important for us ordinary Christians, who do not have other than the Holy Bible, to actually refer to and take correct knowledge and guidance from people of God, like yourself, to some of the unexplained beliefs and practices that are widely practiced by Catholics in general and are not practiced by other Christian denominations.
[Continue here for the question and answer from the Bishop]

Question:  I thank you for your Pastoral Letter 2007 - 2008 – Eucharistic Amazement, and although I am a practicing Christian and read the holy Bible once in the morning and once before I go to bed at night, I wish to have some authentic clarifications on the  following:

1. What is Water Baptism - and how is it different from the Baptism that is practiced in the Catholic church.  Why is it called Baptism of the Holy Spirit and being Born Again by the Evangelic Church – The Light House church of Pastor Gerry Zandrast?  2. Why was Jesus Christ baptized by John the Baptist in the river Jordan when Jesus was the son of God?  3. The Rosary - who invented it?  4. The Rosary prayers - where are they mentioned in holy Bible?  5. Who invented the Stations of the Cross that we observe during Lent?  6. What is Charismatic, Catechist and Catechism?  7. The first 5 books of Moses in the Old Testament are part of the TORAH - the holy Book of the JEWS - why is it in the Christian holy Bible?  I would appreciate your clarifications and response.

Answer: [Continue here for a detailed explanation from the Bishop]

Question:  Is it during the season of Lent that we should say the Sorrowful Mysteries everyday?  Or do we say our mysteries like we normally do....  I have also realised that we no longer strike our breast when we say the I confess?why is that? - Gomes

Answer:  During Lent we can either recite only the sorrowful mysteries or as usual all the mysteries. The Rosary is a private prayer, so there is no official rule from the Church about it.  Personally, I prefer to say all the mysteries as usual because we have to contemplate on the life of Jesus and not only on one part of it. Even during Lent we should meditate on His birth and other aspects of His life. The mystery of Jesus has to be contemplated in a complete vision, with the help of all the mysteries and at all times of the year.  No one has stopped you from striking your breast when saying the Confiteor, there are many who do it and even the celebrant at Mass does it.

Question:  Recently Our Church Deacon blessed my car upon my request. I was not aware that he was not a priest until recently. Do I have to bless my car again?  Is it right for our Deacon to give the last blessing after Holy Mass and can he wear a priest robe since he can be mistaken for a priest like I was mistaken. - Peter

Answer:  A Deacon can not only bless a car but he can also bless a marriage and conduct a Baptism. So, there is no need for you to bless the car again. A Deacon has this authority. However, I would like to remind you that the blessing of the car (or of a house or an office) is not addressed to the car itself (or to the house or the office) but to the persons who will use the car (the house or the office). After blessing, your car is no better than before, nor more sacred. You should be more sacred, more near God, you should thank God Who gave you the means to buy a car. Please, don't put a relationship between God and a car, but between God and you!

Question:  I believe I am a sinner and I want to return to God through prayers but whenever I start praying, bad thoughts come to my mind which are forcing me to sin against the Almighty.  I just feel that someone really trys to stop me from praying. I am having a horrible time, can you help me? what should I do to be successful in prayers?  By looking at my past I feel may be God does not want me near Him.  Please help me - Cajetan

Answer:  If you feel you had lead a bad past, reconcile yourself with God with a good confession.  Don't worry about the "bad thoughts" that come to you during your prayer. These are seeds of distraction sown by Satan who doesn't want you to pray. What is important is not that you pray well, but that you give to God your special time of prayer. Even though after 15 minutes of prayer you feel that you didn't pray, don't worry, what is important is that you have decided to dedicate at least 15 minutes to God daily. God will help you and be with you. He is your Father!

Question:  Please could you encourage all your churches to pray for Zimbabwe, the situation is deteriorating.  We had elections on 29th March the goverment lost the parliamentary seats and is withholding the presidential results - no one knows what is going on but there is fear and anxiety - our only weapon was peace and the ballot box we have no power against the might of the army please pray for us - Nontando

Answer:  I pray for you and invite all our faithful to be in communion with you and your country in their prayers. Courage! God loves you!

Question:  Can you give an explanation of the letters "I N R I" that appear on the cross Jesus was crucified on - Jaison 

Answer:  The letters "INRI" are initials for the Latin title that Pontius Pilate had written over the head of Jesus Christ on the cross (John 19:19). Latin was the official language of the Roman Empire. The words were "Iesvs Nazarenvs Rex Ivdaeorvm." Latin uses "I" instead of the English "J", and "V" instead of "U" (i.e., Jesus Nazarenus Rex Judaeorum). The English translation is "Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews."  The Early Church adopted the first letters of each word of this inscription "INRI" as a symbol. Throughout the centuries INRI has appeared in many paintings of the crucifixion.  Pilate's title for Christ was actually written in three languages.
And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross. And the writing was, JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS. This title was read by many of the Jews: for the place where Jesus was crucified was near to the city: and it was written in Hebrew, and Greek and Latin. Then said the chief priests of the Jews to Pilate, "Write not, 'The King of the Jews;' but that he said, 'I am King of the Jews'." Pilate answered, "What I have written I have written". (John 19:19-22)

Question: I have a small suggestion and I don't know if I am correct but always wanted to tell someone in our Church but hesitated, however, as you are so kind to go thru the mails and reply so promptly I really felt positive about our Church. I really thank you and may God bless you for such a good gesture of yours to reply to the mails. I felt so happy to see your mail in my inbox as if God has written these words for me...... I really mean it, a confidence within myself that someone is there at our Church to whom we can approach for our needs. Really may God bless you......

I am a resident in Kuwait since 11 years. I was here in a sort of girls hostel before marriage where all the others were Christians, but from different denominations. All had membership in their churches but I felt when we were in India we were a member of a Catholic Church and we used to contribute money towards the Church on a monthly basis. But in Kuwait why don't we have any legal paper stating that we are the members of the Church and why is there no fee for the same as a monthly subscribtion for members. Our Church has thousands of people who can contribute towards it every month if a monthly fee is charged as members and there are a lot of people who are really in need of money if the Church does not require it why can't the Church give it to the needy people. If the Church has less people for handling these matters, why can't some people voluntarily work at the Church to manage these things. Other Churches have Directories of their members so why can't we have one in order that people can call each other at the time of need as there are so many doctors, so many managers, and so many people in good posts who could be of help. Being a Catholic we can always contribute towards each other in what ever ways we can. A Directory will always help to know one another more specifically at the time of need. When I see the other people getting a call from their priest early in the morning on their birthday and anniversary day and the priest wishes them and says a small prayer, I really feel why am I a Catholic. No one in my Church bothers about me.... on my special days. It is like asking your mother and father to present you something on your birthday rather than they wishing us. I know we have so many people but for the members who have enrolled themselves in the Church if not a call, a SMS or an email message, a birthday wish from our Church and our priests would be nice. Why can't our Church hire some people for these tasks......... we really need this. Bishop ............ Atleast once in a month one or two Masses could be offered for those celebrating birthdays and anniversaries. I don't know if I am correct or not, but many a times I regret that I am a part of Catholic Church as there is no belongingness. As a Catholic we only do one duty, that is coming once a week to the Church as we feel that atleast we have one Church of our own so we can go attend Mass any time at our convenience. After I saw your initiative and approach in the Pastoral letter and towards the mail, I felt you really wish us to be united. I heard you speaking at the one day Retreat at Abbasiya telling us that many people are going here and there and many are moving away from our Catholic faith. I really felt you are such a good person who gave a very sincere message as our own father.... to us... if one of us leaves how much bad the Church feels etc... I was touched by your words... I hope and I am confident that you will surely reply to me. Father, I am not very smart but can always help you if you require any sort of help.... like typing, coordinating etc... - One of your Parishoners

Answer: Thanks a lot for your long letter which I read with pleasure.  Normally we don't give any certificate of belonging to the Catholic Church, except when this is required from the State authorities or for some specific purposes, like marriage. What is important is not to have in your pocket a paper certifying that you are Catholic but to have this in your heart and to show this in your behavior, especially when you are required to identify yourself before other people. Personal witness is much more important than a written certification.

I know that in many churches there is a monthly subscription.  I don't like to raise help for the Church in this way. I don't want to "oblige" somebody to pay. Perhaps a person can pay for sometime, then, due to his/her personal situation, he/she may not be able to, and in this case he/she may not to come to Church because their subscription has not been paid. I prefer to leave people free. Of course, the Church is in need of the financial participation of the people, but this should come from the generosity of the people and not by any kind of moral imposition from us. In this way, we are still alive! God, who helps us to be here for you all, is always working in the heart of the poor people.  Our Church is helping very many poor people. We cannot say whom we help, nor can we "publish" the amount we spend every year for the poor. But, be sure that we are helping a lot. Besides that, I always allowed the different associations to raise funds for the poor in India or in the Philippines etc. I know that the possibilities of our faithful are limited, so when they offer money to an association, they cannot offer (or they give much less) to the Church through the collections made during the Masses. So, to allow associations to ask for money means to have less money in the collections of the Church. Therefore, this is another way that we help the poor, through our associations.

The sense of belonging is very important. You express a very deep need: to be a community, where every one is known by the other. Other Churches are very small in comparison with our Church, where we have more than 300,000 faithful. However, we try to do our best. I personally have a long list of e-mail addresses and telephones and dates of birthday or marriages (dates of death included!) and normally I reach to these people on their special days. For example, at Christmas I received more than 100 e-mails and many SMS. I answered every one of them. I answer every one who writes to me or sends me an SMS, no one will remain unanswered by me personally. Also, I accept invitations to visit those who ... invite me. To appoint a secretary for that, as you suggest, is not the answer. It then becomes more official and impersonal with people, meanwhile people need a personal relationship with their Bishop and their priests. But, seeing the number of our faithful, it is impossible, in spite of my good will, to reach out to everybody, even though I am willing to extend my list. So, what to do? I encourage people to become members of one of the many pastoral groups that exist in every one of our three parishes. Meetings in a smaller group facilitates more personal relationships among the members. These groups are inserted in the parish, so as to have on one hand a belonging to the Catholic Church and on the other hand a more personal relationship with the others, thanks to these small groups of people who form a particular group. You may find: Charismatic groups, Jesus Youth, Neo-Catechumenal community, Legio Mariae, choir groups, Couples for Christ, Al-Shaddai, Faith and Light. Here people know each other and the sense of belonging to the Catholic Church is felt much more. If you join one of these groups you may find what you are looking for: a community! Thanks a lot for your availability to help me in the secretarial tasks. I shall take into account your proposal. God bless you.

Question: How many  times can a person receive Holy Communion each day? I attended a regular  Mass in the morning at City Church and then went to a special Mass in the evening at Salmiya Chapel,   but I was not sure whether I should have received the second time.  Joseph

Answer: Communion is an essential part of the Eucharist. When you participate at a Mass, you should do it in a complete and active way, with receiving Communion too. If you have reason to participate at a second Mass on the same day, then for that same reason you can also receive Communion. But, at the same time, I suggest that one Mass per day is quite enough. If you want to pray more, try to use other prayers. Perhaps you may feel that attending a second Mass may give you more time to pray specially if you don't know what kind of prayers to say. So, you may feel it is easier for you attend a second Mass, where every thing is already scheduled, than to make an effort for a more personal prayer. Personal prayer is extremely important to prepare yourself to attend Mass with all your heart and to thank God after Mass for what He has told you (through His Word) and done for you during the Mass. Mass is not merely a prayer, it is a participation in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on Calvary, it should be the center of your day; its readings should echo in your heart during the day. It is therefore better for your spiritual life to attend only one Mass per day and to more time in personal prayer in preparation for the Eucharist or as a thanksgiving for it.

