First Some Questions Without Answers.

Peter Fournier and Catherine Fournier

Games Children Played in 10 A.D.?

I teach fifth grade religion for my parish and am interested in any resources which would have information about "games or sports" children played during Jesus' time on Earth.

Thank you for this wonderful page!

Commandment Inspired Teaching Activities

Dear Domestic Church

My name is Robert K. and I am the lead teacher for a 4th Grade CCD class. I have enjoyed your web site and especially like the craft ideas on your "Fridge" page. I am look for some craft ideas to go along with the Ten Commandments (we're going to look at the Fourth Commandment next Sunday). Do you know of any good web pages or book where I could get some ideas? I'd appreciate any tips.

May the Lord bless you, Robert K.

Questions That Do Have Answers

Christmas Question

I just checked out your web site on Christmas traditions and how they relate to how we continue to celebrate the holidays. There are, however, some terms that were not clarified. For instance, what does Yuletide refer to?


Dear Pete;

Tide means time or season. Yule is an old Anglo-Saxon word meaning Christmas or Feast of the Nativity. So 'yuletide' is Christmas time!

Peace, Catherine


Who is the Saint who is a Martyr of the Eucharist? Please write back and tell me.

Dear Reader;

An excellent source for information about the saints is the Saint Joseph Patron Saints Index:I remembered the story of Tarcisius, and it seemed to me to be close to what you were looking for:

Also known as Tarsicius Feast: 15 August A 3rd-4th century Martyr. Layman or deacon. While taking communion to prisoners, Tarcisius was attacked by a pagan mob, and died defending the Host. It is said that when the pagans search him after beating him to death, there was no trace of the Sacrament. He is the Patron of altar boys, altar girls, altar servers, first communicants

Hope this helps, Catherine

Looking for Images?

I am looking for a picture of St Isidore of Seville. Have you ever seen one? Know where I can find one on the internet?

Thank you, Gene

Dear Gene;

Thank you for your letter. I would suggest two ways to find an image of Saint Isidore of Seville. First, I use CatholicSaints.Info for a good deal of my saint's research.

Another way I have used to search for information and images is to type "Saint Isidore of Seville" into a search engine. The " " are important. This will find any parish churches dedicated to the saint, they often have profiles and images. It will also find societies dedicated to the saint and various other sources, too.

Hope this helps! Catherine

Suggestions for Family Traditions

Dear Domestic Church,

My daughter is getting ready to take part in an Epiphany celebration at her school, and I was wondering if you could email any information on this subject, like what Epiphany is, customs of Epiphany, etc.

Thank You, T. Gervais

Dear T. Gervais

I hope I am not answering too late to be of any help to you. A description of the Feast of Epiphany can be found at 'We Three Kings, Blessing the Home at Epiphany' and Epiphany Cake

Some cultures exchange gifts at Epiphany rather than at Christmas. In our home, the main focus of our celebrations is the blessing of our home. In the evening we will have a small family feast with dessert (not a regular midweek event) of a cake with small items hidden in it to represent the epiphany or discovery of the Christ Child. Then we will process around the house, and bless our doorways. Everyone feels a little bit silly because it is not a regular event to carry candles around the house and sing, but we all love it and _know_ that it is an essential thing to do in our family. Enjoy the feast day!

Some More Serious Questions


Can you answer these honest searching questions I have? Is Mary Omnipresent? If she isn't then why pray to her? If she is, does that make her equal with God? And are the "Saints" Omnipotent? or limited in power? if so what are the limitations and why pray to them?


Greetings, Jim

Catherine Fournier from Domestic Church forwarded me this post of yours today. She's quite busy right now so she asked me if I could answer some of your questions. My name is John Pacheco, and I am the "resident (amateur) Apologist on staff"

Here goes:

Mary and the Saints (and the angels, for that matter) are NOT omnipresent. They are creatures only. The Catholic Church has *never* taught otherwise. I'm glad to see that you are seeking out what the Catholic Church teaches from Catholics and not those who misrepresent Catholicism.

