Sep 2

Also, look everyone. My mom bought me this nice little cross today. I think it’s probably one of my favorites. I just love the red stones and the design so much.

It is a beautiful cross. Your mom has good taste. The red stones stand for the Precious Blood of our Savior and His five holy Wounds (two hands, two feet, pierced side).


Also, look everyone. My mom bought me this nice little cross today. I think it’s probably one of my favorites. I just love the red stones and the design so much.

It is a beautiful cross. Your mom has good taste. The red stones stand for the Precious Blood of our Savior and His five holy Wounds (two hands, two feet, pierced side).

Sep 2

My wife's foot surgeon said he was raised Catholic, but does not go to church any more. We are not Catholic. Would it be offensive if we gave him a St Luke medal for physicians and a printed list of Catholic churches here in Nashville?

Hi Paul,

I think that sounds like a mighty fine gesture, and hope your surgeon will take it as a sign of care and respect to him.

Perhaps if you put it in a cute little box with a nice note inside that says you are thankful for his skills and service and hope this might come in handy, he won’t be put out.

I will remember you both, and him, in my prayers as well :)

God bless and take care, Fr. Angel

Sep 2

Nice people…

Just wanted to say that I thoroughly appreciate your tumblr. My wife and I are adult converts to the faith and I always appreciate the view of a priest willing to take on the controversies of the day in such a firm and loving way.

— s3por2d

You are so sweet and kind, I wish I could give you both a hug and tell you in person what a pleasure it is to make your acquaintance.

After all the times I have been hated on, cussed out, ridiculed, attacked, belittled, and threatened on Tumblr, your words are like a soothing balm of humanity and heart. Why can’t Tumblr have more people like you?

May God bless you, your labors, your family, and your faith journey with every grace and strength from above, Fr. Angel

Sep 2

Top books you recommend as devotionals/catholic books (and why)?


I just answered that question a few weeks ago:

I can’t really say “why” beyond those are the things I like and that I recommend. God bless and take care, Fr. Angel

Sep 2

How do I gain the virtue and blessings of silence


I guess you could turn off all electronic items and not talk and avoid traffic? I’m not understanding this question too well. Could you help me out? God bless and take care, Fr. Angel

Sep 2

Is swearing bad in the since of, it's a sin? Or is it just rude to swear?


What the hell are you talking about??

LOL. Just kidding.

These questions are hard to answer, because so much depends on the person and the circumstance. On Tumblr, lots of Catholics like to say “f*ck” as if its cute, or it gives them power, or they just need to say it because it’s the internet and no one is going to slap them in the mouth. A lot of other people on Tumblr talk like that simply because they want to show off their trashy manners and were perhaps raised by baboons in the jungle.

We should avoid doing things in front of people that they find distasteful and unpleasant, like burping, farting, swearing, chewing with the mouth open, and doing weird things like making weird faces or waving certain gestures.

Sometimes, swearing is very innocent. If someone is nailing and hits themselves with a hammer and yells out, “OH SHIT” then that is understandable, no? No one likes to feel a hammer against their fingers.

On the other hand, if someone goes to McDonald’s to get a milkshake and they tell you, “Oh no, I’m sorry, but we’ve shut down the shake machine for cleaning,” and the person yells out “OH SHIT” as in they are angry, that is a little different, I think. The cashier could look at the person and say to themselves, “This guy/girl is SO ghetto…who raised them anyway?” Or they might feel nervous because of the anger.

I think whether swearing is a sin or not, is best answered with “It just depends.”

Most of the time, I don’t think it’s a sin. But it could be, especially if you are directing anger at someone and using swear words to bully them, intimidate, or just be a jerk who has no respect. God bless and take care, Fr. Angel

Sep 2

Books on human sexuality…

Hello Father I remember you gave me some great links about Catholic sexuality not too long ago. I really appreciated the links! I was wondering if you knew of any books on the subject. It seems easier to have paper books for me. Thanks for all the help!

— alwaysabeautifullife


I met a very kind and personable priest of the prelature of Opus Dei once and told him of the need for a good book on the Catholic teaching of human sexuality.