Question:  1.  Why is it that the Patriarchs --  Abraham, Isaac, Jacob etc. and the Prophets -- Isaiah etc. are not called Saints like Peter, Paul etc.?  2.  We have seen practicing Catholics fall victim to black magic even though they did not take part in any such thing.  People resort to it due to jealousy/for revenge etc.  Why does a practicing Catholic get sick/become alcoholic etc. due to this black magic and how can it be overcome?  Are there any special prayers/ritual etc. by the Church for this? - Juliana

Answer:  1)  The Church does believe in the Old Testament Books as revealed and inspired by God. But the personages, even the holy ones, are children of their time, mentality, milieu and pre-Christian period, which means that the Christian Spiritual and Moral perfection, incarnated in Christ, as Supreme Model (Mt 11 : 27 ff.) and, much less perfectly, in the Apostles after the Pentecost (For St. Paul, see l Cor 11 : 1) was not available nor possible for them. Yet, for their time and milieu, they were holy people. For us, those holy personages were people of God's, but with some limits.
St. Peter (1 P 3 : 18 - 21) states that all the souls of the Righteous were held in prison until the visit of Crucified Christ , at the eve of His glorious Resurrection. After that, they were untied, set free.
However, the Church logically takes the Model of Holiness and Criteria provided by Christ's Deeds and Teachings, and, at an inferior level, those of the Virgin Mary, Saint Joseph and the Apostles and other Disciples and holy men and women.
The Church does celebrate the Nativity and the martyrdom of John the Baptist, the fore-runner of the Lord, John, the greatest among those born from women, however the least in the Kingdom, meaning the baptized Christian, is greater than he. The Church also celebrates the feast of "the grandparents of the Lord" SS. Joachim and Ann, on July 28. (At the beginning of July a Feast of St. Ann is also recorded).
In the Jerusalem Diocese, in the Latin rite, "proper" Feasts and Masses are celebrated for: 'those of the holy Patriarchs and Prophets", in general; even St. David has his feast. We say "even" as his adultery with Bethsabea was no secret, and his penance was great (Psalm 51 (50).
So, in brief, the Church ”canonizes" saints according to the criteria of Christ, the Apostles, the Tradition and the Magisterium of the Church, after either a popular consensus ("Vox populi, vox Dei", meaning "the voice of the people is God's voice") or - recently - after a minute examination of the candidates' life, heroic virtues and miracles. A real court is set in the Vatican, and the "devil's advocate" tries his best to eliminate the candidates!
On the other hand, we do not know many things about most of the personages of the Old Testament. One may not overlook the difference - nor the discrepancy- between some of their behaviors and Christian ethics: for example the lie of Abraham about his wife, who he claimed to be his sister; the craftiness of Jacob...
To be concrete and practical: since Saints are models for our lives, the Christian Saints not only suit our evangelical Christological mentality and meet our need for Christian perfection  but we do find some problem in many "holy personages" of the Old Testament. So, let us take their light - not dark - sides. See the Letter to the Hebrews, chapters 11 and 12.

2) To practice black magic or to become alcoholics is a sign that the person has big problems in his/her life and he/she does not trust God enough as his/her Father. Black magic has no power at all on any body. God is stronger than any kind of magic and He is the Father of all his children. So, those who practice these things  should be helped to discover God as a Father who loves them. Perhaps what we provide in the church is not enough for such people, they need more. Our Vicariate has many possibilities for that:  prayer groups, associations, neo-catechumenal community, etc. Encourage everybody to join something useful for the betterment of their life.  Special prayers and rituals are not the solution, even though prayer is always important to overcome adversaries. We should however never respond to black magic with another Christian ritual but rather by re-discovering God as our loving Father and trusting in His love and grace.

Question:  I would like to know how the dates for Easter and Ash Wednesday are calculated. - Cora

Answer:  At the beginning, the Church, departing from Jerusalem, used to celebrate the Christian Passover, the Feast of the Lord's Resurrection three days after the Jewish Passover, Pessach, three days after the 14 of Nissan. Needless to say that every Sunday is the weekly celebration of Christ's Resurrection.  Later, especially in the Niceae Council (325 A.D.) the Church was keen on distancing itself from the Jewish Passover and Calendar for the following reasons (at  least):

1- The Jewish calendar- actually the Jewish year- is incomplete. As a matter of fact a second month of "Adar" is added every seven years or so.

2- The Church wished that the yearly celebration of the Lord's Resurrection be always ON A SUNDAY, being "the first day of the week" (in Hebrew : yom rishon) of the new creation, and in Greek "He  KYRIAKE", "the day of the Lord" par excellence. (In Armenian : Gyragy').  So, the Nicea Fathers decided that the "Sunday of the Resurrection" (as the name "Easter" is used only in anglo-saxon countries, since the eighth century A.D.) BE THE FIRST SUNDAY AFTER THE EQUINOX OF THE SPRING, or : first Sunday after the FULL MOON of the Spring, namely the first Sunday after the 21st of March. And if the equinox-full moon falls on the 21st of March, Easter should be celebrated on the following Sunday.

As Jesus fasted for FORTY days, and as He asked us to follow His example in general, and as He prophesied (Mt 9 :14 - 15)  that his disciples, people of the Wagging, would mourn and fast while the "Bridegroom will be lifted up from them" (on the Cross), the Church started with a three day fasting, the holy Triduum before Easter. But, since Jesus fasted BEFORE His ministry, Lent was fixed after Christmas , Epiphany and the Baptism in River Jordan.(Mt II and IV).

The ROMAN CATHOLIC Church (and many Protestant denominations) start Lent 46 days before EASTER, excluding SUNDAYS from fasting and abstinence (we have six Sundays in this period), and so Lent always starts on a WEDNESDAY, Ash Wednesday. This year (2008), it is on Wednesday Feb. 6, and Easter is on March 23. The Oriental (even Catholic) Churches, have TWO FASTING times in this period : LENT (forty days) + the Holy Week.  Even on Sundays they hold fasting and abstinence - which makes them start Lent ON A MONDAY (this year on Feb. 4, two days before our Ash Wednesday). Apparently the AMBROSIAN RITE follows this practice also, as Lent starts on the Monday before our Ash Wednesday.

As for the Orthodox Churches, following the Julian calendar - which has a delay of 13 days in relation to the Gregorian one, the Feast of the Resurrection follows the same rule: it should fall on the FIRST SUNDAY after THEIR 21 March (=+13 days), after the full moon (equinox also) of Spring.  As a matter of fact, there are many answers which are NOT theological but rather astronomical, in relation to the date of Easter. The Orthodox Church (outside the Middle East) follows the Catholic Gregorian calendar for the FIXED feasts, but for Easter it (i.e. the Orthodox) keeps the Julian calendar.

Question: What exactly does the Anointing of the Sick do? I had it several times and nothing happened. When one dies, is this the same anointing? Does it take away mortal and venial sins away? And is the Apostoloc Pardon still given at death? - Charles R.

Answer:  The Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church says: This sacrament confers a special grace which unites the sick person more intimately to the Passion of Christ for his good and for the good of all the Church. It gives comfort, peace, courage, and even the forgiveness of sins if the sick person is not able to make a confession. Sometimes, if it is the will of God, this sacrament even brings about the restoration of physical health. In any case this Anointing prepares the sick person for the journey to the Father's House (no. 319). This sacrament is for the sick, not for those who are about to die. For these people there is the Viaticum. The same document says: Viaticum is the Holy Eucharist received by those who are about to leave this this earthly life and are preparing for the journey to eternal life. Communion in the Body and Blood of Christ who died and rose from the dead, received at the moment of passing from this world to the Father, is the seed of eternal life and the power of Resurrection (no. 320).

Question: Dear Bishop Ballin, Greetings from Canada - I am writing to ask whether the Vicariate may be interested in my doing presentations in Kuwait on: Stem cells: the science and the ethics; Embryo technology: experimenting with humans; New Reproductive Technology: designing humans; the abortion - breast cancer link. I have lectured on biomedical ethics in Canada, the U.S. and internationally. I have spoken in numerous Catholic high schools, in parishes, and delivered the homily once. I use "Evangelium Vitae", and often refer to Fr. Euteneuer's "Human Life International". I believe the pill is an abortifacient, that life begins at conception, and embryonic stem cell research is unethical. My worldview is biblical. For your knowledge, I have been an evangelical protestant for 47 years. I trust this will not disqualify me. (I regard the Catholic positions on the sanctity of life as the most well-thought out). I could approach the local bishop here for a possible endorsement for the purpose of lecturing to your community. - Clement Persaud, Ph.D.

Answer: Dear Dr. Persaud: Thank you for your message and your good proposal. You know that these issues are particularly sensitive in our society and touches our Christian faith directly and my mission is to keep this faith sound. So do not be offended if I must make sure that everything you present is in line with the doctrine and the teachings of the Catholic Church on this matter as I do not want to create confusion in the moral life or the faith of our people. If your understanding of these biomedical issues are the same as that of the Catholic Church and if a Catholic Bishop in Canada can introduce (recommend) you to me, I would not hesitate to introduce your program into our Marriage Preparation Course in the Vicariate of Kuwait. God bless you.

Question: Please confirm if the new Family Register Book has to be sealed and signed by the Parish Priest.  How can I know the dates of Confirmation for my child? - Ivy

Answer: It is better, or even necessary, that it be signed by the parish priest. In order to know the dates of Confirmation of your child (if they were Confirmed in Kuwait), please contact Fr. Joseph or Fr. Dominic or Fr. Melvin.

Question:  I really wonder why the prayers in the Mass for us the Laity keep changing. I especially dislike how they changed my favorite "Gloria" into just repeatedly singing "Glory to God" many times. Sometimes I have to pray silently by myself "Glory to God in the Highest ..." but with the loud voices of the choir, I get lost in praying my "Gloria" to God. It seems the essence of our prayers are lost in this way. Also, I wonder why we don't strike our breast anymore when we say "Lamb of God....". - Rudy

Answer: You are right! When we sing a Liturgical Hymn, the text should be the same of the Liturgy.  I shall pay more attention to that.

Question: I hope and pray to God that the answer to my question is a positive NO.  Is our Church going to be demolished due to the construction of the flyover ? My family and I are very worried that our Blessed Church may be shifted to another place and we pray that this will never happen.   May God bless you and our Church - Peter

Answer:  In any case, our church will not be demolished by the flyover.  The last time I met the Governor of Kuwait City and the Minister at the Kuwait Municipality. Both told me that the church will never be moved. For some reasons: 1) It is now a historical monument for Kuwait, since it has been there for more than 40 years! 2) Our church is not only a normal church but it is also the Cathedral! The seat of the Bishop and the reference point for teaching and for worship for all the Catholics in Kuwait. A Cathedral is not like any other church. 3) The land has been given by the Al-Salem ruling family. I hope that these reasons will be strong enough to avoid any adventure to our beloved Cathedral, in sha' Allah! (God willing).  I have presented to both, the Governor and the Minister of the Municipality a plan on how to solve the problem of the traffic in our area without removing the Cathedral. God help us! The Virgin Mary intercede!

Question: Is it true that once a person is baptized in the Catholic Church, he/she remains baptized till the end even if they change their religion later in life? - Juliana

Answer:  Yes, it is true. Once baptised we are children of God forever. God is not like us. We may abandon our children, God cannot. He is our faithful Father for ever!

Question: Is it right that according to our belief, all those who have bid adieu to the world so far have been judged and are in heaven / hell already ? If so , what  is the judgement during the second coming of Jesus for? - Ann

Answer: The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches us on the subject of the Last Judgment as follows:-
1038 The resurrection of all the dead, "of both the just and the unjust," will precede the Last Judgment. This will be "the hour when all who are in the tombs will hear [the Son of man's] voice and come forth, those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment." Then Christ will come "in his glory, and all the angels with him. . . . Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate them one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will place the sheep at his right hand, but the goats at the left. . . . And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."

