In the know with Father Joe

Why is the word ‘catholic’ in the Methodist Creed?

Dear Father Joe: Why does it say ‘catholic’ in the middle of the Creed in the Methodist church I attended recently for a wedding?

I’ve gotten no small amount of “creed questions,” especially since the release of the Mass translations in 2011.Your question will help us kick off a special column that I hope will help us understand the creed we say at Mass and the reasoning behind some of the changes. Let’s start with some history.

Why should we pray to saints? Shouldn’t we go directly to God?

Dear Father Joe: My friends who are not Catholic say we should only pray to God and that praying to saints is idolatry. Why should we pray to saints?

This is a great question and can really lead us to some good ideas, so let’s get right to it!

First, let’s be clear about something – when we pray to saints, we are not offering them the worship due to God. We are asking the saints to pray to God for us.

I hear there is a new Anglican rite, along with married priests. How does this work?

Dear Father Joe: I hear there is a new Anglican rite, along with married priests. How does this work?

You’ve got it right: there is a new Anglican rite in our Church that brings some married priests into our mix. How this happens is a testament to our belief in the power and beauty of truth – and it’s great stuff.

Am I really supposed to be an evangelist?

Dear Fr. Joe: I hear talk that we are supposed to evangelize, but I’m not sure I want to do that. What does it mean?

I think it must be a tough thing to hear so many people talking about evangelization without telling us exactly what it is. For a lot of people, the idea of evangelization conjures up images of people yelling from street corners, condemning others or trying to get people to think just like we do. If that is our image of evangelization, then no wonder it has no appeal to us!

Is it really wrong to cheat on exams? Isn’t it just ‘helping’ each other?

Dear Fr. Joe: A lot of my friends cheat on their exams and don’t see anything wrong with it. They feel they are just helping each other out. I really believe this is wrong, but do I have an obligation to turn them in?

This is an important question that affects a lot of students at all levels of education. I even have folks talking to me about people cheating at work in different ways. It’s tough to know what to do in these situations. The good news is that our Catholic faith gives us some solid underlying principles that can help us.

Why should I stay Catholic?

Dear Fr. Joe: It seems to me that every day there is a new scandal in the Church. I struggle with understanding – how can I stay Catholic?

Thank you for your question – things can be very difficult for us right now and your sincere and honest expression of what you are feeling is a gift. I’ll do my best to share well why I not only chose to stay Catholic, but to serve in the Church as a priest. I hope that what I share helps you.

How can we forget that our son stole from us?

Dear Fr. Joe: Our son stole a lot of money from us. He has apologized, and we forgave him, but I don’t really feel I can trust him. What does forgiveness look like? Should I just move on and forget this happened?



I’m so sorry that this happened with your son. It is such a painful thing when people whom we love hurt us or let us down. I thank God for your response to this situation: forgiveness is a command from God to us and, like all of God’s commands, it is good for us. Let’s get right to it.

How do I keep my New Year’s resolution to be holy?

Dear Fr. Joe: It seems that once again, we’re approaching another new year and, more than anything, I want to use the new year to really grow spiritually. I always have great goals to do better, but never seem to hit them. Can you help me?

Ahhhh – the New Year and its resolutions! I think your experience is one that many share – including me! Based on my own past struggles and resolutions, I do have some advice that I hope will help you.

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