His name is Fr. John R. Waiss, and he published a book in 2003 called “Couples in Love: Straight Talk on Dating, Respect, Commitment, Marriage and Sexuality.” I have complete confidence in anything published by the priests of Opus Dei, and I personally know Fr. John Waiss to be a dedicated, kind, and faithful servant of the Church. Here is a photo of him:

Hopefully, this book will be helpful. If you do get it, and have a chance to read it, please give me feedback. I value very much your point of view and once again thank you for running such a wonderful blog. Your ministry is an inspiration to many of us in the Tumblr Catholic community.

Don’t be discouraged. Our Lord is using you to reach people :)

God bless and take care! Fr. Angel

Sep 1

Hello Father! I hope you are doing well! I was wondering- is it sinful to find weight loss motivation in how someone else looks? I can see how it would be vanity to say "oh she's so pretty, I want to look like her!" But is it also vanity to say "oh he is so handsome I want to look good so that I might be more "worthy" of him"? I know it's silly to need to change physical appearance in order to be "worthy" or someone but I also think it's natural to want to be your best for your spouse.


It is never a sin to want to be happy. Sometimes, the way we seek to be happy might be unrealistic, or not feasible, or not healthy for our self-esteem, but wanting to be happy and dreaming of being a better version of ourselves is normal and natural.

What would be a sin would be to attack people or humiliate them because they are out of shape. There is one priest—I won’t say his name—who is often quoted as a “holy and spiritual priest” who was very critical during a retreat he gave of “people who don’t control their weight.” He saw that there were overweight nuns there and he took the opportunity to get his digs in because he found their weight to be distasteful.

His premise was that God had clearly revealed to scientists and doctors how dangerous it is to be overweight, “and yet people foolishly put more food into their mouth than they know that they need.” He was very smug about this also. He had lived his life in monasteries and seminaries where cooks prepared his food for him, and had no idea what life was like for people who have various reasons for having eating disorders.

I was sitting there and heard this and thought, “Now I remember why I don’t think people are holy just because they write holy things in books.” Some “holy book authors” have the social skills of a horse’s ass in real life. I have seen this priest quoted on Tumblr, and I’ve never told people what an idiot I thought he was in real life, because I don’t want to pop their bubble that he was a saint because he wrote pious words.

Getting back to your question, do whatever you feel will be good for you and will make you feel more attractive. It’s not the best thing to be motivated because of some guy, but you know what? That still doesn’t take away from the fact that wanting to be in shape is still a good idea in general, regardless of your motivations. Just make sure not to let yourself be courted by men who are shallow, immature, and selfish. You don’t want to work hard to get into shape just to waste yourself on some guy who does not try to see your inner beauty as well.

God bless and take care, Fr. Angel

Father, what are your thoughts on the Novus Ordo mass? What about the movement within the Church for a more conservative, traditional attitude toward the mass? Do you foresee a future for the Tridentine mass (celebrated by priests from the FSSP and similar organizations in communion with Rome?) Lastly, what are your thoughts on those masses with tamborines and felt banners, which were popular but are now dying off? (Sorry if this comes off as contentious!)


Growing up Catholic in the 1960’s and 70’s, I just went to Mass and prayed. In those days, we just thought it was “Mass,” not “Novus Ordo Mass.” It would never have occurred to me, even faintly, to think I was in a position to pass judgment on the Church’s liturgy according to my likes or dislikes.

The Holy Father in Rome, the bishops, our priests, said, “Here’s the Mass” and we went, prayed, received, and then went back out into the world to try to live the Mass. 

You know what I mean. It’s like when you grew up poor, and someone asked, “what did you think about eating macaroni and cheese or top ramen all the time?” It’s like, “Gee, now that you ask, I never thought about it..I just ate whatever there was to eat so long as we had food.”

The Ordinary Form Mass, or “novus ordo” is what I grew up with and I am very content with this Mass as long as it is celebrated with the intentions of the Church. What makes the OF Mass very hard to sit through these days is how much it has changed since it came out in 1969.

It is not only different than the Tridentine Mass. The 2014 Novus Ordo is even very changed and very different from the 1974 Novus Ordo. At times, I have attended the Novus Ordo and didn’t even know what religion I was in.