1039 In the presence of Christ, who is Truth itself, the truth of each man's relationship with God will be laid bare.  The last Judgment will reveal even to its furthest consequences the good each person has done or failed to do during his earthly life:

All that the wicked do is recorded, and they do not know. When "our God comes, he does not keep silence.". . . he will turn towards those at his left hand: . . . "I placed my poor little ones on earth for you. I as their head was seated in heaven at the right hand of my Father - but on earth my members were suffering, my members on earth were in need. If you gave anything to my members, what you gave would reach their Head. Would that you had known that my little ones were in need when I placed them on earth for you and appointed them your stewards to bring your good works into my treasury. But you have placed nothing in their hands; therefore you have found nothing in my presence."

1040 The Last Judgment will come when Christ returns in glory. Only the Father knows the day and the hour; only he determines the moment of its coming. Then through his Son Jesus Christ he will pronounce the final word on all history. We shall know the ultimate meaning of the whole work of creation and of the entire economy of salvation and understand the marvelous ways by which his Providence led everything towards its final end. The Last Judgment will reveal that God's justice triumphs over all the injustices committed by his creatures and that God's love is stronger than death.

1041 The message of the Last Judgment calls men to conversion while God is still giving them "the acceptable time, . . . the day of salvation." It inspires a holy fear of God and commits them to the justice of the Kingdom of God. It proclaims the "blessed hope" of the Lord's return, when he will come "to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at in all who have believed."

Question: Can you please tell me which are the days of obligation in the year, that we must observe - Marcelle

Answer:  Special Days of Obligation in the Vicariate of Kuwait are:      a)    All Catholics:  1.   Christmas (25 December)        2.      Assumption (15 August) 

b)       For Special Rites: 1.      Syro-Malabars (3 July: St. Thomas) 2.      Syro-Malankara (8 September: Birth of the Virgin Mary)  3.     Maronites (9 February: St. Maroun)

Special Days out of Devotion: 1. St Mark (25 April) for the Coptic-Catholics  2. St. Peter and Paul (29 June)       3. All Saints (1st November)

Question:  How long should one offer Masses for the soul of a departed loved one - Mrs. Fernandes

Answer: We should always pray for our departed loved ones and offer Masses for their souls. Our prayer is not only for our friends but it is also useful for all those who have died and who have no one to pray for them. Don't think about your beloved ones only, pray for all the departed. God likes us to pray for all because in that way we show him that we love all our brothers, not only our relatives/friends. When God finds love in our heart, He is extremely pleased, because He sent His Son for this very purpose: to bring us the love of God!

Question: I read your Lordships comment about the Catholic and other editions of Holy Bibile.  I would like to know if the Bible published by International Bible Society is approved by the Church - Thomas

Answer: Yes, it is approved by the Church however, it does not contain the 7 books which the Catholic Church considers inspired,  and which the Protestant Churches do not consider and so they are not included in this edition. It is better to have a Catholic Edition of the Bible. According to us it is more "complete".  In order to identify the Catholic edition of the Bible look for the 'Imprimatur' and 'Nihil Obstat' which will appear on the first pages of the Bible.

Question: Why is the healing service are not conducted during the night vigil now?  We kindly request to start this service again. - Jose

Answer: Healing service is a wrong expression and can mislead the people. People may come not to pray but to be healed! We retained the same prayers but we don't call it "healing service" but rather "Intercessions". We ask God to help the sick people but we do not want to ensure healing, in the literal sense that the expression "healing service" is understood. We must not joke with health! The most important thing in our life is not to be healed but to do the will of God.

Question: I had heard that recently the Vatican accepted the belief that Jesus is not the only way to Heaven...Is this true? and how so if it is - Liz 

Answer: NO!  It is not true. Jesus is our only way to Heaven. We cannot go to the Father except through Jesus: I am the Way; I am the Truth and Life. No one can come to the Father excepth through me (Jn 14,6).

Question:  What about the saints, we venerate them, and ask them to pray to Jesus.  Isn't that like intermediates when the Bible says in John 14:6 Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."  What about  kissing  and touching their pictures that we do, and praying before it - Ann 

Answer: The unique mediator is Jesus Christ. In the Catholic Church we believe that the saints, and first of all the Blessed Virgin Mary, have the role of intercessors by Jesus Christ and through him to the Father. They were with us and like us, now they are in heaven with God. They remain our relatives, friends, etc. whatever they were for us in this world. Why should they ignore us now? So their intercession is precious for us but it is always in Jesus Christ and through him, the unique mediator with the Father.   We can express our affection or gratitude to the saints with kissing and touching their image, but many times people do this in a very pagan manner. It is not the kiss or the touch which brings you the intercession of a saint but your prayer coming from your faith in God the Father. When we ask the intercession of the Virgin Mary or of a saint we should first of all ask for their help so that we do the will of God in our lives. Jesus said: Set your hearts on his kingdom first, and on God's saving justice, and all these other things will be given you as well (Mt 6,33).

Question: It is my pleasure to visit and read the Bible readings everyday on the site.  But my suggestion is if it is in Arabic language it will be easier for me, (if possible). Especially we are in Arabian country.  I agree with you that most of the people, who visit the church, are Indian and the Philippine nationalities and they take the big place at the church, but you should take care of the Arabian nationalities - Heba

Answer: This is the link, where you can find the Catholic Bible in Arabic   We will also link it to our web-site.

Question: I would appreciate to know in what conditions are the Catholic schools in your country. I have read that they are in expansion and that in countries as Jordan there is a great application of this type of schools. Such structures seem to decrease instead in the countries industrialized as it also shows the recorded negative trend in 2006 in USA.  I have read that many Arabs as the journalist Magdi Allan, have studied in Europe from Jesuit monks. Now in the Catholic schools in the Arabic countries the young Moslems can directly study in these schools, remaining in their country of origin.  The Catholic schools are an example for study and education, considering that in the Italian public schools there are by now many vandals. Do you have intention to numerically increase the Catholic schools in the your country? If in the future you increase the number of schools I am available to also work in your country as personal administrative - Elisabetta

Answer: The situation of the so called Catholic schools in Kuwait is not easy at all. For example, we must teach the Koran but we cannot teach Catechism to our Christian students. Another problem is the very high expenses for a school. Millions of dollars are first requested for a land or for building a school. And then there are other problems.   In Kuwait we have three schools run by three religious congregations. The Vicariate has no responsibility over them and I don't think we will open a school in the name of the Vicariate. It is too expensive and we don't have the money.

Question: My name is Josephine and I belong to Sacred Heart Parish, Bahrain.  One of our Praesidium is named as OUR LADY OF ARABIA, in this regard we would be anxious to know when is the feast celebrated and when should we start the novena.  Also if you can send us a copy of the Novena, we will be very grateful. Thanks  for your assistance - Josphine

Answer: The Parish of Ahmadi has for its patroness Our Lady of Arabia and goes under the title of the Church or Our Lady of Arabia. It is my desire that Our Lady of Arabia be the patroness of our entire Vicariate of Kuwait, but until now we have not decided the date of her feast. Please visit our website and we shall post the Feast date when it is known.  The Novena is also hosted on our web-site.

Question: I am from Muscat, Oman and I intend to apply for marriage annulment because the person whom I married never mentioned to me that he was involved with another woman (non-Catholic).  Later I got to know that he married her in the Temple without my knowledge.  I have sought advice from the Church and was told that the procedure for marriage annulment takes two years.  I would like to understand what needs to be done to get the procedure done faster - Flower 

Answer: I am the Vicar Apostolic of Kuwait and have no authority in Oman. Please, contact your Bishop, Mgr. Paul Hinder who is based in Abu Dhabi.

Question:  (WARNING TO ALL OUR FAITHFUL - We are printing this scam letter to warn everyone not to fall into such traps of greed, as this is all false and used to entrap innocent and gullible people) My name is ........... a Swedish national. I have been diagnosed with Esophageal cancer. It has defiled all forms of medical treatment, and right now I have only about a few months to live, according to medical experts. I have not particularly lived my life so well, as I never really cared for anyone(not even myself) but my business. Though I am very rich, I was never generous, I was always hostile to people and only focused on my business as that was the only thing I cared for. But now I regret all this as I now know that there is more to life than just wanting to have or make all the money in the world. I believe when God gives me a second chance to come to this world I would live my life a different way from how I have lived it. Now that God has called me, I have willed and given most of my property and assets to my immediate and extended family members as well as a few close friends.  I want God to be merciful to me and accept my soul so, I have decided to give alms to charity organizations, as I want this to be one of the last good deeds I do on earth. So far, I have distributed money to some charity organizations in the U.A.E, Somalia and Malaysia.  Now that my health has deteriorated so badly, I cannot do this myself anymore. I once asked members of my family to close one of my accounts and distribute the money which I have there to charity organization in Bulgaria and Pakistan, they refused and kept the money to themselves. Hence, I do not trust them anymore, as they seem not to be contended with what I have left for them.  The last of my money which no one knows of is the huge cash deposit of Seven Million, three hundred thousand dollars ($7,300,000,00) that I have with a finance/Security Company in Cote d'Ivoire west africa. I will want you to help me collect this deposit and despatch it to charity organizations. N/B: KINDLY NOTE THAT 20% of this funds must go to the tsunami victims,20% should go to the victims of huricane in the United State of America and another 25% for your effort and time. Please note that all correspondence as regards this project should be directed to my private mail box  I await your prompt response. Kind regards,

Answer:  Please don't defraud people with these stupidities. Don't write to me again.

Question:  I am  still  confused. Yes I got married in the temple and then we had a court marriage but I have not changed my name.  I believe and follow my faith and he does his, then why I can not receive holy communion.  I am really confused please help me,  in fact I had spoken to Fr. Peter also few months back when I did my confession and Fr. Peter answer was the same to remarry in the Church again, but when I spoke to my husband he said no.   After being baptized and receiving holy communion and confirmation also,  am I not Catholic?  just because I got married in the temple does this one mistake of mine make me so far from Jesus please help me I need your help - Sylvia

Answer: You are a Catholic and have been baptized and confirmed in the Catholic Faith, so you should follow the teachings of Jesus Christ and the Church, which is to get married in the Church, not only in the temple. So how can you go to receive Holy Communion if you are not married with the blessing of Jesus Christ through His Church?  I would again recommend that you go to speak again to Fr. Peter, but not during confession, where there is too short time for explanations. Ask him for an appointment and go to see him in his office.

Question: My name is Sylvia I am 33 years old and a Roman Catholic Indian national presently in Dubai.  In June 1991 I married a hindu.  This was a love marriage which took place in the temple.  After marriage I was irregular to Chruch and the last time I received Holy Communion was in 1991, prior to my marriage and I felt gulity.  Can I receive Holy Communion after making a good confession, as I am confused since I married in the temple.  Please help me - Sylvia

Answer:  Before receiving Communion you must regularize your marriage in the Catholic Church. However, it is necessary that you see the Parish priest of Dubai, Fr. Peter.

Question: Ref: Pope Eugene IV, Council of Florence, Cantate Domino, 1441.  In the Latin Mass, the following words of consecration are used to bless the wine:" ....It shall be shed for you and for ALL so  that sins may be forgiven." Even if we ignore the above papal decree, this not the word used by Our Lord in Mathew 26:28, but he said 'for MANY'.  Does this not nullify the new mass? - Dominic

Answer:  The New American Bible (Catholic Edition) explains with these words and I quote: "The liberation brought by Jesus' death will be for many" (cf Is 53,12). Many does not mean that some are excluded, but is a Semitism designating the collectiveness of those who benefit from the service of one, and is equivalent to "all". So, the new Mass is according to Scripture. 

