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Did Jesus rise 'again?'

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No, Jesus did not rise from the dead a second time. The most common meaning of the word "again" is "once more," which prompts your question.

Father Kenneth
Doyle

Q. I am confused about a statement which is in both the Apostles' Creed and the Nicene Creed. It says that Jesus "rose again" from the dead. When did he rise the first time? (City and state withheld)

A. Some years ago -- seven, in fact -- I answered a similar question in this column. But it comes up repeatedly, so it might be worth another try. No, Jesus did not rise from the dead a second time. The most common meaning of the word "again" is "once more," which prompts your question.

But another valid and oft-used meaning is "anew," and so we hear things like, "The runner fell rounding first base, but he got up again and made his way to second." So, Jesus rose from the dead only once, on Easter. He lived once, he died once and now he lives again.

Q. I read with interest your recent column about what to do with the many religious articles that arrive in the mail from various organizations. Please tell your readers that items such as rosaries, crucifixes, and medals can be donated to the chaplain's office at many local Catholic hospitals. (Williamsburg, Virginia)

A. In that column, I suggested giving such items to the Society for the Propagation of the Faith, which does missionary work in foreign lands or simply leaving them at a nearby parish church. But I noted that the recipient is not compelled to do so and that since such unsolicited items have not been blessed, one is free to dispose of them as wanted. The current writer offers another good suggestion -- offering them to a chaplain at a local Catholic hospital -- so I thought this was worth bringing to our readers' attention.

Q. I am a cradle Catholic and practice my faith regularly. But the current national election strikes me as tumultuous and problematic. One candidate is pro-choice and the other claims to be pro-life. But the pro-life candidate has no problem casting out immigrants who want to enter our country. Catholic voters seem to have no place to go. If a Catholic votes for a pro-choice candidate because, overall, he thinks that person would be best for our country, is that Catholic wrong and could he be denied holy Communion? (Atlanta)

A. Critical guidance for Catholic voters has been provided in a document called "Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship." In the current version, approved by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in 2019, your question is addressed directly.

The document says: "A Catholic cannot vote for a candidate who favors a policy promoting an intrinsically evil act, such as abortion, euthanasia, assisted suicide, deliberately subjecting workers or the poor to subhuman living conditions, redefining marriage in ways that violate its essential meaning, or racist behavior, if the voter's intent is to support that position" (No. 34).

But it goes on to explain that "there may be times when a Catholic who rejects a candidate's unacceptable position even on policies promoting an intrinsically evil act may reasonably decide to vote for that candidate for other morally grave reasons" (No. 35).

The document notes that "when all candidates hold a position that promotes an intrinsically evil act, the conscientious voter faces a dilemma. The voter may decide to take the extraordinary step of not voting for any candidate or, after careful deliberation, may decide to vote for the candidate deemed less likely to advance such a morally flawed position and more likely to pursue other authentic human goods" (No. 36).

- Father Kenneth Doyle is a columnist for Catholic News Service



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