Back then, believe it or not, there were very few instances of clowning around or doing weird things. People dressed up for Mass and you could still see veils or hats on women. Also, in those first years, there was no Communion in the hand, altar girls, lay preachers, or other such things.

Now, it is very different. When a Catholic goes to Mass, they might have the priests change the ritual, insert different wording, call upon the people to hold hands or have different gestures, make up different rituals for blessing people or do crazy Offertory ceremonies, and have lay ministers even stand at the altar and “concelebrate” with him.

In this regard, the movement toward a more “conservative” liturgy is really a movement to calm down the experimentations and have order and uniformity back in the liturgy. People need this, although a segment of Catholics prefers to change, alter, experiment, and “update” their Mass with more and more “creativity.” I long for and wish to see more “rubrical” novus ordo Mass.

As for the Tridentine Mass, I don’t know about its future. It is certainly not growing and multiplying at the rate that some had hoped. And it is not because bishops forbid it. Rather, even conservative and traditional priests are not enthusiastic about “going Tridentine” if they can have a reverent and devout vernacular Mass.

Some Tridentine Latin Mass communities have angry, snarky, biting, and self-righteous Catholics. These people claim to love Tradition, but by their distasteful presence, turn people away from what they claim to love. One priest who loves the Extraordinary Form Mass spoke to me about struggling “to offer the Mass I love, for the people I hate.” In other words, he would get tired of the nasty, gossipy, dour outlook of some at the Tridentine Mass who were the most vocal.

If more younger Catholics and younger families joined the Latin Mass communities and brought a spirit of welcome, charity, close-knit fraternity and fellowship, I think these Masses would really begin to take off and not stay hovering at between 100 and 300 people in attendance. While there are vocal “party-poopers” at these Masses, I don’t see them growing and having widespread viability.

As far as tambourines and felt banners at Mass, I have to laugh out loud. I haven’t seen those in many years, but that is part of the phenomenon of Catholics trying to be hippie and bring back the 1960’s style of liturgy. Warm and fuzzy liturgy will never die out so long as some people need that. 

I have a lot of hope that young priests will seek to offer both reverent Novus Ordo Masses and Tridentine Masses. In seeking to restore the liturgy in the Church, to a place of decorum, reverence, and beauty, the newer priests will give us a precious gift for the future. The future of good Catholic liturgy lies in reverence and piety, whether it is Novus Ordo or Tridentine.

I can offer both OF Mass and EF Mass. If I have to make a choice, I would rather offer a reverent OF Mass because of the simplicity of the ritual. The Tridentine ritual is more involved and some would say more beautiful and sublime. But I also find that as a sublime form of the liturgy, it is less accessible to the vast crowds who prefer simplicity and the vernacular to Latin and what is intricate liturgical detail. God bless and take care, Fr Angel


Dom Bosco Sanctuary, Brasilia, Carlos Alberto Naves, 1963.
Stained glass by Hubert Van Doorne. View this on the map


Dom Bosco Sanctuary, Brasilia, Carlos Alberto Naves, 1963.

Stained glass by Hubert Van Doorne. View this on the map

(Source: theotheralice)

Hi there! I really hope I'm not bothering you. I'm actually Lutheran, but I've been pretty curious about the Catholic Church. What are some good resources to help someone young understand the Catholic Church better?


No, you are not bothering me at all. There are so many sources on the internet. I have posted a link here that will lead you to another post I had with a similar question:

Another good start is to read stories about people coming to the Catholic Faith, and their reasons for doing so. The Rev. John Neuhaus was a famous Lutheran convert who wrote his story before he died. Fr. John Zuhlsdorf, another Lutheran convert, gives us a link at this blog:

Here is a link with some of Fr. Zuhlsdorf’s story:

Here is a link to other stories of Lutherans who searched and found themselves joining the Catholic Church.

I hope these links are helpful. God bless and take care, Fr. Angel

Hi father, I am curious and want to know because i can't seem to find any answer to my question: If Elizabeth and Zechariah are from the tribe of Levi, and Mary and Joseph are from the tribe of Judah--- how is John related to Jesus as a "near" kin? Surely anyone from the tribe of judah must be "nearer" a kin then.