Question: On All Souls' Day, there is sometimes only one priest to go around to bless the large number of graves in the cemetery. Perhaps due to lack of time, he is unable to pass by each and every grave, does it mean that those graves remain unblessed? Thanking you in anticipation. God Bless Your Lordship for all the good works. - Angela

Answer:  Before sprinkling holy water on the graves, the priest says a common prayer for all the departed faithful. Even if the priest sprinkles holy water from afar, the blessing is received by each and every grave, so do not worry about that. What is important is our intercession for the dead. When we die, we normally go to a place called "Purgatory", until we are purified and worthy to enter into Heaven, with God our Father, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, the Virgin Mary, all the Apostles, all the Saints and all who preceded us there! What a joy only to think of that! But how do we go out from Purgatory? The Church always teaches us that we should pray for the departed.  This is true.  The faithful departed have already received their personal judgment and they cannot intercede for themselves, their destiny is decided. But we can intercede for them, we can "push" them out from Purgatory and send them to Heaven. So, what is very important is to pray for them. The blessing of the granes is an outward sign of our prayer, but the blessing in itself without our prayer is nothing. It is good to bless every grave but only in order to invite the relatives to pray for their departed who are buried there. Once again, what is essential for our departed is our prayer and not only the blessing of the grave as such. At the same time, our departed cannot pray for themselves but they can intercede and pray for us.  We are stronger than them in praying for them and they are stronger than us when praying for us. So, to ask our departed to pray and intercede for us is a very good practice of the Catholic Church. In this way, we are ONE Church, formed of those who are in heaven, those still in purgatory and those on earth. We are one family, the family of God.

Question:  Once or twice a year I do miss Mass on Sundays. The next time I hear Mass I receive Holy Communion. Do I commit a mortal sin by missing Mass on Sundays and should not therefore receive Holy Communion? - Elena

Answer:  Catholics are seriously bound to keep the Sunday obligation and holy days of obligation. The Church understands the Third Commandment ("keep holy the sabbath day") as requiring attendance at Mass on Sundays and specified holy days. Failure to meet this obligation is therefore considered a grave matter ...... A Catholic who is able to attend Mass (ie., he/she is not impeded by sickness or circumstances beyond his/her control), and yet chooses deliberately not to attend, knowing fully well that this is a serious requirement, commits a mortal sin. He/she must go to confession in true contrition, as soon as possible, to receive Holy Communion in a state of grace.   See: The Sunday Obligation: CCC 2180 - 83

Question: How will I defend the Catholic Church if other denominations ask me about the "INQUISITION"? - Edd

Answer:  The "Inquisition" is an obscure time in the history of the Church. People affirmed that they have been judged unjustly. This could happen in all human tribunals, even today. The enemies of the Catholic Church use this period of history to attack the Catholic Church and to draw people towards them. So, it is a kind of bad propaganda in order to attract the faithful and lure them towards their denominations. They are wolves among sheep. Simply, such people, who question the faith of others, are like criminals because they disturb the peace and conscience of the people in order to have an advantage for their own group. You must tell such people clearly that you are not interested in their doctrine and you should not give them an occasion to meet you again.  Besides that, the "Inquisition" did not have only negative aspects. Many people were saved by  the "Inquisition".  Women who were accused of being devils and witches, would have been executed immediately if the Inquisition was not there to study their situation and to see if the accusations were true or not.

The following tract from is quite helpful in understanding the Inquistion.

Question:  "Why do...your disciples not fast" (Mk 2:18), he said: "Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them they cannot fast. But the days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast" Mark 2:19. Jesus works His first "sign" at His Mother's request: Mary is the beginning and the image of the Church as bride and Jesus is the Bridegroom - the Church is the Bride not the other way round - am I right? - Myra

Answer:  Yes, you are right. The Virgin Mary is the first faithful of the Church. She believed in the Word of God, so she was declared blessed by her cousin Elizabeth (See Lk 1,45).

Question: Gen 1.27-28 says, "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them". Later it says God created Adam and Eve.   Since God created people in his own image before he created Adam and Eve, what is the difference between the other people and Adam and Eve? The Church teaches that the first human beings are Adam and Eve from whence all human race comes. Please explain how it is so. - JF

Answer:  The verse you quote (Gen 1:27-28) is the first description of creation. In this text man and woman (male and female) have been created at the last. The author wanted to say that  mankind is above of all the universe, the fullness of all creation. In this context, therefore, it was not necessary to mention names (Adam and Eve).  However, there was also another interpretation of creation (Gen. 2,4b-23). According to this vision, mankind is the beginning of everything else. All creation has meaning only if it is under the order of mankind. Therefore here it was necessary to specify who is the origin of this mankind: Adam and Eve.  The teaching of the two texts is the same either if mankind is above all of creation or if he is its basis. The two visions complete the message: that the human being is the most important creature.

Question: Could you please shed some light on eating of (unclean animals)/pork by Catholics. As mentioned in the Old Testament this should not be eaten as it is unclean.  We all know that Jesus Christ is the new Adam and the old has vanished and does not hold good.  Is there any official church stand on this? - Edwin

Answer:  Jesus said: "Nothing that goes into someone from outside can make that person unclean; it is the things that come out of someone that make that person unclean... because it goes not into the heart but into the stomach and passes into the sewer (Thus he pronounced all foods clean) ... It is what comes out from someone that makes that person unclean. For it is from within, from the heart, that evil intentions emerge: fornication, theft, murder, adultery, avarice, malice, deceit, indecency, envy, slander, pride, folly. All these evil things come from within and make a person unclean" (Mark 7:15-23).  After these so clear words of Jesus Christ, the Church doesn't need to declare a particular stand. She has just to repeat the teaching of Jesus.

Question:  I want to make a suggestion where marriage banns are concerned - i.e. insert a photograph of the prospective bride and groom on the notice. Should there be any objections, it would be easier to notify because many times we may not know the name of the person but do recognize them otherwise. Nowadays, every official document be it in Kuwait or abroad puts up the photograph of the individual. - Shaclads

Answer:  In principle, it is a good idea. Practically, I have to see if it is possible. Thanks.

Question:  My boyfriend has recently separated from his wife. The marriage was conducted outside church. He is a Catholic and his wife was not at the time of marriage. I am a newly bapitzed Catholic. Can I continute to date him? Can we have sexual relations? Will it be considered a grave sin? He said he has the need and he cannot control the emotion and sex is important. But I insist that we shall not sin and I want to reserve sex till after we are officially married. Shall I leave him? - Jo

Answer:  A marriage solemnized outside the Church is not recognized by the Church, so he is free to marry, provided he has legally terminated his previous marriage according to the laws of the country where he got married. Kindly seek clarifications from your parish priest to clear out all issues before you contemplate marriage. You cannot have sexual relations until after you are married. Anything contrary to this is a sin. Either you remain chaste and marry him in the Church or leave him. I would like to draw your attention to an important fact: Marriage in the Church has no meaning if it is just seeking permission to have sex without committing sin. Marriage should be an important point of your discovery of yourselves as well as of Jesus Christ and His importance in your family life. It is Jesus Who is the centre of your marriage and of your family life. You and your boyfriend should seek out a person or a prayer community that can help you grow spiritually and strong to avoid temptation. This will also ensure a spiritually mature and a healthy married life.

Question:  Why is the offering/collection made during the offertory placed on the ground below the altar? Suggestion: Perhaps a small table could be placed below the altar whereby the offering can be placed. - Ivy

Answer:  The offering/collection is very precious to God. Not because God loves money but because God knows that we are all attached to money. So, when we are able to renounce and offer some money for HIM, He understands that that sacrifice is big for us. Please, offer your participation to God, and not for other purposes. Just as we place on the altar the bread and wine, as symbol of our life, and they will be transformed into the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, in the same way, we place our offering near (or under) the altar within the Sanctuary. We offer to Him all that we live and endure in our life and also what is many times the main reason for fighting, wars, divisions in the family, etc. i.e. money! We ask God to transform this source of enemity into a sign of unity and brotherhood with all.

Question:  I would like to know who has accounted (written) the Old Testament of the Bible? Also, Why does God call different people His sons, like : In Luke 3:38 , God calls Adam his son , in Jeremiah 31:9 , He calls Ephraim His oldest son and also in Exodus 4:22 , Psalms 2:7 The Lord calls various other people as His sons,  Isn't  Jesus His only son ? - Michael 

Answer:  The Old Testament, like the New Testament, has been written by many inspired authors. You can find in every book a particular style and spirituality. Every author, being at the same time, inspired by God, has expressed his experience in a very personal way.   "Son" refers to a particular deep relation between God and a person. Sometimes the King is called "son", or even the Jewish People! In the New Testament, THE SON is Jesus: "You are my son; today I fathered you " (Lk 3,22), or: "This is my Son, the Chosen one. Listen to him" (Lk 9,35; Mt 17,1-9; Mk 9,1-8).  By our Baptism we also became sons of God. His life is in us. Jesus Christ, through his Passion, Death and Resurrection, opened for us the door of Heaven. We were excluded because of Adam's sin. Now the Son of God has re-admitted us to the Family of God, our Heavenly Father. The Holy Spirit helps us continuously to remain sons of God, in spite of the many attacks from Satan who wants us as his sons and not sons of God. We are sons of God, God is in us, we are in God, we are not alone, our Father is always with us. Let us not be afraid of anything!

Question:  I would like to share my opinion on the prayer of the faithful, which we say after the Homily, can we add this "We pray for the Amir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmed Al Jaber Al Sabah, the ruling family members and the Officials in Authority, that the Lord may guide them and give them wisdom to run the country wisely, and keep them in good health." Your Lordship this is just an opinion and decision is all yours. - Elias 

Answer:  I pray every day in a particular way for our Rulers (Government and Parliament). However, in public it is preferable to avoid the mention of names specially in the prayer of the faithful. Perhaps somebody could understand this as a kind of politics or wrong Christian propaganda.

Question:  Could you explain to me after repenting and confessing how we can purity our heart not to suffer in the purgatory. - Baita

Answer:  St. John Chrisostomas suggests 5 ways:  1. Deep repentance of your sins  2. Forgiveness to all  3. Prayer  4. Offerings to the needy  5. Humility  (Homilies, 2,6)

Question:  1. I want to know if there are Ghosts in the world and if yes, how do they come? do they dress like us? do they harm us? and how we know who they are.  2. We are told that sinners after repenting and confessing, all the sins are forgiven. After our death will we still have to suffer in Purgatory for the sins confessed? - Baita

Answer:  What do you mean by "Ghosts"? We know that there are only Angels and Devils. Angels are the messengers of God and they protect us and guide us, for example, our Guardian Angel. Devils want the opposite, to draw us out of the will of God, to follow them, not God.

In Purgatory we are not purified from the sins that we have committed. Our sins have been pardoned in our confessions. But we have to purify our heart more because the sins we commit are the result of the impurity which is in our heart: attachment to the world in all its expressions, etc. Therefore, it is not the sin that has to be purified but the cause of the sin, which is our heart that made us sin in the first place!

Question: In yesterday's Gospel reading, the youngest son went back to his father and said  "Father, I have sinned against  heaven and against you. I no longer deserve to be called your son." Was it because he realized that he did wrong or merely because he experienced hunger and humiliation and he did not mind being treated as one of his father's servants to satisfy his hunger? Was he really sorry for what he did and wanted to ask for forgiveness and reconcile with his father? - May

Answer:  This parable (Lk 15: 11-32) in the Bible is usually entitled "The Prodigal Son". In my opinion, the correct title should be: "The Merciful Father" to emphasize God's endless mercy for the repentant sinner.