There is a major difference in the conception of "prayer" between Catholics and Protestants. For Protestants, "prayer" is reserved only for God. For Catholics, we can either show respect/honour/veneration to those who have gone before us or we can 'adore'. When we 'pray to God', we are 'adoring' God. When we 'pray' to the saints, we are asking them to pray FOR us TO God. We are NOT worshipping them, and, therefore, it does not make Mary or the Saints equal to God. There is much biblical evidence to support the fact that one can honour someone without actually worshipping them (if you want the biblical references, let me know).

St. Paul asked the other disciples to pray for him (Rom 15:30, Col 4:3, 1 Thes 5:25) as he prayed for them (2 Thes 1:11). The bible, therefore, teaches that we can and should pray for one another.

The objection is sometimes raised by Protestants that these people are dead, and we should not ask them to pray for us or petition them for assistance before the Throne of God. To this, the Church answers (only a few points are provided):

1) There is compelling biblical evidence that God is the "God of the living, not the dead" (Mark 12:26-27). He showed us that during the Transfiguration when He talked to Elijah and Moses in front of the Apostles.

2) The Bible teaches that you can communicate to the Angels: "Bless the Lord, you His angels, mighty in strength, who perform His word, obeying the voice of His Word!" (Psalm 103:20).

3) The intercessory power of the saints is hinted at in Luke 12:44.

4) If we can ask for prayers of our fellow brothers and sisters on earth, there is no reason to believe that they cannot hear us in heaven ESPECIALLY considering that death no longer separates Christians from one another. The fact that they can hear us in heaven does not mean that they are necessarily omnipresent or omnipotent - only that they have that capability in heaven.

"For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many." (1 Cor. 12:12-14)

"And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it, if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it." (1 Cor 12:26)

So the only way you can prohibit asking the Saints in heaven to pray for you is to basically those who are with the Lord in paradise out of the body - which is rather absurd.

This idea of a 'mystical body' is what Catholics mean by 'communion of saints' - on earth, in purgatory, and in heaven - we are all joined together is a glorious and mystical way.

As discussed above, the Saints are only creatures of God. They are not omnipotent. Their 'power' is not their own. It is completely dependent on God. Just like Peter and Paul's powers were not their own when they cured people.

Why do we pray to them? Good question. Let me ask you some questions which might answer your question:

* If someone complimented your son or daughter, would you be offended? Or, would you take great joy in their accomplishment?

* If you were an artist, would you be offended at someone praising your artworks?

* Does the prayer of an "unrighteous man avail much" or the prayer of a righteous man?....Why do you think that is???

* "And it came about after the Lord had spoken these words to Job, that the Lord said to Eliphaz the Temanite, 'My wrath is kindled against you and against your two friends, because you have not spoken of Me what is right as My servant Job has. Now therefore, take for yourself seven bulls and seven rams, and to My servant Job, and offer us a burnt offering for yourselves, and My servant Job will pray for you. For I will ACCEPT HIM SO THAT I MAY NOT DO WITH YOU according your own folly, because you have not spoken of Me what is right, as My servant Job has.'...And the Lord restored the fortunes of Job when he prayed for his friends, ad the Lord increased all that Job had twofold." (Job 42:7-10)

* There are thousands of thoroughly documented and scientifically investigated cases where diseases and paralysis suddenly 'disappear' on prayers to the Saints. This has been going on for centuries, and continues to this day. If you are truly serious about your inquiry, don't ignore this claim. Check it out for yourself.

Hope this helps.

Don't hesitate to contact me for follow up.

Peace of Christ, John

"Zeal for your house consumes me, O Lord!"


What is the church's teaching on the theory of evolution?

Paul Fournier answers:

In his 'Credo of the People of God', Pope Paul VI says that Catholics must accept that Adam and Eve were directly created by God, and that they were our first parents. After having said that much, we Catholics are free to use the theory of evolution as an instrument of research.

Keep in mind that evolution is a theory still, and it is useful if we consider it as such. In any case, there is no such thing as 'amoral science' - free from moral implications. Technology and Science are subject to the moral law always and everywhere and at all times.

