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What does the Church say about globalization?

Globalization is in itself neither good nor bad; it is, rather, the description of a reality that must be shaped. “Originating within economically developed countries, this process by its nature has spread to include all economies. It has been the principal driving force behind the emergence from underdevelopment of whole regions, and in itself it represents a great opportunity. Nevertheless, without the guidance of charity in truth, this global force could cause unprecedented damage and create new divisions within the human family” (Pope Benedict XVI, CiV). When we buy inexpensive jeans, we should not be indifferent to the conditions in which they were manufactured, to the question of whether or not the workers received a just wage. Everyone’s fortune matters. No one’s poverty should leave us indifferent. On the political level, there is a need for “a true world political authority” (Pope Benedict XVI, CiV [citing Bl. John XXIII, Encyclical Pacem in terris]) to help reach a compromise between the people in the rich nations and those in underdeveloped countries. Far too often the latter are still excluded from the advantages of economic globalization and have only burdens to bear.

Why does the Old Testament forbid images of God, and why do we Christians no longer keep that commandment?

In order to protect the mystery of God and to set the people of Israel apart from the idolatrous practices of the pagans, the First Commandment said, "You shall not make for yourself a graven image" (Ex 20:4). However, since God himself acquired a human face in Jesus Christ, the prohibition against images was repealed in Christianity; in the Eastern Church, icons are even regarded as sacred. [2129-2132,2141] The knowledge of the patriarchs of Israel that God surpasses everything and is much greater than anything in the world lives on today in Judaism as in Islam, where no image of God is or ever was allowed. In Christianity, in light of Christ’s life on earth, the prohibition against images was mitigated from the fourth century on and was abolished at the Second Council of Nicaea (787). By his Incarnation, God is no longer absolutely unimaginable; after Jesus we can picture what he is like: “He who has seen me has seen the Father” (Jn 14:9).

How can a person tell whether his action is good or bad?

A person is capable of distinguishing good actions from bad ones because he possesses reason and a conscience, which enable him to make clear judgements. [1749-1757, 1757-1758] The following guidelines make it easier to distinguish good actions from bad ones: (1) What I do must be good; a good intention alone is not enough. Bank robbery is always bad, even if I commit that crime with the good intention of giving the money to poor people. (2) Even when what I do is truly good, if I perform the good action with a bad intention, it makes the whole action bad. If I walk an elderly woman home and help her around the house, that is good. But if I do it while planning a later break-in, that makes the whole action something bad. (3) The circumstances in which someone acts can diminish his responsibility, but they cannot change at all the good or bad character of an action. Hitting one's mother is always bad, even if the mother has previously shown little love to the child.

For what purpose are we here on earth?

We are here on earth in order to know and to love God, to do good according to his will, and to go someday to heaven. [1-3, 358] To be a human being means to come from God and to go to God. Our origin goes back farther than our parents. We come from God, in whom all the happiness of heaven and earth is at home, and we are expected in his everlasting, infinitie blessedness. Meanwhile we live on this earth. Sometimes we feel that our Creator is near; often we feel nothing at all. So that we might find the way home, God sent us his Son, who freed us from sin, delivers us from all evil, and leads us unerringly into true life. He is "the way and the truth and the life" (Jn 14:6).

WHAT DOES THE ‘CHURCH’ MEAN ?

The Greek word for CHURCH is “ekklesia”= those who are called forth. All of us who are baptized and believe in God are called forth by the Lord. Together we are the Church. Christ is, as Paul says, the Head of the Church. We are his body. When we receive the sacraments and hear God’s word. Christ is in us and we are in him that is the Church. The intimate communion of life with Jesus that is shared personally by all baptized is described in Sacred Scripture by a wealth of images: here it speaks about the People of God and in another passage about the Bride of Christ; now the church is called Mother, and again she is God’s family, or she is compared with a wedding feast. Never is the Church a mere institution, never just the “official Church” that we could do without. We will be upset by the mistakes and defects in the CHURCH, but we can never distance ourselves from her, because God has made an irrevocable decision to love her and does not forsake her despite all the sins of her members. The Church is God’s presence among us men. That is why we must love her. (You cat – 121)

Why is it a sin to take drugs ?

Using drugs is a sin because it is an act of self-destruction and thus an offence against the life that God has given us out of love. Every form of a person’s dependence on legal substances (alcohol, medication, tobacco) and even more so on illegal drugs is an exchange of freedom for slavery; it damages the health and the life of the person concerned and also does great harm to the people around him. Every time a person loses or forgets himself by becoming intoxicated which can also include excessive eating and drinking, indulgence in sexual activity or speeding with an automobile, he loses some of his human dignity and freedom and therefore sins against God. This should be distinguished from the reasonable, conscious and moderate use of enjoyable things. (You cat-389)

Why do we believe in the resurrection of the ‘body’?

In Jesus Christ, God himself took on “flesh” in order to redeem mankind. The biblical word “flesh” characterizes man in his weakness and mortality. Nevertheless, God does not regard human flesh as something inferior. God does not redeem man’s spirit only; he redeems him entirely, body and soul. God created us with a body and soul. At the end of the world he does not drop the “flesh” like an old toy. On the “last day” he will remake all creation and raise us up in the flesh- this means that we will be transformed but still experience ourselves in our element. For Jesus too being in the flesh was not just a phase. When the risen Lord showed himself, the disciples saw the wounds in the body.

What is faith ?

Faith is the power by which we assent to God, acknowledge his truth and commit ourselves personally to him. Faith is the path created by God leading to the truth that God himself. Because Jesus is “the way, and the truth and the life” (Jn14:6), this faith cannot be merely an attitude or “confidence” about something or other. On the other hand the faith has definite contents, which the church profess in the creed and it is her duty to safeguard them. Anyone who wants to believe acknowledges this faith, which has been preserved constantly through ages and in many different cultures. On the other hand, part of faith is a trusting relationship to God with heart and mind, with all one’s emotional strength. For faith becomes effective only through charity, practical love (Gal5:6). Whether someone really believes in the God of love is shown, not in his solemn affirmations, but rather in charitable deeds. {You cat- 307}

Is there a place called purgatory ? Can we extend our help to those who are in purgatory ?

Purgatory often imagined as a place, is actually a condition. Someone who dies in God’s grace but who still needs purification before he can see God face to face is in purgatory. When peter had betrayed Jesus, the Lord turned around and looked at peter: “and peter went out and wept bitterly” – a feeling like being in purgatory. Just such a purgatory probably awaits most of us at the moment of our death: the Lord looks at us full of love and we experience burning shame and painful remorse over our wicked or merely unloving behavior. Only after this purifying pain will be capable of meeting his loving gaze in untroubled heavenly joy. We can extend our help to such persons. Since all those who are baptized into Christ form one communion and are united with one another, the living can also help the souls of the faithful departed in purgatory. When a man is dead, he can do nothing more for himself. The time of active probation is past. But we can do something for the faithful departed in purgatory. Our life extends into the afterlife. Through our fasting, prayers and good works but especially through the celebration of Holy Eucharist, we can obtain grace for the departed.(You cat-159,160)