The younger son said to his father: "Father, let me have the share of the estate that will come to me" and the father did. "A few days later, the younger son got together everything he had and left for a distant country where he squandered his money on a life of debauchery ".

What is the sin of the younger son? His elder brother will accuse him saying: "...this son of yours, when he comes back after swallowing up your property - he and his loose women - ...". The younger son will say: " Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you". So, what is his sin? We cannot say that he sinned against his father because he spent his inheritance. This inheritance was his and he was free to do what he wanted with it . So, the accusation of his elder brother " he comes back after swallowing up your property" is not right. The younger son swallowed up his own property that he inherited from his father ("Father, let me have the share of the estate that will come to me "). The younger brother sinned against God because he did not keep His commandments, but he said: "I have sinned ... against you". Why? We find the answer in that verse: "He left for a distant country ". This means that he cut his relations with his father. Every one of us has probably left his father and gone to a distant country. This is the reality of almost every one of our faithful of this Vicariate formed of expatriates only. But we have not interrupted our relations with our father. So, the problem of the younger son was not that he spent his own money in a loose manner, but that he severed his relationship with his father, he wanted to forget him. It is the same sin of Adam: to be totally independent of the Father.

But the father showed him immense mercy. The son had prepared his confession: "I will leave this place and go to my father and say: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you; I no longer deserve to be called your son; treat me as one of your hired men ". The father "saw him and was moved with pity. He ran to the boy, clasped him in his arms and kissed him" and did not allow him to complete his confession. The son had no time to say the last sentence of his confession ( "Treat me as one of your hired men") because his father ordered immediately to dress him as a very honorable man and ordered to begin a big feast.

Many times in life we feel that we are lost forever. We say to God: "I no longer deserve to be called your son / daughter". But, on the contrary, we do not leave God because He does not allow us to leave Him. He, like the father of the parable, welcomes us in spite of our grave sins and accepts us again as His beloved sons and daughters.

What is the sin of the eldest son? Apparently nothing, maybe he's saintly: "All these years I have slaved for you and never once disobeyed any orders of yours". Perhaps even we ourselves cannot say that because surely every one of us has disobeyed God in many of His orders. So, what is the sin of the eldest son? We find the answer in the comment of the father: " My son, you are with me always and all I have is yours". The eldest son never understood that his father was for him, was loving him, wanted nothing for himself but all was for him. He never entered into a personal, deep and loving relationship with his father. He was just an executor of his orders, but his heart was not there, perhaps it was with his friends (" Never you offered me so much as a kid for me to celebrate with my friends"). No, his heart was not with his father, he was living in the house of his father, but not he was not "with" him. The lack of relationship with his father brought him to the same lack of relationship with his younger brother: " But, for this son of yours ..." His younger brother was not his brother but only the son of his father. His father replied: "Your brother here was dead...". And here the father reminded him that his younger son is his brother!

The experience of this eldest brother is our experience too. Many times we execute the commandments of God, but do we love God? We consider our Christian life a burden, an obedience to some precepts, things to do, prayers to be said. Yes, we do perhaps many things for God but our heart is not with Him, it is elsewhere. On the contrary God the Father is with us ;always and forever. He is with us in a special way since our baptism, when we became His own house. God in us! Me, the Temple, the house of God!!! I am not alone in my life, God is with me and in me. The parable tells us that the younger brother went back to his father, but, it doesn't tell us that the eldest brother entered into the house to celebrate the coming back of his brother. Perhaps he retained his attitude of refusal. We should not be scandalised by that because we do exactly the same when we are envious of our brother's happiness and good fortune or refuse him forgiveness.

We have to re-discover the bounty and the mercy of our Father, He is truly The Merciful Father!

Question: Recently I noticed that not many people know the way to the Sulaibikhat cemetery, as a result of which close friends and relatives sometimes miss out on the burial of their loved one. Considering the same, I thought it would be helpful if the Vicariate would publish the directions to the cemetery on its website. For this purpose, I have tried to map the directions, which I have attached herewith. - Sunitha

Answer:  Thank you. We appreciate your thoughtfulness in this matter. Your map has now been made available here -

Question: We believe that  " He will come to judge the living and the dead"  I want to know if our dead people are not yet judged?

Answer:  There is a personal judgement immediately after our death and there will be the final judgement at the end of the world, for the entire universe. This means that it is true that our dearly departed have already been judged. That is why they need our prayers, to help them be liberated from the consequences of the sins that they committed during their lifetime. They can pray for us but they cannot pray for themselves, their judgement has already been given. Don't forget that God is always a merciful Father, even in judgement. Try to follow Jesus and don't be afraid of  judgement.

Question: I have a humble suggestion about confession at the Catehdral.  I feel that it will be helpful if priests are available at the confessional before and after Mass on Fridays, instead of during the Mass. During Mass the Church is fully crowded and it is difficult to reach. Or any one room in the parish office can be alloted for this purpose. Also I would suggest the same for the 9 am children's Mass.  I feel this will be helpful for many who want to receive this sacrament during Lent. . Thanks. - Lucas

Answer:  Yes, it is the ideal to confess outside of the Mass. We should be be present during  the entire Mass without leaving the Eucharistic celebration to go for confession. The Eucharist is a Sacrament and confession is another Sacrament. We should not celebrate them at the same time. Confession outside the Eucharist is also much more helpful for spiritual direction. However, in the Cathedral we have a unique situation due to the frequencies of the Mass and there is not enough time between Masses when one can go to confess, this is the reason our priests sit for confession during the Mass.  If you feel that the place is too crowded or there is no time to go for confession in between Masses, then you can make an appointment with a priest to have a private confession.  A personal and private confession is also very uplifting for spiritual development.  So, courage!

Question: I would like to know how do I transfer my baptism record permanently to my residing parish in India, if I was baptized in the Holy Family Cathedral. - Donald

Answer:  You can request a certificate of your Baptism from the Cathedral at any time, but we cannot transfer the registration to your parish in India. The reason is that the Church is very particular and sensitive with regards to sacramental / church records, in order to avoid confusion, duplication and mistakes. The Sacraments are a special and personal encounter between God and a Christian, they are not superficial or just something that is done as a formality.

Question: I have become a regular Night Vigil member and Servant of the Lord - my only request is - can we have more of the Parables explained or the Life of the Saints told to us during the Vigil? There are so many saints and so many parables, which many of us read, but can't understand. I am one of them I admit. It would be great to hear this. I am sure it will keep everybody alert and there would be less yawning in the church. - Julie

Answer:  The purpose of the Night Vigil is adoration. We go there to adore Jesus Christ present in a particular way in the Eucharist. To read the lives of saints is good but it should be done at another time and on other occasions. For example, a group of families can meet in a house to read the interesting life of a saint and to pray together. Courage!

Question: What is the meaning of "Communion of Saints"?  In the Apostles' Creed, it is written in the last part "I believe in the communion of saints". But in the new creed (the longer one - which we are now reciting during the Holy Mass in the Vicariate) it is missing. Why is this part not included in the longer one? What is the difference between these two creeds? - Biju

Answer:  We have two formulas of the Credo: one is called "Symbol of the Apostles" and the other comes from the Nicea-Constantinopolitan Council. Both come from the rite of the Baptism, where we have three questions: Do you believe in God the Father, ... God the Son ... God the Holy Spirit.  What we call "Symbol of the Apostles" is the short one. It is an ancient profession of faith which was in use in the community of Rome. It is very ancient and sometimes it has been said that it had been formulated by the Apostles themselves before they separated from each other in Jerusalem in order to go to evangelize over all the world. We have no documents proving that this Credo has been formulated by the Apostles and I think that they had other more important things to do before sitting at a table to fix that formula of the Credo. However, it is from them that we received everything: the right knowledge of the personal mystery of Jesus Christ, His work for mankind and the plan of our salvation that God revealed and realised in Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit and with the ministry of the Church. So, this formula is very dear and near to the faith of the Apostles.

In the year 325, three hundred Bishops met in Nicea (Turkey) and they formulated a more developed Credo. Thelogical discussions went on even after the Council of Nicea (325) and in 381 another Council took place in Constantinople where the Bishops added other details to the formula of Nicea but they affirmed a very important statement: We modify the text of Nicea because we see it necessary, but it must be clear that after us it will not be possible to modify it again, this is forever. In fact, in 451 in the Council of Calcedonia (Turkey) the Credo of Nicea-Constantinople (the Nicene Creed) was proclaimed as the Credo of all the Churches! This Credo is the one we say now in our Masses.
Even though in the Nicene Creed there is no explicit mention of the "communion of saints", this is included in the articles concerning the Church: "We believe in one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism... we look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come ".  The Communion of Saints is the family of God made up of the Church Militant (those alive on earth), the Church Penitent (those undergoing purification in Purgatory in preparation for heaven), and the Church Triumphant (those already in heaven). Together we form one Church, we are in communion - they pray for us, we pray for them (we support and assist each other with our prayers) so that we all may one day enjoy eternal happiness.

Question: Our utmost devotion should be to God alone and Jesus said that He is the only way to the Father. Therefore, I would like to know, is the Rosary a necessary prayer? By praying the Rosary, doesn't it seem that we are placing Mother Mary higher than God Himself, since the 'Hail Marys' far outnumber the 'Our Fathers' and Glory Bes'? - Cora

Answer:  Of course, our devotion must be to God the Father through Jesus Christ. However, the intercession of our Mother Mary is to take us to Jesus Christ and to God the Father. As Pope John Paul II said, "To Jesus through Mary". Her intercession is not independent from Jesus Christ, like in the normal family the role of the mother is not separated (or should not be) from the one of the father. We venerate the Virgin Mary (we don't adore her, we adore only God) because she is the Mother of God and she wants us to be with Him. Besides that, if you notice, the prayer "Hail Mary" is almost all taken from the Gospel, which, along with the tradition of the Church, is the source of Jesus Christ's teaching, and we glorify her for the 'fruit of thine womb 'Jesus'', Who is the center of this prayer. Don't worry, ask the Virgin Mary to make you to know Jesus Christ better and she will do it.

Question: I have come across a site on the internet for live electronic Holy Hour in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament exposed on webcam. Is it right to accept it or not (according to Church teachings). Your advice is needed. Elias

Answer:  Your question is very interesting. Prayer is always good, even through a website.  BUT: do you prefer to see your children in person or in a photo? or even through a website/webcam?  It is the same with God. We need to see Him really present in the Blessed Sacrament and not through a website or webcam. I like to stay before my Father personally, to look at Him, to speak with Him directly and not on a website. Don't allow modern technology to enter into your personal relationship with God. God is a living Person, our beloved Father, not a computer!!

Question: I am so excited to be in direct communication with a Bishop of a Church in the very heart of Islam. I have learnt from your recent press interview that the number of Catholics in Kuwait is upsurging, and therefore there is need to build a bigger Cathedral and to do that you will seek "permission" from the relevant authorities? Why? Fr. Vincent

Answer:  Any permission for building a church or any other structure, as a matter of fact, needs to be given by the Government or relevant authorities. I think that this is also the case in Uganda where you are.

Question: Does the Church of Kuwait belong to the Latin Rite? If not, to what Rite? Are there religious men and women in the Vicariate? Is the Catholic Faith persecuted/discriminated in Kuwait? I have never been to Kuwait or the Middle East and the information given will be helpful and may form part of my discernment.  JR

Answer:  In Kuwait, the Catholic Church has many rites: Latin, Syro-Malabar, Syro-Malankara, Maronite. We also have Masses in many languages: Tagalog, English, Konkani, Tamil, Malayalam, Arabic, French and Italian. The Church in Kuwait also has active priests and religious sisters stationed here.  In fact, Kuwait is also the home of the Apostolic Nuncio for the entire Gulf Region.  Besides, in Kuwait, there are Churches of other Christian denominations for the Anglicans, the Evangelicals, etc. We have complete freedom to worship and there is no persecution or discrimination for other religions in Kuwait.  We are happy..