As you research the question, you will find Catholic scientists on both sides of the evolution question: some will point to statistical analysis to give legitimacy to the theory and others will argue its absurdity. In any case, what we know for sure is neatly explained by Pope Paul VI in a sentence or two.

God created the Universe from nothing. He created Adam and Eve as human beings with the faculties you and I share, plus certain privileges, such as freedom from all suffering, knowledge and so on. The problem we have with those who push evolution in the moral sphere is that they contradict Catholic teaching in these matters and lead to fatalism. This fatalism is a deadly result of thinking we are programmed by forces beyond our control when in fact we are each of us intended to spend eternity in Heaven, face to face with God and all the angels and saints. We can only get there by using our freedom in accordance with God's Will.

Why Aren't We Jewish? or, Why We Aren't Jewish

To Whom It May Concern:

I teach 6th grade Catholic religion. Tonight one of my students asked me a difficult question. I was hoping you would be able to help me answer it.

Jesus was born a Jew. Yet we are Catholic. How come we are not Jewish? How did there become a Catholic religion?

Hope you can help me to explain this to my class. Thank you, Mrs. Sandy A.

Dear Mrs. A.

I will pass on your letter to one of our 'experts' to answer more fully, but I felt I just had to write you a quick note to give you a immediate answer.

Christ said " I come to bring a new Covenant." (or something along those lines - it's in the Gospels) He came to bring a new message from God, a new promise from God (that built on the old one, of course) and in doing so, founded a new Church.

That is the Christian church, meaning followers of Christ. The word Catholic means 'universal' 'open and applicable to all' (a _new_ idea for the Jews and Gentiles of the times!)

I would recommend that in addition to this short explanation, and a longer one which will come soon, if your student wants to know 'how there came to be a Catholic religion' that he/she read the Gospel of St. Luke and then the Acts of the Apostles which was also written by St. Luke. It is by far, one of the most exciting, suspenseful adventures I've ever read. Peace, Catherine.

John Pacheco answers,

Thank you for your question, Sandy.

We are not Jewish because:

i) Although Jesus was a Jew, He presented NEW public revelation which the Jewish people rejected. Because Jesus was God and the Jewish religion rejects Jesus as God, we must reject the Jewish religion.

2) On the other hand, the Catholic faith is the 'true Jewish faith' since it is the 'true family of God'. The Jewish people were originally set apart by God to show the way of salvation for the Gentiles (non-Jews) as well. Some Jews accepted Jesus, but most Jews did not. Those Jews who accepted Jesus along with the Gentiles became known as "Christians". In the early years of Christianity, Christians were known as a "Jewish sect"

3) Of course, we share many of the same beliefs as Jewish people. We have the same common heritage in the Old Testament. We both share Abraham as our spiritual father, for instance. Jewish people are still required to undergo circumcision and observe dietary laws. Christians are not required to do so because Jesus doesn't require us to observe those Old Testament laws.

4) As for the institution of the Catholic religion, Jesus established the Catholic Church and made Peter the rock of that Church (Matt 16:18). The successors of St. Peter are the Popes, who have the authority of Jesus Christ to teach in His name. The Catholic Faith comes right from St. Peter and the other Apostles of Jesus who were entrusted with spreading the Gospel message of Christian love. The successors of the Apostles are called 'bishops'.

Hope this helps, John

Why Should RELIGION Keep People Apart?

Hello, I am a 22 year old Catholic girl from Australia who is currently dating a 26 year old Jewish guy. We have dating for over two years and love each other very much. Meyer understands me so well, is intelligent, honest, witty, sensitive and loving. We have been very open-minded and tolerant and understanding about each other.

Lately however, things have been very emotional as we have started talking about issues of marriage and what status the children would be. He insists that he would like them to be converted to Judaism and then brought up as Jews with a circumcision, hebrew education, and a Bar-mitzvah.

I want them to be Baptised and brought up as church-going Catholics. We have talked of compromises, which society does not condone, it's either one or the other! Other people will still talk and make fun of the makeup of our family, if indeed that ever occurs.

