A forum of Catholic Thought

'Brother-sister' for civil marriageFather Kenneth Doyle

Q. My sister married in the Catholic Church while very young. After a couple of years, that marriage fell apart and eventually she received an annulment from the Catholic tribunal. After a few years, ...

Dementia and the sacraments Father Kenneth Doyle

Q. I bring holy Communion to a local nursing home. Of the 66 Catholics there, many of them have no visitors. Those with dementia are asked whether they would like to receive the Eucharist, and if they ...

Tradition of lighting candlesFather Kenneth Doyle

Q. I have asked several people this, but no one seems to know: Why do Catholics light candles in church? When did this tradition start, and what was the reason? (Troy, New York) A. The custom of lighting ...

The 'poor in spirit' Father Kenneth Doyle

Q. One of the beatitudes in Jesus' Sermon on the Mount is "Blessed are the poor in spirit." Does that mean those simple-minded people who don't ask any questions? (Lake Monticello, Virginia) A. I like ...

Why is Michael a saint?Father Kenneth Doyle

Q. I am not a Christian, but I enjoy reading your column and learn a lot from it. I am hoping that you can explain why St. Michael the Archangel is regarded as a saint. I have always been under the impression ...

Patron saint for purgatory? Father Kenneth Doyle

Q. Is there a patron saint for the souls in purgatory? (Columbus, Ohio) A. Two saints in particular are often invoked on behalf of the souls in purgatory. One is St. Nicholas of Tolentino, a 13th-century ...

Cohabitation and Catholic seniorsFather Kenneth Doyle

Q. I was born in 1926 and attended Catholic schools before being called into military service during World War II. My wife of 57 years, a convert to Catholicism, died in 2005. Two years later, I began ...

'Last rites' in a coma Father Kenneth Doyle

Q. My daughter, who was 50 years of age, became deathly ill, spent six weeks in the intensive care unit, then entered hospice to die. When death was imminent, a nurse finally found a priest to administer ...