Question: Is smoking, consuming alcohol a sin for Roman Catholics?  If 'yes' or 'no', then why? - Rudy

Answer:  Jesus Christ says: 'Can't you see that nothing that goes into someone from outside can make that person unclean, because it goes not into the heart but into the stomach and passes into the sewer? Thus he pronounced all foods clean. (Mt.7:18-19). If nothing can make us unclean, why should it be forbidden to smoke or to take alcohol? The problem is that a Christian has to moderate smoking and alcohol or else he becomes a slave of these things. A Christian belongs only to God, so he should not be a slave of anything, he should dominate his passions and not let his passions dominate him.  Besides, when a person over indulges in smoking or alcohol, he destroys his health as well as the peace of his family, in another way, he destroys the work of God. St. Paul also wrote to Timothy: 'You should give up drinking only water and have a little wine for the sake of your digestion and the frequent bouts of illness that you have. (1 Tim. 5:23).

Question: Is the penance given in confession a grave obligation? Is delibrate failure to complete one's penance a mortal sin or something settled in Purgatory? Also, does the penance given by the priest constitute the only restitution or satisfaction absolutely necessary for sin? - Brian

Answer:  Penance is an obligation. But the problem is not a juridical one: whether it is a grave obligation or not. When you go to confess your sins, you should have a converted heart. Doing penance is only a small sign and indication that you want to change your life for the better. Once you are convinced that you want to change and make restitution for your sins, you can then see more clearly the juridical aspects of confession and doing penance.

Question:  I recently received an e-mail about "Receiving Communion in the Hand" - Is it wrong?  If it is then why doesn't the Church condemn it? - Desmond

Answer:  The most important thing is not about washing your hands before eating (Mk.7:1) or being clean from the outside, but to love God and neighbour.  Is your tongue more pure than your hands?

Question:  This is only a suggestion. We hear that for all High Masses only the selected altar boys are allowed to serve these Masses. We feel that at such special Masses all the altar boys should be allowed to serve since the ceremony will then look more divine and holy with all the altar boys and helpers. - Jacob 

Answer:  You are right. But see your Parish Priest and discuss the matter with him.

 Question:  I am a 24 years old graduate working in a company. I have the desire to join the Seminary in my future days. The Goregaon Seminary in Mumbai is near to me but I do not have any details of it. If you can help me out in any way possible, I will really appreciate it. - Olyvin

Answer:  Since you are living next to the Seminary, you should approach them and ask them for the details and also tell them of your desires. Do not be afraid, they will welcome you heartily.

Question:  I would like you to add a 'daily homily' onto the Church's website. The earlier version had one and it was vey beneficial for the likes of many like myself.  I love to listen to the readings and homily everyday and I hope you will add this link on your website. It will really benefit many, who start their day with this and are unable to attend Mass. - Carmen

Answer:  Thank you. I have to see with the Webmaster to re-instate the link. However, to give a written homily every day requires much work. But it is a very good help for evangelization.

Question:  I have a question regarding Communion and alcohol.  Do they use wine in the Middle Eastern Masses? I thought that most Middle East countries did not allow alcohol. Are those laws of prohibition unjust? I have read in the Canon Law that we are allowed to break Civil Laws that are unjust, but I think casual drinking of alcohol is a luxury. - Mark Guzman

Answer:  We cannot change what Jesus Christ Himself instituted. He took true wine, so we must do the same. The use of bread and wine is of Divine origin, so it is unchangable. In the Middle East too we use wine for Mass, without breaking any Civil Laws. As Christians, we have to always respect Civil Laws, unless they are against our Christian faith. The martyrs preferred to die instead of obeying certain Civil Laws, in the Middle East we are not martyrs!

Question:  Hello, I was just wondering if you could help me out. I am doing a short assignment on drugs in sport. I need to talk about relevant church teachings and I can't find any. Could you help me out with some church teachings on drugs in sport, cheating and changing your body from what God created. Thanks a lot. - Tim O'Connor

Answer:  Drugs, when taken with the wrong intentions, are always wrong, even in sport and are contrary to the moral law (See: Respect for health: CCC 2288 - 91). The use of drugs inflicts very grave damage on human health and life. When you make demands on your body for extraordinary efforts, you kill (destroy) it. We have to accept the strength that God gave our body and thank Him for what He has given and remain faithful to Him by respecting our body, which is the Temple of the Holy Spirit.

Question:  Your Lordship Bishop, what are the holy days of obligation in Kuwait? Are we required to attend mass during these holy days of obligation? Are All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day both holy days of obligation? Thank you and May the Good Lord bless you always. - Rudy Ong

Answer:  The only feast days of obligation in Kuwait are: The Assumption (15 August) and Christmas (25 December). It is compulsory to attend Mass on both these days. All Saints' and All Souls' Day are not feasts days of obligation. However, it is recommended to attend Mass on both these feast days as All Saints' Day is a special day when we remember all people who have served God faithfully and have now entered into His Glory! On All Souls' Day, we pray for our departed brothers and sisters who need our help to be purified and have yet to enter into the Glory of God.

Question:  Your Excellency, I want to experience the gift of the Holy Spirit, please show me the way. How does the church deal with evil doers (black magic) how can one come to know if he is a victim of it and what are the church prayers to combat it, are there any priest or church bodies who deal with such things. - Simon

Answer:  We receive the gift of the Holy Spirit every time we pray because we cannot pray if the Holy Spirit doesn't help us. It is also received in a special way when we sincerely ask Him to come to us. In our Vicariate, there are many prayer groups in the Renewal by the Holy Spirit. You can join one of them. See your parish priest for more information. However, if you want to experience another way of deep Christian formation, you can join the catechesis which will be given on MON, TUE and SAT starting from MONDAY, 6 November at the Cathedral at 7.15 pm. Please see this announcement for more details.

Question:  Your Lordship Bishop, why is there no privacy in the confessional box in the Church in Kuwait? People are ashamed to confess because they are afraid somebody may listen to their confession. Is it possible to enclose the confessional box with a sound proof enclosure, like in other countries? Can confession be held before Mass begins? Thank you. - Magnifia Ong

Answer:  Thank you for your remarks. Unfortunately, we cannot enclose the confessional box with an enclosure. The Cathedral is usually filled to capacity that we cannot lose one centimeter of space. At the same time, do not worry, nobody around can understand, because even the priest whose ear is very near to the penitent has to make a big effort to hear, many times! Of course, the best solution is to confess before the Mass starts. The Eucharist should be respected from the beginning without any interruptions.

Question:  Lordship, Thank you for providing us with first hand advice to questions regarding our faith. My question regarding to infertility. IVF is not allowed but can you advise with regards to IUI and or taking prescription drugs to aid with ovulation & hormone control. Are they seen as interference to God's plan for the couple? We are a childless couple.

Answer:  There is no problem in taking medicines which can aid ovulation and facilitate pregnancy.

Question:  In what state should someone be before receiving the Body of Christ during Mass. I am not married in church but have a fiance. Are we allowed to receive the Body of Christ? - Aileen

Answer:  As an engaged couple to be married and living separately, you are not prevented from receiving Holy Communion. In fact it would be good if both of you participate in the Mass together and receive Holy Communion together. It will be a very good preparation for your marriage. But, of course, you should live separately as fiancees and not as married couples do, because it is a very grave sin to live together as unmarried couples and you will not be in a state of grace to receive Holy Communion. To receive Holy Communion, we must always be in friendship with God. Our mortal sins must be forgiven through the Sacrament of Confession before participating in the Mass. This does not mean that we should confess every time we receive Holy Communion. However, it is compulsory to confess our grave/mortal sins before we receive Holy Communion. It is also important to confess regularly, to be in communion with Christ and to free ourselves from the burden of sin.

Question:  Do the prayers we offer for our dead loved ones take them to heaven, especially those that died with sin?  Having read in the Bible that no sinner shall see God, and after death comes judgement - I am a practicing Catholic and I lost my parents - I want to know if they need my prayers. - Patrick

Answer:  Of course your dead parents need your prayers! Our dead loved ones can pray for us and they really do it, but they cannot pray for themselves. They are before God in their intercessions for us, and we are strong before God in our intercession for them. Toyr parents are praying continuously for you and they are waiting for your prayers for them. This deep communion is a source of joy. Our dead loved ones do not abandon us, even though we don't see them with our natural eyes, they are with us and support us with their unceasing prayers and we are with them and should support them with our daily prayers.

Question: Jesus was born among the Jews, preached in Synagogues and lived among the Jews and also as per the Bible, the Jews were the Chosen People of God. However, in the modern world there is a large divide in the beliefs of the Jews and us Roman Catholics. Can you enlighten us on this? - Celistine

Answer:  Yes, Jesus Christ was one of the Jews. He was a Jew, but at the same time He was the Son of God. It is this point that the Jews don't accept and it has been the cause of His condemnation to death: "For this reason the Jews tried all the more to kill him, because he not only broke the Sabbath, but he also called God his own father, making himself equal to God" (Jn.5:8)  The central point of the history of the world and of our personal life remains always Jesus Christ: 'But whoever denies me before others, I will deny before my heavenly Father' (Mat.10:33).

Question:  For all human beings, we consider that we have Materialistic needs and Spiritual needs. In my opinion, a human being filled with the Holy Spirit can realize that there is only one need, i.e. Spiritual need. According to this observation, such a person's need of prayer, sacraments, food, wealth etc. are Spiritual needs.  Please comment your observations - Mathew

 Answer:  I don't like to distinguish between 'spiritual needs' and 'materialistic needs'. For us, we should not look at someone in spirit or body but we look at everyone as a human being. When we look at people in this sense, then we have to help them in all of their needs. The biggest help we can give to someone is to proclaim to them Jesus Christ. The poorest in the world are those who don't know Jesus Christ. If we know Jesus Christ, then nothing can take away our peace, our joy. Even material poverty is no more a humiliation if we have the most precious treasure: Jesus Christ.

Question: There are so many versions of the Holy Bible available around in modern times. With regards to the same, as Roman Catholics, which Holy Bible are we supposed to refer for our personal use? - Clementine

Answer:  It is better to follow a Catholic Edition of the Bible (The New Jerusalem Bible, The New American Bible, or others. All Catholic Bibles will have the Imprimatur of a Bishop on the first or the introductory page) and the Catholic Edition has all the Books of the Old Testament. Meanwhile the Protestant editions don't have 7 books which the Protestant Church doesn't recognize as inspired.  I suggest you follow the New Jerusalem Bible because the texts for our Liturgies (Readings for the Mass, Sacraments etc.) are taken from this version. It is better to use one version as this facilitates and helps us to remember passages by heart and to also visually memorize the place where the verses that we want to quote are located.

Question: I read the answer regarding conception through IVF etc. There are many Catholic families who are unable to conceive naturally and have to resort to artificial means. What then? Adoption? In this present world there are many who are willing to adopt a child but the harrowing harassing procedures that go along with it indeed makes a person to rethink. - Shaclads

Answer:  The Catholic Church is very attentive to this point. She never accepts to work outside nature. Adoption is a very good solution. Unfortunately, as you noticed, the laws for that are extremely complicated. The Governments should facilitate these procedures. But we know that this point is one of the most dangerous because commercial interests can always interfere.  However, I would like to draw your attention to another point:  God knows what happens in our life, even what we think: "He knew their thoughts" (Lk.6:8), "Jesus knew what thoughts were going through their minds" (Lk.9:47). God knows that a particular couple cannot have children and He has for them His own plan, a plan different from the one that the childless couple have. The important thing in our life is not - to have children or not have them, but to do the will of God. Even the absence of children enters into the plan of God for that family. We have to obey God in every situation. He is our Father and He knows what He is doing.