I think it is so sad that something so beautiful, such as the relationship we have, could possibly be broken just because of RELIGION. It is supposed to bring people together, not tear them apart. I cannot help but feel a bit disillusioned. Tanya M

Andrew and Regina Schmiedicke reply:

In case you or Meyer are interested, Tanya, you might want to find out about the Association of Hebrew-Catholics. They are a group of Jewish people who have joined the Catholic Church.

Since the Church teaches (and the Jews believe) that their identity as Jews, the children of Abraham chosen by God to bless the world, does not pass away (see the Vatican II documents on this point), these Jews retain both their Jewish identity after their conversion. They are no longer Jews who practice Judaism, but Jews who practice Catholicism.

Their exploration of the wider issues of interreligion and culture is remarkably balanced, and they seek to make all Catholics aware of the Jewish heritage, as well as creating a specific Hebrew-Catholic community for Jewish Catholics. (After all, the Church has had special organizations for Polish Catholics, Arabian Catholics, Vietnamese Catholics, and so on, so why not a Hebrew Catholic organization?)

One of their ministries has been helping couples in "mixed marriages" … where a Jew marries a Catholic. Perhaps you both would find food for thought by contacting them. They can be reached via email at

Christian Versus Catholic?

My name is Ashley M and I'm working on a project for a class at my school. I am looking for any information anyone might have on the specific differences between The Christian Religion and the Catholic Religion. I know they are very similar, but a few of the beliefs are different. I need to know what these specific different beliefs are.

Thank You for your help, Ashley M

Dear Ashley,

Thank you for your letter, I hope you get an answer from each person you sent it too, because what you ask is a very large question that has kept people occupied for several centuries now. If we all answer, we will all give you a piece of the answer.

I am a convert from Presbyterianism to Catholicism, so I have a particular viewpoint on your question - it is the question that I had to answer in my conversion.

I'll go through this in point form.

1) Catholics _are_ Christian. Christian means: believes in Christ and follows His teachings. Catholics are the first Christians.

2) I say Catholics are the first Christians because you can prove by reading Church documents and studying church teaching and Tradition, that the Catholic Church is descended in an unbroken line from the first apostles. It is the historical church founded and maintained by Christ.

3) What are _called_ Christians now, to distinguish them from Catholics, are the Protestant sects, founded by people who thought (for a variety of reasons) that the Catholic Church of the 1500's and 1600's had deviated too much from what Christ created and intended. They 'protested' some church practices and tried to return the Church to a simpler and 'purer' form. So they are called Protestants.

4) So yes, we believe many of the same things such as, well, everything in the Apostle's Creed at least.

5) Protestants and Catholics do not disagree on a few things, they disagree on a great many things. Such as
i) the communion of saints. Most Protestant sects believe that the only saints are/were the apostles. They name no saints other than those
ii) the honouring of Mary as the Mother of Our Redeemer. This is related to the first point, and most Protestant sects confuse honouring Mary with worshipping Mary
iii)the number of sacraments. Most Protestant sects use only the sacraments which Christ specifically talks about in the version of the Gospel that they use (a whole 'nother topic -see, I said it was a big question!) So, while they will have Baptisms and Marriage and Ordination, they do not have the sacraments of Confession, Extreme Unction and in some cases, Confirmation.
iv) I left Communion out of the list above, because most Protestant sects do not recognize Transubstantiation, the belief that at the moment of Consecration, the bread and wine is literally and miraculously transformed into the Body and Blood of Christ, that the Real Presence of Christ is on the altar everytime a Mass is celebrated. They believe that when Christ said 'Take and eat, this is my body' He was speaking figuratively, that He meant, "this_represents_my Body." But Catholics know that He always meant what He said.
v) most Protestant sects do not believe in Purgatory, the indissovibility of marriage, the sin of contraception, the sin of pre-marital sex, and lots more.