Zechariah is of the house of Levi, and Joseph is of the house of Judah. The Bible, however, does not rule out that the possibility of kinship is from the relationship of the two mothers of these women.

Because Elizabeth’s father was of the tribe of Levi, and Mary’s father was of the tribe of Judah, one woman (Elizabeth) is seen as a Levite and the other woman (Mary) is seen as a Judean. But does that make it impossible for them to be related?

No, it is not impossible. For we must realize that it is possible that both Elizabeth and Mary have mothers who are from the same tribe, either that of Levi or of Judah. Thus, although the Bible does not surrender this detail, it is certainly possible that having mothers who shared tribal heritage (either Levi or Judea) would make Elizabeth and Mary cousins, or kinfolk. 

This kinship between Mary and Elizabeth would also establish a kin relationship between Jesus and John the Baptist. God bless and take care, Fr. Angel

Father, why shouldn't children be allowed to receive communion until they are 7? Is it so they fully understand what it means when they first receiver it? If so, why don't we prevent children from participating in Christmas and Thanksgiving since they could not fully understand their meaning? I've been raised Episcopal, and this part of Catholicism has puzzled me.




Christmas and Thanksgiving are fun and family oriented holidays. Since the whole reason we do family oriented traditions is to benefit our children, it wouldn’t make sense to every exclude them from participating in those things.

But handing “fun” is much different than handling sacred things. Knowing the mystery which is celebrated at Mass as a sacrifice and received as a Communion with God is in keeping with the dignity of the Body and Blood of the Savior.

It is true that in the ancient Church children probably received Communion at a much younger age. And in Orthodoxy, Communion is still given to a child after baptism.

I do not favor a return to the ancient practice. In the first place, the ancient Christians were fully catechized in their faith and the parents who presented children for sacraments were totally involved in the life of the parish. This means that there was no worry about “social sacraments” or having sacraments in order to keep up a social or cultural custom.

There was also no worry of turning the sacraments into a superstition, as many Protestants claim that Catholics have done. If a person does not fully understand with the mind and heart what it is that they do during a sacrament, and no one will probably teach them, then what is the point?

When people approach something sacred simply because they think it is good luck or protection from God, it is sort of a superstition. The practice of baptizing infants, giving them confirmation, and holy Eucharist, before the age of reason, when we cannot be assured of their formation in Jesus Christ, is not wise or prudent in my opinion. God bless and take care, Fr. Angel

The first argument doesn’t work because it assumes that lack of catechesis is somehow remedied when the child is seven. Parents who wish to have their children baptized, but who are not involved in the Faith themselves should not have their children baptized unless they truly devote themselves to the spiritual upbringing of the child. If the parents are unserious about their own Faith, the child won’t become more serious just because he receives the Eucharist later.

Baptism is a Sacrament, and the child doesn’t understand Baptism. The supposed necessity of understanding works as well against paedo-baptism as it does against paedo-communion.

The Eucharist is the sign of membership in God’s family. If children are excommunicated (ex-commun[ion]icated), then this is a statement that they are not a part of God’s family.

This is not a difficult issue. 

in XC


My argument actually did not state that the lack of catechesis is remedied at the age of reason. What is helpful is that, at the age of reason, one is capable of learning and interaction, pedagogically, that is not possible as an infant.

The main point I was making is that in order to understand receiving the Body and Blood of Christ, there should be a more mature knowledge and participation in the community than what is expected of an infant.

As for baptism, a child is not receiving the sacramental Body and Blood of Christ, physically and really present. The infant is receiving an invisible grace necessary to salvation, without the concern of how to handle the sacramental species and interact with a Eucharistic assembly at the public liturgy of the Church. An argument can be made that although Baptism is also a sacrament, the recipient does not have to have the same level of understanding and catechesis as with holy Communion.

As well, one can baptize and welcome into the Church without the Eucharist. Scripture does not state that Eucharist had to be given right after baptism for infants. Cornelius and his household were baptized, so there is Scriptural proof of the baptism of infants, supposing that a household means children and not just adults. But there is no Scriptural citation which shows that infants were commanded to receive Eucharist.