Question: Noah's Ark has been found in Iran's mountain region at 15,000 feet height.  Please browse where you can see pictures too.  What do you feel Lordship, might it be true? - Louis

Answer:  Our faith is beyond these archaeological discoveries.  Our base is in Jesus Christ.  An archaeological place or object can be useful if it helps us in our faith and in our Christian witness of the love of God for everbody.

Question: How important is it to make the sign of the cross when we say the Glory Be To The Father? - Lucy

Answer:  The making of the sign of the cross when reciting the Glory Be To The Father is an Oriental tradition. The sign of the cross should be made only at the beginning of a celebration or of a prayer and at the end. There is no need to do it every time we say the Glory Be To The Father.

Question: Does sickness or illness come from God?  I mean, illnesses like heart problems, cancer and other sickness. - Austin

Answer:  We cannot say that sickness comes from God.  He is not the cause of our sickness.  Since the first sin of humankind, we are weak, limited and exposed to all kinds of sickness. Nevertheless, God did not leave us alone with our sickness. He sent His only Son to be like us. He suffered and was killed. He experienced suffering and death. Jesus therefore is one of us. He knew our weaknesses. He is with us in our sickness. You remember Simon of Cyrene (Mt. 27:32) who was enlisted to carry the cross of Jesus. It is the same for us too: we are not alone in carrying our crosses, Jesus carries it with us. Jesus was buried, but God did not leave Him dead, He "entered" into the tomb of Jesus, and resurrected Him. So also for us, God will "enter" into our death and give us resurrrection, if we die in His friendship. God is not the cause of our sickness, He is with us to help us in bearing our sickness and He wants to resurrect us just as He did Jesus.

Question: The Sabbath Day - why is it that we don't follow the Sabbath, when it is clearly mentioned as a Commandment that each individual should follow the Sabbath Day.  The Sabbath comes on a Saturday so why is it that we have it on a Sunday. The commandments were complete and cannot be altered and have to be followed. - Maxim

Answer: The Sabbath Day was celebrated from the time of the Old Testament. Jesus Christ accomplished what was proclaimed in the Old Testament. The Jewish Passover was a celebration of the liberation of the Chosen People from slavery in Egypt. With the coming of Jesus Christ, the Passover is not remembered any more, but the celebration of His passage from this world to the Father (Jn 13:1) is what we recall. The bread is not the rememberence of the escape from Egypt but it is the memory of His death when Jesus said: " This is my body which is broken for you; do this in memory of me" (1 Cor 11, 24). It is in memory of Jesus that we celebrate the Passover, and not of the ancient slavery in Egypt. The slavery in Egypt was only an image of the true slavery from which Jesus Christ has freed us through His passion, death and resurrection, i.e. the slavery of sin, Sin is the father and mother of all slavery in the world and in history. It is the resurrection of Jesus Christ which accomplished our liberation from sin. And Jesus Christ resurrected on Sunday. Thus, Sunday became the centre of our Redemption, the weekly Passover, the first day of our new life. We belong to Jesus Christ who saved us and still saves us every day. We cannot remain in the ancient image - the Sabbath Day, we are the new people, the people of Jesus Christ, called to life again, thanks to His resurrection. Sunday, therefore for us, is the most important day of the week.

Question: Where did the Catholic Church begin (location in the world) and about what year. Is it the largest Church in the World?  If not, what is. - Roy

Answer: The Church was born on the day of Pentecost! We read in the Acts of the Apostles: "Then Peter stood up with the Eleven and, with a loud voice, addressed them" ( Ac 2:14) ... "So those who accepted his word were baptized; some three thousand persons were added to their number that day " (Ac 2:41). On the day of Pentecost the Church started with the Twelve Apostles, first of all Peter, along with those who had already believed in Jesus Christ (first of all the Virgin Mary) and the newly baptized. This is the beginning of the Church. The term "Catholic" is a Greek one and means "universal", i.e. all over the world. Later on, divisions in the Church started in the years 325, 451, 1054 and the Protestant Reform in the 16th century. But the Church of Rome remained faithful to the "Creed" formulated together with her Oriental part in the Councils of Nicene (325) and Constantinople (381). It is the "Creed" that we say in the liturgy of the Mass ( We believe in one God, etc.). Since this faith is professed over all the world, she kept the title "Catholic". Now however, "Catholic" is used to distinguish us from other Churches like the Orthodox and Protestant.

According to many and various independent statistics, the Catholic Church is the largest Church in the world. In Kuwait the Catholic Church comprises of over 250,000 faithful, so she is, at large, the biggest Church in Kuwait.

Question: (1) If Jesus Christ was concieved by the Holy Spirit, how, then, can He be the Son of God?  Also, the Messiah was to be from the line of David. Jesus wasn't from the line of David.  (2) If man was never in heaven, why are we taught that, when we die, we will go to heaven. What can man do that would be so pious that he would merit a lofty award? - Billy

 Answer: For Christianity, the Trinity, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, are THREE Persons in ONE God. Let me quote you some passages: Jesus Christ said: "As I came from the Father and have come into the world..." (Jn 16:28). The Gospel of St. Mark starts with these words: "This is the beginning of the Good News of Jesus Christ, the Son of God" (Mk 1:1). St. Paul wrote to the Romans: "Then God, planning to destroy sin, sent his own Son, in the likness of those subject to the sinful human condition " (Rm 8:3) and to the Colossians: "For in Him dwells the fulness of God in bodily form" (Col 2:9). St. John wrote: "How did the love of God appear among us? God sent his only Son into this world that we might have life thourgh him " (1 Jn 4:9).

Jesus was the descendent of David, through Joseph. We read in the Gospel of St. Matthew: "Joseph, descendant of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. She has conceivecd by the Holy Spirit, and now she will bear a son. You shall call him 'Jesus' for he will save his people from their sins " (Mt 1:20-21). Jesus was legally the son of Joseph, and since Joseph was a descendant  of David, Jesus himself became a descendant of David. In Antioch of Pisidia St. Paul preached: "It is from the descendants of David that God has now raised up the promised savior of Israel, Jesus " (Ac 13:23).

It is not true that man was never in heaven. Don't forget the basis of our faith: Jesus Christ, true man and true God, after His death and resurrection ascended into heaven! He is the first man who entered into heaven, followed by millions and millions of saints. If you believe in Jesus and live according to His teaching you also will be one day among those saints, in heaven. Courage! Heaven is also for you!

Question: How can I obtain a copy of my Baptism certificate? I was Baptized at the Cathedral and would like to have my certificate. Please let me know how I can obtain one. - Vincent

 Answer: If you have been Baptized in Kuwait, either at the Cathedral or at Ahmadi, and if you are presently residing out of Kuwait, all you have to do is provide us with your exact name, date of birth, date of Baptism and where you were Baptized (Cathedral or Ahmadi) and your postal address and send it to us by e-mail at and we will prepare the certificate and send it to you.  For those still residing in Kuwait, you have to contact the Parish Office and they will provide you with the certificate.

Question: In today's reading - The Lord our God is Lord alone! You shall love your neighbour as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these ... How can we apply these commandments if the CHURCH does not practice it being divided - Catholics, Orthodoxes, Anglicans and sub-divided within? - Claudine

Answer: Thank you for your challenging question. St. Paul says: "There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism" (Eph 4,4-5). We read in the DECREE ON ECUMENISM of Vatican II Council: "In order to establish his holy Chruch everywhere in the world till the end of time, Christ entrusted to the College of the Twelve the task of teaching, ruling and sanctifying. Among their number he chose Peter, and after Peter's confession of faith, he determined that on him he would build his Church; to him he promised the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and after his profession of love, entrusted all his sheep to him to be confirmed in faith and shepherd in perfect unity, with himself, Christ Jesus, forever remaning the chief corner-stone and shepheard of our souls" (n. 2).

This unity is now broken. Each one of us is responsible for this division, which means that every one is called to repent, return to Jesus Christ and to proclaim Him as the center of our life. Every Christian, Catholic or not, is invited to a deep renewal of his life.

We read in the same number of the above quoted Decree: "For although the Catholic Church has been endowed with all divinely revealed truth and with all means of grace, yet its members fail to live by them with all the fervour that they should. As a result the radiance of the Church's face shines less brightly in the eyes of our separated brethren and of the world at large and the growth of the Lord's kingdom is retarded. Every Catholic must therefore aim at Christian perfection and, each according to his station, play his part, that the Church, which bears in her own body the humility and death of Jesus, may daily be more purified and renewed, for the day when Christ will present her to himself in all her glory without spot or wrinkle".

As you see, the Church is each one of us, not only the authorities. So all of us are invited to repent, to conversion. Only then unity will be possible.

For a deeper study, see the DECREE ON ECUMENISM of Vatican II and the < FONT color=#0000ff>Declaration DOMINUS IESUS.

Question: I wish to be baptized in the Catholic Church and wish to know what I need to do in order to complete this. I was Christened in the Church of England as a child and my husband is a practicing Catholic.  I am with child and shall deliver in November 2006.  I wish that as a family we can all share in the Mass, Communion and family of the Church.  - Stacy

Answer: Congratulations for the new child whom you are waiting for.  Every child coming into the world is a new image of God and a sign of His love for you and for all mankind. I wish you a good and safe delivery and wish you and your family great and constant joy.

Since you have been baptized as an Anglican, you don't need to be baptized again. The Catholic Church recognizes the Baptism of the Anglican Church.  What is asked of you is that you make a profession of faith before me.  Of course, this is not just the reading of the Creed of the Mass.  This profession of faith has to be preceeded by preparations with meetings/catechesis through a priest whom I can entrust to you. It is important that the family be united in the same faith. It gives more strength to the family, especially in difficult moments.  God bless the coming child, you and your husband.

Question: Why was Kuwait erected into a Vicariate Apostolic when it is not even different from the Vicariate of Arabia? And why is the Apostolic Nuncio resident here? Could he shift his residency? Is our Nuncio the Nuncio of Arabia, Iraq, Jordan and so on? - Andy

Answer: A new ecclesiastical jurisdiction in Kuwait was created by Pope Pius XII in 1953, as territory separated from the Vicariate Apostolic of Arabia, which is administered by the Capuchin Friars. It was first erected as "Prefecture Apostolic of Kuwait" (in 1953) and then raised to the status of "Vicariate Apostolic of Kuwait" on 2nd Dec 1954. The Holy See entrusted this newly established territory to the Discalced Carmelite Order in view of the fact that priests from this Order had ministered to the Catholic faithful since the early or mid 40s. Besides, the number of the faithful was already quite large and was growing rapidly and steadily, making it easier and convenient perhaps for separate administration. It must be understood that the two Vicariates are not in competition and the new Vicariate was not created for any fanciful purpose. They are separate territories with a fixed jurisdiction and each is administered separately, similar to two Dioceses in neighbouring regions.

The Apostolic Nuncio to Kuwait also serves as Apostolic Nuncio to Bahrain, Yemen and Qatar - the four countries which have established formal relations with the Vatican (Holy See). He functions as Apostolic Delegate in other regions of the Arabian Peninsula (only) which do not have full diplomatic relations with the Holy See. What is remarkable is that, ties between the Holy See and the State of Kuwait have been very cordial and in existence since 1968 and Kuwait is the first of the GCC countries to establish Diplomatic relations with the Vatican. This is one of the reasons we are fortunate to have the Nuncio residing here.  I hope this answers your questions.