You will notice I have always use the words 'most Protestant sects.' This is because, when the movement to 'reform' the church began (try looking up the Reformation - the movement I referred to that 'protested and tried to return the church to a simpler and purer form) several different men had several different ideas on how the church should be reformed. They all began their own churches or faiths.
Luther began Lutheranism.
Calvin began Calvanism
Knox began Presbyterianism
Wesley began Wesleyanism
in addition, there were Methodists, Baptists (who thought only adults who had decided to follow Christ should be baptised) and many many more. As time as gone on, people in _these_ churches decided that _they_ had a better idea of what Christ's Church should be like and teach so they started their own churches. There are now over 200 Protestant sects, each with similar but different beliefs.

Ashley, I hope I have begun to give you an answer to your question. Thank you for writing, Catherine

Paul Fournier also answered

Dear Ashley M,

Whenever we want to study a question seriously, the first thing we need to do is examine the meaning of the words we use, and how they came to exist in the first place. St. Thomas Aquinas was very careful to teach his students to distinguish, because a very subtle difference in meaning can represent a flat contradiction.

Christian: Believing, or professing, the religion of Christ (Oxford). At the time of the Apostles, Christians were considered to be a Jewish sect by everybody, including the pagans.

Catholic: This is a Greek word, originally, and was used long before Christ, to mean: 'universal'. In context of the Catholic Church, it is first recorded in a letter of St. Ignatius to the Smyrnaeans, about the year 110.

One of the marks of the Church founded by Christ is that it is universal, that is, Catholic. It is intended by God as the way and the door to perfection and so to Heaven. Everybody in Heaven is a Catholic. These people are referred to as the Church Triumphant.

The Byzantines are Catholic, as are all the churches subject to the Pope; - the Coptic, the Rumanian, the Ukrainian, the Ruthenian... and so on.

The churches that do not follow the Pope yet profess to be Christian are of three kinds; the Orthodox, which accept the Pope as the 'first among equal patriarchs'; those churches that were established at the reformation and finally all the little sects that have the life span of a mayfly. None of these are universal. The Anglican Church has nothing to say to the French; Calvinists do not evengelize; Lutherans have no theologians of any credibility.

Being Catholic means universal, so the Catholic Church is established by Christ for all peoples and all men of whatever age. It is meant for the mentally defective, for the geniuses, for the working man and for the rich. It perfects sinners and produces saints.

A Catholic is a Christian, but one who calls himself Christian may not be a Catholic, but just make up his own religion, based on Christ's according to his own preferences. Thomas Jefferson's bible was a cut and paste job, which included only those parts of the Bible with which he agreed or felt comfortable.

Saint Peter nearly became a Christian rather than a Catholic, because he felt that to become a follower of Christ, one needed to become a Jew first. St. Paul argued with him publicly on this point, and Christ sent Peter a dream where He insisted that His Faith was for all men - forever.

Fasting Before Communion

At one time there was a 3 hour fast required prior to communion I believe. Is it still in effect? Where is it required in the catechism? I would like a e-mail address for questions about the Catholic faith. Thank-you.


The Code of Canon Law, (where such things are found) states: 919.1 Whoever is to receive the blessed Eucharist is to abstain for at least one hour before holy communion form all food and drink, with the sole exception of water and medicine.

I don't think there is any one address that could answer all your questions about the Catholic faith. There are however, many excellent sources on the Internet. I would recommend as a start:

Hope this helps. Catherine

Looking for Education about Catholic Faith

My husband and I are considering converting to the Catholic Church. We are taking catechism classes and would enjoy any helpful sites on here that could help educate us.

Thank You, Belinda B

Dear Belinda;

Thank you for your letter. I do have a recommendation for a source of lively, friendly and helpful information and advice. The Catholic Mother's Internet Connection and email group is a group of a few hundred mothers world-wide who correspond by email. Everything from teething, teens and temptation (pretty good huh?) Seriously though, we have Phd's, Third Order Franciscans, amateur apologists, ordinary housewives and everything in between. There are cradle catholics, converts and those investigating the Catholic Church. There is always someone to answer any question you have.

You can find out how to subscribe at the Catholic Mother's Internet Connection:

Hope this helps, please stay in touch.

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