In fact, the Bible even recalls that St. Philip did not act thus with the Ethiopian eunuch, who was already an adult. In that case, Scripture is clear that all Philip did was give baptism—not followed with the Eucharist (Acts 8:39). 

Being excommunicated presupposes that one has been communicated. Having someone remain baptized and delaying Eucharist is simply being without Communion, which is not the same as having Communion and then being deprived of Communion (excommunication). Baptism alone is sufficient to declare an infant and child to be a member of the Church.

To state otherwise would be to deny that Protestant Christians, most of whom only have baptism, are members of the Church of Christ. Even though most do not have Eucharist or chrismation, I would not say they do not have membership in the Church. God bless, Fr. Angel

Father I'm sure you're aware but in your post you didn't include that just about every rite aside from Latin has children receive all three sacraments of initiation at once. I agree the age of reason is the move logical course, but it might be something interesting for the person with the question to know! Have a blessed whatever time it is where you live!


That’s a good point, but it wasn’t part of my focus in answering that question. Since the poster mentioned they were Episcopalian, and the Episcopalians have a lot of religious diversity and knowledge of religious diversity, I was also afraid that stating that detail might have been stating the obvious for them.

As I said, the practice of infant Communion was practiced in the ancient Church. Every other rite, as you said, would be following that practice. But there is a problem with that tendency of “antiquinarianism.” Namely, in eastern traditions, be they Catholic or Orthodox, they follow and preserve ancient practices without taking into serious account a practical and organic development of liturgy and doctrine.

As a living, breathing entity, the Church simply cannot stay stuck in the past under the belief that if it was the past, it must be good. The practical concerns of modernity, changes of culture and religious thought, must be heavily weighed or we may confer sacraments like a machine, or dispensary, to a Christian community that no longer seizes that gift of grace and acts on it, but is comfortable in the secularist lifestyle.

The genius of the Latin rite, inherited from the minds of ancient Rome, is to study people, not just in their past, but in their present, to see all their changes and needs, and then to adapt, or change, or tweak, or adjust accordingly. God bless and take care, Fr. Angel

Hi Father, what is our obligation to "correct" others' actions or inform them of Catholic teaching when they're sinning? My friend is Catholic but conceived a child out of wedlock and is now using condoms to prevent a second child. She is also receiving communion. I have another friend who told me "I know premarital sex is wrong, but my boyfriend and I have been together for three years, so..." I don't want to be preachy but I also want to make sure they understand the gravity of their actions.


There are times when it is better not to say anything, so that people do not feel we are interfering in their lives, judging thing, or speaking of things that they do not understand.

At other times, getting involved in unhealthy relationships is a defense or coping mechanism for them to deal with loneliness, neediness, or their own wounded self-esteem. Even if they agree with our advice, they feel it just does not apply to them.

It is hard to integrate faith into real life. There are books, computer, preaching, and catechesis to help us learn Catholic doctrine. Then, there is life, where practical concerns dominate over proposals and doctrinal truths that are idealistic. The challenge is to take difficult Christian doctrine and see where it is of so much value, so much importance, that we are willing to make a change. 

We tell people that they will be happier if they follow Christ faithfully, but they don’t always feel happiness when they follow the Gospel according to the letter. Giving up a person you think you love, or that you have passion for, seems like it is more than they can handle for some people.

My advice is to be patient and understanding with Catholics who are finding integration of faith and real life to be a very difficult. As hard as it is, we have to realize that even if we learn how to get our Catholic act together, not everyone wants to hear how we did it. And we cannot save everyone. Some, we will push away no matter what.

Even when you find the right moment, and choose the right words, and say it with the right heart, be prepared. You might be in for heartache as people tell you that if they have to choose between you, and the sin they are doing, they will choose the sin first. And they will add, “that’s just the way it is.” However, in trying to find the right advice to give, when you need to give it, it helps to read good Catholic blogs and good Christian articles that give you a heads up and how to make a point. And prayer before, during, and after, will keep your fraternal correction grounded in Jesus Christ. God bless and take care, Fr. Angel