Question: God is one, omnipotent. He cannot have sons and mothers, as our Catholic faith says. Jesus can be the word of God, a prophet, sent by God. It appears very absurd, to consider Jesus as the son of God or even divine. Then what difference is our religion to Hinduism? - Julius

Answer: To regard "sonship" in a purely physical sense as a human form thatis created through normal "physical relations" is absurd in describing the Sonship of Christ to His Heavenly Father.

"Son of God" refers to Jesus, whom we believe to be the "only begotten" (one and only) Son of God in the most "unique" sense. Mary is the obedient Jewish Virgin who allows God to work through her in bringing forth a Son. The Archangel told her that her Son was to be the Son of the Most High and He would reign over the house of Jacob forever. This Son would be conceived when the Holy Spirit would "overshadow" her (cf Luke 1:28-35). From this, Mary knew that her Son has a particular relation with God. She knew this especially through pondering the words of Isaiah 9:5-6, that the Messiah would be the "Mighty God". Mary readily accepted it, even though the learned Jews of that time found it hard to understand. 

However, even before Christ took human form (Word Incarnate), there was always the Second Person of the Trinity - Jesus, the Son! (cf John 1:2). Jesus is (divine) one in nature, essence, and being with the Father and the Spirit; (eternally) begotten, not made. (I am sure that you know and understand the Creed very well). As far as His mother Mary is human, Jesus is fully human (being born in the flesh). Because, her Son is God, Mary's most fundamental privilege is that of being the Mother of God (in the physical order of nature.

We can see in all this, the beautiful plan of redemption through the working of the Blessed Trinity and Mary's part in her Son's redemption! This is a simple explanation that I have offered. To have a deeper understanding, you need to examine this fundamental truth of our faith in the light of the Sacred Scriptures - the Old and New Testament, where clear references are made to Jesus as the "Son of God". Jesus is the visible image of the invisible God, but it is the Spirit who reveals Him. May the Holy Spirit be your companion and guide!

Question: 'I am the way, the truth and the life. No one can enter the kingdom of God except through me'.  Does that mean only Catholics can enter the kingdom of God? and all others go to hell? It does not seem right. People of all religions, if they lead a good life, should enter heaven. - Julius

Answer:  A similar question has previously been answered by me below. Please refer to that question. Thank You.

Question: Your Lordship, a question which I have often asked myself: If I am, by birth, of a different monotheist religion, therefore not knowing any other, consequently not baptized, believing and following different teachings which often contradict Jesus' teachings to us, but leading an exemplary life while praying and fasting as much as my religion requires; after death where would that life lead me? Hell or Heaven? Thank you for your time and answer. - Sohair

Answer: The Church’s mission is a response to God's plan for all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. With the coming of our Savior Jesus Christ, God has willed that the Church founded by Christ (the Catholic Church) should be the sign and instrument for the salvation of all humanity (Catechism of the Catholic Church 774–776, 780). This truth of faith does not lessen the sincere respect which the Church has for the religions of the world and though she rejects nothing of what is true and holy in other religions, she rules out the erroneous belief that ‘one religion is as good as another', especially since they contain omissions, inadequacies and errors regarding fundamental truths about God, man and the world; nor can other sacred texts be considered complementary to the Old Testament, which is the immediate preparation for the coming of Christ.

Coming to your question about who can be saved: The Church, of course, preaches conversion to Jesus Christ, the only Savior of mankind. But, faith alone in Christ is not enough; it must be accompanied by righteous living and works of charity and of adherence to the Church through Baptism and the other Sacraments in order to participate fully in communion with the Triune God. Therefore, our salvation doesn't just happen; it is something that needs to be worked out!

The necessity for Baptism is understood for the forgiveness of sins. However, there are exceptions to baptism with water: It is possible to be saved through "baptism of blood," i.e., martyrdom for Christ, or through "baptism of desire", i.e., an explicit or even implicit desire for baptism. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states: "Those who die for the faith, those who are catechumens (being instructed in the faith), and all those who, without knowing of the Church but acting under the inspiration of grace, seek God sincerely and strive to fulfill his will, are saved even if they have not been baptized" (CCC 1281; the salvation of unbaptized infants is also possible in this way. (cf. CCC 1260–1, 1283). However, for those who knowingly and deliberately (that is, NOT out of innocent ignorance) commit the sins of heresy (rejecting divinely revealed doctrine) or schism (separating from the Catholic Church and/or joining a schismatic church), no salvation would be possible until they repented and returned to live in Catholic unity.

Final salvation depends on the state of the soul at death. Salvation can be lost through mortal sin; however the Church shows us the way out, through repentance and the Sacraments. As Jesus Himself tells us, "He who endures to the end will be saved." (Matt. 24:13; cf. 25:31–46).  If we can live a life of grace and spiritual fruit, we can be confident of our ultimate union with God. God works in so many ways, we can only trust in His mercy and hope and pray for our salvation.

Thank you for your question which I hope will benefit many.

For more information see:
Declaration on Dominus Iesus

Question: We have Marian related questions as follows: 1) When reciting the Rosary, why do we say 10 Hail Marys, is it a perfect number or was it 150 Psalms for the Glorious, Sorrowful and Joyful Mysteries?  Please give us some background of tradition and the Bible, and if possible some websites for reference. 2) Many times we say 3 Hail Marys, why? - Gasper

Answer: You are quite right in making a connection with Mary's Psalter (the Rosary) and the recitation of the 150 Psalms (psalter) of the Bible, as, in ancient times, monks and clergy used to recite the entire psalter every day. But, as many people in that day were either illiterate or could not afford a psalter, the practice of saying one hundred and fifty Pater Nosters (Our Fathers in Latin) developed as an alternative. Now coming to the Rosary, according to tradition, it was Saint Dominic de Guzman (in the 12th century) to whom Our Lady revealed the praying of the 150 Hail Marys along with his preaching of the salvation mysteries to combat the great heresy of his day. (The Dominicans were preachers). With the introduction of the Rosary, a new kind of psalter - the Marian Psalter - the Rosary - came into being. Rosary Beads usually contain 50 beads in groups of ten (the decades), with an additional large bead before each decade. These numbers were chosen to match the 150 Psalms, therefore 150 Hail Marys (the 15 Mysteries). Then, in the sixteenth century, the feast of the Holy Rosary on 7th October was established by Saint (Pope) Pius V to commemorate a victory of the Christians in battle. The Pope, then, himself a Dominican, issued an apostolic letter establishing the fifteen-Mystery form of the Holy Rosary as the official, Church-authorized version. This was the prescribed format for the next four centuries. In the year 2002, Pope John Paul II published an apostolic letter that added five more Mysteries, making a total of twenty authorized Mysteries. The three Hail Marys are recited in honour of the three great privileges bestowed upon the Blessed Virgin Mary by the most Blessed Trinity - the Power of the Father, the Wisdom of the Son, and the Merciful Tenderness of the Holy Spirit.

The Rosary is a contemplative prayer, and it has great intercessory power and every Catholic should pray it regularly. Please, say a Rosary for our Church in Kuwait. The Virgin Mary protect you!
More Information can be obtained from:

Question: Jn.10:1-10: 'I am the gate for the sheep, all who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the Gate."  Was Jesus referring here to the prophets who came earlier? Or was He referring to the high priests of that time? - Gracy

Answer: Thank you for your good question. It is difficult to clarify as to who exactly Jesus was referring to. Surely, Jesus was not referring to all the prophets. From the Bible we know the truely saintly prophets: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel and many others especially John the Baptist about whom Jesus said: 'I tell you, of all the children born to women, there is no one greater than John" (Lk.7:28). Jesus was also referring to the false prophets of that time, specially to those who were refusing to believe in Him. See for example Mt.7:15: 'Beware of false prophets who come to you disguised as sheep but underneath are ravenous wolves'  See also: Mt.4:24, Lk.6:26, Acts 13:6, 2 Pet.2:1, 1 Jn.4:1.  The high priests too had a big responsibility on this issue. However, this warning of Jesus can be addressed to us also, especially when we don't witness Jesus' love to others.

Question: I am a 24 year old girl (non-Catholic).  I want to be baptized in the Catholic Church.  Could you tell me what things are needed for my baptism?  What is the procedure for it? - Shivangi

Answer: I would like to know first if you have already been baptized in another Christian Church or if you are new to Christianity.  In the second case, a time of preparation is needed.  I am sure that you agree with me that such an important step like Baptism needs a good preparation.

Question: Why is it that the Church does not accept female priests? Or female altar servers? - Andy

Answer:  Your question is very interesting and thank you for having raised it.  In the present times we are suffering due to the lack of priests, and many question us as to why we don't accept women to be priests like the other churches who have female priests.  The Catholic Church follows the teachings of Jesus and we cannot change the fundamental choices He made. For example, Jesus chose bread and wine for the Eucharist. We cannot replace these with other elements. It would be easier for us to replace wine with something else, especially in some countries where wine is forbidden. But we cannot change this because the choice of bread and wine for the Eucharist has been made by Jesus Christ Himself who wanted to continue and fulfill the Paschal Sacrifice of the Old Testament.  The same goes for the priesthood. Jesus chose only men to be His Apostles, He did not select any women. This does not mean that women have no role in the Church, but the role of priests is only for men.  As for altar servers, little girls can be altar servers but grown up girls or women are not appropriate to become altar servers for obvious reasons that you will understand without any explanation from me.

Question: I would like to know about the teachings of our Catholic Church related to test-tube babies, organ transplant and donation of our body/parts after death for scientific experiments and research. - Paul

Answer:  Thank you very much for an important question you have raised. It touches a very delicate subject in our Catholic Doctrine about the issue of transplant of organs and the procreation system.  The fundamental principle of the Catholic Church is that life has to be protected from the very beginning (immediately after conception) until its natural end. Therefore, transplantation of organs in not forbidden, provided that it does not cause serious dangers for the donor.  Test-tube babies is forbidden by the Catholic Church for two reasons 1) It excludes the natural conception that takes place by the natural union of the two parents. A test tube baby is not a fruit of reciprocal love of the two parents but is a result of a technical way of conception. Love is fundamental in the Sacrament of Marriage. 2) Test tube babies need many attempts. Every time an attempt is unsuccessful, a human life is killed. The Church believes that the embryo is a normal human life and we cannot use it for other purposes. We can never use an embryo for our personal plans even though the intentions may be good. For a study on this subject, please see the Encyclical Letter of Pope John Paul II ' Evangelium Vitae' which you can find on the Vatican website.   Please also see our website where you will find the Address I gave on this Subject at a Conference in Cairo, last February.

Question : Your answer based on the teachings of our Catholic Church satisfied my query except, for the question of 'donating our body for scientific experiments and anatomy studies instead of burial'. 

Answer:  You can give your body freely after death for the purposes mentioned above. If we can donate our organs, I don't see why we cannot give all of our body. Our life continues even after death. The present body is buried, but life will continue and our personal identity is also preserved. After death we shall have another 'body'. Remember that Jesus Christ, after His resurrection, appeared to the disciples. He ate with them, spoke to them and even entered through closed doors etc. This is the 'glorious' body that we will assume, if we die according to the Spirit of Jesus Christ. 

Question: I think that sickness and temptations come from the devil and not from God because God is associated with everything good while the devil is associated with everything bad/destructive such as the example of Adam and Eve. God wanted their salvation but Lucifer wanted their destruction. How can we experience triumph over evil? - Nagwa

Answer:  Sickness and temptations are a consequence of our life, after the disobedience which took place at the beginning of Creation. How do we overcome them? Let us never forget that God is stronger than any devil. If we go to Him, He will give us strength and consolation. God is full of mercy, we have only to go to Him and ask for His mercy. God is our Father and He wants that we stay with Him only. With Him everything is possible, even though it may take time. Take courage. God is your Father!!

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